• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
• House: Congratulations to Rep. John Garamendi, who was sworn in yesterday, and Rep. Bill Owens, who was sworn in today. Garamendi and Owens are joining the Democratic caucus as quickly as possible so that they can be eligible to vote on healthcare reform this weekend. (D)
• AR-Sen: Remember how yesterday NRSC chair John Cornyn caved to the party's right flank, and said that he wouldn't spend money in primaries or endorse in the future? Well, that lasted about a day: turns out that state Sen. Gilbert Baker, the GOP's best shot in Arkansas, will be having a fundraiser in Washington DC on the 19th... at the NRSC. (The NRSC did announce that it still didn't amount to endorsement, and that other Arkansas candidates were still welcome to have fundraisers at the NRSC. Uh, call me when there's actually a fundraiser for head teabagger Tom Cox at the NRSC building.) More generally, CQ has a nice overview of the tightrope Cornyn is walking as he tries to make some inroads in swing states in 2010.
• CA-Sen: Perhaps in an attempt to give some cover to Cornyn (whose hand-picked candidate, Carly Fiorina, is raising the ire of the Chuck DeVore-supporting right wing), eight GOP Senators all endorsed Fiorina yesterday: a couple from leadership (McConnell, Kyl), the moderate women (Snowe, Collins, and Murkowski), some chit-cashing from last year (McCain and Graham), and one from total right field (Coburn). Tom Coburn's endorsement is especially surprising in view of fellow wackadoodle Jim DeMint's endorsement of DeVore. DeMint, for his part, is still attacking John Cornyn's recruitment efforts today, perfectly encapsulating the right-wing mentality while saying "He's trying to find candidates who can win. I'm trying to find people who can help me change the Senate."
• FL-Sen: After Charlie Crist's bizarre denials that he ever supported the Obama stimulus package, the White House left Crist out to dry yesterday, saying that, yes, in fact, he did support the stimulus.
• KS-Sen: This may fall under the "endorsement you don't want to tout too loudly" category, although with most of the big-name endorsements so far going to Rep. Jerry Moran in the Kansas Senate race, Rep. Todd Tiahrt will probaly take what he can get. Former AG and Senator John Ashcroft endorsed Tiahrt.
• MT-Sen: Here's what has the potential to be one of 2012's hottest Senate races, already shaping up. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the state's lone at-large Congressperson, met with the NRSC concerning a possible run at Jon Tester.
• CA-Gov: With ex-Gov. Jerry Brown suddenly finding himself with the gubernatorial primary field to himself for now, a familiar face has popped up yet again. Dianne Feinstein, who all year has alternately expressed interest and dismissed rumors of her interest, is now back to saying that she still hasn't ruled out a gubernatorial run. She'll wait to see what proposals for fixing the badly-broken state the various candidates put out before deciding whether or not to get in herself.
• IL-Gov: Somehow this got lost in all the shuffle surrounding Election Day, but it's kind of important: after a short period of being the subject of speculation, Jim Ryan made it official that he's running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Illinois. He probably becomes the frontrunner in the GOP field, by virtue of name rec: he was the state's Attorney General from 1994-2002, and lost the 2002 governor's race to Rod Blagojevich. The rest of the GOP field is a hodge-podge of state Senators and county-level officials, with state GOP chair Andy McKenna maybe the best known of the rest. Ryan's biggest problem may be hoping people don't confuse him with imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan or weird-sex-fan and 2004 Senate candidate Jack Ryan.
• MN-Gov: Another gubernatorial entry that seemed to fly below the radar this week is also a big one: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak filed to run for governor yesterday. The well-liked Rybak seems like one of the likeliest candidates to prevail in the very crowded Democratic field.
