SSP Daily Digest: 1/31

AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP’s #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it’s now a “real possibility.” Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a “holding pattern.” Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.

FL-Sen: He doesn’t have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don’t discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he’s little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman’s campaign. Although I don’t know if, at this point, that’s a plus or a minus.)

IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article’s worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar’s camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to “look at his political options” regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).

MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn’t get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to “protect its brand.” The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can’t see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players… I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he’s now saying he won’t have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don’t seem likely to endear him any more to the party’s base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn’t give much insight into his 2012 plans.

MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it’s Terry Lynn Land’s turn. The former Republican SoS says she’s “considering it,” but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.

TX-Sen: This isn’t much of a surprise, but west Texas’s three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren’t interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense… why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that’s R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?

VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he’s “65 percent in,” and that “when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory.” He also lets Politico know (I’m not making this up) that he “needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence.” I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin’s gift for word salad.

WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.

WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they’re neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won’t), she’s a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There’s also word of one more GOPer who isn’t interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the ’96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won’t run this time.

IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they’re running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.

WA-08: Here’s a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th’s boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn’t want to look like he’s mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it’s widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn’t mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that’s based on the true Eastside (whether it’s the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who’s based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I’d say, it’s likelier than not that we’ll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.

DCCC: Here’s something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they’re explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They’re running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren’t a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.

Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There’s one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn’t delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won’t have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it’s hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn’t cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that’s worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there’s already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: “N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.”)

Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)… Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don’t have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they’ll be available at some point this week.

MO-Sen: Martin Will Challenge McCaskill

Here we go:

Republican attorney Ed Martin, who narrowly lost a bid for Congress last year, said Monday that he will challenge Democrat Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s 2012 U.S. Senate race.

Martin immediately sought to link McCaskill to President Barack Obama, decrying her support for the economic stimulus act and the health care overhaul and suggesting in a newsletter to supporters that their “ObamaClaire” policies were growing government.

This could turn out to be a pretty interesting primary, depending on the players. Martin will tout his near-win against Dem Rep. Russ Carnahan last year as an electability argument, but somehow I don’t see him scaring any House members off (like, say, Graves or Emerson), but you never know.

If Congressional Reapportionment Were Done On Voter Turnout…..

I was thinking about the congressional reapportionment that is to happen in the next few months and what would happen if it was done on voter turnout numbers not on population numbers gathered by the census. I’ve used the totals from each state during the 2008 presidential election, i got the figures from the wikipedia entry on the 2008 presidential election by state, i think they’re fairly reliable (but if anyone has better figures let me know!). After i finished sorting the data i was genuinely surprised. results below the fold.

This is my first diary in ages btw as i usually just read the diaries and entries written by people far more knowledgeable than I, so I apologise for the shitty diary        

Here are the results

Arizona – 8 seats

Alaska – 1 seat

Alabama – 7

Arkansas- 4

California – 45

Connecticut- 5

Colorado- 8

Delaware – 1

Florida – 28

Georgia – 13

Hawaii – 2

Idaho- 2

Iowa – 5

Illinois – 18

Indiana – 9

Kansas – 4

Kentucky – 6

Louisiana – 7

Maine – 2

Massachusetts – 10

Maryland – 9

Michigan – 17

Mississippi – 4

Minnesota – 10

Missouri – 10

Montana – 2

Nebraska – 3

Nevada – 3

North Dakota – 1

North Carolina – 14

New Hampshire – 2

New Mexico – 3

New Jersey – 13

New York – 25

Ohio – 19

Oklahoma – 5

Oregon – 6

Pennsylvania – 20

Rhode Island – 2

South Carolina – 6

South Dakota – 1

Tennessee – 9

Texas – 27

Utah – 3

Vermont – 1

Virginia – 12

Washington – 10

West Virginia -2

Wyoming – 1

Wisconsin – 10

Phew, so the biggest losers are Texas, California and New York and the biggest winners are Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Here are the seats that just about made it and nearly made it. (The number at the end is the priority number, for anyone that hasn’t tinkered about with reapportionment numbers before)

430.   Tennessee 9 306,647

431.    Florida 28 305,904

432.      Texas        27 305,222

433.    Colorado 8 303,850

434.    Michigan 17 303,728

435.   Louisiana 7 302,552

436.  California 46 302,066

437. Connecticut 6 300,662

438.    New York 26 299,691

439.    Illinois 19 298,784

440.      Maine        3 298,496

441.    Virginia 13 298,099

have at it


3 districts for Idaho – a look ahead to 2020 redistricting?

Idaho has, as Nathaniel90 put it, a shot at “the prize of least interesting congressional redistricting process of the decade.” The current ID-1 and ID-2 are R+18 and R+17 and the minor revisions they’ll receive will not change this to any great extent.

On the other hand, at current growth rates there’s an outside chance that Idaho will receive a third congressional district after 2020, and almost certainly after 2030. And that’s where things get interesting.

Idaho is a fast-growing state. 6 counties saw growth of above 25% between April 2000 and July 2009, including the three largest counties of Ada, Canyon and Kootenai and for the state as a whole population increased by an impressive 19.5%.

But this growth is unevenly distributed, being much more notable in urban than in rural counties, higher in the Panhandle than in central and eastern Idaho and highest of all in the Boise-Nampa Metropolitan area in south-western Idaho.

Given that the growth is here and that the area will contain around half the state’s population, it’d be natural to locate a third congressional district here.

Republicans would be unlikely to be keen, as whilst McCain won all but 3 small counties in the state, Obama’s next best county was the state’s biggest, Boise. If portions of this were combined with (the admittedly very conservative) fast-growing Canyon County to its north-west, you’d have a district a garden-variety of insane Republican could lose and not just a Bill Sali kind of insane Republican.

Yet whilst Republicans dominate the state, Idaho opted for bipartisan redistricting in the 1990s. Democrats and Republicans both name three representatives to a commission that draws the maps and with Republicans often divided between the lunatic fringe and more mainstream conservatives, Democratic power on the commission is even more disproportionate to their popular support than the numbers would suggest.

I therefore suggest than if Idaho receives a third seat in 2020, the commission will draw a very compact Boise-Meridian-Nampa-Caldwell district that would rival WA-7 as the smallest district in the northwest. This would likely be a fair fight district, and in retaliation Republicans would almost certainly try to reintroduce partisan redistricting.

Read on for the districts themselves and methodology.

To estimate the 2020 population of Idaho and its distribution, I took the April 2000 population of each county. I then recorded its growth up to July 2009 (as the 2010 numbers aren’t yet out) and extrapolated this out to April 2020.

I only split two counties, namely Ada and Canyon, but here I encountered some problems. The city of Boise itself has enjoyed only modest growth, whereas other cities have nearly doubled in size in the past decade. It’s unlikely this will be allowed to continue unimpeded for another decade, but by the same token other smaller cities will be likely to experience explosive growth.

Rather than trying to model this, I took the cop-out option of working out what proportion of the two counties I needed to draw into other districts to achieve population equality, then removing them based on the population in Dave’s Redistricting App. This is not a rigorous method and will undoubtedly be out by several thousand in the final analysis, but it did at least allow a rough picture of the likely districts to be drawn.

Idaho with 3 CDs


2000 population: 466396

Estimated current population: 524907

Estimated 2020 population: 614623

This district combines the Idaho panhandle with most of the Treasure Valley and a couple of rural counties thrown in for population equality.

It’s slightly oversized because it made the mental arithmetic slightly easier, but moving one block group would fix that and there are plenty of suitable ones around Boise.

