• ND-Sen: North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk will announce his formal entry into the Senate race to replace Kent Conrad tomorrow. Kalk, a Republican, raised a really lame $32K in Q1.
• NM-Sen, NM-03: Facing an already-crowded primary field and the prospect of giving up a safe House seat, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said yesterday that he won't seek the Democratic nod to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate.
• OH-Sen: I think we didn't spot this mid-April poll from GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies until now... but definitely take it with something stronger than mere salt. For one thing, they've regularly done polls for WorldNetDaily (I mean, seriously?), and for another, they released a seriously weird-ass poll last cycle that purported to show Rep. Norm Dicks losing to a perennial candidate. (Dicks won by 16.)
But even if you didn't know all that, you'd have to laugh at their absurd spin: They call Sherrod Brown's favorables "dangerous" and his re-elects "disastrous"... even though his head-to-head margin is 49-36 over Ken Blackwell, 50-36 against Mary Taylor, and 48-33 paired with Josh Mandel. In a Republican poll! Anyhow, if you want to chase this one all the way down the rabbit hole, Wenzel also had a component testing the anti-union legislation called SB5, which will very likely appear on the ballot this fall (people want it repealed by a 51-38 spread).
• WI-Gov: Another recall poll from another not-especially-prominent pollster. Republican polling firm Etheridge & Associates (based out of Tennessee) found 44% in favor of recalling Walker and 51% opposed. They also put Walker head-to-head with a real candidate (which is what would happen in a recall election) and found him tied with Russ Feingold at 48 apiece.
• ND-AL: This is a very good report from Kristen Daum, who writes the "Flickertales" blog for the Fargo-Moorhead Forum. She nails freshman GOP Rep. Rick Berg on two counts: First, last year Berg ran heavily on the theme that Earl Pomeroy was mostly relying on out-of-state money while he, Berg, was raking it in from North Dakotans. Well, with the Q1 reports in, Daum observes that about 80% of Berg's campaign cash is now coming from interests outside of ND, including quite a bit from DC. Better still, Berg's staff claimed he hasn't held any fundraisers or solicited contributions... but the Sunlight Foundation's "Party Time" website scrounged up a copy of an invite to high-dollar event held on Berg's behalf by Eric Cantor and a couple of PACs. Whoops!
• NY-13: I'm not even going to summarize what's at the link, except to say it's a truly explosive story about GOP freshman Mike Grimm. Just click and read it.
• WI-01: Businessman Rob Zerban is already running against Rep. Paul Ryan, but The Fix suggests another possible Democratic name: state Sen. Chris Larson.
• Americans United: That Americans United for Change ad buy against four Republicans we mentioned yesterday apparent totals $35K. That's at least in the ballpark of real money, and I'm very glad to see groups like AUFC and House Majority PAC start doing these thousand-papercuts sort of campaigns early.
• Polling & Demographics: Ben Smith has an interesting little exchange between a couple of pollsters with experience in working with the Latino community. One, André Pineda (who has polled for Obama, among others), says he thinks that pollsters who gather Hispanic samples by relying on surnames miss a lot of Hispanics who don't have such names, typically because their families have lived in the US longer. These voters, says Pineda, lean more to the right than newer immigrants. But Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race says that Pineda's estimates are "way off base." Barreto says only 5-10% of Hispanics do not have Hispanic surnames, whereas Pineda's memo suggests that the number is far higher.
• Town Halls: Want to see if your member of Congress is having a town hall during this recess so that you can go and give them what for? MoveOn has a tool that lets you plug in your ZIP code and find town halls near you.
• Voter Suppression: Unsurprisingly, the Florida legislature is moving forward with a big election law bill that's principally designed to suppress the Democratic vote, as always in the name of preventing VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111. Changes include shortening the early voting period, adding onerous restrictions on third-party groups which register voters, and preventing voters from changing their addresses at the poll (something which Florida has allowed for forty years). Republicans are also moving forward with bills that would eliminate payroll deductions for union dues, force unions to get each member's permission before spending money on elections, and make it harder for trial lawyers to bring medical malpractice cases. In short, as one Democratic lawmaker put it, it's the entire GOP wish list.
• Florida: This is sorta interesting. One Florida lawmaker on the legislature's redistricting committee is telling his fellow legislators not to talk to him about redistricting - at all. The new "Fair Districts" law says that districts can't be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents, so mapmakers are concerned that if their colleagues start telling them about how they'd like to see the lines crafted, that could later be used as evidence in court.
• Virginia: And so it goes: A week after saying he wouldn't change a thing about his party's map, Dem Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw now says of Gov. Bob McDonnell: "We are talking to him. We are trying to meet all of his concerns." I can't see how this is going to end well for Democrats, who now seem to face a choice between a crappy gerrymander in the Senate and a court-drawn map... and I guess would prefer the former, based on Saslaw's hints. Sigh.
Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pretty pissed at McDonnell for vetoing their plans, supposedly with almost no warning, but there's a lot that doesn't add up here. For one, the article says that the legislature doesn't have enough votes to over-ride McDonnell's veto, but that's simply not true. If House Republicans really wanted their map badly enough, they could have prevailed on their counterparts in the Senate to vote for the package deal, ensuring it was safe from McDonnell's veto pen.
For the governor's part, he's also full of shit. His spokesman said that he would have preferred the House and Senate maps had been sent to the governor in separate bills, but jeez, this is classic "born yesterday" crap. There's no way the Senate would have given away its one piece of leverage like that. Still, it does sound like the Republican anger at McDonnell is quite real (and not just limited to redistricting), which means a serious derail is not impossible. So maybe there's still a way for Saslaw to snatch something other than defeat from the jaws of... defeat.
• Utah: The state will apparently make redistricting software available to citizens on its website, but the linked article isn't very clear where that will happen. Any ideas?
• ME-Sen: It's stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won't support Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It's a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she'll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn't help - and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.
• NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he'll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a "done deal."
• OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he'll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.
• TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won't run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.
• IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it's not unimportant. I can't really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse - he won't have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he's just feeling ambivalent.UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership... which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.
• LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I'm filing this under "LA-Gov" because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he'll run again, or if he'll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.
• NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year's gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn't, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand's been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he's talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he's more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.
Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year's key races. Marchand wasn't included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.
• AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour's last.
• NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally... but in any case, Diamond didn't return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.
• NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY's List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.
• OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from "rumor level" to "considering level." Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he's definitely interested. He'd be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race - Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don't (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.
• KY-St. House: It's not the biggest news in the world, but it's unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties... from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn't switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory - which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)
• WI Recall, WI-Gov: I'm usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% "keep" and 47% "remove." They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying "keep" for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and "keep" for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.
• House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC's Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC's "tuppence a bag" efforts, it's a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.
• Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP's list - see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy "significant," but also notes that it's for five figures... so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.
• Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they'll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can't possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it's more scared of what a court might draw, then we'll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they're the ones who have the most to lose - Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you're interested in drilling down on this one some more.
• Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of "leadership." The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won't take place until the fall.
• Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi's redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren't voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.
• Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).
• AZ-Sen: I keep saying that there's no way Jeff Flake waltzes to the GOP nomination, but the Republican party has yet to prove me right. Fortunately, my deliverance may come in the form of rich guy Wil Cardon, who is supposedly giving the race a "very strong look" - and can self-fund.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov, etc.: Like another failed Republican gubernatorial candidate before her, it looks like we won't have Meg Whitman to kick around anymore. Actually, that's kind of confusing, because of course we did get to kick Dick Nixon around quite a bit more... but not until he kicked all of us around first. Anyhow, uh, where was I? Oh yeah, the former eBay chief says she "doubts" whether she'll run for office again. Let's hope she means it.
• MA-Sen: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Deval Patrick still won't run for Senate.
• MT-Sen: For once, I'm hoping a Republican schedules more fundraisers - at least, fundraisers like this. Denny Rehberg just did an event in Denver that was co-hosted by BP's "director of government and public affairs" (i.e., their chief in-house lobbyist)... on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Good optics!
• ND-Sen: This should scare absolutely no one off, from either party: Republican Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, the only declared candidate to succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, raised all of $32K in Q1. John Hoeven he ain't. While we're on the subject of North Dakota, former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who retired last year, just donated the bulk of his remaining campaign funds - $1 million - to a new charity he founded, the Center for Native American Youth. A worthy cause, I'm sure, but I'll bet Joe Sestak would have really appreciated that extra mil.
• OH-Sen: It's weird how the GOP went from utterly dominating last year's Senate election in Ohio to digging out their barrel-bottom scrapers from the back of the utility shed. Ken Blackwell says he's talking to the NRSC about a possible run... though I guess it's not really clear if the NRSC is talking back. A lulzy quote: "You don't just come out and build the sort of support base that I have overnight." True - you probably need to spend two years running a crappy campaign to do as terribly as he did in the governor's race back in 2006.
• TN-Sen: This is a little odd: Sen. Bob Corker said he "came close" to not seeking re-election this cycle. Too bad we don't have a candidate who could make hay out of Corker's lack of fire in the belly (a phrase he actually uses with respect to some fantasy presidential run, but seems applicable to his day job, too).
• VA-Sen: It's starting to feel like the wingnut candidates are doing everything they can to make life easier for George Allen by piling into the clown car that is the GOP primary field. The latest is rich dude Tim Donner, whom we mentioned last month. Almost all of these weirdos claim to be teabaggers in good standing, so this almost assuredly means we'll see some People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front nonsense, rather than a united effort to stop Allen. Lame.
• KY-Gov: Republican frontrunner David Williams raised just $450K in Q1 and has $670K on hand. (This compares to Gov. Steve Beshear, whose numbers we mentioned previously: $1.3m/$3.3m.)
• NC-Gov: PPP's monthly home-state poll shows Gov. Bev Perdue inching up against Republican Pat McCrory, trailing 49-38 instead of 50-36. That's very similar to a new SurveyUSA poll which has McCrory up 51-39.
• SC-Gov: The issues are a little too complex for me to try to summarize here in a digest bullet, but the link will take you to an interesting story exposing some pretty naïve political incompetence on the part of supposed GOP wunderkind Gov. Nikki Haley. One thing I'd like to remind folks of is that despite the Republican bloodbath of 2010, Haley didn't perform all that impressively. In fact, she had the second-narrowest win out of all 20 victorious GOP gubernatorial candidates, just 4.3%. Only Rick Scott won more narrowly, and he's Rick Scott. Dem Vincent Sheheen got almost no national attention but should have, given his strong performance in a tough state in an impossible year. If Haley continues to stumble, I think she could prove surprisingly vulnerable in 2014.
• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
• HI-Sen: Sen. Dan Inouye says in a new interview that he "will not take sides in the primary," and Politico ads that his "top aides insist" he won't be lending quiet, behind-the-scenes support to any candidates either. I hope that's true, since I was concerned Ed Case might have mended things with Inouye to the point that the latter might get behind the former. But without some special help, I think Case will have a hard time. Also, SMS Research took the most useless poll imaginable, pitting Case against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a primary... and absolutely no one else. Whatevs.
• ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe said she raised over $877K in Q1 and has over $2 million on hand.
• OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown said he raised $1.3 million in Q1 and has $2.5 million on hand.
• VA-Sen: George Allen said he raised $1.5 million in Q1 and has $1.25 million on hand.
• KY-Gov: TX Gov. Rick Perry, current chair of the RGA, says his organization won't decide how heavily it'll get involved in Kentucky's gubernatorial race until after the May 17th primary. He also declined to endorse frontrunner (and establishment choice) David Williams, saying he's "got a really good feeling about all the men and women who are running."
• CO-04: Republican Rep. Corey Gardner apparently raised over $300K in Q1.
• CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes estimates he took in over $300K in Q1.
• IN-06, IN-05: Luke Messer, a former official with the state GOP who nearly beat Rep. Dan Burton in a primary last year, now finds himself living just outside Burton's 5th CD, according to new maps proposed by Republicans in charge of the state lege. Messer is now in the 6th, which is likely to be vacated by Mike Pence, who everyone thinks will run for governor. Messer says he's buddies with Pence and will consider running to replace him if Pence makes the leap for the statehouse, but he wouldn't rule out a rematch against Burton (though he says he wouldn't move in order to do so).
