Ins and Outs

While the presidential race seems to be getting off to a slow start, action is already moving at a fast and furious pace on the congressional front. As we reported yesterday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT-AL) is entering the Senate race against first-term incumbent Jon Tester (D). Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), rumored as a retirement possibility, just transferred $1 million of his personal assets into his campaign fund. This suggests he’s ready to ignite another campaign, so odds favor Sen. Kohl being in. Vermont state Auditor Tom Salmon (R) says he is moving toward forming an exploratory committee to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders (I). Chances appear strong that Salmon will eventually get in the race. In Missouri, former gubernatorial chief of staff Ed Martin (R), who came within one point of upsetting Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO-3) in 2010, announced that he will enter the senatorial field of candidates for the right to battle Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in the general election. Also in the GOP race is former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO-6) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO-8) are possible entries. In Indiana, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) is taking steps to challenger Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) in the GOP primary.

Turning to the “out” side of the equation, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) says he will make a decision about whether to run for another six-year term before February ends. His fundraising is on hold for now, not a move someone would make if he were intending to launch another campaign. Odds favor Kyl opting out. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), also promising to make a re-election decision in February, reports only raising $12,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010, an unimpressive amount for someone staring at another tough political fight. It’s hard to say what Sen. Webb will do at this point, but him deciding to retire would not be a shocking development. Finally, despite running a competitive race against a very tough incumbent in 2010, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri (R-CT-5) says he will not run for Congress again even though the seat will be open. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT-5) has already officially become a senatorial candidate.
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