SSP Daily Digest: 1/14

CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy has been studiously avoiding saying he’s running for Senate, but seems to be dancing up to the edge of it more. He tells the Hartford Courant that he’s “interested” and that his decision will be “independent” of whether or not Joe Lieberman decides to run for another term. Murphy’s also claiming the backing of 2010 Lt. Gov. candidate Mary Glassman. Murphy may have a large hurdle to clear even before getting to take on Lieberman, though; here’s another reminder that Rep. Joe Courtney is still scoping out the Senate race too. Dem insiders and labor leaders are conflicted, with the differences between the two more stylistic than ideological, and are, at this point, mostly just hoping to avoid a divisive primary.

FL-Sen: The Republicans have their first big-name candidate to go up against Bill Nelson, although several more seem likely to get in: state Senate president Mike Haridopolos hasn’t formally announced, but unveiled his operation yesterday, kicking off his fundraising efforts and launching his website. For what it’s worth (not worth much, since Nelson is a thoroughly-known statewide figure at this point) Nelson and Haridopolos share the same geographical turf on the Space Coast.

HI-Sen: An interview with Mufi Hannemann, now decamped to the private sector, raises the question of the 2012 Senate race. Hannemann says that octogenarian Dan Akaka has indicated to him that he’ll run again, and he would never run against Akaka, but would “look at it” if there were an opening instead.

MA-Sen: We’ve already seen the mayors of some of Massachusetts’s cities cited as potential candidates (especially Newton’s Setti Warren), but here’s another one to keep in mind: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll, who has been asking around about the race. Two other mayors get cited in the piece as additional down-in-the-weeds possibilities for the Dems: New Bedford’s Scott Lang and Fitchburg’s Lisa Wong.

PA-Sen: The magic 8-ball is telling us that Mark Schweiker’s odds of running for Senate are pretty hazy at this point. The ex-Gov. just took on a “senior advisor” role (read: lobbyist) at a major law firm, which isn’t usually the action of a likely candidate for something.

TX-Sen: The big question today seems to be who all will pile into the overstuffed clown car that will be the GOP field to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison (who announced her retirement yesterday). Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already said he’s in (which may have surprised some people who thought he was more interested in becoming Governor instead… although those who know Texas politics know that being Governor is actually a step down from being Lt. Governor). Lots of sources today have long lists of all the potential candidates, with the one from the Texas Tribune probably the most thorough, with the other “high” probability GOPers besides Dewhurst being Elizabeth Ames Jones (the mama grizzly), Michael Williams (the teabaggers’ fave), Roger Williams (the business candidate), and the state’s former solicitor general, Ted Cruz. One other interesting bit of news is that right-wing kingmaker Jim DeMint, who has been squarely behind Michael Williams so far, is branching out his support, also expressing an interest in Cruz (probably at the best of social conservatives, who seem particularly fond of Cruz).

As for the Dems, most of the news has been prominent potential candidates saying “I’m not touching this one.” That includes former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk and former Houston mayor Bill White, both of whom have already lost statewide. While John Sharp is expected to run (though he hasn’t said anything official since KBH’s announcement), some Dems are already casting an eager eye toward San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, an up-and-comer who they think may be ready for prime time, calling the charismatic 30-something the Dems’ “Marco Rubio.” Other fallback options might include recently defeated ex-Rep. Chet Edwards, or two state Sens., Kirk Watson and Leticia van de Putte, who both were briefly speculation-subjects for last year’s gubernatorial race.

MT-Gov: Here’s one more Republican candidate for the open seat gubernatorial race, where the field is dominated by ex-Rep. Rick Hill but two state Senators are also in the mix. Jim O’Hara is an elected official, although it barely gets him out of Some Dude territory: he’s a Chouteau County Commissioner (population approximately 5,000).

WA-Gov: Chris Gregoire’s popularity in Washington seems to be keeping on dwindling; a recent Elway poll put her at just 38/61, worse than her position before the 2010 election. While nobody’s really expecting her to run for a technically-possible third term, it’s likely she won’t announce her plans until after the legislative session is done in order to avoid being a lame duck and have some clout instead.

MA-06: Rep. John Tierney’s wife, Patrice, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for aiding and abetting filing of false tax returns (on behalf of her fugitive brother). This is worth a mention here only because it could weigh on Tierney in terms of retirement or drawing a legitimate challenger for 2012, although this mini-scandal has been in the news for months and didn’t seem to have caused of an impression in 2010 (although Tierney’s kooky opponent probably wasn’t in a position to capitalize).

WA-St. House: There’s legislation afoot in Washington that could dramatically change the way the state House is set up. Currently, each of the state’s 49 legislative districts elect one senator and two representatives (meaning each Washingtonian has three state legislators to keep track of, instead of two). The proposed changes would move Washington toward the more conventional system of 98 individually-districted House districts, which would give each Rep. half as many constituents and in theory make them more accessible. There’s no indication, though, of whether this has the backing to go anywhere or if it’s just one Rep.’s personal hobby horse.

Mayors: One of the higher-profile mayoral races up for grabs this November will be in Las Vegas, although it’s doubtful any of the contenders will have the high profile of termed-out, outgoing mayor Oscar Goodman. (Any reporter writing about Goodman is required by law to refer to him as “colorful” in the first paragraph.) It seems pretty wide open, but three candidates who are already jockeying for position include Clark Co. Commissioner Larry Brown, city councilor Steve Ross, and Chamber of Commerce president Katherine Duncan.

