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- Activist Liz Cheney (R) "is dropping out" of the WY SEN race, "she said in a prepared statement Monday morning." Cheney: "Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign." (CNN)
- In GA SEN, philanthropist Michelle Nunn (D) "raised more than $1.6 million" in the fourth quarter of 2013, her campaign said Sunday night. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In NE SEN, Midland University president Ben Sasse (R) launched his first TV ad, "an introductory 30-second message that aired during the NFL wild card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts" on Saturday. "The ad will appear again during the BCS championship game ... on Monday night and will air extensively statewide during most of January." (Lincoln Journal Star)
- In VA SEN, Sen. Mark Warner (D) raised nearly $1.6 million in the fourth quarter and has more than $7.1 million cash on hand, his campaign announced on Friday. (Hotline reporting)
- Also in VA SEN, former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie (R) "said Saturday he's not ready to say whether he'll seek the GOP nod to run," but "he's getting close." Gillespie: "I have concluded it is a winnable race." (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
- In NJ-03, 2013 SEN nominee Steve Lonegan (R) said Friday "that he will run" for the seat held by Rep. Jon Runyan (R), "who is retiring after two terms." (Newark Star-Ledger)
- In NY-01, 2010 candidate George Demos (R) launched a new TV ad on Monday "taking a not-so-subtle swipe at his GOP primary opponent," state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R). (State of Politics)
- In AR GOV, former Rep. Mike Ross (D) launched a new TV ad on Sunday, featuring a direct-to-camera endorsement by Gov. Mike Beebe (D). (TalkBusiness.net)
- In GA GOV, state Sen. Jason Carter (D) "raised about $1.3 million ... since he announced in early November" and has "about $1.2 million cash on hand." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In OH GOV, tea party leader Ted Stevenot (R), "who had planned to enter the GOP gubernatorial primary, has decided not to run after all." (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Cheney's abrupt withdrawal from the Senate race is a surprise, but the challenges she faced in unseating Sen. Michael Enzi (R) were fairly predictable. Cheney never fit the profile of a tea party insurgent, given her political connections and longtime residency in suburban Washington. And style is as important as substance when it comes to mounting GOP primary challenges lately.
• Right now, the environment and the playing field in the House are set up better for Republicans, but the retirements are set up better for Democrats. That's why Dems have more seats on our list of the 30 most vulnerable House districts and also why they have more opportunities at the very top of the rankings, thanks to some open GOP-held districts where President Obama won in 2012.
• Ross's TV ad is an indicator of the long and closely-contested governor's race to come in Arkansas, and is also something that could prove to be a rarity in 2014. Arkansas is one of just seven open gubernatorial contests this year, and one of even fewer races where candidates of either party can hope to absorb some of the goodwill still felt towards their predecessor. Many outgoing governors -- Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee (D) or Arizona's Jan Brewer (R), for example -- will leave office with low approval ratings and mixed records of success that will make them a lightning rod for those seeking to replace them, not ideal ad material.
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Hillary Clinton's shadow campaign" (Politico)
- "The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch ... raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign." (Washington Post)
- "It was not an endorsement for his reelection." -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), after a group aired a TV ad in which Huckabee expresses support for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (New York Daily News)
- "Steven Seagal mulls run for Arizona Governor" (KNXV-TV)
- "It's sad, that after thirty years [Marian Young] still can't accept the fact that he never loved her. ... She attempted to make him stay in a loveless marriage by having her children, but once they were out of his home and grown adults he wanted to experience real love, life and happiness. And that's what we did. We did it when, where and how we wanted to." -- Beverly Young, second wife of late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL). Bill Young divorced his wife of 36 years, Marion, in 1985 and married Beverly, his former secretary 25 years his junior, eight days later. (Tampa Bay Times)
- "Joining a growing group of states that have loosened restrictions on marijuana," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "plans this week to announce an executive action that would allow limited use of the drug by those with serious illnesses, state officials say." (New York Times)
- Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak (D), "who left office last week," "suffered a heart attack Saturday while cross-country skiing in one of the city's parks." Doctors at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis "performed an angioplasty and inserted two stents in his arteries." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
- Former Massachusetts state Rep. Martin Walsh (D) "becomes the 48th mayor of Boston on Monday, upending a city power structure that proved inviolable for two decades and unleashing the hopes, dreams, and pent-up ambitions of a new generation of Bostonians." (Boston Globe)
- "Man reunited with family after AP photo published" (AP)
- Richard J. Maloy, "who was the Washington bureau chief of Thomson newspapers" and a past associate editor of National Journal, "died Dec. 1 at Sunrise of Fox Hill assisted living facility" in Bethesda, Md. "He was 89." (Washington Post)
- Former New York Newsday editor Don Forst, "a newsroom leader and mentor whose career spanned nearly six decades, died Saturday at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany. He was 81." (Newsday)
- "Ronan Farrow, Reluctant TV Star" (New York Times Magazine)
- A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect. (Midnight-6 p.m. Tuesday)
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy early this morning, then becoming mostly sunny. Isolated rain showers early this morning. Highs in the mid 40s. West winds 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
- Tonight's weather: Mostly clear and brisk. Much colder with lows around +7. West winds 20-25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Wind chill values as low as -10 after midnight.
- "'Polar vortex' pushes subzero temps into Midwest" (AP)
- The Senate is back at 2 p.m.
- WMATA holds a news conference to welcome the arrival of the first 7000-series rail cars. (Greenbelt Metro Station, 10:30 a.m.)
- Maryland basketball travels to new ACC member Pittsburgh. (ESPNU, 7 p.m.)
- BCS National Championship Game: No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 1 Florida State. (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Cuba City, Wisconsin saw visits by George W. Bush and then-Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 2004..
- The winner is Bill Pascoe, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "According to one rock star's recently-released autobiography, three years before his involvement in Watergate, G. Gordon Liddy led a raid that arrested two future members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Who were those future Hall of Famers, what was the name of the band they later fronted, and what was the song they wrote that referenced the drug bust by Liddy? Extra Credit: How did they refer to Liddy in the song?" The 2nd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- The Hotline's House Race Rankings: Competitive Races Split Between Parties
- After Liz Cheney's Departure, Three Spring GOP Senate Primaries That Matter
- The End of the Cheney Era
- Senators Will Retire, but Their Money Lives On
- This Year's Hot Issues Look a Lot Like Last Year's
"It's going to be a hard-fought campaign, and you're going to need a candidate who can mobilize the entire Republican base as well as conservative Democrats." -- Lonegan, on his NJ-03 bid (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"I said to myself who wants that job anyway?" -- Lonegan, after losing the SEN special election last October (Newark Star-Ledger)
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief