SSP Daily Digest: 3/21

IN-Sen: An unnamed “Democratic strategist” quoted by The Hill suggests that ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (whose name hadn’t really come up before this year) is unlikely to run for Senate. Honestly, I’m not sure if the wankerish Roemer would really excite anyone… but we don’t seem to have a long list of possible names for this race.

OH-Sen: PPP has another “everyone and the kitchen sink” primary polls, this time of the Republican senatorial primary in Ohio. In this case, the kitchen sink is named “Kenneth Blackwell,” and he comes in first in an eleventy-billion-way test, with all of 17%. I don’t think I’ve even heard Blackwell (last seen losing the 2006 gubernatorial race to Ted Strickland very badly) as a possible contender. Click the link for the other numbers.

VA-Sen: I’ve got a new name you can root for: Tim Donner, a wealthy television production executive who is considering whether to challenge George Allen in the Republican primary. A spokesman tells Dave Catanese he’s a “couple weeks away” from making a decision. It’s not 100% clear whether he’s a teabagger, but I suspect he is, given that his mouthpiece attacked bona fide teabagger (and hopeless Some Dude) Jamie Radtke for “working in government since she graduated from college,” and because Donner thinks none of the candidates currently running “believe in the concept of a citizen legislature.” That sounds like something a teabagger trying to channel Patrick Henry might say, no? At the very least, we should be hoping he’ll rough Macaca up with a million or few.

WV-Gov: This was expected, but it’s still an important get: State House Speaker Rick Thompson (D) scored the backing of the AFL-CIO, a key endorsement in what will likely be a low-turnout special primary. (As we noted last week, Thompson also picked up the support of a couple of teachers unions.) The election is May 14th.

CA-36: Marta Evry at Calitics takes a look at the ActBlue fundraising numbers so far for the key Democrats in the race. The numbers are a moving target, but as of Friday, Janice Hahn had taken in $49K from 200 donors, while Debra Bowen had pulled in $41K but from a much larger 474 donors. Oh, and Marcy Winograd has now achieved joke status, with $1K raised. Also, some teabagger also joined the race, making him the fourth Republican to get in.

Wisconsin Recall: Some very good sleuthing by Madison TV station WKOW27: The alleged mistress of GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper (the name you can’t forget) recently scored a government job, and Hopper said: “I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I’m going to maintain that.” He didn’t maintain that for very long, calling the station back and denying his involvement with the hiring. I’m not sure Jack McCoy ever got a witness to change his story so quickly – and incredibly. Even better, discovers WKOW, the woman in question got a 35% pay boost over the person who previously held the job. Scott Walker’s government austerity in action.

In other news, Greg Sargent says that GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies is in the field with a survey testing anti-union messages on recall target Alberta Darling’s behalf.

DCCC: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was in Philadelphia on Friday, raising a cool $400K for the D-Triple-C. A long list of PA pols was in attendance, including ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and a couple of unsuccessful 2010 candidates, Bryan Lentz and John Callahan. Also nice to see present: Arlen Specter, a guy whose age, brief tenure as an elected Dem, and inglorious exit from office would give him more than enough reason to stay away from this sort of thing forever. Too bad he didn’t have the sense to join our team decades ago!

Redistricting Roundup:

With the bulk of census data out, redistricting stories are coming fast and furious now.

Arkansas: Talk Business has copies of a few different congressional maps proposed by various lawmakers, as well as descriptions of some others. Click the link to have a look.

California: Ugh, gross: One of two finalist consulting firms to help California’s new redistricting commission has hardcore Republican leanings, while two of four finalist law firms are similarly oriented. Of course, this is exactly what you risk when you leave things to a supposedly independent panel (that features a ridiculous level of Republican over-representation).

Florida: One Democratic consultant thinks that Florida’s population growth suggests that new districts (the state is getting two) could be anchored to regions that would favor two Republicans in particular: ex-LG Jeff Kottkamp and state Sen. Paula Dockery. Kottkamp lost the GOP primary for AG last year, while Dockery dropped out of the gubernatorial primary.

Iowa: The Hawkeye State’s independent redistricting commission will release its first proposes congressional and state maps on March 31st. (Remember, IA loses a House seat.) As the Des Moines Register points out, “Either chamber of the Iowa Legislature or Republican Gov. Terry Branstad can reject proposals twice. If they don’t like the third, the Iowa Supreme Court decides the boundaries.”

Louisiana: A bunch more proposed maps have been released by the state lege. Republican state House Speaker Jim Tucker’s plans can be found here, while Democratic state Senate President Joel Chaisson’s are toward the end of this document.

