• MT-Sen: TPM's headline says it all: "23rd Richest Member Of Congress: I'm 'Struggling Like Everyone Else.'" Those words were indeed uttered by Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is worth anywhere from $6,598,014 and $56,244,998. It's not quite Fred Heineman, but it's not exactly far off, either.
• NM-Sen (PDF): Republican robo-pollster Magellan has a new survey out for the GOP primary. They find ex-Rep. Heather Wilson at 59, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez at 17, teabagging businessman Greg Sowards at 2, 11 other and 11 undecided. The supposedly RINO Wilson has what seems like preposterously good favorables, 84-12, among members of her own party. The linked PDF has faves for a whole host of other candidates, including some who weren't tested in the head-to-heads.
• NV-Sen: Joe Trippi's really becoming the go-to guy for rich vanity candidates whom no one wants to see run, isn't he? Fresh off the vomit-caked Jeff Greene debacle, Trippi's been hired by wealthy lawyer Byron Georgiou, who so far as refused entreaties to clear a path for Rep. Shelley Berkley. Georgiou's also arranged to bring on Dan Hart, a local consultant, and pollster Paul Maslin (as in Fairbank Maslin).
• WA-Sen, WA-Gov: Republican Rep. Dave Reichert suggested back in January that he might be thinking about a gubernatorial run, something he affirmed in a recent interview with a local tv station. What seems to be new is that he says he's also thinking about a run against Sen. Maria Cantwell. I can't imagine that working out well for him, and he's also quoted as saying that the "hardest part" of adjusting to life in DC was "getting used to sitting on the airplane." If he's still grumbling about those transcontinental flights all these years later, then it sounds to me like he'd prefer the governor's mansion to the Senate.
• WV-Gov: Rick Thompson has a new spot specifically noting that "across the country, the rights of workers are under attack" - and promising that he'll "stand up for workers" in West Virginia.
• NH-01: Joanne Dowdell, who is described as a "Portsmouth businesswoman" and has had some involvement in national Dem politics (she was a DNC committeewoman), says she plans to go up against ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the Democratic primary. It sounds like her politics, by her own admission, are pretty similar to CSP's, so I'm not really sure what the point of this is.
• NV-02: Gov. Brian Sandoval has set Sept. 13 as the date for the special election to replace Rep. Dean Heller. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Ross Miller will announce the rules for the special at a press conference later today. Oh, and Sharron Angle's sent out a fundraising email (decrying the "left wing of the Republican Party"), so she's obviously hoping Miller's framework leaves the door open for her.
• NY-13: The New Yorker has just about the most fearsome fact-checking department in the English-speaking world, so if you're going to call them liars, you're probably going to get your ass handed to you. That's exactly what's happening to Rep. Mike Grimm, who called Evan Ratliff's piece on his FBI days "fiction," "a witch hunt," and "a hatchet job." Ratliff has responded, and in so doing nailed Grimm on a few mistruths of his own. I don't know that this whole saga is going to have a huge impact in Grimm's district (I think the Ryan vote is a much bigger deal), but there are still a lot of documents we haven't seen. We may never see them, but they still loom out there like a sword of Damocles.
• NY-26: New ads from Jane Corwin and Crazy Jack Davis. Corwin's touts her record on creating jobs, while Davis goes on a rampage, talking directly to the camera about how both parties give bailouts to Wall Street, but he "can't be bought." NWOTSOTB in both cases. Meanwhile, NARAL is endorsing Dem Kathy Hochul, but also no word as yet if money will follow.
• Wisconsin Recall: A local judge agreed with the Government Accountability Board that eight recall elections (so not including one for GOPer Rob Cowles) could get consolidated on July 12. Democrats had asked that the recalls against Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper be certified right away, since those petitions were turned in first, and they're the two most-vulnerable Republicans, but the request was denied. Things may still get delayed if there are petition challenges, which are all but certain - indeed, Dems have already discovered the signature of a Democratic state Rep.'s long-dead father on one. (Republicans amusingly accused Democrats of planting the sig.)
The Journal Sentinel also has a look at state Assembly members who may run in these recalls, on both the Republican and Democratic sides. It's a tempting proposition because it's a free shot: These folks don't have to give up their current seats in order to run. Some of these names have already announced, while others are still considering. And finally, WisPolitics has a roundup of fundraising numbers for all the recall targets.
• Dark Money: Democrats have finally followed the GOP's lead and decided to create organizations to counter Karl Rove's American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS. Former Obama aide Bill Burton and former Rahm Emanuel aide Sean Sweeney will head up "Priorities USA" and "Priorities USA Action," with a goal of raising $100 million to help President Obama. These groups will be allowed to take in unlimited undisclosed donations. No word yet if they also plan on getting involved downballot.
• Colorado: Election lawyers out west looking for work now have at least one redistricting battle they can probably look forward to. Steam is coming out of Republican ears now that they've seen the Dems' new map, and I can't imagine any sort of compromise taking place now. The map the Democrats are going with is one that they've released before, called "City Integrity 4"; you can find a PDF of the bill as formally introduced before the legislature here.
• Missouri: Finally, the Dems do something right in redistricting: Gov. Jay Nixon just vetoed the legislature's last-minute compromise map, almost right after it landed on his desk. The CW said Nixon would wait until the very end of the legislative session to veto, to make an over-ride that much more difficult (or possibly push it into September), but it looks like Nixon chose instead to look publicly magnanimous. He's asked the GOP to send him a new map before the session ends, which makes him look gracious. I suspect that he also knows they can't over-ride, and his veto letter offered no specific complaints about the map, so he's cleverly made it impossible for the Republicans to satisfy him.
The GOP could try to make Nixon look bad by forcing a second veto, but given how difficult it was to hammer out a deal between the House and Senate, I think they'd have a hard time sending him a map that looked any different from the one he just axed. So it would look like silly gamesmanship if they tried to put forward the exact same plan. (That didn't exactly work out for Dick Saslaw in Virginia.) As long as the over-ride fails and Nixon sticks to his guns, this map will end up in court, which would count as a big win for Team Blue.
• Mississippi: I have to say, I never imagined this would work - but here we are. A three-judge federal court says they are "inclined" to agree with Democrats and the NAACP that state legislative elections should be held this year under maps that were approved in each chamber but not the other (and hence never signed into law), in order to correct serious one-person, one-vote imbalances. The court could still choose to allow elections under current lines, or draw its own map, but this seems to be the path of least resistance. Note that in VRA cases which go before three-judge trial court panels, appeals are taken directly to the Supreme Court - and the SCOTUS must rule on the case (they can't kick it by declining certiorari), which is a real legal rarity.
• Nevada: Nevada Democrats have released their congressional map, but we can't seem to find a copy of it online. If you see it anywhere, please let us know in comments.
• Virginia: Well, it's a done deal. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the new legislative maps into law. (You can see them here.) Now we move on to the congressional map. The GOP could (and I guess will) probably try to wait until 2012 to do that, since they'll have a chance at re-taking the state Senate this fall. My view is that Democrats would be idiots to compromise and should take their chances with the voters this fall so that they can kick the map-making to the courts next year. Even if we get rocked this year, what's the worst the Republicans can do to us? Draw an 8-3 map? That's the only "compromise" they'll accept now anyway, and even that might not pass VRA muster. So there's no reason not to wait.
