• AZ-Sen: The NYT has a piece about Dems tip-toeing around the Senate race as they wait for Gabby Giffords to recover (and make a decision), but I think it adds very little to the conversation. There isn't really any new information in the piece, so you can probably skip it.
• MA-Sen: Wow, the DSCC is doing a bang-up job on MA-Sen this week. A couple of days ago, they conned Roll Call into writing a piece which argued that the lack of a Democratic candidate was actually a good thing and all part of some devious plan. Now comes word that they've managed to leak a poll that shows Scott Brown with a ridiculous 73% approval rating and supposedly beating all comers by double digits. Aren't they supposed to only leak polls when they've got good news to share? Sheesh. This is just so sloppy. (Also, 73% approval? Really? Might want to think about hiring a new pollster for this race.)
Anyhow, another Dem is feeling out the race: Gerry Kavanaugh, who was once Ted Kennedy's chief of staff and is now a political consultant, says he's "thinking about" a run. Kavanaugh has never run for office before.
• MO-Sen: This is pretty weird. Tons of documents, including a lot of emails, generated during GOPer Sarah Steelman's tenure as state treasurer have disappeared, and the new treasurer (who is a Dem) is saying in response to freedom of information requests that they simply can't be found. As Catanese says, this ought to give Steelman's primary opponents some good fodder... especially if any of the missing docs ever turn up.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley's leaked a poll (taken for her by the Mellman Group) which shows her up 42-38 over Republican Rep. Dean Heller in a hypothetical Senate race. The more I think about it, the more I feel this really is Berkley's moment and that she should definitely go for it. I think Obama's going to run a very strong campaign here, and I just think the timing is right.
• MI-Gov: Republican-linked pollster Marketing Research Group gives Gov. Rick Snyder the best numbers he's seen so far, with a 42-38 job approval rating. But spiderdem shows just how implausibly favorable to Snyder the sample composition is.
• UT-Gov, UT-01: Interesting: GOP Rep. Rob Bishop refused to answer a question about whether he plans to challenge Gov. Gary Herbert, instead seeming to make some crack about ex-Gov. John Huntsman's run for president. Herbert has raised some teabagger ire for signing an immigration reform package that would, among other things, allow for guest workers (the nutters call it "amnesty") - basically, the opposite approach from Arizona. I'm not sure if Bishop's expressed his views on this legislation, but he's definitely a hard-core anti-immigrant zealot.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is out with his first ad - and it's a two-minute long (!!) behemoth.
• AZ-01: This is an old (May 2010) but interesting article on ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's relationship with Apache Indians in her former district, who constitute an important voting bloc. I highlight it because, of course, she just announced her intention to seek a rematch against Republican Paul Gosar. Apache leaders, who supported her first election bid in 2008, felt betrayed over her support of a controversial copper mine on what they consider to be sacred land and walked away from her last year. However, as sacman701 points out, Kirkpatrick's vote drop-off in Apache County in 2010 was very minimal.
• MN-08: Here's something else interesting (okay, every bullet in the digest is an unparalleled gem and I love them all equally): Dem Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who used to be a state Senator, is supposedly considering a run against freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack, according to a Politics in Minnesota source. One problem, as the piece notes, is that if she won, Republican Senate President Michelle Fischbach would become the new Lieutenant Governor. As someone who lived through the near-death experience of having Pedro Espada half-a-heartbeat away from the governor's mansion, I wouldn't blame Minnesota Dems if they wanted Prettner Solon to stay put!
• NY-01: I think a key reason why Dem Rep. Tim Bishop was able to hang on by the skin of his political teeth last year was because of the exceptionally nasty three-way GOP primary on the other side of the aisle - one which took place very late (September) to boot, giving eventual winner Randy Altschuler little time to recover. So it's very heartwarming to see that another 2010 candidate, George Demos, is already slagging Altschuler for failing to win "in a year Republicans couldn't lose." Both men are considering rematches, and according to Dave Catanese, are meeting with the NRCC. Cat fud comin'!
• PA-03: This is also interesting (there I go again!): Ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper is considering a rematch against GOP frosh Mike Kelly. I say "interesting" because I wouldn't have considered her among the likeliest batch of people to seek a comeback, and I don't think I'd really heard her name since last November. Anyhow, Dahlkemper says she's spoken with the DCCC, and while she wouldn't announce a timetable for a decision, she doesn't want to wait until the fall (as she did in 2007 when she first ran). The same article also mentions another potential Dem candidate whose name has come up in recent days but apparently hasn't ruled anything out: Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott.