• MN-08: This is pretty wild: Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) says he's thinking about staging a comeback. It's wild because Nolan left office in 1981 and is now 68 years old. It's also rather strange because Nolan represented what was then the 6th CD, which is accurately represented in the map Joe Bodell presents. (His reader update is incorrect.) At the time, Nolan's district covered the southwestern and central portions of the state; today's 8th is in the northeastern corner (though they share one county in common, Mille Lacs). And to cap it all off, Nolan was touting himself at a Dem meeting in Bemidji, which is in the 7th CD. Actually, no - the real capper is that Nolan was a practitioner of the '60s & '70s fad of "Transcendental Meditation" (whose practitioners claimed they could levitate) and earned a mention in Time Magazine for it.
• MO-03: Not going gently... or padding the warchest for a different race, or perhaps something else down the line? Russ Carnahan raised $333K in Q1, his best first quarter ever, and has $286K on hand. Dave Catanese notes that Lacy Clay raised just $17K (though he has $222K in the bank). Would Carnahan really go up against Clay in a primary? What do you think?
• MS-02: Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson said she plans to challenge veteran Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Democratic primary next year. She also announced she's hiring pollster Celinda Lake. Hudson had previously said she wouldn't seek re-election to her current post. Thompson, meanwhile, ended last year with $1.7 million on hand and has warded off primary challengers before (most recently in 2006, in the form of Chuck Espy, son of former Rep. Mike Espy).
• SD-AL: Though it seems all but certain that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't seek a rematch this cycle (among other things, she just accepted a teaching position at South Dakota State University, where she once worked), she did say she's open to the possibility of seeking office again at some point in the future. She didn't specify what post, so you can mentally flag this item as something other than just SD-AL if you like. Speaking of SD-AL, Rep. Kristi Noem (the woman who beat Sandlin) announced she took in $396K in Q1.
• LA-AG: Former Rep. Joe Cao says he plans to challenge Dem-cum-Republican AG Buddy Caldwell this fall. Cao specifically cited Caldwell's party switch (which only happened in February) and questioned his Republican bona fides - sort of an unusual move in a state where party switching has been very common. We'll see if he Cao actually has the chops to make a race of it. (Side note: A proud moment in SSP in-the-weeds history: Live-blogging the LA-AG runoff in 2007, when control of the state House was also at stake.)
• MS-AG: A rare bright spot for Mississippi Dems: Attorney General Jim Hood leads Republican Steve Simpson by 49-32 margin in PPP's latest poll.
• Special Elections: From Johnny L-T:
Two of the three elections last night were landslides; in South Carolina's SD-16, Republican Greg Gregory trounced Democrat Keith Brann and Libertarian Stan Smith by a 77-18-5 margin, while in Minnesota's SD-66, DFLer Mary Jo McGuire beat Republican Greg Copeland 80-20. In Connecticut's HD-128, Democrat Dan Fox won with 39%, while Republican Charles Pia (not Antonacci, my mistake) came in second with 24%. Independents John Mallozzi and Monique Thomas both made strong showings, pulling in 23% and 13%, respectively, and Green Rolf Maurer brought up the rear with about 1%. Note that Mallozzi failed to win the Democratic nomination, so he petitioned his way onto the ballot.
• Pay-to-Play: MaryNYC, the First Lady of the Swing State Project (aka my wife), has an interesting backgrounder on the SEC's new regulations which attempt to curtail Wall Street from engaging in "pay-to-play" with elected officials. What's interesting about the rules is that they make it very difficult for employees of financial firms to donate to state and local officeholders who have a stake in municipal investment decisions, but generally speaking doesn't affect donations to federal officeholders. So, in a hypothetical example, New Mexico state Auditor Hector Balderas, who is weighing a run for Senate, might find Wall Street's doors shut, while Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is already in the race, would face no such problems.
• Indiana: We'll have a lengthier redistricting-only digest later today, but I wanted to bring you this information ASAP. A source involved in Indiana politics informs me that these are the Obama percentages for each CD in the new map proposed by Republicans in the state lege:
• CT-Sen: William Tong, a state rep we mentioned once before, is supposedly gearing up to enter the Democratic primary. He was recently in DC "making the rounds," and is reportedly trying to hire staff. I don't really see how he has a chance, given that two big names are already in the race, but maybe he's hoping for a good enough showing to improve his name rec with the political classes for a future run. (Tong's only in his late 30s.)
• NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer, a sorta dark-horse candidate given that two statewide officials are already running in the GOP primary, is getting encouragement from a one-time statewide office-holder: former Gov. Kay Orr, the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the United States. Interestingly, the man who stopped Orr in her bid for re-election in 1990 is the guy Fischer would take on: Ben Nelson.
• OH-Sen: As promised early last week, Josh Mandel filed paperwork with the FEC to form a Senate campaign committee, but his mouthpiece insists that it's not a formal statement of candidacy, just "a step."
• WI-Sen: GOP ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, on a two-race losing streak, is hoping that the third time's the charm. After offering some recent hints, Neumann's now explicitly saying he's considering a run against Herb Kohl. He hasn't offered any kind of timetable, except to suggest he's kinda-sorta waiting on Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who inherited his seat in the House. (I seriously doubt Ryan will run, given his prominence in the House GOP leadership.) Neumann was last seen losing the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary to none other than Scott Walker. Before that, he'd been out of politics for a long time, narrowly losing the 1998 Senate race to Russ Feingold. Neumann has some personal wealth he could throw into the race, though of course Kohl has a ton of money (and a history of self-funding).
• NY-26: The cries of "splitters!" from the Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea battle raging in upstate New York have just grown louder. The leaders of one teabagger group, TEA New York, issued an endorsement to Republican Jane Corwin, furious as they are over Crazy Jack Davis appropriating their good name and branding his ballot line the "Tea Party." Meanwhile, another teabagger org, the Tea Party Coalition, gave their seal of approval to Davis, who denounced TEA NY as a tool of the GOP. Oh, it also helps that the leaders of the TPC are on the Davis payroll. But for the full flavor, I strongly encourage you to read Alan Bedenko's hilarious summation of all this mishugas.
