Contest Entry: New York Redistricting for 28 Democrats

This is my entry for Round 1 of the Great SSP Redistricting Contest. Let me apologize to the early commenters who couldn’t see the whole diary.  I was saving it as I typed it just in case my computer decided to shut down on me in the middle of this long write up.  Without further ado…

In addition to the contest rules, I added two personal goals for my map: 1) Create 28 districts that gave a majority of their votes to President Obama. 2) Add some cushion to potentially vulnerable members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. CPC members are Clarke, Hall, Hinchey, Maloney, Massa, Nadler, Rangel, Serrano, Slaughter and Velazquez.

Here's the big picture:  Photobucket

Long Island

Photobucket NY-1 Tim Bishop

Population:  700,503

New 1st:  Obama – 53, McCain – 47

Old 1st:  Obama – 52, McCain – 48

Race:  White – 84, Black – 4, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 8, Other – 1.

This district isn’t much different from it’s old counterpart.  Smithtown is no longer in this district while parts of Islip have been added.  Bishop’s district is slightly more Democratic, with +2 percentage points.

NY-2 Steve Israel

Population:  701,080

New 2nd:  Obama – 53, McCain – 47

Old 2nd:  Obama – 56, McCain – 43

Race:  White – 74, Black – 8, Asian – 3, Hispanic – 13, Other – 2.

This district isn’t as strong as Israel’s old one (you’ll find out why below), but is still majority-Obama.  Smithtown from the 1st and parts of Babylon from the 3rd have been added. been added.  Parts of Islip, Oyster Bay, and Babylon have been subtracted.  With these changes, Obama is -7 from the old 2nd, but still takes 53% of the vote.

NY-3 Carolyn McCarthy

Population:  700,222

New 3rd:  Obama – 54, McCain – 45

Old 3rd:  Obama – 47, McCain – 52

Old 4th:  Obama – 58, McCain – 41

Race:  White – 71, Black – 12, Asian – 4, Hispanic – 12, Other – 2.

Since we get bonus points for screwing Peter King, I decided to eliminate his district.  Oyster Bay is now split into McCarthy’s and Ackerman’s districts.  I don’t know which part King’s house is in, but unless he moves, he’ll have to run against one of them.  I tried to keep the new 2nd, 3rd, and 4th districts as evenly Democratic as possible, so they were all diluted to get their fair share of King’s pro-McCain district.  In McCarthy’s case, her home in Mineola, Hempstead, and parts of Oyster Bay make a change of -8 from her old district.

NY-4 Gary Ackerman

Population:  700,925

New 4th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 45

Old 5th:  Obama – 63, McCain – 36

Race:  White – 78, Black – 6, Asian – 7, Hispanic – 8, Other – 1.

This district is ugly.  Ackerman was hit the hardest of the 3, but in order to screw King, he’ll have to take one for the team.  His district is still Obama +9.  His home of Roslyn Heights, plus parts of Oyster Bay, Hempstead, Babylon, and Queens make up the new 4th.  Change is a whopping -18.

The Boroughs


NY-5 Gregory Meeks

Population:  700,739

New 5th:  Obama – 82, McCain – 18

Old 6th:  Obama – 89, McCain – 11

Race:  White – 21, Black – 52, Asian – 7, Hispanic – 14, Other – 6.

This is a VRA district, 52% black.  Not much has really changed here from the old 6th.  Some of the western areas have been placed in the new 8th.

NY-6 Joseph Crowley

Population:  701,328

New 6th:  Obama – 74, McCain – 25

Old 7th:  Obama – 79, McCain – 20

Race:  White – 25, Black – 6, Asian – 27, Hispanic – 38, Other – 4.

Crowley loses the Bronx, but gains more of Queens.

NY-7 Jerry Nadler

Population:  700,683

New 7th:  Obama – 56, McCain – 43

Old 8th:  Obama – 74, McCain – 26

Race:  White – 65, Black – 4, Asian – 15, Hispanic – 12, Other – 3.

This district took a big hit in order to help McMahon.  Includes much of South Brooklyn and snakes up into the Northern parts.

NY-8 Anthony Weiner

Population:  701,185

New 8th:  Obama – 61, McCain – 38

Old 9th:  Obama – 55, McCain – 44

Race:  White – 55, Black – 6, Asian – 17, Hispanic – 16, Other – 6.

Weiner’s distric is simililar to his old one, but loses some Brooklyn areas, holds onto Forest Hills, and adds more of Queens.  Obama gains +12.

NY-9 Ed Towns

Population:  700,786

New 9th:  Obama – 92, McCain – 7

Old 10th:  Obama – 91, McCain – 9

Race:  White – 17, Black – 60, Asian – 7, Hispanic – 12, Other – 3.

Another VRA district, this one 60% black.  This Brooklyn based district now extends into Manhattan.

NY-10 Yvette Clarke

Population:  700,960

New 10th:  Obama – 84, McCain – 16

Old 11th:  Obama – 91, McCain – 9

Race:  White – 25, Black – 52, Asian – 5, Hispanic – 13, Other – 4.

VRA district, 52% black.  Clarke’s new district now snakes into Queens.

