SSP Daily Digest: 5/19

CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4’s poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin’s not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.

CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the “in Vietnam” controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having “served in the military, during the Vietnam era” in the very same speech. That’s not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with “Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam” in very large letters.

Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here’s one thing that’s actually good about Rasmussen‘s one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren’t appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there’s the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn’t fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It’s another indication that he’s trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek’s turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he’s free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.

KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here’s an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.

NC-Sen: Here’s a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn’t so surprising, given that Lewis’s supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis’s African-American and youth base in her direction as well.

NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was “donated” (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That’s nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.

NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn’t said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public “no.” Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he’ll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.

UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers’ victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized “Stay tuned tomorrow.”

WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn’t a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25… to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says “I’m a man of the people” than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people’s misery.

AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he’s losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.

FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he’s striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an “embarrassment” and a “fraud,” presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott’s health care firm. Scott’s ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.

KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.

“CNN Money on May 13 reported that ‘Raj Date … agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans,” Brownback said in the letter.

But Brownback’s letter did not include the rest of Date’s comment, which was this, “There will be some dealers who say, ‘If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can’t be in this business anymore.’ I’m not going to shed any tears for these dealers.”

MA-Gov: You may recall last week’s Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it’s looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn’t be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)

ME-Gov: There’s been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor’s race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott’s camp flat-out “stole” it.

GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.

HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday’s drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.

IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he’s going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they’ll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.

OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn’t present.

PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There’s one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that’s Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation’s least favorite people of all.

PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn’t going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he’d been angling for.

CT-AG: Here’s one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I’ve seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn’t meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court’s decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the “Help Wanted” section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).

OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state’s Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state’s budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.

Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it’s a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn’t pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It’s a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the “papers please” law).

1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by ’94 alum Mark Souder’s mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.

History: History’s only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that’s limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%… and Lincoln’s victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/13 (Morning Edition)

  • FL-Sen: Anyone else think that Charlie Crist may be risking a long cycle of bad press over his decision not to permit refunds to Republican contributors after all? NRSC Chair John Cornyn sent Crist a letter scolding him for holding onto the money, and the announcement has also generated another round of headlines snarking on Crist for changing his mind about yet another issue. Say what you will about Arlen Specter, but at least he shed his Republican donor money with little drama.
  • NC-11: It’s (almost) official — there will be no GOP runoff for the right to tackle Democrat Heath Shuler. Businessman Jeff Miller finished the final canvass with 40.25% of the vote, a hair above the runoff line.
  • NJ-03: Here’s something you don’t see every day: GOP candidate and former Philly Eagle Jon Runyan has unleashed a hard-hitting oppo research file… on himself. After being dogged in the press recently over a DUI arrest in his college days, his dubious voting record, and huge property tax breaks that he receives after he decided to designate the area around his home as “farmland”, Runyan decided that he may as well lance all of his remaining boils. Runyan’s disclosures include late property tax payments, two lawsuits and a tax lien.
  • NY-15: Activist Jonathan Tasini has decided to abandon his unnoticed primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and set his sights on the House instead. His new target? Embattled Dem Rep. Charlie Rangel.
  • PA-12: The DCCC has thrown down another $290,000 on media buys against Tim Burns, bringing their total investment in this race up to nearly $940,000.
  • PA-19: Todd Platts’ Republican primary opponent, Mike Smeltzer, is trying to turn Platts’ job application to the Government Accountability Office against him in the primary. In a recent mailer to voters, Smeltzer suggested that Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell will have the power to hand-pick Platts’ replacement. Platts is, of course, crying foul at that bit of tasty misinformation.
  • SD-AL: GOP Secretary of State Chris Nelson, who’s competing in a three-way primary for the right to take on Dem Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, had to walk back comments that suggested that he was at least birther-curious. Nelson now says that he firmly believes that Barack Obama was born in the United States.
  • UT-02: A Republican state legislator got caught scheming on his Facebook account to encourage 2nd CD Republicans to vote to defeat incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in his primary against retired schoolteacher Claudia Wright. State Rep. Carl Wimmer was later forced to apologize for the Limbaughesque suggestion, but some teabagger activist named Chase Everton is leading an online effort to help spread the idea around. I’m not sure how successful all this may be, considering that many ‘baggers will likely want to have a say in the Republican Senate primary.
  • WA-02: Republican John Koster, a former state Representative who lost an open seat race against Democrat Rick Larsen in 2000, has put out an internal poll showing him well within striking distance of an upset in this D+3 district. Larsen leads Koster by 44-37, down from a 48-24 lead in December.
  • Dealers: USA Today looks at the political headaches that last year’s “Cash For Clunkers” initiative is causing for auto dealers-turned-Republican candidates, including Tom Ganley (OH-13), Jim Renacci (OH-16), and Scott Rigell (VA-02).
  • CA-Lt. Gov: According to his latest round of internal polling, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom leads Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn by 47-26 in the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 3/23 (Morning Edition)

