MS-Sen-B, MS-01: Barbour Will Tap Wicker for Lott’s Senate Seat

Multiple sources are confirming that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will appoint MS-01 Rep. Roger Wicker (R) to fill the vacancy of retiring Sen. Trent Lott today.  (Update: It’s now official.)

A recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll had Wicker trailing former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove by a 48-34 margin in a hypothetical election match-up.  However, longtime SSP commenter Mississippiboy says that Musgrove won’t run.  I have yet to see published confirmation, but if accurate, Dems would have few obvious choices left on their shelf.  Former Gov. Ray Mabus, maybe? (Update: I think we can put Musgrove back in the “uncertain” column for now.)

If Dems can’t line up a strong challenger here, state AG Jim Hood’s legal fight over the timing of the special election will be made mostly moot.

We’ll keep our eyes peeled.

Congressional races, state by state: Ohio

I am all for running everywhere, and the 50 state strategy.

But neither we nor the Republicans are running everywhere (at least not yet!) In this series, I will look at where we are running and not running; and where the Republicans are running and not running (I am not going to look in detail at where Republicans are not running, as I have no desire to help Republicans, however modestly)

This diary is partly inspired by the great work done by BENAWU, and informed by the great Race Tracker Wiki (links throughout).

crossposted to dailyKos

The next two states to have filing deadlines are OH and TX. Today, I am doing OH.  I will do TX soon, more to follow (and I will go back and do the states that already passed their filing deadlines).

Ohio has 18 Congressional House districts. 7 held by Democrats:

The numbers after each are a) Cook PVI and b) A rating of the district based on a model I created details here – basically a logistic model based on a lot of demographics; the number is the predicted probability of being Republican

OH-06 - D+0,  .72.  No confirmed challenger.

OH-09 - D+9,  .44.  No confirmed challenger.

OH-10 - D+6,  .42.  Confirmed challenger (and primary opponents to


OH-11 - D+33, .07.  No confirmed challenger.

OH-13 - D+6,  .45.  No confirmed challenger.

OH-17 - D+14, .44.  No confirmed challenger.

OH-18 - R+6,  .77.  Confirmed challenger.

so, there are only 2 races where there is a Republican challenger; they have a good chance in one of them (OH-18).

and there are 11 seats held by Republicans

There are confirmed challengers in 8 of those 11 districts:

OH-01 – R+1,   .25. Chabot was first elected in 1994.  in 2006, he won 52-48, outspending Cranley ($3 million to $2 million).  This time, Dreihaus is running.  He’s now in the state house, and got 67% in his last election.  

OH-02 – R+13,  .69. If the incumbent here was not Jean Schmidt, then this probably wouldn’t be close.  But it is.  In 2006, she beat Wulsin by 2,500 votes out of 238,000 cast.  Wulsin is running again.  In 2005, Schmidt beat Paul Hackett 52-48, while a year earlier, Bush beat Kerry by 64-36.

OH-03 – R+3,   .45.  Turner, first elected in 2002, has not been in a close contest.  He’s outspent his opponents, but they’ve been serious opponents.  In 2006, Crema raised $400,000 but lost, 59-41.  In 2004, Mitakides raised $565,000 and lost 62-38 (Turner got 67,000 more votes than Bush did).  

– R+6,   .63.  Hobson, who has held this seat since 1990, is retiring. There are a number of Democratic and Republican candidates.  Anyone with local info., please chime in.

OH-12 – R+0.7, .40. Tiberi, first elected in 2002, has won easily, even, as in 2006, when his opponent was fairly well funded.

OH-14 – R+2,   .74.  LaTourette, first elected in 1994, has won easily, whether or not his opponent was funded.  In 2004, for instance, LaTourrette got nearly 2/3 of the vote against Cafaro, even though Cafaro spent almost $2 million.  LaTourrette, one of the most moderate Republicans, got 60,000 votes more than Bush. This dailyKos comment indicates that the current candidate (O’Neill) may do better.

OH-15 – R+1,   .44.  The rep here (Pryce) is retiring.  In 2006, this was a very close race (Pryce beat Kilroy by 1,100 votes out of 220,000) and hugely expensive (Pryce spent nearly $5 million, Kilroy nearly $3 million).  Now, Kilroy is running again, this time, without the handicap of being against an incumbent.  

OH-16 – R+4,   .64.  Regula, first elected in 1972, is retiring.  He won easily, but now, it’s a new ballgame; in 2004, Regula got 60,000 votes more than Bush.

And an unconfirmed challenger in 1 district:

OH-16 – R+10,  .81.  This seat was left vacant by the death of Gillmor.  It was filled by Latta, who beat Weirauch 57-43 in a special election.   Weirauch might run again see this comment .  

That leaves two districts with no confirmed or unconfirmed candidate

And here they are:

OH-04 – R+14, .72.  This is a solidly Republican seat, but Jordan is a freshman.  In 2006, he won 60-40 over Siferd, but outspent Siferd by over a million.  A candidate here might make the Republicans waste money.

OH-08 – R+12, .63.  Boehner, who has been the rep. here since 1990, has won easily against little opposition.  But see this comment


Current: 7 D, 11 R

Outlook: 6 of 7 D are safe. 5 of 11 R look safe.

Best guess: We pick up 3 seats.

Florida State Senate Part 2: The Swing Districts

This is Part 2 on a series focusing on the Florida State Senate and our efforts to take back the chamber. In Part 1 of the series, the current state of the Florida Senate was discussed, districts were put in categories based on Democratic strength, and our chances of picking up seats in those various categories was discussed.

Part 2 will focus on the “swing” or Category 4 districts for which elections will be held in 2008. These are districts where Gore took between 47-53% of the vote in 2000. There are four of these such districts that will have elections in 2008. They include the 7th, 11th, 13th, and 25th districts. At this time, it looks like Republican incumbents will be running for re-election in all of them, but this could change, particularly if Bill Young (US FL-10) were to retire from Congress. Two Republicans on this list could conceivably run for that seat.

Here is a State Senate Map for your viewing.

There are a couple things to keep in mind. It’s not necessarily true that these will be our best pickup opportunities in 2008. There is at least one race that I know of in Category 5 that surely will be a prime target for Democrats in 2008, probably moreso than at least a couple of these. Category 5 races and other possibilities will be discussed in Part 3.

Also keep in mind the Democratic performance is based on Gore’s results from 2000. The categories do not reflect on Nader’s vote, which could possibly add to our total. In many districts, demographics or voter trends have changed since 2000. In some cases like the 25th district, as I discuss below, the area has trended more Democratic. In other districts, like the 11th, the area may be trending more Republican, based on other recent elections.

Finally, one thing that all these Republican incumbents have in common is that they were first elected in 2002, a year that favored Republicans in the state and nationally. This was the year Jeb Bush went on to beat Democrat Bill McBride 56 – 43% in the Governor’s race. This likely gave lower-tier candidates a boost by several points. Unfortunately for us, many of these districts were open that year.

But now on to the future, which is looking very bright for Democrats. For a quick reminder, the Senate currently has 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats. We would need to pick up 6 seats for a tie and seven seats for a majority. We have until 2010 to take back the chamber before redistricting and many more seats will be open or contested in 2010, since senate elections are rotational, with half contested every two years.

25th district

Incumbent: Jeff Atwater 2000

Democratic Performance

Gore: 50%

Bush: 48%

Past State Senate Elections and Expenditures 2002 (Open)

Atwater (R): 55%, $748,000

Butterworth (D): 45%, $401,000

HD-25 Wiki

This is a district we can win and it has turned increasingly blue over the past few years. Al Gore actually won this district in the 2000 election and on top of that 2% went for Nader. It takes in the 22nd Congressional district, which was won by Democrat Ron Klein in 2006. In addition, the 22nd district actually went for Kerry stronger than it did for Gore, with both winning it. The district consists of eastern Palm Beach and Broward counties, including West Palm Beach, Boynton and Pompano Beaches, as well as the eastern stretches of Ft. Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Atwater won the seat in 2002 in an open seat election against the popular former Attorney General, Bob Butterworth. Atwater outspent Butterworth $748,000 to $400,000 in that election, a likely cause of our election loss, as well as the Republican-favored sentiment that year. If Atwater were to win re-election in 2008, he would likely become the Republican Majority Leader for the 2008-2010 session. In 2004, he faced no opponent in his second election to the Senate. Previously, he had won one term in the State House.

Robert Ostrov, an attorney, has already stepped up to challenge Atwater and former State Senator Skip Campbell and 2006 Democratic Attorney General nominee is considering a run. If Campbell were to run, he would offer a strong challenge with financial resources. In 2006, he actually won the district in his campaign for attorney general. He has also hinted that polls show that he could beat Atwater. Out of all the Category 4 seats, I would put this seat as our best pickup opportunity, especially if Campbell runs. Our major problem would be facing the Atwater fundraising machine. He’s already raised $564,000, of which $96,000 has been spent. Any Democratic candidate would need to be able to raise a good amount of money to compete. Campbell would likely be able to meet that challenge, so he definitely would be a good recruit. Our candidate would also likely have national Democratic sentiment and a strong candidate leading our ticket that would benefit them in this Democratic-leaning district in a year with no statewide races. I really think we can win this district and I would put it at “tossup” with a Campbell candidacy.

13th district

Incumbent: Dennis Jones

2000 Democratic Performance

Bush: 48%

Gore: 48%

Past State Senate Elections and Expenditures

2002 (Open)

Jones (R): 60%, $436,000

Kennedy (D): 40%, $53,000

HD-13 Wiki

The district consists completely of western Pinellas County and takes in parts of the 9th (Clearwater) and 10th (Seminole, Largo, and Dunedin) Congressional districts. Jones won the seat in 2002 in an open seat election and subsequently served as Majority Leader from 2002-2004. In his election win, he benefitted from the coattails of the state ticket and outspent the Democrat more than 8:1, so he has never been given a strong challenge for the seat. He has yet to face re-election in the Senate, though he won 11 terms in the State House. Jones has reported raising $153,000, of which $17,000 has been spent.

As of yet, no Democrat has entered the race. Jones has a long history in the district, so from that perspective challenging him could be difficult. However, there are many unknowns in this district. Despite being heavily outspent in 2002, Kennedy was still able to pull in 40%, so I would put that as our cellar support. If we financed a challenge against Jones, we could do much better than that and maybe even pull out a surprise, as Jones hasn’t faced an election since 2002 and doesn’t have the biggest fundraising numbers right now. It has also been widely rumored that Bill Young in the 10th district may retire and DCCC is poised to field a strong challenge to Gus Bilirakis in the 9th district. Democratic runs in those Congressional seats and national Democratic sentiment in 2008 could help a challenge in the state senate seat. This is a race we might want to start looking at.

7th district

Incumbent: Evelyn Lynn

2000 Democratic Performance

Bush: 51%

Gore: 47%

Past State Senate Elections and Expenditures

2002 (Open)

Lynn (R): 57%, $274,000

Ward (D): 43%, $226,000

HD-07 Wiki

The district consists of parts of Clay, Marion, Putnam, and Volusia Counties. It takes in pieces of the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 24th Congressional districts. Lynn won the seat in 2002 in an open seat election battle in a year that favored Republicans, statewide and nationally. She had also served in the State House for four previous terms before running for the Senate. In the 2002 election, both parties spent about the same amount of money, but it's likely Lynn received a boost of a few points for statewide Republican sentiment. So far she’s amassed nearly $195,000 in fundraising this time, $13,000 of which has been spent. She raised around $136,000 of that money in the third quarter this year.

