• HI-Sen: Very slow fundraising quarters from Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, despite Dan Akaka's retirement announcement on March 2. Hirono raised around $100K and has $291K on hand, while Hanabusa took in a mere $33K and has only $72K in the bank.
More interestingly, despite Ed Case's attempts at rapprochement, Sen. Dan Inouye still has hard feelings about Case's primary challenge to Akaka in 2006 - and he didn't hesitate to say so in a recent interview. He all but said that Case lied to his face when he asked him lo those many years ago if he'd run against Akaka, and then added a few remarks that made it sounds like Case had definitely not succeeded in making amends. So unless Inouye is playing some weirdly deep game here, then it looks like my fears that he'd subtly back Case seem unfounded. Good.
• KY-Sen: I don't know if I care about this, or whether it even matters, but glibertarian maniac Rand Paul filed for re-election yesterday. I guess this means he thinks the United States won't collapse into anarchy by 2016, but he's probably still hoarding kruggerands (and toilet paper) just to be on the safe side.
• MN-Sen: It's sort of easy to forget that Amy Klobuchar is up for re-election this cycle. Dedicated and hard-working, she doesn't showboat and is a consummate team player. The fact that she crushed in her debut campaign with 58% of the vote and no Republican opponents loom even in the distant horizon definitely have the effect of putting this race on the mental back burner. But true to form, she's taking her campaign very seriously, raising $1 million in Q1 and holding on to $2.5 mil in the bank.
• NJ-Sen: Is Republican biotech millionaire John Crowley thinking about a Senate bid - again? Roll Call notes that Crowley is stepping down as CEO of his pharma company, which could be a sign he's interested in taking on Sen. Bob Menendez. But for some reason, the article fails to point out that Crowley was heavily recruited to run against Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2008, and backed out at the last moment - twice. He was also talked about for a gubernatorial run in 2009 (which he obviously didn't pull the trigger on). So we'll see if he has the fire in the belly to actually do something this time.
• TX-Sen: Did you know that there's already a declared Democrat in the race? I didn't, but Some Dude Sean Hubbard is apparently running.
• WA-Sen: Sen. Maria Cantwell raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has about the same amount in the bank.
• KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear raised an impressive $1.3 million in the first three months of the year and has $3.3 million on hand.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is up what I think is the first negative ad of the Dem primary. He principally after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for taking money from utility companies who have charged jacked-up prices, accusing him (and also Natalie Tennant and Rick Thompson) of being "in the pocket" of the big energy firms. Using smokestacks as negative imagery in a state like West Virginia is certainly an unusual choice, given how many people there rely on "smokestack industries" for their livelihoods. But I guess whoever wins this multi-way primary is expecting to do so with only a relatively small plurality.
• AZ-06: We previously mentioned that Republican ex-Rep. Matt Salmon was thinking about a bid to reclaim his old House seat, with Jeff Flake running for Senate, and now he's made it official. Salmon, a member of the GOP's class of '94, honored a term-limit pledge and declined to run for re-election in 2000. However, he did run and lose against Janet Napolitano in the governor's race in 2002.
• FL-14: This seems unexpected: Chauncey Goss, son of former Congressman and CIA Director Porter Goss, says he's thinking about challenging Rep. Connie Mack in the Republican primary. Goss acknowledges that such a fight would be an "uphill battle," but also suggests that he could wind up running in an open seat. It sounds like he thinks that a new seat could be drawn by splitting Lee County (currently the bulk of the 14th CD), but I still wonder if Mack might wind up retiring. (By the way, the current 14th was in fact the elder Goss's seat before he was tapped to run the CIA in 2004.)
• IA-04: Ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack told a gathering of state Senate Dems that they should "stay tuned" regarding his wife's political ambitions. That sounds to me like Christie Vilsack is very much leaning toward a run against Republican nutter Steve King. Tom also promised the race would be a "holy war," a phrase which I sure as hell hope he a) doesn't repeat for public consumption and b) means that Christie plans on seriously taking King the woodshed.
• MI-11, MI-Sen (?): The AP canvassed all 15 House incumbents in Michigan, and all but one confirmed they were seeking re-election. The holdout? 11th CD Republican Thad McCotter, who is in his fifth term. I've hesitantly flagged this item as MI-Sen as well, since it's possible that McCotter is hedging because he's thinking about challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow, though he hasn't really been talked about much.
• NM-01: Dem state Sen. Tim Keller, only 33 years old, says he won't seek Rep. Martin Heinrich's open House seat but will instead seek re-election next year.
• NY-10: Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who hasn't ruled out a primary challenge to Rep. Ed Towns, says in a new interview that he wants the chance to serve alongside Barack Obama. So that means he's either a) gotta run next year b) run in 2014 or c) get the Constitution amended.
• IN-SoS: It looks like Republicans have found a pretty simple way out of the Charlie White mess: change the law. If White, the Republican Secretary of State who is currently under indictment, gets removed from office, the next-highest vote-getter in the last election, Democrat Vop Osili, would take his place. But a bill moving through the state lege would give the governor the power to appoint a replacement instead. (It also would let the GOP avoid any related fallout from having recorded zero valid votes in the SoS contest, a race to which many other electoral perks are tied.) Sucky for Dems, but whatcha gonna do.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Republicans are challenging Olympian Carl Lewis's residency status, trying to get him thrown off the ballot. Lewis says he's owned homes in New Jersey since 2005, but has voted and paid taxes in California until last year. The Secretary of State will rule by Thursday, but that decision can be appealed.
• Philly Mayor: This is definitely unusual. Former Mayor John Street just changed his party registration from "Democrat" to "independent," which could allow him to challenge Mayor Michael Nutter for his old job, something Street refused to rule out. Also unexpectedly, Street's wacky ex-con brother Milton, who is in fact running against Nutter in the Dem primary, got three big union endorsements last week. Seems impossible to imagine him winning next month, though, no?
• WI Recall: As expected, petitions were filed against Sheila Harsdorf yesterday, making her the fourth Republican state Senator to achieve this dubious status. And in more good news, state Rep. Fred Clark is planning an announcement for Thursday, very likely to declare a run against Luther Olsen, against whom petitions were filed on Monday. On the flipside, Republicans say they will file signatures in three Dem-held districts this week, but time is running out for them: Their deadlines are mostly April 25 & 26 (ours aren't due until May 2).
• DCCC: I'm getting kind of tired of these "DCCC launches campaign against 25 Republicans" (and the mirror images from the NRCC), mostly because I think the amounts being spent are quite small, but anyway, here's another one, this time about Medicare.
• Passings: William Donald Schaefer, the iconic four-term Democratic mayor of Baltimore and two-term governor of Maryland, died on Monday at the age of 89. The Baltimore Sun has wall-to-wall coverage of Schaefer's passing, whose legendary career is hard to summarize, but you can start with the obituary at the first link.
