Virginia – 7D, 4R

I set out the other day to create a safe 6D, 5R map of Virginia, and found that in fact it’s quite easy to do better.  

Going through the districts in order of partisan lean.  

Solid D


Red district in Southside, Hampton Roads

52% Black, 39% White

67.8% Obama, 63% Democrat


Greenish district in NOVA

48% White, 20% Black, 21% Latino

63% Obama, 57% Democrat


Purple district based in Richmond

53% White, 35% Black

62.2% Obama, 58.5% Democrat


Purple district in Fairfax county

54% White, 19% Asian, 17% Latino, 8% Black

59.9% Obama,  56.2% Democrat

Likely D


Pink district in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington

57.1% Obama, 57.3% Democrat  

Lean D


Green district in Hampton Roads

56.2% Obama, 53% Democrat


Yellow district in West

53.6% Obama, 53.7% Democrat

Solid R:


Blue diestrict in Eastern Virgina

55.8% McCain, 58% Republican


Grey district in Southside/Richmond suburbs

60.2% McCain, 62.1% Republican


Turquoise district based in Shenandoah valley

58.9% McCain, 62.2% Republican


Light blue district in Southwestern Virginia

64.5% McCain, 61.8% Republican.

Admittedly, although favored, Democrats could lose VA-5, VA-2, and VA-10 in the right election, giving them only four absolutely solid seats.  That said, historically Republicans have been very unlikely to hold onto southern seats with any sort of Democratic lean.  


IN-Sen: Joe Donnelly (D) Considering Race

Interesting news from the Hotline:

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) is taking a close look at a potential bid for Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R) seat, according to sources familiar with his thinking, as the prospect of facing a much more conservative contender grows.

An Indiana Democratic source familiar with Donnelly’s thinking confirmed that Donnelly is looking more closely at the Senate race than he is at a potential gubernatorial contest. “He’s taking a very serious look at the Senate race,” the source said.

State Democratic Party chairman Dan Parker, in Washington for a meeting of the Democratic National Committee, has heard the same thing. “He has not indicated to me that the Senate race would be out of the question,” Parker said.

As the article points out (and folks here well know), Donnelly is also a potential redistricting victim, so a senate run would be something of an escape hatch – all the moreso should the teahadist conflagration in the GOP primary leave some seriously scorched battleground behind.

SSP Daily Digest: 2/25

FL-Sen: Here’s one way the rich & powerful are different from you and me: You can, if you’re GOP state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, manage to leave clients worth $100,000 of income and a house valued at $400,000 off of your financial disclosure forms and have it be judged “inadvertent.” Here’s another way: you get to have the people doing the judging be your friends. Indeed, the chair of the committee responsible for punishing Haridopolos, former FL GOP chair & state Sen. John Thrasher, had endorsed his senate bid just last month. When asked if he should have recused himself, Thrasher said, “Hell, no. I think that’s a total political bunch of crap from the Democratic Party of Florida. They’re used to losing, obviously.” And what’s half a million bucks between friends?

MT-Sen, MT-Gov, MT-AL: A firm called NSON Opinion Strategy took a poll of all three Montana races for the a conservative radio host, Aaron Flint of the Northern News Network, and a conservative consulting firm, 47 North Communications. Note that despite our very early point in the cycle, they tested likely voters. Anyhow, they found Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) narrowly leading Sen. Jon Tester, 47-44, in the senate race. In the open house race, they have Republican Steve Daines on top of Dem Frankie Wilmer, 31-22 (and obviously a ton of undecideds). Incidentally, Rehberg just endorsed Daines, the only announced Republican candidate so far.

NSON also checked on the gubernatorial primaries for both parties, but there’s no suggestion of an oversample, and I’m not in the habit of reporting polls where the n is in the vicinity of 200, so you’ll have to click through if you want the numbers.

NV-Sen: I, like you, had been wondering why in the hell Harry Reid would randomly start talking about outlawing prostitution in Nevada. But when I saw that John Ensign felt compelled to weigh in in response – he’s fer it! – I wondered if Reid might be playing a very clever deep game. Goading Ensign into running his mouth off about whoring is a pretty good trick, if you ask me.

WA-Gov: This seems like a pretty unlikely move, what with AG Rob McKenna ready to pounce (and even Rep. Dave Reichert supposedly weighing a run), but another Republican might get into the mix. Businessman and Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant won’t even go so far as to say he’s “considering” the race; rather, he’s “listening” to people who have “urged” him to look at the race.

CA-23: A great catch by Aaron Blake: Republican former LG Abel Maldonado filed paperwork with the FEC to run in Dem Rep. Lois Capps’ district. While it would be a hell of a feat for a Republican to win here – Obama won 65% of the vote here – the proverbial “source close to” Maldonado says the candidate is “pretty confident that redistricting will change that district enough” to make it competitive. We’ll see.

CA-26: It looks like we’re finally getting the upgrade we need to successfully challenge Rep. David Dreier, and we have term limits to thank. Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who is termed out in 2012, will kick off his campaign next week. As per the above, it’s pretty ballsy to start running when you can’t even know where you’ll be running, but unlike Maldonado, Portantino is getting off to a real start, complete with fundraiser.

CA-36: Has anyone of any stature endorsed Debra Bowen yet? I have no idea, because her website is still just a freakin’ splash page. And I ask because two more members of Congress just endorsed Janice Hahn: Loretta Sanchez and Laura Richardson. Endorsements don’t typically mean a lot, but in this case, Hahn has really piled together an impressive roster in a very short time, which indicates her level of influence is quite strong. Meanwhile, I’m not even sure what Bowen is up to – search for her name on Google News (be sure to sort by date) and you won’t find much about her, but you’ll see plenty of stories about Hahn.

