SSP Daily Digest: 11/30

CT-Sen: It’s a rumor that’s been going around for a few weeks that seemed ridiculous, but it only seems to be getting louder, so it’s worth a mention: Ralph Nader is considering a run for the Senate in Connecticut under the Green Party’s banner, and is gauging grass-roots support for a race. The knee-jerk reaction is that this is one more piece of bad news Chris Dodd doesn’t need, but it’s worth considering that Nader may actually help Dodd more than hurt him, by diluting the pool of anti-Dodd votes, giving an option for Dems and indies who are specifically anti-Dodd and anti-bankster, other than voting for the Republican.

IL-Sen: Freshman Rep. Aaron Schock gave his endorsement to Rep. Mark Kirk in his quest to win the GOP Senate nomination. People are treating this like it boosts Kirk’s conservative bona fides, but Schock has turned out to be more of a low-key, establishment player since getting into the House than his loose-lipped statements during his campaign would have suggested.

KY-Sen: Rand Paul and the NRSC seem to be in a standoff, over the same old issue, whether or not the NRSC plans to endorse in the primary. Paul was spreading the word last week, based on conversations with the NRSC, that the NRSC would not endorse, but spokesperson Brian Walsh now says the NRSC doesn’t “anticipate” endorsing but reserves the right to do so.

MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano got an endorsement from one of the deans of Bay State politics, former Gov. (and presidential candidate) Mike Dukakis. However, he might be overshadowed a little by Alan Khazei, who’s attracted little attention so far but seems to be closing strong, if the last Rasmussen poll is any indication. Khazei snagged endorsements from both the Boston Globe and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.

NC-Sen: Campaign Diaries managed to snag an internal polling memo for the Elaine Marshall campaign, which leads me to wonder why the DSCC is stiff-arming her and still pining for former state Sen. Cal Cunningham to get in the race. Marshall leads with 42% in the primary, with attorney Kenneth Lewis at 7 (including 14% of African-Americans) and Cunningham at 5. At some point, the DSCC’s tepidness about her, if it doesn’t change, is going to start affecting broader perceptions of her — likely to create a fundraising vicious circle of not being able to raise funds well because she’s not perceived as not being able to win because she can’t raise funds well. The poll was conducted by PPP, although Marshall has previously used Lake Research as her pollster.

NY-Sen-B: Rasmussen took their first look at a Rudy-centric Senate race in New York, finding Rudy Giuliani beating Kirsten Gillibrand 53-40 (a very similar margin to last week’s Marist poll). Giuliani has 63/33 favorables, while Gillibrand is at 46/41 (this has to be the best-known Gillibrand has ever been, but one of Rasmussen’s many quirks is to show everyone as being well-known). The New York Post also has the scoop on a Republican who seems likelier to run (although it’s on the gossip page rather than the politics section!): Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman is considering a running for the Republicans. Blakeman lost the 1998 state Controller’s race to Carl McCall; also, his ex-wife is now dating Paul McCartney, which is apparently Page Six’s angle on all this.

UT-Sen: Here’s an interesting ploy: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (rumored as a potential Senate candidate) is taking a highly visible stand against the Obama administration’s decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan, saying it’s time to bring them home and that he’s opposed to “nation building.” That puts him up against the party orthodoxy, but it also leads to the question of whether Chaffetz is a bit of an outlier here or if the movement conservatives are going to be moving in more of an isolationist direction heading into 2012 (and whether that’s because of their paranoid nativist worldview, or just because it gives them one more thing to oppose the President on).

AL-Gov: Two endorsements in the Alabama governor’s race, where there are heated primaries on both sides. Mitt Romney has endorsed Treasurer Kay Ivey, perhaps as payback for chairing his Alabama campaign but also a potential thumb-in-the-eye to the religious right, who are naturally supporting Roy Moore in the race. On the Dem side, Sam Jones, the first African-American mayor of Mobile, endorsed Rep. Artur Davis.

MA-Gov: Rasmussen threw in some gubernatorial numbers to their sample last week of the Senate special election primary, and they continue to find that incumbent Dem Deval Patrick has the edge. It’s a little narrower than their last poll or Suffolk’s recent poll — Patrick leads independent Tim Cahill and Republican Christy Mihos 32-28-26 and leads Republican Charlie Baker and Cahill 33-28-25 — but it still shows Patrick benefiting from Cahill splitting the anti-Patrick vote.

MI-Gov: A poll of the Republican field in the Michigan gubernatorial race by Mitchell Research for the Detroit News finds a small lead for AG Mike Cox. Cox leads Rep. Peter Hoekstra 27-24, with 12 for Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard and 3 each for state Sen. Tom George and businessman Rick Snyder. The poll also finds Cox beating Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry by 16 points in the general, although specific numbers aren’t reported for some reason.

NY-Gov: Another brave Republican is considering taking on the gubernatorial race: Emil Henry Jr. He’s got just the right resume for these troubled times: He was assistant Treasury Secretary in the Bush administration, and before that, an executive at Lehman Brothers. Ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is already in the GOP field.

UT-Gov: Democratic Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon is sounding more like a candidate for governor, in next year’s special election against appointed GOP incumbent Gary Herbert. A recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll finds Herbert leading Corroon 56-32. Corroon actually sounds encouraged by these numbers; considering it’s Utah, I suppose they could be much worse.

CA-45: More Mitt Romney news, and it’s a tea leaf that the GOP is concerned about defending Mary Bono Mack in the 45th even as they go on the offense in swing districts elsewhere: Romney will be appearing at a Bono Mack fundraiser in the district on Jan. 9.

FL-19: Charlie Crist moved the date on the general special election to replace resigning Rep. Robert Wexler, which had been originally scheduled Apr. 6. He moved it to Apr. 13, so it wouldn’t conflict with Passover (a problem in this heavily Jewish district).

GA-08: Democrats dodged a bullet in the 8th, where Rep. Jim Marshall may get the easiest ride of any Dem in a dark-red southern district next year. Republican State Sen. Ross Tolleson said he’d like to run for Congress at some point, but this won’t be the year. Tolleson threw his support to Angela Hicks, a businesswoman who’s one of several little-known candidates in the hunt.

GA-12: It’s official: former state Sen. Regina Thomas will be challenging Rep. John Barrow in the Democratic primary next year. Barrow is unusual among the most problematic Blue Dogs because he’s in a district with a Democratic-leaning PVI and thus one where a better Dem could still win a general election (although it’s one where African-American voting tends to fall off during off-year elections). Thomas piqued some netroots interest last year because of this unusual circumstance, but between a late start, a low-visibility strategy focused on word-of-mouth through black churches, and an Obama endorsement of Barrow, she only cleared 24% in last year’s primary. We’ll have to see if the earlier start helps this time.

IA-02: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who came within 18 points of Rep. David Loebsack last year thanks to a lot of help from those meddling Ophthalmologists, says she’ll try again in 2010. She’s not alone in the GOP field, though; interestingly, she’s up against two guys who both ran for Senate in 2008, businessman Christopher Reed (who made it through to the general against Tom Harkin, only to get flattened) and Steve Rathje (who lost the primary).

NH-01: I don’t know if this is a case of once-highly-touted Manchester mayor Frank Guinta losing momentum, or just Some Dude with delusions of grandeur, but businessman Richard Ashooh is filing exploratory paperwork to run in the GOP primary. The winner faces Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in what’s likely to be a close race.