• TX-26: Dianne Costa, a former GOP mayor of Highland Village (pop. 17K) has filed paperwork to run in the 26th CD, currently held by backbencher Michael Burgess. Odds are this is a Schrödinger's Seat situation. (H/t FEC Kenobi)
• Las Vegas Mayor: I'm borderline uncomfortable reporting polls from Strategic National, because their chief, John Yob, established himself as an untrustworthy partisan hack almost right out the gate. But in any event, Jon Ralston obtained a copy (warning: Word file) of a poll they just took in this race, showing Carolyn Goodman ahead of Chris Giunchigliani by a 48-34 spread. It's not clear who if anyone the poll was taken for, but oddly enough, it tests some negative messages against both candidates - not something you usually see in a poll that gets released into the wild. It also features percentages that go into the thousandths, which means you know it's extra-accurate.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It's sort of redundant to begin a bullet linking to 538 by saying "Nate Silver crunches the numbers," because of course that's what he's just done. Anyhow, click the link for his look at whether the Wackiness in Waukesha points to incompetence or fraud (conclusion: "[I]f you want to allege that there's a conspiracy afoot, the statistical evidence tends to work against you.) Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel also thinks the new numbers are plausible. And for a more amusing tidbit that definitely tilts in favor of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus being a boob, check out this entertaining story from Michigan Liberal.
Meanwhile, despite now facing very challenging odds (or perhaps because of it), JoAnne Kloppenburg has hired Marc Elias, the attorney who led Al Franken's legal efforts in his recount battle. David Prosser is tapping Ben Ginsburg, who, in addition to representing Norm Coleman, played a big role in the Bush Florida recount team.
• Voter Suppression: Huh - why is Jon Husted, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, trying to sound reasonable on the issue of voter ID? In the fact of pending legislation which would require voters to bring a government-issued photo ID with them to the polls, Husted instead is in favor of allowing people to use other forms of identification, like a utility bill or government-issued check. Given how deep VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!1111 runs in the teabagger bloodstream, this is one issue (like immigration) on which any sensible Republican with higher ambitions would be wise to avoid, yet here Husted is sticking his neck out on it. What gives?
• Colorado: Colorado's new congressional map is now not expected until April 21st, instead of April 14th, as originally planned. Republicans are whining about the delay, which is partly due to the fact that 2010 precinct-level data is still being churned out by the Secretary of State's office. (The SoS claims they usually don't get it out until June 30th... why should it take eight months to do this?) Anyhow, I don't really understand why Republicans would be better off if Dems don't use the 2010 data, unless they think Democrats are dumb enough to redistrict solely based on 2008 numbers. (They aren't.) It doesn't matter, though, since the GOP isn't going to get their way here.
• Connecticut: The redistricting process is (slowly) starting here in CT.
• Florida: This is fiendish: Republicans in the legislature are pushing a constitutional amendment which would split Florida's seven-judge Supreme Court into separate five-member civil and criminal divisions, and which would also shunt the three most senior members into the criminal section. That would give Rick Scott three new appointments, and whaddya know! the four most junior justices are all Charlie Crist appointees, while the longest-serving three were all elevated by Dem Gov. Lawton Chiles. This is appearing in the redistricting roundup because Dems are (rightly) accusing the GOP of trying to pack the court in advance of the inevitable legal battles over redistricting. In order for this measure to appear on the ballot before Nov. 2012, though, it'll require the support of some Dems in the House. Let's hope they aren't stupid enough to fall for this.
Anyhow, the legislature is starting work on redistricting, but it sounds like they are in no hurry to get the job done (the above story might be part of the reason): House Speaker Dean Cannon told members who want to be on the redistricting committee to expect to work hard into next year. Of course, we do things quite a bit fast around here, so if you want to play around with the latest redistricting toy, check out this new online tool for remapping Florida.
• Iowa: Today is the deadline for members of Iowa's advisory commission to issue its recommendations on the state's new set of maps, after which the lege has to give them an up-or-down vote. All signs point to passage, which would make Iowa the first state in the nation to complete its redistricting process.
• Louisiana: Well, after a quick start with a flurry of plans getting subject to scrutiny, things have definitely gone off the rails in Louisiana. Five of the state's six Republican congressmen sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal asking the legislature to delay federal redistricting until next year - and Jindal apparently agrees with the idea. Daily Kingfish describes this as a big setback for Jindal, given that his party controls the entire lege. It is a little surprising to me that one man, Rep. Charles Boustany, apparently has the power (and the allies in the state Senate) to mess with Jindal like this, but perhaps the governor simply thinks he can steamroll Boustany after the November elections, assuming Republicans gain more seats.
• New Jersey: The fallout continues: Three NJ legislators have announced they will move into new districts so that they can run again this fall, and apparently all of them are being welcomed to do so by their own parties. Of course, it's still early, and some people will definitely get squeezed out by the end.
• Ohio: This is actually the same link at the voter suppression story above, but it contains a throw-away line at the end in which SoS Jon Husted says congressional districts need to be re-drawn by Sept. 1st in order for Ohio to hold its primary by March 2012. (Otherwise it would have to get moved - to May, according to the article, but if the process really drags on, who knows how late things could get shifted.)
• Sacramento: You can redistrict the city of Sacramento, California in this online game.
• Virginia: Played for fools - that's what Virginia House Democrats are. GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is praising the Republican gerrymander of the state House, which passed with near-total Dem support in that body, despite representing a deliberate plan to fuck over Democrats, as having "strong bipartisan support." At the same time, he's slamming the Dem state Senate map, which GOPers had the good sense to vote against en masse, as some kind of unholy gerrymander. Duh! Bolling is trying to goad the lege into adopting maps produced by Gov. Bob McDonnell's commission (not gonna happen), but he's also suggesting that McDonnell could "substitute" the commission's maps for whatever the legislature passes. I admit I'm not entirely clear on how that would work - a particularly egregious use of the line item veto, or something along those lines? Seems risky.