• REMINDER! We're moving over to Daily Kos Elections tomorrow, Tuesday, so bookmark our new home and be sure to create an account immediately, since there's a 24-hour waiting period before you can post comments. Full details on the move here.
Rick Thompson (D): 38
Bill Maloney (R): 28
The West Virginia gubernatorial special election (which, remember, is being held on Oct. 4, not on Election Day in November) looks like it's shaping up without much drama: to replace popular conservaDem Joe Manchin, who moved on to the Senate, it looks like fellow popular conservaDem (and Manchin ally) Earl Roy Tomblin has a strong inside track. Tomblin, whose name rec has improved significantly in the months since PPP's previous (and only other poll) of the race, is now putting up very big margins against the Republican opposition.
Tomblin's favorables are 49/24, including a plurality, 39/33, among Republicans, and his 'not sures' are down to 27%, from 39% in January. His endorsement this week from the NRA ought to only help solidify his standing among right-of-center voters. The other less-known Democratic options (SoS Natalie Tennant's at 36/29, Treasurer John Perdue is at 27/27, and House speaker Rick Thompson is at 25/24) put up less convincing numbers, but thanks to high Democratic registration advantages, all also win, usually by comfortable margins. That's a turnaround from January, where Perdue tied Ireland and Thompson lost; only Tennant finds herself in worse position than before. (Bill Maloney, a mining industry businessman without political experience, wasn't polled by PPP in their January poll, so the trendlines are only partial.)
Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 32
John Perdue (D): 17
Natalie Tennant (D): 16
Rick Thompson (D): 15
Jeff Kessler (D): 5
Arne Moltis (D): 1
Betty Ireland (R): 31
Bill Maloney (R): 17
Clark Barnes (R): 8
Mitch Carmichael (R): 8
Mark Sorsaia (R): 4
Ralph William Clark (R): 2
Larry Faircloth (R): 2
Cliff Ellis (R): 1
The more important story for now, though, is the primaries, which will take place on May 14 (a Saturday, three weeks away). Unlike with the generals, this is PPP's first look at the primaries and assumedly will be their last; it's also our only primary poll outside of candidates' internals. Again, name rec carries the day: Tomblin has a sizable advantage. In fact, as Tom Jensen points out, despite the clutter in the Democratic field, Tomblin actually has a bigger lead there than does ex-SoS Betty Ireland on the GOP side (although watch out for that giant MoE in the GOP poll!). Maloney has set the pace on advertising on the GOP side, leaving Ireland playing catch-up. Maloney's latest ad, in fact, plays his ace in the hole: his firm's connections to the rescue of the Chilean miners earlier this year. (One other ad of note: John Perdue's newest ad actually features a jingle! That's such a throwback it's almost a little charming.)
For more on where the Dem candidates fit on the left-right spectrum, check out this excellent primer. This poses an interesting question for Democratic armchair quarterbacks, in terms of who to pull for (which is probably just a question of rooting, as this race certainly isn't much of a magnet for netroots dollars). Is it better to hope for the slam-dunk candidacy of Tomblin, or to go with a bit more of a roll-of-the-dice in the general to get someone, like Thompson or Tennant, who's a bit more to the left?
Probably the biggest Democratic primary of the year is coming up soon: the West Virginia special gubernatorial primary, on Saturday, May 14th. I felt like we weren't getting great insight into the key players, though, from traditional media accounts, so I asked a friend who is well-versed in Mountain State politics if he'd give us a neutral primer on all five serious Dem contenders. His guest-post, for which I am very grateful, is below.
First, let's accept as a given that all the candidates are running on a platform of more jobs, expanded energy production, and improving education in one order of priority or another. Here is a listing of the principal candidates in roughly right-to-left order on the ideological spectrum... though, based on their rapid scurrying as the primary nears, their positioning may shift a bit.
EARL RAY TOMBLIN
Tomblin is a 59-year-old veteran legislator, long-time President of the WV State Senate, and currently is acting Governor following Joe Manchin's resignation. From Chapmanville in the southwestern corner of the state, Tomblin is pro-life and aligned with the business-friendly wing of the West Virginia Democratic Party (WVDP). Running on a platform of "more jobs... lower taxes," Tomblin essentially offers a continuation of the Manchin Administration under new management. Tomblin draws wide support from the energy and other heavy industry, the Chamber of Commerce wing of the WVDP, and Manchin loyalists in the party apparatus at the state and county levels.
Tomblin's supporters say as Governor he will build on Manchin's progress in improving the business climate in West Virginia to create the jobs West Virginians need. They cite Tomblin recently forcing a cut in the state sales tax on food while keeping the state's budget in balance and the announcement by companies like Toyota and Macys of new and expanded operations as evidence Tomblin's approach works and illustrates his effective leadership.
Some of Tomblin's opponents say Tomblin favors business at the expense of working people. They claim Tomblin is a Democrat in Name Only and is in the pocket of out-of-state energy interests like American Electric Power and Dominion Resources, which plunder the state's natural resources and export the profits. Others claim as a 36-year legislator with ethical baggage, Tomblin is part of the problem, and not the solution, as his recent veto of health care measures in the state budget while retaining subsidies for gambling interests illustrate. Others argue Tomblin is too down-home to run strongly enough in the general election in the Northern and Eastern Panhandles.
Jeff Kessler is a 55-year-old trial lawyer, a four-term WV State Senator, and currently serves as interim WV Senate President while Tomblin acts as Governor. From Glen Dale in the Northern Panhandle, Kessler is pro-life, an advocate for gay rights, transparency in government reforms, and firmly in the pro-business camp of the WVDP, though he falls in the middle on labor issues. Kessler is running on a pro-business platform while highlighting his track records on ethics reforms, including the first state-level effort to regulate 527s. Kessler is endorsed by the WV Fraternal Order of Police.
Kessler's supporters say his vision, ethical leadership, and realistic focus on creating jobs through expanding the existing energy industry are what West Virginia needs in these uncertain times. They cite his proposal to create the West Virginia Future Fund, which would divert 25% of severance tax collected on natural gas to provide tax relief for working West Virginians as well as endow efforts to diversify the state's economy as evidence Kessler balances the needs for economic development and social needs. They argue Kessler offers a continuation of the Manchin Administration under new management without the ethical concerns and cornpone manner of Tomblin and, as a Casey-style Democrat, Kessler would be a stronger candidate in the general election in the swing regions. As a centrist, they argue, Kessler will be able to unite the bickering factions within the WVDP.
Some of his opponents say Kessler is just more of the same old Extraction Industry politics of exploit the land and export the profits. They say his strong support for expanded Marcellus Shale drilling involves needless environmental damage while only diverting a small portion of state revenues collected to public use. Others say the ambiguity inherent in his balanced stance between the interests of business and labor indicates a lack of depth and intensity to his commitments. Some argue Kessler's abandonment of his Chamber of Commerce wing allies to emerge as interim WV Senate President show he is a typical ambitious career politician who will sacrifice principle for expediency.
John Perdue is a 60-year-old former WV Department of Agriculture employee, a top aide to former Governor Gaston Caperton, and is currently serving his fourth term as State Treasurer. From Boone County and currently residing in Kanawha County, Perdue is pro-life, proud of maintaining the state's credit rating through the international financial crisis of the last several years, and generally has been considered a conventional center-left politician and an indicator of the center of gravity within the WVDP. Running on a platform of "investing in people," Perdue has recently taken a more aggressively populist line, calling for a freeze and eventual rollback on utility rates. Having held high position in state government for two decades, Perdue has significant support among government workers and has been endorsed by the Teamsters, WV Farm Bureau, and the WV Troopers Association.
