• 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.
• 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: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) will apparently announce a haul of more than $1 million in Q1.
• OH-Sen: A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Mandel says he'll file paperwork with the FEC "very shortly," but it's not clear from the writeup whether this means an exploratory committee (what I'm guessing) or if it's the real thing. Also of note: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), whose name first came up as a possible candidate less than a week ago, quashed any notion that he might run against Sherrod Brown last Friday.
• VA-Sen: If you want to believe CNN's sources, Tim Kaine will announce a Senate bid in the next two weeks.
• WA-Sen, WA-10: Sue Rahr, the conservative King County Sheriff who inherited the job from now-Rep. Dave Reichert, said through a spokesman that she has no intention of running against Sen. Maria Cantwell - a rumor that seems to have gotten shot down before we'd ever heard of it here at SSP. However, a political consultant of Rahr's thinks the sheriff (who supposedly has crossover appeal) could run in Washington's new 10th CD, if a district emerges out of Reichert's 8th centered in the area north of I-90.
• ME-Gov: Will Paul LePage be the next Rick Scott? Like Florida's governor, Republican members of LePage's own legislature are starting to turn on him; eight state senators penned an op-ed declaring : "'Government by disrespect' should have no place in Augusta, and when it happens, we should all reject it."
• MO-Gov: I think it's going to get worse before it gets better for Republican LG Peter Kinder. Trying to push back against revelations that he spend taxpayer money to spend two months a year in St. Louis luxury hotels to attend baseball games, society balls, and teabagger conclaves since 2006, Kinder claimed that his office had been reviewed by two different state auditors, both of them Democrats: Susan Montee and Claire McCaskill (yes, her). The problem? Montee's audit faulted Kinder for "numerous mathematical errors and inconsistencies" regarding employee pay, and McCaskill's found that Kinder used a state-owned care for personal use. I'm sensing a theme here.
• WA-Gov: Could Christine Gregoire's claim to be undecided about seeking a third term really just be a way to ward off lame-duck syndrome? That's Jim Brunner's guess. The Seattle Times reporter points out that campaign finance filings show the Democrat had just $44K on hand at the end of February. At the comparable reporting deadline during the prior election cycle, she had $1.2 million in the bank. Meanwhile, other likely candidates are flush: Republican AG Rob McKenna has raised $800K and has $400K on hand, while Rep. Jay Inslee (D) had $1.2 million in his congressional account at the end of last year. The piece also notes that another possible Dem candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, has recently discussed a potential run for Lt. Gov. instead. (She'd have to primary Brad Owen, who has been in office since 1997, or push him into retirement.)
• FL-22: Whoa, I was definitely wrong to dismiss "no not that" Patrick Murphy as a Some Dude. One article described him as a 28-year-old accountant, but he's got family money - and, evidently, good connections. Murphy says he raised a majorly impressive $350K in less than a month, and only $30K of that is his own money. Even fundraising machine Ron Klein raised "only" $153K in the comparable quarter in 2005 (before he was first elected).
• NM-01: Terry Brunner, a former state director for the retiring Jeff Bingaman, had previously said he was thinking about running for his old boss's seat, but now says he's considering a run for the 1st CD instead.
• NV-01: Jon Ralston thinks former 3rd CD Rep. Dina Titus will run for Shelley Berkley's seat if the latter runs for Senate, but this is definitely a case of Schrödinger's Seat.
• OR-01: Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson is the first big-name Dem to say he's considering a primary challenge to embattled Rep. David Wu. He wants to wait until the district lines become clear, saying he'll only run if he lives in the district. (He doesn't live there now, but I suppose he could move even if redistricting doesn't help him, so I'm not sure how big an obstacle that is.) He also says he's considering a primary challenge to state AG John Kroger, the man who beat him in the Dem primary for that office in 2008.
• WI-07: Feeling the heat, Rep. Sean Duffy offered a half-assed non-apology, saying his "words were admittedly poorly chosen" when he whinged about getting paid only $174,000 a year as a member of Congress.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Surprise, surprise: "Citizens for a Strong America," the potemkin right-wing group responsible for several attack ads in the race (including one even PolitiFact rated "pants on fire") turns out to be just a clone/offshoot of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' arch-evil front group.
• Special Elections: After a few weeks without any state lege races, Johnny Longtorso is back:
While everyone will be focused on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election (which is a phrase I never thought I'd type), there is one special occurring on Tuesday in South Carolina's HD-64, though it's in a safe Democratic seat. Democrat Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Manning, will face off against Republican Walter Sanders.
Also, a quick shout-out to Republican Mike "Pete" Huval, the newest member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from HD-46. He defeated another Republican (no Democrat ran) on Saturday for the seat vacated by now-State Sen. Fred Mills.
