Top of the ballot: Stupak to retire, Crist at odds with the GOP and the Murtha seat money race

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) will announce he's retiring at a news conference Friday in Marquette, Mich., according to the Associated Press. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) insisted Thursday he still plans to run as a Republican but he remains at odds with the Republican caucus in the state Legislature. And the money race in the late Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) district is on.

One day you're in, the next day you're out

Stupak's healthcare vote weighed heavily over his decision whether to seek another term. "Are they mad at me about a vote? Yeah," he said recently of some of his constituents. He told the Associated Press Friday that he plans to retire after his current term expires. Democrats would undoubtedly have preferred not to have to defend another open seat in this environment. 

Crist: I am a Republican

His campaign said Thursday he will run as a Republican not "as an Independent or as a No Party Affiliation." That said his relationship with Republican legislators appears to be deteriorating. He vetoed the leadership funds bill this week, which would have helped his colleagues raise money. Meanwhile, he's attending fundraisers around the state, according to the St. Petersburg Times, something legislators can't do during the session.

"It's disingenuous," said state Sen. J.D. Alexander (R).

Moreover, Crist now appears to be considering a veto of the Republican-backed "teacher tenure/merit pay" bill, which has GOP state senators "increasingly alarmed."

Fast money

Democrat Mark Critz raised some $382,000 since entering Pennsylvania's 12th House district race five weeks ago. He now has $325,238 cash on hand.

 Meanwhile, businessman Tim Burns (R) will report more than $340,000 on hand next week, according to his campaign. He started the year with $74,000 banked. The special election is May 18.

Other updates

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) may get the award for least money raised by an incumbent in the first quarter. He raised $39,685 in the last three months. While he now has $223,000 cash on hand, Republican Steven Palazzo is quickly catching up.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick raised roughly $500,000 in the first two months of his bid to unseat Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), according to PoliticsPA. Fitzpatrick is in a four-way primary for the nod to face Murphy.