Perdue's supporters say his performance as WV State Treasurer demonstrates his competence. Others cite his willingness to stand up to the powerful utility interests as showing his priorities are in order and he has the fire in the belly to fight for the little man. Others view his proposing the formation of a state-chartered Small Business Bank to meet the needs of WV businesses choked off from credit by the mistakes and greed of Wall Street as a taste of the innovative leadership Perdue could provide as governor. They note none of the other candidates have the executive experience and financial competence to guide the state through troubled times while building for the future.
Some of Perdue's opponents say he has done a poor job as State Treasurer as the state's budget crisis clearly shows. They say Perdue did and said nothing while the state's unfunded liabilities for pensions and other post-employment benefits soared to crippling levels and will only get worse in the future. Other opponents say Perdue, as a career bureaucrat and politician, is out of touch with how business works and thinks real people need government to tell them how to lead their lives. They say his attacks on the utilities are merely election-year posturing since he sat back and said nothing while rates went up in the first place and show Perdue is only speaking out now because he is behind in the polls and is desperate to shake things up. Others say Perdue's non-telegenic style is an electoral liability and his blandness is a sure-fire prescription for a general election loss.
Natalie Tennant was the first female Mountaineer (WVU's sports teams' mascot), a former television news anchor, and is currently serving her first term as WV Secretary of State. From Fairview in the north-central part of the state along the I-79 Corridor, Tennant is pro-choice and supported by EMILY's List. Running on a platform of change, Tennant cites the need for "a new way forward." Recently Tennant has declared support for the public employee causes in Wisconsin and Ohio. Her campaign and supporters have lately taken to characterizing her as "the most liberal" candidate in the Democratic field. Tennant has wide support among women generally and runs strong with younger professionals in the small cities of the state.
Tennant's supporters say as governor Tennant will bring a fresh perspective and innovative approaches to problem solving. They cite her private sector experience as a journalist and running her own media firm as well as her relative youth in comparison to the rest of the field as showing Tennant is not tainted with the Good Ol' Boy System, wheeling-and-dealing politics of the past. They say Tennant is the candidate best suited to break up the old ways of doing things which have kept the state mired in corruption. Tennant's supporters say as the only woman and only pro-choice candidate in the field she best reflects the views of the majority of WVDP voters.
Some of Tennant's opponents say Tennant is too inexperienced to serve as governor, citing her mishandling of the Byrd succession as evidence she is not ready for prime time. They note that in the low-risk and high-profile post of Secretary of State, she had only one hot potato land in her lap and fumbled it, misinterpreting the state's election laws and having to be bailed out by the Attorney General's office and a special session of the state legislature. Others say Tennant is deliberately unclear on the issues and is more interested in being all things to all people and getting elected rather than actually leading. Others point to her support from out-of-state pro-abortion groups while garnering few endorsements within the state as demonstrating she is out of touch with core West Virginia values.
Rick Thompson is a 58-year-old trial lawyer, former assistant prosecuting attorney, and currently serves as Speaker of the WV House of Delegates. From the Fort Gay area of Wayne County along the western border with Kentucky, Thompson is pro-life and strongly pro-labor, having been the go-to guy for the unions in dealing with the state legislature for a decade. Running on a theme of "West Virginia owes me nothing; I owe this state everything," Thompson's campaign focuses on the emotionally powerful goal of ending the generations-long migration of young people from West Virginia seeking work elsewhere. Thompson is the candidate of choice for most of the industrial unions as well as a favorite of the trial lawyers, having earned the endorsements of the United Mine Workers, the AFL-CIO, and both of the state's teachers' unions as well as being a favorite of the trial lawyers.
Thompson's supporters say, as governor, Thompson - with his blue-collar background and accomplished legislative track record - has the vision to level the playing field between business and labor while still creating the jobs West Virginia needs, not taxes. They note his economic program focuses on rolling back taxes on the small and mid-sized businesses which are the engine of job growth rather than subsidizing big out-of-state corporations. They say Thompson has always been a fighter for the little man and cite his recent victory over acting Governor Tomblin over granting public employees salary raises rather than a one-time bonus as proof of his effectiveness and ability to get things done in Charleston.
His opponents say Thompson is a rabble-rousing union hothead and a throwback to the bad old days when labor and management were always in conflict rather than working together. They claim Thompson is in the pocket of the unions and trial lawyers and will make decisions as governor favoring their interests rather than those of the state's population as a whole. Others say, if elected, Thompson will reverse the improved business climate in West Virginia achieved under Joe Manchin and cause the state to lose jobs to other states and overseas. Others say Thompson's track record of supporting almost every proposal for state spending and overly generous raises for state employees shows he is a tax-and-spend liberal who will bankrupt the state. Others are concerned, like Tomblin, Thompson might also be a bit cornpone for both Panhandles in the general election.
• HI-Sen: Charles Djou reiterated that he'd wait until fellow GOPer Linda Lingle decides whether to run, which he expects by this summer. (So does that mean until Sept. 21st?)
• MA-Sen: This is some... creative spin from the DSCC. Dems, both named and un-named, are saying that the failure of a Democratic challenger to emerge against Scott Brown is all part of a plan, one that involves attacking Brown (by various proxies, it would seem) while giving the Republicans no Dem to attack in response. This plan is so super-genious, it ought to continue right up until November 6th, 2012.
• NV-Sen: The Lahontan Valley News, covering a Jeff-Jack dinner up north that Rep. Shelley Berkley just attended, says that the congresswoman " confirmed she wants to run" for Senate - but those are their words, not hers. Please hold the microphone closer to the horse's mouth!
• VA-Sen: President Obama showered some praise on Tim Kaine at a couple of fundraisers in NYC on Tuesday night. Is this part of a lengthy marketing campaign, or an attempted kick in the pants?
• CA-Gov: A lone unnamed source tells Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the SF Chronicle that newly-elected Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is planning to run for governor... in 2014. That would mean he either expects the Hon. Gov Jerry Brown, who will be 76 by then, to not run again, or he thinks it would be a good idea to challenge Brown in a primary. Given that it's Newsom we're talking about, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the latter.
• WV-Gov: Rick Thompson has another ad out. I'm told that several other Dems are on the air, but I checked all of their YouTube accounts and found no other ads.
• CA-36: The League of Conservation Voters just came out for Debra Bowen, while Rep. Linda Sanchez threw her support behind Janice Hahn.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul is out with her first ad (NWOTSOTB), in which she touts her accomplishments as a politician... all of which seem to have to do with cars, in one way or another.
• WI-07: Sean Duffy is just a total asshole, but my heart really goes out to the guy who questioned him at a town hall. Said the questioner:
I'm a builder. I haven't been building too many things in the last couple years with the economy down. My wife is a teacher. I'm fortunate enough to take a bus driving job. Love it. Just love it. But it's not very much money of course. It's working for us.
He drives a bus, and still considers himself lucky. Sean Duffy earns $174,000 a year as a member of Congress and complains that "I struggle to meet my bills." He also declared that the benefits the builder/bus driver's wife gets as a state employee are "gold-plated" and are better than those he gets as a federal employee. As Steve archly notes: "What, they don't have an Office of the Attending Physician in Marinette or Eau Claire?"
