Idaho Legislature PVIs (if anyone is interested)

District 1 (Boundary County and Sandpoint)

2004: Bush 61.1%, Kerry 36.9%

2008: McCain 56.9%, Obama 40%

Senator Sean Keough (R), Representative Eric Anderson (R), Representative George Eskridge (R)

District 2 (Shoshone County, Benewah County and part of Bonner County)

2004: Bush 62.6%, Kerry 35.7%

2008: McCain 59.3%, Obama 37.4%

Senator Joyce Broadsword (R), Representative Shannon McMillan (R), Representative R.J. Hardwood (R)

District 3 (Coeur d’ Alene’s suburbs, exurbia and rural areas, also my district!)

2004: Bush 71.3%, Kerry 27.3%

2008: McCain 67.7%, Obama 30.0%

Senator Steve Vick (R), Representative Vito Barbieri (R), Representative Phil Hart (R)

District 4 (Coeur d’ Alene)

2004: Bush 59%, Kerry 39.4%

2008: McCain 53.3%, Obama 44.2%

Senator John Goedde (R), Representative Marge Chadderdon (R), Representative Kathleen Sims (R)

District 5 (more suburbia except it’s a Spokane oriented one called Post Falls)

2004: Bush 69%, Kerry 29.2%

2008: McCain 64.9%, Obama 32.6%

Senator Jim Hammond (R), Representative Bob Nonini (R), Representative Frank Henderson (R)

District 6 (Latah County: home of the University of Idaho and nothing else besides a few sheep fucking peasants)

2004: Bush 49.5%, Kerry 48.0%

2008: Obama 51.3%, McCain 44.6%

Senator Dan Schmidt (D), Representative Tom Trail (R), Representative Shirley Ringo (D)

District 7 (Lewiston, a few small towns and a Nez Pearce reservation)

2004: Bush 62.2%, Kerry 36.6%

2008: McCain 58.1%, Obama 40.0%

Senator Joe Stenger (R), Representative Jeff Nessett (R), Representative John Rusche (D)

District 8 (Clearwater County, Lewis County, Idaho County and Valley County. Known for vast expanses of nothing)

2004: Bush 70.3%, Kerry 27.3%

2008: McCain 65.1%, Obama 31.8%

Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (R), Representative Ken A. Roberts (R), Representative Paul Shepard (R)

District 9 (Adams, Washington and Payette. No idea what exists here besides a Payette Lake)

2004: Bush 75.3%, Kerry 23.5%

2008: McCain 69.1%, Obama 28.4%

Senator Monty Pearce (R), Lawrence Denney (R), Judy Boyle (R)

District 10 (Boise’s exurbs and suburbs)

2004: Bush 72.1%, Kerry 26.6%

2008: McCain 61.9%, Obama 35.8%

Senator John McGee (R), Representative Pat Taskugi (R), Darrell Bolz (R)

District 11 (Boise’s exurbs and farmland)

2004: Bush 76.9%, Kerry 21.7%

2008: McCain 71.6%, Obama 25.8%

Senator Melissa Snyder (R), Representative Steven Thayn (R), Representative Carlos Bilbao (R)

District 12 (Nampa)

2004: Bush 72.5%, Kerry 26.5%

2008: McCain 61.5%, Obama 36%

Senator Curtis McKenzie (R), Representative Robert Shaffer (R), Representative Melissa Robinson (R)

District 13 (Boise suburbs)

2004: Bush 76.2%, Kerry 22.5%

2008: McCain 69.6%, Obama 29.9%

Senator Patti Longe (R), Representative Brent Crane (R), Representative Christy Perry (R)

District 14 (Eagle and parts of Meridian)

2008: McCain 62.8%, Obama 35.5%

Senator Chuck Winder (R), Representative Mike Moyle (R), Representative Reed DeMourdant (R)

District 15 (Meridian)

2004: Bush 64.0%, Kerry 34.8%

2008: McCain 53.0%, Obama 44.8%

Senator John C Andreason (R), Representative Lynn Luker (R), Representative Max Black (R)

District 16 (West Boise)

2004: Bush 55.2%, Kerry 43.5%

2008: Obama 53.0%, McCain 44.5%

Senator Les Bock (D), Representative Grant Burgoyne (D), Representative Elfreda Higgins (D)

District 17 (Boise Bench)

2004: Bush 50.1%, Kerry 46.7%

2008: Obama 56.6%, McCain 40.1%

Senator Eliott Werk (D), Representative Bill Killen (D), Representative Sue Chew (D)

District 18 (South Boise/Boise State University)

