Primary Election Preview

Although the people of Hawaii would beg to differ with my characterization (their turn is Saturday), this is the last big night of primaries for the cycle.

DE-Sen (R): Mike Castle would unquestionably be the strongest candidate the GOP could put up for the seat being vacated by appointed placeholder Ted Kaufman, but since when has that stopped the GOP? Castle is facing a surging teabagger, Christine O’Donnell, who’s received plenty of assistance from the Tea Party Express (or as James Hell would say, a quarter million dead presidents worth) and the Grizzly Momma herself. O’Donnell has plenty of baggage from her run against Joe Biden in 2008, but yesterday’s PPP poll has cat fud lovers salivating, showing a narrow 47-44 advantage for none other than O’Donnell. We can’t help but pull for an O’Donnell victory, which would singlehandedly tilt this race significantly in Team Blue’s favor. (JMD)

DE-AL (R): True SSPers will never pass up a race that has high egg-on-NRCC’s-face potential (or EoNRCCFP, if you will), something we might very well find here tonight. Two businesspeople – Michele Rollins and Glen Urquhart – face off, though Rollins has the backing of the state GOP; she’s technically more moderate than the full-fleged ‘bagger Urquhart. Urquhart had a 12-point lead in the last PPP poll of the race (which, of course, also indicated a very conservative primary electorate inclined to chuck Mike Castle). Both are on the air, and have had the requisite funds with which to do so ($433k spent by Rollins, $514k by Urquhart). It’s hard to decide who to root for here – let’s keep our mojo for the race one up on the ballot. (JMD)

DC-Mayor (D): Incumbent Adrian Fenty hasn’t been afraid to enact controversial policies since taking office in 2007. Most notable has been his support for his controversial Chancellor of Schools appointment, Michelle Rhee. Fenty’s unpopularity has been seized by City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, opening up a divide between the newer transplants and long-time residents, who seem to prefer Fenty and Gray, respectively. The Washington Post has endorsed Fenty, as has the more local Washington City Paper …which took the opportunity to call Fenty “the jerk that D.C. needs.” Regardless, Gray has led in recent polling, with leads ranging from 7 points in a Clarus poll to 17 points in a recent WaPo poll. Given that, Gray should be favored tonight; it goes without saying that tonight’s winner will be the prohibitive favorite in this overwhelmingly Democratic city. (JMD)

MA-09 (D): Labor activist Mac D’Alessandro has run an aggressive campaign against conservative Dem Stephen Lynch, who earned lifetime douchebag status by infamously switching from “yes” to “no” on the healthcare reform bill, in this South Boston-based district. D’Alessandro has enjoyed $250K in expenditures on his behalf from the SEIU (his former organization), and benefited from a late surge in campaign funds, but has still been badly out-raised by Lynch. (JL)

MA-10 (D/R): Fortunately, the Dem primary to replace outgoing Dem Rep. Bill Delahunt has been relatively calm. State Sen. Robert O’Leary and Norfolk DA William Keating are the players here, but it’s been hard to get a read on who has the upper hand. O’Leary released an internal poll in early August claiming a 6-point lead, while Keating enjoyed some late-breaking positive press from chasing down a purse snatcher over the weekend. Your guess is as good as mine!

Republicans hope to seriously contest this seat in November, but both their candidates – state Rep. Jeff Perry and ex-Treasurer Joe Malone – have significant baggage: Malone for several of his staffers stealing nearly $10 million from the Treasurer’s office under his watch in the ’90s, and Perry for his oversight of a police officer under his command who conducted illegal strip-searches of teenage girls while Perry was a police sergeant in the early 1990s. (JL)

MD-Gov (R): Former Governor Robert Ehrlich – who spent four years in office constantly clashing with the Democratic-controlled state legislature before his defeat by then Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley – is attempting a comeback. He faces a primary challenger from the Palin-endorsed businessman, Brian Murphy. Unlike Joe Miller in Alaska or Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Murphy’s continued to struggle in the fundraising department, and the Tea Party Express has yet to come bail him out. Palin’s endorsement, however, has allowed Ehrlich to portray himself as – shockingly – a moderate, something he was far from while in office. Ehrlich’s expected to win, but a weak showing could presage some conservative discontent with him…which may bode well for O’Malley in November. (JMD)

MD-01 (R): Suburban Baltimore state Senator Andy Harris – who teabagged then-Rep. Wayne Gilchrist before teabagging was popular and who we can thank for incumbent Dem. Frank Kratovil – is back for a rematch, but only if he can get past self-funding businessman Rob Fisher. The traditional divides are here again, with Harris being from NOT the Eastern Shore and Fisher being from the one area that could qualify as a population center, Salisbury. Neither candidate has been short on resources, with Harris having spent $664k and Fisher having spent $425k. Gilchrist, one of the last moderate GOPers in the House, has gone ahead and endorsed Fisher; Kratovil, of course, would prefer to face the poor ideological and geographic fit that is Harris. (JMD)

MD-04 (D): Incumbent Donna Edwards did us all a huge favor by ridding us of the incredibly douchey Albert Wynn in the primary in 2008 – Wynn soon proved his douchebaggery by taking his marbles and going home early, forcing the state of Maryland to outlay for a special election. Soon after Edwards took office though, various state and local officials began rumblings about a primary challenge, usually with some variation on her being too liberal …for an 85% Obama district. The only one who ultimately took the plunge was State Delegate Herman Taylor, who represents a section of upcounty Montgomery. It’s unclear how much traction Taylor’s been able to get, but his measly $60k raised total isn’t the best sign for him. Two other perennial candidates round out this field. (JMD)

NH-Sen (R): For a while, it looked like New Hampshire AG Kelly Ayotte’s chief competition would come from her left in the form of pro-choice businessman Bill Binnie. However, judging by the most recent polls, Binnie’s failure to gain any traction proves that running as a moderate within the modern Republican party is, in the words of one Edward M. Rooney, buying yourself a first-class ticket to nowhere. Instead, Ayotte appears to be subject to a credible late surge by the superbly-named attorney Ovide Lamontagne. Lamontagne is a favorite of movement conservatives but one who failed to attract the support of the scalp-collecting insurgents at the Tea Party Express. The two most recent polls have shown Ovide making a dramatic late run, but still coming up a few points short: Magellan has Ayotte up by 4, while PPP gave Ayotte a 7-point lead. National movement support never quite gelled consistently for Lamontagne, as he could only muster the backing of Laura Ingraham to match Sarah Palin’s full-throated Ayotte endorsement. Lamontagne is no stranger to upsets, though – he famously rocked the establishment in 1996 by winning the gubernatorial nomination that year. (JL)

NH-01 (R): Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, the early front-runner for the GOP nod to take on sophomore Dem Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, stumbled out of the gate with tepid early fundraising and reports of a bar fight dogging him in the press. A bunch of rich businessman sensed an opportunity and jumped into the ring, including Richard Ashooh, Bob Bestani, and Sean Mahoney. Mahoney, who’s pumped $900K of his own money into the race, seems to be the candidate to watch (the New Hampshire Democratic Party has even put out negative mailers against him). Guinta’s been dogged by even more bad press lately (including criticism from ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley over some weird financial irregularities), but it might be a mistake to count the teabaggish mayor out. (JL)

NH-02 (D/R): Progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster is kicking ass in money and polls over the Joe Lieberman-associated Katrina Swett for the Dem nod to replace Paul Hodes in the House. For the GOP, ex-Rep. Charlie Bass appears in control against radio personality and proto-teabagger Jen Horn (whom Hodes clobbered in 2008), though Bass actually felt compelled to hit the airwaves earlier this month. A Horn upset here is probably be too much to hope for, but one can always dream. (JL)

NY-Sen (R): Despite recruitment efforts by everyone from Karl Rove to Michael Bloomberg, the trio of contenders who emerged to challenge appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is decidedly lacking in stature. The state GOP put two men on the ballot at their convention: David Malpass, a former Reagan and Bush I advisor – and also the (clearly former) Chief Economist at Bear Stearns, and Bruce Blakeman, a one-time Port Authority commissioner (i.e., friend of George Pataki’s) and failed candidate for Comptroller in 1998. But as irony would have it, the one guy who had to petition to get on the ballot, two-term Westchester ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi (and father of former American Idol judge Kara), has consistently led in the polls. At least half of the electorate was still undecided even in the most recent surveys, though, so this race is potentially up for grabs. Malpass has spent $2.5 million of his own money, so he’s probably the biggest threat to DioGuardi, who’s tossed in a million.

BTW, believe it or not, but there’s also a Republican primary for the privilege of taking on Chuck Schumer, too. Political consultant Jay Townsend has had narrow leads (with tons undecided) over former CIA officer Gary Bernsten. (D)

NY-Gov (R): The most-touted Republican to enter the New York gubernatorial race wasn’t even a Republican – and that was the problem. The state GOP managed to recruit obnoxious anti-immigrant Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, but Levy couldn’t formally complete a party switch in time, and failed to meet a special 50% threshold (normally it takes just 25%) to get on the ballot at the Republican convention. That left the GOP with ex-Rep. (and 2000 Hillary Clinton victim) Rick Lazio, who presumably thought he could sleepwalk his way to the nomination. But wealthy businessman Carl Paladino – one of the most revolting human beings alive today in the Empire State (click here – NSFW) – jumped into the game, spending at least $2.5 million so far and claiming he’d spend four times that. Polling has showed Paladino gaining on Lazio, and the most recent survey (by Siena – PDF) actually had them tied in the low 40s. The winner gets to take on AG Andrew Cuomo and his (at least) $24 million warchest. (D)

NY-01 (R): What a hot mess. The GOP looked like it scored a strong recruit in wealthy businessman (what else is new?) Randy Altschuler, who has spent $2 million of his own money to date. He’s had to spend so much so early, though, because he most definitely did not clear the field. Former SEC prosecutor George Demos also entered the race, and has raised half a million bucks. That might ordinarily seem respectable, except for the fact that another guy also got in: Chris Cox, grandson of none other than Dick Nixon and son of the state party chair, Ed Cox. Cox has self-funded a million bucks so far, and boy has this three-way gotten nasty. The round-robin of attacks is too extensive to elucidate here, but rest assured that the CFQ (Cat Fud Quotient) is high indeed. Altschuler previously snagged the Conservative Party ballot line, so Rep. Tim Bishop (who has already benefitted from the flying fur) could catch a real break if Cox (or Demos) pulled out the GOP nod. (D)

NY-10 (D): Ed Towns is a bad congressman. Ed Towns should not be in Congress. Ed Towns, sadly, is very likely to stay in Congress. He’s facing a rematch from former Real World star Kevin Powell, a weak candidate with baggage of his own who hasn’t raised much and got killed in 2008. Towns has taken no chances, though, once again spending well over a million bucks on his re-election campaign. (D)

NY-13 (R): I’ll be honest – Staten Island Republican shenanigans baffle the fuck out of me. For reasons that have never been clear to me, they settled on lawyer Michael Allegretti as their preferred candidate (well, after trying to nominate disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella for his old seat) – who also owns a share of the family business, Bayside Fuel and Oil, which just happened to employ a longtime Gambino family lieutenant back in the day. Most amusingly of all, Allegretti’s opponent Mike Grimm served on the FBI squad which was responsible for investigating the mob in the 90s – including the Bayside Fuel deal. Grimm’s profile (9/11 first responder) helped endear him to national Republican figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, while the locals pretty much all cottoned to Allegretti. The race has been fiercely negative, with Grimm securing the Conservative Party line and Allegretti attacking Grimm for apparently not having a job –   and for never having voted in a GOP primary. (D)

NY-14 (D): Hedge fund attorney and Hillary Clinton fundraiser Reshma Saujani appeared out of nowhere earlier this year to challenge Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a congresswoman whose record few had ever complained about. Saujani has pulled in an impressive $1.4 million, largely drawing on Wall Street and the Indian-American community. Maloney, though, has outspent her challenger almost two-to-one and still has $2 million on hand, about ten times what Saujani has left in the bank. Saujani has been most notable for her desire to be kinder to the financial titans who ruined our economy – a message which perhaps might resonate in the pre-war buildings along Park and Fifth Avenues. But the 14th District, which stretches from the Lower East Side to Astoria in Queens, is more diverse than you might think. With any luck, Saujani, who has run a nasty campaign, will get crushed and slink away, though she’s already promised to run again in 2012 if she loses. However, we haven’t seen any polls since a long-ago Maloney internal (which showed her crushing). (D)