• Maps: The National Journal has an interesting set of maps which focus on a theme that DCCyclone has been hitting in comments: Namely, because of population growth among minorities, the share of the white vote that Obama needs in 2012 is lower than it was in 2008, assuming minority support for Obama stays the same. In a very pessimistic scenario where his minority support falls 10%, Obama would only lose three states he otherwise won in 2008 (FL, IN & NC), assuming he keeps the same share of the white vote. (But note that that latter assumption is unnecessary: Even under the reduced minority support scenario, Obama's white support could also drop considerably in many states and he'd still win.)
• Votes: A new study (full paper here) says that Dems who votes "yes" on healthcare reform saw their reelection margins reduced from 6 to 8 points. Something about this study seems incomplete to me, though, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll be really curious to read your thoughts in comments.
• VRA: This is interesting: Black lawmakers in Georgia have filed a lawsuit challenging to dissolve the charters of five very white cities in DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The plaintiffs argue that these cities, all formed between 2005 and 2008, were created to dilute minority voting power, and hence violate the VRA. Apparently, this is a novel application of the Voting Rights Act, so we'll see how it unfolds.
• Passings: Very sad news: Former Rep. John Adler, a longtime state Senator who served one term in NJ-03 before losing last year, passed away at the age of 51. Last month, Adler contracted an infection which led to heart disease from which he never recovered. His father also died young of heart disease, something Adler would mention on the campaign trail when describing his family's struggles after his father's death. As a state legislator, one of his signature accomplishments was a smoke-free air bill which banned smoking in many public places. He leaves behind a wife and four children.
In other news, former TN Gov. Ned McWherter also passed away yesterday. McWherter, who was 80, served two terms as governor in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the things McWherter is probably best known for is the creation TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program. His son Mike ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.
• Arkansas: Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau has a good rundown of what's going on with Democrats' controversial redistricting plan, dubbed the "Fayetteville Finger." The plan has passed in the House but has stalled in the Senate, where a vote won't come until Thursday at the earliest. At the end of the piece, Moritz details several different alternate proposals pending in the Senate.
• Louisiana: A piece from Sunday's Times-Picayune said that votes were possible on Monday in the House and Senate on congressional maps, but I've not yet seen any subsequent coverage.
• Michigan: Aaron Blake's redistricting series takes him to Michigan, where he has a good explanation of just how difficult it will be for the GOP to shore up its current situation.
• Missouri: Check out this Google Maps version of the state House's proposed new federal district lines.
• New Jersey: Republicans started bitching and moaning about the state's new map even before it was officially chosen, but so far, they haven't said whether they'd challenge the map in court. Not really sure what grounds they'd have even if they wanted to give it a go.
• Nevada: The LVRJ has a piece on the debate in Nevada over whether to create a majority-Hispanic district, or whether to keep Hispanic voters spread out to keep all districts more Dem or more competitive. Most Republicans obviously like the former idea, while Dems (including some Latino lawmakers) are understandably skeptical. Also, it looks like abgin must have trekked all the way from Basque Country to make a presentation at a public hearing in Vegas last weekend: The LVRJ says that "[s]everal interest groups presented proposed maps, including one that likely wouldn't pass legal or political muster because it would create four new vertical congressional districts stretching from North to South."
• Texas: Ah, redistricting cat fud - it has a stench all its own. GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is apparently taking the non-insane view that Hispanic growth and the VRA require that two (well, at least two) of Texas's four new districts be majority-minority, and he's been working with Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar to create a compromise map. This has infuriated fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton (aka Smokey Joe), who insists that at least three if not all four of the new seats be Republican-favored. And folks, the cat fud is real. Sayeth Politico:
Barton has harshly criticized Smith during Texas GOP delegation meetings, launching a profanity-laced tirade at Smith during one session early last month, and he's privately tried to oust Smith as the lead Republican negotiator on redistricting.
Politico's sources say that Smith is still favored among members of his own party, but that Gov. Rick Perry may be leaning toward Barton. Perry's alleged plan is to skip DoJ pre-clearance and go directly to federal court, perhaps hoping for a friendly conservative panel (backstopped by an unquestionably conservative Supreme Court), so that could turn Barton's dream into a reality... but I still think it's a serious stretch. The piece also reports that proposed maps have been circulated among Republicans, but of course, no one's sharing any copies.
• NE-Sen: After a few months in exploratory committee purgatory (and after screwing up many of the documents associated with said committee), Republican AG Jon Bruning has made it official. He's now upgraded to Candidate, against Ben Nelson in the 2012 Senate race.
• TX-Sen: Local insiders seem to think that Kay Bailey Hutchison is increasingly moving toward another run for Senate in 2012 (after having postponed her resignation a number of times amidst the gubernatorial race, and then having dropped the subject altogether). That speculation seems based mostly on her sheer silence on the issue, though.
• IA-Gov: On his way out the door, outgoing Gov. Chet Culver talked up state Sen. majority leader Mike Gronstal as a possible 2014 gubernatorial candidate for the Dems. Culver said Gronstal won't suffer for his reluctance to put gay marriage up for a statewide vote, which seems to be one of the state's big flashpoints right now.
