Kentucky Redistricting: Incumbent Protection Map

So, this is my first SSP diary! The 2010 Census data for my beloved Bluegrass State was released in one of the recent data dumps, but unfortunately it's not on Dave's App yet. Fortunately, there were absolutely no surprises in the final data, so for this map I am using the estimates, which produce results nearly identical to what the real ones would.

Kentucky, of course, has a 4R-2D delegation currently. Redistricting is up to the legislature (currently split; Dems have the House, GOP has the Senate) with the governor having veto power (Dems of course control this with Steve Beshear). There really hasn't been much redistricting talk that I've heard of yet, probably mostly due to the fact that not much will change. But one possibility is an incumbent protection map, especially considering some of the current Reps are starting to make their opinions known to the powers that be. 

Note that this is not necessarily the map I expect to see emerge. It's just one possiblity, and frankly it's about the most interesting Kentucky map to draw that has a realistic shot at happening. This is about as good as it gets for all six incumbents.



KY-01 Ed Whitfield (R- Hopkinsville) (Blue)

My home district lost some population and so it needs to expand a bit. Not much changes, though. It remains Western Kentucky-based, with a rather ugly arm extending into the hard right south-central part of the state. That arm does move west a bit to accomodate the fifth's move westward, but it's really just trading deep red territory for other deep red territory. I wish this would become a strictly western-based seat (it could be done by adding Owensboro), but I doubt it'll happen. Whitfield is, unfortunately, good to go.

Rating: Safe GOP


KY-02 Brett Guthrie (R- Bowling Green) (Green)

The second needs to shed some people, as the Louisville burbs have done some growing over the past decade. Ironically, though, this seat actually becomes much more suburban/exurban. by giving some southern counties to the first and now totally surrounding Jefferson County. In terms of the GOP primary (the only race that will really matter here), that does tip the balance more toward the eastern part of the district, but it shouldn't be a problem for the Bowling Green-based Guthrie (in case you were wondering, both Bowling Green and Owensboro are Republican-leaning despite being decent-sized towns). Guthrie probably has statewide ambitions at some point, but even if he goes, this seat's outcome is not in doubt.

Rating: Safe GOP


KY-03 John Yarmuth (D- Louisville) (Purple)

John Yarmuth remains confined in his little slice of Heaven, also known as Metro Louisville. Jefferson County has not grown much relative to the rest of the state, and it remains almost exactly the size of one CD, so hardly anything changes here. This area is trending blue, and the popular congressman should be fine if he survived 2010. It's hard to believe Anne Northup represented this just a few years ago.

Rating: Likely Dem


KY-04 Geoff Davis (R- Hebron) (Red)

Davis is a fellow you might not have heard of unless you're from Kentucky or you're a real junkie; he's a pretty unassuming backbencher. His base in the solid-red Cincinnati burbs has grown quite a bit, so this district needs to lose some people. It pulls further away from Louisville, notably dropping suburban and growing Oldham County, taking in a few more counties to the south and east. It remains safe for Davis and any other GOPer.

Rating: Safe GOP 


KY-05 Hal Rogers (R- Somerset) (Yellow)

Here's where things get a bit more interesting. As you can see, the fifth has lost some of its mountain flavor (but still keeps plenty of it) as it ceded some ancestrally Dem counties to help Ben Chandler's cause. Seeing as it was already losing population, it has to expand westward, now taking in parts of central Kentucky and even some Lexingon peripheral areas. It remains one of the poorest CD's in the country.

One notable feature of this map that may appeal to Republicans is that it pretty much takes this district off the table for any future Dems down the road. Of course old Hal is untouchable, but in its current configuration, it's not impossible, in an open seat situation, for a conservative Mongiardo-style Dem (maybe Mongiardo himself?) to win the fifth with a fantastic campaign in a good year. But with its Democratic heart cut out and given to the sixth, that possibility is probably gone. 

Rating: Safe GOP 


KY-06 Ben Chandler (D- Versailles) (Turquoise)

The big one, and the centerpiece of the whole map. As you SSPers know, Chandler eeked out a narrow win last year over the tea-flavored Andy Barr. It was actually quite impressive that he did it, but he's probably a bit spooked anyway and it wouldn't be shocking to see him ask for a better district. So here it is. The sixth gives away conservative territory in the north and south, freeing up room to expand east and take in the heart of Appalachia. While these counties mostly vote GOP on the national level now, they will still easily break for any competent statewide or local Kentucky Dem. The KDP tradition is very strong here; Bruce Lunsford (remember him?) won all but two of the counties here in '08 against McConnell, and one of those was Chandler's home of Woodford. Conway also did well here in 2010. 

Now, this is not without its drawbacks. I have expressed this concern before: Lexington/Frankfort and the coal counties are very different. They both vote for Dems, but their interests are worlds apart. That said, it's hard to imagine a Republican winning here, so it would really just be more of a personal concern for Chandler on a few issues. He should be fine, although don't expect him to move to the left much. 

Rating: Likely Dem 


So, there you have it. Not much action is likely to happen in the Bluegrass in redistricting, but this is one possibility, although if Beshear loses the governor's race this year this map probably becomes slightly less likely. Hope this sheds some light on the situation. 

FL, GA, and KY: Population by CD

Florida was one of the nation’s biggest gainers, both in terms of overall numbers (18,801,310, up from 15,982,378 in 2000) and House seats (up two from 25 to 27, making it the only state besides Texas to gain more than one seat). Florida’s new target is 696,345, up from 639K in 2000.

Most of the state’s gains come in what’s called the I-4 corridor, reaching from Tampa Bay through Orlando over to Daytona Beach and down the Space Coast. (Of course, that’s not consistent from district to district; the only district in the state that lost outright population is FL-10 in St. Petersburg, and Tampa’s FL-11 will also need to gain voters.) FL-05, centered in Pasco and Hernando Counties north of Tampa, is now one of the largest districts in the nation, in fact. Both of the new districts seem likely to be centered somewhere in the I-4 corridor, although there was enough growth in the Miami area that it will need to expand a little, too, shifting in-between districts like the 13th and 16th a step to the north. (Miami area growth was concentrated in FL-25 in Miami’s westernmost suburbs; the rest of south Florida, especially the Gold Coast, seemed pretty stable). Despite the GOP-held trifecta, predicting the final map right now is a bit of a fool’s errand, though, considering that the effect of Florida’s Fair Districts initiatives will probably need to be filtered through the courts and the DOJ.

Florida, as you’d expect, is one of the states showing large-scale Hispanic growth. That’s not as clear-cut in the Democrats’ favor as it is in other states, in that it has a large Cuban community, although that’s largely limited to the Miami area and Cubans are becoming a smaller percentage of the total Hispanic community even there. Hispanic growth in central Florida tends to be Puerto Rican and Central American. The state as a whole moved from 65% non-Hispanic white, 14% non-Hispanic black, and 17% Hispanic in 2000 to 58% white, 15% black, and 22% Hispanic in 2010. While the most heavily Hispanic districts, naturally, remain the three Cuban districts in the Miami area, most of the biggest increases in Hispanic percentage have come in central Florida. In particular, see FL-08 (18% Hispanic in 2000, 26% Hispanic in 2010), FL-11 (20% Hispanic in 2000, 28% Hispanic in 2010), and FL-12 (12% Hispanic in 2000, 21% in 2010). Could we see one of the new districts be a Hispanic-majority VRA district that joins Tampa, Lakeland, and Orlando? The biggest Hispanic percentage increase might surprise you, though: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s FL-20, which went from 21% to 31%, apparently based on a lot of Cuban movement to the suburbs further north).

