SSP Daily Digest: 12/30

AK-Sen: With the book about to close on 2010, so too is the last outstanding race of 2010, the Alaska Senate race. Today the state is planning to certify Lisa Murkowski as winner of the race, including hand-delivering the certification papers to Washington DC so there won’t be any possible obstacles to Murkowski’s swearing-in next week (and ensuing temporary loss of state clout). This, of course, follows a legal one-two punch to Joe Miller’s hopes: last week’s loss at the Alaska Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court’s decision that the write-in votes for Murkowski were properly counted, and then this week’s ruling by a federal district court judge dismissing his related federal suit and lifting the hold on the race’s certification. Miller will not stand in the way of the certification, although he says he is still considering whether to continue litigating the matter (which, if he did, would feature the 9th Circuit as the next stop).

The most ironic part of the whole tale is that the Tea Party Express, in their ill-advised RINO hunt, seem to have only succeeded in making Murkowski into more of a free agent. If you’ve noticed that Murkowski seems to be toeing the GOP line less since winning the election without running under the GOP banner, you’re not alone: she was the only Senate GOPer to vote with the Dems on all four big action items during the lame duck session (the tax compromise, DADT repeal, START, and the DREAM Act).

DE-Sen: SSP isn’t about re-litigating old elections, but this is indeed relevant because Christine O’Donnell, looking to capitalize on her newfound celebrity, may yet be a fourth-time candidate for the Senate against Tom Carper in the future. That fourth run might be more difficult, though, if she’s in prison… perhaps possible as it seems like the federal government has decided it’s had enough of her once-every-two-years grifting tours and is now criminally investigating her use of campaign funds for personal purposes during her 2010 campaign. Anyway, she put out a truly epic statement today on the matter that ought to have you reaching for your copy of the DSM, so laden with paranoia and delusions of grandeur it is.

MA-Sen: While everyone seems to be wondering which U.S. Rep. will step into the gap if nobody named Kennedy runs for the Senate, there’s always the outside possibility that someone with a business background and lots of his own money tries to move to the head of the pack in the Bay State. Robert Pozen may fit that bill, and he’s apparently been talking to party insiders about the possibility. The investment banker-turned-Harvard Business professor has some liabilities, though: he served briefly in Mitt Romney’s cabinet, which may help his bipartisan bona fides but could be poison in a primary, and his personality has been described as [John] “Silberesque,” which would just be all-purpose poison.

MI-Sen: If the NRSC ever had any interest in Tim Leuliette as their Senate candidate in Michigan, that probably evaporated this week. The auto-parts magnate just said that he’s not comfortable with self-funding his campaign and wouldn’t put much of his “large fortune” into a run. Considering that that was the main (if not only) selling point for a candidacy from an otherwise unknown political newcomer, that should pretty much be end-of-story.

MO-Sen, MO-Gov: A poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research (commissioned by consulting firm Axiom Strategies) has (big surprise) good news for Republicans in it, most notably Jim Talent. The ex-Sen. has a significant lead in a rematch against Claire McCaskill, ahead 51-40. Talent seems to have a big electability edge over Sarah Steelman, who’s tied 44-44 with McCaskill. McCaskill’s approvals are 48/45. They also look at the Governor’s race, finding a more competitive race than PPP did but not the lead that a Peter Kinder internal showed. They find Dem incumbent Jay Nixon leading Kinder 45-42, with Nixon’s approvals at 52%. Worth noting: the poll’s a little stale, taken Dec. 1-2.

ND-Sen: It’s starting to look like Kent Conrad will face some serious opposition from Republicans this cycle (assuming the 62-year-old runs for re-election), although it’s not clear exactly from whom. Perhaps the heaviest-hitter available, the state’s ex-Gov. and the former Bush administration Agriculture Secretary, Ed Schafer, has just ruled it out. For now, the likeliest-sounding one right now seems to be Brian Kalk, one of the state’s three Public Service Commissioners, a statewide elected position. Kalk says he’s giving it “serious thought,” which contrasts with oft-mentioned AG Wayne Stenehjem’s statement that he doesn’t have “any plans” (although not closing “any doors” either) and with newly-promoted Gov. Jack Dalrymple, for whom it’s the “last thing” on his mind.

NE-Sen (pdf): In case you weren’t sure whether or not Ben Nelson’s in trouble for 2012, um, yes, he’s in trouble. Republican pollster Magellan is out with a poll finding Nelson with an overall 29/59 re-elect, and trailing GOP AG Jon Bruning 52-38. He’s also trailing state Treasurer Don Stenberg (not yet a candidate, but sounding likely to run as well) 46-40. Hopefully we’ll get a look from PPP at this one soon for confirmation. It seems like the Dems are already treating Bruning as a serious threat, though, with the state party trying to throw obstacles in his path by filing FEC and IRS complaints against Bruning over shoddy campaign-committee setup.

VA-Sen: So apparently all you have to do is append “Tea Party Activist” to your job description, and all of a sudden you’re magically promoted from Some Dude to Very Serious Candidate Worthy of National Media Attention. Or at least that’s the case with the campaign announcement from Jamie Radtke, head of the Judean People’s Front People’s Front of Judea Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots, whose main claim to fame seems to be organizing a gathering of 3,000 ‘baggers in Richmond. At any rate, Radtke is the first actually announced GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Jim Webb seems to be moving closer to making a decision on whether to run for re-election (though no clues on how he feels), saying he’ll sort it out over the holiday break and make an announcement in the first quarter of 2011.

