SSP Daily Digest: 12/13

AK-Sen: Everyone’s watching Joe Miller’s next move, as tomorrow is the day he has to decide whether or not to appeal a trial court decision in order to keep fighting his largely-hopeless fight with Lisa Murkowski. On Friday afternoon, a state superior court judge ruled against Miller’s lawsuit, and in pretty withering fashion, saying he presented no evidence of fraud or malfeasance, only “hearsay, speculation, and… sarcasm.” This comes on top of other comments on Friday by state elections director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputing one of Miller’s cornerstone issues, that there was a strange sudden influx of felons voting in the state.

CT-Sen, CT-04: Rep. Jim Himes confirms that he isn’t going to run for Senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman (if Lieberman even decides to stick around). It’s also pretty clear confirmation that Rep. Chris Murphy is ready to run on the Dem line, as Himes said he’s deferring to his slightly-more-senior colleague and might consider running if Murphy changed his mind. (The article also mentions that Rep. Joe Courtney is “considering” the race. Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz’s interest is well-known as well, although I doubt she’ll be able to manage to file her candidacy papers successfully.)

HI-Sen: Sometimes the Beltway media’s parsing of every innocent word from a potential candidate gets a little maddening, but this throw-away line from Linda Lingle’s website flagged by David Catanese is actually pretty suggestive of a future run (probably against Dan Akaka in 2012): the site is titled “Looking Back, and Forward,” and her first blog post is “Continuing the Journey.”

MD-Sen: Contrast that with Bob Ehrlich, who seems ripe to fall into the Dino Rossi trap but has just made it pretty clear that he won’t be running for anything else again. He says a Senate run would be “very highly unlikely.”

ME-Sen: The only story that seems to be here is that the viable Tea Party candidate that has been promised to emerge to take on Olympia Snowe is starting to look like more of a mirage. A must-read (for sheer hubris and wtf?ness) interview with the state’s self-appointed head teabagger, Andrew Ian Dodge, makes it sound like the candidate that Dodge is allegedly talking to is either imaginary, or else is Dodge himself (seeing as how he’s from southern Maine and has his own money).

MI-Sen: PPP includes a GOP primary portion in their Michigan Senate poll, and like a lot of other polls this far out, name rec seems to rule the day. Ex-Gov. John Engler, despite eight years out of the picture, has the lead (in fact, that may be good news, as the general electorate doesn’t remember him fondly; he underperforms Debbie Stabenow, losing by 7, compared with Peter Hoekstra, who loses by 1). It’s Engler 31, Hoekstra 24, with 12 for ex-AG Mike Cox, Terri Lynn Land (who may be interested in this race after all) at 7, Candice Miller at 5, Mike Rogers at 4, Thad McCotter at 3, and Tim Leuliette (the most-interested candidate so far) at 0.

NJ-Sen: The Hill has an article that’s mostly about how no GOPers are stepping up to express their interest in an uphill fight against Bob Menendez, but it does include the obligatory list of possible contenders. Top of the list is a rematch from state Sen. (and gubernatorial progeny) Tom Kean Jr., but also mentioned are Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Anna Little (a small-town mayor who was competitive against Rep. Frank Pallone this year), state Sen. Jennifer Beck, former state Sen. Bill Baroni, and state GOP chair Jay Webber if all else fails.

NY-Sen: Rep. Peter King does some coulda-woulda-shoulda in a recent interview, saying he definitely would have run in 2010 had Caroline Kennedy been the appointee. As for a run in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand (when she’s up for election for her first full term), he’s only “keeping his options open,” apparently leery of her fundraising prowess.

PA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Dent is usually at the top of the list for Senate race speculation, but a recent interview has him sounding rather un-candidate-ish: he’s about to land a plum spot on Appropriations, and speaks of it in terms of “one never rules anything out,” which to my ear sounds a few steps down the Beltway-ese totem pole from “considering” it. One other interesting rumor bubbling up is that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted to run. The question is whether anybody even remembers Schweiker; he spent less than two years on the job in the early 00s after getting promoted after Tom Ridge moved to the Bush administration, and declined to run for his own full term.

VT-Sen: Could Bernie Sanders see a real opponent? While he isn’t specifically threatening to run yet, State Auditor Tom Salmon is taking to Facebook to attack Sanders over his anti-tax deal agitating (including attacking Sanders for being a socialist, which doesn’t quite have the same effective power with Sanders as with most Dems since he’s likely just to say “guilty as charged”). At any rate, going after the entrenched Sanders seems like an odd move if it comes to pass, as Peter Shumlin, who narrowly won the open gubernatorial race, seems like a much easier target in a blue state that’s willing to elect Republican governors but has sworn them off at the national level.

CA-Gov: Steve Poizner sounds likely to make another run at the governor’s mansion in 2014, publicly telling various people that he would have made a much better candidate than Meg Whitman. Poizner will have to step it up on the financial situation next time, though; self-funding only to the tune of eight digits, instead of nine, was pretty weak sauce.

IN-Gov: With Evan Bayh apparently out of the gubernatorial sweepstakes, Brad Ellsworth seems to be jockeying to the front of the line today, although with some of the requisite hedging. The other main contender, of course, is Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, although the impact of redistricting changes (at the hand of the now-GOP-held legislature) could drive Reps. Joe Donnelly or Baron Hill into the race. Two lesser Dem names who’ve been bandied about, Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott and former state House speaker John Gregg, are already taking their names off the table, lining up behind others for now: McDermott backing Ellsworth and Gregg backing Weinzapfel. One final new Dem name to keep an eye on: Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.

MS-Gov: For now, the Democratic side on the Mississippi governor’s race seems to be between two men: Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree (that city’s first African-American mayor) and businessman Bill Luckett, who has his own money (and the backing of Morgan Freeman… apparently for real, unlike with NC-04’s B.J. Lawson).

WA-Gov: Here’s a good take from Joel Connolly (dean of the local press corps) on the 2012 gubernatorial election in Washington state, which the Beltway press seems to treat like an open book but everyone local knows is going to be between Rep. Jay Inslee and AG Rob McKenna, who’s probably the best shot the GOP has had in decades of winning the governor’s race. (Chris Gregoire can, by law, run for a third term, but, in practice, that would be unheard of even if she weren’t already too unpopular to do so feasibly.)

NY-15: Is the Charles Rangel era actually coming to a close? He’s not ruling out another run in 2012 but saying he’ll have to think about retirement. And in public comments he is actively pointing to a generation of successors, citing state Sens. Adriano Espaillat and Robert Rodriguez, and state Assemblyman Keith Wright. (Although Harlem is the core of the district, it now has more Hispanics than it does African-Americans… and the wild card is that the fastest growing group in this district is white regentrifiers.)

LA-St. Leg.: The hemorrhaging of Dem state legislators to the GOP in Louisiana continues apace, with one of its most prominent state Reps., the mellifluously-named Noble Ellington, sounding about ready to pull the trigger on a switch. He’d follow two state Sens., John Alario and John Smith, who also recently crossed the aisle.

Philly mayor: You’d think that at age 80, you’d want to think about retirement, but not if you’re Arlen Specter, apparently. There’s word of a poll making the rounds (from Apex Research, with no mention of who paid for it or why) that not only links the outgoing Senator to a mayoral run (in the city where he got his start generations ago as the DA) but actually has him in the lead. The poll has Specter at 28, with incumbent Michael Nutter at 19, Sam Katz at 9, Anthony Hardy Williams at 8, Tom Knox at 7, Bob Brady at 6, and Alan Butkovitz (anybody care to let me know who he is?) at 6.

WATN?: Try as he may, Artur Davis just can’t get the douchiness out of his system. On his way to the private sector, he’s still taking the pox-on-both-your-houses approach on his way out the door, writing an op-ed calling for an independent party as the solution to all of Alabama’s woes. Meanwhile, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has landed on her feet, after losing a second run in IA-02 in a rare setback for the Ophthalmologists (who elected at least two more of their own to Congress this year): Terry Branstad just named her head of Iowa’s Dept. of Public Health.

Census: Finally, this may be the most exciting news of the day: we have a reporting date for the first real batch of 2010 Census data. Dec. 21 will be the day the Census Bureau releases its state population counts, which also includes reapportionment data (i.e. how many House seats each state will get… at least prior to the inevitable litigation process among the most closely-bunched states).

MI-Sen: Stabenow Leads, But Looks Shaky

Public Policy Polling (12/3-6, Michigan voters, no trendlines)

Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 49

John Engler (R): 42

Undecided: 9

Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 45

Pete Hoekstra (R): 44

Undecided: 11

Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 45

Terri Lynn Land (R): 41

Undecided: 14

Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 47

Tim Leuliette (R): 30

Undecided: 24

Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 43

Candice Miller (R): 41

Undecided: 15

MoE: ±2.8%

PPP’s first look at 2012’s Michigan Senate race may surprise some people, as this race isn’t one that gets mentioned in the same context as the main trio of troublesome races for the Dems this cycle (Montana, Missouri, and Virginia), yet the numbers here look more similar to those races than the ones that are shaping up to be pretty safe, like Minnesota. I’m not entirely surprised, though, as PPP’s previous approval scorings have placed Debbie Stabenow near the bottom of the Senators up for re-election in 2012, and that seems to show up here again, with middling 41/40 approvals and not breaking 50% against any of her opponents.

