• FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.
• IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)
• MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."
• ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.
• NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.
• PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.
• UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.
• VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."
• PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!
• WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.
• AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post
• NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.
• NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)
I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.
• IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.
• NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.
• Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.
• Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.
• Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.
Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.
• Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.
• Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.
• Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.
• Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.
• IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.
• MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.
In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.
• MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.
• MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.
• TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.
• VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.
• VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.
• NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.
• AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.
• IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.
• IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."
What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.
• RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.
• WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.
• Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.
• Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.
• House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.
• DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.
• Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.
• Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.
• Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
• HI-Sen: Very slow fundraising quarters from Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, despite Dan Akaka's retirement announcement on March 2. Hirono raised around $100K and has $291K on hand, while Hanabusa took in a mere $33K and has only $72K in the bank.
More interestingly, despite Ed Case's attempts at rapprochement, Sen. Dan Inouye still has hard feelings about Case's primary challenge to Akaka in 2006 - and he didn't hesitate to say so in a recent interview. He all but said that Case lied to his face when he asked him lo those many years ago if he'd run against Akaka, and then added a few remarks that made it sounds like Case had definitely not succeeded in making amends. So unless Inouye is playing some weirdly deep game here, then it looks like my fears that he'd subtly back Case seem unfounded. Good.
• KY-Sen: I don't know if I care about this, or whether it even matters, but glibertarian maniac Rand Paul filed for re-election yesterday. I guess this means he thinks the United States won't collapse into anarchy by 2016, but he's probably still hoarding kruggerands (and toilet paper) just to be on the safe side.
• MN-Sen: It's sort of easy to forget that Amy Klobuchar is up for re-election this cycle. Dedicated and hard-working, she doesn't showboat and is a consummate team player. The fact that she crushed in her debut campaign with 58% of the vote and no Republican opponents loom even in the distant horizon definitely have the effect of putting this race on the mental back burner. But true to form, she's taking her campaign very seriously, raising $1 million in Q1 and holding on to $2.5 mil in the bank.
• NJ-Sen: Is Republican biotech millionaire John Crowley thinking about a Senate bid - again? Roll Call notes that Crowley is stepping down as CEO of his pharma company, which could be a sign he's interested in taking on Sen. Bob Menendez. But for some reason, the article fails to point out that Crowley was heavily recruited to run against Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008, and backed out at the last moment - twice. He was also talked about for a gubernatorial run in 2009 (which he obviously didn't pull the trigger on). So we'll see if he has the fire in the belly to actually do something this time.
• TX-Sen: Did you know that there's already a declared Democrat in the race? I didn't, but Some Dude Sean Hubbard is apparently running.
• WA-Sen: Sen. Maria Cantwell raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has about the same amount in the bank.
• KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear raised an impressive $1.3 million in the first three months of the year and has $3.3 million on hand.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is up what I think is the first negative ad of the Dem primary. He principally after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for taking money from utility companies who have charged jacked-up prices, accusing him (and also Natalie Tennant and Rick Thompson) of being "in the pocket" of the big energy firms. Using smokestacks as negative imagery in a state like West Virginia is certainly an unusual choice, given how many people there rely on "smokestack industries" for their livelihoods. But I guess whoever wins this multi-way primary is expecting to do so with only a relatively small plurality.
• AZ-06: We previously mentioned that Republican ex-Rep. Matt Salmon was thinking about a bid to reclaim his old House seat, with Jeff Flake running for Senate, and now he's made it official. Salmon, a member of the GOP's class of '94, honored a term-limit pledge and declined to run for re-election in 2000. However, he did run and lose against Janet Napolitano in the governor's race in 2002.
• FL-14: This seems unexpected: Chauncey Goss, son of former Congressman and CIA Director Porter Goss, says he's thinking about challenging Rep. Connie Mack in the Republican primary. Goss acknowledges that such a fight would be an "uphill battle," but also suggests that he could wind up running in an open seat. It sounds like he thinks that a new seat could be drawn by splitting Lee County (currently the bulk of the 14th CD), but I still wonder if Mack might wind up retiring. (By the way, the current 14th was in fact the elder Goss's seat before he was tapped to run the CIA in 2004.)
• IA-04: Ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack told a gathering of state Senate Dems that they should "stay tuned" regarding his wife's political ambitions. That sounds to me like Christie Vilsack is very much leaning toward a run against Republican nutter Steve King. Tom also promised the race would be a "holy war," a phrase which I sure as hell hope he a) doesn't repeat for public consumption and b) means that Christie plans on seriously taking King the woodshed.
• MI-11, MI-Sen (?): The AP canvassed all 15 House incumbents in Michigan, and all but one confirmed they were seeking re-election. The holdout? 11th CD Republican Thad McCotter, who is in his fifth term. I've hesitantly flagged this item as MI-Sen as well, since it's possible that McCotter is hedging because he's thinking about challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow, though he hasn't really been talked about much.
• NM-01: Dem state Sen. Tim Keller, only 33 years old, says he won't seek Rep. Martin Heinrich's open House seat but will instead seek re-election next year.
• NY-10: Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who hasn't ruled out a primary challenge to Rep. Ed Towns, says in a new interview that he wants the chance to serve alongside Barack Obama. So that means he's either a) gotta run next year b) run in 2014 or c) get the Constitution amended.