NY-11 Nydia Velazquez

Population:  700,306

New 8th:  Obama – 87, McCain – 12

Old 9th:  Obama – 86, McCain – 13

Race:  White – 22, Black – 16, Asian – 8, Hispanic – 50, Other – 4.

VRA district that is 50% hispanic.  Still gets Brooklyn and Manhattan but also gets much more of Queens.

NY-12 Mike McMahon

Population:  701,421

New 12th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 45

Old 13th:  Obama – 49, McCain – 51

Race:  White – 61, Black – 8, Asian – 8, Hispanic – 20, Other – 3.

This district should be much easier for McMahon, going from majority McCain to majority Obama.  Still has all of Staten Island, but Brooklyn areas are more Democratic than the old 13th.

NY-13 Carolyn Maloney

Population:  699,898

New 13th:  Obama – 81, McCain – 18

Old 14th:  Obama – 78, McCain – 21

Race:  White – 72, Black – 5, Asian – 11, Hispanic – 10, Other – 2.

Maloney’s Upper East Side base, plus Southern Manhattan.  No longer in Queens.

NY-14 Charlie Rangel

Population:  700,649

New 14th:  Obama – 91, McCain – 8

Old 15th:  Obama – 93, McCain – 6

Race:  White – 29, Black – 26, Asian – 3, Hispanic – 40, Other – 2.

VRA district that is 71% minority.  Rangel gets some new areas south of his old district but cedes some of his old district to the new 11th and new 15th.

NY-15 Jose Serrano

Population:  701,218

New 15th:  Obama – 95, McCain – 5

Old 16th:  Obama – 95, McCain – 5

Race:  White – 3, Black – 30, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 63, Other – 2.

VRA district that is 63% hispanic.  Other than taking a little bit of Manhattan and a little bit of Queens, this district does not change much.

NY-16 Eliot Engel

Population:  699,973

New 16th:  Obama – 80, McCain – 20

Old 17th:  Obama – 72, McCain – 28

Race:  White – 33, Black – 22, Asian – 6, Hispanic – 36, Other – 3.

Instead of going from Engel’s home of Woodside and heading upstate, this district takes most of the Bronx areas from the old 7th and even gets into north Queens a little bit.



NY-17 Nita Lowey

Population:  701,251

New 17th:  Obama – 70, McCain – 30

Old 18th:  Obama – 62, McCain – 38

Race:  White – 50, Black – 25, Asian – 4, Hispanic – 18, Other – 3.

Loses parts of Rockland Co. and the parts of Westchester Co. down to the Northern parts of White Plains.  Extends south into Mount Vernon and the Bronx.



NY-18 John Hall

Population:  700,819

New 18th:  Obama – 57, McCain – 42

Old 19th:  Obama – 51, McCain – 48

Race:  White – 77, Black – 8, Asian – 3, Hispanic – 9, Other – 2.

Of all the districts, this one was my favorite to rearrange.  Hall was elected in a 54% Bush district that only improved to 51% Obama in the 2008 election.  Can’t let that stand, now can we?  Hall now has Westchester Co. north of White Plains, all of Putnam Co., and Dutchess Co. up to his home in Dover.  Obama gets +12.  That should give this CPC member plenty of breathing room.  Dance with me.

NY-19 Scott Murphy

Population:  700,169

New 19th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 45

Old 20th:  Obama – 51, McCain – 48

Race:  White – 92, Black – 3, Asian – 1, Hispanic – 2, Other – 1.

Murphy keeps his home in Glens Falls but loses the rest of Warren Co.  He also loses Ostego, Delaware, and Greene.  In exchange, he gains some Albany burbs.

NY-20 Paul Tonko

Population:  701,411

New 20th:  Obama – 56, McCain – 43

Old 21st:  Obama – 58, McCain – 40

Race:  White – 83, Black – 8, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 6, Other – 2.

Tonko gets Albany, most of Albany Co., Schenectady, Schoharie, Greene, and Mongomery Cos.  He also gets parts of Delaware, Sullivan, Orange, Fulton, and Herkimer Cos.

NY-21 Maurice Hinchey

Population:  700,399

New 21st:  Obama – 55, McCain – 44

Old 20th:  Obama – 59, McCain – 39

Race:  White – 77, Black – 8, Asian – 3, Hispanic – 10, Other – 2.

Hinchey gets Ulster and Rockland Cos., plus eastern parts of Orange.


NY-22 Bill Owens

Population:  701,006

New 22nd:  Obama – 52, McCain – 47

Old 23rd:  Obama – 52, McCain – 47

Race:  White – 94, Black – 2, Asian – 1, Hispanic – 2, Other – 1.

Owens basically gets the northern part of the state.  Presidential vote percentage stays the same.





NY-23 Mike Arcuri

Population:  698,936

New 23rd:  Obama – 53, McCain – 46

Old 24th:  Obama – 51, McCain – 48

Race:  White – 89, Black – 6, Asian – 1, Hispanic – 3, Other – 1.

I tried to help Arcuri, considering how close his reelection was in 2008.  I tried to help him there by taking away some Republican areas such as Herkimer, Broome, and Tioga and giving him the bottom half of Syracuse and all of Madison Co.  Obama gets +4.