Interestingly, the person I’d thought would be the strongest opposition for her, three-term ex-Gov. John Engler (about whom there had been vague rumblings last year about a run), fares worse than most other GOPers. It’s not as if people have forgotten him; he’s still only 9% unknown, it’s just that people remember him and don’t like him (33/45)! It may be a Tommy Thompson-style problem, where a fresh face is more compelling than the old hand that everyone initially feared. The closest race is with Rep. Peter Hoekstra, who’s probably top of mind right now because he ran statewide, narrowly losing the GOP gubernatorial primary… but the polarizing Hoekstra is much less liked (28/31) than some of the other options that may have more upside for the GOP (Rep. Candice Miller and SoS Terri Lynn Land, both at 36/21, although I haven’t heard any mention of Miller or Land’s names being floated for this race).

(I don’t think there will be a digest today, partly because of time concerns, partly because of sheer lack of compelling news, so feel free to use the comments here for off-topic discussion today.)

SSP Daily Digest: 6/16

FL-Sen: Politico has a new FL-Sen piece provocatively titled “Democrats flirt with backing Charlie Crist,” but it points to some definitely solidifying conventional wisdom: that Crist, who has been steadily moving to the left in his independent bid, is becoming more appealing to local Dem power brokers as something of a de facto Dem candidate. This is especially the case if Jeff Greene, who has no base and a truckload of vulnerabilities, somehow spends his way into snatching the Dem nomination from Kendrick Meek. Along those lines, Crist‘s latest repositioning is on the issue of travel to Cuba, where he’d previously backed restrictions on travel and remittances but is now moving more in line with freer Democratic positions.

NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall got an endorsement from MoveOn with less than a week to go until the Senate runoff against Cal Cunningham. It’s kind of late in the game, but MoveOn money may fund some last-minute ground-pounding.

NV-Sen: Why do I have the feeling that Sharron Angle is going to get her own bullet every morning filled with the latest crazy revelations about her? I don’t even know where to begin: hot on the heels of revelations that she used to be a member of the right-wing Independent American Party in the 1990s (which she left because of political expedience to run for state Assembly) comes today’s revelations that in the 1980s she left the Republican Party at the height of the Reagan era to become a… Democrat? (She says she did so to help a conservative Dem with his state Senate campaign.) Well, now she can claim she’s tripartisan. Also from yesterday were, of course, revelations that in January of this year she floated the possibility of armed insurrection if Congress “keeps going the way it is.”

With the NRSC playing whack-a-mole with daily Angle bombshells, John Cornyn says he’ll be rolling her out verrrrrrry slowly… it’ll be “a few weeks” before she’s ready to take questions from the press. This comes on top of several stories about Cornyn’s more centrist colleagues cautiously distancing themselves from Angle, with Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe saying they aren’t getting involved, and Dick Lugar taking exception to most of her key action items. At least Jim DeMint is coming to her rescue, paying for some IEs on her behalf out of his PAC money.

MI-Gov (pdf): Magellan’s out with another public poll of a Republican primary, this time in Michigan. They find Peter Hoekstra narrowly in the lead at 26, with Rick Snyder at 20, Mike Cox at 16, Mike Bouchard at 11, and Tom George at 2. Meanwhile, Cox seems to at least be winning the endorsement game; he got two more nods today, both from two of Hoekstra’s slightly more moderate House colleagues: Dave Camp and Thad McCotter. (Candice Miller, on the other hand, backed Hoekstra last week.)

OR-Gov: Here’s quick about-face from John DiLorenzo, a Portland attorney who’d fronted himself six figures to launch an independent gubernatorial candidacy. Today he decided not to run after all; he had an interesting explanation, in that he felt that both Dem John Kitzhaber and GOPer Chris Dudley were moderate enough that there really wasn’t any room for him to carve out some space in the middle.

NC-11: GOP nominee Jeff Miller is out with an internal poll from POS conducted several weeks ago that show him in somewhat competitive territory against Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler. The poll gives Shuler a 46-34 edge over Miller. Miller is on the wrong end of 10:1 cash advantage for Shuler, but just got a FreedomWorks endorsement which may help him gain some ground.

NJ-06: It looks like the GOP primary in the 6th, the last race from Super Duper Tuesday not to be called, is finally over. Diane Gooch, the pre-primary favorite, at least based on her NRCC backing, conceded and said she won’t seek a recount. Anna Little finished 84 votes ahead of Gooch, who endorsed Little for the run against long-time Dem Rep. Frank Pallone.

NY-24: Here’s one more big problem for endangered Rep. Mike Arcuri: GOP opponent Richard Hanna got the endorsement of the statewide Independence Party. There’s one catch, though; the Cayuga County Independence Party isn’t on board, and say they’d prefer to endorse Arcuri (and take great issue with the selection process, or lack thereof). It’s unclear for now how the state and county parties will resolve the dispute. Hanna got the 2008 IP line, which probably helped him keep things surprisingly close that year.

OH-12: GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi was yesterday declared one of only nine GOPers who need continued financial support, largely because he’s facing a top-tier challenge from Franklin Co. Commissioner Paula Brooks. Brooks got a big fundraising boost today with an endorsement from EMILY’s List, which should help send some money in the direction of one of the few places where Dems are playing offense.