• WI-07: Sean Duffy's handlers seem to have a very 19th century understanding of the Internet: They've demanded the already-infamous video of him moaning about getting by on $174K a year get removed on copyright grounds. This is sure to make the story go away. Actually, I've changed my mind: They have a decidedly 21st century appreciation of the 'net: After they sent a takedown letter to Talking Points Memo, TPM re-posted a shorter version of the video - which now, in a reverse Breitbart claim, Duffy's people are saying was selectively edited. Of course, this is bullshit, but they've succeeded in getting CNN to repeat it as fact.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: This is really interesting (wow, I just can't help myself today): Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that there are two key special elections in the state's two biggest Democratic counties on Tuesday, which of course coincide with the Supreme Court race. One we've mentioned before: In Milwaukee, voters will replace their former County Exec, who was none other than Scott Walker. The Dem there, Chris Abele, has devoted his campaign to linking his Republican opponent with Walker. Meanwhile, in Dane County (home of Madison), the exec decided last year to leave in the middle of her term, prompting a new election. While Dane is reliably liberal, Milwaukee isn't always, but given the contours of this year, Gilbert thinks the voter surge in Milwaukee is more likely to be left-leaning. But you should really read the whole piece, as there's a lot of interesting data (and a cool chart) that I can't convey in one short bullet.
• PPP: Politico has a feature-type piece about our buddies at Public Policy Polling, with some details about the deal with DK/SEIU, and a longer discussion of how PPP really has not becomes viewed as a left-leaning Rasmussen... mostly because their numbers are actually, ya know, good.
• Arkansas: Despite strenuous GOP opposition, Arkansas Dems are moving ahead with their so-called "Fayetteville finger" plan that moves the city into Dem Rep. Mike Ross's 4th CD. They did pass a new, somewhat modified plan (you can see a map at the link), but it still preserves the extension into Fayetteville. (Several Republicans plans have gotten voted down as well.)
• Louisiana: Hah! Remember that fucker Michael Jackson, who ran as an independent in 2008 and cost Dem Rep. Don Cazayoux his hard-won seat in Congress? Well, in his role as state Rep., he's put out a propose congressional map that would create two majority-minority districts in Louisiana. I assume they have no chance of seeing the light of day, though. You can find it here.
• Missouri: The first proposed congressional redistricting plan has emerged from the Missouri state House, and it looks pretty much exactly like what you'd expect: Russ Carnahan's district has been flushed down the oubliette. (Map at link.) The state Senate plans to release a map soon, too.
• Mississippi: Mississippi has a serious redistricting logjam, and with the end of the legislative session fast approaching, no one seems inclined to give in. The article I've linked says that Gov. Haley Barbour could call a special session, but Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (who after a big initial setback seems to have reasserted himself as the GOP's point man on redistricting) seems almost eager for the impasse to continue. If it does, that would mean two sets of elections: one this year under the old maps, and one next year under new maps. Bryant is really starting to warm to this, because Republicans would very likely take control of the state House this November under the existing lines, which would then give them a free a hand. But if a new plan (with a Dem gerrymander in the House) goes into place this year, it gives Democrats at least something of a chance of holding the House - which is why House Speaker Billy McCoy's over-reach was really so stupid.
• New Jersey: Things are coming to a head in the Garden State, with the final vote on a redistricting plan by the members of the state's bipartisan commission scheduled for noon on Sunday. What the maps actually will look like is anybody's guess, as the panel's leader/tiebreaker, Alan Rosenthal, has ordered repeated revampings. (Chris Christie has also been seen leaning heavily on the panel members.) Leaked maps (we haven't actually seen copies of them, but apparently everyone is willing to describe them to reporters) seem rife with intra-party intrigue, with several Dem state legislators who've fallen out of favor (including ex-acting Gov. Richard Codey) getting the short end of the redistricting stick. At the Congressional level, the same dynamic is playing out, with rumors that Rep. Frank Pallone of NJ-06 is the House member likeliest to get dealt the worst hand. Apparently he's also out of favor with the currently ruling Dem power brokers, who'd like to derail him from an anticipated statewide run. (The whole story is worth a read, for a guided tour of the byzantine behind-the-scenes working of New Jersey politics.)
• Virginia: The Virginia Public Access Project has some cool interactive charts you can play around with which show how the various redistricting proposals would affect the state legislature.
