SSP Daily Digest: 3/22

MO-Sen: Well, it looks like Claire McCaskill has been trying to make me look like an idiot. After this site’s repeated smack-downs of the “airplane” story as Politico-fueled b.s., it turns out that there is quite a bit more to it: McCaskill now says she owes $287,000 in unpaid property taxes on the plane. That’s quite a bit. Of course, she says she’s paying them, and she’s also having her husband sell the plane – and she further notes that this problem only came to light because she reviewed the plane’s records herself. But how do you forget to pay over a quarter mil in taxes? Man.

In other MO-Sen news, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner was in DC last week meeting with the NRSC about her bid. She still claims her first preference is to run for Senate, but based on the quotes in Roll Call’s piece, it’s sounding more and more like Rep. Todd Akin (R) will get in and she’ll run for his seat. Of course, who knows what MO-02 will look like in a few months….

PA-Sen: The National Journal’s Alex Roarty says that Ed Stack, longtime CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Pittsburgh native, is thinking about seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey. Stack is, of course, very rich.

ND-Gov: Horse’s mouth: Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) is leaving the door just slightly ajar to a gubernatorial run, saying “I am not excluding anything nor am I focusing on politics right now.” But he repeatedly told the Fargo-Moorhead Forum that he was concentrating on his new legal/lobbying job at Alston & Bird in DC.

WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant released a poll from GQR showing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin leading the Dem primary field with 31, but with herself just behind at 27. Treasurer John Perdue is at 14, while state House Speaker Rick Thompson and state Sen. Jeff Kessler take 5 apiece.

CA-36: Debra Bowen got her first endorsement from a member of Congress: Rep. Judy Chu, who filled Hilda Solis’s 32nd CD seat when the latter became Secretary of Labor. Several other local officials have also endorsed. Also of note: The Courage Campaign is holding a candidate forum on Thursday, and if you click the link, you can submit a question.

IA-03: Longtime SSPer (and blogger in her own right) desmoinesdem points out that Nancy Pelosi is coming to Iowa to do some fundraisers with Rep. Leonard Boswell, including one at the home of 2010 Dem Senate nominee Roxanne Conlin. Is this a suggestion to Christie Vilsack that perhaps she ought not run?

KS-04: One political scientist is calling him “the congressman from Koch” – and you’ll probably want to as well. Mike Pompeo, a loathsome man hated by many fellow Republicans, took in $80K in donations from Koch employees, was supported by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, and, for good measure, hired a Koch Industries attorney as his chief of staff. (Or more like, David and Charles installed a fixer to make sure their new paisan did as he was told.) Pompeo’s been delivering: He’s promoting legislation to defund a new consumer complaints database, and an EPA catalog of greenhouse-gas polluters. Personally, I think this dickbag could be very vulnerable to a GOP primary.

NY-26: Crazy Jack Davis and David Bellavia both filed signatures to appear on the ballot as independents – but of course, now the fun can truly begin. If you weren’t already aware, New York has just about the most draconian requirements for petitions in the land – they can be invalidated for as little as using the wrong color ink. I’d be pretty surprised if the GOP didn’t try to nuke both of these guys from orbit, though Davis might be invulnerable, since he said he submitted over 12,000 petitions. Bellavia’s camp would only say that they submitted “more” than the required 3,500. Unless he has at least double that number, once Christian Szell starts asking “Is it safe?”, it’s a good bet that Bellavia won’t survive scrutiny.

OR-01: Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has an excellent roundup of recent OR-01 stories, so I’m going to recommend you click through for his summaries and links. Two items of note: Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr says he won’t challenge Rep. David Wu, and Wu is apparently starting to actively fundraise again, with an event this week in Portland. I’ve gotta ask: Who the heck would want to show up to such a thing?

AZ-St. Sen.: A recall effort is underway against notorious Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant legislation known as SB1070. The leader of the best-organized group claims they have thousands of signatures and are meeting their goals, but they aren’t releasing any actual numbers.

NYC-Mayor: Another Republican campaign, another fortune embezzled. Mike Bloomberg hired John Haggerty to forklift over a million bucks to the state’s Independence Party, but instead, Haggerty laundered most of the cash through a consulting firm he owned and spent $750K on a home in Queens. Now a judge says that the evidence of Haggerty’s guilt is “overwhelming.” Can’t say I feel too bad for Bloombo! (Other recent similar incidents involved Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and ex-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut.)