NY-24 Dan Maffei

Population:  700,343

New 24th:  Obama – 53, McCain – 45

Old 25th:  Obama – 56, McCain – 43

Race:  White – 92, Black – 3, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 2, Other – 1.

Maffei’s district gets -5 for Obama voters, but he should still be safe.  District stretches from Syracuse to Rochester and picks up Republican Ontario Co. and parts of Steuben and Livingston.

NY-25 Chris Lee

Population:  701,362

New 25th:  Obama – 52, McCain – 47

Old 26th:  Obama – 46, McCain – 52

Race:  White – 85, Black – 9, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 3, Other – 1.

Like King, Lee now finds himself in a majority Obama district.  Working Families Party’s 2008 nominee Jon Powers lives in Clarence with Lee and would probably be able to win this district (heck I think he could have won it in 2008 had it not been for that messed up Democratic Primary).  It stretches from Rochester to Buffalo and includes all of Genesee and Orleans Cos. and most of Niagara Co.

NY-26 Brian Higgins

Population:  695,323

New 26th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 45

Old 27th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 44

Race:  White – 89, Black – 5, Native – 1, Asian – 1, Hispanic – 4, Other – 1.

Not much changes partisanship wise for Higgins.  He now has Niagara Falls, West Buffalo, West Erie Co, all of Chautauqua, West and South Cattaraugus, and South Allegany.

NY-27 Louise Slaughter

Population:  694,213

New 27th:  Obama – 58, McCain – 41

Old 28th:  Obama – 69, McCain – 30

Race:  White – 77, Black – 15, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 4, Other – 1.

This one goes from Rochester to Buffalo and then snakes over to Steuben, Yates, and Schuyler Cos.  Kinda ugly, but honestly, I think my districts are much better looking than whoever drew the current New York map.  I’m guessing it was Pataki and the Republicans in the legislature wanting to protect several districts that now belong to Democrats.  Ha ha.  In any event, Slaughter loses a lot of Obama voters, but still has a good district.

NY-28 Eric Massa

Population:  701,496

New 28th:  Obama – 54, McCain – 44

Old 29th:  Obama – 48, McCain – 51

Race:  White – 88, Black – 6, Asian – 2, Hispanic – 2, Other – 1.

Like McMahon, Massa goes from a McCain district to an Obama district.  Like Hall, Massa is now a CPC member with a district not as hostile.  Buffalo, down to his home in Corning, up into Thompkins Co. and east to Delaware, Sullivan, and Orange.  Possibly the ugliest district on my map.  But it’s an ugly district that gave Obama +10 over McCain.

There you have it, 28 districts that gave Barack Obama a majority in 2008.  Can all of these districts elect Democrats?  Yes.  Will they?  That depends on our candidates.

Let me know what you think.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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TX Redistricting, 35 Seats, GOP Gerrymander

Nathaniel90’s diary motivated me to make my own Republican gerrymander of Texas. By the time I was done, I was kinda shocked at how “ugly” some of my districts looked, notably TX-7, TX-8, and TX-10 all reaching into downtown Houston to dilute a new minority district, and how TX-21, TX-17, TX-10, and a new Republican TX-35 were snaked across central Texas so as to keep all these seats in Republican control for 10 years and likely dislodge Edwards. My inspiration here was a comment by TXMichael to separate Bell, Williamson, and McLennan into three different districts. Originally I was going to allow Edwards to be “safe” and create a district for him out of these three counties and Travis, but I think the TX Republican party is more likely to try something like this.

TX-7 is the most “at risk” GOP district in the state at 56% White. Most GOP districts are close to 60% white. All Democratic seats, except the Travis county based TX-25 are over 75% minority.

Full State, Top HalfFull State, Top Half

Full State, Bottom Half

Full State, Bottom Half

El Paso

El Paso

Dallas/Fort Worth This is what I am the most proud of. Sessions and Marchant are safe, and a new Democratic seat is made on Dallas’ west side.


Harris CountyA new Republican seat is made. I’m shocked at how I had to have TX-7, TX-8 and TX-10 reach into downtown to grab leftover minority precincts. If a 36th seat comes around, I think this is where it’s going to go providing an extra buffer for TX-7 and TX-34 (TX-2, TX-29, and TX-34 are all green and border each other, sorry)

Harris County

Travis County

Travis County

Bexar County

Bexar County

Central Texas OMG! What did I do to TX-10, TX-17, TX-21, TX-31, and TX-35? I eliminated Chet Edwards with a can not win district and made a new rural Republican seat. Sucks to be Chet, I guess the Republicans can make things worse.

Central Texas

Districts in Review:

TX-1 (Blue): Louie Gohmert (R)  Smith County, Nacadoches, and northern East Texas. 67% White

Contracts in size, loses a few counties, but still the same East Texas district full of people JSmith does not tolerate 😛

TX-2 (Dark Green): Ted Poe (R) Far East Harris County, Beaumont, and Jasper. 65% White

Loses some Harris County precincts and expands to become mostly based out of East Texas grabbing all of Jefferson county and several other rural East Texas counties.

TX-3 (Purple): Sam Johnson (R) Collin County, Plano. 65% White

Contract, contract, contract. Loses all Dallas precincts and grabs a handful of new Collin county precincts in exchange.