• 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.
Finally, our Long Island nightmare (and our national nightmare, given that this was the last contested House race of the cycle) is over:
New York Republican Randy Altschuler has conceded to Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, bringing the final undecided House race of the 2010 election cycle to a close.
Altschuler, a wealthy, self-funding businessman, trailed Bishop by 263 votes late Tuesday, after a Suffolk County judge sorted through 1,000 challenged ballots.
The two campaigns were scheduled to meet in court Wednesday morning to continue sorting through ballots, but with fewer than 1,000 challenged votes left to be counted, Altschuler's campaign determined that it could not close the gap.
"After consulting with my family and campaign staff, I am ending my campaign and offering congratulations to Congressman Tim Bishop on his victory," Altschuler said in a statement, adding that he had decided to forego a district-wide hand recount.
• FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.
• PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.
• RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)
• UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.
• NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.
• NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.
• Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.
• AK-Sen: You might recall that yesterday the state of Alaska asked to intervene in Joe Miller's state-court case disputing the Senatorial election, demanding an expedited result. Now the judge is allowing Lisa Murkowski herself to intervene in the case as well; she says the state wouldn't adequately represent her interests, and she's still trying to get an additional 2,000 ballots out there (that weren't counted for her) counted for her as icing on the cake.
• FL-Sen: He isn't even in the House yet, but there's growing buzz for Daniel Webster for the 2012 Senate race, as a possible opponent to Bill Nelson. Of course, as far as I can tell from today's article, that buzz seems to be coming from Webster's own coterie, but it's not the first time I've heard his name associated with the race. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan -- whose myriad lawsuits regarding campaign finance chicanery and his car dealership seem to have faded into the background -- is another name to keep an eye on here.)
• MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman already has one key backer, in the event the quest for the GOP nomination in Missouri turns into a heated primary. The Club for Growth is already lining up behind Steelman, not formally endorsing but sending around a press release touting her and also taking some swipes at Jim Talent for his earmark-lovin' ways.
• NM-Sen: More Some Dude news in New Mexico, where another random guy who lost a NM-02 primary is getting in the GOP Senate field: Greg Sowards (who lost the 2008 primary to succeed Steve Pearce). Further up the food chain, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson seems to be on GOPers' wish list, but she says she isn't focused on that. (I can't see her running unless Jeff Bingaman decides to retire, and since he has fundraisers planned in coming months, he doesn't seem to be acting like a retiree.)
• NV-Sen: The big news yesterday was that John Ensign is no longer considered a target for investigation by the DOJ, in connection to that whole ooops-sorry-I-boned-your-wife-here-have-a-lobbying-job thing. He still faces internal Senate Ethics grilling, which could lead to discipline or even expulsion. How are we supposed to feel about this? A bad day for objective justice, perhaps... but probably a net plus for the Democrats, seeing as how this makes it likelier that Ensign runs again and survives a GOP primary (which a recent PPP poll, before this news, already showed him in position to do so) and enters the general election in weakened form. The local GOP seems to be reading this the same way, still feeling very leery about an Ensign run and very much preferring to see Rep. Dean Heller as their 2012 candidate.
• VA-Sen: With Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart already firing some potshots across George Allen's bow in advance of 2012's GOP Senate primary, now it seems like Allen's camp is returning fire with some heavier-gauge guns. Stewart has to run for re-election to his current job in 2011, and Allen's camp is supposedly vowing to encourage backers to pour in financial support to Stewart's opposition in that race (whoever that might be), in order to decapitate a Stewart run before it can materialize.
• MN-Gov: This is taking damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't to a new level: Tom Emmer's team's wave of frivolous (and when I say frivolous, I'm not being hyperbolic, as you can see here) ballot challenges in the Minnesota recount has mounted so high that officials have had to add more counting tables... and now Emmer is threatening to sue over the fact that they've added more counting tables, saying that that somehow indicates bias against Emmer. The SoS says that adding more tables can't possibly violate any rules. At any rate, moving on to Day 4 of counting, the official tally now finds that the numbers have still barely budged: Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes since Election Day while Emmer has gained 14, with 84% of the vote recounted, meaning there's really no path to victory here for Emmer.
• VT-Gov: We mentioned yesterday that Peter Shumlin brought his GOP opponent, Brian Dubie, into his inner circle, and now he's doing the Team of Rivals thing with his closest competitor from the Dem primary. Ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, who Shumlin beat by 100-or-so votes, is being brought on board as Shumlin's head of the Agency of Human Services, where his key task will be starting up the state's planned single-payer health care system.