Guaranteed safe Republican.


2000 population: 360291

Estimated current population: 486060

Estimated 2020 population: 610485

From Boise in north-central Ada County this heads west along I-84 (west) until Caldwell, taking in Meridian and Nampa along the way. For the most part the Boise River is the northern boundary, but it heads beyond that to take in northern parts of the capital as well as the town of Eagle.

As the scale shows, it’s probably only around 200 square miles and hence takes up less than a quarter of a percent of the state’s land area.

Probably leans Republican, but a lot less so than the other two districts.


2000 population: 467289

Estimated current population: 534835

Estimated 2020 population: 613230

This district fits communities of interest surprisingly well, as it takes in all of eastern Idaho and the Magic Valley as well as the Wood River Valley.

It would also include the rest of central Idaho, but I had to remove Custer and Lemhi counties to ID-1 for population reasons. This is a shame, as they have no road connections in that direction. However, if, as seems likely, population in rural eastern counties continues to decline, it might be possible to include them in this district in a 2020 map.

Would be monolithically Republican, even if it wasn’t even more Mormon than the present ID-2 already is.

California: Predicting the Map

California is a minority-majority state.  Therefore any non-partisan redistricting plan drawn there should reflect the diversity of the state by maximizing the number of minority-majority districts — as long as those districts can be drawn to be compact, drawn to preserve community interests, and otherwise adhere to the other requirements of the new Commission.  11 out of 14 persons on the Commission are themselves minorities; therefore it is quite plausible that they may draw the new districts in this manner.  I tried to put aside all partisan bias when drawing this map, and tried to use only non-partisan criteria like compactness and adherence to the VRA.

There are 53 districts in California.  In this map I drew 15 that fit entirely within the confines of San Diego/Orange/Inland Empire; 15 that basically fit within Los Angeles Co./Ventura and the remaining 23 are in central and northern California.

No districts cross over from Los Angeles Co. into Orange or San Bernardino Counties.  Ventura and Kern Counties share areas with LA Co., but that was the only logical way for me to draw the districts there and still account for equal population for each district.  Likewise, one district does cross over from the Bay Area into the Central Valley, but again, that is because of population totals — basically, one district has to cross that divide somewhere.  

The population deviation per district is under +/- 1,500 persons.  I used American Community Survey estimates for my demographics, so the numbers are off somewhat from the 2000 data that’s still in Dave’s Application.  I numbered the districts from south to north in order to get away from thinking about them in the current sense and away from thinking about them in terms of incumbents (although there may be a rule where the districts have to be numbered north to south ?).  I will discuss each geographic area in turn and try to explain how I drew the lines.

San Diego County

San Diego County’s population estimate according to the American Community Survey is 2,988,000 which is equal to 4.2 congressional districts.  The county is 51% white and 49% minority; therefore I made 2 of the districts majority white and 2 districts minority-majority (the remaining “0.2” of the county is in a majority white district that also encompasses parts of Orange and Riverside Counties).  Hispanics are about 30% of the county so at least one district must be Hispanic.  If you “pack” the most Hispanic precincts in San Diego into one district you will only come out with a district that is approx. 56% Hispanic, but the map would look like this:


Obviously, the Commission would not draw a convoluted map like the one above.  With just a few adjustments, “District 1” can be made pretty compact, however, and the Hispanic percentage would still be approx. 54% — only 2 points less than in the convoluted map.  (I use this example to demonstrate how I planned out many of the minority-majority districts in the state).  After District 1 was drawn, I still needed another minority-majority district for the county in order to draw a map that reflects the true diversity of the state.  It turned out that by combining all the other minority-majority areas in San Diego, you could draw a compact district almost entirely within the city of San Diego itself that is approximately 54% minority (basically combining Hispanics who are too geographically remote or dispersed to be included in District 1 with black and Asian areas in San Diego).  At this point, I had the two white majority districts to draw in the county — I drew one logically along the coast and one inland.



District 1: Hispanic San Diego

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 62; McCain 37

District 2: Inland City of San Diego – Multi-Ethnic

Estimated Demographics: Above 50% minority

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 60; McCain 38

District 3: Coastal San Diego

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% white

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 58; McCain 40

District 4: Inland San Diego County

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 65% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 41; McCain 57

Inland Empire

The next area I covered was Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  I decided to include Imperial Co. with a Riverside district, as the combination would result in a compact Hispanic-majority district, and it made more sense to me to include with Riverside than with the city of San Diego as the current CA-51 looks today.  Also, Inyo and Mono Counties were included with San Bernardino, as that made more sense than to include them with Los Angeles as the current CA-25 does today.  Both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have Hispanic pluralities (and Imperial is over three-fourths Hispanic; Inyo and Mono are about two-thirds white but have relatively very little population); whites are only 38% of the combined area.  


The total population of the “Inland Empire” is approx. 4,213,000 which is equal to about 6 congressional districts.  Riverside Co. is only slightly bigger than San Bernardino Co., so 3 districts can be drawn in Riverside and 3 in San Bernardino.  Since San Bernardino/Inyo/Mono is only 36% white, I decided that 2 of the 3 San Bernardino-based districts should be minority-majority (with at least 1 being mostly Hispanic) and likewise, since Riverside/Imperial combined is only 40% white, I decided that 2 of the 3 districts there should be minority-majority (with at least 1 being mostly Hispanic).  The Hispanic growth in this area has been great and it was difficult to estimate the Hispanic percentages here.  For example, using even 2000 Census numbers, Districts 5 and 8 would be Hispanic majority, but if you use the ACS numbers, it appears that Districts 5 and 8 as drawn here would approach 60% Hispanic.

District 5:  Eastern Riverside Co. and Imperial

Estimated Demographics: Above 60% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 56; McCain 43

District 6:  Central Riverside Co.

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 45; McCain 53

District 7:  North-western Riverside Co.

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 60; McCain 39

District 8:  South-western San Bernardino Co.

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 60; McCain 38

District 9:  Northern San Bernardino Co./Inyo/Mono

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 43; McCain 55

District 10:  South-central San Bernardino Co. (and Calimesa in Riverside Co.)

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 65% minority (Hispanic plurality, and possibly majority)

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 56; McCain 42




Orange County

Orange Co. has about 2,977,000 people, equal to 4.2 congressional districts.  The population is 47% white and 53% minority.  Like in San Diego Co., I decided to draw two minority-majority districts (with one being mostly Hispanic and the other “multi-ethnic”), and two white districts — one coastal and one interior.

District 11:  Central Orange Co.

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 59; McCain 39

District 12:  North-central Orange Co.

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic plurality; large Asian population)

Politics:  Toss Up; Obama 53; McCain 45

District 13:  Coastal Orange Co.

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 46; McCain 52

Interesting note:  This potential district would be Republican but socially quite moderate.  For example, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach were some of the rare cities in the state where the “No” on Prop. 8 received more votes, percentage-wise, than Obama received in 2008.

District 14:  Inland Orange Co.