NY-15 (D): Trillion-term Rep. Charlie Rangel, the Warhorse of Ways & Means, has been laid very, very low by a slew of ethical misconduct allegations over the last few years, culminating in formal charges by the House Ethics Committee earlier this summer. For the most part, though, the political establishment has either stuck with Rangel or avoided taking sides, so his only primary opposition is fairly weak-sauce – and divided. Arrayed against Rangel are former aide Vincent Morgan, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, and activist Jonathan Tasini. None have raised much money, and the most prominent among them, Powell, not only has some baggage but also got crushed in a prior primary challenge against Rangel back in 1994. Despite the quality of the field, Rangel has managed to spend $3.5 million out of his campaign account this cycle – though half of that has been on legal fees. (D)

NY-23 (R): Another race with a tremendous Cat Fud Quotient. Teabaggers still love them some Doug Hoffman, who blew the special election against Rep. Bill Owens last November. But the creepy Hoffman has raised poorly since the special and has just $150K left. Meanwhile, Republicans eager for a fresh start have rallied around investment banker Matt Doheny, who has given his campaign $1 million and raised another $850K. The good news is that Hoffman has once again secured the Conservative line, while Doheny has scored a spot on the Independence Party ticket. So no matter what happens in the GOP primary (which, predictably, has been pretty negative), there will be a right-wing split in November for the second time in a row. The only poll of this race was a Hoffman internal from July showing him up by about thirty points. Still, I’m a little skeptical, as Hoffman’s surge last year was powered by a lot of outside money, which he hasn’t seen this time around. So this may well be anybody’s race. (D)

NY-AG (D): Around a decade ago, a guy named Eliot Spitzer (whom you might know as an up-and-coming CNN talking head) started transforming the New York Attorney General’s Office into a serious activist powerhouse, investigating and pressuring all manner of corporate miscreants. While current AG Andrew Cuomo’s public approach has differed from his predecessor’s, he’s continued the pattern of going after big fish – and, like Spitzer before him, he’s using the post to seek the governor’s mansion, so this unusually potent state office is one worth keeping an eye one. The apparent front-runner is state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who has racked up a broad array of establishment support – and consequently faced a pile-on by his opponents at a recent debate. His closest rival is probably Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, a law-n-order suburban conservative who never voted until age 37 (in 2002). Rounding out the field are Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, former state Insurance Commissioner Eric Dinallo, and former federal prosecutor and wealthy trial attorney Sean Coffey. The winner will face Staten Island DA Dan Donovan in the fall. (D)

RI-01 (D): House seats in blue Rhode Island can be a lifetime sinecure if so desired, so in the rare instances they’re open, expect a free-for-all to get in. When Patrick Kennedy announced his retirement, Providence mayor David Cicilline (who’d previously declined a widely-expected gubernatorial bid) jumped in and quickly dominated the fundraising scene. A month-old Brown University poll shows former state party chair William Lynch as his closest competition, with Cicilline up 32-15. However, the race’s third wheel, wealthy businessman Anthony Gemma has hit Cicilline hard with a very negative TV blitz, while the race’s fourth wheel, state Rep. David Segal, is relying on a grassroots push from unions, so they may be in stronger position now than when that poll was taken. The winner faces Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who faces a steep climb in this D+13 district but can exploit the harsh Dem primary as well having an open seat in this kind of climate. If Cicilline wins, he’ll be the third openly-LGBT member of Congress. (C)

RI-02 (D): Sometimes a House seat in Rhode Island is so tempting that a Dem has to go for it even when it it’s not open. That’s what former state Rep. Betsy Dennigan is doing, challenging entrenched Rep. Jim Langevin. In an interesting choice, Dennigan isn’t making any hay out of the abortion issue, which was at issue in several other previous primary challenges to the pro-life Langevin, who hews to the party line on most other issues. Without that on the table, don’t expect much fireworks here: the month-old Brown University poll finds Langevin leading 55-12. (C)

WI-Sen (R): Ron Johnson, wealthy owner of a plastics manufacturing concern thanks to a fair amount of help from that government he hates so much, is that rare breed of Republican: one who’s both the establishment’s preferred choice (after Tommy Thompson didn’t get in, they decided to go the self-funder route) and the fave of the teabaggers (complete with Jim DeMint’s seal of approval). Johnson has been spending heavily on advertising (although with an eye toward the general), so there’s likely to be little drama here: the only recent poll of the race comes from PPP in early July, who found Johnson leading little-known Dave Westlake 49-11. Businessman Terence Wall, who’d been Johnson’s main rival until he dropped out in a huff after the state convention, has made some noises about a late-breaking write-in bid, but is unlikely to be much of a factor either. (C)

WI-Gov (R): This was initially touted as a bout between two local Republican heavyweights (or at least welterweights): Milwaukee Co. Executive Scott Walker, and ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, attempting a return to politics after losing a close 1998 Senate election to Russ Feingold. Neumann has the added advantage of being a wealthy real estate developer, but for whatever reason — probably the “who’s that?” factor that sets in after twelve years out of the spotlight — Neumann hasn’t gotten much traction. The most recent poll, from PPP in early July, gave Walker (head of the state’s most populous county) a 58-19 edge. Certain Dem nominee Tom Barrett has usually polled better against Neumann than Walker, so there’s somebody to root for. (C)

WI-07 (R): Everyone assumes that hunky Ashland County DA/ex-reality star/ex-timber sports competitor Sean Duffy is well on his way to facing off against Democratic state Sen. Julie Lassa for the open seat left behind by David Obey in this D+3 district. Not so fast, there… as Mr. GOP Establishment, he still has to run the gauntlet of the inevitable teabagger challenge. He faces off against Obey’s 2008 challenger, Dan Mielke. (C)

WI-08 (R): For such a potentially consequential general election, we have surprisingly little intelligence about the GOP primary to pick someone to go up against vulnerable sophomore Rep. Steve Kagen. There seem to be at least five viable candidates here; the one who’s raised by far the most and that the NRCC seems to be favoring, though, is the one who’s never held elective office: contractor Reid Ribble. State Rep. Roger Roth may have an inherited name rec advantage (he’s related to the area’s former Rep., Toby Roth), and former state Rep. Terri McCormick seems to be the fave among the social conservatives, so either of them may well be in position to win as well. The field is rounded out by Door County Supervisor and NHL star Marc Savard, and Brown County Supervisor and 50s crooner Andy Williams. (C)

Closing times (all Eastern time):

NH – 7pm (8pm local option)

DE – 8pm

DC – 8pm

MD – 8pm

MA – 8pm

NY – 9pm

RI – 9pm

WI – 9pm

Redistricting Maryland, Plan A

I’m finally publishing this; what follows is Answer Guy’s first attempt at redistricting Maryland.

The objectives:

Preserve the two majority-African-American districts, one based in Baltimore, the other in Prince George’s County, per Voting Rights Act requirements. Easy enough.

Give all seven current Democratic incumbents a similar or better chance to win re-election than the current districts allow, especially in the case of MD-01. That means preserving the existing base of each incumbent as much as possible.

Keep communities of interest together as much as possible, if not too inconsistent with the above.

Create districts that avoid the ungainly shapes that many of the current Maryland districts have.  

More below the fold…

Map Overview

State Map

Note: Areas outside this map are in the districts you’d think they’d be in from the context.

First District


Description: All of the Eastern Shore counties – Worcester, Somerset, Wicomico, Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Kent, Cecil; portions of Anne Arundel County (Annapolis, Fort Meade, portions of Odenton, East Laurel)  and northern portions (Laurel, Beltsville, College Park, Greenbelt, and New Carrollton) of Prince George’s County. Colored dark blue here.

Incumbent: Frank Kratovil (D-Stevensville)

(Note: Likely Republican MD-01 nominee Andrew Harris, who has at least a 50-50 chance of winning this November, doesn’t live anywhere near here, and the areas which supported him the most last time and will again this time aren’t either.)

Map Change: This new MD-01 still includes the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland. But while the current MD-01 includes two chunks of land (one in Baltimore and Harford Counties, the other in Anne Arundel County) very heavy on Republicans; this MD-01 replaces those areas almost entirely (there are a few precincts in Anne Arundel in common) with territory very heavy on Democrats.  The Republican areas west of the bridges – which supported McCain in even higher numbers than the Eastern Shore did – got carved up. The Anne Arundel County portion got split, with most of it going to MD-07, but some portions going to MD-05. The Harford and Baltimore County portion got divided three ways, mostly into the new MD-06 but with small portions being picked up by MD-02 and MD-03.

1st District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Shore 437958 62% 79 16 3 1 1 43 55

Anne Arundel 132950 19% 57 29 4 8 2 62 37

Prince George’s 133292 19% 33 43 13 9 2 82 17

Total 704928 66 24 6 3 1 55 44

Old District 662062 86 11 2 1 1 40 58

Projected PVI: D+2

The Good News:

This is the most altered district, and by design, turning a strong Republican district into a Democratic-leaning swing district.

This district is in a sense designed for a guy like Kratovil, who would attempt to simultaneously appeal to swing voters on the Shore to support one of their own and to the Democrats in the rest of the district. The western portion of the current 1st gave John McCain 65% of their votes; the western portion of the new 1st gave Barack Obama 68% of their votes. The Anne Arundel portion is relatively thin, mostly avoiding Republican-heavy areas in the county to reach a highly diverse and heavily Democratic chunk of northern Prince George’s County. Due to VRA compliance requirements for MD-04, this MD-01 contains only a handful of black-majority precincts (in the Landover and New Carrollton areas.) The changes would still more than double the black population of MD-01, and the Hispanic and Asian shares of the electorate also increase dramatically with the inclusion of many diverse Washington suburbs like College Park, Beltsville, Greenbelt, Laurel, and Odenton.  . Obama’s 55% showing may overstate the Democratic leanings of this district a bit – though Kratovil was able to run 10 points ahead of the national ticket at the same time, and now most of the areas that backed Harris in that contest have been removed from the district.

It’s not guaranteed not to ever elect a Republican, but it would be very difficult for an arch-conservative of the Club For Growth variety to get elected here.

The Less-Than-Good News:

On the surface, the changes are pretty much all positive for Dems. However…the potential electoral dynamics change dramatically on several levels. Because I also placed a priority on not significantly endangering any of the current Democratic seats, this isn’t a strong enough Democratic electorate to get rid of a Republican who exhibits some measure of cross-party and independent appeal, particularly during a Republican-leaning election cycle. The Eastern Shore, who represent 62% of the new district’s population, still prefers Republicans more often than not, and so do parts of the Anne Arundel County portion of the district. As I said above, the 55% showing for Obama is probably not a new normal and the partisan lean would lose a few points if non-white turnout regresses to levels more commonly seen prior to 2008.  

It’s not hard to imagine competitive Democratic primaries that pit moderates against progressives that could produce candidates that either swing voters or base voters might find unappealing. The Democrats of the current MD-01 generally lean conservative, but Democratic candidates in this MD-01 would have contend with a much more varied electorate. Kratovil, especially if he were no longer an incumbent, would almost certainly face a primary challenge from his left of some sort if he were to run here, given his voting record.  

The Shore would dominate Republican primaries, due to the lack of registered Republicans in the rest of the new district, to a point the dynamics that produce a candidate like Andy Harris (someone with trouble appealing to Shore residents or to swing voters in general) would be unlikely to materialize. GOP candidates would mostly come from the Shore and might be able to use that to their advantage.  

Ironically enough, Wayne Gilchrest almost certainly still be in Congress if he had this map two years ago; there’s no way a wingnut primary challenge would have succeeded, and he’d be tough to dislodge in a general election even in a good year for Democrats across the board like 2008. In a Republican year, it’s not hard to imagine some types of Republican winning here, though a guy like Harris would have no shot, and not just because it doesn’t go anywhere near where he lives.    