Of course, all of this is predicated on bipartisan incumbent-protection agreement which includes the federal map as well. But is this deal unraveling? Dem state Sen. Janet Howell, who created the senate map, says she "doubts" her body's congressional map will match the House's, which was released just last week (the Janis plan). I'm surprised to hear this, because I thought a clear understanding had been worked out between the two houses, but I suppose there is still some negotiation left to be done over the federal map.
• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) will apparently announce a haul of more than $1 million in Q1.
• OH-Sen: A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Mandel says he'll file paperwork with the FEC "very shortly," but it's not clear from the writeup whether this means an exploratory committee (what I'm guessing) or if it's the real thing. Also of note: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), whose name first came up as a possible candidate less than a week ago, quashed any notion that he might run against Sherrod Brown last Friday.
• VA-Sen: If you want to believe CNN's sources, Tim Kaine will announce a Senate bid in the next two weeks.
• WA-Sen, WA-10: Sue Rahr, the conservative King County Sheriff who inherited the job from now-Rep. Dave Reichert, said through a spokesman that she has no intention of running against Sen. Maria Cantwell - a rumor that seems to have gotten shot down before we'd ever heard of it here at SSP. However, a political consultant of Rahr's thinks the sheriff (who supposedly has crossover appeal) could run in Washington's new 10th CD, if a district emerges out of Reichert's 8th centered in the area north of I-90.
• ME-Gov: Will Paul LePage be the next Rick Scott? Like Florida's governor, Republican members of LePage's own legislature are starting to turn on him; eight state senators penned an op-ed declaring : "'Government by disrespect' should have no place in Augusta, and when it happens, we should all reject it."
• MO-Gov: I think it's going to get worse before it gets better for Republican LG Peter Kinder. Trying to push back against revelations that he spend taxpayer money to spend two months a year in St. Louis luxury hotels to attend baseball games, society balls, and teabagger conclaves since 2006, Kinder claimed that his office had been reviewed by two different state auditors, both of them Democrats: Susan Montee and Claire McCaskill (yes, her). The problem? Montee's audit faulted Kinder for "numerous mathematical errors and inconsistencies" regarding employee pay, and McCaskill's found that Kinder used a state-owned care for personal use. I'm sensing a theme here.
• WA-Gov: Could Christine Gregoire's claim to be undecided about seeking a third term really just be a way to ward off lame-duck syndrome? That's Jim Brunner's guess. The Seattle Times reporter points out that campaign finance filings show the Democrat had just $44K on hand at the end of February. At the comparable reporting deadline during the prior election cycle, she had $1.2 million in the bank. Meanwhile, other likely candidates are flush: Republican AG Rob McKenna has raised $800K and has $400K on hand, while Rep. Jay Inslee (D) had $1.2 million in his congressional account at the end of last year. The piece also notes that another possible Dem candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, has recently discussed a potential run for Lt. Gov. instead. (She'd have to primary Brad Owen, who has been in office since 1997, or push him into retirement.)
• FL-22: Whoa, I was definitely wrong to dismiss "no not that" Patrick Murphy as a Some Dude. One article described him as a 28-year-old accountant, but he's got family money - and, evidently, good connections. Murphy says he raised a majorly impressive $350K in less than a month, and only $30K of that is his own money. Even fundraising machine Ron Klein raised "only" $153K in the comparable quarter in 2005 (before he was first elected).
• NM-01: Terry Brunner, a former state director for the retiring Jeff Bingaman, had previously said he was thinking about running for his old boss's seat, but now says he's considering a run for the 1st CD instead.
• NV-01: Jon Ralston thinks former 3rd CD Rep. Dina Titus will run for Shelley Berkley's seat if the latter runs for Senate, but this is definitely a case of Schrödinger's Seat.
• OR-01: Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson is the first big-name Dem to say he's considering a primary challenge to embattled Rep. David Wu. He wants to wait until the district lines become clear, saying he'll only run if he lives in the district. (He doesn't live there now, but I suppose he could move even if redistricting doesn't help him, so I'm not sure how big an obstacle that is.) He also says he's considering a primary challenge to state AG John Kroger, the man who beat him in the Dem primary for that office in 2008.
• WI-07: Feeling the heat, Rep. Sean Duffy offered a half-assed non-apology, saying his "words were admittedly poorly chosen" when he whinged about getting paid only $174,000 a year as a member of Congress.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Surprise, surprise: "Citizens for a Strong America," the potemkin right-wing group responsible for several attack ads in the race (including one even PolitiFact rated "pants on fire") turns out to be just a clone/offshoot of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' arch-evil front group.
• Special Elections: After a few weeks without any state lege races, Johnny Longtorso is back:
While everyone will be focused on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election (which is a phrase I never thought I'd type), there is one special occurring on Tuesday in South Carolina's HD-64, though it's in a safe Democratic seat. Democrat Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Manning, will face off against Republican Walter Sanders.
Also, a quick shout-out to Republican Mike "Pete" Huval, the newest member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from HD-46. He defeated another Republican (no Democrat ran) on Saturday for the seat vacated by now-State Sen. Fred Mills.
• Maps: The National Journal has an interesting set of maps which focus on a theme that DCCyclone has been hitting in comments: Namely, because of population growth among minorities, the share of the white vote that Obama needs in 2012 is lower than it was in 2008, assuming minority support for Obama stays the same. In a very pessimistic scenario where his minority support falls 10%, Obama would only lose three states he otherwise won in 2008 (FL, IN & NC), assuming he keeps the same share of the white vote. (But note that that latter assumption is unnecessary: Even under the reduced minority support scenario, Obama's white support could also drop considerably in many states and he'd still win.)
• Votes: A new study (full paper here) says that Dems who votes "yes" on healthcare reform saw their reelection margins reduced from 6 to 8 points. Something about this study seems incomplete to me, though, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll be really curious to read your thoughts in comments.