IN-Gov: This comes as a surprise, since there had been a lot of buzz about her as the nominee, with increasing moves from Rep. Mike Pence toward a presidential run instead. But Becky Skillman, Indiana’s Lt. Governor, recently announced that she wouldn’t run for Governor in 2012, citing “minor health issues.” Does this make likelier a Pence gubernatorial run, now that he’d have an easy stroll to the nomination? And if Pence doesn’t run, that seems to point to a truly wide open field, as no one seems to have contemplated a GOP field that didn’t include Pence or Skillman. Who else might step up? (I hear Mike Sodrel may still be looking for a job…)

NC-Gov: Rounding out the troika of Republican polls showing Dem incumbents in trouble is one from North Carolina from Civitas, who have coordinated with a variety of pollsters and this time went straight to the big daddy of GOP pollsters, POS. The poll finds GOP former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory cruising in a rematch against Dem incumbent Bev Perdue, who never really seemed to gain her footing after a narrow 2008 win: he leads her 51-36 (with Perdue getting only 64% among Democrats).

WA-Gov: Two interesting developments mean this race isn’t as open-and-shut as I’d thought. One is that there’s increasing buzz linking Dow Constantine, just elected in 2009 as King County Executive, to the governor’s race. I’ve regarded Constantine (who’s 47) as a very likely Governor starting in 2020, but with Dems seeming a little edgy that none of their biggest-name candidates (Rep. Jay Inslee, whose WA-01 is centered in suburban Snohomish Co., Snohomish Co. Exec Aaron Reardon, Spokane-based state Sen. majority leader Lisa Brown) are from their stronghold of King County while likely GOP candidate Rob McKenna is, there might be some pressure on Constantine to move up his timetable. (It’s worth noting that Gary Locke became Gov. in 1996 after three years as King Co. Executive.) The other develompent is that Chris Gregoire isn’t categorically ruling out an attempt at a third term, which she’s legally entitled to do but Just Isn’t Done. (Although she might point out that the last time it was tried, 1972, Dan Evans was successfully re-elected… in fact, the last time a Republican was re-elected Governor in Washington.) She registered as a 2012 candidate with the Public Disclosure Commission, in order to “keep her options open.” (UPDATE: Big h/t to meekermariner, who points out in comments that this Gregoire article is nearly two years old, leaving me to wonder why Politico was linking to it with such enthusiasm. At any rate, the Gregoire committee remains open today, although that in itself isn’t much of a suggestion that a third term may be in the offing.)

WV-Gov: This week was the deadline for filing briefs for the lawsuit that’s attempting to move up the special election to replace Joe Manchin up to 2011. We still don’t have an answer to when it will happen, but at least we know who’s on what side in the case: the state’s major unions (including the AFL-CIO and WVEA) want it sooner, and so does likely candidate and Dem state House speaker Rick Thompson. State Auditor Glen Gainer supports the expedited election too, while SoS Natalie Tennant (another possible Dem candidate) has basically punted on the issue. And if you’re wondering about Joe Manchin’s decision to duck DADT and DREAM Act votes in order to enjoy family holiday festivities, it seems like it wasn’t, first and foremost, a self-protecting profile in cowardice. With Manchin having survived probably his toughest challenge, he’s more interested now in clearing the way for ally and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and not interested in provoking a social issues-based civil war within the state Dem party that could undermine Tomblin’s shot at getting elected to a full term.

OH-01: Guess who’s sounding like he’s gearing up for a rematch? Steve Driehaus, in an interview with the Cincinnati paper, took a variety of potshots at Steve Chabot, calling him a Boehner “follower” and saying he shouldn’t “sit too easy.” Driehaus has previously said he’s “open” to another attempt. (This is Cincinnati-based district is notorious for steep dropoff in African-American voting in off-years, so if any time would be the right time for Driehaus to try again, 2012 would be it.)

LA-St. House: There was a long period of threatening and flirting, but now it’s official: state Rep. Noble Ellington switched to the Republican Party, formally flipping control of the state’s lower legislative chamber to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. Functionally, it may not make much perceptible difference, since there was already a Republican speaker, and many Dems were already quite conservative.

NY-St. Sen.: Looks like the end of the line in one other outstanding race (which ultimately had the balance of the New York state Senate in play): the state’s Court of Appeals said no thanks to incumbent Dem Craig Johnson’s appeal of a lower court decision that said there didn’t need to be a hand recount of machine votes in New York’s 7th District. GOPer Jack Martins had been declared the winner in the race by several hundred votes, handing the state Senate back to the GOP by a 32-30 margin.

PA-St. Sen.: Pennsylvania’s state Senate has been even more stubbornly Republican over the years than New York’s, and it looks like the Dems are going to have play a bit more defense there in an upcoming special election. Democratic minority whip Michael O’Pake (the state’s longest-serving legislator) died several days ago at age 70, leaving a vacancy in SD-11 that will need to be filled by special election at some point between March and May (date TBD). On paper, this looks like the kind of district that would be a major test case for whether the Dems are going to continue their run of bad luck in the Keystone State from the 2010 election: while it works out to about D+4 (going 59/40 for Barack Obama and 51/48 for John Kerry), it also gave 55% of the vote to Tom Corbett and 50.6% to Pat Toomey this year. However, this may all boil down to bench strength in a traditionally-Dem district (centered on the blue-collar city of Reading, although made purple by inclusion of its suburbs, too): insiders from both parties are treating Democratic former Berks Co. Commissioner Judy Schwank as “prohibitive favorite.”