• NJ-Gov: There are going to be a lot of coulda-shoulda-wouldas in the next few weeks in New Jersey, and here's a big one already. State Senate leader (and former acting Governor) Richard Codey says that the White House contacted him repeatedly over the summer about taking over for Corzine on the ticket, and that Corzine and Codey even discussed it. Codey deferred to Corzine's decision to stay in -- although Corzine nearly decided to pack it in. Reportedly, internal polls over the summer showed Codey beating Chris Christie by double digits.
• NY-Gov: David Paterson is going on the air with two different TV spots (including one where he admits to "lots of mistakes"), apparently trying to bring up his approvals before deciding whether or not to run again in 2010. Paterson is still looking to move forward on the contentious issue of gay marriage, though, planning to put it on the agenda for next week's special session. It may not have the votes to clear the Senate, but it hasn't really been put to the test yet. (The worry is that moderate Republicans in the Senate who might have been on board earlier may be leerier now, afraid of getting Scozzafavaed by the right.)
• NY-23: A rare bit of history was made on Tuesday, in that a seat flipping to the president's party in a House special election (as opposed to a tough retention, as in NY-20) is highly unusual. The most recent case was in VA-04 in 2001, when Republican Randy Forbes picked up a swing district left open by the death of Dem Norman Sisisky. (Subsequent gerrymandering turned the 4th into a safe GOP seat.) The previous instances before that were in 1989, 1988, and 1983.
• TX-32: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 3? One more article piles on the "loser" meme regarding Sessions' series of NY-23 screwups -- and it comes from his hometown paper in Dallas. Meanwhile at home, Sessions is now facing a primary challenge from the right, from financial analyst David Smith. Smith is upset about the Scozzafava thing, but mostly focusing on Sessions' TARP vote. Still, a primary challenge from the right against one of the House's most conservative members? Seems like that'd be like going after Tammy Baldwin from the left.
• WI-02: Oh, wait. But that's exactly what some guy is doing. And he's not just a rube who fell off the biodiesel-fueled organic turnip truck while reaching for his bong: it's an actual member of the Board of Supervisors of Dane County (where Madison is). David de Felice is upset that Baldwin hasn't pushed harder for single-payer health care.
• WI-08: Two different new entries in the Green Bay-based 8th. Physician and Air Force vet Marc Trager got into the Republican field to go against Democratic sophomore Rep. Steve Kagen, where businessman Reid Ribble seems to have the inside track based on fundraising and NRCC-touting so far. And yet another random right-winger is imagining his own head superimposed on Doug Hoffman's body: former Niagara mayor Joe Stern will run as a grassroots conservative independent in 2010.
• NY Comptroller: A piece on New York 1 speculates that NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, fresh off a much narrower-than-expected loss to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, could challenge New York State Comptroller Bill DiNapoli in the Democratic primary next year. DiNapoli, you may recall, was appointed to the seat after Alan Hevesi resigned. Thompson said he's not currently looking at the race, but says that nothing is off the table. (D)
• WA-Init: Referendum 71 was finally called by the press (for the side of equality). Although more votes remain to be counted in the currently 52-48 race, it would require a bizarre turnaround in King County (where it's currently at 70% approval) to change the result. Meanwhile, Seattle's mayoral race is still up in the air; Mike McGinn leads by a 515-vote margin (out of 130,000 counted so far).
• Census: As expected, the Vitter amendment requiring the Census to include a question on citizenship was blocked by Democrats. Conservatives don't want undocumented immigrants to count for apportionment, and there's an added incentive for David Vitter, as Louisiana might be able to salvage its 7th seat if such legislation were passed.
• Primaries: MoveOn and DFA are allocating millions of dollars to potential primary challenges against any Democrats who join a Republican filibuster on health care. (The only one who's on the fence about that and actually up in 2010 is Blanche Lincoln, and nobody of consequence has stepped up to primary her from the left yet, although Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has alluded to the idea.)
