NC-Gov: What If Bev Perdue Didn’t Run for Re-election?

North Carolina’s incumbent Democratic governor, Bev Perdue, swept into office in 2008 by the narrowest of margins, undoubtedly propelled by the unusual level of enthusiasm for Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Almost ever since then, though, her poll numbers have been poor, and in head-to-heads with likely rematch opponent Pat McCrory (the former mayor of Charlotte), she’s usually trailed by double digits:

All the data points in the above graph are from PPP, but they were confirmed by a recent SurveyUSA poll (PDF) for the Civitas Institute. At least a couple of Democrats last cycle who couldn’t escape numbers like this bailed rather than seek re-election – Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut for one, and Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado for another. In both cases, they were replaced by more popular candidates (Dick Blumenthal and John Hickenlooper, respectively) who went on to win handily.

Both Ritter and Dodd didn’t announce their retirements until January 2010, so perhaps we’re a bit early in asking this question. But at SSP, we’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve, so I’m putting these questions to all of you: Do you think Perdue could be persuaded not to seek a second term? Do you think she should be? And if she could be prevailed upon not to run again, who could take her place for Team Blue?

SSP Daily Digest: 4/27


FL-Sen: It’s official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin’s show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call “Tribal Clef” – like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida “opt out” of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.

MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.

ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn’t yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he’s “not ruling out” a race.

MO-Sen, MO-02: It’s Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race –  and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he’s thinking about running for Akin’s potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin’s present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I’m not sure if he’d wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).

Martin’s newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin’s seat –  again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is “likely.”

NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I’m not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn’t, a public option would have passed? I’m not getting this one at all.

NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state’s Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:

Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I’m tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.

As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn’t have “the most connections in Washington” and that he “won’t be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders.” The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I’m hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.

NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I’m doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you’re curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.


IN-Gov: We’re getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we’ve mentioned in the past) says that he’ll soon form an exploratory committee and that his “mind is made up.” He’s been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I’m feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.


AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you’d call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.

So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett’s vision for dystopia to a plan they’d readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I’m sure I don’t need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They’re also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.

IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he’s “pretty close to pulling the trigger” on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it’ll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What’s more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes – he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.

In any event, Crooks says he’s likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.

MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he’s likely to run. He hasn’t officially declared.

NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn’t tapped by the Republican Party. However, this “news” comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal “newspaper” (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it’s nothing more than a rumor, calling it “the word circulating Monday.”

Here’s something that’s not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won’t run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.

NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I’d hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.

OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are “considering” a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I’m inclined to agree.

TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.

Other Races:

NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she’s under Chris Christie’s considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor’s auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno’s latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he’ll appeal.

WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they’ll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats’ announcement they they’ll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.

Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP’s redistricting chair says: “If you’re term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you.” Dangle away, Jay!

Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: “Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting.” Dems claim they “won’t negotiate away our majority,” but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don’t see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket  –  and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I’m pretty worried.

ND-Sen, ND-AL: Rick Berg Reportedly “Likely” to Run for Senate

From Nathan Gonzales:

Rep. Rick Berg is very seriously considering a run for Senate in North Dakota and is even likely to make the race, according to sources close to the freshman Congressman.

According to the GOP sources, the Republican had no plans to seek higher office until Sen. Kent Conrad’s (D) decision to retire and subsequent encouragement from supporters in the state forced Berg to re-evaluate his options. …

Some of Berg’s former colleagues in the state Legislature are circulating and signing a letter encouraging him to run. The letter is also signed by state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who was a potential Senate candidate, and other statewide officials.

Berg was just elected to the House last November, but he’d instantly be the front-runner if he got into the race. This news might also help explain why Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk’s fundraising was so abysmal: If powerful Republicans have been working to get Berg in the race, then it makes sense that they’d snub Kalk, even though he was the only person who’d expressed real interest in the race so far.