• IN-SoS: It looks like Republicans have found a pretty simple way out of the Charlie White mess: change the law. If White, the Republican Secretary of State who is currently under indictment, gets removed from office, the next-highest vote-getter in the last election, Democrat Vop Osili, would take his place. But a bill moving through the state lege would give the governor the power to appoint a replacement instead. (It also would let the GOP avoid any related fallout from having recorded zero valid votes in the SoS contest, a race to which many other electoral perks are tied.) Sucky for Dems, but whatcha gonna do.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Republicans are challenging Olympian Carl Lewis's residency status, trying to get him thrown off the ballot. Lewis says he's owned homes in New Jersey since 2005, but has voted and paid taxes in California until last year. The Secretary of State will rule by Thursday, but that decision can be appealed.
• Philly Mayor: This is definitely unusual. Former Mayor John Street just changed his party registration from "Democrat" to "independent," which could allow him to challenge Mayor Michael Nutter for his old job, something Street refused to rule out. Also unexpectedly, Street's wacky ex-con brother Milton, who is in fact running against Nutter in the Dem primary, got three big union endorsements last week. Seems impossible to imagine him winning next month, though, no?
• WI Recall: As expected, petitions were filed against Sheila Harsdorf yesterday, making her the fourth Republican state Senator to achieve this dubious status. And in more good news, state Rep. Fred Clark is planning an announcement for Thursday, very likely to declare a run against Luther Olsen, against whom petitions were filed on Monday. On the flipside, Republicans say they will file signatures in three Dem-held districts this week, but time is running out for them: Their deadlines are mostly April 25 & 26 (ours aren't due until May 2).
• DCCC: I'm getting kind of tired of these "DCCC launches campaign against 25 Republicans" (and the mirror images from the NRCC), mostly because I think the amounts being spent are quite small, but anyway, here's another one, this time about Medicare.
• Passings: William Donald Schaefer, the iconic four-term Democratic mayor of Baltimore and two-term governor of Maryland, died on Monday at the age of 89. The Baltimore Sun has wall-to-wall coverage of Schaefer's passing, whose legendary career is hard to summarize, but you can start with the obituary at the first link.
• California: Newspaper editorial pages are usually filled with some of the worst goo-goo anti-gerrymandering handwringing, so I found this op-ed by George Skelton in the LA Times to be particularly delightful. Skelton wryly observes that California Dems can't get a tax deal done with Republicans because a key tool in their arsenal - offering to draw recalcitrant legislators good districts, and threatening them with bad ones - has been taken out of their hands. In other words, like a lot of California's supposedly well-meaning ballot initiatives, the independent redistricting commission is also having some unintended consequences. In the end, Skelton seems to come down on the side of the commission anyway, but I think he's right: When you limit legislators' ability to legislate, you limit their ability to do good things as well as bad.
• Iowa: We're done: Iowa is now the third state to complete a new congressional map, with Gov. Terry Brandstad signing off on the plans yesterday. At the bottom of the linked article, you'll also find a list of all state House and Senate incumbents who have been thrown together in the same district.
• Missouri: Some interesting backstory on the Dem side of redistricting in Missouri. Apparently, things got nasty between Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay just a couple of weeks ago: Carnahan asked Clay (and Emmanuel Cleaver, MO's other Dem member of the House) to help him ask Gov. Jay Nixon to veto the state legislature's new maps which throw Clay and Carnahan into one district together. (The seat would be heavily black, which would favor Clay.) Clay refused, leading to a heated moment on the House floor, but now apparently Carnahan has agreed not to run against him in a primary. Instead, Carnahan is supposedly being pushed toward a run in what would become the new 3rd CD, which at present is largely Todd Akin's district. That seat could open up if Akin runs for Senate, which I'd currently say is more likely than not.
Republicans, however, have not made any peace agreements and in fact appear to be in meltdown mode. Yesterday we mentioned that Republican leaders and congressmembers were gathering to discuss the impasse between competing maps, a meeting which reportedly became "acrimonious." I'll let Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum of the St. Louis Beacon summarize the key points of contention:
The Republican members of Congress generally want the Senate to drop consideration of its map and take up the map already passed by the Missouri House. But Senate leaders dislike some of the House's proposed boundaries. They also say they don't have the votes for a veto-proof majority of the House map.
I strongly suggest reading the entire Beacon article if you're interested in this topic - it's definitely one of the sharper tradmed pieces I've seen on redistricting in general this year. In any event, Republicans want a shot at over-riding a possible Nixon veto before the current legislative session ends on May 13, so time is running short here.
• New Jersey: With the Garden State losing a seat this decade, Aaron Blake runs through five different scenarios involving various incumbent-vs-incumbent matchups.
• Oklahoma: Yesterday, the state House unanimously passed a new congressional map (which makes very minimal changes to the existing district lines). Given that all five members of Congress have signed off on the plan, I'd be surprised if it doesn't breeze through the Senate as well - but we've already had more than our share of redistricting surprises this cycle, so I've stopped calling my bookie.
• Virginia: A committee in the Republican-held House made some minor tweaks to their map, which Gov. Bob McDonnell had previously vetoed. I'm sure this is just cosmetic b.s., because McDonnell really only cares about the Dem map that the Senate produced. In McDonnell's world, the first is a work of unparalleled bipartisanshippy beauty, while the second is a hideous Demmycrat gerrymander FROM HELL. That's fookin' politics for ya.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.
• NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.
• NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.
• PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.
• RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.
• IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)
• LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.
• MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.
• NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.
• PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.
• DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.
• VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.
• Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:
Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4
• Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.
• Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.
• Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.
• Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.
• Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.
• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake, long known for his non-insane stance on immigration, has bluntly announced that he's flip-flopping. Just like John McCain before him, Flake says he no longer supports comprehensive immigration reform and now just wants to discuss border security. Clearly, Flake is terrified of getting teabagged in the senatorial primary, even though he doesn't have any actual opponents yet. I suspect that Rep. Trent Franks (or someone else with strong movement conservative bona fides) will get into the race, though, and I doubt that Flake's last-minute conversion will incline the teabaggers to forgive him.
And I also wonder if it might not tick off his patrons at the Club for Growth, who just proudly announced that they've raised $350K for him. The CfG is backed by people and organizations who are what you'd call "cheap labor conservatives." That is, they prefer to see a steady flow of illegal immigrants because they represent a ready pool of workers they can cheaply exploit. The kind of immigration reform that Flake once favored also pleased his corporate masters, because it would have created a temporary worker program-almost as good, but blessed by the law! I doubt that the CfG, which pushed Flake hard to get into the race (and immediately endorsed him once he did) will abandon ship over this offense, but maybe they'll start focusing their energies on more reliable stooges.
• FL-Sen: I'm really glad that Mike Haridopolos is the only announced Republican candidate of any note because he's such a walking train-wreck (if you can visualize such a thing)-almost every new story about him is yet another disaster. His eye for optics is particularly atrocious: In his role as President of the state Senate, he just removed a piece of ethics legislation from the body's agenda-despite having co-sponsored the very same bill last year. Even better, you may recall that Haridopolos was just admonished by the Senate for failing to properly disclose his finances on required forms. I love this guy!
• MI-Sen: A Republican firm who seems to be affiliated with ex-Rep. (and potential candidate) Pete Hoekstra, Strategic National, released bits and pieces of a survey to Dave Catanese. They claim that Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow's approval rating is just 30-38, in contrast with PPP's poll from yesterday which had her at 46-39. The only head-to-head they released showed Hoekstra trailing just 41-38 (PPP has him back 50-38). To Strategic National's credit (by the way, we'd never heard of this firm until this year), they released their sample makeup. To their discredit, the sample was 46 R, 44 D & 10 I. In other words, from Mars.
• NM-Sen: Could Greg Sowards be the next Christine O'Donnell or Joe Miller? I'd be shocked if you've ever heard of this teabagger, but he did spent $300K of his own money to get pasted in the NM-02 primary in 2008. (He also has a fucking funny URL-just Google his name.) With "moderate" Heather Wilson the only big-time candidate in the race so far, a surprising number of winger outfits are giving Sowards a look: He's in DC visiting with Jim DeMint's people and the Tea Party Express, among others. Sowards also appeared to get under Rep. Steve Pearce's skin by saying he didn't think Pearce would run for the Senate again. Click the link for Pearce's prickly response.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) will be keynoting the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in rural Churchill County this Friday, which either means she's spreading out her feelers for a statewide run, just doing someone a favor, enjoys spending time way up in the northern part of the state, or absolutely nothing.
• OH-Gov: On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I saw John Kasich, and his poll numbers sucked. Quinnipiac sez he's at 30-46 approvals, while GOP-affiliated pollster We Ask America says he's at an astoundingly bad 35-58. Q also asked about SB5 (the anti-union bill) with a couple of different wordings; either way, voters are opposed.
• WV-Gov: State House Speaker Rick Thompson's been cleaning up with the union endorsements (teachers, AFL-CIO), and now he's racked up a huge one: the United Mine Workers of America.
• AK-AL: This story is so disturbing, I won't even attempt to summarize:
A Republican congressman from Alaska, who also is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, now is attempting to distance himself from a Fairbanks militia leader accused in a high-profile firearms, murder and kidnapping plot.
In April 2009, with a video camera rolling, Rep. Don Young signed a "Letter of Declaration" being circulated by the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia, led by Francis Schaeffer Cox. The "declaration" called on "sovereign Americans" to "alter or abolish" any government that tries to "further tax, restrict or register firearms" or prevents individuals from exercising their "God-given right to self-defense [that] precedes all human legislation."
• CA-36: Democracy for America, the activist organization that emerged from the Howard Dean campaign, is endorsing SoS Debra Bowen, though it's not clear what kind of support they plan on providing. DFA previously endorsed Bowen when she sought re-election to her current job last year.
• IL-10: Activist Ilya Sheyman posts a diary to Daily Kos, saying that he's "considering running" against Republican Bob Dold! in Illinois' 10th CD.
• OR-01: Blue Oregon scored quite the coup: I believe they are the first local print media outfit to get an interview with Rep. David Wu. They say they talked to him for an hour, and promise that they asked tough questions. The contents of the interview will appear in a multi-part series over the next day (just as soon as they finish transcribing). You can read part one and part two now.
• SC-05: I don't think anyone was expecting that ex-Rep. John Spratt, at age 68 and with 14 terms under his belt, would seek a rematch, and indeed he's not. At an emotional event to honor Spratt's many years of service, he said that he might teach, or join a DC think tank, but that whatever he does, "it'll be part-time." Godspeed.
• Campaign Committees: So it looks like the DCCC and NRCC are engaged in a minor skirmish, but with Rahm Emanuel gone, it seems like the Chicago Way means, you come at me with a butter knife, I come at you with a spork. Anyhow, the D-Trip announced it was targeting robocalls and a bit of other media at ten Republicans (click link for districts) regarding Social Security and Medicare, so the NRCC did the exact same thing, except about gas prices. The NRCC also released what it claims is are television ads (but what our friend Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press releases") against Heath Shuler and Nick Rahall. I'll bet the amount spent on these buys isn't enough to buy John Shimkus a meatball sub.