TN-06: The GOP is trying to cajole a state Senator into getting into the race against long-time Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon in the once-swingy, now R+13 6th. Jim Tracy says he’s strongly considering the race. There’s one catch: Rutherford County Republican chair Lou Ann Zelenik is already in the race, and has the ability to self-fund.

TX-17: Here’s a Dem in a dark-red district who caught a big-time break on the recruiting front, though: Rep. Chet Edwards won’t be facing state Sen. Steve Ogden, as had been rumored. Ogden announced that he’ll run for another term in the Senate instead. (Thanks to the small size of Texas’s Senate, Ogden actually has more constituents than Edwards.) 2008 candidate Rob Curnock, who came within single-digits of Edwards, is running again, though.

GA-Super. of Education: Georgia’s Republican Superintendent of Education, Kathy Cox, is persisting in running for re-election next year despite having recently filed for bankruptcy to escape $3.5 million in debt. The story gets even weirder: this is despite Cox having won $1 million on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” — despite having pledged to give that money to charity, her creditors are now coming after that money. (Is there any precedent for a statewide elected official appearing on a game show?) Cox now faces opposition in a GOP primary from former state Rep. Roger Hines.

Nassau Co. Exec: The counting of absentee ballots in Nassau County is finally winding down in this month’s most drawn-out election, and it looks like Republican challenger Ed Mangano may actually succeed in upsetting incumbent Dem Tom Suozzi. Mangano leads by 217 with few ballots remaining. Even if the count concludes today, it won’t be the last word, as legal challenges to a number of votes will still need to be resolved.

Mayors: New Orleans mayoral candidate James Perry is getting a jump on political advertising, and his ad is certainly attention-grabbing too. It includes a variety of bleeped-out profanities as local residents (or actors portraying them) let everyone know how they feel about career politicians.

NY-St. Ass.: Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava says she’s going to stay a Republican, despite losing her leadership position in the wake of her imploded House campaign. Despite her many impure thoughts, she says she’d still clock in at 7 out of 10 on the RNC’s new purity test.

Redistricting: CQ Politics sits down with filmmaker Jeff Reichert, whose upcoming documentary on redistricting is slated for release next year. I’ve been emailing with Jeff about this project for a while now, and it looks very interesting. (D)

First (little bit) of Partisan Data in Daves Redistricting

Last night I uploaded upgraded software that can handle partisan data. The state of Maryland is the first state (and only so far) to include that data. There are some caveats (below the fold). Also, keep checking here for ways you can help get more partisan data.

[Update: there was little glitch so partisan didn’t show up, but it should work now! Thanks!]

Daves Redistricting App

One other thing that’s new: all states where the Census Bureau has voting district shapes from 2000, except New York, now have voting districts (in addition to block groups for many) enabled in the application. (New York will be added soon with new voting districts [thanks Jeff!])

The big caveat:

The voting districts shapes and population data come from the 2000 census. Many states changed their voting districts between 2000 and 2008, so the 2008 presidential data does not match completely. For Maryland, for example, over 200 new voting districts were created during that time, so only 1600 of 1800 match the 2000 districts. The application lets you know when this happens and then simply ignores the new districts. This could be improved if someone is able to merge the new districts data back into the old districts.

I will be asking for help to pull together partisan data for the other states. Mostly this will involve putting the data into a particular form, where the districts are identified in a way that matching the district shapes. Keep checking here (next weekend) for information on that.

A few states, important ones for redistricting, did not give the Census Bureau voting district shapes. Those states are AZ, CA, FL, OH, OR and WI. The app still supports only block groups for those. How to get partisan data for those is a good question. it could be that someone can map voting district data into block groups, or produce voting district shapes. Ideas are welcome.


How Christie Won: Urban and Northern New Jersey

This was cross posted at http://frogandturtle.blogspot….

Here is my next and last post in analyzing county by county why Christie beat Corzine in New Jersey. Here is my first post:…

Here is the link to the 2008 election results (red is Democratic and blue is Republican)

Here is the link to the 2009 election results: http://http://uselectionatlas….

Here is the link for New Jersey demographics by county: http://http://quickfacts.censu…

Urban New Jersey

This area contains Union, Essex and Hudson Counties. Christie underperformed the most in this part of the state with Corzine winning it almost 2-1. This was no surprise because Urban New Jersey is by far the most Democratic part of the state. It is minority majority and mostly resembles a city instead of suburbs. Christie also was unable to make large inroads here. In Hudson County where Obama won 73%-26%, Corzine won 69%-27% which only shows a decrease in the Democratic margin by 5 points, the smallest decrease of any county in New Jersey from 2008 to 2009. Hudson County is 35% White, one of the smallest percentages in New Jersey. Christie had a difficult time making inroads among minority voters. The main reason for Christie’s small increase is that Corzine lives in Hoboken, a really nice town in Hudson County where many of transplants from Manhattan live. Corzine’s proximity was a large factor in Hudson County. Since Christie had a difficult time winning minority voters, it appears that Republicans can still win in New Jersey without having to make inroads among minorities if they want to win. Essex County which contains heavily Democratic Newark voted 67%-28% for Corzine while Obama won there 76%-23%. This shows a 14 point decrease in the Democratic margin, only 5 points below the statewide decrease of 19 points. Even though Corzine appeared to hold minorities, there are many independent high income white voters in the western part of Essex County that trended heavily toward Christie, causing the Democratic margin in Essex County to shrink. Union County is where Christie performed the best, decreasing Obama’s 28 point margin to an eight point margin for Corzine. While Union County contains Elizabeth and Plainfield, two cities with large minority populations, Union County is basically Somerset County in the west with heavily white and high income Westfield and Summit. In my post about what to watch for in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, I said Corzine had to win Union County but ten points or more and unfortunately, he did not. Overall, Corzine did very well in Urban New Jersey by preventing Christie from making large inroads among minorities.

Northern New Jersey

Except for Passaic and Bergen Counties, Christie did very well here. He pulled a combined margin of about 30,000 votes out of Sussex and Warren Counties, even though Daggett did very well in them winning 9% and 10% of the vote there. Christie won his home county, Morris by 28 points and its residents are mostly high income white voters. The trend towards Christie over 2008 was 19 points, the same as the overall trend towards him in New Jersey. The reason for the trend not being too sharp in Morris County is party due to Daggett’s strong 8% of the vote here and that Christie appeared to spend more time campaigning on the Shore than here. Passaic County is a different story where Corzine won 51%-44% and Obama won there by 22 points. Passaic County is a mixture of Hispanic immigrants in the city of Paterson and high income white voters in the suburbs along with some working class white voters. The Hispanics probably kept Passaic County from trending too far to the right but it appears that Christie did very well with white voters and Corzine failed to excite the base enough. Corzine won Bergen County by 3 points, only a 6 point decrease from Obama’s 9 point win. Corzine was definitely helped by his running mate Loretta Weinberg who has held political office in Bergen County for more than 20 years. Bergen County is full of high income white voters and if Weinberg were not on the ballot, Christie would probably win Bergen County by about 7 points. Weinberg was not perfect because she was unpopular with party bosses which probably contributed to low turnout in Democratic areas. Also, Corzine’s close proximity in Hudson County may have swayed a few voters.