District Rep. Population Deviation
FL-01 Miller (R) 694,158 (2,187)
FL-02 Southerland (R) 737,519 41,174
FL-03 Brown (D) 659,055 (37,290)
FL-04 Crenshaw (R) 744,418 48,073
FL-05 Nugent (R) 929,533 233,188
FL-06 Stearns (R) 812,727 116,382
FL-07 Mica (R) 812,442 116,097
FL-08 Webster (R) 805,608 109,263
FL-09 Bilirakis (R) 753,549 57,204
FL-10 Young (R) 633,889 (62,456)
FL-11 Castor (D) 673,799 (22,546)
FL-12 Ross (R) 842,199 145,854
FL-13 Buchanan (R) 757,805 61,460
FL-14 Mack (R) 858,956 162,611
FL-15 Posey (R) 813,570 117,225
FL-16 Rooney (R) 797,711 101,366
FL-17 Wilson (D) 655,160 (41,185)
FL-18 Ros-Lehtinen (R) 712,790 16,445
FL-19 Deutch (D) 736,419 40,074
FL-20 Wasserman Schultz (D) 691,727 (4,618)
FL-21 Diaz-Balart (R) 693,501 (2,844)
FL-22 West (R) 694,259 (2,086)
FL-23 Hastings (D) 684,107 (12,238)
FL-24 Adams (R) 799,233 102,888
FL-25 Rivera (R) 807,176 110,831
Total: 18,801,310

Georgia is gaining one seat, from 13 to 14, and with that in mind, its new target is 691,975 (up from 630K in 2000). Pretty much all decade, those in the know have been expecting Georgia’s 14th seat to fall in Atlanta’s northern tier of suburbs, where the state’s fastest growth has been in distant exurban (and virulently red) counties like Cherokee and Forsyth. The new data basically confirms that, with the heaviest gains in suburban/exurban GA-07 (worth noting: Newt Gingrich’s old stomping grounds, Gwinnett County, is now the state’s 2nd largest county, having shot past Cobb and DeKalb Counties) and GA-09.

Perhaps most surprising is the deep deficit in GA-02, the VRA district in the state’s rural South; there had been discussion of it reaching up to take in central Macon in order to make GA-08 safer for its new Republican occupant Austin Scott, and that seems even likelier now, given that may be the only way for it to retain an African-American majority. The two VRA districts in Atlanta will also need to expand outward, but third black-majority seat in the ATL area, the suburban 13th, has plenty of population to spare.

District Rep. Population Deviation
GA-01 Kingston (R) 722,068 30,093
GA-02 Bishop (D) 631,973 (60,002)
GA-03 Westmoreland (R) 817,247 125,272
GA-04 Johnson (D) 665,541 (26,434)
GA-05 Lewis (D) 630,462 (61,513)
GA-06 Price (R) 767,798 75,823
GA-07 Woodall (R) 903,191 211,216
GA-08 Scott (R) 715,599 23,624
GA-09 Graves (R) 823,583 131,608
GA-10 Broun (R) 738,248 46,273
GA-11 Gingrey (R) 794,969 102,994
GA-12 Barrow (D) 692,529 554
GA-13 Scott (D) 784,445 92,470
Total: 9,687,653

The changes in Kentucky are much less dramatic, which stays at six seats, has seen little change in its racial composition, and which probably won’t even see much movement of its current boundaries. Its current target is 723,228, up from 673K in 2000. As in many states, the truly rural districts (in this case, the west Kentucky KY-01 and Appalachian KY-05) were stagnant, and will need to gain population from districts with exurban populations (KY-02, which includes Louisville’s southernmost ‘xurbs, and KY-06, centered on Lexington).

District Rep. Population Deviation
KY-01 Whitfield (R) 686,989 (36,239)
KY-02 Guthrie (R) 760,032 36,804
KY-03 Yarmuth (D) 721,626 (1,602)
KY-04 Davis (R) 741,464 18,236
KY-05 Rogers (R) 670,051 (53,177)
KY-06 Chandler (D) 759,205 35,977
Total: 4,339,367

Redistricting outlook: Kansas-Maryland

Now that it’s 2011, the redistricting games will soon begin in earnest, with more detailed Census data expected in the coming weeks and some states holding spring legislative sessions to deal with drawing new maps. Long ago I planned to do state-by-state rundowns of the redistricting process as soon as 2010 election results and Census reapportionment were clear. Now that time has arrived, and it’s time to look at Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland.

Previous diary on Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas

Previous diary on California, Colorado, and Connecticut

Previous diary on Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii

Previous diary on Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa

The rest below the fold…



Districts: 4

Who’s in charge? Republicans

Is that important? Nope

With an all-Republican delegation, GOP mapmakers may simply try to ensure that Kevin Yoder avoids a close race in the next decade.



Districts: 6

Who’s in charge? Split (Dem Governor and House, GOP Senate)

Is that important? Perhaps

I have heard rumors that Republicans hope to stall the redistricting process past the 2011 state elections, expecting to topple both Gov. Beshear and the Democratic House majority this November. But assuming a continuation of the status quo, Ben Chandler should get a slightly more favorable district than the one he nearly lost in 2010.



Districts: 6, down from 7 in 2002

Who’s in charge? Split (GOP Governor and House, Dem Senate)

Is that important? Not really

The outcome of reapportionment in Louisiana has scarcely been in doubt since Jeff Landry was elected last November. He will be forced against fellow Republican Rep. Charles Boustany in a coastal district. Meanwhile, Cedric Richmond’s VRA-protected seat will have to absorb a lot of new population near Baton Rouge, and Rodney Alexander’s underpopulated northern seat will expand southwest a bit.



Districts: 2

Who’s in charge? Nonpartisan commission

Is that important? No

Maine does not even traditionally redraw its maps before the election year ending in 2. Sometime in 2013, the commission will make some boundary adjustments, and both Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree should remain reasonably secure should they still be in office two years from now.



Districts: 8

Who’s in charge? Democrats

Is that important? Perhaps

The question here is how aggressive Democrats perceive they can afford to be. They already constructed a master gerrymander in 2002, moving the delegation from a 4-4 split to a thoroughly safe 6-2 Democratic edge. Now, some are pushing for a 7-1 map that remakes Andy Harris’s Eastern Shore seat for a moderate Dem like Frank Kratovil. However, such a map presents serious issues: how to maintain VRA-mandated black majorities in the 4th (represented by Donna Edwards) and 7th (Elijah Cummings)? How to keep the four other Dem incumbents completely safe? With today’s redistricting technology, it can probably be done, but the 1st cannot be made securely Dem lest other districts be jeopardized…only politically competitive enough for Kratovil to stage a comeback.

Just Whistling Dixie: Unlikely Pro-Democratic Maps for Four Southern States (AL, KY, LA, VA)

After the jump, I present a survey of maps that are demographically possible if political improbable. They are presented mostly for holiday slow-time discussion fodder. The states covered are Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Virginia. Republicans will control the process in Alabama; the Democrats control a single house of the legislature in the other three states. So the Democrats are unlikely to get maps as good as these. My redistricting instincts tend towards “good government” aesthetics, so these maps are about what’s possible with relatively compact districts.