FL-22: Hmm. So much for keeping his recruiting plans on the DL. Steve Israel’s in South Florida this week, talking with potential candidates about taking on Lunatic-in-Chief Allen West next year. It sounds like Israel’s met with ex-Rep. Ron Klein, whom West beat in November, as well as Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and a guy named Patrick Murphy (no, not that Patrick Murphy), a construction executive. Israel also said he wants to talk to West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who is term-limited.

NY-26: You can try to dump your gnarly tins of leftover Scozzafava-brand cat fud into a landfill, but the stench will forever linger on. The Albany Project has this awesome catch: Republican nominee Jane Corwin made the terrible, terrible error of donating $1,000 to Dede Scozzafava during her most ill-fated of congressional runs. Oh, the agony!

OR-01: Two newspapers have already called for Rep. David Wu’s resignation: The Daily Astorian and the Eugene Register Guard, which is actually the second-largest paper in the state. Can the Oregonian be far behind? So far, though, while the chair of the Oregon GOP seems to be calling for Wu to step down, fellow Dem politicians have been very circumspect, and Wu himself said he has no interest in leaving.

TX-15: This might help explain why Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) has missed so many votes (40% so far): Earlier this month, he declared bankruptcy, on account of loan guarantees he made to his family’s meat company. The company itself declared bankruptcy in 2008, and though he was paid as a consultant from 2002 to 2007, Hinojosa has said he does not have managerial control over the firm.

UT-02: Jim Matheson is on a bit of a sticky wicket. If the GOP cracks Democratic Salt Lake City when they draw their new maps, he could potentially survive – after all, he’s represented a brutal district for a decade now. But he could be given a super-red district which also includes a lot of new territory, setting him back to square one-and-a-half. Alternately, the Republicans could pack Dem voters into a single district that would actually be fairly blue – in which case the conservative Matheson might find himself vulnerable to a more liberal challenger, particularly thanks to Utah’s convention nomination process. (Recall that Matheson only pulled 55% at last year’s convention against Some Dude Claudia Wright.) One such challenger might be former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, who told Aaron Blake he wouldn’t rule out such a run, if the district were suitable.

National Journal: It looks like the NJ’s senate ratings are out (though I’m not sure the complete list is publicly available yet). And guess who is tied for most conservative senator? The circle is now complete. When John McCain left us, he was but the maverick. Now he is the hackster.

Tea Party Express: Open Secrets has an interesting analysis in which they show that no fewer than twenty different federal PACs sprang into being last cycle, but that fully 96% of all money raised was hauled in by just a single entity, the Tea Party Express. But even more fascinating to me are TPX’s final numbers. They donated $37K directly to candidates and spent $2.7 million on independent expenditures, but raised an amazing $7.6. That means that almost five million dollars went… where exactly?

WI St. Assembly: Mark your calendars: Widely-beloved Gov. Scott Walker has set May 3rd as the date for special elections for three now-vacant Republican-held Assembly seats. (All three dudes just took jobs in the Walker administration.) The open seats are the 60th, 83rd and 94th. That last one could be interesting. Obama won only 38% & 35% of the vote in the first two districts respectively, but he took 55% in the 94th. The GOP has a 57-38 edge in the Assembly, though, so we have a long way to claw back.

The Biggest Losers – 2010 Edition

I went through the many losing Democratic candidates of 2010 and compared their losing margins to Obama’s 2008 margins.  It started out as an exercise to figure out who I would want to come back for a second run.  In any event, I have ranked them, separated by incumbents, open seats, and challengers to Republican incumbents.  As for challengers to Republican incumbents, I have only listed the top 10 challengers, as well as 9 heralded challengers who underperformed Obama by double digits.  Interesting to note that not a single Democratic challenger to any Republican incumbent outperformed Obama’s margin in his or her district.  

A positive number means the 2010 Democrat outperformed Obama by that much.  A negative number means Obama outperformed the 2010 Democrat by that much.