As Nathan notes, though the state does officially hold primaries, the GOP nomination is really decided, Minnesota-style, at a party convention, where Berg would have the inside track. (He beat former GOP state chair Kevin Cramer at last year’s convention.) So it’s hard to see Kalk (or anyone else) sticking it out if Berg gets in. And Dems still don’t have a candidate. This is going to be a very tough race for us if Berg makes the leap, but of course it will open up his at-large House seat at the same time.

NV-Sen: Berkley Catching up to Heller

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/21-24, Nevada voters, 1/3-5 in parens):

Shelley Berkley (D): 43 (38)

Dean Heller (R): 47 (51)

Undecided: 10 (11)

Byron Georgiou (D): 28

Dean Heller (R): 52

Undecided: 20

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Rep. Shelley Berkley’s favorables have barely budged, and this poll’s partisan composition is little changed from January’s. So what explains the swift tightening here? It turns out that Dean Heller is actually a Republican elected official, and, well, Democrats don’t really like Republicans – once they know who they are:

The main thing fueling Berkley’s gain is that Democratic voters have soured on Heller since he launched his Senate campaign, significantly cutting into his crossover support. In January Heller posted a pretty decent 22/31 favorability spread with Democrats, allowing him a 46/23 breakdown overall. Now just 16% of Democrats express a positive view of him and 48% have a negative one. That’s caused his net favorability to drop 9 points from +23 to now +14 at 43/29.

Given that Democratic voters don’t like him as much anymore it’s no surprise that they’re also not as inclined to vote for Heller as they were earlier this year. In January Berkley had only a 44 point lead over Heller with Democratic voters at 64-20. Now it’s a 63 point lead at 76-13 and that 19 point shift in her direction within her own party is the main reason she now has the race within the margin of error.

This trend is only going to get worse for Heller, not better, as he’ll soon soar to prominence once Gov. Brian Sandoval taps him to replace John Ensign. Meanwhile, Berkley actually has a lot more upside among members of her own party than Heller has with his. Dems like Berkley by a 59-9 margin while Republicans adore Heller at a 74-10 rate. This translates to Heller winning 86% of Republicans while Berkley takes just 76% of Democrats – but it’s almost a guarantee that Berkley’s numbers with Dems will improve. Harry Reid got 91% of Ds against Sharron Angle last year and even Jack Carter got 81% in 2006. And trust me: Shelley Berkley’s no Jack Carter.

Oh, and speaking of that pending appoinment for Heller, Tom Jensen threw in an extra question about whether Nevadans are happy with the prospect of Sandoval naming a replacement, or whether they’d prefer to vote on the choice. Respondents chose “vote” by a 53-44 margin. At the end of the day, I don’t know how much people really care about this sort of thing, but perhaps Democrats will be able to make some hay out of Heller getting skipped to the head of the class. At the very least, it’ll paint a big target on his back, and I’m not sure I’d necessarily want the supposed advantages of incumbency in a race like this – not when greater prominence seems to be translating into crappier performance at the polls.

MA-Sen: Alan Khazei Enters the Race

Scott Brown gets a third challenger, and it’s a familiar face:

Democratic activist Alan Khazei announced Tuesday that he will vie for his party’s nomination to face Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R).

Khazei, co-founder of the non-profit group City Year, posted the announcement on his website and said he is holding a kickoff event in Boston.

“Today I’m announcing that I am an official candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts in 2012,” he wrote. “We have to grow our economy, create new jobs, and expand opportunity for the middle class. Together, we can do it.”

Khazei, you may recall, also sought the Democratic nomination in 2009 in the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He finished with an unimpressive 13%, refusing to accept PAC and lobbyist money. I guess he hasn’t been actively fundraising yet this cycle, because his first quarter report showed him taking in only $2800. In any event, he joins activist Bob Massie and attorney Marisa DeFranco in a race which still (very noticeably) lacks a high-profile candidate. Khazei is the biggest name to enter so far, but Democratic power-brokers are undoubtedly still holding out for someone more prominent (and with more experience) to take on Brown, the most vulnerable Republican incumbent up for re-election next year.