• Polling: Mark Blumenthal has a good wrapup of how the various pollsters did on Tuesday. As others have pointed out, IVR polls outperformed live pollsters, at least in the two gubernatorial races (even though they still got weird results in the crosstabs, especially on race). Blumenthal also analyzes what went wrong in NY-23 polling. Also on the polling front, it looks like Nate Silver may have succeeded in scaring off Strategic Vision LLC. As he reports today, not only did they never get around to suing him, but they haven't released any polls since the imbroglio began, despite that this week's election would be the prime time to do so.
• WATN?: Finally, we have sad news to report: the Mumpower has finally been contained. Republican Carl Mumpower, the out-of-the-box thinker who lost spectacularly to Rep. Heath Shuler in 2008, got bounced out of his position as Asheville City Councilor on Tuesday.
Last night's election exhibited two trends: one positive for the country as a whole, and one more ominous for Democrats. Firstly, Americans rejected negative campaigning and extremism - whether it be in Virginia, New Jersey, NY-23, or Maine. Secondly, the electorate as a whole shifted quite profoundly to the right.
Negative Campaigning and Extremism
In the most-watched races, voters chose the side that espoused moderation and ran a positive message. The Democratic candidates in both Virginia and New Jersey focused on the negative: state congressman Creigh Deeds of Virginia spent most of his time attacking Attorney General Bob McDonnell's college thesis, while Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey launched a barrage of negative ads. Both candidates lost.
The other races featured the victory of moderate politics over extremism. In NY-23, a Republican-represented district since the Civil War, conservatives sabotaged the moderate Republican candidate in favor of hard-line Doug Hoffman. Fortunately, voters in upstate New York rejected the Glenn Beck nominee and instead chose Democrat Bill Owens, an independent turned Democrat.
Thus the election results enforced a positive trend in politics - one of moderation and positive campaigning focused on the issues, rather than divisive personal attacks. For Democrats like myself, however, the other trend - a rightward shift - is more worrisome.
A Rightward Shift
For Democrats, the election's most worrying result was not in Virginia, New Jersey, or Maine. It was the special election in CA-10.
At first glance, this might seem a bit puzzling. Democrats won that election, after all - and they won it by a comfortable 10% margin.
Yet, when compared to previous elections, this result is quite an underperformance. Barack Obama, for instance, won this congressional district by three times that margin. Since 2002, moreover, former Democratic congressman Ellen Tauscher had never polled below 65% of the vote.
Moreover, the election revealed more about the national mood than, say, Virginia or New Jersey. Those races were heavily dependent on local factors (e.g. the quality of the Deeds campaign, the unpopularity of Governor Jon Corzine). In CA-10, you had two low-recognition candidates and little publicity; it was closer to a generic ballot poll.
If CA-10 could be characterized as a generic ballot poll, then Democrats should be extremely worried. In 2009, CA-10 went from a 30% Democratic victory to a 10% one: a 10-point shift to the right. Similar shifts were seen in New Jersey and Virginia; the electorate as a whole moved substantially to the right. The Democrats were very fortunate that Tuesday did not constitute a full-blown congressional election; they would have been crushed.
There is good news, however. Democratic weakness two days ago resulted more from an energized Republican base than a fundamental shift in the national mood. Republicans, motivated and unhappy, turned out; President Barack Obama's coalition did not. The president still attains approval ratings in the low 50s - hardly the sign of an unpopular incumbent.
The bad news is that I am not sure if Mr. Obama's coalition will turn out for the 2010 congressional elections. His voters have been curiously lethargic ever since his election; their low turn-out was how Senator Saxy Chambliss in Georgia went from a 3% general victory to a 14% run-off victory. Republicans, then, may do well next year.
In fact, I am not even sure Mr. Obama's coalition will re-emerge in 2012, when he goes up for re-election. The president, after all, ran on a campaign of hope, change, and idealism. The difficult compromises forced by governing have tainted this brand, and it will inevitably continue to be diluted over the next three years. Obama's 2008 coalition may go down as unique in American history, much like former President Jimmy Carter's coalition.
