An early look at the 2010 Iowa Senate races

Note: Iowa Democrats will almost certainly be able to block any constitutional amendment banning gay marriage if they retain control of either the Iowa House or Senate in 2010.

Conservative blogger Craig Robinson argued earlier this month that “Iowa Republicans Have Plenty of Opportunity in the State Senate” in 2010. The GOP has almost nowhere to go but up. Republicans currently hold 18 of the 50 seats in the Iowa Senate, fewer than at any previous time in this state’s history. After making gains in the last four general elections, Democrats now hold 19 of the 25 Iowa Senate seats that will be on the ballot in 2010. Also, several Democratic incumbents are in their first term, having won their seats during the wave election of 2006.

To win back the upper chamber, Republicans would need a net gain of seven seats in 2010, and Robinson lists the seven districts where he sees the best chances for the GOP.

I generally agree with John Deeth’s view that only a few Senate districts are strong pickup opportunities for Republicans next year. Winning back the upper chamber will take the GOP at least two cycles, with redistricting likely to create who knows how many open or winnable seats in 2012.

After the jump I’ll examine the seven Iowa Senate districts Robinson views as worthwhile targets as well as one Republican-held district that Democrats should be able to pick up. Here is a map (pdf file) of the current Iowa Senate districts.

I’ll address these districts in the same order Robinson presents them, starting with the longest of the long-shots.

7. Like Robinson (but for different reasons), I would love to see wingnut Bill Salier challenge Senator Amanda Ragan in district 7 (Cerro Gordo County). Democrats have a big voter registration edge, and Ragan won re-election in 2006 with more than 70 percent of the vote. Crushing Salier would be particularly sweet, because it would show that Iowans are not interested in electing someone who’s done little lately besides speak out against same-sex marriage. I doubt Salier would take on this challenge. He seems more interested in threatening to support primary challengers against mainstream Republicans he views as insufficiently committed to overturning the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling in Varnum v Brien.

6. Robinson thinks Steve Warnstadt is vulnerable in Senate District 1 (Woodbury County) because the Democrats representing the two Iowa House districts in this Senate district only won by narrow margins in 2008. He thinks either of the Republican candidates who almost won House races in 2008 would be strong challengers to Warnstadt. Don’t get your hopes up, Republicans. In 2008 the Obama campaign’s GOTV was extremely weak in western Iowa, leading to poor Democratic turnout in Woodbury County and elsewhere in the fifth Congressional district. Don’t count on the Iowa Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign repeating this mistake in 2010.

5. Robinson would like to see Mariannette Miller-Meeks take on Senator Keith Kreiman in district 47 (Wapello, Wayne, Appanoose, Davis Counties). I actually agree with him that Miller-Meeks has a better chance of getting elected to the statehouse someday than of beating Dave Loebsack in the Democratic-leaning second Congressional district. However, I don’t see her beating Kreiman, who won his district in 2006 by almost a 2-1 margin. Miller-Meeks would do better to run for an open Iowa House or Senate seat. Anyway, after seeing her speak at an Iowa Politics forum in Des Moines late last year, I got the impression that she plans to run for Congress again.

4. Robinson thinks Staci Appel is vulnerable in district 37 (Warren and Madison Counties) because she won by only 772 votes in 2006 despite “raising massive amounts of money […] She is also the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel, adding a unique twist to her re-election campaign.” State Representative Kent Sorenson would be the perfect candidate against Appel, having upset Mark Davitt in House district 74 in 2008: “An Appel/Sorenson race would be ground zero for the debate on gay marriage in Iowa.” To which I say, bring it on. Let the Republicans run Sorenson, who has endorsed Bob Vander Plaats for governor and whose clerk erroneously told the Warren County recorder that she did not need to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. Then let Appel talk about her many achievements during her first term in the Senate.

Another reason I would welcome this challenge is that it would open up House district 74. House Democrats were caught napping in 2008; they didn’t hire a campaign manager to focus on Davitt’s re-election, and he wasn’t the hardest-working incumbent in terms of voter contacts. We should be able to win back the district with a Democrat willing to pound the pavement and knock on doors–especially if Sorenson vacates the seat to challenge Appel.

3. Now we’re getting to the more realistic pickup opportunities for Iowa Republicans. Democratic Senator Rich Olive won district 5 (Wright, Hamilton, Story Counties) by only 62 votes in 2006. Republicans outnumber registered Democrats in the district. Even though Olive is not particularly liberal, Iowa Democrats will need to work hard to hold this district.

2. If Republicans can convince former State Senator Sandy Greiner to run against Becky Schmitz in district 45 (Washington, Wapello, Jefferson, Van Buren Counties), I agree with Robinson that this would be a very competitive race. Schmitz won narrowly in 2006 and is in her first term.

1. I don’t share Robinson’s opinion that former State Representative Bill Dix would be a particularly strong challenger to Bill Heckroth in district 9 (Butler, Bremer, Black Hawk, Fayette Counties). That said, Heckroth is a freshman and Republicans have a registration edge, so defending this seat will be high on the Iowa Democrats’ agenda.

Generally speaking, recruiting strong Senate candidates won’t be easy for Republicans, because the party is perceived to have a much better chance of retaking the Iowa House. Life in the minority isn’t much fun.

With only six Republican-held Iowa Senate seats up for grabs in 2010, there’s not much room for Iowa Democrats to make further gains in the upper chamber. It goes without saying that we should leave no Republican unchallenged, but most of the Republican incumbents will cruise. Deeth thinks Republicans may need to play defense in Senate district 35. I am less optimistic. Democrats had a strong and well-known candidate in 2006, former Ankeny Mayor Merle Johnson. The party spent a lot of money in the district, but Johnson lost to Larry Noble by more than 1,200 votes.

Instead, I would encourage the Iowa Democratic Party to make a major play for Senate district 41 (Scott County), held by David Hartsuch of Bettendorf. Here’s why:

1. Hartsuch is a first-term incumbent who won by only 436 votes in 2006.

2. Since then, Democratic voter registration has grown significantly in Scott County.  

3. A lot of moderate Republicans dislike Hartsuch because he defeated the well-regarded incumbent Maggie Tinsman in the 2006 GOP primary.

4. He is a polarizing figure. It’s fine to be a Steve King sound-alike if you represent a heavily Republican district, but Hartsuch doesn’t.

5. Deeth says of Hartsuch, “His failed Congressional bid [in 2008] may have helped his name ID, but not necessarily in a good way.” That’s putting it mildly.

Compare the results from the 2006 and 2008 elections in Iowa’s first Congressional district.  You can find them, along with the results of the state legislative elections from that year, on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website. Both years the Republicans nominated a candidate from Scott County. Bruce Braley won the district with about 55.1 percent of the vote against businessman Mike Whalen in 2006.

Now look at how Hartsuch underperformed in 2008. IA-01 has a partisan voter index of D+4, meaning that in a typical year we would expect it to vote about 4 percent more Democratic than the country as a whole. In 2008 Democratic candidates averaged 56 percent of the vote in U.S. House races, so we would expect Braley to win about 60 percent of the vote given the lean of the district. In fact, he won 64.6 percent against Hartsuch. Granted, Democratic turnout tends to be higher in a presidential year, and Braley turned out to be remarkably effective for a first-term Congressman. Still, Hartsuch’s performance was underwhelming.

Hartsuch didn’t look particularly strong in his home base of Scott County either. Whalen kept it close in Scott County in 2006, winning about 25,142 votes in the county to 29,465 for Braley. In 2008 it was a blowout, with Braley beating Hartsuch by 49,732 to 32,766 votes in this county. I did not look up the precinct-level results for the Congressional voting; presumably Hartsuch did somewhat better in the precincts that are in Iowa Senate district 41. Still, he doesn’t look like a hometown favorite to me.

I have no idea who would be the ideal Democratic candidate against Hartsuch in 2010. Hartsuch’s opponent in 2006 was Phyllis Thede, who went on to defeat Republican incumbent Jamie Van Fossen in Iowa House district 81 in 2008. As much as I like Thede, I would prefer not to leave any of our Democratic-held House seats open next year. There must be another good Democrat in Scott County who could beat Hartsuch.

Redistricting New Jersey with Dave’s App

So, Dave’s redistricting app now supports New Jersey. Keeping in mind that no political data is available, I stuck to the current district lines as much as possible. The biggest changes are in north and central Jersey, which had to lose a district. Merged are the two GOP members from the old 11th and 7th. Now both can attempt to run in the new 7th.

The old 13th was renumbered 11, and retains a healthy hispanic plurality (if not quite majority). The Black majority of the 10th is also protected.

With the exception of Rush Holt, who may have a slightly more difficult district (with some more work I may have been able to avoid this), I believe that the entire Democratic delegation is protected.  

North Jersey:

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Central Jersey:

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South Jersey:

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This is all supposedly based on 2008 estimates, but I think Dave would have to tell you exactly how he aggregated the numbers.

FL-Sen: Corrine Brown Explores Senate Race

Well, this sure is unexpected:

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, confirms that she is launching an exploratory campaign for U.S. Senate, and said an internal statewide poll shows her comfortably ahead of any Democratic contender including Kendrick Meek.

“Experience,” she said, when asked why the 17-year U.S. House member would be a stronger candidate than Meek. “I like Kendrick and I love his mother but this is about making sure we have someone at the table when we’re talking about energy, we’re talking about education, we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about health care.”

I’d be pretty surprised if Brown actually went through with her primary threat, considering that she’d be starting behind the eight ball in terms of fundraising and endorsements (two things that Meek has been gobbling up at a decent clip so far this year). At last glance, Brown held a paltry $81K in her House campaign war chest.

Brown’s 3rd District is safely Democratic territory — its PVI is D+18 and it delivered 73% of its vote for Obama last year, so we’d have nothing to worry about should the seat become open. Brown says that she expects to announce a decision “within a few weeks”.

NM-Gov: The return of Wilson?

So I went with some friends to the taping of Real Time with Bill Maher tonight.  The panelists were former Bush UN ambassador John Bolton, former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), and CSI: NY actor Hill Harper.  Before the show began, one of Bill’s writers came out to prep the audience, and when explaining who the guests were, said that Wilson was running for Governor of New Mexico.

This was a surprise to me, as I had no idea that she was interested in running.  And maybe the writer was simply confused.  But it seemed maybe to be a piece of inside information that he didn’t realize was not public yet, and maybe had heard backstage when they meet the guests for the evening.

So take it for what it’s worth.  He may have been completely wrong, or not.  We’ll soon find out.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/29

MO-Sen: Rep. Roy Blunt got some unwelcome news yesterday: he and his wife owe $6,820 in back taxes on their three-bedroom home in Georgetown, Washington D.C. assessed at $1.62 million. (The problem seems to be an improperly declared homestead exemption.) True to Republican form, the Blunt camp is blaming the government (more specifically, the D.C. government, for bungling the update of their homestead status).

NV-Sen: The Nevada GOP may be closer to landing a credible candidate to go against Harry Reid. State Senator Mark Amodei of Carson City (who’s term-limited out in 2010) was unusually vocal on the senate floor in the session’s closing weeks. When pressed in a recent interview, he said that if Rep. Dean Heller didn’t run against Reid (which seems unlikely; Heller, if he moves up, is usually mentioned as a primary challenger to toxic Gov. Jim Gibbons), then he’d “consider” running.

NY-Sen-B: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy endorsed Mayor-for-Life Michael Bloomberg for another term at the helm of New York City. As Daily Kos’s Steve wisely points out, this may be an indicator she’s not looking to run in the Dem primary; if she’s going to do so, she’d have to run to Kirsten Gillibrand’s left, but that would be a difficult case to make having just endorsed a Republican-turned-Independent for one of the state’s biggest jobs.

AL-Gov: State Treasurer Kay Ivey announced that she’s joining the crowded field of GOP candidates for Governor (including college chancellor Bradley Byrne, who also announced this week, as the moderate option, and ex-judge Roy Moore as the nuclear option). Ivey, however, may suffer a bit from her role in the state’s messed-up prepaid college tuition plan.

IA-Gov: State Rep. Chris Rants has been traveling the state gauging support for a run at the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Rants, from Sioux City in the state’s conservative west, served as majority leader and then speaker, but was replaced in leadership after the GOP lost the majority in 2006. Fellow Sioux City resident Bob Vander Plaats (the 2006 Lt. Gov. nominee) is expected to announce his candidacy soon as well.

