SSP Daily Digest: 4/26


ND-Sen: North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk will announce his formal entry into the Senate race to replace Kent Conrad tomorrow. Kalk, a Republican, raised a really lame $32K in Q1.

NM-Sen, NM-03: Facing an already-crowded primary field and the prospect of giving up a safe House seat, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said yesterday that he won’t seek the Democratic nod to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate.

OH-Sen: I think we didn’t spot this mid-April poll from GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies until now… but definitely take it with something stronger than mere salt. For one thing, they’ve regularly done polls for WorldNetDaily (I mean, seriously?), and for another, they released a seriously weird-ass poll last cycle that purported to show Rep. Norm Dicks losing to a perennial candidate. (Dicks won by 16.)

But even if you didn’t know all that, you’d have to laugh at their absurd spin: They call Sherrod Brown’s favorables “dangerous” and his re-elects “disastrous”… even though his head-to-head margin is 49-36 over Ken Blackwell, 50-36 against Mary Taylor, and 48-33 paired with Josh Mandel. In a Republican poll! Anyhow, if you want to chase this one all the way down the rabbit hole, Wenzel also had a component testing the anti-union legislation called SB5, which will very likely appear on the ballot this fall (people want it repealed by a 51-38 spread).


WI-Gov: Another recall poll from another not-especially-prominent pollster. Republican polling firm Etheridge & Associates (based out of Tennessee) found 44% in favor of recalling Walker and 51% opposed. They also put Walker head-to-head with a real candidate (which is what would happen in a recall election) and found him tied with Russ Feingold at 48 apiece.


ND-AL: This is a very good report from Kristen Daum, who writes the “Flickertales” blog for the Fargo-Moorhead Forum. She nails freshman GOP Rep. Rick Berg on two counts: First, last year Berg ran heavily on the theme that Earl Pomeroy was mostly relying on out-of-state money while he, Berg, was raking it in from North Dakotans. Well, with the Q1 reports in, Daum observes that about 80% of Berg’s campaign cash is now coming from interests outside of ND, including quite a bit from DC. Better still, Berg’s staff claimed he hasn’t held any fundraisers or solicited contributions… but the Sunlight Foundation’s “Party Time” website scrounged up a copy of an invite to high-dollar event held on Berg’s behalf by Eric Cantor and a couple of PACs. Whoops!

NY-13: I’m not even going to summarize what’s at the link, except to say it’s a truly explosive story about GOP freshman Mike Grimm. Just click and read it.

WI-01: Businessman Rob Zerban is already running against Rep. Paul Ryan, but The Fix suggests another possible Democratic name: state Sen. Chris Larson.

Grab Bag:

Americans United: That Americans United for Change ad buy against four Republicans we mentioned yesterday apparent totals $35K. That’s at least in the ballpark of real money, and I’m very glad to see groups like AUFC and House Majority PAC start doing these thousand-papercuts sort of campaigns early.

Polling & Demographics: Ben Smith has an interesting little exchange between a couple of pollsters with experience in working with the Latino community. One, André Pineda (who has polled for Obama, among others), says he thinks that pollsters who gather Hispanic samples by relying on surnames miss a lot of Hispanics who don’t have such names, typically because their families have lived in the US longer. These voters, says Pineda, lean more to the right than newer immigrants. But Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race says that Pineda’s estimates are “way off base.” Barreto says only 5-10% of Hispanics do not have Hispanic surnames, whereas Pineda’s memo suggests that the number is far higher.

Town Halls: Want to see if your member of Congress is having a town hall during this recess so that you can go and give them what for? MoveOn has a tool that lets you plug in your ZIP code and find town halls near you.

Voter Suppression: Unsurprisingly, the Florida legislature is moving forward with a big election law bill that’s principally designed to suppress the Democratic vote, as always in the name of preventing VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111. Changes include shortening the early voting period, adding onerous restrictions on third-party groups which register voters, and preventing voters from changing their addresses at the poll (something which Florida has allowed for forty years). Republicans are also moving forward with bills that would eliminate payroll deductions for union dues, force unions to get each member’s permission before spending money on elections, and make it harder for trial lawyers to bring medical malpractice cases. In short, as one Democratic lawmaker put it, it’s the entire GOP wish list.