• WV-Gov: Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant is making even more candidate-ish noises, saying she's "strongly considering" a gubernatorial run, especially if it occurs in 2011, which would mean not having to give up her current job. Not only are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state House speaker Richard Thompson expected to run for the Dems, but state Sen. Jeff Kessler and state Treasurer John Perdue are also interested.
• MA-01, MA-02: The news from the Bay State is that veteran Democratic Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are both publicly saying that they're running for re-election. In any other year, that would be purely yawn-inducing, but this year, that's fascinating, as it potentially sets them up on a collision course. My expectation was the Massachusetts redistricting conundrum would probably be solved by a retirement from the 74-year-old Olver, and parceling out pieces of the 1st into Neal's 2nd and Jim McGovern's 3rd. With Olver and Neal both sticking around, the subtraction is likelier come from the Boston area, where it seems likely that at least one Rep. will vacate in order to take on Scott Brown in 2012 (which would make sense since not only is Mike Capuano sounding the likeliest, but his Cambridge-based 8th is the state's most depopulated district)... but if none of them take the plunge, the lost seat may come the state's west. Complicating matters even further is that Pittsfield-based ex-state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo has already announced that he's running in the MA-01 primary in 2012, Olver or not. (Would she he run in a primary against both Amherst-based Olver and Springfield-based Neal if they all get smooshed together?)
• NY-01: As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Bishop's team is urging Randy Altschuler to "give in to the math." Yesterday's gain from the first day of counting challenged ballots was a net gain of 27 more for Bishop.
• Redistricting: Here's one more comprehensive redistricting resource to add to your pile, if you haven't already seen it. The Brennan Center's guide includes a rundown on who controls what and what procedures are used state-to-state.
• New York: This is a staggeringly large number, that somehow seems disproportionate to the rather blasé NYT headline: "New York City Board of Elections Finds 200,000 Votes a Month After Election." It's a mishmash of affidavit, absentee, and military ballots that apparently were just now added to the totals. 80,000 of those ballots were from Queens alone, which is 31% more than that borough reported on Election Day. While there were some close races in Queens, the city says that this wasn't enough to reverse the results in any election (and the one race that could have been worrisome, SD-11, actually saw a gain for Tony Avella, who beat GOP incumbent Frank Padavan, from 53-47 to 54.3-45.7).
• AK-Sen: The state of Alaska is intervening in the Joe Miller state-level lawsuit over the counting of write-in votes, asking for an expedited ruling. They'd like the whole thing to be over and done with by Dec. 9, so that there's no delay in seating Alaska's next (or same) Senator. The state's filing also, amazingly, says that the court should find for the state "unless Miller provides proof to back up claims of fraud." Actually provide proof of something?!? Sounds like a bunch of lib'rul elitists with all that emphasis on "facts," instead, of y'know, common sense.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar is pretty much daring a tea-partier challenge at this point, gladly painting his own target on his back with his own paintbrush. He was the only Republican up in 2012 who voted "no" on the proposed earmark ban that didn't pass the Senate yesterday. (Seven other GOPers voted no, but they aren't up this cycle and are from the already out-and-proud porker side of the party anyway, like Lisa Murkowski and Thad Cochran.) Perhaps most galling to the teabag set, Lugar actually invoked Article I of the Constitution in doing so.
• MI-Sen: While everyone waits on Peter Hoekstra to see if he runs, a random rich guy who's been a big behind-the-scenes donor for the Republicans is making some noises about a 2012 bid against Debbie Stabenow. Tim Leuliette has been "considering" the race and calling around to gauge support. Interestingly, his job until October was CEO of an auto parts distributor, Dura Automotive; wonder how he'll spin the Obama administration's auto industry bailout (without which he'd probably be wearing a barrel and selling pencils on a street corner).
• WA-Sen: I know everyone here likes maps (especially maps with lots of blue on them), so here's an interesting one that shows just what any Republican running statewide in Washington is up against: it's a precinct-by-precinct map of the three Puget Sound counties (King, Snohomish, and Pierce) showing how they voted in the 2010 Senate race. Seattle (which is about 10% of the state's total vote) has simply become the nut that's impossible for Republicans to crack; Patty Murray got 82% of the vote there, and lost 1 out of 960 precincts.
