Massachusetts Redistricting: Eliminating Tierney

Right now, Massachusetts redistricting is just a big guessing game. John Olver, the oldest member of the Massachusetts delegation and arguably the easiest to get rid of, has said he’s running for re-election, and his allies in the state legislature probably aren’t rushing to press him for retirement. Speculation has turned to which member of Congress will run against Scott Brown, because that would solve the problem of whose district to eliminate. But what if no one runs against him? None of the Mass congresscritters are really that ballsy, and if rumors are true that John Kerry is going to be tapped for SoS and create an easier shot at an open seat, it makes sense that they would be biding their time. So what if every incumbent files for re-election? What would the legislature do?

More after the flip.

Although I admittedly have little to back up this theory, I propose the possibility that John Tierney could be the lucky winner. Fairly or unfairly, he has an ethical cloud over him because of his wife, and he represents the second-most Republican district in the state. While the folks on Beacon Hill are far from squeaky clean themselves, the ethics problems combined with an aversion to having to prop him up should his problems get worse could provide motivation to eliminate his district. Admittedly, given the location of the district, it’s a bit hard to slice it up in a way that won’t give Tierney a shot at re-election. But this map should make his life a lot harder, and his ethics problems combined with establishment support for the other nine congresscritters and his district being split up should mean that there will be no Tierney in 2013.

In addition to eliminating Tierney, this map also attempts to shore up relatively shaky Democratic incumbents.

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MA-01 Incumbent: John Olver (D-Amherst

This district mostly stays the same, although it drops Westfield and West Springfield and gains the college towns of Northampton and South Hadley, in addition to some R-friendly Worcester suburbs. In the end it should be about a wash and not much changed from the current D+14. Still safe, even for someone as liberal as Olver.

MA-02 Incumbent: Richard Neal (D-Springfield

Drops its stupid tail into Northampton and South Hadley and gains West Springfield and Westfield, as well as some more Worcester suburbs. It probably becomes a bit more Republican, but nothing too intense, going from D+9 to maybe D+6 or 7 (note that the most Democratic Republican-held district outside of IL, even after 2010, is D+4, and this area is not nearly as traditionally Republican as PA-06 or IL-10). Neal’s a big boy and he clearly wants to appeal to Republicans with his douchey praise of Scott Brown and conservadem record, so he’ll be alright.

MA-03 Incumbent: Jim McGovern (D-Worcester)

Drops some more Worcester suburbs, gains Framingham/Natick, and now contains the vast majority of Fall River. It was already D+9 and gets even safer. Sorry, Republicans, this one’s Safe D even in a 2010 repeat, and might have even voted for Coakley (I’m not sure).

MA-04 Incumbent: Barney Frank (D-Newton)

This is my favorite district just because it has 0 population deviation. Delicious! Frank represents a D+14 district and won by double digits in the worst Dem year imaginable against a legitimate opponent, so he can afford to take one for the team. He drops most of his part of Fall River and gains some conservative Plymouth County towns. Nevertheless, he retains the liberal Jewish Democratic strongholds of Brookline, Newton, and Sharon as well as the working-class Dem cities of Taunton and New Bedford. He even gains a few precincts from liberal Needham. At the very worst this should be like D+9 or 10, still more than safe.

MA-05 Incumbent: Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell)

And now we start with the dismantling of Tierney. I didn’t want to weaken Tsongas too much; although she won by double-digits in 2010, that was the second-weakest incumbent congressman performance in Massachusetts, only behind Barney Frank. And while Barney Frank faced a fairly strong challenger, Tsongas only had to deal with a some dude. Besides, she won by a surprisingly narrow single-digit margin in her first election to the seat in 2007. So I gave her solidly Dem parts of Tierney’s district like Bedford and Newburyport while retaining heavily Hispanic Lawrence and liberal MetroWest suburbs like Acton and Concord, while adding new ones like Lexington and half of Waltham (including Brandeis University). Tsongas should be able to breathe easier now.

MA-06: Incumbent: John Tierney (D-Salem), Ed Markey (D-Malden)

And now the dismantling of John Tierney really begins. This district eats up Republican parts of Tierney’s old district, but also includes Tierney’s hometown of Salem as well as Democratic suburbs from Markey’s district like Medford, Malden, and Arlington. It also contains the other half of Waltham, including Bentley University. This district contains about ~250,000 people or so from Tierney’s district, but it should contain more from Markey’s (it also contains a few ten thousand people from Tsongas’). Given that Markey will have the establishment behind him and is a superior fundraiser (unlike Tierney, Markey wasn’t in a competitive race at all and still outraised Tierney more than 3-to-2), not to mention Markey’s part of the district is more Democratic and will have disproportionate pull in a primary, I wouldn’t call this a viable option for Tierney. After Markey beats Tierney, he should be golden in the general; even though this district will drop from D+15 to D+10 or 11, Markey won 2-1 in a year when many Dem incumbents in safe districts were held to below 60.