So overall, what happened to make Corzine lose? On the issues, people swayed towards Christie not because he was a fantastic candidate. In New Jersey, almost all campaigns are negative so the candidates spent most of their time criticizing each other. People believed Corzine was an ineffective Governor who caused the New Jersey economy to sour while he sat in his office counting all his money. Also, Corzine made the mistake of not appeasing the New Jersey Democratic Party. If he had chosen a popular party official as his running mate instead of Weinberg who was unpopular with the party, Corzine may have been able to boost turnout enough to offset Christie’s margins. A good person for running mate would be Richard Codey who was the New Jersey Senate President. He was active Governor in 2005 and he is extremely popular with New Jersey’s Democratic Party. He was even considered last August as a candidate to replace Corzine on the ballot. The turnout levels in Democratic counties was about 50%-60% of the 2008 Presidential election turnout while turnout in Republican counties was closer to 66%. Christie on his part excited the base because he portrayed himself as one of the voters on the Shore or in the high income suburbs. He also took independents by highlighting New Jersey’s poor economy. The main reason though is that Christie swept the high income voters who trended towards the Democrats in the 1990’s because the Republicans were too socially Conservative. Now that the Republicans are downplaying their social Conservatism and highlighting the poor economy, they are able to win in the Northeast suburbs again. Democrats do not need to completely focus on the suburban voter, they just need to win enough of them to lower Republican margins. If Democrats want to start winning in New Jersey again, they have to excite the base while also reaching out to the white high income socially moderate but economically Conservative suburban voter.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Redistricting New York

(This diary is cross-posted on the Swing State Project and the Albany Project.)

Using Dave’s Redistricting Application I have drawn a plan for the state of New York.  Already, 27 out of 29 Representatives are Democrats.  However, the state is set to lose one seat in the 2012 redistricting, and several current Democrats hold marginal districts.  

This plan tries to eliminate the remaining two Republicans.  NY-26, held by Christopher Lee in the western part of the state, is divided up among neighboring districts (and those districts themselves are drawn in a way which still favors Democrats) while Peter King’s district, NY-3 on Long Island, is made considerably more Democratic, whereby he will have a harder time getting re-elected.  At the same time, currently marginal districts, like NY-1, NY-13, NY-19, NY-20, NY-23 and NY-24 are made more Democratic.  NY-29, Eric Massa’s district, is renumbered NY-26 (as the 29th seat is eliminated because of reapportionment) and that district also becomes more Democratic.

Under the plan here, ALL districts in New York state voted by at least 54% for Obama and at most 45% for McCain.  This is possible because upstate New York (the area north of Westchester Co. and the less Democratic part of the state) voted approximately 54% for Obama, and 45% for McCain.  Therefore, it’s possible to create all districts in upstate which are 54% Obama/45% McCain (or 54/44 or 55/44) if one draws the lines correctly.  I have managed to do so, while at the same time paying attention to incumbent protection and keeping the districts relatively compact (it took a while to get it just right).  Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) only voted about 53/46 Obama/McCain, but by extending parts of some districts into New York City, it’s also possible to have all districts there at least 54/45 (in fact, only NY-1 and NY-3 are made to be 54/45; NY-2, NY-4 and NY-5 are all at least 57/42.  Staten Island-based NY-13 was, ofcourse, easy; all you have to do is combine parts of the current district with Manhattan.

I believe the 54/45 Obama/McCain margin for a safe Democratic district is applicable to New York.  If this were California, for example, I would not feel such a district safe at all.  But Obama’s improvement on John Kerry was not that high in New York, and in a few districts Obama actually performed the same as or marginally worse than Kerry (NY-3, NY-5, NY-9).  The other thing is that Democrats have managed to win districts in the state which are currently significantly less Democratic than the 54/45 margin: NY-1 (52/48 Obama/McCain), NY-13 (49-51), NY-19 (51/48), NY-20 (51/48), NY-23 (52/47), NY-24 (51/48), NY-29 (48/51).  I feel that if Democrats can win these marginal seats in the state, then any district that’s at least 54/45 should be safe.

Like with my redistricting plan for California, I include my “TTP” number here.  I feel that it’s a good measure relating to incumbent protection — something that has to be a significant factor in any realistic redistricting proposal.  (The “TTP” number is Territory Transfer Percentage, for lack of a better label.  It provides the percentage of the new district’s territory, in terms of population, that was formerly a part of the current district.  So, for example, in NY-7, the “TTP” is 77.  The proposed district contains much of the same territory as the current district, and 77% of the new district’s population was formerly a part of the old district; in other words, Joseph Crowley would be looking at a district where 77% of his new constituents are the same as his old constituents.)  I was aiming for a “TTP” score of at least 55 for each district, and was successful in all but two districts — NY-6, which loses a lot of territory in order to make the new NY-3 more Democratic, and the new NY-26, which combines much of Eric Massa’s current territory with parts of Chris Lee’s district and parts of Buffalo currently in Louise Slaughter’s NY-28.

Last but not least, this plan protects all minority-majority districts in the state.  The black percentage in several districts goes down a bit, but they are still drawn to ensure African-American representation.  (Demographic stats below include percentages for groups that total 10% or more of the population of a particular district).



District 1:

Incumbent: Timothy Bishop

Current District:  Obama 52; McCain 48

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 71; hispanic 17

TTP: 69

The district continues to encompass the eastern half of Long Island, albeit some areas are new to the district.  NY-1 is made more Democratic by taking out very Republican Smithtown and more marginal areas in Brookhaven and then adding very Democratic areas in Islip.

District 2:  

Incumbent: Steve Israel

Current District:  Obama 56; McCain 43

Proposed District:  Obama 57; McCain 42

Demographics: white 63; black 16; hispanic 13

TTP: 61

The district is made marginally more Democratic as the lines are redrawn.  The new district is centered on Huntington and Babylon in western Suffolk Co. but also branches out east to include parts of Islip and Brookhaven and west to include parts of Oyster Bay and Hempstead in Suffolk Co.

District 3:  

Incumbent: Peter King

Current District:  Obama 47; McCain 52

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 66; black 21

TTP: 70

Much of the district remains the same.  What makes the reconfigured district considerably more Democratic is an arm (approximately one-fourth of the new district’s population) that now extends into heavily African-American areas in Queens.

District 4:  

Incumbent: Carolyn McCarthy

Current District:  Obama 58; McCain 41

Proposed District:  Obama 59; McCain 40

Demographics: white 60; black 15; hispanic 13

TTP: 71

Remains similar to the current Nassau County district.  Some very Democratic areas in Hempstead are taken out to become part of the new NY-2.  To make up for the loss, NY-4 extends slightly into neighboring areas of Queens.  The result is a marginally more Democratic district.

District 5:  

Incumbent: Gary Ackerman

Current District:  Obama 63; McCain 36

Proposed District:  Obama 57; McCain 42

Demographics: white 48; asian 23; hispanic 23

TTP: 75

The new district continues to include most of the current territory in Queens and northern Nassau County.  It is extended eastward along the northern shore of Long Island, all the way to Smithtown.  The new lines drop the Democratic percentage, but at 57/42 Obama/McCain (and approximately 57/42 Kerry/Bush as well) the new district should be safe for us.

District 6:

Incumbent: Gregory Meeks

Current District:  Obama 89; McCain 11

Proposed District:  Obama 79; McCain 21

Demographics: black 45; white 22; hispanic 18; asian 10

TTP: 52

The new NY-6 contains most of the territory of the current NY-6.  Some African-American areas in the east are taken out to strengthen Long Island-based districts.  To make up for the loss, NY-6 extends west into African-American areas in Brooklyn.  The new NY-6 is 45% black versus 52% for the current district (using data from Dave’s Application, not the 2000 census figures, as the numbers have changed over the decade), but the next largest ethnic/racial group, whites, are only at 22% in the district, so an African-American Representative is basically assured here.

