SSP Daily Digest: 4/11


CT-Sen: William Tong, a state rep we mentioned once before, is supposedly gearing up to enter the Democratic primary. He was recently in DC “making the rounds,” and is reportedly trying to hire staff. I don’t really see how he has a chance, given that two big names are already in the race, but maybe he’s hoping for a good enough showing to improve his name rec with the political classes for a future run. (Tong’s only in his late 30s.)

NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer, a sorta dark-horse candidate given that two statewide officials are already running in the GOP primary, is getting encouragement from a one-time statewide office-holder: former Gov. Kay Orr, the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the United States. Interestingly, the man who stopped Orr in her bid for re-election in 1990 is the guy Fischer would take on: Ben Nelson.

OH-Sen: As promised early last week, Josh Mandel filed paperwork with the FEC to form a Senate campaign committee, but his mouthpiece insists that it’s not a formal statement of candidacy, just “a step.”

WI-Sen: GOP ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, on a two-race losing streak, is hoping that the third time’s the charm. After offering some recent hints, Neumann’s now explicitly saying he’s considering a run against Herb Kohl. He hasn’t offered any kind of timetable, except to suggest he’s kinda-sorta waiting on Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who inherited his seat in the House. (I seriously doubt Ryan will run, given his prominence in the House GOP leadership.) Neumann was last seen losing the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary to none other than Scott Walker. Before that, he’d been out of politics for a long time, narrowly losing the 1998 Senate race to Russ Feingold. Neumann has some personal wealth he could throw into the race, though of course Kohl has a ton of money (and a history of self-funding).


NY-26: The cries of “splitters!” from the Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea battle raging in upstate New York have just grown louder. The leaders of one teabagger group, TEA New York, issued an endorsement to Republican Jane Corwin, furious as they are over Crazy Jack Davis appropriating their good name and branding his ballot line the “Tea Party.” Meanwhile, another teabagger org, the Tea Party Coalition, gave their seal of approval to Davis, who denounced TEA NY as a tool of the GOP. Oh, it also helps that the leaders of the TPC are on the Davis payroll. But for the full flavor, I strongly encourage you to read Alan Bedenko’s hilarious summation of all this mishugas.

TX-26: Dianne Costa, a former GOP mayor of Highland Village (pop. 17K) has filed paperwork to run in the 26th CD, currently held by backbencher Michael Burgess. Odds are this is a Schrödinger’s Seat situation. (H/t FEC Kenobi)

Other Races:

Las Vegas Mayor: I’m borderline uncomfortable reporting polls from Strategic National, because their chief, John Yob, established himself as an untrustworthy partisan hack almost right out the gate. But in any event, Jon Ralston obtained a copy (warning: Word file) of a poll they just took in this race, showing Carolyn Goodman ahead of Chris Giunchigliani by a 48-34 spread. It’s not clear who if anyone the poll was taken for, but oddly enough, it tests some negative messages against both candidates – not something you usually see in a poll that gets released into the wild. It also features percentages that go into the thousandths, which means you know it’s extra-accurate.

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It’s sort of redundant to begin a bullet linking to 538 by saying “Nate Silver crunches the numbers,” because of course that’s what he’s just done. Anyhow, click the link for his look at whether the Wackiness in Waukesha points to incompetence or fraud (conclusion: “[I]f you want to allege that there’s a conspiracy afoot, the statistical evidence tends to work against you.) Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel also thinks the new numbers are plausible. And for a more amusing tidbit that definitely tilts in favor of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus being a boob, check out this entertaining story from Michigan Liberal.

Meanwhile, despite now facing very challenging odds (or perhaps because of it), JoAnne Kloppenburg has hired Marc Elias, the attorney who led Al Franken’s legal efforts in his recount battle. David Prosser is tapping Ben Ginsburg, who, in addition to representing Norm Coleman, played a big role in the Bush Florida recount team.


Voter Suppression: Huh – why is Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, trying to sound reasonable on the issue of voter ID? In the fact of pending legislation which would require voters to bring a government-issued photo ID with them to the polls, Husted instead is in favor of allowing people to use other forms of identification, like a utility bill or government-issued check. Given how deep VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!1111 runs in the teabagger bloodstream, this is one issue (like immigration) on which any sensible Republican with higher ambitions would be wise to avoid, yet here Husted is sticking his neck out on it. What gives?

