Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) gets a big pass when a top GOP contender declines to challenge her, the immigration debate continues to sizzle in Arizona and Democrats easily hold Rep. Robert Wexler's (D) Florida House seat.

Free pass

As it turns out, Gillibrand won't face a challenge by former Gov. George Pataki (R-N.Y.). Pataki passed on running against the freshman Democratic senator and will instead create a national organization dedicated to "building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul," he told the Wall Street Journal.

The environment gets tougher for McCain

The Arizona state House passed on a party-line vote Tuesday what's being called the toughest anti-illegal immigration measure in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The bill passed the state Senate earlier this year and Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is expected to sign the measure into law. SB 1070, as it's known, makes it a misdemeanor -- as opposed to a violation of federal law -- to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also mandates police officers determine a person's immigration status if they suspect he's in the country illegally. Police groups were divided on the bill.

The move comes as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was trying to shift the focus in the Senate GOP primary back to former Rep. J.D. Hayworth's (R-Ariz.) ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The McCain camp is pointing to the self-imposed April 15 deadline the Hayworth camp set to release the donor list from his legal trust.

Election day after

Florida state Sen. Ted Deutch (D) beat Republican contractor Ed Lynch by 25 points to hold former Rep. Robert Wexler's seat for the Democrats.

Meanwhile, businessman Bill Flores defeated 2008 nominee Rob Curnock in the Texas runoff for the GOP nod to face Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas). Democrats had been happily pointing to Flores's spotty voting record but it appears not to have made a difference to voters.

Other updates

Retiring Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) endorsed his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall, as the man to replace him in Congress, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Woodall faces state Rep. Clay Cox (R) and several others in the July GOP primary.