• California: Newspaper editorial pages are usually filled with some of the worst goo-goo anti-gerrymandering handwringing, so I found this op-ed by George Skelton in the LA Times to be particularly delightful. Skelton wryly observes that California Dems can't get a tax deal done with Republicans because a key tool in their arsenal - offering to draw recalcitrant legislators good districts, and threatening them with bad ones - has been taken out of their hands. In other words, like a lot of California's supposedly well-meaning ballot initiatives, the independent redistricting commission is also having some unintended consequences. In the end, Skelton seems to come down on the side of the commission anyway, but I think he's right: When you limit legislators' ability to legislate, you limit their ability to do good things as well as bad.
• Iowa: We're done: Iowa is now the third state to complete a new congressional map, with Gov. Terry Brandstad signing off on the plans yesterday. At the bottom of the linked article, you'll also find a list of all state House and Senate incumbents who have been thrown together in the same district.
• Missouri: Some interesting backstory on the Dem side of redistricting in Missouri. Apparently, things got nasty between Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay just a couple of weeks ago: Carnahan asked Clay (and Emmanuel Cleaver, MO's other Dem member of the House) to help him ask Gov. Jay Nixon to veto the state legislature's new maps which throw Clay and Carnahan into one district together. (The seat would be heavily black, which would favor Clay.) Clay refused, leading to a heated moment on the House floor, but now apparently Carnahan has agreed not to run against him in a primary. Instead, Carnahan is supposedly being pushed toward a run in what would become the new 3rd CD, which at present is largely Todd Akin's district. That seat could open up if Akin runs for Senate, which I'd currently say is more likely than not.
Republicans, however, have not made any peace agreements and in fact appear to be in meltdown mode. Yesterday we mentioned that Republican leaders and congressmembers were gathering to discuss the impasse between competing maps, a meeting which reportedly became "acrimonious." I'll let Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum of the St. Louis Beacon summarize the key points of contention:
The Republican members of Congress generally want the Senate to drop consideration of its map and take up the map already passed by the Missouri House. But Senate leaders dislike some of the House's proposed boundaries. They also say they don't have the votes for a veto-proof majority of the House map.
I strongly suggest reading the entire Beacon article if you're interested in this topic - it's definitely one of the sharper tradmed pieces I've seen on redistricting in general this year. In any event, Republicans want a shot at over-riding a possible Nixon veto before the current legislative session ends on May 13, so time is running short here.
• New Jersey: With the Garden State losing a seat this decade, Aaron Blake runs through five different scenarios involving various incumbent-vs-incumbent matchups.
• Oklahoma: Yesterday, the state House unanimously passed a new congressional map (which makes very minimal changes to the existing district lines). Given that all five members of Congress have signed off on the plan, I'd be surprised if it doesn't breeze through the Senate as well - but we've already had more than our share of redistricting surprises this cycle, so I've stopped calling my bookie.
• Virginia: A committee in the Republican-held House made some minor tweaks to their map, which Gov. Bob McDonnell had previously vetoed. I'm sure this is just cosmetic b.s., because McDonnell really only cares about the Dem map that the Senate produced. In McDonnell's world, the first is a work of unparalleled bipartisanshippy beauty, while the second is a hideous Demmycrat gerrymander FROM HELL. That's fookin' politics for ya.
• AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP's #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it's now a "real possibility." Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a "holding pattern." Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.
• FL-Sen: He doesn't have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don't discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he's little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman's campaign. Although I don't know if, at this point, that's a plus or a minus.)
• IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article's worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar's camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to "look at his political options" regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).
• MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn't get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to "protect its brand." The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can't see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players... I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he's now saying he won't have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don't seem likely to endear him any more to the party's base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn't give much insight into his 2012 plans.
• MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it's Terry Lynn Land's turn. The former Republican SoS says she's "considering it," but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.
• TX-Sen: This isn't much of a surprise, but west Texas's three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren't interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense... why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that's R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?
• VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he's "65 percent in," and that "when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory." He also lets Politico know (I'm not making this up) that he "needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence." I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin's gift for word salad.
• WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they're neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won't), she's a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There's also word of one more GOPer who isn't interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the '96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won't run this time.
• IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they're running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.
• WA-08: Here's a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th's boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn't want to look like he's mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it's widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn't mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that's based on the true Eastside (whether it's the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who's based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I'd say, it's likelier than not that we'll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.
• DCCC: Here's something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they're explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They're running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren't a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.
• Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There's one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn't delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won't have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it's hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn't cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that's worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there's already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: "N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.")
• Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)... Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don't have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they'll be available at some point this week.
• AK-Sen: Everyone's watching Joe Miller's next move, as tomorrow is the day he has to decide whether or not to appeal a trial court decision in order to keep fighting his largely-hopeless fight with Lisa Murkowski. On Friday afternoon, a state superior court judge ruled against Miller's lawsuit, and in pretty withering fashion, saying he presented no evidence of fraud or malfeasance, only "hearsay, speculation, and... sarcasm." This comes on top of other comments on Friday by state elections director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputing one of Miller's cornerstone issues, that there was a strange sudden influx of felons voting in the state.
• CT-Sen, CT-04: Rep. Jim Himes confirms that he isn't going to run for Senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman (if Lieberman even decides to stick around). It's also pretty clear confirmation that Rep. Chris Murphy is ready to run on the Dem line, as Himes said he's deferring to his slightly-more-senior colleague and might consider running if Murphy changed his mind. (The article also mentions that Rep. Joe Courtney is "considering" the race. Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz's interest is well-known as well, although I doubt she'll be able to manage to file her candidacy papers successfully.)
• HI-Sen: Sometimes the Beltway media's parsing of every innocent word from a potential candidate gets a little maddening, but this throw-away line from Linda Lingle's website flagged by David Catanese is actually pretty suggestive of a future run (probably against Dan Akaka in 2012): the site is titled "Looking Back, and Forward," and her first blog post is "Continuing the Journey."
• MD-Sen: Contrast that with Bob Ehrlich, who seems ripe to fall into the Dino Rossi trap but has just made it pretty clear that he won't be running for anything else again. He says a Senate run would be "very highly unlikely."
• ME-Sen: The only story that seems to be here is that the viable Tea Party candidate that has been promised to emerge to take on Olympia Snowe is starting to look like more of a mirage. A must-read (for sheer hubris and wtf?ness) interview with the state's self-appointed head teabagger, Andrew Ian Dodge, makes it sound like the candidate that Dodge is allegedly talking to is either imaginary, or else is Dodge himself (seeing as how he's from southern Maine and has his own money).
