A Democratic Kansas

In a similar vein to my previous diary “A Democratic Nebraska” I moved a state south to see how Democratic a Kansan congressional district can be. However, early on I noticed that it was actually possible to make two districts in Kansas with a democratic lean, albeit a very, very slight democratic lean. As in the past the numbers are hand tabulated and should be quite accurate.

CD1(Blue): 53.5% Obama 73/9/10 W/B/H

The blight on the landscape that is CD1 stretches its hideous legs out from its nominal centre in Emporia to swallow up Pittsburg, Parsons, Wichita, Hutchinson, Manhattan, Junction City, Topeka, and parts of Lawrence whilst nimbly avoiding republican counties with any sort of significant population.    

CD2(Green): 53.5% Obama 76/9/10 W/B/H

Compared in to CD1 CD2 is has a positively tidy shape. Based in Kansas City (the part that is in Kansas anyway) it runs up along the Missouri through Leavenworth to Atchison and south into the more Democratic parts of Johnson county before turning west into the heart of Lawrence.    

CD3(Dark Magenta): 35.0% Obama 88/2/5 W/B/H

South-eastern Kansas wrapping around CD1. It would be a neater district if it was just southern Kansas and didn’t turn north-east at Hutchinson, honestly I just didn’t want to reassign the precincts south of Manhattan.

CD4(Red): 29.6% Obama 83/1/13 W/B/H

The rest of Kansas. Mostly the western and northern parts of the state but it does follow the Oklahoma state line quite a way east.

The single so called “super-democratic” district turned out to be 57.6% Obama (74/10/11 W/B/H) and appears below.

NC, NE, and KS: Population by CD

Of the states rolled out in this week’s Census 2010 releases, North Carolina is by far the most interesting one. North Carolina narrowly missed out on a 14th seat, so it’s staying at 13; its target is 733,499, up from about 619K in 2000. Unsurprisingly, the big gains come in the Charlotte and Raleigh metropolitan areas, with NC-09 in Charlotte’s suburbs and NC-04 in Durham and Chapel Hill both well past the 800K mark. (The 9th is represented by GOPer Sue Myrick, although the state’s district that shifted the sharpest to the left from Kerry to Obama, while the 4th belongs to Dem David Price and is the bluest white-majority district in the state.) NC-01 on the coastal plain, one of the nation’s few truly rural African-American-majority seats, gained the least, followed by the three mostly-rural Appalachian-flavored seats (NC-05, NC-10, and NC-11).

How this shakes out for redistricting is complicated, because Republicans control the process for the first time ever and will want to undo a pretty Dem-friendly map from 2000… but without getting too greedy. What may be their first task, shoring up newly-elected Renee Elmers in what’s currently a swing district, may be made easier by the fact the mostly-suburban/exurban 2nd will probably need to give a lot of its African-American population in Raleigh proper to the next-door 1st in order to preserve the dwindling 1st’s black-majority VRA status. But since the 2nd didn’t grow that fast, it’ll then need to look elsewhere to grab some enough white votes to replace them… and since the GOP probably won’t want those to be liberal transplants in the Research Triangle area, they may need to reach south into the 3rd or 7th instead.

I could see that in turn pushing Dem Mike McIntyre’s 7th further west into Fayetteville and south central rural counties, keeping his district swingy, while also pushing Larry Kissell’s 8th further west too, probably giving him a heaping helping of dark-red Charlotte suburbs and making him the likeliest Dem to get targeted for extinction. But the GOP has many, many ways to play this (see the Aaron Blake article linked above), and this isn’t the only scenario.

District Population Deviation
NC-01 635,936 (97,563)
NC-02 741,576 8,077
NC-03 735,979 2,480
NC-04 826,878 93,379
NC-05 693,414 (40,085)
NC-06 714,412 (19,087)
NC-07 742,938 9,439
NC-08 709,449 (24,050)
NC-09 852,377 118,878
NC-10 689,468 (44,031)
NC-11 703,606 (29,893)
NC-12 736,346 2,847
NC-13 753,104 19,605
Total: 9,535,483

The other two multi-district states are much more clear cut and present similar profiles: in both Nebraska and Kansas, the big empty western districts need to expand greatly, and the urban/suburban districts need to shed population. The GOP controls the processes in both states; the only real intrigue might be whether they try to get fancy and crack the only-slightly-red Omaha-area NE-02 and Kansas City-area KS-03 to make them safer Republican seats. The target in Nebraska is 608,780, up from 570K in 2000. (Notice how low that is… Nebraska seems right at the top of the list for a lost seat in 2020.) In Kansas, the target is 713,280, up from 672K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
NE-01 626,092 17,312
NE-02 638,871 30,091
NE-03 561,378 (47,402)
Total: 1,826,341

District Population Deviation
KS-01 655,310 (57,970)
KS-02 710,047 (3,233)
KS-03 767,569 54,289
KS-04 720,192 6,912
Total: 2,853,118

Redistricting outlook: Kansas-Maryland

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

Previous diary on Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas

Previous diary on California, Colorado, and Connecticut

Previous diary on Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii

Previous diary on Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa

The rest below the fold…



Districts: 4

Who’s in charge? Republicans

Is that important? Nope

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



Districts: 6

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

Is that important? Perhaps

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



Districts: 6, down from 7 in 2002

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

Is that important? Not really

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



Districts: 2

Who’s in charge? Nonpartisan commission

Is that important? No

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



Districts: 8

Who’s in charge? Democrats

Is that important? Perhaps

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

DLCC Essential Race: Can Dan “Death Threat” Manning Dominate Downballot?

We’re going way downballot, baby. As I like to say: SSPers do it downballot.  [and yes, I would buy a t-shirt that said that]

Wait, what is the DLCC and what are their essential races?

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the downballot counterpart to the attention-hogging DCCC (triage!) and DSCC (save the saucer!). They focus on state legislative races and are especially active this cycle with redistricting hanging in the balance. State legislatures, of course, are crucial players in the process, and swinging them our way will help prevent DeLaymanders. The DLCC party poohbahs, as it were, selected 40 races, mostly focused on redistricting and the most hotly-contested state houses. Party Picks 1-20. Party Picks 21-40. But then the DLCC did something that made me love them. Oh yes, love. The DLCC solicited right here on SSP, nominations for more of these Essential downballot races. And apparently, we nominated the hell out of our candidates, because the DLCC announced The Grassroots 15, instead of just 10. And frankly, looking at the grassroots nominees, we did good y’all.

Why should I care?

Besides being SSP’s bread and butter (well, Congressional races are probably the bread & butter…downballot is more like…the arugula?), I would posit that it is these sort of races that are truly the purest form of American democracy. The Founders, I think, both envisioned and practiced this sort of meet-your-neighbors campaigning. Downballot races are also much more dependent on candidates–almost never national forces sweep in and, say, donate $13 million to Sharron Angle when she’s running for the Nevada state legislature. But the great thing from the perspective of civic-minded citizens is that participating in races like these can yield bigger and more tangible results than say, giving Jack Conway $20 (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But when $20-$25k is enough for the entire race, even a small donation to Manning’s campaign can make a big difference. So why does the DLCC say this race matters?

Why this Race Matters: This campaign turned ugly for Democratic nominee Dan Manning a few weeks ago when he discovered a death threat laced with anti-gay slurs on his doorstep. Manning is a decorated West Point graduate who was discharged from the military because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. If Manning wins his race, factional divisions within the state Republican Party would give him considerably more influence in the Kansas House than the GOP’s wide chamber majority would suggest.

Plus, as our own James L. pointed out in a 2006 diary:

Democratic gains in state legislatures are crucial for building the “farm team” for higher offices.

That James L. link btw, enumerates the gains made in state legislatures in the 2006 election. And James, of course, is/was right–state Rep. Raj Goyle (KS-04) and state Rep. Bryan Lentz (PA-07), for example, are now in tight races for Congress, and were among those 268 net pickups in 2006 (that was in state Houses alone).

Well, in Dan Manning, Democrats may have a candidate who could eventually go far, far beyond the mostly middle-class neighborhoods of Wichita’s 91st District. Find out why, after the jump….

Dan Manning at ArtAid BenefitTHE CANDIDATE:

Dan “Death Threat” Manning … oh yeah, I’m making that his official nickname now.

Since we last checked in on him and his campaign, as well as other top state legislative races in Kansas, Dan “Death Threat” Manning has emerged as one of the Kansas Democratic Party’s most formidable new candidates.

He’s like the new Sean Tevis, except way, way different.

Georgia-born Dan Manning is a West Point grad (’04) and Mandarin-speaking military vet booted from the Army thanks to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (timely!).

If I have the story right, Manning actually “told” via press release upon announcing the formal creation of Knights Out, the pro-LGBT, anti-DADT West Point alumni group. Manning currently sits on the Knights Out board.

UPDATE: Yeah, I was totally wrong. He was outed and kicked out before they did the whole press release thing. Still, I’ve never come out via press release, and I don’t really know of many who have.

Btw, guess who Dan Manning recruited to be spokesperson and a co-founder of Knights Out? Dan Choi.

So yes, gays, you partially have Dan Manning to thank for Dan Choi becoming the badass LGBT activist he is today.

After all, Dan Choi probably wouldn’t have been on TV talking to Rachel Maddow if he wasn’t speaking for Knights Out at the time. And thus, no springboard to national fame.  

Dan Choi Chains Himself To White HouseNo seriously, thank you for Dan Choi.

After getting his honorable discharge from the US Army, Manning put his artillery battalion skills to use in electrical engineering and business management, oh, and picked up an MBA and started work on a PhD. After almost four years in the private sector, he currently serves as a production supervisor at AGCO, which manufactures tractors and all manner of farming-related “Serious Machinery” in Hesston, KS, a little ways north of Wichita.

I honestly couldn’t have written a better profile for the first openly-gay member of the state Legislature…and I’m, like, a really good writer. As a campaigner, the West Point discipline has him canvassing and campaigning with precision, and it also neutralizes much of the potential antipathy from the D by his name and the rainbow in his heart. He works at an actual factory (Labor) but as a managerial type (Business) who is soon to have a PhD (Education/Professionals). Sure, he’s gay (LGBT) but he was a soldier first (Military). Oh, and did I mention he manufactures tractors and farming equipment (Farmers).

Let’s see…Labor, Business, Professionals, LGBT, Military, and Farmers….that’s not just a Democratic coalition that can win in Kansas, that’s a Democratic coalition that can wipe the floor with its opponents in Kansas. Basically, Dan Manning has the Kansas version of the profile Harvey Milk wished he’d had. Look, I don’t invoke the de-facto Gay MLK lightly (well, he was a politician, so maybe Milk is the…Gay Obama?). But it’s true. Manning has the profile to do really, really well in politics. And dude’s just 30, and if he wins this year, as I think he probably will in the end, he could be … is… someone good.

Brenda Landwehr - official photoTHE OPPONENT:

Dan Manning’s opponent is state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, who has been in the Legislature since 1995 and now serves as the Health & Human Services Chair. Her biggest donor? The KS Hospital Association, of course, followed immediately by Koch Industries, then the KS Bankers Association, rounded off by everyone’s favorite small business killer: Wal-Mart. Quite a Top 4, even for a hard-right Republican…

While she has a long anti-gay, anti-moderate, anti-anything-but-super-conservative record, Landwehr’s latest media buzz was as an attack dog against fellow state Rep. Raj Goyle, the well-funded Democrat making a strong bid to become Wichita’s Congressman. She made her forceful comments as a main backer of Mike Pompeo at a Republican legislator unity rally that turned out to be not-so-united when Pompeo’s primary rival, moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf, was a no-show. Source: Wichita Eagle

Raj Goyle & Dan ManningIf moderate Republicans don’t come home to Pompeo (and his ineffectual campaign doesn’t seem to be helping), Kansas could end up electing an Indian-American Democrat to a R+14 seat.

Yes, Pompeo may yet win the KS-04 seat thanks to its ruby red nature, but he is not particularly popular outside of the Koch set. The 91st, on the other hand, the one Brenda Landwehr actually has to run in, is decidedly swingy–purple, if you will.  Let’s explore it!


Welcome to Wichita, Kansas, the biggest city in the state we all think of as “Home” (thanks Wizard of Oz!). In the 91st district, you’ve got partisan demographics that are pretty close to those statewide.

Partisan Makeup of Kansas: 43.5R/27D/28.6U

Partisan Makeup of the 91st District:  42R/31D/26.4U

As you can see on the District Map, the 91st is located in the northern reaches of the city of Wichita. Most of these areas are relatively new-ish and decidedly middle-class. They’re mostly the type of folks who are scrupulous with their yards, and picky with their political yard signs.

Finally, a note to Karl Rove wannabes: the death threat is not an effective political weapon. It will almost certainly backfire…especially when you try it on a West Point graduate who knows how to handle a gun.

Please help win this Essential Race for Kansas, America, rainbows, puppies, children, veterans and the American Way:

Donate to Dan Manning by clicking here.

Please help. Seriously. Please. Pretty please with a cherry on top. Please. Dan Manning actually has “first LGBT President of the United States” potential. Do it for America.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Complete Kansas State Legislative Race Ratings 2010, Districts 80-125 + Projections & Top PACs

Today marks the conclusion of a 3-part series examining the state of the Kansas state House of Representatives. In previous diaries, I ran through KS House seats 1-40 (start there if you’re just joining us) as well as KS House seats 41-80. In this edition, I’ll examine seats 81-125, which include most of the seats in rural Western Kansas, as well as some in the Wichita area.


Current composition: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (or about 61%-39%)


KS-HR-# <—this is the district’s number

43.5R/27D/28.6U   <—this is the voter affiliation breakdown, R is Republican, D is for Democrat, and U is unaffiliated voters. Statewide, as of June 2010, the state’s registration numbers were 43.5% Republican, 27.2% Democrat, and 28.6% Unaffiliated.  Also, unless the tenth of a percent is a 4, 5 or 6, I rounded to the nearest full percentage point.

District Map    <—-this is the official map from this district from: KSLegislature.org the official state gov’t site.


Candidate Guide + District PVIs from Capitol Strategies LLC [pdf]

Guide to every KS House seat’s past voting from OurCampaigns.com

Candidate Fundraising from Ethics.ks.gov


KS-HR-81: 47R/22D/30.6U : District Map : (R) Peter DeGraaf was appointed to the seat in early 2008, and won it outright in 2008 after a competitive primary with 55% in the general election. So it’s a seat that can be competitive. Unfortunately, the best Dems could come up with this cycle was 21-year-old Wichita State student Zach Ketteman. Still, Ketteman is at least giving it a go, campaigning hard and scoring several endorsements, and getting fined by the state Ethics Commission for forgetting to include “Paid For By…” on campaign materials (along with several others, btw). Whoops. Well, at least we know he’s sending out campaign materials. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-82: 48.6R/21.4D/29.4U  : District Map : (R) Open (retirement of Don Myers) – KS Dem Party Exec. Board member & Dem national committeeman Lee Kinch, an attorney, is running, which is about as solid a recruit as you could land in this suburban Wichita district centered on Derby. Though it is a fairly Republican district, the Republican primary winner faced a three-way primary. Unfortunately for Democrats, the best-funded, most active and most-endorsed Republican candidate, Jim Howell, won. If Howell can retain most of the Republican base, he’ll win. Still, with Goyle leading local Dems, don’t count Kinch out completely. Kinch’s bio. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-83: 53R/25.5D/21U : District Map :  (R) In office since 1985, Jo Ann Pottorff was the only Wichita Republican to vote for the state’s temporary sales tax increase, which garnered her her first primary challenge in recent memory. She barely defeated college grad Kyle Amos 53-47, which could mean trouble: there’s a Libertarian on the ballot, which could draw conservative votes from Pottorff.  Her general election opponent is Sean Amore, a 34-year-old with a wife and young daughter, who is a Green Biz Wichita Executive Committee member, part of the United Way’s Young Leaders Association, and one of the “40 Under 40” according to the Wichita Business Journal.  Still, the moderate Pottorff hasn’t won a general election with less than two-thirds of the vote in this heavily Republican district many, many cycles, so Amore faces a tough task. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-87: 38.2R/31.5D/29.8U : District Map (D) Open (Raj Goyle) – Boeing Military Aviation Supervisor Om Chauhan, the Democrat, faces off against “self-proclaimed Todd Tiahrt conservative” Joseph Scapa in this rapidly blueing district. And fortunately for Chauhan, the locals are already used to a state Rep. with a kinda-funny furriner name thanks to Goyle. Chauhan’s actively campaigning and has a fairly snazzy website.  Rating: Lean Democrat

Nice lady-mullet, Brenda. Flowbie or John Deere?Flowbie or John Deere?

KS-HR-91: 42R/31D/26.4U : District Map : (R) Brenda Landwehr – Health Committee Chair Landwehr has held this gradually-blueing seat since 1994, but she’ll face a stiff challenge from West Point grad Dan Manning, who has a fairly nice-looking website (http://manningforkansas.com/) and appears to be campaigning pretty hard. The seat leans Republican only slightly, and the hard-right Landwehr had somewhat close calls in 2002 (54.5%) and 2006 (52.9%) though she nabbed 61.6% in 2008 and 64% in 2004. In other words, non-presidential-year elections are her toughies, and with a solid opponent, this might be the off-year she finally goes down. Rating: Lean Republican Dan Manning, KS State House CandidateUPDATE: I missed a little factoid in Manning’s bio: he’s trying to become the state’s first openly-gay legislator. Sweetheart that she is, this led Landwehr to stir up homophobia among local Republicans, which got Manning a death threat taped to the door of his home. That’s pretty unprecedented in KS politics, especially for just one of 125 seats in the lower house of the legislature. It will also make a lot of local moderates think twice about voting for Landwehr, and if Manning can use his newfound notoriety to attract donations and run a strong campaign, he stands a darn good shot at winning. Ahem, looking at you, JoeMyGod. Come on Joe, he’s basically a ready-made bear icon and if you ask your readers for donations, you should know their money can go really far in Kansas. Full disclosure: I’ve now contributed $75 and counting to Manning’s campaign, the only KS candidate I’ve given to this cycle (well, him and Sean Tevis). Won’t you join me? Otherwise, I’m unaffiliated with his campaign…or any of these campaigns.