  • FL-08: Former hospital administrator Peg Dunmire has left the Republican Party and will officially challenge Alan Grayson as a member of Florida’s new Tea Party.
  • GA-09: The special election for Nathan Deal’s now-vacant seat has been set for April 27th. This is an all-party “jungle” election, with the winner needing 50% to win. If no one hits that mark, a runoff would be held on May 25th. With 11 Republicans and only one Democrat (former Navy chaplain Mike Freeman) running, is it completely insane to imagine…? Also note that Georgia has a “resign to run” rule, so folks who hold other offices will have to quit before getting into this race, setting off a domino chain of further special elections.
  • IN-05: Former state Rep. Luke Messer is on the air with a biographical tv spot. He’s one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Dan Burton in the primary.
  • MA-05: Seven Republicans and four independents have lined up so far to take on Dem Rep. Niki Tsongas. Scott Brown won this district 56-43 in January.
  • NY-13: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has endorsed former FBI agent Mike Grimm. This has touched off another fight with Staten Island Conservatives who, as they did in 2008, seem inclined to endorse Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon. But back then, the Brooklyn Cons (who represent a much smaller part of the district) engineered a coup at the state party level with the backing of chair Michael Long in order to thwart the will of their SI counterparts. It looks like the same might happen again this cycle.
  • OK-05: surveyed the GOP primary for the open 5th CD, which Rep. Mary Fallin is leaving to run for governor. They find former state Rep. Ken Calvey leading with 20, while state Rep. Mike Thompson is at 9 and “political newcomer” James Lankford is at 7. State Rep. Shane Jett, who just joined the field, was not included.
  • PA-04: Could Jason Altmire get Arcuri’d? Thanks to his vote against the healthcare reform bill, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, says he’s considering a primary challenge. The problem is that Pennsylvania’s filing deadline closed earlier this month, so Shea would have to run as a write-in. Alternately, he could run as an independent (indies have a much later filing deadline).
  • PA-19: Rep. Todd Platts is expected to be on a shortlist of four possible names to fill the top spot at the Government Accountability Office. The House and Senate are compiling this list and will send it to the White House “soon.” President Obama can then select a nominee from this slate, or pick his own. Either way, his choice is subject to confirmation in the Senate.
  • RI-01: Retired Superior Court Judge Roy Pfeiffer is weighing a run for the now-open 1st CD as a Republican. The GOP actually already has a candidate here, state Rep. John Loughlin.
  • SD-AL: I’m unsurprised – Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand says he won’t challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Dem primary, even though she voted against healthcare reform.
  • TN-08: Roy Herron will have the Democratic field to himself: Educator and former John Tanner staffer Luther Mercer has dropped out, citing difficulties in fundraising. On the, well, non-Dem side, meanwhile, the knives are out for GOP frontrunner Stephen Fincher.  Teabaggy independent Donn Janes is slamming Fincher for claiming to want to cut DC spending despite having been a big beneficiary of farm subsidies.
  • VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will appear at a fundraiser on the 25th for state Sen. Rob Hurt, who is seeking to reclaim Goode’s seat for the Republicans. Hurt is the establishment favorite in this race, but the teabaggers truly seem to hate him and are determined not to let him win the primary. So it remains to be seen whether Goode can sprinkle him with winger fairy dust, or befoul him with DC stink lines.
  • WY-AL: Democrats have found a candidate to take on freshman Cynthia Lummis: David Wendt, president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs. Wendt specifically cited Lummis’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and also congressional inaction on emissions, as reasons for his run.
  • Polltopia: The boys at PPP are choosing between AL, IL, MD & WA for their next poll, and you can go over there to vote. I can also tell you that R2K will have a WA poll out this week (as well as polls in AR and WI).
  • Passings: Fred Heineman, a one term congressman from North Carolina, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. The Republican Heineman beat Dem Rep. David Price in the 1994 Republican Revolution, but Price won his seat right back in 1996. Heineman’s brief tenure had a lot to do with how mind-bogglingly clueless he was, most infamously remarking:

    “When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he’s lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that’s middle class. When I see anyone above that, that’s upper middle class.

  • SSP Daily Digest: 12/22

    CT-Sen: In an effort to calm fears that he’s facing an unwinnable path to re-election, Chris Dodd’s campaign released an internal poll that’s… well… pretty fugly. The GQR poll has ex-Rep. Chris Simmons leading by 51-46, while Dodd and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon are tied at 46% each. McMahon, for her part, released an internal poll showing her leading Simmons by two in the Republican primary. Mmmm… cat fud.

    FL-Sen: Big trouble in South Florida for Charlie Crist? GOP Reps. Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart have suddenly and unilaterally rescinded their endorsements of Crist’s senatorial campaign. The Diaz-Balarts offered no explanation as to why they’re leaving Crist to hang, but Lincoln offered this cryptic elaboration: Crist “left us no alternative and he knows why.” Is a Marco Rubio endorsement forthcoming?

    GA-Gov: Republican SoS Karen Handel, who is very much the underdog in the GOP primary, announced today that she will be resigning from her office to concentrate on her gubernatorial bid. This will allow her to raise money during the legislative session — something her opponents currently holding political office will not be able to do.

    IA-Gov: The Terry Branstad comeback express keeps chugging along — and it picked up another passenger today, as state Sen. Jerry Behn dropped out of the gubernatorial race today and handed Branstad his endorsement.

    RI-Gov: Lincoln Chafee will make a “major announcement” sometime after New Year’s Day, presumably to make his candidacy for Rhode Island Governor official.

    SC-Gov: InsiderAdvantage takes a look at the Dem and GOP primary fields, and finds some pretty wide-open contests. For the Republicans, the McCain-backed state AG Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer are tied at 22%, with Sanford protege Nikki Haley at 13%, and the House of Representative’s very own “Some Dude”, Gresham Barrett, lagging behind at 9%. For the Dems, state Superintendent Jim Rex leads with 21% to lobbyist Dwight Drake’s 15%. State Sen. Vince Sheheen has 8%.

    CA-20: Dem Rep. Jim Costa may be facing a legitimate challenger next year… but one whom he already beat. Term-limited state Sen. Roy Ashburn, who lost an open seat race to Costa in 2004 by 7%, said he’s considering running for Congress again after ruling it out earlier. Local Republicans don’t sound too thrilled, though, pointing out Ashburn’s less than completely brain-dead record on opposing tax hikes.

    PA-10: Sophomore Dem Rep. Chris Carney has had a charmed start to his second term up until this point, managing to avoid any serious Republican competition from emerging. However, that streak has ended in recent weeks with the interest of state Rep. Mike Peifer and ex-US Attorney Tom Marino in the race. On the bright side, Peifer announced yesterday that he won’t be running, after all, but can we read that as a tea leaf that Marino is pretty serious about making this candidacy happen?

    PA-19: Here’s another reason why GOP Rep. Todd Platts should hope that he lands the job as head of the GAO: he’s now facing a primary challenge from freedom-loving businessman Mike Smeltzer. Maybe Platts would rather just retire than be forced to defend his Main Street Partnership-style voting record?

    SC-05: Republicans made their list, but now they better check it twice. The office of veteran Dem Rep. John Spratt confirmed yesterday that Spratt will indeed run for another term next year in spite of Republican-fueled speculation that he was looking for the exits.

    Pollsters & Scoundrels:’s Mark Blumenthal offers a wrap-up of the strange, strange saga of Strategic Vision LLC.

    Approvals: Seeking approval? Don’t look at me — go talk to SUSA; they’ve just released a ton of approval ratings for Senators and Governors across the nation. On your station.