• WA-Gov, WA-08: This is very unexpected, considering that GOP AG Rob McKenna has had the 2012 gubernatorial nomination staked out for about six years now, but Rep. Dave Reichert is publicly expressing some (or at least not ruling out) interest in a gubernatorial run (a race he'd been encouraged to run in 2004 back when he was King Co. Sheriff, although he ran for House instead). I'm sure local GOPers would prefer he run for Senate, where no viable GOP nominee seems to be on the horizon, rather than creating a fractious gubernatorial primary that might hobble their best shot in decades at winning the governorship. Actually, I'm sure they'd prefer he continue to hold down WA-08 rather than open up the 8th while embarking on a fool's errand against Maria Cantwell, and with redistricting likely to give him a safer district in Seattle's southeastern exurbs while opening up a solid-blue WA-10 on the true Eastside, that's probably what he'll keep on doing.
• CO-03: New Gov. John Hickenlooper just appointed recently-defeated Rep. John Salazar as the state's agriculture commissioner. Salazar has already said he was open to a rematch with Scott Tipton; the question is whether this makes a rematch less likely or if it's designed to keep him in the public spotlight. (Speaking of Hickenlooper, if you haven't read the NYT Magazine section's long profile of him, it's worth a read.)
• FL-25: Add one more mysterious bit of financial information to the mounting pile of sleaze that's engulfing David Rivera in his first week on the job: he sold a condominium to his mother's marketing company (the same company that's under criminal investigation for its relationship to the Flagler Dog Track) in November, shortly before he paid off $137K in undisclosed loans... also to that same marketing company.
• IA-03: Buried in an article on the Iowa redistricting conundrum, which will see the state compacted to four House districts, is an important piece of unexpected news: septuagenarian Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell, who's been a prime candidate for retirement for a number of cycles now, tells Roll Call that he will be running again in 2012, regardless of what district he gets stuck into. Tom Latham, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack all plan to "plow ahead" as well; only Steve King didn't comment, although his district, by virtue of geography (having the state's western half pretty much to itself) seems least likely to get messed with. A collision between Des Moines-based Boswell and Ames-based GOPer Latham seems likeliest to me, but with a commission making the decisions, almost any configuration seems possible.
• NC-07: Rep. Mike McIntyre -- already in the news today as one of only two Dems who voted against HCR to also say that he'd go ahead and support Republican repeal efforts -- is now about to draw a Democratic primary challenger from the left, although one who seems kind of on the Some Dude end of the spectrum. Business counselor Del Pietro says he'll take on McIntyre.
• California: This piece is mostly about House redistricting in the Golden State, but has some thoughts about potential retirements too, given the possibility that redistricting via commission may result in less incumbent protection and various House members getting stuck together (and also given the advanced age of many of California's long-timers). Jerry Lewis and Pete Stark are listed as most noteworthy possibilities, along with Elton Gallegly (who's waffled about retirement before), Lois Capps, Gary Miller, and Howard Berman... and Bob Filner is mentioned as a possible San Diego mayor candidate in 2012.
• House: This Roll Call piece is mostly a grab-bag of vague quotes and speculation (of course, what article in the Beltway press isn't), but it does do some useful handicapping on which sought-after House members are likely or unlikely to make the jump to running for Senate in 2012. New York's Peter King says "I really don't expect it," Pennsylvania's Charlie Dent says he hasn't "been actively pursuing it," and Ohio's Jim Jordan is "leaning against it." Wisconsin's Paul Ryan didn't comment, but has repeatedly said he isn't looking for higher office anytime soon (and here's some further confirmation on that from today), while Florida's Connie Mack IV seems to be moving definitely moving in a Senate direction and Montana's Denny Rehberg remains studiously vague.
• DCCC: DCCC head Steve Israel announced his team of lieutenants for the 2012 cycle, which includes the two other likeliest chairs who got passed over, Joseph Crowley (in charge of fundraising) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (incumbent retention and redistricting). Also on board are Allyson Schwartz (recruitment), Keith Ellison (community partnerships), and Puerto Rico's Pedro Pierluisi (constituency mobilization).
• Mayors: State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (last seen barely hitting the double-digits in the Democratic gubernatorial primary) has a new gig in mind: he's publicly expressing his interest in running for Philadelphia mayor, one of the many mayoral races up in November. The only other person to have actively looked into challenging fairly-popular incumbent Michael Nutter is wealthy businessman Tom Knox, who also made a brief appearance in last year's governor's race Dem primary.
• Twitter: We made it over the 4,000 mark on Twitter; thanks to all our new followers. We're still taking new applications, though, so we encourage any other fans of microscopic bits of political wisdom to sign on, too.
• DE-Sen: Here's an amusing look back at the Delaware race, where it turns out that Christine O'Donnell raised $7.3 million over the course of the campaign (a somewhat large improvement on her $63K from her previous Senate bid) and then proceeded to lose by 16 points. O'Donnell apparently had the same problem that I suspected that Sharron Angle did (though we don't have any confirmation on Angle yet)... there weren't any media outlets with available slots to pour all that late-breaking money into.
