Ten Most Interesting Gubernatorial Races:

Seeing as how there is a very well done post on the most interesting Senatorial Races of the last half century, I’d like to add my thoughts on the ten most interesting Gubernatorial races.

1. Douglas Wilder’s victory in Virginia, which is used as the infamous example of the Bradley Effect. Truthfully Wilder got hit hard late in the campaign about his very strong pro-choice views and the Republican GOTV effort was very good. Still this was a landmark election. Now Wilder’s term in office and efforts since are not the best, Wilder slashed higher education funding rather than raise taxes, but generally put forth good policies.

2. George Bush’s 1994 victory in Texas. This still surprises me when I read up on it, and it cuts me right in the chest that Democrats might have had an opportunity to end Bush’s political career and we would never have had a Bush Presidency if perhaps Richards had taken the campaign a little more seriously. Still for all the talk about Chafee losing in 2006 pales in comparison to Richards, who had an approval rating of more than 70% and lost. A lot of it falls on her, though she made honest mistakes. Her wisecracking debates with Bush, and seeming dismissal of him make complete sense to me, as an informed voter looking at an experienced and competent Governor with a long record of service mockingly pointing out her opponent is a privileged rich kid with no experience in Government. However at the end of the day Texas voters didn’t feel that way and they gave it, for some unknown and unfathomable reason, to Bush over the truly wonderful woman that Anne Richards was.

3. Minnesota’s 1998 Gubernatorial campaign wasn’t supposed to be a mess. Two straightforward candidates, turncoat Democrat Norm Coleman and Hubert Humphrey III. One was Mayor of St. Paul, and the other the son of the legendary Senator and state Attorney General for two decades in his own right. Humphrey won the fragmented primary 3:1 without much harsh feelings and Coleman was unopposed. Now where in this picture an opening was given to a virtually unfunded, mid-size suburban city Mayor and former Pro-Wrestler, (who talks and looks like a former pro-wrestler), to come and win the election is something that I still cannot see. All that’s apparent is that Ventura won sweeping the Twin cities and their suburbs and virtually all of central Minnesota, winning mostly the Republican areas. Its still a miracle really that he won with only 300k to spend on TV ads against two candidates of that caliber. But we all know the story, incompetent wrestler, (who by the way had supporting roles beside Schwarzenegger in Predator and The Running Man, coincidence?), but Ventura is a guy it’s hard for me not to like, I do kind of, (feeling ashamed here), enjoy his off-color and tell it as it is remarks on many issues, and I can appreciate many of his views on social issues, Religion, but at the end of the day he’s a gadfly at the same level as Kinky Friedman. That being said I’d almost vote for any candidate that comes up with a saying like, “He ain’t Kinky, he’s my Governor.”

4. CA Gov Recall 2003: I can’t think of any election that will go down etched in popular culture more than Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star, defeating the hapless and pathetic Cruz Bustamante to become Governor of California. The jokes it inspired and place it has in both satire and political memory are not likely to be soon gone. Of course California will not soon be recovering from the Gubernatorial Tenure of the Governator, who true to his name, has terminated the state of California in accordance with his programming.

5. 2002 CA Gov Election: I find this one equally interesting, Gray Davis spending millions on what was perhaps the dirtiest and most despicable political move I’ve ever seen from a Democrat; he blitzed the state with 7 million dollars of campaign ads supporting the conservative challenger of Richard Riordan. However, for all his criticism, Gray Davis was not a bad governor, and at one point was posting massive approval ratings and in a similar situation to Arnold they collapsed during budgetary deficits when the dot com bubble collapse, again a situation where Proposition 13 and California’s anti-tax elements continue to hamper that state’s government. Davis’ only other mistake was his mishandling the electrical shortages and appearing too preoccupied with fundraising and securing his own reelection; in the end he spent, I believe, 100,000,000 to secure 47% of the vote over a hard-right candidate.

6. Washington Governor, 2004: This is another race I find interesting if only because I can’t see what a liberal state like Washington sees in Dino Rossi, I mean the guy is a virtual McDonnell without that level of Christian Fundamentalism. He’s a sleazy businessman, a sleazier politician, and he holds highly conservative positions. His campaign was propped out by Right-wing groups dumping millions into advertisements in the state. I can only say that Christine lost the election more than Rossi won it, however she did still hold on by edge of her teeth, winning by 134 votes out of nearly 3 million cast, one of the closest elections I can think of in modern times. Moving on from the ridiculous claims that King County stole the election by noticing during the manual recount that correct protocol was not followed with a batch of 700+ absentee ballots which had eligible signatures and were valid votes, something Washington Republicans swear by, Gregoire has been a very good Governor in this outsider’s opinion, at least in her first term she was very active at addressing issues and introducing progressive reforms.

7. 2003 Louisiana Election: An interesting campaign. Of course the white, pro–business Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, (who would later change to run as the black candidate against Mitch Landrieu when it suited him), endorsed Bobby Jindall, as did the normally Democratic Times-Picayune. To the disappointment of most dedicated, real Democrats in Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco beat Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, (who is Syrian, not Cajun), by 17,000 votes to be the Democratic standard bearer in the run off. Ieyoub would have been a far better Governor.

Of course in what is the interesting storyline the highly conservative Blanco won in an upset. It was finally an incident when racism bit Republicans in the butt in the South, and the utterly incompetent, (but much beloved for his perceived but non-existent non-corruptness), Mike Foster’s handpicked and groomed young successor, Bobby Jindall defeated for Governor. When I look at the map of Blanco’s victory I have to stop and make sure New Orleans is blue and I’m not looking at the Republican map with an inverted color. She won virtually all of North Louisiana, including 80% McCain and Bush parishes like Grant, LaSalle, and West Feliciana. Racism in rural north Louisiana created a big upset as Blanco coasted to an easy seven point victory in completely unique political map for a competitive LA election, as New Orleans and other Democratic strongholds voted with virtually every rural county in the state to beat Jindall.

Of course Blanco showed herself and in a disgrace to the type of campaign strategies Democrats should be using, her campaign doctored its TV ad photos of Jindall making him look much darker than he actually is and trying to make him look black to low information North Louisiana voters. It worked. Of course Blanco went on to become a popular governor, with approval ratings in the upper fifties until Katrina and she was ridiculed for the ineptitude, by and large, of Ray Nagin and the rest of the impossibly corrupt New Orleans Political machinery and FEMA. In strange turn around Republican Governor Haley Barbour was hailed as a leader and brilliant organizer in dealing with Mississippi’s problems and his previously double digit negatives became double digit positives that carried him to reelection. I always find these storylines interesting; the National did find it very important at the time to constantly temper any criticism of Bush by noting that Louisiana had a Democratic Governor, as if trying to shift blame on Blanco, and a Democratic Mayor of New Orleans. Of course that’s if you can consider a Republican who switched parties to run and was funded by primarily white business interests, a Democrat.

8. GA-Gov 2006: Poor Roy Barnes, he wasn’t a bad Governor, he just screwed up. His support of the Northern Arc destroyed his showing in the Atlanta suburbs and his plans to redesign the state flag among the general 2002 wave flattened his percentages in the in the rural southern counties that used to make up Georgia Democrats’ statewide coalitions. It was an upset and in the end it wasn’t even that close, at a five point margin. Following that four Democrats defected in the State Senator and handed over control to the good ole Sunday School Teacher Sunny Perdue.

9. Oklahoma 2002: If there was a bigger surprise in 2002 than Barnes losing it was that 39 year old State Senator Brad Henry beat Steve Largent with the help of a huge performance by libertarian candidate, (and former Republican candidate), Gary Richardson, to become Governor of Oklahoma. Henry’s campaign is a combination of all the flukes a Democrat would need to win. He went traveling in the back country rural areas, he benefited from a wave of ire at the banning of chicken fighting which turned out a Democratic margin in the state’s rural areas, and he got the backing of Barry Switzer. Won’t happen again, and Henry established himself as a highly popular Governor by taking nearly no risks and attempting to appease conservative platforms.

Won’t happen again even though Democrats hold every statewide office coming off an impressive string of 2006 statewide victories, while they were losing the State Senate much to mine and others surprise.

10. Wyoming 2002: I’m not going to say it surprises me as much as some people. Three of the last four governor’s of Wyoming have been Democrats and the state has gotten more or less conservative in that time, although Democratic strength at the legislative level imploded by the 1980s. In 2002 Bebout simply screwed up by running too negative a campaign against Freudenthal and being narrowly beaten as a result, in addition he had to deal with a very divisive moderate versus rabid conservative primary as sane Wyoming Republicans squared off against the Barbara Cubin’s.

Still the timing was surprising, and while a relatively unimportant race its still an interesting state for Democrats to hold that power. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the race is the 80-15 lead Bebout supposedly had immediately after winning his primary.

I suppose I should not an honorable mention or two.

Kansas Governor 2002: This was a close race, Sebelius looked to be favored with moderates coalescing around her and a fantastic campaign being run.

Hawaii 2002: Linda Lingle’s win shocked a lot of people. But really the old guard of the HA Democratic party had it coming to them eventually, the strangest thing to me is that it came from a white, Jewish woman who grew up in Missouri and southern California. Long term she accomplished little, you could say Lingle has been a disaster for state Republicans despite her popularity, as she oversaw the implosion of their position in the State Legislature and has accomplished very little of her standard fare conservative, pro-business agenda. More than anything she was probably elected out of sheer frustration with Cayetano and the incompetency and the out of touch Democratic old guard.

