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Hotline Sort: Cracks In The Granite

6) Iraq War veteran Brendan Mullen today announced he is running in Indiana's 2nd District, which is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is leaving to run for the Senate. The South Bend native and West Point graduate gives Democrats a candidate with a compelling personal story as they try to hold the seat in the face of a challenge from Republican Jackie Walorski, who very narrowly lost to Donnelly in 2010. Redistricting will make the district more Republican, adding to the challenge for Democrats. 5) Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is off to a fast fundraising start in the race to succeed Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire. McKenna raised almost $668,000 in June -- including $25,951 re-allocated by donors from his re-election account -- and ended the month with over $478,000 in the bank. 4) We don't yet know whether he is going to run for president, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry is certainly doing his due diligence before making a decision. Perry called Granite State conservative kingmaker Ovide Lamontagne, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lamontagne said Perry sounded like he was in the "final stages" of deciding whether to enter the race. Meanwhile, Perry is on his way to Aspen, Colo., next week to attend a two-day summit in with about 200 of the party's top donors. 3) The first leg of the Wisconsin state Senate recall elections begin today in six districts where Republican incumbents face recall elections. Today, Democratic primaries will be held in those six districts, contests that will each feature a Democratic challenger and a Republican "protest" candidate, who is running to buy the GOP incumbent time by extending the recall season. The winner of each primary will move on to a matchup with the GOP incumbents on August 9. The Wisconsin GAB has the list of all the candidates on the ballot today here. Stay tuned to Hotline On Call for continuing coverage and results today. 2) It's also Election Day in California's 36th District, where Democrat Janice Hahn will try to hold off Republican Craig Huey in a heated race that is shaping up to be closer than many expected. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. PT (10 a.m. until 11 p.m. ET) today. Check out House Race Hotline Editor Jessica Taylor's preview here. 1) As the debate over the debt ceiling continues, the Wall Street Journal reports that Mitt Romney is avoiding the issue as he presses a more general assault on President Obama's economic record. Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty is out with an op-ed in the Des Moines Register today, in which he tries to draw a parallel between the situations in Minnesota and Washington, D.C. "Democrats are saying we have no choice but to spend more and raise taxes, and they are willing to shut down government if they don't get their way. That's the scene in both our nation's and Minnesota's capitals, where Republicans are rightly taking a strong stand against out-of-control government," he writes.

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