California: California Republicans are doing their best to ruin whatever advantages the state’s new top-two primary system might give them – on purpose. While the top-two might free more moderate GOPers from the ultra-conservative stranglehold on primaries, the activist base wants none of that. Starting in 2014, the party will conduct “pre-primaries” by mail and award their formal endorsement to whoever wins those beauty contests. These people will get assistance from the state party and will also be listed as the “official” GOP candidate for that race. David Atkins thinks, though, that this is a feature, not a bug: The CA Republican Party needs just 1/3 of the members of one of the chamber of the state legislature to maintain California’s absolutely dysfunctional system of state governance, and this helps ensure that they elect uncompromising crazies to the few seats they do win – which is all they require.

Redistricting Roundup:

California: Good news: The Republican firm that was a finalist to serve as the redistricting commission’s mapping consultant was unanimously rejected in favor of an Oakland company called Q2 Data and Research. And while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was selected as the panel’s law firm, does have some well-connected Republican partners in their DC office (like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada), it’s big enough that you’ll probably find the entire gamut from good to evil working under their umbrella (so let’s hope we get “good”).

Louisiana: This Times-Picayune piece details the backroom wrangling going on over Louisiana’s congressional map, which painfully has to shrink from seven to six seats. Scroll down to that grey call-out box on the left for links to actual maps. I believe we linked the Gallot maps before, but the Kostelka and Jackson maps should be new. (You’ll find them at the end of some very long PDFs.) I note that of these plans seem to keep one Dem district by marrying New Orleans with Baton Rouge.

New Jersey: NJ legislators are being weirdly good about not sharing their proposed state maps with the public, but folks who have seen them are chatting up reporters. One such person, Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, thinks that the GOP is running afoul of the edicts set by commission boss Alan Rosenthal, and could get in trouble for their attempts to over-reach.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/15

CA-32: Congratulations to Judy Chu, who will be the newest member of the House Democrats. She defeated Republican Betty Chu in last night’s special election, by a margin of 62-33, with the balance going to Libertarian Chris Agrella. (It’s a bit of an underperformance in the district, where Obama won 68-30, so I’m wondering if the Chu/Chu confusion actually ate into her share a bit. Or, it could just be a highly unmotivated base on a day when nothing else was on the ballot.)

AR-Sen: State Senator Kim Hendren, last heard from calling Chuck Schumer “that Jew” when he couldn’t think of his name, had something of a reprise yesterday, referring to African-American federal judge Brian Miller as “this new minority judge.” Don’t confuse Hendren with other GOP candidate Curtis Coleman, who’s the one who thought you should “get shots” before going down to southeast Arkansas.

IL-Sen: Mark Kirk — who’s had some past problems with the space-time continuum — has pinned down a date for announcing his Senate candidacy: Monday the 20th. Meanwhile, he’s been lunching with his would-be colleagues among the Senate Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon.

NV-Sen: Both the Nevada GOP and minority leader Mitch McConnell sound more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of John Ensign running for re-election in 2012. Meanwhile, Nevada’s other Senator, Harry Reid, pulled down $3.25 million last quarter, a very large haul indeed for someone who can’t count on mommy and daddy to write him a big check.

NY-Sen-B: Two more endorsements for Kirsten Gillibrand in the face of a potential primary with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, both of which ought to help her with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party: Planned Parenthood’s political wing, and, reportedly, Howard Dean himself. Latest fundraising reports point to Gillibrand doubling up on Maloney, both in terms of 2Q results and cash on hand.

MN-Gov: Dems dodged a bullet in Minnesota: former GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad (of MN-03) announced that he won’t run for governor in 2010, either as a Republican or (as sometimes rumored) for the Independence Party. The likable and generally moderate Ramstad would have been probably the toughest foe the GOP could have put up. (Norm Coleman is better known, of course, but not very well-thought-of anymore, if that recent PPP poll is any indication.)

NC-Gov: PPP took a look at Bev Perdue’s job approvals halfway through her first year in office, and, well, let’s just say we should be glad she isn’t up for re-election in 2010. Her approvals are now 25-55, down from a high of 44% in March. PPP says that’s the worst individual performance of anyone they’ve polled this year except for Roland Burris!

CA-47: Shades of Tom McClintock, anybody? GOP Assemblyman Van Tran, who’s running against Loretta Sanchez in the 47th (and had a good fundraising quarter, pulling down $250,000), has just filed the paperwork to run for State Senate in 2012. Considering that the State Senate (and its term limits) can’t really be seen as a promotion from the U.S. House, could this be a sign of how confident Tran is about the future of his challenge to Sanchez?

FL-10: In the wake of Mike Castle’s tepid fundraising numbers, a similar number leaps out from the Bill Young camp: he only raised $50,155 last quarter (with $437K CoH). Is retirement on the horizon? Of course, his Dem challenger, state Sen. Charlie Justice, hasn’t been burning up the charts either, with an $86K quarter.