• MI-Sen: PPP includes a GOP primary portion in their Michigan Senate poll, and like a lot of other polls this far out, name rec seems to rule the day. Ex-Gov. John Engler, despite eight years out of the picture, has the lead (in fact, that may be good news, as the general electorate doesn't remember him fondly; he underperforms Debbie Stabenow, losing by 7, compared with Peter Hoekstra, who loses by 1). It's Engler 31, Hoekstra 24, with 12 for ex-AG Mike Cox, Terri Lynn Land (who may be interested in this race after all) at 7, Candice Miller at 5, Mike Rogers at 4, Thad McCotter at 3, and Tim Leuliette (the most-interested candidate so far) at 0.
• NJ-Sen: The Hill has an article that's mostly about how no GOPers are stepping up to express their interest in an uphill fight against Bob Menendez, but it does include the obligatory list of possible contenders. Top of the list is a rematch from state Sen. (and gubernatorial progeny) Tom Kean Jr., but also mentioned are Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Anna Little (a small-town mayor who was competitive against Rep. Frank Pallone this year), state Sen. Jennifer Beck, former state Sen. Bill Baroni, and state GOP chair Jay Webber if all else fails.
• NY-Sen: Rep. Peter King does some coulda-woulda-shoulda in a recent interview, saying he definitely would have run in 2010 had Caroline Kennedy been the appointee. As for a run in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand (when she's up for election for her first full term), he's only "keeping his options open," apparently leery of her fundraising prowess.
• PA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Dent is usually at the top of the list for Senate race speculation, but a recent interview has him sounding rather un-candidate-ish: he's about to land a plum spot on Appropriations, and speaks of it in terms of "one never rules anything out," which to my ear sounds a few steps down the Beltway-ese totem pole from "considering" it. One other interesting rumor bubbling up is that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted to run. The question is whether anybody even remembers Schweiker; he spent less than two years on the job in the early 00s after getting promoted after Tom Ridge moved to the Bush administration, and declined to run for his own full term.
• VT-Sen: Could Bernie Sanders see a real opponent? While he isn't specifically threatening to run yet, State Auditor Tom Salmon is taking to Facebook to attack Sanders over his anti-tax deal agitating (including attacking Sanders for being a socialist, which doesn't quite have the same effective power with Sanders as with most Dems since he's likely just to say "guilty as charged"). At any rate, going after the entrenched Sanders seems like an odd move if it comes to pass, as Peter Shumlin, who narrowly won the open gubernatorial race, seems like a much easier target in a blue state that's willing to elect Republican governors but has sworn them off at the national level.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner sounds likely to make another run at the governor's mansion in 2014, publicly telling various people that he would have made a much better candidate than Meg Whitman. Poizner will have to step it up on the financial situation next time, though; self-funding only to the tune of eight digits, instead of nine, was pretty weak sauce.
• IN-Gov: With Evan Bayh apparently out of the gubernatorial sweepstakes, Brad Ellsworth seems to be jockeying to the front of the line today, although with some of the requisite hedging. The other main contender, of course, is Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, although the impact of redistricting changes (at the hand of the now-GOP-held legislature) could drive Reps. Joe Donnelly or Baron Hill into the race. Two lesser Dem names who've been bandied about, Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott and former state House speaker John Gregg, are already taking their names off the table, lining up behind others for now: McDermott backing Ellsworth and Gregg backing Weinzapfel. One final new Dem name to keep an eye on: Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.
• MS-Gov: For now, the Democratic side on the Mississippi governor's race seems to be between two men: Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree (that city's first African-American mayor) and businessman Bill Luckett, who has his own money (and the backing of Morgan Freeman... apparently for real, unlike with NC-04's B.J. Lawson).
• WA-Gov: Here's a good take from Joel Connolly (dean of the local press corps) on the 2012 gubernatorial election in Washington state, which the Beltway press seems to treat like an open book but everyone local knows is going to be between Rep. Jay Inslee and AG Rob McKenna, who's probably the best shot the GOP has had in decades of winning the governor's race. (Chris Gregoire can, by law, run for a third term, but, in practice, that would be unheard of even if she weren't already too unpopular to do so feasibly.)
• NY-15: Is the Charles Rangel era actually coming to a close? He's not ruling out another run in 2012 but saying he'll have to think about retirement. And in public comments he is actively pointing to a generation of successors, citing state Sens. Adriano Espaillat and Robert Rodriguez, and state Assemblyman Keith Wright. (Although Harlem is the core of the district, it now has more Hispanics than it does African-Americans... and the wild card is that the fastest growing group in this district is white regentrifiers.)
• LA-St. Leg.: The hemorrhaging of Dem state legislators to the GOP in Louisiana continues apace, with one of its most prominent state Reps., the mellifluously-named Noble Ellington, sounding about ready to pull the trigger on a switch. He'd follow two state Sens., John Alario and John Smith, who also recently crossed the aisle.
• Philly mayor: You'd think that at age 80, you'd want to think about retirement, but not if you're Arlen Specter, apparently. There's word of a poll making the rounds (from Apex Research, with no mention of who paid for it or why) that not only links the outgoing Senator to a mayoral run (in the city where he got his start generations ago as the DA) but actually has him in the lead. The poll has Specter at 28, with incumbent Michael Nutter at 19, Sam Katz at 9, Anthony Hardy Williams at 8, Tom Knox at 7, Bob Brady at 6, and Alan Butkovitz (anybody care to let me know who he is?) at 6.
• WATN?: Try as he may, Artur Davis just can't get the douchiness out of his system. On his way to the private sector, he's still taking the pox-on-both-your-houses approach on his way out the door, writing an op-ed calling for an independent party as the solution to all of Alabama's woes. Meanwhile, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has landed on her feet, after losing a second run in IA-02 in a rare setback for the Ophthalmologists (who elected at least two more of their own to Congress this year): Terry Branstad just named her head of Iowa's Dept. of Public Health.
• Census: Finally, this may be the most exciting news of the day: we have a reporting date for the first real batch of 2010 Census data. Dec. 21 will be the day the Census Bureau releases its state population counts, which also includes reapportionment data (i.e. how many House seats each state will get... at least prior to the inevitable litigation process among the most closely-bunched states).
The Republicans controlled the redistricting process in 2000, shifting the map from a 9-7 Democratic advantage to a 9-6 Republican one. (Michigan lost a seat in reapportionment.) They did this by redistricting three seperate pairs of Democratic incumbents into the same districts, thereby creating two new open Republican seats elsewhere. Architect of this plan? None other than then-state-senator Thaddeus McCotter, who oh-so-thoughtfully created one of those new open districts around his home base.