KS-HR-96: 34.5R/31D/33.7U : District Map : (R) Phil Hermanson – Democrat Brandon Whipple has raised about $20k, enough for a state rep. race, certainly. His opponent, Republican Phil Hermanson, is a first-termer who got 50.2% of the vote to defeat freshman Democrat Terry McLachlan, who’d won his seat with just 50.3% of the vote in 2006. Thankfully for Dems, Hermanson is a notoriously lazy campaigner, while Whipple’s a young, go-getting teacher and a Wichita State grad, his website is appropriately good (www.whippleforkansas.com)  and he definitely seems to be campaigning hard. The picture of him & Sebelius on his website doesn’t hurt, either. Rating: Tossup

Dale Swenson, Best Mustache in the KS HouseKS-HR-97: 33.5R/32D/34U :  District Map  : (R–>D) Dale Swenson – First elected in 1994, Dale Swenson made some headlines when he switched parties shortly after being re-elected as a Republican in 2008. Though his district has become quite blue, the moderate Swenson won handily in his previous races (61.4% in ’08 and 64.5% in ’06) so it’s not terribly clear to me why he switched…unless he wants to run for the state Senate (which he did, in a Republican special election in 2003, but lost) as a Democrat. If he runs for the Senate, he might be up against Dick Kelsey (who may retire, he dropped out of the KS-04 race this year, despite being the favorite) in Senate District 26. But first, Swenson has to win in 2010 as a Democrat. In the general election, he’ll face retired consultant and “perennial candidate”/Some Dude Leslie Osterman, who, interestingly, actually ran for the seat in 2000–against Swenson–as a Democrat…and lost badly (66-34). Frankly, based on this Wichita Independent Business Association survey, Osterman doesn’t seem too bright. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-101: 46R/24.4D/29U : District Map : (R) Joe Seiwert – Freshman Seiwert knocked off incumbent Democrat Mark Treaster 51-49 in 2008, while Treaster had defeated the previous Republican incumbent in ’04 with a similar percentage. Seiwert’s 2010 opponent, Democrat Curtis “Curt” Miller, is the mayor of Pretty Prairie. Unfortunately, Pretty Prairie, a suburb/exurb of Hutchinson, has well under 1000 people. Still, that’s a good profile for this exurban-Hutchinson Reno County district. Libertarian Thad Bartley is also running, which could draw votes from Seiwert.  Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-105: 48R/23D/28.5U : District Map : (R/Open) Gene Suellentrop – The owner of a Gambino’s Pizza is up against dietician Jane Byrnes, who did respectably well in 2006 (not 2008, as it says on the Capitol Strategies pdf), winning 40% of the vote against previous incumbent Jason Watkins, who left the seat in 2009, leading to Suellentrop’s appointment. Still, Suellentrop’s never faced voters and the suburban/exurban parts of Wichita (like this district) can be swingy. Byrnes, a Catholic grandmother of six, also scores well for civic involvement, having launched the Westlink Neighborhood Association and served on various local committees. Plus, she has the best-named website of any candidate: http://campaignjane.com/   Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-108:  51.6R/21.5D/26U : District Map : (D/Open) Don Svaty – Don was appointed to this seat by local Democrats after his son, Josh Svaty, resigned midway through his fourth term to become KS Secretary of Agriculture (a pretty important post in KS, as you might imagine). Don, like his son, has hewed to a pretty Blue Dog-ish line, taking very pro-life and pro-gun lines. Josh held the seat extremely well, defeating an incumbent in 2002 with 66%, getting 60% in 2004, unchallenged in ’06, and taking 63.2% in 2008. Can his Pops do the same? Uh…maybe. He’s up against a very strong candidate in Steven Johnson, a local boy who was Saline South High valedictorian (1984), Student Body President at Kansas State (1988), got an MBA from the Univ. of Chicago, and served on the investment committee of K-State & the 4-H and farms locally in addition to serving as a Sr. VP for a distribution company. Rating: Tossup

Christina Stein, Gun-Totin' DemocratKS-HR-112: 53.6R/20.4D/25.6U : District Map : (R) William Wolf is running for his third term, after winning his first and second with 50.3% and 53% of the vote, respectively. He faces a competitive opponent in the form of the comely young Christina Stein, a social worker, substitute teacher, and contributor to the Kansas Free Press. While she’s from Michigan, she points out that she’s from a much smaller town than the one she wants to represent (Great Bend is the main city in the district). Even better, there’s a picture of her as a teenager with a dead deer she shot on her FAQ page.   Her slogan: Christina Stein, Gun-Totin’ Democrat. Hot.  Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-116: 58R/20.5D/21U : District Map  : (D) Patrick “Pat” Maloney – Maloney was appointed to succeed Dennis McKinney upon his becoming state treasurer and has yet to face voters. The only credible comparison for this district is McKinney’s 2002 victory, wherein he beat Republican M.T. Liggett 76-24. Other than that, McKinney went uncontested in ’04, ’06 and ’08. Patrick Maloney is not so lucky–he’ll face Kyle Hoffman, a farmer and owner of Central Fuel & Service in Coldwater, KS. Hoffman is also the elected chair and 13-year member of the Comanche County Conservation District. McKinney, btw, will be on the ballot in 2010–running for a full term as State Treasurer, which could help Maloney, especially as they have separate bases–McKinney in Greensburg (Kiowa Co.) and Maloney in Kingman (Kingman Co.) while Hoffman, presumably, would do well in Comanche, with Barber in the middle as the swinger. Rating: Tossup  

KS-HR-119: 40R/26D/33U : District Map : (R) Pat George – There’s a slight chance that challenger Rebecca Escalante will improve enough upon her previous performance that it won’t be an embarrassing 76-24 loss. This district has turned rapidly red–Democrat Ethel Peterson won it in 2002 with 55%, though George defeated her replacement by a whopping 68-32. I mostly just like Escalante’s name, though local voters (turned xenophobic by an influx of Latinos) probably don’t. Rating: Safe Republican

KS-HR-120: 66R/16D/17U :  District Map : (R/Open) It would be insane if Democrat Robert Strevey actually won, after having run every year since 2002 against Republican John Faber (who was first elected in 1996). Of course, this year, retired principal Strevey won’t be facing Faber, he’ll face newcomer Ward Cassidy, a retired teacher from St. Francis who won the primary 56-44. If Strevey wins, he is the new Walt Minnick. However, against a relative unknown like Cassidy, Strevey could have a chance, since folks will obviously recognize his name on the ballot more than Cassidy’s. Rating: Likely Republican


Uncontested Democrats: 05, 08, 32, 33, 34, 37, 44, 46, 58, 63, 78, 89, 102, 103, 111 (total: 15)

Safe Dem:  01, 02, 03, 31, 35, 36, 53, 55, 56, 57, 66, 84, 86, 88, 92, 95, 98 (total: 17)

Likely Dem:  23, 24, 40, 62, 80, 97 (total: 6)

Lean Dem: 04, 10, 18, 22, 41, 65, 67, 87 (total: 8)

Projected (meaning Lean D and above) Democrat: 46

Tossups: 16, 17, 19, 39, 45, 69, 72, 96, 101, 108, 116 (total: 11)

Uncontested Republicans: 06, 07, 11, 26, 27, 30, 48, 50, 61, 73, 77, 79, 85, 90, 93, 99, 100, 106, 107, 113, 114, 115, 117, 123, 125  (total: 25)

Intraparty only, Republicans: 09, 13, 51, 64, 68, 70, 94, 109, 110, 118, 121, 122, 124 (total: 13)

Safe Republican:  12, 21, 74, 76, 104, 119 (total: 6)

Likely Rep: 15, 28, 29, 42, 47, 52, 59, 60, 71, 81, 83, 120  (total: 12)

Lean Rep: 14, 20, 25, 38, 43, 49, 54. 75, 82, 91, 105, 112  (total: 12)

Projected Republican: 68

Arealmlc’s final prediction: Downballot Democrats will perform surprisingly well since it’s an off-year, taking a lot of the Tossups and a few Lean Republican seats [looking at you, Landwehr]. With only a handful of potential losses (I’d peg Svaty, Palmer & Hawk as most likely D losses, if there are any).  Combine that with a plethora of offensive opportunities, and Democrats are poised to make modest, but significant gains.

2009-2010 Legislature: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (61%-39%)

2011-2012 Legislature: 69 Republicans, 56 Democrats (55%-45%) (arealmlc’s official projection)

Even more importantly, nearly all of the potential pickups will come against conservative Republicans, not moderates.


Best Names:  Shirley Palmer (5th), Keith Mace (49th), Om Chauhan (87th)

Most Kansas-y Named Race:  John Grange (R) Vs. Glenda Reynolds (D) (75th)

Best Mustache: Dale Swenson (97th)

Hottest Female Candidates: Christina Stein (112th) & Shana Althouse (25th)

Hottest Male Candidates: Gerrett Morris (69th)  & Jim Faris (47th)

KS Political Hotties Stein, Morris, Faris & Althouse:

Christina Stein, Gun-Totin' DemocratGerrett Morris, the new Deena Horst?Jim Faris, Oskaloosa City CouncilmanShana Althouse, KS-25

Best Websites: Nancy Bauder (41st – www.nancybauder.com), Brandon Whipple (96th – www.whippleforkansas.com) & Shana Althouse (25th – www.shanaalthouse.com)

If I could pick one candidate to automatically lose: [tie] homophobia-spreader Brenda Landwehr (91st) & Connie O’Brien (42nd) the worst state legislator in Kansas.

If I could pick one candidate to automatically win: [tie] Dan Manning (91st) & Christina Stein (112th)


For a complete list of PACs and their relative power in the state, Kansas Watchdog is a good website with a great resource for Kansas PACs ranked by their relative strength.

Kansas Chamber of Commerce – The Kansas Chamber’s gone teabagger. Not only are their endorsements all Republicans (I think, though 1 or 2 Dems may have slipped in there) but they often waded into primaries to boost conservatives over moderates. Their PAC is ranked as 7th most powerful in the state, but this cycle they had few primary victories to show for it–of the 9 Republican sales-tax-increasing incumbents facing KS Chamber-supported opponents, only one lost: Jill Quigley. The other 8, including Spalding, Pottorff, Roth, and Hill, survived an onslaught of mailers from the KS Chamber and from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Industries-funded group with radical libertarian leanings. Meanwhile, three Republicans sometimes perceived as moderate (including Salina’s Deena Horst and former Speaker Melvin Neufeld) , but who voted against the tax, lost their primaries. Kansas Chamber endorsements.