1. MS-04 – Gene Taylor +31: Could easily win if he came back.

2. AL-02 – Bobby Bright +25: Republicans better be careful how they draw Montgomery districts.

3. MO-04 – Ike Skelton +18: Could win if he came back, but presumably he will not.

4. ID-01 – Walt Minnick +16: Little hope of regaining this seat, with or without Minnick.

5. VA-09 – Rick Boucher +15: Same as Skelton.

6. TN-04 – Lincoln Davis +12: This seat is probably gone for good, with or without Davis.

7. MS-01 – Travis Childers +10: Childers comeback win unlikely but maybe not impossible.

8. TX-17 – Chet Edwards +10: This seat is gone for good.  Edwards lost by 25.

9. GA-08 – Jim Marshall +8: Would love to see Marshall mount a comeback.

10. MD-01 – Frank Kratovil +6: Maryland trifecta needs to draw Kratovil right back in.

11. SD-AL – Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin +6: A shame she is becoming a lobbyist.

12. AZ-01 – Ann Kirkpatrick +4: Kirkpatrick is a strong candidate.  Would love to see a comeback.

13. CO-03 – John Salazar -1: Definitely would like to see him run again.

14. NY-13 – Mike McMahon -1: Same.

15. PA-10 – Chris Carney -1: Same.

16. VA-05 – Tom Periello -1: Same, or even better he could run for Senate.  

17. ND-AL – Earl Pomeroy -2: Doesn’t sound like he plans to run for anything unfortunately.

18. FL-02 – Allen Boyd -3: Primary forced him to vote for HCR, which hurt in the general.

19. OH-06 – Charlie Wilson -3: I dream of Ted Strickland running for this one.

20. SC-05 – John Spratt -3: Too much to hope the old timer would mount a comeback.

21. AZ-05 – Harry Mitchell -4: Would not mind a comeback bid.

22. NC-02 – Bob Etheridge -6: The Choker sealed his own fate.

23. OH-18 – Zach Space -7: Surprisingly large margin of victory for Gibbs.

24. NJ-03 – John Adler -8: Not overly enthused with Adler.

25. NY-19 – John Hall -8: I like Hall, but he’s not the most energetic fundraiser.

26. TX-23 – Ciro Rodriguez -8: Would like to see a new Dem candidate here.

27. TX-27 – Solomon Ortiz -8: Same here.

28. IN-09 – Baron Hill -9: Huge enthusiasm problem for Indiana Dems.

29. NY-24 – Mike Arcuri -9: Arcuri was looking good in the polls.

30. OH-16 – John Boccieri -9: Thought Boccieri would do better than he did.

31. CO-04 – Betsy Markey -10: Pretty solid run by Gardner to beat Markey comfortably.

32. MN-08 – James Oberstar -10: I suspect Cravaack is going to be tricky to take out.

33. NM-02 – Harry Teague -10: Ran into tough candidate in former rep Pearce.

34. MI-07 – Mark Schauer -11: Thought he would do much better than he did.

35. PA-03 – Kathy Dahlkemper -11: Bad result for Dahlkemper against lackluster candidate.

36. NY-20 – Scott Murphy -12: Murphy ended up performing quite poorly.

37. FL-22 – Ron Klein -13: Not that excited about a Klein comeback.

38. IL-08 – Melissa Bean -13: Really amazing and scary that Walsh won this thing.

39. NV-03 – Dina Titus -13: Reid turnout almost pushed Titus over the top.

40. NY-25 – Dan Maffei -13: At least as bad a loss as Bean’s.

41. VA-02 – Glenn Nye -13: Mediocre run from mediocre candidate.

42. PA-08 – Patrick Murphy -16: Murphy ran into a tough opponent in Fitzpatrick.

43. FL-24 – Suzanne Kosmas -17: Kosmas really got shellacked here.

44. IL-14 – Bill Foster -17: Number inflated by strong Obama showing.

45. NH-01 – Carol Shea-Porter -18: Shea Porter was never the best fit for this district.

46. OH-01 – Steve Driehaus -18: Chabot beat the polls.  Tough district in midterms.

47. WI-08 – Steve Kagen -19: Kagen the victim of horrible WI enthusiasm.

48. IL-11 – Debbie Halvorson -23: Halvorson ran into a tough candidate in Kinzinger.

49. OH-15 – Mary Jo Kilroy -23: Kilroy never seemed to have much traction here.

50. FL-08 – Alan Grayson -24: Grayson, Hare, and Kanjorski tied for last … perfect.

51. IL-17 – Phil Hare -24: Please don’t run again, Phil.

52. PA-11 – Paul Kanjorski -24: You are the weakest link, goodbye.


1. WV-01 – Mike Oliviero +14: Heated primary probably made the difference.

2. AR-01 – Chad Causey +13: Same here, although Causey lost by a lot more.

3. AL-05 – Steve Raby +7: Solid run by Raby in very tough district.

4. AZ-03 – Jon Hulburd +4: Probably says more about Quayle than Hulburd.

5. SC-03 – Jane Dyer +3: Very strong run by Dyer in impossible district.  Good tea leaves in SC.

6. KS-04 – Raj Goyle -4: Very professional campaign by Goyle.

7. LA-03 – Ravi Sangisetty -4: Young attorney ran stronger than I expected.

8. TN-03 – John Wolfe -4: Beneficiary of third party taking 10% of the vote.

9. MO-07 – Scott Eckersley -5: Solid run in impossible district.

10. FL-12 – Lori Edwards  -6: Beneficiary of high profile Tea Party candidate.

11. TN-08 – Roy Herron -7: Impressive wins by Fincher in the primary and the general.  

12. AR-02 – Joyce Elliott -9: Dems can take this one back with a better district or candidate.

13. FL-25 – Joe Garcia -9: Garcia burdened by statewide Florida enthusiasm problem.

14. NY-29 – Matt Zeller -9: Decent run by young Zeller in a tough district.

15. OK-05 – Billy Coyle -10: Professional run here from Coyle.

16. KS-01 – Alan Jilka -12: Strong “recruit” in district that is beyond impossible.

17. WA-03 – Denny Heck -12: Meh.  I would have hoped for a better result here.