TX-4 (Red): Ralph Hall (R) Rural Colin County, Rockwall County, Paris. 75% White

Almost no changes. Only changes were the addition of Wood County and Loss of all of Cass County.

TX-5 (Yellow): Jeb Hensarling (R) Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Ellis County, Athens County. 60% White.

Hensarling’s district rotates clockwise in Dallas county, losing some of the stuff on his north end and reaches around to the southwest corner. Additionally, the addition of Ellis county gives TX-5 a rural county with a large population.

TX-6 (Sea Green): Joe Barton (R) Arlington, Johnson County. 59% White

In Tarrant, TX-6 grabs a little more of downtown. The rest of the district is entirely different. Gone is the I-45 stretch to Centervile, instead the Heavy straight-ticket GOP county of Johnson is added.

TX-7 (Grey): John Culberson (R) West Houston. 56% White

The most “vulnerable” GOP district in the state. relatively the same, bleeds some precincts out of Jersey Village and few more out of Spring Village. Grabs some new precincts out of West University Place and Bellaire.

TX-8 (Deep Purple): Kevin Brady (R) The Woodlands, West Downtown Houston. 64% White

The first “special” district. TX-8 gives up all of the rural East Texas districts (no more Jim Turner to dislodge) and now reaches it’s tentacle from Montgomery county into downtown Houston grabbing as many leftover minority districts as it can find.

TX-9 (Light Blue): Al Green (D) Southwest Houston, Rosenburg. 32% Black, 29% Hispanic, 24% White

TX-9 begins a run towards Fort Bend County. Despite the Delay reputation left with Sugarland and Fort Bend, Obama got 49% in this County. TX-9 reaches to Rosenburg to grab all the minority precincts to make a safe TX-22.

TX-10 (Bright Pink): Mike McCaul (R) Northeast Travis, North Harris, Downtown Houston, Temple. 59% White

The next special district. A lot of this would be easier is McCaul did not live in Travis County. Some Travis counties were shed, as was Burleson, Austin, and some of Waller county. The district gains by grabbing those other minoirty precincts in Harris that TX-8 could not get and reach around College Station to Bell County and grabs as much as it can from this shifting democratic county.

TX-11 (Lime Green): Mike Conaway (R) San Angelo, Midland, Odessa. 57% White

Not many changes.Grabs Coryell and Hamilton County, burns Kimble, Mason, Llano, and Gillespie.

TX-12 (Blue): Kay Granger (R) North West Tarrant County. 59% White.

Not much change. Loses some land to TX-6 and takes some downtown precincts from TX-24.

TX-13 (Peach): Mac Thornberry (R) Panhandle. 67% White.

Loses no land, grabs a handful of new counties, including Deaf Smith, Archer, Young, and Castro, and Parmer.

TX-14 (Safari Green): Ron Paul (R) Galveston, Aransas, La Grange. 55% White

Om nom nom, land. TX-14 grows and grows a lot. Goodbye Wharton county, hello I-10 corridor and lands north of Corpus Christie. Don’t let the low numbers of Whites fool you, this is libertarian land that loves Ron Paul crazies.

TX-15 (Orange): Ruben Hinojosa (D) McAllen, Harlengen. 87% Hispanic.

If TX-14 was scarfing food, TX-15 is bulimic. It contracts to just these two cities.

TX-16 (Nuclear Green) Sylvester Reyes (D) El Paso. 81% Hispanic

I think it bleed 3 precincts total. No change.

TX-17 (Dark Purple) Chet Edwards (D) Waco, Hood County, Corsicana, Huntsville, San Jacinto County. 67% White.

Okay, Chet Edwards should have been eliminated in 2004, but he wasn’t and he’s a BAMF. The addition of College Station should have finished him off, except the legislature forgot Aggies are idiots (if you live in Texas, you know the jokes and you are laughing) and will vote for someone only if they wear their A&M class ring. First thing to do, get rid of A&M. He now has Sam Houston University in Huntsville and the entire backwoods region north of Houston. My only regret with this district? Getting rid of Johnson county, maybe I should have kept Johnson and eliminated Hood instead. Oh well . . . Either ways, behold the end of Rep. Edwards.

TX-18 (Yellow) Sheila Jackson-Lee (D) Downtown Houston. 51% Black, 34% Hispanic

Grabs a lot of area on the South side of Houston and burns stuff near Jersey Village. I’m surprised I got a 51% black district.

TX-19 (Puke Green) Randy Neugenbauer (R) Rural West Texas, Lubbock. 61% White.

Grabs Erath and Andrews County, not many other changes

TX-20 (Light Pink) Charlie Gonzales (D) Downtown San Antonio. 72% Hispanic.

Contraction. Sam shape, just loses a few precincts on each side.

TX-21 (Burnt Red) Lamar Smith (R) North Bexar County, Hayes County, McMullen County. 57% White.

WHAT IS THIS THING?!?!?! The most altered district in Texas is what it is. North San Antonio is the only part that is the same. It adds barely democratic Hayes county, and lost of other rural counties on the east side of Austin/San Antonio . My surprise was how far south it had to reach to get enough voters.

TX-22 (Dirt Brown) Pete Olson (R) Fort Bend County, North Brazoria County, Wharton, Austin, Waller Counties and Far West Harris County (including Katy). 58% White.