TN-04: One more internal poll to report on, although it’s incredibly stale (from late March… however it was just brought to our attention, thanks to a tipster in the comments). A poll by Republican pollster OnMessage finds Rep. Lincoln Davis — a Dem in a terrible district but facing small-fry opposition — leads his two possible opponents, Scott DesJarlais and Jack Bailey, by identical 44-33 margins.

UT-02: It sounds like the GOP is still maintaining hopes of monkeying around with the Dem primary in the 2nd, as there are subtle rumblings of efforts to get teabaggers to cross over and vote for very liberal (and probably unelectable in the general) Claudia Wright instead of Rep. Jim Matheson in the Dem primary. Somehow that doesn’t seem likely, though, considering that those same voters would probably like to have a say in the hard-fought and likely close Republican Senate primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater on the same day (June 22).

WI-08: The crowd in the GOP field in the 8th is a little smaller; retired physician Marc Trager dropped out of the race, citing health reasons. He gave his backing to state Rep. Roger Roth, who still faces ex-state Rep. Terri McCormick, contractor Reid Ribble, and county supervisors Marc Savard and Andy Williams.

VA-St. House: The GOP held seats in the state House of Delegates in two special elections last night, meaning they still control that chamber 59-39 (with 2 GOP-leaning indies). Both were in fairly red territory, but the Dems had felt they had a potentially strong candidate in HD-15 in Harrisonburg mayor Kai Degner. Degner lost to Tony Wilt, 66-34. In Chesterfield County in Richmond’s suburbs, Roxanne Robinson beat William Brown with 72%.

Redistricting Michigan: Take 2

Lately there has been a lot of Debate over the number of Democratic Congressional Districts that Democrats could gerrymander out of the state of Michigan if they had complete control (right now they hold the Governorship and State House.  They stand a good chance at taking control of the State Senate while the Governor’s race is a tossup).  A few people, namely IHateBush, have said that it is possible to succesfully draw a map that would yield 12 Democratic seats and only 2 Republican seats.  I’ve been trying for several weeks to draw a 12-2 map, meanwhile protecting endangered incumbents (specifically Schauer) and I’ve determined that a 12-2 map would be far overeaching and in a neutral or Republican leaning year might end up 9-5 or worse. I think the best Michigan Democrats could do is create 11 safe or Democrat leaning districts and 3 strongly Republican districts.  I’ve drawn a map that I think does just that, although I still am not entirely confident that we could hold both of my “Thumb” districts in a Republican year.  But without further ado, here’s my map.

District 1 (Bart Stupak D):  Since this is my home district, and I couldn’t face the specter of Tom Casperson or some other Republican becoming my Congressman when Bart Stupak retires, I’ve gone to pretty great lengths to make this one safer.  I added the remainder of Bay County, Isabella County (home to CMU) Clare County, and Roscommon County, all counties that President Obama won.  I took out the Republican leaning counties of Charlevoix, Antrim, Crawford, Oscoda, Otsego, and Montmorency.  Overall Obama’s performance in this district goes from about 50% to about 53%.

District 2 (Vern Ehlers R) this is probably the most gerrymandered looking of all of my new districts, but it has to be if we are going to have a Democrat leaning district in Western Michigan.  It takes in the Dem leaning Counties of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Lake, Mason, and Oceana along the Lake Michigan shore, the Strongly Democratic County of Muskegon, and then tentacles into Kent County and picks up the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood, East Grand Rapids, and Wyoming.  Barack Obama won this district 57.2-41.1 giving it a nice, healthy PVI of D+4.3. Vern Ehlers likely would not be reelected to this district.

District 3 (Fred Upton R + TBD [successor to Pete Hoekstra] R) I’ve combined the old 2nd and 6th districts to form this heavily Republican District.  It takes in Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, Northern Berrien, and suburban Kent Counties.  Whoever succeeds Pete Hoekstra next year would probably be favored in a Primary against Upton, who is somewhat too moderate for this very conservative district.

District 4 (Dave Camp R) another one of my heavily Republican districts, this one takes in some of the rural and conservative Counties in Northern and Central Lower Peninsula, but it is based in Midland and Traverse City (Grand Traverse County) Barack Obama only won 2 counties in this new district, Gratiot and Clinton.  Dave Camp’s home in Midland is preserved in the new 4th.

District 5 (Open, leans D)  The new 5th district is the one that I would be least confident of us holding in a Republican year, but still in a neutral year it favors us. It has a PVI of about D+2-3 and it includes the Democratic County of Saginaw, about 2/3 of staunchly Democratic Genesee county (minus the city of flint) the Dem leaning Shiawassee County, sparsely populated Republican Counties in “the Thumb” and Tossup St. Clair County. Luckily former Democratic Congressman James Barcia’s home in Bay City is not in this district, for we really could get a more progressive Congressperson from this district. (State Sen. John Gleason, perhaps?)