• Suffolk Co. Lege: It's some good news... for John McCain! It may also be further down into the weeds than we've ever gone at SSP. A Democrat, Sarah Anker, appears to have won a special election in a deeply Republican seat in the Suffolk County Legislature. Republicans are trying to claim that County Exec. Steve Levy's very high-profile troubles with the law (see SSP Amazing Digest #325) weighed them down in this race... but Levy's only been a Republican for less than a year!
• Farm Subsidies: An organization called the Environmental Working Group has a fascinating look at the 23 members of Congress (17 Republicans, 6 Democrats) who have received farm subsidies since 1995. Over the last fifteen years, this group of Republicans has pulled in over ten times as much ($5.3 million vs. $500K) than the Dems. Farm subsidies have been a campaign trail issue - they enrage teabaggers, who savaged the #1 recipient, TN-08 Rep. and agribusiness kingpin Stephen Fincher, in the GOP primary last year over the $3.4 million in federal largesse he's received over the years. The piece also notes that Dems tried to protect rural members by preserving the status quo back in 2008, but that of course has completely failed. With most of those big-age pols now washed out to the hog lagoon, maybe, just maybe, official Democratic policy toward these awful subsidies will change.
• Voter Suppression: The AP has a good roundup on the stepped-up Republican efforts to pass voter ID laws - despite the expense caused by these laws, and by the fact that pretty much no one nowhere has ever proven a single one of these overblown charges of "VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!111111111". States on the list include Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Fortunately, in Democratic-controlled Arkansas, the idea died in the Senate after it passed the House.
• Fundraising: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It's also the last day of the first fundraising quarter of the year, so time to start thinking about donations to your favorite Democrats.
• DC: The District of Columbia doesn't often appear in the digest, but this fits our style: The site Greater Greater Washington has a Google Maps-based game of sorts where you can redistrict the city's wards.
• Florida: Republican legislative leaders have forwarded on Florida's redistricting ballot measures (passed last year) to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance - an application weirdo Gov. Rick Scott withdrew earlier this year. But Mike Haridopolos (oh, you know him) and Dean Cannon, his counterpart in the state House, drafted their request to the DoJ in a way deliberately designed to undermine the amendments. They claimed they would hurt minority voting rights, but I don't really see how that's possible, since the VRA would trump any state laws. Hopefully the DoJ will see through this charade and clear these amendments promptly.
• Iowa: Start hitting refresh! Iowa's first-draft federal map will come out this morning.
• Louisiana: The state House voted to accept a new map on Tuesday, by a 70-28 margin. Most of the votes against were from black Democrats and also from Republicans from Jefferson Parish, which apparently loses a seat to Orleans Parish under this plan.
• Maine: Maine state law says that redistricting must be done in 2013 - which of course would be after the next round of Congressional elections. Two Mainers have filed a lawsuit challenging this practice on "one person, one vote" grounds, pointing out that every other state (except Montana, where federal redistricting isn't an issue) redraws their maps as soon as they get new Census data in.
• New York: Republican state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared last night that redistricting reform is dead. He said the Senate would not take up legislation that would create an independent commission.
• Pennsylvania: Everyone seems to expect that Dems Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will get thrown into a single district by Republicans. Politico examines what the contours of such a mashup might look like.
• Texas: The Texas Tribune did a National Review-style poll of "insiders," asking them what the state's four new congressional districts will look like. 54% said they'll be 3-1 Republican, while 37% said 2-2 Dem.
• FL-Sen: I was pretty bored with reading the George LeMieux tea leaves even before his cuppa began brewing, but in case you're not me, the very-short-tenured former senator has been busy attending Lincoln Day dinners and meeting with GOP activists and potential donors. In beltway land, I think this upgrades him from "Lean Run" to "Likely Run."
• IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is trying to cause some trouble by saying that Gov. Mitch Daniels encouraged him to run against Dick Lugar in the GOP primary, while a Daniels spokesperson said the governor did no such thing. Daniels previously said he'd vote for Lugar, but didn't exactly endorse him. In other news, Mourdock says he expects to show $125K raised for his race in just a month of campaigning.
• KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear just punked his top opposition in this year's gubernatorial race, state Senate President David Williams, hard. Williams had insisted on broad spending cuts (including to education) as part of a Medicaid budget bill; the Democratic-controlled House had no interest in these cuts, but Williams refused any possible compromise. So House Dems (and rebellious House Republicans) passed the Williams bill anyway... I know, hang on ... but full-well expecting Beshear to use his line-item veto to strike the cuts. Then they adjourned, so that the vetoes couldn't get over-ridden. And that's exactly what happened, handing Williams a humiliating defeat.
• WI-Gov: I'm wondering which pollster will finally have the courage to report numbers to the THOUSANDTHS of a percent. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with Republican-affiliated pollster We Ask America, which bravely ignores all rules about significant digits and goes all the way to hundredths. They show what other polls are showing: that Scott Walker (like other loser Midwestern Republican governors) has crappy job approval ratings, in this case 43.71 to 54.87. YES DECIMALS.
• WV-Gov: The AP has a good run-down on which groups are endorsing whom in the gubernatorial race. On the Dem side, we've noted several of the big union heavy hitters, most of whom are backing state House Speaker Rick Thompson. But some important labor groups are supporting other candidates, like state Sen. Jeff Kessler (Fraternal Order of Police, nurses) and Treasurer John Perdue (teamsters, state troopers). Meanwhile, EMILY's List has endorsed SoS Natalie Tenant. The AP also tried to get candidates to cough up estimates of their fundraising figures (final reports are due Friday), but only acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin responded, saying he'd pulled in about a million bucks.
And speaking of Thompson, he's apparently the first on TV, with an ad touting his hardscrabble upbringing. By the way, SSP Southern Correspondent Trent Thompson notes that the soundtrack you hear is a Baptist hymn, which seems to be popular among Southern Dems (Bobby Bright featured this sort of thing in his advertising). (UPDATE: Actually, it's an actually an old Hank Williams gospel song that's commonly sung in churches.)
• CA-36: It looks like we have the final list of candidate filings for the special election. I count ten Democrats, six Republicans, five "nonpartisan," two Libertarians (splitter!), and one "Peace and Freedom" candidate. Also, Howard Dean just endorsed Debra Bowen, which is not too surprising given that his former organization, Democracy for America (run by Howard's brother Jim), also recently endorsed.
• CA-51: Apparently there had been vague rumors that Dem Rep. Bob Filner might run for mayor of San Diego... and now apparently Filner just went and announced he was in fact doing so in a totally off-hand remark after a screening of the film Freedom Riders. (Filner himself was one of the Mississippi Freedom Riders.) There's been some dispute over whether Filner's remarks were accurately conveyed, but oddly, Filner's office has refused to either confirm or deny the statement. Note that the race is in June of next year, so I believe Filner gets a free shot while keeping his House seat.
• TX-23: Not so fast, Quico! Gary Martin of the Houston Chronicle says that Dems are looking at a few potential challengers to freshman GOPer Quico Canseco, including state Rep. Joaquin Castro and Pete Gallego, and state Sen. Carlos Uresti. Ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is also apparently weighing a rematch. While the borders of the 23rd will undoubtedly shift somewhat, it probably can't change a whole lot thanks to the VRA (it's 66% Hispanic), so this race could heat up earlier than many others.
