SSP Daily Digest: 1/4

CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman, in a recent interview, gave some more insight into how he might approach the various ways in which he might lose in 2012. He says he’s “leaning toward” running again, and it will likely be as an independent (although he’d need to create yet another ballot line for himself, having lost control of CfL), although he says some Senate colleagues have encouraged him to run as a Democrat.

NE-Sen, NE-02: One of the items on the agenda for the legislative session this year in Nebraska (in its ostensibly-nonpartisan but practically-GOP-held unicameral body) is fixing a small hole that could theoretically wind up costing the GOP the presidency in a close election. Nebraska is one of only two states that allocates some electoral votes by congressional district, and Barack Obama took advantage of that to win 1 EV in Nebraska by narrowly winning NE-02. It’s worth noting that if this option is taken off the table before 2012, it makes it much less likely that the Obama campaign will put any money or manpower into the Omaha market, making Ben Nelson’s re-election hopes slimmer and also making it harder to take out Rep. Lee Terry, who was vulnerable in 2008. (That same link also mentions one potential other GOP Senate candidate, despite there already being a long list of possible challengers to Nelson: Mike Simmonds, whose main claim to fame seems to be owning 73 Burger King franchises.) Speaking of Nelson, he does have one new talking point that won’t help him much in the blogosphere but may help him get a little mileage in his red state confines: CQ’s new unity scores for last year are out, and Nelson was the least likely Senator to vote with his party, doing so only 46% of the time.

NM-Sen: This seems a little unexpected: GOP ex-Rep. Heather Wilson, after taking the 2010 cycle off (when she, in retrospect, could have pretty easily gotten elected governor), may be interested in getting back into the political game in 2012, which would have to involve a seriously-uphill race against long-time Dem incumbent Jeff Bingaman for Senate. Of course, that presumes Bingaman runs again. His fundraising schedule suggests that he will run again, but maybe Wilson’s engaging in some early saber-rattling in the hopes of scaring the 68-year-old Bingaman into retirement, which would make her task easier.

IN-Gov: Mike Pence seems to be making the sensible choice given the options of a longer-than-long-shot presidential bid and (with Becky Skillman out of the primary and Evan Bayh out of the general) what’s looking like a lightly-contested lay-up in the Indiana gubernatorial race. Insiders are looking at his newly planned schedule of events, with Lincoln Day Dinners scheduled all over Indiana, as an indication that he’s moving pretty firmly toward the gubernatorial race.

FL-25: Usually Representatives wait until at least after they’ve gotten sworn in before getting involved in criminal investigations, but David Rivera is a real go-getter. In the wake of inquiries into Rivera’s support for a push to bring slot machines to Miami-Dade County, Rivera is now having to disclose $137K in never-before-mentioned loans from his mother’s marketing company (the same company under investigation for receiving payments from the Flagler Dog Track).

IN-02: Jackie Walorski may be back in 2012 for another run against Rep. Joe Donnelly, saying another run is “possible.” Her main calculation seems to be what happens to the 2nd, which could be mutated into a much more Republican-friendly district if the state’s GOP legislature wanted to experiment with strange shapes.

Mayors: Rahm Emanuel got one more seal of approval for his Chicago mayoral candidacy today: a state circuit court judge just ruled today that Emanuel meets residency requirements and his name can remain on the Feb. 22 ballot, upholding the decision by the city’s Board of Election Commissioners. It’s not a done deal though as an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court is imminent. Also, Salt Lake City is another one of the many cities holding mayoral elections this November; one-term incumbent Ralph Becker has announced he’s running for re-election, and, with a whopping 84% approval rating, it’s sounding like he won’t face more than a token challenge. The GOP may not even wind up running someone against him (Becker’s a Democrat, although it’s officially a nonpartisan post), and while there have been rumblings of a challenge to him from the left (with former SLC mayor Rocky Anderson a possibility), there doesn’t seem to be enough dissatisfaction with him to make that viable either.

2010 Leftovers: Two of the leaders of the Dems’ efforts in 2010 are in the news today, including outgoing DGA executive director Nathan Daschle, who let loose a curious tweet stating that “The purity test on display at yesterday’s RNC chair debate is one more reason why we need something other than 2 parties.” Now, given his previous aptitude at messing with Republicans’ heads via concern trolling, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s subtly encouraging some sort of full-on split between the sane Republican party and the crazy wing while the Dems remain intact, rather than him going all No Labels on us. Meanwhile, Jon Vogel, the former exec director of the DCCC, is moving to the private sector, launching a political media firm with fellow consultant Steve Murphy. (This seems like a good time to queue up the best line from Ghostbusters: “You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve worked in the private sector! They expect results!”)

Redistricting: Here’s an interesting interview with Democratic redistricting guru Matt Angle, who was Martin Frost’s right-hand man during the post-2000 round. Angle’s particular area of expertise is Texas, and he has some thoughts about what we can expect there. While he seems confident that at least two of the four new districts will be Hispanic-majority, he sounds a warning about last-remaining-Anglo Dem Lloyd Doggett, who may find himself drawn into either a Republican or VRA district (although it’s worth noting that already happened to Doggett once, as he briefly had a Hispanic-majority seat in the immediate pre-litigation aftermath of the DeLayMander).