    SSP Daily Digest: 12/1

    MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano picked up several more endorsements in the special election primary to succeed Ted Kennedy, although the clock is ticking loudly on trying to make up that last bit of ground against AG Martha Coakley. He got the endorsement of the Boston Herald (Boston’s smaller daily) and also fellow Rep. Ed Markey, who had seemed a likely candidate initially.

    NJ-Sen: With a Republican moving into Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying “Drumthwacket”) for four years and Sen. Frank Lautenberg not getting any younger (at 85), Democratic Assembly whip John McKeon has introduced legislation that would change the way that Senate vacancies are filled in New Jersey. Under current law, a governor can opt either to make a temporary appointment or call a special election. The proposed law, however, would require the governor to appoint a replacement within 30 days and it would need to be someone from the same political party as the departed officeholder. The temporary appointment would continue until the next general election.

    IA-Gov: His entry to the race provoked a lot of interest back when the rest of the field was just assorted wingnuts, but with the entry of ex-Gov. Terry Branstad, there wasn’t much room for young businsessman Christian Fong. He suspended his campaign today.

    MI-Gov: Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has been on some people’s wish list for a gubernatorial candidate, in light of the rather underwhelming Democratic field in Michigan. It sounds like Bernero has been hearing those calls (and noticing the polls showing Lt. Gov. John Cherry not only badly losing the general but not even summoning up much interest in the Dem primary), as now he says that he’s switching from “very unlikely” to “seriously considering” a race in the last few weeks.

    OR-Gov: This is the kind of thing that can put a big crimp in your newly-launched gubernatorial campaign. Initiative kingpin (and 1998 gubernatorial loser) Bill Sizemore just got charged with tax evasion for failure to file state tax returns for the previous three years. Although the state has known about this failure for more than a year, the timing may have more to do with the recent expiration of Sizemore’s amnesty period to file rather than his announcement last week of his intention to run for governor again.

    PA-Gov: Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato isn’t well-known outside the Pittsburgh area, so he’s been focusing his early efforts on the Philadelphia area. He’s gotten a boost with endorsements from several prominent Democratic legislators in Montgomery and Chester Counties: state Sens. Daylin Leach and Andy Dinniman, and just yesterday, state Rep. Michael Gerber.

    CA-03: The once-crowded Democratic field in the 3rd, to go up against vulnerable GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, has gotten whittled down to one. Bill Slaton, an executive with Sacramento’s municipal public utility, dropped out and endorsed Ami Bera. With Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis also having dropped out a few months ago, Bera has a clear shot; Bera, the former Sacramento County Chief Medical Officer, has been going gangbusters on the fundraising front, sitting on $586K (more than Lungren has). Slaton had loaned himself $300K but hadn’t seemed to make much progress beyond that.

    FL-10, FL-12: Two Democratic challengers who have favorable circumstances (an aging incumbent who’s barely fundraising in the 10th, an open seat in the 12th) but haven’t gotten far at fundraising yet are getting a boost on the money front. Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley is hosting a Tampa fundraiser for state Sen. Charlie Justice, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen Boyd are hosting a DC fundraiser for Polk Co. Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards (although perception-wise, it’s probably not good that it’s being held in a lobbyist’s office).

    MN-01: Another Republican challenger showed up to take on sophomore Rep. Tim Walz in Minnesota’s rural 1st. Unlike former state Rep. Allen Quist (who was at his peak in the 90s), Randy Demmer is a current state Rep.

    NH-02: State Rep. John DeJoie, who’s been expected to run, made official that he’s getting into the open seat race for the 2nd on the Democratic side. DeJoie has been a firefighter in Concord for 14 years; he joins attorney Ann McLane Kuster and may also be joined by Katrina Swett.

    NJ-03: Jon Runyan might want to be spending the next few months working on his message discipline instead of playing for the Chargers. Runyan, shortly after announcing that he’d be running against freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler after the football season, turned around and told San Diego reporters that he hadn’t committed to the race yet and was exploring his options. Runyan’s spokesperson then corrected Runyan, saying he’s definitely in the race, and bafflingly said that the latter comment was made “in jest.”