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce + Life Sciences Fund of Greater KC Chamber – The Greater KC Chamber is much more centrist than its KS-only counterpart. If you support stem cell research, you’ll probably get the endorsement of (and money from) at least the Life Sciences Fund, though both organizations are seemingly big fans of smart science education (ie–anti-creationist). Both are among the state’s 20 most powerful PACs (Life Sciences ranked 6th, Greater KC Chamber 18th). Naturally, being pro-business is the main criteria.

Kansans For Life PAC – The biggest and most powerful anti-abortion group in the state is going to be weak this cycle, quite frankly. They’ve got just 5k in the bank as of July 2010, and rank only 19th among state PACs. If you’re adamantly against abortion, you’ll likely gain the support of this group, which, as you might expect, is much stronger in Republican primary battles than general election ones. They have a few local branches which can have some effect on local races: their Greater Kansas City branch ranks 47th statewide. Kansas for Life PAC site. Get their Primary Endorsements on the Topeka Examiner.

KS-NOW – The most direct opposition to Kansans for Life is probably the local chapter of National Organization for Women: if you’re pro-choice, you can probably score their endorsement. For 2010, they endorsed 45 Democrats and 11 Republicans in contested seats. They probably would’ve endorsed more, but apparently, you actually have to want their endorsement to get it. In some swing seats, it’s a positive, in others it’s a negative. Kansas Free Press lists their endorsements.

Mainstream Coalition (MAINstream PAC) – This is an interesting, very Kansas-y organization. The Mainstream Coalition emerged in the mid-1990s, growing out of a frustration of (mostly) Johnson County moderate Republicans pissed that the moderate Republican representatives kept getting primaried–and losing–and then dealing wacky right-wingers in government embarrassing everyone. While active in primaries, they also get involved in general elections to knock out conservatives with Democrats if they can’t win the primary: Dennis Moore was one of their early endorsees and remained in their good graces throughout his career. Their endorsees are considered social moderates if nothing else (meaning: pro-choice, anti-creationist, pro-gay-ish, pro-sex ed, pro-stem cell research) and notably include both Republicans and Democrats. They now have a PAC that gives directly to candidates (ranked 51st of 175 statewide), but their imprimateur carries significant weight among Johnson County moderates and their stated focus on downballot races makes them especially effective when they endorse state rep candidates. Mainstream Coalition Endorsements  

Kansas NEA – The big daddy of pro-education groups in the state, the NEA gives big to Democrats and Republicans, favoring those who are big on education funding. Usually, their endorsement comes with cash as their PAC is among the state’s best-funded. The Kansas Watchdog ranks it as the most powerful PAC in the state. Some related organizations are the KASB (KS Assoc. of School Boards) & USA (United School Administrators) which also have a PAC. KNEA endorsements.

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KS: Complete Kansas State Legislative Race Ratings 2010, Districts 41-80

In my last diary, I ran through KS House seats 1-40, so if you haven’t read that, I’d advise starting there. In this edition, I’ll examine seats 40-80, which include some in suburban Johnson County (heavily covered in the previous edition) as well as Topeka, Salina, and much of the eastern & central parts of the state, even reaching down to the Wichita exurbs.


Current composition: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (or about 61%-39%)


KS-HR-# <—this is the district’s number

43.5R/27D/28.6U   <—this is the voter affiliation breakdown, R is Republican, D is for Democrat, and U is unaffiliated voters. Statewide, as of June 2010, the state’s registration numbers were 43.5% Republican, 27.2% Democrat, and 28.6% Unaffiliated. Unless the tenth of a percent is a 4, 5 or 6, I rounded to the nearest full percentage point in most cases.

District Map    <—-this is the official map (pdf format) of this district from the Legislature’s website (opens in a new window). Maps from: KSLegislature.org.


Candidate Guide + District PVIs from Capitol Strategies LLC [pdf]

Guide to every KS House seat’s past voting from OurCampaigns.com

Candidate Fundraising from Ethics.ks.gov


KS-HR-41: 32R/34.5D/32.5U : District Map : (D/Open) – With the retirement of Democrat Marti Crow, this still-competitive, but increasingly blue, seat is now open. In 2008, Crow smacked down Republican Jana Taylor Goodman 59-41, who, having won the Republican primary convincingly, is back for another try at the seat in 2010. Crow and other local Democrats are backing Nancy Bauder, the Exec. Dir. of the Community Development Corp. of Leavenworth, and a small business owner. Gov. Parkinson held a fundraiser for Bauder, whose high-quality website makes Goodman’s look outlandishly amateurish. Her economic development credentials are also flawless, and make Goodman’s non-existent ones even more pronounced. Rating: Lean Democrat

Connie O'Brien, Worst State Representative in KansasKS-HR-42: 41R/27D/31U :  District Map : (R) Connie O’Brien, a retired special education teacher, won her seat in 2008 with almost 60% of the vote against the underfunded Timothy Moran, but faces a challenge from James “Jim” Pittman, a military veteran, engineer, and Chairman of the Lansing Planning Commission. O’Brien, a mother of 11(!) and vice-chair of Leavenworth County Republicans, is a past President (1996) of Kansans for Life, the most powerful local anti-abortion group. As such, she’s aligned herself with the hardcore conservatives, both socially and fiscally. This could make her vulnerable to a strong challenge, though I’m unsure if Pittman can provide it (though he certainly has a good profile to do it). Rating: Likely Republican

On a personal note, having examined lots of local legislators’ websites, voting records, biographies, positions and electoral histories, I have concluded that Connie O’Brien is the single worst person in the entire Kansas Legislature. She is a hardcore, unthinking, dogmatic partisan who insults her fellow legislators (Democrats and Republicans alike) while distorting the work of the Legislature. While Connie’s Corner sounds like the type of place you might find knitting tips, with Connie O’Brien you’ll find intense partisan invective that you won’t find on nearly any other legislator’s website. And what the hell kind of grandmother votes against requiring people to wear seatbelts while voting to let them smoke in restaurants? She is a lying, egotistical, hypocritical bigot whose presence in the Legislature is a disgrace to the state, and especially to the people of Leavenworth County.

Kevin King of Kansas, District 43 Candidate"Big" Mike KiegerlBeard Fight!

KS-HR-43: 44R/22D/33.4U :  District Map : (R) Mike Kiegerl (at right) was first elected to this new district upon its creation in 2002. He’s faced a declining share of the vote as the area urbanizes (well, suburbanizes) and grows more moderate, taking only 53% of the vote in 2008 (thanks to a Libertarian eating a huge 12% of the vote). This cycle, he faces Democrat Kevin King (at left), an analyst at Sprint, who looks a bit like Kiegerl, actually. The area remains quite Republican-friendly and Kiegerl has been a low-profile conservative, but King’s been running a pretty strong campaign, racking up endorsements and showing up at community events.  Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-45: 35.6R/32D/32U :  District Map : (R) Tom Sloan – While the moderate Sloan has managed to hold this blue-tinted district since 1995, winning 53-47 over an untested Democrat in 2008, his luck may be about to run out as he faces two-term former Lawrence school board member (and former President) Linda Robinson. She also happens to be a longtime community leader (Governor’s Education Council, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc) while not being terribly old (I’d guess late 50s?) She’s about as top-tier as they come for a race like this. Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-47: 46R/25D/28.5U : District Map : (R) Lee Tafanelli – First elected in 2000, Tafanelli faced a somewhat close call in 2002, winning 56%. In 2004 & 2008, he was unopposed. He served in Iraq in 2005-2006, but got back in time to defeat the youthful bluegrass musician/student Jim Faris in 2006 with 65% of the vote. He will face Faris, now an Oskaloosa city councilman (pop. 1165), local journalist and paraeducator, again in 2010. It should be a closer race, now that the warm glow of military service has dissipated more fully from Tafanelli and Faris has some local political credibility. Also, Faris plays the upright bass in his family’s mildly successful bluegrass band, which is kinda awesome. And he’s a newlywed and expecting a baby this month, actually. Awww…  Rating: Likely Republican  

State Rep. Scott Schwab, Jerk-offKS-HR-49: 48R/21.5D/30U : District Map : (R) Scott Schwab – Aside from practicing his shiiteating grin, Schwab enjoys trying to throttle more representative democracy in its cradle. I first heard of incorrigible douchebag Schwab when he introduced legislation just after the 2008 cycle that became known as the “Sean Tevis Bill”. After Sean Tevis raised $108k from small donors in 2008, Schwab introduced a bill requiring donations under $50 have the same disclosure requirements as big donations–but only if the candidate got a lot of them. Tevis fought back, and with the Internet’s help, the bill got put on ice and Schwab crawled back under a rock. So if you like Sean Tevis–and I know you do because you’re on the Internet right now–consider a donation to Schwab’s opponent, the awesomely-named Keith Mace. Mace was an IT guy and a telecoms expert for the General Services Administration, even serving as Acting Director for the GSA FAST Program (fast acquisition of tech, basically). Also, Mace has a fine, upstanding mustache. Plus, Schwab only got 59% against a non-entity-type opponent in 2008, and uber-conservative Ben Hodge only got 55% here in 2006 (Hodge replaced Schwab when Schwab ran for Dennis Moore’s seat in 2006–and couldn’t even get past the primary). Keith Mace’s website: http://keith4kansas.com/   Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-52:  48.6R/27D/24U :  District Map : (R) Lana Gordon – Kyle Kessler is a reasonably strong opponent (he’d been mentioned as a possible candidate in the post-Laura Kelly days in KS-02 to take on Lynn Jenkins). Unfortunately, this district is probably too red for him to win, especially over the popular and fairly moderate Lana Gordon, who has regularly won with 70%+ of the vote since elected in 2000.  Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-54: 45R/30D/24U :  District Map : (R) Joe Patton – As he has since winning election in 2006 with 51.5% of the vote (he nabbed 57% in ’08), Patton will face a race this year, this time thanks to 26-year-old teacher Scott Seel (who needs to fill in some of the pages of his otherwise-nice website, www.seelforkansas.com) Topeka voters are notorious for dumping useless Republican incumbents (see: Ryun, Jim) and Patton has not been terribly impressive. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-59: 47R/24D/28U: District Map : (R) William Prescott – Freshman Prescott, a former Osage County Commissioner, is running for a second term after winning his first with 54.3% of the vote. In 2006, Democrat Jim Irey held the then-incumbent to just 51.2%, prompting his retirement. Irey lost the 2008 follow-up race to Prescott. This year, Prescott will face the weaker Blossom Barth, who appears to be doing little in the way of campaigning. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-60: 38.6R/29D/32U :  District Map :  (R) Don Hill –  Elected in 2002, the relatively popular and moderate (pro-choice and led the pro-school Republicans) Hill wasn’t even challenged by Democrats in 2008, despite the increasingly blue tint of his district. This cycle, Hill has a serious opponent in Mike Dorcey, who lost the County Clerk race in 2008, but at least has electoral experience. Additionally, Dorcey is Community Relations Director of the Emporia Unified School District, giving him education bonafides in a cycle where that’s a hot topic. Overall, Hill’s moderate profile should keep him safe. Rating: Likely Republican