MA-07 Incumbent: Michael Capuano (D-Somerville)

Aside from the new 6th, this is the district with the most of Tierney’s territory. Again, it’s safe D in the general, as it adds heavily Democratic Lynn from Tierney’s district and retains Cambridge, Somerville, Allston-Brighton, Back Bay, and Fenway (bounded by JP to the south and Northeastern University’s campus to the east). All of those areas will have disproportionate pull in a primary, and with the exception of Lynn, they will all support Capuano. As with Markey, Capuano should easily dominate Tierney in fundraising, as he raised $3.7 million dollars in his unsuccessful Senate primary campaign (Tierney only raised about a million dollars in his whole 2010 House campaign). In 2006, when both Tierney and Capuano faced Some Dude opponents but were absolutely safe, Capuano outraised Tierney 3-2 despite representing the safer district. Don’t really see Tierney winning here either.

MA-08 Incumbent: Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston)

Drops Brockton and gains most of Boston from Capuano. Should be a wash PVI-wise, if anything it might get slightly more Democratic. Maybe Sonia Chang-Diaz can primary Lynch’s sorry ass now. Needless to say, if we’re looking at a wash or even improvement in a district that’s already D+11, the general is not an issue.

MA-09 Incumbent: William Keating (D-Quincy)

Helped by facing a flawed opponent in 2010, Keating overcame two indies siphoning the Dem vote to win by a semi-comfortable 5 points. He should be even more comfortable now that his district adds heavily Democratic Brockton.  

That’s it for the map. I would love to hear everyone’s comments and suggestions.

But wait! As a bonus, I present to you…the ScottBrownmander!

Isn’t it wonderful? Scott Brown, with his newfound and curiously politically convenient love of minorities, would agree. Scott just wants to see a minority congressman from Massachusetts so badly, he would do anything to make a minority-majority district, even creating an ugly gerrymander! Unfortunately for Scott, even this ultra-packed gerrymander is 40% white VAP, with the next highest groups being blacks at 25% and Hispanics at 20%. With such a splintered electorate, no way any one minority group can get enough votes to overcome the white plurality. Fortunately for Scott however, this map is okay! Turns out his goal is to pack Democratic minority voters into one district, not to ensure minority representation. Phew! Crisis averted.

What Would a Court-Drawn Missouri Map Look Like?

Missouri Republicans don’t look like they’ll be able to get their maps through. For whatever reason, the House and Senate are having trouble agreeing on maps. Since Democratic Governor Jay Nixon stands ready to fight back against a Republican map with his veto pen at hand, the chances that Missouri’s congressional map will ultimately be thrown to a court are rising.

Despite having little knowledge of Missouri (outside of a few visits to St. Louis), I decided to take a stab at what a court-drawn Missouri map might look like. I tried my best to ignore partisan considerations and incumbent residences and to focus on compact districts and communities of interest. I also tried not to hew too closely to the current map, as I believe it was drawn by Dems rather than a court (although I’m not 100% sure about that, since a court drew the current state legislative districts). I’m sure I made my fair share of mistakes along the way, so those with knowledge of Missouri politics are more than welcome to weigh in.

Anyway, here we go with the maps. (Note that the hoof, while not shown, is obviously in CD-07. And ignore the box in the southeast; DRA can be weird with Z-drag sometimes)

MO-03 Incumbent: Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth)

This district most closely resembles the current MO-04. However, it was somewhat of a “remainders” district and as such looks a bit weird compared to the others. Luetkemeyer lives here but would probably be happier in the 8th. Vicky Hartzler and some of her old territory (KC burbs, Warrensburg) have been drawn into the 5th, but she’s probably better off running here. As long as she makes it past the general, she’s safe in this heavily Republican district.

MO-05 Incumbent: Sam Graves (R-Tarkio), Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville)

The old MO-06. It becomes more KC-centric and draws together crazy freshman Vicky Hartzler and creepy zombie Sam Graves. Most of the territory currently belongs to Graves, so chances are he’ll run here while Hartzless…er, Hartzler moves to MO-03. Ike Skelton also lives here, but since lots of the territory is unfamiliar and he’ll be celebrating his 81st birthday not long after the 2012 elections, I don’t see him running.