District 6 (Mark Schauer D) I increased the Democratic performance in this district by drawing strongly Democratic Kalamazoo County out of Upton’s district and into this one.  I also added tossup county Cass and the Democrat leaning portions of Berrien County.  I took out Jackson and Lenawee County as well as the portion of Washtenaw that was in this district.

District 7 (Open, Democrat) It’s high time that Lansing is put into a Democratic district again, and that’s just what I’ve done.  This new district is L shaped and contains Ingham, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties.  Barack Obama won all these counties, except Hillsdale. Obama won the district 56.4-41.9 giving it a 2008 PVI of D+3.5.  If I had to guess what Democrat might win this district, I’d say State Rep. Barb Byrum (daughter of 2000 candidate Diane Byrum), State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (distinction of being the “most liberal” Senator), or Lansing mayor and Former state Senator Virg Bernero.

District 8 (Gary Peters D) I’ve made this one a bit more Democratic by removing the cities of Rochester and Troy while adding Berkley, Southfield, and the rest of Waterford Township.  Removing the city of Troy also removes a potential future challenger to Peters, State Rep. Marty Knollenberg (son of Joe Knollenberg).  This district should be safe for Peters or a future Democrat if he runs for higher office.

District 9 (Candice Miller R + Dale Kildee D)  In 2002, Republicans drew David Bonior’s (D) Congressional District… much more Republican, forcing him to retire or face certain defeat at the hands of their preffered candidate, Secretary of State Candice Miller.  It’s payback time.  I’ve drawn the most Democratic parts of Macomb County, including Miller’s home, into a district with exurban Republican Lapeer County, as well as the 90-10 Obama city of Flint, and other staunchly Democratic portions of Genesse County.  This includes Dale Kildee’s home, but he’ll be in his eightees by 2012 so he probably won’t be the one running against Miller, if Miller runs at all.

District 10 (Mike Rogers R) The last Republican district that I drew, the 10th includes fast growing and largely Republican Livingston County (home to Mike Rogers), Northern and Western Oakland County, and Shelby township in Macomb County. I considered drawing Livonia (Thad McCotter’s home) into this district as well, but I don’t want there to be any chance that he returns to Congress

District 11 (Sander Levin D) This distric largely reverts to it’s pre-2002 boundaries.  It now would contain all of Sterling Heights, Warren, Troy, Clawson, and Royal Oak, along with the most Democratic south Oakland Suburbs.  This district would be safe for Levin’s successor (hopefully state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton).

District 12 (Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrict D) Doesn’t change much except that it moves farther south and includes all of Dearborn.  It’s still majority African American and very strongly Democrat.  The only problem with the configuration of this district is that John Dingell lives in Dearborn.  If he is still serving in 2012 (which I doubt) a tendril can be drawn from the 14th District to pick up his home so that he wouldn’t be drawn into Kilpatrick’s district.

District 13 (John Conyers D + Thad McCotter R) Contains all of Northern Detroit and also reaches all the was west to include Redford Township, Livonia, Northville and Plymouth.  There’s no way Thad McCotter could win this majority African American Detroit District.  Safe for Conyers and his successors.

District 14 (Open D) This one looks very much like Lynn River’s old district… and would probably elect an Ann Arbor Democrat (State Sen. Liz Brater, fmr. State Rep. Chris Kolb, who would be the first openly gay congressman from Michigan, or maybe even Rivers if she wants to get back into politics.) Also includes a large portion of Suburban Wayne County taking in the Democratic cities of Canton and Westland. If John Dingell is still serving and runs for re-election in 2012, then a tendril will have to be drawn to include his home in Dearborn, but when he finally retires it will probably elect someone more progressive.  Obama won this district 64.5-32.6.

What does everyone think of my map? Suggestions, corrections, questions, comments? I want to hear them.

Redistricting 2012 (again): Michigan

I know redistricting diaries are a dime a dozen these days, but I’m going to do one that has never been done before: Michigan (assuming full Democratic control of the process).  Nathaniel90 already drew a split control compromise map found here: http://www.swingstateproject.c…  

Michigan will be losing a seat in 2012, going from 15 to 14.  I think the chances of full Democratic control is about 50-50 or maybe slightly better.  It looks like we have a very good shot at taking back control of the State Senate, while the Governors race is still pretty much up in the air, with presumptive nominee John Cherry lagging in the most recent poll.  But this far out, no one can predict this one yet.

By this map Democrats would presumably hold a 9-5 advantage in Representation.  They currently hold a 8-7 Advantage.  In 2002, when Republicans drew the map, they (Rs) held a 9-6 advantage.  My map protects freshmen Gary Peters and Mark Schauer, while throwing Dave Camp and Mike Rogers into a district together.  It also draws a much more Democratic district for Thaddeus McCotter (or his Democratic successor), presumably eliminating him if he isn’t already gone by 2012.

