Steve King lays into Ron Paul, Matt Romney makes a bad joke, New Mexico has a new map and Rick Perry is still after Rick Santorum.

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* In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) lambasted Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) and suggested he might endorse to help keep him from winning: “Things are breaking here and that may lead me to coming to a decision.” King, though a close friend of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), praised former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. A Bachmann-King event today drew a tiny crowd.

* Sometimes kids make great surrogates, sometimes they don’t. Asked at a New Hampshire town hall if Romney would release his tax returns, the candidate’s son Matt responded, “I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate ... then maybe he’d do it.” Matt Romney later joined Twitter to apologize, saying, “I repeated a dumb joke. My bad.”

* A New Mexico state judge has adopted a redistricting plan that makes the fewest possible changes to the state’s three congressional districts. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) supported the plan; the Democratic-controlled legislature never agreed on a plan.

* Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is still hammering Santorum on earmarks, saying, “just to get a little more specific here, please tell me why you asked taxpayers to support the bridge to nowhere in Alaska ... a teapot museum in North Carolina, an indoor rainforest in Iowa, and the Montana sheep institute?” Santorum said Thursday said he was proud of the programs he supported through earmarks.


* Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis (D), a thorn in the side of his own party ever since he lost a 2010 gubernatorial primary, will be a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics this coming semester. He told The Fix he doesn’t currently identify with either party but talked about the possibility becoming a Republican.

* Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) has dropped her primary challenge against Rep. Marcia Fudge, saying the new congressional map was “manipulated to allow incumbent politicians to guarantee their reelection” and that she “won’t run as a Democrat.” That leaves open the possibility that Turner will challenge Fudge as an independent.

* The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has announced its new “Frontline” members — incumbent lawmakers who will get extra help defending their seats. Added to the list: Reps. John Barrow (GA-12), Lois Capps (CA-24), John Garamendi (CA-03), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Betty Sutton (OH-16).

* The girlfriend of New Mexico House candidate Marty Chavez (D) has been named in a federal lawsuit alleging she helped embezzle money from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Sante Fe. A spokesman for Chavez said the former Albuquerque mayor’s relationship with Loretta Mares did not begin until after the alleged fraud took place and he knew nothing about it until recent press reports.


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