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Now that Virginia’s Tim Kaine has made up his mind (yes, he’s running) the 2024 Senate landscape is a little clearer, though a few senators are still holding us in suspense.
Among them: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), who again this week said he’s still thinking about it. “I have no idea what I’m going to do in 2024. I really don’t,” he said in response to a question after speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) made his Senate bid official. That’s an open seat because Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) is running for governor. And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) got a potential opponent: state Sen. Matt Dolan (R). In the 2022 Republican Senate primary, Dolan was the third-place finisher in a seven-way race won by JD Vance, who had Donald Trump’s endorsement and went on to win the general election and succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R).
Dolan ran well in populous areas including Cuyahoga and Geauga counties in metropolitan Cleveland and in Franklin County in and around Columbus, but faltered in more rural pro-Trump areas that preferred Vance. Other Republicans weighing a Senate bid include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, and Rep. Warren Davidson.
Brown is seeking a fourth Senate term in a state that voted for Trump by 8 percentage points in 2020 and for Vance by 6 percentage points over then-Rep. Tim Ryan (D) in 2022. — Greg Giroux
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CALIFORNIA: Ex-Rival’s OK With Porter
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is backing a former rival to succeed her in the House.
State Sen. Dave Min (D) announced his candidacy for California’s 47th District, brandishing a Porter endorsement statement that said he “can win in this area while delivering on a progressive agenda with real results.” In 2018, when they were both law professors at the University of California, Irvine, Porter edged out Min for second place in the all-candidate primary before unseating Mimi Walters (R) in the general election.
Min, ex-Rep. Harley Rouda (D), and former California assemblyman Scott Baugh (R), who lost a close race to Porter in 2022, are all competing in the March 2024 primary in the 47th District, a highly competitive district within Orange County. Porter is going after the Senate seat of Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who hasn’t said she’s retiring. — Greg Giroux
VIRGINIA: Special Election Still On
A federal judge in Richmond kept next month’s special 4th District congressional election on schedule, rejecting a request for an injunction.
At issue: Whether there were enough polling places for the Democratic primary election won by state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, who because of the partisan leanings of the district is on track to become the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress. — Virginia Public Media
ARIZONA: VOTE-BY-MAIL UPHELD
An Arizona appeals court dealt the latest blow to the state GOP’s quest to end mail-in voting in a ruling that found the system adequately protects voter secrecy. The ruling by a panel of three judges upholds a lower court decision again the Arizona Republican Party’s lawsuit that alleges the system is unconstitutional and sought to prevent its use in the 2022 elections.
Mail-in balloting—used by the majority of Arizona voters—ensures that “voters fill out their ballot in a manner that does not disclose their vote and that voters’ choices are not later revealed,” the appeals court ruling said. — Brenna Goth
MAINE: ‘Right to Repair’
A coalition presented more than 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for certification. The group’s goal: to put a question to voters on whether automakers should be required to give independent repair shops essential diagnostic information. — News Center Maine
WISCONSIN: Bail Initiative
A constitutional amendment will be included on the spring election ballot asking voters to give judges more discretion over imposing bail. The state Assembly approved the proposal in a bipartisan vote. — Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
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