My map was drawn on microsoft paint, and some of the more detailed borders aren’t exact.  Also my computer has some kind of problem with pixelation or something, so it may appear a little blurry.  Without further ado, here’s my map with district profiles down below the flip.  

District 1– (Bart Stupak D) mostly the same but expands to include Kalkaska, Roscommon, and the rest of Bay County.  Overall becomes slightly more Democratic.

District 2– (TBD[successor of Pete Hoekstra]R) gives up Allegan County in the south, as well as Eastern portions of Ottawa County and the North-West corner of Kent County that was formerly in the district.  Gains Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Missaukee, and Osceola Counties.  This district becomes a bit more Democratic (mostly because it loses strongly conservative parts of Ottawa and Kent Counties) and Barack Obama would have carried this district narrowly, but it should still favor Republicans in the future.

District 3– (Vern Ehlers R) Drops Barry and Ionia County in exchange for some very Conservative areas of Kent and Ottawa Counties.  Becomes more Republican.

District 4– (Dave Camp R + Mike Rogers R) I decided that I would throw these two together because I did not want to eliminate Thad McCotter in case he is defeated by a Democrat in 2010. I put Livingston County (Rogers base and home) in with most of the current 4th District. Dave Camp should be the favorite considering it includes his base of Midland as well as most of his old turf, but I wouldn’t count Mike Rogers out.  The inclusion of Livingston County makes this district more Republican.  Barack Obama would have lost here.

5th District– (Dale Kildee D)  Looks like a combination of James Barcia’s old District and Dale Kildee’s current district.  It drops all of the territory it held in Bay County but gains the more Republican thumb counties of Huron and Sanilac.  However, with Flint as the base of this district and Genesee County making up more than half of the population, this District stays Democratic.

6th District– (Fred Upton R) This is the most gerrymandered district in the state, and yet it only splits one County!  This district looks quite a bit different from it’s current shape  It’s base of Kalamazoo is taken out to make Mark Schauer safer.  In exchange it gets all of Allegan, Barry, and Branch counties and about half of Eaton County.  The loss of Kalamazoo makes this district a lot more Republican, although Barack Obama may have won here, depending on exactly what parts of Eaton County are included.

7th District–  (Mark Schauer D) I think that I succeeded in making Mark Schauer safe from any Republican challenge, but I fear that I may have set him up for a primary challenge from a Lansing area Democrat, as Lansing becomes the new base of this district.  The only part of the old 7th district that I left was Calhoun County (Battle Creek) which is Schauer’s home.  I put in all of Ingham and Kalamazoo Counties and about half of Eaton.  Barack Obama won every county in this district and probably came close to 60% here.

8th District– (Gary Peters D)  It is hard to tell on my map, but according to my plan for the 8th district, Gary Peters would get Madison Heights and Southfield, both extremely Democratic cities (Barack Obama got 88% in Southfield), while dropping the strongly Republican cities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Berkley.  The addition of Southfield probably brings Barack Obama to around 60% here.

9th District– (Candice Miller R)  Instead of a “Thumb” district, this district becomes a “Detroit suburbs and exurbs district.” It loses Sterling Heights and Utica in Macomb County, and Huron and Sanilac Counties in “The Thumb,” While picking up some seriously Republican turf in Oakland County, including the suburb Novi that is currently in Thad McCotters 11th District.  It still includes the Republican leaning Exurb St. Clair and Lapeer Counties.

10th District– (Thad McCotter R [Should favor Democrat])  Includes all of Thad McCotter’s current portion of Wayne County, plus the cities of Inkster, Romulus, and part of Dearborn Heights.  The current part of Wayne County in the 11th gave Obama 57%.  That probably bumps up to just under 60% Obama.  Also includes Monroe County, which Obama won 51-47.

11th District– (Sander Levin D)  Changes very little, except that it swaps out Southfield for the rest of Sterling Heights.  Becomes a bit less Democratic, but still favors Levin or his successor.

12th District– (Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick D)  One of two VRA protected districts in Michigan.  Population loss will force this district to expand, but it still stays within Wayne County and is majority Black.

13th District–  (John Conyers D)  The other VRA district expands into Dearborn but stays heavily Black and heavily Democratic. (Note that John Dingell’s home is in this new district, but I expect that he’ll have retired by 2012 and if frankly, if Debbie Dingell is holding his seat by then, I really don’t care if she gets stuck in Conyer’s district)

14th District– (John Dingell D)  This district moves out of Wayne County and now takes in all of Washtenaw County as well as Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale Counties.  It is now completely based in Ann Arbor and should elect a liberal, Ann Arbor Democrat.  Barack Obama won three out of the four Counties in this new district.