It’s still only April, but given how blue Massachusetts is, and the fact that Barack Obama will be at the top of the ticket, the lack of a top-tier candidate at this stage has a lot of people feeling like it’s getting late early around here. You’d think someone big would want to jump in the race already, so why hasn’t anyone? Hard to say, but we’ll see if this state of affairs changes any time soon.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/26


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Grab Bag:

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

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

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

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

Redistricting Roundup:

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

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

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

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

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

WI-07: Former State Sen. Pat Kreitlow to Challenge Duffy

Life just got a whole lot tougher for one vulnerable Republican:

Former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow announced Monday that he intends to run for a U.S. Congress seat in 2012, saying he will fight against “this new war on the middle class.”

Kreitlow, who served one four-year term in the Wisconsin Senate as a Democrat from Chippewa Falls, plans to challenge first-year incumbent Sean Duffy (R-Ashland) for the 7th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kreitlow (whom we mentioned as a possible candidate just a couple of weeks ago) was also a local TV anchor before he first ran for office in 2006, so he’s well-known in the region. Better still, Republicans will be hard-pressed to shore up Duffy’s swingy seat in redistricting, given their need to protect a 5-3 delegation in a 50-50 state. (And if anyone has dibbs on a safer district, it’s Paul Ryan.)

Of course, no one can save Duffy from himself. You remember, I’m sure, when he kvetched about his meager $174,000 salary at a town hall last month. Now he’s done himself in by acting like a jerkface at yet another town hall:

DUFFY: If you look at PPACA, we’re taking 500 billion dollars out of Medicare to fund this program.

CONSTITUENT: That’s not true!

DUFFY: (laughs)

CONSTITUENT: This is about fraud and abuse. You see these things happen all over the country. They’re talking about money into Medicare fraud enforcement. 60 Minutes did a huge story, billions into Medicare fraud annually.

DUFFY: Let me tell you what. When you have your town hall you can stand up and give your presentation.

Seems odd that a guy best known for his appearance on a reality TV show would be not ready for prime time, but there it is! I’m willing to bet that Kreitlow, on the other hand, is quite ready.

SSP to Daily Kos FAQ

As you know, the Swing State Project is becoming a part of Daily Kos and will become “Daily Kos Elections.” This move will happen on Tuesday, May 3. I wanted to fully detail the transition in one place, to help folks understand what’s happening and to ease the process. (I previously explained the move in this post and also responded to many comments.) I also want to offer everyone another chance to ask any questions. This is a long post, but I’d encourage you to read the entire thing before hitting the comment boards. Alright – let’s start!

1) SSP is becoming part of Daily Kos? What does that mean?

In the simplest terms, all you have to do is bookmark this link:

All the content you are accustomed to seeing here at SSP will now appear on its own sub-site at Daily Kos, called “Daily Kos Elections,” or “DKE” for short, starting May 3. So just visit DKE and you’ll be able to read the same great stuff you’ve always read at SSP, each and every day.

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you don’t need to change a thing (though our account names will change, but that should be seamless for you). If you follow us via RSS, you’ll use this new link:

If you’ve signed up for our daily email summary, there may be a short interruption as we migrate to the DK system, but I expect any disruption will be minimal.

2) What’s going to happen to

The archives at will remain available. New user sign-ups, comment posting, and diary posting will be disabled. However, you’ll still be able to log in to your old account to find your old comments and diaries more easily. At some point, we’re likely to port our archives over to Daily Kos as well, but that’s something for further down the line.

3) Alright, you told me how I can read your stuff at DKE. But how can I comment? Will my SSP account still work?

Your SSP account will not work over at DKE. You’ll need to create a new account. I strongly urge you to do this right away if you haven’t yet already because there’s a one-day waiting period for new accounts at Daily Kos to post comments, and a one-week waiting period to post diaries. You can sign up for a new account by going here:

One suggestion I’ve seen in comments that I like: If you choose to use a different username at DKE (or your SSP name is taken by someone else and you need to pick something different), you can edit your sig line to tell people what your new name is. (Or, on DKE, what your old name was.) To do this on SSP, click on your username anywhere you see it (or on “[Username]’s Page” in the right-hand sidebar), then click on the “Profile” tab. You can then edit your Account Info page as you see fit.