Approvals: PPP does us the favor of consolidating all their year-end Senate approval ratings and gubernatorial approvals in one (or two, really) places. In the Senate, the most popular Senator overall, in addition to most popular one up in 2012, is Amy Klobuchar (59/29); while outgoing Roland Burris is the overall goat, Joe Lieberman is in worst shape of anyone up in 2012 (33/54). Among the few governors facing 2012 re-election, Jack Markell is tops at 50/32 (with Jay Nixon not far behind at 44/30), while Chris Gregoire fares the worst, in case she actually runs (although this might dissuade her sudden interest in a third term); her 40/53 is actually a worse spread than Bev Perdue’s 35/44.

Redistricting: The Fix has a good piece on redistricting out, that should pretty much serve as the last word on why GOP purely-redistricting-related House seat gains are likely to be limited to the single digits for 2012: thanks to their 2010 overperformance, they’re thoroughly maxed out in the big four prizes where they have total control (Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). That’s compounded by, in Florida, the new Fair Districts initiative, and in Texas, the need to create at least two more VRA districts while still protecting Blake Farenthold. Also, here’s one other redistricting implication that’s gotten totally overlooked in all the last few weeks’ discussion: although California didn’t lose or gain a seat, there’s been enough population shift within the state (thanks to stagnation in the Bay Area and rapid growth in the Inland Empire) that the net result will be the moving of most of one district from NoCal to SoCal. It’ll be interesting to see whether the new independent commission is able to do that in a way that lightly shifts boundaries southwards and protects the jobs of all 53 incumbents, or if someone from the north actually gets turfed out and an effectively new seat opens up in the south.

Chicago mayor: A lot has happened in the Chicago mayoral race since we last checked: first, Rahm Emanuel cleared the first hurdle in ascertaining that he is, indeed, a Chicago resident and not a Kenyan (although there will be inevitable courtroom appeals for weeks to come, with opponents willing to go to the state Supreme Court). The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners last week rejected claims that Emanuel had abandoned his Chicago residency when he went to work in the White House. Also, we’ve seen two of Emanuel’s erstwhile opponents drop out of the race, narrowing the number of African-American candidates but still leaving that part of the field split between Danny Davis (last seen publicly urging Bill Clinton against coming to Chicago to campaign for Emanuel) and Carol Mosely Braun. State Sen. James Meeks dropped out, saying he didn’t want to further split the black vote, and Roland Burris also withdrew, via press release, from the race (although it’s unclear whether he ever really was in the race, since he never made any public appearances). Finally, we got another poll of the race from We Ask America, which may be most noteworthy for showing Gerry Chico in position to make the runoff. They find Emanuel at 44, Chico at 12, Braun at 8, Davis at 7, Miguel Del Valle at 6, and Meeks at 4.

149 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 12/30”

  1. also, that Cali redistricting editorial is the saddest thing I’ve ever read. some crazy old Republican guy trying to convince himself that Republicans aren’t screwed in California because Republican areas have grown faster than Democratic areas. Yeah, I’m sure none of that growth is from Democratic-voting Hispanics, or that the commission won’t gut several Republicans (bye-bye Ken Calvert), or that there won’t be higher Dem turnout in a presidential year, or that…

  2. So, I keep trying to wrap my mind around Texas, and I just can’t quite see how TX-23 and Canseco is going to play out. New Dallas Hispanic seat, fine. New Hispanic seat south of Corpus and moving Farenthold up into Beeville and rural farmland, got it. New GOP seat in the I-35 corridor, possibly south of Fort Worth OR outside of Austin.

    Then that leaves the fourth seat. I don’t see how they secure Canseco and ensure VRA. The Texas GOP is going to want a 2-2 split of the new seats, but I don’t see how they’re going to pull it off while giving Canseco a safe seat, especially with something that contains State Rep. Pete Gallego (one of the best leaders the TX Dem party has to offer). So, anyone got some ideas as to what to do regarding keeping Canseco safe.


  3. Gregoire is even floating the possibility of running for a third term. I personally like her, but the people of Washington certainly do not and they’ve made that crystal clear over the years. Our top-tier recruits may be shying from a race, but in a blue state like Washington, we can do way better than her. Also, I think you’re approval ratings need to at least be above water if you’re considering breaking tradition and aiming for a twelve year governorship.  

  4. DE-Sen: O’Donnell should have called it a political witch hunt.

    NE-Sen: Well at least he looks DOA so we won’t have to waste any money on him.

    OH-1: Dreihaus really impressed me considering where he started off the campaign cycle.  He can make up the the margin he lost by in 2012 I think.

    Chicago Mayor: Here’s a quote that really bugs me from the Davis press release article.

    “The African-American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however it appears as though some of that relationship maybe fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago’s black community,” Davis said in a statement

    Bleh.  He can recant all he wants and say people are reading too much into it, but it being said in the first place is ridiculous.  


    Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been battling the snow on his city’s streets tweet by tweet – and getting a lot of attention doing it.

    Since the Sunday storm that dumped about two feet of snow on the Newark area, he has helped lift cars, shoveled driveways and promised to send road crews to clear neighborhood streets after someone tweets that they have not been adequately plowed.