• WI-01: Food service company owner and Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban is apparently interested in challenging GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. Despite his leadership post and his inflexible conservatism, Ryan sits in a very swingish district that can't really be improved in redistricting for a variety of reasons.
• ME-St. Sen.: The Maine SoS has set May 10th as the date for a special election to fill the seat of state Sen. Larry Bliss (D). The reason for Bliss's resignation was certainly unusual and quite poignant: He couldn't find a job in Maine. State legislators work part-time and are only paid $13,000 a year. Bliss said that in the absence of other work, he'd been working as a "full-time" legislator and was really enjoying his job, but he could only find employment in California, prompting his resignation. Of course, this story really isn't that unusual at all, given how many people are still out of work and struggling terribly. Also of note: Bliss was one of only a handful of openly LGBT state legislators nationwide.
• PA-AG: Longtime Philly DA Lynne Abraham (D), who left office just last year, said she's considering a run for state AG, despite being 70 years old. (Devoted Swingnuts will recall that ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy is also thinking about a run.) Believe it or not, no Democrat has won the AG's office since it became an elected position in 1980.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Unnamed sources tell the National Review they've seen polling showing the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg "near even."
• Census: Like in NYC, pols in Atlanta are wondering why the new Census numbers for their city are so much lower than expected - 420K vs. a projected 540K. Jacob Alperin-Sherrif (better known to you as DemocraticLuntz) has an excellent post comparing Census projections with actual numbers for cities between 100K and 1 million people. You need to click through for his must-see scatterplot. There is one massive outlier: Atlanta, which is more than six standard deviations away from the mean.
• Indiana: Despite total Republican control over the process, it's starting to look like the Indiana legislature won't finish their congressional map before the body adjourns on April 29th, largely because of a walk-out by Democrats which ground most work to a halt. But the Democrats just reached what they're saying is a favorable a deal with the Republicans, so perhaps the process will pick up again soon.
• Iowa: The state's independent redistricting panel will release the first draft of a new congressional map at 8:15 am local time on Thursday morning.
• Virginia: New maps for Congress, the state House and the state Senate could be released by the legislature today. Stay alert!
• 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.
• MO-Sen: Well, it looks like Claire McCaskill has been trying to make me look like an idiot. After this site's repeated smack-downs of the "airplane" story as Politico-fueled b.s., it turns out that there is quite a bit more to it: McCaskill now says she owes $287,000 in unpaid property taxes on the plane. That's quite a bit. Of course, she says she's paying them, and she's also having her husband sell the plane - and she further notes that this problem only came to light because she reviewed the plane's records herself. But how do you forget to pay over a quarter mil in taxes? Man.
In other MO-Sen news, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner was in DC last week meeting with the NRSC about her bid. She still claims her first preference is to run for Senate, but based on the quotes in Roll Call's piece, it's sounding more and more like Rep. Todd Akin (R) will get in and she'll run for his seat. Of course, who knows what MO-02 will look like in a few months....
• PA-Sen: The National Journal's Alex Roarty says that Ed Stack, longtime CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods and Pittsburgh native, is thinking about seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey. Stack is, of course, very rich.
• ND-Gov: Horse's mouth: Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) is leaving the door just slightly ajar to a gubernatorial run, saying "I am not excluding anything nor am I focusing on politics right now." But he repeatedly told the Fargo-Moorhead Forum that he was concentrating on his new legal/lobbying job at Alston & Bird in DC.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant released a poll from GQR showing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin leading the Dem primary field with 31, but with herself just behind at 27. Treasurer John Perdue is at 14, while state House Speaker Rick Thompson and state Sen. Jeff Kessler take 5 apiece.
• CA-36: Debra Bowen got her first endorsement from a member of Congress: Rep. Judy Chu, who filled Hilda Solis's 32nd CD seat when the latter became Secretary of Labor. Several other local officials have also endorsed. Also of note: The Courage Campaign is holding a candidate forum on Thursday, and if you click the link, you can submit a question.
• IA-03: Longtime SSPer (and blogger in her own right) desmoinesdem points out that Nancy Pelosi is coming to Iowa to do some fundraisers with Rep. Leonard Boswell, including one at the home of 2010 Dem Senate nominee Roxanne Conlin. Is this a suggestion to Christie Vilsack that perhaps she ought not run?
• KS-04: One political scientist is calling him "the congressman from Koch" - and you'll probably want to as well. Mike Pompeo, a loathsome man hated by many fellow Republicans, took in $80K in donations from Koch employees, was supported by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, and, for good measure, hired a Koch Industries attorney as his chief of staff. (Or more like, David and Charles installed a fixer to make sure their new paisan did as he was told.) Pompeo's been delivering: He's promoting legislation to defund a new consumer complaints database, and an EPA catalog of greenhouse-gas polluters. Personally, I think this dickbag could be very vulnerable to a GOP primary.
• NY-26: Crazy Jack Davis and David Bellavia both filed signatures to appear on the ballot as independents - but of course, now the fun can truly begin. If you weren't already aware, New York has just about the most draconian requirements for petitions in the land - they can be invalidated for as little as using the wrong color ink. I'd be pretty surprised if the GOP didn't try to nuke both of these guys from orbit, though Davis might be invulnerable, since he said he submitted over 12,000 petitions. Bellavia's camp would only say that they submitted "more" than the required 3,500. Unless he has at least double that number, once Christian Szell starts asking "Is it safe?", it's a good bet that Bellavia won't survive scrutiny.
• OR-01: Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has an excellent roundup of recent OR-01 stories, so I'm going to recommend you click through for his summaries and links. Two items of note: Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr says he won't challenge Rep. David Wu, and Wu is apparently starting to actively fundraise again, with an event this week in Portland. I've gotta ask: Who the heck would want to show up to such a thing?
• AZ-St. Sen.: A recall effort is underway against notorious Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant legislation known as SB1070. The leader of the best-organized group claims they have thousands of signatures and are meeting their goals, but they aren't releasing any actual numbers.
• NYC-Mayor: Another Republican campaign, another fortune embezzled. Mike Bloomberg hired John Haggerty to forklift over a million bucks to the state's Independence Party, but instead, Haggerty laundered most of the cash through a consulting firm he owned and spent $750K on a home in Queens. Now a judge says that the evidence of Haggerty's guilt is "overwhelming." Can't say I feel too bad for Bloombo! (Other recent similar incidents involved Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and ex-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut.)
• California: California Republicans are doing their best to ruin whatever advantages the state's new top-two primary system might give them - on purpose. While the top-two might free more moderate GOPers from the ultra-conservative stranglehold on primaries, the activist base wants none of that. Starting in 2014, the party will conduct "pre-primaries" by mail and award their formal endorsement to whoever wins those beauty contests. These people will get assistance from the state party and will also be listed as the "official" GOP candidate for that race. David Atkins thinks, though, that this is a feature, not a bug: The CA Republican Party needs just 1/3 of the members of one of the chamber of the state legislature to maintain California's absolutely dysfunctional system of state governance, and this helps ensure that they elect uncompromising crazies to the few seats they do win - which is all they require.
• California: Good news: The Republican firm that was a finalist to serve as the redistricting commission's mapping consultant was unanimously rejected in favor of an Oakland company called Q2 Data and Research. And while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was selected as the panel's law firm, does have some well-connected Republican partners in their DC office (like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada), it's big enough that you'll probably find the entire gamut from good to evil working under their umbrella (so let's hope we get "good").