Top-line results: 5 R – 2 D. (Neutral year, open seat, quality candidates, my impression)

This map creates two majority-black districts in Alabama, while pushing the Huntsville-based 5th in slightly more Democratic direction.

The estimates in Dave’s App put Alabama at 4.66M people. The actual Census figure is 4.78M.

The 1st and 2nd engage in extensive territory swapping with the 2nd. The 1st gains gains the southeastern corner of the state; the 2nd gains much of Mobile proper. This roughly doubles the black percentage of the 2nd, taking it to 53% black, 43% white. Martha Roby should be in trouble. The 7th is very slightly diluted, dropping from 61% to 59% black. Making the 2nd majority black also let me shore up Mike Roger’s 3rd, which lost about 8 points off its black percentage.

In the north, the 5th needed to shrink. Glancing over the last decades worth of county-level results, the eastern side of the district seemed slightly more Democratic than the western side, so I lopped off Jackson County. Mo Brooks would probably still be fine here, but I’d rate this as the district most likely to flip to the Democrats outside of the majority-black ones.

I’m not entirely sure what the Republican will do with their control. The current 4th and 6th are R+26 and R+29 respectively, so a well-executed unpacking of those districts should end shoring up the other four GOP-held districts.


Top-line results: 3 R – 2 D – 1 S (Neutral year, open seat, quality candidates, my impression)

This map shores up Ben Chandler’s 6th district, while pushing the Paducah-based 1st into a potentially swingy seat. (I might be over-estimating Democratic chances there.)

The estimates in Dave’s App put Kentucky at 4.04M people. The actual Census figure is 4.34M.

Looking at recent governor and US senator races, I noticed that the geographically largest areas of Democratic support in Kentucky is in the central portion of western eastern half of the state. That support is currently cracked into parts of three districts. I consolidated that support into Chandler’s 6th (teal), which should go from swingy to solidly Democratic.

In doing so, I forced the 5th (yellow) to the west, eating up areas that are contributing to Republican margins in the 1st (blue). (The new 5th is very Republican — it’s the only district without a single county that went Democratic in either of the last two US Senate races.) This new 1st should be winnable for a Democrat under the right circumstances — for example, by eyeballing it, I estimate that Mongiardo probably won in the 2004 Senate race.

I actually think that my 6th might have a decent shot of being created if the state House Democrats can force incumbent-protection. It’s just that the first will need to be solidified for the Republicans by some territory swaps with the 2nd and 5th.


Top-line results: 3 R – 2 D – 1 S. (Neutral year, open seat, quality candidates, my impression)

This map creates two majority-black districts in Louisiana, while trying to make the Shreveport-based 4th as Democratic as possible.

The estimates in Dave’s App put Louisiana at 4.41M people. The actual Census figure is 4.53M.

The 2nd (green) and 6th (teal) are the intended majority black districts. The actual figures are more like 49.6% in each. The 4th (red) is 54% white, 41% black. I hope that’s enough to make the 4th competitive for the Democrats.

Most speculation I’ve seen indicated the Republicans will be trying to make a single Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans majority-black district. Given the recent rate of party switching in the Louisiana state legislature, I imagine they’ll probably succeed.


Top-line results: 5 D – 4 R – 2 S (Neutral year, open seat, quality candidates, my impression)

I originally presented this map in a comment in diary by drobertson. It fits the theme though, so I’m reposting it for consideration. This map is probably the most “good government” of these maps – each district basically corresponds to an existing political/cultural region of Virginia.

Its most notable feature is that presents two plurality black districts in the southeastern part of the state.

The estimates in Dave’s App put Virginia at 7.77M people. The actual Census figure is 8.00M.

1st (blue) – Peninsulas – Obama 46, McCain 54

2nd (green) – Suburban Hampton Roads – Obama 49, McCain 51

3rd (purple) – Urban Hampton Roads – Obama 69, McCain 31 — VRA: 49% black, 42% white

4th (red) – Richmond, Petersburg, and South Virginia – Obama 61, McCain 39 — VRA: 50% black, 44% white

5th (yellow) – Piedmont – Obama 47, McCain 53

6th (teal) – Shenandoah – Obama 43, McCain 57

7th (grey) – Richmond suburbs – Obama 42, McCain 58

8th (slate blue) – Arlington, Alexandria, north Fairfax- safe D

9th (cyan) – southwest Virginia – Obama 40, McCain 60

10th (magenta) – Prince William and Loudoun – Obama 56, McCain 44

11th (lime) — south Fairfax and Manassas – ???

The presidential percentages are back-of-the-envelope style. I used the 2008 figures to the nearest hundred and counted split cities/counties as if they were wholly within the district they were most in. I didn’t feel like delving into Fairfax precincts for the 8th/11th. The 8th should be just as safe as it is now, and I think, though I’m not 100% certain, that this version of the 11th is more Democratic than the current one. (Drobertson questioned this assertion at the time I made it, but agreed that this new district ought to be better for Gerry Connolly if not Generic D.)

The 2nd is more Republican than listed, but I don’t know how much more. I counted Isle of Wight and Suffolk as if they are wholly in it, but they are both donating their most heavily black precincts to the neighboring 4th and 3rd, respectively.

There’s a similar dynamic for the 4th and 7th, which are probably even more firmly in their respective parties’ control than it appears. I counted all of Richmond and Henrico in the 4th, but the majority white parts of each are actually in the 7th.

Notes on incumbents: Wittman, Scott, Cantor, Goodlatte, Moran, and Connolley are all fine. Rigell and Forbes would share the 2nd. Hurt lives in the new 4th. Griffith lives in the new 6th. Wolf lives in the new 8th. I assume all three of them would continue to run in the same districts anyway — all of them are in counties adjacent to their districts.

In the real world, the Virginia state senate Democrats should be able to force incumbent-protection, but seperating Richmond from Hampton Roads for two black opportunity districts won’t be happening.

KY-Sen: What Is Conway’s Most Likely Victory Baseline?

I’m not optimistic that Jack Conway will win in this environment, but he’s still in the game and so long as Rand Paul is his opponent, it’s a safe bet that he’ll remain in the game.  But Kentucky has become a brutally difficult state for a Democrat to win, and in the last three competitive Senate elections, they always came up short.  I haven’t encountered a detailed handicap of the current race so I thought I’d offer my own outsider observations and a request for some answers to region-specific inquiries.

The best baseline map I’ve encountered for a competitive statewide election in Kentucky was the 2004 Senate race between Dan Mongiardo and Jim Bunning.  The map looked like it would be a winning one for Mongiardo, who scored victories in 47 counties, piecing together impressively large margins in Jefferson County (Louisville) and Fayette County (Lexington), overperforming in east Kentucky coal country which was Mongiardo’s stomping grounds, and even winning a dozen or so conservative Democratic counties in Kentucky’s far west side, which has been trending hard against the Democrats since the Clinton years.

But Mongiardo’s map was missing one key element.  Jim Bunning scored solid numbers in KY-04, the district where he used to serve in the House, and where his margins in suburban Cincinnati and the northeastern coal counties near Ashland were insufficient to help Mongiardo pull off the necessary upset.  It seems less likely that either Conway or Paul will have any significant hometown turf wars the way both Mongiardo and Bunning did, so those advantages and disadvantaged should be neutralized this year.  

But the big question for me is….what does a winning Kentucky Senate map for Jack Conway look like?