Fundraising might become a higher priority, as the new district lines cut well into the very expensive Washington media market. To reach the whole district would involve using both Baltimore-based and DC-based media. The current district, by contrast, doesn’t really include much of anything that one might describe as a proper DC suburb.  

The Bottom Line:

In a 2012 election with Obama on the ballot, with these lines, though it’s not a slam dunk by any means, I like Team Blue’s chances, whether with Kratovil or with someone else.

Second District


Description: Contains southern portions (Edgewood, Aberdeen, and Havre de Grace) of Harford County; eastern, northeastern, and north-central portions (Dundalk, Essex, Middle River, Parkville, Timonium, and Cockeysville) of Baltimore County;  and northeast, east, central, and southern portions of Baltimore City. Colored dark green here.  

Incumbent: C.A. Ruppersburger (D-Cockeysville)

(Note: Likely Republican MD-01 nominee Andrew Harris lives here, though most of his State Senate constituents don’t.)

Map Changes:

This new MD-02 has been made much more compact. It no longer contains any portion of Anne Arundel County and doesn’t go west of Cockeysville anymore, saying goodbye to the portions of Owings Mills and Reisterstown currently within its borders.  Containing much more of Baltimore City than previous versions of the district did, it’s now the district that includes most of the areas of Baltimore of interest to tourists – Federal Hill, the Inner Harbor/Downtown, Mount Vernon, Bolton Hill, Fells Point, Canton, Greektown, and Highlandtown. It also includes a bigger chunk of Northeast Baltimore than the current version does. The whole of southeastern Baltimore County is still here, and the Harford County portion is very similar (slightly smaller) to what is in the current district.

2nd District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Baltimore City 277202 39% 45 47 4 2 1 82 17

Baltimore County 339213 48% 76 15 4 3 1 48 50

Harford 88267 13% 65 26 4 2 2 55 43

Total 704682 62 29 4 3 1 62 36

Old District 662060 66 27 2 2 1 60 38

Projected PVI: D+9

The Good News:

The addition of central Baltimore is the main reason that the new electorate moves two points to the Democrats, more than making up for the loss of some heavily Democratic northwest suburbs given to MD-03 and MD-07. This district does contain several city neighborhoods in outlying parts in northeast and far eastern Baltimore that are neither particularly liberal nor particularly Democratic, but also contains several mostly black precincts where the Republican share of the vote is in the low single digits.

The Baltimore County portion, about half the district, was carried by McCain, but many state and local Democrats, most notably incumbent Ruppersburger, have outperformed Obama significantly in these areas, particularly the East Side, in a development widely discussed in other SSP diaries about Maryland. And while Harford County as a whole may tilt Republican, the table above shows that the section of it included in MD-02 does not.

The Not-So-Good News:

This district may have been carried by Bob Ehrlich in his gubernatorial race in 2002 and looks more like the district he used to represent in the 1995-2003 period than the current MD-02 does; of the six districts designed to be relatively safe for Democrats, the Republicans have a deeper bench of officeholders at the state and local level than in any of the others.  There are signs that the east side of Baltimore County might be trending away from its traditional Democratic lean. Still, it is very hard to imagine even Ehrlich or a Republican who can duplicate his appeal winning in a district where nearly 40% of the constituents are Baltimore City residents.

As a secondary concern, this portion of Baltimore County is home to a lot of conserva-Dems who might be able to install a not-particularly-loyal Democrat into the seat in an open-seat situation if the city vote is either low or split.  

The Bottom Line:

Dutch Ruppersburger doesn’t really need the help, but this map gives him some anyway. You never know when a seat is going to become open. From a redrawing point of view, keeping this district out of northwest Baltimore County helped make it and MD-03 much more compact with more appealing shapes without affecting their respective partisan makeups much. It’s a set of communities that hang together pretty well. Should remain in the Democratic column.

Third District


Descriptions: Contains northern and northwest portions of Baltimore City, northern and western portions (Towson, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Randallstown) of Baltimore County, all of Howard County, northwestern portions (Jessup, Hanover) of Anne Arundel County, and northeastern portions (Damascus, Laytonsville, Olney, Burtonsville) of Montgomery County. Colored purple here.

Incumbent: John Sarbanes (D-Towson)

Map Changes:

These are dramatic changes as well, as the new MD-03 is mostly pushed out of Baltimore (and pushed out of downtown entirely) and Annapolis yet is still made more Democratic, mostly by adding new territory in the west via moving more into Washington suburbs.

The seemingly arbitrary pockets of East Baltimore are gone; what remains is more cohesive and more easily definable set of northern and northwestern city neighborhoods. Roughly from east to west, they are Waverly, Charles Village, Guilford, Homeland, Roland Park, Hampden, Mt. Washington, and upper portions of Park Heights; most are predominantly white (Park Heights and Waverly are mostly black while Charles Village is one of the most integrated parts of Baltimore) and relatively liberal.

The Baltimore County portion does contain some conservative exurban areas in northern Baltimore County (Sparks and Pheonix areas) but is concentrated mostly in more urban Towson and Pikesville. Some precincts to the west and northwest of Baltimore are instead in the black-majority MD-07, but this portion of MD-03 does contain some majority-black precincts. The Arbutus/Halethorpe/Landsdowne area in southern Baltimore County has been removed.

Howard County, previously split with MD-07, is now included in its entirety.

A small portion of Anne Arundel County does remain, but it now goes nowhere near Annapolis, instead staying close to the B-W Parkway.

The addition that sticks out most is the new territory in Montgomery County, about 130K residents, mostly outer suburbanites. There are a few precincts that carry Silver Spring, Rockville or Gaithersburg addresses, but this MD-03 contains none of either of the cities of Rockville or Gaithersburg, and nothing particularly close to the core of Silver Spring, as everything here is well outside the Beltway.

Things had to change for several reasons. One is that the population distribution in the state is shifting away from Greater Baltimore in general and Baltimore City in particular and some district based in or around Baltimore was inevitably going to end up with more Washington suburbanites. Another is that to fix the hideous shapes of some of the current districts required cutting off some of the more ungainly-looking appendages.  The current MD-03 is a group of pockets joined together by a series of thin strands and cleaning that up required shedding some of the pockets and filling out others; the threads running to the east were incompatible with the rest of the plan for the state, so the only direction to go was to the west.  

3rd District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Baltimore City 92372 13% 61 29 3 5 1 81 17

Baltimore County 193424 27% 66 24 3 5 1 59 39

Howard/Arundel (Balt. Area) 167389 24% 63 18 5 12 2 59 39

Howard West (DC Area) 120254 17% 64 17 5 11 2 63 35

Montgomery 131144 19% 64 15 9 10 2 62 37

Total 704583 64 20 5 9 2 63 36

Old District 662062 77 16 3 3 1 59 39

Projected PVI: D+10

The Not-So-Good News:

It’s often awkward when redistricting changes a constituency this much, even if in the abstract the changes are favorable to an incumbent seeking re-election, as they are here. At some level, this would be like an open-seat race as far as about half the electorate is concerned. It might even be more awkward than usual in this case. The table lists the different components of the district; I divided Howard County into areas likely have some connection to Baltimore (roughly anything north of Route 32 and east of Route 29) and those areas unlikely to know much about Baltimore and its politics. Throw the latter in with MoCo and that’s about 36% of the district that has no Baltimore connection. Reaching them would require investing in an expensive new media market. (Though there are already probably some residents of the current MD-03 who are better reached via Washington media than Baltimore media because Washington casts a much bigger shadow.) Incumbent John Sarbanes lives in Towson in Baltimore County and his family is based in Baltimore; though his name is well-known in the western portions of the new MD-03, he himself is not.

The Good News:

From Democrats’ point of view, simply put, what could have become a potential swing district in a year with low Baltimore City turnout is made four points more Democratic. These new constituents aren’t likely to vote Republican, especially compared with what else could have been placed in this district. The Republican bench here is almost entirely confined to two areas, one in western Howard County, the other in northern Baltimore County, that have little in common with the rest of the district. The main bases of the district since the ’90s have been north Baltimore, Towson, Pikesville, and Columbia, and they’re all still here.

From Baltimore’s point of view, this is a district that even in an open-seat Democratic primary or general election is still more likely to choose a Baltimore-area representative than one from closer to DC; not only do most residents of the district live closer to Baltimore, but the DC-focused areas contain large numbers of new, less-established residents with no ties to existing political cliques. (Obviously, this isn’t good news for Montgomery County’s clout, but they’d they have no less than now.)

From Sarbanes’ own point of view, these new areas, in addition to not being of much help to future Republican opponents, aren’t especially likely to form the base for any successful region-based (notenough of them) or ideology-based (not different enough from the rest of the district to matter) primary challenges. And any Baltimore-area politician, looking at a future statewide run is going to need to be known in MoCo.

Bottom Line:

This district should be safe for John Sarbanes and is unlikely to be in danger of flipping to the Republicans should he decide to move on.

Fourth District


Description: Portions of Prince George’s County (Ft. Washington, Oxon Hill, District Heights, Capitol Heights, Glenarden, Cheverly, Hyattsville, Langley Park) close to Washington, DC, and eastern and central portions (Takoma Park, East Silver Spring, Wheaton, White Oak, Burtonsville) of Montgomery County. Colored red here.

Incumbent: Donna Edwards (D-Fort Washington)

Map Change: This MD-04 sheds some Upper Montgomery territory to the expansion of MD-03, and cedes some of central and southern Prince George’s to MD-05. It picks up more of close-in eastern Montgomery County from MD-08 for the sake of compactness.

4th District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Prince George’s 435116 62% 8 70 18 3 1 93 6

Montgomery 268281 38% 38 25 21 14 2 77 21

Total 703397 20 53 19 7 2 87 12

Old District 662062 27 57 8 6 0 85 14

Projected PVI: D+32

The Good News: This version of MD-04 is even more strongly Democratic (despite reducing the African-American share of the residents from 57% to 53%) which ranks it among the most Democratic and most liberal districts in the nation.  I did not set out to strengthen the Democratic lean here, it’s a natural consequence of removing less Democratic far-flung areas like Clarksburg and making things more compact and leaving room for the MD-03 shift chronicled above. It’s interesting from a political-demography perspective; it’s not every day you can change a district’s borders to include fewer African-Americans and yet increase the Democratic share of the vote. From Edwards; perspective, the increase in the Democratic vote in Montgomery also has the effect of making a Prince George’s County-based primary challenge tougher.

The Not-So-Good News: There are no Republican-leaning areas anywhere near here to neutralize, unless one wants push these borders way south to break up Southern Maryland or way north to get some less Democratic parts of Montgomery or Howard Counties, and I had good reasons not to do either.

Fifth District


Description: Southern and central portions (Crofton, Millersville, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Deale) of Anne Arundel County; central, western and southern portions (Bowie, Seabrook, Largo, Mitchellville, Forestville, Upper Marlboro, Brandywine, Acokeek) of Prince George’s County; all of Charles County; all of Calvert County; all of St. Mary’s County. Colored yellow here.

Incumbent: Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)

Projected PVI: D+12

Map Change: Less than many districts. The new MD-05 is changed mostly to help MD-01, shedding areas in northern Prince George’s County (such as Laurel, Greenbelt, and College Park) and western and central Anne Arundel County.  It doesn’t weaken as a strong Democratic district due its new areas in central Prince George’s County left behind by MD-04, a change reflected in the demographics numbers as the proportion of African-Americans increases from 30% to 36%.

5th District

Anne Arundel 120226 17% 84 9 3 2 1 45 54

Prince George’s 252444 36% 25 65 5 3 2 87 12

Charles 140764 20% 52 39 4 2 2 64 35

St. Mary’s/Calvert 190276 27% 79 15 3 2 2 45 54

Total 703710 55 36 4 3 2 66 33

Old District 662060 60 30 4 4 0 65 33

The Good News:

A reasonably safe Democratic district (at least by 2008 metrics) moves one more point in that direction. Southern Maryland is kept together as a unit. From a pro-diversity point of view, an African-American would have a decent shot in an open seat Democratic primary here, more so than the currently existing MD-05. Though there is a reasonable Republican farm team in this district, it would be very hard to overcome the Democratic bloc vote in Prince George’s, especially as Charles County heads in a similar direction.

