• 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.
Siena (PDF) (4/26-27, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kathy Hochul (D): 31
Jane Corwin (R): 36
Jack Davis (T): 23
Ian Murphy (G): 1
I have to say, I wasn't expecting numbers like this, not at all, for a whole host of reasons. Republicans looked very unified in tapping Assemblywoman Jane Corwin - she was acceptable to the conservatives and even quite a few teabaggers, despite her establishment pedigree, and she also was personally very rich. Meanwhile, Democrats dithered, waiting weeks to pick a candidate after Corwin was already in the race. Furthermore, the one bona fide teabagger who hoped to run, Iraq war vet David Bellavia, screwed up his paperwork and failed to get on the ballot. And on top of that, Ian Murphy, the writer who achieved his 15 minutes with his fake David Koch prank call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, decided to hop into the race on the newly-reconstituted Green Party line. And oh, yeah, the 26th is the most Republican district in the state. The GOP seemed poised to avoid the mistakes they'd made in the NY-20 and NY-23 specials. It didn't seem promising for Dems.
But the one wild card has proven much wilder than I had anticipated: zillionaire nutball Crazy Jack Davis is having a much bigger impact than his shot-to-hell reputation would seem to warrant. Prior to this year, Davis had run for this seat in three successive cycles from 2004 to 2008, losing twice in the general and once in the primary - all three times as a Democrat. But he cut a strange figure for a Dem, sound like the most unhinged of right-wingers on his favorite issue, immigration. He also has a well-deserved reputation as a lunatic who is impossible to work with, abuses people, and can't hold on to staff. Thus he earned the epithet "Crazy," and he's been Crazy Jack Davis for about as long as I've known of him.
He looked to cement that reputation a few months ago, when he decided he'd get into the mix for this seat yet again, following Rep. Chris Lee's resignation. But this time, Davis wanted to score the Republican and Conservative Party lines - well, I told you he was crazy. He was quickly rebuffed by both, but this is where that unusual "T" line comes in next to his name in the blockquote at top. Thanks to his millions (he's always spent his own money freely), Davis was easily able to get on the ballot as an independent, and cannily chose to name his ballot line the "Tea Party." This caused an entertaining split among teabaggers in western New York, with the "real" teabaggers insisting that Davis was just trying to bogart their good name (yeah, I know, LOL)... but there was nothing they could do about it.
And thanks to his free-spending ways, it seems like Davis is screwing up what should have been a sure thing for Corwin. At the same time, he's also hurting Hochul. Looking at the cross-tabs (PDF), Davis gets 24% of the Republican vote, 20% of the Democratic vote, and 27% of the independent vote. Rare to see a candidate with such cross-spectrum appeal! I figured Dems would be disgusted with him, and Republicans would want nothing to do with him given his Democratic past. But evidently that's not the case, at least for everyone.
It'll be very interesting to see how the major-party candidates react. Surely the campaign committees are doing their own polling, but even if it doesn't match Siena's, these numbers will have to make operatives second-guess themselves a bit. Does Corwin start attacking Davis? Or does she try to pound Hochul? Or both? As I see it, though, the strategy for Hochul is a lot simpler. As Siena notes:
They strongly oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits to help close the deficit (59-38 percent); however, they strongly support increasing personal income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans (62-35 percent)....
Hochul's most recent ad attacked Corwin on Medicare - Corwin said she'd have voted for the Ryan Republican budget - and I said the other day that she should make this her unrelenting theme for the final weeks of the campaign. The poll numbers bear that out. (I'm sure that Hochul won't call for tax increases on the rich, despite that being super-popular in a red district, but that wouldn't be a bad idea, either.)
We'll also have to see if the DCCC and NRCC decide to get involved here. If Hochul can use Medicare the way ex-Rep. Scott Murphy beat Jim Tedisco over the head with the stimulus in the spring of 2009, this could be a real race - coupled, of course, with the Jack Davis factor. All of a sudden, things just got exciting in western New York.
UPDATE: I meant to include this new bit of news in the post, and was reminded in comments. Davis just said he would caucus with the GOP if he wins. That can only help him with would-be Republican voters and hurt him among Democrats. In other words, good news for us!
• 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).
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.
• NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.
• NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.
• PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.
• RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.
• IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)
• LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.
• MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.
• NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.
• PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.
• DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.
• VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.
• Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:
Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4
• Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.
• Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.
• Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.
• Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.
• Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.
• FL-Sen: Dem Sen. Bill Nelson said he raised over $2 million in Q1 and would report somewhere between $4.5 and $5 million on hand. Republican Mike Haridopolos said he raised $2.6 million and would show $2.5 mil in the bank.