Missouri: Show Me State lawmakers are starting their work on redistricting, but if they don’t have a congressional plan by May 13th, then it’ll get kicked over to the courts. State legislative maps aren’t due until September.

Mississippi: I’m not really sure I’m getting this: The NAACP is suing the state of Mississippi over its redistricting plans, but the legislature hasn’t even passed anything yet. It seems like this case would fail from the get-go on ripeness grounds (i.e., a court would say that the dispute isn’t ready to be heard because the plaintiff doesn’t have actual maps to complain about), so I’m not really sure what the NAACP’s angle is here.

Pennsylvania: PoliticsPA talked to some insiders who are crediting Dave Wasserman’s sources and saying that his most recent map is apparently pretty close to the plan that the state’s Republicans are supposedly reaching consensus on. (Maybe both share the same sources, though – who knows?) Click through for all the details. The most salient feature is something a lot of people here have also proposed: a matchup between Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, the two most junior Democrats in the delegation, in order to deal with PA’s loss of a seat.

Virginia: Lawmakers are potentially looking to release state legislative maps as early as the end of the month – which makes sense, since VA holds its House and Senate elections this November.

125 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/21”

  1. the black vote but nearly every AA legislator voted for it as it gave the democrats their only chance to hold the body.  The senate plan, passed by the GOP, added several AA majority seats but generally hurt the democrats.

    I am sure the NAACP is suing to get a seat at the table as there are numerous issues to be resolved.  Perhaps too many to list here but here goes.

    1. Filing dateline is 06-01-2011 and either new maps must be passed quickly.  DOJ needs 60 days to review and even that is not a done deal-time wise.  

    2. If deadlock exists what about those fall elections?  Run on old lines, delay the primary or have court ordered new lines?  

    Things are spinning out of control in MS like cars going four wide at Daytona Beach.  

  2. Roemer is currently Ambassador to India. I don’t think he’s shown much interest in electoral politics since he quit Congress in 2003 but he’s a wonk and I certainly wouldn’t complain if he was a Senator.

  3. Senate President Joel Chaisson is a Democrat: they kept the leadership positions the same even after Republicans won a numerical majority. Like to said a few days ago: LA politics are weird

  4. do the Republicans plan to draw new districts for Kottkamp and Dockery when the Democrats are due for a new seat along I-4? If they try to draw a 21-6 map it will backfire disastrously. If I were a GOP legislator I’d push to add a Democratic vote-sink around Orlando/Kissimmee to protect Adams, Webster, Ross, and the rest, and a GOP seat on the Gulf Coast. At this point Republican votes are spread as efficiently as they possibly can be; they will not be able to claim both new seats.

  5. Since Iowa adopted its current redistricting system, the Supreme Court has never had to draw the boundaries, so it’s hard to say how that process would play out.

    The seven current justices are:

    One Branstad appointee from the 1990s: Chief Justice Mark Cady, registered as a no-party voter (hated by the right because he wrote the 2009 Varnum v Brien ruling on marriage)

    Three Vilsack appointees: David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel. Wiggins and Appel are registered no-party voters now but made many donations to Democratic candidates before being appointed to the bench. Hecht is a Democrat but to my knowledge was not very politically active before becoming a judge in 2006.

    Three recent Branstad appointees: Thomas Waterman, Edward Mansfield and Bruce Zager. All are registered Republicans, but only Waterman has actively supported GOP candidates recently. Waterman gave $7,500 to Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign and $250 to the attorney general campaign of Brenna Findley, who was Steve King’s longtime chief of staff. Findley is now Branstad’s legal counsel, and she participated in the governor’s interviews of potential Supreme Court appointees.

    Iowa Republicans look ready for a fight on redistricting, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reject the first map proposed by the commission (the GOP-controlled legislature rejected the first map in 2001). I tend to think they won’t want to let the Supreme Court draw the lines.

  6. has already made its selection. The Republican consulting firm was disqualified for not disclosing donors. As for the law firm, Gibson, Dunn was selected. While a key partner there is definitely a Republican, the other member of the firm who’ll be coordinating their work with the Commission is no conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

    As an aside, the crying and whining from certain segments of the CA Democratic Party is unseemly in allegedly grown men. It’s understandable that they felt that with unified control over the process they could kick in the teeth of the GOP in the state. Having lost that chance, they take every opportunity to impugn the commission process.

    For one thing, as roguemapper has pretty convincingly shown, these maps will be a net gain for Dems. Furthermore, better representation makes the whole system work better. I’m a liberal because of principle and I’d rather lose clean than win dirty.

  7. I am not sure if anyone would stand a chance of defeating him in a primary, especially if there’s more than one main opponent, but it’d be nice if these guys forced him to spend some money on the primary that would otherwise go to the general. It’d be a pretty big gamble to almost ignore any sort of challenge, wouldn’t it? Would he do that?