The Not-So-Good News:

Hoyer and the Democrats, though they still doesn’t have much reason to worry, are now slightly more dependent on the African-American vote in MD-05, meaning that a lower turnout model would move this district closer to the new MD-02 or MD-03 in partisan breakdown rather than a truly safe-in-all-circumstances seat.  This would be one of the best places in the nation for a black Republican to launch a political career.  

Our Majority Leader should be fine here, and whenever the day comes, his Democratic successor here should be as well.

Sixth District


Description: All of Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties; western, northern, and eastern portions (Middletown, Thurmont, Walkersville) of Frederick County; all of Carroll County; far northern (Upperco, Parkton) and northeastern (Perry Hall, Baldwin) portions of Baltimore County; central and northern portions (Joppa, Bel Air, Jarrettsville, Pylesville) of Harford County. Colored teal blue here.

The Incumbent: Roscoe Bartlett (R-Frederick)

(Note: Republican MD-01 nominee Andrew Harris doesn’t live here, but most of his current State Senate district is in here, and so are the areas of MD-01 who supported him the most last time and will again this time.)

Map Changes:

It’s pretty obvious what happens here. The small portion of Montgomery County (mostly Damascus) is handed off to MD-03. The City of Frederick and its immediate environs, plus the area around Brunswick, are given to MD-08. The Reistertown area is now in MD-03. In exchange, the new MD-06 picks up a bunch of areas from the former MD-01, in northeastern Baltimore County and central Harford County. In partisan terms, most of the few areas left in MD-06 that were favorable, or even neutral, to Democrats are gone; all but one of the precincts in this district carried by Obama are in Hagerstown, the sole exception being a precinct in Cumberland that Obama carried by five votes.  

6th District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Western Maryland 320515 89 6 2 1 1 38 60

Baltimore Exurban 383311 91 4 2 2 1 33 65

Total 703826 90 5 2 2 1 35 63

Old District 662060 92 5 1 1 0 40 58

Projected PVI: R+18

The Good News:

There are seven Democrats in an eight-member delegation. None of them have to run in this district or any portion of it. (It was not a goal of mine to make Bartlett move.)

On the upside, there could be some entertainment value the next time this seat opens up (Bartlett is no spring chicken) as the various GOP aspirants each try to out-wingnut each other. The only other real subject of potential interest is seeing if a Western Marylander can gain traction in a district where denizens of Baltimore exurbs are more numerous.

The Not-So-Good News:

There are still enough Republicans, and areas full of them, in Maryland to command one district. Here it is.  

More seriously, one consequence of generating a district like this is that Democrats, independents, and liberal-to-moderate voters in general have very little say in who gets elected to represent this district. While that’s good for the Democrats, both nationwide and in Maryland, in some sense – anyone who can survive a GOP primary in this electorate has slim chances of developing the sort of cross-party appeal a Republican would need to win statewide, and we’re talking about a state GOP that’s already skilled at cutting off its nose to spite its own face here – it’s bad from a good-government perspective. Competitive races are good for many governmental functions, and I know that exercises like this one that go on in state capitals coast-to-coast tend to make such contests less likely.

But there’s no way I’m going to unilaterally disarm.  

Bottom Line: Safe Republican; not much else to say.

Seventh District


Description: Portions of east-central and western Baltimore City; western and southwestern portions (Lochearn, Woodlawn, Catonsville, Arbutus, Halethorpe) of Baltimore County; north-central and northeastern (Brooklyn Park, Linthicum, Severn, Glen Burnie, Pasadena, Arnold, Severna Park) portions of Anne Arundel County. Colored medium gray here.

Incumbent: Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore)

Map Changes:

There’s a little less of Baltimore here now, MD-02 in particular grabbing a larger share; what remains is two clusters of heavily black neighborhoods (the East Baltimore is section centered just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital; the larger West Baltimore section expands westward from Druid Hill Park, and follows Reisterstown Road, Liberty Heights Avenue, Route 40, and Frederick Avenue outwards) joined by a narrow neck around where North Avenue meets Interstate 83. 95% of its votes went to Obama. Though there are some pockets of stable middle-class neighborhoods to be found here, the majority of these neighborhoods are beset by longstanding issues of poverty, crime, and urban blight.

The Baltimore County portion includes most of the majority-black suburbs to the west of Baltimore proper. The new version contracts slightly in the Interstate 70 area but expands towards Randallstown out Liberty Road. It now includes all of Catonsville and inherits the southwest corner of Baltimore County from MD-03. All in all, the Baltimore County portion of MD-07 is about evenly split between blacks and whites.

The Anne Arundel portion is inherited from MD-01, MD-02, and MD-03, and is designed to sop out Republican areas formerly assigned to those districts. Collectively, it gave 55% of its votes to John McCain.

7th District Pop Pct Wh Bl Hisp Asn Oth Oba McC

Baltimore City 267345 38% 6 91 1 1 1 95 5

Baltimore County 191107 27% 42 49 3 4 2 73 25

Anne Arundel 246238 35% 82 10 3 3 2 43 55

Total 704690 42 51 2 3 1 69 30

Old 662060 35 59 2 4 1 79 20

Projected PVI: D+15

The Good News:

Fewer wasted Democratic votes. Of the seven Democrats in the delegation, only Donna Edwards in MD-04 needed less help. It’s still VRA compliant.

As I explain below, Cummings isn’t going to be pleased. However, if he harbors statewide ambitions, introducing himself to Democrats in northern Anne Arundel County might help him emerge from what could be a crowded primary field.  

The Not-So-Good News:

Democrats are 10 points weaker here now, for three reasons – the new MD-07 has a smaller share of Baltimore City (mostly shedding racially mixed or mostly white areas with liberals more needed elsewhere), a lower percentage of African-Americans (from 59% to 51%), and a shift in suburban population from [relatively] Democrat-family portions of Howard County to more Republican-leaning portions of Anne Arundel County. There’s a bit of a polarized electorate here; you can draw a line through Baltimore County on Route 40 and then follow the southern border of Baltimore City and you’ll discover mostly black Democratic voters on the north side of the line and mostly white Republican voters on the south side. What keeps the district out of the swing category despite this is that the few exceptions to the rule – Brooklyn Park and Severn have sizable African-American populations, and Democrats do fairly well in Catonsville –  are all on the southern side of the divide.

Incumbent Eli Cummings will likely not be a happy camper, though he probably doesn’t have much to worry about. He’d have to introduce himself to a whole new set (about 40% of this district is brand new) of constituents, many of whom are strongly inclined to support his Republican opponents.  It’ll be easier to recruit Republican challengers from Anne Arundel than from any area he now represents. If an African-American could somehow emerge from a Republican congressional primary, he’d have a better chance here than in most places.

But this district still gave Obama 69% of its votes; even if that’s a vote ceiling, any GOP candidate would need to run double-digits ahead of the national ticket to even have a shot, and rare is the candidate that can accomplish such a feat, even in an open seat situation.  

Bottom Line:

This seat’s been weakened (by necessity) quite a bit but still isn’t going to show up on any GOP potential pickup lists anytime soon, with or without Cummings.

Eighth District


Description: Southern, central, and western portions (Silver Spring, Kensington, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg, Poolesville) of Montgomery County; southern and central portions (Frederick City, Urbana, Brunswick) of Frederick County. Colored lavender here.

Incumbent: Chris Van Hollen (D-Kensington)

Map Changes:

MD-08 moves out of Prince George’s County and cedes a large chunk of eastern Montgomery County (Takoma Park, parts of Sliver Spring, Wheaton, White Oak) to MD-04. In exchange MD-08 moves up into Frederick County, taking the City of Frederick and its environs from MD-06. The result is a less Democratic but still safe district.

8th District

Montgomery 551255 78% 59 11 13 14 2 71 27

Frederick 152526 22% 74 12 8 5 2 53 45

Total 703781 63 12 12 12 2 68 30

Old District 662060 63 17 14 11 6 74 25

Projected PVI: D+15

The Good News:

Fewer wasted Democratic votes. As a district with Republican-leaning border areas not subject to any VRA compliance mandates, it’s a pretty obvious candidate for dilution to everyone. And even the more conservative Frederick County portion of the district was carried by Barack Obama in 2008.

The Not-So-Good News:

The Democratic bottom line shifts downward six points, which is about what one would expect when shifting 25% of a district from one of the most heavily Democratic-voting areas in the country to a 50-50 area. The Frederick area, though it’s becoming friendlier to Democrats with every cycle, has long been a source of Republican candidates for every conceivable office.

Not that I think it matters much now, but this new version of MD-08 looks a lot more like it did when Republican Connie Morella held it down in the 1990s. Had this been the playing field over the last decade worth of House elections, I imagine that there’s at least a chance she’d still be on Capitol Hill now as an increasingly lonely voice for the old Eastern-style Republican in the GOP caucus. Morella is almost certainly too old to make a comeback now, and her party has spent the intervening decade making itself extremely unappealing to voters in districts like this one anyway.  

The Bottom Line:

Van Hollen or whatever Democrat succeeds him shouldn’t have a problem getting re-elected in this district.

Extra Maps:



North of DC

DC North

East of DC

DC East

SSP Daily Digest: 5/10 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: While offering a commencement address at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Michelle Obama gave a shout-out to all the Democratic bigwigs sharing the dais with her: Gov. Mike Beebe, his wife Ginger, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Mark Pryor and even state AG Bobby Dustin McDaniel. Everyone, that is, except for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who was also on stage. Stay classy, Michelle.
  • KS-Sen: The not-particularly pleasant GOP race to succeed Sam Brownback has gotten even uglier, with Rep. Todd Tiahrt accusing frontrunner Rep. Jerry Moran of pulling “a John Kerry” flip-flop on tax cuts. Moran, leading in the polls, has largely been sticking to a Rose Garden strategy and refusing to respond to Tiahrt’s provocations.
  • NV-Sen: Sue Lowden’s mom must have taught her as a child that if you pick at a scab repeatedly, it will heal faster. That can be the only explanation for Lowden’s newest TV ad, in which she brings up the damn chicken business yet again!
  • PA-Sen: Joe Sestak now has a four-point lead over Arlen Specter in Muhlenberg’s tracking poll, 46-42. A day earlier, Sestak took his first-ever lead in public polling in the tracker. Also, here’s a good observation: Specter voted against Elana Kagan when she was nominated to be Solicitor General. Now that it looks like she’s going to be tapped for the Supreme Court, he’ll have to very publicly flip-flop on this one barely a week before the primary.
  • UT-Sen: As you probably saw by now, longtime Utah Sen. Bob Bennett was denied renomination at the GOP convention this past Saturday. Instead, businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee will duke it out in a June 22nd primary. Lee seems to be the teabagger fave, as he immediately garnered Jim DeMint’s endorsement once he made it past the third and final round of voting.
  • Meanwhile, Bennett is still holding out the possibility of waging a write-in campaign – which is not out of the question given that Utahns in general like him a lot more than Republican convention delegates. My understanding, though, is that he could only run as a write-in in the general election, not the primary.

    Anyhow, while Bennett’s never self-funded before (so far as I know), he is actually extremely wealthy, with assets potentially in excess of $30 million. If turnout is about 600K voters and a Dem can get a third of that, then Bennett only needs 200K to win a squeaker. On the flipside, John Cornyn is pledging to support the GOP nominee, and in modern times, I think only Strom Thurmond has gotten elected to the Senate via write-in. But nevermind all that – do it, Bob… for America!