• California: The new chair of the CA GOP spazzed about the selection of Q2 Data and Research as the redistricting commission's map-drawing technical consultant, hollering that the firm has ties "to the Democrat Party." Zing! Only problem is that the commission (which of course includes Republicans) voted 13-0 to pick Q2.
• Maryland: Last year, Maryland passed new legislation requiring that, for the purposes of redistricting, the state count prisoners as residents where they last lived, rather than where they are serving their sentences. State agencies just certified a count of 22,000 prisoners, and while some Baltimore-area legislative districts gained a bit as a result, the overall effects were slight. (Side note: The US government refused to share "last known address" data concerning the 1,500 inmates incarcerated in Maryland's lone federal prison.) The only other states with similar legislation are Delaware and New York; while this information affects local as well as state redistricting efforts, congressional redistricting is based on US Census data, and I'm pretty sure these laws don't cover that.
• Virginia: Winners were announced in the college competition to redistrict the state of Virginia. You can find the maps at the link. I don't think they got any babka, though.
• IN-Sen: An unnamed "Democratic strategist" quoted by The Hill suggests that ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (whose name hadn't really come up before this year) is unlikely to run for Senate. Honestly, I'm not sure if the wankerish Roemer would really excite anyone... but we don't seem to have a long list of possible names for this race.
• OH-Sen: PPP has another "everyone and the kitchen sink" primary polls, this time of the Republican senatorial primary in Ohio. In this case, the kitchen sink is named "Kenneth Blackwell," and he comes in first in an eleventy-billion-way test, with all of 17%. I don't think I've even heard Blackwell (last seen losing the 2006 gubernatorial race to Ted Strickland very badly) as a possible contender. Click the link for the other numbers.
• VA-Sen: I've got a new name you can root for: Tim Donner, a wealthy television production executive who is considering whether to challenge George Allen in the Republican primary. A spokesman tells Dave Catanese he's a "couple weeks away" from making a decision. It's not 100% clear whether he's a teabagger, but I suspect he is, given that his mouthpiece attacked bona fide teabagger (and hopeless Some Dude) Jamie Radtke for "working in government since she graduated from college," and because Donner thinks none of the candidates currently running "believe in the concept of a citizen legislature." That sounds like something a teabagger trying to channel Patrick Henry might say, no? At the very least, we should be hoping he'll rough Macaca up with a million or few.
• WV-Gov: This was expected, but it's still an important get: State House Speaker Rick Thompson (D) scored the backing of the AFL-CIO, a key endorsement in what will likely be a low-turnout special primary. (As we noted last week, Thompson also picked up the support of a couple of teachers unions.) The election is May 14th.
• CA-36: Marta Evry at Calitics takes a look at the ActBlue fundraising numbers so far for the key Democrats in the race. The numbers are a moving target, but as of Friday, Janice Hahn had taken in $49K from 200 donors, while Debra Bowen had pulled in $41K but from a much larger 474 donors. Oh, and Marcy Winograd has now achieved joke status, with $1K raised. Also, some teabagger also joined the race, making him the fourth Republican to get in.
• Wisconsin Recall: Some very good sleuthing by Madison TV station WKOW27: The alleged mistress of GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper (the name you can't forget) recently scored a government job, and Hopper said: "I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I'm going to maintain that." He didn't maintain that for very long, calling the station back and denying his involvement with the hiring. I'm not sure Jack McCoy ever got a witness to change his story so quickly - and incredibly. Even better, discovers WKOW, the woman in question got a 35% pay boost over the person who previously held the job. Scott Walker's government austerity in action.
In other news, Greg Sargent says that GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies is in the field with a survey testing anti-union messages on recall target Alberta Darling's behalf.
• DCCC: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was in Philadelphia on Friday, raising a cool $400K for the D-Triple-C. A long list of PA pols was in attendance, including ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and a couple of unsuccessful 2010 candidates, Bryan Lentz and John Callahan. Also nice to see present: Arlen Specter, a guy whose age, brief tenure as an elected Dem, and inglorious exit from office would give him more than enough reason to stay away from this sort of thing forever. Too bad he didn't have the sense to join our team decades ago!
• Redistricting Roundup:
With the bulk of census data out, redistricting stories are coming fast and furious now.
• Arkansas: Talk Business has copies of a few different congressional maps proposed by various lawmakers, as well as descriptions of some others. Click the link to have a look.
• California: Ugh, gross: One of two finalist consulting firms to help California's new redistricting commission has hardcore Republican leanings, while two of four finalist law firms are similarly oriented. Of course, this is exactly what you risk when you leave things to a supposedly independent panel (that features a ridiculous level of Republican over-representation).
• Florida: One Democratic consultant thinks that Florida's population growth suggests that new districts (the state is getting two) could be anchored to regions that would favor two Republicans in particular: ex-LG Jeff Kottkamp and state Sen. Paula Dockery. Kottkamp lost the GOP primary for AG last year, while Dockery dropped out of the gubernatorial primary.
• Iowa: The Hawkeye State's independent redistricting commission will release its first proposes congressional and state maps on March 31st. (Remember, IA loses a House seat.) As the Des Moines Register points out, "Either chamber of the Iowa Legislature or Republican Gov. Terry Branstad can reject proposals twice. If they don't like the third, the Iowa Supreme Court decides the boundaries."