Twitter: We’re up to 3,981 followers on Twitter, but that’s not a nice, round number with a lot of zeroes in it that we can arbitrarily feel good about. Please help us reach 4,000!

152 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 1/4”

  1. In the grand scheme of things I don’t think the new IN-2 will be THAT odd looking, barbells are pretty standard these days and connecting Gary with South Bend along the waterfront seems fairly tame by most states standards (looking at you Florida).

  2. If Bingamon doesn’t take a powder maybe she’ll angle for her old seat back? Depends on what happens with the Alba-Que-Que area district lines, but that sounds more realistic (though not necessarily more winable) than going for Senate.

  3. But I would so much rather have Rep. Chris Murphy in the Senate, so I hope he either bows out or runs as an independent. There’s also that little matter of him having one of the lowest approval ratings of any senator in the country, and I don’t particularly want Linda McMahon or Tom Foley to become Connecticut’s next U.S. senator.

  4. For a net of Dems +1, screws over Doggett, and saves Farenthold and Canseco, and nets the GOP 3 new seats.

    Who can do this?

  5. What? You thought I’d get a break?

    It’s municipal election time here in Nevada, and various Henderson City Council candidates are already slapping up signs around my ‘hood.

  6. I believe that should read…. “he says some Senate colleagues who would like to see him beaten like a red-headed stepchild have encouraged him to run as a Democrat.”


  7. Despite being a pretty Republican state, the Indiana Republican establishment is actually relatively moderate, and even the long string of pre-Bayh Republican governors were mostly old-school Main St. types. Pence would be the first genuinely RW’er in decades.

    Hopefully, Daniels isn’t the Republican presidential nominee and Obama contests the state, in which case strong Democratic turnout could drag Weinzapfel or whoever the Democratic nominee is over the finish line.  

  8. Texas: Gene Green is also Anglo, isn’t he? He represents a Hispanic-majority district, but nothing on Wikipedia would suggest that he’s Hispanic.

    Nebraska: 2008 will probably end up being the only time in recent history that the state will have gotten any attention in Presidential campaigns, especially since demographic trends will likely end up with Nebraska losing a seat in 2020.

  9. In regards to his remarks about the need for “something other than two parties,” I think he’s referring to his new venture, “an online social-networking platform to give individuals the ability to organize themselves for political purposes outside the two-party system”.

    Presumably those purposes don’t include electing anyone to major political office; you don’t have to be a former exec director of the DGA to know there are only two horses in that kind of race.  

  10. Obama can’t, or maybe it’s shouldn’t, compete in the state if it doesn’t allocate its votes like it did in 2008. He is unlikely to win the state unless he’s already winning in a very big landslide, but it’s almost not an expensive state to advertise in. It can’t cost that much to have a few campaign offices, either, particularly since the ones likely to be the most effective would likely be clustered where the population is clustered. And if he’s not fighting for his life, Obama’s probably going to be able to raise a lot of money very quickly, so raising $2 million to drop in Nebraska won’t be out of the question.

    I almost want to look at this as a bluff by the Republicans.  

  11. Perhaps this should be a diary, as it seems to me there’s an emerging consensus here on recommendations to Ds who want advice on redistricting — perhaps starting with the obvious

    1) Take advantage where we own the trifecta (Gov/both houses of the state legislature) and therefore fully control the redistricting process. (e.g. Illinois)

    2) Where demographics and PVI are in our favor and we don’t own the trifecta, let the process go to court. (e.g. New York)

    3) Where demographics are not in our favor, maximize the total number of VRA seats (e.g. a second VRA seat in Alabama). Intervention from the DoJ may be useful.

    4) When redistricting is done by a bi-partisan commission (e.g. Washington state), calibrate strategy with demographic trends — i.e. when they’re in our favor, don’t fear a map where most districts are evenly matched. When the numbers in the state are more difficult, go for incumbent protection (can’t think of an example).

    5) When redistricting is done by a non-partisan commission, present alternatives to the commission that meet any guidelines they state (aka, kiss up). (e.g. California, Florida)

  12. Is anybody else watching it? So far, Shuler has gotten 8 votes.

    With all the congresspeople having their kids, I saw one old congressman sitting next to Aaron Schock. I though he was his kid!

    Pelosi is only 16 votes behind Boehner.  

  13. Did you catch him chatting it up on the floor?  Nice perk of former Congressman-ness.  Anybody see any 2010 defeated Congressmen on the floor today?

  14. introduce their rules reform package. Boy the purity brigade at Daily Kos ain’t going to be happy about this:

    Here are the main points:

    1) 60 votes needed for cloture remains but instead of objecting to unanimous consent or voting no on a cloture motion, the minority party must stage a filibuster Bernie Sanders/Mr. Smith goes to Washington style! So Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint can still force a reading of a 700+ page bill, but they have to do it themselves instead of forcing the senate aids to do it.

    2) Secret Holds are history (No more Landrieu/Mendendez/Shelby/Bond assine holds on nominees so they can extract pointless concessions from the administration.)

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