SSP Daily Digest: 2/17

  • AZ-Sen: As Dems cast about for a candidate in this newly open race, the last guy who ran for this seat is saying he won’t seek it a second time. Former state party chair (and rich guy) Jim Pederson is doing the upstanding thing by flatly declaring he’s out: “I don’t want to play a cat-and-mouse game with this U.S. Senate race.” In an age where would-be candidates drag out the “exploratory” phase with leaks of rumors of hints of tea leafs for months, Pederson’s stance is refreshing, even if it does mean a potentially strong contender won’t run. (Of lesser note, Rep. Raul Grijalva also says he’s not interested.)
  • Meanwhile, the Club for Growth says it’s already raised $100K for the only dude in the race so far, Rep. Jeff Flake, who just announced a few days ago.

  • CT-Sen: In a move that will surely disappoint Beltway hacks endlessly thirsting to write more stories about Camelot, Ted Kennedy, Jr. says he won’t seek Joe Lieberman’s open senate seat. He did note that he might consider politics in the future (he’s 50).
  • FL-Sen: Not really a surprise, but Rep. Connie Mack (R) is amping up his fundraising, hiring a veteran NRSC fundraiser who has also worked for Bill McCollum and Mel Martinez, Anne Ekern. Mack is also having a “major” event this Friday, which will supposedly feature  “cigars.” I assume it will also feature top hats and lighting said stogies with $50 bills.
  • MA-Sen: By now you’ve probably caught wind of the Daily Kos effort to draft Elizabeth Warren, the interim director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Note also that David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group, the top progressive blog in the Bay State, recently said he also supports a Warren run.
  • VA-Sen: It seems that everyone is trying hard to get DNC chair Tim Kaine to run for the senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb, including Barack Obama himself, who apparently talked on the phone with Kaine yesterday. (But don’t these guys talk regularly, anyhow?) Webb also said he wants Kaine to replace him. Meanwhile, ex-Rep. Tom Perriello told the Washington Post he’d consider getting in, but only if Kaine – whom Perriello said he wants to see run – doesn’t make the race.
  • LA-Gov: Opulence – I has it. So says Bobby Jindal, who is sitting on a $9.2 million stack of doubloons, after hauling in $3.4 million in 2010. Seeing this, Dem state Sen. President Joel Chaisson is too smart to kiss the mini-giraffe. Though he pulled in a decent-ish $180K and checked the “statewide” box on his campaign finance disclosures, Chaisson says he’s just hedging his bets in case Jindal decides to run for president instead.
  • OH-Gov: The douche is strong in this one: John Kasich was easily one of the schmuckiest candidates of the 2010 cycle, and one of the most obnoxious Republicans alive – which is saying a hell of a lot. Of course, he hasn’t changed one bit since his inauguration. Just check out this video of him calling a police officer who had the temerity to ticket him “an idiot” three times in sixty seconds. Listen in particular to his tone of voice at 1:07. What an asshole.
  • AZ-06: Here’s another Republican name in the mix to succeed the running-for-senate Jeff Flake: First-term Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
  • CA-36: The endorsements just keep rolling in for Janice Hahn, who has now secured the backing of local Dem Reps. Karen Bass, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Xavier Becerra, the last of whom is a big cheese in House leadership. So far I haven’t seen word of any big names coming out for Debra Bowen (but correct me if I’m wrong). Relatedly, for a good look at which sides the various power players might line up on, check out this piece by LA Weekly’s Gene Maddaus.
  • By the way, Jane Harman has now said she’ll delay her resignation until Feb. 28th at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown. That gives Brown a better chance to consolidate the CA-36 race with a budget-related special election that’s likely to be held in June – but even that date is still up in the air. In any event, if round one goes forward in June, then round two (if needed) would take place in August.

  • MI-05: The exact words of 81-year-old Rep. Dale Kildee (D), when asked if he’s quitting: “They’ll have to carry me out of here.” Despite having just $12K in the bank, the veteran lawmaker says he’s definitely going for another term, and that you can ignore his warchest: “I usually don’t start raising money until March, so that doesn’t mean anything.”
  • NY-26: Erie County Republican Chair Nick Langworthy says that he and his fellow party leaders for the seven counties which comprise the 26th CD are interviewing candidates this weekend to fill ex-Rep. Chris Lee’s seat. Since this is the fourth special election in New York in less than two years, you probably recall that nominees are selected by local party chairs, rather than in a primary. Anyhow, the GOP shortlist:
  • Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein; Jack Davis, a Democrat turned Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Tom Reynolds for the same seat; Chris Jacobs, member of the Buffalo school board; the front-runner, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin; Dan Humiston, a businessman and owner of Tanning Bed; and Erie County lawmaker Ed Rath.