• MO-Sen: Jim Talent has offered his timeline on publicly deciding whether or not to run for Senate (which has seemed to get less likely over the last few days, if you believe the scuttlebutt). He won't decide until the New Year, and possibly won't announce anything until the state GOP's Lincoln Day festivities in mid-February.
• MT-Sen: PPP offered some GOP Senate primary numbers, although I'm not sure how useful they are given that Marc Racicot, the former Governor and RNC chair, eats up a lion's share despite not having really ever been associated with the race. (Although, who knows... maybe this will suddenly prompt him to get interested.) At any rate, the two guys with name rec, Racicot and Rep. Denny Rehberg, are at 40 and 37, respectively. The two little-known guys who are actually the ones running (so far), Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone, are at 5 and 4.
• RI-Sen: Although John Robitaille seems to be getting all the attention in terms of the GOP's pick to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian is still stoking the fires of vague interest. Avedisian is a moderate and an ally of newly-elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
• WA-Sen: The race against Maria Cantwell seems to already be a casualty write-off for the GOP, seeing as how the state's entire viable GOP bench (aka Rob McKenna) will most likely be running for Governor. The state GOP's usual M.O. in such situations is to turn to some random rich guy as a place-holder (see Mike McGavick, Cantwell's 2006 opponent, or oft-threatened but never-happened candidate John Stanton), but it may turn out that Clint Didier, the tea partier whose GOP primary bid against Dino Rossi didn't go anywhere and who's now interested in trying again, gets left holding the bag this time. Didier, who refused to endorse Rossi and castigated him at every turn, isn't likely to be able to count on much NRSC or even state GOP goodwill this time, though.
• MN-Gov: Nothing like a little post-electoral cat fud, even if it means exiling pretty much your entire pantheon of elder statesmen. The state GOP just excommunicated more than a dozen key moderate Republicans who had jumped ship to support Independence Party candidate Tom Horner in view of Tom Emmer's extremism. These aren't just run-of-the-mill PCO-types, either: the list includes an ex-Senator (David Durenberger) and two ex-Govs (Arne Carlson and Al Quie). And if you're wondering how Emmer is faring in the court of public opinion amidst the recount non-drama, PPP's out with a snap poll: by a 68-22 margin, voters think it's time for Emmer to give up (which matches the 68-21 margin of people who think that Mark Dayton was the election's rightful winner).
• OH-17: Wondering who the third-party candidate who fared the best was, in this year's House races? It was none other than ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, who picked up 16.1% of the vote against Tim Ryan, the best showing of any indie with both Dem and GOP opponents (and he did it without spending a penny). He fared better than Randy Wilkinson in FL-12, who ran a more credible campaign and was widely viewed as a potential spoiler. In fact, Wilkinson finished 3rd at 10.7%; some random conservative, Dan Hill, got 12% in NE-03 by running to Adrian Smith's right, although that was a race that Dems barely contested. What about MI-01's Glenn Wilson, who made waves for approximately one day with his pledge to spend $2 million of his own money (although it's dubious if he spent more than a fraction of that)? He barely registered, at 7%.
• WV-01: Here's an unexpected comeback, and probably one that's not a good idea. Alan Mollohan, who couldn't survive a Dem primary and most likely wouldn't have won the general even if he'd gotten over the first hurdle, is publicly expressing his interest in running in 2012 for his old seat. He's opened an FEC account for '12 and has been reaching out behind the scenes.
• NY-St. Sen.: This is basically a Hail Mary at this point, but when it's the chance to tie the state Senate, it's a chance you take. Craig Johnson officially filed an appeal yesterday of the judge's ruling certifying Jack Martins as winner in SD-7 (giving the GOP a 32-30 edge there). He's asking for a hand count, to see if any votes were missed in the state's switch this year to electronic voting machines. Given the recent abject fail in finding all the votes cast in Queens, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
• Redistricting: The Fix has another installment in its ongoing redistricting previews, this time focusing on Georgia. The GOP-controlled state legislature should have little trouble adding a GOP-friendly 14th seat in Atlanta's northern tier of exurbs, where most of the state's growth has occurred. The real question will be whether they can do anything to turf out either of the two remaining Dems in slightly lean-Dem districts in south Georgia, Sanford Bishop or John Barrow? Although neither of their seats are truly minority-majority, the VRA might be implicated if their seats get messed with too much. Bishop's GA-02 is likely to be shored up in order to make freshman Austin Scott safer in the 8th. Barrow seems like an easier target, but to do so would not only risk VRA litigation but also make Jack Kingston's 1st less safe, meaning incumbent protection might be the result.