State Rep. Steve LukertKS-HR-62: 53R/24D/22.6U : District Map : (D) Steve Lukert – A former Republican, Lukert lost a state Senate race in 2004, switched parties, and won his KS House seat in 2006 with 53% of the vote, and won re-election with 57%, despite the heavy Republican tilt of the district, making him Kansas’ answer to Chet Edwards. He will face Randy Garber, a Navy vet, heating/cooling specialist, and pastor of Trinity Church of the Brethren. Despite the partisan lean of the district, Garber seems a wee bit….hmm, how to say this in a nice Kansas way? Garber’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. And that’s all I’m gonna say. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-65: 38R/33D/28U : District Map :  (R/Open) Incumbent Barbara “Barbie” Craft is retiring, leaving her Junction City seat open. Geary County Commissioner Larry Hicks is in the running for the Democrats, while Republicans had a Junction City Commissioner running, and passed him up for a guy named James Fawcett. With an open seat, a moderate, responsible already-elected official is exactly the sort of politician Kansans like to send to Topeka. Plus, popular Gov. Parkinson held a fundraiser for Hicks two weeks ago, so KS Dems are obviously pretty high on his chances. Even better, the Republican Craft showed up to that fundraiser and praised Hicks, although she’s technically supporting the Republican Fawcett. Link for that story. Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-67: 47R/24.6D/28U : District Map : (D) Tom Hawk is a former Manhattan (KS) school superintendent and is going for his fourth term, after winning his third with 56%. It’s a tough district but the adamantly pro-education Hawk fits in well here. His opponent is opthamologist Dr. Susan Mosier, who would be a strong candidate thanks to her civic involvement, if it weren’t for her right-wing flirtations. Still, Republicans are high on her chances and the district is pretty tough.  Rating: Lean Democrat

Gerrett Morris, the new Deena Horst?KS-HR-69: 40R/25D/34U  : District Map :  (R/Open) The teabaggers strike! Elected in 1994, incumbent Deena Horst is a retired art teacher and frankly, she does seem like the nicest person ever, and I say that as someone disinclined to like Republicans–but she lost her primary to teabagging Salina City Commissioner Tom Arpke.  Meanwhile, Team Blue has an attractive young fellow named Gerrett Morris (at left), who, according to his campaign website is “serving as Chairman of both the Saline County Young Democrats and the Salina Tree Advisory Board.” Hear that, Arpke! Tree Advisory Board (this actually is important in central KS where there aren’t a lot of trees, btw). Who would you rather District 69 with now, eh Salina voters? Rating: Tossup

Horst Vs. Arpke – Salina Journal

KS-HR-71: 46.5R/23.5D/29U : District Map :  (R) Charles Roth survived a double teabagging in the Republican primary, and his moderate reputation will serve him well in the general election. In his two previous runs since his 2005 appointment, he scored 59.4% (2006) and 62.6% (2008). Still, Democrats have a credible opponent in Salina School Board member and Dean of Academic Affairs at Brown Mackie College Phil Black. Roth’s moderate reputation should be enough. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-72: 45R/27D/28U :  District Map :  (R) Amy Schumacher faces off against incumbent Mark Rhoades, who won in 2008 by just 40 votes (after a similarly-skimpy win to defeat an incumbent Democrat in 2006), among the closest margins in the state. She’ll be helped by a new local campaign office and the strong Goyle campaign. Schumacher is definitely a-runnin’ and getting good local press: Source  Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-75: 46R/26D/27.4U : District Map :  (R) John Grange is in the hunt for a fourth term after winning his previous ones with around 54-55% of the vote. He’ll face Glenda Reynolds, whose husband is the vice-chair of the Butler County Democrats. She’s a solid candidate, with good community links, a solid website (http://www.reynolds4house.com/), a smart platform (ending tax breaks for non-KS companies, citing specific examples) and a lovely family. Grange is certainly favored, but Reynolds will make it a race, thanks to both institutional support from local Dems and being named after the good witch from The Wizard of Oz. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-80: 47.5R/26.6D/25.5U :  District Map : (D) Vincent Wetta – Wetta, a retired railroad engineer, won in 2006 with 57% of the vote over incumbent Bill McCreary, went unchallenged in 2008, and faces the little-known Ellen Hathaway in 2010. Rating: Likely Democrat

Join me next week for the final installment of this series along with a final tally of seat projections and more insight into Kansas politics.

KS: Complete Kansas State Legislative Race Ratings 2010, Districts 1-40

One of the things I like best about SSP is finding out about interesting downballot races that would otherwise escape my notice. So in that spirit, I’ve put together a massively comprehensive guide to the state races in Kansas in 2010.

Where art thou, Sean Tevis?Wherefore art thou, Sean Tevis, oh star of the 2008 KS State House races?

While Kansas isn’t exactly high on anyone’s radar for this election cycle, there are plenty of competitive races (KS-03 & KS-04, plus nearly all the statewide offices this year) throughout the state. Join me, won’t you, for a look at what’s happening downballot in the Kansas state Legislature?

But before we get into an analysis of the various districts in play this cycle, there are a few things to keep in mind…one is that this diary wasn’t meant to be published so soon. It was also way too long, so I was going to publish it in parts, but I hadn’t decided on what those parts were. Apparently, I’ll be doing it in thirds, since I just did seats 1-40, the competitive ones, at any rate.

In 2010, only Kansas House of Representatives seats are up, with the exception of …


KS-StSen-07: Moderate state Sen. David Wysong resigned, leading Republicans to choose state Rep. Terrie Huntington as his replacement. With a fairly moderate profile, she must now fend off challenges from the left and right in the only Senate seat being contested this cycle (the full Senate, including this seat, is up in 2012). Republican David Harvey is coming at her from the right, but she survived (barely) with 54% in the primary. Democrat Wayne E. Hodges awaits in the general. Possessing a master’s in public administration, Hodges is an adjunct professor at Park University and a sometime writer/reporter. We could do a lot worse, although Hodges starts at a distinct disadvantage over a battle-tested moderate Republican. Hodges bio

In 2004, Wysong won with 56% of the vote, and was re-elected with 54% in 2008. So it’s not a totally unwinnable district. If Hodges can’t win it in 2010, I’m betting state Rep. Mike Slattery (KS-HR-24) might try to move up in 2012. Of course, even if Hodges wins, Republicans will still dominate the upper chamber 30-10. Rating: Likely Republican

With that little appetizer out of the way, let’s get to the main course of this feast of local political analysis…

Stephene MooreDemocratic nominee Stephene Moore wields the power of delicious baked goods in her quest for KS-03.


Current composition: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (or about 61%-39%)


KS-HR-# <—this is the district’s number

43.5R/27D/28.6U   <—this is the voter affiliation breakdown, R is Republican, D is for Democrat, and U is unaffiliated voters. Statewide, as of June 2010, the state’s registration numbers were 43.5% Republican, 27.2% Democrat, and 28.6% Unaffiliated.  Out of the roughly 1.7 million registered voters, there are also about 10,000 registered Libertarians, along with 1,169 members of the Reform Party. Also, unless the tenth of a percent is a 4, 5 or 6, I rounded to the nearest full percentage point in most cases.

District Map    <—-this is the official map from the Legislature’s website KSLegislature.org.


Candidate Guide + District PVIs from Capitol Strategies LLC [pdf]

Guide to every KS House seat’s past voting from OurCampaigns.com

Candidate Fundraising from Ethics.ks.gov

Before we start, I’d meant to put something in about how off-year elections are actually the better ones for KS Democrats. A smaller electorate is generally a more moderate and better-informed one in Kansas. Sure, the teabaggers may be out in force, but that’s nothing new in Kansas. And Democrats, as you’ll see, have a lot of competitive candidates up and down the ballot, not only Stephene Moore & Raj Goyle for Congress, not only the best statewide slate we’ve had in a long while (Holland, Kultala, Six, McKinney & Biggs), but even in many state legislative races, Democrats are now fielding pretty solid candidates who can compete and possibly win. So below, find the first chunk of contested districts, all the ones I’ve ranked as competitive that number between 1 & 40.