My suspicion is the core of his support will come from Louisville and Lexington.  Mongiardo won these cities’ home counties by between 17 and 20 points in 2004, and if Conway is to make this race competitive, it seems like he would have to perform at least as well there as Mongiardo did….and probably quite a bit better as I suspect Paul will do better than Bunning in rural Kentucky.

Speaking of rural Kentucky, I’m gonna be glued to my computer on Nov. 2 watching the early returns roll in from east Kentucky.  This contest should be a perfect bellwether to determine if the region’s deeply Democratic past is gone forever, or simply stunted by their personal animus towards Obama.  I’m nervous that at least in the Obama era, the region could be major trouble.  There were two counties in the entire nation that voted for John Kerry by more than 60% in 2004 and then went for McCain in 2008.  Floyd and Knott Counties in eastern Kentucky were the counties.  Now I’m pretty confident that Conway will win in most of the counties in eastern Kentucky, but will they be soft victories or landslides?

It’s a very open question.  Will hostility to cap and trade guide coal country’s vote in favor of Rand Paul?  Will Paul’s calls to deregulate anything and everything to coal safety work to Conway’s benefit?  Or will these opposing factors ultimately be a wash?  Considering that east Kentucky’s returns are generally among the first to roll in, we should know early in the evening if Conway’s numbers in east Kentucky are gonna be sufficient enough for him to pull out a statewide victory.

Western Kentucky is gonna be a tough nut to crack.  Much like southern Illinois, the region was strong for Democrats in the Clinton era but has moved ferociously to the right ever since, so far that scandal-plagued Ernie Fletcher managed to win McCracken County (Paducah) in 2007.  This is from a county that was within a half-percentage point for going for Walter Mondale in 1984.  While Paducah itself is probably out of reach, there are probably some rural counties in the area that are winnable for Conway to help him even out the score a bit in that part of the state.  If Conway isn’t doing some business in western Kentucky, it’s hard to imagine he’ll win statewide.

Beyond that, there’s a semi-competitive area in north-central Kentucky in between Louisville and Lexington where Conway’s gonna have to score some wins to offset the 3-1 defeats he’ll almost certainly get in the southern tiers of Kentucky counties.

Now…question time.  What’s the media market situation on the outskirts of Kentucky and does either Paul or Conway have a presence there?  I’m guessing that northeastern Kentucky is in the Cincinnati and Huntington, WV, media markets.  Am I correct in assuming that in 2004, Mongiardo’s underperformance in that region had anything to do with a reduced or nonexistent presence in their media markets?  And what other media markets filter into Kentucky’s edges?  Cape Girardeau, MO?  Memphis, TN?  Nashville?  Evansville, IN?  Knoxville?  And are either Paul or Conway on the air there?  If neither are, I could easily see a benefit for the candidate who ultimately does choose to make an ad buy in the outlying media market.  If voters in Ashland, KY and the Democratic coal counties surrounding it see only Jack Conway ads on TV, they’re far more likely to vote for him than his stealth opponent.

And lastly, I’m sure all of us here are glad that Jack Conway beat Dan Mongiardo in the primary, but from a tactical perspective, would be better off with Dr. Dan given that he’d most likely be able to mine (no pun intended) massively higher margins out of his home base in and around Hazard, an area that based on recent trendlines is likely to go against the Democrat dramatically without Mongiardo on the ballot?  Or will Conway’s advantages in other regions of the state outweigh Dr. Dan’s in southeastern Kentucky?

I always get most excited over competitive races in Republican-leaning states where a Democrat needs to piece together a difficult coalition to eke out a victory.  This certainly qualifies, and I’m eager to hear from anybody who has some perspective on what we might expect to see here.

Arkansas, Kentucky & Pennsylvania Results Thread #2

10:48pm: Calling all Swingnuts! Let’s make ’em hear us over here!

10:40pm: LOL – Tim Burns wins his primary, according to the AP. Lucky guy gets to face off again against Rep.-elect Mark Critz in November.

10:37pm: Check out AR-Sen – Lincoln is now down to 45-41 over Halter. DC Morrison is at a surprisingly sprightly 14% – a rare over-performance from pre-election polling for a classic “third wheel” candidate. A little over 27% of the vote is in. Also, John Boozman just slipped below the 50% mark, while Jim Holt! is in second place.

10:33pm: Also for what it’s worth, the Swing State Project is calling PA-12 for Democrat Mark Critz.

10:29pm: DRUDGE SIREN ALERT: In PA-12, Tim Burns has conceded to Democrat Mark Critz! Woo hoo!

10:26pm: Crossing off another race off this list, the AP has called PA-17 for Tim Holden, who’s sitting on 67% of the vote. On the GOP side, David Argall leads Frank Ryan by 35-33 with 79% of the vote in.

10:24pm: The AP calls PA-11 for Paul Kanjorski… The dude’s currently sitting at 50.1% of the vote. Not exactly a ringing vote of confidence!

10:22pm: In PA-04, the AP has called the race for attorney Keith Rothfus, who obliterated NRCC favorite Mary Beth Buchanan.

10:20pm: With 233 precincts reporting, Critz leads Burns by 54-43. Our county analysis tells us that Critz is running ahead of where he needs to be in order to win this.

10:19pm: The AP has called the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for Joe Sestak!

10:17pm: Possible upset special? In AR-02, Joyce Elliott is leading House Speaker Robbie Wills by 42-28 with just 7% in. (Of course, if no one hits 50%, this sucker is going to a runoff.)

10:15pm: The SSP team is projecting Joe Sestak to win his primary by around 79,000 votes.

10:08pm: The AP has called two GOP House races in Arkansas, even though only a small chunk of the vote has been counted. In AR-01, Rick Crawford gets the nod, and in AR-02, Tim Griffin does as well. Dem contests in both races are still very much undecided.

10:04pm: Damn, son – the AP calls KY-Sen for Jack Conway! Woohah!

10:02pm: With 5% now in, Blanche Lincoln is up 46-41 on Bill Halter, with DC Morrison taking 13%. John Boozman on the GOP side is at 53%, just outside of runoff territory.

10:01pm: PA-06: Manan Trivedi up 60-40 with 37% in.

10:00pm: On the GOP side in PA-17, semi-hyped David Argall is beating Frank Ryan 41-32 with a little over half the vote in. Tim Holden is at a much healthier 70-30 over Dow-Ford.

9:58pm: Rep. Todd Platts (PA-19), who we theorized might have pissed off the teabaggers by wanting to become head of the GAO, is handily dispatching his opponent 72-26 (with less than 10% of the vote in).

9:57pm: Was PA-12 more like NY-23 than we thought? Establishment fave Tim Burns is only leading angry outsider (and 2008 nominee) Bill Russell 54-46 in the primary.

9:56pm: The AP has called the PA-Gov Dem primary for (unsurprisingly) Dan Onorato. He’ll take on Tom Corbett in the fall.

9:52pm: In PA-03, it’s a dogfight between the two dudes who spent the most money: Mike Kelly’s at 29% and Paul Huber’s at 28%, though Huber lead earlier. About 44%’s been counted.

9:51pm: With 40% of the vote in, Sestak now has a narrow lead over Specter, 51-49. But Specter isn’t winning many counties, and the remaining vote seems favorable to the challenger.

9:50pm: Mark Critz is doing well in PA-12. He’s up 58-40 with 21% reporting. Much of that is from Dem-friendly areas, but our model shows him improving 1.3% over recent Dem performance in the district.