NC-08: Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory is getting his name out there, perhaps while testing the waters for an NC-08 run, CQ observes. He’s joining Americans for Prosperity (a group that’s been linked to the teabagging movement) on their “Patients First Tour” in several North Carolina cities (including a stop in Wingate, which is in the 8th).

PA-06: No surprise: with Rep. Jim Gerlach officialy out (and in the gubernatorial race), next-in-line state Rep. Curt Schroder officially got in the race to be the GOP nominee in the 6th. On the Dem side, Doug Pike seems to be marching unopposed to the nomination; rather than seeing other Dem candidates jump in now that Gerlach finally hit ‘eject,’ he’s starting to score some endorsements, starting with Rep. Patrick Murphy from the nearby 8th today.

OH-???: This is kind of strange way to drum up publicity, but former Sen. Mike DeWine has announced that next week he’ll announce his campaign plans for “statewide office,” without specifying which one. Attorney General seems likely, since John Kasich already has a firm grasp on the governor’s race. Does Ohio have a statewide “dogcatcher” position?

AL-St. House: In a special election last night, Dems lost an open, Dem-held state House seat in the Huntsville area (the same area where they lost a special election for a Dem-held open state Senate seat earlier this year). The seat was open because state Rep. Sue Schmitz was forced to resign because she was convicted of fraud, so this race kind of had a pall over it from the beginning. GOPer Phil Williams beat Dem Jenny Askins 60-39; this cuts the Dem advantage in the House to 61-44.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/14

TX-Gov: Holy crap, Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for Governor of Texas! Of course, everyone with a pulse has known this for most of a year, but it’s now official: she’s done exploring the race and formally launched her campaign yesterday. She also found a lot of cash under the couch cushions during all those explorations, as she put together $6.7 million during the first half of the year. Factoring in her $8 million transfer from her Senate account, she’s sitting on about $12 million CoH. Her primary opponent, incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, raised $4.2 million in the year’s first half (a lot, considering he couldn’t raise during the legislative session) and has $9.3 million CoH.

FL-Sen: Ordinarily, you probably wouldn’t want to spotlight an endorsement from an unlikable jerk with a ridiculous name, but Marco Rubio is trying to rally the nationwide wingnut brigade to his financially faltering campaign ($340K last quarter), so he rolled out an endorsement from ex-House Majority Leader Dick Armey today.

IL-Sen: Now that he’s done holding his breath and turning blue until that nasty Andy McKenna would go away, Rep. Mark Kirk has announced that he’ll announce that he’ll announce that he’ll announce his candidacy, or something like that, “in one week.” Roll Call also has a look at the consternation that Kirk’s messed-up rollout caused both local and national GOP figures, stepping on their attempts to crow “recruitment success.”

Meanwhile, people are starting to wonder openly when if ever businessman Chris Kennedy is going to pull the trigger on getting into the Dem field. His hesitation is already landing him in legal hot water: a local police officer filed an FEC complaint against Kennedy for allegedly spending more than $5,000 on campaign outlays without actually having a campaign in place.

NV-Sen: John Ensign (apparently emboldened by fellow C Street dweller Mark Sanford’s seat-of-his-pants survival of his own affair) is proceeding full speed ahead, not just planning not to resign but to run for re-election in 2012. TPM wonders out loud if Harry Reid is one of the Dems who’ve urged Ensign to stay on board.

PA-Sen: The NRSC finally officially endorsed Pat Toomey today. This comes hot on the heels of news that state Sen. Jane Orie (who was being chatted up by the NRSC last week) has decided against running against Pat Toomey in the GOP senate primary. Rumors abound that Rick Santorum, nursing some sort of grudge against Toomey, was the driving force behind the Orie boomlet. Meanwhile, Arlen Specter today announced a 2Q haul of $1.7 million, narrowly topping both Toomey ($1.6 million) and Joe Sestak ($1 million in his House account).

CA-Gov: Meg Whitman is sitting on a ton of cash now, having added $15 million of her own money on top of $6.7 million in private contributions, bringing her total stash to more than $25 million. Her GOP primary rival, Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner anted up $5 million of his own money, along with $1.2 million in contributions, during that same period.

CT-Gov: A strangely quiet fundraising period for Jodi Rell has some wondering if she’s going to run for re-election. She raised $20,000 in the most recent quarter, with $71K CoH, outpaced by potential Democratic challengers SoS Susan Bysiewicz ($141K for the quarter) and Stamford mayor Dan Malloy ($147K).

OH-Gov: Betcha didn’t know that ex-Rep. John Kasich had an opponent in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Ohio: state Sen. Kevin Coughlin. Well, apparently no one else knew that either, and having gotten nowhere on the fundraising front in the face of party opposition, Coughlin bailed out yesterday.

