What We Learned: Hatch of the Day
What we at the Hotline learned this week:
-- Who wants to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah? Right now, the answer is no one, so far. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said no thanks to a primary challenge, and now, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson is passing on a bid as well, even as he faces a tough situation following redistricting. One of the cycle's top Tea Party targets is running unopposed with a fat war chest right now.
-- Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., has finally brought some sizzle to the Senate race against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, thanks to his brand-name biography and potential to rally establishment money and support on his side. But don't assume he'll be a clear frontrunner. Mack has some glaring vulnerabilities that have given other high-profile Republican candidates major problems in this political environment. He's a consummate Washington insider -- his dad served two terms in the Senate -- and is married to Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack of California. And his centrist positioning on immigration will play well in a general, but could cause problems in a primary.
-- Turns out Elizabeth Warren has been lunching with an industry lobbyist who once had ties to a company she has criticized and more than a dozen of President Obama's bundlers are involved in lobbying. The reality in D.C: Lobbyists play a major role in the government, and in funding the campaigns those politicians run it, making it difficult to constantly rail against them.
-- Texas Gov. Rick Perry grabbed headlines in New Hampshire Friday, filing his paperwork for the primary ballot before headlining a major conservative event in Manchester. But he wasn't alone; Mitt Romney courted Granite State voters at a town hall meeting mere miles from Perry's event, and despite denials from the Romney camp, the message was unmistakable: This is my state, and you'll have to pry a victory here from my cold, dead hands.
Over the top? Hardly. The electoral math is complicated for Romney -- there are numerous scenarios detailing which states he could win or lose en route to the nomination -- but this much is simple: he must win New Hampshire to be the Republican nominee. And despite mounting evidence that Romney is making a surreptitious push to steal an Iowa victory, he knows where his bread is buttered.
-- If you're Perry, you know it's been a rough week when you reboot your campaign on Monday and by Friday everyone is talking about why you likely won't be participating in all of the upcoming debates.