  • FL-Gov: Surely by now you’ve heard about anti-gay activist George Rekers’ European escapades with a young man he hired from a site called Rentboy. If not, read this now. The story just got a lot better, though, with word that Florida AG Bill McCollum once paid Rekers at least $60,000 to serve as an expert witness for the state’s attempt to ban gay adoptions. Rekers’ testimony was rejected by the judge as not credible, and the ban was found unconstitutional. All in a day’s work!
  • KY-Gov: Kentucky’s gubernatorial seat isn’t up until 2011, but a trio of media outlets commissioned a poll from Research 2000 nonetheless. It finds Gov. Steve Beshear leading House Speaker Greg Stumbo in a hypothetical primary, 55-28. In the general election, it shows Beshear up 44-37 over GOP Ag. Comm’r Richie Farmer. Beshear’s job approval is 46-43 and he has $1.9 million in the bank.
  • NY-Gov: Ordinarily, you need 25% of the weighted delegate vote at a state convention to qualify for the ballot in New York. But because Steve Levy is not yet a registered Republican, GOP rules require him to get 50%. It sounds, though, like there may be some movement afoot to more or less knock that requirement back down to 25%.
  • CT-05: Some Dude Kie Westby is dropping out of the crowded GOP race to take on Rep. Chris Murphy. Westby endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri on his way out. Quite a few Republicans remain in this primary.
  • MD-04: State Del. Herman Taylor says he’s challenging Rep. Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary. It sounds like Taylor might be taking Edwards on from the right, saying she’s “out of touch with the business community” (those are the Maryland Gazette’s words, not necessarily his). Meanwhile, it sure sounds like Edwards herself has gone native: Despite the fact that she owes her seat to a primary challenge, she now says “it would be ‘very hard’ for her to support a primary challenger like herself,” according to The Nation. It never changes.
  • MI-09: Former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski put out an internal poll showing him up 26-15 over businessman Paul Welday, with a whole lotta people undecided.
  • NY-23: Like some kind of Archie Comics love triangle involving Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, newcomer Matt Doheny is wooing the Club for Growth away from their former not-so-golden boy, Doug Hoffman. (The Club now says it’s “hard to say” whom they will endorse, if anyone.) Maybe toss in Moose, too, since the Conservative Party is making it extra-interesting by sticking with Hoffman.
  • PA-12: This ain’t good news for Team Blue: Dem Mark Critz reported having just $73K in the bank in his pre-election FEC report, while GOPer Tim Burns has $308K. I don’t feel too good about this one.
  • UT-02: In case you missed it, Dem Rep. Jim Matheson is being forced into his first-ever primary come June 22nd, thanks to the vote taken at the state’s Democratic convention this past weekend. Retired teacher Claudia Wright nabbed 45% of the delegates on Saturday, clearing the 40% hurdle to get her name on the primary ballot. The winner will take on ex-state Rep. Morgan Philpot, who has raised just $27K so far. Wright has raised $9K, while Matheson has taken in a million bucks and has $1.4 mil on hand.
  • WV-01: I was wondering when this was going to happen: The DCCC has finally sent some help to Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces a stiff primary challenge from the right in the form of state Sen. Mike Oliverio. The election is tomorrow, though, so I wonder if, Coakley-style, this assistance is going to be too little, too late. While I carry no brief for Mollohan, he is almost certainly better than Oliverio, who is buddy-buddy with the state GOP.
  • Meanwhile, on the GOP side, the cat fud is flying fast and furious. Attorney Mac Warner says he won’t support ex-state Rep. David McKinley if he wins the nomination, claiming McKinley’s “gone way over the line in personal attacks and distortions of the truth.” (Welcome to politics, bub.) In general, the primary has been very negative, with much of the fire aimed at McKinley.

  • New Jersey: A New Jersey appellate court dinged Chris Christie’s attempt to unilaterally restrict campaign contributions by unions, saying that legislation would instead be required.
  • Polling: Tom Jensen, who has penned many dour but accurate notes about the rough shape Dems find themselves in this cycle, draws together some surprising threads and finds recent good polling news for Team Blue in five senate races.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 1/13

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    CO-Sen: Republican Senate candidate Jane Norton has finally realized that she might be her own worst enemy. Having reeled off a serious of gaffes and wtf? moments that were captured on tape in recent months (sitting silently while a speaker called Barack Obama a “Muslim,” saying that Obama cares more about terrorists’ rights than protecting the country, and just recently saying that government shouldn’t be involved in health care at all), she’s decided that, rather than stopping saying dumb things, the best approach is to have that nasty Democratic tracker banned from all her appearances.

    NY-Sen-B: Ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has gotten a green light of sorts (or at least a shrug of the shoulders) from David Paterson regarding a primary challenge, who said it was “OK” but that he might look for a different state to do it in. A new piece in the NYT today (who seem to have been interested in promoting his candidacy) may do Ford more harm than good, filled with details of helicopter flights and chauffeured cars that help paint him as an out-of-touch Wall Streeter, not exactly a position you want to run from these days (maybe most damning: “He has breakfast most mornings at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, and he receives regular pedicures. (He described them as treatment for a foot condition.)” Ford also might need to explain to the electorate when he decided that Kirsten Gillibrand was no longer acceptable; it turns out that he gave her $1,000 just seven months ago. Finally, with Ford making clear that he’s going to run against health care reform, and awash in a history of pro-life pronouncements, PPP’s Tom Jensen looks at New York exit polls and finds a way for Ford to get to 25% in the primary, but wonders where that other 75% is going to come from.

    PA-Sen: The Joe Sestak candidacy continues to have its desired effect: Arlen Specter just changed his position on the Dawn Johnsen nomination, and will vote for her confirmation, taking it to 60 votes. One possible unintended consequence, though: the more Sestak succeeds at pushing Specter to the left, the less opportunity for differentiating himself in (and thus a basis for winning) the Democratic primary.

    TX-Sen, TX-Gov: We have dueling rumors coming out of Texas, regarding Kay Bailey Hutchison. Fox’s El Paso affiliate is reporting that KBH no longer plans to resign her Senate seat, either before or after the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, a spokesperson from the KBH camp is now saying that report is wrong, and she will resign only when the health care and cap-and-trade debates are over.

    AZ-Gov: A serious primary challenge just hit Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in the eye, like a big pizza pie. State Treasurer Dean Martin put an end to the speculation and officially announced his candidacy today. (There’s still no report on whether CA-41’s Rep. Jerry Lewis will offer his endorsement, or if their feud is still continuing.) While Martin is the highest-profile GOPer to challenge Brewer so far, he’ll still have to fight his way through a crowd of other anti-Brewers, perhaps most prominently former state party chair John Munger.

    CT-Gov: It looks like the Republican gubernatorial field in Connecticut will be limited to Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, rich guy Tom Foley, and now Larry DeNardis, a 71-year-old who most recently was president of the University of New Haven, but served one term in the U.S. House, representing New Haven from 1980 to his defeat in 1982. (Little known bit of trivia: the guy DeNardis defeated in that House race? Joe Lieberman.) State Senate minority leader John McKinney (who previously demurred from a CT-04 run) just reversed course and said he wouldn’t run; state House minority leader Lawrence Cafero, another potential candidate, also recently said ‘no.’

    IA-Gov: Here’s an iceberg on the horizon for the seemingly unsinkable Terry Branstad campaign: poor relations with the state’s religious right, coming to a head now with the prominent Iowa Family PAC endorsing rival Bob Vander Plaats and having unkind words for the insufficiently conservative Branstad, whom they won’t endorse for the general even if he is the nominee. (Discussion underway in desmoinesdem‘s diary.)

    MA-Gov: A day after PPP polled him as a Democratic fill-in for Deval Patrick in the gubernatorial race, SoS William Galvin said that, no, he wasn’t planning on launching a primary challenge against Patrick. Galvin, who’s been SoS since 1994, instead said he might be interested in moving to AG, assuming Martha Coakley becomes Senator.

    SC-Gov: Well, that was kind of anticlimactic. L’affaire Sanford wrapped up today with a quick censure vote of Gov. Mark Sanford that passed the state House by a 102-11 margin.

    FL-25: A longer CQ piece on the House landscape in Florida has an interesting tidbit that suggests that former Miami mayor Manny Diaz, who would have been a top-tier contender in the 25th had he run, won’t be running. Diaz has taken a fellowship appointment at Harvard’s JFK School, which would probably preclude a run. After Democrats running strong in all three Cuban-American districts in 2008, it looks like free passes will be handed out this year.

    MD-04: All previous indications had been that a primary challenge from the right against Rep. Donna Edwards was a go, but instead Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey had announced he won’t pursue that. He’d also been linked with possible runs for county executive and state Senate, so his next step is uncertain.

    NC-08: PPP adds a little information from yesterday’s poll of the 8th, which had freshman Rep. Larry Kissell comfortable against his GOP opposition. The possibility of a primary from the left, from attorney Chris Kouri, has been floated, but Kissell dispatches Kouri easily, 49-15. Only 29% of Democratic respondents in the district want Kissell replaced with someone more progressive, and 27% think Congressional Dems are too liberal vs. 12% who think they’re too conservative, suggesting (in tandem with his general election strength) that his occasional breaks from the party line may be helping more than hurting him.

    NH-02: Gonna make you Swett! The long-rumored  candidacy by wealthy Lieberdem Katrina Swett may be finally getting off the ground, as an invitation to a Jan. 31 Swett event says “Come meet our next U.S. Congresswoman!”

    OH-02: After looking into the possibility of an independent run against Rep. Jean Schmidt and probably Dem nominee David Krikorian, now Surya Yalimanchili (aka that guy from “The Apprentice”) says he’ll get into the Democratic primary instead, saying that his focus on jobs and economic growth is better served there.

    SC-01: After renewed interest in the race following the retirement announcement of GOP Rep. Henry Brown, 2008 candidate Linda Ketner has finally decided against another run. She instead asked her supporters to take a look at Robert Burton, already an announced candidate. On the GOP side, state Sen. Larry Grooms, a frequent Mark Sanford nemesis, cut short his long-shot gubernatorial bid, boxed out by bigger names like Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and AG Henry McMaster. This might presage a run in the still-developing GOP field in the 1st, but he said that’s “unlikely” and he’d rather concentrate on the state Senate.

    TX-04: Add one more serious teabagger primary challenge to the ever-growing list, this time a challenge in the super-dark-red 4th to long-time Rep. Ralph Hall. Jerry Ray Hall (no relation, apparently) is throwing $350K of his own money into race in the fast-approaching March primary. It’s unclear what his beef with the conservative other Hall is (he was a Democrat until 2004 – albeit the most conservative one in the House — so that’s probably good enough).

    VA-11: Rep. Gerry Connolly (by virtue of his Dem-leaning suburban district) still seems the safest of the three Virginia freshman, but things got harder for him with the entry of another GOP challenger: Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity (who narrowly lost the race to become County Chairman after Connolly ascended to the House). Herrity still faces a primary against self-funding Keith Fimian, who lost big-time to Connolly in the open seat race in 2008 and won’t get out of Herrity’s way; Fimian may still be able to beat the better-known Herrity based on his big cash stash.

    WA-02: No one has really thought of Rep. Rick Larsen as vulnerable lately, as he dismantled his at-least-somewhat-touted Republican opponents in the last two elections in this D+3 district. Still, a long-time foe has taken a look at the more favorable Republican landscape and decided to take another whack at Larsen. John Koster (a state Rep. at the time) ran against Larsen and lost in 2000, when it was an open seat following Republican Rep. Jack Metcalf’s retirement. Koster has spent most of the decade on the suburban Snohomish County Council (where he’s currently the only Republican).

    Election results: A lot happened last night, most notably the upset victory by Democratic state Del. Dave Marsden in Virginia’s state Senate district 37 by 317 votes, good for a pickup and a slightly bigger (22-18) Democratic edge in that chamber – which helps insulate against Bob McDonnell trying to Beshear the Dems back into the minority there. Also in Virginia, businessman Jeff McWaters held dark-red Senate district 8 for the GOP, defeating Democrat Bill Fleming by a 79-21 margin. Two other dark-red legislative districts (both made vacant because of Republican sex scandals) stayed in GOP hands, as California’s AD-72 was held by Chris Norby, 63-31, and Tennessee’s HD-83 was won 67-30 by Mark White. In New Hampshire, the field is now set in a potentially competitive general election to fill SD-16 on Feb. 16 (the swing district was vacated by GOPer Ted Gatsas, elected Manchester mayor). State Rep. David Boutin won the GOP nod; he’ll face off against Dem state Rep. Jeff Goley. Dems can push up to a 15-9 edge with a pickup here.