• VRA: This is interesting: Black lawmakers in Georgia have filed a lawsuit challenging to dissolve the charters of five very white cities in DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The plaintiffs argue that these cities, all formed between 2005 and 2008, were created to dilute minority voting power, and hence violate the VRA. Apparently, this is a novel application of the Voting Rights Act, so we'll see how it unfolds.
• Passings: Very sad news: Former Rep. John Adler, a longtime state Senator who served one term in NJ-03 before losing last year, passed away at the age of 51. Last month, Adler contracted an infection which led to heart disease from which he never recovered. His father also died young of heart disease, something Adler would mention on the campaign trail when describing his family's struggles after his father's death. As a state legislator, one of his signature accomplishments was a smoke-free air bill which banned smoking in many public places. He leaves behind a wife and four children.
In other news, former TN Gov. Ned McWherter also passed away yesterday. McWherter, who was 80, served two terms as governor in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the things McWherter is probably best known for is the creation TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program. His son Mike ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.
• Arkansas: Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau has a good rundown of what's going on with Democrats' controversial redistricting plan, dubbed the "Fayetteville Finger." The plan has passed in the House but has stalled in the Senate, where a vote won't come until Thursday at the earliest. At the end of the piece, Moritz details several different alternate proposals pending in the Senate.
• Louisiana: A piece from Sunday's Times-Picayune said that votes were possible on Monday in the House and Senate on congressional maps, but I've not yet seen any subsequent coverage.
• Michigan: Aaron Blake's redistricting series takes him to Michigan, where he has a good explanation of just how difficult it will be for the GOP to shore up its current situation.
• Missouri: Check out this Google Maps version of the state House's proposed new federal district lines.
• New Jersey: Republicans started bitching and moaning about the state's new map even before it was officially chosen, but so far, they haven't said whether they'd challenge the map in court. Not really sure what grounds they'd have even if they wanted to give it a go.
• Nevada: The LVRJ has a piece on the debate in Nevada over whether to create a majority-Hispanic district, or whether to keep Hispanic voters spread out to keep all districts more Dem or more competitive. Most Republicans obviously like the former idea, while Dems (including some Latino lawmakers) are understandably skeptical. Also, it looks like abgin must have trekked all the way from Basque Country to make a presentation at a public hearing in Vegas last weekend: The LVRJ says that "[s]everal interest groups presented proposed maps, including one that likely wouldn't pass legal or political muster because it would create four new vertical congressional districts stretching from North to South."
• Texas: Ah, redistricting cat fud - it has a stench all its own. GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is apparently taking the non-insane view that Hispanic growth and the VRA require that two (well, at least two) of Texas's four new districts be majority-minority, and he's been working with Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar to create a compromise map. This has infuriated fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton (aka Smokey Joe), who insists that at least three if not all four of the new seats be Republican-favored. And folks, the cat fud is real. Sayeth Politico:
Barton has harshly criticized Smith during Texas GOP delegation meetings, launching a profanity-laced tirade at Smith during one session early last month, and he's privately tried to oust Smith as the lead Republican negotiator on redistricting.
Politico's sources say that Smith is still favored among members of his own party, but that Gov. Rick Perry may be leaning toward Barton. Perry's alleged plan is to skip DoJ pre-clearance and go directly to federal court, perhaps hoping for a friendly conservative panel (backstopped by an unquestionably conservative Supreme Court), so that could turn Barton's dream into a reality... but I still think it's a serious stretch. The piece also reports that proposed maps have been circulated among Republicans, but of course, no one's sharing any copies.
That's the difficulty of a campaign. I mean, it's easy to just say, "Seal the border and enforce the law." What does that really mean? What does that entail? And when you're able to explain it, then they're alright. And I think for those who don't agree with my position-think that it ought to be something different-at least I think they give me a little credit for sticking with my position because I've always believed this is what we need and I continue to believe regardless of the political environment.
In the past I have supported a broad approach to immigration reform - increased border security coupled with a temporary worker program. I no longer do. I've been down that road, and it is a dead end. The political realities in Washington are such that a comprehensive solution is not possible, or even desirable, given the current leadership.
In other AZ news, the subscription-only Arizona Guardian says that ex-Rep. Matt Salmon may endorse Rep. Trent Franks, rather than his old buddy Flake (who succeeded him in Congress when he unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2002), something they characterize as a "snub" on their home page. Franks of course hasn't announced a run yet, but Dave Catanese claims he'll do so this Saturday. Just hope whoever told Dave this is more truthful than the dipshit who dissembled about Connie Mack last week. (And I still maintain that Dave had every right-if not an obligation-to burn that source.)
• FL-Sen: Adam Hasner has to be feeling pretty good about himself these days. Rep. Connie Mack inartfully bowed out of the race, and Mike Haridopolos has already scored a few own-goals. So the former state House Majority Leader took to his Facebook to declare that "this election still needs a proven limited government leader, who is solid across the board on the conservative principles." Why golly, that sounds just like Hasner, doesn't it?
• IN-Sen, IN-02: Rep. Joe Donnelly sure sounds like he's interested in running for Senate. He told Robert Annis, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, that he thinks his "experience is best served in the Senate." Annis also characterized Donnelly as "leaning toward" a run. A different reporter at the same event characterized him as "leaning strongly toward" a Senate bid if the GOP makes his current district redder.
• MI-Sen: PPP has the remainders from their Michigan poll last week, a kitchen sink GOP primary:
Pete Hoekstra is the clear first choice of Republicans in the state for who they'd like as their nominee to take on Debbie Stabenow next year. 38% say he'd be their pick compared to 18% for Terri Lynn Land. No one else cracks double digits, with Saul Anuzis at 5%, Justin Amash, Randy Hekman, and Tim Walberg at 4%, Chad Dewey at 3%, and Tim Leuliette with the big egg at 0%.
Speaking of The Hook, he said he'll decide whether to challenge Stabenow in two weeks. In an amusing side note, Hoekstra admitted he got all butthurt when MI GOP chair Bobby Schostak said in a recent interview that he expects a candidate to emerge who is " head and shoulders" above the current crop of potentials-a group which obviously includes Hoekstra. Of course, Schostak also said of this mystery candidates: "I don't know who it is. They haven't met with me yet, if they're out there." We don't know who they are either!
• NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller, presumably trying to scare off would-be primary opponents, raised a pretty massive $125K in a single event in Vegas on Monday night.
• OH-Sen, OH-12: This is... getting strange. Top-tier Ohio Republicans have all pretty much taken a pass on challenging Sherrod Brown, or at least seem to be leaning against a run. But one guy all of a sudden put his name into the hopper: Rep. Pat Tiberi, who sits in the very swingish 12th CD. Tiberi's spokesman made sure to remind Dave Catanese that he's on Ways & Means, though, so that's a pretty tasty perch to give up. Catanese also notes that state Sen. Kevin Coughlin is preparing a run.
• RI-Sen: I guess rich guy Barry Hinckley is running against Sheldon Whitehouse? The founder of a software company called Bullhorn ("the global leader in On Demand, integrated front office software for the staffing and recruiting industry"), Hinckley is apparently trying to burnish his Republican credentials by holding some fundraisers at California yacht clubs. (Not joking about that.)
• LA-Gov: 2010 Lt. Gov. nominee Caroline Fayard is starting to sound very much like a gubernatorial candidate... that is, if you can hear her over her foot-stuffed-in-mouth. She didn't do much to help her cause by declaring at a recent even that she "hates Republicans" because they are "cruel" and "eat their young." (Uh, I talk a lot of shit about the GOP, but what does "eat their young" even mean?) Fayard later tried to wiggle her way out of this by claiming "I'm against the president, but I don't need to see his birth certificate." So she's managed to kill her crossover vote and her support among African Americans in one fell swoop. Well, uh, she sure is getting some free media out of this. (Hat tip: Daily Kingfish)
• CT-05: I guess I thought that former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) had already announced she was running for Chris Murphy's seat, but apparently she's only just formed an exploratory committee.
• MN-06: It's not particularly meaningful, since the funds can be transferred to another federal account, but Michele Bachmann did just file to run for re-election yesterday.
• NY-25, VA-02: Dan Maffei apparently says he'll decide on a rematch "in the next two months," while Glenn Nye (I'd forgotten he was still considering) will wait until "sometime in the summer." (That's how The Hill phrased it in both cases.)
• RI-01: With the city of Providence's finances imploding, freshman Rep. David Cicilline is taking a beating over his stewardship of the city he used to be mayor of. Among other things, a new Brown University poll finds him with a statewide approval rating of just 17-49. Could Cicilline be vulnerable in the general election? I doubt it, but he could underperform annoyingly and require help that could best be expended elsewhere, like a Paul Kanjorski. I think he might be more at risk in a primary.
• Wisconsin Recall: In just the last two months, the Wisconsin Democratic Party reports raising $1.4 million-or, a quarter million more than it did in all of 2010. In other news, a coordinator of the petition drive against Randy Hopper seems to have gone off-message with his intimation that volunteers would have "closer to 30,000 than 15,000" signatures by Tuesday (a month before the deadline). 15,269 sigs are needed for the recall to happen, but a spokesperson for the Democratic Party told the Journal Sentinel that these figures (such as they are) "are not accurate" and wouldn't say more. Quite understandably, t's pretty much been the policy of the party not to talk about where things stand.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: JoAnne Kloppenburg is out with TV and radio ads that tout her independence.
• WATN?: Artur Davis, douchebag from beyond the grave. This is actually the same link as the NY-25/VA-02 item above; Davis did an event with Maffei and Nye at which he said that President Obama would bear the brunt of the blame for any government shutdown. Davis's claim: "I think that voters always focus on the executive as the responsible officer." That's why Bill Clinton lost so badly in 1996, right?
In other WATN? news, I'm guessing that ex-Rep. Bart Gordon (D) is probably ruling out a run for the seat he voluntarily gave up last year (TN-06), or a Senate bid - he just took a job at the law firm of K&L Gates. (The "Gates" is Bill Gates, Sr., the Microsoft founder's dad, who is now retired.)
• Indiana: Have an idea for an Indiana state Senate map? Sen. Tim Lane (D) wants to hear from you! (Seriously!) Contact information is at the link.
• Louisiana: Even though he had said he'd stay out of it, Gov. Bobby Jindal's been weighing in on the redistricting process-and Dems, as you might guess, aren't happy about it. Click through the article to learn more about the exact nature of the dispute. Ultimately, though, it sounds as though Jindal will get his way, which more or less preserves the status quo.
• Funnymanders: What happens when a very careful redistricting job blows up in your face because the state Senate Majority Leader's son being groomed for the new seat tells the media he can't even remember being arrested for getting into a dispute over chicken fingers at Applebee's? Well, I'm calling that a funnymander. Nathan Gonzales has the details on that story, and a few other anecdotes as well, about redistricting gone awry.
• Dark Money: On the darker side of redistricting is all the unregulated cash flooding into various coffers, which Politico takes a look at. A big reason is an FEC decision last year which allowed members of Congress to raise unlimited soft money for redistricting groups, and both Dems and Republicans are, of course, going at it full bore.
• OH-Sen: This is about as far from the horse's mouth as you can get (paging Goldy?): The Columbus Dispatch is simply asserting that Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel "is leaning toward a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and will make an announcement this spring." They don't even say, "according to sources"-is that supposed to be implied or something? Anyhow, I'll wait for Young Master Josh to confirm, seeing as no one else is reporting this.
• CA-Gov (PDF): The Field Poll has preliminary job approval ratings for Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a pretty sharp-looking 48-21 score in the early going. But don't get too excited: Guess who had 54-15 approvals at the same point in his first term? Yep, that'd be Gray Davis (scroll down to p. 3 for the completely historical picture).