9:48pm: Over in PA-10, hyped GOP recruit Tom Marino is leading, but with a pretty blechy 43% (27% counted). He has two opponents, though, who are splitting the remainder, so this may be good enough.

9:46pm: PA-06: With 10% in, SSP favorite Manan Trivedi is up 63-37 over Doug Pike. Let’s pray that holds!

9:43pm: A bunch more votes have poured in in PA-17, and Tim Holden is now on top 61-39 with around a quarter tallied. Still pretty meager, considering Dow-Ford has spent zilch.

Results are still coming in at a fast and furious clip in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. We’ll have Oregon results up later — 11pm-ish.


RESOURCES: SSP Election Preview | PA-12 maps

Kentucky, Pennsylvania & Arkansas Primary Results Thread

9:43pm: We’re just chewin’ ’em up and spitting ’em out, huh? Let’s move this conversation over here.

9:34pm: So our model is still liking Conway, to the tune of 7,700 votes. Serious squeaker, though.

9:27pm: I’m gonna guess Paul Kanjorski will hang on. With 28% in, he has 53% of the vote, while the once-touted Corey O’Brien is barely ahead of no-name Brian Kelly, 25-22. Numbers look rather like the IL-03 primary against Dan Lipinski in 2008.

9:25pm: I’m loving it – Keith Rothfus is absolutely hammering GOP establishment fave Mary Beth Buchanan, 64-36 with 25% reporting in PA-04.

9:23pm: 19% reporting in PA now, and Specter leads Sestak by 52-48.

9:20pm: With 25 precincts in, Mark Critz leads Burns by 59-39. These are some Dem-friendly precincts though, but Critz is holding down decent margins here based on our model.

9:17pm: With 3068 precincts in, Conway leads by only 45-42 (or just over 12K votes), but jeffmd is currently projecting Conway to win by 8,000.

9:15pm: Wow, look at Dem Rep. Tim Holden. With 18 precincts in, the guy’s getting spanked by 59-41.

9:13pm: 17 precincts are now in for PA-12, and Critz leads Burns by 59-38. This is fairly Dem-friendly turf, though.

9:10pm: Our latest projection has Conway ultimately winning by something around 4,000 votes.

9:09pm: 2846 precincts are now in, and Conway is now back up over 20,000.

9:05pm: With 2805 precincts in, Conway’s lead has dipped just below 20,000 votes. Our projection is still pointing to a 44-44 result.

9:03pm: Specter’s up by 58-42 with just 7% in.

9:00pm: 2751 precincts are reporting in Kentucky (leaving 824 on the table), and Conway’s up by 46-41, or just over 20,000 votes.

8:59pm: Heh — with just 7 precincts reporting in Arkansas, DC Morrison has 18%, and Halter leads Lincoln by 42-40.

8:54pm: Hoo boy — the abacus crew at SSP World HQ tells me that the latest projection shows a 44-44 race in Kentucky, with Conway winning a squeaker by 3,000 votes. However, we admit that our methods are crude.

8:50pm: Back in Kentucky, with 2654 precincts in (out of 3575), Conway still leads by 47-41 — or just under 22,000 votes.

8:47pm: You can also find the PA-12 special election results buried far down this page. They have Critz up by 59-41 in the single precinct reporting.

8:45pm: For PA-12 special election results, keep this link handy. Lots of other links are showing the primary nums.

8:43pm: We’re now up to 2377 precincts in Kentucky, and Conway leads Mongiardo by 47-41 (or about 23,000 votes).

8:41pm: KY-Sen turnout (so far): 328K voters in Dem primary, 212K in the GOP primary.

8:40pm: 2281, and it’s tightened to 47-40.

8:36pm: We’ve got 2237 precincts outta the oven in KY, and Conway still leads by 48-40. (Just 36 uncounted Jeffco counties, for those keeping score, though Conway is doing well enough in some of the smaller counties, too.)

8:32pm: The polls have just closed in Arkansas.

8:30pm: With 4 precincts reporting in PA, Sestak leads Specter by 131 votes to 114.

8:28pm: We’ve got two competing spreadsheets running by the eggheads at SSP Labs. One is projecting a 45-43 Conway win — the other a 46-42 Conway win.

8:25pm: 2009 precincts are now in, and Conway’s still sitting at 48-40. That includes almost all of Fayette County now, where Conway won by 52-38.

8:23pm: The boys down at SSP Labs tell me that Conway is, very crudely, projected to win by 45-43 right now. Variations in turnout could muck that one up, though.

8:21pm: 1845 precincts in — over half of the vote now — and Conway leads Mongiardo by 48-40. There’s only 60 precincts left in Jeffco to count, while Fayette still has 91 precincts taking a ganja break.

8:18pm: Hmmm — some voters were accidentally given two ballots in PA-12. Well, let’s hope that this one doesn’t come down to 178 votes!

8:15pm: 1703 precincts are now in, and Conway’s up by 48-39.

8:11pm: For whatever it’s worth, our crude back-of-the-envelope analysis has switched from predicting a Mongiardo win to a Conway victory. Conway’s also posting a narrow lead in Daviess County, home of Owensboro.

8:09pm: 1614 precincts are in, and Conway is holding onto his 49-39 lead over Mongiardo.

Polls have just closed in Pennsylvania. We’re still tracking the results in KY-Sen (D) and will bring you PA results as soon as they roll in. Arkansas (8:30pm ET) and Oregon (11pm ET) close later.


RESOURCES: SSP Election Preview | PA-12 maps

Kentucky Primary Results Thread

8:06pm: Now that polls have closed in Pennsylvania, let’s move this block party to a new thread.

8:03pm: 1449 precincts now in, and Conway leads by 49-39. We still have 91 precincts outstanding in Fayette and 96 in Jeffco. After that, we’re looking at a lot of itty bitty counties.

7:59pm: In KY-06, Andy Barr has won the GOP nod to face off against Dem Rep. Ben Chandler.

7:58pm: The AP has called KY-03 for Todd Lally, in a major voter backlash against Pizza Hut.

7:55pm: 1341 precincts are in, and Conway’s lead has expanded to 50-38. Only 96 precincts in Jeffco remain.

7:52pm: Aaron hears that the Mongiardo camp is worried about low turnout in rural counties.

7:50pm: Ladies and gentleman… the Associated Press has now called your 2010 Kentucky Republican Senatorial nominee… Rand Paul!

7:48pm: 1160 precincts are in, and Conway is up by 49-39. 93 precincts in Fayette remain, and Jeffco remains untouched.

7:41pm: 1004 precincts are in, and Conway leads by 49-38. There are still 127 precincts outstanding in Fayette and 186 in Jeffco. Will that be enough to help Conway hold on? Our crude back of the envelope says maybe not, but I’m also hearing signs of optimism from a source close to the Conway campaign. We’ll see!

7:36pm: 838 precincts are in statewide (out of 3575), and Conway leads 51-37. Keep in mind, though, that Jeffco is now well over half in (Conway is crushing by 60-27 there).

7:34pm: And over in KY-03, Air Force vet Todd Lally is beating the somewhat better-funded Pizza Hut franchise baron Jeff Reetz by 53-16. Someone I haven’t heard of before today, Larry Hausman, is sitting in second with 25%. Go figure!

7:30pm: Fayette is now half in (giving Conway 52-38 there so far), keeping the score at 47-40 statewide with 572 precincts reporting.