    Quite the contrast to Blunderberg.

  6. Representative Leonard Boswell shows no sign of retirement plans–he’s holding a Des Moines fundraiser in early January, headlined by Tom Harkin. Former First Lady Christie Vilsack has dropped several hints about running for Congress. I think there’s a chance of a Boswell-Vilsack Democratic primary in 2012. I would guess that most of the Democratic activist community would prefer having Vilsack run against Tom Latham (if, as I expect, Latham runs in the redrawn IA-03 in 2012, rather than in the IA-04 GOP primary against Steve King).

    Last month I pondered whether Boswell might have lost if he had faced Jim Gibbons rather than Brad Zaun in IA-03 this year. Gibbons was the NRCC’s preferred candidate in the GOP primary, so presumably the national money would have been there for him if he’d won the nomination. (The NRCC didn’t put money behind Zaun, though the Chamber of Commerce did.) One big question mark was whether Boswell would have had enough negative material to “win ugly” against Gibbons. Now Gibbons is set to take a top job in the Secretary of State’s Office, and this week the Des Moines alternative weekly’s political gossip columnist published some unflattering background on him that surely would have come out if he’d been Boswell’s opponent.

  7. To anyone who didn’t get that reference: go rent Monty Python’s Life of Brian ASAP. Great movie.

  8. It was published in February 2009. I’m confused why you’re referring to it as a new development.

  9. Am I right that after the turnover of statewide offices in NY and GA over the next week or so, there will be no statewide elected African Americans in the entire country?

    That will be a sad development. And a regression to at least the early 90s.  

  10. travel-related problems that slowed down my expected return by a few more days. On the plus side, I can’t say that anything that important seemed to have happened over the last week and a half.

  11. Do you really think that swingnuts went for a week without news and didn’t know almost every piece posted here and some more?…

  12. just read that article….wow. Talk about a bias. He forgot the congressional maps drawn in 2002 was an incumbent protection map, not an aggressive Democratic gerrymander. The author also forgot to explain how Jerry McNerney managed to hold on even though his seat was drawn to protect Richard Pombo and that seat was caught up in the 2006 Dem wave. In theory McNerney should of been a dead man, especially with Fiorina and Whitman cleaning up in the Central Valley portions of the district.  

  13. The state legislature stuff, nor do I closely track candidate filings until later in the cycle, so these are really useful for me.

  14. …of the holidays.  I was in DisneyWorld with the wife and kids for 6 days and completely offline and out of touch with the news, and followed that with Christmas obligations.

    In fact only the night of the 22nd, when we got home, did I learn the tax cut package passed, DADT repeal passed, the START treaty got ratified, DREAM failed, and appropriations got approved only through March 4th.  I joked to my wife that I couldn’t believe Congress did so much without my being here to keep an eye on ’em!

    And then I still wasn’t able to catch up on all the comment threads, with loads of Christmas stuff to do.

    Not to mention that even other times of the year I’m not always available to keep track of everything on my own, and I imagine there are plenty of others here like that.

    So the DD is appreciated, I still need the summaries.

  15. Pretty excited for that one. I think Rep. Calvert is a dead man walking, politically speaking, as much as a congressperson can be facing a nonpartisan redistricting.

  16. Former Rep. Rodriguez will almost be guaranteed a mainly Bexar County district.  The population is just simply there, two San Antonio based districts, done.  I mean, you could gerrymander it to hell to protect Canseco (lots of red in Bexar to work out) so that’d be my guess. Canseco gets a Republican Hispanic district and then he divides and conquers with a seat that’ll be Dem.

    Oooooo, I know what I’m doing tonight!!!

  17. grew up in Orange County. She loathed and despised it (this was in the Reagan-loving 80s). It’s mind-blowing to me that it could be trending to be a Democratic area.

  18. Rep. Inslee and Cty. Exec. Constantine are top-tier candidates, IMO. Either one would be far more competitive than Gov. Gregoire.

  19. Never say never in politics, obviously, but yes I don’t see Gregoire running for a 3d term. If she does try, I still think Inslee or another top-tier candidate will challenge her.

    McKenna’s probably the strongest R candidate in years.  He’s hurt by the D tilt of the state, which is usually magnified in Presidential years. Thats actually one of the biggest reasons the D’s will have held the governors seat for 28 years straight…if there’d been a governor’s race in 1994 say, or this year, its likely the GOP would have taken over.

  20. found it odd that she continues to be reelected despite nobody really liking her. I get that Washington is a blue state, but really?  

  21. that if McKenna is the nominee, Gregoire’s popularity will drag any Democratic nominee down, even if Obama is cruising to a victory.  

  22. You find what I’ve been suspecting all along – the Danny Davis strategy is simply trying to run-up a necessary score among the black vote. That’s it, so no wonder he’s trying to stir the pot and rile up his supporters. The support for Davis among every other racial demographic is virtually non-existent.

    Compare that to Moseley Braun, who has solid support from blacks and Asians, and Chico who has comparable support from Hispanics and whites. Unlike these two, Davis has make just about no outreach to anyone outside of the black community, and this isn’t a winning strategy, methinks.

    Oh, and while I’m on the topic of Chicago-Mayor, what’s with Emanuel’s dreadful #s among the 18-29 vote? He’s only at 17% with him, just 3 ahead of Moseley Braun!