The GOP plan had turned into a little bit of a dummymander, since by 2008 the Democrats had flipped two districts to get an 8-7 advantage. This week's election, however, has restored the Republican's 9-6 edge. The 1st and 9th districts are in opposite hands from the 2002 elections; all other districts are controlled by the same party that won them eight years ago. (Wikipedia's version of the pre-Tuesday districts is above for reference.)
The Genesis of this Plan: Failed Attempts
One of my consolations on election night was the idea that even with control over redistricting again, the Republicans couldn't really make it any worse. At the time, it looked the the Democrats were going to be down to five districts: Dearborn-Ann Arbor, Flint-Saginaw, Southfield-Warren, and the two Detroit districts. That seemed like pretty much the rock bottom base of support for the Democrats in Michigan. But then Gary Peters pulled out a narrow victory, and I started to look to see whether the Republicans could get the Democrats down to five after all. Michigan is almost certainly losing another district, so let's see if it can be made a Democratic one.
Four of the six Democratic seats seemed pretty much untouchable. The VRA-protected Detroit-based 13th and 14th districts are, of course, ridiculously Democratic. Sander Levin's 12th district pulls together an only somewhat less-ridiculously-Democratic set of inner suburbs on Detroit's north side. And despite Dale Kildee's narrower-than-expected win on Tuesday, Flint is big enough to dominate pretty much any district you could conceivably put it in. That leaves Gary Peter's 9th district and John Dingell's 15th district as the remaining targets.
My first attempt actually took on John Dingell's district. Stretching from blue collar Dearborn to the university town of Ann Arbor, it was created as one of the three "pairing" districts, setting up then-Representive Lynn Rivers against Dean of the House Dingell. Dearborn was easy to move into John Conyer's 14th district. Ann Arbor has to end up in Democratic district, so I swung Gary Peter's 9th district around to pick it up. Thad McCotter's 11th then mostly gives up its claim on Oakland county to pick up the rest of the dismembered 15th.
The problem with this plan from a GOP perspective is what it does to McCotter. The distict is probably about 60% - 70% new to him, and it's not nearly as Republican as his old district. I haven't run the numbers, but just from eyeballing it, I would be surprised if this version of the 11th district didn't have a Democratic PVI.
My second attempt left Dingell's district more-or-less alone. (As pictured, all of Dingell's hometown of Dearborn ends up in Conyer's district, but this could possibly be played with.) Instead I merged McCotter's 11th district with Peter's 9th district. The resulting district has about half of its population come from each district. (Old Peters in blue; old McCotter in green.) It cuts out the most Democratic parts of each district (Wayne, Westland, and Garden City for the 11th; Pontiac, Auburn Hills, and Royal Oak for the 9th). Again, I haven't run the numbers for PVI; I suspect it's a Bush '04-Obama '08 district.
McCotter probably isn't the best candidate for an incumbent vs incumbent race, but this district -- in isolation -- would probably suit the state GOP fine.
The problem is what the rest of the state looks like.
Merging the 9th and 11th pulls Mike Roger's 8th district further east and north. This saddles the already swingy 7th district just won by Tim Walberg with heavily Democratic Lansing. The 7th, in turn, now donates Democratic-leaning Battle Creek to Fred Upton's already even-PVI 6th district.
So if I couldn't dismantle Dingell's district without giving McCotter too much hostile territory, and if merging McCotter's district and Peter's district resulted in weaker districts for Walberg and Upton, then what?
I was stumped for about a day, when the answer occured to me: attack Sander Levin's 12th district instead.
By bringing the Detroit-based 13th district north across Eight Mile into Macomb county, I could merge the Oakland portion of the 12th district into the 9th. (The old 12th is roughly outlined in white.)
Brief District-by-District Rundown
I'm considering working through the data to get firm PVIs for the proposed districts. For now, you have eyeballing-it. I did refer to the 2004 and 2008 numbers while drafting; I just never actually ran the calculations.
1st District (Blue)
This district is newly captured by Republican Dan Benishek. In the 2000 redistricting, this district was pulled down the Lake Huron coast towards Bay City as part of the dismantling of then-Representative Jim Barcia's district (he got paired with Dale Kildee in the 5th). Without such concerns, I pulled it down the Lake Michigan shoreline instead. Adding the Traverse City area instead of the upper Saginaw Bay area should make this district just slightly more Republican. Traverse is also a better cultural fit for the district. (Note that everything not pictured in the north of the state is in this district.)
2nd District (Green)
This district is currently Michigan's most Republican district by PVI. I don't think my alterations will change that. It gives up its northern reaches to the new 1st and stretches inland, taking in Grand Rapids' northern suburbs and exurbs.
3rd District (Purple)
The primary Republican concern with this district is making sure it has enough suburban/exurban territory to overwhelm the Democratic urban core in Grand Rapids. It gives up some territory north of the city and gains Eaton county to the east. I think this will be slightly more Republican than the existing 3rd.
4th District (Red)
As currently configured, this district is something of a left-overs district, taking in the northern counties not in the Upper Peninsula-based 1st or the Lake-Michigan-coast-based 2nd. Under my proposal, it becomes a somewhat more focused Central Michigan district. Largest city (and hometown of incumbent David Camp) Midland is now in the center of the district instead of on its eastern fringe. It takes in all of Democratic Bay county, but I think the rest of the territory is Republican enough to handle it.
5th District (Yellow)
The proposed 5th district is much like its 1990s-district-plan predecessor, taking in much of the Thumb instead of Bay City. This is because eliminating Levin's 12th district pulled Candice Miller's 10th district out of the Thumb. Since it's over that way anyway, it runs a tendril down the St Clair River to relieve Miller of smallish-but-heavily-Democratic Port Huron.
6th District (Teal)
Not much changes for the 6th. It exchanges a few townships in Calhoun county for a few in Branch, and takes in the rest of Allegan county. That last change should make it slightly more Republican. Incumbent Fred Upton should remain fine here.
7th District (Grey)
This proposal's greatest weakness. Newly re-elected Tim Walberg has a district with a PVI of R+2. Getting Monroe county from the dismantled-by-reapportionment 15th in exchange for giving the new 3rd Eaton county is essentially a wash. I just don't think that there's much the Republicans can really do to shore this district up.
8th District (Slate Blue)
Still subsumes Lansing in a sea of Republican-heavy exurbs. This configuration gives up somewhat-Republican Clinton county to gain very-Republican Lapeer county, so Mike Rogers should be happy.
9th District (Cyan)
The new 9th is one of the center-pieces of the plan. It combines most of Gary Peter's current 9th with about half of Sander Levin's current 12th. If it came to a primary, I'm not sure what would happen. Where the current 9th was designed as a Republican seat that's just slipped away, this 9th would be a Democratic safe seat, anchored by Southfield, Royal Oak, and Pontiac.