VA-Gov: Creigh Deeds beat Bob McDonnell in fundraising in June ($3.4 million for Deeds, $1.8 million for McDonnell), but he had to blow through a lot of that in the primary. McDonnell is sitting on a lot more cash on hand, with almost $5 million compared with Deeds’ $2.7 million.

CA-11: This is the first I’ve heard of this guy — vintner Brad Goehring — who’s planning to challenge Jerry McNerney in the 11th. He’s not getting off on the right foot, though, with the appearance of 2006 statements where he shrugged off the problem of 40% of his workforce being undocumented immigrants… not likely to help him much with the nativist core of what’s left of the California GOP base.

CA-32: In case you’d forgotten (and most likely you had; I know I did), the general special election for the race to fill the vacant seat left behind by Labor Sec. Hilda Solis is today. Today’s election is an afterthought, given that the race was basically won in a heavily-contested May primary in this solid Dem district. Someone named “Chu” is guaranteed to win, although in all likelihood it’ll be Democratic Board of Equalization member Judy Chu over Republican Monterey Park city councilor Betty Chu.

FL-12: The Blue Dogs have already weighed in with their first endorsement of the cycle, endorsing Polk Co. Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards in the open 12th district to replace Rep. Adam Putnam, who’s running for Florida Agricultural Commissioner.

KY-St. Sen.: Gov. Steve Beshear is seemingly taking a page from Barack Obama, picking off Republican legislators and giving them secure appointive positions instead, opening up their seats for possible Democratic takeove. Sens. Dan Kelly and Charlie Borders were appointed to a judgeship and the Public Service Commission, respectively. Dems are optimistic about retaking both the seats, with state Rep. Robin Webb looking at Borders’ seat in Kentucky’s NE corner, and former state Rep. Jodie Haydon looking at Kelly’s seat in Bourbon territory in the state’s center. This will hopefully put a dent in the GOP’s 21-16-1 edge.

Census: Census Director Robert Groves was finally confirmed after the Dems used a cloture vote to break the hold on him, leaving him with only eight months to whip the Census into shape. Only 15 GOPers voted against cloture, including Richard Shelby and David Vitter, the ones who’d had the hold on the nomination, and some of the other dead-enders (Brownback, Bunning, Cornyn, Ensign, Sessions, etc…. although, interestingly, Coburn and Kyl voted for cloture). Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann continues her one-woman war on the Census, proposing legislation that would limit the number of question the American Community Survey (the annual supplement, not the 2010 full count) can ask.

Polltopia: PPP is asking for your input on another state to poll, so let ’em hear it. The finalists are California, Iowa, and Louisiana.

CA-32: Results Thread

222 of 222 Precincts Reporting
Gil Cedillo(D)11,24423%
Judy Chu(D)15,33832%

RESULTS: LA Times | CA Secretary of State | LA County

11:50: Calitics says Judy Chu has declared victory. 86% reporting: Chu still at 33%, Cedillo 24%, and Pleitez 14%. Betty Chu leads the GOP field, with 10%. Bring on Chu vs. Chu, in July!

11:30: With 76% reporting, it’s now Chu with 33%, Cedillo 24%, Pleitez 14%.

10:55: This isn’t over yet. With 46% reporting, Chu is at 35% and Cedillo is at 23%. Pleitez’s share is increasing too, up to 12%.

10:38: Picking up speed now; with 32% reporting, Chu leads 38% to 21%.

10:15: Ganja break at LA County is over: now we’re up to 16% reporting, with a little narrowing but still a big Chu edge, 40% to 19%.

9:30: Still nothing more to tell you about CA-32, but there’s a barnburner going on in the runoff for the Los Angeles City Attorney. Carmen Trutanich leads Jack Weiss 52-48, with 12% reporting.

8:45: We’re finally seeing some action. With 10% reporting, Judy Chu is at 42%, with Cedillo far behind with 17%. Betty Chu is in third at 13% (consolidating most of what little Republican vote exists in this district), and Pleitez is next at 8%.

8:18: We’ve still got bupkus from CA-32, but there are over 1 million votes tabulated statewide on the six ballot measures. Props 1A through 1E are all failing, mostly by greater than 40-60 margins, but Prop 1F (no pay raises for legislators if there’s a deficit) is passing with 77%.

7:52 Pacific: We’re going to be doing a half-assed liveblog of CA-32 tonight. Polls close shortly, at 8 p.m. Check back periodically for updates!

California Special Election Preview

One nice thing about writing for a blog that focuses on downballot issues is that you’re never that far away from an Election Day. Today it’s California’s turn; the marquee event is the race in open CA-32 to replace the new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. There are also six of ballot measures dealing with various budgetary issues, almost all of which are unpopular across the political spectrum and headed for defeat.