Still don’t let Obama’s numbers fool you, the state is much more conservative that and favorable to Republicans, he has single-handedly, perhaps, turned back a Republican trend but Honolulu remains very open to Republicans and is the population center. That being said Abercrombie will wipe the floor, 72 or not he’s said to be a lifetime weightlifting enthusiast, and Hawaii is known for its old politicians, its not a place to set up a political career if your idea of “your turn” and “maturity” is when you start collecting social security.  

Meet the Arkansas GOP

Now people wonder why Arkansas Democrats do so well? Well it’s quite frankly because all the state’s Republicans are utter radicals, I mean true radicals. Many Arkansas state Democrats are actually fairly standard Republicans, like State Sen. Bob Johnson, but they are not in the Republican party because it has such a radicalized base.

In Arkansas being a Republican pretty much, with occasional exceptions, means being a radical. We’ve already seen Kim Hendren, a State Senator, dismiss Schumer as that “Jew” and State Republicans defend him on the blogosphere. We’ve seen the craziness of Jim Holt and Asa Hutchinson, (Hutchinson by the way, spent most of his time as a drug Czar trying to prosecute 80 year old women in California for medicinal uses of Marijuana). They are too conservative and they have a passion for hypocrisy and bigotry like no others, I remember recently Paul Greenburg of the Democrat-Gazette criticized, yes, criticized Gay Rights opponents for listing how to contact lawmakers who supported it on a website and in the same sentence he managed to include bigotry in the form of “the traditional definition of marriage” as a legitimate reason to deny tax paying citizens equal legal rights. Such blatant reason-twisting logic is what Greenburg is famous for, famous for finding ways to criticize any liberal group while being a huge proponent and apologist for the Conservatives, he makes his God-Given goal to promote conservatism in the Gazette.  

Now I would like to you all to meet the new highly touted GOP candidate, State Sen. Gilbert Baker. Sounds like they have a good candidate right? They finally found a sensible one, I mean good relations with some conservative Democrats, a good statewide profile as former Chairman of the State GOP, (and he did a wonderful job, losing all statewide offices including the two they already held, failing to pick up Senate Seats they should have picked up, and losing 7 house seats to be relegated to 26 seat minority in the 100 member AR-State House, though they have since gained one or two of those back).

But so he has more experience, he’s been in the limelight, can speak without sounding like an idiot or devolving into racial epithets, can raise money, has the connections, sounds good right? And he’s two points ahead in early polling despite being known to only 25% of the population.

Well not so good when the campaigning starts. First off he did piss off a lot of people in Republican bastion Benton County when back in 2006 he back-stabbed moderate Republican State Senator Dave Bisbee, (a frequent ally of Huckabee who was instrumental in getting compromises passed in the Senate), over what was ostensibly purity reasons. It was an interesting case where many Democrats were supporting Bisbee and a select group of Republicans came in to help get a possibly more conservative Democrat the position, with Baker leading this. In the process he cost Benton County a Co-Chair of the Budget Committee, (Bisbee had to resign), and he all around screwed them over influence wise. So yes, whatever some people may say, I know for a fact many people in Benton got pissed off permanently at Baker and Bisbee certainly will not be helping him.

Second, (things get better as I go along), the University of Central Arkansas, in his hometown of Conway, is in the midst of what has been described as the biggest scandal in state government in a decade, and while he is not in charge or involved even being connected to UCA is enough to cost a person 2-4 points in the polling right now, so toxic an issue it has become with voters.

But that’s all tame little stuff, normal political stuff, that’s pretty much what you expect to come up as a minimum when someone goes after a higher office.

This isn’t, the next issue is revolting and disturbing and it will be the key issue Lincoln should make:

Recently, Baker sent out a press release claiming the issue of women’s rights is one he takes “seriously”. However, in 2005 Gilbert Baker asked the 1st Division Faulkner County Circuit Court for “leniency and mercy” for a campaign worker of Baker’s who repeatedly beat his female victim, held a knife to her throat, smothered her until she threw up, and  using a cigarette lighter burned her multiple times.

Baker testified repeatedly as a character witness to help the defendant, also an elected Republican constable. The defendant was accused of rape, and convicted of kidnapping and assault against a Faulkner County woman. According to Circuit Court documents, Baker testified twice for the man, after knowing the horrible facts of the case and even admitted the defendant had “done wrong.”

Meet Gilbert Baker, Republican Candidate for Arkansas Senate, also a Character Witness for people who violently rape women.

Please have the sense not to vote for Lincoln and let a deranged conservative in, if you live in AR.

P.S. Please vote in the poll, even if you don’t care, I use it as a counter to determine readership. Just as a courtesy even vote, so I have some proof I’m not talking to a brick wall.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Senator Sessons: You Are a Bigot and a Hypocrite

(Cross-posted at Dkos)

Ah this morning I felt like I was in te twilight zone, then I realized it was merely the current state of U.S. politics. Don’t blame me for being confused, Senator Jeff Sessions repititive tirades at Sonia Sotomayor over her “apparent biases” is enough to confuse anyone who knows Jeff Sessions. But the fact that he is turning into the sort of national leader against her has me pinching my cheeks to make sure I’m awake.

Let me start by taking a step back and speaking a bit on the hearings themselves. All I can say is that Justice Sotomayor was gold in hitting back, not revealing too much or falling for hypotheticals, and was highly knowledgeable and forceful in fighting back with her critics. Now, I will not get into any legal jargon because while I had no trouble following the line of debate, law is not my field and I rightly feel I am woefully inadequate to actually give any sort of legal analysis on some of the issues brought up.

What’s more is that I watched on LPB, (Louisiana Public Broadcasting), and once again realized that I shouldn’t watch any other news station. It was the only channel I could get without commercials and constant feedback and breakdowns and analysis tossed all in the middle of the hearings and in the aftermath its the only one where I could simply sit and listen to a few people sensibly and intellectually discuss he situation and obviously not try to suck up to Democrats so much of the time and to Republicans the rest and so on and so forth.

I would like to open by correcting a misstatement. The LPB analyzers stated, in passing, that Senator Dianne Feinstein rebuked Senator Hatch. I would like to contend that she did not, in making her fantastic statement which I just had to sit and applaud her for in my living room, she complemented Judge Sotomayor for sitting their calmly and speaking calmly while her own adrenaline was rising and she was getting heated as, in saying, basically, ‘openly provactive questions’ were directed at her, (though I’m not saying Hatch shouldn’t be rebuked. I disagree with where he came from legally on making a huge deal of several cases where she was clearly within the legal confines of her office and the Heller decision, and it was outrageous to suggest that the Supreme Court unanimously criticized her in the Ricci case, something the current court members should obviously and publically rebuke), she was refering to Jeff Sessions opening tirade that obviously infuriated Sotomayor and most sensible politicians in the room. Senator Feinstein was fantastic today, bringing up very strong questions on executive authority and Roe v Wade. I’ve never quite understood the furor against her from many on the left, both from her record, and from listening to her speak on numerous occassions on major issues, as a Senate Page. Today reminded me again of that.

Here is here entire opening dialogue,a spectacular back and forth that really slams Sessions:

FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.I’m puzzled why Mr. Estrada keeps coming up. Mr. Estrada had no judicial experience. The nominee before us has considerable judicial experience. And Mr. Estrada wouldn’t answer questions presented to him.

This nominee, I think, has been very straightforward. She has not used catchy phrases. She has answered the questions directly the best she could. And to me, that gets points.

I must say that, if there’s a test for judicial temperament, you pass it with an A-plus-plus. I want you to know that, because I wanted to respond, and my adrenaline was moving along. And you have just sat there, very quietly, and responded to questions that, in their very nature, are quite provocative. So I want to congratulate you about that.

Now, it was just said that all nine justices disagreed with you in the Ricci case, but I want to point out that Justice Ginsburg and three other justices stated in the dissent that the Second Circuit decision should have been affirmed. Is that correct?


FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much. Also, a senator made a comment about the Second Circuit not being bound in the Ricci case that I wanted to follow up on, because I think what he said was not correct. You made the point that the unanimous Ricci panel was bound by Second Circuit precedent, as we’ve said. The senator said that you easily could have overruled that precedent by voting for the case to be heard en banc. First, my understanding is that a majority of the Second Circuit voted not to re-hear the case. Is that correct?

SOTOMAYOR: That’s correct.

FEINSTEIN: Secondly, it took a significant change in disparate law — in disparate impact law to change the result of the Second Circuit reached in this case. And the Supreme Court itself in Ricci recognized that it was creating a new standard. Is my understanding correct?

SOTOMAYOR: Yes, Senator.

FEINSTEIN: You see? So what’s happening here, ladies and gentlemen and members, is that this very reserved and very factual and very considered nominee is being characterized as being an activist when she is anything but. And I have a problem with this, because some of it is getting across out there. Calls began to come into my office, “Wow, she’s an activist.”

In my view, because you have agreed with your Republican colleagues on constitutional issues some 98 percent of the time, I don’t see how you can possibly be construed to be an activist. And by your comments here, and you’ve — and as I walked in the room earlier, somebody asked you how you see your role, and you said, “To apply the law as it exists with the cases behind it.”

That’s a direct quote. It’s a very clear statement. It does not say, “Oh, I think it’s a good idea,” or it does not say any other cliche. It states a definitive statement.