MO-06 Incumbent: Billy Long (R-Springfield)

Little change from MO-07, remains a rock-ribbed Republican district based in Springfield and Joplin.

MO-07 Incumbent: Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau)

This district loses its western portion and moves north along the Illinois border, reaching all the way up to Jefferson County. It should still be strongly Republican, and Emerson is likely safe. Even the most well-funded theoretical Democratic recruits, such as 2010 nominee Tommy Sowers (who has been drawn into MO-03) and country singer Sheryl Crow, are probably too liberal to win here.


Compacts slightly into the northeast corner of the state. This district overlaps with the current MO-09 so Blaine Luetkemeyer would probably move here.

Now for the STL area.

MO-01Incumbent: Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis), Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis)

This district expands to take in almost all of St. Louis and a bit more of St. Louis County. The tentacle in the middle looks a bit weird but adds a decent number of black voters. Lacy Clay (douchebag that he is) won’t mind this district despite how badly it screws over Russ Carnahan; it goes from 49.8% black to 49.9%, and its white population plummets from 46.9% to 41.7%. Additionally, its 18+ population has the narrowest of white pluralities (46.3-46.2, a difference of 402 people). I have no idea whether Russ Carnahan lives here or MO-02, but either way he has signaled that he will challenge Todd Akin rather than getting into a primary battle with Clay. (EDIT: Carnahan’s old state house district is located in this CD, so it’s probably fair to assume he lives here.)

MO-02 Incumbent: Todd Akin (R-Town and Country)

As mentioned above, Carnahan will likely move here if he doesn’t live here and run against Akin. Unfortunately, I figured a court would elect to throw the rest of STL County with St. Charles rather than Jefferson from a communities of interest perspective, but those with better knowledge of Missouri may question that (after all, I’ve never been further west in Missouri than Frontenac, so I don’t know jack, lol). Then again, the loss of Jefferson (which voted for whackadoodle Ed Martin by 20 points in 2010) doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the loss of most of St. Louis.

Partisan lean-wise, this district is obviously somewhere between the current MO-02 and MO-03; race-wise, it’s 89% white by total population (compared to 94% for the current MO-02 and 86% for the current MO-03). I think Carnahan would have a shot for sure, especially in 2012, but he’d be out the door in a minute in anything resembling a Republican year.

Now to finish up, here’s a closeup on KC.

MO-04 Incumbent: Emanuel Cleaver (D-Kansas City)

This district is the old MO-05, except without any of Cass County. It adds the rest of Jackson County as well as about 70,000 people in Clay County to reach the required population. I suppose Cleaver could theoretically be vulnerable in a 2010 repeat with a stronger opponent than Jacob Turk, but this district will never be held by a Republican for more than 2 years because high turnout in KC during a presidential election means automatic Republican loss. This is all the more so because it drops Cass County, which voted 67-30 for Republican challenger Jacob Turk in 2010.

This district’s total population white % actually drops, though, from 69% to 65%. (Its black population drops too, however, from 24% to 22%; in exchange, its Hispanic population rises from 6% to 8%, and its Asian population goes from 1% to 2%).

5-4 Indiana Dem gerrymander

So since the Republicans released a “clean” gerrymander, I wanted to see what Dems could do if they were at the wheel again. My gerrymander isn’t clean in the sense of compact districts but it does minimize county-splitting. Sadly this is fantasy but I thought it’d be fun anyway to link together the places in Indiana that vote Dem.

One note: I only bothered to put Obama guesstimates for the districts that are supposed to be Democratic. The other ones are basically just Republican votesinks so it’s probably safe to assume they’re not competitive.

IN-01 Incumbent: Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville

Little change here. Eats up the rest of Porter County as well as part of White County for population reasons. Only slightly less Dem, most likely.

Obama guesstimate: ~61%

IN-02 Incumbent: Joe Donnelly, D-Granger

Not much change. It’s probably unavoidable that this one gets more Republican due to population loss. Even so it should be mostly the same. Might have voted Donnelly out in 2010 but a better shot for him than what the Republicans have planned.

Obama guesstimate: ~53%

IN-03 Incumbent: Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe

Not much change, Safe R.


Todd Rokita is drawn out of this district and it is entirely reconfigured to become much more Democratic. It takes in a smorgasbord of Democratic cities like Muncie, Anderson, West Lafayette, and Terre Haute to create a district with a solid Democratic base.

Obama guesstimate: 53-54%

IN-05 Incumbent: Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis?

Republican vote sink in the Indy suburbs. The Indiana version of the Circle of Ignorance. I’m not sure if Rokita lives here or the 7th, but he’ll have no trouble here, at least not in the general. Safe R.