• Demographics: There was a massive dump of U.S. Census data yesterday, although none of it is the actual hard count from 2010 (which is due by the end of the month, including state populations for reapportionment purposes). Instead, this is the Demographic Analysis (used to estimate undercounts in the actual count, although there won't be any adjustments made to the counts for redistricting purposes in this cycle). The big number was the total population estimate, ranging from 306 million to 313 million, with a midrange estimate of 308.5 million (which would put the average House district, for redistricting, at 709K). Also worth noting: Hispanics accounted for essentially the nation's growth in youth population in the last decade, and Hispanics have grown from 17% of the nation's under-20 population in 2000 to 22% now; without Hispanics, the number of young people would have actually gone down since 2000.
• AK-Sen: The state of Alaska is intervening in the Joe Miller state-level lawsuit over the counting of write-in votes, asking for an expedited ruling. They'd like the whole thing to be over and done with by Dec. 9, so that there's no delay in seating Alaska's next (or same) Senator. The state's filing also, amazingly, says that the court should find for the state "unless Miller provides proof to back up claims of fraud." Actually provide proof of something?!? Sounds like a bunch of lib'rul elitists with all that emphasis on "facts," instead, of y'know, common sense.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar is pretty much daring a tea-partier challenge at this point, gladly painting his own target on his back with his own paintbrush. He was the only Republican up in 2012 who voted "no" on the proposed earmark ban that didn't pass the Senate yesterday. (Seven other GOPers voted no, but they aren't up this cycle and are from the already out-and-proud porker side of the party anyway, like Lisa Murkowski and Thad Cochran.) Perhaps most galling to the teabag set, Lugar actually invoked Article I of the Constitution in doing so.
• MI-Sen: While everyone waits on Peter Hoekstra to see if he runs, a random rich guy who's been a big behind-the-scenes donor for the Republicans is making some noises about a 2012 bid against Debbie Stabenow. Tim Leuliette has been "considering" the race and calling around to gauge support. Interestingly, his job until October was CEO of an auto parts distributor, Dura Automotive; wonder how he'll spin the Obama administration's auto industry bailout (without which he'd probably be wearing a barrel and selling pencils on a street corner).
• WA-Sen: I know everyone here likes maps (especially maps with lots of blue on them), so here's an interesting one that shows just what any Republican running statewide in Washington is up against: it's a precinct-by-precinct map of the three Puget Sound counties (King, Snohomish, and Pierce) showing how they voted in the 2010 Senate race. Seattle (which is about 10% of the state's total vote) has simply become the nut that's impossible for Republicans to crack; Patty Murray got 82% of the vote there, and lost 1 out of 960 precincts.
• LA-Gov: A survey from Southern Media & Opinion Research (mmmmm... smores) shows Bobby Jindal's popularity coming down to relatively normal levels from its extreme highs back of his initial years, just in time for his re-election bid in 2011. He has a 55% approval, compared with 77% in 2008, and his re-elects are 39/35, not that there's much of a compelling Democratic bench here anymore to take advantage of those undecided voters. Interesting post-script: the survey was paid for by random rich guy Lane Grigsby, whose individual IEs almost single-handedly defeated Don Cazayoux in LA-06 in 2008.
• MN-Gov: After a second day of recounting in Minnesota, nearly 70% of all the votes have been accounted for. The SoS is saying that Mark Dayton is now down 38 votes from the Election Day totals while Tom Emmer is down 1 (and not going to make up that nearly 9,000 vote margin at this rate). Mark Dayton's team, however, is claiming a net gain of 205 in the recount based on allocation of ballot challenges. Sensing that the recount isn't doing anything to change the outcome, Emmer's team is starting to change the topic to post-recount litigation, perhaps focused on allegations that "reconciliation" (matching the number of votes to the number of voters in each precinct) wasn't properly done. Dayton has raised $1 million so far purely to fund the recount, and Emmer isn't far behind in fundraising.
• VT-Gov: Brian Dubie isn't looking like a likely candidate for the GOP for 2012, as he's taken an informal post in the administration of his former foe, incoming Dem Gov. Peter Shumlin. He'll be the state's de facto "ambassador" to its big neighbor to the north, Quebec. In comments, doug tuttle has a list of potential other GOP challengers next cycle, with Dem-turned-GOPer state auditor Tom Salmon at the top of the list.
• NY-01: It looks like we're finally getting some movement on the challenged ballots part of the equation in the 1st, which is all that remains to be resolved. The tally will begin today, with slightly over 2,000 ballots to be decided (although both parties, meeting with a local judge, have agreed to withdraw around 200 challenges and proposed another 200 withdrawals -- including the notorious challenge to a group of 31 SUNY-Stony Brook students). Tim Bishop's lead is currently 215 votes, and the majority of the challenges have come from Randy Altschuler's camp. UPDATE: Based on today's activity so far, Bishop's camp is actively pushing the journalistic powers-that-be to call the race. Bishop's camp says he picked up an additional 20 votes today. There's also a stack of 162 valid ballots that haven't been added to the count yet that will add another 12 to Bishop's lead. Altschuler has only 1,149 challenges remaining, 649 of which are based on residency.