And later, you said, “Precedent is that which gives stability to the law,” and I think that’s a very important statement.

FEINSTEIN: And what we’re talking about here is following precedent, so let me ask you in a difficult area of the law a question.

The Supreme Court has decided on more than seven occasions that the law cannot put a woman’s health at risk. It said it in Roe in ’73; in Danforth in ’76; in Planned Parenthood in ’83; in Thornburgh in ’86; in Casey in ’92; in Carhart in 2000; and in Ayotte in 2006.

With both Justices Roberts and Alito on the court, however, this rule seems to have changed, because, in 2007, in Carhart II, the court essentially removed this basic constitutional right from women.

Now, here’s my question: When there are multiple precedents and a question arises, are all the previous decisions discarded, or should the court re-examine all the cases on point?

So I have come back to my starting point; Jeff Sessions. The fact that the national media is giving this man a degree of respctability as a leader of the skeptical Republicans on this issue is astonishing, but not as astonishing as the fact that he is ranking Republican member of the Judicial committee period, the same committee that rejected his nomination as a Federal Judge more than twenty years ago, (more on that later).

I’m just very disappointed that the media has not been tougher on Sessions, afterall, those who through stones should make sure that their windows are boarded up at home, but the media always seems to be somewhat afraid to tackle Republicans with the toughness that they deserve on many issues, important issues, and by doing so they hurt Democrats by often annulling highly crucial and potent arguments for the sake of fairness, which then leaves the laymen voter uninformed as to the entire issue.

The level of hypocricsy from Sessions was stunning though. Here was a man repetitively, constantly, grilling her over mundane discussions that were clearly intellectual discussions on issues of the place of background and life experience and on exactly how far removed a judge can be from their background, the background that shapes the way they view the entire world. To see him ignoring solid responses that completely discredit his argument and then come back with more of the same dribble was hard to watch, for all Hatch’s faults he was at least civil and making valid points where two opinions could be reasonably formed, (for the most part). I heard his big discussions on talks about the need for impartiality and what his view of a Judge’s requirements were and how she didn’t fill them and so on was hard to watch.

Why? Because the same Judiciary Committee refused to even let his nomination go to the Senate floor, (a rarity), on a 9-9 vote because of “gross insensitivity” to important racial issues. This man joked, in a Senate Committee hearing, that ‘he didn’t think the Ku Klux Klan was too bad until he foud out some of them smoked marijuana’. The man who called the NACAAP and ACLU ‘un-American and communist-inspired organizations’.

At the time Reagan mysteriously tried to appoint he was best known for the following fiasco:

Sessions had unsuccessfully prosecuted three civil rights workers (including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr.), on a case of election fraud for the 1984 election. Sessions spent hours interrogating African American voters in predominantly black counties, finding 14 allegedly tampered ballots out of approximately 1.7 million ballots cast. The three civil rights workers were acquitted after four hours of jury deliberation.[

Beyond that Senator Sessions is a human being deprived of any sort compassion. An incident I remember very well is when during a hearing on the Uniting Amercan Families, where a Filippino woman, a resident of 23 years and mother of two children, testified about being deported. Her 12 year old son was crying and Sen Sesisons audibly leaned and told an aide, “Enough with the histrionics”. He opposes banning torture, supports unlimited wiretaps without oversight on American citizens, and initially opposed renewing the VRA. He’s gotten either a 0 or close to a 0 on every single environmental record there is. He spoke to a select group of a few hundred pro-Iraq war voters protesting an anti-war protest of more than 100,000 and he basically told them that they represented the real America and the others group didn’t. Did I mention he opposes expansion of funding for global AIDS programs?

For nearly a decade he was the most conservative Senator, impressive considering he was up against the likes of Jim Inhofe, (only even he’s not as publically idiotic an obnoxious as Inhofe, the only reason he’s any than Inhofe is he’s just not that ignorant), and Wayne Allard, (how that man ever got elected twice to a moderate state like Colorado I will never know). Recently of course he’s been eclipsed by the increasing insanity of senators like David Vitter, Jim DeMint.

But still I’m just sobered to see the reporting on him so far. I have yet to see any news media bother to look into any of this, to bother to note that this man is on the fringes of a conservative party, that this man is one of the most noted hyper-partisan members of the senate and has the gall to accuse Judge Sotomayor to being biased with a record like his which is one of the worst in the Senate since Strom Thurmond. I won’t even get into his position on affirmative action because that’s another political discussion in on itself.

I believe I’ve said all that needs to be said on the issue. I just want to inform more people of the entire story behind Jeff Sessions that most people don’t know, especially if they don’t keep close attention to all the bios of politicians. The thread below is an open discussion on Jeff Sessions and Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings.

P.S. Please vote in my poll. I like to use it as a counter to determine readership. Its encoruaging to have a concrete way to show you are getting a message out, it helps make it worthwhile. Even if you don’t care just vote lease so I can know that you read me, thanks.

Update: If I would be allowed by the rules, I am going to post the entire back and forthbetween Sotomayor and Sessions for those of you who didn’t catch it earlier. Its quite long, but very indicative:

SESSIONS: Welcome. It’s good to have you back, Judge, and your family and friends and supporters. And I hope we’ll have a good day today, look forward to dialogue with you. I got to say that I liked your statement on the fidelity of the law yesterday and some of your comments this morning.

And I also have to say had you been saying that with clarity over the last decade or 15 years, we’d have a lot fewer problems today because you have evidenced, I think it’s quite clear, a philosophy of the law that suggests that the judge’s background and experiences can and should — even should and naturally will impact their decision what I think goes against the American ideal and oath that a judge takes to be fair to every party. And every day when they put on that robe, that is a symbol that they’re to put aside their personal biases and prejudices.

So I’d like to ask you a few things about it. I would just note that it’s not just one sentence, as my chairman suggested, that causes us difficulty. It’s a body of thought over a period of years that causes us difficulties.

And I would suggest that the quotation he gave was not exactly right of the wise Latina comment that you made. You’ve said, I think six different times, quote, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion.” So that’s a matter that I think we’ll talk about as we go forward.

Let me recall that yesterday you said it’s simple fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make law; it’s to apply law. I heartily agree with that. However, you previously have said the court of appeals is where policy is made. And you said on another occasion the law that lawyers practice and judge declare is not a definitive — capital L — Law that many would like to think exists,” close quote.

So I guess I’m asking today what do you really believe on those subjects. That there is no real law and that judges do not make law? Or that there is no real law and the court of appeals is where policy is made? Discuss that with us, please.

SOTOMAYOR: I believe my record of 17 years demonstrates fully that I do believe that law — that judges must apply the law and not make the law. Whether I’ve agreed with a party or not, found them sympathetic or not, in every case I have decided, I have done what the law requires.

With respect to judges making policy, I assume, Senator, that you were referring to a remark that I made in a Duke Law student dialogue. That remark, in context, made very clear that I wasn’t talking about the policy reflected in the law that Congress makes. That’s the job of Congress to decide what the policy should be for society.

In that conversation with the students, I was focusing on what district court judges do and what circuit court judges do. And I know noted that district court judges find the facts, and they apply the facts to the individual case. And when they do that, they’re holding, they’re finding doesn’t bind anybody else.

Appellate judges, however, establish precedent. They decide what the law says in a particular situation. That precedent has policy ramifications because it binds not just the litigants in that case, it binds all litigants in similar cases, in cases that may be influenced by that precedent.

SOTOMAYOR: I think if my speech is heard outside of the minute and a half that YouTube presents and its full context examined, that it is very clear that I was talking about the policy ramifications of precedent and never talking about appellate judges or courts making the policy that Congress makes.

SESSIONS: Judge, I would just say, I don’t think it’s that clear. I looked at that on tape several times, and I think a person could reasonably believe it meant more than that.

But yesterday you spoke about your approach to rendering opinions and said, quote, “I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of the justice system,” and I would agree. But you have previously said this: “I am willing to accept that we who judge must not deny differences resulting from experiences and heritage, but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.”

So first, I’d like to know, do you think there’s any circumstance in which a judge should allow their prejudices to impact their decision-making?

SOTOMAYOR: Never their prejudices. I was talking about the very important goal of the justice system is to ensure that the personal biases and prejudices of a judge do not influence the outcome of a case.

What I was talking about was the obligation of judges to examine what they’re feeling as they’re adjudicating a case and to ensure that that’s not influencing the outcome. Life experiences have to influence you. We’re not robots to listen to evidence and don’t have feelings. We have to recognize those feelings and put them aside. That’s what my speech was saying …

SESSIONS: Well, Judge …

SOTOMAYOR: … because that’s our job.

SESSIONS: But the statement was, “I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage, but continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.” That’s exactly opposite of what you’re saying, is it not?

SOTOMAYOR: I don’t believe so, Senator, because all I was saying is, because we have feelings and different experiences, we can be led to believe that our experiences are appropriate. We have to be open- minded to accept that they may not be, and that we have to judge always that we’re not letting those things determine the outcome. But there are situations in which some experiences are important in the process of judging, because the law asks us to use those experiences.

SESSIONS: Well, I understand that, but let me just follow up that you say in your statement that you want to do what you can to increase the faith and the impartiality of our system, but isn’t it true this statement suggests that you accept that there may be sympathies, prejudices and opinions that legitimately can influence a judge’s decision? And how can that further faith in the impartiality of the system?