  23. Nelson in the throat during the health care debate, I can’t I am ready to give up that seat. I’d rather keep it, with him in it, and then work on building the party so that we don’t have to rely on him in six years. And while the path to reelection looks challenging, he has a lot of time to fix what ails him.  

  24. This is what I want to know about. This is Pete Gallego’s house district, and I’d love to know how the GP is going to gerrymander and not give him the room to move up.

    Also, isn’t TX-27 and TX-23 currently considered VRA districts? So adding new VRA means . . . I lost my own mind. Screw it, I’m getting in the car now and start my drive back to North Dallas from South Houston.  😛

  25. TX-27 and TX-23 are considered VRA districts.  Thing is that you can give Farenthold a sorta-Republican district (give him the Republican parts of Corpus and extend it north toward Victoria) and then just compensate for that by creating a “new” district with the more Democratic parts of Corpus, Brownsville, and probably a few more precincts from the current 15th.  That complies with VRA, even if you number the Corpus Christi/Victoria district the 27th and give the “new” district a different number, because you’re not sacrificing Hispanic representation.

    By the way, as somebody pointed out earlier, the VRA doesn’t actually require any new Hispanic majority districts to be created in Texas.  It does require that (a) any current minority-majority districts must be protected, and (b) that they be created where it’s feasible to create a compact district that will be minority-majority.  If you play around on Dave’s, you’ll notice that it’s actually fairly difficult to create a Hispanic-majority district in the DFW Metroplex because the Hispanic population in the Metroplex is rather spread out.  Aside from the west side of Dallas (around Oak Cliff), there aren’t a lot of huge concentrations of Hispanics; they tend to be interspersed with the non-Hispanic population in a lot of areas.

  26. since I feel like all of the people I’ve met from there are all super-chill Asian people who are probably pretty liberal. Although that’s probably more OC kids who go to college elsewhere rather than an apt description of OC people in general, I readily concede…

  27. He’s only 41, and has a high-profile position as mayor for as long as he wants it, barring scandal or a string of poor executive decisions, neither of which seems likely. I can see him holding off statewide runs, perhaps for as much as a decade, waiting for the “right opportunity” (an open seat, a great D year, an embattled incumbent, etc.) If Christie is popular in 2013, there’s no need for Booker to risk it when there will almost certainly be a better opportunity for him down the road (Senate ’14, Governor ’17, etc.)

  28. Cory Booker loves being Mayor of Newark. The twittering is not for show or for political gain for some far away office its just part of how he does his job and how he’s available for the people of Newark.

    For him being Mayor is a labor of love and he is doing amazing things turning that city around. I cant see him trading it in to be 1 of 100 Senators.

    I think if Cory left being Mayor of Newark for some other political post and the corrupt machine that used to run the place came back into power and destroyed the city, Cory Booker wouldnt be able to handle it.

  29. e.g. Christie not running in ’13, then challenging Lautenberg in ’14 (which could be a marquee race assuming a 6th year of an Obama Presidency), with Booker going for Gov.

  30. The first lady seems like a fairly political person. I think there’s at least a whisper of a chance she’ll seek office after her husband’s presidency ends.

  31. she’s thought about it, but at the same time, she’ll probably be ready for a break. There’s also just as much of a way for her to influence the debate outside of the Senate. But more than anything, I doubt she wants to be president. That was the reason that Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate.  

  32. The Asian pop in OC is very high. Cities like Garden Grove (Korean/Vietnamese), Westminster (Vietnamese), Irvine (a mixture) are examples, but the county as a whole is generally this way.

    OC is really nothing like what its reputation is. It wasn’t even 20 or 30 years ago, but, really, now, the only reason it isn’t a D-leaning area is that old white people vote at much higher rates than they represent in the county population as a whole.

  33. are probably more liberal than their parents/grandparents. Especially Vietnamese.

    Also, sorry to ask a stupid question, but why’s everyone freaking out over a Democratic district in the OC when we already have one (CA-47)?

  34. And we’re all really, really excited about the too-long-delayed schadenfreude of the corrupt, gormless Rep. Calvert losing his seat, as appears likely in redistricting.

  35. I wouldn’t say loathesome.  She’s just admonishable.  From what I have heard from a few people from that area, she is constantly demonized by Republican partisans in that district.  A number of Vietnamese-American Republican activists (who ironically oppose immigration reform despite the fact that they or their parents were granted amnesty at the end of the Vietnam War) call her “the Mexican” and pine that they should have one of “their own” representing the district.  However, she NEVER should have lowered herself to the level of those partisans.

  36. will most likely be restricted to Riverside County, so how is that a new Dem seat in OC? I think at this point OC can only support one safe Dem seat, maybe two Likely D seats with gerrymandering that won’t happen.

  37. If I remember right (can’t find any links), Gore didn’t want her to speak at the ’00 convention, because she’s a ditz. But perhaps that’s an appropriate profile/image for the valley (is that the right term? didn’t someone here say “don’t call us the OC “? what is the polite term for the area?)

    I suspect she’s the one D who could lose statewide in a Senate campaign, if she were to try to succeed a retiring Feinstein.

  38. while I realize the “given” reason was the Playboy mansion fundraiser, this link sorta confirms what I remember from ’00

    In 2007, the celebrity gossip web site TMZ tried to label her “the Paris Hilton of Washington” while later calling Sanchez “four lattes past hyper” during parties at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Heil, Emily “We’ll Always Have Paris” Roll Call, April 26, 2007

  39. There will be enough population in Corona, Riverside, Norco and the unincorporated areas of Riverside County to create its own district. Calvert’s South Orange County areas are extremely Republican. I don’t see a second Dem seat in OC until mid-decade at least with the most likely candidate Campbell’s seat.  