• NC-Gov (PDF): I'll be honest, PPP's regular NC-Gov polls were starting to all run together in my head, but this time, Tom Jensen & the gang tried something different: they tested a bunch of alternatives to the very unpopular incumbent Dem, Bev Perdue. The sad news for Team Blue, though, is that even our best hope, AG Roy Cooper, still trails likely GOP nominee Pat McCrory by a 43-35 margin, though that's better than Perdue's 50-36 gap. State Sen. Dan Blue (trailing 48-28) and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton (trailing 47-27) don't change the equation, either. I also seriously doubt that Cooper would run; he was courted for Senate in 2009 but declined early on. He seems pretty happy where he is and, at age 53, can still wait a bit before deciding to move up. (I'm guessing 2016 vs. McCrory would be a good matchup.)
• WA-Gov: This is kind of meh, but if you like your tea weak, drink up.
• FL-26: No, that's not a typo! It's just another super-genious catch by Greg Giroux. Lunatic Karen Diebel, last seen losing the FL-24 GOP primary to now-Rep. Sandy Adams, has filed to run for Congress once again. What's awesome about this is that Diebel has kicked her DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, since her paperwork says she plans to run in the as-yet-uncreated twenty-sixth congressional district. Click the PDF for the documentary proof. This should be great. (Click here if you need a refresher on Diebel's batshittery, including the infamous Snakes in a Pool incident.)
• IN-02: Former Republican state Rep. Jackie Walorski, best known as Wacky Jackie, surprised no one in formally announcing she'd seek a rematch against Rep. Joe Donnelly, something she'd been toying with ever since her narrow loss last fall. (Walorski blames Donnelly's one-point escape on the five percent a Libertarian Party candidate managed to snag.) Of course, two huge, inter-related questions remain here: What will the 2nd CD look like after redistricting, and will Donnelly seek re-election or try his hand at higher office? Stay tuned... for a while.
• NY-26: Janie's got an ad: Republican Jane Corwin is out with a second spot (her first was a bio ad) that hits themes as old as the hills: Dem Kathy Hochul wants to raise taxes, and she's a clone of Nancy Pelosi. NWOTSOTB, but the Corwin campaign claims that the ad is "is airing districtwide on broadcast," according to The Hill.
• OH-10: With his seat potentially headed for the carving board, Dennis Kucinich is obviously trying to win over as many friends as possible before the state legislature starts up the redistricting process. Kucinich said in an interview on Monday that President Obama's decision to order air strikes on Libya "would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense." (By the way, check out that PPP item up above - Kucinich has 27-40 favorables statewide.)
• PA-07: Now this is damn interesting. At that recent DCCC fundraiser in Philly we mentioned the other day, Steve Israel reportedly met with former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer about a potential run against freshman Rep. Pat Meehan, who took over Joe Sestak's old seat last cycle. Stollsteimer confirms he met with "party leaders," and says he's giving the race "serious consideration." But what makes all this so unusual is that Stollsteimer served as Meehan's press spokesperson for many years while Meehan was Delaware Co. DA and later U.S. Attorney! It's only been a few months, but Stollsteimer says he has "serious problems with what [Meehan]'s already done as our Congressman." Could be good!
• PA-08: That don't impress-a me much: the NRCC put out a press release attacking ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy for something or other, perhaps because they're concerned he might run for his old seat again. (That's possible, though he might also run for state AG.) But press releases are cheap, and who knows how many carbon-copy releases the NRCC put out, seeing as they don't put them all up on their website.
• LA-St. Sen.: They switch parties in Louisiana like Denny Hastert changes underwear-which is to say, not every day, but perhaps with some frequency. It should come as little surprise that the latest state legislator to don a not-so-fresh pair of tighty-whities is moving from D to R. But a diarist at Daily Kingfish points out that Norby Chabert (great name) isn't exactly some crusty Dixiecrat playing out the string-he's a freshman who has said publicly he voted for Obama, and was relentlessly attacked on that score during his first election campaign in 2009. It'll be interesting to see if the whole mess of recent converts like Chabert wind up getting teabagged to death.
• Philly Mayor: A judge denied Mayor Michael Nutter's request to remove wacky opponent Milton Street from the ballot, and Nutter said he would not appeal. (Nutter said that Street violated the city's residency requirements, which say you have to live in Philadelphia for three years before seeking office, because Street was serving out a sentence in a federal prison in Kentucky.)
• Wisconsin Recall: The RSLC-that's the Republican State Leadership Committee, the GOP equivalent of the DLCC-is going up with new television ads against Democratic state Sens. Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen, who sit in the two most Republican districts held by Dems and are the target of recall efforts. Neither district is really red, though-they were both lost by Kerry but won by Obama, making them more swingish than anything else. Politico notes that the RSLC has already been running ads against Holperin, and that the new buy is expect to cost $50K a week, while the anti-Hansen campaign will run "six figures over several weeks."
How is this for awesome, though? One Wisconsin totally busted the RSLC for using stock footage so fake, it was actually watermarked with the words "FILE FOOTAGE" in the bottom corner!
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It was only a matter of time-and not that much. The WMC-Wisconsin's version of the Chamber of Commerce-is preparing to run ads in support of Republican David Prosser's campaign to stay on as justice. (I'm guessing these will be attack ads against JoAnne Kloppenburg.) Progressive groups are already on the air with a spot that equates Prosser with Gov. Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, in a candidate forum yesterday, Prosser's already infamous "I'll destroy you, bitch" comments of course came up-and he once again repeated his defense that, well, a bunch of women made him do it, by (as the AP put it) "ganging up on him." He also apparently failed to apologize for his remarks.
• Alaska: Yes, Alaska! While the state obviously doesn't have to worry about congressional redistricting, it does have to re-do its legislative maps. And believe it or not, the state actually has something of a Democratic gerrymander, since last time around, Dem Gov. Tony Knowles controlled key appointments to the panel responsible for producing new maps. This time, of course, Republicans control all the levers of power, so payback is expected.
• Maryland: MD has long been a popular target at SSP for redistricting plans, so I'm not sure there's much new here in Aaron Blake's latest state-by-state installment. But you geeks tell me!
• Mississippi: Dems in the state House voted to join that NAACP lawsuit I mentioned yesterday, which is seeking to enjoin the state from holding elections this year under the old district lines-something which could happen if the legislature stalemates on new maps, which is looking increasingly likely.
• 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.