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 ia a rundown on election news happening beyond the presidential field.
UPHILL BATTLE FOR ALLEN WEST?
Republicans in Florida have proposed new district maps that would make it harder for Tea Party Congressman Allen West to win reelection in his district. Currently the district is pretty evenly split between the two parties, but if the redraw goes through, it would lean Democratic.
Though the redistricting is not a done deal, the news has generated a lot of buzz in the Sunshine State. The Miami Herald reported a high level source said West was "strongly considering" running in a neighboring district instead, which would pit him against GOP Rep. Tom Rooney for the seat. His Democratic challenger, Lois Frankel, accused the congressman of "trying to cut and run," but West denied the report in an interview with Politico and took a shot Frankel, suggesting she maybe "likes running against black guys."
EVANGELICALS SAY 'ECONOMY'
In South Carolina, where Evangelicals will make up the majority of voters in the Republican primary, pastors and other leaders weighed in on what they see as the number one motivating issue this election. The answer? The economy, trumping volatile social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
CANDIDATES GET SUPER PACS
A growing number of super PACs are springing up that target 2012 congressional candidates.
The trend toward unchecked fundraising -- super PACs can raise an unlimited amount of money from any source -- threatens to upend campaign finance by minimizing the role of traditional party committees, which have donation limits.
Democratic Rethink PAC was recently formed to prevent GOP Sen. Scott Brown's reelection in Massachusetts. And in Utah, super PAC Strong Utah was launched that's devoted to reelecting Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is vulnerable to a challenge by Tea Party candidates. View more here, via OpenSecrets.org.
A University of Massachusetts/YouGov poll shows Elizabeth Warren with a slight lead over Sen. Scott Brown, 43 percent to 39 percent. [HuffPost Pollster]
Sources say Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Tea Party favorite best known for suing the federal government over President Obama's health care law, will announce a bid for governor in 2013. [Washington Post]
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) officially announced his Senate candidacy Thursday. Thompson faces a challenge by Tea Party conservatives who have already begun attacking his record, which they say is wrought with big government spending and waffling on key issues like health care reform. [Roll Call]