18. GA-07 – Doug Heckman -13: Credible run against impossible odds.

19. MI-01 – Gary McDowell -13: Disappointing candidate.  Fundraising was slow.

20. SC-04 – Paul Corden -13: Decent, uphill run against Teabagger Gowdey.

21. TN-06 – Brett Carter -13: Mediocre run in impossible district.

22. AR-03 – David Whitaker -14: Pretty well plastered in impossible district.

23. NH-02 – Ann Kuster -15: Overrated run by Kuster.  This is a district Dems should win.

24. IN-08 – Trent Van Haaften -16: Similar to McDowell.  Slow fundraising.

25. IN-03 – Tom Hayhurst -17: Hayhurst not really competitive here.

26. WI-07 – Julie Lassa -21: Bottom fell out of Wisconsin Dem enthusiasm.

27. FL-05 – Jim Piccillo -22: Easy win for Mike “don’t call me Ted” Nugent.

28. MI-03 – Pat Miles -22: Easy win for Justin Amash.

29. SC-01 – Ben Frasier -22: Not a particularly strong run here.  Other SC results were better.

30. CA-19 – Lorraine Goodwin -23: Easy win for Jeff Denham.

31. KS-03 – Stephene Moore -23: Definitely was not the year for a Dem legacy candidate.

32. PA-07 – Bryan Lentz -24: Probably says more about Meehan than Lentz.

33. IL-10 – Dan Seals -25: Dems really, really should have won this one.

34. IN-04 – David Sanders -29: Impressive margin for Rokita.

35. MI-02 – Fred Johnson -31: Bottom fell out in Michigan.


1. SC-02 – Rob Miller -1: Another good tea leaf out of SC.  Strong run by cash flush Miller.

2. CA-02 – Jim Reed -2: Did Herger hurt himself with the “proud, rightwing terrorist” incident?

3. MN-06 – Tarryl Clark -5: Decent run by Clark against lightning rod Bachmann.

4. OH-02 – Chili Yalamanchili -5: District has never fully embraced Mean Jean.

5. AL-03 – Steve Segrest -6: Rogers held under 60% again.  Hope Dems go after him in 2012.

6. CA-03 – Ami Bera -7: Good run by Bera fell considerably short.

7. NC-05 – Billy Kennedy -9: Credible run against the loathsome Foxx.

8. GA-03 – Frank Saunders -10: Unheralded Saunders probably knows the 10 commandments.

9. OK-03 – Frankie Robbins -10: Plowed by 50+, but really lopsided district.

10. MD-06 – Andrew Duck -10: Bartlett doesn’t ever seem all that popular here.

WE CAME, WE SAW, WE SUCKED – Heralded challengers who underperformed Obama by double digits.

1. FL-10 – Charlie Justice -36: Huge flop right in my backyard.

2. PA-06 – Manan Trivedi -31: By far the biggest margin of Gerlach’s career.

3. PA-15 – John Callahan -28: Dent cruised to double digit victory.

4. OH-12 – Paula Brooks -23: Brooks gave Tiberi very little trouble.

5. NE-02 – Tom White -23: White was tattooed in district Obama won.

6. WA-08 – Suzan DelBene -19: Overrated run like Kuster’s.  Dems should win here.

7. CA-45 – Steve Pougnet -14: Held Bono Mack to single digits in Obama district.

8. CA-44 – Bill Hedrick -12: Calvert has got to go in 2012.

9. MO-08 – Tommy Sowers -11: Well funded run against Emerson fell well short.

Democratic Gerrymander of VA Senate

Democratic control of the Virginia Senate gives Democrats the possibility of some leverage in drawing the lines for Congress.  Retaining control of the Senate is very important if Republicans put off redrawing the Congressional lines until after November, but the majority is fairly narrow at 22D-18R, and the entire body is up for re-election this fall.  

I’ve attempted to create a map that balances the interests of current senators in reelection and the national interests of the party in maintaining control by any means necessary.  I think I’ve been able to sufficiently protect all incumbents while maximizing the number of Democratic districts, and the map is a large improvement over the current Republican gerrymander.  Although conventional wisdom holds that each chamber will draw its own lines, I’m not sure the House of Delegates would approve something like this map.


Western Virginia:


District 15: Open

Obama 53.9%

Democratic 51.1%

District 19: Ralph Smith (R)

Obama 38.3%

Democratic 40.1%

District 20: Roscoe Reynolds (D)

Obama 52.2%

Democratic 49.5%

District 21: John Edwards (D)

Obama 52.6%

Democratic 51.8%

District 22: Open

Obama 34.4%

Democratic 38.7%

District 23: Steve Neuman (R), Bill Stanley (R)

Obama 33.5%

Democratic 35.3%

Note: Making a last minute change with the 21st, I accidentally cut this district in half, but it would only require shifting one precinct to make the district contiguous.

District 24: Emmett Hanger (R)

Obama 34.7%

Democratic 33.0%

District 25 Creigh Deeds (D)

Obama 58.4%

Democratic 56.3%

District 38: Phil Puckett (D)

Obama 50.2%

Democratic 52.1%

District 40: William Wampler (R)

Obama 34.1%

Democratic 38.1%

Eastern Virginia:


District 1: Tommy Norment (R)

Obama 41.1%

Democratic 41.2%

District 2: Mamie Locke (D), John Miller (D) (maybe)

Obama 72.3%

Democratic 66.3%

Black VAP 51.1%

District 3: Ryan McDougal (R), Walter Stosch (R)

Obama 35.8%

Democratic 35.2%

District 4: Richard Stuart (R)

Obama 45.1%

Democratic 42.5%

District 5: Yvonne Miller (D)

Obama 72.7%

Democratic 67.9%

Black VAP 51.3%

District 6: Ralph Northam (D)

Obama 56.7%

Democratic 52.5%

District 7: Frank Wagner (R)

Obama 55.1%

Democratic 49.5%

District 8: Jeff McWaters (R)

Obama 53.1%

Democratic 52.2%

District 9: Donald McEachin (D)

Obama 74.7%

Democratic 70.5%

Black VAP 56.7%

District 10: John Watkins (R)