Estimated Demographics: Above. 60% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 43; McCain 55


“Leftover” San Diego/Orange/Riverside:

District 15:  Eastern Orange/Northern San Diego/Western Riverside

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 44; McCain 55

Los Angeles and Ventura Counties

The next 15 districts are based in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties (14 mostly in LA Co. and 1 mostly in Ventura).  The estimated population of LA County is 9,785,000 — equal to 13.8 districts.  47% of the population in the county is Hispanic — equal to 6.5 districts — so my plan makes sure that 6 districts are Hispanic majority and at least one other is Hispanic plurality.  Asians are 13% of the population which would translate to 1.8 districts.  However, as they are very geographically dispersed it would be impossible to draw two Asian-majority districts in LA Co.; in fact even drawing one Asian district resulted in a district that’s only plurality Asian.  Blacks in LA Co., on the other hand, form only 9% of the population, but are geographically very compact, so it was possible to draw a black-majority district in the county.  Whites are only 29% of LA County – equal to almost exactly 4 districts, but because of the way the white population is dispersed, the most logical thing to do was to create 2 white majority districts and 3 white plurality districts.  The Ventura-based district is also white majority/plurality.

District 16:  Eastern LA County; Pomona, Covina

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 61; McCain 37

District 17:  Eastern LA County; Whittier, Norwalk, Downey

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (approx. 65% Hispanic)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 64; McCain 34

District 18:  Central LA County; East Los Angeles, Southgate

Estimated Demographics: At least 98% minority (sic !); approx. 90% Hispanic

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 86; McCain 12

District 19:  Central Los Angeles

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 85% minority (above 60% Hispanic)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 81; McCain 17

District 20:  Eastern Los Angeles (city), Burbank

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (approx. 60% Hispanic)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 77; McCain 21

District 21:  Eastern San Fernando Valley

Estimated Demographics: Above 80% minority (approx. 70% Hispanic)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 74; McCain 24

District 22:  Long Beach and environs

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% minority (Hispanic plurality)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 67; McCain 31

District 23:  Eastern LA County; San Gabriel, Diamond Bar

Estimated Demographics: Above 80% minority (Asian plurality)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 60; McCain 38

District 24:  South-central LA

Estimated Demographics: At least 97% minority (sic !); above 50% black

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 94; McCain 5

District 25:  South-western LA Co.; Torrance, San Pedro part of LA

Estimated Demographics: Above 60% minority (has white plurality, but is quite multi-ethnic)

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 59; McCain 39

District 26:  Santa Monica Bay coast and some inland areas

Estimated Demographics: Minority-majority (though barely, as whites at approx. 49%)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 75; McCain 23

District 27:  Glendale, Pasadena, Monrovia

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% minority (but white plurality)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 66; McCain 32

District 28:  Northern LA County, western San Fernando Valley

Estimated Demographics: Above 50% white

Politics:  Toss Up; Obama 54; McCain 44

This district, btw, is very similar to the CA-25 under the non-partisan 1992 plan (but since the population has grown a lot in this area, Lancaster in the far north is detached).

District 29:  Westside LA/Beverly Hills; Malibu; Thousand Oaks

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% white

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 67; McCain 32



District 30:  Ventura County (other than Thousand Oaks)

Estimated Demographics: white majority hovering around 50% (so could be white plurality ?)

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 56; McCain 42

This district, btw, looks almost identical to the CA-23 under the non-partisan 1992 plan.

Central Coast

We now start to move out of southern California …. The central coast and Monterey Bay areas have sizeable Hispanic numbers (35-40% of the population), but there’s really not enough population to form a compact Hispanic district here that would at the same time preserve county/community cohesiveness (Hispanic-majority districts could be drawn that include some of this area, but they would have to cross over into the Central Valley).



District 31:  Central Coast

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% white

Politics:  Lean Democratic; Obama 57; McCain 41

This district is very similar to the CA-22 under the non-partisan 1992 plan.  All of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are included, as well as southern Monterey Co.

District 32:  Monterey Bay area; Santa Cruz, San Benito and most of Monterey Counties (and sliver of Santa Clara)

Estimated Demographics: white majority hovering around 50% (so could be white plurality ?)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 72; McCain 26

Central Valley

The San Joaquin Valley (Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin Counties) has approximately 3,792,000 persons which is equal to 5.4 congressional districts.  The population is about 46% Hispanic and 40% white — which “translates” into 3 minority-majority districts out of the 5 drawn here — however, as in this part of the state much of the Hispanic population is still undocumented/not citizens/under-age, it is realistically possible to create only two “effective” Hispanic-majority seats in this area.




District 33:  Northern San Joaquin Valley (Stockton to Fresno)

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 75% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 62; McCain 37

District 34:  Southern San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield to Fresno Co.)

Estimated Demographics: Above 80% minority (approx. 70% Hispanic)

Politics:  Safe Democratic; Obama 60; McCain 39

District 35:  Kern Co. and Lancaster (in LA Co.)

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% white

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 38; McCain 60

District 36:  Parts of Tulare, Fresno, Kings

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics:  Safe Republican; Obama 38; McCain 60

District 37:  Modesto, Merced, Madera, Mariposa

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics:  Lean to Safe Republican; Obama 48; McCain 51


The map now moves into the Sacramento area.  Sacramento Co. is about 52% white.  It has roughly enough population for two congressional districts, so I made one district here majority white and one that is minority-majority.

District 38:  Sacramento suburbs, part of San Joaquin Co.

Estimated Demographics: Above 60% white

Politics:  Lean to Safe Republican; Obama 47; McCain 51

District 39:  Sacramento (city) and environs

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% minority (Hispanics, Asians, blacks)

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 68; McCain 30


San Francisco Bay Area

We next go into the San Francisco Bay area.  The population amounts to approximately 9.5 districts here; in the resulting map, there are 9 districts completely within the Bay Area and one that overlaps with part of the Central Valley.  The white population in the Bay Area is about 45%, but there is really no predominant minority ethnic/racial group – but instead relatively large numbers of Hispanics, Asians and blacks.  Out of the 10 districts here, 5 are white majority and 5 are minority-majority (and out of those, I made 1 to be Hispanic-majority, 1 Asian plurality, 1 white plurality with a relatively high number of blacks, and 2 white plurality with large numbers of Asians).  


(Looking back after I drew the map, what I found interesting in this area was that even after making a new Hispanic-majority district here (that’s also overall about 85% minority, and “packing” as many African-Americans as I could into an Oakland-based district) all the surrounding “outer-Bay Area” districts still remain solidly Democratic — there’s just no way to draw even a single Republican district here if you’re using strictly non-partisan criteria.)

District 40:  San Francisco

Estimated Demographics: White plurality; large Asian population

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 86; McCain 12

District 41:  San Mateo peninsula, part of San Francisco

Estimated Demographics: White plurality; large Asian population

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 74; McCain 25

District 42:  Silicon Valley

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 71; McCain 27

District 43:  part of San Jose; outer Santa Clara and Alameda Counties

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 65; McCain 34

District 44:  part of San Jose; parts of Alameda and San Mateo Counties

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 85% minority (Hispanic majority)

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 77; McCain 21

District 45:  parts of Alameda and Santa Clara Co’s.; Fremont, San Leandro, Milpitas

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% minority (Asian plurality)

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 71; McCain 27

District 46:  Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 70% minority (black, Asian, Hispanic)

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 88; McCain 10

District 47:  Western Contra Costa; parts of Solano

Estimated Demographics: White majority

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 70; McCain 28

District 48:  Eastern Contra Costa; parts of San Joaquin

Estimated Demographics: white majority hovering around 50% (so could be white plurality ?)

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 61; McCain 37

District 49:  Marin, Sonoma

Estimated Demographics: Above 70% white

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 76; McCain 22




Northern California

Last, but not least, we move to the northern-most area of California.  The districts here kind of drew themselves, as there were several instances where you can draw perfectly compact districts that correspond almost perfectly to county lines and also look almost exactly like the 1992 non-partisan districts.  This area is overwhelmingly white, so all four districts here are white majority.


