Marco Rubio hits the campaign trail

at 04:59 PM ET, 03/12/2012

The Justice Department blocks Texas’s Voter ID law; Rubio hits the campaign trail; Santorum urges an apology for Afghan massacre; and Mikulski prepares to set a record.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* The Justice Department has blocked a new Voter ID law in Texas, saying it disenfranchises Hispanic voters. The department earlier this year struck down a Voter ID law in South Carolina on similar grounds, but other states, with newfound Republican majorities, have continued to move forward with passing Voter ID laws. Meanwhile, a judge in Wisconsin has also struck down that state’s Voter ID law.

* Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) new Reclaim American political action committee is offering its first endorsement, backing state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) in the Ohio Senate race. Mandel won the primary Tuesday to face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Rubio is traveling to Ohio to campaign with Mandel today and Tuesday, his first PAC-sponsored trip for another candidate. Not lost on us: the fact that Ohio is a key swing state, and Rubio is thought by many to be a potential presidential/vice presidential candidate.

* Rick Santorum suggests the U.S. government should apologize for the killing of 16 Afghans, allegedly at the hands of an American soldier.

* The AP takes a look at some personal problems in Rep. Connie Mack’s (R-Fla.) past, including a couple road rage incidents, an arrest at a bar and a bar fight with Major League Baseball player Ron Gant. Mack’s campaign has said he was “young and foolish,” but in a deposition following the fight with Gant, Mack suggested he did nothing wrong and that trouble found him.

* This weekend, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) will surpass former congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers (R-Mass.) as the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will not endorse another Republican presidential candidate before his state’s March 24 primary, CNN reports. Jindal previously backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

* Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R) has launched a new website and web video attacking Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for broken campaign promises and a lack of results after 35 years in the Senate. The site is at www.BringHatchHome.com.

* Former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.) is announcing some big-name endorsements for her March 20 primary against Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), including former state Senate president Emil Jones. But Halvorson’s press conference announcing the endorsements today was postponed when Jones had a personal emergency.

* A top political newsletter in Michigan, the Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), says Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is winning his primary against Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.). Like Halvorson, Peters is trying to defeat an African-American incumbent in a majority-black district.

* Former congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas) has filed for retiring Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) seat. Stockman was elected to Congress in the Republican Revolution in 1994 but lost his seat to Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) two years later after an odd tenure. Lampson is also running for the seat, and so are lots of other candidates.

THE FIX MIX:

Augustus Gloop.

With Chris Cillizza

 
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