The two heavyweight contenders in CA-32 are Board of Equalization Chair (and former Assemblywoman) Judy Chu, and state Senator Gil Cedillo. Both are reliably liberal, so the election is more a question of tone, and what sort of coalitions the candidates can cobble together. This district, located in the San Gabriel Valley in the suburbs immediately east of Los Angeles, has a Latino majority (63%) but a large Asian bloc (22%, with non-Hispanic whites making up 11%).

Despite the district’s demographics, Chu has taken on something of frontrunner status in recent weeks in the eyes of observers at The Hill and NPR. Chu has a fundraising edge and some of the most valuable endorsements. This includes the endorsement of the state Democratic Party, as well as United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and some key Latino politicians, such as LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rep. Loretta Sanchez. (Cedillo has the endorsements of most of the other Latino Reps. in the area, such as Xavier Becerra, Joe Baca, and Linda Sanchez, as well as the LA County Young Democrats.)

In addition, Cedillo having gone significantly negative in the last few weeks indicates he may be feeling a loss in momentum… not just negative against Chu, but also likely third-place candidate Emanuel Pleitez, a 26-year-old rising star who was a member of the Obama transition team, suggesting that Pleitez is eating into Cedillo’s Latino base.

Besides the district’s ethnic composition, Cedillo has one other ace in the hole. The main Republican opposition in the race is also named Chu: Monterey Park City Councilor Betty Tom Chu (who apparently has some sort of grudge with the other Chu, and may be in the race at least partly as an attempted spoiler). Cedillo’s main hope, though, is to maximize Latino turnout, so this race (in the prohibitively expensive LA media market) is being fought entirely on the ground.

This election is run as an all-party primary, with all candidates listed together (with party ID) in one big pool. If no candidate breaks 50% total (which, with 12 candidates in the race, seems unlikely), the top finisher from each party advances to a July 14 runoff. In a D+15 district, though, any Republican opposition in the runoff would be a formality for Chu or Cedillo (although that could wind up prolonging the Chu vs. Chu confusion).

Finally, there are also six statewide ballot measures, Propositions 1A through 1F. A SurveyUSA poll released yesterday indicates that five of the six are headed toward defeat by wide margins; the only one in danger of passing is 1F, which blocks pay raises for legislators when the state budget is running a deficit; ‘yes’ is up 48%-38%. 1A is the nefarious one that especially deserves to go down, creating a TABOR-style spending cap. (1B is an education funding measure that is made irrelevant if 1A fails; 1C allows the sale of state bonds secured by lottery revenues; 1D and 1E re-allocate funds intended for childhood and mental health programs. None are good.)

As if that weren’t enough, there’s also an election in the vacant 26th Senate District, a safe Democratic seat in Los Angeles where Curren Price is expected to win. We’ll put up an open thread with links to returns as it gets closer to poll closing time. In the meantime, if you have predictions, feel free to have at it in the comments.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/8

PA-Sen: Tom Ridge’s appearance on Hardball yesterday may have set a new bar for equivocation. He wouldn’t commit to whether or not he’d vote for would-be rival Pat Toomey in the GOP primary, instead veering off into extolling the virtues of the secret ballot. On the flipside, in a nice bit of symmetry, Arlen Specter told Fox News that he can’t promise to vote with the Dems “all the time” on procedural votes. So, the takeaway is: nobody’s promising anything.

NY-Sen-B: Charles Schumer has ratcheted up his efforts to grease the wheels for Kirsten Gillibrand’s re-election path in 2010, hooking her up with donors, lobbying to get her on the good committees, and trying to tamp down possible primary challenges. “There is not going to be a primary!” he recently announced at a fundraiser (to the laughs of the audience… although I’m not sure whether the insiders were laughing due to his comic timing or the audacity and/or futility of his statement).

IL-Sen: Roland Burris is starting to seem like that last guest at the party who isn’t getting the message that it’s time to go home. Burris says he would like to keep his Senate seat, but will have to make “a formal decision in the next few weeks based on his ability to raise money for a campaign.” With a total of $845 raised so far… well… you do the math.

KY-Sen: One more Kentuckian is touring the state gauging potential support for the GOP Senate primary, which may or may not contain Jim Bunning. It’s Rand Paul, a doctor who’s never held elected office before but has one important ace in the hole: he’s the son of Rep. Ron Paul, which, if nothing else, establishes his liberatarian bona fides and gives him a nationwide fundraising base of fringe weirdo small donors.

NM-Gov: Two new candidates have emerged as possible contenders for the Republican nomination for governor in the Land of Enchantment: former state GOP chair Allen Weh (who was intrumental in the firing of US Attorney David Iglesias), who opened an exploratory committee this week, and state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, who’s in the “considering” stage. National Guard Brig. Gen. Greg Zanetti is already in the race. This race could get more interesting if ex-Rep. Heather Wilson joined this paltry lot, but with the Dems already coalesced behind Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the GOP is starting out in a hole here.