2004: Bush 54.7%, Kerry 46.8%

2008: Obama 52.7%, McCain 45.1%

Senator Mitch Toryanski (R), Representative Julie Ellsworth (R), Representative Phyllis King (D)

District 19 (Boise’s Northend which is basically Idaho’s mini Boulder, Colorado)

2004: Kerry 60.5%, Bush 37.8%

2008: Obama 67.9%, McCain 29.9%

Senator Nicole LeFavour (D), Representative Cherie Buckner-Webb (D), Brian Cronin (D)

District 20 (Meridian)

2004: Bush 74%, Kerry 25.1%

2008: McCain 62.7%, Obama 34.9%

Senator Shirley McKague (R), Representative Joe Palmer (R), Representative Marve Hagedorn (R)

District 21 (Kuna, Bill Sali’s old district)

2004: Bush 73.6%, Kerry 26.5%

2008: McCain 63.5%, Obama 34.2%

Senator Russel Fulcher (R), Representative John Woude (R), Representative Clifford Bayer (R)

District 22 (Mountain Home and Boise County)

2004: Bush 78.3%, Kerry 20.3%

2008: McCain 66.3%, Obama 31.3%

Senator Tim Corder (R), Representative Rich Wills (R), Representative Pete Neilsen (R)

District 23 (Owhyee and the Magic Valley)

2004: Bush 76.7%, Kerry 22.0%

2008: McCain 70.1%, Obama 27.9%

Senator Brett Bracket (R), Representative Jim Patrick (R), Representative Stephen Hartgen (R)

District 24 (Twin Falls)

2004: Bush 73.4%, Kerry 25.4%

2008: McCain 66.0%, Obama 31.4%

Senator Lee Heider (R), Representative Leon Smith (R), Representative Sharon Block (R)

District 25 (Sun Valley)

2004: Bush 54.8%, Kerry 43.8%

2008: Obama 49.6%, McCain 48.0%

Senator Jim Donoval (R), Representative Michael Stennet (D), Representative Wendy Jaquet (D)

District 26 (Jerome County, Minidoka County)

2004: Bush 79.6%, Kerry 19.4%

2008: McCain 72.6%, Obama 24.9%

Senator Dean Cameron (R), Representative Joan Stevenson (R), Representative Maxine Bell (R)

District 27 (Cassia, Oneida and Power counties)

2004: Bush 80.8%, Kerry 17.8%

2008: McCain 75.8%, Obama 21.6%

Senator Denton Darrington (R), Representative Scott Bedke (R), Representative Fred Wood (R)

District 28 (Bingham County)

2004: Bush 76.7%, Kerry 21.9%

2008: McCain 71.2%, Obama 25.8%

Senator Steven Blair (R), Representative Dennis Lake (R), Representative Jim Marriott (R)

District 29 (parts of Pocatello and Chubbuck)

2004: Bush 63.0%, Kerry 35.8%

2008: McCain 56.5%, Obama 41.0%

Senator Diane Bilyeu (D), Ken Andrus (R), Jim Guthrie (R)

District 30 (Pocatello, Idaho State University)

2004: Bush 57.3%, Kerry 41.1%

2008: McCain 48.6%, Obama 48.2%

Senator Edgar Malepai (D), Representative Roy Lacey (D), Representative Elaine Smith (D)

District 31 (Bear Lake, Franklin, Caribou Bonneville and Teton counties)

2004: Bush 80.9%, Kerry 17.8%

2008: McCain 73.9%, Obama 23.0%

Senator Robert Geddes (R), Representative Marc Gibbs (R), Representative Tom Loerstcher (R)

District 32 (Bonneville County)

2004: Bush 80.6%, Kerry 18.2%

2008: McCain 72.6%, Obama 23.4%

Senator Dean Mortimer (R), Representative Janice McGeachin (R), Representative Erik Simpson (R)

District 33 (Idaho Falls)

2004: Bush 71.2%, Kerry 27.5%

2008: McCain 61.9%, Obama 35.4%

Senator Bart Davis (R), Representative Jeff Thompson (R), Representative Linden Bateman (R)

District 34 (BYU-Idaho/Rexburg)

2004: Bush 90.7%, Kerry 8.1%

2008: McCain 84.0%, Obama 13.7%

Senator Brent Hill (R), Representative Mack Shirley (R), Representative Dell Raybould (R)

I skipped district 35. Here’s a map of the districts:… I’ll have an explanation diary coming up with a crash course on Idaho politics for the n00bs.  