Obama 42.2%

Democratic 39.0%

District 11: Steve Martin (R), Frank Ruff (R)

Obama 37.8%

Democratic 35.6%

District 12: Open

Obama 64.1%

Democratic 59.0%

District 13: Fred Quayle (R), John Miller (D) (maybe)

Obama 50.3%

Democratic 49.5%

District 14: Harry Blevins (R)

Obama 39.7%

Democratic 39.0%

District 16: Henry Marsh (D)

Obama 72.1%

Democratic 65.0%

Black VAP 51.0%

District 17: Edd Houck (D)

Obama 51.2%

Democratic 45.2%

District 18: Louise Lucas (D)

Obama 65.1%

Democratic 61.3%

Black VAP 52.3%

Northern Virginia:


District 26: Mark Obenshain (R)

Obama 41.6%

Democratic 37.9%

District 27: Jill Vogel (R)

Obama 37.9%

Democratic 40.6%

District 28: Open

Obama 43.9%

Democratic 41.0%

District 29: Chuck Colgan (D)

Obama 58.9%

Democratic 50.0%

District 30: Patsy Ticer (D)

Obama 68.6%

Democratic 66.2%

District 31: Mary Margaret Whipple (D)

Obama 68.1%

Democratic 70.3%

District 32: Janet Howell (D)

Obama 59.0%

Democratic 57.2%

District 33: Mark Herring (D)

Obama 54.6%

Democratic 49.2%

District 34: Chap Peterson (D)

Obama 58.8%

Democratic 54.7%

District 35: Dick Saslaw (D)

Obama 61.9%

Democratic 58.9%

District 36: Toddy Puller (D)

Obama 68.4%

Democratic 61.5%

District 37: Dave Marsden (D)

Obama 59.4%

Democratic 54.6%

District 39: George Barker (D)

Obama 56.2%

Democratic 53.0%

I would rate the lean of the seats as follows:

Safe Democratic (Obama and Democratic vote percentage both above 50%): 22

Toss-up (Obama percentage or Democratic vote percentage above 50%): 5

Safe Republican (Everything else): 13


NM-Sen Roundup: Who’s In, Who’s Out & Who’s Thinkin’ About It

Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s retirement, like Pete Domenici’s two cycles ago, has sent New Mexico’s small political world abuzz, with observers discussing tons of potential candidates on both sides. I’ve been collecting links for the past few days, and as best I can tell, here’s what the current playing field looks like:


Andres Valdez (D), “a longtime anti-police-brutality activist from Albuquerque”

Bill English (R), some nutter who once wrote on his blog that President Obama is “what literally amounts to an African dictator”

Greg Sowards (R), a teabagger who spent several hundred grand of his own money to take in 17% in the NM-02 Republican primary in 2008


Hector Balderas (D), the 37-year-old state Auditor who became the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the country in 2006; a source tells Dave Catanese that Balderas, who has scored the “rising star” label, is “95% in”


Janice Arnold-Jones (R), a former state representative, who says she’s “among” those who are interested

Terry Brunner (D), Bingaman’s former state director and current USDA official, who says he will make a decision “in the next few weeks”

Diane Denish (D), the former Lt. Gov. and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who says she is “fully exploring the contest”

Martin Heinrich (D), the 1st CD Rep., who says he is “actively considering” the race

Tom Mullins (R), the 2010 GOP nominee in NM-03, who says he’s not ruling out a run

Heather Wilson (R), the former 1st CD Rep., who says she is “considering running for the Senate, as well as other opportunities”


Edgar Lopez (D), a wealthy real estate developer who says he is more interested in running for NM-02, depending upong redistricting

Ben Ray Lujan (D), the 3rd CD Rep., who says that his “focus at this time is on representing the people in my district”

Steve Pearce (R), the 2nd CD Rep., who told Politico it was “too soon for him to even consider a race” (their words); Pearce also wants to make sure the party picks a “conservative candidate” (i.e., not Heather Wilson), to avoid a replay of the 2008 GOP primary (where he beat Heather Wilson in a nasty fight but got crushed by Tom Udall in the general)


Gary Johnson (R), the governor before Bill Richardson & current presidential candidate, who is “not at all” interested

Bill Richardson (D), the former governor, who just joined a public relations firm

Susana Martinez (R), the current governor, who through a spokesman says she isn’t interested

Are there any other names you’ve heard about?

AL, HI, MO, NV, UT: Population by CD

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

The Census Bureau unleashed population data from five more states today. First off is Alabama, who remained at seven seats (although they were close to losing one). Their target for 2010 is 682,819, up from about 635K in 2000. Most of the action looks to be in the Birmingham area, where suburban AL-06 was the big gainer and urban VRA district AL-07 was the big loser. While the knee-jerk expectation would be that AL-07 would simply extend out into the suburbs to make up that deficit, it’s likelier that the newly-GOP-controlled legislature will try to extend AL-07 to Montgomery or Huntsville (or both) to incorporate the African-American populations there, in order to make it blacker and the state’s other districts safer for white Republican representatives.

District Population Deviation
AL-01 687,841 5,022
AL-02 673,877 (8,942)
AL-03 681,298 (1,521)
AL-04 660,162 (22,657)
AL-05 718,724 35,905
AL-06 754,482 71,663
AL-07 603,352 (79,467)
Total: 4,779,736

Hawaii is pretty drama-free; its new target is 680,151, up from 605K in 2000. With Maui as the fastest growing part of the state, the 2nd will need to give a little population to the 1st, although the boundary movement will happen in the suburban parts of Oahu.