Among these, there are some that are either totally safe (thanks to PVI heavily favoring one party) or uncontested completely. In districts 1-40, those seats are:

Uncontested Democrats: 05, 08, 32, 33, 34, 37

Safe Dem:  01, 02, 03, 31, 35, 36

Uncontested or intraparty-only Republicans: 06, 07, 09, 11, 13 26, 27, 30

Safe Republican:  12, 21

Geographically, seats 1-40 are centered on the eastern edge of the state, hence the seemingly high quantity of competitive seats. (generally speaking, KS gets more conservative as you go West). Most of the competitive ones below are in suburban Johnson County, which has been going from rosy red to quite purple rather quickly. The exceptions in competitive seats in 1-40 are the rural, Fort Scott-based 4th, the 10th, which takes in the suburban/exurban/rural areas south of Lawrence, and the Fort Leavenworth-based 40th. The two Fort districts border Missouri, and Lawrence is just one county over from the state line (via Johnson or Wyandotte, aka-the Dot) from the state line.  


State Rep. Shirley PalmerKS-HR-04: 46R/27.4D/26U : District Map : (D) Shirley Palmer (good name, good pic at left) defeated incumbent Lynne Oharah (a man, surprisingly) in 2006 in this Fort Scott-centric district with 51.3% of the vote and won again in 2008 with 53% in a rematch. This year, she’ll face a new opponent in Caryn Tyson, whose father-in-law was a local state Senator and a woman with deep local ties. Tyson’s website, at least, is a careful balance–conservative but not too conservative. She’ll be a tough opponent, but Palmer’s been a solid representative, has excellent education credentials and her local ties are just as strong.  Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-10: 37R/29D/33U : District Map : (D) Tony Brown –  Brown will face off against Terri Lois Gregory, who’s coming off a strong primary victory. Frankly, Gregory is a rather creepy lady staffer for state Rep. Mike Kiegerl (KS-HR-43) and a fairly hardcore conservative. Brown was elected in 2008 with just 49% of the vote (a Libertarian took 5% and the Republican got 45%). Interestingly, this is Dem gubernatorial nominee Tom Holland’s old legislative district, which I would expect to yield a big enough boost for Brown that he’ll pass the 50% mark this time, in addition to the sophomore swing and going up against a hardcore right-winger.  Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-14: 43R/25D/31U : District Map : (R) Incumbent Lance Kinzer faces off against Elliott Lahn, a city planner for nearby Merriam. Kinzer’s gotten around 60% in his previous races, but Lahn’s got a good website, raised some money, and has snagged a few endorsements. Kinzer doesn’t have quite the conservative stink of other members of the JoCo delegation, but he also hasn’t faced very many competitive opponents. Rating: Lean Republican

Arlen Siegfreid, Dressed in Silver & FlamingKS-HR-15: 43R/24D/32U : District Map  : (R) Arlen Siegfreid – Archconservative Siegfreid, now Speaker Pro Tem (2nd in command of KS House Republicans), has essentially become too conservative for this district, which was once staunchly conservative. In 2002, Siegfried won the newly-formed seat with 60% of the vote, but it has blued rapidly, with Siegfried’s vote share declining steadily to a narrow 52-48% victory over Sean Tevis in 2008 (McCain got 60% here). If Sean Tevis were running here again, I’d rate it a Tossup, but I’m doubting the website-less and rather invisible Wright will do as well as Tevis. Look for Siegfried to use his influence to draw himself a redder seat after redistricting, or perhaps one in the state Senate. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-16: 46R/25D/28U : District Map  : (D) Gene Rardin – Elected in 2006 by a hair after the moderate Republican incumbent went down in the primary, Rardin has survived two very close calls with less than 51% of the vote. This cycle, Rardin again faces a very conservative opponent in teabagger Amanda Grosserode, which should allow him to squeak to another term, despite representing one of the most heavily Republican districts in the county.  Rating: Tossup

State Rep. Jill Quigley, Republocrat?KS-HR-17: 46.5R/24D/28.5U : District Map  : (Open/R) Jill Quigley – The moderate Quigley faced a primary against teabagger Kelly Meigs as she tried to win her second full term after being appointed in 2007, but Meigs won 53-47 amid a decent turnout (for a primary). A moderate Republican can easily hold this seat–Quigley nabbed about 62% in her first try against modest opposition–but an anti-school teabagger would be considered a prime target. Waiting to swoop in and pick up the seat is Democrat Bryan Cox….now here’s where it gets interesting. Conservative blogs KansasProgress.com (intentional irony alert!) and KawandBorder.net are reporting that Cox is considering stepping aside and letting Quigley have his place on the ballot. She’d switch parties, of course, and run as a Democrat. Also, the $16k left in her campaign account would become useable again, an upgrade on Cox’s $200 haul. Why would Cox step aside? Well, he might if he’s the Bryan Cox that’s a high-level Democratic Party operative who’s now running Lisa Johnston’s Senate campaign and was recently (still?) the Riley County Field Coordinator. Once Cox bails, the 8 local precinct committee(wo)men choose a replacement–perhaps now-Democrat Jill Quigley? Stay tuned folks, because if Quigley switches sides, this will instantly become one of the hottest races around and a great pickup opportunity.

Rating: Tossup, for the sheer insanity of it all…. it’s Lean D with Quigley as a D, Lean or Likely Republican if it’s Meigs Vs. Cox

KS-HR-18: 44.6R/27D/27.8U : District Map : (D) Cindy Neighbor – Interesting career. First elected in 2002 to this seat as a moderate Republican, she lost the Republican primary in 2004, then returned to win the seat as a Democrat in 2006 with less than 50% of the vote, and got re-elected in 2008 with 52.5% of the vote against Republican John Rubin, an Army JAG officer who is back again in 2010. Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-19: 43.6R/25.3D/30.5U : District Map : (D) Dolores Furtado – A former Johnson County Commissioner, she won this seat in 2008 with 51% of the vote, and faces a strong challenge from Jim Denning, the CEO of Discover Vision Centers, who won his primary with a convincing 77%. But Furtado’s a tough old bird and she’s not going down without a fight. Rating: Tossup

Rob Bruchman, Yoder Odor?KS-HR-20: 49R/24D/27U : District Map : (Open/R/Kevin Yoder) – The district where I was raised for 15 years. A swingier-than-it-looks surburban Overland Park seat whose Republicans are heavily moderate, being vacated by former moderate Kevin Yoder. Yoder protege Rob Bruchman won a stunning 70% victory in the primary against Stephanie Sawyer Clayton, who, despite Yoder’s supposed moderate reputation, ran to Bruchman’s left, favoring opening up liquor sales, keeping abortion legal, and not hating immigrants. With Bruchman squarely in the conservative camp, Dems do have a chance, especially because the candidate for the Ds is Rob McKnight, apparently (I couldn’t confirm this) a former GOP consultant turned Democrat and longtime local resident. He’s been a good fundraiser (including some notable local moderate Republican names) and scoring good endorsements, as well. McKnight is actively campaigning and has a website that, smartly, appeals to a sense of neighborliness against the carpetbagging Bruchman: Kansas20.org. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-22: 34.6R/32D/32.5U : District Map : (D) Lisa Benlon –   Another former Republican state representative, Benlon returned to politics in 2008 as a Democrat, winning 53% to succeed Democrat Sue Storm, who rose to a seat on the state Board of Education. Benlon did draw a fairly strong opponent in Greg Smith, the father of the late Kelsey Smith. Still, the district’s blue tint, and Smith’s super-conservative profile, should be enough to save Benlon. Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-23: 33.5R/32.2D/33.5U : District Map : (D) Milack Talia – After running twice before (once for a different state rep seat, the 29th), Talia captured 56% of the vote in his 2008 race. Helpfully for his electoral chances, he’ll defend the seat against “Conservative Constitutionalist”/teabagger Michael Foltz. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-24: 36R/32D/31.5U : District Map : (D) Mike Slattery – The scion of the apparent Slattery Democratic dynasty-in-the-making, Slattery scored a narrow Democratic primary victory in 2008 for one of the most Dem-leaning seats in the county, then went on to win the general fairly handily. Since only Talia’s and Benlon’s districts are more Democratic in Johnson County, Slattery stands a good chance of being re-elected. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-25: 45.5R/27D/26.6U : District Map : (R) Open/Barbara Bollier – Appointed to fill Terrie Huntington’s seat by local Republicans, this will be retired anathesiologist Barbara Bollier’s first race. Huntington got 57% in 2002 to win the seat, 56.5% in 2004, just 54.5% in 2006, and rebounded to 61% against a weak opponent in 2008. Bollier will face off against Shana Althouse, who is actively campaigning, quotes Gov. Sebelius, and is all about education–a good profile for this district.  Her website is good, too: www.shanaalthouse.com   Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-28: 57R/18D/24.5U : District Map : (R) Pat Colloton, generally identified as a moderate, is used to cruising to re-election, having no opponents in ’04 and ’06 and taking 75% against a token opponent in 2008. She’ll face the somewhat stronger Elise Chapline in 2010, who has self-funded $7k thus far, but I doubt Colloton’s sweating it much in her dark red seat. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-29: 48.6R/21D/29.5U : District Map : (R) Sheryl Spalding – Two-term incumbent Spalding survived a right-flank primary challenge by 29 votes from the teabaggy Richard Downing and will face Democrat Doug Dowell (good name) in the general. Having survived her primary, the moderate Spalding will probably survive with solid numbers.  Rating: Likely Republican

State Rep. Arlen SiegfreidThe shadow of Siegfreid looms large across Olathe.