AZ, ID, and WI: Population by CD

Arizona is gaining one seat, from eight up to nine, and that means that its new target is 710,224, up from 641K in 2000. Interestingly, despite the fact that it’s gaining a new seat, there are still three currently-composed districts that are in a deficit and need to pick up people from elsewhere: the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. These are the three central districts in the Phoenix area that are essentially built out and can’t expand in any direction (except up); meanwhile, the 2nd, 6th, and 7th can continue to expand every which way into the desert, which is precisely what they did over the decade, so look for one additional GOP-friendly seat to be carved out of Phoenix’s endless suburbia (although whether it’s centered in Phoenix’s west or east suburbs remains to be seen… between the commission’s role in deciding, and possible multiple incumbents opening up seats to run for the Senate, there really aren’t any clues what will happen).

Like the other border states, Arizona has become signficantly more Hispanic over the decade, up to 29.6% Hispanic now compared with 25.3% in 2000. The Hispanic growth wasn’t concentrated any one particular place: that 4% increase was closely mirrored in all the districts. The 2nd had the biggest Hispanic shift, at 7% (from 14% to 21%), while the 1st had the smallest shift, at 3% (from 16% to 19%). That dissipation of the Hispanic vote means that it’s not terribly likely that a third VRA seat will be carved out, despite the fact that Hispanics are close to 1/3 of the state’s population.

District Population Deviation
AZ-01 774,310 64,086
AZ-02 972,839 262,615
AZ-03 707,919 (2,305)
AZ-04 698,314 (11,910)
AZ-05 656,833 (53,391)
AZ-06 971,733 261,509
AZ-07 855,769 145,545
AZ-08 754,300 44,076
Total: 6,392,017

I’m not the first one to observe that Idaho redistricting is pretty much drama-free. Nevertheless, there’s at least something interesting going on here in this small but fast-growing state: growth is very heavily concentrated in suburbs and exurbs west of Boise. For instance, the state’s 2nd and 3rd biggest cities used to be Pocatello and Idaho Falls; now they’re Meridian (a large suburb west of Boise) and Nampa (in Canyon County, the next county to the west). That means that the districts are kind of lopsided, and it looks like much of Boise proper, currently split down the middle, will wind up being given to ID-02. While Boise is certainly the most urbane part of the state, and it should tip the balance a bit in the blue direction (as for the past decade, the two districts have had almost identical PVIs), the 2nd should still be a long way away from somewhere the Dems can compete. (Idaho’s target is 783,791, up from 646K in 2000. Look for it to get a 3rd seat in 2020.)

District Population Deviation
ID-01 841,930 58,139
ID-02 725,652 (58,139)
Total: 1,567,582

Wisconsin held steady at eight seats this year, and even its districts held pretty steady, too. Its target is 710,873, up from 670K in 2000. That means the only district that lost population is the Milwaukee-based 4th and even it only lost a few thousand since 2000. The main area of growth is the state’s other blue stronghold, the Madison-area 2nd (must have something to do with THE BLOATED STATE GOVERNMENT AND THOSE GREEDY PUBLIC EMPLOYEES MULTIPLYING LIKE LOCUSTS!!!!1!!), which needs to give about 40,000 people to the 4th (although they’ll have to pass through the suburban 5th, which sits smack dab between them). Also, it looks like Dairyland is gaining a little at the expense of the North Woods, as the 3rd will need to pick up 20K from GOP freshman Sean Duffy’s 7th. Although the GOP controls the redistricting process here, thanks to their House gains in 2010 and the overall uniform swinginess of the rural counties, they’re probably just going to be playing defense with their map.

District Population Deviation
WI-01 728,042 17,169
WI-02 751,169 40,296
WI-03 729,957 19,084
WI-04 669,015 (41,858)
WI-05 707,580 (3,293)
WI-06 705,102 (5,771)
WI-07 689,279 (21,594)
WI-08 706,840 (4,033)
Total: 5,686,986

SSP Daily Digest: 3/4

AZ-Sen: Sources are telling Roll Call that Rep. Trent Franks is planning to run for Sen. John Kyl’s open seat. I personally think Franks will get in – Jeff Flake definitely will not have this race to himself.

HI-Sen: Former part-term Rep. Charles Djou (I’d say we hardly knew ye, but I think we got to know him pretty well) says he’s considering a senate bid, but it sounds like he wants to wait and see what his fellow Republican (and next-door neighbor) Linda Lingle does first.

MO-Sen: Remember when Claire McCaskill said she’d co-sponsor Bob Corker’s CAP Act – the bill designed to take an axe to, among other things, Social Security? Now she’s telling her constituents in a letter that she’ll “vote against” any cuts to SS. So either she’s backtracking on her idiotic support of Corker’s bill, or she somehow thinks this pledge doesn’t conflict with that piece of legislation. In other words, she’s come to her senses – or she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth. We’ll see.

