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Starting Lineup: Romney v. Thune Starting Lineup: Romney v. Thune

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Starting Lineup: Romney v. Thune

Ed Martin For Senate? Republican Ed Martin, who ran and lost this year to Rep. Russ Carnahan (D- Mo.), is putting out feelers about a possible Senate run for Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D) Missouri seat, according to a source familiar with Martin's deliberations. Martin is said to be a likely contender if -- and only if -- former Sen. Jim Talent (R) passes on the race. Talent has said he'll make an announcement about whether he is running after the New Year. A Tea Party favorite, Martin would start out a long shot in the race but he could pose problems for former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is already in the race and is courting Tea Party support. But local Tea Party groups haven't pledged their support to Steelman yet and, in fact, some opposition research on Steelman was circulated -- anonymously -- to media outlets on Tuesday intended to show that Steelman would have a hard time earning Tea Party backing. One other factor in Martin's decision making is reapportionment. Missouri is projected to lose a congressional seat. If it does, Martin is said to be more inclined to run for the Senate. If it doesn't, he'll likely make another run for the House. Snowe Patrol: We noted earlier this week that it looked like highly controversial Maine Tea Party activist Andrew Ian Dodge was the "mystery" Tea Party candidate preparing to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) in 2012. Roll Call confirmed it on Tuesday: "Maine's Tea Party Patriots state coordinator, Andrew Ian Dodge, hinted for weeks that he had intimate knowledge of a viable Snowe challenger, but he refused to name the person. It became clear in recent days that the mystery candidate is none other than Dodge himself." Here's why it matters: Dodge isn't likely to consolidate conservative support against Snowe because he is such a lightning rod. In response to the Roll Call story, even conservative commentator Erick Erickson tweeted Tuesday afternoon: "Looks like I'll be supporting Olympia Snowe's re-election effort in Maine.",

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