District 7:  

Incumbent: Joseph Crowley

Current District:  Obama 79; McCain 20

Proposed District:  Obama 79; McCain 21

Demographics: hispanic 39; white 30; black 14; asian 13

TTP: 77

Remains very similar to the current district which stretches across parts of Queens and the Bronx.  The largest ethnic/racial group here are Hispanics (at 42% in the current district and 39% under the proposed lines).

District 8:  

Incumbent: Jerrold Nadler

Current District:  Obama 74; McCain 26

Proposed District:  Obama 65; McCain 34

Demographics: white 69; asian 15; hispanic 10

TTP: 59

The new district contains much of the same territory as the current district — an interesting combination of very progressive areas in Manhattan and more conservative  parts of Brooklyn (large Orthodox Jewish population in that part of Brooklyn).

District 9:  

Incumbent: Anthony Weiner

Current District:  Obama 55; McCain 44

Proposed District:  Obama 64; McCain 35

Demographics: white 48; asian 24; hispanic 20

TTP: 58

The new NY-9 is more compact than the current NY-9 in that it’s confined entirely to Queens.  The more conservative Orthodox Jewish areas in Brooklyn are taken out and the partisan numbers go up for the Democratic Party.

District 10:  

Incumbent: Edolphus Towns

Current District:  Obama 91; McCain 9

Proposed District:  Obama 84; McCain 15

Demographics: black 45; white 24; hispanic 22

TTP: 68

The new Brooklyn-based district is largely similar to the current one.  The black percentage goes down from 59% to 45% but, in circumstances similar to NY-6, continued representation by an African-American Congressman or Congresswoman is assured here.

District 11:  

Incumbent: Yvette Clarke

Current District:  Obama 91; McCain 9

Proposed District:  Obama 82; McCain 18

Demographics: black 47; white 34; hispanic 11

TTP: 76

See District 10 above.  The new district contains a vast majority of the current territory of NY-11.  The black percentage goes down from 56% to 47% but that is still enough to assure representation by an African-American.

District 12:  

Incumbent: Nydia Velázquez

Current District:  Obama 86; McCain 13

Proposed District:  Obama 86; McCain 13

Demographics: hispanic 45; white 25; asian 22

TTP: 85

The new district remains very similar to the current Hispanic-plurality one (the current district is about 47% Hispanic according to data in Dave’s Application, while the new one is a couple points less Hispanic).

District 13:

Incumbent: Michael McMahon

Current District:  Obama 49; McCain 51

Proposed District:  Obama 59; McCain 40

Demographics: white 69; hispanic 13

TTP: 78

The new district combines all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn just over the Verrazano Bridge with very progressive areas in Manhattan (mostly the Upper West Side).  As you would guess, the Democratic percentage surges, even with less than a quarter of the new district’s territory coming out of Manhattan.

District 14:  

Incumbent: Carolyn Maloney

Current District:  Obama 78; McCain 21

Proposed District:  Obama 81; McCain 18

Demographics: white 67; hispanic 14

TTP: 69

The new district is now confined entirely to Manhattan, as the Queens areas are taken out.  The district becomes marginally even more Democratic than the current progressive stronghold.

District 15:  

Incumbent: Charles Rangel

Current District:  Obama 93; McCain 6

Proposed District:  Obama 95; McCain 4

Demographics: hispanic 47; black 37; white 10

TTP: 63

New district is similarly centered on Harlem and other areas in northern Manhattan.  The district crosses over to encompass parts of the Bronx, and the African-American percentage goes up from 29% in the current district to 37% under the new lines (while the Hispanic percentage goes up slightly from 46% to 47%).

District 16:  

Incumbent: José Serrano

Current District:  Obama 95; McCain 5

Proposed District:  Obama 95; McCain 5

Demographics: hispanic 66; black 28

TTP: 95

Remains very, very similar to the current Bronx-based district.

District 17:

Incumbent: Eliot Engel

Current District:  Obama 72; McCain 28

Proposed District:  Obama 60; McCain 39

Demographics: white 59; black 18; hispanic 16

TTP: 67

The new district includes much of the same territory in the Bronx, and Westchester and Rockland Counties.  Parts of the Bronx are detached while the district expands outward into Orange County (this is geographically necessary, because of population shifts between New York City and the rest of the state).  The new district becomes a little less Democratic, but is still very safe.

District 18:  

Incumbent: Nita Lowey

Current District:  Obama 62; McCain 38

Proposed District:  Obama 61; McCain 37

Demographics: white 63; hispanic 19

TTP: 95

Westchester-based NY-18 remains very similar in shape and partisan preference to the current district.

District 19:  

Incumbent: John Hall

Current District:  Obama 51; McCain 48

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 74; hispanic 12

TTP: 62

The new district NY-19 becomes more Democratic as areas in Orange and Dutchess Counties are rearranged.

District 20:  

Incumbent: Scott Murphy

Current District:  Obama 51; McCain 48

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 88

TTP: 68

The district remains similar to the current one, but is made more Democratic, as more Republican areas (Greene Co. and part of Delaware Co.) are taken out, while part of Albany is added.

District 21:  

Incumbent: Paul Tonko

Current District:  Obama 58; McCain 40

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 87

TTP: 67

The new district continues to be centered on the Albany area.  It becomes less Democratic as it expands north and west into more conservative territory, but remains a safe seat.

District 22:  

Incumbent: Maurice Hinchey

Current District:  Obama 59; McCain 39

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 44

Demographics: white 85

TTP: 68

The new NY-22 is similar in many ways to the current one.  Progressive areas around   Ithaca/Cornell University are taken out to shore up the neighboring NY-24, but the Democratic percentage here still remains safe.

District 23:  

Incumbent: Bill Owens

Current District:  Obama 52; McCain 47

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 89

TTP: 69

The new district combines the more Democratic parts of the current NY-23 with Democratic territory around Rochester (as well as GOP-leaning but less-populated territory in Monroe Co., east of Rochester).  The overall Democratic percentage goes up by a few points.

District 24:  

Incumbent: Michael Arcuri

Current District:  Obama 51; McCain 48

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 86

TTP: 58

Arcuri had a close call during his 2008 re-election bid, so the more Democratic district created by this plan should help.

District 25:  

Incumbent: Daniel Maffei

Current District:  Obama 56; McCain 43

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 86

TTP: 56

NY-25 continues to include most of Syracuse and Onondaga Co. (although parts have been taken out to shore up the neighboring NY-24), and stretches west towards the suburbs of Rochester.

District 26:  

Incumbents: Eric Massa, Christopher Lee

Current District:  Obama 48; McCain 51 (current NY-29); Lee’s district, current NY-26, is Obama 46; McCain 52

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 79; black 14

TTP: 44

This new district combines much of Massa’s territory in NY-29 (44% of the new district), parts of Lee’s (22% of the new district) and the part of Erie Co. that is currently in NY-28 (31% of the new district), with a small remainder coming out of the current NY-27.  It stretches from Massa’s home in Corning to encompass parts of Buffalo currently in NY-28.  Lee’s home is put into the new NY-26 but his district is split among neighboring ones (22% to the new NY-26 here, 40% to NY-28, and the remainder split between

NY-27, NY-25 and NY-23).

District 27:  

Incumbent: Brian Higgins

Current District:  Obama 54; McCain 44

Proposed District:  Obama 54; McCain 45

Demographics: white 88

TTP: 87

This Buffalo-based district remains very similar to the current configuration.

