Republicans Lose One In Connecticut: Unsuccessful 2010 congressional candidate Sam Caligiuri (R-CT), a former state senator, announced Tuesday that he will not run for Rep. Chris Murphy's (D-Conn.) open House seat -- dealing a blow to Republican recruitment in the district. "With a young family, I believe that I must find a way to help make a difference in our state from closer to home than serving in Washington at this time would permit," he said in a statement. Caligiuri's decision comes as a surprise: Caligiuri has high name recognition and proven fundraising ability, having raised $1.3 million for his bid last year. The National Republican Congressional Committee didn't put money in Caligiuri's district last year, but with the seat becoming vacant, they've indicated it would move higher on their priority list. The two men Caligiuri beat last time-- veteran Justin Bernier (R) and hardware store owner Mark Greenberg (R) - have both already announced they'll run again and other Republicans are also looking at the race. On the Democratic side, state House Speaker Christopher Donovan (D) has expressed interest in running. Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman (D), a two-time unsuccessful lieutenant governor candidate, has also been mentioned, as has Democratic State Central Committeewoman Audrey Blondin (D). The Starting Five 1. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who appears to be moving ahead with a White House bid, says former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) would be "formidable" and "probably" will run. 2. Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) trails his 2012 Republican challenger, Attorney General Jon Bruning, 50 percent to 39 percent in a new survey by the Democratic automated pollster Public Policy Polling. 3. Don't mark your calendars for that Oct. 4 special gubernatorial election in West Virginia quite yet. The state House passed a bill on Tuesday that would move the election up to Sept. 13 with a May 14 primary. 4. The jury is still out among Floridians on new Gov. Rick Scott (R), one of the surprise winners last year. Fully 43 percent are undecided about his job performance in a new Quinnipiac survey. 5. Late night fun: Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele sits down with the puppet version of himself and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reads David Letterman's Top 10 list. Both too good to miss. Julie Sobel contributed to this report.
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