Republican vote sink that starts in Fort Wayne and wraps around to the Indy suburbs. Hey, I told you this was a gerrymander. Safe R.

IN-07 Incumbent: Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis; Dan Burton, R-Indianapolis; Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis?

Expands slightly. Should still be safe D. I’m pretty sure Burton lives here and Rokita might too. This district is far too Dem for them so they should duke it out in the 5th, or one can move to the 6th. (Perhaps Burton should just retire; he’s probably dead in the primary against a second-tier candidate, let alone a sitting Congressman.)

Obama guesstimate: ~68%


I guess I could have swapped the 8th and 9th, but whatever. Anyway, this is another gerrymandered vote sink winding its way from the Indy burbs to the Ohio River, and is Safe R.

IN-09 Incumbent: Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh; Todd Young, R-Bloomington

Both Bucshon and Young live here, but neither will want to stick around. They’re both too conservative to win a district that contains Evansville and Bloomington, so they might as well run to the 8th (where Young has the advantage because some of it is territory he represents now). Even though this district only narrowly vote for Obama, some of its McCain-voting counties might be loyal to a conservadem. Both Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill live here, so this might be an interesting Dem primary.

Obama guesstimate: 50% (narrow win)

6-4 WA Map

You know the drill. Disclaimer: I have never even been to WA and pretty much know nothing about the state, so feel free to criticize (it should be a learning experience).

I went for 6-4 because my guess is that the commission which redistricts WA will shore up every incumbent and add a new Dem seat while avoiding really ugly gerrymanders. Although I have seen maps that add a new Dem seat in the Olympia/Tacoma area, I chose to add one in the Seattle suburbs.

Also, I guess I somehow missed a precinct which somehow has 0 residents but 4 voters, but we’ll ignore that. All incumbents have been kept in their districts, and the greatest population deviation is 379 people.

WA-03 Incumbent: Jaime Herrera, R-Camas

Old: 53-47 Rossi

New: 56-44 Rossi

Description: Withdraws from Democratic-leaning Pacific and Thurston counties and moves east, making Herrera safer. It’s possible that McCain may have won this now, or at least only lost it narrowly.

WA-04 Incumbent: Doc Hastings, R-Pasco

Old: 64-36 Rossi

New: 64-36 Rossi

Description: Loses its northwestern part and moves east, swallowing up Walla Walla, Lewiston, and Pullman. Remains a safe R district mostly based in Yakima and the Tri-Cities.

WA-05 Incumbent: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane

Old: 59-41 Rossi

New: 59-41 Rossi

Description: Loses SE portion and gains some area in the west, making it somewhat more rectangular. Eats a few precincts of Wenatchee in Chelan County for population reasons. Still Spokane-based and Safe R.


Old: 56-44 Murray

New: 56-44 Murray

Description: Essentially the same, although goes a bit further north and east. Unfortunately, douchebag Brian Baird still lives here, but this district is sure to elect a Democrat no matter what.

WA-02 Incumbent: Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens

Old: 51-49 Murray

New: 52-48 Murray

This district shrinks considerably, pulling entirely out of King and much of Snohomish. Gains some liberal suburbs from the 1st, but not much. Nevertheless, that, combined with the shedding of conservative territory, moves the needle towards Team Blue a bit. If Larsen could survive 2010, he’s probably fine.

WA-07 Incumbent: Jim McDermott, D-Seattle

Old: 81-19 Murray

New: 81-19 Murray

Not much change here, may have gotten very very very slightly more Democratic. Seattle, Vashon Island, and a small piece of Seattle’s southern suburbs.

WA-09 Incumbent: Adam Smith, D-Tacoma

Old: 53-47 Murray

New: 56-44 Murray

Smith will like this district. He drops his moderately Democratic portion of Thurston County for very Democratic portion of Tacoma that was in the 6th before. With all of Tacoma and some of the southern King suburbs, Smith would have won easily even in 2010.


Old: N/A

New: 54-46 Murray

This is the new district, anchored in the eastern suburbs of Seattle. It contains Suzan DelBene’s home of Medina, so she could probably get elected to Congress. 54-46 Murray is a pretty solid Democratic margin (probably around 60% Obama), so as long as DelBene is the #1 Democratic vote-getter in the primary she should win the general easily. However, State Sen. Rodney Tom, who briefly challenged Darcy Burner in the 2008 primary, lives in Medina here too, so he could give DelBene trouble.

WA-06 Incumbent: Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton

Old: 53-47 Murray

New: 53-47 Murray

Dicks drops his heavily D portion of Tacoma but gains Pacific County and heavily D Olympia in exchange. Basically a wash.

WA-08 Incumbent: Dave Reichert, R-Auburn

Old: 51-49 Rossi

New: 55-45 Rossi

So I was a bit uncomfortable with pulling this into Chelan and Kittitas counties, but even if there were a way to avoid that, I think this district would still swing a bit towards the Republicans, since the new 10th takes a lot of the liberal Seattle suburbs off this district’s hands. This district only contains part of Auburn but I am pretty sure it contains Reichert’s home. It also contains Carnation, home to Darcy Burner, but this district is far too Republican for her to win.

Rhode Island primary rundown

A month from tomorrow is primary night in RI, along with some other states. Having recently come home to Rhode Island, I am noticing yard signs all around, a sign that election season has started here. While the governor’s race in November promises to be interesting, the primary is the main source of action for many races in overwhelmingly Democratic Rhode Island. Without further ado, I’m going to profile the major races in September.


With Democratic state attorney general Patrick Lynch having turned and fled, state treasurer Frank Caprio (D) is assured of advancing to the general election. Hence, the main thing to watch on primary night is whether the Republicans nominate Victor Moffitt, a former state rep, or John Robitaille, the director of communications for outgoing governor Don Carcieri (R). Neither has high name recognition, and whoever wins will probably be about as important as Alan Schlesinger was in CT-Sen 2006. The Republican base in Rhode Island is already small, and it will be even smaller because Independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican senator, will attract many moderate Rs. Regardless of which Republican wins, it will be a very interesting race, with a liberal independent, a moderate Democrat, a conservative Republican, and wild card Ken Block, the candidate of the newly-formed Moderate Party. For now I’ll predict Robitaille just because he has been in the race longer and is endorsed by the state GOP, but it could go either way.

My prediction: R John Robitaille

My vote: N/A

First Congressional District

Patrick Kennedy (D), the son of legendary Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), has represented this district since 1995, but having seen the death of his beloved father and dealt with issues like alcoholism and drug abuse, he’s finally throwing in the towel. This district contains the entire Massachusetts border and also drops down to take in mostly white neighborhoods of Providence. At D+13, it is the more Democratic of Rhode Island’s two congressional districts. Therefore it is no surprise that many Democrats jumped at the chance to succeed Kennedy.

The most prominent entrant into the field by far was Providence mayor David Cicilline. With his massive fundraising and name rec advantages, he quickly jumped into the lead. Though Cicilline’s popularity has suffered from the December 2007 snowstorm which shut down the city and his proposal to tax out-of-state students at Providence colleges, his underfunded opponents have failed to take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Cicilline’s main opposition would seem to be from either former state party chairman Bill Lynch (who lost the state party’s endorsement to Cicilline) or netroots darling state rep. David Segal, with plumbing company owner Anthony Gemma lagging in fourth (despite probably having decent name rec due to his 867-5309 commercials).

With only a month left to go it doesn’t look like Cicilline will lose his advantage. If he wins he’ll likely go on to face state rep. John Loughlin (R), who should easily vanquish Some Dudette Kara Russo in the primary but doesn’t have a ghost of a chance in the general, even in this year.

My prediction: D David Cicilline R John Loughlin

My vote: D David Cicilline

Second Congressional District

Representative Jim Langevin (D) was first elected in 1996 to succeed Jack Reed (D), who in turn was elected to succeed retiring senator and Pell Grant namesake Claiborne Pell (D). This district is the less Democratic district, as it contains most of Rhode Island’s less urban western border and South (Washington) County. Of course, it has urban centers like Cranston and Warwick to balance this out, and in Rhode Island “less Democratic” still means D+9. In 2006, Langevin attracted a primary challenge from Brown University professor Jennifer Lawless (who now works at American University in DC). Lawless criticized Langevin’s anti-abortion stance, but having only lived in Rhode Island for a few years, she was seen as a carpetbagger and was blown out of the water by Langevin.

This year, state rep. Betsy Dennigan (D) is setting out to finish what Lawless started, but it’s not looking like she’ll be any more successful. Her legislative district was in East Providence, which is in RI-01, and she only moved to RI-02 to run for congress. Furthermore, she’s not even a Rhode Island native. Even without the stink of carpetbagging her campaign suffers from, abortion is probably not a big enough issue for RI-02 Democrats to dump Langevin. Expect a large Langevin win. As for the Republicans, retread Mark Zaccaria will probably win and get his ass kicked by Langevin again.