• OR-St. Sen.: Ordinarily, a recount in a state Senate race, at this point, would be too far down in the weeds for even our purposes. However, when it has the potential to flip the chamber, it's worth a mention. The GOP is seeking a recount in SD-3, centered on Ashland in southern Oregon, where incumbent Dem state Sen. Alan Bates beat Dave Dotterrer by 275. It's outside the auto-recount margin where the state would pay for it, but the cost is only $15K-$25K for the state GOP, so it's low risk, possibility of high gain: if somehow they turn the result around, it'd drop the chamber to a 15-15 tie instead of the 16-14 current Dem advantage.
• Mayors: As far as mayoral races go, Chicago seems to be taking up all the oxygen, but there's a number of other important ones this year. Denver was already scheduled to be up this year in May, but it takes on new importance with popular incumbent John Hickenlooper about to take over as Governor (at which point the deputy mayor will take over for five months). One candidate with a locally-big name has already announced: state Sen. Chris Romer (son of former Gov. Roy Romer).
• Passages: Finally, condolences to the friends and family of Democratic ex-Rep. Stephen Solarz, who represented parts of Brooklyn from 1974 to 1992 and who just died at age 70. Solarz was a major force in foreign policy circles until check-bouncing and redistricting brought his ascendancy to an abrupt end. If you haven't already read Steve Kornacki's fascinating profile of Solarz -- including his relationship with Chuck Schumer, and the confirmation that, no matter how big a deal you are within the Beltway, all politics is ultimately local -- read it now.
• AZ-Sen: So, that anti-earmark stance from Republican leadership seemed to last a whole week or so, until everybody's attention had moved onto something else (something about sharks attacking people in airport security lines, maybe). Jon Kyl just got a $200 million earmark to settle an Indian water rights case with the government. Kyl's defense... and one we should expect to hear a lot from both sides of the aisle... is that it's technically not an earmark (which seems to have a profanity-style you-know-it-when-you-see-it standard).
• CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman is hinting at an independent run as the preferred way forward out of his three-possible-ways-to-lose conundrum. In a recent interview, he said "I've enjoyed being an Independent so I guess that's the most natural way to run, but I haven't decided," as well as "I don't meet all the requirements of either party." Other insiders, or at least the ones Politico is talking to, say that Lieberman's choices at this point are essentially retiring or becoming a Republican. (One reason they cite is the recent collapse of the CfL "Party," which failed to get the 1% needed to maintain its ballot place... although that overlooks the fact that the CfL was, several years ago, hijacked by waggish Lieberman opponents).
• FL-Sen: The first announced Republican candidate for the Senate in 2012 is both a Some Dude and a familiar face: college instructor Mike McCalister. If the name rings a bell, he got 10% in this year's gubernatorial primary by virtue of not being either Rick Scott or Bill McCollum. As for temp Sen. George LeMieux, a reported possible candidate, his current status is still "no decisions yet," albeit "I do feel a calling to serve."
• KY-Sen: Here's some pointless post-mortem about Kentucky, but it's the first I've heard any major player from Team Blue say that the "Aqua Buddha" ad was a net liability for Jack Conway. Outgoing DSCC Bob Menendez said his main regret was not asking for better briefings about candidates' ads, and he cited the anti-Rand Paul ad as a particular "killer."
• PA-Sen: The first announced GOP candidate in Pennsylvania has also surfaced, and he's also on the cusp between Some Dude and whatever's one step higher than that. Marc Scaringi was a legislative aide to Rick Santorum back in the 1990s, and is currently a lawyer in Harrisburg. (The article also cites one other potential GOP challenger in addition to the usual Jim Gerlach/Charlie Dent suspects: incoming state House majority leader Mike Turzai, whom you might remember weighing and deciding against a PA-04 run in 2010.) As for Bob Casey Jr., he's running again, although his main concern for the next year seems to be upping his low-key profile.
• NY-23: After making some waves yesterday with saying he was at least considering voting for John Boehner in the floor leadership vote, Bill Owens is now just saying he was "blowing off steam" and will vote for her as long as she promises to focus on jobs. (In other words, he probably got a call from leadership explaining the consequences.)
• CA-AG: Kind of a foregone conclusion at this point, given his 40,000 vote deficit, but Steve Cooley has just conceded the Attorney General's race, with Democratic San Francisco DA and rising star Kamala Harris the victor.
• KY-AG: Here's a surprise: after a few weeks of hype concerning a 2011 battle royale between Jack Conway and Trey Grayson for Attorney General, Grayson suddenly reversed course. Rather than run again for SoS, where GOPers were already lining up, he apparently won't run for anything, other than the sweet embrace of the private sector.
• Chicago mayor: One more poll gives Rahm Emanuel a sizable edge in the Chicago mayoral race. He has 39% support in a Chicago Retail Merchants Association poll, followed by Carol Mosely Braun at 12, Gerry Chico at 9, Danny Davis at 7, and His Accidency, Roland Burris, at 2. The real question here seems to be whether Emanuel can win on Feb. 22 without a runoff (which would be Apr. 5).
