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.
Will Bob Kerrey Put Nebraska On The Map For Democrats?
Democrats' best hope of keeping the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said this weekend he's mulling over the possibility of a run.
The party immediately floated Bob Kerrey's name after Nelson announced last month he would not seek re-election. Kerrey, a former governor and U.S. senator from Nebraska, told a local TV station he's talking it over with some friends and will make a quick decision. The race is expected to be a steep uphill battle for Democrats.
Kerrey, who left the Senate to become president of the New School University in New York, hasn't lived in Nebraska for a decade, but says he has family and friends in that state and has continued to pay property taxes there. Kerrey said he's not worried about being accused of being a "carpetbagger."
Three other potential Democratic candidates have said they'll wait for Kerrey's decision before jumping into the race.
Polls Shows A Tie In Florida Senate Race
Florida's incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack are neck-and-neck in the polls, with Mack showing a very wide lead over the other GOP primary candidates. Mack and Nelson were are virtually tied, 41 percent to 40 percent, according to the latest Quinnipac poll.
RNC To Court Latinos
The RNC announced today it will be making a major Hispanic outreach effort, led by Bettina Inclan, former head of the party's National Hispanic Assembly:
Mike Huckabee Makes Surprising Endorsement
Mike Huckabee's latest endorsement of Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is running for U.S. Senate, may come as a surprise, considering the former Arkansas governor's spats with former Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry.
Huckabee has criticized Perry multiple times throughout the campaign season, but that didn't stop him from throwing his support behind Perry's number two.
"Not only is he a fiscal conservative, but he shares our social values as well and will continue to fight for our shared values in Washington," said Huckabee in a statement.
Good News For Virginia Senate Candidate
Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who was recently trailing just slightly behind his rival, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) in the hotly contested Senate race, raised an impressive $1 million in campaign funds in the fourth quarter of 2011. Kaine has not yet released his fundraising numbers.
Oregon's Special Election Gets Heated, Rob Cornilles Invokes David Wu
Democrats have poured millions of dollars into Oregon's upcoming special election to make sure the 1st District seat stays blue, but Republican candidate Rob Cornilles isn't giving up the fight.
Cornilles came out swinging in Monday's debate between the two candidates, going as far as to connect Democratic rival Suzanne Bonamici to former Rep. David Wu (D), who resigned in July amid a sex scandal. Cornilles said Bonamici considered Wu a friend, helped campaign for him, and is now backed by the same establishment that protected him, the Oregonian reports.
Attacks Ads Raise Eyebrows In Montana
Attack ads going after Sen. Jon Tester (D) are raising eyebrows in Montana. The ads, funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's PAC, were denounced by the local Chamber after members became worried their dues were going toward the ads, TPM reports. Watch the latest ad below:
Tim Manchin, the cousin of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), responded to rumors that he would run for Congress. Manchin said he thought about it, but decided not to enter the race. Democrats have until the end of the month to find a strong candidate to challenge Republican Rep. David McKinley.
Looks like Maryland incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett will in fact run for re-election. Bartlett hasn't made an official announcement, but Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney, who was considering a run in the event Bartlett retired, said he will not run for the seat.