TPM News

With one year to go, the field of challengers to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is becoming a crowded place. Seven Republicans have filed paperwork with the FEC, and a handful more have reportedly been meeting with the NRCC as national Republicans try to vet a competitive candidate.

Grayson, of "die quickly" and "K Street whore" fame, is a juicy target for Republicans, especially the relatively unknown who can make his comments an issue. Cue real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., who has based his entire early campaign around defeating Grayson.

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A California Republican aiming to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) next year has gotten a boost from conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

DeMint announced last night his Senate Conservatives Fund was endorsing state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore over former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina. The group supports only "rock solid" conservatives, organizers told supporters on a conference call last night as election results came in.

DeVore "will work with me to shake things up," DeMint said, and "vote the right way ... stand up in our conference meetings and say, 'Folks this is wrong let's turn this thing around.'"

DeMint's fund already has endorsed Republican senate candidates Marco Rubio in Florida and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

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Back in south Florida after a trip to Morocco, the high-profile attorney who has been sued for allegedly operating a fraud scheme out of his law office met with federal prosecutors last night and criminal charges are likely to come soon, the Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports.

In a suit filed Monday, the law firm of politically-connected Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein [alleged](http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/11/prominent_politically_connected_florida_attorney_accused_rothstein_in_fraud_scheme.php) that he set up a side business that sold phony legal settlements to outside investors with promises of guaranteed high returns.

There have been a flurry of developments in the Rothstein case in the last 24 hours, so we rounded up a few articles worth taking a look at:

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Ned Lamont, the Connecticut businessman who defeated Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary only to lose the general election, has now announced the formation of a statewide exploratory committee.

Lamont's press release doesn't say exactly which statewide office he'll be seeking, but the language points towards a gubernatorial campaign, with its criticism of the current Republican Gov. Jodi Rell: "Like businesses, states thrive with strong executive leadership, and they fall behind with weak leadership. As measured by the loss of jobs, young people leaving our state, and the never-ending budget crisis, Connecticut's Chief Executive is simply not getting the job done."

The full press release is available after the jump.

Late Update: Lamont has now made it official, that he is exploring a run for the governorship.

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A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds that Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), has a narrow lead in the Republican primary for Senate against the establishment favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

The numbers: Paul 35%, Grayson 32%, within the ±4.7% margin of error. Back in August, Grayson was ahead of Paul by 37%-26%. This is a Republican-held open seat, currently occupied by retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning.

In the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo leads state Attorney General Jack Conway by 39%-28%, with a ±4.1% margin of error, compared to a 39%-31% Mongiardo lead in August.

And here are the general election match-ups: Grayson leads Conway by 43%-39%, and he leads Mongiardo by 48%-38%. Conway leads Paul by 44%-39%, and Mongiardo and Paul are tied at 43%-43%. The margin of error is ±2.4%.

Daniel Horowitz, the attorney who represented shock jock Michael Savage in his recent copyright infringement suit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is set to go up against CAIR again as counsel for the co-author of Muslim Mafia.

And, Horowitz told TPMmuckraker in a phone interview this morning, he's relishing the opportunity for Round Two with the Muslim civil rights group.

A judge ruled mostly in CAIR's favor yesterday in a suit seeking to block Dave Gaubatz from publishing documents taken by his son Chris, who went undercover as a Muslim intern at CAIR.

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Newsweek magazine is teaming up with an oil-industry lobbying group to host an event on climate-change and energy issues involving lawmakers, just as the Senate gets set to take up legislation on the subject.

The panel discussion, entitled "Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?," will feature Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, and, as moderator, Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, according to an email invitation sent by a Newsweek business staffer and obtained by TPMmuckraker.

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RNC chair Michael Steele bounded up to the podium at his post-election press conference at Republican Party HQ in Washington this morning.

"How's everyone feeling?" he said with a big grin. When the two dozen or so bleary eyed reporters in the audience failed to respond to the question, his grin grew even larger. "That good, huh?"

For the next 30 minutes, Steele raved on about his party's victories last night -- and on his role in making them happen.

"The GOP renaissance has begun," he said, before borrowing a line from President Obama's campaign last year. "This election was not about 'the change we need.' It's about the change the American people want."

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