MN-Gov: Tim Pawlenty has deferred his decision on whether or not to run for re-election to a third term until later this summer. The decision may turn on who’s more pissed at him after he decides whether or not to certify Al Franken — the nationwide GOP base, or Minnesotans.

OR-Gov: Former Gov. John Kitzhaber seems to be moving closer to a return to Salem, meeting with some of the state’s insiders about steps toward a comeback. Ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who’s already in the running (and won’t stand down if Kitzhaber gets in), confirms that Kitzhaber is “looking very seriously” at the race. Kitzhaber seems to be looking forward to a “do-over” now that there’s a firmly Democratic legislature; he spent most of his two terms in the 90s playing defense against a GOP-held legislature.

RI-Gov: Two of Rhode Island’s key Democrats are taking steps to run for the open Governor’s seat: AG Patrick Lynch and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts. Roberts is staffing up with top-tier campaign staff, while Lynch said that he has “every intention” of running for Governor during a radio interview. (Treasurer Frank Caprio is also mentioned as a likely candidate and is sitting on the most cash, but hasn’t done anything visible yet.) A Brown Univ. poll just released tested their approvals; Lynch was at 47/39 and Caprio at 41/24, while Roberts was in worse shape at 22/36. (A poll from March is the only test of the Dem primary so far, with Caprio leading with 30%, compared with 17 for Lynch, 12 for Roberts, and 13 for Providence mayor David Cicilline, who won’t be running.)

FL-02: State Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson has been attempting to primary Rep. Allen Boyd from the left, but party power brokers are encouraging him to switch over to the race for state CFO, being vacated by Alex Sink. With Senate President Jeff Atwater already running for CFO for the GOP, this would pit the parties’ two Senate leaders against each other.

IN-05: In this R+17 district, the primary’s where it’s at, and there’s a whole herd of Republicans chasing Rep. Dan Burton, perceived more as vulnerable more for his age and indifference than any ideological reason. State Rep. Mike Murphy just got into the race. He joins former state Rep. and former state party chair Luke Messer, John McGoff (who narrowly lost the 2006 primary against Burton), and Brose McVey (who ran against Julia Carson in IN-07 in 2002).

NM-01: It’s looking there’ll be a contested GOP primary to see who gets flattened by freshman Rep. Martin Heinrich in this now D+5 district. Former state party vice-chair and former Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce president Jon Barela is about to form an exploratory committee. (Given this district’s 45% Latino population, Barela may be a stronger candidate for the general than funeral home director Kevin Daniels.)

PA-06: Here’s a good tea leaf that Rep. Jim Gerlach is making behind-the-scenes notifications that he’s indeed bailing on his rapidly-bluening district. State Rep. Curt Schroder from rural Chester County (not to be confused with Oregon’s Kurt Schrader), always considered to be the next GOPer to have dibs on this seat, has organized a campaign committee. Dems have journalist Doug Pike running in this race, but someone with more firepower may jump in once Gerlach makes it official.

PA-07: For a few hours there last night, it looked like we were facing real problems in PA-07, a D+3 seat with a good Republican bench that will open up if Rep. Joe Sestak follows through on his threatened primary challenge to Arlen Specter. Former E.D. Pa. US Attorney (and before that, Delaware County DA) Pat Meehan was reported to be mulling a switch from the Governor’s race, where he’s probably lagging AG Tom Corbett in the primary (no polls have been taken, so who knows?), over to PA-07, giving the GOP a top-tier recruit. However, Meehan acted quickly to tamp that down and reaffirm he’s running for Gov. TPM points to another potential GOPer, Steven Welch, founder of local pharma company Mitos Technologies; on the Dem side, as most everyone here knows, state Rep. Bryan Lentz is heir apparent.

Thank you SSP

While I know this is slightly off topic, I hope David and the other moderators will humor me. I want to say thank you to everyone. Today I graduated with my BA in Political Science from Cal State University, Long Beach and am still a little shocked that I accomplished this.

Years ago, I was waiting tables, and my life was going no where, but I had always had an interest in politics. In 2005, before the midterm election, I got curious as to how the Federal Marriage Amendment might go, and got all nerdy into votes and members of the Senate, and all that good stuff that we all love. Looking for information, I stumbled upon Swing State Project, and found more information about Congressional races than I ever could have dreamed of before. Before SSP, I knew my home state Senators, now I’m pretty sure I know all one hundred (although I am not sure if that is a good thing or not!).

It was this site that awoke my love of politics, the political process, and law and drove me to go back to school and it is thanks to all of you, in good part, that I am where I am today.

All that being said, I want to thank David, James and Crisitunity for all the insights over the years, and heres to many more. As for my fellow commentators, thank you for the lively and entertaining debates and discussions. Even when I don’t agree with you at all, I appreciate your insights. Here is to another three years of law school!

KY-Sen: Mongiardo Posts Big Lead Over Conway in Own Poll

Garin Hart Yang for Dan Mongiardo (5/12-13, registered Democrats):

Dan Mongiardo (D): 43

Jack Conway (D): 28

Undecided: 29

(MoE: ±5.4%)

The Conway camp is raising a big stink over this poll, correctly pointing to the methodology’s rather portly margin of error. However, this is the first poll we’ve seen of the primary, and it’s not at all inconceivable that Mongiardo would be starting the race in the lead; a February poll from Research 2000 indicated that Mongiardo has stronger name recognition throughout the state, with only 5% of Democrats not having an opinion of him compared to 24% for Conway.

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary continues to be lively:

Conway is scheduled to attend a Saturday night fundraiser at the Fort Mitchell home of Nathan Smith, the former vice chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. [Mongiardo spokesman Kim] Geveden noted that the suggested contributions for the event are $250 to attend the fundraiser, but for $1,000 contributors can attend a “private conversation” with Conway.

“If Jack is charging $1,000 for a private conversation I can’t imagine what it would cost if he was ever elected U.S. Senator,” Geveden said in an interview. “You don’t have to pay $1 much less $1,000 to have a private conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo.”

Only another year of this. Sigh.

MI-Gov: Tossup Territory

EPIC-MRA for Detroit News/WXYZ-TV (5/18-21, “people”)


Debbie Stabenow (D): 49

John Cherry (D): 14

Robert Ficano (D): 5

Alma Wheeler Smith (D): 2

George Perles (D): 2

Andy Dillon (D): 1

Don Williamson (D): 1

Undecided: 26

Peter Hoekstra (R): 27

Mike Cox (R): 26

Terri Lynn Land (R): 19

David Brandon (R): 2

Tom George (R): 1

Undecided: 25

(MoE: ±4.9%)


John Cherry (D): 36

Peter Hoekstra (R): 33

John Cherry (D): 36

Mike Cox (R): 35

John Cherry (D): 34

Terri Lynn Land (R): 35

(MoE: ±4%)

The Michigan Governor’s race still looks to be our toughest blue-state gubernatorial retention in 2010. Lt. Gov. John Cherry has the inside track toward the Dem nomination, but he’s polling about even with the three likely GOPers. Probably our best shot here would be for polarizing Rep. Peter Hoekstra to emerge battered from a Republican primary over AG Mike Cox and SoS Terri Lynn Land (by consolidating his base in the conservative western part of the state), letting Cherry narrowly win the general… which is what this poll forecasts happening.

The weirdest thing about this poll is undoubtedly the presence of Sen. Debbie Stabenow. I haven’t heard about her having an iota of interest in jumping into the Governor’s race (although she could do so without danger, as she isn’t up for re-election until 2012). Interestingly, she would crush in both the primary and general if she did have any interest in heading back to Michigan. (In hypothetical generals, Stabenow beats Hoekstra 44-35, Cox 43-35, and Land 44-35. Good news, actually, because those are the same numbers the GOPers put up against Cherry, indicating that the GOP may have a ceiling and the electorate has a Dem lean, but that people who haven’t heard of Cherry yet are reluctant to commit to him.)