SOTOMAYOR: I think the system is strengthened when judges don’t assume they’re impartial, but when judges test themselves to identify when their emotions are driving a result, or their experience are driving a result and the law is not.

SESSIONS: I agree with that.

SESSIONS: I know one judge that says that if he has a feeling about a case, he tells his law clerks to, “Watch me. I do not want my biases, sympathies or prejudices to influence this decision, which I’ve taken an oath to make sure is impartial.” I just am very concerned that what you’re saying today is quite inconsistent with your statement that you willingly accept that your sympathies, opinions and prejudices may influence your decision-making.

SOTOMAYOR: Well, as I have tried to explain, what I try to do is to ensure that they’re not. If I ignore them and believe that I’m acting without them, without looking at them and testing that I’m not, then I could, unconsciously or otherwise, be led to be doing the exact thing I don’t want to do, which is to let something but the law command the result.

SESSIONS: Well, yesterday, you also said that your decisions have always been made to serve the larger interest of impartial justice, a good — good aspiration, I agree. But in the past, you’ve repeatedly said this: “I wonder whether achieving the goal of impartiality is possible at all in even most cases and I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women, men or people of color we do a disservice to both the law and society.” Aren’t you saying there that you expect your background and — and heritage to influence your decision-making?

SOTOMAYOR: What I was speaking about in that speech was — harkened back to what we were just talking about a few minutes ago, which is life experiences to influence us, in good ways. That’s why we seek the enrichment of our legal system from life experiences.

That can affect what we see or how we feel, but that’s not what drives a result. The impartiality is an understanding that the law is what commands the result.

And so, to the extent that we are asking the questions, as most of my speech was an academic discussion about, what should we be thinking about, what should we be considering in this process, and accepting that life experiences could make a difference. But I wasn’t encouraging the belief or attempting to encourage the belief that I thought that that should drive the result.

SESSIONS: Judge, I — I think it’s consistent in the comments I’ve quoted to you and your previous statements that you do believe that your backgrounds will accept — affect the result in cases, and that’s troubling me. So that is not impartiality. Don’t you think that is not consistent with your statement, that you believe your role as a judge is to serve the larger interest of impartial justice?

SOTOMAYOR: No, sir. As I’ve indicated, my record shows that at no point or time have I ever permitted my personal views or sympathies to influence an outcome of a case. In every case where I have identified a sympathy, I have articulated it and explained to the litigant why the law requires a different result.


SOTOMAYOR: I do not permit my sympathies, personal views, or prejudices to influence the outcome of my cases.

SESSIONS: Well, you — you — you said something similar to that yesterday, that in each case I applied the law to the facts at hand, but you’ve repeatedly made this statement: Quote, I “accept the proposition” — I “accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench, and that my experiences affect the facts I choose to see as a judge.”

First, that’s troubling to me as a lawyer. When I present evidence, I expect the judge to hear and see all the evidence that gets presented. How is it appropriate for a judge ever to say that they will choose to see some facts and not others?

SOTOMAYOR: It’s not a question of choosing to see some facts or another, Senator. I didn’t intend to suggest that. And in the wider context, what I believe I was — the point I was making was that our life experiences do permit us to see some facts and understand them more easily than others.

But in the end, you’re absolutely right. That’s why we have appellate judges that are more than one judge because each of us, from our life experiences, will more easily see different perspectives argued by parties.

But judges do consider all of the arguments of litigants. I have. Most of my opinions, if not all of them, explain to parties by the law requires what it does.

SESSIONS: Do you stand by your statement that my experiences affect the facts I choose to see?

SOTOMAYOR: No, sir. I don’t stand by the understanding of that statement that I will ignore other facts or other experiences because I haven’t had them. I do believe that life experiences are important to the process of judging. They help you to understand and listen but that the law requires a result. And it would command you to the facts that are relevant to the disposition of the case.

SESSIONS: Well, I will just note you made that statement in individual speeches about seven times over a number of years span. And it’s concerning to me. So I would just say to you I believe in Judge Seiderbaum’s (ph) formulation. She said — and you disagreed. And this was really the context of your speech. And you used her — her statement as sort of a beginning of your discussion.

And you said she believes that a judge, no matter what their gender or background, should strive to reach the same conclusion. And she believes that’s possible. You then argued that you don’t think it’s possible in all, maybe even most, cases. You deal with the famous quote of Justice O’Connor in which she says a wise old man should reach the same decision as a wise old woman. And you pushed backed from that. You say you don’t think that’s necessarily accurate. And you doubt the ability to be objective in your analysis.

So how can you reconcile your speeches which repeatedly assert that impartiality is a near aspiration which may not be possible in all or even most cases with your oath that you’ve taken twice which requires impartiality?

SOTOMAYOR: My friend, Judge Seiderbaum (ph) is here this afternoon, and we are good friends. And I believe that we both approach judging in the same way which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.

I also, as I explained, was using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat. I knew that Justice O’Connor couldn’t have meant that if judges reached different conclusions — legal conclusions — that one of them wasn’t wise.

That couldn’t have been her meaning, because reasonable judges disagree on legal conclusions in some cases. So I was trying to play on her words. My play was — fell flat.

It was bad, because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that’s clearly not what I do as a judge. It’s clearly not what I intended in the context of my broader speech, which was attempting to inspire young Hispanic, Latino students and lawyers to believe that their life experiences added value to the process.

SESSIONS: Well, I can see that, perhaps as a — a layperson’s approach to it. But as a judge who’s taken this oath, I’m very troubled that you had repeatedly, over a decade or more, made statements that consistently — any fair reading of these speeches — consistently argues that this ideal and commitment I believe every judge is committed, must be, to put aside their personal experiences and biases and make sure that that person before them gets a fair day in court.

Judge, on the — so philosophy can impact your judging. I think it’s much more likely to reach full flower if you sit on the Supreme Court, and then you will — than it will on a lower court where you’re subject to review by your colleagues in the higher court.

And so, with regard to how you approach law and your personal experiences, let’s look at the New Haven firefighters case, the Ricci case. In that case, the city of New Haven told firefighters that they would take an exam, set forth the process for it, that would determine who would be eligible for promotion.

The city spent a good deal of time and money on the exam to make it a fair test of a person’s ability to see — to serve as a supervisory fireman, which, in fact, has the awesome responsibility at times to send their firemen into a dangerous building that’s on fire, and they had a panel that did oral exams and not — wasn’t all written, consisting of one Hispanic and one African-American and — and one white.

And according to the Supreme Court, this is what the Supreme Court held: The New Haven officials were careful to ensure broad racial participation in the design of the test and its administration. The process was open and fair. There was no genuine dispute that the examinations were job-related and consistent with business purposes, business necessity.

But after — but after the city saw the results of the exam, it threw out those results, because, quote, “not enough of one group did well enough on the test.”

The Supreme Court then found that the city, and I quote, “rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white. After the tests were completed, the raw racial results became the — raw racial results became the predominant rationale for the city’s refusal to certify the results,” close quote.

So you stated that your background affects the facts that you choose to see. Was the fact that the New Haven firefighters had been subject to discrimination one of the facts you chose not to see in this case?

SOTOMAYOR: No, sir. The panel was composed of me and two other judges. In a very similar case of the 7th Circuit in an opinion offered by Judge Easterbrook — I’m sorry. I misspoke. It wasn’t Judge Easterbrook. It was Judge Posner — saw the case in an identical way. And neither judge — I’ve confused some statements that Senator Leahy made with this case. And I apologize.

In a very similar case, the 6th Circuit approached a very similar issue in the same way. So a variety of different judges on the appellate court were looking at the case in light of established Supreme Court and 2nd Circuit precedent and determined that the city facing potential liability under Title VII could choose not to certify the test if it believed an equally good test could be made with a different impact on affected groups.

The Supreme Court, as it is its prerogative in looking at a challenge, established a new consideration or a different standard for the city to apply. And that is was there substantial evidence that they would be held liable under the law. That was a new consideration.

Our panel didn’t look at that issue that way because it wasn’t argued to us in the case before us and because the case before us was based on existing precedent. So it’s a different test.

SESSIONS: Judge, there was a — apparently, unease within your panel. I — I was really disappointed. And I think a lot of people have been that the opinion was so short. It was pro curiam. It did not discuss the serious legal issues that the case raised. And I believe that’s legitimate criticism of what you did.

But it appears, according to Stuart Taylor, a respected legal writer for the National Journal — that Stuart Taylor concluded that — that it appears that Judge Cabranes was concerned about the outcome of the case, was not aware of it because it was a pro curiam unpublished opinion. But it began to raise the question of whether a rehearing should be granted.

You say you’re bound by the superior authority. But the fact is when the re — the question of rehearing that 2nd Circuit authority that you say covered the case, some say it didn’t cover so clearly — but that was up for debate. And the circuit voted, and you voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit.

And, in fact, your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of — of — of Puerto Rican ancestry — had you voted with him, you — you — you could have changed that case.

So in truth you weren’t bound by that case had you seen it in a different way. You must have agreed with it and agreed with the opinion and stayed with it until it was reversed by the court. Let me just mention this. In 1997…

LEAHY: Is that a question or a…

SESSIONS: Well, that was a response to some of what you said, Mr. Chairman, because you misrepresented factually what the — the posture of the case.

LEAHY: Well, I obviously…

SESSIONS: In 1997…

LEAHY: I obviously will disagree with that. But that — we’ll have a chance to vote on this issue.