    You better believe emphasis added! Oh please oh please pick Jack Davis! Anyhow, on the Dem side, it definitely looks like one speculative candidate is out: departing White House deputy press sec’y Bill Burton is starting a consulting firm, according to Politico, which you’d think would rule out a run.

  • SD-AL: South Dakota’s single at-large CD is one seat where we definitely won’t have to worry about redistricting, so it makes sense that Steve Israel’s reached out ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin about a potential rematch against GOPer Kristi Noem. Herseth Sandlin says they’ve “traded some emails” and that she’s considering the idea – but obviously she hasn’t taken the plunge yet, since that would probably have been front-page news here.
  • At the same press briefing, Israel also made a good point: Dems are holding off on announcing House recruits not just because they don’t necessarily know where the lines will be drawn, but because they don’t want to give Republicans a chance to redistrict strong candidates into oblivion. RCP does report, though, that “Democratic congressmen on the recruitment team have visited 15 states on recruitment trips and made recruitment calls to candidates in another 15 states.”

  • State Leges: We had a few special elections the other night. In the Los Angeles area, GOPer Sharron Runner took over her husband’s seat in SD-17 in a landslide. In SD-28, Dem Ted Lieu avoided a runoff as well. Both were holds. Over in Minnesota’s Iron Range, 25-year-old Carly Melin also held a seat for Team Blue. But in a special election primary in South Carolina’s HD-64, Alvin Greene (yes, that Alvin Greene) pull just 37 votes out of 3,960 cast. Wonder if he remembered to vote for himself.
  • And finally, talk about overtime: The last uncalled race of 2010 was decided in court yesterday, with an appeals panel declaring Republican Thomas Kirwan the victor in New York’s 100th Assembly District. Interestingly, Kirwan is framing this as a boon to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, pointing out that Republicans now have enough votes to prevent Speaker Shelly Silver from over-riding any Cuomo vetoes.

  • WATN?: Ah, Tom Emmer, man of principle. Two years ago, the former GOP gubernatorial candidate was vigorously fighting Minnesota’s ban on expensive satellite radiation clinics, demanding that “market forces” be allowed to work. Now he’s a registered lobbyist with only one client… and that client has instructed him to advocated in favor of extending the very same ban. Market forces at work, indeed.
  • In better news, it’s always nice to see one of our guys land on her feet. Dem ex-Rep. Betsy Markey (CO-04) has landed a job with the Dept. of Homeland Security. She’ll be the “assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs.”

    SSP Daily Digest: 2/4

    CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons has previously sounded unlikely to run (and rather sulky about it), but now he’s saying he’s “considering” the race and will make a decision by March. He’s also seeking to replace state GOP party chair Chris Healy, who he thinks favored Linda McMahon during the nomination process. Simmons also had some kind words for state Sen. Scott Frantz as an option in case he himself doesn’t run.

    FL-Sen: Already having the backing of the man he replaced as state Senate president (John Thrasher), now Mike Haridopolos got the endorsement of the Republican leader of the other chamber, state House speaker Dean Cannon. (Not that those kinds of endorsements move a lot of actual votes, but this could be harmful in the behind-the-scenes game to former state House majority leader Adam Hasner if he runs, as he’d probably have expected Cannon’s help.)

    MA-Sen, MA-06: Rep. John Tierney didn’t sound much like a candidate in the Senate race when asked about it at an appearance with area high schoolers, saying he’s focused on his current job and plans to run again. That, on top of Barney Frank’s announcement yesterday that he’s running again (and the months-ago announcement from John Olver that he’s running again) point to an increasing likelihood that two of the state’s 10 Dem Congresspeople will have to face off in a primary (unless either Mike Capuano or Stephen Lynch roll the dice on a Senate bid). One other total wild card here that came into sharper relief today: John Kerry seems to be amping up his lobbying to become Secretary of State. While there’s no indication that Hillary Clinton is in any hurry to leave, that does raise the specter of another special election if there’s a changing of the guard at SoS after the 2012 election. That possibility, and the chance at an open seat run instead of going up against Scott Brown’s millions, might induce Capuano and Lynch to keep their House jobs for now.

    NE-Sen: PPP gives AG Jon Bruning a substantial lead in the GOP Senate primary, for the right to take on Ben Nelson. He leads state Treasurer Don Stenberg 47-19, with throw-ins Pat Flynn and Deb Fischer at 7 and 6 apiece. Bruning’s faves among Republicans are 57/12.

    VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the principal tea party opponent to George Allen in the GOP Senate primary so far, has shown she can compete, at least on the financial front. She raised $100K in the fourth quarter; Allen didn’t report anything since his candidacy didn’t launch until the new year.

    WA-Gov, WA-AG: Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee is launching some rhetorical salvos in Republican AG Rob McKenna’s direction over health care reform in what’s very likely the beginnings of the 2012 gubernatorial general election; McKenna is one of the few blue-state AGs who signed on to the multi-state suit against HCR implementation, a possible foot-shooting move that seems more oriented toward fending off primary opposition from the right than enhancing his electability in November. By the way, if you’re wondering about who’s planning to replace McKenna in the AG slot, there’s word that ambitious King County Councilor Bob Ferguson is about to announce his candidacy next week. His likeliest GOP opponent is fellow King County Councilor (and progeny of WA-08’s Jennifer Dunn) Reagan Dunn.

    WV-Gov: It looks like we finally have some consensus on when that pesky special election for Governor is going to be. The state House and Senate ironed out a compromise that will hold the primary on May 14 and the general election on Oct. 4. Acting Gov. (and candidate) Earl Ray Tomblin has agreed to sign off on the deal, even though it contains a different primary date than he wanted.

    IA-03: Here’s some more evidence that 77-year-old Leonard Boswell is seriously gearing up for a 2012 battle to stay in the House, despite possibly facing two major opponents (first Christine Vilsack in a Dem primary, then Tom Latham in a redistricting-forced general). He named his former campaign manager Julie Stauch as his new chief of staff. (His fundraising may say otherwise, though; see below.)

    LA-03, LA-AG: Jeff Landry, who’s been in the House all of one month, is the likeliest Rep. to get squeezed in a 6-district map of Louisiana, by virtue of his lack of seniority and depopulation in his district (and the need to keep next-door LA-02 a VRA district). So, it seems sensible that he’s already contemplating some alternate plans. Rumors are flying now that the reason that AG Buddy Caldwell is planning switch over to the Republican party is because Landry is looking at challenging Caldwell in this year’s AG race (although Caldwell’s switch would just move that challenge to the primary, if it goes through). David Rivera might not even have the shortest stay among this year’s freshman class, if Landry wins the AG race and leaves the House after one year.

    Fundraising: This Politico piece on fundraising among House members has some interesting red flags from Q4 that may portend retirement. On the GOP side, CA-41’s Jerry Lewis raised $1,700, while MD-06’s Roscoe Bartlett raised all of $0. For the Dems, NY-05’s Gary Ackerman raised $924, NY-28’s Louise Slaughter raised $320, and MI-05’s Dale Kildee raised the strangely specific sum of $1.42. They also point to how fundraising may have dried up for several likely casualties of redistricting, including MI-09’s Gary Peters (down to $88K CoH), IA-03’s Leonard Boswell ($66K CoH), PA-12’s Mark Critz (net negative-$36K), and LA-03’s Jeff Landry (net negative-$24K).

    Redistricting: As expected, the battle over Florida’s Fair Districts initiative is moving into the courts, starting with a new suit filed by the amendments’ backers (including the League of Women Voters and NAACP) demanding that Rick Scott re-engage the process of seeking VRA preclearance for the chances to Florida’s system. (Scott has apparently been dragging his feet on preclearance in hopes that the initiative’s requirements won’t be in place by the time of 2012 redistricting, which could let the GOP legislature gerrymander to their hearts’ content.) Meanwhile, the GOP legislature in Georgia is already consolidating their power to take advantage of their control of the trifecta there: they removed primary responsibility for map-drawing from the nonpartisan Carl Vinson Institute at UGA, and instead are creating a new Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office more directly under their control.

    Census: If you tried to open the ftp version of the new Census data yesterday and found yourself looking at incomprehensible txt files (that, if you scroll through them quickly enough, look like you’re able to see through The Matrix), fear not. They’re available via American FactFinder now, and even through interactive widget form.

    FEC: I’m not sure how many max-out donors we have among our readership, but the FEC has raised contribution limits for this cycle, meaning you can give a little more to your favorite candidate or committee before hitting the ceiling. You can now give up to $2,500 per candidate and $30,800 per committee.

    Trivia: I had absolutely no idea this number was so low: there have been only four open seat Senate races in Texas since the 1920s. (Not only do Senators there tend to have long tenures, but vacancies tend to manifest themselves in special elections.) The races were in 1948, 1952, 1984, and 2002.