  40. I would imagine the commission will keep a Dem OC seat based roughly on the current 47th, especially as that seat is 65% Hispanic. Maybe that will be lowered a bit, but if Loretta Sanchez can make a racist statement and still win by almost-double digits against a credible opponent in a Republican wave year, I think the seat can afford to be weakened a bit despite the narrow Bush win in 2004. The problem is that to make a second lean-D district, I would imagine you’d have to connect Irvine with Fullerton or something, which I doubt the commission will do. Our best hope is probably something resembling the current CA-48, and we can just wait for demographic trends to turn it blue.

  41. Incoming AG-CA. Hope she’s not the only one, but I suspect there are at least a few more at the below Gov/Sen level.

    Nevertheless, your point is well taken. It is a sad development.

  42. Also Mike Williams in Texas, who holds the elected position of railroad commissioner (which despite its name is an oil-regulating position.) If there are no others besides him, Patrick, Carrol, and Harris, then the GOP surprisingly has half of the black statewide office-holders in the country.

  43. lt. gov-elect of Florida. although she was elected on a ticket so I don’t know if that counts.

    still, point is, if you look, I’m sure there are some.

  44. I just had the changes in NY and GA in mind, and couldn’t think of any other examples. I stand corrected.  

  45. Jesse White, Illinois SoS (as mentioned above)

    Denise Nappier, Connecticut treasurer

    Chip Flowers, Delaware treasurer-elect

    Anthony Brown, Maryland Lt Gov (on a ticket with O’Malley, but if you count Carroll you have to count him too)

    Including Harris and Patrick, that’s 6 Dem statewide AA elected office holders, compared to 2 for the GOP (as far as we’ve counted).

  46. The ones lost in GA (two I think) are likely not coming back for a very long time. In the south, I would expect the next ones to be from Mississippi, maybe in 25 years.  

  47. I had an internship at WHYY in Wilmington a number of years ago, and I have met Chip Flowers on multiple occasions.

    I think I need to wear the dunce cap.  

  48. Boswell uncontested on our side has a better chance of beating Latham than either Boswell or Vilsack after a bitter primary.

    You can get away with primarying an incumbent in a safe district, like Donna Edwards’ challenge to Wynn in Maryland.  The only other scenario where it’s smart is where the incumbent already is a dead man (or woman) walkin’, like Specter and Lincoln this last time around.

    But you just don’t do that in a purple district against a well-liked incumbent without getting punished in November.

    If Boswell runs, Christie needs to pick another office for 2012 or bide her time and wait.

    And I don’t buy it for one moment that Boswell can’t beat Latham.  I understand the thinking behind it, but Boswell just proved this year that he’s a tougher campaigner than some might have realized.  I don’t care what liabilities Brad Zaun had, we had plenty of Democratic incumbents thought better campaigners than Boswell lose to Republicans far worse on every level than Zaun, and this in plenty of purple districts.

    If Boswell wants a crack at the new IA-03, he deserves it as our best bet.  Neither Vilsack (who has never run for anything) nor anyone else on our bench can be argued to be clearly a stronger candidate than Boswell.

  49. Good to see black officeholders in states like CT and AZ with relatively low black populations (even if they are mostly Democrats.) I would, however, bet on Michael Williams as the next African-American Senator.

  50. I don’t think KBH loses a primary to him. I think they Texans will have a multi-candidate primary, and the incumbent wins. Despite all of the retirement talk, I just don’t see her hanging it up in 2012.

    Also, shouldn’t Texas remain their Railroad Commission? They regulate the petroleum industry, and by regulate, I mean let the billionaire tycoons do whatever they want. The actual railroads in Texas are regulated by the Department of Transportation. Seems to me as though it is overdue for a renaming.

  51. Though I’m still eying both Mayor Setti Warren in Massachusetts and, in case of an abrupt decision by Sen. Cardin of Maryland to retire, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

  52. might be in trouble in California? Looking back at the 2008 election results, and even the 2010 results, you see we came very close to knocking off a few incumbents or getting closer than you might expect given the toxic environment nationally this year. Is Tom McClintock’s district, for example, really a swing district, or was there something unusual about the race in 2008, or was it just a blip on the radar which we are unlikely to see again? Also, if we invest the resources, can we knock off someone like Wally Herger?

    I don’t want to sound too confident, because a loss of ten points is still a pretty big loss, but assuming it’s not a truly awful year, it seems like we could make up for most, if not all, of the losses in Southern districts (Allen Boyd’s, for instance) in California alone.  

  53. I think it all comes down to whether the Tea Party is as powerful in GOP primaries in 2012 as it was this past year. There’s also the strong possibility that KBH just retires–she seems like she’s getting sick of DC anyway.

    If there is an open seat, I think Williams would be the early favorite in the primary. He is a darling of the Tea Party and Jim DeMint, and might be able to consolidate the support of the red-meat conservative, Ken Paxton wing of the Texas GOP.