Taking into account some suggestions and comments, I made some changes to my previous attempt at redistricting California. I conceded an additional 2 seats to the GOP, which concomitantly makes a number of other seats more strongly Democratic. The additional 2 safe GOP seats are CA-4 and CA-48. Here's what version 2 looks like, overall:
New York: In NY-23, we lost, apparently because the conservatives won, because in their brave new world winning no longer means earning more votes than the other candidates, but rather defeating the candidate that will vote with you most of the time in order to pave the way for the candidate who would theoretically vote with you all the time but has no chance of getting elected in your swing district. I quake in fear of next November, when conservatives will enjoy the mightiest of all glorious historic victories, with the crushing general election losses of Marco Rubio, Chuck DeVore, Rand Paul, Ovide Lamontagne, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Peter Schiff, Chuck Purgason, Ken Buck, and Patrick Hughes, thus purifying the soil for decades to come.
Uh, more specifically, in NY-23, Bill Owens (D) defeated Doug Hoffman (C) and Dede Scozzafava (R), 49-45-6, with about a 6,000 vote margin (out of 131,000) separating Owens and Hoffman.
Elsewhere in New York, two powerful incumbents got scares. New York City's I/R mayor Michael Bloomberg beat Democratic comptroller William Thompson by a much narrower-than-expected margin: 51-46. And Democratic Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is barely leading Republican Ed Mangano, 48-48 (with a 237-vote margin, which may change as absentees are counted). Republicans picked up two open New York City council seats in Queens (including the one vacated by new comptroller John Liu), bringing the Democrats' control of that body down to a perilous 46-5.
New Jersey: Republican former US Attorney Chris Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the Republicans' big score of the night, beating Corzine and independent Chris Daggett 49-44-6. The big story here may be the unexpected collapse in Daggett's numbers (he had been polling near 20% several weeks ago); I'd guess that a swath of moderate but fervently anti-Corzine voters realized that they were planning to waste their votes on a spoiler (Daggett) and in the end held their noses and voted for Christie. The other big story: the robo-pollsters (PPP, SurveyUSA) not only getting the result right but coming close on the spread, while some of the more traditional pollsters saw a Corzine victory. Christie's amply-cut jacket didn't have much in the way of coattails, though: Republicans picked up a total of only one seat in the Assembly, with Domenick DiCicco poised to pick up an open seat in Gloucester County in Philly's suburbs, leaving Dems in control of the chamber, 47-33.
Virginia: Here's where the Democrats really stunk it up, although the handwriting on the wall could be clearly seen from months away. In the gubernatorial race, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds by a substantial margin, 59-41. Further down the ticket, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling was re-elected over Jody Wagner, 56-44, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli won the AG's race over Steve Shannon, 58-42. Democrats also took some damage in the House of Delegates, although they seemed to stave off total wipeout: Republicans netted five seats, to move the total from 53 (and 2 GOP-caucusing indies)-45 (with 2 formerly Dem vacancies) to 58 (plus the 2 indies)-39 (with one Dem incumbent-held seat, the 21st, going to recount).
Maine: In what seemed to be the night's biggest heartbreak for many in the netroots, Question 1, a vote to repeal gay marriage, passed by a 53-47 margin. Nevertheless, Mainers defeated an anti-tax initiative (Question 4, 40-60) and expanded medical marijuana access (Question 5, 59-41).
Washington: In the nation's other corner, Referendum 71, a vote to approve legislation creating "marriage in all but name" expanded domestic partnerships, is passing 51-49. (Assuming it passes, this would be, by my reckoning, the first time gay rights have been expanded through statewide vote; since King County has reported disproportionately few of the state's ballots, that margin is likely to grow.) Washington also rejected anti-tax I-1033, 44-56, and King County elected Dow Constantine as County Executive by a comfortable 57-43 over Susan Hutchison (in the first time this has been run as a nonpartisan race -- unfortunately for Hutchison, somewhere in the last few weeks her Republican cover got blown). The Seattle mayor's race will probably be the last race in the country to get resolved: with less than half reporting, anti-establishment progressive Mike McGinn leads establishment progressive Joe Mallahan 50-49.