NV-Sen: The committee investigating John Ensign’s affair-and-hush-money scandal just interviewed Sen. Tom Coburn, which Politico claims is a sign that the inquiry is “intensifying,” but who knows – the whole thing could be winding down, especially since the Justice Department pathetically dropped their entire case against Ensign. I’d be surprised if any serious punishment is meted out here.

AZ-07: Some Dude Gabriela Saucedo Mercer announced a challenge to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D). Saucedo Mercer volunteered for fellow Republican Ruth McClung last time, who herself said after the election that she will “probably” run again.

CA-36: This can’t be the sort of news Republicans were hoping for: Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin said he’s joining the field of candidates hoping to succeed the now-departed Jane Harman. Why is this a problem? Because Gin is now the second non-Some Dude Republican running – Redondo’s elected city attorney, Mike Webb, is already in the race. If the GOP ever had any, any chance whatsoever of sneaking out a win here, it could only have happened with a single candidate to unite behind. Now, it seems impossible for one of their own to make it into a runoff, unless the Democratic field gets absurdly fractured.

MD-02: Huh. So it looks like fifth-term Dem Rep. Charles Albert Ruppersberger III – you know him as “Dutch” – already has a non-Some Dude opponent. Republican state Delegate Patrick McDonough (who is also a talk radio host) represents a reliably red district and has already managed to score Christine O’Donnell to headline a fundraiser for him. This district went 60% for Obama and 54% for Kerry, and I can’t imagine the Dem-held legislature would risk making this seat any redder if Ruppersberger looked genuinely threatened, so McDonough will have a hell of a challenge.

MI-12: Rep. Sandy Levin became the latest veteran Michigan Dem (along with Johns Dingell & Conyers, and Dale Kildee) to confirm that he’ll seek another term.

NY-26: Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz has told Democratic leaders to drop his name from consideration as a possible candidate for the upcoming special election. Is it just me, or is it a little worrisome that we still seem to be so far away from choosing a nominee? Just another reason why we should have primaries for special elections in New York.

The legislature did just pass one small bit of elections reform: Once Gov. Cuomo signs the bill, special elections will now be held 70 to 80 days after their announcement by the governor (as opposed to 30 to 40 right now), to give county boards more time to handle military and overseas ballots. This was done to bring NY into better compliance with federal law, but still note that there is no specific timeframe in which a governor must actually call for a special – this law only applies to the time period after one has been called.

OH-01: Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman tells Dave Catanese that he thinks Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is “floating the idea of a run” against Rep. Steve Chabot. Mallory is black, and Smitherman notes, of course, that President Obama will be at the top of the ticket. The current OH-01 is 29% black, as strong black turnout was responsible for Steve Chabot losing in 2008.

IN-SoS: Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was just indicted on seven felony counts, “including voter fraud, perjury and theft.” White is accused of intentionally voting in a precinct he didn’t live in. Funny how after all their bogus charges of “voter fraud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111,” the one guy who actually gets hauled up on charges is nothing less than the guy responsible for ensuring the integrity of elections – and a Republican, to boot.

Idaho: Due to a court challenge, which found Idaho’s system of open primaries unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Idaho looks like it will be moving toward closed primaries – or at least, a setup where you have to register with the Republican Party in order to vote in GOP primaries.

MS Redistricting: So it looks like Mississippi may be the first state in the nation to adopt any sort of actual redistricting map – not a surprise, seeing as the state holds legislative elections later this year. The state House will vote on its own map as early as this Friday. (Click here for the map, and click here for the demographic breakdowns.) Believe it or not, the state House is actually still run by the Democrats, and predictably, Republicans don’t like their plan, calling it an incumbent protection plan for Dems. Still, it will likely pass – Dems insist all lawmakers have had a chance to give their input, and the GOP, which controls the state Senate, will need Democratic cooperation in the lower body to get their corresponding map approved.

PA St. Sen.: Craziness – local Republicans are reportedly preparing for a special election in the 40th district to replace the seemingly-doomed state Sen. Jane Orie… whose corruption case just ended in a mistrial today. But it’s not the kind of bad trial thingy a defendant typically roots for (i.e., a hung jury). Rather, the judge dismissed the jury because documents entered into evidence by the defense contained forged signatures. Said the judge to Orie’s attorney: “Ray Charles could see that those signatures were doctored.” So it seems like Orie may live to fry another day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read on for the districts themselves and methodology.

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

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

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

Idaho with 3 CDs


2000 population: 466396

Estimated current population: 524907

Estimated 2020 population: 614623

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

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

Guaranteed safe Republican.


2000 population: 360291

Estimated current population: 486060

Estimated 2020 population: 610485

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

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

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


2000 population: 467289

Estimated current population: 534835

Estimated 2020 population: 613230

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

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

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

Redistricting outlook: Idaho-Iowa

Now that it’s 2011, the redistricting games will soon begin in earnest, with more detailed Census data expected in February or March 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 Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

Previous diary on Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas

Previous diary on California, Colorado, and Connecticut

Previous diary on Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii

The rest below the fold…



Districts: 2

Who’s in charge? Nonpartisan commission

Is that important? Nope

Idaho competes with Hawaii for the prize of least interesting congressional redistricting process of the decade. The commission will move some precincts around to achieve population equality, and Reps. Labrador and Simpson will likely stay in office with huge majorities throughout the 2010s.



Districts: 18, down from 19 in 2002

Who’s in charge? Democrats

Is that important? Extremely

This will be the first time in a long while that Democrats control redistricting in Illinois, and as their only obvious major gerrymandering opportunity of the decade, they will milk the state for every seat it’s worth. In such a blue state with an 11-8 Republican majority in its congressional delegation, big swings should not be difficult. They will likely eliminate a GOP seat in the Chicago area (my guess: force Bob Dold and Joe Walsh together in a more Republican North Shore district), though there’s been some discussion of eliminating a downstate district instead (say, Bobby Schilling’s or Aaron Schock’s). That is only the beginning. Lessening the minority percentages by just a little in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th could ruin suburban Republicans like Adam Kinzinger and Peter Roskam, while liberal urban districts like the 9th and 5th could easily stretch westward to lessen GOP fortunes in nearby seats. In using Dave’s application, I found it possible to create an ethnically diverse, heavily Democratic 11th District for Kinzinger simply by lowering the African-American percentages for Rush and Jackson to the 52-53% range.

I think the Democrats will seek to gain perhaps three seats, for an 11-7 Democratic edge. Given the necessity of VRA protection in those four Chicago seats, any more would be pushing their luck. The most likely Republican casualties are Dold, Walsh, Kinzinger, Roskam, and Schilling, though at least one of them will likely be strengthened by the new gerrymander.



Districts: 9

Who’s in charge? Republicans

Is that important? Yes

The bad news for Democrats is that Joe Donnelly is almost certainly toast — split up South Bend and Michigan City between two districts and he will be running in a much more GOP-friendly seat than the current Obama-supporting 2nd District. The silver lining is that Republicans can’t make things much worse for them otherwise. Democratic vote concentration in Lake County and Indianapolis will ensure solid vote sink districts for Pete Visclosky and Andre Carson, and Gov. Mitch Daniels has urged his party not to go crazy with boundary lines (this probably applies more to legislative districts, since only the 2nd will be significantly politically altered in this case).



Districts: 4, down from 5 in 2002

Who’s in charge? Nonpartisan commission, with legislative approval

Is that important? Yes

Since the commission will not want to combine two Democrats (Braley and Loebsack) or two Republicans (King and Latham), it is almost sure that Tom Latham will face Leonard Boswell in a politically competitive Des Moines/Ames district. Latham has generally overperformed GOP baseline in his district while Boswell has had a number of tough races over the years and will be 78 next year. I could see the latter retiring if forced to run against Latham. But time will tell. Boswell’s tenacity — winning races since 1996 that, more often than not, have been relatively close — may ultimately pay off.

The Rest of the West: Part 1

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

About 2 weeks ago, we talked about the rising Democratic tide in The Southwest. Now, I want to discuss what’s happening in The Northwest. Believe it or not, we have plenty of opportunities up north as well.

Want to come along with me as we look at where we can win in 2010 and beyond?

Let’s start in Wyoming. While John McCain beat Barack Obama by 32%, it was an improvement over Bush’s 40% margin of victory in 2004. And believe it or not, Wyoming voters twice elected Democrat Dave Freudenthal as Governor while Democrat Gary Trauner twice lost the At-Large House seat by surprisingly narrow margins. We have an opportunity in 2010 to win both races, as Freudenthal is termed out and newly elected GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis doesn’t seem much more popular than outgoing GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin. I see both races as “Leans Republican” now, but that can change if we find good candidates.

Unlike Wyoming, Montana is rapidly trending Democratic. Bush won the state by 20% in 2004, but McCain could only muster a 3% win and Obama may be the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win here in 2012. And better yet, Montana now has 2 Democratic Senators, a Democratic Governor, and a split legislature. But for some reason, incumbent GOP Rep. Dennis Rehberg is still in office. If we find a strong Democrat to challenge Rehberg in 2010, I think we can make this “Likely Republican” seat more competitive.