Redistricting Roundup:

Florida: This is sorta interesting. One Florida lawmaker on the legislature’s redistricting committee is telling his fellow legislators not to talk to him about redistricting – at all. The new “Fair Districts” law says that districts can’t be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents, so mapmakers are concerned that if their colleagues start telling them about how they’d like to see the lines crafted, that could later be used as evidence in court.

Virginia: And so it goes: A week after saying he wouldn’t change a thing about his party’s map, Dem Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw now says of Gov. Bob McDonnell: “We are talking to him. We are trying to meet all of his concerns.” I can’t see how this is going to end well for Democrats, who now seem to face a choice between a crappy gerrymander in the Senate and a court-drawn map… and I guess would prefer the former, based on Saslaw’s hints. Sigh.

Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pretty pissed at McDonnell for vetoing their plans, supposedly with almost no warning, but there’s a lot that doesn’t add up here. For one, the article says that the legislature doesn’t have enough votes to over-ride McDonnell’s veto, but that’s simply not true. If House Republicans really wanted their map badly enough, they could have prevailed on their counterparts in the Senate to vote for the package deal, ensuring it was safe from McDonnell’s veto pen.

For the governor’s part, he’s also full of shit. His spokesman said that he would have preferred the House and Senate maps had been sent to the governor in separate bills, but jeez, this is classic “born yesterday” crap. There’s no way the Senate would have given away its one piece of leverage like that. Still, it does sound like the Republican anger at McDonnell is quite real (and not just limited to redistricting), which means a serious derail is not impossible. So maybe there’s still a way for Saslaw to snatch something other than defeat from the jaws of… defeat.

Utah: The state will apparently make redistricting software available to citizens on its website, but the linked article isn’t very clear where that will happen. Any ideas?

244 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/26”

  1. have just figured out something major. I think I have learned something about Trump. The other day I posted on the weekly open thread about how people were posting comments on Trump’s FB about how they do not think Obama really graduated from an Ivy League school. Well get this, yesterday Trump starts floating that conspiracy from out of the blue. Well how I leaned about the hilarious posts on FB was because a family member told me that they had checked it out a while ago and there were messages on there about how Obama’s book was ghost written and the next day Trump was floating that conspiracy! I don’t think this is coincidence at all. Trump is reading his FB to see what average Republicans think and then acting on their nutty theories because no one else well. It is rather cleaver when you think about it. He is creating a base for himself. What do you guys think pure coincidence or is Trump really looking at his FB for his whack job conspiracies?  

  2. If Saslaw can get the population deviations down a bit (and he can), he can claim to have made enough changes to suit McDonnell. This may work if the House really pushes for its map.

    1. They’ll still pass everything he wants, since they still agree they want to keep their power in 2011/2012 and pursue their policies,w hich coincide more than their feelings on re-districting.

    2. I don’t think this is about scoring points or PR, this is about getting a GOP senate majority this november so he can pass the legislation he wants to frame his legacy and establish his bona fides for future office, this is especially true since his AG is becoming a household name while McDonnell hasn’t been seen nationally since he gave the response to the SOTU in ’10.

      1. Kaine vs Allen.  Nevada got all the focus in 2010 because of Reid and I think the MSM will look elsewhere and have a heavyweight fight in Va.  

  3. Oh, the spin. If that’s the best one of the most unprofessional, skewed GOP pollsters out there can do, Sen. Sherrod Brown is going to romp. I just hope the Ohio Republican Party nominates Ken Blackwell again. Man, that would be funny.

    Gov. McDonnell seems to really have the screws on Democrats in Virginia. I wonder if this will serve as a warning to Democrats in other split-control states that Republicans, not being gentlemen, cannot be trusted to uphold gentlemen’s agreements.