District 50:  North Coast, Napa, Solano

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 65% white

Politics: Safe Democratic; Obama 62; McCain 36

District 51:  Sacramento River Valley

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 60% white

Politics: Toss Up; Obama 54; McCain 44

This district looks almost exactly like CA-3 under the non-partisan 1992 map.

District 52:  Far-northern California

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 80% white

Politics: Safe Republican; Obama 44; McCain 53

District fits perfectly within county lines; almost identical to CA-2 under non-partisan 1992 map.

District 53:  Sierra Nevada area; Sacramento exurbs

Estimated Demographics: Approx. 80% white

Politics: Safe Republican; Obama 44; McCain 54

District fits almost perfectly within county lines; almost the same as CA-4 under 1992 map.

So, that’s my map for California — using non-partisan criteria and with an emphasis on maximizing minority-majority seats.  The map has 22 out of 53 seats at white-majority status — corresponding exactly to the 42% of the population that is white according to the ACS.  There are 15 Hispanic-majority seats (and a majority of those are at least 60% Hispanic) and two more with a strong Hispanic plurality — unfortunately, that is below the estimated 36-37% of the population that is Hispanic (ideally, there would be 19 Hispanic-majority seats).  However, some of the Hispanic population is just too dispersed to form a district, and the 15 seats are almost double the current number of Hispanic representatives in the state.  The remaining 14 districts are either black-majority, Asian-plurality or multi-ethnic districts where no single group predominates .

It should be noted that in partisan terms, the map produces 31 safe Democratic seats; 7 lean Democratic seats; 3 toss-ups (Obama won two of those by 10 points and one by 8 points, but that should still be considered “Toss-Up” by California standards); 2 lean to safe Republican seats; and 10 safe Republican seats.  

A plan could certainly be made that has more Republican seats — but you would not be using neutral criteria, and the number of minority-majority or minority-plurality seats would necessarily go down in such a plan.

House Dem voter attrition in 2010

Conventional wisdom has it that turnout is the key issue in midterm elections. In view of that, how well did individual House Democrats do in convincing their 2008 voters to back them again in 2010? This post looks only at total votes, not margin of victory or defeat. Members who did not run in 2008 (Bill Owens, Mark Critz, Scott Murphy) or who had no Republican opponent in 2008 are excluded. The remaining 198 members’ average 2010 vote was just 61.2% of their 2008 vote. Curiously the median was also 61.2%. These folks managed to retain at least 70% of their 2008 vote:

rep                   dist 2008          2010 retention

Pelosi             CA 8 204,996 167,957 81.9

Pingree           ME 1 205,629 166,196 80.8

Schrader         OR 5 181,577 145,319 80.0

Hirono             HI 2 165,478 132,290 79.9

McDermott       WA 7 291,963 232,649 79.7

Eshoo               CA 14 190,301 151,217 79.5

Giffords         AZ 8 179,629 138,280 77.0

Titus               NV 3 165,912 127,168 76.6

Blumenauer     OR 3 254,235 193,104 76.0

Speier             CA 12 200,442 152,044 75.9

Matsui             CA 5 164,242 124,220 75.6

Lee                   CA 9 238,915 180,400 75.5

Woolsey           CA 6 229,672 172,216 75.0

Lujan               NM 3 161,292 120,048 74.4

Bright             AL 2 144,368 106,865 74.0

Inslee             WA 1 233,780 172,642 73.8

Honda               CA 15 170,977 126,147 73.8

Dicks               WA 6 205,991 151,873 73.7

Tonko               NY 21 171,286 124,889 72.9

Himes               CT 4 158,475 115,351 72.8

Sarbanes         MD 3 203,711 147,448 72.4

Richardson     CA 37 118,606 85,799 72.3

Lofgren           CA 16 146,481 105,841 72.3

G Miller         CA 7 170,962 122,435 71.6

Larsen             WA 2 217,416 155,241 71.4

Schiff             CA 29 146,198 104,374 71.4

Napolitano     CA 38 119,795 85,459 71.3

Stark               CA 13 166,829 118,278 70.9

Sherman           CA 27 145,812 102,927 70.6

Roybal-Allard CA 34 98,503 69,382 70.4

Farr                 CA 17 168,907 118,734 70.3

A Smith           WA 9 176,295 123,743 70.2

McNerney         CA 11 164,500 115,361 70.1

Here we have 24 reps from the west coast vote-by-mail states of California, Oregon, and Washington and 9 from the rest of the country. David Wu and Peter DeFazio went unopposed (at least by Republicans) in 2008 and Brian Baird retired, so every eligible rep from Oregon and Washington shows up on this list. We also see a lot of people from completely uncompetitive districts. Nancy Pelosi and Jim McDermott put up nice numbers, a function of their dogged, relentless campaigning…heh. A function of most of their constituents being unwilling to consider voting for a Republican under any circumstances.

It would be more interesting to limit the list to people who actually faced a credible threat and thus had to run a serious campaign. As a first approximation, cut out anyone whose district is D+10 or better. Here’s the top 10:

rank rep   dist   2008       2010       retention pvi

1 Pingree   ME 1 205,629     166,196     80.8      8

2 Schrader OR 5 181,577     145,319     80.0      2

3 Giffords   AZ 8 179,629     138,280     77.0      -4

4 Titus       NV 3 165,912     127,168     76.6      2

5 Lujan       NM 3 161,292     120,048     74.4      7

6 Bright     AL 2 144,368     106,865     74.0      -16

7 Inslee     WA 1 233,780     172,642     73.8      9    

8 Dicks       WA 6 205,991     151,873     73.7      5

9 Tonko       NY 21 171,286    124,889     72.9      6

10 Himes       CT 4 158,475     115,351     72.8      5

8 of the 10 are in blue districts and 6 of these are D+5 or better. And then there’s Bobby Bright. Now for the bottom 10:

rank rep     dist     2008       2010 retention pvi

110 Grayson       FL 8 172,854    84,167 48.7 -2

111 Boyd               FL 2 216,804    105,211 48.5 -6

112 Childers       MS 1    185,959 89,388 48.1 -14

113 L Davis       TN 4 146,776    70,254 47.9 -13

114 Ortiz             TX 27 104,864    50,179 47.9 -2

115 C Edwards   TX 17    134,592 63,138 46.9 -20

116 Kosmas         FL 24 211,284    98,787 46.8 -4

117 Etheridge     NC 2 199,730   92,393 46.3 -2

118 C Gonzalez   TX 20 127,298    58,645 46.1 8

119 Taylor           MS 4 216,542    95,243 44.0 -20

9 of the 10 are in red districts, and 4 of those are really red. Charlie Gonzalez’ appearance on this list is  misleading as he was never in any trouble. He didn’t get his people out, but he didn’t need them. In any case, it’s understandably a lot harder for Dems to hold on to their presidential-year voters when a lot of them are normally inclined to vote red.