10th District (Deep Pink)
Candice Miller's 10th is pulled south by the elimination of the old 12th. Losing most its rural hinterland, the new 10th is definitely more Democratic than the old one, but I don't think it's that much more. I think Miller should still be fine. In one of the rare set of calculations I did do, the portions of Macomb county not in the district (ie, in the new 13th) voted for 63% for Obama. The portions of Macomb in the district voted only 52% for Obama. That probably means that Bush won the new 10ths portion of the county in 2004 (here, we're back to no calculations.)
11th District (Lime Green)
In order to shore up McCotter, the district loses three of its inner surburbs and snakes around the north side of the new 9th to pick up some more heavily Republican territory. McCotter should put up much better numbers in this reconfigured district.
12th District (Cornflower Blue)
With the dismantling of the old 12th, I reused the district designation for the reinvention of Dingell's dismantled-by-reapportionment 15th. The new 12th loses Monroe county to pick up the southern portions of Downriver. I'm pretty sure this will push its PVI in an even-more Democratic direction, and Dingell (and/or his successors) should be safe here all decade.
13th District (Salmon?)
The other centerpiece of this plan. It takes in roughly similar portions of Detroit as its predecessor (along with the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.) Instead of stretching into Downriver, though, it crosses over into southern Macomb, snatching away the eastern half of Levin's district and saving Miller from having to take on the most Democratic parts of the county. VRA: 53% black, 42% white.
14th District (Olive Drab)
Conyers' new district takes in basically the same portions of Detroit as his old one. The primary difference are the addition of Redford township, the subtraction of any part of Dearborn, and the taking in of the northern half of the Downriver communities instead of the western half. VRA: 53% black, 34% white.
I was originally concerned about whether this was too much county-splitting in the Detroit area, but it's actually less than currently exists. Currently, the tri-county Detroit metro area has the following configuration:
Wayne: 2 full districts (13th, 14th), 2 partial districts (11th, 15th) Oakland: 1 full district (9th), 3 partial districts (8th, 11th, 12th) Macomb: 2 partial districts (10th, 12th) for 10 total county-fragments.
Under this new configuration, the tri-county Detroit metro area looks like this:
Wayne: 1 full district (14th), 3 partial districts (11th, 12th, 13th) Oakland: 1 full district (9th), 2 partial districts (8th, 11th) Macomb: 2 partial districts (10th, 13th) for 9 total county-fragments.
Conclusion (TL;DR version)
By eliminating Levin's 12th district, I created four packed super-safe districts for the Democrats in the metro Detroit area, with one other safe Democratic district in the Flint-Saginaw area. Republican incumbents in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 11th districts are shored up. Republican incumbents in the 4th and 10th districts take minor hits. The Republican incumbent in the 2nd district needed no help; and the one in the 7th district is unhelpable. This plan would more or less lock in an 8 GOP - 5 Dem - 1 swing district pattern for the rest of the decade.
• FL-Sen: Politico has a new FL-Sen piece provocatively titled "Democrats flirt with backing Charlie Crist," but it points to some definitely solidifying conventional wisdom: that Crist, who has been steadily moving to the left in his independent bid, is becoming more appealing to local Dem power brokers as something of a de facto Dem candidate. This is especially the case if Jeff Greene, who has no base and a truckload of vulnerabilities, somehow spends his way into snatching the Dem nomination from Kendrick Meek. Along those lines, Crist's latest repositioning is on the issue of travel to Cuba, where he'd previously backed restrictions on travel and remittances but is now moving more in line with freer Democratic positions.
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall got an endorsement from MoveOn with less than a week to go until the Senate runoff against Cal Cunningham. It's kind of late in the game, but MoveOn money may fund some last-minute ground-pounding.
• NV-Sen: Why do I have the feeling that Sharron Angle is going to get her own bullet every morning filled with the latest crazy revelations about her? I don't even know where to begin: hot on the heels of revelations that she used to be a member of the right-wing Independent American Party in the 1990s (which she left because of political expedience to run for state Assembly) comes today's revelations that in the 1980s she left the Republican Party at the height of the Reagan era to become a... Democrat? (She says she did so to help a conservative Dem with his state Senate campaign.) Well, now she can claim she's tripartisan. Also from yesterday were, of course, revelations that in January of this year she floated the possibility of armed insurrection if Congress "keeps going the way it is."
With the NRSC playing whack-a-mole with daily Angle bombshells, John Cornyn says he'll be rolling her out verrrrrrry slowly... it'll be "a few weeks" before she's ready to take questions from the press. This comes on top of several stories about Cornyn's more centrist colleagues cautiously distancing themselves from Angle, with Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe saying they aren't getting involved, and Dick Lugar taking exception to most of her key action items. At least Jim DeMint is coming to her rescue, paying for some IEs on her behalf out of his PAC money.
• MI-Gov (pdf): Magellan's out with another public poll of a Republican primary, this time in Michigan. They find Peter Hoekstra narrowly in the lead at 26, with Rick Snyder at 20, Mike Cox at 16, Mike Bouchard at 11, and Tom George at 2. Meanwhile, Cox seems to at least be winning the endorsement game; he got two more nods today, both from two of Hoekstra's slightly more moderate House colleagues: Dave Camp and Thad McCotter. (Candice Miller, on the other hand, backed Hoekstra last week.)
• OR-Gov: Here's quick about-face from John DiLorenzo, a Portland attorney who'd fronted himself six figures to launch an independent gubernatorial candidacy. Today he decided not to run after all; he had an interesting explanation, in that he felt that both Dem John Kitzhaber and GOPer Chris Dudley were moderate enough that there really wasn't any room for him to carve out some space in the middle.
• NC-11: GOP nominee Jeff Miller is out with an internal poll from POS conducted several weeks ago that show him in somewhat competitive territory against Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler. The poll gives Shuler a 46-34 edge over Miller. Miller is on the wrong end of 10:1 cash advantage for Shuler, but just got a FreedomWorks endorsement which may help him gain some ground.
• NJ-06: It looks like the GOP primary in the 6th, the last race from Super Duper Tuesday not to be called, is finally over. Diane Gooch, the pre-primary favorite, at least based on her NRCC backing, conceded and said she won't seek a recount. Anna Little finished 84 votes ahead of Gooch, who endorsed Little for the run against long-time Dem Rep. Frank Pallone.
• NY-24: Here's one more big problem for endangered Rep. Mike Arcuri: GOP opponent Richard Hanna got the endorsement of the statewide Independence Party. There's one catch, though; the Cayuga County Independence Party isn't on board, and say they'd prefer to endorse Arcuri (and take great issue with the selection process, or lack thereof). It's unclear for now how the state and county parties will resolve the dispute. Hanna got the 2008 IP line, which probably helped him keep things surprisingly close that year.