District Population Deviation
HI-01 658,672 (21,479)
HI-02 701,629 21,748
Total: 1,360,301

Missouri missed the cut, and needs to lose one of its nine seats. Based on eight seats, its new target is 748,616, up from 622K in 2000. Missouri redistricting isn’t going to go well for Dems (and for Russ Carnahan, in particular) because the three districts with the lowest population are the three districts with Democratic representatives. While MO-01 lost the most population, the VRA will probably keep this in place as a black-majority district for Lacy Clay: the city of St. Louis’s population has shrunk so much (now only 319K) that it only makes up about half a district anymore, and his district already includes the city’s black-majority northern suburbs, so it’s likely to have to move westward into the inner-ring suburbs of St. Louis County or else southward to encompass all of St. Louis city. Either way, that’s coming out of Russ Carnahan’s MO-03, which will also need to give some ground to MO-08 below it.

District Population Deviation
MO-01 587,069 (161,547)
MO-02 706,622 (41,994)
MO-03 625,251 (123,365)
MO-04 679,375 (69,241)
MO-05 633,887 (114,729)
MO-06 693,974 (54,642)
MO-07 721,754 (26,862)
MO-08 656,894 (91,722)
MO-09 684,101 (64,515)
Total: 5,988,927

I think we’ve found the most populous CD in the entire nation: NV-03, with more than a million people (its main rival for that honor, UT-03, didn’t break that mark; see below). Nevada, of course, is moving to four districts, with a target of 675,138 (up only slightly from 666K in 2000, but that was a three-district map). As you might expect, the state has become significantly more Hispanic, with the 1st going from 28% Hispanic in 2000 to 37%, the 2nd from 15% to 20%, and the 3rd from 16% to 23%.

While there had been discussion of Joe Heck’s district expanding outward to take in some of the rural counties, that will barely need to happen. Clark County (where Las Vegas is) has a population of 1,951,269, which is 72.3% of the state’s population (up from 68% in 2000). In other words, with 3/4s of the state’s population in Clark Co., NV-02 can pretty much continue being all of the state except Clark County (although it’ll need to lose its current small portions in Clark Co.), while Clark Co. will be divvied up among three districts instead of two. (Although, considering how empty the cow counties are, that stray 2.7% of the state may still wind up occupying a huge geographical footprint.)

District Population Deviation
NV-01 820,134 144,996
NV-02 836,562 161,424
NV-03 1,043,855 368,717
Total: 2,700,551

Utah, of course, is also set to gain a seat. Its new four-seat target is 690,971 (the target was 744K in 2000, when it had three seats). The biggest growth was in Salt Lake City’s southern suburbs and also in the Provo area further south, both of which are found in UT-03. Whether the GOP-controlled legislature creates a new seat confined to the SLC area or tries cracking it four ways instead of three will depend on whether they decide to target Jim Matheson (currently the Democrat with the reddest House seat) or concedes a seat to him.

District Population Deviation
UT-01 906,660 215,869
UT-02 890,993 200,022
UT-03 966,232 275,261
Total: 2,763,885

SSP Daily Digest: 2/24

AZ-Sen: Outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl says he isn’t endorsing a successor – just yet. He wants to see how the field develops first.

IN-Sen: Look who else isn’t endorsing – the forgotten man, Sen. Dan Coats, says he isn’t taking sides in the looming GOP primary battle, not for Lugar or anyone else. Way to stick by your colleagues, huh? I guess maybe Coats is thinking about 2016, when I’d be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts he’ll get teabagged himself (if he doesn’t hang up his spurs before then, something I’d also entertain action on).

Meanwhile, Mourdock is concerned about the possible entry of teabagging state Sen. Mike Delph, who Treasurer (and recently-announced candidate) Richard Mourdock says will split the vote with him if he runs. Delph previously issued the usual state legislator’s incantation, saying he’d wait until the legislative sessions concludes at the end of April before deciding on a run.

NE-Sen: Gotta say this about Don Stenberg: He has no fear of losing. He’s making his fourth try for senate, having failed on his three previous attempts. Still, despite almost achieving perennial candidate status, he did have a triumphant return to statewide office last year, winning the Treasurer race by a landslide. And he served as state AG for over a decade starting in 1991, so it’s not like he can’t win a race. (Attentive law students might also remember him from the caption in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case about so-called “partial-birth abortion.”) In any event, Stenberg is looking to present himself as the far-right alternative to AG and not-exactly-firmly-entrenched frontrunner Jon Bruning.

TX-Sen: Either Tom Leppert just scored a sweet season pass to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, or he’s going to dive into the crowded GOP senate race. Though he has four months to go, he’s resigning (effective Friday) from his current position as mayor of Dallas, so it’s gotta be one of those two. Who wants to give me ten-to-one on Hurricane Harbor?

Maybe that’s not a bad idea, actually, since the University of Texas (on behalf of the Texas Tribune) didn’t even test Leppert’s name in their new poll (PDF) of the GOP primary. It’s not especially fascinating, though, since “I dunno” leads the way at 52%, LG David Dewhurst (who hasn’t yet announced) is at 27%, and no one else is above 5%. They also looked at a hypothetical Dem primary, between a bunch of guys who aren’t running and no one knows. Click through the link if you insist.