TX-22 gives up on Galveston county and lots of the urban parts of Fort Bend. In exchange it reaches out of Houston and goes for rural lands. The Addition of Katy in Houston is the most straight ticket republicans you can find, anywhere.

TX-23 (Sea Blue) Ciro Rodriguez (D) South Bexar County, Rural lands to El Paso, Del Rio. 67% Hispanic.

Goodbye white northern precincts in Bexar county, hello safe Dem seat for Ciro.

TX-24 (Purple) Kenny Marchant (R). North East Tarrant County.

Goodbye Dallas, Goodbye Denton. Yes, I know Kenny lives in Denton, but he’s gonna have to move, his district moved fast, and he’s going to have to as well. Southlake, Grapevine, etc will cancel out the addition of downtown Fort Worth precincts.

TX-25 (Pink) Lloyd Doggett (D). Austin 43% White, 41% Hispanic.

So much for the 2002 plans to split up Austin, Rep. Doggett comes home and represents the White liberals in his new condensed district.

TX-26 (Grey) Michael Burgess (R) Denton and Cooke Counties. 68% White.

Burgess is going to be real safe for a real long time with this district. All of Denton and Cooke, Burns all of Tarrant.

TX-27 (Gak Green) Solomon Ortiz (D) Corpus Christie to Brownsville. 71% Hispanic.

Grabs all of San Patricio county, besides that, pretty much the same.

TX-28 (Lavender) Henry Cuellar (D) Laredo, Maverick County, Jim Wells County, and North Hidalgo County. 92% Hispanic.

TX-28 grabs a lot of the rural land that was previously held by TX-15. It’s rural growth, but it is still a safe valley seat.

TX-29 (Grey Green) Gene Green (D) East Downtown Houston. 76% Hispanic.

I don’t know if Gene Green can be dislodged via a primary, but this is a safe Democratic district that will elect a Hispanic should he retire in the next decade. Eliminated Baytown.

TX-30 (Peachy) E.B. Johnson (D) South Dallas, Bits around Garland. 42% Black, 35% Hispanic

TX-30 is still an african American district thanks to Duncanville, but it won’t be by 2020. It trades a lot of land around Garland with TX-32 to still be a safe Dem seat.

TX-31 (Goldenrod) John Carter (R) Williamson County, Killeen, College Station. 63% White.

Williamson is moving blue, but the College Station parts should offset it through the decade. Carter is not be vulnerable to a democrat, but he may be vulnerable to an Aggie challenge (see TX-17 rant)

TX-32 (Orange) Pete Sessions (R) Richardson, Garland, Rowlett 62% White.

I don’t know how I did it, but I made a safe Republican TX-32. All the suburbs, all the mansions, none of the risk. Loses West Dallas, gains from TX-5 on the East Side.

TX-33 (Blue) NEW (D) Corckett Hill, West Dallas, Irving. 66% Hispanic.

Safe new Dem seat. Get ready to say “Rep. Rafael Anchia,” if he is not mayor of Dallas by then.

TX-34 (Glowing Green) NEW (R) Clear Lake, North Galveston County, Humble. 58% White.

If Katy is the most Republican part of Harris County, this is the second most. North Galveston is getting whiter and more Republican and Clear Lake continues to hold NASA and the white collar engineers and mansions. It may get closer near the end of the decade due to growth on the north side, but this one will be R and stay that way due to straight ticket voters. Likely new Rep: State Rep. Larry Taylor of Friendswood.

TX-35 (Bright Purple) NEW (R) West Travis County, Northwest Bexar county, Comal County, Llano, Kerrville. 72% White.

Very Republican, very rural with growing exurbs. Don’t let the Travis county parts fool you, that is the swing part of the county. New Rep will be . . .a Republican, who knows.


20R-12R is going to become 23R-12D. However, even if the republicans controlled the process in 2020, I don’t think they can make more R seats. Hispanics are moving in, and they are taking over. Who knows, by 2020, they might actually start voting.

Let me know what you all think!

IA-Gov: Branstad robocalling Democrats

An alert Bleeding Heartland reader got a recorded phone call around dinnertime Monday, featuring former Republican Governor Terry Branstad.

Apparently there were a couple of questions about how Governor Chet Culver is doing and his handling of spending and the budget. Branstad’s recorded voice touted his own record on economic policy.

The call also asked if the listener would support a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between one man and one woman, and if the listener would vote for Branstad in the upcoming Republican primary.

According to my e-mail tipster, the call said it was paid for by the Branstad for Governor comittee, and gave a phone number as well as the address for Branstad’s campaign website.

This particular household has two registered Democrats and no registered Republicans, and the homeowner has had the same phone number for more than 15 years. So I figured either the calling firm was using a bad list, or Branstad’s campaign is reaching out to find Democrats who aren’t happy with Culver.

Since I posted about this robocall at Bleeding Heartland, a bunch of other Iowa Democrats in households with no Republicans have reported receiving the same call, including State Representative Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids. It seems clear that the target universe for this call was active Democratic voters.