    PA-06: The Republican field in the open seat race in the 6th just keeps growing; the fifth entrant is Patrick Sellers, a former Republican committeeman. Sellers is apparently a Paulist, and made his announcement at a Philadelphia “End the Fed” rally. He joins state Rep. Curt Schroder, pharma exec Steven Welch, Chester Co. Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello, and long-ago state Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen.

    PA-19: It’s not clear yet whether Rep. Todd Platts is even going to get chosen as head of the GAO, but Republicans are already lining up to take over his dark-red seat if he does. Roll Call lists a bunch of ’em, starting with state Rep. Scott Perry, who’s already making his interest public. Eyes are also on one of Platts’ 2000 primary opponents, York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. The article also lists a slew of other possible state legislators and county officials.

    NH-St. Sen.: Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty really, really wants to do lots of favors for the good people of New Hampshire, and he’s starting by hosting a fundraising event for Republicans in its state Senate, who are currently down 14-10 in that chamber. Interestingly, ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley (who downshifted to the state Senate) is on the host committee and a key recipient of the help, which may lead to the question of whether he’s looking for leverage for trying something bigger again in the future.

    KY-St. Sen.: Here’s a positive tea leaf as we head into the home stretch on the special election in the Bardstown-based SD-14 next week (one of the two seats strategically excised of its Republican occupants by Democratic governor Steve Beshear): Democratic former state Rep. Jodie Haydon has raised more than four times the funds as Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon ($546K for Haydon, including in-kind contributions from the state Dems, vs. $131K for Higdon). Much of Haydon’s money is coming from the horse industry, which has fallen squarely behind the Dems in recent months as state Democrats seek to allow video slots at horsetracks (something Higdon and most local GOPers oppose). A Dem pickup here would cut the GOP advantage in the state Senate to 19-18 (with one GOP-leaning indie).

    VA-St. Sen.: The special election to fill two vacant, formerly GOP-held state Senate seats has been set for Jan. 12. The race to take over the heavily Republican SD-8 in Virginia Beach (vacated by new Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle) doesn’t look to be very interesting; only two Republicans have signed up for it so far. Dems may have a shot at a pickup in the swingy SD-37 in Fairfax County, vacated by new AG Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic state Del. David Marsden has confirmed that he’ll run for the promotion. Dems have a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate, which they’d like to pad in case incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell attempts any Beshear-style poaching.

    Mayors: The Atlanta mayoral runoff is tonight, between white city councilor Mary Norwood and African-American former state Sen. Kasim Reed. (The one public poll of the race gave Reed a small edge.) Norwood’s final ad, and the final debate, point to how the runoff has gotten racially fraught as it comes to a close. There are also four legislative runoff elections scattered around Georgia tonight, although two are Dem/Dem and one is GOP/GOP. The remaining one, in HD-141 in Milledgeville, is between independent Rusty Kidd and Democrat Darrell Black.

    Redistricting: Dave’s Redistricting App is starting to add partisan political data (the 2008 presidential election results). First up is Maryland. Give it a whirl, and leave your feedback in Dave’s diary. (D)

    Redistricting fans may also want to head over to CQ today, where long pieces by both Bob Benenson and Greg Giroux give an overview of where the fireworks will be in the coming few years.

    SSP Daily Digest: 11/10 (Part II)

    CT-Sen: Rumors are popping up that ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, still the GOP Senate primary’s frontrunner by most people’s estimation but financially outgunned on a variety of different fronts, may switch to the now-open gubernatorial race. Simmons, however, says his plans are “unchanged,” and touts his foreign policy background, saying that’s much more useful in the Senate. Meanwhile, an interesting CQ piece looks at pro wrestling svengali Linda McMahon’s role in the race, and wonders whether her vast fortunes will really help her that much in a state where a convention attended by party insiders (where Simmons would be favored) is decisive in shaping the field. (Although even if she doesn’t win the convention outright or meet the 15% threshold for getting on the ballot, she can still get on the ballot by collecting enough signatures — certainly an expensive process, but one she could pay for with whatever change she finds under her couch cushions.)

    FL-Sen: Here’s about as close as you can get to a Jeb Bush endorsement without his lips actually moving. Bush’s sons, Jeb Bush Jr. and George P. Bush, are headlining a Marco Rubio fundraiser in mid-December.