UT-Sen: What to do if you’re a pollster in Utah? You’ve got a major potential teabagging on your hands, but it’s very likely to be decided at a party convention, not in a normal primary. So what do you do? You poll it anyway! I can’t blame the folks at – it’s not like you can really poll convention-goers. And there is worthwhile information you can learn from these sorts of things.

Anyhow, in a hypothetical primary, Sen. Orrin Hatch is tied with Rep. Jason Chaffetz at 42 apiece. This says to me that GOP state delegates are likely to be even more anti-Hatch than Republican voters at large, so the incumbent is probably in very serious trouble indeed. I’m not convinced Chaffetz will make the race, though – in response to this poll, he noted that he’s already a subcommittee chair in just his second term, and that it would be “pretty hard to walk away” from his newfound influence in the House majority. But certainly someone will step up.

NY-26: I’ve been dismissive of him so far, and I remain skeptical, but David Bellavia is at least showing that can-do spirit. The former Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran filed paperwork with the FEC to form an exploratory committee, and his spokesman pointed to Republican nominee Jane Corwin’s support for abortion rights (at least “during the first trimester,” which, guys, hasn’t been the legal framework for twenty years). It’ll be interesting to see if a teabagger candidacy can use a social issue likes this as its hook. Anyhow, if he doesn’t score an existing third-party line, Bellavia will need 3,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

TX-15: Felicia Sonmez runs down the House members with the highest absentee rates so far – several have missed in the range of 30% of votes in the early going of the 112th Congress. But all of them have obvious excuses (mostly bereavement and health-related), except for one: Ruben Hinojosa, who has skipped over 40% of roll calls. His spokesman didn’t respond to The Fix, but I’m really curious to know what’s going on here. Could retirement be looming?

DCCC: The D-Trip is doing a wave of robocalls, along with some web ads and emails, into fifty Republican districts. The Hill doesn’t seem to have (or at least, have published) the entire list, and NWOTSOTB. (That’s “No Word On The Size Of The Buy,” in case you haven’t seen that one before. Remember it, because candidates and organizations frequently launch tiny paid media campaigns with the hopes of garnering free press. If you don’t see information about how much a media buy actually costs, then odds are it falls into this category. Don’t let yourself get played, and always be looking for the size of the buy.)

Census: Here’s a new tidbit from the Census Bureau: 760 of the nation’s 3,000+ counties are experiencing “natural decrease:” deaths are outweighing births. Although most of these counties are rural counties, it’s not purely a red state phenomenon; at the state level, four states (all of which, you might notice, have not only older-than-average populations but also low Hispanic populations) also fall into this category: West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine. (C)

TN-Sen: Corker Vulnerable to Bredesen, Teabagging

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (2/9-13, Tennessee voters, no trendlines):

Bob Corker (R-inc): 41

Phil Bredesen (D): 46

Undecided: 12

Bob Corker (R-inc): 50

Jim Cooper (D): 32

Undecided: 18

Bob Corker (R-inc): 55

Harold Ford, Jr. (D): 32

Undecided: 14

Bob Corker (R-inc): 52

Bart Gordon (D): 29

Undecided: 19

Bob Corker (R-inc): 53

Al Gore (D): 38

Undecided: 9

Bob Corker (R-inc): 50

Tim McGraw (D): 28

Undecided: 22

(MoE: ±4.4%)

Clearing the decks on this poll from last week. Unless former Gov. Phil Bredesen (who has crazy 63-19 approvals) makes the race, freshman Sen. Bob Corker looks to be in pretty strong shape. Most of these other names – none of whom I think is seriously considering the race – aren’t especially well known and have middling favorables and are at least half unknown (except Harold Ford, who is despised).

As for Bredesen, while the DSCC would probably be thrilled to have him run, he doesn’t seem very likely, either. In a recent interview, when asked if he’d ever run for office again, he said: “Well, you never say never, but that is not my intention.” But the indispensible Brian Valco digs up an article from a year ago in which Bredesen had this to say about his future plans: “I really like the public sector, and if there are some opportunities there, I’d be open.” So maybe there’s any opening there – though I suspect Bredesen would at best be a Joe Manchin-type candidate. Still, he’d draw resources away from other races, at the very least.

PPP also put out GOP primary numbers (PDF):

Bob Corker (R-inc): 38

“More conservative challenger”: 43

Not sure: 19

Bob Corker (R-inc): 50

Marsh Blackburn (R): 30

Undecided: 20

Bob Corker (R-inc): 66

Hank Williams, Jr. (R): 13

Undecided: 21

(MoE: ±4.9%)

I personally think a 50-30 margin over an little-known member of the House who hasn’t even come close to announcing a campaign (that would be Blackburn, who represents the 7th CD) is not especially good – nor, of course, are those generic numbers. Hank Williams, Jr., by the way, is the country star, who apparently has said in the past that he’s interested in running for office. Amusingly, PPP also tested country star Tim McGraw in the general – would be kind of awesome if we had a Biggie vs. Tupac-style senate race down in Tennessee between Williams and McGraw.

CO, OR, and WA: Population by CD

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

We’ve got three more states’ worth of Census data dump to look at today, and instead of a random collection today, it’s thematically consistent: the three medium-size light-blue states of the west. First off the bat is Colorado, which stays at seven seats; its target population is 718,457, up from an average of about 615K in 2000. (Remember, the “deviation” is how many seats the district will need to gain or shed in order to conform, not a raw number reflecting loss or gain. You can calculate raw gain/loss by working off the 2000 target, if you’re curious.)