• HI-Sen: So that weird SMS poll we showed you yesterday which only pitted Ed Case vs. Mufi Hannemann in a Dem primary had another, more useful component. They also included favorables for a whole host of Hawaii politicians. Mazie Hirono was best (62% fave), while Linda Lingle was worst (44% unfave). Click the link for the rest. (And no, we still don't know who SMS took this poll for. They're just saying it was a private client.)
• MI-Sen: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $3 million on hand.
• MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) raised over $1 million in Q1 and has about $1.8 million on hand.
• NM-Sen: Teabagging businessman Greg Sowards raised $150K in Q1... but it sounds like that's all his own money. The writeup is unclear, though - it's possible he raised $150K from outside sources and threw in an equal amount on his own.
• NV-Sen: Wealthy Dem attorney Byron Georgiou raised $1.1 million in Q1, with $500K of that coming from his own pockets.
• ME-Gov: We previously mentioned a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that would require gubernatorial candidates to receive 50% of the vote (a hurdle almost no one has reached in recent decades). That proposal just died in the state Senate, so it's basically dead for this term.
• MT-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Larry Jent officially announced he is running for governor. He faces fellow state Sen. Dave Wanzenried in the primary. State AG Steve Bullock may also run.
• AZ-06: Ex-Rep. Matt Salmon, who served in a similar seat in the 1990s, says he's now thinking about running for Jeff Flake's open seat. Salmon previously said he was considering a run for governor.
• CA-03: Dem Ami Bera, seeking a rematch against Dan Lungren, says he raised over $230K in Q1. If this haul only dates to the time of his official announcement (just two weeks before the end of the quarter), it's nothing short of un-fucking-believable. However, he gets a demerit for emailing me a press release without putting it on his website so that I can link to it directly. Boo!
• CA-06: Activist Norman Solomon became the second Dem to file in Lynn Woolsey's district, in the event that she retires this cycle.
• CT-05: Dem Dan Roberti, a 28-year-old public relations exec whose father Vincent was a state rep, officially announced his entrance into the race to succeed Chris Murphy. On the GOP side, businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley, who sought the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov. last year, also said she was getting in.
• FL-22: Lois Frankel announced she raised $250K in Q1. Previously, we mentioned that fellow Dem "no not that" Patrick Murphy said he raised $350K.
• IN-02: Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly announced he raised $363,288 in Q1, his best single quarter ever. Dude's not going down without a fight.
• NM-01, NM-Sen: An unnamed advisor to state Auditor Hector Balderas says he won't seek Rep. Martin Heinrich's now-open House seat (something that insiders apparently were encouraging him to do, in the hopes of avoiding a contested primary). According to this advisor, Balderas is still considering a Senate run. Personally, I think it was a mistake for Balderas to say he was almost definitely going to run, only to be upstaged by Heinrich, who of course said he was actually going to run. I think Heinrich has the advantage in a primary, but Balderas needs a way to save face here if he doesn't want that fight any longer.
• NY-19: Freshman GOPer Nan Hayworth announced she raised $330K in Q1 and has a similar amount on hand. Question of the day: Do you think Hayworth could get teabagged to death?
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul announced she raised $350K for the special election coming up on May 24th.
• OR-01: It took a little time, but Dems are now finally drawing out the knives for Rep. David Wu in earnest. Oregon Labor Commissioner (an elected position) Brad Avakian is putting together a team of political advisors and is likely to challenge Wu in the Dem primary. Another Dem elected official, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, also apparently became the first Democrat to openly call for regime change (though he says he isn't interested in running). All eyes will certainly be on Wu's fundraising report, due on Friday.
• PA-07: Republican frosh Pat Meehan raised $325K in Q1.
• WI-07: Former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow has formed an exploratory committee for a possible challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Sean Duffy. Kreitlow served a single term in the Senate after defeating a Republican incumbent, before losing in last year's red tide. This could be a pretty good get for us if he goes through with it (which seems likely, just reading this article).
• NJ Lege: Johnny Longtorso has a good summary of the candidate filing for New Jersey's legislative races this November. Out of 120 seats, only four total are unopposed (though there may be signature challenges).
• Suffolk Co. Exec.: Will seriously no one hire Rick Lazio? Perennially a contender for Saddest Sack of the Year, Lazio is apparently considering a run for Suffolk County Executive, now that the seat will be open in the wake of Steve Levy's unusual plea agreement with law enforcement (which involved him not seeking re-election).
