• 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.
• Philly Mayor: Even though several labor organizations endorsed his crazy ex-con nobody of an opponent, Philadelphia's largest union, the Federation of Teachers, came out for incumbent Michael Nutter earlier this week. But Nutter's been having problems with the municipal unions, with the city's white collar union (known as District Council 47... I've always wondered where they get these numbers) declining to endorse. (Several others have either backed Milton Street or no one at all.)
• Wisconsin Recall: As expected, Democrats filed signatures against Rob Cowles, making him the sixth Republican to face a possible recall election. Republicans have filed against three Dems and missed the deadline against three others. Meanwhile, the state's Government Accountability Board asked a judge to give them more time to review the petitions, which would allow the agency to consolidate the elections on July 12. However, the MSNBC article linked first in this bullet suggests the elections may not take place until the fall.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Under state law, the Supreme Court recount must be completed very quickly, by May 9. It's apparently only the third statewide recount in Wisconsin history. The most recent one took place in 1989... and the one before that in 1858! Unsurprisingly, things are off to a bumpy start in Waukesha, though fortunately the now-notorious Kathy Nickolaus has recused herself from the process.
• EMILY: EMILY's List announced its first four endorsements of the cycle: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Christie Vilsack (IA-04), and Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02).
• Pennsylvania: PPP did something on their new PA poll that I like, and that I hope we'll see more of: They included a statewide generic House ballot, which in this case showed respondents favoring Dems by a 42-36 margin, despite weak numbers for Obama.
• Town Halls: With Congress on recess and members back home doing town halls, we're seeing some turnabout from the summer of 2009, with motivated liberals showing up to castigate Republicans for their votes to kill Medicare. Ordinarily, this would be the sort of topic we'd love to cover in the Daily Digest, but the good news/bad news is that there are just too many of them for us to keep track of. What's more, other outlets are doing a great job of covering them, like ThinkProgress and the DCCC.
• Michigan: We've been saying this for some time ourselves, but now the MI state lege is hearing it, too: In order to preserve Detroit's VRA seats, a redistricting expert for the legislative black caucus agrees that new district lines will have to be drawn that cross the traditional "8 Mile" boundary separating the city of Detroit from its suburbs. Michigan's maps must be complete by Nov. 1.
• Missouri: Republicans finally reached an agreement on a map at the 11th hour, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon. (You can see the new map here.) Democrats in the state House are urging Nixon to veto the plan, where the map fell 13 votes short of a veto-proof majority. The governor has not yet said what he'll do, but there's also a dispute brewing as to whether the legislature will be even able to schedule an over-ride vote this session, or if they'll have to wait until September.
• Nevada: Republicans have released their proposed maps, which you can find here. Democrats will put theirs out later today. Anjeanette Damon describes the congressional map as a 2-2 plan, but you be the judge.
• Texas: Score one for Rep. Lloyd Doggett: He snarfed up a copy of what he believes is the congressional map that Republican congressmen have proposed to leaders of the legislature. A copy is here (PDF). An unnamed source tells the Austin Statesman that they think the map is out-dated, but that Republican plans for splitting Travis County (home of Austin) four ways, as shown by the map, are in fact correct.
• Virginia: Well, it sure sounds like the Democrats have caved on the Virginia Senate map. A deal is reportedly done, and the key changes are summarized by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as follows:
Under the deal, the proposed new Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area would be eliminated, according to Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. Republicans would lose one of two senators in Virginia Beach and new districts would be created in Loudoun County and east of Lynchburg.
Also, the idiot Democrats in the House voted yet again for the newest Republican gerrymander (which makes mostly cosmetic changes). How stupid are these people? You don't fucking vote for the other side's gerrymander. I mean, it was one thing to act like this the first time around, when it appeared a multi-way deal was in place. But now these schmucks are like chickens voting to elect Col. Sanders. Hope you enjoy getting dipped in 11 herbs and spices and getting deep-fried to your doom, morans.
• FL-Sen: It's official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call "Tribal Clef" - like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida "opt out" of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.
• MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.
• ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn't yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he's "not ruling out" a race.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: It's Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race - and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he's thinking about running for Akin's potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin's present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I'm not sure if he'd wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).
Martin's newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin's seat - again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is "likely."
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I'm not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn't, a public option would have passed? I'm not getting this one at all.
• NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state's Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:
Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.
As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn't have "the most connections in Washington" and that he "won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders." The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I'm hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.
• NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I'm doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you're curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.
• IN-Gov: We're getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we've mentioned in the past) says that he'll soon form an exploratory committee and that his "mind is made up." He's been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I'm feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.
• AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you'd call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention.
So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett's vision for dystopia to a plan they'd readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I'm sure I don't need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They're also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.
• IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he's "pretty close to pulling the trigger" on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it'll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What's more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes - he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.
In any event, Crooks says he's likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.
• MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he's likely to run. He hasn't officially declared.
• NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn't tapped by the Republican Party. However, this "news" comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal "newspaper" (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it's nothing more than a rumor, calling it "the word circulating Monday."
Here's something that's not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won't run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.
• NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I'd hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.
• OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are "considering" a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I'm inclined to agree.
• TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she's under Chris Christie's considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor's auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno's latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he'll appeal.
• WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.
• Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they'll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats' announcement they they'll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.
• Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP's redistricting chair says: "If you're term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you." Dangle away, Jay!
• Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: "Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting." Dems claim they "won't negotiate away our majority," but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don't see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket - and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I'm pretty worried.
• ME-Sen: It's stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won't support Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It's a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she'll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn't help - and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.
• NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he'll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a "done deal."
• OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he'll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.
• TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won't run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.
• IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it's not unimportant. I can't really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse - he won't have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he's just feeling ambivalent.UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership... which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.
• LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I'm filing this under "LA-Gov" because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he'll run again, or if he'll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.
• NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year's gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn't, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand's been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he's talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he's more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.
Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year's key races. Marchand wasn't included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.
• AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour's last.
• NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally... but in any case, Diamond didn't return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.
• NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY's List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.
• OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from "rumor level" to "considering level." Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he's definitely interested. He'd be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race - Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don't (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.
• KY-St. House: It's not the biggest news in the world, but it's unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties... from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn't switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory - which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)
• WI Recall, WI-Gov: I'm usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% "keep" and 47% "remove." They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying "keep" for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and "keep" for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.
• House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC's Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC's "tuppence a bag" efforts, it's a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.
• Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP's list - see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy "significant," but also notes that it's for five figures... so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.
• Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they'll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can't possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it's more scared of what a court might draw, then we'll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they're the ones who have the most to lose - Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you're interested in drilling down on this one some more.
• Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of "leadership." The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won't take place until the fall.
• Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi's redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren't voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.
• Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).
• CA-26: More eliminationist rhetoric from the right (not that they'll ever cease): Anthony Portantino, the Democratic Assemblyman running against Rep. David Dreier, is featured on some second amendment-related Old West-style "WANTED" poster.
• LA-02: Daily Kingfish says that Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III (son of a former state senator of the same name) is rumored to be interested in a primary challenge to Rep. Cedric Richmond in the newly-redrawn 2nd CD. The post points out that Bossiere's PSC district has a lot of overlap with the new borders of the 2nd, including a dog-leg up to the Baton Rouge area. (Bossiere, like Richmond, is also African-American.)
• NH-02: It's nothing like the town hall craziness of 2009, but it's nice to see idiots like Charlie Bass take heat in public forums for voting for Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget. Pretty pathetic political instincts on the Bassmaster's part. This vote will haunt him - and it's already haunting several other colleagues, like Bob Dold!, Lou Barletta, and Paul Ryan himself.
• NM-01: Oh no. I really had hoped we were done with Marty Chavez, but the maddening former Albuquerque mayor is apparently considering a run to replace Martin Heinrich, and is even supposedly meeting with the DCCC. The good news, though, is that ex-LG (and 2010 gubernatorial nominee) Diane Denish is also thinking about entering the race. This could be a very crowded primary.
• NV-02: You know Jon Ralston is enjoying this one. After a report came out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (which Ralston not-so-affectionately refers to as a "newspaper," in scare quotes every time) that state GOP chair Mark Amodei was planning to seek the 2nd CD seat being vacated by Dean Heller, Ralston spoke with Amodei who says he didn't announce anything. In the LVRJ piece (which oddly quotes Amodei himself, so I don't know how they got the story wrong), Amodei also said that Republican state Sen. Greg Brower told him he also planned to join the race (and Ralston confirms via Twitter.)
Of course, who knows what's going to happen with this seat, given the unsettled legal questions about how a special election should be conducted if Gov. Brian Sandoval taps Heller for John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.
• TN-06: I wonder what's up with Diane Black. The GOP frosh gave her own campaign two-thirds of a million bucks in Q1 - not a loan, an outright donation. I'm guessing that she's trying to ward off a potential primary challenge, given that she won the open-seat Republican primary last year with just 31% of the vote (her two nearest competitors both got 30%, so there must have been much gnashing of teeth).
• NJ-St. Sen.: An administrative law judge ruled that Olympian Carl Lewis, who is running as a Democrat, does indeed meet state residency requirements. However, it sounds like Republicans plan to appeal this ruling.
• WI Recall: All sorts of recall news. First up, Dem state Rep. Fred Clark says he'll challenge Luther Olsen in the expected recall election, another strong get for Team Blue. Democrats also filed a huge 30,000 signatures against their fifth recall target, Alberta Darling. That leaves just three eligible Republicans left: Rob Cowles, Glenn Grothman, and Mary Lazich, the latter two of whom are in very red districts (so I wouldn't be surprised if they don't get hit with a recall).
Republicans also finally filed signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Democrats, though, charged that the GOP's petition-gathering efforts were sloppy and flawed, and vowed to challenge the signatures.
• California: California's new independent redistricting commission is set to release a draft set of maps by June 10th, with final maps due on August 15th (after a period of public comment).
• Colorado: Things don't seem to be going so swimmingly in Colorado's attempt to go back to the redistricting drawing board, with a special committee begging for more time to finish a new set of maps. The Republican co-chair says he thinks they can produce new plans in 10 days, but as Al Swearengen says, announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh.
Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper sounds like he has no intention of vetoing any map that the legislature sends him. Since Dems control one body and Republicans the other, this means they'll have to produce a compromise map - or no map at all, and kick it to the courts. I think Hick's hands-off approach (which is totally in-character for him) increases the likelihood of the latter, because it eliminates a key piece of Dem leverage which could be used to force an agreement.
• Missouri: Utterly embarrassing: Barely more than a day after finally agreeing to a conference committee to resolve differences between Republicans in the state House and Senate, work has ground to a halt, and nothing more will happen until Tuesday. One state Rep. offered this hilariously nonsensical assessment: "I think we're close, but obviously we're far." Meanwhile, the House passed a new map this morning that supposedly tries to address some Senate concerns, but given that there is no actual agreement, I'm guessing this is just a negotiating tactic.
• New Jersey: Teabaggers are suing to block implementation of NJ's new legislative map. It's not quite clear what the grounds are, but WNYC summarizes: "The suit alleges that the commission over-packed the southern half of the state and 'illegally split Newark and Jersey City from three districts each to two.'"
• Louisiana: The state House submitted its own map to the DoJ for pre-clearance, which I believe makes it the first such plan to go before Justice this cycle. The hotly-contested congressional map, though, has yet to be sent in.
• Victims: Dave Wasserman and Julia Edwards try their hand at the most likely redistricting victims this cycle, with separate lists for the 10 most endangered Democrats and Republicans.
• IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.
• MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.
In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.
• MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.
• MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.
• TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.
• VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.
• VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.
• NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.
• AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.
• IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.
• IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."
What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.
• RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.
• WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.
• Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.
• Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.
• House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.
• DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.
• Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.
• Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.
• Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
• 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.
• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King announced Wednesday that she'd challenge state Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) if the state finds recall signatures filed last week to be sufficient.
It will be the second faceoff for the two. Hopper edged King, also a member of the city council in Oshkosh, by less than 200 votes in 2008, after a recount.
I don't see a website yet, though King (who goes by "Jess") has a Facebook page and is already up on ActBlue. Her 2008 site was here, so maybe that'll get revived soon.
Some other folks are also thinking about running in different recalls, on both sides:
In addition, Mary Scray, the vice chairwoman of Brown County Board, said Tuesday that she'd run as a Republican against [Dave] Hansen (D-Green Bay) if that recall is successful in getting certified. If it's not, she said, she'll run against him in 2012. ...
Both state Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) and former state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, a Democrat from Milwaukee, say they're seriously considering challenging [Alberta] Darling if signatures are filed and certified against her.
If you know anything about any of these folks, please tell us in comments.
Wisconsin's election bureau, the GAB, has made precinct results available for the Supreme Court race for all but three counties. We're trying to match these results up with state Senate districts. Jeff and I took a couple of passes at it, and you can see what we've done so far on Google Docs. Supreme Court race results are in the first tab, and district locations are in the second tab. Highlighted column K in the first tab is where things stand at the moment, but you'll see there are still a number of "#N/A" errors. These can either be corrected manually (if people have the time & inclination), or perhaps they can be solved programmatically, if there are any Excel geniuses out there. (The problem lies in split municipalities - wards are often broken up differently in the Supreme Court data than they are in the district locations data in the second tab.)
Anyhow, if you're interested, please take a look and see if you can't help us polish this data set off. This information will be very valuable in the coming recall elections.