If Branstad’s campaign is trying to identify Democrats willing to cross over to vote for him in the Republican primary, it makes me wonder what his internal polling says about the GOP race. I’ve been assuming that Bob Vander Plaats has virtually no chance of overcoming Branstad’s financial and institutional advantages during the primary, but if Marco Rubio can catch up to Charlie Crist in Florida, maybe Vander Plaats can win by running to Branstad’s right.

Several polls have shown Branstad leading Culver by a substantial margin, although the latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register undercut Branstad’s electability argument somewhat by showing Vander Plaats leading Culver as well. Perhaps Republican voters will come to believe they can beat Culver with the man favored by social conservative activists as opposed to Branstad, who was drafted by elite Republican donors.

SSP Daily Digest: 12/29

NC-Sen: It looks like Elaine Marshall is fishing for campaign help outside of DSCC-approved circles. She recently hired A.J. Carrillo to “oversee day-to-day activities and coordinate strategy.” Carrillo, as you may recall, managed Greg Fisher’s ill-fated primary campaign against Bruce Lunsford in the 2008 Kentucky Senate race. Two years earlier, Carrillo had better luck, helping guide Jerry McNerney to an upset victory over the DCCC-backed Steve Filson in the CA-11 primary, and to another surprise win over GOP Rep. Richard Pombo in the general election. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Richard Burr seems to be wistfully nostalgic for the days of Bush, going so far as to tap Karl Rove to headline a fundraiser for him.

NE-Sen: Rasmussen’s Magical Mystery Tour touches down in Nebraska today, and finds some frightening numbers for Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. In a hypothetical race against current Gov. Dave Heineman, Nelson trails by 61-30. Nelson is not up for re-election until 2012.

UT-Sen (?): I wonder if this failed amendment to prohibit full body scanning as a “primary” screening device by none other than noted civil libertarian Jason Chaffetz could be used as fodder against him if he ever decides to run for Senate. Glenn Thrush, meanwhile, thinks the vote might have broader repercussions. For his part, Chaffetz is taking a surprisingly principled stand on his proposed ban.

MD-Gov: Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has picked up a primary challenger in George W. Owings III, a former state delegate who served in the Ehrlich administration as his secretary of veterans affairs. Owings plans to run to O’Malley’s right in the primary. Good luck with that one.

MI-Gov: GOP douche extraordinaire Pete Hoekstra is actually taking heat in the Republican primary from venture capitalist Rick Snyder for his recent fundraising email that invited contributions to stop “the Obama/Pelosi efforts to weaken our security” in the wake of the most recent attempted terrorist attack.

MN-Gov: Josh Goodman has a good piece on Mark Dayton going public (but not fully) about his struggles with depression and alcoholism.

WY-Gov: Will Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal try for a third term? He’s seriously weighing the possibility, and has hired Global Strategy Group as his pollster to gauge his popularity in the state — and very likely to see if voters would mind if he challenged the state’s gubernatorial term-limits law in the courts.

AL-05: The Alabama Democratic Party doesn’t believe that Parker Griffith and his consulting firm will delete the data that they downloaded from the party’s database just hours before Griffith defected to the GOP. While the ALDP is threatening Griffith and Main Street Strategies with legal action over the data, the Alabama GOP is salivating over the prospect of getting its hands on it.

FL-17: Hotline on Call takes a look at the bubbling-under Democratic primary to replace Kendrick Meek.

PA-07: Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz, who’s running to replace Joe Sestak in the House, is seeking to stake out a position as the reform candidate in his race against his likely Republican opponent, former US Attorney Pat Meehan. Lentz has called for the removal of ethically-questionable state House Majority Leader Todd Eachus as the head of the Democratic caucus.

WA-03: Reid Wilson takes a closer look at the field to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Brian Baird. All signs are pointing to a likely run by ex-state Rep. Denny Heck.

KY-State House: Gov. Steve Beshear has set a February 2nd special election date to fill the central Kentucky House seat of newly-elected Republican state Senator Jimmy Higdon.

Texas: SSP’s thunder from down under, benawu, reminds us that the filing deadline for Texas closes in a week, and Democrats still have a lot of congressional races left unfilled, including the sadly-vacant TX-10.

Strategy: Steve Rosenthal, a respected name in Dem consulting circles, has a very good piece on the five-step recovery process he suggests that Democrats follow in order to mitigate electoral damage in 2010.

AL-05, AL-Gov: Sparks Stays Out, Gube Primary Gets Tense

As we anticipated last night, Ron Sparks is staying out of the 5th CD race after publicly flirting with a run against Parker Griffith a few days ago. The truth of it is, Sparks would have been well-advised to shut the door immediately on a bid in public while making his deliberations in private. His opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Artur Davis, seized upon the opportunity to launch a blistering broadside against Sparks:

“In the last couple of years, I’ve seen Ron Sparks go from a U.S. Senate race to a lieutenant governor’s race to the governor’s race to a congressional race and now back to the race for governor,” Davis said. “The problem for Ron Sparks is that he always needs permission from a small group of insiders in Montgomery and they want a governor who will do their bidding, not a congressman in North Alabama.”

For his part, Sparks is firing back in a populist manner:

“I am seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor against another man who has abandoned the values that put him in Congress.

“My opponent, voted against vital health care reform measures. He voted to protect the rights of credit card companies rather than the rights of Alabama families. He thumbs his nose at the democratic leaders of our state and panders to right wing power brokers and big business contributors. He draws more of his support from Manhattan than he does from main street Alabama.