  54. Public Service Commisioners in some states regulate energy companies, and have nothing to do with public service.  

  55. is still a red state even if it is on its way to becoming blue. But might Williams, or one of the other Teabaggers, be a step too far if they knock her off in a primary? He is, and they are, very, very conservative. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he won, but doesn’t moving to the far right with him as their candidate give a moderate to conservative Democrat like John Sharp an opening? He might not be beloved by the base, but at the same time, figure that he’ll get the more liberal vote of the Texas Democratic party while not being dead on arrival with everyone else. It would still be hard for him to win, but he’s not running against an incumbent.  

  56. And the second time, she ran against Dino Rossi. Again.

    2012 might be a good cycle for the state of Washington because it may actually get decent choices from which to pick.

  57. That seems weird. Perry was elected governor in 2006 with something like 38 or 39 percent. I guess I just assumed that there was no runoff voting in Texas.

  58. She can vote as conservative and partisan as she wants, but the state Tea Party just flat-out loathes Hutchison, and they’re huge players in a Texas GOP primary. Sure, more than one right-wing challenger will emerge, and they’ve got decent bonafides, too – fmr. Secretary of State Roger Williams, State Sen. Florence Shapiro, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, among others. Dewhurst would probably get Rick Perry’s backing, while Williams already has Jim DeMint and Newt Gingrich behind him. George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney are Hutchison’s allies, but they’re really not that influential (anymore, at least) in Texas GOP primaries.

    I do think it’s Michael Williams’s to lose, though. Nationwide, if there was such a list, he’d probably be among the Tea Party’s top ten rising stars. He’s very reminiscent of Mike Huckabee with a charming, down-to-earth demeanor that helps to overshadow his nutty, right-wing political views. And, he’ll cruise through the general, too. Even John Sharp probably wouldn’t break 40% vs. Williams.

  59. everyone was hoping the Dem candidate who wanted to impeach Obama would be held under 50% in the primary, but she barely made it.

  60. I think Dreier will be in trouble. McKeon might be in trouble later this decade (I’m guessing his district will be restricted to Northern LA County). Gallegly is in trouble for the same reason that Capps might be, because chances are they will undo the CA-23 gerrymander. Lungren will most likely be restricted to Sacramento County, which isn’t bad on paper but given how weak he is already, the loss of Amador/Calaveras might do him in. John Campbell’s district might get a bit weaker for him as I’d imagine Crazy Danas district will get pushed further down the coast, perhaps pushing him north (or maybe making him safer by giving him the part of OC currently in CA-44. Duncan Hunter might get Imperial County, but I’m not sure; maybe Mary Bono-Mack will. I’d imagine that would significantly weaken whichever one, especially Mary Bono-Mack.

    Also I doubt CA-04 will be competitive again. It will shrink a bit, I think, due to growth in Placer, but that should barely change anything. Placer County doesn’t seem to be trending D like the other fast-growing inland counties, so it’s probably a lost cause.

  61. might be in trouble for the Democrats in the redistricting process.  The only way for them not to be in trouble would be for the the redistricting commission to consider them VAR districts.

    Both districts are carefully crafted to take in Democratic areas in the urban areas of the Central Valley.

    Otherwise, the overall lean of the counties involved is lean to safe Republican districts.

    CA03. My opinion here is that the new commissiion will keep the city of Sacramento as CD05, while leaving most of the rest of the county as CD03, both fitting within the county.

    CD03 would be lean R at best, possibly tossup

  62. you can’t leave out Sandra Kennedy and Denise Nappier. Delaware also has a black female treasurer but she was never elected (appointed) and lost the primary to Chip Flowers, so she’s gone soon.

  63. unless it’s an amazing D year. Texas is a red state and being very conservative doesn’t change that. The only thing that could threaten Williams is if Obama decided to contest the state and actually made it close, but even that is too soon I think.

  64. be so lethal in a general against John Sharp? Texas is a red state, but is it that red? Williams is very, very conservative.  

  65. just easily re-elected Rick freaking Perry over a top-tier recruit. I know 2010 was a Republican year but I think Perry would have still won in another year the way things went (maybe by closer to 5 points though).

  66. that someone like Sharp would have an easy run, but you have to wonder how the extreme nature of Williams’ positions would conflict with the Texas electorate. I can’t seem to find anything specific on his views relating to Social Security and Medicare, but if I had to guess, I’d say “reform” to him is a code word for privatization and elimination. I wonder how those people in Texas that are entirely dependent on Social Security for retirement income will feel about someone that wants to gut the program.

  67. but secession from the Union is probably even more extreme. One of the sad realities of being a liberal is that you think rationally and it’s hard to accept that not all the voters are rational people.

  68. but even Perry isn’t that much of a right-winger. He’s certainly conservative, but some of these guys seem so conservative that they make him look like a moderate.  

  69. I doubt people who are perfectly fine with a 95% conservative candidate have a problem with a 100% conservative one. The major exception to that, I think, would be if Williams turns out to be a nutjob along the lines of Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle.

  70. If that isn’t extremist, what is? Whoever makes him look like a moderate must be a clinically insane, incoherent ranter.

  71. Angle is in a class by herself because in addition to being extreme on the issues, she seems mentally unbalanced. I don’t know if Williams has that same issue–I would guess not, but you never know–but he’s just as extreme in his positions as Angle, if not more so. It’s not so much a matter of him being 100 percent conservative to 95 percent, but rather 175 percent to 95 percent. This doesn’t make him dead on arrival, but my guess is that it would give a moderate, and especially a conservative, Democrat an opening, if not to winning then to at least not being automatically rejected by the voters. That alone is a big part of the battle.