On Daily Kos, log in, then click the prominent “My Page” link that’s just below the site’s logo in the top-left area of the screen, then click on “Edit Profile” in the “Welcome Back” box in the top-right corner. Scroll down to the middle of the page until you reach the “Comment Preferences” section. There you’ll see a box for your signature line. After you’re done, just make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom and hit the orange “Save” button.

4) Yipes! I was once banned at Daily Kos. What do I do?

Send me an email: davidnyc [at] dailykos [dot] com. It’s easiest if we work things out privately, on an individual basis.

5) Okay, how about diaries? How do I post those?

Alright, this part is important. The site software works somewhat differently at Daily Kos, and there’s also one big huge thing you have to remember if you want your diaries to appear at DKE. So here goes:

In the “Welcome Back” box (which I mentioned above in #3), click on the word “New” next to where you see “Diaries.” You’ll be brought to a page which is very similar to the new diary entry form at SSP. You’ve got your title, of course, and then your “Intro” box, which is where the main text of your diary goes. If you’re writing something particularly long and want to put part of it below the fold, that goes in the box labeled “Extended.”

Then scroll down past the Extended box. You’ll see an area called “Tags.” You have to enter at least one tag. This is different from SSP, which lets you post diaries without any tags.

Now here’s the really important part: If you want your diary to appear on the right-hand sidebar of DKE, YOU MUST INCLUDE THE TAG “DK Elections” IN YOUR POST. If you include this tag, that tells the system to post it in the “Related Diaries” box in the right-hand sidebar on DKE. Here’s a screenshot to show you exactly where it will appear:

As you can see, I posted a test diary (since deleted) titled “This is a test” in that box. (Can you hear me in the back?) That’s where your diaries will appear, very similar to how they appear on SSP.

But again, how they get there is different. The “DK Elections” tag is crucial. If you include it, your diary will appear in the right place. If you don’t, it will not appear there.

When you are ready to post your diary, click on the “Save & Preview” button. If you are content, then click the “Publication Manager” button. Here’s where things are a little different. You will see either two or three options pop up. The first is “Publish Now.” That’s equivalent to hitting “Save” on an SSP diary – it’ll go live right away. In addition to appearing in the DKE sidebar if you remember to use the right tag, it will also appear on your personal blog by clicking the “Diaries” link in the “Welcome Back” box. (You have your own personal Daily Kos blog now!) If you hit “Publish Later,” you can set your diary to appear at a particular time and day of your choosing. (If you see a third option, “Queue to a Group Blog,” that means you’re probably already a DK power-user, so I don’t think I need to explain that feature.)

So once more, just remember: Include the “DK Elections” tag in all your election-related diaries!

(One side-note: If you include the “DK Elections” tag at the time you first publish your diary, it should appear in the “Related Diaries” sidebar at DKE right away. If you forget the tag but go back and add it later, that will work, too – but be aware that there will be a delay in your diary appearing in the “Related Diaries” box.)

6) Let’s go back to comments for a minute. What’s the deal with these “Recommend” and “Hide” buttons?

“Recommend” means you like a comment and want to give it an attaboy. It’s a nice way of showing that you think a comment is particularly smart, useful, funny, etc. I sometimes like to give recommends even to comments I disagree with, if I think the person has made a thoughtful point (even if I don’t share their views). I also think they can be helpful defusers – if a discussion gets a little more heated than I’d like, I might give someone a recommend just to show, “Hey, we’re cool.” It’s sort of a technological way of indicating that we can all “leave it on the court” (as they say in the NBA).