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Colorado’s new congressional map is now not expected until April 21st, instead of April 14th, as originally planned. Republicans are whining about the delay, which is partly due to the fact that 2010 precinct-level data is still being churned out by the Secretary of State’s office. (The SoS claims they usually don’t get it out until June 30th… why should it take eight months to do this?) Anyhow, I don’t really understand why Republicans would be better off if Dems don’t use the 2010 data, unless they think Democrats are dumb enough to redistrict solely based on 2008 numbers. (They aren’t.) It doesn’t matter, though, since the GOP isn’t going to get their way here.

Connecticut: The redistricting process is (slowly) starting here in CT.

Florida: This is fiendish: Republicans in the legislature are pushing a constitutional amendment which would split Florida’s seven-judge Supreme Court into separate five-member civil and criminal divisions, and which would also shunt the three most senior members into the criminal section. That would give Rick Scott three new appointments, and whaddya know! the four most junior justices are all Charlie Crist appointees, while the longest-serving three were all elevated by Dem Gov. Lawton Chiles. This is appearing in the redistricting roundup because Dems are (rightly) accusing the GOP of trying to pack the court in advance of the inevitable legal battles over redistricting. In order for this measure to appear on the ballot before Nov. 2012, though, it’ll require the support of some Dems in the House. Let’s hope they aren’t stupid enough to fall for this.

Anyhow, the legislature is starting work on redistricting, but it sounds like they are in no hurry to get the job done (the above story might be part of the reason): House Speaker Dean Cannon told members who want to be on the redistricting committee to expect to work hard into next year. Of course, we do things quite a bit fast around here, so if you want to play around with the latest redistricting toy, check out this new online tool for remapping Florida.

Iowa: Today is the deadline for members of Iowa’s advisory commission to issue its recommendations on the state’s new set of maps, after which the lege has to give them an up-or-down vote. All signs point to passage, which would make Iowa the first state in the nation to complete its redistricting process.

Louisiana: Well, after a quick start with a flurry of plans getting subject to scrutiny, things have definitely gone off the rails in Louisiana. Five of the state’s six Republican congressmen sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal asking the legislature to delay federal redistricting until next year – and Jindal apparently agrees with the idea. Daily Kingfish describes this as a big setback for Jindal, given that his party controls the entire lege. It is a little surprising to me that one man, Rep. Charles Boustany, apparently has the power (and the allies in the state Senate) to mess with Jindal like this, but perhaps the governor simply thinks he can steamroll Boustany after the November elections, assuming Republicans gain more seats.

New Jersey: The fallout continues: Three NJ legislators have announced they will move into new districts so that they can run again this fall, and apparently all of them are being welcomed to do so by their own parties. Of course, it’s still early, and some people will definitely get squeezed out by the end.

Ohio: This is actually the same link at the voter suppression story above, but it contains a throw-away line at the end in which SoS Jon Husted says congressional districts need to be re-drawn by Sept. 1st in order for Ohio to hold its primary by March 2012. (Otherwise it would have to get moved – to May, according to the article, but if the process really drags on, who knows how late things could get shifted.)

Sacramento: You can redistrict the city of Sacramento, California in this online game.

Virginia: Played for fools – that’s what Virginia House Democrats are. GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is praising the Republican gerrymander of the state House, which passed with near-total Dem support in that body, despite representing a deliberate plan to fuck over Democrats, as having “strong bipartisan support.” At the same time, he’s slamming the Dem state Senate map, which GOPers had the good sense to vote against en masse, as some kind of unholy gerrymander. Duh! Bolling is trying to goad the lege into adopting maps produced by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s commission (not gonna happen), but he’s also suggesting that McDonnell could “substitute” the commission’s maps for whatever the legislature passes. I admit I’m not entirely clear on how that would work – a particularly egregious use of the line item veto, or something along those lines? Seems risky.