• OH-12: GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi was yesterday declared one of only nine GOPers who need continued financial support, largely because he's facing a top-tier challenge from Franklin Co. Commissioner Paula Brooks. Brooks got a big fundraising boost today with an endorsement from EMILY's List, which should help send some money in the direction of one of the few places where Dems are playing offense.
• TN-04: One more internal poll to report on, although it's incredibly stale (from late March... however it was just brought to our attention, thanks to a tipster in the comments). A poll by Republican pollster OnMessage finds Rep. Lincoln Davis -- a Dem in a terrible district but facing small-fry opposition -- leads his two possible opponents, Scott DesJarlais and Jack Bailey, by identical 44-33 margins.
• UT-02: It sounds like the GOP is still maintaining hopes of monkeying around with the Dem primary in the 2nd, as there are subtle rumblings of efforts to get teabaggers to cross over and vote for very liberal (and probably unelectable in the general) Claudia Wright instead of Rep. Jim Matheson in the Dem primary. Somehow that doesn't seem likely, though, considering that those same voters would probably like to have a say in the hard-fought and likely close Republican Senate primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater on the same day (June 22).
• WI-08: The crowd in the GOP field in the 8th is a little smaller; retired physician Marc Trager dropped out of the race, citing health reasons. He gave his backing to state Rep. Roger Roth, who still faces ex-state Rep. Terri McCormick, contractor Reid Ribble, and county supervisors Marc Savard and Andy Williams.
• VA-St. House: The GOP held seats in the state House of Delegates in two special elections last night, meaning they still control that chamber 59-39 (with 2 GOP-leaning indies). Both were in fairly red territory, but the Dems had felt they had a potentially strong candidate in HD-15 in Harrisonburg mayor Kai Degner. Degner lost to Tony Wilt, 66-34. In Chesterfield County in Richmond's suburbs, Roxanne Robinson beat William Brown with 72%.
• CA-Sen: Politics Magazine takes a look at how the blowback from the launch of iCarly Fiorina's new website continues from all ends of the political spectrum, including a nice dig from SSP's own Ben Schaffer. As California's right-wingers sputter, there were also rumors circulating at the state's recent Republican convention that radio talk-show host Larry Elder -- the conservatives' preferred candidate, and someone who expressed interest in the race -- got boxed out by the NRSC, who told him not to run.
• IN-Sen: 33-year-old state Sen. Marlin Stutzman launched his long-shot bid against Evan Bayh with some help from Rep. Mark Souder, who introduced Stutzman at his kickoff rally. The race already has some fourth-tier figures in it: businessmen Richard Behney and Don Bates. Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley, former state Rep. Dan Dumezich, and self-funding popcorn magnate Will Weaver are also considering the race.
• NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte is taking this whole not-saying-anything-about-her-positions thing to an illogical extreme, refusing to say for whom she voted for Governor in 2006 and 2008. Primary opponents Ovide Lamontagne and Sean Mahoney were quick to announce that they voted for Jim Coburn and Joe Kenney -- i.e. the guys who ran against Ayotte's ex-boss, Democratic Gov. John Lynch.
• NY-Sen-B: Ed Cox, having secured his role as New York state GOP chair despite a push from Rudy Giuliani to install one of his own lieutenants in the role, is now trying to make nice with Giuliani, encouraging him to run for the Senate seat currently held by Kirsten Gillibrand instead of for Governor. Giuliani hasn't been returning Cox's calls, and insists via spokespersons that it's Governor or nothing.
• AZ-01: Former state Senate majority leader Rusty Bowers has filed to form an exploratory committee to run against freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the mostly-rural 1st. He's been out of the legislature since 2001 and has been a lobbyist for the Arizona Rock Products Association since then.
• IL-07: Rep. Danny Davis, who previously seemed poised to bail out of his west Chicago seat and run for Cook County Board President, now seems to be dialing that back. Davis says he has the signatures collected to run for Board President "should [he] choose to do so." He may be having some second thoughts now that he has a key seat on Ways and Means and also because the expected field-clearing for him in the Board race didn't happen. With Illinois's super-early February primary, he has until mid-November to make up his mind. Alderwoman Sharon Dixon says she's running in the primary in the 7th regardless of what Davis does, though; however, some other likely contenders, like state Rep. LaShawn Ford and state Sen. Rickey Hendon are in a holding pattern to see what Davis does.
• IL-14: The field to take on Rep. Bill Foster in the Chicago suburbs just keeps growing, with the addition of GOP state Sen. Randy Hultgren. His best-known opponent in the now five-way primary is lawyer Ethan Hastert.
• MI-11: Natalie Mosher is a fundraising consultant who's the only person with a hat in the ring for the Dems to go up against Rep. Thad McCotter. She's telling supporters via e-mail that she's "very close" to being named to the DCCC's Red to Blue program -- although that seems to be news to the DCCC, who say that R2B decisions won't be made for some time and they are still talking to other possible candidates.
• NV-03: Yesterday we reported that former state Sen. Joe Heck was content to stay in the GOP gubernatorial primary, rather than switching over to the NV-03 slot vacated by John Guedry's withdrawal. However, since then, Heck has signaled more interest, saying he hasn't ruled it out and is discussing it with his family. Heck could turn out to be a step up from the inexperienced Guedry (remember that Rep. Dina Titus was a replacement candidate as well in 2008, who turned out in the end to be a better bet).
• NY-13: Here's a strange rumor: disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella has been making public rounds, leading to speculation that he's considering a comeback (although there's no sense whether he'd try again for the 13th, or elsewhere).
• NY-23: The Watertown Daily Times has some juicy dirt on Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who apparently pledged his support to GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava shortly after he was passed over by the party in favor of her... and then shortly thereafter reached out to the Conservatives and got their nod. His defense is that he didn't know just how "liberal" Scozzafava really was, despite that having been a main bone of contention even before her selection.
• NYC: With the primary runoff elections set for tonight, SurveyUSA has a final poll of the two races at issue: Public Advocate and Comptroller. For Public Advocate, city councilor Bill DeBlasio leads ex-PA Mark Green 49-42 (although DeBlasio narrowly won the primary, Green led every poll prior to it). And for Comptroller, Eric John Liu leads David Yassky 48-40 (both are city councilors). (Discussion of tonight's main event is underway in Pan's diary.) Meanwhile, it looks like Barack Obama won't be expending any political capital on the New York mayor's race, unless it becomes clear William Thompson is closing the gap on Michael Bloomberg.
