Hotline Sort: Countdown To Caucuses
Welcome back to the pre-New Year's edition of Hotline Sort. In today's edition: A former Obama ally takes on the president again, in National Review. Virginia Republicans force presidential primary voters to take a loyalty oath. And Romney compares the president to Marie Antoinette. Here's today's rundown:
9) A state judge in New Mexico adopted a redistricting plan that makes minimal changes to the state's three Congressional districts - a plan supported by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.
8) Take one name off the list of prospective Democrats looking to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Nelson. Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler announced he wasn't going to be pursuing a Senate campaign, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.
"I have not given much thought about running for the Senate, because I like living in Nebraska and would like to continue the success we experienced in Lincoln over the past few years."
Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, the Democrats' top prospective candidate, is still mulling a potential campaign.
7) Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis (D), once a close ally of President Obama's, has been sharply critical of his party and president since retiring from Congress. Today he pens an op-ed in National Review, criticizing Nelson for being the pivotal vote in getting Obama's health care law passed - and blames that for his political predicament.
Notable quotable from Davis: "Not surprisingly, then, some Democrats don't mind the new shape of things. One more vanished moderate means one less restraint against growing government. The party's ruling class seems fully prepared to sacrifice whole sections of the country, from the South to the Midwest farm belt, on the theory that inexorable demographic trends will more than make up the losses."
6) Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., is the latest Republican freshman to face a primary challenger from the right, just a year after being elected. Retired engineer and tea party organizer Ron Vincent announced he'll challenge the congressman. Palazzo's district is conservative, and his main threat will be in the primary.
The filing deadline for Mississippi Congressional candidates is Jan .13.
5) Adding insult to injury, the Virginia Republican party is requiring all voters in the state's March presidential primary - the one where just Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be competing - to sign a loyalty oath pledging to support the Republican nominee. Anyone who refuses to sign will be barred from voting in the primary.