• RI-Sen: Dem Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse raised over $1 million in the first fundraising quarter, which in Rhode Island terms is a buttload. He now has $1.6 million in cash on hand, which hopefully will act as a nice deterrent to any Republican stupid enough to consider this race. You know I love concern trolling, but even I can’t work myself up to goad the GOP into this one.
• TX-Sen: Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said he raised $1.1 million and threw in another $1.6 million of his own money. There are a ton of other GOP candidates, both actual and potential, in this race, so I expect this primary to be wildly expensive.
• WV-Gov: Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who is seeking his current job on a more permanent basis, released an internal from the Global Strategy Group. It shows him at 36% and SoS Natalie Tennant at 22%, but the National Journal’s writeup doesn’t mention numbers for the other two or three legit Dems. The NJ also says than neither Tomblin nor Tennant have gone on the air, while Rick Thompson and John Perdue have, as we’ve mentioned previously.
• IN-08: The man I like to call F.E.C. Kenobi (aka Greg Giroux) brings us yet another candidate filing. This time it’s Terry White, whom Greg describes as a “Dem lawyer/activist,” seeking to run against GOP frosh Larry Bucshon. I’m pretty sure this is him. Looks like he has a background in criminal law, so apparently not a wealthy plaintiff’s attorney (though he may be well-off).
• IN-SoS: Today, a judge is expected to rule on whether a lawsuit challenging Republican Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to serve in office can proceed. White, the guy supposed to be protecting the integrity of his state’s elections, is accused of fraudulently registering to vote.
• LA-LG: Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says he’s thinking about challenging fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne this fall. If you watched a lot of cable TV news last year during the BP oil spill, you probably saw Nungesser’s vocal complaints about the response to the crisis.
• Washington: Vote-by-mail is now a legal requirement for all of Washington state. This isn’t a big deal, though, as Pierce County was the only jurisdiction which still conducted in-person voting – the rest of WA had long gone to all-mail. Notably, the legislation still allows for ballots to be postmarked on election day, which means the state will continue its frustrating tradition of seeing election results trickle in over a period of many days. (Neighboring Oregon, the other mail-only state, requires ballots to
be postmarked arrive or be or turned in on election day.)
• WATN?: Ex-Rep. Curt Weldon was always a sick, crazy piece of work, and we should all be thankful that Joe Sestak turned his sorry ass out of Congress. I honestly don’t think I would have ever cared enough about him to feature him in a Where Are They Now? item, except that he’s managed to show up in Libya, of all places, and has written an op-ed in the New York Times in which he calls for “engagement” with Moammar Gadhafi. Reminds me a bit of Tom DeLay saying “give peace a chance” when Slobodan Milosevic was massacring Kosovars, except I think Weldon really means it. Why do I say that? Well, hop into my time capsule and take a deep dive into the SSP archives. That amazing photo-within-a-photo shows Weldon pinning a medal on Gadhafi’s chest! Because the mastermind behind the Lockerbie bombing is exactly the sort of person an American elected official wants to be honoring. (I also encourage you to read that entire post just to see how twisted Weldon is.)
• Arkansas: Even though Dems control both houses of the state legislature (and the governor’s mansion), things are at an impasse. The state Senate rejected the House plan, dubbed the “Fayetteville Finger,” and adopted a different map of its own. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a very helpful page where you can mouse over each of the various proposals that are under consideration, including the new Senate map. Now some heads will have to be banged together to reach a compromise.
• Delaware: Don’t laugh – mighty Delaware is starting up its redistricting process. Obviously this pertains only to the state lege, and lawmakers are accepting public comments and proposed plans through April 29th. So if you’ve worked something up in Dave’s App, email House.Redistricting@state.de.us. The lege’s ultimate deadline is in June.
• Iowa: Leaders on both sides sound like they’re coming around to the new maps created by Iowa’s independent commission. The situation here reminds me of gym class in middle school. Our stereotypically sadistic teacher would ask us if we wanted to play, say, basketball – and we had to either accept the choice right there, or decide to risk taking door #2, with no chance of going back. The alternative could be dodgeball (yes!)… or it could be running laps. Faced with the possibility of doing suicide drills (that is to say, a much worse second map from the commission), Republicans and Democrats alike seem ready to play a little b-ball instead.
In any event, an advisory commission will issue recommendations on the maps by April 11th, after which the lege has three days to decide whether to accept them. If no, then the process starts all over again.