• LA-Gov: A survey from Southern Media & Opinion Research (mmmmm... smores) shows Bobby Jindal's popularity coming down to relatively normal levels from its extreme highs back of his initial years, just in time for his re-election bid in 2011. He has a 55% approval, compared with 77% in 2008, and his re-elects are 39/35, not that there's much of a compelling Democratic bench here anymore to take advantage of those undecided voters. Interesting post-script: the survey was paid for by random rich guy Lane Grigsby, whose individual IEs almost single-handedly defeated Don Cazayoux in LA-06 in 2008.
• MN-Gov: After a second day of recounting in Minnesota, nearly 70% of all the votes have been accounted for. The SoS is saying that Mark Dayton is now down 38 votes from the Election Day totals while Tom Emmer is down 1 (and not going to make up that nearly 9,000 vote margin at this rate). Mark Dayton's team, however, is claiming a net gain of 205 in the recount based on allocation of ballot challenges. Sensing that the recount isn't doing anything to change the outcome, Emmer's team is starting to change the topic to post-recount litigation, perhaps focused on allegations that "reconciliation" (matching the number of votes to the number of voters in each precinct) wasn't properly done. Dayton has raised $1 million so far purely to fund the recount, and Emmer isn't far behind in fundraising.
• VT-Gov: Brian Dubie isn't looking like a likely candidate for the GOP for 2012, as he's taken an informal post in the administration of his former foe, incoming Dem Gov. Peter Shumlin. He'll be the state's de facto "ambassador" to its big neighbor to the north, Quebec. In comments, doug tuttle has a list of potential other GOP challengers next cycle, with Dem-turned-GOPer state auditor Tom Salmon at the top of the list.
• NY-01: It looks like we're finally getting some movement on the challenged ballots part of the equation in the 1st, which is all that remains to be resolved. The tally will begin today, with slightly over 2,000 ballots to be decided (although both parties, meeting with a local judge, have agreed to withdraw around 200 challenges and proposed another 200 withdrawals -- including the notorious challenge to a group of 31 SUNY-Stony Brook students). Tim Bishop's lead is currently 215 votes, and the majority of the challenges have come from Randy Altschuler's camp. UPDATE: Based on today's activity so far, Bishop's camp is actively pushing the journalistic powers-that-be to call the race. Bishop's camp says he picked up an additional 20 votes today. There's also a stack of 162 valid ballots that haven't been added to the count yet that will add another 12 to Bishop's lead. Altschuler has only 1,149 challenges remaining, 649 of which are based on residency.
• OR-St. Sen.: Ordinarily, a recount in a state Senate race, at this point, would be too far down in the weeds for even our purposes. However, when it has the potential to flip the chamber, it's worth a mention. The GOP is seeking a recount in SD-3, centered on Ashland in southern Oregon, where incumbent Dem state Sen. Alan Bates beat Dave Dotterrer by 275. It's outside the auto-recount margin where the state would pay for it, but the cost is only $15K-$25K for the state GOP, so it's low risk, possibility of high gain: if somehow they turn the result around, it'd drop the chamber to a 15-15 tie instead of the 16-14 current Dem advantage.
• Mayors: As far as mayoral races go, Chicago seems to be taking up all the oxygen, but there's a number of other important ones this year. Denver was already scheduled to be up this year in May, but it takes on new importance with popular incumbent John Hickenlooper about to take over as Governor (at which point the deputy mayor will take over for five months). One candidate with a locally-big name has already announced: state Sen. Chris Romer (son of former Gov. Roy Romer).
• Passages: Finally, condolences to the friends and family of Democratic ex-Rep. Stephen Solarz, who represented parts of Brooklyn from 1974 to 1992 and who just died at age 70. Solarz was a major force in foreign policy circles until check-bouncing and redistricting brought his ascendancy to an abrupt end. If you haven't already read Steve Kornacki's fascinating profile of Solarz -- including his relationship with Chuck Schumer, and the confirmation that, no matter how big a deal you are within the Beltway, all politics is ultimately local -- read it now.
• AK-Sen: Joe Miller lost yet another courtroom round yesterday, although this one was kind of inconsequential from a legal standpoint: he'd wanted his court challenges to the election to be held in his town of Fairbanks, but the venue will be the state capital, Juneau, instead. In most states that wouldn't be a big deal, but given the difficulty of getting from one town to the other, that provides one more logistical disincentive for Miller to continue his lost cause.