So the two basic rules appear to be: 1) People are more likely to vote in midterm elections when they can conveniently vote by mail, and 2) the bluer your district is, the less likely your voters are to swing against you in a red wave year. I did a simple regression analysis to compute members’ predicted retention based on the PVI of their districts and whether their state predominantly uses vote by mail. Using only the D+9 or lower district as the sample, each point of PVI increased retention by an average of about 0.25 percentage points and vote-by-mail increased it by an average of 7 points. The “diff” column shows the difference between actual retention and predicted retention. So here is the adjusted top 20 as measured by differential:

rank rep        dist    diff

1 Pingree     ME 1    19.6

2 Bright         AL 2    19.1

3 Giffords     AZ 8    18.9

4 Titus           NV 3    17.0

5 Lujan         NM 3    13.4

6 Schrader   OR 5    13.3

7 Himes         CT 4    12.3

8 Kratovil       MD 1    12.3

9 Tonko         NY 21    12.2

10 Perriello     VA 5    11.8

11 Sarbanes   MD 3    11.6

12 Arcuri           NY 24    10.0

13 Boswell       IA 3    9.6

14 Yarmuth       KY 3    9.0

15 Peters         MI 9    8.9

16 Courtney   CT 2    8.9

17 C Murphy   CT 5    8.8

18 Altmire       PA 4    7.2

19 Heinrich     NM 1    6.9

20 Boren         OK 2    6.8

And it’s still Chellie Pingree by a nose. Interestingly, the top 19 consists of 18 freshmen or sophomores and one Boswell. (Yep, the much-maligned Leonard Boswell arguably ran the best campaign of any House Dem with actual experience of serving in the minority.) This seems counterintuitive given that newer members have not had much time to build up goodwill and thus should be more vulnerable to losing support in a red wave year. Instead, it appears that these newer reps were used to having to scratch and claw for every vote and thus adapted more easily to an unfriendly environment than veteran reps who were used to winning easily did.

There was a big gap between #3 and #4 and an even bigger gap between #4 and #5. These four super-overachievers come from dissimilar districts and had dissimilar records and this time I don’t see a pattern:

Pingree was one of the few Dems to win by a bigger margin in 2010 than 2008, and this doesn’t appear to be any unobserved Maine-specific effect (Libby Mitchell coattails? heh) as Mike Michaud had a differential of just +4.8. This race did not get much attention, although it was considered competitive at one point. Was Pingree’s remarkable retention number a function of a sloppy campaign in 2008 or a brilliant one in 2010, or both?

Bright almost never voted with the Dems, but Gene Taylor didn’t either and Bright only retained 30% more of his 2008 vote than Taylor did! It still wasn’t enough to get him over the hump, but he came a lot closer than similarly situated dudes like Lincoln Davis, Chet Edwards, and Travis Childers.        

Gabrielle Giffords was the other red-district rep to make the unadjusted top 10. Her district is far more purple than Bright’s but she also took many more risks than he did, voting for TARP, the stimulus, cap and trade, health care, and financial reform. This did not appear to hurt her much with the Dems and swing voters who voted for her in 2008. Like Pingree, she got zero up-ballot help but unlike Pingree she just barely held her seat. Her voting record may have motivated the people who opposed her in 2008 to stick around and pull the lever for that megatool Jesse Kelly.

Unlike the top 3, Dina Titus got some indirect help in the form of Harry Reid’s fearsome operation. Titus probably deserves some credit for her strong showing, though. Shelly Berkley isn’t a perfect comparison (much higher baseline Dem vote but also a much less threatening opponent) and with a D+10 district just missed the regression sample, but her differential would have been +4.9, and 12 points is a big spread in any case.

Here is the adjusted bottom 20:

rank rep             dist          diff

100 B Miller           NC 13    -8.0

101 Nye                     VA 2    -8.1

102 Loretta Sanchez CA 47    -8.1

103 Space               OH 18    -8.1

104 Cuellar           TX 28    -8.3

105 Doggett           TX 25    -8.6

106 Boyd                 FL 2    -9.0

107 Taylor           MS 4    -9.9

108 Donnelly           IN 2    -9.9

109 Grayson           FL 8    -9.9

110 Filner             CA 51    -10.1

111 Hinojosa             TX 15     -10.2

112 Ortiz               TX 27    -10.8

113 Pallone           NJ 6    -11.3

114 Kosmas           FL 24    -11.3

115 Visclosky         IN 1    -11.6

116 Carnahan       MO 3    -11.9

117 Etheridge         NC 2    -12.4

118 C Gonzalez       TX 20    -15.2

119 Costa               CA 20    -17.8

There may be some unobserved variation related to demographics or state election laws, as the only state to put a rep in both the top 20 and the bottom 20 was Virginia. Glenn Nye managed to retain 20% less of his 2008 vote than Tom Perriello did despite voting with the Dems less often. Texas in particular was a sea of apathy for Dems, as the best performer was actually Chet Edwards at -6.9! That said, Bob Etheridge’s failures are his own, not North Carolina’s. Heath Shuler managed a +4.6 differential.

If you rightly ignore Gonzalez who won by 29 points, Jim Costa turned in the worst performance by a country mile. It’s true that his district is young and poor and heavily Hispanic, but so is Raul Grijalva’s, and Grijalva had a +3.6 differential without the benefit of vote by mail! (Grijalva’s big mouth probably ran up Ruth McClung’s vote total as opposed to depressing his own, as his margin of defeat was worse than even the hopeless Rodney Glassman’s in some counties.) We’ll see if Costa takes his narrow escape as a wake-up call, as commission redistricting is likely to put him in a less friendly district.

Just eyeballing the data, it appears that richer districts generally had more retention than poorer ones (note the 3 Connecticut dudes in the top 20 and the many south Texans in the bottom 20) so I may rerun the numbers once I find enough time to enter the median income of all the districts.

Some conclusions: Chellie Pingree and Leonard Boswell are underrated. Don’t be surprised to see Bobby Bright, Dina Titus, Frank Kratovil, Tom Perriello, and/or Michael Arcuri resurface. Keep an eye on Ben Lujan. Russ Carnahan and especially Jim Costa need to step it up. It may be premature to speculate about Gabrielle Giffords’ future (early signs are good), but she was a beast as of 2010. Vote by mail is great. The Texas Dems’ 2010 turnout was uglier than the Texas Longhorns’ 2010 offense.

Thoughts? (How do you post clean tables from spreadsheets? I tried saving them as PDFs but was unable to convert them to photos.)    

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/28

CT-Sen: The Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary still could turn into a chaotic battle royale, based on this week’s indications. Rep. Joe Courtney is “leaning toward” the run (although that’s not Courtney’s own words, just another insider’s interpretation), and says he’ll have a decision soon. Ted Kennedy Jr. also doesn’t have anything official to say, but he does seem to be stepping up his appearances around the state, including one in Bridgeport next week. One Dem we can probably rule out, though, is former state Treasurer and former Hartford deputy mayor Frank Borges, who disputed reports that he was looking into the race. Here’s also one other Republican who might make the race who seems to have access to big fundraising pools, although it seems like he’d be starting in a big name rec hole against, say, Linda McMahon: state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, who represents wealthy Greenwich in the state’s southwestern tip.

MI-Sen: After sounding pretty thoroughly disinterested in his few public comments about the possibility of a Michigan Senate race, ex-Rep. and 2010 gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra is now publicly expressing some interest. He says that he’s “considering it” and will make a decision in a few months. There’s also a poll out of the GOP primary from GOP pollster Strategic National (no word on whose behalf the poll was taken) showing Hoekstra well in the lead, which may be prompting him to get more interested: he’s at 33, with Terry Lynn Land at 15 and Saul Anuzis at all of 1, with 50% still undecided.