    Why I am Challenging a 34 Year Pro-Life Democratic Incumbent Congressman

    Fellow Democrats,

    My name is Scott Withers and I am a Democratic Primary Candidate for the U.S. Congress in Michigan’s 5th District. I am challenging incumbent Dale Kildee, someone whose public service I respect, but I believe is out of touch with the dire needs of the residents of Mid-Michigan.

    I grew up in the small Tuscola County city of Vassar. My grandfathers, father, stepfather, sister and many uncles, aunts and cousins do or did work in the UAW plants throughout mid-Michigan. I received my dual-bachelors degree in International Relations and Broadcast Journalism at Syracuse University. While in school, I interned for CNN at the United Nations and in the London bureau. After graduation, I worked as a producer/writer and on-air youth correspondent for CNN in Atlanta. Following my time at CNN, I worked in local tv news in Tennessee and eventually moved into Public Relations where I worked on communications plans for large aviation, tourism and chemical companies. When the economy crashed last summer, I like millions of Americans was laid off. The last six months has been trying. I have lived through the fear of home foreclosure. I understand living pay check to pay check (often not making it). I can relate to the millions of good people who barely pay their bills with unemployment. I am not rich and don’t have the desire to be. I live with my partner of 10 years, Lane, and our 3 dogs. I am running for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District seat to help instill hope, create new jobs and solve the home foreclosure problem.

    I am challenging Dale Kildee for 3 main reasons…

    1) We need a leader who will fight to create jobs here in Michigan. We need someone who will do whatever it takes, who will make some noise and jump up and down to protect every job in Michigan, bring new ones in and make sure not a single job goes overseas. I will organize, I will rally, I will go door to door, I will lobby, I will do whatever it takes! I will spend every day soliciting large domestic and foreign corporations to expand/relocate job opportunities into the district, create new jobs or invest in existing companies so they can expand their staffs. My focus will not just be on automotive jobs, but on any and all opportunities including Green Energy, Film/Television, Tourism, Chemical, etc. I will LOBBY every federal government agency to open new or relocate existing offices/facilities in mid-Michigan, expand their current job opportunities in the area or pick our area for future projects. I will seek federal funding for our State to offset the cost of keeping prisoners in Michigan prisons instead of closing them down, releasing them early and laying off employees. We cannot afford to have a Congressman who just goes with the flow.

    2) We need a Congressman who will champion progressive values. Congressman Dale Kildee is out of touch with the majority of Democrats in the 5th District. He is pro-life, opposes marriage equality, supports funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and does not support a single-payer healthcare system. We need an aggressive Congressman representing the 5th District and I believe I am that individual. Protecting a woman’s right to choose is one of the most important human rights issues facing women today. Dale Kildee has consistently gone out of his way to oppose protecting that right.

    3) The 5th District Congressional seat belongs to the people of the 5th District. Dale Kildee has been a life member of Congress – holding the seat for 34 years, since the 1970’s. This seat belongs to the people of the district and no member should be in office for 34 years. He has been in political office for the past 46 years! I support term-limits for every member of Congress. I will self-limit myself to four consecutive terms in the U.S. House. We need to stop the system of creating career politicians and have a system that allows citizens to serve in public office and then return back to private life.

    These are the facts:

    – Even though Mid-Michigan’s unemployment rates are among the highest in the nation, Dale Kildee voted to give himself and his colleagues a pay raise (June 2009)

    – Dale Kildee introduced just 13 bills last year, none of which dealt with job creation

    – Dale Kildee received a 0% rating by NARAL. (December 2003)

    – Dale Kildee voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)

    – Dale Kildee received a 53% rating by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights record (December 2002)

    – Dale Kildee voted NO on withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, the WTO, (June 2000), which has sent thousands of jobs overseas.

    – Dale Kildee voted NO on tax cuts to small businesses (March 2000)

    – Dale Kildee opposes marriage equality (January 2008)

    – In the last cycle, Dale Kildee received over $338,545 in PAC and special interest money, a strong majority of this total funds raised.

    I believe it is time for a change and I believe I will be that progressive voice who fights to bring new jobs to the 5th District.

    I will run an aggressive campaign on the issues and provide a clear contrast between myself and Mr. Kildee. Every pro-jobs, pro-choice, pro-equality Democrat will have a real choice in this election.

    I hope to earn your trust and your support during this campaign.


    Scott Withers

    Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress

    p.s. please sign up to follow our campaign at

    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