• NY-St. Sen.: The Erie County, NY DA's office is the latest to join a bipartisan chorus calling for an investigation into the shady campaign finance practices of political consultant Steve Pigeon. As you may recall, Pigeon was the mastermind behind billionaire Tom Golisano's attempted coup in the New York State Senate earlier this year. Pigeon is also buddy-buddy with Republican-turned-Dem Sen. Arlen Specter, and gets a $150,000 sinecure (completely above-board, I'm sure) as counsel to now-legendary scumbag Pedro Espada, Jr. (D)
• PA-St. Sen.: One other race to keep an eye on tonight, in addition to the NYC races: a state Senate election in the Philly suburbs. It's a seat vacated by a Republican (who left to take a job with the Chamber of Commerce); Republican state Rep. Bob Mensch is considered to have the edge to hold the seat over Lansdale councilor Anne Scheuring (picked after better-known Dems took a pass), although Dems have spent considerably on the race. The district (the 24th) takes a bite out of the corners of four counties that went convincingly for Obama (Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Northampton) but it's exurban turf and has a Republican registration advantage -- which is exactly the kind of district that has bedeviled PA Dems at the legislative level but that the Dems need to pick up if they're ever going to take over the state Senate. The GOP currently holds a 29-20 edge, plus this one vacancy.
• AR-Sen: Here's a tea leaf that state Sen. Gilbert Baker may be interested after all in getting into the Senate race: he issued a press release today going after Democratic health care reform and Blanche Lincoln in particular. He'd probably be the favorite to win the GOP nomination if he got in, if only by virtue of the rest of the field being gaffe-prone wackos.
• CT-Sen: Best wishes to Chris Dodd, who has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery over the August recess. He said he'll be back at work after several weeks of recuperation at home, and that he still plans to run for re-election in 2010.
• IL-Sen: Add one more GOP Twitter fail to the increasingly long-list. Rep. Mark Kirk, who is also a Naval Reservist, tweeted his location (the National Military Command Center) while on duty. The DoD is now investigating, as it's a problem on two fronts: one, the prohibition against using the media to give away your position, and two, the prohibition against, while on military service, updating a website established prior to the beginning of service. Complicating the legal question even further: it may have been a staffer tweeting on Kirk's behalf. Because, y'know, it's so hard to think up 140 characters of content on your own.
• NY-Sen-B: The confusion over the Carolyn Maloney campaign has reached epic proportions. Yesterday, CQ reported that Maloney had no fixed timeline for officially getting into the Senate primary, but that early August seemed likely. But today, Politico's Glenn Thrush is reporting that Maloney is "leaning heavily against" making the race at all, according to several prominent Dems.
• ND-Sen: The NRSC is flogging a new internal poll which claims Gov. John Hoeven has a 53-36 lead over Sen. Byron Dorgan. Both men are very popular, with Hoeven with an 86% approval and Dorgan with a 69% approval. A public poll from R2K in February found the numbers almost exactly reversed, with Dorgan beating Hoeven 57-35... but Hoeven hasn't taken any public steps to get into the race, so we may never find out who's right.
• AK-Gov: Local pollster Hays Research looked at in-state approvals for Alaska's incoming and outgoing governors, and found Sarah Palin leaving in net negative territory: 47/48. Sean Parnell looks bulletproof for the moment, at 67/8, but, having been in office for less than a week, hasn't had the chance to screw anything up yet.
• TX-Gov: A bit more egg on the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign's face today, as the Austin American-Statesman found that her website had over 2,200 hidden phrases on it designed to steer traffic, including "rick perry gay." (This wasn't mere meta-tagging, but blind keywords invisibly put into the site's code, something of a search engine-optimization no-no.) A spokesperson said they'd remove "rick perry gay," although it sounds like the other 2,199 phrases stay.
• KS-04: Businessman Jim Anderson got into the overflowing GOP field in KS-04 to replace retiring Rep. Todd Tiahrt. He seems like he might get a little lost in the shuffle, in a field that already includes local GOP heavyweights RNC committeman Mike Pompeo and state Sen. Dick Kelsey, along with state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who recently began exploring the race.
• MO-04: Ike Skelton, who's held down the fort for Dems in dark-red central Missouri since time immemorial, has drawn a more serious opponent than usual (not hard, since his usual opponents are nobodies or no one at all). Vicky Hartzler is a former state Rep. who has also written a book called "Running God's Way," apparently a how-to guide to campaigning for Christian right candidates. CQ also mentions several other still-in-office legislators who could also take on the 77-year-old Skelton (especially if he hears the siren song of retirement): state Rep. Tom Self and state Sen. Bill Stouffer.
• DCCC: The DCCC has responded with its own ad offensive on the health care front, a day after the RNC targeted 60 districts. The DCCC's radio buy and robo-call package is a bit more targeted, focusing on 8 GOPers (not coincidentally, maybe their 8 most vulnerable incumbents running in 2010): Michele Bachmann, Joseph Cao, Charlie Dent, Dan Lungren, Thad McCotter, Erik Paulsen, Dave Reichert, and Pat Tiberi.
• Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Anne Northup found her way into the Obama administration, as a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This initially seems very odd -- she already lost KY-03, so there's no sense in appointing her to facilitate a Dem pickup -- but it's because the Senate GOP leader has a say in picking a Republican for one of the five commissioners, and Mitch McConnell opted to give the job to his long-time protege, who, having lost three races in a row, is probably finished with electoral politics.
• PA-Sen: Gov. Ed Rendell confirmed in his usual inimitable style that he's backing new-found Dem Arlen Specter in 2010. He did go out of his way to praise Rep. Joe Sestak but to encourage him to remain in the House, warning Sestak that he would "get killed" (metaphorically, I'd assume) and that "we will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity." Sestak did pick up his first big-name endorsement, though: MontCo Commissioner and former Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who lost to Specter in the 2004 general election.
• CT-Sen: Here's an inauspicious start to Merrick Alpert's primary challenge to Chris Dodd: the Democratic party committee in his home town, Groton, voted a resolution of support for Dodd. It also issued a pretty transparent slap at Alpert, deploring any hypothetical primary challenger's use of "echoing right wing talking points or by utilizing the conservative media echo chamber to slander Dodd." (Alpert's already done that.)
• FL-Sen: State Sen. Dan Gelber made it official (via Facebook) that he's dropping out of the Senate race, giving Rep. Kendrick Meek a clearer path. He's now considering the AG race against a crowded field including fellow state Sen. Dave Aronberg, or, more interestingly, joining the ticket as Alex Sink's Lt. Gov. candidate.
• MN-Sen: It was Minnesota Supreme Court hearing day in The Senate Race That Won't Die. Five of the court's justices heard an hour of oral arguments. Rick Hasen's interpretation of how the individual justices responded to the lawyers' arguments suggests a quick and possibly unanimous decision in favor of Franken.