“[…] My opponent is a man who breaks his word and betrays his supporters.”

It’s difficult not to agree that Artur Davis is useless, but I don’t see why Sparks saw any upside in staying in such a fratricidal primary where he’ll be severely outgunned financially. I think this move shaved a few years off of his political longevity.

RaceTracker Wiki: AL-05

CA-19: Radanovich Retires


Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) will be announcing this afternoon today that he won’t be seeking re-election, according to a senior GOP source.

His chief of staff, Ted Maness, told POLITICO the congressman would be releasing a statement at 2:00 EST, but declined to confirm that he’ll be retiring. […]

Republicans comprise 44 percent of registered voters, while Democrats make up 37 percent, and 14 percent decline to affiliate themselves with a party.

Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson, a political ally of Radanovich, is expected to run for the Republican nomination in the district.

This is the first Republican retirement of the 2010 cycle — which is kind of amazing after the mass exodus of Republicans from Congress to the retirement manors of Florida over the past two cycles. I suppose we took care of most of the low-hanging fruit.

Radanovich’s seat isn’t prime territory for a pick-up. However, although its PVI is R+9, Barack Obama dramatically improved upon the old Democratic baseline in the district, losing the CD by only 52-46 to John McCain. Compare that to John Kerry’s flattening here by a 61-38 margin four years earlier. A good deal of that shift can be attributed to the demographic changes occurring within the district, which has seen a marked increase in its minority population since 2000. Those demographic gains haven’t reached the tipping point here yet, but this district could be susceptible to a bit of nipping and tucking in the next round of redistricting in order to hasten that process.

UPDATE: Check out who Reid Wilson flags as a potential GOP contender here:

One source said Radanovich will back state Sen. Jeff Denham (R) as his replacement. CA Senate districts are actually larger than congressional districts, though Denham’s is more closely related to Rep. Dennis Cardoza’s (D) neighboring 18th district. Top GOPers had tried to convince Denham to run against Cardoza, though Radanovich’s district has a stronger GOP lean.

But Denham is unlikely to get a clean shot at the seat. Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson (R) is also likely to run, and one source suggested to ex-Rep. Richard Pombo (R), who lost his neighboring 11th district to Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) in ’06, may be a potential contender as well.

Needless to say, a comebacker for “Dirty Dick” Pombo would be very fun to watch.

RaceTracker Wiki: CA-19

Texas candidate filing closes soon

Candidate filing closes in just over a week, on January 4th.

How are the parties going vis a vis recruiting candidates to run in all 32 House Districts?

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.

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

The Texas Congressional House delegation is currently split 20/12 in favor of the GOP.

I think we can safely assume that both parties will file candidates (almost invariably the current incumbents) in the Districts that they currently hold.

So onto candidate filings.

First the bad news and there is no way to sugarcoat this – The GOP have a full slate, many with multiple candidates. Yep all 12 Dem held Districts have GOP candidates:

TX-09 (Green) – D+22,

TX-15 (Hinojosa) – D+3,

TX-16 (Reyes) – D+10,

TX-17 (Edwards) – R+20,

TX-18 (Jackson Lee) – D+24,

TX-20 (Gonzalez) – D+8,

TX-23 (Rodriguez) – R+4,

TX-25 (Doggett) – D+6,

TX-27 (Ortiz) – R+2,

TX-28 (Cuellar) – R+0,

TX-29 (Green) – D+8,

TX-30 (Johnson) – D+27,

And for us Democrats the news does not get any better.

We have confirmed candidates in only 8 of 20 GOP held Districts:

TX-05 (Hensarling) – R+17,

TX-06 (Barton) – R+15,

TX-11 (Conaway) – R+28,

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,

And in the other 12 GOP held districts there is not even a rumoured candidate:

TX-01 (Gohmert) – R+21,

TX-02 (Poe) – R+13,

TX-03 (Johnson) – R+14,

TX-04 (Hall) – R+21,

TX-07 (Culberson) – R+13,

TX-08 (Brady) – R+25,

TX-10 (McCaul) – R+10,

TX-12 (Granger) – R+16,

TX-13 (Thornberry) – R+29,

TX-14 (Paul) – R+18,

TX-24 (Marchant) – R+11,

TX-31 (Carter) – R+14,

This is a grim scenario to say the least. At this stage in 2007 we had confirmed and unconfirmed candidates in 12/19; this time 8/20.

I am not suggesting that we will not fill more of these districts but we are a long way behind. Remember that in 2008 we did not run candidates in 6 districts:

TX-01 (Gohmert) – R+21,

TX-02 (Poe) – R+13,

TX-05 (Hensarling) – R+17,

TX-11 (Conaway) – R+28,

TX-14 (Paul) – R+18,

TX-21 (Smith) – R+14,

So hop to it Texas Democrats we need more candidates filing NOW.