• AR-St. House: Here's an interesting situation in Arkansas, where Dems still control the state House (albeit with reduced numbers) but an unusual special election is already on tap. Democratic State Rep. Rick Saunders was apparently going to be given a pass to serve another two years despite being term-limited out, because the guy who won the seat in November, GOPer Keith Crass, did so despite being dead. He beat Dem Larry Williams despite dying during the early voting period. Now Saunders says he'll resign in early January so a special election can be held (in April at the earliest).
• Washington: It looks like all the counting in Washington is finally done, with turnout a whopping 71% (thanks to the mail-in nature of the election, which goes a long way toward evaporating the 'enthusiasm gap'). Patty Murray wound up winning by just shy of 5%, right where UW's polling put it, compared with the out-of-state robo-pollsters who saw a much closer race. Dems still control both chambers of the state legislature by decent (but not supermajority anymore) margins, after losing 4 seats in the 49-seat Senate and 5 in the 98-seat House. Three races where the Dem trails (Randy Gordon in the Senate, and Dawn Morrell and Kelli Linville in the House) are apparently going to recount, though, by margins ranging from 47 to 194.
• Money: The Dems, after getting outgunned on the dark money front in 2010 by a wide margin, aren't going to be caught napping this time (and this time, unlike 2008, they seem to have Barack Obama's tacit approval). David Brock (in his quest to become the left's answer to Karl Rove) is busy revving up his own 527/501(c)(4) type-thing for corraling large donations from undisclosed donors. The good news: they've already lined up $4 million in commitments. The bad news: they're being led by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (although maybe she's better behind the scenes than she is as a campaigner).
• History: Here's a great look back from Greg Giroux at Senate cycles where one party was defending more than 10 seats than the other party (as the Dems will in 2012). While the last three times this happened (2006 2008, 1986, and 1980), the defending party got hammered, many of the prior examples showed little movement one way or the other, including 1976, where a number of incumbents of both parties lost (in the post-Watergate environment) but it all balanced out to zero.
The lone spot of good news in all this for Dino Rossi? Now he won't have all those Senatorial duties cluttering up his planning activities for his 2012 gubernatorial run.
Sen. Patty Murray pulled further ahead this afternoon , taking 68 percent of the nearly 70,000 votes counted in King County on Thursday.
The King County boost widened Murray's statewide lead to more than two percentage points -- nearly 50,000 votes -- over Republican Dino Rossi statewide even as Rossi-leaning counties began to report new totals. The biggest Rossi counties, Spokane and Clark, both reported results today but his gains there were swamped by King County.
Also worth noting: Rick Larsen in WA-02 seems to be moving into healthier shape against John Koster. He's now up more than 1,400 according to the SoS, suggesting that Dem-friendly precincts are late to report in the 2nd too.
AK-Sen: Right now, write-ins account for 41% of the vote in Alaska, while Joe Miller has 34% and Scott McAdams 24%. State election officials have bumped up the start of the write-in count to Nov. 10th (from Nov. 18th). Murkowski is one of 160 declared write-in candidates, but obviously quite a few write-ins ballots would have to be spoiled, or for other candidates, for her to lose.
WA-Sen: Patty Murray's lead widened to 1.6% as votes were counted in the populous Democratic stronghold of King County. The trends look poor for Dino Rossi, who took 40% here in 2004 (when he almost tied Christine Gregoire in the gubernatorial race), but is now at 37% this year.
CT-Gov: Yikes - the AP withdrew its call for Dem Dan Malloy. This one could get seriously topsy-turvy. Whatever the hell is going on here might also impact Jim Himes (vs. Dan Debicella) in CT-04. Not good.
MN-Gov: With 100% of precincts reporting, Dem Mark Dayton holds an 8,854-vote lead over Republican Tom Emmer, within the half-percent margin which would prompt an automatic recount. No recount can start until after Nov. 23rd, when the vote is certified. Note that Norm Coleman's election-day lead was just 725 votes in 2008. So even though GOP lawyers are already laying in a supply of amphetamines, it's possible the Republicans will abandon what looks like a futile effort.
IL-Gov: Man, did anyone dig a mangier rabbit out of a shabbier hat than Pat Quinn? After a day of counting more votes in Cook County (Chicago), Quinn's lead has expanded to 19,000 votes, and Republicans are getting ready to throw in the towel on behalf of Bill Brady. Pretty amazing, for a guy who seemed DOA just a couple of months ago.
OR-Gov: As we noted yesterday, various media sources have called the race for Dem John Kitzhaber over Chris Dudley.
AZ-07: As we noted yesterday, Dem Rep. Raul Grijalva has declared victory over Ruth McClung, with a 3% lead. A Grijalva spokesman said that the remaining ballots are in Pima County, which favors Dems.
AZ-08: Dem Rep. Gabby Giffords leads by 2,349 votes over Jesse Kelly, but again, Pima - they have some 47,000 votes still outstanding. Pima was one of only four counties to go for Kerry - and for Obama, too.