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo did it again -- he publicly denied that he'll be running for Governor and maintained that he "plans" to run again for AG. (He did concede that primaries can be productive for the party.) While the idea of Cuomo giving up an almost-free shot at the governor's mansion seems ludicrous, maybe there's a kernel of truth to Kirsten Gillibrand's cryptic comments from last week that there would be no primary; at some point, if Cuomo says it enough times, we have to start taking him seriously.
• AL-Gov: Hangin' judge Roy Moore made it official this morning; he's running for Alabama governor. He joins four others in the hunt for the GOP nod.
• TN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey officially launched his gubernatorial campaign at midnight this morning (to kick off the third quarter of fundraising). He seems a bit overshadowed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons, but has a solid base of support of northeast Tennessee.
• LA-03: Republicans seem to be making a full-court press on newly R+12 LA-03, even though Rep. Charlie Melancon (who didn't even have an opponent in 2008) seems likelier to remain in the seat than run for Senate. The NRCC has been courting state Rep. Nickie Monica, who has obliged by offering some public criticisms of Melancon. Ascension Parish sheriff Jeff Wiley was also on the wish list, but has taken himself out of contention.
• PA-11: Nobody's taking the heat off Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 12th. First came news that Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty were interested in primary challenges; now it sounds like Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, who came within 3% of Kanjorski in 2008, may be back for a third try. Barletta was seemingly considering the Lt. Gov. slot in 2010, but assuming AG Tom Corbett wins the gubernatorial nomination that job may go to someone from the Philly suburbs for purposes of ticket-balancing.
• DCCC: The DCCC launched an ad blitz against six vulnerable House Republicans today, hitting them with radio ads and robocalls for voting against the stimulus package by focusing on specific shovel-ready projects in each district. Targets are Don Young (AK-AL), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Tom Rooney (FL-16), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Peter King (NY-03), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).
• Demographics: A new Gallup poll finds that only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, African-Americans, or other non-whites. Considering that we're a few decades away from a country where whites no longer hold the majority, The Math seems to indicate a Republican Party that doesn't dramatically change its message is on the brink of permanent irrelevance.
Lately there has been a lot of Debate over the number of Democratic Congressional Districts that Democrats could gerrymander out of the state of Michigan if they had complete control (right now they hold the Governorship and State House. They stand a good chance at taking control of the State Senate while the Governor's race is a tossup). A few people, namely IHateBush, have said that it is possible to succesfully draw a map that would yield 12 Democratic seats and only 2 Republican seats. I've been trying for several weeks to draw a 12-2 map, meanwhile protecting endangered incumbents (specifically Schauer) and I've determined that a 12-2 map would be far overeaching and in a neutral or Republican leaning year might end up 9-5 or worse. I think the best Michigan Democrats could do is create 11 safe or Democrat leaning districts and 3 strongly Republican districts. I've drawn a map that I think does just that, although I still am not entirely confident that we could hold both of my "Thumb" districts in a Republican year. But without further ado, here's my map.
• PA-Sen: Well, something finally went right for Arlen Specter. After Specter got condemned to the basement on all his committees on Tuesday night, Majority whip Dick Durbin doled out a little charity this morning by giving up his own chair (Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs) and handing it over to Specter (apparently without Pat Leahy's say-so). I'm wondering what Specter had to do behind the scenes to smooth things over; if the rumors flying that Specter is poised to re-flip-flop back to supporting EFCA are true, that's probably the answer.
• NY-Sen-B: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is still making noises about a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, but with her frequent caveats about stepping aside if someone younger takes on the challenge, it seems like she's doing it more to yank Gillibrand's chain on gun control issues. Gillibrand has been a reliable vote in favor of gun controls since entering the Senate, going so far as to co-sponsor the current bill to close the gun-show loophole. McCarthy confesses to being "very happy about it. I just want her to stay there."
• NH-Sen: Judd Gregg tells CQ that wherever he goes, he's bombarded by Republicans begging him to run for another term in the Senate. He says he'll listen to their entreaties, but he's "comfortable with where" he is.
• AK-Gov: Governors in general are having a rough go of it these days, and now even the once-mighty Sarah Palin is suffering, falling to a mundane 54/41 favorable rating according to Hays Research. Senator Lisa Murkowski, by comparison, is still at 76/18.
• OK-Gov: Ex-Rep. J.C. Watts is still publicly undecided about the governor's race, and kicking the can down the road on a formal decision. Reading between the lines of his statement, it sounds like he's having some trouble fundraising, saying "You don't take on something like this unless you know you will have the resources to do it."
• CO-04: The GOP got the candidate it wanted, to go up against freshman Rep. Betsy Markey in this now R+6 district. State House minority whip Cory Gardner, who represents the vast emptiness of eastern Colorado, announced that he'll be running. Univ. of Colorado regent Tom Lucero is already in the hunt for the GOP nod.
• MN-06: One day after former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate Maureen Reed said she'll be a Dem candidate in 2010, the 2008 candidate, Elwyn Tinklenberg, confirmed he'll be running again, against one-woman gaffe machine Michele Bachmann.
• CA-47: GOP Assemblyman Van Tran made it official, setting up his exploratory committee for an uphill bid against Rep. Loretta Sanchez in this D+4 Latino-majority district in the heart of the O.C. (Discussion underway in Gus Ayer's diary.)
• ID-01: Idaho state Treasurer Don Crane spent the last week glad-handing GOP leaders and fundraisers in Washington, DC, fueling speculation that he's ready to challenge frosh Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick next year. Would his candidacy dampen the spirits of ex-Rep. Bill "Brain Fade" Sali, who is currently mulling a rematch? (J)
• GA-09: When you have an R+28 district, the only question about an open seat is what variety of wingnut you're going to get next. Former state Senator Bill Stephens (who lost the SoS primary to Karen Handel in 2006) announced he'll run to succeed Rep. Nathan Deal, retiring to run for governor. Former state Transportation Board chair Mike Evans is already seek the GOP nom.
• IL-11: The GOP has lined up Air Force Captain Adam Kinzinger to run against freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the Chicago suburbs. His exploratory committee is open, but he's currently serving in Iraq and won't be able to make a formal announcement until summer.
• MI-11: We've got somebody willing to step up against Bad Thad McCotter in this Dem-trending seat in the economically hard-hit Detroit suburbs: fundraising consultant Natalie Mosher. The DCCC sounds like it's going to keep looking for someone else, but if that fails, bear in mind that McCotter barely won in 2008 against a different Dem nobody.
• GA-12: When you're running for office, it's important to sell yourself... but not oversell yourself. Surgeon and Iraq vet Wayne Mosely, who's running against Rep. John Barrow in the D+1 rural Georgia district, recently tweeted that the NRCC rated his race as one of the top 3 in the nation! Uh, no, there's no ranking system, responded the NRCC, although they did concede that they were "very excited" about Mosely's candidacy.