Of course, all of this is predicated on bipartisan incumbent-protection agreement which includes the federal map as well. But is this deal unraveling? Dem state Sen. Janet Howell, who created the senate map, says she “doubts” her body’s congressional map will match the House’s, which was released just last week (the Janis plan). I’m surprised to hear this, because I thought a clear understanding had been worked out between the two houses, but I suppose there is still some negotiation left to be done over the federal map.

291 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/11”

  1. Husted knows that the plan supported by the Ohio legislature won’t survive a court challenge, but there’s more to that here.  The state of Ohio has a consent decree with the League of Women voters after the Ken Blackwell debacle that prevents Ohio from doing a lot of the stuff that the GOP wants.  He is forced to remain not extreme on this issue, because the state is forced to remain non-extreme on this issue.

    Plus, it helps maintain some bogus “moderate” credibility.

        1. Koster faces re-election in 2012, and I read this from his Wikipedia:

          Koster narrowly defeated State Representative Margaret Donnelly in the Democratic primary for the nomination for Missouri Attorney General. His campaign was not easily won because he had to overcome the label of “opportunist” as a result of switching parties during the ’08 election


          Donnelly is now Director of Health and Senior Services in Nixon’s cabinet, but I don’t know if there’s any other better candidates. Also, about Koster, bare in mind that the only other Dem AG to file suit on healthcare was Buddy Caldwell, and he switched parties soon after.

  2. The Governor can make amendments to a bill and send it back to the legislature, which can either accept or reject the amendments. The idea is that McDonnell leaves the House plan intact but makes changes to the Senate plan to screw over the Democrats, while making whatever concessions are necessary to get two Dem Senators to vote for it. And as usual, the Democrats are more interested in fighting with each other than defending themselves from the Republicans.

    1. young voters sitting out or the electorate just being much more conservative than it normally is? I was under the impression it was the latter.  

  3. Though it is definitely a small town, it is probably one of the more important towns in the Fort Worth area, so don’t be surprised when Costa actually does well in Republican primary.

    As for it being a case of Schrodinger’s seat, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Most expect that a new seat will emerge somewhere around that area. Unfortunately (or fortunately? Costa is Hispanic) the seat will probably be Hispanic majority.  

  4. I know nothing about Tong, so maybe he’s nothing more than a name on the ballot, I like Murphy’s chances better if it’s just him on the ballot vs Susie B rather than a three-way race.

    1. but it’s not so Republican that it doesn’t elect Democrats. It’s not like a contrast between Maryland and Mississippi–that was my point.

      I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but what color is 06 on this new map? The picture linked to above doesn’t say, or at least it doesn’t make it clear enough for me to see. I’m assuming it’s the blander of the two greens. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t look that bad. Not great, obviously, but not that bad. A quick glance, if I am looking at the right counties, shows me a bunch that gave Obama about 45 percent.

      If this is in fact the map that is put in place, perhaps I will feel differently when I look at things more specifically. But right now, I still feel the same way. There are some areas that will just never vote for one party, but most aren’t like that. Most are more open than we let on, and if we are going to contest a state on one level, we should contest it on all levels, if we have the resources.  

  5. Needless to say, the maps will probably be not good for Democrats, although Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma have both seemed hostile to the idea of ‘aggressive’ gerrymandering.  

    1. didn’t he go to Alaska to film an ad, only to get attacked by insects or something?

      Speaking of which, can anyone link me to that SSP 2008 timeline of the Republican collapse? I want to relive the good ol’ days.

    1. I think some Independents might well vote a Romney/Casey ticket. Obama should perform roughly ’08 numbers among Democrats, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Indies vote-split against him.

        1. haven’t kicked in when you haven’t spent that much money to begin with. I’m not advocating dropping millions into each district with the hope that something sticks. I’m talking about party building, for both the short and long term.

          As far as coordination goes, the same applies. If there wasn’t much coordination to begin with, then actually having some would probably help a lot. I’ve heard mixed things about coordination and the Obama campaign, by the way.

          But back to the money. Let’s assume that, in addition to what the DCCC and state parties might spend and what a candidate himself might spend, Obama decided to spend $1 million on 30 different congressional districts specifically for those districts in different states. Considering he’s bound to raise at least as much as he did last time but won’t have a primary opponent and considering that he already spent a lot of money building an infrastructure in these states last time, does it really seem like too much? And that’s just if he raises what he raised last time. If he’s going to be closer to $1 billion, then it’ll be a drop in the bucket.

