CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.
1. VEGAS VS KANSAS CITY
Vegas glitz or Midwestern calm?
No, not your spring vacation dilemma. It’s a challenge facing the committee charged with picking the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Las Vegas is the early favorite in part because GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson is signaling he’s ready to organize a deep-pocketed welcoming plan. But some in the party aren’t sure “Sin City’ is the best choice, and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times shared why he is being told by a key member of the RNC committee weighing the bids that he should keep his eye on Kansas City.
“You’ve got two states that can provide money: Kansas and Missouri, there is no NBA team there so the arena is going to be free in June,” said Martin.
“And earlier this week in the capital, Jefferson City, the state senate committee put 5 million dollars in next year’s budget in Missouri –public dollars - to help fund a possible convention in Kansas City.”
2. DOUBTS ABOUT A JEB BUSH RUN
Jeb Bush is the flavor of the month among GOP establishment figures looking for a 2016 presidential candidate, and the former Florida governor has been more visible of late as he explores a candidacy.
In her notebook this week, Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared some reservations from Bush fans that he is a little rusty, and perhaps not as up to speed as he will need to be about changes in his party and changes in campaign media and technology.
It is worth noting that Bush was last on the ballot in 2002, when he won a second term as governor.
3. ANOTHER WAVE ELECTION LESS LIKELY?
As we get closer to Election Day, you will hear more and more talk about the “intensity gap” in the midterm polling. If one party’s base is more motivated to vote than the other party’s, well, it’s fairly obvious what that means about the outcome.
At the moment, it’s pretty clear Republicans have the advantage. Obamacare motivates the GOP base, and the President’s party – in this case the Democrats – traditionally have a turnout problem in midterm years.
But Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report shares some insight from her sources about a dynamic that, if it holds up through November, could result in some missed opportunities for the GOP.
A television graphic showing the changeover to Republican control in the House –called a “wave election” by many– the day after voters went to the polls in 2010:
4. TRYING TO AVOID A GOP CIVIL WAR IN GEORGIA
Georgia is one of just two 2014 Senate races where Republicans are nervous about losing a seat they now hold. (Kentucky is the other).
And Politico’s Manu Raju shared with us the Republican strategy of marshaling resources for what is likely to be a reasonably close race with Democrat Michelle Nunn and also trying to avoid primary nightmares that have plagued them in the last two cycles in Senate races.
“In Georgia what the NRSC has done is create a joint fundraising committee so whoever wins that primary will get that cash,” said Raju.
“They’re trying to stay out of it altogether to make amends with even the most conservative members in that primary, people that might not be in favor of the Washington establishment, but also try to help them out so when they come out of the primary they’ll actually have unity behind them and money to run.”
5. REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT TAKING AIM TO PROTECT COCHRAN
Finally, look for a busy week in Mississippi, home of the Senate race that the GOP establishment is MOST worried about at the moment.
There, tea party challenger Chris McDaniel is challenging veteran Sen. Thad Cochran.
The conservative Club for Growth is spending heavily to boost McDaniel, who has been thrust into the national media spotlight this week after some controversial clips from old episodes of his radio show were unearthed.
In recent days sources familiar with the race shared reliable polling showing the challenger sometimes within single digits. Significantly, the data show Cochran below 50 percent, always a danger sign for an incumbent.
So, even though the primary is in June, Cochran allies have decided to wait no longer. Look for attacks ads against McDaniel to begin early this week.
Cochran more moderate that 85% of the Congressional Republican caucus according to roll call data compiled by FiveThirtyEight: