SSP Daily Digest: 8/31

CO-Sen: That was fast… two days after saying he was probably going to drop out of the Colorado Senate race, now Weld County DA Ken Buck is likely to stay in the race. Apparently there has been enough conservative discontent over the seeming annointment by the NRSC and state party of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton as the nominee that Buck may feel he can ride that backlash to primary victory. (Norton may well be conservative herself, but she’s such a blank slate that there’s no way to tell, and at any rate, conservative activists aren’t taking kindly to DC meddling this year, as we’ve seen in the Missouri and New Hampshire races.)

FL-Sen: Too cute by half? Charlie Crist’s appointment of his ex-Chief of Staff, George LeMieux, to the Senate is getting panned by many of the major newspaper editorial boards in the state. (J)

IA-Sen: Big Bruce Braley boffo boomlet busts! The sophomore Representative confirmed that, despite a sudden flurry of speculation, he’ll stay where he is, and not run against Chuck Grassley for the Senate. Former state legislators Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are already in the race.

IL-Sen: Here’s another Senate race where the GOP rabble is getting restive about one candidate getting the establishment stamp of approval. There are eight other candidates besides Mark Kirk, and religious right ultra-conservatives are trying to coalesce behind one, with Hinsdale real estate developer Patrick Hughes seeming to get the most mention. The most notable name in the anti-Kirk camp? Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who’s 85 and still going strong. The article does mention that there have been several other Senate primaries in Illinois where a conservative upstart beat the establishment moderate, most notably Al Salvi’s upset of Bob Kustra in the open seat race of 1996.

KY-Sen: You better believe it’s on. Rand Paul’s backers are gearing up for another Moneybomb!, this time cleverly scheduled for the same day (Sep. 23) as Trey Grayson’s big DC fundraiser where he’ll be feted by 23 Republican Senators.

LA-Sen: David Vitter seems like he has an endless supply of horse’s heads to put in the beds of potential GOP primary opponents. This time, former Lt. General and Katrina recovery hero Russel Honore backed down within a few days of his rumored interest appearing, much the same as with Suzanne Terrell and John Cooksey.

MA-Sen: There was a brief flurry of speculation that Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, would be the placeholder short-term appointee to his seat (assuming Massachusetts Dems followed through on changing state law regarding appointment), pushed along by Sens. Dodd and Hatch. However, it now appears she’s not interested in the interim appointment (or running in the special). Meanwhile, the many contenders among the Massachusetts House delegation are watching what ex-Rep. Joe Kennedy II does; Ed Markey and Michael Capuano, for instance, both sound eager to run in the special election but will defer to a member of the Kennedy family.

NV-Sen: There’s the old expression about not picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, but Harry Reid and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are getting into a little pissing match. Reid told the LVRJ that “I hope you go out of business.” The LVRJ’s publisher shot back, calling him a “bully” and decrying his “creepy tactic.” (I expect a Reid press release saying something about rubber and glue is forthcoming.)

AL-Gov: The specific details seem few and far between, but Ben Smith leaks some tidbits about an AL-Gov poll commissioned by the Alabama Education Association (the state’s teacher’s union, naturally a pro-Democratic organization). It’s good news for Rep. Artur Davis, who leads all GOPers in the race, ranging from ex-judge Roy Moore by 6 to Treasurer Kay Ivey by 12. Davis also leads Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks by 30 in the Dem primary, and has a 3-to-1 favorable ratio.

NJ-Gov: The Jon Corzine camp is out with a hard-hitting new TV spot, nailing Chris Christie over his undisclosed loan to carpool buddy Michele Brown. Also, unsurprisingly but critical to his survival, Corzine got the SEIU‘s endorsement last Friday.

PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty has been casting a wide net as he looks for a step up, considering the Lt. Gov. spot and a PA-11 primary challenge against Paul Kanjorski, but now he may be considering the big enchilada: a run for Governor. With the two Dem frontrunners both anti-abortion Pittsburgh-area Dems (Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner), there’s may be an opening for someone pro-choice from the East (which is something ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel is also considering).

VA-Gov: Republican AG Bob McDonnell’s attempts to position himself as a moderate in the Virginia Governor’s race hit a big snag this weekend, as the Washington Post took a look at the master’s thesis he wrote while a 34-year old graduate student at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. McDonnell railed against feminists, working mothers, contraceptive use by married couples, cohabitators, homosexuals, and fornicators. McDonnell protests rather weakly that his views have “changed” since he wrote the thesis.

CA-10: SurveyUSA is out with their final poll of the special election to replace Ellen Tauscher, and finds little movement in the past two weeks. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) leads with 25%, followed by Republican David Harmer with 20%. The other two major Dems in the race, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, are at 16% and 12%, respectively. (J)

MO-04: Retiring GOP Sen. Kit Bond seems displeased that national Republicans are trying to knock off veteran Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton next year. In an interview during a recent Cardinals game, Bond said that “it’s very very important for us to have a man like Ike Skelton” in Congress. (J)

Data: The Office of the House Clerk has released its biennial summary of the 2008 presidential & congressional elections (PDF). The document contains official results for every federal race in the nation, all in one place. (D)

IA-Sen: New ad against Grassley, and maybe new challenger

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have produced a new television commercial, which asks which side Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is on:

Click here to donate to help keep this ad on the air in Iowa and Washington, DC.

Speaking of which side Grassley’s on, Monday’s Des Moines Register reports on his massive campaign contributions from health industry interest groups. Thomas Beaumont’s story was based on numbers compiled by

Meanwhile, Representative Bruce Braley confirmed on Friday that he is running for re-election in Iowa’s first Congressional district (PVI D+5). I consider him likely to run for U.S. Senate when either Grassley or Tom Harkin retires. (Harkin comes up for re-election in 2014.)

Rumors persist that a prominent Democrat will join Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen in challenging Grassley next year. Some people have been talking about Barry Griswell, the retired CEO of the Principal Financial Group. It was news to me that Griswell is even a Democrat; he has donated to politicians from both parties in the past. Al Swearengen of The Iowa Republican blog speculates that Fred Hubbell is the mystery candidate. Hubbell currently chairs the Iowa Power Fund Board, to which Governor Chet Culver appointed him. From his official bio:

Fred S. Hubbell was a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of Insurance and Asset Management Americas for ING Group. Mr. Hubbell retired from ING Group’s Executive Board effective April 25, 2006. Mr. Hubbell was formerly Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equitable of Iowa Companies, an insurance holding company, serving in his position as Chairman from May 1993 to October 1997, and as President and Chief Executive Officer from May 1989 to October 1997.

Like Griswell, Hubbell could be a self-funding candidate, but unlike Griswell, he has a consistent history of supporting Democrats. Charlotte Hubbell, Fred Hubbell’s wife, serves on the state’s Environmental Protection Commission.

UPDATE: Hubbell told Iowa Independent he’s not interested in running against Grassley.

NY-Sen-B, NY-03: King Won’t Challenge Gillibrand

The NY Daily News:

“I’m not trying to kid anyone,” King said in a prepared statement. “I wanted to be able to run for the Senate.” […]

“The reality is that a statewide Democratic candidate starts the race with a voter registration edge of almost 3 million. To overcome such a large margin, there would have to be intensive media coverage of the race and I would need to raise at least $30 million.”

“That is why I would have run if Caroline Kennedy were the Democratic candidate. Her candidacy would have generated the media coverage and financial contributions necessary for me to run a competitive race. That’s all I would have hoped for. Once the race became competitive, it would have been up to me to win it by contrasting my blue collar conservatism with her Manhattan liberalism.”

“That race was not to be. Senator Gillibrand generates neither strong support nor opposition. This makes it virtually impossible for me to raise the campaign funds I would need to overcome the built-in Democratic registration advantage and the countless millions of dollars which the Democrats will make available to Senator Gillibrand.”

While this is hardly a surprise at all, I can’t think of a more mopey, sorry-for-yourself press release in recent history. Good grief.

RaceTracker Wiki: NY-Sen-B

Redistricting Virginia (A comprehensive look with three scenarios)

Virginia offers one of the most intriguing opportunities for redistricting after the 2010 census. The current map is based off of a Republican gerrymander, initiated after Republicans took firm control of both the House or Delegates and State Senate ahead of the 2001 redistricting. Thus Democrats stand to gain even under a bi-partisan or non-partisan scheme. Currently a numberof schemes are possible depending on the outcome of the 2009 state elections. Below I outline the likelihood of each scenario and an example of a redistricting scheme that could result from such a scenario.

NOTE: Current map can be accessed here:…

Scenario 1. Bi-partisan or non-partisan redistricting

This is far and away the most likely outcome. Currently Democrats control the State Senate by a slim 21-19 margin. This control will prevent Republicans from enacting a gerrymandered scheme as long as Democrats do no suffer any mid-term retirements (an unlikely though not impossible sceneario as will be discussed in scenario 3). In addition, the political winds seem to be blowing against the Democrats in Virginia this year, so it seems almost equally unlikely that Democrats will gain control of both the governership and House of Delegates in 2009 and be able to enact a Democratic gerrymander. Therefore, the most likely outcome is that redistricting will occur either through a bi-partisan negotiating process, or a non-partisan panel (both have been discussed). Although there would be minor differences between the two outcomes, the sample map below is a good example of what either might look like since it both protects endangered incumbents and keeps similar “communities of interest” together. This sample map would likely maintain the current 6-5 Dem majority but could easliy support anything from a 7-4 Dem Majority to a 7-4 Rep majority in the long run

Bipartisan - state

CD #1 (Dark blue) – This largely resembles the current incarnation of the district. It should be marginally more Republican as it’s lost majority-minority areas in Prince William County and Hampton Roads in exchange for more conservative areas of Fauquier County, Prince William, and the Northern Neck.


CD #2 (Green) – The GOP was too clever by half in it’s 2001 redistricting scheme. Because of demographic and political changes both district 2 and district 4 became politically competitve and were won by Obama in the 2008 election. The 2nd seeks a compromise by making the 2nd more dem friendly for Glenn Nye in exchange for making the 4th a strong Republican district to protect Randy Forbes. Under this map, majority African American areas of Chesapeake previous in the 4th have been given to the 2nd in exchange for extremely conservative areas of coastal Virginia Beach. (Also note that Rep-leaning areas of Hampton have been ceeded to the 1st).

CD #3 (Purple)- Bobby Scott’s district needed to expand as it primarily consists of urban African-American sections of Richmond and Hampton Roads that have not kept pace with the state’s population growth over the last 10 years. As part of the compromise to strenghten the 2nd while weakening the 4th, the 3rd takes overwhelming African-American Petersburg from Forbes’s district while leaving Nye with many majority African-American areas in Hampton Roads.

CD #4 (red)- See above for most changes. In addittion, Forbes’s district gaines almost all of heavily Republican Chesterfield county.

CD #5 (yellow)- Tom Periello’s district is currently quite precarious and will probably stay that way under any bi-partisan compromise. Unfortunately there’s no way to make the district radically stronger without serious gerrymandering (which will not be possible under a bi-partisan compromise) due to the lack of other strong Democratic areas in the vicinity of Charlottesville. However, the district should become marginally more friendly as it has not kept up with the states population growth over the past 10 years and therefore gains the swingy locality of Lynchburg.

CD #6 (teal)- Becomes even more strongly Rep-leaning as Republicans compromise by giving the Dem-leaning city of Roanoke to the slow growing 9th in exchange for heavily Rep areas of the Shenandoah valley that have to be shed from the fast growing 10th.

CD #7 (gray)- No significant changes, the 7th remains a staunchly conservative district that provides a comfortable home to Eric Cantor.

CD #8 (light purple)- District has to expand as inner-Nova’s growth has not been as dramatic as PW or Loudon counties. Takes in heavily dem areas of Fairfax county and remains the heavily Democratic home of Jim Moran.

CD #9 (light blue)- The most rural, and slow growing district of the state must expand and does so by taking in Dem leaning Roanoke in exchange for less populous areas around Covington and Martinsville. This district is marginally more Democratic and should continue to easily re-elect Rick Boucher. However, it will still be very difficult to fill the seat with a Democratic replacement upon his retirement


CD #10 (pink)- Outer Norther Virginia has both grown by leaps and bounds and become more Dem-friendly over the past few years. This bi-partisan compromise gives Wolf the most Rep-friendly district possible without sever gerrymandering (in exchange for Republican concessions on the 5th and the 9th). However, this new district will still be significantly more Dem-friendly than its current incarnation. While Wolf might continue to squeak by, the district will likely flip Democratic upon his retirement.

CD #11 (lime green)- Part of the compromise to protect Wolf is necessarrily to make the 11th even more strongly Dem leaning than it is currently. By picking up marority-minority areas of Eastern Prince William and losing Strong-Rep areas of Western Prince William the district move from having a strong Democratic lean to a heavily Democratic district that could not elect a Republican even under the most ideal circumstances.

The other two scenarios (a Republican or Democatic controlled gerrymander) are much less likely and as such will be discussed in less detail below.

Scenario 2 – A Democratic gerrymander

Given the high hill the Democrats would have to climb to reach a majority in the House of Delegates and the unfriendly political winds blowing against the Democrats this scenario is possibly the least likely of the three.  However, politics is, as always, unpredictable, and if the Democrats do recover steam in time for the 2009 elections they may be able to enact a gerrymander similar to the one envisioned below. This example map would likely create a 7-4 Dem Majority.


Notable differences from the bi-partisan scheme

1. In Northern Virginia:

   Frank Wolf’s 10th takes heavily Democratic Arlington and Falls Church making his reelection next to impossible. Although the 11th is less Dem friendly it is still majority-minority. All three NOVA districts are strongly Democratic and should return Dem reps for the next 10 years

2. In Hampton Roads and Richmond:

   Glenn Nye’s 2nd district takes on all the majority African-American areas of South Hampton Roads and becomes a majority minority district with whites and blacks exist in almost equal proportions. Not suprisingly it is very strong Dem district (Obama prob won by at least 20 points). Suprisingly Bobby Scott’s district can maintain it’s majority minority status (and keep Scott’s base in Newport News) by taking Petersburg and African-American heavy areas of Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Randy Forbes 4th becomes a staunchly Republican as it’s majority African American areas are raided to strengthen the 2nd.

3. In the Southside/SW Virginia

  Periello’s 5th is strengthened (but not radically changed) by the inclusion of heavily African-American areas of Lynchburg, and Southeast Virginia, in addition to the swingly college towns of Harrisonburg and Staunton, in exchange for the overwhelmingly Republican areas of Appomattox, Franklin and Pittsylvania Counties. The 9th becomes more dem friendly, losing heavliy Republican rural SW VA counties in exchange for Dem-friendly Roanoke and swingy counties along the WV border.

Scenario #3 – Republican gerrymander

 Although Republicans seem somewhat likely to take the Governorship and extremely likely to retain control of the House of Delegates, there will not be an election in the Dem controlled state Senate before the next redistricting scheme is encacted. However the current Democratic majority is potentially precarious as it could be disrupted by the retirement of 82 year-old Chuck Colgan who represents a marginal seat in Northern Virginia that could flip Republican in a special election. In addition one member of the Democratic caucus (Ralph Northam of Norfolk) nearly left to join the Republicans earlier in the year. If a 20-20 tie occurs it will be broken by the Lietenant Governor who, given the current political enviornment, could very well be Republican candidate Bill Bolling. Although these are not good signs, Democrats can take solace in that a victory by Republican candidate Ken Cucinelli in the Auttourney General’s race would trigger a special election to fill his Senate seat — a seat won by Obama by a 12 point margin in 2008 that could very well flip Dem in the election and restore Democratic contol over the chamber. Nonetheless, if the worst does happen the Republicans would likely draft a map that looks something like this. This example map would likely create a 7-4 Republican Majority.


Notable differences with the Bi-partisan plan

1. In NOVA

  Democratic Strength in the region is concentrated in the 8th and 11th, and consigned the the heavily Republican 1st. The 10th is left with all the Republican areas and a larger share of the Shenadoah valley, making it a more hospitable district for Wolf and future Republican successors

2. In Richmond/Hampton Roads

 By Bobby Scott’s taking over heavely African-American Petersburg, the 4th and afford to take strong AA areas from the 2nd in exchange for strongly Republican areas of Chesapeake and Suffolk. In addition the 1st cedes Poquoson (which McCain carried by 50 points in 2008) and similarly rock-ribbed Republican areas of York County to the 2nd. The new 2nd is not completely unwinnable for Nye, but will probably flip Republican as long as they can find a somewhat credible challenger.

3. In SW Virginia/Southside

  Periello’s 5th is eviscerated as his base in Charlottesville is added to the rock ribbed Republican 6th. Without heavily Dem Charlottesville/Albemarle the 5th becomes a very difficult climb for any Democrat and unwinnable for a relatively liberal Democrat like Periello. Although the 6th gains this Dem bastion it too is unwinnable for any Dem candidate, with the loss of Democratic Roanoke, and the addition of heavily Republican areas of the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. Republicans make minimal changes to the 9th and remain confident that the district will flip back to them upon Boucher’s retirement.

Suffice to say, a lot hangs on the results of the state elections in Virginia this Novemeber. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or observations.

Redistricting Maryland (7-1 split)

I was so excited when I got online today and saw Dave had uploaded a map for Maryland (I was also pleasantly surprised to see he used voting districts instead of census tracts, since I think Maryland lawmakers use those when making maps). I just had to take the time to redistrict my home state today; I’ve always wanted to since I hate the current map with a passion – it’s gerrymandered beyond what’s necessary and it wastes a lot of Democratic voters in Montgomery County, Howard County, and Western Maryland.

My goal in this was to create a 7-1 split. I know people have drawn maps that are 8-0, but I really didn’t want this to be too gerrymandered (and I didn’t want to endanger any incumbents in the event of a “wave” year. Plus, I know this probably doesn’t matter to anyone else, but I like being able to look at a congressional map from a distance and easily see what is where, which is something you can’t do at all with current districts 2 and 3. So without further ado here’s what I came up with:

District 1 – Frank Kratovil (D) (blue)

This district keeps the Eastern Shore (minus part of Cecil County, which isn’t really on the Eastern Shore). The district also loses Bel Air and all the crazy conservative parts of Anne Arundel County. In their place, the district gets the most Democratic parts of Harford County from District 2, Annapolis and it’s suburbs from District 3, and parts of Prince George’s County from District 5. Only 55% of the district is actually on the shore, the other 45% is heavily-Democratic central MD, so should be safe for Kratovil (Obama probably won 53-47 here). District is 69% White, 23% black, 3% hispanic.

District 2 – John Sarbanes (I guess) (D) (green)

One of my goals was to untangle 2 and 3, since they were just too crazy. I knew someone would end up not living in their district, and it ended up being Sarbanes. This district uses Howard County as a base, and takes in the most Democratic parts of West and North Anne Arundel County along with parts of Montgomery County. This district probably will have an identity crisis since it is located kinda equidistant from Baltimore and DC. Obama probably got 65%-70% here, so it should be safe for any Democrat. Stats: Only 56% white!, 20% black, 11% Asian, 9% Hispanic.

District 3 – Elijah Cummings (D) (purple)

Baltimore gets a nice, compact district (yay!). I took out Howard County and gave Cummings Republican areas in North Anne Arundel and East Baltimore County (Idk if I’d call the Baltimore County parts Republican, they’re mostly just blue-collar racists, but regardless, nobody has to deal with them now). Obama probably got about 65-75% here. Stats: 43% white, 50% black, 2% hispanic, 2% Asian.

District 4 – Donna Edwards (D) (red)

Straightens up it’s Prince George’s County portion, and adds heavily Republican areas of Anne Arundel County so that nobody has to deal with them. Obama probably got 65-75% here. 31% white, 50% black, 4% Asian, 12% hispanic.

District 5 – Steny Hoyer (D) (yellow)

Keeps all of Southern Maryland and South Anne Arundel, changes course through PG to take in part of Montgomery so that Kratovil can have part of PG. Hoyer might not live in here, but we can redraw the lines if he has a fit. Obama probably got 65-75% here. Stats: only 47% white!, 36% black, 4% Asian, 9% hispanic.

District 6 – Roscoe Bartlett (R) (teal)

Takes away Democratic parts of Frederick and Hagerstown, adds Bel Air and north Cecil County. McCain probably got about 75% here (I wouldn’t be surprised). Stats: 91% white, 3% black, 1% Asian, 1% hispanic.

District 7 – Dutch Ruppersberger (D) (gray)

This district is kinda cool because it sorta follows the Beltway around Baltimore while taking in the Northwest part of the City. Much less gerrymandered than before. Obama got 57% in Baltimore county, and this district excludes the most Republican parts while taking in part of the City, so Obama probably got 65% here. Stats: 56% white, 34% black, 4% Asian, 3% Hispanic.

District 8 – Chris Van Hollen (D) (purplish-blue)

Most of Montgomery County, with the most Democratic parts of Frederick and Washington Counties, not much needs to be said. Obama probably got 75% here. Stats: 66% white, 10% black, 11% Asian, 9% Hispanic.

So there you have it. I’m thinking I’ll do a state legislature map for Maryland next. Let me know what you all think.

LA-SD20: Dems Hold Tough Open Seat

UPDATE: It’s over. Democrat Norbért “Norby” Chabert wins by almost a nine-point spread. Nice work.

Polls will close in a few minutes for a pair of special elections in Louisiana. One, a House special, is a D-on-D affair, but there’s also a state Senate special election that’s a bit more interesting: the former occupant of the seat was a Democrat who resigned to serve as Terrebonne Parish’s levee director earlier this summer, and it’s also one of the state Senate districts whose lines overlap with Charlie Melancon’s 3rd Congressional District.

More, from Josh Goodman:

Only in Louisiana does a state legislator resign to become his parish’s levee director. State Senator Reggie Dupre, a Democrat, left earlier this summer to serve as Terrebonne Parish’s levee director, setting up a special election in Louisiana’s 20th District tomorrow.

This should be a tight race. In the first round of voting, Republican Brent Callais took 38%, while Democrat Norby Chabert took 33%. The third candidate in the primary, Damon Baldone, was also a Democrat, but it’s not clear that his votes will go to Chabert. Baldone hasn’t endorsed either of his two former foes. A Callais win would chip into the 23-16 Democratic advantage in the Louisiana Senate.

So far as I can tell, this area of coastal Louisiana is ancestrally Democratic, but very conservative. The district covers parts of Terrebonne Parish and Lafourche Parish. I don’t know about the specific areas of the parishes that are in the 20th District, but overall both Terrebonne and Lafourche gave John McCain about 70% of the vote. In contrast, Mary Landrieu’s U.S. Senate race was very tight in both parishes.

While downballot special elections are often unpredictable affairs that serve as unreliable tea leaves for future elections, this one will be of some interest to those looking to gauge the health of the Dem brand in Cajun country.


A Southern Wave? Where are the targets?

So I’ve heard it posited here on SSP that 2010 will be a Republican wave in the South, with a stalemate in the rest of the country.  While I do think a Southern wave is coming for the Republicans, I do not think it is coming in 2010.  Rather, it will come over time as entrenched Southern Democrats like Gene Taylor, Allen Boyd, John Tanner, Lincoln Davis, Bart Gordon, etc. retire, leaving open seats.  There is no reason to believe that these types of entrenched incumbents are going to lose in significant numbers in 2010, nor is there reason so far to believe any of them are going to retire in 2010.  In fact, for 2010, it does not appear that there are a lot of juicy Southern targets for the Republicans.  

Here is the geographical distribution of the 2010 Frontline Democrats, along with the three competitive open seats (PA-07, NH-02, and LA-03):


CT-04 – Himes

MD-01 – Kratovil

NH-01 – Shea-Porter

NH-02 – OPEN

NJ-03 – Adler

NY-13 – McMahon

NY-20 – Murphy

NY-24 – Arcuri

NY-25 – Maffei

NY-29 – Massa

PA-03 – Dahlkemper

PA-07 – OPEN

PA-10 – Carney

SOUTH (11)

AL-02 – Bright

AL-05 – Griffith

FL-08 – Grayson

FL-24 – Kosmas

LA-03 – OPEN

MS-01 – Childers

NC-08 – Kissell

TX-23 – Rodriguez

VA-02 – Nye

VA-05 – Periello

VA-11 – Connolly


IL-11 – Halvorson

IL-14 – Foster

IN-09 – Hill

IA-03 – Boswell

MI-07 – Schauer

MI-09 – Peters

OH-01 – Driehaus

OH-15 – Kilroy

OH-16 – Boccieri

OH-18 – Space

WI-08 – Kagen

WEST (10)

AZ-01 – Kirkpatrick

AZ-05 – Mitchell

AZ-08 – Giffords

CA-11 – McNerney

CO-04 – Markey

ID-01 – Minnick

NV-03 – Titus

NM-01 – Heinrich

NM-02 – Teague

OR-05 – Schrader

The DCCC is not trying to protect entrenched incumbents in the South (even Chet Edwards amazingly).  Rather, the DCC believes that the seats it needs to defend are widespread, largely because the Dems’ recent gains have been widespread and therefore the least entrenched Dem congressmen are widespread.  In fact, the plurality of anticipated, competitive seats are in the Northeast, the Democratic sweet spot.  I think the DCCC is protecting the right incumbents, give or take.

While I could see as many as eight of the ten Southern, Frontline Democrats losing, plus the open seat in LA-03, that does not a wave make unless there are additional gains elsewhere.

In summary, for 2010, the least entrenched incumbents are scattered all over America.  Therefore, if there is a Republican wave, it will likely be scattered all over America, just like 1994.  I just do not see the opportunity for a Southern wave this time around.

CO-Sen: Romanoff to Challenge Bennet; Buck Out, Norton Likely In

Lots of big moves in the Colorado Senate race to report.

First, comes the big whopper. After Michael Bennet appeared to succeed in deterring any primary challengers from emerging in the many months since his appointment, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is going to take the plunge, according to the Denver Post:

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is poised to mount a Democratic primary campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet.

Urged to challenge Gov. Bill Ritter as he seeks re-election in 2010, Romanoff has instead turned his attention to next year’s U.S. Senate race, sources close to Romanoff told The Denver Post. One source reported that Romanoff offered a campaign position to a veteran Democratic strategist.

Romanoff could not be reached for comment Friday night, but several people close to him said they expect him to announce next month.

Wally Stealey, a longtime lobbyist and political mover in Pueblo, said Romanoff called him Friday morning to tell him he had decided to run.

