Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will officially announce his presidential campaign in New Hampshire next week, while speculation over a potential WH bid by Sarah Palin is stoked following word that she is embarking on a national tour. Plus, a key Democrat drops out of the race in NV-02, while former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets choked up. Here's today's rundown headed into the holiday weekend:
8) In testimony at his federal corruption retrial Thursday, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich choked up at times and denied doing anything illegal.
7) Congress cleared a reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act Thursday, and the Obama administration announced that President Obama signed the bill into law.
6) Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., defended his actions related to the scandal that caused now-former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to resign his seat, saying he was "proud" of the way he handled the situation.
5) On Thursday, Democrat Jill Derby
announced she won't run in the NV-02 special election. Derby instead endorsed state Treasurer Kate Marshall
, a fellow Democrat. Marshall's exit follows behind-the-scenes pressure from Democratic leaders in Nevada and D.C., who are promoting Marshall, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports
. The news is good for Democrats looking to rally around a consensus candidate -- especially if the state Supreme Court overturns a District Court ruling, and restores the election to a "ballot royale" contest.
4) Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Patty Murray
told reporters Thursday "we expect to have a good, strong candidate within weeks," in the Massachusetts Senate race. Murray didn't disclose a name, but in recent days, speculation has surrounded Elizabeth Warren
, architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Several Democrats are already in the race, but none are viewed as overwhelming threats to Brown.
3) Sarah Palin is announcing plans
for a national tour, beginning Sunday in Washington and continuing her "One Nation" tour through stops in New England.
2) Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann
, R-Minn., told reporters
in a Thursday evening conference call that she'll be making an announcement, sometime next month, in Waterloo, Ia. Former Sen. Rick Santorum
, R-Pa., will announce the beginning of his presidential campaign June 6 in Western Pa.
1) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will officially announce
his presidential campaign on June 2 in Stratham, N.H.