2012 Election: Texas Shakeup, Controversial State Election Map Passes & Another Hatch Challenger

12/21/2011 10:51 am ET

As the 2012 elections loom, both parties are starting to pour resources into 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 of election news happening beyond the presidential field.

Missouri Republican Senate candidate John Brunner called for a series of primary debates earlier this month. His opponents, Rep. Todd Akin and former treasurer Sarah Steelman, agreed. But now Brunner refuses to participate in the very debates he called for, saying he wants to negotiate terms. Steelman's campaign fired back: "Sarah will debate anywhere and anytime. If Mr. Brunner needs his own set of special rules to make it happen then that is fine. Sarah will debate with no rules and that's fine too."

Steelman tweeted:


Pennsylvania's new congressional district maps, which were released last week and caused many to cry gross gerrymandering, passed through the state legislature Tuesday. The state Senate voted 26-24 to approve the GOP-drawn redistricting plan, and the House voted 131-61. The legislation will now head to Gov. Tom Corbett (R) for his signature. Meanwhile, in a surprise move, state Rep. Jim Christiana (R) has decided not to run for Congress as Republicans had expected.


Ricardo Sanchez, a retired Army Lieutenant, dropped out of the Texas Senate race, leaving the Democrats temporarily without a candidate. Now two people have announced they will make a bid for the seat: former House Public Education Chairman Paul Sadler and Houston lawyer Jason Gibson.


It looks like another Republican is gearing up to challenge Rep. Orrin Hatch in Utah's 2nd District. Former state House Speaker David Clark has resigned from his position in the House to make a bid for Congress, though he hasn't officially announced his candidacy yet. Dan Liljenquist is also expected to make a bid for the seat. He resigned from the Utah Senate last week.


Tammy Duckworth, who is vying for the Democratic nomination in Illinois' 8th District, picked up several endorsements Monday from local labor unions. (View the list here.) Duckworth has also been endorsed by Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.), EMILY's List, and others.