    SSP Daily Digest: 12/2

    Election results: There was a grab-bag of southern state runoffs and special elections last night; the main event was the Atlanta mayor’s race. It looks like Democratic African-American ex-state Sen. Kasim Reed defeated self-proclaimed-independent white city councilor Mary Norwood, but the margin is only around 620 votes (out of 83,000 cast). Reed has declared victory, but Norwood is talking recount.

    There were also four legislative runoffs in Georgia; the only one that wasn’t an intra-party affair was in HD-141 (a previously Dem-held seat) where independent Rusty Kidd easily beat Democrat Russell Black. Kidd is staying mum on which party he’ll caucus with, although he’s the son of a prominent long-time Democratic legislator (Culver Kidd) and a stem-cell-research supporter. In HD-58 in Atlanta, community organizer Simone Bell becomes the first LGBT African-American elected to Georgia’s legislature. And in Tennessee, Republican state Rep. Brian Kelsey was elected easily in the vacant SD-31 in heavily Republican Memphis suburbs; he takes over for GOPer Paul Stanley, who resigned in disgrace after a sex scandal.

    IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman is up with the first TV ad in the fast-approaching Senate primary. Hoffman lacks name rec, but uses the ad to highlight his corruption-fighting past (and take some implicit hits at Alexi Giannoulias’s banking background).

    NY-Sen-B: You may remember Michael Balboni, who was pried out of his Dem-leaning Long Island state Senate seat by Eliot Spitzer to become the state’s Homeland Security chief and paving the way for Democratic takeover of the state Senate. Now he’s reportedly considering a run against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate, as the New York GOP starts casting its net wider for somebody.

    UT-Sen: A Deseret News poll has bad news for Bob Bennett, in the form of perilous re-elects: only 27% support his re-election, and 58% want someone new. Nevertheless, he has a big edge over the field of nobodies circling around him: he polls at 31%, with Democrat Sam Granato at 14, followed by a gaggle of right-wingers: Cherilyn Eagar at 5, Tim Bridgewater and Fred Lampropoulos at 4, Mike Lee at 3, and James Williams at 1. With the Republican nomination potentially to be decided at the state convention — dominated by hard-right activists — though, these numbers don’t help to project much of anything for next year.

    IA-Gov: Chet Culver’s campaign manager Andrew Roos is out, as Culver stares at double-digit deficits against ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Culver mangled his Shakesperean shrug-off, saying it’s “much to do about nothing.”

    TX-Gov: Press releases are already going out saying that Houston mayor Bill White is announcing something big on Friday, and now leaks are confirming what most people have suspected, that he’s going to go ahead and jump into the Democratic field in the governor’s race.

    FL-10: Sorta-moderate GOP Rep. Bill Young has another challenger — this time from the right. Eric Forcade says he got interested in politics from participating in tea parties and the 9/12 movement. (In case you’re having trouble remembering where all these random teabagger primary challenges are popping up, Think Progress has a handy scorecard of all of them.)

    IL-10: Little-known rich guy Dick Green dipped into his self-provided funds and laid out $100K for a big TV ad buy, introducing himself to Republican voters in the 10th. While Democrat Julie Hamos already has hit the airwaves, Green beats out fellow GOPers Beth Coulson and Bob Dold.

    KY-03: Rep. John Yarmuth may not exactly be intimidated by the first Republican to show up to go against him in Kentucky’s lone Dem-leaning district. Jeffrey Reetz has never run for office before, but he does own 25 Pizza Hut franchises.

    MD-04: Rep. Donna Edwards, who got into office via primary challenge, is facing a big challenge of her own. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey has formed an exploratory committee to go up against Edwards for the Democratic nod. Ivey worked as a senior congressional staffer in the 1980s and 1990s; although he expresses enthusiasm for moving the “progressive agenda forward,” he’s probably running at least a bit to the right of Edwards, one of the leftmost House members.

    MN-01: This marks the third entry to the field against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in about one week’s time. Today, it’s Republican Jim Hagedorn, a former congressional staffer and a one-time blogger under the name “Mr. Conservative.” He joins ex-state Rep. Allen Quist and state Rep. Randy Demmer, although the party seems to still be watching what more moderate state Sen. Julie Rosen does.

    PA-11: Hazleton mayor and 2008 loser Lou Barletta is doing his best to stay in the news, announcing that he’ll make another announcement on Dec. 9 as to whether or not he’ll seek a third faceoff against Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski.

    TN-08, TN-Gov: In case you missed our late update last night, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron got out of the governor’s race where he was something of a longshot, and into the now-open TN-08 field, where he’s probably the favorite to get the Democratic nod. (Although open seats are theoretically harder to defend, Herron’s long district presence and lack of ties to Washington could conceivably help him to perform better next year than long-time Beltway creature Tanner might have.) Party officials (and outgoing Rep. John Tanner too, although he declined to endorse anyone yet) are moving quickly to keep a contested primary from happening, although state Rep. Philip Pinion has also been publicly letting his interest be known. Also, in discussing his sudden retirement decision, Tanner claims he wasn’t scared off by the fundraising success of out-of-nowhere GOP challenger Stephen Fincher; he’d already been eyeing retirement and the challenge “got his competitive juices flowing” but finally decided to call it a career.

    UT-02: Morgan Philpot, a former Republican state Representative, is considering a race against Rep. Jim Matheson next year. Philpot is currently the state party’s vice-chair, so he would bring some insider backing to the race.

    NY-Comptroller (pdf): With all the sudden talk of recruiting NYC comptroller William Thompson onto the Cuomo “ticket” to wage a primary fight against current state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, it’s worth going back and noting that the most recent Siena poll from a few weeks ago actually polled this permutation. They found a 31-31 tie in the Clash of the Comptrollers. They also found that both would beat Republican John Faso in the general.

    TX-Comptroller: In fact, talking about comptrollers is so much fun I’m going to keep doing it. Ex-Rep. Nick Lampson, who couldn’t hold down dark-red TX-22 last year, says that’s he’s looking into next year’s comptroller’s race, which would bring top-tier Democratic talent to another statewide race in Texas.

    NY-St. Sen.: After a lot of optimistic predictions earlier in the day, the actual vote on gay marriage in the New York Senate today kind of fizzled. Eight Democrats voted against and no Republicans crossed the aisle, leaving it to go down 24-38. Ironically, Marist came out with a poll today showing public support in favor of gay marriage, 51-42.

    CA-St. Ass.: However, in the one-step-forward, one-step-back fight for LGBT equality, California looks like it’s poised to have its first-ever gay Assembly Speaker. Los Angeles Assemblyman John Perez apparently has the votes locked up to take over as Speaker from Karen Bass, who’s termed out.

    Nassau Co. Exec: Two-term incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was down by 377 votes to Republican challenger Ed Mangano after a recount, decided to concede rather than pursue legal options. Suozzi, who’d be considered a likely AG candidate next year, says he’ll be back in politics but he can’t “imagine it would be anytime soon.”

    Mayors: It looks like a premature end of the line for Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who was just convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement for helping herself to $1,500 worth of gift cards that had been donated to give to poor families. Dixon is supposed to be suspended from office, but post-trial motions and a possible appeal may push that until later. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is in line to succeed her.

    DGA: There’s new leadership at the Democratic Governor’s Association, as fast-rising Delaware governor Jack Markell (who’s been in office only for a year) takes over from Montana’s Brian Schweitzer. One of the DGA’s first orders of business as they prep for 2010: committing $1 million to the GOP Accountability Project, whose first ad target is Florida Republican candidate Bill McCollum.

    SSP Daily Digest: 11/3

    Has anybody heard anything about there being an election of some sort today? I’ll look into it, but this is the first I’ve heard. In the meantime…

    AR-Sen (pdf): Talk Business Quarterly had a strange poll earlier in the year where they had a huge disparity between Blanche Lincoln’s favorables (mediocre) and her re-elect (terrible), and now they’re back with another poll showing pretty much the same thing. Her favorable is 42/46, but she gets a 25/61 on the oddly worded question “Would you vote to re-elect Blanche Lincoln as your United States Senator no matter who ran against her?” Gov. Mike Beebe doesn’t have much to worry about, though; he may be the nation’s most popular politico these days, with a favorable of 71/15.

    NC-Sen: Research 2000 did another poll on behalf of Change Congress, this time looking at North Carolina. They see the same pattern as PPP and most other pollsters: tepid re-elect numbers for Burr (21 re-elect/45 someone new, with 39/46 favorables), but a decent lead for Burr against SoS Elaine Marshall (42-35) and Rep. Bobby Etheridge (43-35).

    NJ-Gov (pdf): One last poll straggled across the finish line yesterday afternoon, from Fairleigh Dickinson University. They give Jon Corzine a 43-41-8 edge over Chris Christie and Chris Daggett, but it’s a very large timeframe (Oct. 22 to Nov. 1). Unusually, this incorporates the smaller sample that was the basis for the standalone poll that FDU released over the weekend (which was in the field from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28) had a topline of 41-39-14 for Christie)… which is good news, I suppose, as it showed either movement to Corzine in the last few days or just that more Corzine voters were picking up their phones over the weekend, but a strange technique (why not release the Oct. 29-Nov. 1 data as a separate poll?). Because of the sample overlap, didn’t add this one to the pile, leaving their final regression line total at a remarkable 42.0-42.0.

    Meanwhile, this being Jersey, both parties are engaged in some last-minute chicanery: the Democrats are reportedly robocalling Republicans to encourage them to vote for Daggett, while Republicans are seeing what we’re all seeing — a race that’s within a percentage or two, and one that’s possibly to be decided in the post-game of recounts and even litigation — and are getting a jump on the post-election framing by leveling allegations of ‘election fraud’ (without proof, or even specifics, of course).

    TX-Gov, TX-Sen: The first Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of the GOP gubernatorial primary gives a bigger edge to incumbent Rick Perry than other pollsters have; he leads Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison 42-30, with a surprisingly large 7% going to Debra Medina from the party’s Paulist contingent. (Rasmussen has the most recent poll of the race, from September, and actually found KBH ahead, 40-38.) On the Democratic side, they find only chaos, with Kinky Friedman actually in the lead with 19, followed by Tom Schieffer at 10, Ronnie Earle at 5, and Hank Gilbert at 3. In the general, Perry is surprisingly vulnerable to Generic D (34-33, with 8 going to “Generic third party”), while Hutchison performs better (36-25, with 9 to third party) against Generic D. Against actual human Democrats, though, Perry seems safe (beating Friedman 38-23 and Schieffer 36-25).

    They also look at the Senate race that may or may not ever happen and get more inconclusive results; polling all participants together in one pool, they find Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Democratic Houston mayor Bill White tied at 13 each, followed by Democrat John Sharp at 10 and a gaggle of other Republicans, none of whom break 3. Here’s the poll’s one heartening tidbit: Barack Obama actually has a better favorable (41/52) than either Perry (36/44) or Hutchison (39/27).

    MD-04: Here’s one more potential challenge to Rep. Donna Edwards in the safely Democratic 4th. (Delegate Herman Taylor is already scoping out the primary.) Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, a former senior staffer on the Hill, is now considering a run in the Dem primary too. The bulk of the district’s votes are in mostly-black Prince George’s County in the DC suburbs. It sounds like members of the local business community are looking for a more establishment challenge to the fiercely progressive Edwards.