ND-Sen: Rep. Rick Berg has been mentioned often as a potential GOP candidate for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad, and chatter seems to indicate the local party seems to have him at the top of the list in terms of someone to unite behind to avoid a divisive primary. Moving from the House to the Senate after only one term is still a pretty unusual move (although it may be less momentous in an at-large state). (In fact, here’s a trivia question for you all, for which I don’t know the answer: who was the last person to successfully jump to the Senate after only one term in the House? I can’t even think of a one-termer getting his party’s nomination since 1994, when Dem Sam Coppersmith ran and lost an open seat race in Arizona to Jon Kyl.) There’s one other name bubbling up to add to the list of the ten-or-more Republicans already listed as possible candidates: Fargo-area state Sen. Tony Grindberg.

NE-Sen: You might remember that the mysterious GOP dark money group American Future Fund ran some radio ads in North Dakota last month and Kent Conrad was announcing his retirement within a few weeks after that? Not that there’s likely a causal relationship there, but maybe they’re feeling like lightning might strike twice, and now they’re running a similar ad against Ben Nelson in Nebraska.

TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro had already given some vague statements of not intending to run for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat, but put a finer point on that today by announcing that he’s kicking off his campaign for a second term as mayor. One Republican who has expressed some interest in the race but doesn’t seem likely to run is Rep. Mike McCaul from TX-10; the likelier scenario, at least according to one expert, is that McCaul plans to run for state Attorney General in 2014, which will probably be vacated by current occupant Greg Abbott moving up to the Lt. Governor slot, presuming that David Dewhurst either becomes Senator or doesn’t run again in ’14.

UT-Sen: You thought that Hasselbeck vs. Cromartie Twitter fight was exciting? That’s got nothing on a good social media smackdown between rival right-wing astroturfers Club for Growth and Tea Party Express. In the wake of TPX head Sal Russo’s comments yesterday praising Orrin Hatch, CfG just dissed TPX, saying they seem “to like Hatch’s record in support of TARP, earmarks…” Roll Call has more on the Club’s plans to go aggressively after Hatch. Russo also seems like he’s getting undercut by his fellow TPX leader, Amy Kremer, who says that Hatch isn’t off the hook yet and will be under their microscope for the cycle.

VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the only person in the race so far offering a challenge from the right to presumed GOP frontrunner George Allen, let everyone know yesterday where she’d stand, putting in an appearance at the initial unveiling of the Senate Tea Party caucus (and its four members… or five if you count Pat Toomey, who was willing to speak to them but not join). Other interesting reading regarding Virginia is this profile of Jim Webb which doesn’t offer many surprises but is a good overview of his ambivalence about the Senate race is pretty much in keeping with everything else about him. And buried in another boilerplate article is a pretty sharp smack at Allen from a fellow GOPer and the last person to successfully pivot from getting bounced out of the Senate to winning a later race (in 1988), Slade Gorton. Gorton says Allen, to win, will first need to apologize to voters, saying “I don’t see anything from him about how he screwed up, even though he did.”

LA-Gov: See you later, Al Ater. After some semi-encouraging statements about a possible candidacy, the Democratic former Secretary of State now says he won’t run for Governor this year. That still leaves the Dems without any sort of candidate to go against Bobby Jindal, with the clock definitely starting to tick louder.

WV-Gov: Don’t get too comfortable with the idea of a primary to pick the gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia (tentatively set for June 20); the legislature still has to enact that and there are some grumblings that it might not happen because of the expense involved, which would mean party conventions instead. That could give a boost to one of the less-known Democratic candidates who have stronger relations to organized labor, like House speaker Rick Thompson or treasurer John Perdue. The article also mentions a few other Republicans whose names are emerging in the race, most notably Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorasia (who’ll be participating in an upcoming candidate forum), also mentioning former state Sen. Steve Harrison and state Del. Troy Andes.

CT-05: The dance cards in the 5th district are definitely filling up. On the Democratic side, Audrey Blondin is saying that she’ll run; she’s a former Selectwoman from Litchfield, a member of the state party committee, and briefly ran for SoS in 2005. Also considering the Democratic primary is J. Paul Vance, the former leader of the Waterbury board of aldermen and a narrow loser to Michael Jarjura in the 2009 Dem mayoral primary. On the Republican side, Mike Clark is in; he’s Farmington town council chair but he’s best known for leading the FBI team that took down corrupt Gov. John Rowland, and was on Tom Foley’s LG short-list. Several other possible names on the Republican field that are mentioned include state Sen. Kevin Witkos, Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham, and one possible heavyweight in the field (and the guy who actually was Foley’s running mate), Danbury mayor Mark Boughton.

FL-25: Freshman Rep. David Rivera seems to be in a world of trouble, with an entirely new angle on his corruption arising courtesy of an AP investigation: he paid himself nearly $60K in “unexplained” campaign reimbursements during his eight years in the state legislature. Between that and the already mounting investigation by Florida authorities and the FEC into potential payoffs from a dog track, there’s apparently growing discontent with him behind the scenes in Republican leadership, who may be feeling pressure to make an example out of him as part of their “drain the swamp” promises (although Ethics Committee rules prevent them from using that vehicle, since they can’t take up matters that are already under criminal investigation). Rumors persist that both parties are already sounding out candidates for a potential special election. He isn’t getting much public support from John Boehner, whose only on-the-record comments are that he’s taking a wait-and-see attitude on how things unfold.

WI-01: Is this just a bit of monkeying around with Paul Ryan now that he’s temporarily a celebrity, or are Dems seriously thinking about making a target out of him now that he’s more notorious? (He’s in what’s currently an R+2 district, certainly within reach in a Dem-friendly year with a good candidate, and leads veteran House Republicans in terms of ideological out-of-whackness with his district lean… though that may have changed with the newest crop of teabaggers) At any rate, mailers are being sent out to voters in his district, having a bit of sport with his Medicare-voucherization proposals.

Chicago mayor: We Ask America is out with another poll of the Chicago mayoral race (taken during the brief period when it looked like Rahm Emanuel might have been off the ballot). It looks like, as speculated, the whole debacle may have actually increased sympathy for Emanuel (with 72% of respondents saying his name should stay on the ballot), as this is the first poll to show him over the magic 50% mark that would help him avoid a runoff. He’s at 52, with Gerry Chico at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 11, and Miguel del Valle at 4. It also provides support for the theory that Chico, not Mosely Braun, would have been the chief beneficiary if Emanuel had gotten kicked off, as Chico led a Rahm-free option at 33, with Mosely Braun at 17 and del Valle at 7 (with 38 undecided).

Nassau Co. Exec: This may pretty much spell doom for any future political efforts by Republican Nassau Co. Exec Ed Mangano, who was elected in a narrow upset over Tom Suozzi in 2009. Mangano has, since then, closely stuck to the teabagger/underpants gnome playbook of governance (step 1: cut taxes; step 2: ???; step 3: profit!), and lo and behold, found his county government insolvent. The state government has been forced to step in and seize control of the finance in the county on Long Island, one of the nation’s wealthiest.

Redistricting: I can’t see this going anywhere legislatively even if Dems still held the majority (and I’m not sure it would pass constitutional muster anyway), but Heath Shuler and Jim Cooper are introducing legislation in the House that would switch every state away from partisan redistricting to requiring use of a five-person bipartisan commission. (They’re picking up the flag from fellow Blue Dog John Tanner, for whom this was a personal hobby horse for many years until he recently left the House, but they may also have some personal stake in wanting this to succeed, seeing as how they suddenly find themselves in states where the Republicans now control the trifecta.) Also, the public rumblings of worry from prominent Republicans about how the GOP isn’t financially or mentally prepared for this round of redistricting (something that seems dramatically out of character for them) seem to keep coming, this time from Ed Gillespie.