“Hide” means you think a comment is so offensive that it should literally be hidden from view. It’s not to be used for mere disagreement, or even sharp displeasure – a “hide” rating is a very serious sanction, and if a comment gets enough of them, it will in fact disappear from view (though it won’t be deleted). Use these sparingly, only for spammers, true trolls, or genuinely offensive rhetoric.

(Note that you may not see the “hide” rating button if you have a very new account. Only “Trusted Users” have access to “hide” ratings, and you need to build up what the site calls “mojo” in order to become a TU. Don’t worry – you can and likely will become a TU before long, if you aren’t already. The traditional way to gain mojo is by having your comments get recommended, but there are many others. If you’re interested in learning more about how mojo works, you can check out this post and this post from Markos.)

7) Looks like there are a lot of other new features at Daily Kos as well. What’s up with all of those?

Indeed there are, but I don’t want to make this post any longer than it is. However, if you are interested in a good primer about the site, Joan McCarter (one of the site’s senior editors) has written a great series of introductory posts:

Getting started at Daily Kos 4.0

How to read, write, and comment in Daily Kos 4.0

What’s new and/or improved in Daily Kos 4.0

8) Why are you making this change?

There are several key reasons. First, I think our coverage last cycle was absolutely top-notch – but we were operating at and in fact past capacity. I had a day job as an attorney which meant I couldn’t blog at all while at work. So those morning edition digests you saw were written by me late at night, after I came home from work, and keeping it up was incredibly exhausting. The other writers here all felt the same way about their workloads. So for us to maintain our existing level of coverage and in fact continue to grow, we had to make a big change. I’m not sure SSP would otherwise have been sustainable in the long run.

The second reason ties into the first. I’ve been hired to work full-time for Daily Kos. This means we get to produce more great content for you on a daily basis. It’s also a dream job for me – I’m getting paid to do what I’ve otherwise done as a hobby for almost a decade. Markos has been trying to bring me aboard for years, and the stars finally aligned. It was an offer I couldn’t turn down, and I’m very glad I didn’t.

And a third important reason is server uptime and general technology issues. As you know, SoapBlox often struggles during high traffic loads and has even gone down more than once. Daily Kos is infinitely more robust – Markos has made uptime one of his most important priorities. To give you an example, on election night in 2008, Daily Kos had nine million pageviews but didn’t so much as hiccup. That’s as many pageviews as SSP gets in three years! (Indeed, this performance was so impressive that the site’s tech guru, Jeremy Bingham, was invited to do a presentation about it at the prestigious O’Reilly Velocity conference.) And more generally speaking, SoapBlox has certainly been showing its age, while DK just underwent a major upgrade and continues to be actively developed. It’s just a much more modern, robust system that will simply never go down on election nights.

There are some other nice benefits for the community as well. We get access to greater resources through Daily Kos, and in my role as Political Director, I’m responsible for all polling that we undertake. I plan on involving you guys in those decisions – expect to see some PPP-style “vote on where we poll next” posts as the campaign season gets further underway.

9) So who’s going to be writing at DKE?

The staff will be (in alphabetical order by first name):

Arjun Jaikumar

David Jarman (Crisitunity)

David Nir (DavidNYC)

James L.


Steve Singiser

And, of course, you’ll all still be writing diaries.

10) What’s going to happen to the community? To SSP’s policies?

DKE will remain an “elections-only” zone. Our focus will, as always, be on pure electoral horserace politics, not policy. There is no editorial direction from up on high at Daily Kos (and never has been) – DKE will retain complete editorial independence. I’m as free to disagree with Markos (or any other Daily Kos staffer) as you are – and I can (and do) exercise that freedom.

As far as community goes, we will do everything possible to maintain what we’ve built here. We will, as always, try to steer conversations in helpful ways and avoid derails and off-topic discussions. While I personally will not have the power to ban users, this is actually something we do quite seldom here at SSP – and if someone is truly disruptive, I can make it known to Meteor Blades, the Daily Kos Director of Community. If you also have concerns about a user, you can reach out to one of the staff members (see above).