7:23pm: Mongiardo has narrowed the gap in liberal Fayette County — he’s now only down by 51-38 there. Overall, with 509 precincts reporting statewide, it’s still 47-40 Conway.

7:21pm: 465 precincts are now in, including an additional 142 from Jeffco, pushing Conway to a 47-40 lead.

7:14pm: 255 precincts in, and Mongiardo leads Grayson by 46-42. Still only 12 of 524 precincts in from Jeffco, though.

7:13pm: Ouch — so far, Trey Grayson is losing his home county of Boone by 30 points to Rand Paul.

7:08pm: 192 precincts now in statewide (including a handful from Jefferson County, where Louisville is located), and Mongiardo has regained a 45-43 lead.

7:06pm: In KY-06, attorney Andy Barr is leading a very divided GOP field with 69% of the vote. Just under 10% of precincts are reporting there.

7:02pm: With 141 precincts in, Conway has now pulled ahead by 44-43. Note that no precincts in Conway’s home base of Louisville have reported yet. Paul’s leading Grayson by 55-39.

6:53pm: We’re up to 44 of 3575 (still only around 1%). Mongiardo leads Conway 48-39 overall (with a surprising 7% for Deb Darlene Price); Conway is up 52-35 in Fayette County, where he’ll need to do well if he’s going to have a chance (it’s the location of the college town of Lexington and the state’s 2nd most populous county). Over in KY-06, Andy Barr seems to have the edge in the GOP primary, at 66% with 3% reporting. (C)

6:37pm: Alright, time seems to be progressing in the normal manner again. With 10 precincts apparently reporting, Mongiardo leads Conway 51-37. Paul leads Grayson 50-43.

6:31pm: I believe we can call this the Curious Election of Benjamin Button.

6:24pm: It looks like the AP (and, subsequently, the Politico) are having some early jitters — for some reason, the number of precincts reported keeps going down on their pages, but the total number of votes is increasing. Whatever the case, Mongiardo now leads Conway 50-38, and Paul leads Grayson by 48-45. Keep in mind that these early counties are generally expected to be more favorable territory for Mongiardo.

6:16pm: With just over 1% of precincts reporting, Mongiardo leads Conway by 56-34. Paul leads Grayson by 49-43.

Polls will close in the Eastern time zone portions of Kentucky at 6pm, and in the CT areas an hour after that. We’ll be using this thread to follow the returns in the KY-Sen, KY-03, and KY-06 primaries. We’ll check in with Pennsylvania (8pm ET), Arkansas (8:30pm ET), and Oregon (10pm 11pm ET) later in the evening.

RESULTS: Associated Press | KY SoS | Politico

RESOURCES: SSP Election Preview | PA-12 maps

Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon & Pennsylvania Primary/Special Election Preview

Maybe we can’t quite call it the “Super Tuesday” of congressional primary days, but based on the gravity of some of the races that will be decided this week, it wouldn’t be far off the mark. Two Democratic incumbent Senators are embroiled in stiff primary fights, and the outcome of both party primaries in Kentucky’s Senate race will weigh heavily on the competitiveness of that seat in November. All told, there are 28 elections worth watching today (by our count), with the promise of run-offs in Arkansas on June 8 if no candidate achieves a majority of the vote in their respective races. Also on tap for the weekend is the special election to replace Dem Rep. Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii’s 1st District, which is shaping up to be a disaster of Abercrombie’s making.


  • AR-Sen (D): Polling seems to indicate that the odds of Bill Halter coming out ahead of two-term incumbent Blanche Lincoln as falling somewhere between slim and none, but the presence of Paulist weirdo D.C. Morrison on the Democratic ticket may draw enough votes away from Lincoln to force a runoff in June. Outside groups have already spent millions on this race; labor has lined solidly behind Halter while Chamber of Commerce-types have funneled significant resources behind Lincoln, telling you everything you need to know about the ideological fault lines of this primary battle. If a runoff becomes a reality, expect this race to find yet another gear.
  • AR-Sen (R): Again, first place isn’t at all in question here. GOP Rep. John Boozman’s superior name recognition has given him a big edge on the other seven dwarves of the GOP field. What is at stake, though, is whether or not Boozman (like Lincoln) can avoid a resource-draining runoff, and if not, which Republican contender will advance to the next round along with him. Boozman has stayed close to the 50% mark in recent polling, with ex-state Sen. Jim Holt (the GOP’s ’04 nominee against Lincoln) and state Sen. Gilbert Baker clawing for second place.
  • AR-01 (D): With Marion Berry hitting the exits, four Dems have lined up to replace him, making a runoff a safe bet. Ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, a pretty conservative dude who lost a runoff for Lt. Governor in 2006 to Bill Halter, is seen as the front-runner — a notion confirmed by the lone poll we’ve seen of this race. However, Berry’s ex-Chief of Staff, Chad Causey, leads the money race, and state Sen. Steve Bryles has raised six figures, too. State Rep. David Cook, who is probably the most liberal choice in this race (he favors the public option, according to his campaign site) is also the least well-funded, pulling in just $54,000 through the end of April.
  • AR-01 (R): Republicans made a lot of noise about stealing Berry’s seat after he announced his retirement decision, but that sense of optimism didn’t result in an upgrade in terms of candidate recruitment. Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford started his race off slowly, but has begun to pick up the pace after Berry hit the exits, and that may be enough to make this a very competitive contest in November. The only candidate to join him the Republican primary is Princella Smith, a former aide to future ex-Rep. Joe Cao. Smith has proven to be something of a dud, only raising $67K for her primary against Crawford.
  • AR-02 (D): The primary to replace retiring Rep. Rick Snyder is a pretty interesting one, with state House Speaker Robbie Wills seemingly leading the way in terms of November electability and insider connections, and state Sen. Joyce Elliott enjoying the support of the district’s liberal base. Snyder’s former Chief of Staff, David Boling, is also in the race and has raised nearly as much as Wills, so his presence can’t be overlooked, either. The Dem field is rounded out by former Clinton School of Public Service programming director Patrick Kennedy and assistant Attorney General John Adams, both of whom have not raised much money are not expected to win a significant share of the vote.
  • AR-02 (R): Rove acolyte and ex-US Attorney Tim Griffin is expected to win this primary pretty easily, seeing as how he’s been out-raising Little Rock restaurateur Scott Wallace by a 6-to-1 margin. Wallace, however, tied Griffin at 20-20 in an early April poll of the race, and enjoys the backing of Mike Huckabee.
  • AR-03 (R): Good luck sorting through this orgy of teabaggery. A whopping eight Republicans are duking it out for the right to succeed John Boozman in the House, pretty much guaranteeing that this sucker is going to a runoff in June. That early April Talk Business poll suggested that we’re looking at a three-way race between state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, Rogers Mayor Steve Womack, and the aptly-named ex-state Sen. Gunner DeLay, but ex-DEA official Steve Lowry, businessman Kurt Maddox, and ex-state Rep. Doug Matayo could also compete.