CA-11: With an unclear number of votes left to be counted, Dem Rep. Jerry McNerney has inched into a 121-vote lead over David Harmer. It'll take four weeks for the vote to get certified, at which point the loser can seek a recount (at his own expense).
CA-20: Dem Rep. Jim Costa trails Andy Vidak by almost 2,000 votes, but there may be something like 30,000 uncounted ballots from Fresno County, which Costa won on e-night by a 2-to-1 margin. So maybe we'll get lucky here.
IL-08: With 100% of the vote in, Dem Rep. Melissa Bean is trailing in a shocker to Jim Walsh by 553 votes. She isn't conceding yet, though.
KY-06: With 100% of votes counted, Dem Rep. Ben Chandler has a 619 vote lead over Andy Barr. Barr has until next Tuesday to request a "recanvass," which would be completed by Nov. 12th. Barr could then ask for a formal recount, but he'd have to foot the bill.
NY-25: Really barfy: As we noted yesterday, Republican Ann Marie Buerkle has moved into the lead, after late results from Wayne County came in. She's now up by 659 votes. Some 8,300 absentee ballots have been returned so far (out of 11,600 requested), though more are trickling in. Maffei would have to pull in something like 54% or so out of the absentees to pull this one out.
TX-27: It's looking pretty bad for Dem Rep. Solomon Oritz, who trails Blake Farenthold by 799 votes with 100% in. Farenthold has declared victory, but Ortiz claims his legal team is conducting a review and that he may seek a recount - which he would have to pay for (unless it changes the final results). And check out how far the apple has fallen from the tree:
Farenthold is grandson of Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, a Democrat who served two terms in the state House and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1972. That same year, she finished second in balloting to become George McGovern's vice presidential candidate at the Democratic convention.
VA-11: With 100% of precincts reporting, Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly leads Keith Fimian 111,621 to 110,696. The vote will get certified on Nov. 22nd, at which time Fimian can seek a recount if the margin remains less than half a percent (recounts are not automatic).
WA-02, WA-09: As we noted yesterday, a number of media outlets have called the 9th CD race for Dem Rep. Adam Smith over Dick Muri. Meanwhile, Rick Larsen has taken his first lead over John Koster, albeit a narrow one (30% of votes remain to be counted).
• CO-Sen: This isn't an official call from the AP or CNN, but the Denver Post (who you would think would know their state well enough to know the score) has decided that Michael Bennet is the victor in Colorado. No couching, as their article is titled "Bennet Wins in Senate Race;" you can't lay it on the line any more than that. Their rationale: he leads by 7,000 votes with 30,000 remaining to be counted in dirty hippie stronghold Boulder County.
• WA-Sen: While the Seattle Times doesn't sound as fully confident as the Denver Post, they also make it sound like Patty Murray is on her way to reelection. Their rationale: more than one-third of the uncounted votes statewide are found in King County, which of course is the state's Democratic base and where she's getting 62% currently.
• WI-Sen?: Pundits (or at least William Kristol, known for his wishful thinking) seem to be taking the wrong message from this Russ Feingold line at the end of his concession speech last night: "It's on to our next adventure. It's on to 2012! Forward!" To them, that means that Feingold will be mounting a quixotic primary challenge to Barack Obama. Um, we're likely to see a Herb Kohl retirement in 2012. Maybe Feingold is likely to run for the other Wisconsin Senate seat? (Taking a page from Washington's Slade Gorton, who lost in 1986 and resurfaced in 1988. Any other Senators anyone out there can think of who did that?)
• MN-Gov: It must seem like Groundhog Day for Minnesotans, who are poised for another recount nightmare as the election lawyers descend like locusts. With only 19 precincts remaining to count, Mark Dayton's lead over Tom Emmer is 0.43%, which is below the 0.5% bar where an automatic recount is triggered.
• Polltopia: So is the cycle where bullshit finally gets called on Rasmussen? Nate Silver made the case last night, observing that of the 100 polls released in the final 21 days of the campaign, 70-75% overstated Republican support, off by an average 3-4 points. Taegan Goddard also chips in singling out its final HI-Sen poll, which was off by only 38 points on the final margin of victory for Dan Inouye.
• Trivia: Would you believe that the Democratic freshman class is only in the single digits? There are 9 freshmen: Terri Sewell (AL-07), Karen Bass (CA-33), John Carney (DE-AL), Frederica Wilson (FL-17), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Cedric Richmond (LA-02), Bill Keating (MA-10), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), and David Cicilline (RI-01). Remarkably, only two of them are straight white guys!
• CA-11: This race has had some ups and downs today: The Stockton Record (the local, well, paper of record) was initially running a story stating that Jerry McNerney had won his race, after having trailed all of last night to David Harmer. They've pulled back on that, merely saying it's "too close to call," but the hard data is that McNerney now has a 121-vote lead over Harmer, with 100% of precincts reporting. I'd imagine this one will be heading for a recount!