District 28:  

Incumbent: Louise Slaughter

Current District:  Obama 69; McCain 30

Proposed District:  Obama 55; McCain 44

Demographics: white 75; black 14

TTP: 56

The new district looks quite similar on a map (stretching from Rochester to Niagara Falls) but the Democratic percentage goes down as parts of Buffalo are taken out.  Nevertheless the seat remains safe for a Democrat.

So that’s my plan for New York.  Thank you for any comments or suggestions.

Alabama House Races

Hi! I’m Vosem, and I am going to be looking at 2010 House elections, state by state. Today we begin with Alabama.

Alabama’s 1st congressional district: In 2008, Republican incumbent Jo Bonner did not even get a Democratic challenger. He was considered the strongest potential Republican gubernatorial candidate for 2010, but instead chose to seek reelection. The question here isn’t whether or not Bonner will get reelected; it’s whether or not he’ll get a challenger. This race is Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 2nd congressional district: McCain crushed Obama in this district by over 30% – meanwhile, Democratic candidate Bobby Bright defeated Republican Jay Love by less than 1%. This race is one of the NRCC’s top-tier, and for good reason: not only did Bright barely win in a good year for his party in a district safe for the opposition, but Republicans have already coalesced around a candidate: Martha Roby. Still, unlike the majority of races in the NRCC’s top-tier, Bright won not because of his opponent’s ineptitude, but because of his own aptitude. Bright may be a good candidate, but the race Leans Republican.

Alabama’s 3rd congressional district: In the final days of the ’08 campaign, an upset seemed to be brewing in Alabama, where Democratic lawyer Josh Segall was catching up to incumbent Republican Mike Rogers. Still, Rogers defeated Segall by 7%. Seeing the potential competitiveness of this district, Democrats attempted to recruit Ron Sparks, who opted to run for Governor instead. Rather than Sparks, they will run Segall again – but Segall failed to win in a year excellent for his party, and in a lean GOP climate, his task is much harder. Still, Rogers cannot be considered 100% safe. This race is Likely Republican.

Alabama’s 4th congressional district: One of the most Republican districts in the nation lived up to its status in 2008, when Republican incumbent Robert Aderholt defeated his Democratic challenger, Nicholas Sparks, by 50%. Like in the 1st, the thing to watch here is whether or not Aderholt will get a challenger. Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 5th congressional district: Although McCain won 61% of the vote here, Democratic candidate Parker Griffith won this open seat by 4%. In a list of congressmen likely to switch parties, Griffith must be #1 – he has said that he isn’t certain he’ll vote Pelosi for the speakership in 2010! He already has two Republican challengers lined up: establishment conservative politician Mo Brooks, and teabagging veteran Lester Phillip. The NRCC seems to be paying little attention to this prime pickup opportunity, but with McCain getting 61%, this race is a Tossup.

Alabama’s 6th congressional district: I am not fond of repeating myself twice – to say the same thing three times is completely dislikable – however, I am forced to. Spencer Bachus is in the same position as Robert Aderholt and Jo Bonner – in a very safe conservative Southern Republican district, where the thing to watch is if he’ll get a challenger. Safe Republican.

Alabama’s 7th congressional district: This minority-majority district is safe Democratic – the only one in Alabama to be styled thus. However, there will be drama in its borders came 2010, as Representative Artur Davis is running for Governor, leaving the seat open. I count 6 serious Democrats running in the primary. The two frontrunners are attorney Terri Sewell, who has money, and state Representative Earl Hillard, Jr., who inherited his father’s name recognition (his father, Earl Hilliard, was this district’s congressman in the 90s). Hilliard seems to be a bit ahead of Sewell at the moment.

So, after the election of 2010, Alabama’s congressional delegation should look like this (tossups are counted as .5 of a seat for both sides): 5.5 Republicans and 1.5 Democrats.

Next up: Alaska!

Many more House Districts now have Democratic candidates.

In less than 15 months the midterms will be upon us.

In 2006 we fielded candidates in 425 districts and in 2008 candidates in 421.

How will we go in 2010?

Since my last update many more intrepid Democrats stepped up to run in Republican held Districts.

AK-AL (Young) – R+13,

AZ-03 (Shadegg) – R+9,

AZ-06 (Flake) – R+15,

FL-15 (Posey) – R+6,

FL-21 (Diaz-Balart) – R+5,

FL-25 (Diaz-Balart) – R+5,

GA-10 (Broun) – R+15,

IL-06 (Roskam) – R+0,

IL-16 (Manzullo) – R+2,

IL-19 (Shimkus) – R+9,

IN-03 (Souder) – R+14,

IN-05 (Burton) – R+17,

IA-04 (Latham) – R+0,

IA-05 (King) – R+9,

KS-01 (Moran OPEN) – R+23,

KS-02 (Jenkins) – R+9,

MI-02 (Hoekstra OPEN) – R+7,

MN-02 (Kline) – R+4,

MN-03 (Paulsen) – R+0,

MS-03 (Harper) – R+15,

MO-08 (Emerson) – R+17,

NE-01 (Fortenberry) – R+11,

NE-02 (Terry) – R+6,

NC-09 (Myrick) – R+11,

NC-10 (McHenry) – R+17,

OH-14 (LaTourette) – R+3,

PA-18 (Murphy) – R+6,

PA-19 (Platts) – R+12,

TX-06 (Barton) – R+15,

TX-12 (Granger) – R+16,

TX-19 (Neugebaeur) – R+26,

TX-22 (Olsen) – R+13,

VA-10 (Wolf) – R+2,

WA-04 (Hastings) – R+13,

WV-02 (Capito) – R+8,

WI-05 (Sensenbrenner) – R+12,

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the 2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

Also keep an eye out for the great series on Democratic House Candidates by Adam T

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Open Left)

Well for starters I think we can safely assume that we will field candidates in all 258 of the Districts that we currently hold including the newest addition to our held list NY-23!!!

So onto the Republican held districts:

90 GOP held Districts have confirmed Democratic Party candidates. This includes 83 in states where candidate filing is still open:

AL-03 (Rogers) – R+9,

AK-AL (Young) – R+13,

AZ-03 (Shadegg) – R+9,

AZ-06 (Flake) – R+15,

AR-03 (Boozman) – R+16,

CA-03 (Lundgren) – R+6,

CA-19 (Radanovich) – R+9,

CA-24 (Gallegly) – R+4,

CA-25 (McKeon) – R+6,

CA-26 (Dreier) – R+3,

CA-41 (Lewis) – R+10,

CA-42 (Miller) – R+10,

CA-44 (Calvert) – R+6,

CA-45 (Bono Mack) – R+3,

CA-48 (Campbell) – R+6,

CA-50 (Bilbray) – R+3,

C0-06 (Coffman) – R+8,

DE-AL (Castle) – D+7,

FL-01 (Miller) – R+21,

FL-05 (Brown-Waite) – R+9,

FL-06 (Stearns) – R+10,

FL-07 (Mica) – R+7,

FL-10 (Young) – R+1,

FL-12 (Putnam OPEN) – R+6,

FL-13 (Buchanan) – R+6,

FL-14 (Mack) – R+11,

FL-15 (Posey) – R+6,

FL-16 (Rooney) – R+5,

FL-21 (Diaz-Balart) – R+5,

FL-25 (Diaz-Balart) – R+5,

GA-10 (Broun) – R+15,

IN-03 (Souder) – R+14,

IN-05 (Burton) – R+17,

IA-04 (Latham) – R+0,

IA-05 (King) – R+9,

KS-01 (Moran OPEN) – R+23,

KS-02 (Jenkins) – R+9,

KS-04 (Tiahrt) – R+14,

KY-04 (Davis) – R+14,

KY-05 (Rogers) – R+15,

LA-02 (Cao) – D+25,

MD-06 (Bartlett) – R+13,

MI-02 (Hoekstra OPEN) – R+7,

MI-11 (McCotter) – R+0,

MN-02 (Kline) – R+4,

MN-03 (Paulsen) – R+0,

MN-06 (Bachmann) – R+7,

MS-03 (Harper) – R+15,

MO-08 (Emerson) – R+17,

MT-AL (Rehberg) – R+7,

NE-01 (Fortenberry) – R+11,

NE-02 (Terry) – R+6,

NE-03 (Smith) – R+24,

NV-02 (Heller) – R+5,

NC-09 (Myrick) – R+11,

NC-10 (McHenry) – R+17,

OH-02 (Schmidt) – R+13,

OH-12 (Tiberi) – D+1,

OH-14 (LaTourette) – R+3,

PA-06 (Gerlach) – D+4,

PA-15 (Dent) – D+2,

PA-16 (Pitts) – R+8,

PA-18 (Murphy) – R+6,

PA-19 (Platts) – R+12,

SC-01 (Brown) – R+10,

SC-02 (Wilson) – R+9,

SC-03 (Barrett OPEN) – R+17,

TN-03 (Wamp OPEN) – R+13,

TN-07 (Blackburn) – R+18,

TX-06 (Barton) – R+15,

TX-12 (Granger) – R+16,

TX-19 (Neugebaeur) – R+26,

TX-21 (Smith) – R+14,

TX-22 (Olsen) – R+13,

TX-26 (Burgess) – R+13,

TX-32 (Sessions) – R+8,

VA-01 (Wittman) – R+7,

VA-10 (Wolf) – R+2,

WA-04 (Hastings) – R+13,

WA-08 (Reichert) – D+3,

WV-02 (Capito) – R+8,

WI-01 (Ryan) – R+2,

WI-05 (Sensenbrenner) – R+12,

And there are also 7 GOP held Districts with candidates in states where filing has closed:

IL-06 (Roskam) – R+0,

IL-10 (Kirk) – D+6,

IL-13 (Biggert) – R+1,

IL-15 (Johnson) – R+6,

IL-16 (Manzullo) – R+2,

IL-18 (Schock) – R+6,

IL-19 (Shimkus) – R+9,

3 GOP held Districts have Democratic Party candidates that are considering a run:

NY-03 (King) – R+4,

TX-10 (McCaul) – R+10,

WI-06 (Petri) – R+4,

2 GOP held Districts have rumoured Democratic Party candidates:

FL-18 (Ros-Lehtinen) – R+3,

OK-01 (Sullivan) – R+16,

82 GOP held Districts don’t have any Democratic Party candidates:

AL-01 (Bonner) – R+14,

AL-04 (Aderholt) – R+26,

AL-06 (Bachus) – R+29,

AZ-02 (Franks) – R+13,

CA-02 (Herger) – R+11,

CA-04 (McClintock) – R+10,

CA-21 (Nunes) – R+13,

CA-22 (McCarthy) – R+16,

CA-40 (Royce) – R+8,

CA-46 (Rohrabacher) – R+6,

CA-49 (Issa) – R+10,

CA-52 (Hunter) – R+9,

C0-05 (Lamborn) – R+14,

FL-04 (Crenshaw) – R+17,

FL-09 (Bilirakis) – R+6,

GA-01 (Kingston) – R+16,

GA-03 (Westmoreland) – R+19,

GA-06 (Price) – R+19,

GA-07 (Linder) – R+16,

GA-09 (Deal OPEN) – R+28,

GA-11 (Gingrey) – R+20,

ID-02 (Simpson) – R+17,

IN-04 (Buyer) – R+14,

IN-06 (Pence) – R+10,

KY-01 (Whitfield) – R+15,

KY-02 (Guthrie) – R+15,

LA-01 (Scalise) – R+24,

LA-04 (Fleming) – R+11,

LA-05 (Alexander) – R+14,

LA-06 (Cassidy) – R+10,

LA-07 (Boustany) – R+14,

MI-03 (Ehlers) – R+6,

MI-04 (Camp) – R+3,

MI-06 (Upton) – R+0,

MI-08 (Rogers) – R+2,

MI-10 (Miller) – R+5,

MO-02 (Akin) – R+9,

MO-06 (Graves) – R+7,

MO-07 (Blunt OPEN) – R+15,

MO-09 (Luetkemeyer) – R+9,

NJ-02 (LoBiondo) – D+1,

NJ-04 (Smith) – R+6,

NJ-05 (Garrett) – R+7,

NJ-07 (Lance) – R+3,

NJ-11 (Frelinghuysen) – R+7,

NY-26 (Lee) – R+6,

NC-03 (Jones) – R+16,

NC-05 (Foxx) – R+15,

NC-06 (Coble) – R+18,

OH-03 (Turner) – R+5,

OH-04 (Jordan) – R+15,

OH-05 (Latta) – R+9,

OH-07 (Austria) – R+7,

OH-08 (Boehner) – R+11,

OK-03 (Lucas) – R+24,

OK-04 (Cole) – R+18,

OK-05 (Fallin OPEN) – R+13,

OR-02 (Walden) – R+10,

PA-05 (Thompson) – R+9,

PA-09 (Shuster) – R+17,

SC-04 (Inglis) – R+15,

TN-01 (Roe) – R+21,

TN-02 (Duncan) – R+16,

TX-01 (Gohmert) – R+21,

TX-02 (Poe) – R+13,

TX-03 (Johnson) – R+14,

TX-04 (Hall) – R+21,

TX-05 (Hensarling) – R+17,

TX-07 (Culberson) – R+13,

TX-08 (Brady) – R+25,

TX-11 (Conaway) – R+28,

TX-13 (Thornberry) – R+29,

TX-14 (Paul) – R+18,

TX-24 (Marchant) – R+11,

TX-31 (Carter) – R+14,

UT-01 (Bishop) – R+21,

UT-03 (Chaffetz) – R+26,

VA-04 (Forbes) – R+4,

VA-06 (Goodlatte) – R+12,

VA-07 (Cantor) – R+9,

WA-05 (McMorris Rodgers) – R+7,

WY-AL (Lummis) – R+20,

So we now have candidate in 348 House Districts, 3 Districts with candidates considering their options and 2 with rumoured candidates.

In this stage in 2007 we had candidates in about 359 Districts but we do now hold 21 more districts. All things considered not a bad position to be in.

Whilst at this stage there is no real cause for concern vis a vis candidate recruitment, so much more remains to be done.

On the upside we already have a full slate in 23 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont & West Virginia.

We also have only 1 district to fill in 8 states – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  

On the other hand however Texas is a problem for us as it has been for the last two cycles with 13 Districts still to fill, and 5 weeks to close of filings (January 4th). So too do we have far too many vancancies in California we do already have candidates in a number of Republican districts here.

And to finish well done to the Illinois Democratic Party who managed to muster a full complement of candidates before filing closed earlier ths month.

Any news, gossip or thoughts in the comments please.