Romanoff was apparently under a lot of pressure from labor officials and activists to challenge Gov. Bill Ritter in the Democratic primary. (Ritter, as you may be aware, has utterly poisoned his relationship with organized labor in the state by issuing veto after veto of union-backed legislation.) It seems that Romanoff considers the fresh outta prep-school Bennet to be the easier target. While Bennet hasn’t been awful in office, he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to anyone in particular yet, either. This will be a primary well worth watching.

On the GOP side of the equation, it looks like the race is beginning to streamline around the NRSC’s pick, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. With Bob Beauprez’s drop-out still fresh in the press, it appears that Weld County DA Ken Buck is also going to pull the plug on his candidacy on Monday, clearing another obstacle for Norton. Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier is still in the race, but his fundraising has been well below par, as is unknown businessman Cleve Tidwell. Former state Sen. Tom Wiens may also make a race of it, but there’s little doubt that he’s under pressure to stay out.

(Hat-tip: Rtael)

SSP currently rates this race as Lean D.

RaceTracker Wiki: CO-Sen

Political Realignment on Steroids ?

(Cross-posted on Daily Kos and the Swing State Project)

Beginning in the 1960’s the Republican Party won many elections using their “Southern Strategy”.  The strategy worked pretty well for them for over three decades, but beginning maybe a dozen years ago, it began to have a counter-effect whereby areas outside the South began to increasingly vote Democratic (in part as a reaction to the “Southernization” of the GOP).   This trend accelerated rather rapidly over the last few election cycles, culminating in the 2008 election where the “Southern Strategy” literally blew up in the face of the Republican Party.  The latest polling from Research 2000  –summarized here in a diary from earlier today:… — indicates that this realigning trend has perhaps reached new and unprecedented levels.

Looking at simply support for President Obama and support for the Republican Party will give you an idea of what I’m talking about …


Northeast – 81% favorable; 13% unfavorable

Midwest – 62% favorable; 33% unfavorable

West – 60% favorable; 36% unfavorable

“non-South” – 67% favorable; 28% unfavorable (for the “non-South” I combined the data for the three regions above, adjusting for population proportions)

South – 27% favorable; 68% unfavorable

As you can see, the numbers for the South vs. the “non-South” are almost exactly the reverse of each other !  If you look at this as a net plus/minus aggregate, the difference between the South and the non-South is an astounding 80 points !

It appears that, despite the fact that President Obama’s overall numbers have gone down over the last several polls, he is still VERY popular in the “non-Southern” area of the country which encompasses 70% of our population.

The Research 2000 polling also included data based on race/ethnicity.  I played with the numbers here a bit to try to extrapolate (an educated “guesstimate”) what the proportion of “Southern whites” thinks about the President.  For this purpose I assumed that blacks and Hispanics, regardless of whether they live in the South or not, would generally have a similar opinion of President Obama (blacks: 86% favorable, 5% unfavorable; Hispanics: 63% favorable, 30% unfavorable).  My extrapolated numbers for Southern Hispanics may be off a bit as the largest concentrations include both the relatively more Democratic population in Texas, as well as the relatively more Republican population in Florida; nevertheless, the Hispanic numbers here don’t play as large of a role as the numbers for the black population, so I feel my final extrapolated numbers are quite accurate.  After crunching all the numbers I “guesstimated” the following:

“Southern Whites” (approx. 21% of the U.S. population):

Obama – 5% favorable; 91% unfavorable

“everyone else” (non-Southerners of all races and Southern blacks and Hispanics; approx. 79% of the U.S. population):

Obama – 68% favorable; 26% unfavorable

The net difference between the two groups above is an amazing 128 points !

I repeated the entire process to analyze support for the Republican Party:


Northeast – 6% favorable; 91% unfavorable

Midwest – 10% favorable; 81% unfavorable

West – 11% favorable; 77% unfavorable

“non-South” – 9% favorable; 83% unfavorable

South – 46% favorable; 40% unfavorable

“Southern Whites” – 64% favorable; 18% unfavorable

“everyone else” – 9% favorable; 84% unfavorable

The favorable number above for “everyone else” is really only a bit over 8.5% (which I rounded to 9%), so among the 4/5 of the U.S. population that isn’t “Southern white” the opinion of the Republican Party is, in effect, a 10 to 1 unfavorable to favorable ratio !  These numbers clearly support the assertion made by many over the last number of months that the Republican Party is becoming a rump, regional entity.