• Dark Money: Dems are finally starting to play catchup with the David Kochs of the world. Ali Lapp, a former DCCC official (and wife of one-time DCCC ED John Lapp) will head up a new "Super PAC" called the House Majority PAC. Such groups are actually not all that shadowy - they do have to disclose their donors. But they can raise and spend in unlimited amounts, and engage in direct "vote for/vote against" advocacy.
• EMILY's List: EMILY announced four new GOP targets: Bob Dold (IL-10), Frank Guinta (NH-01), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), and Steve Stivers (OH-15). The group only endorses women, and there are no declared Dems in any of these races yet, but I note with interest that they claim "there is major Democratic female talent waiting in the wings." In NH-01, they could be expecting a rematch from ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, and I guesss maybe Debbie Halvorson in IL-11 and Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, but those seem very unlikely. Any ideas?
• Iowa: It looks like Iowa's new maps will indeed pass into law very shortly. A state Senate committee approved them unanimously, and now the full body is deliberating. The state House will take the issue up today. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't yet said whether he'll support the new plans, but it'd be pretty explosive if he nuked the maps in the face of widespread backing among legislators. This has all been a very interesting process to watch, especially since after the initial federal map threw both Republican congressmen together, it was easy to imagine that the GOP would want to go back to the drawing board. But the fear of the unknown has pushed politicians to accept what they have before them, rather than risk something worse.
• Indiana: With the new GOP maps looking very much like reality (how Bobby Jindal must envy Mitch Daniels), the state legislator shuffle is set to begin. The AP notes that the new state House map "has three districts that put two current Republican legislators together, three districts with at least two Democrats and four districts with a Republican and a Democratic incumbent," which doesn't sound so bad, but Democrats point out that "five of their House members from Indianapolis were drawn into just two districts."
• Michigan: The MI lege is about to start the redistricting process. State law says maps have to be drawn by Nov. 1st.
• Texas: Republicans in the lege have introduced a bill that would require any new maps (or voter ID bills) to get litigated before a three-judge panel in D.C., rather than go through the DoJ for pre-clearance. Rick Perry apparently is already interested in this alternative. As I've speculated before, he may be hoping for a more favorable hearing from potentially conservative judges. However, I'll note that you can still sue even after the DoJ renders a pre-clearance decision, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't just take the (cheaper and easier) free shot first.
Also of note, the Latino civil rights group MALDEF released two proposals for nine majority-minority districts in Texas. (They deliberately did not offer a map that covered the entire state.) MALDEF is no random organization: They were part of the LULAC v. Perry litigation in 2006, in which the Supreme Court forced Texas to redistrict yet again because Tom DeLay's map had improperly diluted Hispanic voting strength.
• Virginia: So what's going on with this supposed deal? In a rather public bit of horse-trading, Dems (who control the state Senate) and Republicans (who control the state House and the governor's mansion) agreed that each body would get to gerrymander itself (that sounds kind of dirty, huh?), and would also agree to an incumbent protection map for congress, which would of course lock in the GOP's 8-3 advantage. But now Republicans and Democrats have each produced separate federal maps, and they are quite different, with the Dems deliberately trying to create a second district likely to elect a minority.
The oddest part of this deal is that the legislative parts of the deal have already passed - the congressional map is now an entirely separate beast, which I don't really get, since they each seemed to constitute one leg of a three-legged stool. I guess that's why the Senate Dems felt free to reject the House's federal plan, which suggests that the agreement has fallen apart. But Republicans don't seem to be howling that the Dems have somehow reneged, so maybe we didn't understand this deal properly in the first place. In any event, we're very much at an impasse here, but sometimes these logjams break apart very abruptly (see Louisiana and Arkansas).
• HI-Sen: Charles Djou reiterated that he'd wait until fellow GOPer Linda Lingle decides whether to run, which he expects by this summer. (So does that mean until Sept. 21st?)
• MA-Sen: This is some... creative spin from the DSCC. Dems, both named and un-named, are saying that the failure of a Democratic challenger to emerge against Scott Brown is all part of a plan, one that involves attacking Brown (by various proxies, it would seem) while giving the Republicans no Dem to attack in response. This plan is so super-genious, it ought to continue right up until November 6th, 2012.
• NV-Sen: The Lahontan Valley News, covering a Jeff-Jack dinner up north that Rep. Shelley Berkley just attended, says that the congresswoman " confirmed she wants to run" for Senate - but those are their words, not hers. Please hold the microphone closer to the horse's mouth!
• VA-Sen: President Obama showered some praise on Tim Kaine at a couple of fundraisers in NYC on Tuesday night. Is this part of a lengthy marketing campaign, or an attempted kick in the pants?
• CA-Gov: A lone unnamed source tells Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the SF Chronicle that newly-elected Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is planning to run for governor... in 2014. That would mean he either expects the Hon. Gov Jerry Brown, who will be 76 by then, to not run again, or he thinks it would be a good idea to challenge Brown in a primary. Given that it's Newsom we're talking about, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the latter.
• WV-Gov: Rick Thompson has another ad out. I'm told that several other Dems are on the air, but I checked all of their YouTube accounts and found no other ads.
• CA-36: The League of Conservation Voters just came out for Debra Bowen, while Rep. Linda Sanchez threw her support behind Janice Hahn.
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul is out with her first ad (NWOTSOTB), in which she touts her accomplishments as a politician... all of which seem to have to do with cars, in one way or another.
• WI-07: Sean Duffy is just a total asshole, but my heart really goes out to the guy who questioned him at a town hall. Said the questioner:
I'm a builder. I haven't been building too many things in the last couple years with the economy down. My wife is a teacher. I'm fortunate enough to take a bus driving job. Love it. Just love it. But it's not very much money of course. It's working for us.
He drives a bus, and still considers himself lucky. Sean Duffy earns $174,000 a year as a member of Congress and complains that "I struggle to meet my bills." He also declared that the benefits the builder/bus driver's wife gets as a state employee are "gold-plated" and are better than those he gets as a federal employee. As Steve archly notes: "What, they don't have an Office of the Attending Physician in Marinette or Eau Claire?"
• Suffolk Co. Lege: It's some good news... for John McCain! It may also be further down into the weeds than we've ever gone at SSP. A Democrat, Sarah Anker, appears to have won a special election in a deeply Republican seat in the Suffolk County Legislature. Republicans are trying to claim that County Exec. Steve Levy's very high-profile troubles with the law (see SSP Amazing Digest #325) weighed them down in this race... but Levy's only been a Republican for less than a year!
• Farm Subsidies: An organization called the Environmental Working Group has a fascinating look at the 23 members of Congress (17 Republicans, 6 Democrats) who have received farm subsidies since 1995. Over the last fifteen years, this group of Republicans has pulled in over ten times as much ($5.3 million vs. $500K) than the Dems. Farm subsidies have been a campaign trail issue - they enrage teabaggers, who savaged the #1 recipient, TN-08 Rep. and agribusiness kingpin Stephen Fincher, in the GOP primary last year over the $3.4 million in federal largesse he's received over the years. The piece also notes that Dems tried to protect rural members by preserving the status quo back in 2008, but that of course has completely failed. With most of those big-age pols now washed out to the hog lagoon, maybe, just maybe, official Democratic policy toward these awful subsidies will change.
• Voter Suppression: The AP has a good roundup on the stepped-up Republican efforts to pass voter ID laws - despite the expense caused by these laws, and by the fact that pretty much no one nowhere has ever proven a single one of these overblown charges of "VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!111111111". States on the list include Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Fortunately, in Democratic-controlled Arkansas, the idea died in the Senate after it passed the House.
• Fundraising: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It's also the last day of the first fundraising quarter of the year, so time to start thinking about donations to your favorite Democrats.
• DC: The District of Columbia doesn't often appear in the digest, but this fits our style: The site Greater Greater Washington has a Google Maps-based game of sorts where you can redistrict the city's wards.
• Florida: Republican legislative leaders have forwarded on Florida's redistricting ballot measures (passed last year) to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance - an application weirdo Gov. Rick Scott withdrew earlier this year. But Mike Haridopolos (oh, you know him) and Dean Cannon, his counterpart in the state House, drafted their request to the DoJ in a way deliberately designed to undermine the amendments. They claimed they would hurt minority voting rights, but I don't really see how that's possible, since the VRA would trump any state laws. Hopefully the DoJ will see through this charade and clear these amendments promptly.
• Iowa: Start hitting refresh! Iowa's first-draft federal map will come out this morning.
• Louisiana: The state House voted to accept a new map on Tuesday, by a 70-28 margin. Most of the votes against were from black Democrats and also from Republicans from Jefferson Parish, which apparently loses a seat to Orleans Parish under this plan.
• Maine: Maine state law says that redistricting must be done in 2013 - which of course would be after the next round of Congressional elections. Two Mainers have filed a lawsuit challenging this practice on "one person, one vote" grounds, pointing out that every other state (except Montana, where federal redistricting isn't an issue) redraws their maps as soon as they get new Census data in.
• New York: Republican state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared last night that redistricting reform is dead. He said the Senate would not take up legislation that would create an independent commission.
• Pennsylvania: Everyone seems to expect that Dems Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will get thrown into a single district by Republicans. Politico examines what the contours of such a mashup might look like.
• Texas: The Texas Tribune did a National Review-style poll of "insiders," asking them what the state's four new congressional districts will look like. 54% said they'll be 3-1 Republican, while 37% said 2-2 Dem.
• OH-Sen: This is about as far from the horse's mouth as you can get (paging Goldy?): The Columbus Dispatch is simply asserting that Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel "is leaning toward a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and will make an announcement this spring." They don't even say, "according to sources"-is that supposed to be implied or something? Anyhow, I'll wait for Young Master Josh to confirm, seeing as no one else is reporting this.
• CA-Gov (PDF): The Field Poll has preliminary job approval ratings for Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a pretty sharp-looking 48-21 score in the early going. But don't get too excited: Guess who had 54-15 approvals at the same point in his first term? Yep, that'd be Gray Davis (scroll down to p. 3 for the completely historical picture).
• NC-Gov (PDF): I'll be honest, PPP's regular NC-Gov polls were starting to all run together in my head, but this time, Tom Jensen & the gang tried something different: they tested a bunch of alternatives to the very unpopular incumbent Dem, Bev Perdue. The sad news for Team Blue, though, is that even our best hope, AG Roy Cooper, still trails likely GOP nominee Pat McCrory by a 43-35 margin, though that's better than Perdue's 50-36 gap. State Sen. Dan Blue (trailing 48-28) and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton (trailing 47-27) don't change the equation, either. I also seriously doubt that Cooper would run; he was courted for Senate in 2009 but declined early on. He seems pretty happy where he is and, at age 53, can still wait a bit before deciding to move up. (I'm guessing 2016 vs. McCrory would be a good matchup.)
• WA-Gov: This is kind of meh, but if you like your tea weak, drink up.
• FL-26: No, that's not a typo! It's just another super-genious catch by Greg Giroux. Lunatic Karen Diebel, last seen losing the FL-24 GOP primary to now-Rep. Sandy Adams, has filed to run for Congress once again. What's awesome about this is that Diebel has kicked her DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, since her paperwork says she plans to run in the as-yet-uncreated twenty-sixth congressional district. Click the PDF for the documentary proof. This should be great. (Click here if you need a refresher on Diebel's batshittery, including the infamous Snakes in a Pool incident.)
• IN-02: Former Republican state Rep. Jackie Walorski, best known as Wacky Jackie, surprised no one in formally announcing she'd seek a rematch against Rep. Joe Donnelly, something she'd been toying with ever since her narrow loss last fall. (Walorski blames Donnelly's one-point escape on the five percent a Libertarian Party candidate managed to snag.) Of course, two huge, inter-related questions remain here: What will the 2nd CD look like after redistricting, and will Donnelly seek re-election or try his hand at higher office? Stay tuned... for a while.
• NY-26: Janie's got an ad: Republican Jane Corwin is out with a second spot (her first was a bio ad) that hits themes as old as the hills: Dem Kathy Hochul wants to raise taxes, and she's a clone of Nancy Pelosi. NWOTSOTB, but the Corwin campaign claims that the ad is "is airing districtwide on broadcast," according to The Hill.
• OH-10: With his seat potentially headed for the carving board, Dennis Kucinich is obviously trying to win over as many friends as possible before the state legislature starts up the redistricting process. Kucinich said in an interview on Monday that President Obama's decision to order air strikes on Libya "would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense." (By the way, check out that PPP item up above - Kucinich has 27-40 favorables statewide.)
• PA-07: Now this is damn interesting. At that recent DCCC fundraiser in Philly we mentioned the other day, Steve Israel reportedly met with former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer about a potential run against freshman Rep. Pat Meehan, who took over Joe Sestak's old seat last cycle. Stollsteimer confirms he met with "party leaders," and says he's giving the race "serious consideration." But what makes all this so unusual is that Stollsteimer served as Meehan's press spokesperson for many years while Meehan was Delaware Co. DA and later U.S. Attorney! It's only been a few months, but Stollsteimer says he has "serious problems with what [Meehan]'s already done as our Congressman." Could be good!
• PA-08: That don't impress-a me much: the NRCC put out a press release attacking ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy for something or other, perhaps because they're concerned he might run for his old seat again. (That's possible, though he might also run for state AG.) But press releases are cheap, and who knows how many carbon-copy releases the NRCC put out, seeing as they don't put them all up on their website.
• LA-St. Sen.: They switch parties in Louisiana like Denny Hastert changes underwear-which is to say, not every day, but perhaps with some frequency. It should come as little surprise that the latest state legislator to don a not-so-fresh pair of tighty-whities is moving from D to R. But a diarist at Daily Kingfish points out that Norby Chabert (great name) isn't exactly some crusty Dixiecrat playing out the string-he's a freshman who has said publicly he voted for Obama, and was relentlessly attacked on that score during his first election campaign in 2009. It'll be interesting to see if the whole mess of recent converts like Chabert wind up getting teabagged to death.
• Philly Mayor: A judge denied Mayor Michael Nutter's request to remove wacky opponent Milton Street from the ballot, and Nutter said he would not appeal. (Nutter said that Street violated the city's residency requirements, which say you have to live in Philadelphia for three years before seeking office, because Street was serving out a sentence in a federal prison in Kentucky.)
• Wisconsin Recall: The RSLC-that's the Republican State Leadership Committee, the GOP equivalent of the DLCC-is going up with new television ads against Democratic state Sens. Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen, who sit in the two most Republican districts held by Dems and are the target of recall efforts. Neither district is really red, though-they were both lost by Kerry but won by Obama, making them more swingish than anything else. Politico notes that the RSLC has already been running ads against Holperin, and that the new buy is expect to cost $50K a week, while the anti-Hansen campaign will run "six figures over several weeks."
How is this for awesome, though? One Wisconsin totally busted the RSLC for using stock footage so fake, it was actually watermarked with the words "FILE FOOTAGE" in the bottom corner!
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It was only a matter of time-and not that much. The WMC-Wisconsin's version of the Chamber of Commerce-is preparing to run ads in support of Republican David Prosser's campaign to stay on as justice. (I'm guessing these will be attack ads against JoAnne Kloppenburg.) Progressive groups are already on the air with a spot that equates Prosser with Gov. Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, in a candidate forum yesterday, Prosser's already infamous "I'll destroy you, bitch" comments of course came up-and he once again repeated his defense that, well, a bunch of women made him do it, by (as the AP put it) "ganging up on him." He also apparently failed to apologize for his remarks.
• Alaska: Yes, Alaska! While the state obviously doesn't have to worry about congressional redistricting, it does have to re-do its legislative maps. And believe it or not, the state actually has something of a Democratic gerrymander, since last time around, Dem Gov. Tony Knowles controlled key appointments to the panel responsible for producing new maps. This time, of course, Republicans control all the levers of power, so payback is expected.
• Maryland: MD has long been a popular target at SSP for redistricting plans, so I'm not sure there's much new here in Aaron Blake's latest state-by-state installment. But you geeks tell me!
• Mississippi: Dems in the state House voted to join that NAACP lawsuit I mentioned yesterday, which is seeking to enjoin the state from holding elections this year under the old district lines-something which could happen if the legislature stalemates on new maps, which is looking increasingly likely.
Democratic leaders in New York's 26th district will officially nominate Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul on Sunday evening, according to a knowledgeable source.
Hochul will face state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) in the special election to replace ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R), who resigned after he allegedly contacted a woman on Craigslist that wasn't his wife.
The deadline to submit signatures for independents is Monday, and the election is May 24th. I also find it interesting that while the original Gawker story about Lee's attempt to meet a woman on Craig's List has been accepted into the official bloodstream, the follow-up story about Lee's interest in transgendered women from the same publication never seems to get recounted in "mainstream" sources.
• AZ-Sen: A GOP polling firm, Summit Consulting, is out with a poll that gives Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio the lead in the nascent Republican field to replace the retiring Jon Kyl. Arpaio is at 21, with Rep. Jeff Flake and ex-Rep J.D. Hayworth both at 17, ex-Rep. John Shadegg at 12, and Rep. Ben Quayle at 6. An Arpaio-free version found Flake at 22, Hayworth at 20, and Shadegg (who has made clear that he's not running) at 17. Although this poll wasn't announced as being on anyone's behalf, there's an important caveat: Summit is raising money for Arpaio's re-election campaign as Sheriff. This seems a consistent pattern for Arpaio over the years: float his name for higher office, rake in contributions, apply those toward his next Sheriff campaign, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, although previous reports had had him unlikely to run for Senate, Rep. Trent Franks from current AZ-02 is now on the record as "exploring that option."
• ME-Sen: Here's an amusing tidbit about Andrew Ian Dodge, now running a tea party challenge of sorts to Olympia Snowe: he's the subject of some suspicion in certain right-wing circles on account of his British background (which may explain why he cheekily showed up with his birth certificate at his campaign launch). Prime evidence for this strange line of attack is a comment he posted to a blog several years ago where he copped to being a Lord of the Manor in Gorleston, Suffolk. (Politico's Dave Catanese titled his article on this "Snowe challenger is a British Lord..." which isn't quite right. "Lord of the Manor" isn't part of the peerage system (which just plain old "Lord" would be), but just a weird holdover from the feudal system of property rights, an indicator that someone in his family owned property there long ago). (One other thing I noted, though, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia: Gorleston is actually in Norfolk, not Suffolk. WHAT ELSE IS ANDREW IAN DODGE LYING ABOUT!!!!11!!!?!)
• NE-Sen: We've mentioned state Sen. Deb Fischer before as a potential dark-horse candidate on the Republican side in Nebraska, and now she seems to be stepping things up, at least to the extent of contacting Roll Call and letting them know that she's interested. She represents the empty north-central part of the state, and could stand out as an interesting third-wheel in a Jon Bruning/Don Stenberg rumble by being the only rural and female candidate.
• NM-Sen: PPP finally released the GOP primary portion of last week's New Mexico Senate poll, and... common theme in a lot of their polls... find the most electable candidate for the general losing the GOP primary because of various apostasies. Libertarian-flavored ex-Gov. Gary Johnson trails ex-Rep. Heather Wilson in a hypothetical 3-way, 35-27, with Rep. Steve Pearce at 17, Matt Chandler and Dianna Duran both at 6, and John Sanchez at 4. (Not that it matters, since Johnson has confirmed he's sticking with his long-shot presidential bid. In fact, unless Jeff Bingaman unexpectedly retires, I'd be surprised if any of these GOPers bothers to get in.)
• NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller is out with an internal poll that has him way ahead of John Ensign in the GOP primary, and, accordingly, he seems to be accelerating his plans to run. The poll gives Heller a 53-38 lead in a head-to-head, and also sees him winning a 5-car pileup: it's Heller 39, Ensign 23, Danny Tarkanian 17, Sharron Angle 14, and John Chachas 3. Faced with the possibility of a much harder race against Heller than Ensign, possible Dem candidate Rep. Shelley Berkley is saying that it wouldn't dissuade her if Heller were the nominee, but she's continuing to "seriously look at" the race but is also in "no rush" to decide. You know who is in a rush, though? The DSCC. Jon Ralston says they're already talking to Democratic SoS Ross Miller too, in case they need a Plan B.
• TX-Sen: Hmm, here's an interesting place for a Senate scoop to come from: the student newspaper at Claremont McKenna College in California. CMC alum Rep. David Dreier is the linchpin in this game of telephone: he told them that a fellow alum is indeed running for the Senate, and by process of elimination, that would point to former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, considered a likely candidate on the GOP side. Leppert, however, wouldn't confirm to the student paper that he was running.
• UT-Sen: Another Dan Jones poll in Utah takes a look at the Senate race, and this one isn't as weird as the last one (which included Jon Huntsman, who seems, to my eyes, to be running for Vice-President instead): it's a straightforward poll of Orrin Hatch vs. Jason Chaffetz (although it's still a poll of all Utah residents). At any rate, Hatch leads Chaffetz 44-34; among self-identified Republicans, Hatch actually does better, 51-35 (although trailing among "very conservative" voters). Of course, there are various ways this primary might still not happen; Chaffetz could break 60% at the state GOP convention, or Hatch could (a la Bob Bennett) finish third at the convention behind Chaffetz and a teabagger to be named later. Asked for comment, Chaffetz only said he's a "definite maybe" about the race, and may choose to stay in the House.
• VA-Sen: We might have an answer pretty soon on whether Tim Kaine plans to run for the Senate, now that Jim Webb is out. He reportedly will consult with Barack Obama on the matter in the next couple days (gee, I wonder what Obama will suggest?), and Kaine also has announced plans to speak at the state's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this weekend, which seems like a place to make a 'yes' announcement (as it would be kind of a buzzkill to go there and tell everyone 'no'). There are also rumors... poorly sourced ones at that, so don't get your hopes too high... out there of a GOP-sponsored poll showing not just Kaine but also Tom Perriello leading George Allen, so keep your ears to the ground for more on that.
• MT-Gov: Add one more state Senator to the mix in the Montana gubernatorial race, this time on the Dem side. Larry Jent says he'd like to run statewide, and it'll probably be for governor. (He'd join other current or former state Sens. Dave Wanzenried on the Dem side, and Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller for the GOP.)