• FL-Sen: After having spent every day for the last two years laboriously typing out "Alexi Giannoulias" over and over, now I'm going to have to get used to "Mike Haridopolos." The newly minted Republican state Senate President is already acting Senate-candidate-ish, doing the DC circuit today, including a visit to the all-powerful US Chamber of Commerce.
• ME-Sen: Maine-area tea partiers are breathlessly telling everybody that they've found a primary challenger to Olympia Snowe who is "credible" and has the financial resources to become an "instant contender." The problem is, they're stopping there and not saying specifically who the mystery person is, although an announcement allegedly will happen in early 2011. (UPDATE: There's one useful piece of news buried deep in the article, actually: Chellie Pingree says she won't run for the Dems for this seat in 2012.)
• MO-Sen: This may be the most interesting news of the day: despite a likely run from a former one of their own (Jim Talent), the NRSC is actively encouraging Sarah Steelman's interest in the race, with John Cornyn assuring her that they'd stay neutral in a Talent/Steelman primary. As a former state Treasurer, she seems to have more credible chops than the Sharron Angle/Ken Buck axis that cost the GOP a couple seats this year, but still has enough credibility with the tea partiers so that it looks like the NRSC isn't trying to shove them back in the attic; they probably also think a female candidate might match up better against Claire McCaskill.
• MN-Gov: The numbers didn't budge much during the first full day of the Minnesota gubernatorial recount (where Mark Dayton leads by just shy of 9,000): Dayton gained 20 votes, while Tom Emmer lost four, after 44% of the ballots were recounted yesterday. Emmer challenged 281 ballots; Dayton challenged 86. While there weren't any write-ins for "Lizard People" this time, there was one vote cast for "Who Farted?"
• MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's interest in running against his boss, Dem Jay Nixon, has been pretty clearly telegraphed for years already, but he's starting to make that look more tangible. He now says he won't run for another term as LG, and he also appeared at last week's RGA conference in San Diego.
• NY-01: Tim Bishop lost some minor ground with the counting of military ballots in the last House race still undecided. There weren't very many of them, but they broke pretty heavily in Randy Altschuler's way: 44-24. Bishop's lead is now apparently 215.
• WA-08: Maybe this one is better filed as "WATN?" Suzan DelBene, who narrowly lost to Dave Reichert, has landed on her feet; she was just appointed by Chris Gregoire as the new director of the state Dept. of Revenue. It's unclear, though, whether this is intended to raise her statewide profile and give her some governmental experience for future runs, or if this takes her off the table for a 2012 run in WA-08 (or hypothetical WA-10).
• NY-St. Sen.: Democratic state Sen. Antoine Thompson conceded to GOP challenger Mark Grisanti yesterday in the Buffalo-based SD-60. That means there are 31 GOP-held seats in the New York Senate; to get to a 31-31 tie, the Dems will need to hold both Suzi Oppenheimer's SD-37 (looking likely) and Craig Johnson's SD-7 (not looking likely, as he trails by several hundred, with the exact number not clear yet). (Or alternately, they could, as occasionally rumored, flip Grisanti, who was a Dem up until when he ran for the race and will essentially need to be one in order to be re-elected.) Thompson's loss is, in fact, pretty mystifying -- I knew this was a Dem-heavy district, but it went 77-22 for Obama (the equivalent of D+24 based on just 2008 numbers)! Ordinarily, a Dem would have to be under indictment or in dead-girl/live-boy territory to lose in that kind of district; in fact, everyone seems mystified, but the theory is that an upsurge in white votes in that district motivated by the candidacy of local fave Carl Paladino pushed Grisanti over the hump (although there are claims (we don't have the data to confirm yet) that Andrew Cuomo still managed to win in the 60th, which would tend to counteract that theory).
• State legislatures: We already mentioned four party-switchers from the Dems to the GOP in the Alabama legislature, following the change in the majority there, but there's also a handful of other changes to mention (though not as many changes as we saw in 1994): 13 changes in 5 states. That includes 5 in the Georgia House and 1 in the Georgia Senate, 1 in the South Dakota Senate, 1 in the Maine House, and in 1 in the Louisiana House (which had the consequence of officially flipping the chamber to GOP control, although that body already had a GOP speaker). Politico has more on the changes in the south (in a rather hyperbolically titled article).
• DSCC: It's official: Patty Murray is the one who got left holding the burning bag of dog doo. She signed on for a second stint as head of the DSCC for the 2012 cycle. She also ran it during the 2002 cycle, when the Democrats lost two seats.