My prediction: D Jim Langevin R Mark Zaccaria

My vote: N/A

Lieutenant Governor

Current Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts (D) was widely talked about as a candidate for governor, but she actually declared her intention to run for re-election. Despite this, she still has a primary challenge from Red Sox executive Jeremy Kapstein. She should easily dispatch Kapstein and head to the general, where her opponents are teabagging indy Robert Healey and Republican Heidi Rogers, both of whom want to eliminate the Lt. Governor position. However, Healey and Rogers have agreed that one might drop out so that the other can consolidate the RI teabagging vote (all 5 of them). Nevertheless, Roberts is probably looking at another term.

My prediction: D Elizabeth Roberts R Heidi Rogers

My vote: D Elizabeth Roberts

Attorney General

Rhode Island voters will also get to elect a new attorney general to replace Patrick Lynch. This race hasn’t attracted any big names, but the leader on the Dem side (in terms of yard signs in my neighborhood) seems to be Steve Archambault. Archambault seems pretty liberal, and he has pledged to join Martha Coakley’s lawsuit against DOMA. For what it’s worth, I have seen Archambault yard signs, but none for the other Dem candidates, Joe Fernandez, Peter Kilmartin, and Robert Rainville. However, Kilmartin is endorsed by the state party, and his name appears first on the ballot, which could be decisive in a low-info race, and IMO probably gives him the nomination. Other candidates in the race include Moderate Party candidate Chris Little and Republican wingnut Erik Wallin. If this race remains low-profile, it will turn into Generic D vs. Generic R, an obvious benefit for Team Blue in a state like RI.

My prediction: D Peter Kilmartin (Steve Archambault in second)

My vote: D Steve Archambault (probably)

State Treasurer

With Frank Caprio having vacated this post to run for governor, here’s another open seat for Rhode Islanders to fill. Businesswoman Gina Raimondo is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. With EMILY’s List and Rhode Island’s blue tint behind her, she is favored against Republican former Carcieri aide Kerry King in November.

My prediction: N/A

My vote: D Gina Raimondo

Secretary of State

Incumbent A. Ralph Mollis (D) is running for re-election and probably has little to fear from State Sen. Lou Raptakis (D). Mollis should then go on to turn Catherine Taylor (R), a former speechwriter for Chafee and his father, the late Republican Sen. John Chafee, into roadkill.

My prediction: D A. Ralph Mollis

My vote: D A. Ralph Mollis (probably)

Mayor of Providence

David Cicilline, whose father was Italian and whose mother was Jewish, made Providence the first state capital with an openly gay mayor and the largest city with an openly gay mayor until Sam Adams’ election in Portland, OR. Now there’s a new candidate claiming the mantle of diversity, and it’s attorney Angel Taveras (D). Taveras grew up in poor, ethnically diverse South Providence, but overcame adversity to attend Harvard and Georgetown Law, which should help him appeal to well-educated liberals on the East Side. He now lives in Mount Pleasant, which has a fairly large Dominican population.

Taveras’ main competition seems to be from State Rep. Steve Costantino (D), who manages Venda Ravioli, a popular Italian market in Federal Hill, Providence’s Italian neighborhood. I’ve seen quite a few Costantino signs on the East Side, which is good news for him because if Taveras does well in Mt. Pleasant and South Providence, Costantino’s Federal Hill base won’t be enough by itself. Especially because the third candidate in the race, City Councilman John Lombardi (D), also has a base in Federal Hill/West Broadway. Certified wacko Christopher Young (D, surprisingly) rounds out the Democratic field.

Taveras seems to be favored here. All the energy I’ve noticed in the race seems to be on his side, and he is the only Hispanic candidate in a city which is 1/3 Hispanic. Furthermore, Lombardi will probably leech votes from Costantino because they share a base. Costantino would have to do very well on the East Side to win, and I think Taveras has enough support there to prevent that. As a result I would say Taveras has an advantage, albeit not insurmountable. The Republican candidate here is former failed RI-01 candidate Jonathan Scott. Seeing as how Buddy Cianci is now an independent, there’s no Republican in Providence that could win this race, much less a Some Dude like Scott. Safe D.

My prediction: D Angel Taveras

My vote: D Angel Taveras (probably)

RI-Gov: Chafee leads…

Rasmussen (2/25):

Chafee (I) 37 Caprio (D) 27 Robitaille (R) 19

Chafee (I) 38 Lynch (D) 24 Robitaille (R) 22

I’m surprised that Robitaille is even within the MoE against Lynch but this is Rasmussen and I think Caprio will win the nomination anyway. Of course things can change between now and September but I would be surprised, especially given that Caprio is dominating fundraising.