• Missouri: Show Me State lawmakers are starting their work on redistricting, but if they don't have a congressional plan by May 13th, then it'll get kicked over to the courts. State legislative maps aren't due until September.
• Mississippi: I'm not really sure I'm getting this: The NAACP is suing the state of Mississippi over its redistricting plans, but the legislature hasn't even passed anything yet. It seems like this case would fail from the get-go on ripeness grounds (i.e., a court would say that the dispute isn't ready to be heard because the plaintiff doesn't have actual maps to complain about), so I'm not really sure what the NAACP's angle is here.
• Pennsylvania: PoliticsPA talked to some insiders who are crediting Dave Wasserman's sources and saying that his most recent map is apparently pretty close to the plan that the state's Republicans are supposedly reaching consensus on. (Maybe both share the same sources, though - who knows?) Click through for all the details. The most salient feature is something a lot of people here have also proposed: a matchup between Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, the two most junior Democrats in the delegation, in order to deal with PA's loss of a seat.
• Virginia: Lawmakers are potentially looking to release state legislative maps as early as the end of the month - which makes sense, since VA holds its House and Senate elections this November.
• NM-Sen (PDF): What happens if you took a poll and no one answered? That's what this Tulchin Research poll (taken on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife) feels like to me, what with its sample size of just 213 likely Democratic primary voters. If you're trying to figure out the margin of error, you'll need to start counting on your other hand - it's 6.7%. Anyhow, the results, such as they are: 1st CD Rep. Martin Heinrich: 32; Lt. Gov. Diane Denish: 25; 3rd CD Rep. Ben Ray Luján's: 15; State Auditor Hector Balderas: 5; and 24% undecided. I think it's very unlikely that the field would develop this way, but I still think these "round up the usual suspects" polls can be valuable - if they have enough respondents, that is.
• OH-Sen: This kind of speculation is always seriously moronic... but hey, I live to serve. So in case you want to imagine a world where the Republican presidential nominee wins next year, and he's picked Sen. Rob Portman as his running mate, Roll Call is happy to indulge your grim dystopian fantasy about a suddenly open Senate seat in Ohio come Jan. 20, 2013.
• WV-Gov: Democratic State House Speaker Rick Thompson just earned the endorsement of two teachers' unions: The West Virginia Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association. The primary here for this oddly-timed special election (necessary because of ex-Gov. Joe Manchin's Senate victory last year) is coming up very soon, May 14th.
• CT-05: Kevin Rennie mentions a couple of possible Democratic prospects to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, who of course is running for Senate. One is 28-year-old pr strategist Dan Roberti, whose father Vincent was once a state rep. The other is CNBC reporter and former local news anchor Brian Schactman.
• NV-02: A piece in the WaPo has 2006 and 2008 Dem nominee Jill Derby sounding pretty interested - she said she's considering forming an exploratory committee. (Ridiculous as that sounds - I mean, she's considering whether to consider? - that actually counts as pretty aggressive talk in this hyper-cautious age.) The story also mentions another possible name, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, as well as noting that state Treasurer Kate Marshall (whom we flagged as another potential candidate yesterday) calling the race "absolutely winnable."
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin has her first ad out (NWOTSOTB), in which she repeatedly touts her supposed small business credentials but doesn't mention that she's a Republican. In some not-so-happy news, New York's Green Party is saying they are likely to endorse Ian Murphy, the guy behind the fake David Koch call to WI Gov. Scott Walker, as their nominee. That means they probably won't cross-endorse whoever winds up being the Democratic nominee... and that signals a long four years ahead of us. (Thanks to scoring 50,000 votes in last year's gubernatorial election, the Greens get an automatic ballot spot in every race in the state through 2016.) Green Party co-chair Peter LaVenia says he doesn't think that Murphy will "siphon votes" from the Dem... oy, christ, this is giving me nightmarish flashbacks to debates with idiotic Naderites in 2000. I can't do this again.
• Wisconsin Recall: Let's talk about Randy Hopper. If you'll click the link, you can hear a ridiculously misleading radio ad that he's just gone up with. The lying isn't the point - it's the fact that he's on the defensive, a place you never want to be. And he knows, it, too - which is why he's gone out and hired Jeff Harvey, who most recently managed Rep. Dave Reichert's (WA-08) successful campaign last year. That's a pretty big gun to bring in to a state lege race, so how can Hopper afford something like that? Well, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and several lackeys (including recall target Alberta Darling) were in DC last night, picking up cash at a high-dollar fundraiser held at Haley Barbour's lobbying firm (more-or-less in exchange for gunning through that infamous bit of right-to-work legislation). The optics couldn't be better! But cold, sweet cash can move mountains.
In related news, HuffPo's Sam Stein tries to track down elusive information about the state of the attempted recalls of Democratic senators. It sounds like it's going poorly: An uncoordinated mess by different groups which launched different efforts at different times. The Wisconsin Republican Party has refused to get involved, and apparently the recall has been whittled down to just three target senators (from the original eight). I would not be hugely surprised if they would up with zero.
• Philly Mayor: This is pretty funny: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter faces no real primary opposition, but he's still trying to bounce the crazy brother of former Mayor John Street, Milton, from the ballot. Among other things, Nutter is alleging that Street doesn't meet the residency requirements, which say that candidates have to live in the city for three years prior to the election. Where was Street? Serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison on tax evasion charges - in Kentucky.