SESSIONS: In 1997 when you came before the Senate and I was a new senator, I asked you this. In a suit challenging a government racial preference in quota or set-aside, will you follow the Supreme Court decision in Adarand and subject racial preferences to the strictest judicial scrutiny,” close quote. In other words, I asked you would you follow the Supreme Court’s binding decision in Adarand v. Pena.

In Adarand, the Supreme Court held that all governmental discrimination, including Affirmative Action programs, that discriminated by race of an applicant must face strict scrutiny in the courts. In other words, this is not a light thing to do. When one race is favored over another, you must have a really good reason for it, or it’s not acceptable.

After Adarand, the government agencies must prove there is a compelling state interest in support of any decision to treat people differently by race. This is what you answered: “In my view, the Adarand court correctly determined that the same level of scrutiny — strict scrutiny applies for the purpose of evaluating the constitutionality of all government classifications, whether at the state or federal level, based on race,” close quote. So that was your answer, and it deals with government being the City of New Haven.

You made a commitment to this committee to follow Adarand. In view of this commitment you gave me 12 years ago, why are the words “Adarand,” “Equal protection” and “Strict scrutiny” are completely missing from any of your panel’s discussion of this decision?

SOTOMAYOR: Because those cases were not what was at issue in this decision. And in fact, those cases were not what decided the Supreme Court’s decision. The Supreme Court parties were not arguing the level of scrutiny that would apply with respect to intentional discrimination. The issue is a different one before our court and the Supreme Court, which is what’s a city to do when there is proof that its test disparately impacts a particular group.

And the Supreme Court decided, not on a basis of strict scrutiny, that what it did here was wrong — what the city did here was wrong, but on the basis that the city’s choice was not based on a substantial basis in evidence to believe it would be held liable under the law. Those are two different standards, two different questions that a case would present.

SESSIONS: But Judge, it wasn’t that simple. This case was recognized pretty soon as a big case, at least. I noticed what perhaps kicked off Judge Cabranes’s concern was a lawyer saying it was the most important discrimination case that the circuit had seen in 20 years. They were shocked they got a — basically one-paragraph decision per curiam unsigned back on that case.

Judge Cabranes apparently raised this issue within the circuit, asked for re-hearing. Your vote made the difference in not having a re-hearing in bank. And he said, quote, “Municipal employers could reject the results” — in talking about the results of your test, the impact of your decision — “Municipal employers could reject the results of an employment examination whenever those results failed to yield a desirable outcome, i.e., fail to satisfy a racial quota,” close quote.

SESSIONS: So that was Judge Trabanas’s (sic) analysis of the impact of your decision, and he thought it was very important. He wanted to review this case. He thought it deserved a full and complete analysis and opinion. He wanted the whole circuit to be involved in it. And to the extent that some prior precedent in the circuit was different, the circuit could have reversed that precedent had they chose to do so.

Don’t you think — tell us how it came to be that this important case was dealt with in such a cursory manner.

SOTOMAYOR: The panel decision was based on a 78-page district court opinion. The opinion referenced it. In its per curium, the court incorporated in differently, but it was referenced by the circuit. And it released on that very thoughtful, thorough opinion by the district court.

And that opinion discussed Second Circuit precedent in its fullest — to its fullest extent. Justice Cabranes had one view of the case. The panel had another. The majority of the vote — it wasn’t just my vote — the majority of the court, not just my vote, denied the petition for rehearing.

The court left to the Supreme Court the question of how and employer should address what no one disputed was prima facia evidence that its test disparately impacted on a group. That was undisputed by everyone, but the case law did permit employees who had been disparately impacted to bring a suit.

The question was, for city, was it racially discriminating when it didn’t accept those tests or was it attempting to comply with the law.

SESSIONS: Well, Judge, I think it’s not fair to say that a majority — I guess it’s fair to say a majority voted against rehearing. But it was 6 to 6. Unusual that one of the judges had to challenge a panel decision, and your vote made the majority not to rehear it.

Do you — and Ricci did deal with some important questions. Some of the questions that we have got to talk about as a nation, we’ve got to work our way through. I know there’s concern on both sides of this issue, and we should do it carefully and correctly.

But do you think that Frank Ricci and the other firefighters whose claims you dismissed felt that their arguments and concerns were appropriately understood and acknowledged by such a short opinion from the court?

SOTOMAYOR: We were very sympathetic and expressed your sympathy to the firefighters who challenged the city’s decision, Mr. Ricci and the others. We stood the efforts that they had made in taking the test. We said as much.

They did have before them a 78-page thorough opinion by the district court. They, obviously, disagreed with the law as it stood under Second Circuit precedent. That’s why they were pursuing their claims and did pursue them further.

In the end, the body that had the discretion and power to decide how these tough issues should be decided, let alone the precedent that had been recognized by our circuit court and another — at least, the Sixth Circuit — but along what the court thought would be the right test or standard to apply.

And that’s what the Supreme Court did. It answered that important question because it had the power to do that — not the power but the ability to do that because it was faced with the arguments that suggested that. The panel was dealing with precedent and arguments that rely on our precedent.

SESSIONS: Thank you, Judge. And I appreciate this opportunity. And I — I would just say, though, had the procurement opinion stood without a rehearing requested by one of the judges in the whole circuit and kicked off the discussion, it’s very, very unlikely that we would have heard about this case or the Supreme Court would have taken it up. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Minnesota Congressional Map

I’m tired of seeing map after map of Minnesota making bad maps, or assuming the state when is going to lose a congressional district when, in fact, it is not. Here’s my take on a Democratic gerrymander, which is what I am expecting.

Because my computer was too stupid to even fit the north district in single screen, truly ridiculous, let me give you the North district in two shots:

m north 1


I was concerned with long range chances in this seat. The outer Minneapolis suburbs are becoming increasingly far right and not only that but it is increasingly taking in more and more of them as the Democratic areas like St. Louis County. So I completely removed it from the suburbs, who are different culturally and politically, and shifted it entirely to the north, taking in mostly rural and Democratic territories.

Here’s the first part of the two central Minnesota districts. I decided that if Collin Peterson wants to be one of the most hardcore conservative Democrats then he might as well represent a district more conservative than his current, 50-49 McCain district. So I did that, while keeping Bachman’s district conservative and Republican/



This is the most important section here, MN-01 plus the Minneapolis districts.


I shifted Kline’s district to take in Democratic trending Washington county. Then south I kept only the most close-in and Democratic Dakota County suburbs, plus the very inner Anoka county suburbs, the areas that lean Democratic and are almost in Minneapolis. But to seal the districts Democratic lean I anchored in a liberal block of voters in northern Ramsey county, including communities such as Little Canada and Shoreview. The end goal is to create a Democratic leaning and trending swing district that will kick out conservative lockstep John Kline who has been totally weak and ineffecient for this district and has not proven himself to be a great campaigner.

I shifted Keith Ellison’s district. He’s in the yellow. Its a lot less Democratic but he’ll be fine. It still contains most of heavily Democratic North Minneapolis, Plymouth, and Brooklyn Park. Beyond that in a 63-35 Obama county their can’t too many Republican areas and a district based completely it would be fine. I split the Democratic anchors.

So then comes the 7th, designed to eliminate Erik Paulsen beyond a doubt. He’s a strong conservative representing a moderate district because Democrats didn’t nominate Bonoff, (who was much more liberal than Madia, a casualty of netroots kneejerk reaction against any “establishment” candidate). This is the man who helped shut down the state government because Pawlenty didn’t get what he wanted.

He can’t win this district. It contains about 60% of Minneapolis, and other Democratic areas like St. Louis Park, Richfield, Edina, and Bloomington, and Minnentonka if I’m not mistaken and it contains areas getting more Democratic every year.

Now my sixth is the only district I’m not completely happy with because of its strange shape and its sprawling nature. Its anchored in Roseville and St. Paul, liberal bastions, but then it spills out taking in most of swingish to conservative Dakota county, a small sliver of Scott County, and most of the northern portion of Democratic leaning Rice county.

Tim Walz’s district remains the same, except significantly more Democrat. Winona on other very Democratic areas like Blue Earth, plus Olmstead, which is swingish but slowly going Democratic, kicking and screaming at a federal level. Locally Democrats have already picked up numerous Senate and state house seats there so the writing is on the wall.

Back briefly to the 1st, it is now very Democratic, I don’t really care to elaborate. St. Louis anchors it, and other Democratic areas like Koochining and Itasea nad Beltrami and Carlton county anchor and instead of taking in conservative suburbs that are trending Republican, it moves west taking in a variety of marginal to Democratic leaning rural areas.

The second is a tough area. I kept the big block of Democratic counties, starting with Grant and ending at Yellow Medicine, that form Peterson’s base of sorts, the Beet valley or whatever its called. I just realized I put his home of Becker county into the first. A slight shift would fix that, taking out the Bekcer and Otter Tail counties portions from te 1st and instead taking in Cass county out of the 3rd and taking out part of Sherburne County from Peterson. Its conservative, I wanted that. This is a guy whose right up their with Jim Marshall, Parker Griffith, and Walter Minnick yet he has a swing district. Not right. Also, I apologize for the bit of mess in Rice county, an accident.

Beyond that, you want numbers? I don’t have exact numbers but I’ve looked at the district and I can give you a good guess.