KS-HR-38: 45R/23.4D/31U : District Map : (R) Anthony Brown was elected in 2004 after wining the Republican primary (no Democrat filed that year). In 2006, he took 56% of the vote and in ’08 nabbed 57%. Brown is now fully identified with the conservative faction in the legislature, and faces off against JCCC professor and psychologist Roberta Eveslage, This fast-growing district contains the northwesternmost edges of Johnson County along with Eudora & the fringes of Lawrence in Douglas County. While Brown is from conservative Eudora, Eveslage is from moderate Lenexa. The battleground is booming DeSoto, where well-to-do parents are concerned about school funding battles because they need to expand their schools pretty rapidly to handle the population influx. Eveslage’s laser-like focus on the issue is smart, her website is decent (http://robertaforkansas.com/) and she’s actively campaigning. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-39: 42R/26D/31.4U : District Map : (R) Owen Donohoe – Elected in 2006, Donohoe has proven to be a staunch conservative, not a great fit for this moderate district, as evinced by his weak victories, 52.3% in ’06 and 51.3% in ’08. Donohoe’s up against retired school principal Joe Novak, who ran in ’08 and nearly won. Now that he’s so clearly identified with conservatives, Donohoe is going to bleed moderate Republicans, probably enough to let Novak eke out a victory this time around. He’s also BFFs with Kansas’ worst legislator, Connie O’Brien, so he obviously sucks.  Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-40: 32R/35D/31.6U : District Map : (D) Melanie Meier – Our candidate here is awesome and profile-wise, fits her Fort Leavenworth-based district like a glove. Raised in a military family that eventually settled in Leavenworth, Melanie Meier was elected in 2008 (with 56%) but resigned her post to serve in Iraq. When she returned, KS Dems reappointed her to the seat she’d won. Active in her community, her husband’s also in the military, and she’s a Catholic, so it’s tough to imagine a better candidate for this district. She’d be an excellent candidate for higher office, too, perhaps the state Senate or even Congress against Lynn Jenkins. Rating: Likely Democrat

Next up, seats 40-80, including central and eastern Kansas (basically everything from Lawrence to Salina along I-70), some suburban Wichita seats, still a few more Johnson County seats, plus the Chet Edwards(es) of Kansas. Click here to read about the next 40 seats.

Photo credit for potentially the best photo ever of Arlen Siegfreid: the Olathe Republican Party.

Kansas, Michigan & Missouri Primary Results Thread #2

11:07pm: Follow us over here.

11:05pm: One more KS-Sen point before we wrap up this thread: four of the largest counties in Moran’s KS-01 have reported either 0 or 1 precincts so far: Reno (Hutchinson), Geary (Junction City), Ford (Dodge City), and Finney (Garden City). So the tide is only beginning to turn.

10:57pm: More on KS-Sen: even with Johnson Co., Moran is still leading Tiahrt in the neutral districts, 48-45. Their own districts are a wash: Moran is winning the 1st 69-28, and Tiahrt is winning the 4th 67-28.

10:55pm: Now this is interesting. Johnson Co., the biggest county in Kansas, seemed to report every precinct en masse… and it went narrowly for Tiahrt (49-45) despite Moran, at least to my mind, fitting its suburban profile better. Nevertheless, despite losing the prize of Johnson Co., Moran is, as expected, starting to pull back ahead. He’s up to a 48-46 lead over Tiahrt, with 56% reporting statewide.

10:51pm: SSP Labs is projecting 39.1% for Benishek, 37.4% for Allen when all is said and done in MI-01.

10:48pm: 88% are reporting in MI-01 R, and we aren’t anywhere near a conclusion yet. It’s Benishek over Allen, 39-38, with a 900-vote spread separating them.

10:46pm: And add yet one more. The AP has called MI-07 R for Tim Walberg, who beats Brian Rooney 59-31. That’s gotta be good for us… Walberg is too wingnutty for that swing district, and having run for that office the last three times, everybody already knows him.

10:44pm: The AP adds one more call: the D primary in MI-12. Sandy Levin beats the promotion-seeking state Sen. Mickey Switalski fairly convincingly, 73-27.

10:43pm: And the AP has called KS-04 D for Raj Goyle, who most definitely did not get VicRawl’d tonight. He beats Robert Tillman 81-19, a bit like smashing an ant with a hammer, but those ads will still help build up his name rec for November.

10:41pm: The AP has called MI-Gov R for Rick Snyder. Good news: the next governor of Michigan will not be a wingnut. Bad news: Snyder, with his moderate appeal, will probably be the toughest matchup for Bernero in November.

10:37pm: I haven’t seen this many Dutch guys beating the crap out of each other since the last time Feyenoord played PSV Eindhoven. (Sorry, obscure ‘football’ reference there.)

10:36pm: Meanwhile, back in MI-02, which Hoekstra is probably feeling bad about having vacated, it’s a 30-30 tie between Huizenga and Kuipers. Social con Riemersma (who polls had in the lead) is falling back to 18, with teabagger Cooper at 12.

10:34pm: No AP call yet on the GOP side in MI-Gov, but we’re getting word that Peter Hoekstra has conceded the race (presumably to Snyder, who leads Hoekstra 37-26, with Cox at 24).

10:32pm: Here’s more data from SSP Labs, about KS-Sen, where the spread is about 600 votes. About 40% of Tiahrt’s district has reported, though, while only 23% of Moran’s has, and Moran is winning the other two CDs, 51-41.

10:31pm: In Missouri, Vicki Hartzler has pulled into a bigger lead in the MO-04 GOP primary. She’s up on Stouffer, 42-30. That’s with 62% reporting, including both of their home counties fully in.

10:29pm: Great White Dope Lynn Jenkins is going back to the House from KS-02 for another term, it looks like. The AP has called her race against Dennis Pyle, although she finishes with an underwhelming 59%.

10:26pm: In KS-Sen, the real question mark is going to be Johnson County. This is the most populous county in the state, the suburbs ringing Kansas City, Kansas, and the core of KS-03. Only 1 of 447 is reporting so far (with a 50-42 lead for Moran, in case you care).

10:25pm: This is the first time all night we’ve seen a Todd Tiahrt lead in KS-Sen. They’re both at 47%, with Tiahrt ahead by about 900, with 27% reporting. Bear in mind, though, that Segwick Co. (Wichita, Tiahrt’s town) has largely reported; it’s 74% in. So this is probably as good as it gets for Tiahrt.

10:20pm: We’ve suddenly jumped to two-thirds reporting in the MO-07 R primary. That clot of Nodler voters in Newton Co. apparently showed up, but it’s not enough to swing the needle. It’s still Long 35, Goodman 29, Nodler 16.

10:08pm: Over in MI-01, Benishek now leads Allen by 39-38. In KS-01, Huelskamp has pulled to a 35-25-24 lead over Barnett and Mann, but there are lots of votes left to count there.

10:03pm: In the KS-Sen race, Moran now leads Tiahrt by only 47-46, but bear in mind that Tiahrt’s home district (KS-04) has more precincts reporting than Moran’s 1st CD so far.

10:01pm: Over in MI-13, Clarke leads Cheeks Kilpatrick by 48-38 with just under 37% in. To take a look at the track record of other House incumbents who’ve faced primaries this cycle, check out our handy chart here.

9:58pm: With more than 1/3 in, things are still very tight in MO-04. Hartzler leads Stouffer, 37-35. On the Dem side, the race has been called for Ike Skelton. He defeated man/lion hybrid Leonard Steinman… the very kind of being that the GOP is looking to stamp out… 81 to 19.

9:56pm: One race that isn’t close is MI-07, also with almost half in. It’s Walberg 58, Rooney 32. Thus ending the dream of two Rooney brothers in the House… and of Domino’s Pizza having its own personal in-house Representative.

9:55pm: More than half is reporting in MI-01, and Jason Allen continues to nurse a small lead (39-37) on Dan Benishek.

9:53pm: On the R side, we’re probably nowhere near a call. Snyder’s at 37, with Hoekstra closest at 26, and Cox at 24. Bouchard (and by extension Ted Nugent) pretty much a non-factor here at 11.

9:51pm: The AP has called MI-Gov D for Virg Bernero! He leads Andy Dillon at the same 58-42, with about 20% reporting.

9:49pm: Wow, things are even closer in KS-Sen now. It’s Moran 47, Tiahrt 46 with 10% in.

9:48pm: In KS-04, we have enough to report on: Mike Pompeo leads at 37, with Jean Schodorf (who led at very first) at 29, and Wink Hartman at 21. And on the Dem side, looks like the Raj Goyle ad blitz paid off, and then some. He’s beating Robert Tillman 79-21.

9:47pm: Back in KS-02, Lynn Jenkins continues to underwhelm in the GOP primary; she’s at 59 against teabagging state Sen. Dennis Pyle. At least she’s doing better than Sean Tevis, who’s in 3rd and last place among the Dems.

9:46pm: Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick looks like she’s on her way to becoming the 4th primary casualty in the House this year. With 27% in, she trails Hansen Clarke 50-35.

9:45pm: Wow, nearly a 3-way tie in the GOP field in KS-01: Mann 29, Huelskamp 28, Barnett 26.

9:43pm: Things are just getting underway in KS-03, with about 3% in, but Kevin Yoder has a pretty solid lead over Patricia Lightner in the GOP primary: 48-35.

Moving the party over to a fresh new thread.


     Kansas: Associated Press | Politico

     Michigan: Associated Press | Politico | MI DoS

     Missouri: Associated Press | Politico | MO SoS

August Primaries to Watch

After a slow few weeks in late June and July, August promises to be quite exciting, primary-wise!

Here are some races to watch in August:


MO-Sen (R) – Blunt v. teabagger

MO-04 (R) – Free-for-all

MO-07 (R) – open seat

Proposition C – It’s about NULLIFICATION!

KS-Sen (R) – Moran/Tiahrt

KS-01, 04 (R) – open seats

KS-03 (R) – Yoder v. Lightner

KS-04 (D) – will Raj Goyle get VicRawl’d?