• SF Mayor: SurveyUSA has a poll out for the San Francisco mayoral race slated for this November. SF uses instant run-off voting (IRV), so SUSA asked people to pick their first, second, and third choices. Interim Mayor Ed Lee (who filled in for Gavin Newsom when he won the Lt. Gov. race last fall) says he isn't running but actually gets the most first-choice votes. Here's the full field:
Ed Lee, interim Mayor, 17%
Michaela Alioto-Pier, former Board of Supervisors member, 12%
Leeland Yee, State Senator, 11%
David Chiu, Board of Supervisors President, 10%
Dennis Herrera, City Attorney, 9%
Bevan Dufty, former Supervisor, 8%
Click through the link to see second and third choices.
• DCCC: Steve Israel talked a bunch with the Hotline about candidate recruitment. The most interesting thing is his "alumni association" of former members of Congress who are thinking about running again. He holds "semi-regular" (Hotline's phrase) conference calls with "the vast majority of former members." Israel says that in recent weeks, interest and attendance has spiked, and I have to guess that recent Democratic enthusiasm inspired heavily by protests in the Midwest has been a factor. Israel also insists that ex-MoCs who have closed down their campaign accounts or taken lobbying jobs are not necessarily taking themselves out of the game; he sympathetically argues that some folks simply need the cash. Of course, optics aside, K Street might just seem a lot more comfortable than the campaign trail grind to many of these folks
• DNC: The usual unnamed Democrats are telling Politico they think Ted Strickland is a "strong contender" to replace Tim Kaine at the DNC if the latter decides to run for the Senate in Virginia. I think the world of Strickland, but I'd hate to see his considerable talents get muzzled at the DNC. I just don't think that a proud populist is going to be able to speak his mind while at the Obama DNC.
• Votes: Dave Catanese has a run-down on the House members seeking (or likely to seek) statewide office and how they voted on the most recent temporary budget bill. A big swath of Republicans voted "no" (i.e., against their party), after having previously voted for the prior continuing resolution, likely out of fears of getting teabagger (because the bills don't cut spending enough). Meanwhile, several Democrats in the same boat all voted "yes."
A seven-count indictment accuses Tom Ganley, a high-profile auto dealer and onetime congressional candidate, of kidnapping a 39-year-old Cleveland woman and having sexual contact with her.
Ganley, 68, faces three felony charges of gross sexual imposition, and single counts of kidnapping, abduction, solicitation, and menacing by stalking, according to Ryan Miday, a spokesman for County Prosecutor Bill Mason.
• Mississippi: Looks like Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial aspirant Phil Bryant is getting his ass handed to him. Bryant attempted to interfere with the state Senate's attempt to draw a new map by instead offering his own. Bryant's plan was rejected by the Senate (which we noted on Tuesday). Now, the Senate's original plan has been adopted by the House. So it looks like an incumbent-protection deal has been reached, with the Democratic-held House and the Republican-controlled Senate each getting their way. But even with a Dem gerrymander, you've got to believe it's only a matter of time before the House falls, too.
• General: Politico has a piece discussing the GOP's overall strategy of playing it safe with redistricting this decade, and to avoid "dummymanders" like the one in Pennsylvania which proved (at least temporarily) disastrous to the party.
One note: The "O/K" column refers to the share of the vote that Obama and Kerry respectively got in the district. In any event, the vagaries of redistricting obviously make selecting endangered incumbents a difficult enterprise, but there are still some notable names missing on this list. Who else do you think should be on here?
• FL-Sen: Mike Haridopolos is starting to look like one of those guys who just seems to track muck wherever he goes - or has been. How do you like this for both ridiculous and corrupt? He received an astounding (a) $152K (b) in taxpayer money to (c) write a book that (d) no one would ever read - and that (e) never got published because (f) the manuscript was too shitty to print. Getting that much (a) to do (c) is remarkable in any environment, but particularly when (a) is in the form of (b), and (d) ensures that the whole venture will be a major money-loser. (E) and (f) are really just the punch line - which makes Haridopolos the joke (and Florida taxpayers the serious losers here).
• MA-Sen: I get the sense that Deval Patrick's decision to blab to the National Journal about the candidates he's talked to who might run for senate must either have been deliberately planned or really unappreciated. Patrick said that 2010 special election candidate Alan Khazei and Newton Mayor Setti Warren told him they are "in, for sure" - leading Warren to tell Wicked Local Newton that he's merely considering the race and has no timetable for an announcement. Was Patrick fluffing Warren in a helpful way, or was he just cracking out of turn?
• MT-Sen, MT-Gov: Was this even a thing? Dave Catanese asked Gov. Brian Schweitzer if he and Sen. Jon Tester might trade places - the term-limited Schweitzer running for senate and the flat-topped Tester running for governor. Schweitzer said nuh-uh.
• TN-Sen: I won't call it a "must-read," but a strong "should-read" piece in the Tennesean gives some good background on Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who may be one of the strongest (only?) Dem options to take on Sen. Bob Corker in 2012. Dean has a Phil Bredesen-like "moderate" background, has been largely successful as mayor, and also has a very wealthy wife. But the article notes that Dean first has to win re-election as mayor this August (though he's the favorite) - and more importantly, he hasn't express any particular interest in running for senate. Maybe a run against freshman Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014 might be a better choice.
• VT-Sen: Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon says he'll decide on whether to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders this week. He has a conference planned for noon Thursday.