California: In the night's other House election, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi defeated Republican attorney David Harmer in CA-10, 53-43 (with the balance going to Green and Peace & Freedom candidates). That's a bit underwhelming in a district where Barack Obama won 65-33, but in a low-turnout special, it's not remarkable.
North Carolina: Charlotte got only its second African-American mayor and its first Democratic mayor in 22 years, as 38-year-old Anthony Foxx beat the polls en route to a 51-49 over Republican Andy Lassiter. Democrats also now have an 8-3 edge on the city council. College town Chapel Hill now has an openly gay mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt, who narrowly defeated conservative Matt Czajkowski, 49-47.
Ohio: Somehow I can't see Cleveland becoming the next Las Vegas (maybe $pringfield, Ohio will), but Ohio voters just opted to legalize casino gambling in Issue 3, 53-47.
Pennsylvania: Republicans picked up a seat on the state Supreme Court; Jane Orie Melvin defeated Democrat Jack Panella 53-47. The GOP now controls the court 4-3, which has bad implications for state legislative redistricting next year.
Michigan: Another Dem screw-up that may bury the prospect of a pro-Democratic gerrymander in Michigan next year is a loss in the one hotly contested state Senate seat anywhere last night. In SD-19, Republican Mike Nofs won 61-34, picking up a seat formerly held by Democratic now-Rep. Mark Schauer. Republicans now control the Senate 22-16 (all seats are up in 2010, meaning Dems now need to flip four for control -- of course, they'd also need to hold the gubernatorial race, which may not happen either). In Detroit, incumbent Dave Bing held on to win the mayor's race, 58-42.
Georgia: We're headed to a runoff in Atlanta, where city councilor Mary Norwood and state Senator Kasim Reed finished 1 and 2, with 46% and 36% respectively. Reed may be able to pull it out, though, if he consolidates African-American votes in the general (the 3rd place finisher, Lisa Borders with 14%, is also African-American). The most interesting legislative race seems to be the previously Dem-held HD-141, where it's unclear whether Dem Darrell Black or GOPer Angela Gheesling-McCommon (each of whom got 23%, although Black has a 16-vote edge) will face off against independent Rusty Kidd (who got 44%) in the runoff.
Got any other races you want to share results from, or want to talk about? Let us know in the comments!
• AR-Sen: A new R2K poll for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America is yet another bad omen for Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln: she's only beating state Sen. Gilbert Baker by a 41-39 margin.
• NC-Sen: An Elon University poll finds GOP Sen. Richard Burr with crappy re-elects (19-42), while the latest Civitas poll shows Burr leading Democrat Elaine Marshall by 43-33.
• CA-10: In yet another sign that the Democratic base is taking a prolonged ganja break, Democrat John Garamendi, California's Lt. Governor, is only leading Republican David Harmer by 50-40 in SurveyUSA's final poll of the race. Obama won this CD by a 65-33 margin last year.
• FL-02: Republicans have added a second challenger to the mix against Blue Dog Allen Boyd. Attorney Charlie Ranson is joining funeral home chain-owner Steve Southerland in the GOP primary.
• NY-23: Under normal circumstances, I would have said that ex-Gov. George Pataki was breaking ranks by endorsing Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman over Republican DeDe Scozzafava, but considering that RNC Chair Michael Steele came out today tacitly cheering Hoffman on, it seems that the GOP establishment itself is leaving Scozzafava out in the cold. Democrats, meanwhile, have deployed Joe Biden to campaign with Bill Owens in South Memphis Watertown on Monday.