• Louisiana: This Times-Picayune piece details the backroom wrangling going on over Louisiana's congressional map, which painfully has to shrink from seven to six seats. Scroll down to that grey call-out box on the left for links to actual maps. I believe we linked the Gallot maps before, but the Kostelka and Jackson maps should be new. (You'll find them at the end of some very long PDFs.) I note that of these plans seem to keep one Dem district by marrying New Orleans with Baton Rouge.
• New Jersey: NJ legislators are being weirdly good about not sharing their proposed state maps with the public, but folks who have seen them are chatting up reporters. One such person, Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, thinks that the GOP is running afoul of the edicts set by commission boss Alan Rosenthal, and could get in trouble for their attempts to over-reach.
• IN-Sen: An unnamed "Democratic strategist" quoted by The Hill suggests that ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (whose name hadn't really come up before this year) is unlikely to run for Senate. Honestly, I'm not sure if the wankerish Roemer would really excite anyone... but we don't seem to have a long list of possible names for this race.
• OH-Sen: PPP has another "everyone and the kitchen sink" primary polls, this time of the Republican senatorial primary in Ohio. In this case, the kitchen sink is named "Kenneth Blackwell," and he comes in first in an eleventy-billion-way test, with all of 17%. I don't think I've even heard Blackwell (last seen losing the 2006 gubernatorial race to Ted Strickland very badly) as a possible contender. Click the link for the other numbers.
• VA-Sen: I've got a new name you can root for: Tim Donner, a wealthy television production executive who is considering whether to challenge George Allen in the Republican primary. A spokesman tells Dave Catanese he's a "couple weeks away" from making a decision. It's not 100% clear whether he's a teabagger, but I suspect he is, given that his mouthpiece attacked bona fide teabagger (and hopeless Some Dude) Jamie Radtke for "working in government since she graduated from college," and because Donner thinks none of the candidates currently running "believe in the concept of a citizen legislature." That sounds like something a teabagger trying to channel Patrick Henry might say, no? At the very least, we should be hoping he'll rough Macaca up with a million or few.
• WV-Gov: This was expected, but it's still an important get: State House Speaker Rick Thompson (D) scored the backing of the AFL-CIO, a key endorsement in what will likely be a low-turnout special primary. (As we noted last week, Thompson also picked up the support of a couple of teachers unions.) The election is May 14th.
• CA-36: Marta Evry at Calitics takes a look at the ActBlue fundraising numbers so far for the key Democrats in the race. The numbers are a moving target, but as of Friday, Janice Hahn had taken in $49K from 200 donors, while Debra Bowen had pulled in $41K but from a much larger 474 donors. Oh, and Marcy Winograd has now achieved joke status, with $1K raised. Also, some teabagger also joined the race, making him the fourth Republican to get in.
• Wisconsin Recall: Some very good sleuthing by Madison TV station WKOW27: The alleged mistress of GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper (the name you can't forget) recently scored a government job, and Hopper said: "I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I'm going to maintain that." He didn't maintain that for very long, calling the station back and denying his involvement with the hiring. I'm not sure Jack McCoy ever got a witness to change his story so quickly - and incredibly. Even better, discovers WKOW, the woman in question got a 35% pay boost over the person who previously held the job. Scott Walker's government austerity in action.
In other news, Greg Sargent says that GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies is in the field with a survey testing anti-union messages on recall target Alberta Darling's behalf.
• DCCC: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was in Philadelphia on Friday, raising a cool $400K for the D-Triple-C. A long list of PA pols was in attendance, including ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and a couple of unsuccessful 2010 candidates, Bryan Lentz and John Callahan. Also nice to see present: Arlen Specter, a guy whose age, brief tenure as an elected Dem, and inglorious exit from office would give him more than enough reason to stay away from this sort of thing forever. Too bad he didn't have the sense to join our team decades ago!
• Redistricting Roundup:
With the bulk of census data out, redistricting stories are coming fast and furious now.
• Arkansas: Talk Business has copies of a few different congressional maps proposed by various lawmakers, as well as descriptions of some others. Click the link to have a look.
• California: Ugh, gross: One of two finalist consulting firms to help California's new redistricting commission has hardcore Republican leanings, while two of four finalist law firms are similarly oriented. Of course, this is exactly what you risk when you leave things to a supposedly independent panel (that features a ridiculous level of Republican over-representation).
• Florida: One Democratic consultant thinks that Florida's population growth suggests that new districts (the state is getting two) could be anchored to regions that would favor two Republicans in particular: ex-LG Jeff Kottkamp and state Sen. Paula Dockery. Kottkamp lost the GOP primary for AG last year, while Dockery dropped out of the gubernatorial primary.
• Iowa: The Hawkeye State's independent redistricting commission will release its first proposes congressional and state maps on March 31st. (Remember, IA loses a House seat.) As the Des Moines Register points out, "Either chamber of the Iowa Legislature or Republican Gov. Terry Branstad can reject proposals twice. If they don't like the third, the Iowa Supreme Court decides the boundaries."
• Missouri: Show Me State lawmakers are starting their work on redistricting, but if they don't have a congressional plan by May 13th, then it'll get kicked over to the courts. State legislative maps aren't due until September.
• Mississippi: I'm not really sure I'm getting this: The NAACP is suing the state of Mississippi over its redistricting plans, but the legislature hasn't even passed anything yet. It seems like this case would fail from the get-go on ripeness grounds (i.e., a court would say that the dispute isn't ready to be heard because the plaintiff doesn't have actual maps to complain about), so I'm not really sure what the NAACP's angle is here.
• Pennsylvania: PoliticsPA talked to some insiders who are crediting Dave Wasserman's sources and saying that his most recent map is apparently pretty close to the plan that the state's Republicans are supposedly reaching consensus on. (Maybe both share the same sources, though - who knows?) Click through for all the details. The most salient feature is something a lot of people here have also proposed: a matchup between Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, the two most junior Democrats in the delegation, in order to deal with PA's loss of a seat.
• Virginia: Lawmakers are potentially looking to release state legislative maps as early as the end of the month - which makes sense, since VA holds its House and Senate elections this November.
• NM-Sen (PDF): What happens if you took a poll and no one answered? That's what this Tulchin Research poll (taken on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife) feels like to me, what with its sample size of just 213 likely Democratic primary voters. If you're trying to figure out the margin of error, you'll need to start counting on your other hand - it's 6.7%. Anyhow, the results, such as they are: 1st CD Rep. Martin Heinrich: 32; Lt. Gov. Diane Denish: 25; 3rd CD Rep. Ben Ray Luján's: 15; State Auditor Hector Balderas: 5; and 24% undecided. I think it's very unlikely that the field would develop this way, but I still think these "round up the usual suspects" polls can be valuable - if they have enough respondents, that is.
• OH-Sen: This kind of speculation is always seriously moronic... but hey, I live to serve. So in case you want to imagine a world where the Republican presidential nominee wins next year, and he's picked Sen. Rob Portman as his running mate, Roll Call is happy to indulge your grim dystopian fantasy about a suddenly open Senate seat in Ohio come Jan. 20, 2013.
• WV-Gov: Democratic State House Speaker Rick Thompson just earned the endorsement of two teachers' unions: The West Virginia Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association. The primary here for this oddly-timed special election (necessary because of ex-Gov. Joe Manchin's Senate victory last year) is coming up very soon, May 14th.