• IN-Gov: Mike Pence, a very likely gubernatorial candidate, offered quite a bit less than a full-throttled defense of Gov. Scott Walker's attempts at union busting, perhaps in an effort to avoid a rift with the man he's hoping to replace, Gov. Mitch Daniels. But given that Daniels' decision not to follow Walker's lead engendered a ton of teabagger vitriol, I'm wondering if Pence's move to go soft here might cause him trouble in a potential GOP primary.
• ME-Gov: Speaking of Scott Walker, Gov. Paul LePage, elected with 38% of the vote, says that he, too, will pursue his lifelong dream of destroying collective bargaining rights. LePage may run into static from the GOP legislature, though, before he has the chance to fully transform himself into Kochbot 2.0.
• MS-Gov: It's always a little tricky when someone is referred to as a businessman of some sort, but I'm going to guess that newly-announced Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Williams, "owner of Pascagoula-based Hazmat Services Inc.," is a lot closer to the Some Dude end of the spectrum than the zillionaire kapitalist side.
• WI-Gov: Speaking of Scott Walker yet again, the RGA has a new ad coming out in support of said governor, but of course, NWOTSOTB. Meanwhile, a fellow who says he did "micro-targeting" for Obama in 2008, Ken Strasma of Strategic Telemetry, has a poll out which he says supports the idea that Walker could be vulnerable to a recall. And through the use of un-revealed "micro-targeting models," Strasma also thinks that there would be more than enough people willing to sign a petition in each of the eight Republican state senate districts where senators are currently exposed to the legal possibility of a recall.
• WA-Gov: Show of hands - does anyone here think Gov. Christine Gregoire will actually seek a third term? Hey, maybe we're all wrong, but the very fact that she's even been entertaining the idea has already been a big enough surprise. Anyhow, Gregoire says she'll decide by "early summer."
Meanwhile, Democratic King County Executive Dow Constantine, whose name proverbially "came up" last December (see SSP Amazing Daily Digest, Issue #44) as Rep. Jay Inslee was seen to be holding his fire, sounds largely like a "no." Constantine said he might "at some point be interested in an opportunity," but "I have on my plate a few matters in King County government and I'm going to remain focused on that this year." Of course, with Gregoire now fogging in the control tower, everyone else is probably going to be put in a holding pattern.
• CA-36: This may not be a huge surprise, but Janice Hahn said that now ex-Rep. Jane Harman was querying her about her future political plans when she was a guest of Harman's at the State of the Union address in January (going so far as to ask Hahn whether she'd be interested in running for CA-36), then tipped Hahn about her resignation announcement hours before she made it. This helps explain Hahn's particularly energetic burst out of the gates, but it doesn't explain - or excuse - Debra Bowen's anemic start. Two weeks after announcing, Bowen's website is still nothing more than a splash page with a big "Contribute" button, and I haven't seen a single announcement of any high-profile endorsements. Does a sitting Secretary of State really have that few friends in high places?
• FL-25: When you've lost Eric Cantor... the no. 2 Republican in the House was in Miami for a fundraiser, but already-doomed Rep. David Rivera was pointedly asked to stay away. Worse, Cantor said he has "concerns" about Rivera, and worse still, he was seen meeting with former state Rep. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, a possible replacement for Rivera. (Diaz de la Portilla, who served just one term in the state House a decade ago, is the brother of former state Sen. Alex, who was touted as a possible FL-25 candidate last cycle, and current state Sen. Miguel.)
• NY-13: Rep. Mike Grimm is obviously doing the sensible thing here, working with Democrats (and somewhat less-insane-than-usual Republicans) to secure funding for government programs that actually matter to New Yorkers. Money for cops = popular! Of course, "the sensible thing" has pissed off local teabaggers, which could prove a problem for Grimm as he seeks re-election.
• NY-25: The namejacking anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List is running an ad thanking Ann Marie Buerkle for her vote to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Kudos to Dave Catanese, who says the size of the buy (which includes online ads) is $75,000, and that the ad itself is expected to run 182 times. It sounds like SBA is also planning to spend another $125K running radio ads in a number of other GOP-held districts: IL-08, IL-14, NH-01, PA-07, and PA-08.
• OR-01: Another GOP name has surfaced as a possible challenger to David Wu: State Sen. Bruce Starr says he's considering a run. I think it would be more interesting to get a sense of which Dems are likely to succeed Wu, though, since odds seem slim that a Republican will hold this seat. But of course, most Democrats aren't saying much, and that includes DCCC chair Steve Israel. When your own party's re-election chief says "no comment" about your future, you're long past the point where you should be stepping aside.
• Census: The good folks at the Census Bureau will have redistricting data this week for DE, KS, NE, NC, and WY. In other census news, be very glad that Robert Groves is the director of the bureau and the guy he replaced is long-gone. Steve Murdock told the Houston Chronicle that "it's basically over for Anglos" in Texas and that it's a "terrible situation." Wow.
• Crossroads GPS: Karl Rove's dark money front organization says it's already spent a million bucks on House race ads this year, which the DCCC "has been unable to come close to matching," according to The Hill. The article makes reference to the David Brock-Kathleen Kennedy Towsend (oy) group that's supposed to be the Dem answer to Crossroads, but has anyone heard a peep from "American Bridge" yet?
• Las Vegas Mayor: Diarist atdleft has a good roundup of ads currently in rotation in the Las Vegas mayoral race. If you haven't been following this one, current mayor Oscar Goodman is term-limited out, and a field including two Dems (Larry Brown and Chris Giunchigliani), one Republican (Victor Chaltiel), and one independent (Goodman's wife Carol) is vying to replace him. There's a top-two primary on April 5th and a run-off (if no one gets 50%) on June 7th.