• VA-05: The GOP field taking on frosh Dem Rep. Tom Perriello has gotten a little bit slimmer today, as "grassroots" candidate Bradley Rees is attempting to switch his candidacy over to the Virginia Conservative Party ticket. In any event, get a good look at this guy's mug.
• SC-Gov: GOP Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, a guy with few friends in the Republican establishment, has just opened up a gubernatorial campaign account. I guess we can expect a formal announcement soon.
• Congress: Tons of lawmakers, including quite a few in bright blue jumpsuits, are under investigation for ethical misconduct.
• Midterms: Joe Lieberman is still an asshole, in case you have forgotten. The Rave Master himself says that he expects to share some of his Joementum with GOP candidates next year through his personal endorsement.
• Voting: Chuck Schumer's legislation mandating that military and overseas voters get at least 45 days to return their ballots came into force as part of the defense spending bill that President Obama signed into law on Wednesday. As we noted previously, this could force a number of states to push their primaries earlier. Green Papers has a list of potentially affected states. (D)
I decided to try my hand at redistricting California's Congressional districts for 2010-2012, using Dave's Redistricting App. After playing around with it a bit, here's what the map I came up with looks like overall:
Here's the 2008 Obama/McCain vote in California, on the precinct level:
• FL-Sen: Here's something of an ooops from Bob Mendendez at the DSCC: his comments last week where he seemed to leave out the possibility of a pickup in the open seat race in Florida prompted former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre to jump into the race, saying "You can't write off Florida" (or at least that's what Ferre said was the impetus, although that doesn't seem like the kind of thing you do with less than a week of planning). This week, the DSCC is saying that Menendez misspoke and that they're pleased with Kendrick Meek's fundraising so far.
• KS-Sen: You might remember that yesterday we said that Democratic state Treasurer Dennis McKinney hadn't ruled out running for Senate. However, a source close to McKinney tells us that McKinney (who was appointed after previous GOP Treasurer Lynn Jenkins was elected to KS-02) plans to run for Treasurer in 2010.
• CT-Gov: Jodi Rell is facing some possible ethical trouble; Democrats accuse her of spending state money for political purposes by hiring pollsters to do focus groups on the state budget, and have referred the matter to the Office of State Ethics. The polling seemed to veer into politics in terms of message-testing and looking at perceptions of AG Richard Blumenthal, a possible Democratic opponent. Rell has formed an exploratory committee for re-election, but we're still waiting to see if she follows through; stuff like this may help chip away at her veneer of inevitability.
• MN-Gov: Here's a first: someone's not running for Minnesota governor. St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman decided against trying to wade into the crowded Democratic primary field, saying his work as mayor wasn't done.
• NJ-Gov: One more pollster finds a super-tight gubernatorial race in New Jersey. Neighborhood Research, a Republican pollster (but not working for the Christie campaign) finds Chris Christie leading Jon Corzine only 36-35, with Chris Dagget pulling in 11. Their previous poll last month gave Christie a 4-point edge. Corzine's campaign has apparently succeeded in making Christie just as widely disliked as Corzine -- Christie's favorables have dropped to 28%, equal to Corzine's. Also, it doesn't look like Sarah Palin will get to ride to Chris Christie's rescue: the Christie and McDonnell camps have both given a "thanks but not thanks" to her offer of help, according to Politico.
• PA-Gov: GrassrootsPA, the rightosphere's Pennsylvania outpost, commissioned a poll through Dane & Associates to see how Republican AG Tom Corbett matches up against his Democratic rivals (no Jim Gerlach head-to-heads, unfortunately). The sample size is a teeny-weeny 200, but the numbers line up with other polling: the closest race is with fellow statewide official, Auditor Jack Wagner, who trails Corbett 41-37. Corbett leads Philly businessman Tom Knox 44-36, Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato 44-32, and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel 53-27.