Virginia’s 2010 Congressional Races: First Look

Virginia, along with four other states (Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and West Virginia), will have no statewide elections on the ballot in 2010, which will leave it up to the candidates for House of Representatives to turn out voters. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only other race on the ballot in the state will be the Virginia Beach City Council and School Board (unlike most cities, who have municipal elections in the spring, Virginia Beach moved theirs to November last year), barring an unforeseen special election occurring next year. That said, I thought I’d take an early look at how these House races are shaping up.

1st Congressional District

Incumbent: Rob Wittman (Republican elected in 2007)

2008 Result: Rob Wittman 56.6%, Bill Day 41.8%

Wittman won easily in a 2007 special election to follow the late Jo Ann Davis, and had a comfortable victory last year in a district that went for McCain by 4%. Democrats had trouble fielding a candidate, with the original nominee, Dr. Keith Hummel, dropping out at the end of July after it was discovered he failed to disclose past financial problems. Democrats picked Bill Day, who previously had run for the House of Delegates in Prince William County, as a replacement in early August, and he performed respectably considering he had three months to put together a campaign.

This cycle, Wittman has not one but two Democratic opponents, software programmer Krystal Ball and a retired Army officer, Col. Scott Robinson. Robinson is striking a more centrist tone while Ball is running as an outspoken progressive, which puts Democrats in a bind, having to choose between a candidate that is more electable but who may not fire up the base, or a more liberal alternative who may have trouble appealing to swing voters.

Wittman had a huge fundraising advantage in 2008, raising $1 million compared to Day’s $217k. This cycle so far, his advantage is less pronounced: as of the third quarter, Wittman has raised $444k with $298k on hand, while Ball has raised $303k with $206k on hand, and Robinson has raised $173k with $139k on hand.

Given that this is a Republican district and Wittman is running in a good Republican year, he has obvious structural advantages, but given two potentially strong challengers, it’s still a Race to Watch.

2nd Congressional District

Incumbent: Glenn Nye (Democrat elected in 2008)

2008 Result: Glenn Nye 52.4%, Thelma Drake 47.5%

Thanks to Obama’s coattails (he won the district by 2%, with a vote total of about 400 more than Nye), Nye was able to defeat two-term Bush loyalist Thelma Drake. Nye has been following a mostly centrist path, voting with Democrats on social issues such as Lily Ledbetter, the Matthew Shepard Act, and opposing the Stupak amendment, but voting against major Democratic proposals like ACES and health care reform. Nye’s breaking with the party line on these issues has caused a lot of resentment among the Democratic base in the district, creating speculation about a primary challenge from the left.

Not only does Nye have to worry about the left, he’s got plenty of competition from the right, as well. Five Republicans have already jumped in the race to oppose Nye next year; the top two are car dealership magnate Scott Rigell and entrepreneur Ben Loyola, both of which have the ability to self-fund. Other Republicans in the race are former Virginia Beach Republican Party chair Chuck Smith, and ex-Navy SEALs Scott Taylor (who ran for mayor in 2008 as well) and Ed Maulbeck.

One wildcard in the race is conservative Glenn Beck 912er Doug Hutchison, the third former Navy SEAL in this race. Hutchison is running as an independent, which could siphon votes off from the Republican nominee.

As far as fundraising goes, Nye has raised $900k with $726k on hand as of the third quarter, while Scott Taylor has raised $453k with $412k on hand (half of which was from his own pocket), and Ben Loyola has raised $548k with $537k on hand, almost all of which was from self-funding. The other candidates have not raised an appreciable amount.

Nye is going to have a tough time striking a path that is moderate enough not to alienate independents while keeping the Democratic base happy, making this race a Tossup.

3rd Congressional District

Incumbent: Bobby Scott (Democrat elected in 1992)

2008 Result: Bobby Scott was unopposed

Bobby Scott has represented the 3rd district ever since it was redrawn to be majority-black following the 1990 census, and hasn’t had a serious Republican challenger in his career. The closest election he’s faced was in 2004, when he defeated Winsome Sears, an African-American Republican who served one term in the House of Delegates, by a 69-31 margin. In five of his nine elections to the House, he has faced no Republican. This year, Coby Dillard, a Navy vet who worked for Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign, is exploring a run. It’s unlikely he’ll make this race anywhere near close, regardless of how badly things go for the Democrats next year — Obama pulled in 76% here in 2008, and Creigh Deeds still managed to win this district with 65% despite getting crushed statewide. This seat will remain Safe Democratic.

4th Congressional District

Incumbent: Randy Forbes (Republican elected in 2001)

2008 Result: Randy Forbes 59.5%, Andrea Miller 40.4%

Forbes narrowly won a special election to replace the late Norm Sisisky in 2001, defeating State Sen. Louise Lucas by a 52-48 margin. Following that, Republicans cut heavily-Democratic Portsmouth out of the district and Forbes has been safe ever since, facing Democrats only two times out of his four re-election contests. The best time to take on Forbes would have been 2008: Barack Obama narrowly carried this district by about 1.5%, and Forbes was held to a 60-40 margin over Andrea Miller, who barely raised any money. This has left Forbes’ campaign coffers nearly empty; this cycle, he’s raised $215k with $161k on hand. Unfortunately, without Barack Obama on the ticket to drive black turnout in the district, and a lack of a Democratic bench, it’s unlikely that Forbes will face a strong challenge this year, so this will be Safe Republican.

5th Congressional District

Incumbent: Tom Perriello (Democrat elected in 2008)

2008 Result: Tom Perriello 50.1%, Virgil Goode 49.9%

Perriello scored the biggest 2008 upset in Virginia, toppling six-term incumbent Virgil Goode by a 727 vote margin even as John McCain carried the district by 2%. Perriello has not struck the cautious, centrist tone that Glenn Nye has, voting in favor of most major Democratic initiatives, although he has taken a few votes, such as opposing the new tobacco regulations and voting for the Stupak amendment, that concede to the conservative nature of the 5th. He will not likely face the same problems Glenn Nye is facing among the Democratic base, but his willingness to support the President’s initiatives may hurt him with independent voters, given the hard shift to the right with that group in the gubernatorial election.

Republicans have had Perriello in their sights ever since his victory was confirmed. No less than six Republicans are vying for the nomination to replace him, but State Sen. Robert Hurt from the southwestern end of the district is the likely nominee. The band of unknowns trying to win the nomination include Albemarle County Supervisor Ken Boyd, businessmen Ron Ferrin and Laurence Verga, teacher Feda Kidd Morton, and pilot Michael McPadden. Hurt may face a hurdle given some of his votes in the legislature, such as his support of Mark Warner’s budget that included a tax increase, but he will have, if not all, then most of the institutional Republican support for the nomination.

Like in the 2nd, things are somewhat complicated by the entry of a conservative independent candidate, this time factory employee Bradley Rees. Hurt may be (pardon the pun) hurt by Rees if there is lingering Republican resentment over his insufficiently-right-wing-enough voting record.

Perriello got an early jump on fundraising; as of Q3, he’s raised $725k with $618k on hand. Hurt jumped into the race in late October, so he hasn’t had to file any reports yet; among the other candidates, nobody has raised any appreciable amount of money. Regardless, this will be the toughest battle in Virginia in 2010, so it remains a Tossup.

6th Congressional District

Incumbent: Bob Goodlatte (Republican elected in 1992)

2008 Result: Bob Goodlatte 61.6%, Sam Rasoul 36.6%

Goodlatte represents the bright-red Shenandoah Valley, a district that John McCain won by 15% in 2008. In his career, he’s only faced Democratic opponents four times; his closest election was when he was initially elected, and he defeated Stephen Musselwhite by a 60-40 margin. Democrats, unsurprisingly, don’t have a candidate, and I don’t expect things to change here; this is a Safe Republican seat.