• Teabaggers: Even though 84 Republican freshman joined the House this January, just 11 have joined Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus - and the caucus is now actually smaller than it was when it first started. Anyhow, at least a few of these (click the link for the article) are probably sitting in blue enough territory that this decision will cause heartburn for them on the campaign trail. (But see the classic rock-and-hard-place conundrum faced by Mike Grimm in the NY-13 bullet above.)
• Twitter: The Fix compiled a list of their favorite Twitterers in all fifty states. I haven't checked it out yet, though, so I don't even have an opinion. But enjoy!
• AZ-Sen: Outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl says he isn't endorsing a successor - just yet. He wants to see how the field develops first.
• IN-Sen: Look who else isn't endorsing - the forgotten man, Sen. Dan Coats, says he isn't taking sides in the looming GOP primary battle, not for Lugar or anyone else. Way to stick by your colleagues, huh? I guess maybe Coats is thinking about 2016, when I'd be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts he'll get teabagged himself (if he doesn't hang up his spurs before then, something I'd also entertain action on).
Meanwhile, Mourdock is concerned about the possible entry of teabagging state Sen. Mike Delph, who Treasurer (and recently-announced candidate) Richard Mourdock says will split the vote with him if he runs. Delph previously issued the usual state legislator's incantation, saying he'd wait until the legislative sessions concludes at the end of April before deciding on a run.
• NE-Sen: Gotta say this about Don Stenberg: He has no fear of losing. He's making his fourth try for senate, having failed on his three previous attempts. Still, despite almost achieving perennial candidate status, he did have a triumphant return to statewide office last year, winning the Treasurer race by a landslide. And he served as state AG for over a decade starting in 1991, so it's not like he can't win a race. (Attentive law students might also remember him from the caption in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case about so-called "partial-birth abortion.") In any event, Stenberg is looking to present himself as the far-right alternative to AG and not-exactly-firmly-entrenched frontrunner Jon Bruning.
• TX-Sen: Either Tom Leppert just scored a sweet season pass to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, or he's going to dive into the crowded GOP senate race. Though he has four months to go, he's resigning (effective Friday) from his current position as mayor of Dallas, so it's gotta be one of those two. Who wants to give me ten-to-one on Hurricane Harbor?
Maybe that's not a bad idea, actually, since the University of Texas (on behalf of the Texas Tribune) didn't even test Leppert's name in their new poll (PDF) of the GOP primary. It's not especially fascinating, though, since "I dunno" leads the way at 52%, LG David Dewhurst (who hasn't yet announced) is at 27%, and no one else is above 5%. They also looked at a hypothetical Dem primary, between a bunch of guys who aren't running and no one knows. Click through the link if you insist.
• UT-Sen: What to do if you're a pollster in Utah? You've got a major potential teabagging on your hands, but it's very likely to be decided at a party convention, not in a normal primary. So what do you do? You poll it anyway! I can't blame the folks at UtahPolicy.com - it's not like you can really poll convention-goers. And there is worthwhile information you can learn from these sorts of things.
Anyhow, in a hypothetical primary, Sen. Orrin Hatch is tied with Rep. Jason Chaffetz at 42 apiece. This says to me that GOP state delegates are likely to be even more anti-Hatch than Republican voters at large, so the incumbent is probably in very serious trouble indeed. I'm not convinced Chaffetz will make the race, though - in response to this poll, he noted that he's already a subcommittee chair in just his second term, and that it would be "pretty hard to walk away" from his newfound influence in the House majority. But certainly someone will step up.
• NY-26: I've been dismissive of him so far, and I remain skeptical, but David Bellavia is at least showing that can-do spirit. The former Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran filed paperwork with the FEC to form an exploratory committee, and his spokesman pointed to Republican nominee Jane Corwin's support for abortion rights (at least "during the first trimester," which, guys, hasn't been the legal framework for twenty years). It'll be interesting to see if a teabagger candidacy can use a social issue likes this as its hook. Anyhow, if he doesn't score an existing third-party line, Bellavia will need 3,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
• TX-15: Felicia Sonmez runs down the House members with the highest absentee rates so far - several have missed in the range of 30% of votes in the early going of the 112th Congress. But all of them have obvious excuses (mostly bereavement and health-related), except for one: Ruben Hinojosa, who has skipped over 40% of roll calls. His spokesman didn't respond to The Fix, but I'm really curious to know what's going on here. Could retirement be looming?
• DCCC: The D-Trip is doing a wave of robocalls, along with some web ads and emails, into fifty Republican districts. The Hill doesn't seem to have (or at least, have published) the entire list, and NWOTSOTB. (That's "No Word On The Size Of The Buy," in case you haven't seen that one before. Remember it, because candidates and organizations frequently launch tiny paid media campaigns with the hopes of garnering free press. If you don't see information about how much a media buy actually costs, then odds are it falls into this category. Don't let yourself get played, and always be looking for the size of the buy.)
• Census: Here's a new tidbit from the Census Bureau: 760 of the nation's 3,000+ counties are experiencing "natural decrease:" deaths are outweighing births. Although most of these counties are rural counties, it's not purely a red state phenomenon; at the state level, four states (all of which, you might notice, have not only older-than-average populations but also low Hispanic populations) also fall into this category: West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine. (C)