District 1: 57-43 Obama

District 2: 54-45 McCain

District 3: 57-42 McCain

District 4: 54-45 Obama

District 5: 59-40 Obama

District 6: 60-39 Obama

District 7: 61-38 Obama

District 8: 55-44 Obama

Those are just guestimates, and not the best, but those were a little out of my leauge.

Good day, please give me your opinions and thoughts and please vote in the poll so I can see how many people have read this.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Michigan: A Master Work of Redistricting

Below, in three parts, I am going to display the piece of redistricting that I am most proud of so far, Michigan. I might have settled for less than some people, but I can make a guarantee; I guarantee you that under this map Thadeus McCotter is screwed six ways from Sunday, and that Democrats will have too, reliable, if swingish, western Michigan seats, and that a 10-4 delegation is tough, but fair seeing the direction Michigan has been trending the past two decades.  

To start let me give you a view of northern Michigan, where two districts take up almost 2/3rds of the state’s landmass:

Northern Michigan Congressional Map

(I apologize, on this map version there are no numbers, but in the main view below both are numbered, for references blue is the 1st and green the 2nd, as any familiar with the app will know).

Okay. Northern Michigan was fairly simple, and only small changes. Mainly I cut conservative Antrim County from MI-01 and overall added, to meet population demands, the rest of Bay County, which gives the district a firm Democratic anchor. Now the Up is already a lot more Democratic on a state and local level than a Presidential one so MI-01, though still swingish, is fairly secure for Democrats under this map, not that any Republican could ever beat Bart Stupak. Now I don’t have moral qualms about splitting counties, but it is nice split only one county.

MI-02 is also a nice lesson in compactness and sensibility, as it contains most of rural upstate Michigan and remains fairly conservative, and would be an easy district for Dave Camp to hold, especially with his home county of Midland in it, (I toyed with the idea of making a Midland-Geneese-Saginaw based district). Basically its mostly Republican territory, though not gerrymandered that way. Its very agricultural and rural and would share a common interest in Congress, a well done district in my mind.

Now here is the main part of Michigan:

Main Section of Michigan

My main goal was to give Muskegeon and Grand Rapids a more moderate representative, so combining them together formed a Democratic leaning, but somewhat swingish, (if you don’t use Obama’s stellar Western Michigan numbers), district. Then I merged much of Hoekstra and Upton’s districts and got a new, Ottawa-Allegan-St. Berien based district that is extremely conservative and strongly Republican. Unfortunately its so conservative that the Ottawa County Republican it will elect this year will probably take out the most moderate member of the states Republican delegation, Fred Upton.

My next goal was to make a more reliably Democratic Central Michigan district. We’ve failed time and again to take down Mike Rogers and we already had Schauer. I looked at his district and saw that it contained many rural, solidly conservative areas, plus some conservative, swingish suburban areas and Battle Creek in Calhoun. Battle Creek is only mildly Democratic leaning, even though it is Schauer’s base, and Calhoun is swingish to conservative. So overall it is R+1.5 according to my calcs, and a lot more problematic and tough than it would appear on the surface. So I altered it, somethings just fell into my lap; heavily Democratic Kalamazoo, gerrymandered out of the district in 2002 by the GOP to keep it safe, had to be included because their was no room for it elsewhere. Beyond that it was my decision whether to take in more rural Republican territory, or take in heavily Democratic Lansing. I chose to take in Lansing, along with more conservative and suburban Eaton County in order to make an urban central Michigan district that would be reliably Democratic.

The only nasty district is the new sixth, as you see. Its Mike Rogers new district, and its not very pretty. It takes up most of rural western and central Michigan, plus the city of Jackson and suburban, (and strongly Republican), Livingston county. I went this direction partially because Rogers district was unwinnable with Livingston and its other territory in it, but I didn’t want to cede McCotter and weaken Schauer to take him out so I gave him a conservative Central Michigan seat that will be reliably Republican in the near future.

As you can also see the new 12th was almost completely removed from Wayne county, its now mostly based in Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe, but its still very liberal and reliably Democratic, its just not based in the immediate blue collar suburbs of Detroit like it has traditionally been it’s now much larger in area.

As you can see the 7th and the 8th are almost unchanged, a Republican leaning thumb district, and a Flint north-central Michigan district that is very Democratic.

Here’s a close up of Detroit, and keen eyes should see immediately how I screwed McCotter and how desperate I was to make sure he would not get reelected, (assuming he survives this round):

Detroit Close Up

Again, sorry, but this batch was not numbered for some reason, (got erased when I did pasted the picture), but they remain on the main picture if you would like to reference.

Take note of the pink district, that is MI-10, and it is meant for McCotter. I was pretty angry almost with it, lol. I stripped his base Livonia, which despite being fairly Democratic inexplicably votes for him due to his mother’s influence. Then I took out most of the more exurban and conservative Oakland County areas that used to comprise the northern in, and went one step further and took in almost all of Dingell’s current district, putting in totally new and heavily blue collar, strongly Democratic areas like Romulus, Taylor, Dearborn and Westland in a new Wayne county based 10th. Believe me, he’ll be gone in that district, around 65-35 Obama, 70% new, no way to win. And he can’t run with Livonia, that’s in even more Democratic, and majority black, MI-14, the grungy green color.

In fact he might have much more luck running against Gary Peters in MI-09, the bright blue, though it still be very terrible odds, a strong two term incumbent a fairly Democratic leaning and trending Oakland district, and almost completely new to McCotter. So I give him little odds.

My only scruples with the Detroit are are actually MI-09 and MI-11, (bright neon green), Sander Levin and Gary Peters’ districts. MI-11 more so, because the current territory Levin represents is strong Democratic, about 62-38, but eying this new district, (where I tried to make minimal changes), it seems like it couldn’t be too much more than a 56% Obama performance, I dunno, maybe I’m underestimating his performance in southern Macomb as opposed to northern Macomb. And of course politically Peters’ district remains about the same on the spectrum, though with some new territory and a good deal more suburban out Oakland. Republicans still have a very solid roster of candidates and a good deal of local power in Oakland, so I would have liked to give Peters a somewhat more secure district.

The two VRA districts remain so. Both are overwhelmingly Democratic, and I tried to make sure they were both fairly compact, one north Detroit and one south. The north one takes in Livonia out of outer Wayne and part of Oakland in Farmington Hills, but Democratic leaning areas anyway, but much whiter and somewhat more affluent. But the demographics remain: 381,585 black, 280,623 white, 21,205 Asian, and 12,1918 Hispanic. The two aren’t so much north and south as east and west, and the 14th takes in the western side of the city and is slightly less black, but has a much larger Hispanic population; 366,283 black, 258,019 white, 82,863 Hispanic, 15,089 Asian.

So on the whole is a very good map, with mostly compact districts and not to much bad gerrymandering. With drawing this map I’m making two major assumptions, one, that Democrats will take the State Senate, two, that Democrats will hold the governorship. Since both seem slightly more likely than not to me at this early point, (being forced to make a call), I chose to use my Democratic gerrymander and not the much rosier, (for the GOP), compromise map.

I like it. I think its a good map that gives good representation to the various interests in the states delegation and doesn’t split many communities at all. Its 9-5, which I think is imminently fair, since the state is moving towards a more reliably Democratic point. I tend to think, when gerrymandering, in terms of the states overall leanings and whats fair, (the Oregon map was just to see how it would turn out), and not just drawing a bunch of swing districts.

It technically challenges two Republicans, Vernon Ehlers from Grand Rapids, and Thadeus McCotter. It is a possibility that Ehlers could hold his seat if Obama’s performance declines significantly and it turns out the Western Michigan numbers were a one time fluke, but either way it remains swingish, with a definite and reliable Democratic lean in Muskegeon, (don’t know why, it borders Ottawa), and Grand Rapids now a swingish, if not Democratic leaning, City itself. McCotter has no chance of survival unless he is the next Chet Edwards, which I doubt, since he’s really struggled the last two cycles in a much more favorable district and against completely unheralded challengers.

So, lets here, what are your thoughts. Oh, and like I beat on yesterday, (hahaa), PLEASE VOTE IN THE POLL not yelling, just making sure people see it. People finally started yesterday, but I at one point i had like 4 different commenter and not one vote in the poll. Even if you don’t care, please vote. I use it as a sort of counter, a useful tool that I’d like to see on here one day. Its encouraging to feel you have a decent audience and that you’re not talking to 4 or 5 people, which is what it feels like sometimes. So it’d be very greatly appreciated if you’d vote, as a favor to me.

Update: After user comments I made the following adjustments to the Detroit area seats:

detroit map redone

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Redistricting Missouri and Oregon

What do these two states have in common? Nothing. They are just two random states that I redid today after finally figuring out how to use Dave’s Redistricting Software App, an amazing free tool that makes accurate and precise redistricting extremely easy and fast. The only thing it lacks are 2008 election results built into its precinct data.

But, without further ado, let me get to the first state:



As you can see I made some massive alterations from the current map, most of all Blane Luetekemeyer’s district is completely demolished and replaced by a massive, almost completely rural district for Sam Graves that covers all of Northern Missouri.

This belies the main point of the entire map, to find some way to make the current MO-04, held by highly respected long time incumbent Ike Skelton, a conservative Democrat with a lot of clout, holdable. Skelton will be 79 years old by the time he’s inaugurated for 18th term next year. He’s been in congress since 1977 and has to retire eventually, and his current district is, out of nine districts, the third most Republican, including being more conservative than three Republican held districts.