    As for the Rep. Grimm story, holy shit is that damaging if it’s perceived as being credible at all. And if it’s true – and it sounds like it is, what with the multiple witnesses and Grimm’s non-denial denial – well, the fucker should just resign now.

    1. Looks like the hotline report was off, and my theory that Akin won’t run is too;

      “10:57 a.m. CORRECTION: The original version of this post incorrectly identified the office Wagner is pursuing. Wagner announced Tuesday morning that she will explore a Congressional bid, hinting that 2nd District Rep. Todd Akin (R) will run for Senate.”

      This puts us back to square 1, I think Rupp & Diehl will want to fight even harder now perhaps even trying to draw the new 2nd so that Wagner and their counterpart from the other house aren’t in the district.

      What. A. Cluster.

  4. Just curious, are they as right wing slanted as some other state leg’s out there (Wisconsin)>  it just seems like if there was a state that would have some more moderate-type GOPers, it would be Florida.

    I must say, the GOP’s majorities in the Florida Legislature are something to behold.  Quite insane that FL is a swing state in most sense of the word but look at those majorities in the FL House/Senate…WOW!

  5. I’m more and more wondering if the only way to escape all the republican laws mostly concerning voter registration was a national ID card.

    I know that national id cards are unpopular with American liberals and there are probably a number of reasons to be afraid that to much data (especially biometric data) will be saved on these cards. On the other hand here in Germany having a national ID is the only thing you need, when you want to vote, which basically takes away most of the hurdles like registering to vote.

  6. Brian Sandoval shows no intention of backing off his sweetheart deal to sneak Dean Heller into the Senate seat now being abandoned by John Ensign. And despite his pushback in trying to smear Democratic legislators for calling for an open application process, IMHO he’s continuing to lose his luster with stunts like this.

    And guess who’s now taking full advantage of it? Once Heller is appointed, Queen Obtuse Angle of the Tea-nuts is determined to run for NV-02 no matter what… Even as a Nonpartisan (Independent)!

    1. For someone named John Marty.  So he at least has experience running something statewide (albeit not a successful campaign) so he can reach out beyond the district

      1. They both have a lot of great unique qualities about themselves (and, quite frankly, I wish one of them would come up to Massachusetts, lol). But if Balderas does end up winning, he should definitely be on the short-list for vice-president in 2016


    My take: if Fanning can win the primary, he should be a favorite to win the seat. Obama and Klobuchar are up-ticket, there’s a core of labor folks who are going to be doing GOTV like never before, and if you look at Fanning’s picture, he’s not a bad-looking guy. Not to mention a year-long tour in Iraq.


  8. We should just have a running diary on this, call it “Days of our Lives” ‘cus this is pure soap opera now.

    Hotline is reporting (I ahven’t heard this formally) that Ann Wagner will announce this morning for US Senate. IMO this means all talk of Akin or Lukenwarmen will be over. Without the hoped for open 2nd CD seat I think redistricing committee chairs Diehl & Rupp get shoved back in their holes and they map will be agreed to, putting Martin (I keep wanting to call him Andy Harris, different state – but same kind of A-hole) in the 8th, Rupp in the old 9th future 3rd and Diehl in the 2nd.

    Now it’s still anyone’s guess if it’s actually too late to avoid some kind of trainwreck with a veto, court drawn map, veto override vote in September…”yum, thanks for the shit sandwich mom!”

  9. Won’t run for President. There goes the darkhouse candidate. I’d really predicted him to take the nomination, especially with Huckabee making sounds about not running and instead backing Barbour and Gingrich’s lack of access to fundraising bases and general dislocation from politics. Now I’m wondering if Gingrich is slowly becoming the sole Southern GOP candidate, which could become a huge advantage.

    Barbour had no chance of winning against Obama. For a number of reasons; corruption issues, he sounds like a hick when he talks, inflammatory past statements about the Civil Rights Era, etc, but for those reasons I was actually rooting for him to emerge from the shuffle.  

