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Alaska lieutenant governor considering challenge to Sen. Begich

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) is considering a run against Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who is thought to be one of the more vulnerable Senate incumbents up for reelection.

Treadwell said at a mining and minerals conference that he was exploring a bid, according to the Alaska Dispatch. He's been seeking to shore up his conservative bona fides in recent months, and may not be the only Republican looking at running.

Begich won his first election over then-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in 2008 by fewer than 4,000 votes, and will likely face a tough race in the heavily Republican state, though he's worked hard to shore up support in the state.

President Obama has improved his standing in Alaska, however, a good sign for the freshman Democratic senator. Obama won 41 percent of the vote in the state this year, up from 38 percent in 2008, when then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was on the ballot.

This post was updated at 11:35 a.m.


Rep. Yarmuth won't run against Sen. McConnell

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) won't challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014, he told The Hill on Friday.

"I'm very happy with my district and very happy in the House. I think there will be stronger candidates statewide than I would be," he said. "There are people probably that don't have a record that would alienate a lot of people off the bat."

He said his opposition to mountaintop removal mining made him a less than ideal choice statewide and, with a laugh, said that his lifetime "F" rating from the National Rifle Association is "probably a little bit of a liability" in Kentucky.


Poll: Christie would trounce Booker, and Bruce Springsteen, in NJ governor's race

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the clear favorite for reelection in 2013, with a new poll showing him opening a double-digit lead over the top Democrats in the field, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker. In fact, Christie's polling numbers have swelled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to the point he would even trounce his childhood idol Bruce Springsteen in a hypothetical matchup.

The poll, released Friday by Democratic firm Public Policy polling, showed that 67 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job Christie is doing, with only a quarter of Garden State voters disapproving of his performance. That includes 65 percent of independents and even 56 percent of Democrats who have a favorable opinion of Christie, higher than any other governor that the polling firm has surveyed nationwide. Nearly nine in 10 voters approve of Christie's handling of the storm.

That's translated into a strong showing at the polls buoying Christie's reelection prospects. He leads Booker, a rising star in the Democratic Party, 50-36 percent in the polls, while besting former Gov. Richard Codey 53-31, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney 57-20, and State Senator Barbara Buono 60-20.


Final Romney internal polls showed him in strong position

Mitt Romney's final internal polls in a number of swing states found him in a much stronger position than the Election Day reality.

The poll results, obtained by The New Republic, had Romney leading in Colorado and New Hampshire, and tied in Iowa, all states he lost by more than 5 percentage points. They also showed him closer in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania than the actual results.

"I'm not sure what the answer is," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse told TNR when asked why those numbers were so far off, arguing that his polls were closer to the final results in the other swing states.  "The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado — a state that even [President] Obama's people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states — and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign."

The poll numbers offer more concrete evidence that Romney's campaign truly believed the candidate was in a much better position heading into Election Day than he was, partly because of Republican pollsters' underestimating minority and youth turnout in a number of states.

Obama's superior ground game also may have undercut these numbers by skewing the final results a few points toward him.


OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Glimpses of Romney

TOP STORY: The return of Romney

President Obama and Mitt Romney had white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad for their lunch on Thursday.

And that was about the most interesting part in the White House readout of their meeting, which was vague on details but noted the two “pledged to stay in touch.”

Romney slipped into and out of the White House via a side entrance, thereby avoiding questions from the press.