At the moment, there is no challenger in the district. The seat leans Republican for 2008, assuming Lynn runs. However, given the nature of the district, if a strong Democrat were to step up that could raise a large amount of money, then we could make this race competitive, especially since the presidential ticket will likely favor a Democrat, which could boost us up a couple points over that 2002 result. Some other factors that could favor us are a strong challenge to Feeney in the 24th district (New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater) by Suzanne Kosmas and strong spending and a big grassroots presence by Democrat Corrine Brown in the 3rd congressional district, which encompasses most of the state senate district. This is definitely somewhere where we should be able to compete and since Lynn hasn’t faced a challenge since 2002 this is a district we might want to challenge in 2008, when national sentiment should favor us.

11th district

Incumbent: Mike Fasano

2000 Democratic Performance

Bush: 49%

Gore: 49%

Past State Senate Elections and Expenditures

2002 (Open)

Fasano (R): 63%, $422,000

Cannon (D): 37%, $104,000


Fasano (R): 65%, $272,000

Mattingly (D): 36%, $4, 600

HD-11 Wiki

The bulk of the population resides in western Pasco and northern Pinellas counties, with some population in western Hernando and Citrus counties. The district is within the 5th, 9th, and 10th Congressional districts. Bush did win those districts by greater margins in 2004 than 2000, so it’s possible the area may be trending more for the Republicans. Fasano first won the seat in 2002 in an open seat election in a year that favored Republicans, statewide and nationally. In that election, Fasano outspent the Democratic candidate 4:1 and basically in 2004 the Democrat spent nothing. Fasano gained 2% on his performance in 2004, in another year that favored Republicans statewide and nationally. Before entering the Senate, he won four terms in the State House.

There are currently two Democratic challengers for 2008, Richard Skandera and Fred Taylor, a Vietnam veteran, who applied in December to run. Neither has reported raising any money yet, though Taylor just entered the race. Fasano has raised $183,000, $2,400 of which has been spent. I would put this seat as likely Republican, assuming Fasano runs. Like several of the others in this category though, we’ve never really given the Republican a real challenge and if 2008 favors Democrats, then we could have a chance if we field a strong challenger. Other factors that could help our nominee would be Bill Young retiring in the 10th congressional district, which consists of the population center of Palm Harbor. A strong performance in the 9th district against Republican Gus Bilirakis could also help us in this district.

The End

That's it for this edition. I think we should definitely compete in all of the above districts. In 2008, we are going to have a strong candidate, who I expect to win Florida, leading our national ticket and there will be no statewide elections. This by itself would give us an advantage over 2002, when Republicans were elected in open seats upon a Jeb Bush route in the Governor's race. Republicans will no longer have this luxury, so we should make sure we take advantage of it and give them the challenges of their lives. In 2006, now State Senator Charlie Justice won in one of these Category 4 "Swing" districts. It's clear sentiment and momentum are now favoring us and in 2008 we can win more of these seats. If anyone has anything to add or comments, that would be greatly appreciated.

Florida Senate Wiki Pages  

Election Data Services Releases New Re-Apportionment Study

A company called Election Data Services has published a new study (PDF) of Congressional re-apportionment, based on newly-released Census data. EDS used three different models to project likely re-apportionment figures, which they explain as follows:

First, there is a “long-term” trend model that reflects the overall change that has occurred so far this decade; that is from 2000 to 2007, and projects it to 2010. Second, a “midterm” trend model uses the population change that has occurred from 2005 to 2007. Finally, a “short-term” trend model incorporates the change that has occurred in just the past year, from 2006 to 2007, and carries that rate of change forward to 2010.

The results:

State Long-Term Mid-Term Short-Term
Arizona 2 2 2
California 0 -1 0
Florida 2 2 1
Georgia 1 1 1
Illinois -1 -1 -1
Iowa -1 -1 -1
Louisiana -1 -1 -1
Massachusetts -1 -1 -1
Michigan -1 -1 -1
Minnesota 0 -1 -1
Missouri -1 -1 -1
Nevada 1 1 1
New Jersey -1 -1 -1
New York -2 -2 -2
North Carolina 0 1 1
Ohio -2 -2 -2
Oregon 1 1 1
Pennsylvania -1 -1 -1
South Carolina 0 1 1
Texas 4 4 4
Utah 1 1 1

When it comes to matters of re-apportionment and re-districting, I know that Swing State readers don’t need any commentary from me about what this all might mean. So have at it!

Ohio Congressional Candidates still needed

Candidate filing in Ohio closes in less than a week – 4th January – and we still don’t have confirmed candidates in a number of Congressional House districts!

Once again go and take a look at the  

2008 Race Tracker Wiki.

Below the fold for details………….

Ohio has 18 Congressional House districts. 7 are held by Democrats who are all at this stage running again as follows: (Note that I have included the Cook PVI scores for each district also.)

OH-06 – D+0,

OH-09 – D+9,

OH-10 – D+6,

OH-11 – D+33,

OH-13 – D+6,

OH-17 – D+14,

OH-18 – R+6,

That leaves 11 Republican held districts.

There are confirmed challengers in 8 of those 11 districts:

OH-01 – R+1,

OH-02 – R+13,

OH-03 – R+3,

OH-07 – R+6,

OH-12 – R+0.7,

OH-14 – R+2,

OH-15 – R+1,

OH-16 – R+4,

And an unconfirmed challenger in 1 district:

OH-05 – R+10,

That leaves two districts with no confirmed candidate

And here they are:

OH-04 – R+14,

Not a peep no candidate here.

OH-08 – R+12,

Not a peep no candidate here.

Less than a week to go and we need 2 candidates – do you know anyone that could run?

MS-Sen-B: Reports Saying Barbour Will Tap Wicker

So says Clarion Ledger columnist and blogger Sid Salter. The N.E. Miss. Daily Journal also notes that Wicker & his wife met with Barbour yesterday.

Despite MS-01 being an R+10 district, Salter thinks that the open-seat race here (should Wicker get tapped) would be a “spirited” one. And though I haven’t delved into the numbers myself, I’m told that this area is considered competitive, at least on a state & local level.

But at least for another day or so, this is all in the realm of speculation.

IA-03: Possible Primary Challenge for Boswell (D)?

Ed Fallon, a liberal former state representative, might be getting ready to challenge Rep. Leonard Boswell in IA-03, according to the Iowa Independent. Right now, the only tea leaves are a handful of “Fallon for Congress” domain names that were recently registered (the admin contact is Fallon’s home address).

Boswell is a fairly conservative Dem who seems to be perennially endangered despite the fact that he sits in a 50-50 district. Health troubles have also plagued him in recent years. The Independent contrasts the two men:

Fallon, who represented a Des Moines state house district from 1992 to 2006, finished an unexpectedly strong third in the 2006 gubernatorial primary with 26 percent.  He led the field in the 3rd Congressional District.  Fallon was seen as one of the most liberal members of the Iowa House, and if there was a 99 to 1 or 97 to 2 roll calls, Fallon was usually on the short end.

Boswell, on the other hand, is one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress.  Rankings at Progressive Punch show Boswell as the 214th most liberal of 233 Democrats in Congress, and actually had him behind Republican Jim Leach for 2006.  Boswell’s Progressive Punch score moves up to 170th when only this year’s votes are included. He recently voted with fellow Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack in a failed effort to block $70 billion in funds for the Iraq war, in contract to earlier votes for war funding.

I’m inclined to think this could be a fairly serious challenge, if Fallon does indeed pull the trigger. You don’t often see former state legislators jump into primaries like this, and if Fallon can successfully argue that Boswell is out-of-step with his district, he might gain traction. However, Iowa’s primary is just six months away, so Fallon would have precious little time to seal the deal in what will already be an uphill battle.