In fact merely making holding a strong possibility was a big challenge that led to the restructuring of the whole state. Whereas the old map thought vertically, with districts going north south for the most part, I though horizontally, making wide districts.

My solution to holding Skelton’s district was to take liberal Boone County out of the 9th and anchor it down in Skelton’s new district. From that point I kept all of Lafayette, (Skelton’s home), and Saline counties in and both of these are much more Democratic at a local level than their Presidential numbers would suggest. Then I shifted the lines and absorbed much of western Jackson County to add more Democratic leaning suburbs and give it more areas that were trending Democratic. From there it curled up north, took parts of suburban and conservative Clay and Platte Counties, and then took in all of the City of St. Joseph, the home of the Current State Auditor Susan Montee. Its a traditionally Democratic, Blue Dog area and its inclusion, along with Boone, is meant to give the new district two firm population anchors.

Despite all these efforts, from rough figuring, the new district is still swingish, but I got one that went for Obama, whereas the old one went 61-38 for McCain and 64-36 for Bush. But its a district that went narrowly for Obama.

Now is this map realistic? Because that’s what I was working towards. I think yes. Democrats hold the Governors Mansion meaning Legislative Republicans will likely have to compromise. This is not a bad map for them, sure it massively cuts down the odds they can pick up Skelton’s district when he retires, but in exchange it creates five districts Democrats can never ever win, not a bad trade off considering they recently had competitive elections for two of these districts. Its not a bad compromise, and Luetekemeyer is a small sacrifice, and if he really wanted to he could go off and run in the new MO-05, (the yellow, forgot to number them), which is actually amazingly like Skelton’s current MO-04.

Now for Oregon:

Oregon Congressional Map

Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s some beautiful gerrymandering.” Thank you. Now I hardly went to the length of Ihatebush and split Portland and Eugene three ways to create 6 52% Democratic districts, but I think I made a good 5-1 map. Even in doing this I somewhat uncomfortable violated my own principles. I don’t believe redistricting should be used to undermine Democracy, and originally drew a map with 2 Republican congressional districts and lot more continuity. However I lost that map and drew another and this would be a likely gerrymander. I think its the best option.

Why? Its not too extreme. (And sorry, but I just realized that for population purposes there still some significant adjustments I needed to make but forget, but pay no mind, mostly would have just ended up putting more of Lane County into DeFazio’s district). With the exception of the yellow 5th, Peter DeFazio’s district, each district is fairly compact.

Since this map didn’t revolve around one district, how about a district by district overview.

The First District, Blumenauer’s, remains as liberal as always, and very compact, covering only Multnomah County.

The Second District, Wu’s, is very crucial in tying down conservative areas. Its Washington County based, and Washington County has gotten reliably liberal enough to do this, and then Yamhill and Polk Counties.

The 3rd was drawn for Kurt Schrader and its pretty nice. Contains all of Democratic trending Clackamas, (his political base), as well as hard blue Hood River and the the urban edge of Wasco County, which leans Democratic and is trending more so. It takes in small part of Yamhill and a larger portion of Marion, (though most of its population is in the 4th). It also takes in most of conservative Linn County, and, to keep it Democratic, it contains a larger portion of South Portland, overwhelmingly Democratic turf and so remains, from conservative estimates, at least 55-45 Obama, and probably significantly more so.

The 4th is the new district, and its a beauty as far as trying to find Democratic votes. Takes in Democratic leaning Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook Counties, (all trending more Democratic in the long run), as well as heavily Democratic Benton and Lincoln counties and some of the more rural and swingish parts of Lane county, before taking part of Linn county in and taking most of Marion County’s population, centering around Salem, which is a politically swingish city. Ideally a strong Democratic candidate from Salem would be the best candidate for this district, which is again, 55-45, maybe a bit more, at best. Is Salem Mayor Janet Taylor a Democrat? Anyone? I can’t find specifically what her political allegiances are.

The 5th is the most gerrymandered of all. Douglas County is so conservative and Coos is fairly too, even though its trending away. So I took in the central block around Eastern Douglas, (which is trending Dem), Coos, and Eugene, then sent out a little tendril to take in the main urban area of Democratic trending Jackson County, with the thinking that the urban area would be significantly to the left of the county itself, which went only narrowly for Obama. So, about a 58-42 Obama district, unless I mistakenly over-compensated the Democratic lean.

Finally the 6th. Not much to say. Enormous, heavily Republican and mostly unchanged.

It’s a pretty funny story but if only you guys knew how hard it was for me to get to this point there would be more clapping. Just wait though, until you see my redone Michigan map and my Iowa map.

Again, PLEASE VOTE in the poll. It doesn’t spam your computer, it takes two seconds, and its really useful as an encouraging tool that gauges readership. Even if you could care less, please VOTE, for me if anything else. Its a counter to see what kind of response and public readership I’m getting, which is always nice to know, keeps you going seeing you have a following.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

California: A Redistricting Discussion

I know we’ve all blamed California Democrats plenty for cowardice in 2002, but I’ve thought about it and I come to a clearer decision. Things were different then. They had just been through the hard fought 90s where they had to fight tooth and nail to win the senate Seats, the Governorship and a huge numbers of house seats.

Look at the political environment. Gray Davis was very unpopular, the Gary Condit scandal had just racked state Democrats, and Bush was wildly popular and many of areas of the state looked a lot different than they do now, after another 8 years of political trends.

The one thing I think we can all be assured on is that they won’t be so timid again, not after Kerry’s and and especially Obama’s margin in the state, Obama is the benchmark I’d use because he will be running again in 2012 and hopefully will win the state by an even bigger margin then giving coattails. Regardless many of the states areas and major Demographics are trending even more Democratic and doing so very fast.

Here are a list of the Republicans who must be targeted and how.

Dana Rohrabacher. No excuse for having someone this vitrolic a Representative. There’s no way LA should have a representative who refused to meet President Bush at one time because he was too liberal and who would dress up with Minute Men if he could. Obama made progress in this current gerrymander which contains all the Republican coastal areas south of LA. The 46th has a large hispanic population that is growing quickly, and a large Asian population.

Democrats will probably take move hispanic areas out of CA-37 and CA-36 to make a coalition Hispanic VRA district. All they would need to do is increase it by 24 points from 16% to 40% and then use the large Asian population. Laura Richardson’s district has plenty of Democrats to spare, as does Harman’s, and Harman is a little to conservative for her district anyway. Doing this to Rohrabacher just gives me a certain pleasure, there’s such a fitting irony to it. Hopefully he will be defeated by a Hispanic Democrat.

Ed Royce is another big, sore thumb. McCain still own it 51-47. It covers northern Orange County, I’d change that. The best way to change it would to be to lop off that southern hoof into Orange that goes around Loretta Sanchez’s district and move the district North into some of the areas repesented by Grace Napiltano and Linda Sanchez, notable Cerritos. I’d make the new 40th about 56-43 Democratic to just to be safe and then I’d leave all the remaining Republican areas in the 42nd district, I’d buff it up with all the most conservative areas.

As I’ve said elsewhere Bilbary can be targeted. Susan Davis’ district has become so overwhelmingly Democratic it can be diluted a little. Bilbary’s district is trending out from under him for, an ironically, second time, losing the first time to Susan Davis. A little mixing up could create two San Diego districts that went around 59-40 for Obama and both would be Hispanic coalition VRA districts and would be hispanic majority by the end of the decade. The San Deigo can safely support two Democrats now, its time to get to it here.

CA-03 should also be made more Democratic. It can be done. I’d revert it to a district similar to its old boundaries; part of Sacrmento and North Sacremento County Amador County and Yolo. Yolo county is so liberal it would push the district back to the left and Lungren wouldn’t be able to hold such a district. CA-01, Mike Thompson, doesn’t need Yolo anymore. Its become so liberal anyway and the trend doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

Ken Calvert is weak Republican and politician. He’s been racked by scandal in the 90s and barely managed to win a swing district then. So Democrats did the sensible thing, (and I’m mocking them here), and gave him a safely Republican district. When that trended towards Democrats he nearly lost again. I see a trend here. If his district were finally to be made Democratic leaning he’d lose to a strong candidate. It can be done, but to do it I’d make Mary Bono Mack and John Campbell safe. One out of three ain’t bad, and the Inland Empire can’t support more than one Democrat safely right now and Calvert is the weakest of the three so he should be the one targeted.

And there you have it. A loss of five Republican Congressional seats and without going to such extremes as Republicans did in Texas. If we went that far we could probably knock out another two districts or so.

P.S. Please vote in my diary. I use it as a counter to see how many people read a given thing.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Murphy on the Edge of Victory!!!

Check this link out, http://www.elections.state.ny…. .

I’m looking at it and can’t see how Murphy can lose in the end. He’s gained a total 39 votes so far in counties he didn’t even win in the election day results. Add in another 24 from Essex and 12 from Dutchess, subtract 18 for Otsego and Greene, but then add another 57 from Columbia.

Three counties have yet to report, Warren and Washington which were both overwhelmingly for Murphy, and Saratoga which saved Tedisco time and again last Tuesday. And none of this is taking into account the votes that Tedisco is frivlously challenging because they were cast by multiple home owning voters who are registered to vote in Columbia but live downstate mostly; there is a legal precedence for this. A Dkos diarist estimated through a little number crunching that this cost Murphy another 40 or so votes.

