Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is up with an ad before he even has an opponent for 2010. The ad talks about Dorgan's work on energy issues, but the real message is: "Hey, Gov. Hoeven, I'm ready for you, so you had better think twice before entering this race."

A new Republican poll shows state Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) building a double-digit lead over state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D), 48-37. This is the second GOP poll this month to show McCollum opening up a big lead.

In the latest sign that she's planning to resign, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has put her Virginia house on the market. It doesn't necessarily mean anything on it's own, but it's part of a growing puzzle.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.) didn't exactly do the Democratic nominee in the upcoming New York special election a favor by reminiscing about state Sen. Darrel Aubertine's (D) would-have-been candidacy. What's troubling here is that Schumer is one of the sharpest political talkers in the biz, so it's just too tempting to read into his words. I think it's a reasonable question to start asking just how hard Democrats are going to push in this race, especially given that they aren't defending a seat, as they were in the other special election in the Empire State. With the national environment turning on them a bit, they could certainly save some face by not even trying. Perhaps the former DSCC chairman is hinting at this? (Note: pure speculation)

Place your bets! Gov. Charlie Crist (R) aims to appoint a replacement for Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) by the end of this week. Two current House members have pulled their names from the running, and this is sure to be a placeholder pick (given that Crist himself is running for the seat in 2010). So as far as Washington goes, there probably won't be any dominoes, and we're pretty much waiting for the next Ted Kaufman.

Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman adds his name to the Democratic Senate primary in Illinois, joining state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson. Having another Chicago-based, second-tier candidate should help Giannoulias by diluting the anti-frontrunner vote and splitting Chicago, but Hoffman's corruption-buster reputation could also draw attention to some of the less attractive aspects of the Giannoulias candidacy. Whatever the case, Hoffman has been good at upsetting the Daley machine, so he's got plenty of enemies in this Senate primary.