District Population Deviation
CO-01 662,039 (56,418)
CO-02 733,805 15,348
CO-03 706,186 (12,271)
CO-04 725,041 6,584
CO-05 725,902 7,445
CO-06 797,813 79,356
CO-07 678,410 (40,047)
Total: 5,029,196

The redistricting solution here seems pretty simple: CO-01 (Denver proper) and CO-07 (Denver’s northern suburbs) will need to shift southward to accommodate the large growth in CO-06 (Denver’s southern suburbs), while the rest of the state stayed pretty stable. Interestingly, despite CO-07 lagging the state growth-wise, the state’s strongest Hispanic growth was in CO-07, which since 2000 went from 20% to 28% Hispanic.

Oregon stays at five seats, having just barely missed the cut for #6. Its target population is a beefy 766,215, up from about 684K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
OR-01 802,570 36,355
OR-02 769,987 3,772
OR-03 762,155 (4,060)
OR-04 739,234 (26,981)
OR-05 757,128 (9,087)
Total: 3,831,074

Several Oregon districts are going to have to shift north, where the state’s growth was centered in Portland’s western suburbs in OR-01. The smallest gains happened in OR-04, which is Eugene and the economically-hard-hit timber country to its south. OR-05, which is sandwiched between the 1st and 4th in the mid-Valley also needs to pick up population; the 5th is the state’s most Hispanic district, going from 10% to 15% Hispanic since 2000.

Finally, here’s Washington, which barely made the cut, and got its tenth seat. Its target is 672,454, up from 655K in 2010. (Interestingly, if you divided Washington by 9, you’d wind up with a lower target than Oregon, at 747,171. There’s a lot more to the reapportionment formula than that sort of purely mechanical calculation, of course, but that ought to raise a few eyebrows in Oregon.)

District Population Deviation
WA-01 739,455 67,001
WA-02 760,041 87,587
WA-03 779,348 106,894
WA-04 774,409 101,955
WA-05 723,609 51,155
WA-06 709,570 37,116
WA-07 704,225 31,771
WA-08 810,754 138,300
WA-09 723,129 50,675
Total: 6,724,540

The two main nodes of growth in Washington are WA-08 (Seattle’s eastern suburbs) and WA-03 (Vancouver, which is really Portland’s northern suburbs). However, there was almost as much growth in WA-04, east of the Cascades, which means that any new configuration is going to have two-and-a-half districts east of the Cascades, with (unlike now) one district traversing the mountains. The 4th is also by far the most Hispanic district in the state, growing from 27% to 34% Hispanic since 2000. One other interesting tidbit: in three of the state’s nine districts (1st, 7th, and 8th, all in the Seattle area) the largest non-white group isn’t African-Americans or Hispanics, but rather Asians.

More over the flip…

Finally, did you know that Census 2010 data, via American FactFinder, is available not only at the congressional district level, but also the legislative district level? Because a) I’m a Washingtonian, and b) I’m a nerd (and c), it’s not that big a project, since Washington doesn’t have separate Senate and House districts), I thought I’d also include Washington broken down by LD, in case you want a finer-grained sort on the state’s population gain. The number of districts will stay at 49, so the new target is 137,236.

District Population Deviation
LD-01 147,265 10,029
LD-02 163,707 26,471
LD-03 120,601 (16,635)
LD-04 141,254 4,018
LD-05 161,403 24,167
LD-06 141,123 3,887
LD-07 130,475 (6,761)
LD-08 149,474 12,238
LD-09 136,166 (1,070)
LD-10 134,117 (3,119)
LD-11 134,027 (3,209)
LD-12 132,531 (4,705)
LD-13 143,750 6,514
LD-14 130,478 (6,758)
LD-15 132,788 (4,448)
LD-16 154,830 17,594
LD-17 150,727 13,491
LD-18 160,083 22,847
LD-19 126,904 (10,332)
LD-20 141,029 3,793
LD-21 133,156 (4,080)
LD-22 141,695 4,459
LD-23 130,119 (7,117)
LD-24 132,679 (4,557)
LD-25 145,035 7,799
LD-26 133,755 (3,481)
LD-27 123,857 (13,379)
LD-28 119,494 (17,742)
LD-29 127,259 (9,977)
LD-30 129,998 (7,238)
LD-31 137,685 449
LD-32 122,038 (15,198)
LD-33 129,246 (7,990)
LD-34 125,055 (12,181)
LD-35 138,142 906
LD-36 133,901 (3,335)
LD-37 127,546 (9,690)
LD-38 129,624 (7,612)
LD-39 143,154 5,918
LD-40 138,925 1,689
LD-41 142,722 5,486
LD-42 146,619 9,383
LD-43 133,976 (3,260)
LD-44 156,499 19,263
LD-45 136,432 (804)
LD-46 127,849 (9,387)
LD-47 140,146 2,910
LD-48 130,423 (6,813)
LD-49 134,779 (2,457)
Total: 6,724,540

What’s that you say? You don’t have the Washington legislative district map committed to memory? And yet you call yourself a Swingnut? Well, here it is. The largest growth came in LDs 2 (eastern Pierce Co.) and 5 (eastern King Co.), which are the most exurban parts of WA-08, as well as 44 (eastern Snohomish Co.: exurban WA-02), and 18 (northern Clark Co.: exurban WA-03). The slowest growth was in LDs 3 (downtown Spokane), 28 (Lakewood and Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma), 32 (Shoreline and Edmonds, north of Seattle), 27 (downtown Tacoma), and 34 (West Seattle). (If you’re wondering what the lean of these districts is, we’ve got that, too.)