A rematch brewing in West Virginia, Romney’s campaign has revealed its Iowa strategy, trouble for Bev Perdue and an aplogy from Sam Brownback.

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* Republican Bill Maloney is aiming for another go at West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who beat the businessman in a close special election last month. Tomblin will run for a full four-year term next fall. Maloney spent nearly $2.5 million of his own money on the race, but he is planning to raise funds for his bid this time.

* A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney today revealed the candidate’s true strategy in Iowa. “Our strategy is to win there," said Gail Gitcho in a conference call with reporters. She immediately started to walk the comments back, saying, “We want to win wherever our name is on the ballot.” The former Massachusetts governor has been downplaying expectations in the evangelical-heavy state for months.

* More bad news for North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) — three people were indicted today as part of an investigation into her 2008 campaign finances. Perdue herself is not a target, but her former campaign finance director is accused of scheming to pay a staffer off the books. The governor faces a tough reelection fight in 2012.

* Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has apologized to a high school student over a Twitter dust-up. Eighteen-year-old Emma Sullivan tweeted during a statehouse Youth in Government event that she had “told him he sucked, in person.” (Sullivan hadn’t actually spoken to the governor; she later said she was just joking.) Brownback staffers saw the tweet and contacted Sullivan’s school, and her principal demanded she write an apology letter. She refused. “My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,”Brownback said in a statement.


* The Republican-boosting American Action Network is up with a small ad buy in Utah defending Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). The spot will run on Fox News in Salt Lake City for four weeks, calling him a “strong fiscal conservative” who is “leading the fight to STOP reckless spending and to balance our budget.” Hatch might face a serious primary challenge; he is not popular with tea party activists.

* The Senate Conservatives Fund run by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has endorsed ex-Rep. Mark Neumann in the Wisconsin Senate primary over former governor Tommy Thompson or State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.

* Romney has landed a major GOP donor in the finance world — Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the giant private-equity firm Blackstone Group. Schwarzman backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, after the primaries. He attracted attention in 2007 for his lavish antics.

* The Obama campaign is pushing back on an op-ed from Thomas Edsall this morning, in which the long-time reporter argued that the Democratic Party would “explicitly abandon the white working class” in 2012. Spokesman Ben LaBolt told The Plum Line, “Some in the media and in academia seem to be having a discussion about a mythic campaign strategy that doesn’t have a bearing on ours.”


The burger for people who want to be snakes.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake