SSP Daily Digest: 4/29

NY-20: Scott Murphy gets sworn in today as the newest member of the House Democratic caucus. Congratulations! (D)

PA-Sen: All of a sudden, the Pennsylvania GOP is beating a path to Jim Gerlach’s door to get him to consider jumping over to the Senate race, now that they’re stuck facing an Arlen Specter vs. Pat Toomey wipeout in the general election. (Gerlach has been associated with the open governor’s race, but is still in the exploratory stage.) Gerlach says “Don’t rule anything out.” The rather moderate and Philly-burbs-based Gerlach might face the same weaknesses in a closed primary against Toomey that Specter did, though (although Gerlach hasn’t been cultivating conservative ill-will for decades like Specter).

OK-Gov: Stuart Rothenberg reports that ex-Rep. J.C. Watts is getting close to a decision on whether to run for the governor’s seat in Oklahoma, and that he’s likely to get in. This would pit him in a battle royale with retiring Rep. (and former Lt. Gov.) Mary Fallin for the GOP nod.

CA-03: Here’s some proof that there’s a lot of blood in the water in the eight GOP-held House seats that Obama won in California: some pretty big sharks are sniffing out the races. Phil Angelides (the former treasurer, and loser of the 2006 governor’s race) is reportedly “taking a serious look” at a run against Dan Lungren in the Dem-trending R+6 district in the Sacramento suburbs.

OH-08: Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, widely known as an anti-immigration activist, may challenge House GOP leader John Boehner in a primary in this R+14 district. (D)

CA-44: No surprise here, but Bill Hedrick, who held Rep. Ken Calvert to 51-49 in this R+6 Inland Empire seat last year, officially announced he’s back for another try. The Corona/Norco School Board chair can’t expect another under-the-radar surprise attack, but can expect a lot of DCCC help this time.

RNC: Although he seems to have publicly escaped the NY-20 loss without calls for his head, the behind-the-scenes attempts to take down or at least circumvent Michael Steele continue. Some RNC members are proposing a new rule that would place new restrictions and oversight on Steele’s power of the purse-strings. (Seems like they might get better results if they sought better restrictions and oversight on Steele’s mouth instead.)

Gay Marriage: I’m pleasantly surprised how fast gay marriage is gaining widespread acceptance and turning into a winning issue for us: a CBS/NYT poll finds 42% support nationwide for legalized gay marriage, with another 25% supporting civil unions and only 28% opposed to any legal recognition. 57% of those under age 40 support gay marriage.

Census: Here’s another example of how there’s no such thing as a neutral and apolitical census: there’s a debate raging over the issue of where to count persons who are in prison. While the Census Bureau currently plans to continue its policy in 2010 of counting prisoners where they reside (often in rural counties where a sizable percentage of the population is incarcerated), civil rights groups and even NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg support counting them at their last known address… which would mean more funds, and a redistricting advantage, for major cities.

History: For the history fans among us, the Senate’s website has profiles of all 20 previous Senate party-switchers. (Here’s a chapter from US History I’d completely forgotten about: more than one-third of these switches were western-state senators in the 1890s during the free silver movement.)

83 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/29”

  1. I’m surprised too.  A few years back I assumed it would take until about 2012-2015 to get to the point we’re at today.  

  2. beating specter in a primary, while possible, is unlikely barring conservative GOP obstruction (by specter) at a major level.  it looks like no serious candidates have stepped up for the uber-important gov’s seat.  how about sestak?

  3. A little bit of trivia, Phil Angelides lost by nearly 42% (68.6-26.8) to Gov. Ahnold in 06. I know 4 years is an eternity in politics, and federal races are different than state/local ones, but Angelides may not exactly be the best candidate in that race. But…stranger things have happened in politics.

  4. Im not surprised at all that 57% of those under 40 support gay marriage. And I wouldnt be shocked if its 65-70% for those under 30. My generation (those under 30. I myself am 26) looks at gay marriage the same way we do interracial marriage…we dont think its anything ‘unnatural’ or ‘weird’ at all. And when we see, or think we see, a gay couple together, we dont think ‘gross’ or ‘weird’. But I will admit, where I live, the Houston burbs, gays are discreet toward their sexuality. But Im sure thats just because of what the older generations might think or say. I wouldnt be shocked if a solid majority of those under 30 support gay marriage in every state but the most conservative of Deep South states. And while our generations’ opinions on taxes and foreign policy may change with age (or maybe it wont) I cannot see that happening with gay marriage and gay rights in general. In fact I think we are alot more likely to shift on abortion than gay rights. Especially in the Catholic community. Afterall you see many pro-life but otherwise culturally liberal members of Congress (Langevin, Mike Doyle, Tim Ryan, etc). And thankfully, one of the ‘groups’ of people whom are anti-gay rights are not politically active I dont think. And those would be what I call ‘white trailer park trash’. And even many of them dont have a problem with gay rights.

  5. Does god really love us that much? I hope she does!

    The Club for (democratic) growth can inject a lot of cash into the local economy!

  6. Is a huge one, and perhaps nowhere moreso than NY. I wonder if any of these groups plan to sue for a change in Census Bureau procedures. I think that would probably be difficult to win, but I’d at least want to look into trying.

  7. When prisoners are removed from the count in their often-urban liberal home counties, and added to the count in the usually-rural conservative counties where the prisons are located, it feeds an anti-black, anti-brown, anti-urban, anti-liberal gerrymandering monster in all 50 states.

    Ho hum?

    The lower House of the Texas Legislature is currently split 76 (R) -74 (D). In November, one district in Dallas County was decided by 19 votes on the recount.

    Could enough prisoners have been moved out of their Dallas home district to have denied the Democrats this seat? Easily. You might have that many locals in prison for marijuana-related cases alone.

    In fact, given the scope of DeLay’s racist gerrymanders of the Texas Lege and the US House seats, the exporting of prisoners from urban districts to rural districts likely cost us far more than one seat in one election.

    But I know. This prisoner census thing is a difficult subject to think about, or to do anything about, so let’s just let Tom DeLay take care of it for us.

  8. Today, on the floor of the House of Representatives, Foxx said that the Matthew Shepherd act is a hoax.  Namely, she says this because it wasn’t a hate crime.  What a b*tch.

    Is there any hope of dismantling her in her R+15 district?  I know that it’s steep, but she consistantly underperforms (having gotten 58, 57, and 58 in the past few election cycles).

    Any thoughts?

  9. is that many state legislatures aren’t seeing this kind of movement from their constituents, meaning we’re not getting the support we need from state governments, like NH, ME, and NY.

  10. Everyone thought the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision, and the decisions of other state courts would cause a big backlash.  It did now.  All it did was illustrate that the world wouldn’t explode if everyone has the opportunity to get married.

  11. and in the next couple of years NY too.

    Eventually, I am convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court will void DOMA and find that marriage equality is the law of the land.

  12. He generally got pwned pretty hard, so I think his loss there was not disproportional to partisan alignment of the district.  What it does indicate though is that Angelides, unlike, say, Garamendi, doesn’t seem to have any sort of base there.

  13. He is a horrible, HORRIBLE choice for that district. There is a reason that the Governator is still our Governor, because Angelides was so easily pegged as an out of touch, spend spend spend liberal. He will lose CA-3, unless it has really, really changed demographics in the next year and a half.  

  14. I would lump that last group in with conservative christians but really theyre not (although they identify as christians). They never go to church and live a lifestyle that the church wouldnt exactly like (i.e. many smoke the green stuff and virtually all have non-marital sex, etc). But many of them are nevertheless homophobic. Although the guys probably do like lesbians.

  15. But who knows if douchenozzle Gov. Lynch will sign it.  He seems to only want to do something if the overwhelming majority in NH support it.  It took him longer than it should have just to decide to sign the civil unions law awhile back.

  16. Lynch is a waste of space, but whilst he kowtows to the right at every opportunity, he doesn’t want to reveal to the Democratic base that he is exactly as much use as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest. So he won’t veto it if it’ll cause too much backlash against him.

  17. Seems to be getting a lot of positive chatter around PA, and has executive government experience in Alleghany County. Granted, Sestak has plenty of executive experience from his military service, but I’m betting his interest in Armed Services policy doesn’t translate to the state level as it does in Congress.

  18. Which is obviously correct but it seems a little unfair to have this much influence on those that can. Surely you can’t have it both ways.

  19. Didn’t know that was possible.  Sounds reasonable enough.  Let Lynch keep his 70% approval and let the bill go ahead without his signature.

  20. Doesn’t the southeast actually have the highest incarceration rates?  I’m almost positive that’s the case.  

  21. North Carolina is one of the most Democratically favored gerrymander in the country… Tennessee would be a close second probably. North Carolina is most likely moving towards the left, but I doubt we’ll be able to do much with Foxx after this census. Best we can hope is that she’ll retire and someone not completely insane will step up.

  22. it passed.  And it’s passed before in the Senate in 2007, so hopefully we can get it to Obama’s desk.

  23. Foxx was first elected in 2004.  She’s old but looks a lot older.  Unlike Patrick McHenry, she’s generally had less ambition and has grown her cash on hand substantially.  For a while Foxx and McHenry were each in the bottom 5 of Progressive Punch ratings but the addition of more wingnuts has removed granny grinch from that level (without raising her score).

    She’s a definite wingnut but does not seem vulnerable without a lot more gaffes.

  24. Spare me the talk about circular firing squads and big tents and voting his district.  If we can’t do better than let’s call it a day in this district.

  25. It exposes their party for the lunatics they really are.  It reminds the country of who would be running things if they ever hand republicans back control of Congress.

  26. Horrible candidate for anything, but this would just hand Lundgren the district.

    There just doesn’t seem to be anyone in California to run for stuff other than about a half dozen retreads.

    Lundgren is by no means the worst CA Republican, and Angelides would likely be the worst Dem candidate in the state.  Take this one off the competitive map, and hope not too much money is wasted on it.

  27. It takes a LOT of effort to manage to lose statewide in California in a landslide to someone not named Arnold.  

  28. in ceding any district to the Republicans. Make them defend themselves EVERYWHERE.

    As long as they’re forced to fight for Alabama-2, I’m happy. I don’t want to get into a situation where because we cede huge numbers of districts to the GOP, then we’re forced to fight for districts in New York or California.  

  29. Right now the idiot Republicans are discarding their 60/40, 50/50, and 40/60 party members and we are picking them up.

    The moderates (blue dogs and otherwise) are why Democrats are in power now, commandingly so.

    Every time some club-for-no-growth purist wants to discard Bright or Taylor or Bayh or Lincoln, they aren’t just talking about one person, but rather the entire balance of power.

    Bright is far to the left of the alternative, and he (and Specter and Bayh and…) are welcome in the party, certainly much moreso than anyone who wants to exclude them.

    It’s one thing to have supported circular firing squads in the past, but after the past six or so years, it’s impossible to undersatnd how anyone can still not get it… you want to be the party where moderates are welcome because you want to be the party that is in power.

    As long as the Reps have to target dudes in  “bright” red districts, they will have less resources to compete in pink, purple and light blue ones.

  30. Lots of money to defend the district for a guy who votes against pair fairness for women and protecting gays from hate crimes.  Fuck him.

  31. Is a living example of how big a tent the Democratic Party is while the GOP just isnt. Theyve got so many conservative Dems in Congress while the GOP has 2 liberal Republicans at most (and many will argue Collins actually isnt. And Specter wasnt even though he switched). Even if Leach and Gilchrest and Chafee had been re-elected Im not entirely sure theyd have stayed caucused with the GOP.  

  32. He survives one more election and he’s likely set for a very long time in that seat.

    And two words: simple majority.  That’s all the House requires on votes.  Every seat we hold is one less seat for a republican.  Bright is a complete ass bbut he keeps the seat in our hands.  That’s really all that matters.  The hate crimes bill passed.  I don’t give a damn if it was by 1 vote or 100.  Passage is all that matters.

  33. but he just won the most Republican district in Mississippi in a landslide last year.  Obviously, districts like those aren’t going to produce Democrats we are particularly proud of, but they do deny Republicans another reliable winger.

  34. It’s not the money the DCCC spends that counts.  It’s the difference between what the DCCC spends vs. what the NRCC spends.  So, no, you’re wrong.  Defending Bright is not a net money loser for Democrats.  Better to fight the Republicans in R+15 or whatever districts than R+5 districts.

    As to gain, just check the Progressive Punch scores.  I haven’t looked in a while, but last time the “fuck Bright” posts came up, he was about 50 points better than the average Republican from similar districts.  That’s a big gain.

  35. And I’ll bet after one more election Childers and Bright skate to victory at little cost for as long as they want.  People seriously understimate the value of these deep south seats.  They can still be won and held by conservative dems for a long time.  They may not be reliable in the House, but just having the seat in our hands keeps us in the majority and forces republicans to pickup seats elsewhere.

  36. Bustamonte is worthless. There is a reason there is only one Republican in statewide, other than Arnohld… Because he ran against Bustamonte. Its like when I read on here that Pointzer, or whatever his name is, is likely to challenge for anything. He’s ONLY there because he ran against Bustamonte. lol That’s it.  

  37. The South REALLY loves its incumbents, seemingly more than other regions. I’m with Chad, as long as he caucuses with the Dems, thats the only vote he casts that I care about. And I’m gay. I don’t give a crap if a Democrat in a 15+R district votes against it. Now if a Democrat in a 15+D does, then we’ve got something to talk about.

  38. Which means that he’s actually the 23rd most conservative member of the Democratic Caucus.  If anything, you people should be complaining about those other reps more (though they’re all non-freshmen except Minnick).

  39. Alot will depend on how much bacon he brings back home. Just ask Chet Edwards (who isnt even a conservative Dem). But ideology, especially in a district like Bright’s, will still matter alot.

  40. Its much more about party ID, but this is suburban Houston we’re talking about. The type of area which, probably, doesnt even know much of their own Senators. But theyll vote based on whos a Republican and whos a Democrat. Sure Lampson wasnt a good campaigner but he was a solid conservative Dem (during his term, not counting his previous terms in the House) and someone who really faught for NASA (and NASA’s importance cannot be understated)

  41. Seems like in the south conservative dems still do ok in more rural districts.  It’s the suburban country club districts they get squashed in.

  42. It really is amazing that Edwards gets away with being so liberal in an ultra conservative district like TX-17.

  43. Without Blue Dogs, there’d be about 200 Democrats in the House. But not all Blue Dogs are alike. There’s a world of difference between Mike Michaud and Dan Boren.

    The Senate is another matter, but even there there are 50 relatively reliable Democratic votes.

    That’s not to say I support primarying Bright, but it is to say that I’d be quite happy to ignore right-wing Blue Dogs in districts like his. They can sink or swim based on their own efforts.

  44. he might not be a complete Repub like Bright, but I’d still consider him a conservative, and that fits his district.

  45. I’m sure that’s pretty true in Montana, but Idaho is part of the Mormon Belt (Mormons, btw, are the functional equivolent of Evangelical Christians insofar as social policy goes). A lot of these mountain states have a reasonably large mormon population (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah (obviously), Idaho, and Nevada). Even ignoring the fact that McCain’s popularity in his home state wasn’t really that great, one of the reasons why Romney only lost by 12 points in Arizona was due to the fact that 11% of the population was mormon.

  46. and a potential self-funder. I like him. In 2006 he ran on a substantive platform of not taking money from Insurance companies, (Bustamante went ahead and took 60% of his total money from them), and being a reformer and good oversight. A few years before he came like three percentage points from winning a like 70-30 Democratic State House seat in Northern California. He’s a pretty liberal, pro-choice Republican, probably too liberal to get nominated governor though, but still, don’t underestimate him is what I’m trying to say.

  47. I think you’re stat must be for Mormons in the Republican primary rather than state population.  Here’s the percent of state population that is Mormon, at least according to the Mormon Church:

    Utah 71.76

    Idaho 26.63

    Wyoming 10.10

    Nevada 7.41

    Arizona 5.45

    Montana 3.58

    I tend to think that all denominations inflate their membership numbers, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the true numbers are a little lower.  On the other hand, I believe Mormons tend to vote at a higher rate than the general population.  They’re also disproportionately Republican.  So, even if Arizona has only 5% or less Mormon population, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mormons made up 11% of Republican primary voters, especially with Romney in the race.

  48. I’m betting Mike Simpson in CD-2 voted nay.  Idaho is, indeed, much more heavily Mormon than most of the country, but most of the Mormon Corridor is southern Idaho, like Pocatello, Twin Falls, etc., which is CD-2.  The north country/panhandle (CD 1) is more libertarian, though occasionally we get a fundie nutjob like Helen Chenoweth out of the deal. CD-1 is also the home (or was, anyway) of many of the West’s white supremacists.

  49. The surburban/rural distinction may well be true for most of the South, but it’s not really the case in Texas.  The white, rural parts of Texas are solidly Republican now.  If and when Texas flips blue, it will be the inner suburbs voting Democrat that makes the difference.  

  50. If you’ll notice, on most of the divisive stuff passed this Congress there tends to be around 15-20 Democrats who vote against the party.  Most of them are Blue Dogs, and most of the Blue Dogs are in their first couple terms.  We still manage to pass the legislation we want with a solid 230’ish votes.

    The Senate is still the larger problem.  Getting 60 votes even if Specter becomes much more accomidating can be a headache.  Hopefully 2010 will provide us with another 3-6 Senate seats to pad that margin.

  51. Obviously they are the balance of power.  There is no doubt about that, but “moderates” also has a spectrum, and the spectrum is different on each issue.

    They, and any moderate Republicans still alive, are welcome to join us whenever they want on votes.  

    But from a purely political junkie standpoint, as long as the battlefield is in R+15 distrcits and not D+6 ones (like Kirk) then we are talking about the Democrats having a huge majority, which includes right of center, dead center, and left of center people.

  52. Oh and don’t underestimate the evangelical vote in the west either, there are actually quite a few of them (here in Albuquerque, I have quite a few friends who are devout Evangelicals)

  53. Basically there are only about 15-20 Blue Dogs who typically vote against progressive legislation.  With the majority we have we can lose that many defectors every vote and not really care.  

  54. In the Beaumont/Port Arthur area there are still many white Dems. But Im sure even that group of white Texans have become more Republican over the last decade.

  55. But, they’re not rural Democrats.  They’re blue collar and labor union Democrats working in the oil/natural gas and shipping industries who are socially conservative.  They’re classic Reagan Democrats.

  56. Republican Ayes:

    Biggert (IL)

    Bono Mack (CA)

    Cao (LA)

    Cassidy (LA)

    Castle (DE)

    Coffman (CO)

    Dent (PA)

    Diaz-Balart, L. (FL)

    Diaz-Balart, M. (FL)

    Frelinghuysen (NJ)

    Gerlach (PA)

    Kirk (IL)

    Lance (NJ)

    LoBiondo (NJ)

    Platts (PA)

    Reichert (WA)

    Ros-Lehtinen (FL)

    Walden (OR)

  57. Democratic Nays:

    Boren (OK)

    Bright (AL)

    Carney (PA)

    Childers (MS)

    Davis (AL)

    Davis (TN)

    Donnelly (IN)

    Ellsworth (IN)

    Gordon (TN)

    Griffith (TN)

    McIntyre (NC)

    Melancon (LA)

    Peterson (MN)

    Ross (AR)

    Shuler (NC)

    Tanner (TN)

    Taylor (MS)

    Notice 12 of these 17 reprent districts in Ex-Confederate states.  The south loves them some queer-bashing almost as much as they love *igger-bashing.

  58. Was a great example. He was a card carrying member of the pipefitters union, working in the chemical refineries here. He was a socially conservative Democrat who I believe supported Reagan. But, he didnt remain a Democrat all his life, as he became a Republican in the 80s (and remained one until he died a few years ago). Although he was one of the higher paid employees there (he was comfortably middle class). I imagine that many more lower middle class workers, in that industry, remained Democrat.  

  59. And he, too, wasnt rural, as he lived in the suburbs. Most of the oil/chemical refinery workers in this area dont live in rural areas. Rather in cities/towns/suburbs like Baytown, Pasadena, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Friendswood, etc.

  60. has the highest concentration of gays of any Republican-held district. Bono Mack even skipped the 2004 Republican Convention because they were adopting an anti-gay platform.

  61. from a Southern Democrat if they are populist on economic issues.

    But I have a problem with the Brights and Griffiths who basically vote like Repubs.

  62. There were alot of rumors she use to be a Scientologist. If it wasnt for that she might be a strong statewide contender. But with all the negative press Scientology has gotten over the past few years (Tom Cruise can partially be thanked for that) I think its the kind of rumor thatd be a killer. But maybe im wrong. Her wiki bio says nothing on the matter but it does say Sonny Bono was one and that she ‘took Scientology courses’ (it doesnt say if she was one or not).  

  63. I meant Sonny’s wiki bio says he was one and she ‘took Scientology courses’.

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