MI-Gov (D), (R)

MI-01, 02, 03 (R) – open seats

MI-07 (R) – Rooney/Walberg

MI-09 (R) – Rocky v. Welday

MI-12 (D)

MI-13 (D) – Kilpatrick weak

8/5: (hey, two primaries in one week!)

TN-Gov (R) – open seat

TN-03 (R) – Wamp’s open seat

TN-04 (R) – clusterfuck

TN-06 (R) – open seat

TN-08 (R) – Kirkland v. Flinn

TN-09 (D) – impending Willie Herenton fail


CT-Gov (D) and (R) – Lamont/Malloy and Fedele/Foley

CT-Sen (R) – ghost of Rob Simmons?

CT-02, 04, 05 (R)

CO-Gov (R) – McInnis and Maes double fail

CO-Sen (D) – Bennet v. Romanoff

CO-Sen (R) – the devil wears prada?

CO-03, 07 (R)

GA-Gov (R)Palin Handel v. Newt Deal

GA-07, 12 (R) – more runoffs

GA-09 (R) – Graves v. Hawkins round 3

MN-Gov (D) – Dayton v. Kelliher




WY-Gov (D), (R)


AZ-Sen (D), (R)

AZ-03 (R) – Shadegg’s open seat

AZ-01, 05, 08 (R)

VT-Gov (D)

FL-Gov (R) – (yes!!!!!!)

FL-Sen (D) – Meek v. Greene

FL-12, 25 (R) – open seats

FL-02, 08, 22, 24 (R)

FL-02 (D) – challenge to a Blue Dog from the left, v4.1

FL-17 (D) – Meek’s open seat

AK-Gov (R) – Parnell and the ghost of Palin?

AK-Sen (R) – Murkowski v. Palin proxy


LA-Sen (R) – Vitter v. Traylor

LA-02 (D) – Lafonta v. Richmond

LA-03 (R)

WV-Sen (D), (R) – Byrd special primary

SSP Daily Digest: 8/2 (Morning Edition)

  • CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has already spent at least $22 million on her senatorial bid – and though she has plans to shell out much more, she’s already the fourth-largest self-funder of all time. The good news is that the top three are pretty uninspiring: Jon Corzine (NJ-Sen 2000: $60 million, 50.1% in general); Blair Hull (IL-Sen 2004: $29 million, 11% in primary); Michael Huffington (CA-Sen 1994: $28 million, 45% in general). Check out the second page of CQ’s piece to see who rounds out the rest of the top 10. Only three actually won a seat in the Senate, and all of them served one term or less – by choice!
  • FL-Sen: Ah – live by the zillionaire asshole, die by the zillionaire asshole. Joe Trippi, who apparently thought he could make a buck by helping schmuckface Jeff Greene run negative ads against Kendrick Meek, has been axed. This is pretty unsurprising, in light of an in-depth story by the St. Pete Times which catalogs just how much of a jerkass Greene actually is. Here’s a representative sample:
  • Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene’s 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.

    “He has total disregard for anybody else,” chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene’s 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).

    “I don’t think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, ‘I should just get rid of you, what f—— good are you? You’re just a f—— boat driver. You’re the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,’ ” Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. “It didn’t bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn’t seem very happy.”

    Quite apropos of all this, Dave Catanese takes a look at the “band of others” which has come together to run Charlie Crist’s campaign. Catanese says that Crist’s team “is staffed by a collection of misfits who run the gamut from longtime loyalists to out-of-state hired guns. They have worked for Democrats, for Republicans and even for prominent independents. As with Crist, ideology appears to take a back seat to winning office.”

  • MO-Sen: Mostly-failed teabagger Chuck Purgason has an internal poll out (at least, I think it’s an internal) from Magellan Strategies… but that’s not really the point. There are two super-huge problems with this poll. First off, there are literally zero undecideds – Purgason claims he’s beating Dem Robin Carnahan 56-44. Secondly, releasing a general election poll just days before an almost hopeless primary looks extremely unserious. I don’t give a damn about Purgason, but I don’t think either of these issues make Magellan look particularly good.
  • GA-Gov: Barack Obama is visiting Atlanta to speak to a disabled veterans convention and to host a DNC fundraiser today, but Dem gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes will be visiting other parts of the state. Several prominent Dems are planning to attend the events, including Labor Comm’r Michael Thurmond (our senate nominee), and Reps. David Scott and Sanford Bishop, the latter of whom has a competitive race this fall.
  • NY-Gov: Steve Levy has completed his transition from widely disliked xenophobic DINO to memorable Republican loser: He said he wouldn’t seek the Independence Party’s line this fall, and formally gave his backing to Rick Lazio.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth Benjamin says a source tells her that another disgruntled Republican, the vile Carl Paladino, is doing the opposite – he’s reconsidering his decision not to run on a third-party line and may run on his own “Taxpayers Party” line if he loses the GOP primary in September. Apparently, the teabaggers are taking the long view here, hoping that they can create a “true” conservative rival to the, ah, Conservative Party, even if that means helping Andrew Cuomo win the gubernatorial race.
  • WY-Gov: Mason-Dixon did a poll of the Wyoming gubernatorial primaries for the Casper Star-Tribune. On the GOP side, state Auditor Rita Meyer leads with 27, followed by former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead with 24, House Speaker Colin Simpson with 17, and former legislator and state Ag. Director Ron Micheli with 12. For Democrats, former state Dem chair Leslie Petersen leads pilot and former University of Wyoming football star Pete Gosar by a 30-22 margin.
  • FL-08: Franking – the privilege that allows members of Congress to mail out nominally “informational” materials to constituents at taxpayer expense – is one of those things that’s usually a lame non-issue… until it’s an issue. Incumbents have been pushing the boundaries of proper franking for centuries, and it rarely gets traction in campaigns, but I really wonder if Alan Grayson’s gone too far with this one. He recently sent out a DVD to 100,000 homes in his district (at a cost of $73K) titled “Watch Congressman Grayson in Action!” featuring a few dozen clips of his greatest hits in office. Maybe the video will be popular, maybe no one will care, maybe some Republicans will howl and get ignored – we’ll see.
  • IL-10 (PDF): It’s a bit musty, but Mike Memoli got his hands on an internal poll from the Dan Seals campaign taken in mid-May by Anzalone-Liszt. The numbers are a damn sight better than most Dem internals, showing Seals with a 46-38 lead over Republican Bob Dold, and a 41-32 lead among independents. Despite the poll’s age, I’d be surprised if things had changed a whole lot since then, given that the air war hasn’t really been joined yet.
  • IL-13: Dem Scott Harper had apparently been trying to shop the results of an informed ballot test on a recent internal poll from Global Strategy Group but didn’t seem to get many bites. So he finally decided to pull a Raul Labrador and release the proper toplines, despite their utter – almost extreme – suckitude. Rep. Judy Biggert leads Harper by a 55-29 margin. The most ridonc thing is that Biggert felt compelled to put out her own, not-exactly-dueling internal in response. I say that because the numbers in Biggert’s survey (taken by American Viewpoint) show her up 61-28. This was really not a well-managed move by the Harper campaign.
  • KY-06: Republican Andy Barr, formerly a top legal aide to disgraced former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, is coming under fire for his shoddy handling of a response to a government records request under the state’s equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act when he worked for Fletcher. In a 2007 report, then-AG Greg Stumbo (a Dem) said that Barr’s failure to produce records on account of their alleged non-existence meant that he was responsible for “records mismanagement.” However, Stumbo’s office did not determine that Barr had actually violated the state open records law.
  • LA-02: The DCCC added state Rep. Cedric Richmond to its Red to Blue program on Friday. This tells me two things: First, the D-Trip doesn’t think much of Richmond’s primary challenger, fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta. Second, DC Dems are concerned enough about Rep. Joe Cao’s staying power that they’re getting involved in a reasonably contested primary, something they have largely avoided this cycle. Now in fairness, Louisiana has a very late primary – August 28th – with an absurdly late runoff on October 2nd. So I can understand wanting to avoid a pressured one-month campaign. Still, this suggests to me that this race is not the “gimme” we might have once imagined.
  • NY-01: Stuck behind Newsday’s paywall is a story which says that GOPer Christopher Cox has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate fellow Republican Randy Altschuler’s ballot petitions. This is exactly the kind of war that Democrats in New York have been hoping for. I can’t wait to read more about it. And don’t forget that there’s a third candidate in the race, George Demos, who is being publicly slammed for alleged ethical lapses while he was an SEC attorney by a former supporter, John Catsimatidis. You may recall that Cox is engaged to Catsimatidis’s daughter, which explains the old man’s turnabout.
  • NY-15: You’ve probably already seen this, but Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS News that Charlie Rangel should “end his career with dignity.” Really wonder if the old bull is going to keep fighting this thing.
  • NY-24: Mmm… donuts. The owner of a local donut shop, Michael Sadallah, filed a lawsuit trying to knock Republican Richard Hanna off the Independence Party line. Sadallah, an Independence Party member, has also donated to Rep. Mike Arcuri. Oral arguments are this week – good luck, dude!
  • OK-05: True Some Dude James Lankford just earned the endorsement of third-place finisher (and state Rep.) Mike Thompson, who scored 18% in the first round despite spending $900,000. Lankford took 34% and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey had 33%. Lankford and Calvey face off in an August 24th runoff.
  • Kansas: A rare bit of good news on the voter registration front: Over the last year in Kansas, “Democrats gained 11,260 voters, rising to 460,318; unaffiliated voters increased 38,764 to 490,395, and Republican ranks increased 3,189 to 744,975.” Obviously, that’s a pretty sizable edge for the GOP, but it’s still nice to see Dem gains both in absolute numbers and percentages outstrip the Republicans – especially in such a red state, and especially in a year like this.