Redistricting: Here’s a nice promise from Pennsylvania Republican state Senate president Dominic Pileggi regarding transparency in the redistricting process this year. He says that he’s planning a website that will offer “voter data, past district maps… and proposed maps when time allows.” Easy access to that kind of data ought to get a whole lot of SSPers salivating, but bear in mind that, for now, simply remains a promise. (Also, bear in mind that Pennsylvania has an odd system, where state legislative boundaries are drawn by a bipartisan commission but congressional boundaries are drawn directly by the legislature, subject to the governor’s veto. The GOP, rather inconveniently for us, just took over the trifecta for the first time since, oh, the last redistricting.)

95 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 1/14”

  1. Hudak was the only Republican the Herald refused to endorse. If Tierney had a bland opponent rather than a crazy birther, he would have been in serious trouble.  The 6th district is the second most conservative in the state, after the 10th.  

    I’m assuming the district will be made more Democratic in the next redistricting, even still, I suspect Tierney retires, but you never know, it might blow over.

  2. redistricting process is that the Republicans will ultimately control that too because the tie-breaker is appointed by the Supreme Court, which has a Republican majority. However, they won’t be as quickly able to run the table as they will with the Congressional map. Ten years ago the legislators came to an agreement on their maps with relative ease, and I would expect them to do so again.

    And with 203 seats, the state house should be rather more difficult to gerrymander. It has proven to be quite swingy in the past.  

  3. Maine Gov. Paul LePage said that the NAACP can “kiss my butt” for criticizing his non-participation in Martin Luther King Day events.

    LePage told that the NAACP is “a special interest. End of story. And I’m not going to be held hostage by any special interests.”


    He’s a one-termer for sure.

  4. Did we ever get an answer on what court (Fed or State) would ultimately draw the new California map if the new redistricting commission can’t agree on one?

  5. I’ve been reading this a lot recently, but what exactly makes the Lt. Gov “the most powerful position in Texas”? What kind of powers or duties does he have that can make him more powerful than the Gov?

  6. Hutchinson was trying to win in a primary against Perry, Cornyn seemed genuinely worried about the outcome, saying how important it was to keep the seat in the hands of the Republicans. Or did he? Was his concern anything more than the usual nonsense, or did he honestly feel that an open seat and a vigorous challenge from the Democrats might hand the seat to them?

    Anyway, what are the chances of this getting ugly for the Republicans?  

  7. If I were a Connecticut voter, I’d want Murphy. He’s pretty young, so unless he has Presidential ambitions, he could have a long Senate career ahead of him. Courtney is 20 years older; he wouldn’t be able to build up the kind of seniority Murphy could (and since Dick Blumenthal is even older than Courtney, he’s not going to be doing that either). The only downside with Murphy is that his district could be vulnerable in an open seat situation.

  8. I doubt the Washington thing will get anywhere.  There’s an identical setup in NJ, and what ends up happening is when there are 2 or more Communities of interest, they have to come up with a way to share the seats.  If the districts were cut in half for State House purposes, that would be a lot more difficult (though I personally think, better).  Take the NJ-14 race this year.  Forever, both parties have run tickets where the Senate seat has gone to Hamilton (Mercer), as has one of the Assembly seats.  The other Assembly seat has gone to Middlesex County.  (there was a bit of problem in ’09 with this, but that’s for another day.)  In practice, this can cause a problem if voters split tickets and vote for, say, all the Mercer candidates.  It’s always worked out okay though.

    This year, the Middlesex Assemblywoman, Linda Greenstein (D), ran and won the Senate Seat.  Wayne DeAngelo (D) holds the other Assembly Seat, and he’s from Mercer.  Now, which area gets the newly vacated seat?  Hamilton says they want it, because they have a bigger population and are the “Capital” of the district.  But Middlesex doesn’t want BOTH Assemblypeople to be from Mercer, just because they won the Senate seat.  At the Convention election on Saturday, there were candidates from both Counties, and the winner was Dan Benson, from Mercer.  

    Now, would the Mercer Dems have been as happy to support Greenstein if they knew that they didn’t have a shot at holding both Assembly seats in return?  That would have been a problem if the districts were the way they are in other places.  The power brokers want to be able to play with the seats as described above, and I’m sure they want to be able to do that in Washington, too.  So I doubt they’ll push that idea forward.

  9. On the subject of changing state legislatures there are Bills in the House and Senate that would shrink the State Senate from 67 to 56 members and the House from 134 to 118 members.

    I have my doubts the Legislature will actually vote to downsize but IMO it is a good idea.  

  10. expected to break for Cino, no? So she’s favored to win right now, if Preibus doesn’t somehow manage to get 30% or so of their votes. Which looks unlikely considering that he got only like 30% of Steele’s votes, and Preibus wasn’t an anti-Steele candidate if I remember correctly.

  11. Interesting, contrary to what everyone said he seems to have cross-over appeal to the other factions.

    Wagner collapsing at 17, Anuzis 37, Cino 34. Seems like no one becomes the ‘anyone but Preibus’ candidate.  

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