Redistricting Massachusetts: (Relatively) Clean Elimination of Lynch

I honestly doubt that the Massachusetts legislature will opt to eliminate Rep. Stephen Lynch when they decide which district to axe following the 2010 census. However, as a relatively moderate Democrat in a D+11, I know he pisses a lot of people here off, like a mini-Artur Davis or Joe Lieberman. So while it may be unrealistic, I figured it might be interesting in the spirit of SSP to take a look at how we might go about tearing up Lynch’s district and minimizing his chances of election in other districts. Under the new plan, his district is split between several other districts, meaning he can’t count on all of his base to be there in any one district. Furthermore, should he decide to run again, Lynch would have to face a Democratic incumbent rather than sneaking through an open race with multiple opponents to split the liberal vote, which was how he won in 2001. So without further ado, here are the maps:

Western Mass/Berkshires:…

Central Mass/Worcester Area:…

Merrimack Valley/North Shore:…

Boston Area:…

Southern Suburbs/Providence Suburbs:…

Southeast Mass, Including Cape and Islands:…

Description over the flip.

District 1 (Darker Blue)

Incumbent: John Olver (D-AMHERST)

Demographics: 86% White, 2% Black, 0% Native American, 2% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: +4


Berkshire County: Adams, Alford, Becket, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Florida, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Marlborough, North Adams, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, Windsor

Franklin County: Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Monroe, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell, Whately

Hampden County: Blandford, Chester, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland, Westfield, West Springfield

Hampshire County: Amherst, Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton, Pelham, Plainfield, Southampton, South Hadley, Ware, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Worthington

Middlesex County: Ashby, Shirley, Townsend; pt. of Ayer

Worcester County: Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Bolton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Hardwick, Harvard, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, New Braintree, Oakham, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Rutland, Sterling, Templeton, Westminster, West Brookfield, Winchendon

Comments: This district remains by far the largest district in Massachusetts, and due to slow population growth it grows even more. Regardless, it is still dominated by liberal Berkshire towns and liberal arts colleges, especially with the addition of two ultra-liberal women’s colleges, Smith (in Northampton) and Mount Holyoke (in South Hadley). Though Olver is getting up there in age, his successor will likely be just as liberal.

District 2 (Lighter Green)

Incumbent: Richard Neal (D-SPRINGFIELD)

Demographics: 82% White, 5% Black, 0% Native American, 2% Asian, 10% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: 0


Bristol County: North Attleborough; pt. of Attleboro

Hampden County: Agawam, Brimfield, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Holland, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Springfield, Wales, Wilbraham

Norfolk County: Bellingham, Franklin, Medway, Plainville, Wrentham

Worcester County: Auburn, Blackstone, Brookfield, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Grafton, Hopedale, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, North Brookfield, Oxford, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Warren, Webster

Comments: I chopped off the stupid tail going up into Northampton. (Why the hell was that even there in the first place?) As a result, the district gets pushed slightly to the east and ends up in South Attleboro. No huge change, Richard Neal will still have an easy time here.

District 3 (Darker Purple)

Incumbent: James McGovern (D-WORCESTER)

Demographics: 82% White, 4% Black, 0% Native American, 5% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: -110


Bristol County: Dighton, Easton, Mansfield, Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea; pt. of Attleboro, Taunton

Middlesex County: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Natick, Sherborn

Norfolk County: Foxborough, Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Walpole

Worcester County: Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, Holden, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough, West Boylston, Worcester

Comments: No remarkable changes. McGovern’s district grabs three towns (Easton, Medfield, Walpole) from Lynch’s old district; with a combined population of around 60,000, though, they won’t form enough of a base to allow Lynch to run here. Also, grabs Framingham and Natick because the current MA-07, like MA-02, has a stupid tail.

District 4 (Red)

Incumbent: Barney Frank (D-NEWTON)

Demographics: 85% White, 4% Black, 0% Native American, 5% Asian, 5% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: -268


Bristol County: Acushnet, Berkley, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, New Bedford, Raynham, Westport; pt. of Taunton

Middlesex County: Newton

Norfolk County: Avon, Brookline, Canton, Dedham, Dover, Needham, Norwood, Sharon, Stoughton, Wellesley, Westwood

Plymouth County: Bridgewater, Middleborough, Lakeville, West Bridgewater; pt. of Brockton

Comments: Frank’s district is mostly intact, although he picks up about 170,000 of Lynch’s consistuents. Regardless, as Financial Services chairman, Frank should have no problem raising money and winning establishment support, and with the exception of some of Fall River and the aforementioned Lynch constituents, Frank has already represented this district before. He should be just fine.

