• NC-Sen: According to two unnamed sources “with direct knowledge” who spoke to the National Journal, ex-Rep. Heath Shuler is considering a bid for Senate next year. Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, was a Blue Dog congressman who was originally recruited by Rahm Emanuel to run in 2006, but he retired in 2012 after Republican gerrymandering made his district much redder.
Shuler compiled a very conservative record in the House: He voted against Obamacare and even tossed his name in against Nancy Pelosi (and John Boehner) in the vote for speaker after the Democrats got crushed in 2010. (Shuler got crushed, too: Only 10 colleagues voted for him, and just one is still in the House today. And all but one of his departed supporters were replaced by Republicans.)
Shuler would bring some assets to the race, like his name recognition and fundraising ability, but he could struggle to win a primary even against a weaker opponent. (In 2010, after that Obamacare vote, he took just 61 percent against a Some Dude primary challenger.) He’d also have to adapt to a state that, on the whole, is to the left of where his old district was. Neither of the Democrats who have carried North Carolina (or come close) at the federal level in recent years—Barack Obama and Kay Hagan—fit the sort of good ol’ boy model Shuler relied on to win, nor would it work statewide today.
Given that it’s August and Democrats have no one running against GOP Sen. Richard Burr, Shuler might look appealing to the DSCC, and it’s very possible there’s no one better out there. But while he has some positives as a candidate (though boy would he be a pain in the ass for Senate Democrats if he won), he’d face a very tough race.
• FL-Sen: GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis just picked up an endorsement from a fellow member of Florida’s congressional delegation, Rep. Tom Rooney. It’s a bit against type, as Rooney is more of an establishment sort while DeSantis is the Club for Growth’s paisan. But as the Palm Beach Post notes, Rooney may want to run for Senate himself come 2018, so this may be an early attempt to curry favor with the guy he thinks is best-positioned to win this year. DeSantis faces three other Republicans in the primary for Marco Rubio’s open Senate seat.
• MD-Sen: Former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich irritatingly pulled some “no plans to run” shtick the other day as to whether he might make a bid for Maryland’s open Senate seat, meaning we couldn’t quite cross him off the list. He finally cleared things by directly saying “no” on Tuesday, but even then, he was weird about it. When asked, he said, “Let me ask my mouthpiece,” referring to a nearby aide. It’s not clear whether the aide had anything to say, but only after this diversion did Ehrlich answer in the negative. Just odd.
• NH-Sen: Republicans are still working hard to keep Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan out of next year’s Senate race, and the latest effort comes from the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, which is spending a reported $1.3 million to run a new attack ad. The spot accuses Hassan of vetoing tax cuts and supporting tax hikes, charges that Democrats have called “completely false.” If that’s true, though, then it should be fairly easy to get the ad taken off the air, since third-party advertising doesn’t receive the same kind of carte blanche that ads from candidates themselves do.
• PA-Sen: EMILY’s List had reportedly been involved in recruiting Katie McGinty into Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary, so it’s only expected that they’ve gone ahead and endorsed her. The real test will come in about two months from now, though, when we’ll be able to see what kind of fundraising operation McGinty’s put together with EMILY’s help…..