  • HI-01 (Special): There’s not a whole lot that need be said about this crazy-ass jungle election, where Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou looks poised to steal this seat. He of course faces off against state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa and ex-Rep. Ed Case, who used to represent the state’s other CD. The one final point I do want to make is that I blame this all on Neil Abercrombie. Had he not resigned unexpectedly, we’d never have wound up on this situation. I can appreciate that campaigning for the governorship of Hawaii when you are needed in D.C. can be quite a tiring task, especially for a septuagenarian. But Abercrombie knew he wanted to run long ago. He should either have stuck out his term, or not have stood for re-election in 2008. (DavidNYC)


  • KY-Sen (D): The Big One. While the tradmed seems to neglect this race in favor of seemingly shinier objects like Arlen Specter’s primary in Pennsylvania or Rand Paul’s surprising strength among Kentucky Republicans, the Democratic primary is the true race to watch out of Kentucky tonight. 2004 nominee and current Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo had enjoyed a consistent and seemingly impenetrable lead against state AG Jack Conway, the candidate with less baggage to exploit in the general election. However, recent polls have suggested that Conway is coming on strong in the home stretch of this campaign, perhaps making the race a dead heat. Research 2000 had Conway pulling within three points while SUSA only had Conway down by one. This one should be tight.
  • KY-Sen (R): This one shouldn’t be tight. You know things are bad when Trey Grayson is whining like a DUMBocrat about Fox News’ apparent preferential treatment of Rand Paul. Despite the best efforts of Mitch McConnell and Dick Cheney, it looks like the teabaggers are poised to make a major victory tonight, as Paul leads by 18 points in the latest poll of this race. A Paul win today will make this a fascinating race in the fall — one that could potentially yield some major GOP headaches.
  • KY-03 (R): Republicans are truly leaving no stone unturned in their quest to take back the House, and have a couple of warm bodies to take on two-term Dem Rep. John Yarmuth. Jeffrey Reetz, some guy who owns 25 Pizza Hut franchises, is facing off against Air Force vet Todd Lally. Both of these guys have raised six figures for their campaigns.
  • KY-06 (R): After rocking his GOP opponent by 30 points in 2008, Ben Chandler has attracted a pack of mouth-breathers this time around, two of whom are somewhat well-funded. Attorney Andy Barr has been in the race the longest, and has raised over $400K. Retired coal executive Mike Templeman is his chief competition, while four other Republicans have only managed to raise chump change for the primary and are expected to be non-factors tonight.


  • OR-Gov (D): The main story on May 18 in Oregon may be the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, as there’s been little activity that would qualify as volcanic in either party’s open seat gubernatorial primary. The Democratic primary has been a low-key and civil contest between two long-time friends, former Governor John Kitzhaber (termed out after two terms in 2002, but angling for a return) and former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. Bradbury has big endorsers in his corner (Al Gore, Howard Dean) and gotten local progressives revved up by running to Kitzhaber’s left, but polling gives a wide edge to Kitz. (Crisitunity)
  • OR-Gov (R): After bigger names like Greg Walden and Jason Atkinson passed, the question in the GOP primary was whether anybody other than Allen Alley, a former high-tech CEO who lost the 2008 Treasurer race, was going to show up at all. Eventually Chris Dudley, a former Portland Trail Blazers center from the 1990s, showed up and immediately assumed front-runner status simply by virtue of name rec and money. Most polling has given a lead to Dudley, but Alley seems to be closing in on him, thanks in part to Dudley’s (very large) empty-suit-ishness. Both are from the moderate end of the GOP; the more conservative options, ex-state Sen. John Lim and anti-tax initiative grifter Bill Sizemore, are there mostly to provide comic relief. (C)
  • OR-01 (R): Sports industry consultant Rob Cornilles seems to have piqued the NRCC’s interest, as they’ve touted him as the man to take down Democratic Rep. David Wu in this D+8 suburban district. Before he can tackle Wu, though, he has to survive the GOP primary. Stephan Brodhead attracted some attention with his large bankroll, but SurveyUSA‘s poll of the primary indicates the main rival to Cornilles is teabagging mortgage broker John Kuzmanich. (C)
  • OR-05 (R): Similarly, the NRCC has its favorite pony in the 5th: state Rep. Scott Bruun, a moderate from the wealthy suburban portion of this somewhat rural district. There was some brief hubbub that Bruun was vulnerable to a challenge from Tea Party-aligned retired businessman Fred Thompson (no, not that Fred Thompson), but SurveyUSA recently found that Bruun is on track to nail down the nomination. (C)


  • PA-Sen (D): The big kahuna. For a long time, a lot of observers (myself included) wondered when – or even if – Rep. Joe Sestak would go on the attack against the party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter. Well, Sestak’s certainly proved all the doubters very wrong. Polls are as tight as can be, and while he may not pull it off in the end, Sestak seems to have timed things perfectly. This should be quite the barnburner. (D)
  • PA-Gov (D): A funny thing happened on the way to the primary: After a year of desultory polling showing pretty much all candidates in the teens and single digits, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato completely pulled away from the pack. According to Pollster’s trendlines, Jack Wagner, Anthony Williams, and Joe Hoeffel are all still mired in nowheresville, so unless a lot of polling is very wrong, Onorato will be the Dem gubernatorial nominee. (D)
  • PA-03 (R): There’s a crowded field to take on freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, but only two dudes have shown serious scratch – and both because they’re self-funders: retired businessman Paul Huber, who raised $200K and loaned himself another $300K, and auto dealer and ex-city councilman Mike Kelly, who lent himself $165K on top of $80K in individual contributions. Other wannabes include Cochranton insurance agent Steven Fisher, teabagger Clayton Grabb, physician Martha Moore, and Some Dude Ed Franz, who have all raised about $30K or less. Both Huber and Kelly have been on the air with TV advertisements. A big question is whether Huber’s fundraising edge will outweigh the fact that he was a registered Democrat for 33 years – and only switched parties in 2008. (D)
  • PA-04 (R): When Bush-era US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan (one of the names that kept cropping up in the US Attorney firings scandal) got into the race, Beltway pundits seemed to think the GOP primary would be a mere formality for her before posing a strong challenge to Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire in this R+6 district in Pittsburgh’s suburbs. They didn’t count on one thing: Buchanan’s apparent ineptitude at jumping from legal practice to electoral politics. We don’t have any polls to go by, but her anti-establishment opponent, attorney Keith Rothfus has outraised her and is certainly making fewer unforced errors. (C)
  • PA-06 (D): This race pits an SSP fave, physician and veteran Manan Trivedi, against someone we simply aren’t very fond of, newspaper publisher Doug Pike. But putting aside our personal preferences, what’s going to happen here? It’s hard to say, especially since we haven’t seen any polls. Pike, thanks to massive donations from himself totaling more than a million dollars, has a big money edge. He’s also gotten his share of labor endorsements, though Trivedi has scored some of his own, as well as the backing of some key county committees. I’m rooting for Trivedi, to be sure, but I think he has an uphill fight against Pike’s bucks. (D)
  • PA-10 (R): Here’s another district where the GOP thought a former US Attorney would be just what the doctor ordered, and they didn’t quite get what they thought. Tom Marino was their hyped pick for the race, but questions about Marino’s relationship with sketchy developer Louis DeNaples have loomed large over his campaign. Marino’s fundraising has been subpar as well; what is likely to help him pull it out in the primary is that his anti-establishment opposition is split, with Snyder Co. Commissioner Malcolm Derk his most prominent foe. (C)
  • PA-11 (D): Even though there’s a long-long-time Democratic incumbent here, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the primary is on the Democratic side, rather than for the GOP (where 2008 opponent Lou Barletta is on tap for a rematch). Up-and-coming Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O’Brien is taking on Kanjorski. While he has only a fraction of Kanjorski’s money, he’s trying to outhustle the crusty Kanjorski on the ground, and also making electability arguments about the incumbent, who barely beat Barletta in the much-more favorable 2008. Without any polling, it’s hard to guess whether we’re looking at a WV-01-style unplanned retirement for Kanjorski. (C)
  • PA-12 (Special): This, by rights, should be the main event tonight, as it’s the only Democrat vs. Republican matchup anywhere. It has all the makings of a dead heat, not only in terms of polling (most recently a 1-point lead for Republican Tim Burns over Democrat Mark Critz, according to PPP), but also the lay of the land. It’s an historically Democratic district with a huge registration advantage, but it’s trending in the Republican direction as district’s aged population gets its marching orders from Fox News instead of the union hall now. Much has been made of how this R+1 district was the nation’s only one to go from backing Kerry in 2004 to McCain in 2008. Critz’s close ties to John Murtha, and the fact that the special coincides with the hotly contested Democratic Senate primary, may help Dems win the day, though. (C)
  • PA-12 (D/R): The regularly scheduled primary elections in the 12th for November are also on the same day as the special. While it’s likely that, whatever the special election outcome, Mark Critz and Tim Burns will be facing each other again in the general, that’s not guaranteed. Critz is likely to beat Ryan Bucchanieri on the Dem side, but Burns is facing a tough challenge from Bill Russell and leading only narrowly according to a recent Susquehanna poll. Russell, who was passed over by the state party for the nomination, was the 2008 candidate; he’s best known as frontman for direct-mail scammers BaseConnect, and as such, has had enough money for TV ads. Could we see a Neil Abercrombie-type result where Burns wins a special and loses a primary on the same day? (C)
  • PA-17 (D/R): Most observers expect November to be a matchup of long-time incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Holden, and top-tier-ish GOP recruit state Sen. David Argall. Both, however, have primaries to get through first. Holden faces Democratic activist Sheila Dow-Ford, who’s attacking him over his anti-HCR vote. Meanwhile, Argall (vulnerable over the issue of legislative pay raises) is barely keeping his head above water against fractured opposition, led by veteran Frank Ryan, who’s had some surprising fundraising success. (C)
  • PA-19 (R): This has the potential to be a surprise: Rep. Todd Platts is an unusually moderate Republican given the R+12 lean of this rural district, and he’s also painted a target on his own back by publicly expressing interest on getting out of that job and moving over to head the Government Accountability Office instead. Opponent Mike Smeltzer is hoping to use that as a basis for giving Platts a good teabagging. (C)