• VA-Gov: Lots of poll watchers were waiting for the newest Washington Post poll of the Virginia race to come out, to see if it gave more favorable numbers to Creigh Deeds than we saw out of recent Rasmussen and SurveyUSA polls. WaPo tended to be a bit more favorable to Deeds, but they're seeing what everyone else is seeing: Bob McDonnell now leads 53-44. Looks like whatever traction Deeds got post-thesis-gate has drifted away.
• WY-Gov: The main story in Wyoming is that everyone is still waiting to see whether Dave Freudenthal challenges Wyoming's term limits law and goes for a third term. Former GOP state Rep. Ron Micheli is running regardless, as we reported recently, but there are a few other behind-the-scenes moves going on. State House Speaker Colin Simpson (and son of Sen. Alan Simpson), at some point, filed to open an exploratory committee (and would probably be GOP frontrunner if he got in). On the Democratic side, state Sen. Mike Massie has been touring the state rounding up support (with Freudenthal's blessing), but says he won't create an exploratory committee until he knows Freudenthal isn't running.
• CA-03: Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis has dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd, to go up against Rep. Dan Lungren (who squeaked by in 2008). Davis didn't seem to be making much fundraising headway against physician Ami Bera and public utility executive Bill Slaton.
• CA-10: Republicans are hanging on to some glimmers of hope in the special election in the 10th, offering up an internal poll from David Harmer's camp, by Wilson Research. The poll shows Harmer within single digits of Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, 41-34. (It also claims that, once you adjust for the 35% share that the GOP got in the primary, it closes to a 2-pt gap.)
• FL-24: Another three-way primary got less crowded, this time on the Republican side. State Rep. Dorothy Hukill decided to end her campaign for the primary to go up against Democratic freshman Suzanne Kosmas; Hukill will run for re-election instead. That leaves fellow state Rep. Sandy Adams, and Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel in the Republican field.
• IN-02: It looks like Republican state Rep. Jackie Wolarski (generally known as "Wacky Jackie") is set to launch her campaign against sophomore Rep. Joe Donnelly. She says she's leaning in that direction and will open an exploratory committee by Monday.
• KS-02: The Democrats have nailed down a solid recruit to go up against Great White Dope Lynn Jenkins in the 2nd. State senator Laura Kelly, who has represented a Topeka-area district since 2004, announced today that she will try to reclaim the seat lost by Nancy Boyda last year.
• NY-19: This could get inconvenient for Republican Assemblyman Greg Ball, who's going up against Rep. John Hall in this swing district. The New York Democratic Lawyers Council filed an FEC complaint against Ball this week, alleging a series of illegal solicitations, improper automatic phone calls, and illegal use of Assembly resources for his congressional campaign.
• NY-23: The establishment/hardliner schism continues unabated in the 23rd, where state Conservative Party chair Michael Long has sent around a memo calling on other conservative activists to stop funding the NRCC until it backs off its support for moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava. However, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling didn't get the message; the former chair of the Republican Study Committee (the House GOP's right-wing ideological caucus) gave his endorsement to Scozzafava, on purely pragmatic grounds (saying "she's the only Republican who can win"). This endorsement probably won't resonate much outside the Beltway's financial circles, though; I can't imagine more than a handful of 23rd district residents know Hensarling's name.
12:10 AM: All 176 of 176 precincts are reporting; John Garamendi and David Harmer advance to the general. The final tally is Garamendi at 26%, Harmer at 21%, DeSaulnier at 18%, Buchanan at 12%, and Woods at 8%.
11:40 PM: I think Representative Garamendi can start picking out his color of swearing-in tie. I did some more quick addition, adding up the percentage of all Dems and all Republicans. Democrats got 64% of the vote, Republicans 34%. That's remarkably similar to the 2008 vote, where Obama got 65% and McCain got 33%. If there's a wave of national discontent with Democrats, or a big shift in the electorate's composition or levels of enthusiasm between the parties, we aren't seeing it here in the 10th tonight.
