As the 2012 presidential election heats up, both parties are pushing hard in congressional and gubernatorial races across the country. While Republicans work to regain control of the Senate, Democrats are vying to pick up seats in the GOP-controlled House. Below, a rundown on election news happening beyond the presidential field.
FLORIDA RELEASES 7 DRAFT DISTRICT MAPS
The Sunshine State took a step forward in the long redistricting process today. The Florida House submitted seven draft versions of new district maps. The proposed maps generally favor minority representation and could create challenging reelection campaigns for some Republican incumbents if approved. That's not going to happen anytime soon: Last week the Florida Senate released its own proposed maps, which pack Democrats together into districts to strengthen Republicans' seats and favors incumbents. The two houses will have to agree on a finalized version, which must also receive final approval from the Department of Justice. View the maps proposed by the House here.
LABOR UNIONS BUY ADS FOR SEN. BOB CASEY
The AFL-CIO will spend $170,000 for TV ads in Pennsylvania supporting Sen. Bob Casey. The Democratic incumbent Senator's record shows he's been an ally to the labor unions, reportedly voting with the AFL-CIO 98 percent of the time.
The new ad depicts Casey as fighting to create jobs for Pennsylvania:
TEXAS GOP WON'T GIVE UP ON REDISTRICTING FIGHT
Republicans in Texas have been warring against court-drawn congressional redistricting maps they say unfairly favor Democrats in 2012. The new map would create three Latino-heavy additional districts likely to be won by Democrats. GOP State Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the proposed maps immediately after they were released, and the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme court, which is due to make its decision this week.
Anticipating the court won't rule in their favor, Republicans in the state are working on a backup plan. Texas GOP chair Steve Munisteri said he'll ask for a resolution to grant him the authority to request that the Speaker, Lieutenant Governor and Governor of the state all support efforts to push for new redistricting in the next legislative session. Barring that, he added, "the Party will redirect resourcing toward swing districts" to "minimize the damage" caused by the new maps.
Speculation continues over who will run for Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' seat if the congresswoman chooses not to run in 2012. Most recently the Arizona Republic's glowing profile of Giffords' chief of staff Pia Carusone implies she shouldn't be ruled out as a possible candidate. "Carusone's profile has risen so much that some observers have even floated her name as a possible candidate for Congress or some other office," the paper reports. Carusone said in response, "My aspirations for the future go as far as hoping to continue serving Congresswoman Giffords as her chief of staff." There has also been previous speculation that Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, would run for Congress in his wife's place.
Illinois Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh failed to announce his decision on which district to run for reelection in yesterday as planned, but has rescheduled the announcement for this Thursday at the Chicago Tea Party meeting.
Look out for a new round of ads backing Elizabeth Warren. The influential Democratic PAC EMILY's List has said it will air ads on her behalf. The group supports female, pro-choice candidates.
Former Pennsylvania Rep. Christopher Carney (D) is considering a comeback campaign. A member of the conservative Blue Dog coalition until being voted out of office in 2010, Carney has been meeting with fundraisers, and said the decision depends on what the state's Congressional redistricting looks like.
Meanwhile, former speaker of the Colorado House Andrew Romanoff has said he won't be running for Democratic nomination in the newly drawn, competitive district against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.