  10. Maybe stretching towards off-topic, but how has the govt response to the storms in MO been?  I know a few weeks ago the storms in NC were supposedly hurting Bev Perdue since she was out-of-state (not sure if it was true, some mentioned it seemd to be a press smear job).

    I saw Nixon on TV, is McCaskill anywhere to be seen.  Given her potential (guaranteed) close race I’d hope she could get some positive press by acting quickly and being out there with people trying to help.

  11. Granted, that would flip the Democratic majority, but there are a couple of low Republican PVI districts that they could win. On the House of Delegates side, I got a 51 Dem, 49 Rep when I attempted a potential court drawn map. Keeping the numbers proportional for the state could work to the Dems advantage, depending on what swings occur.

  12. Surprised this hasn’t been mentioned, but here in DC we are holding a special election for Vincent Gray’s old at-large council seat. There are 9 candidates, 8 Dems and 1 Republican. This might be a real chance for the GOP to regain their seat on the council, as the Dem vote will likely be split and there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Gray’s first few months in office.

    Even the WaPo has endorsed the Republican, Patrick Mara:

    Should be an interesting election.  

  13. I’m guessing we’ll get a post on the results of the latest PPP poll on WV’s gubenatorial primaries. But in case it slips through the cracks in such a post I thought I’d point out that Donald Trump has tied Mike Huckabee among WV’s Republicans (24% each).

    1. Brian Weaver will get the progressive support. After that, Lopez and Mara will split the “myopic little twit” pro-fenty vote. So no, mara will not get that much liberal support.

  14. Yes, well, that's a somewhat exaggerated headline. It wasn't actually a party, it was an attempt to pass his “Presidential candidates must present the state with their birth certificate to get on the ballot” bill through committee. Unfortunately for him, the committee hearing was denied a quorum by a bunch of senators (Republicans and Democrats) that failed to appear. Strangely enough, Delph also neglected to arrive to vote on his own bill. At least Donald Trump thinks it's a good idea.

    Things like this or the immigration bill he's working through the legislature now seem to outline what a Delph for US Senate campaign would look like, if he does still join that race. He wouldn't be the conservative alternative to Dick Lugar, he'd be the crazy-ass alternative to Richard Mourdock.

    1. …an illustration of a national trend away from Republicans again.

      Now, that doesn’t necessarily portend a wave.

      But it’s pretty dramatic for Berkley to make up this much ground this quickly, when frankly nothing candidate-specific has happened to cause it.  The only events this year to move voter behavior in federal races have been legislative.  It’s clear the general public doesn’t like the GOP House anymore than it liked the Democratic House the previous Congress, and really the last election was about checking Democrats rather than trusting Republicans.  Now Heller is paying a price for that.

      I feel better about this one than ever before.

  15. This time, the lucky guy is Terry Branstad, who loses to Culver 48-46 (a 12-point reversal from Branstad’s actual 53-43 win).

    Also, a plurality of Iowans support gay marriage over civil unions. It’s 35 marriage, 29 civil unions, and 33 no recognition at all. It’d be interesting to see what the results would be if respondents were pushed to choose between marriage or nothing; while most civil unions people might be opposed to marriage, I’m sure a chunk of them would rather have marriage than nothing.

    Lastly, PPP asked about approval ratings for a bunch of politicians (caveat: statewide, not by CD), and it’s a mixed bag for us. On the one hand, Latham’s 31-22 is better than Boswell’s 28-30. However, Christie Vilsack’s 38-23 is much better than Steve King’s 27-34.

  16. Despite its redesign which makes the site ludicrously frustrating to navigate, Gawker’s a good way to let your brain relax for a few minutes. One of the best features is Blind Items, which describes the situation a celebrity is in but doesn’t name who the person is. Going through previous postings, I found this:

    “So, this is not really celebrity gossip per se, but it is tabloid fodder, so I think it works. There is a Republican out there who is in the top three or four potential candidates for President. He wants to desperately run, but is trying to come up with a payoff for his mistress. Cheating is not unusual for him considering he even married a mistress in the past.”