Now Idaho may not be trending Democratic as quickly as Montana, but the state is moving our way. Bush’s 39% win in 2004 was reduced to a 25% McCain win this year. And better yet, Democrat Walt Minnick scored a stunning upset win over incumbent GOP Rep. Bill Sali in ID-01. But even though Minnick won this year, we must remember that this House seat will be the top GOP seat in 2010. This race looks like a “Toss-up” now, and we’ll need to work hard to hold ID-01 while continuing to make electoral gains in Idaho.

While all the other Northwest states previously mentioned still tilt toward the GOP, Washington state is quite the different game. Barack Obama won here by 17%, a great improvement over Kerry’s narrower 7% win in 2004. Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire won reelection this year while Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, both Democratic Senators, and all 6 Democratic House Reps. look quite safe. However, we have a chance to pick up another House seat in the eastern suburban Seattle WA-08 district. Incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert only narrowly won reelection in 2006 & 2008 in a district that both Kerry & Obama won. If we perhaps find a candidate with legislative experience to challenge Reichert in 2010, we can finally win this “Toss-up” race.

As you can see, The Northwest is undergoing many of the same changes being seen Southwest. Wyoming and Idaho may still look strongly Republican, but Montana has rapidly become a swing state as Oregon and Washington have gone from simply leaning Democratic to strongly Democratic. As the population grows, diversifies, and changes from rural to suburban & urban, Democrats are rising to victory.

As long as demographics change and voters continue to care less about “the culture wars” and more about issues like energy, environmental preservation, and economic development, Democrats will win. That’s why our party must continue to invest in winning The West. So are you ready to win?

ID-01: Grant Drops Out, Endorses Minnick

The field has narrowed in the race against freshman GOP Rep. Bill “Brain Fade” Sali:

Former Micron executive Larry Grant said Thursday morning that he will not run for the U.S. House in Idaho’s 1st congressional district.

Instead, Grant endorsed Walt Minnick, a former timber executive who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996. […]

Grant lost to Republican Bill Sali in the 2006 election and was under pressure from some in the Idaho Democratic Party to drop out this time.

Grant appeared at a news conference in Boise with Minnick and Democratic former Gov. Cecil Andrus.

This isn’t very surprising.  Grant has had very little fundraising success in his second kick at the can (just $60K raised last year), while Minnick’s been posting huge numbers (over $400K raised in the 4th quarter).

It’s going to be a lot tougher to beat Sali this time, but hopefully Minnick’s large cash reserves should make this nutter sweat.

ID-01 Larry Grant for Congress

We have just officially begun Q2 of the election cycle.  I want to bring back a good friend to the netroots community from the election cycle of 2006- Larry Grant.

As a refresher, Larry ALMOST pulled off an upset of epic proportions by barely losing to extreme right-wing nutjob Bill Sali.  In 2006, by running a grassroots and netroots oriented campaign, he gained recognition amongst both communities and garned immense name recognition and popularity.  Alas, Larry lost the district by a slim margin of 50-45.  

Here is a quick summary of the district from plf515‘s Congressional round-up diary:

District: ID-01

Location Western ID, bordering OR, WA and MT including Boise

Representative Bill Sali (R)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 50-45

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 30-69

Notes on opponents Larry Grant raised about $750K to Sali’s $1 million

Current opponents   Larry Grant


Rand Lewis (site down)


Walt Minnick

Sali is also being primaried

Demographics Tied for fewest Blacks (0.3%), 14th most Republican

Assessment Even for a Republican, Sali is crazy. Even for an Idaho Republican Sali is crazy.  He’s really nuts.  He might even lose in this Republican stronghold (I hope he wins the primary)


To kick off our fundraising efforts for our BlueMajority, Red to Blue, and Obamajority candidates in Q2, I would like everyone to consider Larry as a potential candidate to donate to.

Although Idaho is a ruby red state, Larry provides the Democratic Party and the progressive community the perfect candidate to paint this state with a brilliant shade of blue.  

Here are his stances on the important issues:

Dear Friend,

Recently, I was asked what the Democrats should do when we win the election in 2008. I started imagining what it will be like having more seats in the U. S. House, a filibuster-proof Senate, and a Democrat in the White House. Starting with what Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her “6 in ’06” agenda last time, it wasn’t hard to come up with 9 for 09

Here they are:

1.     Provide for negotiating prescription drug prices under Medicare:

Speaker Pelosi got this one through the House last time, but it got blocked in the Senate. Let’s try again.

2.     End subsidies for big oil:

Speaker Pelosi got this one through too, but it got blocked in the Senate as well. Let’s do it again, too.