CA-47: Remember how Bill Sali had his campaign HQ in the wrong district? GOP assemblyman Van Tran seems to be following in Rep. Brain Fade’s fine footsteps, at least in the map skills department. He kicked off his campaign with an event in the Little Saigon neighborhood in Westminster… in CA-46.

CA-32: In the run-up to the May special election, state Sen. Gil Cedillo has turned his fire toward the race’s third wheel: Emanuel Pleitez. Pleitez, a 26-year-old up-and-comer who was part of the Obama transition team, threatens to eat into Cedillo’s share of the Latino vote (which he’ll need to dominate if he’s to beat Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu). Cedillo is sending flyers using photos grabbed from Pleitez’s Facebook page to make the case that he’s too young and immature for Congress.

TN-04: A stem-winding progressive-sounding speech came from a very unlikely place: Blue Dog Rep. Lincoln Davis, holder of a newly-minted R+13 seat, speaking at last weekend’s Tennessee Democratic Party summit.

Mayors: There’s another batch of big-city mayoral elections this Saturday, all in Texas. In San Antonio, 34-year-old former city councilor Julian Castro is favored to win. Castro finished second four years ago to Phil Hardberger, who’s now termed-out. In Austin, the best-known mayoral contender is Carole Strayhorn, who was mayor of Austin in the 1970s and ran for governor as an independent in the crazy 2006 gubernatorial election. Strayhorn, however, is probably too conservative for today’s Austin, and the frontrunner seems to be city councilor Brewster McCracken.

Census: The state of New York is ponying up $2 million in state funding to bolster participation in the 2010 Census, mostly for outreach campaigns to traditionally undercounted populations. Assumedly, they think this money will pay much greater dividends later, if a more accurate count reveals more New Yorkers and thus brings in more federal funding for social programs.

LA-Sen: In a tantalizing item, the Hotline teases that “The DSCC won’t let Rep. Melancon (D) alone.” Does this mean Melancon could be back in the recruiting crosshairs, despite previously saying he was “not contemplating a run”? The Hotline’s note is behind a subscription paywall; if you have access to it, please feel free to elaborate in comments.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/1

PA-Sen: Rep. Joe Sestak is actually sounding likelier to jump into the Senate race than he did before Arlen Specter’s party swap. Interviews this week find him taking on a more belligerent tone and staking out an outsider position. Sen. Bob Casey, however, is moving right away to say he’ll support Specter no matter what happens in the primary.

IN-Sen: A Hamilton Campaigns poll finds Evan Bayh with ridiculously high favorables: 74/23, with even 61% from Republicans. He also has $11.4 million in the bank. You think with that level of popularity maybe he could drop the defensive crouch and stop reflexively opposing his party’s agenda?

CA-32: As the May 19 special election primary fast approaches, Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu and state Senator Gil Cedillo have started going at each other hammer-and-tongs. Cedillo’s camp has sent out mailers charging Chu with giving special tax breaks to corporate campaign contributors; Chu’s camp responds that they were “routine refunds of overpaid sales taxes.” Chu leads in fundraising and endorsements, but will need to make substantial inroads into the Latino vote in this district with a Latino majority but a large Asian bloc.

CA-45: We’ve known for a while that openly-gay Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet was intending to challenge Rep. Mary Bono Mack in this newly-blue district (still R+3), but he made it official earlier this week.

AR-St. House: Here’s one I’m still trying to wrap my head around: until this week, there was actually a Green Party member in a state House of Representatives. And it wasn’t Vermont, Maine, or Oregon: it was Arkansas, of all places. Well, that ended this week, as State Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock switches to the Democratic Party today. (The effect of the switch is minimal: Dems now control the House 75-25.)

Swingnuts’ Delight: Everything you ever wanted to know about the awesome delicacy that is chocolate babka. Stick around here long enough and DavidNYC might send you one! (Hat-tip: reader RC)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/23

NY-20 (pdf): The BoE’s official tally bumps Scott Murphy’s lead up to 365, as 250 more ballots, mostly from Murphy stronghold Warren County, were added. Counting will continue for the forseeable future, unfortunately, and on Monday a judge will set a counting schedule for the ballots contested on the basis of second home residency.

The drip-drip of GOPers publicly throwing in the towel on NY-20 continues: today star strategist Mike Murphy cried uncle, as did former NRCC chair Tom Reynolds yesterday. Campaign Diaries has a thought-provoking piece on why the GOP continues to drag this out in the courts, even though they’re in too deep a hole for “case by case” examination of the ballots to salvage the count for them: it may be to set precedent for future recounts, where picking off individual ballots may be targeted to their advantage.