Questions? Comments? Errors to point out?  Leave ’em in the comments.  

2010 Outlook: Michigan U.S. House Races

This is part one of my three part series of diaries that I will be publishing this weekend handicapping the major 2010 races in the state of Michigan.

Today I will be publishing my U.S. House outlook, tomorrow the State Senate, and Sunday the State House of Representatives.  

House District 1: Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.  On Monday, Republicans announced that they plan to challenge Bart Stupak again in 2010.  Apparently Pete Sessions has not learned the lesson that Tom Cole learned in 2008.  For those not familiar with the story, State Rep. Tom Casperson was recruited to run against Stupak by Tom Cole, and national Republicans hyped Casperson as a top tier challenger and golden opportunity for Republicans to knock off the popular moderate Democrat.  No such thing happened, and Casperson was pounded by Stupak 65-33.  

Now, maybe Sessions thinks that Stupak will retire.  I’ll admit, it’s possible.  But that still leaves them with the problem of recruiting a Republican with any significant name recognition.  Casperson may run again, or he may run for the State Senate.  Either way, if he couldn’t break 35% against Stupak, I doubt he could win an open seat.  Another Republican possibility is State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer who will be term limited in 2010, but Elsenheimer is from the lower peninsula, not the U.P.  I doubt that any Republican could win this if they aren’t from the U.P., and even a downstate Democrat would have a hard time if the Republican is from the U.P.  Elsenheimer is the only Republican state legislator who lives in the 1st District, so he may start out as a front runner if he runs.

As for Democrat Candidates if there’s an open seat, the favorite should be term limited State Senator and Minority Leader Mike Prusi, but State Reps. Mike Lindberg, Mike Lahti, and Gary McDowell would all be formidable opponents to any Republican.

Rating: Safe Democrat, (Leans Democrat if Stupak Retires).

District 2: Lake Michigan Shoreline, Muskegon, Ottawa County.  The 2nd District is the most Repulbican in the state of Michigan.  It is historically conservative, very Evangelical, and has a high Dutch population.  Congressman Pete Hoekstra has already announced that he is going to retire in 2010, probably to run for Governor.

Encouraged by Barack Obama’s good showing in this district, some might be inclined to view this as a potential Democratic pickup.  I think that the chances of a Democrat winning this district is slim to none.  Republican state legislators are already lining up to succeed Hoekstra, and I doubt any notable Democrat would risk there political career to run against any one of them.

State Senator Wayne Kuipers (R) and State Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) are both running already.  Both are from Ottawa county, the conservative base of the District.  State Senator Gerald VanWoerkom, a Republican from Muskegon, may run as well.  VanWoerkom is far more moderate, and if Kuipers and Huizenga split the conservative, Ottawa County vote, VanWoerkom could sneak up and win the Republican primary.

Democrat State Reps. Mary Valentine and Doug Bennett are the only Democrat elected officials in the district, but I doubt either would take on such a suicide mission.  Former State Rep. Julie Dennis may run, but I do not think she would be a very legitimate candidate.

Rating: Likely Republican

District 3:  Kent County (Grand Rapids).  The third District is also very republican, but not as conservative as the second District.  Vern Ehlers is safe if he runs for re election.  If he retires, Republicans would have a clear advantage, but the right Democrat could win this district.

If Ehlers retires, State Senators Jud Gilbert or Mike Hardiman would be likely replacements.  Former State Representative Michael Sak, a Democrat, would make a good candidate.  He is moderate, and from Grand Rapids city, but was recently criticized for alledgedly appearing drunk at a Governors assosciation meeting.  State Reps. Robert Dean or Wayne Schmidt could also run.

Rating: Safe Republican (Leans Republic an in Ehlers Retires)

District 4: Central lower Peninsula, Midland.  Rep. Dave Camp will likely run for re-election in 2010, and Democrats will likely not give him a vigorous challenge, even though the 4th is a swing district that Barack Obama won.  Freshman State Rep. Mike Huckleberry may challenge Camp, he already did so in 2006, but he is unlikely to do any better than he did then.  And I doubt he would want to give up his new seat, anyway.

Rating: Safe Republican

District 5: Flint, Saginaw, Bay City.  If Dale Kildee does not retire in 2010, expect a primary challenge from State Senator John Gleason.  Gleason considered challenging Kildee in 2008, but opted to stay in the Senate.  He is term limited in 2010.  Republicans will not seriously contest this seat, no matter who wins the Democratic Primary.  

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 6: South-West MI, Kalamzoo.  Moderate Republican Fred Upton may or may not run for re-election in 2010.  If he does, he is probably safe.  If not, the 6th District becomes a pure tossup.  Obama got 54% in this District, but Democrats have no significant bench of candidates here.