Most importantly, though, is the role all of you will play. We are trying something new, by creating this site-within-a-site at Daily Kos, and some people who encounter us will simply not be familiar with our customs and our focus. I know it’s not always easy, but I ask that you be patient with people like that – try to explain to them, calmly and politely, what we’re all about. If someone says something that would be out of place at SSP, try not to get angry or frustrated but instead view it as a teaching opportunity. I’ve done this myself many times over at DK, and it’s proven surprisingly rewarding. Many people are genuinely grateful when you take the time to explain things. I know it may seem ridiculous when someone asks something like, “What’s the DSCC?” but if you tell them without condescension, they’ll appreciate it – and they’ll learn. (In fact, here’s a great example of me doing just that, and getting rewarded for it.) Remember, some folks simply don’t know a lot about the horserace and about how SSP/DKE works. Our mission is to spread the light!

One aspect of DKE that’s appropriate to explain here is how our work will be featured on the main page of Daily Kos – that is, if you go to All of our posts will originate at DKE (, so if you go there, you’ll never miss a thing. But some of our posts will also get published on front page (or “FP”) of Daily Kos itself. This mostly applies to our more general interest stuff: daily digests, stand-alone poll posts, and breaking news (like candidate announcements). Wonkier stuff (like the kind of data crunching that Jeff and Crisitunity are known for) will generally not get cross-posted to the FP.

So what this means is that some folks will “wander in off the street,” so to speak, and find DKE posts not because they first visited, but because they went to These sorts of people are apt to be less familiar with our customs, so they may require some more hand-holding. But I’ll tell you: We’ve cross-posted a bunch of content over the past couple of months, and in the horserace-specific posts, you tend to get a type of commenter who would fit in quite well at SSP. In fact, I’m quite eager to unite these folks with us under one banner. (Believe it or not, not every horserace geek has heard of SSP!)

Indeed, this might seem like a somewhat strange thing to say, but most of the stuff we’ve cross-posted to the DK FP has not gotten a lot of comments… and that’s a good thing! Part of that is because the flow of new posts on the FP is very high, usually one every 40 minutes or so. (The flow at DKE will be what you’re accustomed to here at SSP.) But another key reason is that horserace geeks like ourselves are generally a pretty self-selected bunch, and horserace geekery is only one of many reasons why people visit DK – whereas at SSP, it’s really the only reason. So a lot of the, shall we say, noisier folks that people have expressed concern about at DK aren’t really attracted to horserace diaries in the first place.

And there’s an additional point which is really worth making here: I know a lot of you have concerns about the integration of our two sites. There definitely are some commenters at DK who would not fit in well here (even if they mostly stay out of the horserace stuff) – I won’t disagree with that. But there’s no reason, absolutely no reason, why a few bad apples at Daily Kos should “take over” SSP culture and not the other way around.

You people are some of the smartest, most thoughtful election analysts around. Honestly, the combined brainpower of this place kicks the ass of any other election shop anywhere. (Are you telling me we couldn’t out-hustle the NRCC? Hell no you’re not. I would definitely take that Pepsi challenge.) But you’re also a really polite, friendly bunch who’ve shown how to make a great community work. Yeah, we step in to moderate sometimes, but really the vast majority of the time, this community knows what it’s doing.

So I think we have a lot of ability to make Daily Kos more like SSP rather than the reverse. We’ll have our own sub-site, of course, but even for the posts that also appear on the FP, we can make those comment boards our own, too. The current Daily Digest posts at DK seldom get more than a couple dozen comments. Here they get hundreds! How can a few irksome Kossacks change us, when we outnumber them by a huge margin? Indeed, SSP’s traffic is at record highs. To put it in terms we can all appreciate, our base is huge! Even though it’s a much bigger site overall, the DK horserace base is small, and mostly very much like us. Or put another way: When liberals from the northeast migrate southward for warmer climes, do they become more conservative? Of course not – quite the opposite: they make their new states bluer. There’s no reason why it won’t be the same for us.

