* The Associated Press reports that Scott Brown is launching an exploratory committee for a Senate run in New Hampshire and is taking what many consider serious steps towards a run. But there’s also this:
Several people involved in the discussions said some in the GOP establishment remain skeptical given the former Republican senator’s recent track record. The 54-year-old Brown angered Massachusetts Republicans last year after indicating he would run in the state’s special U.S. Senate election, only to change his mind late in the process.
New Hampshire — along with Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa – will be another state worth watching for clues as to whether Republicans are meaningfully broadening the map beyond the core red state battlegrounds.
* Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, responds to the Scott Brown news:
If Scott Brown ever returns to the Senate he’d go back to doing the bidding of the big banks that fund his campaigns. If this is anything more than another publicity stunt Brown will have a tough time convincing New Hampshire that he cares abt anyone other than himself.
* Reality check of the day: Cook Political Report’s (sub. only) Dave Wasserman looks at the FL-13 results and comes away with a very harsh assessment of House Dems’ chances in 2014. Key nugget:
Early district-by-district polling (featuring Obama’s approval ratings in the high 30s or low 40s in many of the most competitive districts) suggests an overall political environment that is much more similar to 2010 than 2012, and Democrats deny this reality at their own peril.
I don’t think Dems are denying that reality; most senior Dems seem to see the prospect of a Republican-friendly 2010 style electorate (exacerbated by a sluggish recovery and low Obama approval) as the primary obstacle they must overcome.
* Meanwhile, Sean Trende has a good piece on why we should not over-interpret the meaning of FL-13, aptly noting that if a couple thousand voters had behaved differently, the press corps would have been pushing precisely the opposite grand interpretation.
* Alec MacGillis with a nice take on how Dems should compensate for their turnout problem by campaigning harder on Obamacare, and on the perverse dynamic that is rewarding Republicans for obstructing the law.
* Dana Milbank, in an entertaining look at why you shouldn’t overread FL-13, catches NRCC chair Greg Walden rapidly revising his assessment of the outcome from a pre-election day this-isn’t-a-referendum stance to a post-election day this-proves-Dems-are-doomed-forever posture in a matter of hours.
* Kentucky governor Steve Beshear announces new Obamacare enrollment numbers:
Congratulations, Kentucky! 300,000 people now enrolled in affordable health care through #kynect.
Worth watching: Whether a critical mass of enrollment will be reached that will lead Alison Lundergan Grimes to attack Mitch McConnell over repeal a bit more directly.
* The GOP governor of Alaska is suing a Koch-owned company over a closing oil refinery, and Dems are asking why the GOP Senate candidate won’t speak out on the issue. Dems will keep using the Kochs to hit GOP candidates for prioritizing outside one-percenter interests over their own states.
* Sahil Kapur reports that House Republicans will likely move forward tomorrow with a game-of-chicken vote that risks deep cuts to Medicare if Dems don’t agree tie to delay the individual mandate for five years, even though the CBO said the measure in question would hike premiums and leave 13 million uninsured. This is fun:
The individual mandate is a sweet target for Republicans in an election year because it’s both unpopular and critical to the success of Obamacare. GOP leaders weren’t fazed by the CBO score and fast-tracked the bill to a Friday vote.
That would be the same CBO whose findings on Obamacare and jobs were widely cited for days on end by Republicans as gospel (even as they were twisted into a comically dishonest distortion of what the CBO actually found).
* David Atkins notes that Republicans are proceeding with this vote even though the insurance industry has pleaded with them not to, and labels the move a “cynical and sociopathic play.”
* Jamelle Bouie with a fair piece on the problems with Paul Ryan’s “inner cities” and “culture of work” comments, and what they reveal about his approach to poverty, which he hopes to make increasingly central to his political identity.
* And Steve Benen on Ryan’s walkback.