• DGA: One of the other Dem holes needing to be filled also got filled today: Martin O'Malley, fresh off a surprisingly easy victory in Maryland (and possibly looking at something bigger in 2016), is taking over the helm at the DGA. With only a couple troublesome holds on the horizon in 2012, I'd imagine this job was a little easier to fill than the DSCC.
• Demographics: Democracy Corps (or GQR, if you prefer) is out with a memo that's worth a read. Most of it is about messaging, which is a little outside SSP's scope (though still worth a read, in terms of what worked, and mostly didn't work, in 2010, and what recent polls have shown works better going forward). There's also some discussion of demographics, though, in terms of what kind of a turnout model they're expecting (or at least hoping for) in 2012.
• AK-Sen: There's yet another lawsuit coming out of the Joe Miller camp, this one filed in state court. It essentially rehashes claims he's already made at the federal level, but adds two new allegations: voters without identification were allowed to take ballots in some precincts, and that in a few precincts handwriting samples suggest that the same person completed multiple ballots. Miller's ultimate goal is a hand count of the entire race, which could delay Lisa Murkowski's swearing-in past January. The question, however, is starting to arise: who's paying for all this? None of Miller's former friends seem interested any more: the NRSC has gone silent, and the Tea Party Express still offers verbal support but isn't ponying up any money. Only Jim DeMint continues to offer any financial support (with a Joe Miller fundraising button on his Senate Conservatives website).
• MT-Sen: This could complicates matters for Denny Rehberg, turning this primary into an establishment vs. teabagger duel. Two right-wing groups, Concerned Women PAC and Gun Owners of America, have already lent their support to businessman Steve Daines, who has already announced his bid for the GOP nod here.
• NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand has to do it all over again in 2012 (this one was just a special election), and rumors are that former Bush administration official Dan Senor, who spurned a run this time, is interested in a run next time. It's hard to imagine, if Gillibrand could top 60% in a year as bad as this, that Senor could somehow overperform that in a presidential year.
• MN-Gov: The recount is officially on. The State Canvassing Board, whom you all got to know really well in early 2009, ruled that the 8,770 vote lead for Mark Dayton is less than one-half of a percentage point and that an automatic recount is triggered. The count starts on Monday and should end in mid-December, allowing time for swearing in on Jan. 3 (unless things really go haywire). This comes after a variety of legal maneuvering from both sides, including a fast Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against Tom Emmer, in response to his desire to force counties to comb through voter rolls and eliminate votes that were "excessively cast." No word yet on whether the Board will honor Dayton's request for ways to streamline the process (and minimize Emmer's chances for challenges).
• MT-Gov: There had been rumors that Democratic ex-Rep. Pat Williams would seek the Dem gubernatorial nomination (potentially setting up a match with his successor, ex-Rep. Rick Hill), despite being 72 years old. He's now saying that he won't. Williams is so old-school that he used to represent MT-01, before the state got smooshed together into one at-large district.
• CT-05: Random rich guy Mark Greenberg, who finished third in the GOP primary in the 5th this year (although with nearly 30% of the vote), says he'll be running again in 2012. Added incentive: he says he expects this to be an open seat as Chris Murphy runs for Senate.
• FL-17: Newly elected Frederica Wilson is already challenging the old ways of the House... going after the long-standing prohibition against wearing hats on the House floor. She says it's "sexist," saying that women's indoor hat use is different from men's. Wilson owns at least 300 hats, she says. (If Regina Thomas ever makes it to the House, maybe the Hat Caucus can gain some momentum.)
• MD-01: Recently-defeated Frank Kratovil seems like one of the likeliest losses to run again in 2012, especially since the Dem-controlled Maryland legislature is likely to serve him up a much Dem-friendlier district (as many of our in-house mapmakers have suggested). He isn't saying yes yet, but says he will "consider" it.
• NH-02: Another possible re-run is Ann McLane Kuster, who performed pretty well in a narrow loss to Charlie Bass in the open 2nd. There have been lots of Beltway rumors that her run is imminent, and some are pointing to encouragement straight from the White House for her to try again.
• NY-01: We've essentially finished the absentee ballot count, and the news is very good here: Tim Bishop, after leading by only 15 last night, is now leading by a comparatively-gargantuan 235 with all absentees counted. However, we're nowhere near a resolution, as attention now turns to the court battle over 2,000 challenged ballots (Randy Altschuler has challenged 1,261, while Bishop has challenged 790). Still, Bishop's spokesperson is saying they're "very confident" that they've won this one.