  8. Over the weekend, our fellow poster BenjaminDisraeli wrote some posts that got me thinking. On the subject of a primary challenge, he mentioned that when pollsters like Rasmussen ask more in-depth questions, it helps us get a better idea of how intense support or disapproval is for Obama. I understand that, but I’m not sure what we should be comparing it to. B.D. mentions that a lot of right-leaning Democrats aren’t thrilled with Obama, but is that any different than some more moderate Republicans not being completely happy with Bush? Is it different than being angry or actively hostile? Is it more influenced by the events that are happening before and during his presidency, like the financial crisis, than some of us might think?

    I guess you could say I am one such person. There were a few days last week when I couldn’t get Bradley Manning out of my mind that I didn’t even want to look at Obama’s face on television, but then, either because I read more about it and realized it wasn’t as black and white as it first seemed or because, as Al Franken said, I view politics like a marriage and accept the good with the (very) bad, I didn’t feel so disgusted. I went from being excited at the thought of being more involved with the campaign, especially if I live in a swing state at the time, to being angry and figuring that while I would help other Democrats, I wouldn’t help him, to feeling like I’d voice by disapproval, frequently, even as I worked for him. And at the same time, I would vote for him, even before you consider the awful slate of candidates the Republicans have. It is, in other words, a constant back and forth.

    The overall numbers seem good, if not almost great when you consider the obstacles he’s up against. I’m not sure I’d rate him as a great president, but I think he’s done a good job, if not a very good job. I just wish he were doing better.

    Anyway, now that I’ve gotten my stream of consciousness out of the way, I’m curious, do you suspect there’s a big disconnect with the strong approval and the more tepid approval, or however it is phrased? I don’t, at least in ways that are dramatically different from previous presidencies. I’d like to be more exact, but I am not sure where to look for specific polling information from years past.

    Also, this statement was made:

    And focus group results are almost uniformly negative on his Presidency generally, if you separate it from alternatives, even among high and middle-income minority voters.

    I am not sure what he’s referring to. Does anyone have any idea?

  9. I suppose this is sort of on topic for a redistricting roundup: Hobbyist redistricting of the sort that goes on around here (i.e. Dave’s Redistricting App) has made the Wall St. Journal:

    There Comes a Time When People Just Have to Set Boundaries

    As States Redo Congressional Districts, Hobbyists Draw Own Lines; ‘the Baconmander’

  10. to discuss them not spending money attacking him in 2012?

    I could easily be way behind on this news, since one of the two articles linked to below is very old, but I have to ask, how common is a move like this? It it more about trying to maintain the image of a good guy that he’s been working on for his senate colleagues? Unless I am missing some context, it seems like a bizarre move. What is Cornyn supposed to say?

    I also have to wonder whether the White House has signed off on this approach or even encouraged it. It doesn’t seem like he’s in a lot of danger, but why even take the chance? He might be edging too close to the line where it seems like he’s running against his party rather than on himself, compared to someone like Claire McCaskill, but I’m not sure I see Obama making a serious play for the state unless his campaign is trying for almost every state. It’s probably fine to put a little distance between him and the president, even if it’s done in a hostile manner.

  11. Nancy Pelosi is coming to Des Moines Thursday to headline a fundraiser for Leonard Boswell’s campaign. Later that evening, Pelosi and Boswell will be the featured speakers at the Polk County Democratic Party’s spring fundraising event.

    Every cycle Republicans go after Boswell with this “voted with Nancy Pelosi’s liberal values” crap. He is not distancing himself from her at all.

  12. I dismissed this scandal at first, but I’m gradually starting to think this could be a major political problem for her. It’s become that sort of drip-drip-drip that no politician deals with well.

    Luckily, the Republican field is still unformed and it’s far enough ahead of the election that I think she can still put it behind her.

  13. “We’ll have our Michigan and North Carolina polls out starting tomorrow. In Michigan we’re leading off with numbers on Rick Snyder and unions…we’re seeing the same sort of serious buyer’s remorse there as in Ohio and Wisconsin.”  


    It’s Norby Chabert of Houma (in LA-03).  I’d expect a few more switches over the next thee weeks as the legislature draws the new district boundaries.  Right now the GOP has a 22-17 edge in the state Senate; after the 2007 election Democrats had a 23-16 majority.

  15. Michigan Census numbers are out, tomorrow.

    I predict a slower shrinking of Southeast Michigan than expected, and a slightly slower growth of West Michigan than expected.  Detroit shows significant loss, and will lose state house and senate seats, probably, but maintain its two congressional districts.

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