    NY-23: New York State, the last state in the nation to comply with the Help America Vote Act, is finally switching over to optical scan machines from its ancient (but awesome) lever machines. The 2009 election is just a “pilot” run, so the entire state hasn’t adopted the new machines yet, but most of the counties which make up the 23rd CD have. This means one of two things: results will come in more quickly than usual thanks to speedier and more reliable equipment… or results will come in more slowly that usual, thanks to the inevitable learning curve. (D)

    Meanwhile, this seemed inevitable: overzealous electioneering by revved-up teabaggers. Police have been called to several locations in the North Country for violations of the 100-foot polling barrier by rabid Doug Hoffman fans.

    SC-05: Republican State Sen. Mick Mulvaney today made official his race against veteran Democratic Rep. John Spratt. Mulvaney is one of Mark Sanford’s closest allies, so in the next year expect to see lots of the photo that’s at this link.

    Mayors: One last mayoral poll out, in a close race between two different flavors of progressive. Joe Mallahan leads Mike McGinn 45-43 in the Seattle mayoral race, according to SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA also finds Democrat Dow Constantine surging into a comfortable lead over stealth Republican Susan Hutchison in the King County Executive race, 53-43. Previous SUSA polls had given a small edge to Hutchison, suggesting that a lot of voters weren’t paying much attention yet and hadn’t found out that she was a Republican.

    Illinois Filings: Yesterday was the filing deadline in Illinois, and lots more names trickled in after yesterday’s digest. For starters, we actually did get a Dem on the ballot in IL-06 (and all the other GOP-held House districts), although it really seems to be Some Dude: the heretofore unknown Benjamin Lowe. In IL-07, more electeds eventually showed up, in addition to state Sen. Rickey Hendon. So too did alderwoman Sharon Dixon, alderman Bob Fioretti, and former state Rep. Annazette Collins. And I’m left wondering about the weird saga of Patrick Hughes, the great wingnut hope in the Senate race; after rumors of not having enough signatures, he withdrew around 10 am yesterday, but then filed again after 4 pm. Most likely that was a ploy to get the last line on the ballot (which was why Cheryle Jackson waited so long to file on the Democratic side) — but I’m preferring to envision a scenario where he had to hold a benefit show to scrape together those last few signatures, then rush back to Chicago along Lower Wacker Drive, trashing about 80 police cars while trying to get to the Cook County Assessor’s Office Board of Elections before it closed.

    Teabaggers: Could it be that the legacy media are finally noticing that the rise of the teabaggers, as seen in their decapitation of the Republican establishment candidate in NY-23, could spell only deeper trouble for Republicans in 2010? Politico and Roll Call both take notice today, that this dynamic is poised to repeat itself in the crucial Senate race in Florida… and, for that matter, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, and Illinois. In fact, the real question may be: where are the Senate races where there won’t be a hot establishment/movement Republican primary? (Weirdly, Pennsylvania may be that place, where running the teabagger that nobody loved may actually turn out to be an asset for the GOP.)

    Babka: Hey! Do you want not just bragging rights among your fellow electoral junkies, but also a delicious chocolate babka? Don’t forget to submit your entries in the SSP elections prediction contest! Do it in the prediction thread, though, not in the digest, at least if you want it to count.

    SSP Daily Digest: 6/2

    UT-Sen: Democrats nailed down a candidate in dark-red Utah, not a likely place for a pickup but somewhere we want to be standing by to clean up in case the Republican primary turns into an insane bloodbath: Sam Granato, the head of the state Liquor Control Board.

    Speaking of which, a third challenger just got into the GOP primary against long-time incumbent Bob Bennett: businesswoman and activist Cherilyn Eagar, who’s never run for office before but seems connected to some of the fringier members of Utah’s legislature, such as state Senator Margaret Dayton, who praised Eagar in that: “She’s a very impressive woman in her looks, intelligence and presentation.” Eagar’s rationale is that, in her words, “Utah’s conservative principles are no longer being represented in the U.S. Senate and no conservative has entered this race,” which seems bizarre considering that AG Mark Shurtleff and former Utah County GOP chair Tim Bridgewater are already challenging the very conservative Bennett from the right. Eagar also offered up this very strange mix of literary allusions: “Gulliver has been tied down by socialist gnomes for many years, but he’s starting to wake up.”

    AZ-Gov: Arizona’s AG Terry Goddard is probably the Dems’ best chance to take back this seat, which just went to Republican ex-SoS Jan Brewer when Janet Napolitano vacated it (Brewer has not announced whether she’ll run for a full term). He recently stated that he “intends” to run for governor. (Arizona Republicans then tried to invoke Arizona’s resign-to-run law, which would require him to give up his AG job to become a governor’s candidate; so this weekend Goddard issued a lengthy explanation of why “intent” doesn’t make him a candidate.)

    NM-Gov: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has been considered Bill Richardson’s heir apparent in 2010, but it seems like she may not get a free ride on the way to the nomination. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, according to his Facebook page, has formed an exploratory committee. Denish has a $1.7 million headstart on fundraising, though.

    MD-04: Rep. Donna Edwards, who won a surprise primary in 2008 against out-of-touch incumbent Al Wynn, but is facing some within-the-district misgivings from local Jewish leaders (apparently up to 15% of the active electorate in her district is Jewish). This turns mostly on her decision to vote ‘present’ on January’s resolution recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself and condemning Hamas. State Delegate Herman Taylor has been gauging support within the Jewish community for a primary challenge to Edwards. While this wouldn’t seem to be a dominant issue in this African-American-majority district, two successful primary challenges from the right in 2002 (Artur Davis over Earl Hilliard in AL-07 and Denise Majette over Cynthia McKinney in GA-04) focused largely on Israel policy.

    MD-06: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who turns 83 tomorrow, is often the source of open seat speculation. However, today he announced that he’ll be back for another term in his R+13 district in Maryland’s rural west.

    SC-04: As an occasionally sane Republican (who voted for the bailout and against the Surge) in an R+15 district that’s an evangelical hotbed, Rep. Bob Inglis seems vulnerable this year, as the revved-up base seems less and less tolerant of apostasy. State Sen. David Thomas announced he’s seriously thinking of challenging Inglis and will make his announcement within days; Solicitor (equivalent to DA) Trey Gowdy also just announced that he’s entering the race. They’ll join an already crowded field including businessmen Andrew Smart and Jim Lee and professor Christina Jeffrey. While Inglis looks poised to win against this fractured field, if he does it with less than 50%, he’s facing a one-on-one runoff.

    Gay marriage: The New York Senate is the only remaining obstacle to gay marriage in New York, and now state Senator Thomas Duane, prime mover of the legislation, says he now has the votes to get it passed (without naming names). Meanwhile, it’s not full marriage, but Nevada is poised to adopt domestic partnership. Over the weekend, both chambers of the legislature just overrode Governor Jim Gibbons’ veto of previously passed domestic partnership legislation (there was doubt whether it could clear the Assembly, where it passed by a bare 28-14 margin).

    Meta: Wow, that year went fast: it’s my one-year blogiversary on SSP’s front page. Thanks to David and James for taking an interest in my writing, and to all the readers and commenters as well.

    We’ve Got Crabs! (or, Redistricting Maryland)

    (From the diaries – promoted by DavidNYC)

    None of you asked for Maryland, but I wanted to redraw a state in which I couldn’t use townships and incorporated municipalities as a crutch. Four of Maryland’s five largest communities are unincorporated – Columbia, Silver Spring, Ellicott City and Germantown.

    Plus, having lived in Maryland for quite awhile, I wanted to do a state that I actually had a local feel for. Lastly, Democrats control both the General Assembly and the Governorship, so no quips about this map being “unrealistic”!

    I apologize for the title ahead of time – I’ve seen tourist gear with that slogan one too many times flying out of BWI….

    My goals:

    • Strengthen Kratovil (1st)

    • Pack Republicans into Bartlett (6th)

    • Keep all other Democrats at their previous levels or 65%, whichever is lower.

    (When you have this many Democrats to protect….)

    Anyways, here’s the map (click for full-size version):

    Update: I realized I mis-merged some shapes in my GIS and this lead to a misrepresentation of the 1st and 5th in Anne Arundel County. Fixed.

    So normally, there’d be a nice map of the state broken up by municipalities and colored in based on McCain/Obama performance. In Maryland, this was harder: I consolidated precincts to match up with Census 2000’s voting tabulation districts (VTDs). Sometimes, in cases where precincts changed significantly, I consolidated some VTDs, too. I’ve creatively named these consolidated VTDs “CVTDs”.

    Also, tabulating data by CVTD is a pain in the ass. Seriously. So I only created CVTDs for counties that had a chance of being split. So here’s the map, colored by CVTD for some counties (I wasn’t going to split Calvert, St. Mary’s, the Eastern Shore, or the Panhandle).

    District-by-district, here goes (numbers are: Population, Voters, %African American, Obama%, McCain%):

    1 662,203 357,190 26.89% 56.48% 42.11%
    Anne Arundel 117,748 65,392 20.21% 56.33% 41.93%
    Caroline 29,772 13,218 14.77% 37.61% 60.64%
    Cecil 85,951 42,494 3.91% 41.57% 56.14%
    Dorchester 30,674 15,274 28.39% 45.25% 53.48%
    Kent 19,197 10,020 17.41% 49.43% 48.95%
    Prince George’s 148,552 87,295 59.27% 88.42% 10.86%
    Queen Anne’s 40,563 24,045 8.78% 35.66% 62.74%
    Somerset 24,747 9,924 41.10% 48.16% 50.76%
    Talbot 33,812 20,328 15.36% 44.45% 54.09%
    Wicomico 84,644 41,854 23.29% 46.44% 52.20%
    Worcester 46,543 27,346 16.66% 41.59% 57.07%

    This is the district we were all wondering about, Frank Kratovil’s 1st. Before, the 1st took in all of the Eastern Shore, a chunk each of Anne Arundel, Harford, and Baltimore counties. Those parts were absolutely brutal, so I removed the the BaltCo (35% Obama)/Harford (33% Obama) parts completely. Additionally, instead of taking in the Republican pats along the North Shore, the district runs through the city of Annapolis proper and into PG County. Yes, the district reaches across the bay, but the old district did this too. Plus now, I can use the Bay Bridge as an excuse, as both ascents to the bridge are in this district now. Obama lost the AA part of the district 39-59, but he won the reconfigured part of Anne Arundel 56-42. We weren’t going to more artfully draw Baltimore, so for Democratic strength, the new 1st looks to Prince George’s County – Obama’s 88-11 performance there anchors this district. Overall, Obama scored 56% here – up a whopping 16%.

    2 662,315 309,805 25.58% 60.34% 37.71%
    Baltimore 419,630 204,167 21.76% 57.30% 40.74%
    Baltimore City 143,321 56,010 42.46% 79.02% 19.26%
    Harford 99,364 49,628 17.36% 51.75% 46.08%

    Dutch Ruppersberger’s district doesn’t change much – still the southern half of Harford, an arm across Northern BaltCo, and a section of the city. However, there’s no awkward arm across the Patapsco into Anne Arundel this time. The Harford section is a tad less Democratic, the BaltCo section a bit more, and Baltimore City a bit less. However, the removal of Anne Arundel bumps this district to 60%, up about 0.5%.

    3 662,016 356,350 18.53% 60.69% 37.37%
    Anne Arundel 108,683 57,529 17.90% 50.80% 47.30%
    Baltimore 239,472 126,645 22.89% 61.92% 35.97%
    Baltimore City 74,391 32,258 17.57% 72.34% 25.89%
    Howard 239,470 139,918 14.76% 60.95% 37.20%

    Surprisingly, I think this incarnation of the 3rd is less gerrymandered than before – there’s no one-block wide sliver connecting to distinct sections. The major change from before is the placement of almost all of Howard County into this district, which had been located mostly in the 7th. Instead of making a westward facing loop through Baltimore as before to hit Towson, this district makes an eastward facing U. Obama got 61%, up 2% from before.

    4 661,820 293,331 51.60% 82.43% 16.65%
    Montgomery 309,396 153,066 22.75% 71.41% 27.28%
    Prince George’s 352,424 140,265 76.92% 94.46% 5.06%

    Donna Edwards’ district also isn’t changed much. A large section of upcounty MontCo and Prince George’s along the DC line. With the 8th shifted northward, the 4th is a bit more Montgomery-heavy, but stays majority African-American. This shift drops Obama’s performance by about 3%, but this is still the most Democratic district in Maryland at 82%.