NY-Sen, NY-14: Rep. Carolyn Maloney has hired a statewide finance director, Lewis Cohen. Cohen denied that Maloney (who has been rumored to be interested in a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand) will be running for Senate, but his title of “statewide” is pretty telling, considering that Maloney currently represents a few square miles in Manhattan and Queens.

PA-Sen: Only eight weeks before jumping into the Senate primary, Pat Toomey told Pennsylvania GOP chair Rob Gleason that he “didn’t want to be a Senator” and “be number 100 and vote no on everything.” Now this wouldn’t exactly be the first time a politician has promised one thing and done another, but the Specter camp has begun beating Toomey over the head with his flip-flop.

MO-Sen: Ex-treasurer Sarah Steelman is “moving in [the] direction” of entering the GOP senate primary, but is in no hurry to make a formal announcement as she gets her campaign’s financial house in order first. (She’s still paying off debts from her unsuccessful gubernatorial run last year.) This comes against a backdrop of increasing public discomfort by the party concerning Roy Blunt’s candidacy, caused not only by his humdrum $542K fundraising quarter and his high burn rate, but also his lobbyist ties and long ‘establishment’ track record.

GA-Gov, GA-03: With top candidates like Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Cobb Co. Commissioner Sam Olens bailing on the race, there’s an opening for a top-tier candidate to leap into the GOP field for the Georgia governor’s race. (SoS Karen Handel and Insurance Comm. John Oxendine are still in.) Could Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who has occasionally expressed interest in this race, be the man? Westmoreland (perhaps best known for not being able to name the 10 commandments on the Colbert Report) is “seriously considering” it. Don’t look for a pickup of his R+19 seat if it’s open, though.

AL-Gov: Republican treasurer Kay Ivey will be running for governor after all, according to party insiders. The perception was that her role in Alabama’s floundering prepaid tuition plan may have wounded her too much to run for governor, but she’s still going for it.

CA-32: More endorsements as we approach the May 19 special election. Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu got the endorsement of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. (The district doesn’t include any of LA, but obviously he’s a big figure in the media market.) The United Farm Workers and the locals of the Southern California District Council of Laborers went for state senator Gil Cedillo.

FL-08: Republican Orlando mayor Rich Crotty was looking like a major threat to just-elected Rep. Alan Grayson, but he’s getting tarnished with some legal troubles that may preclude him from running. A grand jury accused him of pressuring vendors to contribute to his re-election campaign. There’s still a deep Republican bench eyeing the race in this R+2 district, including state senate majority whip Andy Gardiner, ex-state senator Daniel Webster, and state rep. Steve Precourt. Grayson raised only $144K in the first quarter, but he may plan to self-finance, as he partially did in 2008.

Demographics: Here’s some interesting data from the Census Bureau: fewer people moved in 2007 (35.2 million) than any year since 1962 (when the nation had 120 million fewer people). This has its roots in the housing bubble pop, as people underwater in their houses are unlikelier to relocate for work. This may show up in a big way in 2012 reapportionment, though, as more people staying in place may save a few seats in the northeast or midwest and limit growth in the south or west.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/21

CA-32: Chu-mentum! Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu seems to be building up speed as we head toward the May 19 special election. Last week, Chu reported a sizable fundraising edge, raising $823K in the first quarter (compared with $568K for state senate Gil Cedillo and $153K for investment banker Emanuel Pleitez). And now, Chu received the unanimous endorsement of the state Democratic Party over the weekend.

MN-Sen: No real surprise; Norm Coleman filed notice of intent to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Cost of 1,000 more billable hours: $500,000. Cost of another month of keeping the Democrats down to only 58 votes? Priceless.

PA-Sen: Arlen Specter has picked up another Democratic opponent; Bill Kortz, a member of the state House representing Allegheny County, has announced that he intends to file his statement of candidacy with the FEC soon. Kortz, a relatively fresh legislator (he successfully beat an incumbent Democrat in 2006), may find a statewide primary challenging — Rendell ally Joe Torsella has been in the race for a while and has raised nearly $600K, while other candidates, such as fellow state Rep. Josh Shapiro, are also eyeballing the race. In any event, his first item of business should be to upgrade his website. (J)

MD-Gov: Bob Ehrlich is reportedly weighing a rematch with Martin O’Malley in 2010. If Ehrlich (Maryland’s only Republican governor in the last 30 years) doesn’t run, next in line may be Anne Arundel Co. Executive John Leopold.

OK-Gov: State senator Randy Brogdon announced his run for the GOP gubernatorial nod this weekend, preventing Rep. Mary Fallin from having a clear shot at the nomination (after Rep. Tom Cole declined). A couple bigger names, ex-Rep. J.C. Watts and mmmmaybe Sen. Tom Coburn (who’s been sounding ambivalent about re-election to the senate), may still get in too.