Voting: Montana seems to be taking a cue from its nearby neighbors Oregon and Washington, and moving toward a vote-by-mail system. The measure cleared the House and will soon move to the state Senate. Despite the fact that the GOP controls that chamber and this was a Democratic bill, there was enough Republican support to move it forward. (Studies have shown that vote-by-mail tends to noticeably increase participation by traditionally-Democratic constituencies that ordinarily aren’t very likely voters.)

Women in the 112th

Right after the 2010 elections (and immediately before) there was some very public handwringing in the media about the number of women in congress decreasing. According to the CS Monitor, the election was “tough on all Democrats, but particularly on female lawmakers.” I think some of this is misguided. Granted, as markhanna wrote in November, 2010 was definitely not another “year of the woman.” But even though the number of women shrank (ever so slightly) in the red wave, as MassGOP suggested it might, the proportion of women within each party grew, and in the long run this isn’t much of a setback. You could even read it as progress.

The percentage of women in the House Republican conference, the House Democratic caucus, the Senate Republican conference and the Senate Democratic caucus all went up, even as the overall number of women went down in the House and stayed the same in the Senate. This somewhat counterintuitive situation is the result of a shift in representation from the more heavily female Democratic caucus to the less heavily female Republican conference. But within their parties, both sides have a higher proportion of women than in the last congress. As long as Democrats have more women, the constant shifts in balance between the parties will always affect the number of women in congress, so I don’t think it’s anything to get worked up about. The GOP deserves some credit for electing more of their own women even though they brought the overall numbers down.

Regardless of what happens in 2012, the number of women will probably go up in the next election. Democrats are more heavily female than ever, and if they have a good year the number of women legislators will probably shoot upwards. Republicans probably won’t take many more seats next cycle, but if they maintain a similar majority, the natural turnover in their party should lead to more women; in the House their freshman class was more heavily female than the Republican conference as a whole and in the Senate the proportion of non-incumbent female nominees was a record high.

The 112th House

Right now, 89 of the 535 voting members of the 112th Congress are women, about 16.6%. There are 17 women in the Senate and 72 women in the House, excluding three non-voting delegates. (Delegates aren’t included in any of the numbers in this diary. Sorry, Guam.) The total numbers are not far off from the 111th Congress, which had 90 women at its close. That figure was actually higher in the opening days of the 111th, before Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Hilda Solis (CA-32), and Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) vacated their seats to join the Obama administration. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20) was appointed to Clinton’s Senate seat, and Judy Chu won CA-32 in a special election. But then Gillibrand and Tauscher were succeeded by Scott Murphy and John Garamendi, respectively.

Although the total number of women didn’t change much, there was quite a bit of turnover in the House. Fourteen women left (2 Republicans and 12 Democrats) and thirteen women joined (9 Republicans and 4 Democrats). The freshman class totals 96 this year, and the thirteen new congresswomen account for about 13.5%. That’s much lower than the overall ratio of just under 16.6% in the House, and about one third of the freshmen women came from the tiny Democratic freshman class. But breaking it down further, the results are less discouraging.

On the Democratic side, Diane Watson (CA-33) retired; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI-13) was defeated in her primary; and Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Betsy Markey (CO-04), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Melissa Bean (IL-08), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Dina Titus (NV-03), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL) all lost to Republican challengers. The four new Democratic congresswomen are Karen Bass (CA-33), who took Watson’s seat; Terri Sewell (AL-07), who succeeded gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis; Frederica Wilson (FL-17), who replaced senatorial candidate Kendrick Meek; and Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), who defeated an incumbent Republican. Of the women who lost to Republicans, only Kosmas and Herseth Sandlin were succeeded by women. At the time of the election, there were 255 voting members of the Democratic caucus, of whom 56 were women – about 22.0% of the caucus. After the election, the Democratic caucus shrank to 193 voting members, of whom 48 are women – about 24.9% of the caucus.

On the Republican side, Ginny Browne-Waite (R-FL) retired and Mary Fallin (R-OK) ran a successful campaign for governor. Their safe red seats were both won by Republican men. Diane Black (TN-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) succeeded retiring male Democrats, while Martha Roby (AL-02), Vicki Hartzler (MO-04), Renee Ellmers (NC-02), Nan Hayworth (NY-19) and Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) defeated Democratic male incumbents. Sandy Adams (FL-24) and Kristi Noem (SD-AL) defeated Democratic women – Kosmas and Herseth Sandlin. At the time of the election, there were 180 voting members of the Republican conference, of which 17 were women – about 9.4% of the conference. After the election, the Republican conference expanded to 242 members, of whom 24 are women – about 9.9% of the conference.

There were noticeable differences between the freshman classes in each party. There were only nine Democratic freshmen this year, and four of them were women – that’s a whopping 44.4% of the Democratic freshmen. There were actually only two straight white men, out of nine. Just as the founding fathers intended! On the other side of the aisle, the tidal wave of 87 freshman Republicans includes only nine mama grizzlies, which works out to 10.3%. But even though it’s a low number, it’s still better than the overall rate for House Republicans, which is why overall representation of women in the Republican conference increased.

Looking at the whole class of 2010 candidates, there were 47 women among the 431 Republican nominees and 91 women among the 417 Democratic nominees. So 10.9% of Republican nominees were women and 21.8% of Democratic nominees. The Republican figure is better than the Republican rate in the House and among freshmen, while the Democratic figure is a little bit lower than the 24.9% of Democrats in the House (and way worse than the outlier freshmen). Overall, 139 of the major parties’ 848 candidates for voting seats in the congress were women, and there were ten races featuring women from both major parties (CA-36, CA-37, FL-20, FL-24, KS-02, MN-04, MN-06, NY-28, SD-AL and WV-02).

Of course, nominating a woman to run against a safe incumbent isn’t necessarily a sign of progress, and a few dozen of these candidates never had much of a chance.  Of the 24 Republican women who lost their races, only five cleared 40% – Beth Ann Rankin v. Mike Ross (AR-04), Ruth McClung v. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), Marianette Miller-Meeks v. Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Jackie Walorski v. Joe Donnelly (IN-02), and Anna Little v. Frank Pallone (NJ-06). On the other side of the aisle, seven non-incumbent Democratic women lost but got at least 40%, including two who challenged incumbents. Four of these women were running to succeed retiring Democrats – Joyce Elliott (AR-02), Stephene Moore (KS-03), Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Julie Lassa (WI-07) – while Lori Edwards (FL-12) put up respectable numbers trying to take an open Republican seat. Meanwhile, Paula Brooks (OH-12) made a decent run at Pat Tiberi and Suzan Delbene lost a close race to Dave Reichert (WA-08).

Including the 89 women who won their races, there were 101 races featuring women who received over 40%. Apart from this 40%+ crowd, there were a few other women who mounted serious challenges, notably Tarryl Clark (MN-06). And there were some other memorable challengers like Krystal Ball (VA-01) and Star Parker (CA-37). There’s a decent chance that Walorski, Kuster and Delbene all show up in the 113th.

Fun facts: there are some seriously woman-less parts of the country. For example, Georgia has 13 seats but only nominated one woman (who lost); Indiana similarly has nine seats but only nominated one woman (who lost). New Jersey had two women in its field of twenty-six major party candidates, and they both lost. Pennsylvania was about the same, even though Allyson Schwartz is hanging in there. And no women were nominated to contest any of Kentucky’s six seats. Meanwhile, Republicans contested all 53 Californian seats, but nominated only three (!) women, and the only one who won is a congressional widow. On the other hand, Democrats put up 51 nominees in California, and 23 were women. Yeah, that’s 45%. Pretty impressive given the sample size. And yet, California Democrats can’t compete with 100% female Republicans in Wyoming, 100% female Democrats in New Hampshire and 100% female everything in South Dakota.