    SSP Daily Digest: 3/17 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: As Reid Wilson says, here’s something you don’t see every day – at least, not in a Dem primary. Blanche Lincoln is attacking the labor unions who are supporting her opponent, Bill Halter. Lincoln is also doing her best to warm the hearts of the faithful by taking John Boehner’s side in the latest kerfuffle over House procedural tactics with regard to healthcare reform.
  • CO-Sen: Dem Sen. Michael Bennet has his first TV ad up, a $300K buy in Denver and Colorado Springs. Greg Giroux suggests that the timing is deliberate, since Bennet will be looking to blunt any possible momentum Romanoff might have received coming out of last night’s precinct caucuses.
  • FL-Sen: All the cool kids have already done it, which means anyone getting on the Marco Rubio bandwagon at this late date is just a fair-weather fan. Still, GOP Rep. Tom Price is chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the Borg collective mothership of right-wing crazy, so this gives Rubio the Good Wingnut Seal of Approval™. Resistance is futile.
  • MA-Sen: That didn’t take long – newly-minted GOP Sen. Scott Brown will be hosting his first inside-the-beltway fundraiser, at $1000 a head. Of course, it’ll be at the offices of lobbying firm Duane Morris. My advice to Scott Brown is to hold lots and lots of events with lobbyists. Also, become the anti-healthcare frontman for your party. Thanks for helping out with that, Mitch McConnell!
  • NV-Sen: Memo to reporters: Please include information about the size of ad buys (especially for attack ads) when you’re writing them up. There are too many tiny buys made solely for the purpose of spinning the media. We the people need to know if we’re being spun, too.
  • NY-Sen-B: Republican ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi officially offered himself up as a sacrificial lamb entered the race to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday.
  • PA-Sen: Arlen Specter snagged another valuable endorsement yesterday, this time from the 191,000-strong Pennsylvania State Education Association. (JL)
  • WI-Sen: A source close to Tommy Thompson’s jowls says that the former governor is “50-50” on whether he will play Droopy Dog in the upcoming remake.
  • SC-Gov: It’s payback time – Willard Mitt Romney is endorsing Mark Sanford protégé and state Rep. Nikki Haley for governor. Haley, as you’ve probably gathered, had endorsed Mittens in 2008 for the key SC primary. Other presidential wannabes have also returned the favor to their respective buddies; Reid Wilson has the full scorecard.
  • AZ-08: GOPer Jonathan Paton, who recently resigned from the state Senate to challenge Rep. Gabby Giffords, was added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program. Three other Republicans are seeking their party’s nod, including one candidate already on the Young Guns list, Marine Corps vet Jesse Kelly. Paton is almost certainly the establishment favorite, though.
  • LA-02: It’s hard to know what to make of the GOP’s attitude toward Joe Cao’s seat. On the one hand, they let him get mixed up with the sketchmeisters at BMW Direct. On the other, John Boehner just held a $500/person fundraiser for Cao last night on Capitol Hill. But then on the flipside, it looks like Cao will flip-flop and vote against healthcare this time, which will surely doom him in November. So why waste the money on him? Perhaps GOP bigs figure that buying Cao off will pay dividends when the party is able to point to unanimous opposition to the healthcare bill.
  • ND-AL: The campaign manager for former state House Majority Leader Rick Berg, a leading challenger to Earl Pomeroy, resigned yesterday, after misusing a state Republican Party email list and lying about it.
  • NY-13: Andy Stern wasn’t kidding. The SEIU is running a full-page ad in today’s Staten Island Advance urging Rep. Mike McMahon to vote in favor of healthcare reform. Greg Sargent has a copy of the full ad (PDF). This ad could presage a primary or third-party challenge should McMahon vote no, something Stern has already threatened.
  • SD-AL: Steve Hildebrand, a top Obama campaign official, says he’s considering a challenge to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, particularly if she votes against healthcare.
  • DNC: This is Not News. DNC chair Tim Kaine says that Organizing for America will help Dems who vote “yes” on healthcare reform… but of course doesn’t say that he’ll withhold help from Dems who vote “no.” I wouldn’t expect him to, hence why this is Not News.
  • Healthcare: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce absolutely, definitely, most assuredly is not not NOT concern trolling House Democrats on the upcoming healthcare vote. They have our best interests at heart, and spent money on polling because they genuinely care about us.
  • Much more interesting poll numbers on healthcare can be found here. It turns out that the public was evenly divided on Medicare before it became law, too. Now, of course, the program is unassailable.

  • Kentucky: A bill to let independents vote in Democratic or Republican primaries died in the KY House.
  • WATN: I guess with Eric Massa stealing the limelight these days, Mark Foley feels emboldened to make his return to DC. He’ll be a guest at one of those unduly cozy black-tie beltway affairs, the Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner.
  • SSP: I’m not done begging. We’re at 1,386 Twitter followers. SO close to 1,400. Make it happen. Pretty please?