Robert Ficano, who polls third in the Dem primary, is the Wayne County Executive; he too hasn’t taken any visible steps toward running. (The poll also looks at general matchups with Ficano; he loses to Hoekstra 35-34, Cox 37-30, and Land 37-30.) Andy Dillon is the term-limited state House Speaker, who has been visibly interested in the Governor’s race; however maybe he’ll take a look at his 1% share and think about moving over to the MI-11 race (which he’s already declined, but, against vulnerable Rep. Thad McCotter, seems likelier to have a happy ending for him).

Results for Cherry are a little better than a poll conducted for Inside Michigan Politics in early March, which had Cherry trailing Cox 41-34 and Land 39-34 (Cherry/Hoekstra wasn’t polled). This earlier poll had Oakland County Exec L. Brooks Patterson winning the GOP primary over Cox, Hoekstra, and Land, 22-17-15-12, but Patterson has since said he won’t run. Maybe Cherry’s visibility has increased in the last few months, but mostly that just seems to be a difference in the composition of the two samples.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/28

OH-Sen: Rob Portman’s great week continues: he just found himself admitting in an interview that Republicans have no position on health care, and that he reached this conclusion only by talking to GOP Senate leadership about that. However, he says, “There’s a task force, and I applaud them for that.”

FL-Gov: Lakeland-area State Senator Paula Dockery, whose name has occasionally been bandied about for the GOP nomination for the open seat in FL-12, may be setting her sights higher: all the way to Governor. This would complicate things for the state party leadership, which got Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson to clear the path for AG Bill McCollum… but might secretly relieve some others in the Florida GOP, worried that McCollum has that warmed-over two-time-loser aroma. (I wonder, though, if she might really be angling for the still-vacant Lt. Gov. slot, as current Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp is heading over to the AG’s race, and Bronson said ‘no thanks’ to the idea. The GOP might need her there to avoid having an all-white-guy slate, what with state Senate President Jeff Atwater running for CFO and Howdy Doody Rep. Adam Putnam running for Ag Comm.)

AZ-Gov: Another state legislator contemplating out loud about a Governor’s race is state Rep. David Bradley, who may resign this summer in order to explore the race. He has two disadvantages, though: his base is not Phoenix but the much-smaller Tucson, and he isn’t known statewide like other likely Dem candidates AG Terry Goddard and developer/former state party boss/2006 Senate candidate Jim Pederson.

NY-Gov: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made some cryptic comments yesterday that have everyone scratching their heads: she believes there won’t be a Democratic primary for the 2010 Governor’s race. What she didn’t say is who she thinks will stand down, David Paterson or Andrew Cuomo?

MD-01: The NRCC is up with another ad blitz, this time with freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil the prime target. The TV ad hits Kratovil for his ‘no’ vote against an investigation into Nancy Pelosi over whether she or the CIA is lying (not an issue I could ever see the public comprehending, let alone getting revved up about, but maybe that’s just me). The issue also merits radio spots in 6 more districts (those of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Suzanne Kosmas, Glenn Nye, Tom Perriello, Vic Snyder, and Harry Teague), and robocalls in 10 more (John Boccieri, Bobby Bright, John Hall, Steny Hoyer, Steve Kagen, Ann Kirkpatrick, Larry Kissell, Harry Mitchell, Walt Minnick, and Mark Schauer).

CA-10: Running Some Guy is better than running No Guy, and the GOP has at least found Some Guy to run in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Ellen Tauscher: attorney David Harmer. Harmer once ran for Congress in UT-02 in 1996, and his father was California Lt. Gov under Ronald Reagan.

NY-AG: The New York Times profiles half a dozen prominent Democrats who are jockeying to take over the Attorney General’s job if Andrew Cuomo follows through on the Governor’s race. Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi is the best known, but two members of Paterson’s cabinet — insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo and criminal justice official Denise O’Donnell — are also looking. The article also cites Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and state Senator Eric Schneiderman.

TX-House: Democrats in the state House in Texas used parliamentary procedures to run out the clock on a Republican voter suppression bill. The voter ID bill would have disenfranchised thousands. The bill was so important to Republicans that they wouldn’t let any other bills jump ahead of it in the queue, though, creating a standoff that torpedoed hundreds of other pieces of legislation (including the override of Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to turn down $555 million in federal stimulus funds).