I am sure it will be imperfect. I may occasionally post on a topic which unexpectedly brings out the crazy brigade in a way that even I can’t keep a lid on. It’ll happen, it’ll be annoying, and maybe I won’t be able to re-rail it… but you know what? These moments, I expect, will be few and far between, but if they happen, we’ll just move on to the next thread. SSP probably has to be about the least inflammatory progressive blog there is, so if a freak-out does occur, odds are the next post will be pretty chill, especially if it’s a Daily Digest.

And yeah, maybe there will be one or two people who keep wanting Alan Grayson to primary Bill Nelson, and maybe they won’t give up no matter how many times you patiently explain what a bad idea that would be. I don’t expect this see much of this, but if it ever winds up happening, just ignore `em. Or like I said, wait for the next thread. Or if you don’t feel like waiting, then post a new diary of your own.

Many of you have known me for a long time. You know I’ve always been honest with you, and you know I’ve worked hard almost every day for many years to make this site the best it can be. I don’t think anyone owes me anything, but I hope I’ve earned a measure of credibility with you – enough, at least, that you’ll give DKE a shot, that you’ll help export SSP’s brand of community to the new mothership, and that you’ll put up with occasional frustrations and growing pains so that we can continue to succeed in our new home.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the support you’ve shown me, my fellow writers, and this site over the years, and I’ll be even more grateful if you’ll join me in helping to make this transition work. Thank you.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/25


ME-Sen: It’s stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won’t support Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It’s a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she’ll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn’t help – and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.

NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he’ll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a “done deal.”

OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he’ll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.

TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won’t run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.


IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it’s not unimportant. I can’t really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse – he won’t have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he’s just feeling ambivalent. UPDATE: Can’t believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership… which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.

LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I’m filing this under “LA-Gov” because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he’ll run again, or if he’ll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.

NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year’s gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn’t, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand’s been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he’s talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he’s more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.

Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year’s key races. Marchand wasn’t included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.


AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour’s last.

NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally… but in any case, Diamond didn’t return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.

NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.

NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY’s List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.

OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from “rumor level” to “considering level.” Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he’s definitely interested. He’d be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race – Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don’t (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.

Other Races:

KY-St. House: It’s not the biggest news in the world, but it’s unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties… from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn’t switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory – which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)

WI Recall, WI-Gov: I’m usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% “keep” and 47% “remove.” They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying “keep” for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and “keep” for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.

Grab Bag:

House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC’s Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC’s “tuppence a bag” efforts, it’s a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.

Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP’s list – see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy “significant,” but also notes that it’s for five figures… so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they’ll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can’t possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it’s more scared of what a court might draw, then we’ll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they’re the ones who have the most to lose – Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you’re interested in drilling down on this one some more.

Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of “leadership.” The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won’t take place until the fall.

Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi’s redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren’t voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.

Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).

SSP Daily Digest: 4/22 (Afternoon Edition)


CA-26: More eliminationist rhetoric from the right (not that they’ll ever cease): Anthony Portantino, the Democratic Assemblyman running against Rep. David Dreier, is featured on some second amendment-related Old West-style “WANTED” poster.

LA-02: Daily Kingfish says that Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III (son of a former state senator of the same name) is rumored to be interested in a primary challenge to Rep. Cedric Richmond in the newly-redrawn 2nd CD. The post points out that Bossiere’s PSC district has a lot of overlap with the new borders of the 2nd, including a dog-leg up to the Baton Rouge area. (Bossiere, like Richmond, is also African-American.)

NH-02: It’s nothing like the town hall craziness of 2009, but it’s nice to see idiots like Charlie Bass take heat in public forums for voting for Paul Ryan’s Medicare-killing budget. Pretty pathetic political instincts on the Bassmaster’s part. This vote will haunt him – and it’s already haunting several other colleagues, like Bob Dold!, Lou Barletta, and Paul Ryan himself.