    5 661,222 352,347 30.44% 64.23% 34.51%
    Anne Arundel 79,363 47,288 5.90% 43.67% 54.55%
    Calvert 74,563 44,057 13.11% 46.07% 52.42%
    Charles 120,546 70,127 26.06% 62.22% 36.69%
    Prince George’s 300,539 146,466 47.72% 83.78% 15.20%
    St. Mary’s 86,211 44,409 13.92% 42.84% 55.63%

    Steny Hoyer’s district, again, experiences some minor shifts. It still contains all of the Southern Maryland trifecta of Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s. I had thought about cracking Charles to tap its population growth and Democratic trend, but ultimately decided against it. A large chunk of PG is taken by the 1st, so this district expands farther into Anne Arundel. At 64%, this is about a 1% drop.

    6 663,091 354,947 3.61% 35.44% 62.22%
    Allegany 74,930 29,742 5.35% 35.95% 61.88%
    Baltimore 50,784 32,008 1.36% 32.03% 65.08%
    Carroll 150,897 84,760 2.28% 33.11% 64.30%
    Frederick 97,113 54,983 2.06% 40.21% 57.86%
    Garrett 29,846 12,872 0.43% 29.02% 69.17%
    Harford 119,226 73,667 2.53% 31.04% 66.35%
    Howard 8,372 5,315 4.60% 34.51% 63.03%
    Washington 131,923 61,600 7.77% 42.61% 55.47%

    We took some Republicans out of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd districts, and this is where they go. I cut out Democratic-trending and sububanizing southern Frederick County and just packed as many deep-red VTDs in here as possible from Harford and northern Baltimore County. The Panhandle and Carroll County remain in their entirety. This drops Dem performance to 35%, down 5%.

    7 661,710 265,229 55.65% 72.99% 25.62%
    Anne Arundel 183,862 89,411 10.02% 42.84% 55.09%
    Baltimore 44,406 18,118 10.72% 46.90% 50.51%
    Baltimore City 433,442 157,700 79.60% 93.08% 6.05%

    Before, this district took in a large chunk of Howard County, before reaching into Western BaltCo and West Baltimore. We took the extremely Republican parts of Anne Arundel County out of the 1st, and this was the safest place to deposit them. The anchor of the district stays Baltimore City, which also maintains the 56% African-American composition of the district. At 73% Obama, this is a drop-off of 6%, but again, no cause for concern.

    8 662,109 342,398 10.92% 69.23% 29.27%
    Frederick 98,164 56,203 10.62% 56.77% 41.56%
    Montgomery 563,945 286,195 10.97% 71.68% 26.85%

    It was tempting to make this district solely Montgomery County, but that’d well, be too clean. (It’d also abandon some strong Democratic votes in Frederick City.) Thus, this takes a bite out of Southern Frederick along 270, and then takes in the western half of Montgomery County and ventures east into Silver Spring. Frederick is nowhere as Democratic as downcounty Montgomery County, resulting in a 5% drop in Obama’s performance to 69%. Even if Frederick’s shift was a one-time thing for Obama, the vast majority of the district is still in Montgomery County.

    So I’m pretty sure my map of Maryland is not only better – resulting an improvement for the three most marginal Democratic districts and negligible drops in the other 4 Democratic districts – but less gerrymandered, I dare say. Questions, comments, witty descriptors for what the districts look like, and suggestions always welcome.

    June Election Preview: Races Worth Watching

    Another month, another round of elections. Once again, the Swing State Project brings you the month in races worth watching:

    June 3: This is going to be a big day.

    • AL-02: With Rep. Terry Everett (R) retiring at the end this term, the GOP field is large and noisy to replace him. The players include: State Rep. Jay Love, state Rep. David Grimes, oral surgeon Craig Schmidtke, TV station executive David Woods, and state Sen. Harri Anne Smith. With such a crowded and well-funded field, a 7/15 runoff is all but inevitable. Watch for Smith and one of Love or Woods to advance to the next round.

      I’m hoping that Smith is the GOP victor here, if for no other reason than the fact that she’s dumber than a sack of hammers.

      On the Democratic side, Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright will face off with Alabama NOW President Cheryl Sabel and dentist Cendie Crawley. Bright’s campaign has been slow to get started, whereas Sabel has won a number of endorsements. Still, Bright should probably be okay based on name recognition.

    • AL-05: Another open seat here, this one left behind by retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer. State Sen. Parker Griffith of Huntsville is the Democratic front-runner and won’t have any problems in his primary.

      Republicans will decide between insurance executive and ’94/’96 candidate Wayne Parker, businesswoman Cheryl Baswell Guthrie, former state Rep. Angelo Mancuso (a turncoat Democrat), ’06 candidate Ray McKee, and a number of also-rans. Parker is thought to be the favorite, but Guthrie has invested a significant amount of her own resources on the race.

    • CA-04: This one should be interesting. With John Doolittle being put out to pasture, Republicans will choose between conservative icon Tom McClintock, a state Senator from southern California, and former Rep. Doug Ose. This has been a bloody and expensive primary, but the winner will still have a big advantage over Democrat Charlie Brown in this R+10.9 district.
    • IA-03: Democrats will go to the polls to decide the fate of longtime Rep. Leonard Boswell, who is receiving a primary challenge from former state Rep. Ed Fallon. In a low-turnout affair, anything could happen, but keep in mind that the lone public poll of this race — from Research 2000 in late April — showed Boswell ahead by a wide margin.
    • NJ-Sen: A big event. Not content to “wait his turn”, Rep. Rob Andrews is waging a rough primary challenge against Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). A recent Rasmussen poll gave Lautenberg a 30-point lead here.

      Republicans will choose between ex-Rep. Dick Zimmer, crypto-fascist state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, and college professor Murray Sabrin, a Ron Paul acolyte.

    • NJ-03: Republicans were initially very high on Chris Myers, a Lockheed Martin VP, to replace retiring GOP Rep. Jim Saxton in this South Jersey distrct. However, Myers’ primary against Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly has descended into a squabbling mess, and neither candidate has been able to match the fundraising juggernaut of the Democratic candidate, state Sen. John Adler. I’m rooting for Kelly to win here, but I like Adler’s chances against either Republican.
    • NJ-07: The GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson appears to be up in the air between state Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance and Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. It’s unclear to me which candidate would be stronger in the general election. Ex-Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield and Scotch Plains Mayor Marty Marks will also have their names on the ballot.

      State Assemblywoman Linda Stender will be carrying the Democratic banner once again in this tossup district.

    • NM-Sen: This open seat race has caused a domino effect all over New Mexico politics, with all three of the state’s House members throwing their hats in the ring.

      Republicans will decide between Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce. Because of Pearce’s more conservative profile, he would probably be the easier candidate for Democrat Tom Udall to beat in November. Still, the most recent polls show Udall crushing either Republican, so the outcome of the GOP primary may not matter a whole lot for Tom Udall’s chances this November.

    • NM-01: With Heather Wilson out of the picture, Democrats are hopeful that they can finally put this D+2.4 district in the bag. The choices: Albuquerque City Councilor Martin Heinrich, former state Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham and former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. A a recent poll gave Heinrich a slight lead over Vigil-Giron, but Lujan Grisham has raised and spent a respectable amount.

      Republicans will choose between Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White and state Sen. Joseph Carraro. White, a rare strong recruit by the mostly hapless NRCC, is the overwhelming favorite for his party’s nomination.

    • NM-02: I’ll be relieved when the roster of players vying for Steve Pearce’s open seat is cut to two. On the Democratic side of the playing field, voters in this district will choose between Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley and former Lea County Commissioner Harry Teague. McCamley is an impressive orator and campaigner, but Teague, a wealthy oil man, has drawn on his personal wealth to give his campaign a big financial edge here. The buzz I’ve heard is that Teague is well-placed to win the nomination, a fact that seems to be confirmed by Bill Richardson’s recent endorsement of Teague.

      For what it’s worth, Roll Call quoted an anonymous New Mexico GOP strategist who believes that a Teague victory in this R+5.7 seat is “likely” in November — as long as he makes it out of the primary. I take such things with a heavy grain of salt, though.

      The Republicans have a football team-sized field here, including Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, restaurateur and ’02 candidate Ed Tinsley, retired banker Aubrey Dunn Jr. (a former Democrat), local GOP Chairman C. Earl Greer, and businessman Greg Sowards. Tinsley was regarded as the early front-runner, but the National Association of Realtors PAC has dumped around $1 million in support of Newman, and Dunn has also spent over half a million of his own money on the race. With no public polling, the outcome of this one could be anyone’s guess.

    • NM-03: The race to replace Tom Udall in the House is a two-way affair between Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Luján and wealthy home developer Don Wiviott. Wiviott (and other third-string candidates) have been going hard negative on Luján, who appears to have the edge here. Indeed, a recent poll showed Luján with a six-point lead over Wiviott, and Richardson gave him his stamp of approval earlier this week.

      I don’t know or care who the sacrificial GOP lamb is in this D+5.5 district.

    June 10:

    • ME-01: With Tom Allen hoping to graduate to the Senate, a posse of Dems are vying to replace him, including: Former Common Cause President Chellie Pingree, York County District Attorney Mark Lawrence, former state Senate Majority Leader Michael Brennan, Iraq War vet Adam Cote, and state Sen. Ethan Strimling. Who is the strongest pick here? It beats me. Cote seems to be the most conservative choice, and could sneak in if progressive votes are divided.

      Republicans will pick between former state Sen. Charlie Summers and businessman Dean Scontras, but the Democratic nominee will be heavily favored in the general election in this D+6.2 district.

    • SC-02: This is a bit of an oddball race. At a PVI of R+8.9, it’s certainly not on many prognosticators’ radar screens. However, Democrat Rob Miller, an Iraq vet who entered this race in March, has raised $200K and loaned himself another $100K, according to the latest FEC filings. That’s an extremely respectable amount for a Democrat in a red district like this one.

      Miller will face off against retired Air Force officer Blaine Lotz.

    • VA-11: A big one. With Tom Davis out of the picture, Democrats are finally making a play for this Dem-trending district. But first, the primary: Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly vs. ex-Rep./ex-state Sen./’05 Lt. Gov. candidate Leslie Byrne. Depending on who you talk to, this race is either neck-and-neck or will go decisively to Connolly.

      The winner will take on Republican Keith Fimian, a political neophyte, but an impressive fundraiser.

    June 17:

    • MD-04: Grab your popcorn, it’s time for another edge of your seat special election! Oh wait; Donna Edwards is going to win by 50 points.

    June 24:

    • UT-03: A recent poll shows GOP Rep. Chris Cannon leading former gubernatorial aide Jason Chaffetz by only two points. Cannon has had his share of close calls in the past, but it’s unclear whether we’ll actually get to do the wingnut shuffle in Utah this year.

    MD-04: Wynn Will Resign, Endorses Edwards

    Incumbent Rep. Al Wynn, defeated by netroots heroine Donna Edwards in the February Democratic primary, will resign his seat in June:

    Rep. Al Wynn (D-Md.), who lost the Democratic primary to challenger Donna Edwards, is leaving the House in June to join a law firm, according to Democratic aides. Wynn will be making an official announcement today.

    In a gesture of solidarity with Edwards, Wynn magnanimously endorsed his former opponent for a full term, and hoped that his early departure would allow Edwards to build up her seniority in the House:

    Wynn claimed that his departure will allow Edwards, who was heavily favored in the November general election, to win a special election to fill his seat and thus go before voters on Election Day as an incumbent. […]

    “My leaving early will also allow our Democratic nominee Donna Edwards the opportunity to successfully navigate a special election and be sworn in this summer. This will not only give her seniority in the incoming congressional class of ’09, but more importantly, will allow her to get off to a fast start in serving the citizens of our community. I offer her my best wishes and stand ready to assist in any way possible.”

    It’s unclear if or when Gov. Martin O’Malley will call a special election, but we’ll keep you posted.