District 5 (Yellow)

Incumbent: Nicola Tsongas (D-LOWELL)

Demographics: 77% White, 2% Black, 0% Native American, 8% Asian, 13% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: +149


Essex County: Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover; pt. of Haverhill

Middlesex County: Acton, Bedford, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Maynard, Pepperell, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wayland, Weston, Wilmington; pt. of Ayer

Comments: No notable difference.

District 6 (Darker Green)

Incumbent: John Tierney (D-SALEM)

Demographics: 87% White, 2% Black, 0% Native American, 3% Asian, 6% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: +203


Essex County: Amesbury, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury; pt. of Haverhill

Middlesex County: Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester, Woburn

Suffolk County: pt. of Revere

Comments: No notable difference.

District 7 (Gray)

Incumbents: Edward Markey (D-MALDEN), Stephen Lynch (D-BOSTON)

Demographics: 75% White, 10% Black, 0% Native American, 6% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 2% Other

Population Deviation: +68


Middlesex County: Arlington, Belmont, Everett, Malden, Medford, Waltham, Watertown

Norfolk County: Braintree, Canton, Holbrook, Milton, Randolph; pt. of Weymouth

Plymouth County: pt. of Brockton

Suffolk County: Winthrop; pt. of Boston, Revere

Comments: The bulk of Stephen Lynch’s old district is contained in this one; in fact, the majority of this district is represented by Lynch, though. Not to fear. For one thing, as the dean of the Massachusetts delegation, Markey would be able to outraise and out-establishment Lynch in a potential primary fight. Furthermore, the parts of the district that Markey currently represents are more Democratic than the parts that Lynch currently represents, meaning Markey’s chunk of the district will cast a disproportionate share of the primary vote. Also, as noted above, the liberal vote will be united behind Markey; Lynch will be unable to win with 40% like he did in 2001. Finally, Lynch’s shenanigans on health care have alienated many of his former supporters, meaning that they won’t lift a finger for him, possibly causing him to defer a challenge to Markey in the same way he dropped out of the Senate primary. For these reasons, I think Markey could hold off a primary challenge by Lynch in this district.

District 8 (Lighter Purple)

Incumbent: Michael Capuano (D-SOMERVILLE)

Demographics: 49% White, 21% Black, 0% Native American, 10% Asian, 18% Hispanic, 2% Other

Population Deviation: +142


Middlesex County: Cambridge, Somerville

Suffolk County: Chelsea; pt. of Boston

Comments: Little change, remains minority-majority while taking on a handful of Lynch’s constituents.

District 9 (Lighter Blue)

Incumbent: William Delahunt (D-QUINCY)

Demographics: 91% White, 2% Black, 0% Native American, 4% Asian, 2% Hispanic, 1% Other

Population Deviation: -185


Barnstable County: Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, Yarmouth

Dukes County: Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury

Nantucket County: Nantucket

Norfolk County: Cohasset, Quincy; pt. of Weymouth

Plymouth County: Abington, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, Whitman

Comments: This district takes on some more of Lynch’s old constituents to the tune of 35,000 people or so. Otherwise, no change.

Loveliness from Rasmussen (MO-Sen, PA-Sen, NY-Sen)


Blunt 49%

Carnahan 43%

I know I know, it’s Rasmussen, but still. Previously Carnahan had seemed immune to the national environment going into the toilet and had posted small but consistent leads over Blunt. Now she’s gone from being up 46-44 to down 43-49. Not good. At least it’s only January.


Toomey 49%

Specter 40%

Toomey 43%

Sestak 35%

Even adjusting for the Rasmussen house effect, Specter and Sestak are at best tied or trailing slightly. Honestly, it is ridiculous that a conservative Republican previously thought to be unelectable now has 57/27 favorables. (And it’s embarrassing how he and I were born in the same city!) Toomey’s lead over Specter is up from 42-46 in December (he also led Sestak 40-46).


Gillibrand 39%

Generic Republican 34%

Ford 10%

Yikes. If Gillibrand is only beating a generic R by 5 points if Ford runs as an independent, I’m actually kind of hoping he runs in the Democratic primary.

AL-05: Parker Griffith to switch parties…

Yep, it’s finally going to happen. A lot of people probably suspected this for some time given his complete lack of respect towards Speaker Pelosi and general dissing of the Democratic Party, but I honestly didn’t think it would be so soon. With all luck this won’t be too much of a distraction as Democrats seek to finish up passing health reform.

Naturally it would be amazing if the Democrats could slap this traitor across the face in 2010 but of course this is an extremely unfriendly district. It would be great if someone who’s in the know about Alabama politics could tell us what we could do, if anything, about this backstabbing jerk.