          Yes, I want him to spend money in a state like Texas, but remember that this strategy is built around being in states that he would be contesting anyway, and the extra spending would benefit him at the same time. So we’re talking about spending perhaps $5 or $10 million in Florida, or maybe $3 million more in Wisconsin, we are already spending $50 million there, or $15 million in Wisconsin. And again, I cannot emphasize this enough: it’s going to benefit the Obama campaign, because it will likely raise turnout for him, too. If his fund raising is strong enough, he’ll probably have a lot of extra money to burn, and I see little reason not to spend it in states where he will already be for the purpose of giving him a large congressional base.  

    2. With the impending shutdown looming going on during the calls, Obama certainly dropped a few percentage points as a result.

      If the current CNN poll is accurate, it might be a temporary blip.  Also, PPP can have an outlier here or there, too…

    1. clear what the hell will happen. I try not to guess what these people will do since they seem to change their views at the drop of a hat.  

    1. Back when he signed the tax cut extension, it seemed like he was betting he could piss off the base while trying to warm up to those outside of it, which if what I saw and heard was any indication wasn’t a bad move at all. Regardless of what you or I thought about it, we were likely to vote for him in the end, but others weren’t. It made sense to suck up to them. But when does it stop?

      If he’s willing to take a harder stand in future budget negotiations after signing the deal, fine. He probably has more credibility with those outside of the base, so he can now try to get back in the good graces of those inside it. But if he’s going to propose something truly ridiculous, then I am not sure what the hell to think.

      I’m actually curious to see how he reacts to the debt ceiling fight. I kind of want him to call their bluff and have Jamie Dimon and other Wall Street types start screaming at the Republicans. It’d be a symbolic victory more than anything–even Boehner’s not dumb enough to play too many games with this–but it’d be a nice signal he’s not a push over.

      What leaks suggest he’s going to push back against Ryan, by the way?  

  6. One of the downfalls of Twitter is that we get to panic about tweets like this from P.P.P.:

    PA poll results interesting mix- bad for both Obama and Corbett, pretty good for Casey. Releases start with Obama tmrw!/ppppolls

    A temporary dip wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but if he’s at 40 percent approval and has Romney beating him by six, I’d be a little startled.  

  7. Meanwhile, the IndyStar reports that Richard Mourdock, Lugar's primary challenger, will report raising around $135,000 since announcing his campaign in late February.

    I said over the weekend that I'm increasingly convinced Lugar will lose, and I stand by that, but one has to admit that's quite a disparity. With Mourdock's support among the activist base against Lugar's three million dollar warchest, we're looking at one hell of a fight here. 

    As an aside, I heartily approve of the Star's choice in images for that article. Lugar looks like someone's just told him he's raised “ONE MILLON DOLLARS” and he's raising his arms in glee.

  8. But if Mazie Hirono or Colleen Hanabusa were elected to the Senate, they would be the first Buddhists to serve in that body, no (lest I be accused of hating Christians/Jews/Wiccans/etc. by asking this question)?  

  9. Louisiana state senate ignored Gov Jindal and passed another redistricting plan.

    This bill creates a minority-influence district that runs from Monroe, to Shreveport, and then to Beauregard Parish. African-Americans make up 36% of the registration in that district, while the majority Af-Am LA-2 is maintained at a 65% minority registration.

  10. I believe it was mentioned in the Schilling thread that Jessica King will run again against Hopper. Now she has made it official: http://bluecheddar.wordpress.c

    I do not know much about her, but if she came within 200 votes of unseating Hopper means that she definitely has a good chance and is a pretty strong opponent.  Also,  I do not believe she has the personal problems Gordon Hintz has.  


    The Donald as a 3rd Party candidate…..

    Donald Trump will “probably” run as an independent candidate for U.S. President in 2012 if he does not receive the Republican party’s nomination, he told the Wall Street Journal in a video interview on Monday.

    If it actually happens, I say “invest in Texas!”

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