Personally, I’m going to reserve judgment here, but this could be a compelling race.

MS-Sen-B: Could Barbour Run?

Columnist Bill Minor thinks it’s possible:

Two theories were in play last week about Barbour’s choices: One, that he will start a young Republican such as Chip Pickering on a path to keep the Senate seat in GOP hands for decades. Or two – an intriguing scheme – that Barbour will name a seat-warmer who would not run for the unexpired term, so that Barbour himself could run and return to the Washington scene he loves.

Early on, Barbour said he would not appoint himself to succeed Lott, but that does not rule out him asking voters in November to elevate him to a higher level.

However, that scenario will depend on Barbour getting the court to OK his Nov. 4 special election date rather than the 90 days Hood’s team will argue.

Minor also thinks it’s “inevitable” that AG Jim Hood will go to court to force Barbour to call the election within 90 days. Let’s hope he’s right.

Weekly Open Thread: Presidential Primaries

While we haven’t written anything about the primaries here at SSP, I’ve gotta say, the presidential horseraces on both sides have been fascinating, especially the Republicans and especially of late. I really have no clue how things will wind up.

So let’s open the floor to presidential primary talk – what do you think will happen? How will the early primaries go? Who will wind up being the nominees? And why?

UPDATE: I swear! I promise! The focus of this site will not change! This is just a one-off open thread. Down-ballot 4ever!

Notable User Diaries

  • The always-reliable Benawu is back with several updates on the Texas House race situation – here’s the most recent entry. The filing deadline is Jan. 2, and three districts appear to be without candidates.
  • DGM surveys New Mexico’s wide open political scene.
  • Nerds unite! NYPopulist is starting up a Fantasy Congress league. SSP Insider’s Tip Sheet says Louise Slaughter is your sleeper pick for the upcoming session.
  • Progressive America bangs out a pair of diaries on Florida state legislative elections. The House is discussed here, and part one of the Senate begins here.

Texas Congressional candidates still needed

Texas Democrats are stepping up to the plate in increasing numbers as congressional House candidates but there are still a number of races without confirmed candidates!

Once again go and take a look at the  

2008 Race Tracker Wiki.

Below the fold for details………….

Texas has 32 Congressional House districts. 13 are held by Democrats of which 11 have officially filed as follows: (Note that I have included the Cook PVI scores for each district also.)

TX-09 – D+21,

TX-15 – D+3,

TX-16 – D+9,

TX-17 – R+18,

TX-22 – R+15,

TX-23 – R+4,

TX-25 – D+1,

TX-27 – R+1,

TX-28 – R+1,

TX-29 – D+8,

TX-30 – D+26,

The following 2 Democratic incumbents haven’t filed yet but are expected to do so.

TX-18 – D+23,

TX-20 – D+8,

That leaves 19 Republican held districts and 10 of these have filed candidates:

TX-03 – R+17,

TX-06 – R+15,

TX-07 – R+16,

TX-10 – R+13,

TX-12 – R+14,

TX-13 – R+18,

TX-19 – R+25,

TX-26 – R+12,

TX-31 – R+15,

TX-32 – R+11,

4 further districts have confirmed candidates that are yet to file officially:

TX-04 – R+17,

TX-08 – R+20,

TX-11 – R+25,

TX-24 – R+15,

And two further districts have unconfirmed candidates:

TX-05 – R+16,

TX-21 – R+13,

That leaves 3 districts with no candidate!

And here they are:

TX-01 – R+17,

Not a peep of a candidate here!

TX-02 – R+12,

Conrad Allen announced that he was forming an exploratory committee, set up a campaign website (now defunct) and disappeared off the face of the earth.

TX-14 – R+14,

We had a candidate then he switched parties!

(2006 candidate is out.)

Less than a week to go and we need 3 candidates – do you know anyone that could run?