MN-06: There are mixed signals cropping up on whether Elwyn Tinklenberg is angling for a rematch with Archduchess Cuckoobananas Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota Independent says he’s “all but declaring himself a candidate.” On the other hand, he just gave almost $250,000 to the DCCC, suggesting he won’t be using it (unless he’s doing it to make amends for winding up with $500K in the bank at the end of the campaign last year… not exactly his fault, though, since almost all his cash arrived at the very last minute). State senator Taryl Clark is also eyeing the race.

AL-07: The field to replace Artur Davis is getting clearer. Jefferson Co. Commissioner Sheila Smoot launched her campaign. State senate president pro tem Rodger Smitherman, however, said he won’t run. Smoot joins attorney Terri Sewell and state rep. Earl Hilliard Jr.

FL-22: The GOP’s leading recruit to take on Democrat Ron Klein next year, state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, has decided that a congressional bid is not in the cards for him. (J)

NY-19: GOP Assemblyman Greg Ball, who has been “testing the waters” in anticipation of a congressional bid for months now, will formally announce his candidacy for the seat of two-term Dem Rep. John Hall on May 9th. Ball was previously courted to run for this seat after gajillionaire businessman Andrew Saul unexpectedly terminated his bid against Hall in 2007. (J)

CA-04: Third time’s the charm? Democrat Charlie Brown is telling local activists that he’s actively considering another run for the northeast California seat he narrowly lost last November to GOP wingnut Tom McClintock. Brown says that he expects to make up his mind “by this fall”. (J)

WA-08: The Seattle Times strikes again, going on the early offensive against just-announced Dem candidate Suzan DelBene. Turns out DelBene didn’t vote in nine elections over the last five years (including the 2006 general, where Dave Reichert barely beat Darcy Burner the first time). (On the other hand, better this come out now than Oct. 2010.)

TN-01: Rep. Phil Roe and ex-Rep. David Davis may get a nice Baron Hill/Mike Sodrel-style relationship going. Davis may be gearing up for a third run at Roe in the 2010 GOP primary. (Davis defeated Roe in an overcrowded 2006 primary when this was an open seat, then the slightly-less-conservative Roe defeated Davis in a two-man contest in 2008.)

NM-01: The 2010 race in NM-01 promises to be fun(ereal). Kevin Daniels, owner of a chain of funeral homes, is exploring the race on the GOP side and, if nothing else, has the capacity to self-finance.

Friendship: In the diaries, possumtracker makes a hilarious catch from a recent Hill survey in which all 41 Republican Senators were asked to name the Democrats whom they most enjoy partnering with on legislation. While most of the Senators gave thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) answers, Kentucky’s Jim Bunning could only muster up one word in response to the idea of collaborating with a Demmycrat: “No.” (J)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/10

* MD-HD-30: Progressive blogger and founder of Think Progress Judd Legum is running for a seat in Maryland’s House of Delegates. MD has an unusual system whereby the top three finishers in each party’s primary all face each other in the general election, and the top three from that pool all become delegates for that district. The 30th HD went for Obama 52-48, but a few years ago, an out-of-step, conservative Republican snuck through in the third slot by just a handful of votes. Judd (whose blog is here) is taking on this malefactor. We wish him the very best of luck! (D)

* NY-20: The see-sawing continues: at the end of counting yesterday, the semi-official BoE tally had Scott Murphy up by 8 votes. The four counties that hadn’t returned full results for paper ballots, though, were four of the pivotal ones: Saratoga (Tedisco’s base), and Washington, Warren, and Essex (Murphy’s base). The Albany Times-Union puts Murphy’s lead at 34, including some additional numbers from Essex. The Hill, as of this hour, is reporting a 46 vote lead for Murphy as more absentees seem to start trickling in.

* SC-Gov: Rep. Gresham Barrett, one of the House’s most forgettable members, posted surprisingly strong fundraising numbers in his quest to become South Carolina governor: $371,000 in the first quarter, with more than $1 million CoH. He faces a crowded field, most prominently AG Henry McMaster, who raised $287K.

* CA-32: Here’s a strange twist in the CA-32 special election: another Chu has filed to run. Betty Tom Chu, a city councilor and former mayor in Monterey Park, jumped in as a Republican. (She used to be registered as a Democrat and holds nonpartisan office.) There are rumors of bad blood between the two Chus, but this may not necessarily be a dirty trick to sabotage Judy Chu. Although it’s an all-in-one-field primary (where the top vote-getter from each party advances), Betty Chu will have an R next to her name, helping somewhat to differentiate her from Judy Chu. The real confusion may be in the general, which could therefore be Chu vs. Chu.