** Tips, rumours and what not in the comments please.***


We now have a candidate in the 14th!***

AL-05: Sparks Unlikely to Run

Well, nothing’s official, but check out this press release that found its way into my inbox:

Gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks will hold press conferences on Tuesday, December 29 to discuss the his campaign for Governor and next year’s race for the 5th Congressional District seat in North Alabama.  The press conferences will be held at:

Huntsville: 10:00 a.m., Madison County Courthouse Steps

100 Northside Square

Birmingham: 1:30 p.m., Linn Park

Montgomery: 4:00 p.m., Sparks campaign headquarters, 4240 Carmichael Rd

If you’re announcing that you’re running for Congress, you usually don’t take your announcement tour on the road to places outside the district (Birmingham and Montgomery) that you’re supposedly interested in representing. While I suppose Chris Van Hollen still has some time on the clock to make a last minute plea, I don’t think you should hold your breath. Ron Sparks seems to think that he has a good shot at being Alabama’s next Governor. I think he’ll eventually come to regret this choice, but that’s just my take.

So what’s next? If the DCCC is smart, they’ll lean hard on Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker, who was the candidate they should have lined up behind in 2008. However, while Parker hasn’t officially ruled out the race, I’m hearing credible word that it’s more likely that she’ll run for re-election to the PSC. Democrats would then have to settle for someone further down the totem pole — one such name that I’ve heard being considered is Deborah Bell Paseur, a former district judge who narrowly lost a race for Alabama’s Supreme Court in 2008. But I’m sure we’ll hear more names in the coming days.

UPDATE: This tweet says that Sparks isn’t running.

RaceTracker Wiki: AL-05

SSP Daily Digest: 12/28

TX-Gov, TX-Lt. Gov: Former Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle has decided to run for Lt. Governor, and not Governor or Attorney General. Republican incumbent David Dewhurst has filed to run for re-election, though many expect that he’d jump into an open seat Senate race, in the seemingly unlikely event that Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns. Earle joins Austin deli owner Marc Katz in the Democratic primary.

AL-05, AL-Gov: Democrat Ron Sparks, Alabama’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, says that he will make a decision on switching from his gubernatorial campaign to a run against turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith within the next 48 hours. I don’t have any special insight here, but it sure sounds like Sparks is actually going to make this move. If Sparks takes a pass, there are a number of lesser-known potential candidates who sound interested, according to the Huntsville Times. Meanwhile, Griffith’s Tea Party-backed primary challenger, Les Phillip, is whacking Griff hard over his past donations to Harry Reid and Howard Dean. I wonder if Griffith realizes how big of a miscalculation he made.

FL-02: For all the GOP’s success in “expanding the map” of House pick-up opportunities next year, Roll Call notes that the party is more or less empty-handed in their pursuit of a challenger to ultra-Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd. GOP political consultants seem to be holding out hope that a self-funder may parachute into the race before the state’s March filing deadline.

NY-01: Republican businessman Randy Altschuler is already up on the air, launching broadsides at Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop for his TARP votes.

PA-06: Democrat Doug Pike had hoped that an early injection of his own personal wealth coupled with a batch of endorsements from local Democrats would keep the primary field clear in his effort to wrest control of the open seat district that Republican Jim Gerlach is leaving behind. Not so fast. Already dealing with the surging candidacy of Manan Trivedi, Pike has picked up a second primary challenger in Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon.

PA-16: Democratic activist Lois Herr, trying for a third crack at entrenched GOP incumbent Joe Pitts, is now facing a primary from pro-life Democrat John J. McClure.

WA-03: Retiring Dem Rep. Brian Baird tells the Politico National Journal’s Reid Wilson that he thinks that Denny Heck, a well-traveled name in Washington political circles, will run for his seat. As we’ve mentioned here before, Heck was a state Rep. in the 80s, lost a Superintendent of Education race, became Gov. Booth Gardner’s chief of staff, and then founded TVW, the state’s local equivalent of C-SPAN.

NRCC/TX-32: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 4? “I love you and believe in you. If you want my ear/voice — e-mail.” That’s the message that NRCC Chair Pete Sessions sent to banker Allen Stanford just hours after federal investigators charged him with fleecing investors to the tune of $7 billion. The muck raking crew over at TPM has the full background on this sordid story.

Party Switching: DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen is “very confident” that there will be no more defections from the Democratic caucus this cycle. Meanwhile, the Southern Political Report has a piece analyzing the longevity of party switchers, and finds some decidedly mixed results.

Strategy: The Democratic game plan for the 2010 elections appears to hinge around the argument that the GOP will “repeal” health care reform. DSCC Chair Bob Menendez: “I would simply say to my Republican friends, what are they going to campaign on? That they’re going to repeal 30 million people who have health insurance under this package? That they’re going to repeal closing the gap on Medicare?” Note that this is exactly what Newt Gingrich is pressing the GOP to embrace.

The New York Senate Part 2: 43? Democrats

As promised a few days ago, I’d post the second part of my proposed New York Senate map. So without further ado, here it is.

I also tried to have the numbers make more sense. The goal was to make the city entirely Democratic (except Staten Island), then to get as many districts out of upstate Democratic centers as possible.

I may have been a tad too aggressive upstate, with three Buffalo Dems, two Rochester Dems, two Syracuse Dems, two Albany Dems, and one Ithaca-Binghamton Dem (in addition to Aubertine).

I also tried to stick to one man-one vote and keep the deviations down, but I couldn’t resist underpacking some Democratic districts and overpacking Republican districts..