I’ve got my fingers crossed. Nate Silver’s called this for Murphy but I’m afraid of getting my hopes up too high.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Murphy Looks Set to Win Absentees (Update, Tedisco Takes a cheap political move)

I got this email from the Murphy campaign:

“We’re pleased that domestic absentee ballots  are starting   to be counted today,” said Henry T. Berger. “The people of the 20th Congressional District need their votes counted without endless delays, so they can be represented in Congress as quickly as possible during these tough economic times. We are confident that once all the absentee ballots are counted, Scott Murphy will win this election.”

In Delaware County, the first county where absentee votes have been completely counted to date, Scott Murphy won the absentee ballot count by 20 votes. On Election Day, Tedisco won Delaware County. There is a Republican registration advantage of 63,000 to 48,000 there.

Exciting news. While Muprhy did shocking well in Delaware county to begin he still lost it narrowly. To be picking up twenty absentee ballots there is a huge indicator. Murphy also gained about a hundred votes when the total was certified. Murphy’s campaign also sites a 16 vote gain in Dutchess, not bad but an indicator that the margins are razor thin in all the counties so far but still favoring Murphy, like the General itself.

The best news is that Murphy’s three best counties were all strong overrepresented in the absentee county and that should strengthen his advantage, while Saratoga’s share fell significantly. So, when Washington, Warren and Columbia come in this whole thing should be wrapped up for Murphy, even if he didn’t win Reneslauer county like he should have.

I’m beginning to feel very confident that Murphy should win this in the end by a few hundred votes. Still. Way too close for comfort.

UPDATE: http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…

Read through that link. He’s challenging a huge set of Democratic absentee ballots cast from people who live primarily downstate but have homes in Columbia county and vote there. Its legal, and has been proven legal, but in a cheap and disgustingly desperate move he’s challenging these votes, which are almost entirely Democratic. Murphy’s margin in Columbia would be about twice as large if not that.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Mississippi Redistricting 2012

My main intention was this: Protect Childers and create a district favorable to moderate, old school state Democrats for a long time to come. I think, looking at the districts above that I wildly succeeded.

Now, my is not as professional or high tech as otehrs that have been posted, for that I apologize. I did have to use a free paint download plus Wikipedia's map of the counties and even then it was a buttload of work to get the districts the right size.

As you see I chose to keep it simple and not cut counties because to do so would make it much more difficult and I did not know or want to find precinct level data for Mississippi. I'm sure the legislature will have maptitude.

Now considering my lack of technical device or drawing skills, as my lopsided line connecting Tate and Desoto to Central Mississippi proves, I did an excellent job and I hope and think the final map might look something like this, though not as aggresive of course. So to start I took the most recent MS census estimates and divided it in four, and getting 734,654 people a district. I obviously didn't get that, but with more advanced techniques and equipment the minor adjustments could easily be made to my map.

First let me explain what I did to Childer's district. The most important thing to me was to get rid of DeSoto and Tate. Though Childer's narrowly won Tate 49-48 I've been there recently and seen the sprawling subdivisions of lavish mansions and suburbs popping up everywhere there. Its growing fast and trending Republican. But the 500 pound Gorilla in the whole redistricting mess, (and the redistricting was entirely centered on protecting Childer's), was DeSoto County. Its growing at a rate of nearly 40% a decade now and it is dominated by wealthy white families from the Memphis burbs. Its wealthy and sprawling and one of the most conservative places I've ever been. I don't see how a Democrat could crack 45% here, even if he was running against a libretarian. Any Republican would be assured 60% of the vote if not more and therefore a more than 7000 vote margin right there.

Its destructive for Childers because it means he has to rack up tons of votes in his base of rural Northeastern Mississippi and win almost every other county in the district to get a victory. That's where the danger of someone like Sen. Nunlee of Tupelo comes in. Lee is the population center of Northeastern Mississippi and he has more local appeal. Say someone like that runs against Childer's. His balance is offset by possibly losing Lee and that puts him in a 50/50 from his 2008 margin and he has to rack up some votes in other parts of the district to win. Now I'm assuming he will either win or lose, if loses I've drawn the perfect district for him to stage a comeback in, but I'm feeling strongly that he'll win.

So, as you can see by my primitive drawing I took out DeSoto. What I basically did was pack all the most Republican areas into one big super district, a spaghette monster trying to reach its tendrils to eat Memphis. As you see I tried to make the connecting strand as thin as possible and ideally it would be placed in rural farmland that way as to abosrb as few Democratic votes as possible. So now DeSoto is in a district it belongs; with other super conservative white suburban Republicans in the Jackson area counties of Madison and Rankin, which continue to dominate it. To replace DeSoto and Tate, I took from MS-03, which thankfully had some heavily black and Democratic counties just bordering Childer's district and begging to be taken in by a Democrat. I took in Oktibbeha, Nouxbee, (where the Supreme Court actually ruled that the local party chairman was discriminating against whites and that the VRA applied to all races in minority of certain areas), Kemper and Winston and Lauderdale counties, (Lauderdale isn't Dem per say but its got a large black population and with Childer's greater appeal to conservative white Dems it should be a solid county for him).

So basically I pumped the black population up in the new MS-03 and took that black population from the current MS-03, now MS-02, what I'd give up? the most conservative portion of the state. I knew the key to being able to institute a Democratic gerrymander would be to put forth a map acceptable to the black Democratic state legislatures and the VRA, which prevented my most ambitious gerrymander which would have had the Delta abosrb DeSoto and Tate while Giving Harper most of Hinds County making all 3 north MS districts very competitive for Dems. However even a mild dilution of Thompson's district's black population would probably be a big NO! So I actually tried to make it more black. I cut out Carroll and Attala and north Madison County and replaced them and the districts lost population with the counties of Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, Franklin, Pike and Walthall. Pike is majority black, as are Adams and Wilkinson, both used to be in the old MS-03.

So I took almost every black area out of Greg Harper's district. I was pretty pleased by that. Gene Taylor's district remains as Republican as ever, but still a little less so, especially since I took Jefferson Davis County and the other half of Jasper County out of Greg Harper's district and put them in Taylor's, (more black votes I took out, that will be one of the most strongly conservative district in the country, I promise you), it wasn't hard. My basic thoughts though are that his district is gone regardless when he retires. It's the most Republican in the state, (though it won't be anymore, hehe), and was Trent Lott's district back in the 1970s and remained the bastion of Republican votes afterwards, carrying Lott to victory in 1988 and Thad Cochran in 1978. Taylor is lucky to hold it all, he lost it first then the Harrison county Sherifff who won it died in a plane crash and he won it. In 1994 and 1996 he just barely held on but he's established himself since then and he's young, despite having been in the house for nearly 2 decades he's only in his mid-fifties so we might hold this district for sometime to come.

So here are my rough and imperfect breakdowns for the various districts, (in the final version they'd have to be modified a bit):

CD-01: 738,296, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D)

CD-02: 732,507, Rep. Greg Harper (R)

CD-03: 731,280, Rep. Travis Childers (D)

CD-04: 737,560, Rep. Gene Taylor (D) I'm

Sorry for the lack of Demographic or vote figures, it was just too much trouble to add up for thirty or forty counties apiece. I can give you rough estimates though.

I'd say the new MS-01 is now about 68% black, the new MS-02 is probably about 18% black, though that's a tough guess, down from 33%. The new MS-03 improves from 27% black to around 33% in order to help Childers, and the new MS-04 goes up about 5 points to about 27% black, I'd have to say according to my best guestimates.

As for the political leanings? I'd put them like this, (and I swear I am pretty good at guestimating, I looked at CO-04, did some rough calculations in my head and said 49-50, McCain, the actually result almost on a head):

MS-01: 70-29 Obama

MS-02: 30-69 McCain, tenative estimate

MS-03: 43-56 McCain

MS-04: 32-65 McCain, tenative estimate

While much of Childers new territory may not look like much it makes him unbeatable failing a major scandal. Considering the sort of pass he has in his old yellow dog dem territory in Northweastern Mississippi you see how this district is his. His big margins in super-Republican territory, (nationall), like Alcorn, Tishimongo, Itawamba, Prentiss, Union and Tippah and Lee make him a juggernaut in this new district considering the various new Democratic leaning areas I placed in it that he should be able to win easily, Lauderdale, Oktibbeha, Nouxebee, Kemper, Winston, and the territory I took out…prominent Republicans won't even want to bother challenging him anymore.

And the fact is such a redistricting plan may not be as unlikely as you think. While it is true that last time conservative Dems and black Democrats screwed Ronnie Shows by putting him a super Republican district with Chip Pickering and placed all the black voters in the state in MS-02, this time around I've thought of everything. For one Democrats have both houses of the legislature, which is usally enough to overrule a Governor in the case of a deadlock, (but the Dems really need to win the Governor's race), and the Conservative Dems that messed up last time gave control of the Senate to Republicans only to be defeated and for Democrats to gain it back with better Democrats, and this map would go far to placate the black legislators and it appeasese the VRA.

Anyway, this is basically the ideal dream map for us in MS, the best we can hope to get there. Any thoughts, suggestions? Criticisms? I have some interesting ideas for PA and NY but I'll get to those some other time.

P.S. Please vote in the poll, I'm using it as a counter to see how many people read a diary. Oh yeah, and just for the heck of it, so you can match up counties and see where I'm refering to, here's a county map of MS:

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...