3.     Pass the expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (“SCHIP”):

Six million more deserving children would have been covered by the new SCHIP program. Let’s get them covered as soon as possible.

4.     Repeal No Child Left Behind:

Let’s quit mandating what local schools have to teach without providing the funds to do it.

5.     Pass an extended Craig-Wyden plan:

We need to continue the Craig-Wyden program for replacing revenue that local communities lost when the timber harvest on federal lands was curtailed.

6.     Repeal the Patriot Act:

We need to protect our civil liberties and stop spying on American citizens without a warrant.

7.     Balance the budget:

We need to stop burdening our grandchildren with our national debt.

8.     Pass comprehensive immigration reform:

We need to protect our borders while providing employers the workers they need.

9.     End the war in Iraq:

The war is costing far too much in both lives and money.

There you have it, my goals for Congress in 2009.  Now its your turn what are your top 9?  

Larry Grant

His stances is a perfect example of a true progressive looking to make a difference in Washington.  

To add a bit of a personal touch, here is a story from NYBri‘s diary over at DailyKos:

I have asked those who work with Larry in his campaign to tell me in their own words about why they are committing themselves to working with Larry in Idaho, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you what they have written in a series called, In Their Own Words, and when it’s all over, I think Larry will be one of your favorite people as well.

Larry’s North Idaho Field Coordinator is Kristy Reed Johnson, and here is her story:

When I met Larry Grant over two years ago, I thought he was just another attorney who was willing to throw himself on his sword for Idaho Democrats in another 1st District Congressional race that would end like all the others since the early 1990’s.

I’m a fairly jaded political junkie.  In 1968, at the tender age of 22, and a “hostess” for Trans World Airlines I received two “special assignments.” First I was sent to work the Republican National Convention in Miami, FL. That was the  year of Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Richard Nixon. We all know what happened.

My next assignment was to be one of three crews who worked the Hubert Humphrey Charter after he won the Democratic nomination. It was five years after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and three years after the Democrats got Civil Rights legislation through Congress, lost all the support of the Southern Democrats, and Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek re-election.  It was also the year that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Two months after that, on the same evening he won the California Primary, Bobby Kennedy was also shot to death, as we all watched on television.

I became a Eugene McCarthy supporter. At the scene of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, there were protests in a park across the street against the ongoing war in Vietnam. Those kids (my age) were dragged and beaten by Chicago Police, actions ordered by Mayor Daly (a Democrat and the father of the current Mayor Daly).  

I formed my life long opinion of politics that year. Politicians are just people, some good, some dreadful, and all flawed, just like the rest of us. There is nothing “grand” about them.

But they seem come in two types, regardless of party: The ones who are in it for their own aggrandizement and those who honestly believe they can make a difference in the lives of ordinary people.

Larry Grant is the only candidate I’ve had the opportunity to know that I would walk on hot coals for to get elected. Larry Grant earned my respect.

Time after time I have seen his honesty, his integrity, his core values and moral compass lead this campaign team in a way that restores my faith in the democratic process. It’s all about us, the people of Idaho, the team, the crew, the mission. I actually believe Larry possesses at the very roots of his character everything we so desperately need in our political leaders.

His kind of responsible, intelligent, thoughtful leadership is missing in most of the politicians who are running for office these days. Larry leads by example.  

He will take that Idaho-grown moral and ethical compass to Washington D.C. and restore our faith in how a government should be run — of the people, by the people, and for the people. Can you support a man like that?

Larry has a list of 9 reasonable, achievable goals he wants to accomplish the first year he gets to Congress. They are his ‘9 for 09.’ Check them out. You don’t have to walk on hot coals for him, but could you help us, his staff, help him, communicate with the voters in the 1st District?

Larry doesn’t take money from corporate lobbyists. Small donations of $9 or $19 or $29 are gratefully accepted. Larry knows times are tough for working families in Idaho, and he knows every donation that comes to him means that the donor is sacrificing something for him or herself.  

As I write this, The Grant Team just received a bulletin: Larry Grant just received a phone call from a person who offered him the database for the Republican Party in Idaho. He refused. He thanked the potential donor, but said it would not be ethical, and warned us (the staff) not to accept something like that either.  

I can vote for a man like that. Will you join me? Become a member of the club and let’s send Larry Grant to Congress. He is just what the citizen’s of Idaho ordered.

There you have it, please head on over to Larry’s website to join and contribute to a truly stand up guy!

Grant for Congress:…

Larry’s stances on Issues:…

Give Larry a shot in the arm!…

If we start now, we can provide Larry with an even BETTER chance!  

Kentucky, Oklahoma, Idaho AFL-CIO Federations Roll Out Endorsements for Congress

(Cross-posted from the AFL-CIO Now Blog.)