11:30 PM: I did my own round of addition again, as the counties are far outpacing the SoS. Based on the four counties, we're up to 139 of 176 (82%) reporting, with Garamendi at 26%, Harmer at 20%, DeSaulnier at 17%, Buchanan at 12%, and Woods at 8%. 20 precincts are outstanding in Contra Costa, and 17 are left in Solano.
11:05 PM: While we wait for more updates, don't forget there was also a special election in the basically safe seat of AD 51 in Los Angeles. With 100% in, it looks like we'll be avoiding a general, as Democrat Steven Bradford broke 50%. He got 53%, to 19% for fellow Dem Gloria Gray and 17% for GOPer David Coffin.
10:55 PM: The SoS office is finally getting into the act. Their numbers are a pretty close match to ours: Garamendi at 27%, Harmer and DeSaulnier at 19%, Buchanan at 12%, and Woods at 7%. Remember, though, that these are California rules, so even if DeSaulnier somehow edged out Harmer in the all-party primary, Harmer still goes to the general because the top D and R advance.
10:30 PM: I broke out the ol' abacus, so now we can have some districtwide totals (despite the SoS still not having any info). With 102 of 170 (60%) reporting, including another Contra Costa batch, Garamendi and Harmer are well in control. Garamendi has 22,345 (27%), Harmer at 16,064 (19%), DeSaulnier at 13,827 (17%), Buchanan at 9,955 (12%), and Woods at 6,870 (8%).
10:20 PM: Now we have Contra Costa and Alameda with some details. In Contra Costa, 28 of 97 are reporting. Garamendi leads at 14,459 (26%), followed by DeSaulnier not far behind (here's where his Senate district is) at 11,743 (21%), then Harmer at 10,589 (19%) and Buchanan at 6,540 (12%). In Alameda, with 22 of 34 reporting, Garamendi leads at 2,423 (32%), Harmer at 1,565 (21%), and Buchanan at 1,060 (14%). (Use the KCBS site. Still nothing happening at the SoS office.)
10:15 PM (Crisitunity): Well, things are starting to happen. Solano County is half in (23 of 40), and Garamendi leads with 4,573 votes, 29%. Harmer is 2nd with 2,912: 19%, followed by Woods with 2,383 (15%) and Buchanan at 1,921 (12%). All of Sacramento County has reported but it's only a sliver of the district (5 precincts out of 176 total). Garamendi dominated, winning 51% (with only 179 votes?!?).
Since Gov. Schwarzenegger has ordered the results held for the 10th District special election until 10pm Pacific (1am Eastern), it looks like us open seats fans will be burning the midnight oil tonight. But that does give you a bit of extra time to squeeze in a last-minute prediction...
11:06PM: It's over - Hanson wins! Congratulations! Final tally: 3,932 to 3,825. Burgmeier actually carried Wapello by four votes, but it wasn't enough. Anyhow, this is great news... for John McCain!
10:55PM: Pass the dutchie 'pon the lef' han' side... looks like our friends at the Wapello County Board of Elections are taking a bit of a ganja break.
10:38PM: The first two precincts in Wapello have come in, and they are looking good for Hanson - he leads there 339-178. Burgmeier would need to carry those last six precincts by an 18-point margin to eke out a win.
10:34PM: All of the outstanding precincts are in Wapello Co., which Obama won with 55% of the vote last fall.
10:33PM: Much closer now - 20 of 28 precincts, and Hanson's lead is just 3,335 to 3,224.
10:22PM: Polls are closed in Iowa, and with a quarter of precincts reporting (all from Jefferson Co.), Dem Carl Hanson has a lead of 2,050 to 1,441.
James provided some background on both of tonight's special elections in this earlier post. Polls close in Iowa at 10pm Eastern time, and in California at 11pm. UPDATE: Via folks in comments, Gov. Schwarzenegger has ordered that results be held until 10pm Pacific (1am Eastern) so that firefighters from the district who are fighting fires in Southern California can have extra time to vote.