    Is there any way this isn’t Newt Gingrich, if it’s true? If so, and if he somehow wins the nomination before this comes out, doesn’t this further undercut his already slim chances of defeating Obama, particularly since the president is squeaky clean when it comes to personal matters? Would he fall below 40 percent?!blinditems


  17. Here’s an interesting article on Hayley Barbour and race. Perhaps it’s my own ignorance of the history of this region, but this does seem to paint him in a more favorable light. Still, I see can see how he would feel it’s very, very hard to talk about this, especially against a candidate like Obama, and why he would feel it would prevent him from being able to win. Here is a key paragraph:

    Mott said that one early morning in the mid-1960s, the salesman who worked for the office supply business that was attached to the Herald called him in a panic. “He said, ‘I need to see you right away,'” Mott recalled. “He lived up on the hill near Hayman’s Bluff, and I went up there to see him and he met me with no shirt on, unshaven, and he was holding a .45 pistol.” The salesman told Mott that he had been working undercover for the FBI to help infiltrate the local Klan, but that his cover had been blown, and now he needed $500 so he and his wife and child could leave town. “I didn’t have five hundred dollars, so I called Haley’s uncle.” Together, William and Haley’s mother, LeFlore, who worked as William’s legal secretary, went to meet with the salesman at a local motel-and, in exchange for $500, he told them the names of all the local members of the Klan. “”And, the result of that, through economic pressure, some of those would-be Klan leaders were treated just like the blacks were treated who signed that petition,” Mott said.”And they left. No violence. Never. And nothing illegal. Economic pressure. ‘Hey, you owe me money. Pay me now or I’ll sue.’ That kind of stuff. They foreclosed on loans or mortgages and drove you out of business. Gone. And that’s what they did. Now that’s probably not a point, but that’s who they were.”

  18. 49/48 approval, leads Huckabee 48-47, Romney 47-44, Newt 49-45, Palin 52-40 and Trump 51-39.


    This is indicitive of two things in my mind. Firstly, the demographics of the state suit the president much better than traditional Democratic states like Pennsylvania. Liberal whites in the Research Triangle are holding up his numbers while conservative whites in the latter are dragging his numbers down. Secondly, the state is trending Democratic in general. Perhaps more so than was previously thought. The two aren’t mutually exclusive obviously. There is the potential there for a seriously strange map next year.

  19. The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission (responsible for redistricting) is looking for a chair and is accepting applications from the public until May 1. Application details here.

    1. reading that the White House was looking at the statewide results in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as an indication of what they might need to do in 2012.  

  20. Results here:

    Early vote appears to be in (all 2,196 votes), and Vincent Orange (a former member of the Council) is leading Patrick Mara (the one Republican) by about 4%, with appointed Council member Sekou Biddle 1% behind Mara. Mara is doing well in the whiter wards (2, 3, and 6), while Orange is dominating the black-heavy wards (4, 5, 7, and 8). Biddle seems to be drawing support fairly equally across the board, though he seems to be doing slightly better in the whiter parts of the city.

    Of course, this is all from the early vote only.

  21. so I decided to draw a New Mexico map and see how many Hispanic voters I could put in one district for the lulz.

    Blue: 24% white, 69% Hispanic, 3% Native American (28/66/3 VAP)

    Green: 55% white, 32% Hispanic, 6% Native American (59/29/6 VAP)

    Purple: 43% white, 37% Hispanic, 16% Native American (48/33/15 VAP)

    Pretty cool how even if you pack as many Hispanics into one district as possible, you still get another minority-majority district and one that’s close to being minority-majority.

    With this map we also get to play a game where we count all the reasons this could never happen. I count five (tradition, Dems control legislature, racial gerrymander, unfairly packs minorities, splits reservations). How many can you find?

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