The purpose of this diary is not to bash Southern whites.  I simply find it very interesting how disparate the numbers are when comparing that particular population with the rest of the nation.  Much of this may already seem like “common knowledge” but the numbers from the Research 2000 polling are still mind-boggling to me.  

Perhaps the point to all this is that when looking at aggregate national poll numbers that measure the “popularity” of President Obama, the Republican Party, or health care for that matter, we should always keep in mind that they are just an average, and the overall “toplines” should not necessarily be used to measure the country as a whole.  Instead, greater consideration should be given to how the numbers play out regionally.  A good example of this includes when we’re trying to figure out how the 2010 Congressional elections will play out.  The GOP may indeed capture seats from us next year — but where will those seats be ?  With 46-40 favorable/unfavorable numbers in the South, it seems quite conceivable that a number of Southern seats may be lost; on the other hand, with a 6-91 numbers in the Northeast, it’s a much steeper hill to climb for the GOP in that region (btw, this poll also provides Generic Congressional Ballot preference numbers, though with decidedly larger numbers of undecideds; for ex. the generic GOP candidate in the South beats the generic Democrat by a 2 to 1 ratio, while in the Northeast the generic Democrat wins by a ratio of 5 to 1).  All politics is local, ofcourse, but understanding the current state of regional political differentiation in this country at this point in our history will go a long way towards planning strategy, whether the battle is winning Congressional elections or the health care debate.

One thing does seem certain here, though.  The GOP’s Southern Strategy is dead, and it appears to have taken the party down with it.  Whether the GOP can rise from the ashes is another question.  But if it rises, it will not be through the resurrection of the Southern Strategy.


Reader KTinOhio (from the Daily Kos version of this diary) makes a really good observation re. the realignment process.  I am adding KTin’s comment below as I think it’s very relevant to this discussion:

First, the most recent polling – especially the Gallup tracker that gives Obama a +7 favorability rating – matches the election results closely.  Gallup had Obama up 50-43.  Last fall’s vote was 53-46, and very few of those 46% will support the president now.

Second, in comparing the Research 2000 regional favorability ratings as posted on Kos to the election results, it is odd that Obama is doing better now than he did in the election in three out of four regions.  Any guesses as to which one is the exception?


Popular Vote:  Obama 16,955,765 (59.44%), McCain 11,163,386 (39.14%), Total 28,524,587.  Electoral Vote:  Obama 117, McCain 5.

Research 2000:  81% Favorable, 13% Unfavorable.


Popular Vote:  Obama 17,790,208 (52.98%), McCain 15,253,735 (45.43%), Total 33,576,392.  Electoral Vote:  Obama 97, McCain 34.

Research 2000:  62% Favorable, 33% Unfavorable.


Popular Vote:  Obama 15,720,655 (55.94%), McCain 11,765,120 (41.86%), Total 28,104,554.  Electoral Vote:  Obama 96, McCain 28.

Research 2000:  60% Favorable, 36% Unfavorable.


Popular Vote:  Obama 19,032,324 (46.14%), 21,767,161 (52.77%), Total 41,251,078.  Electoral Vote:  Obama 55, McCain 106.

Research 2000:  27% Favorable, 68% Unfavorable.


Popular Vote:  Obama 69,498,952 (52.87%), 59,949,402 (45.60%), Total 131,456,611.  Electoral Vote:  Obama 365, McCain 173.

Research 2000:  55% Favorable, 40% Unfavorable.

So, if we compare the election results to the current favorability polls, which are obviously not the same thing, but the election was a much a referendum on Obama as anything else, Obama has gone from +7 to +15 nationally, +20 to +68 in the Northeast, +8 to +29 in the Midwest, +14 to +24 in the West, and – 7 to -41 in the South.  Somehow, a lot of McCain voters in the Northeast now give Obama a favorable grade, as do a smaller number of McCain voters in the Midwest and West.  But in the South, the opposite is true; large numbers of Obama voters seem to have turned against him.

Thank you KTinOhio for crunching the numbers and for your very relevant and insightful analysis.

CO-Sen, Primary Challenge for Bennet?…

Looks like Bennet will be getting a primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, presumably from the left? Sorry for a short diary but I’m not amazingly familiar with CO politics so I have more questions than answers. First of all is this article legit and is Romanoff really getting in? If he does get in, does he overcome Bennet’s current money advantage and his quasi-incumbency? Does this primary help or hurt our chances in the general election?

I for one will be pretty happy if Romanoff does pull the trigger. I think Bennet has been a pretty bad senator from liberal/left-moderate perspective and he doesn’t really have any great outside assets like a huge fund-raising capacity or good campaigning skills.