The fight for a pro-working family government doesn’t end with the race for the White House. Around the country, union members in key states are looking to elect new members of Congress who will help turn around America.


The Kentucky AFL-CIO has announced endorsements in key races for U.S. Congress and Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan says these candidates, and the issues they’ll fight for, will help mobilize union members to win this fall.

[We] endorsed on the basis of their of support for the issues of critical importance to Kentucky’s hard working men and women: good jobs, the right to organize, health care for all, retirement security and education and training opportunities.

Topping the list of the Kentucky endorsees is Bruce Lunsford, who’s running for U.S. Senate against Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader who’s led the fight against working family-friendly policies like a real economic stimulus bill and children’s health insurance.

McConnell is behind the strategy of obstruction that has allowed a minority of senators to block important legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act. He consistently has voted for Bush nominees for key federal agencies, including the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) and the Department of Labor (headed by his wife, the worker-unfriendly Elaine Chao). In short, McConnell is the Senate’s key enabler of the anti-worker agenda. Lunsford has pledged to support the Employee Free Choice Act and to work with union members as they fight to ditch Mitch.

In addition to supporting Lunsford, Kentucky unions gave their strong endorsement to two incumbent House members and a challenger. Endorsements went to Democratic Reps. John Yarmuth of the 3rd District and Ben Chandler of the 6th District, as well as to Democratic state Sen. David Boswell, who’s running for the 2nd District seat left open by retiring Republican Ron Lewis.

Union members were crucial to the stunning 18-point victory for Gov. Steve Beshear last November, and the Kentucky AFL-CIO is looking to build on its success with these endorsements for the U.S. House and Senate.

In addition to working to elect Lunsford and Boswell and re-elect Chandler and Yarmuth, Londrigan says the Kentucky AFL-CIO will focus on exposing the record of Sen. John McCain.

In Oklahoma, state Sen. Andrew Rice is running against Sen. Jim Inhofe, another Republican who regularly votes against working family-friendly policies on health care, wages and the freedom to form unions. Rice, who Oklahoma AFL-CIO President Jimmy Curry called “a good friend of working men and women,” won the endorsement of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO on Tuesday.

In Idaho, where Republican Sen. Larry Craig won’t be returning to the Senate, former Democratic Rep. Larry LaRocco has won the endorsement of the Idaho AFL-CIO. Idaho AFL-CIO President David Whaley says members of the Idaho AFL-CIO’s Executive Board were impressed by LaRocco’s commitment to working family issues and his visits to work sites around the state.

The working families of Idaho are struggling to raise families, pay their taxes, support education, care for their aging parents and cope with the continued increase in health care costs. Larry LaRocco has been working in jobs all across Idaho and has heard first-hand about the challenges they face in their lives. When he is elected he will continue to work alongside these same families and make sure their voices are heard through his expressed support of the Employee Free Choice Act. We are proud to endorse him for the U.S. Senate.

The effort to elect more working family-friendly members of the House and Senate is an essential part of this year’s unprecedented mobilization of millions of union members.

ID-01: Andrus Endorses Minnick

Club For Growth nutcase Bill Sali has another Democratic challenger on his hands: businessman Walt Minnick, a former Senate candidate who lost by 16% to Larry Craig in 1996.  For those keeping score, that’s not a bad performance considering that Bill Clinton won less than 34% of the state’s Presidential vote that year.  Minnick will join ’06 nominee Larry Grant and army vet Rand Lewis in the Democratic primary.

At his announcement speech today, Minnick was joined by former Gov. Cecil Andrus, the last meaningful Democratic figure to hold office in Idaho:

“This is a man who can win in the fall; a man I trust and can be elected in November as Congressman from the first district,” said former Idaho governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus.

Andrus was introducing Walt Minnick, candidate for the Democratic nomination to the House of Representatives, in front of supporters and press this morning in front of the Idaho Historical Museum in downtown Boise.

Minnick’s entry and Andrus’ endorsement comes with this as a backdrop:

After Grant lost to Sali, Idaho Statesman political columnist Dan Popkey quoted a few Idaho Democrats who were angry with Larry Grant for running a lackluster campaign, squandering goodwill with unreturned phone calls and offers of help, not listening to campaign advisors and declining to campaign aggressively against Sali’s far-right philosophies.

Some Democrats think Popkey’s column opened the door for party members to talk about their disappointment with Grant, leaving room for a challenge primary.

While the ripest year to beat Sali was 2006, it’s certainly a change of pace to see a three-way primary for a House seat in Idaho.  Perhaps this race could get interesting later down the line.