• NY-23: Yeesh, Bill Owens is actually saying he might vote for John Boehner for Speaker or abstain instead of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to a floor vote, saying Pelosi is too liberal. (This despite saying he voted for her, rather than Heath Shuler, in the caucus vote.) Also, not that it matters at this point, but this race wound up being closer than the Election Day count indicated: Matt Doheny picked up 1,982 previously-unknown votes in the recanvass of Fulton County, taking Owens' margin down to 1,795 overall, and making it all the clearer that we owe this victory entirely to 3rd-party bearer-of-cat-fud Doug Hoffman.
• Odds and ends: The Fix has a massive list of people considering rematches in 2012, most of which we've already dealt with before (including Kuster and Kratovil, above). Other names that we haven't listed include Brad Ellsworth (either for Gov, Senate, or his old IN-08), Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (not unexpected, since she runs every 2 years anyway), Glenn Nye, and Allen Boyd (despite his losing very thoroughly to Steve Southerland).
• AL-St. House: The inevitable realignment at the legislative level in Alabama finally happened, and happened all at once instead of slow drips. Four conservative Democrats in the state House changed to the GOP, bringing the GOP numbers up to not just a majority but a supermajority in one fell swoop. The Madison County (Huntsville) Clerk also announced her switch, too.
• CA-AG: At this point, it's all over but the shouting in the AG race, as Kamala Harris now leads Steve Cooley by 43,000 votes (with 500K votes still left to count). While the AP hasn't called it, LA Weekly has decided it's a done deal.
• Chicago mayor: Roland Burris has aparently thrown his well-traveled hat into the ring for the Chicago mayoral race, as he'll need a new job in a week or so. Supporters filed his candidate paperwork yesterday, the deadline for filing (although he has yet to officially say that he's running). Somehow, I can only see this helping Rahm Emanuel, by further splitting the African-American vote (already divided between Danny Davis and another ex-Senator, Carol Mosely Braun).
• Redistricting: There's been some sudden buzz about switching North Carolina to an independent redistricting commission (which, of course, has to do with the GOP seizing control of the state legislature). In what is not a surprise, though, the GOP has no interest in giving up its newfound power, saying that (despite a recent PPP poll showing wide support for such a commission) there isn't any time to move on the constitutional amendment that would create a commission (something that they generally supported up until, y'know, this month). Also on the redistricting front, check out the Fix's latest installment in its state-by-state series, focusing today on Indiana, where GOP control over the trifecta is likely to make things worse for IN-02's Joe Donnelly (just how much worse, we have yet to find out)... and, if they wanted to experiment with dummymanders, possibly IN-07's Andre Carson, too.
• Demographics: Here's some interesting demographic slice-and-dice from the Washington Post: Dems increased their vote share in big counties (500K+) from 49% in 1994 to 54% this year, but lost even further in smaller counties, from 43% in 1994 to 39% this year. The districts the GOP won were disproportionately older, whiter, and less educated. And on a related note, check out these maps and the interesting ways they represent population density around the U.S. Note any similarities between these maps and where Democratic votes are concentrated?
After Altschuler took the lead by some 15 votes as of mid-morning Monday, the total swung back in favor of Bishop by early afternoon. Altschuler's campaign said, by its count, Bishop leads by just 16 votes.
The two are also battling over challenged absentee ballots, a fight which could end up in court before the end of the week.
Keep in mind, though, that Randy Altschuler has challenged at least 212 more ballots than Bishop has -- and those votes aren't yet reflected in the totals above.
UPDATES: Bishop now leads by 69 votes. (Hat-tip to some eagle-eyed Swingnuts in the comments!)
At the end of Day Four of counting, Bishop took the lead from his GOP challenger, Randy Altschuler, despite what Schneider described as the Republican businessman's "aggressive ballot challenge strategy designed to suppress Bishop's momentum." Despite initially trailing by 383 votes, Bishop now has a lead of 15 votes.
Altschuler has challenged 212 more voters than Bishop. Schneider predicted many of those challenges will be dismissed, which will ultimately bolster the incumbent congressman's lead even further.
The Bishop campaign has sounded confident for a while now, and they're basically predicting victory at this point. Counting is complete everywhere except for Brookhaven, where only about one in seven precincts have have been canvassed. Brookhaven went narrowly for Obama (see p. 34), 109,665 to 98,024.