• CT-05: Kevin Rennie mentions a couple of possible Democratic prospects to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, who of course is running for Senate. One is 28-year-old pr strategist Dan Roberti, whose father Vincent was once a state rep. The other is CNBC reporter and former local news anchor Brian Schactman.
• NV-02: A piece in the WaPo has 2006 and 2008 Dem nominee Jill Derby sounding pretty interested - she said she's considering forming an exploratory committee. (Ridiculous as that sounds - I mean, she's considering whether to consider? - that actually counts as pretty aggressive talk in this hyper-cautious age.) The story also mentions another possible name, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, as well as noting that state Treasurer Kate Marshall (whom we flagged as another potential candidate yesterday) calling the race "absolutely winnable."
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin has her first ad out (NWOTSOTB), in which she repeatedly touts her supposed small business credentials but doesn't mention that she's a Republican. In some not-so-happy news, New York's Green Party is saying they are likely to endorse Ian Murphy, the guy behind the fake David Koch call to WI Gov. Scott Walker, as their nominee. That means they probably won't cross-endorse whoever winds up being the Democratic nominee... and that signals a long four years ahead of us. (Thanks to scoring 50,000 votes in last year's gubernatorial election, the Greens get an automatic ballot spot in every race in the state through 2016.) Green Party co-chair Peter LaVenia says he doesn't think that Murphy will "siphon votes" from the Dem... oy, christ, this is giving me nightmarish flashbacks to debates with idiotic Naderites in 2000. I can't do this again.
• Wisconsin Recall: Let's talk about Randy Hopper. If you'll click the link, you can hear a ridiculously misleading radio ad that he's just gone up with. The lying isn't the point - it's the fact that he's on the defensive, a place you never want to be. And he knows, it, too - which is why he's gone out and hired Jeff Harvey, who most recently managed Rep. Dave Reichert's (WA-08) successful campaign last year. That's a pretty big gun to bring in to a state lege race, so how can Hopper afford something like that? Well, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and several lackeys (including recall target Alberta Darling) were in DC last night, picking up cash at a high-dollar fundraiser held at Haley Barbour's lobbying firm (more-or-less in exchange for gunning through that infamous bit of right-to-work legislation). The optics couldn't be better! But cold, sweet cash can move mountains.
In related news, HuffPo's Sam Stein tries to track down elusive information about the state of the attempted recalls of Democratic senators. It sounds like it's going poorly: An uncoordinated mess by different groups which launched different efforts at different times. The Wisconsin Republican Party has refused to get involved, and apparently the recall has been whittled down to just three target senators (from the original eight). I would not be hugely surprised if they would up with zero.
• Philly Mayor: This is pretty funny: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter faces no real primary opposition, but he's still trying to bounce the crazy brother of former Mayor John Street, Milton, from the ballot. Among other things, Nutter is alleging that Street doesn't meet the residency requirements, which say that candidates have to live in the city for three years prior to the election. Where was Street? Serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison on tax evasion charges - in Kentucky.
• SF Mayor: SurveyUSA has a poll out for the San Francisco mayoral race slated for this November. SF uses instant run-off voting (IRV), so SUSA asked people to pick their first, second, and third choices. Interim Mayor Ed Lee (who filled in for Gavin Newsom when he won the Lt. Gov. race last fall) says he isn't running but actually gets the most first-choice votes. Here's the full field:
Ed Lee, interim Mayor, 17%
Michaela Alioto-Pier, former Board of Supervisors member, 12%
Leeland Yee, State Senator, 11%
David Chiu, Board of Supervisors President, 10%
Dennis Herrera, City Attorney, 9%
Bevan Dufty, former Supervisor, 8%
Click through the link to see second and third choices.
• DCCC: Steve Israel talked a bunch with the Hotline about candidate recruitment. The most interesting thing is his "alumni association" of former members of Congress who are thinking about running again. He holds "semi-regular" (Hotline's phrase) conference calls with "the vast majority of former members." Israel says that in recent weeks, interest and attendance has spiked, and I have to guess that recent Democratic enthusiasm inspired heavily by protests in the Midwest has been a factor. Israel also insists that ex-MoCs who have closed down their campaign accounts or taken lobbying jobs are not necessarily taking themselves out of the game; he sympathetically argues that some folks simply need the cash. Of course, optics aside, K Street might just seem a lot more comfortable than the campaign trail grind to many of these folks
• DNC: The usual unnamed Democrats are telling Politico they think Ted Strickland is a "strong contender" to replace Tim Kaine at the DNC if the latter decides to run for the Senate in Virginia. I think the world of Strickland, but I'd hate to see his considerable talents get muzzled at the DNC. I just don't think that a proud populist is going to be able to speak his mind while at the Obama DNC.
• Votes: Dave Catanese has a run-down on the House members seeking (or likely to seek) statewide office and how they voted on the most recent temporary budget bill. A big swath of Republicans voted "no" (i.e., against their party), after having previously voted for the prior continuing resolution, likely out of fears of getting teabagger (because the bills don't cut spending enough). Meanwhile, several Democrats in the same boat all voted "yes."
A seven-count indictment accuses Tom Ganley, a high-profile auto dealer and onetime congressional candidate, of kidnapping a 39-year-old Cleveland woman and having sexual contact with her.
Ganley, 68, faces three felony charges of gross sexual imposition, and single counts of kidnapping, abduction, solicitation, and menacing by stalking, according to Ryan Miday, a spokesman for County Prosecutor Bill Mason.
• Mississippi: Looks like Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial aspirant Phil Bryant is getting his ass handed to him. Bryant attempted to interfere with the state Senate's attempt to draw a new map by instead offering his own. Bryant's plan was rejected by the Senate (which we noted on Tuesday). Now, the Senate's original plan has been adopted by the House. So it looks like an incumbent-protection deal has been reached, with the Democratic-held House and the Republican-controlled Senate each getting their way. But even with a Dem gerrymander, you've got to believe it's only a matter of time before the House falls, too.
• General: Politico has a piece discussing the GOP's overall strategy of playing it safe with redistricting this decade, and to avoid "dummymanders" like the one in Pennsylvania which proved (at least temporarily) disastrous to the party.
• AZ-Sen, AZ-06: Rep. Jeff Flake, who announced his bid today, had to wait only a few hours before getting a valuable (for the GOP primary, at least) endorsement from the Club for Growth; he's a natural fit for them, given his draconian budgetary views and laissez-faire social views. Even before Flake had announced, his potentially strongest rival for the GOP nod, ex-Rep. John Shadegg had announced that he wasn't going to run. Shadegg's AZ-03 replacement, Rep. Ben Quayle confirmed that he won't be running either. The same goes for another Republican freshman, Rep. David Schweikert (that article also helpfully points out that famous Arizona residents Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin, who've both accomplished so much in the social media sphere in their short lives, are both too young to run for Senate). Former NFL player Kurt Warner has also taken himself out of consideration.
Buried in a Roll Call article on the whip race to replace Jon Kyl are a few more interesting bits: Trent Franks is "not expected" to run, while state Senate president and prime mover behind SB 1070 Russell Pearce is "out," but "plans to run" for AZ-06, being vacated by Flake. There's not much to report on the Dem side today, but there are further reports that ex-Gov., and current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (who didn't poll well against Kyl according to PPP a few weeks ago, although they didn't test her against Flake) has been calling around to gauge her support.