    Unless he’s really being blown out of the water because of his personal shortcomings or become it’s an awful year for Democrats, let’s assume his floor is more Rick Noriega’s than Barbaba Ann Randofsky’s. And let’s assume that Williams would then be more like Cornyn, at the start, than Hutchinson.  Someone like Sharp would have to find about 1.1 million votes to win in anything other than a tiny margin. (Cornyn beat Noriega by about 950,000 votes.) That seems like a tall order, and it is, but there are a lot of people that could be potential voters in the state that aren’t now. The Democrat would need to do a lot of work to bring these people into the system, but it doesn’t seem impossible.

    Remember that I am not talking about a win with 59 percent of the vote by the Democrat. I’m talking about, on a good day, a 51-49 upset.  

  72. that an actual position, because there’s virtually no chance of it happening. It’s the epitome of throwing some red meat the base.  

  73. much of what killed Sharrrrrrrrrrron wasn’t her positions so much as it was her statements about how the media should only ask her questions she wanted to be asked, or telling Hispanic kids that they looked Asian/calling herself Asian.

  74. when I go on vacation when I’m older with kids and the works.  I think checking my blackberry for the news when I’m bored has become so ingrained that I view that as a mini-vacation from my day.  Oh that sounds fabulous, a Florida beach, a cold beverage, and my iPhone.  (I will have upgraded by then.)  And I wont even do it during Christmas so that I get my Daily Digests to read while I get a tan.  Hell, I’d even plan it closer to the election so that I get two DD’s a day.  (Ha, that will happen within a decade, I’ll let everyone know when.)

  75. now is the time to try these things, to gamble if you will. We don’t have that many opportunities to speak of, and if there’s one state where we have some untapped advantages, it’s probably Texas.  

  76. Newark shouldn’t be the only people who get have him.  His ability to run for President some day I think is going to hinge largely on how Obama is perceived.  It would be the political version of a black person not being able to tell two Asians apart.  (I decided not to be stereotypical in my example for the irony.)

  77. Any district including the city of Santa Barbara will be likely Democrat, possibly safe.  I worked out that Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo almost make up a congressional district by themselves, so it depends where the balance of the population comes from.

  78. may have been the reason that Texas was amongst the states that originally seceded, but I don’t think that had much of anything to do with why Perry made those in the last year or two. Besides, I don’t consider it an actual policy position because there’s no way that anything relating to it will happen. It’s basically an empty threat.

    And yes, it was a stupid thing to say.

  79. I don’t consider this an actual policy position because nothing will come of it.

    As far as his record, I’m not denying he’s a very conservative guy. He is. The point was that he’s not, as far as I can tell, as far right as Sharon Angle or Michael Williams.  

  80. that the first time in my living memory (b. 1965) that a bunch of Southern politicians have talked of secession was when the first black president was in office? I don’t.

  81. race is the primary factor in all of the opposition to Obama. It may be one cause of it, or it may be related as it’s thrown in to stir up trouble, something I think is more likely, but I think people like Rick Perry are talking about secession because they have a disagreement about what is happening at the federal level relating to states. Their ideas may be incoherent, their ignorance may be overwhelming, and their talk may be irresponsible if not dangerous, but I don’t think it’s motivated solely or even mostly by Obama being black. If anything, it’s motivated partly, if not entirely, by the view that Democratic rule is always and forever illegitimate.  

  82. For one, Williams has been elected statewide 3 times. Angle was not hated because of her positions, its the things she said. Williams isn’t gaffe prone like Angle. Where Angle was just an overall repulsive person, Williams is very charismatic and charming.  

  83. Social Security Privatization, for one thing.  Also, opposing abortion even in instances of rape.  The list goes on.

  84. doubt that Williams is likely to be a better candidate than Angle was, but without knowing more details about what, exactly, he stands for, I’m hesitant to say he’s drastically different from Angle.

    And while he’s been elected statewide, I’d need to see some sort of proof that this was anything significant. Were people voting for him for any other reason than the “R” next to his name? His margin of victory in 2008 was solid but not overwhelming, so perhaps there was more thought that went into the decision, but perhaps not. I’m not that familiar with Texas politics, so I am not sure how big of a position Railroad Commissioner is.  

  85. is a factor in opposition, but I think it’s a factor in the irrationality that permeates the opposition. It just makes opposition easier

  86. I’ve said this before but Kirk is almost certainly toast in 2016 barring another massive red wave. He barely beat a lousy candidate with a lot of baggage in the 2010 wave. Even Giannoulias would probably beat him in a non-wave presidential year, and a generic who-dat Dem with low negatives would probably beat him easily. His only chance will likely be if the Dem implodes due to some scandal after the primary.

  87. Kirk will have a record from one term in the Senate, and he will be judged on that. We don’t know what his record will be.

  88. Dat Nguyen of the Cowboys. If I remember right, his mom had opened a restaurant entitled “Who Dat!” in Dallas.

  89. But his record will be riddled with votes that are probably a lot more conservative than people expect.

    And in addition to his record, he’ll also have a huge target on his back, along with Toomey, in what is not just a center-left state but a deeply blue state in a presidential year. This alone will make the race competitive.

  90. not remembering something correctly, but I always thought she was rated as a “meh” by the electorate, both professionally and personally. If so, why?  

  91. I’m just not willing to write his political obituary as Senator from Illinois so soon after he has taken office.

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