7th Congressional District

Incumbent: Eric Cantor (Republican elected in 2000)

2008 Result: Eric Cantor 62.7%, Anita Hartke 37.1%

Like Goodlatte, Cantor represents a solidly Republican district; McCain won here by 7%, and the only reason it was that close was Obama’s above-average performance in the Richmond suburbs. Anita Hartke’s performance here was the best for any Democrat running against Cantor in his Congressional career, and most of that is probably attributable to the aforementioned performance by Obama; Hartke only raised about $75k. Cantor’s potential opponent, Charlie Diradour, opted out of a run after a few months of exploring a race, probably because he found no traction in the district. As the Republican Whip, Cantor will always be loathed by the Democratic base in the district; unfortunately, that base only amounts to 30-35% of the vote. If Democrats find someone to run against him, it won’t matter, as this race will remain Safe Republican.

8th Congressional District

Incumbent: Jim Moran (Democrat elected in 1990)

2008 Result: Jim Moran 67.9%, Mark Ellmore 29.7%

Jim Moran represents the solidly Democratic inner NoVa suburbs (in a district won by Obama with nearly 70%, and also won by Deeds with 61% despite his landslide loss), and has consistently been re-elected by double-digit margins every time he has gone back to the voters. It’s more likely that he would be knocked out in a primary, due to his history of controversial statements and his involvement with PMA, but the only potential candidate currently looking to challenge him is Ronald Mitchell, a political unknown. Republicans don’t have a candidate yet, but they undoubtedly will, as they always find someone to take up the unenviable task of running against him in this Safe Democratic district.

9th Congressional District

Incumbent: Rick Boucher (Democrat elected in 1982)

2008 Result: Rick Boucher was unopposed

Although in the past Rick Boucher has easily managed to be re-elected time and time again despite the otherwise Republican lean of the district, he has to be sweating bullets now. In the 2009 election, a Democratic Delegate in a historically-Democratic part of SWVA was defeated. This particular district voted for Creigh Deeds by a 53-47 margin in 2005, but voted for McDonnell by a 69-31 margin in 2009.

Boucher did himself no favors by voting for ACES in a region dependent on coal for jobs, and Republicans are looking for someone to challenge him in 2010. Terry Kilgore, the Republican Caucus Chair of the House of Delegates, would be their top recruit, and he’s thinking about it. If Kilgore gets in, this race becomes a tossup; if another Republican gets in, it’ll still be heavily contested. The only actual announced opponent to Boucher so far is yet another conservative independent, Jeremiah Heaton.

Boucher has amassed a war chest of $1.7 million, and he’ll probably need it, but until Republicans come up with a candidate this will be a Race to Watch.

10th Congressional District

Incumbent: Frank Wolf (Republican elected in 1980)

2008 Result: Frank Wolf 58.8%, Judy Feder 38.8%

When drawn, the 10th was a Republican district, but thanks to the explosive growth in Northern Virginia, it has moved more to the center. Tim Kaine and Jim Webb scored narrow wins in the district, and Barack Obama won a 7% victory here in 2008. Despite this trend to the Democrats, Frank Wolf remains solidly entrenched in the district, easily defeating well-funded opponent Judy Feder in 2006 and 2008. This has left his campaign account nearly empty; this cycle he has only raised $284k with $233k on hand. Democrats have a dearth of potential candidates in this district: State Sen. Mark Herring and Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller could be strong challengers, but are unlikely to make a run against Wolf. The one Democratic candidate who is running that I’ve found is Dennis Findley, an architect from McLean. Until Wolf retires, this will remain Safe Republican.

11th Congressional District

Incumbent: Gerry Connolly (Democrat elected in 2008)

2008 Result: Gerry Connolly 54.7%, Keith Fimian 43.0%

Tom Davis’s retirement made this one of the most likely Democratic pickups in 2008. Although Davis was able to hold the district, its trend towards the Democrats culminated in a 15% victory for Barack Obama in 2008. Gerry Connolly, a longtime member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (including 5 years as its chairman), won a comfortable double-digit victory over Keith Fimian, a businessman; Fimian actually spent slightly more money than Connolly did in the race, having the benefit of his personal wealth to help finance his campaign. He’s back for a rematch, but seems to be relying on donations this time, as he trails Connolly in fundraising. Connolly has raised $715k with $545k on hand, while Fimian has raised $311k with $264k on hand, only $55k of which was a loan.

Connolly has staked out a position as a loyal Democrat, having voted consistently to support President Obama’s initiatives, so he shouldn’t face any real pushback from the Democratic base (except for one blogger who shall not be named). If there is significant antipathy towards Obama, though, he could face trouble from independents. However, Fimian has been cozying up to the teabaggers, which may not play well with the moderate-minded voters of the 11th district. For now, this race remains Likely Democratic; it’s not in the bag for Connolly, especially since the Republican ticket did win here in 2009, but he’s definitely the favorite one year out.

SSP Daily Digest: 11/27

Post-Thanksgiving food coma = digest on a diet.

FL-Sen: The 99th-most senior senator in the United States, George LeMieux, has been working his new colleagues on behalf of Charlie Crist. After James Inhofe endorsed Marco Rubio, LeMieux began trying to play the role of gatekeeper, urging other fellow senators to see him first before picking sides. Supposedly, LeMieux has told some of these people that a “shoe was about to drop” in the race – but the Miami Herald’s use of the past tense in that quasi-quote has me wondering if some expected bombshell failed to go off.

IL-Sen: As the bank owned by Alexei Giannoulias and his family started failing over the last couple of years, it nonetheless paid out $70 million in dividends to him and his siblings. Giannoulias claims he only personally received a “minimal” portion of those dividends – except by minimal, he means $2.5 million. Unsurprisingly, his opponent David Hoffman is hammering him about this.

NY-Sen-B: Chatter is heating up about NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson’s future. The NYT reports that folks close to Thompson say he’s considering one of three options: challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, challenging state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, or taking a breather and running for mayor again in 2013. The article focuses most heavily on a potential matchup with Gillibrand. Not only have her poll numbers been anemic, but the White House would probably have a hard time trying to dissuade Thompson, given that their public attempt to push another African American, Gov. David Paterson, out of his race.

In related news on the GOP side, Larchmont Mayor Elizbeth Feld said she’s considering a run. Feld got crushed in a run for the state Senate’s 37th district seat last year.

CA-50: Solano Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts is dropping out of the race against Brian Bilbray because he and his partner are adopting two more children who are siblings of one of their sons. Roberts declined to endorse either of the remaining Dem candidates, Francine Busby and Tracy Emblem, but pledged to work with the winner to beat Bilbray next year.

FL-08: The Republicans have “finally found” a candidate to take on Alan Grayson, rich guy Bruce O’Donoghue. That attitude, though, is indicative of the fact that the GOP establishment is ignoring Armando Gutierrez, the young carpetbagging real estate developer who’s been in the race since October. Who knows whether O’Donoghue will pass wingnut purity tests, but if he’s wobbly, he may be vulnerable to getting teabagged to death by Gutierrez. And if the power players continue to diss Gutierrez, that’s only likely to fuel teabag rage further.

Polling: Another installment of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure from PPP. This time, the choices are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois primary, and South Carolina. Click the link to cast your vote.