• LA-03, LA-07: Two Louisiana papers have had articles in the last few days on Louisiana redistricting and its likeliest casualty, new Rep. Jeff Landry, who was elected with tea party rather than establishment backing and, accordingly, doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when the establishment draws the maps in the coming months. It's looking likelier that a map more favorable to the more senior (and tighter with leadership) Rep. Charles Boustany will be the result. The state's redistricting special session of the legislature will be held Mar. 20.
• NY-15: While there's still plenty of time left for him to reverse course and announce his retirement (hint, hint), Charles Rangel yesterday announced that he's filing for re-election in 2012 to a 22nd term.
• NY-26: While they've been downplaying their chances for success in the R+6 26th, local Dems are hard at work looking for a candidate. It's hard to tell who's on the short list right now, though: one list featured Erie Co. Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, Erie Co. Clerk Kathy Hochul, and Amherst town board member Mark Manna (the only one who actually lives in the district), but doesn't seem to feature oft-mentioned Kathy Konst. Another insider mentions two possible Dems Republican candidates from the private sector: Dan Humiston and Chris Jacobs. There's one familiar face you can scratch off the Dem list, though: 2008 candidate Jon Powers says he's not looking to be considered.
• WA-02: Snohomish Co. Councilor and narrow 2010 loser John Koster is "weighing" another run against Rick Larsen, although he's waiting to see what the 2nd looks like after redistricting. The 2nd (currently D+3) needs to lose population, but it could become swingier if the losses come around Everett, or become bluer if the losses come in eastern Snohomish County.
• Chicago mayor: One more new poll to report in Chicago, another one from We Ask America (on behalf of the Chicago Retail Merchants Association). It has the highest Rahm Emanuel number yet, at 58. Gery Chico is 2nd at 24, Miguel del Valle at 10, and Carol Moseley Braun at 6. The poll was in the field on Sunday, the same day that Moseley Braun, apparently by way of referring to The Producers, compared Emanuel to Hitler, so the impact of her latest gaffe may not even have impacted on this sample. (Given the current trajectory of her poll numbers, she may actually receive a negative number of votes at the actual election on Feb. 22.)
• Special elections: There are not one but two special elections for vacant state Senate seats in California tonight, although neither one should offer much drama thanks to their strong partisan leans. The one you're probably already aware of is SD-28 in the LA's South Bay suburbs (overlapping much of CA-36), where Democratic ex-Assemblyman Ted Lieu is likely to fill the seat left by the death of Jenny Oropeza. He faces seven other candidates, so he might not break 50%, requiring a runoff then. The other race is in SD-17, centered on Lancaster in the high desert north of LA, where Republican Sharon Runner is expected to beat the only other candidate, Democrat Darren Parker. (Runner is trying to take over the seat from her husband George Runner, who vacated to join the state Board of Equalization.)
• Nebraska: Believe it or not, there are multiple interesting things afoot in Nebraska. Most significantly, the proposal to switch Nebraska to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes (instead of allotting some by CD, which allowed Barack Obama to sneak away with 1 Omaha-area EV) is entering committee; it's expected to be easily approved by the ostensibly nonpartisan but Republican-controlled unicameral legislature. There are also competing bills in the legislature on changing the size of said legislature, one to reduce it from 49 to 45, the other to expand it to 50 (neither one is expected to go anywhere, though). Also, Nebraska just picked its nine members for its redistricting commission; there will be five Republicans and four Dems on the (again, ostensibly nonpartisan) body.
• WATN?: Ex-Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost in NY-24 in November, is now working in the private sector at a major law firm in Syracuse. It may be a tea leaf that he might be interested in another run that he's staying in the area instead of heading for the more lucrative world of K St., or it might be nothing. At any rate, he's doing better for himself than Republican 2006 CA-47 loser Tan Nguyen, who just got sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for obstruction of justice related to charges of voter fraud, for sending out flyers intended to suppress the district's Latino vote.
• Polltopia: If you think that polling was way screwier than usual over the 2010 cycle, or that it was better than ever, you're both wrong. It was pretty much the same as always, according to Mark Blumenthal. According to a study by National Council on Public Polls, the average candidate error in 2010 was 2.1%, very comparable to other midterm elections. (The accuracy seems to improve in presidential years, perhaps thanks to more frequent polling.) Interestingly, though, even though the error rate didn't change much, there were many more polls (25% this cycle, compared with 11% in 2006) conducted in the last week before the election with results that fell outside the margin of error (cough Rasmussen cough). They found that live interview polls (2.4%) did slightly better than autodialed polls (2.6%), but, surprisingly, polls conducted over the internet (mostly just YouGov) did the best with a 1.7% error rate.