Robert Jones is the only elected Democratic legislator in the district, but he and his predeccessor, Alexander Lipsey, are both African-American.  I doubt an African American could win this district (it has a lot of conservative voters in Berrien and Van Buren Counties).  However, former Kalamazoo mayor and current Vice-Mayor Hannah McKinney would make a decent candidate.

Republicans Tonya Schuitimaker, John Proos, and Ron Jelinek could all run to succeed Upton if he retired.

Rating: Safe Republican (Tossup if Upton retires)

District 7:  South MI, Battle Creek, Jackson.  Freshman Mark Schauer will likely face a difficult re-election in 2010.  He only beat Rep. Tim Walberg 49-46 in 2008, certainly a smaller margin than I expected.

Possible Republican candidates include former Rep. Mike Nofs, Sen. Cameron Brown, and Rep. Rick Jones.  Walberg may run agian, but he is unlikely to beat Schauer in a rematch.  

Obama won this district, and the Republicans in this district tend to vote for Conservative Republicans in the Primary, rather than moderates (See Schwarz, Joe vs. Walberg, Tim).  A conservative Republican would have an uphill climb against Schauer.  All in all, Schauer will have the advantage of incumbency going for him, and should be favored.

Rating: Leans Democrat

District 8:  Lansing, Livingston County, N. Oakland County.  This may finally be the year that Democrats seriously challenge Mike Rogers.  In 2000, Rogers barely beat Democrat Diane Byrum to succeed Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who ran successfully for the Senate.  Since then, he has not been seriously challenged in this marginal district.

Rogers may run for governor, which would give Democrats an even better chance at picking up this district.  we have a strong bench here, as the district is centered around heavily Democratic Ingham County, home of Lansing.  Possible Democrats include Lansing mayor and former State Senator Virg Bernero, State Rep. and former East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows, State Senator Gretchen Whitimer, State Rep. Joan Bauer, and State Rep. Barb Byrum, daughter of 2000 candidate Diane Byrum.

If Rogers does run for Governor, Livingston State Senator Valde Garcia would be the likely Republican candidate.

Rating: Likely Republican (Tossup if Rogers runs for Governor)

District 9: Central Oakland County.  Freshman Gary Peters is the heavy favorite in this suburban Detroit district, even though he just defeated Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg last November.  Like many suburban districts nationwide, this one has been trending Democratic for a while now.  Joe Knollenberg’s son state Rep. Marty Knollenberg may try to retak his father’s seat, but when an incumbent loses by 9%, his son is unlikely to do much better.

Rating: Likely Democrat

District 10: “The Thumb”, Northern Macomb County.  Republican Candice Miller is not likely to be challenged in 2010.  The former secretary of state may run for governor, however.  If she does, advantage still goes to the Republicans here.  Dem. John Espinoza may run for the open seat.  Republican Sen. Alan Sanborn is the likely favorite in an open seat.

Rating:  Safe Republican

District 11:  West Oakland County, North-East Wayne County.  Thad McCotter is in a very dangerous spot right now, and he knows it.  He only managed 51% in this once strongly Republican suburban district against a nobody in 2010.  He apparently senses the danger, and is willing to sell his soul to save his seat.

Democrats have a very strong bench in this district.  House speaker Andy Dillon lives here, and the DCCC will likely try to recruit him, as well as State Senator Glenn Anderson, who represents the Conservative city of Livonia.  Other candidates include State Reps. Marc Courriveau and Richard LeBlanc.  

McCotter used to be able to count on his base in Livonia to get re elected, but Livonia, like all of Wayne county, continues to trend Democratic. Novi, in Oakland County, was also a reliably Democratic part of the District.  But like the 11th District as a whole, Novi was won by Barack Obama.

Rating: Tossup

District 12: Parts of Oakland and Macomb Counties. Sander Levin is likely to run for re-election, but if he doesn’t look for his son, Andy Levin to run for his seat.  If not Levin, State Senator Gilda Jacobs may run.  Either way, the district is safe.

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 13:  Detroit.  The big question here is: Has the Kilpatrick scandal blown over?  If so, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick will be safe.  If there are still lingering doubts about her suport for her son, then she may well see a another vigorous Primary Challenge.  Mary Waters will probably run again, but there are other Detroit area legislators that may want to take her on as well.  Barack Obama may have broken 90% in this majority Black District, so the winning the Democratic Primary will be tantamount to winning the General Election.

Rating: Safe Democrat.

District 14:  Detroit.  Nothing to see here.  John Conyers is safe.

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 15:  Detroit suburbs, Monroe County, Ann Arbor.  I fully expect John Dingell to retire in 2010.  He just lost his committee chairmanship, and on top of that, he can barely walk.  If he does, watch either his wife, Debbie Dingell, or his son, Christopher Dingell.  Also watch former Congresswoman Lynn Rivers, who lost the 2002 primary to Dingell after the two were drawn together by redistricting.  Rivers is quite liberal and would made a very good congresswoman, in my opinion.

Rating: Safe Democrat