At least three different Republicans — and maybe more — first put out the rumor today that Sen. Bob Johnson, Bigelow’s Death Star, is giving some thought to running for U.S. Senate agaisnt Blanche Lincoln. I called his home and office number but couldn’t reach him. Why would Republicans be on the inside on a nominal Democrat’s decision-making? Your guess is as good as mine.

UPDATE: Johnson confirms his interest.

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Roby Brock notes that Johnson expressed an interest in U.S. Senate to him back in January, before the legislative session. Johnson’s turnabout on some issues during the session — such as from being the despoiler of the Lake Maumelle watershed to something of a protector (if you also liked the idea of a windfall profit for the likes of Tom Schueck and Jay DeHaven)— make more sense now in light of his senatorial ambitions. Pulaski County would have totally sucked for Johnson had he not done something to clean up his Lake Maumelle act.

Let the polls begin. Be sure to ask voters if they know about Brotherhood Bob’s role in the lottery startup. The man who brought you the $324,000-a-year-man Ernie P. and an assortment of other lottery execs with big pay checks and, in several cases, connections to Johnson. And don’t forget the pork barrel on which Johnson rode to Senate leadership in putting together the Brotherhood, the Senate ruling clique. Johnson’s past  pork barrelling was so rank — specifically in the service of Johnson’s hometown — that it was held unconstitutional.

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Republicans are thrilled that Lincoln might face an expensive primary.

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