• CT-Sen: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz rolled out her own long list of endorsements from local Dems, in response to a list unveiled several weeks ago by primary rival Chris Murphy. While Murphy's list was heavy on the 5th District, naturally, Bysiewicz's list is heavy on the 2nd District (which is interesting, as it may be an indication that Rep. Joe Courtney has decided against running... or it may be a preventative shot across Courtney's bow). Bysiewicz is from Middletown, which is in the 2nd although kind of on its periphery. In terms of the Republican field, there was a straw poll taken of state Tea Party Patriots members this weekend. Given the sample size of 54 and the self-selecting nature of the nuttiest of the nuttiest, it's barely worth mentioning, but they found Linda McMahon only barely winning with 15 votes, compared to Peter Schiff's 14. Rob Simmons and Tom Foley each got 6, with state Sen. Scott Frantz at 5 and Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4.
• FL-Sen, FL-13: Like I've said before, don't count out Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan for the Senate; the owner of numerous car dealerships is sitting on a big campaign account, has wealthy friends, and can self-fund too. And now he's publicly saying he's "not ruling it out."
• MO-Sen: Over the weekend in Joplin was the first public joint appearance between the two announced GOP candidates so far, Sarah Steelman and Ed Martin. While they superficially only attacked Claire McCaskill, Martin sneaked in some anti-Steelman attacks by implication, saying that he'll support "tort reform every time" and "take on the public sector unions." (While Steelman has the support of the DC-based tea party astroturfers, the local teabaggers are skeptical of her insufficient purity on those two issues.)
• NV-Sen: Given behavior lately that might charitably be described as "erratic," I've pretty much given up on trying to figure out Sharron Angle's plans (her travel schedule seems to take her mostly to early presidential states these days, in case you had any doubts about the scope of her delusions of grandeur). But now she's talking about Nevada Senate again, saying that she'd like to talk to John Ensign before deciding whether or not to challenge him in the primary.
• NY-Sen: As she becomes better-known to New Yorkers, Kirsten Gillibrand's numbers keep going up. Siena's newest poll finds her at 57/18 favorables, with a 52% re-elect (including even a plurality among Republicans). Liz Benjamin also notes that two Republican 2010 Gillibrand challengers - Joe DioGuardi (whom Gillibrand flatted) and David Malpass (whom DioGuardi beat in the GOP primary) - are both still considering the race. Ex-LG "Batshit Besty" McCaughey (who once ran for governor on the Liberal Party line) was also down in DC this past weekend, once again relishing her role as healthcare fabricator-in-chief at the loonier-than-thou CPAC conference - and also possibly trying to raise her profile for a potential run (something we noted a couple of weeks ago). Bring it on!
• OH-Sen: Newly elected state Treasurer Josh Mandel got some buzz at some point last month, and here's some more for him: the Plain Dealer, in a longer piece wondering why the Republican field (in what could be a pickup opportunity with the right candidate) isn't taking shape at all, points to him as a possible alternative in the face of disinterest from the A-list. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor seems to be working on building her portfolio (taking over the state Dept. of Insurance), suggesting a plate too full for a Senate bid, while Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve LaTourette are enjoying their newfound majority. Mandel seems to have the best fundraising chops of anyone beyond that initial top tier.
• VA-Sen, VA-01: Here's one more Republican name to add to the list in Virginia, and it's kind of an unexpected one, in that usually low-profile guys with safe red districts in the House tend to stay where they are. The 1st's Rob Wittman is saying he's "considering" the race, along with the requisite "never say never."
• WI-Gov: The AFL-CIO is already weighing into Wisconsin, even though the next gubernatorial election is three and three-quarters years away. In response to Scott Walker's ham-fisted attempt to limit collective bargaining rights for most state employees, the union is taking to the airwaves with TV spots. Obviously, the target isn't the next election but swinging public opinion against the members of the state legislature, who'll have the final say on the matter. (As a more general question, though, I've gotta wonder if we'll see much more of this type of issue advertising in off-years in the future, as we move more and more into "permanent campaign" mode and the ground needs to be seeded for the on-years.)
• WV-Gov: With Saturday's filing deadline come and gone, we have an official list of all the candidates in the gubernatorial special election, and with 14 names total, it's a doozy. Not much in the way of surprises, though; the only person expected to run who, in the end, didn't seems to be Dem state Sen. Brooks McCabe. For the Democrats, it's acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, state Sen. Jeff Kessler, SoS Natalie Tennant, state Treasurer John Perdue, state House speaker Rick Thompson, and some dude Arne Moltis. For the Republicans, it's ex-SoS Betty Ireland, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, state Sen. Clark Barnes, state Del. Mitch Carmichael, ex-state Del. Larry Faircloth, and some dudes Bill Maloney, Cliff Ellis, and Ralph William Clark. National Journal's Sean Sullivan makes a good observation that in fields this crowded and in a state without runoffs, ballot position (which studies have shown can add 1-3% to a candidate's vote) may actually wind up making the difference here. The positions were determined by random draw; for the Dems, Tomblin is at the top while co-frontrunner Tennant is at the bottom. For the GOP, Ireland is 7 out of 8, while Maloney is listed first.
• CA-36: LA city councilor Janice Hahn keeps rolling out more endorsements in her attempt to get an early lock-down on the Dem nomination in the special election. Three big ones: two very relevant to California (new Assembly speaker John Perez, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), one, um, not so much (Dick Gephardt).
• NY-10: Gov. Andrew Cuomo just tapped Democratic Assemblyman Darryl Towns to be the state's new Homes and Community Renewal agency. Ordinarily, a special election in the remarkably-blue AD-54 would be too far in the weeds even for us, but you may recognize his name: he's the son of long-time Rep. Ed Towns. The 76-year-old Towns is routinely viewed as a candidate for retirement (and his son a likely replacement), so this move is a puzzle: is it a sign that the elder Towns isn't going anywhere (perhaps permanently fastened to his House seat by all the moss growing there), or perhaps a way for the younger Towns to burnish his credentials a bit and differentiate him a bit from his somnolent dad?
• NY-26: One more name to strike off the Republican list in the 26th (not that I'd known he'd been on the list): Assemblyman Dan Burling said he wouldn't run, and threw his support behind fellow Assembly member Jane Corwin for the nomination.
• Redistricting: This local news piece on redistricting in Indiana exposes the most mind-numbing and tedious part of the process, one that gets easily overlooked: the process of turning census data into precinct data, seeing as how precincts exist in their own little world apart from blocks and tracts. Even though Indiana was one of the earliest to receive their data, this data-cleaning process is expected to take several weeks before the legislature can even begin tackling the numbers. Also, Indiana is one of the states that will allow citizens to get their hands on the data to try making their own maps... but because of licensing issues of some sort, they won't be making the data available online. If you're in-state, you can drop into one of a number of stations they'll be setting up around the state where you can tinker with the data in person, though.
• Site news: DavidNYC here. I'm back from my vacation and I've had the chance to read through all of the comments (every last one) in the post where I announced our impending move to Daily Kos. While many of my replies are "thank yous" for the very kind expressions of support you offered, I also did my best to answer specific questions where I could. Rest assured that this won't be the last I'll have to say on the subject before we make the changeover. I'll also take this opportunity to encourage you to create an account over at Daily Kos if you don't have one already, and to play around with the new site (DK4 just launched this past weeked). (D)