Afternoon Campaign Roundup, 3.24

Republicans appear to have found their favored candidate to run against Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) – business owner Andrew Unanue, who announced his candidacy on Sunday. He potentially could self-finance a campaign, an asset for Republicans in one of the most expensive states to run in the country.

Idaho’s GOP lieutenant governor Jim Risch appears to be the early frontrunner in the race to succeed Sen. Larry Craig --after the filing deadline closed on Friday.  Risch was, after all, preparing to take his place if Craig resigned over his airport restroom sex sting.

And two Republican primaries in contested districts are starting to take a negative turn. In the primary to succeed retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.), Lockheed Martin defense contractor Chris Myers accused his opponent, Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly of supporting higher taxes, calling him “out of touch” with New Jersey taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) is probably enjoying the prospect of a protracted battle between two of his leading GOP rivals. The winner of the upcoming GOP district convention will then have to run against Republican state senator Dick Day, who will be continuing the nomination fight all the way until the September 9 primary.