The Note: "What I Want to Know Is . . . "

*Absent the entrance of another candidate, a poll that shows one candidate blowing the field away, or a negative campaign, it's hard to see how the status quo differs going into February.

*Citing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are not guarantors of success here, and in fact some DNC members grumble that the two congressional Democratic leaders have performed rather poorly in shaping the contours of this contest.

We eagerly await the next Hotline survey of DNC members.

The first reporter to do a solid story on how much some of these folks are raising (and who they're raising it from) gets a gold star.

The Hill says that John Kerry and other would-be presidential candidates have taken a hands-on interest in who the next chair will be. A must-read for those keeping score at home, and not just for the Jim Blanchard quotes. LINK

Kerry is apparently vetting the leading contenders for the chairmanship, and other possible 2008 contenders -- including Sens. Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner -- have been getting and making phone calls too. LINK

". . . Kerry appears to be the only potential candidate in '08 to maintain an open line of communication with the DNC candidates and has further set himself apart by requesting that the next DNC chairman remain neutral three years hence, when the Democratic selection process begins anew. Last week, Kerry asked former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), whose home-state Democratic senator, Bayh, may run, to remain neutral."

". . . Kerry has also been trading phone calls with the man who ran his presidential campaign in Michigan, Donnie Fowler. Kerry's conversations with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean have increased in frequency."

Articles on Dean's entrance:

Nagourney/New York Times: LINK

Balz/ Washington Post (Noting Joe Trippi's endorsement of Simon Rosenberg): LINK

Curtius/Los Angeles Times: LINK

Lester/Associated Press: LINK

Washington governor's race:

The Seattle Times' Ralph Thomas and Andrew Garber wrap the demonstrations -- to re-vote and not to re-vote -- outside the Washington state capitol yesterday, where lawmakers certified Democrat Christine Gregoire the Governor-elect. The duo Note that Rossi supporters outnumbered Gregoire's crowd by 10-to-1. LINK

Chris McGann and Kyle Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer walk through the floor debate and the protests yesterday and wrap the coming court challenge. LINK

Democrats decided to get in on the lawsuit action on Friday, filing a motion yesterday to join Secretary of State Sam Reed and county auditors in defending the election results against the state Republican Party, which is seeking to overturn the them and get a re-vote. LINK

AP's Rachel La Corte looks at the court challenge hanging over Gov.-elect Gregoire's inauguration today. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial board sympathizes with Dino Rossi but has doubts about the wisdom of a revote.

2005:

Mayor Bloomberg's "feel-good" SOTC, says Jim Rutenberg, was full of rhetoric aimed at traditionally Democratic constituents. LINK

Michael Slackman's analysis Notes that Bloomberg's re-election is dependent upon convincing voters to credit him with the successes he cites. LINK

Gov. Schwarzenegger has set a special election date of May 3 for voters to choose a successor to Rep. Robert Matsui, AP reports. If a candidate wins a majority in the March 8 primary, there won't need to be a May election. LINK

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