The 112th Senate

On the Senate side of things there was no net change in 2010, with Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) losing to John Boozman and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) replacing Judd Gregg. The overall proportion remains stuck at 17%, where it’s been since Jeanne Shaheen and Kay Hagan were elected in 2009. Martha Coakley would have given us 18%, but she didn’t, because that’s how she rolls. Sixteen new senators were seated following the 2010 election, which means that women – er, Ayotte – accounted for only 6.3% of the freshman class, much worse than the overall ratio of 17%. But although the freshman class was male-heavy, both sides of the aisle have a higher proportion of women in their caucuses. There are now five Republican women, about 10.6% of the Republican caucus, compared with 9.8% at the time of the 2010 elections. Even though the 13-member Republican class was only 7.7% female, five of the new male senators replaced outgoing male senators, so the overal proportion went up. By contrast, there are twelve Democratic women, about 22.6% of the Democratic caucus, whereas the 111th Democratic caucus was 22.0% female at the time of the election. Even though 100% of the Democratic freshmen (Coons, Manchin, Blumenthal) are men and the Democratic caucus lost Lincoln, they lost so many men that the remaining women make up a greater proportion.

But compared to recent elections, both parties did a pretty decent job nominating women in competitive races. In addition to Ayotte, Republicans put up Carly Fiorina (R-CA), Linda McMahon (R-CT), Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) and Sharron Angle (R-NV) in contests that were considered competitive at some point in the cycle. Angle and O’Donnell were a bit of a fluke, and Delaware was hardly a race after O’Donnell was nominated, but the powers that be also backed plausibly viable candidates Sue Lowden (R-NV) and Jane Norton (R-CO) before they tanked in the primaries. On the Democratic side, Robin Carnahan (D-MO) and Roxanne Conlin (D-IA) were both good candidates under the circumstances, even if Conlin never had a chance. North Carolina Democrats nominated Elaine Marshall over the beltway’s objections and Jennifer Brunner (D-OH) was considered a viable candidate by some. And then there were the five incumbents who were reelected: Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

Although Ayotte and Gillibrand were the only newly-elected women in the 112th senate, it’s noteworthy that there were so many non-incumbent women in the pipeline this year. By the numbers, there were 73 major party candidates for the Senate this year, and there were 15 women. According to an analysis by CAWP (PDF), that’s the highest number ever. (The previous record was 12 in 2006.) And at 20.5%, it’s also better than overall representation in the Senate. Among Democrats, nine of 36 were women (25%) and among Republicans it was six of 37 (16.2%). Both of these numbers are better than the current caucus figures.

Leaving out the 23 incumbents who were nominated to contest their seats (including six women), there were nine women among the 50 non-incumbent nominees, which is 18% – just about the rate in the Senate as a whole. Interestingly, the Democratic pool of non-incumbent nominees was slightly more male than the Republican class of nominees. 18.5% of the non-incumbent Republican nominees were women (5 of 27), as opposed to 17.4% of Democratic non-incumbent nominees (4 of 23). For Republicans to be about even with Democrats is remarkable.

But of course, not all nominees are created equal. Lisa Johnston (D-KS) didn’t crack 30% of the vote and Roxanne Conlin only got to 33.2%. Elaine Marshall, Robin Carnahan, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon and Carly Fiorina all failed to reach 45%, although Angle and Fiorina kept their losses within single digits. No one did better than 45% except Kelly Ayotte. Embarassingly, Blanche Lincoln had the third-lowest vote share, after Johnston and Conlin.

Although the overall number of women in congress will probably go up or stay about the same in 2012, there’s a chance the number of women in the Senate will decrease. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is retiring, and so far only one woman – Elizabeth Ames Jones – is running to replace her. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are all considered somewhat vulnerable, to varying degrees, and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) could always end up as a surprise retirement. But there are already women exploring Senate runs – Sarah Steelman, Ann Wagner and Jo Ann Emerson have all been bandied about in the past couple days as McCaskill challengers, for example. And is there a Sen. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) on the horizon? If Obama appoints Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to replace Hillary Clinton, might Deval Patrick scan through comment threads on SSP and give us Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz?

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/27

IN-Sen: Wow, for a late-70-something, Dick Lugar’s got a major pair of huevos. He keeps on giving the tea partiers the middle finger despite the great likelihood of a primary challenge, and maybe took that up a notch yesterday, calling the movement out for offering only “cliché” and not being able to “articulate the specifics.”

MI-Sen: You’d expect a poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research to offer worse news for Debbie Stabenow than PPP would, but that’s not the case, as they find wider margins against Peter Hoekstra and Terry Lynn Land. Not that Stabenow should be popping the champagne corks yet, as she’s still in the proverbial danger zone; she beats Hoekstra 47-41 (whom she led by only 1, in PPP’s December poll) and beats Land 46-41. She also sports a definite re-elect of 33%, compared with a “consider someone else” of 36% and 23% definitely “vote against.”

NV-Sen: Well, this is a vague tea leaf that Sharron Angle might be too busy to run for Senate in 2012 as some have speculated; instead, she might be too busy running for President, if her strange visit to Iowa is any indication.

UT-Sen: This is a striking piece of news, considering that the Tea Party Express attacked pretty much every Republican to the left of Jim DeMint in 2010 and seemed to be gearing up for another round in 2012 (with rumors that he was looking into a primary challenge to John Barrasso!). But today TPX’s head, Sal Russo, said that Orrin Hatch, one of the big three teabagger targets among GOP incumbents up in 2012, won’t be a TPX target. He even went so far as to call Hatch “an original tea partier.” Gotta wonder what Russo’s angle is here. This comes only shortly after John Cornyn basically said that Hatch was on his own in the primary, that the NRSC wouldn’t be getting involved on his behalf.

AL-Gov: “Sir” Charles Barkley has been threatening to run for Alabama Governor for seemingly ages, but it seems like the dream has finally died. He says he’s no longer considering it, saying politics is “a bad business right now.” Also, speaking of Alabama, it looks like 2010 gubernatorial loser Ron Sparks has quickly landed on his feet, picking up a job in the administration of the man who defeated him, new Gov. Robert Bentley. Sparks will be the first head of the newly-created Alabama Rural Development Office.

IN-Gov: Today was supposed to be the big decision day for Mike Pence, but we really wound up only getting half a decision (although the other half looks pretty clear, by implication). He said that he won’t be running for President, and that his “heart is in Indiana.” That seems a pretty clear suggestion that he’ll be running for Governor instead, but he stopped well short of actually saying that today, simply saying he’ll decide “later this year” what to do next.

CT-05: Here’s some more movement in the GOP field in what’s the earliest-developing open seat race of 2012. Justin Bernier, who narrowly lost the three-way primary in 2010 (and who’d started in pole position until Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race), makes it official, saying he’s going to run again. Also, state Sen. Andrew Roraback is talking himself up for the race; he’s loudly touting his moderate credentials, even citing Mike Castle as a legislative role model.

PA-St. House: It looks like the Pennsylvania state House didn’t quite get the memo on civility that was passed around a few weeks ago. Video of the House floor meltdown is available at the link, although as far as legislative riots go, they still have a long way to go before they can rival the Taiwanese.