NM-01: Oh no. I really had hoped we were done with Marty Chavez, but the maddening former Albuquerque mayor is apparently considering a run to replace Martin Heinrich, and is even supposedly meeting with the DCCC. The good news, though, is that ex-LG (and 2010 gubernatorial nominee) Diane Denish is also thinking about entering the race. This could be a very crowded primary.

NV-02: You know Jon Ralston is enjoying this one. After a report came out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (which Ralston not-so-affectionately refers to as a “newspaper,” in scare quotes every time) that state GOP chair Mark Amodei was planning to seek the 2nd CD seat being vacated by Dean Heller, Ralston spoke with Amodei who says he didn’t announce anything. In the LVRJ piece (which oddly quotes Amodei himself, so I don’t know how they got the story wrong), Amodei also said that Republican state Sen. Greg Brower told him he also planned to join the race (and Ralston confirms via Twitter.)

Of course, who knows what’s going to happen with this seat, given the unsettled legal questions about how a special election should be conducted if Gov. Brian Sandoval taps Heller for John Ensign’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.

TN-06: I wonder what’s up with Diane Black. The GOP frosh gave her own campaign two-thirds of a million bucks in Q1 – not a loan, an outright donation. I’m guessing that she’s trying to ward off a potential primary challenge, given that she won the open-seat Republican primary last year with just 31% of the vote (her two nearest competitors both got 30%, so there must have been much gnashing of teeth).

Other Races:

NJ-St. Sen.: An administrative law judge ruled that Olympian Carl Lewis, who is running as a Democrat, does indeed meet state residency requirements. However, it sounds like Republicans plan to appeal this ruling.

WI Recall: All sorts of recall news. First up, Dem state Rep. Fred Clark says he’ll challenge Luther Olsen in the expected recall election, another strong get for Team Blue. Democrats also filed a huge 30,000 signatures against their fifth recall target, Alberta Darling. That leaves just three eligible Republicans left: Rob Cowles, Glenn Grothman, and Mary Lazich, the latter two of whom are in very red districts (so I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t get hit with a recall).

Republicans also finally filed signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Democrats, though, charged that the GOP’s petition-gathering efforts were sloppy and flawed, and vowed to challenge the signatures.

Redistricting Roundup:

California: California’s new independent redistricting commission is set to release a draft set of maps by June 10th, with final maps due on August 15th (after a period of public comment).

Colorado: Things don’t seem to be going so swimmingly in Colorado’s attempt to go back to the redistricting drawing board, with a special committee begging for more time to finish a new set of maps. The Republican co-chair says he thinks they can produce new plans in 10 days, but as Al Swearengen says, announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh.

Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper sounds like he has no intention of vetoing any map that the legislature sends him. Since Dems control one body and Republicans the other, this means they’ll have to produce a compromise map – or no map at all, and kick it to the courts. I think Hick’s hands-off approach (which is totally in-character for him) increases the likelihood of the latter, because it eliminates a key piece of Dem leverage which could be used to force an agreement.

Missouri: Utterly embarrassing: Barely more than a day after finally agreeing to a conference committee to resolve differences between Republicans in the state House and Senate, work has ground to a halt, and nothing more will happen until Tuesday. One state Rep. offered this hilariously nonsensical assessment: “I think we’re close, but obviously we’re far.” Meanwhile, the House passed a new map this morning that supposedly tries to address some Senate concerns, but given that there is no actual agreement, I’m guessing this is just a negotiating tactic.

New Jersey: Teabaggers are suing to block implementation of NJ’s new legislative map. It’s not quite clear what the grounds are, but WNYC summarizes: “The suit alleges that the commission over-packed the southern half of the state and ‘illegally split Newark and Jersey City from three districts each to two.'”

Louisiana: The state House submitted its own map to the DoJ for pre-clearance, which I believe makes it the first such plan to go before Justice this cycle. The hotly-contested congressional map, though, has yet to be sent in.

Victims: Dave Wasserman and Julia Edwards try their hand at the most likely redistricting victims this cycle, with separate lists for the 10 most endangered Democrats and Republicans.