Illinois: An interesting article about an unusual tool that Dem Gov. Pat Quinn has in his arsenal, called the “amendatory veto.” It sounds like it’s a particularly fine-grained type of line-item veto, which could be used to make direct changes to any redistricting maps the legislature sends to the governor. Of course, Illinois is one of the few places where we’re large and in-charge, and it seems that Quinn has had a productive relationship with lawmakers so far, so it’s unlikely Quinn would have to use it.
Also, some SSP mapmakers have been getting love from around the Internets lately. Silver spring’s awe-inspiring map gets a nice shout-out from Chicagoist, and see our Oregon item below for another one.
• Louisiana: Louisiana continues to be the most vexing state to follow. On Tuesday, the state Senate adopted a “horizontal” congressional map (full-size PDF here) that was, believe it or not, authored by a Dem. (Yes, Republicans supposedly have a majority, but the President, selected by the governor, is a Dem. This is endlessly confusing.) The Senate also rejected a plan preferred by Gov. Bobby Jindal, while the House in turn rejected the Senate’s map. Jindal threatened to veto any map that doesn’t maintain two districts based in the northern part of the state, which suggests that the Senate plan is a non-starter. So even though Republicans would appear to control the trifecta, it seems that Louisiana’s loose sense of partisan affiliation makes that mean a lot less than it would in other states.
• Missouri: The GOP-controlled state House approved its new map, which essentially eliminates Dem Russ Carnahan’s 3rd CD, by a 106-53 vote. This falls three votes shy of a veto-proof margin, meaning that Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, could potentially wield veto power here. Three Republicans defected, but four African American Dem legislators sided with the GOP, apparently believing this map is good for Rep. Lacy Clay, who is black. (The Senate plan is very similar.)
• Mississippi: A pretty amazing story, if true, from Cottonmouth blog:
This afternoon in a closed door meeting of Republican Senators, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant told the crowd that 5th Circuit Chief Judge Edith Jones would “take care of” legislative Republicans because Gov. Haley Barbour handled her nomination to the 5th Circuit when he was in the Reagan White House. Bryant went on to regale the caucus with his opinion that Chief Judge Jones would likely appoint Judge Leslie Southwick as the judge from the 5th Circuit, and that if that happened, “Democrats would come to us looking for a deal.”
In a letter to House Speaker Billy McCoy, Bryant denied making these statements, but his denial contained some weird language. Specifically, he said: “My point was that Democrats appoint federal judges and Republicans appoint federal judges, but all judges take an oath to decide cases fairly based on the law and the facts.” Was he honestly giving a civics 101 lesson to benighted members of his own caucus? Why discuss this kind of thing at all?
• New Jersey: The first casualty of NJ’s new map is state Sen. John Girgenti (D), who earned the wrath of progressives – and a legitimate primary challenge from activist Jeff Gardner – for his cowardly vote against marriage equality in 2009. Girgenti’s hometown was placed into a district largely belonging to another incumbent, Bob Gordon. Gardner will now run for Assembly instead.
• Nevada: Republicans in Nevada, like the Dems, have now filed a redistricting lawsuit, but I’m not getting it at all. If you click through to the PDF and scroll down to the prayer for relief on page nine, all you’ll see is that they want to bar any elections from happening under current district lines. Nevada isn’t some Southern state in the 1950s, refusing to undertake redistricting, so what gives?
• Oregon: Want to give your input into the Beaver State’s redistricting process? Blue Oregon has a list of public hearings. Also, Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian gives some props to SaoMagnifico’s proposed map, saying they show “it’s possible to draw maps that do a good job of following county lines while achieving a partisan result.”
• Pennsylvania: PA’s state (not federal) maps are drawn by a five-member commission, whose first four members (2R, 2D) have to agree on the fifth. Pretty lulzy notion, of course, and the selection deadline has passed, so the choice will now fall to the state Supreme Court. Unfortunately, thanks to a loss a few years ago, Republicans control the court.
• Texas: Another lawsuit, though this one makes a lot more sense to me. Hispanic lawmakers are suing to enjoin Rick Perry and the legislature from conducting any redistricting activities because they allege that Latinos have been undercounted by the Census, and they want those numbers corrected. I’m pessimistic about these kinds of suits succeeding, though.
• Utah: State legislators are also cranking up the redistricting process here. Obviously issue #1 (and 2 and 3 and 4) will be how the new congressional map treats Dem Rep. Jim Matheson. The article doesn’t say what, if any, deadlines lawmakers face, though.
• Virginia: At least some Republican legislators are hopping mad about the proposed state Senate map, and are considering filing suit to block it (dunno on what grounds). If the GOP is pissed off at this plan, isn’t that a good thing?