    CT-Gov: Ned Lamont is already staffing up, and a familiar face is going to be one of his key advisors: Howard Wolfson. Wolfson was adviser to Lamont in 2006, but is better known for his lead role in Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year, as well as Michael Bloomberg’s campaign this year.

    MN-Gov: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak ran into a snafu with his campaign still on the launching pad, as the state’s campaign finance board ruled that he spent money on his campaign before he’d filed the campaign paperwork. Rybak paid for a message-testing poll, although it didn’t directly ask questions about the governor’s race. If you want to see the whole polling memo (not something you usually get to see with internal polls), check it out.

    WI-Gov: Politics abhors a vacuum, and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is acting quickly to fill the vacuum that has formed on the Democratic side of the gubernatorial race. He says he’ll make a decision “one way or the other” by the week’s end.

    CO-04: Although state Rep. Cory Gardner is clearly the NRCC’s favorite in the Republican field, that didn’t deter former Ft. Collins city councilor Diggs Brown, who will be announcing his candidacy on Saturday. He had been considered a likely candidate all year, but was on a year-long Army deployment and unable to announce until now. Univ. of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero rounds out the trio of GOPers seeking to take on first-term Dem Rep. Betsy Markey.

    FL-13: James Golden, an African-American minister, attorney and former Bradenton city councilor, launched his campaign last week against Rep. Vern Buchanan. Golden will face an uphill fight against the self-funding Buchanan — unless Buchanan, facing ongoing scrutiny over mysterious campaign finance machinations, goes down in a legal implosion.

    ID-01: This may be a surprise, or may not — state House majority leader Ken Roberts withdrew from the GOP primary race to take on freshman Dem Rep. Walt Minnick. Roberts cited health reasons. Roberts initially would have seemed to have a leg up based on name recognition, but veteran and former McCain campaign official Vaughn Ward seemed to be capturing most of the buzz, including a good fundraising start and NRCC touting.

    IN-03: Democrats have taken notice in the last few cycles of Rep. Mark Souder’s decidedly lackadaisical approach to re-election in this dark-red district, but now someone from the teabaggy right is taking notice too, and launching a primary campaign. Republican Attorney Phil Troyer (a former staffer to Dick Lugar and Dan Coats) announced his campaign today. (This seems less like an ideological challenge, as Souder is down-the-line conservative, as just opportunistic, taking advantage of his sloth.) Tom Hayhurst, who narrowly lost in 2006, is on track to the Democratic nod again.

    MN-03: Add a second Democratic challenger to the list in the 3rd: Minnesota PTA president, and executive director of the Minnesota Optometrists Association, Jim Meffert filed to run. He joins psychiatrist Maureen Hackett; they may still both be joined by state Sen. Teri Bonoff, although Meffert says that Bonoff has hinted to him that she’s likely to take a pass.

    NJ-03: Best wishes to state Sen. Diane Allen, who is entering treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. The moderate Allen, who lost the 2002 Senate primary and was short-listed for Lt. Governor this year, had been considered a possible candidate against Rep. John Adler in the 3rd.

    NV-02: We’ve got another Democrat lined up to go against Rep. Dean Heller in the 2nd (after Cindy Trigg dropped out several months ago), and he has a strong resume. Jack Schofield is a member of the state’s Board of Regents, and is a former state Senator. Unfortunately, he may not be running the most vigorous campaign in the world, as he was a state Senator in the 1970s, and is a World War II veteran (do the math).

    NY-23: The Washington Post has a nice, human-level retrospective on Dede Scozzafava’s collapse in the special election and the difference in how the GOP and the Dems treated her, leading to her Bill Owens endorsement. Meanwhile, things continue to play out, as Scozzafava either stepped down from or was stripped of her leadership role in the Assembly Republicans, depending on who you believe. Start counting down to her party switch (not that the Assembly Dems need the help, what with their 109-41 margin).

    OH-02: What’s with all these former Apprentice contestants thinking that’s somehow a stepping stone to political office? Surya Yalimanchili is now planning to run as an independent in the 2nd, currently held by GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt. He’s sounding centrist notes so far rather than sounding teabaggy, though, so he may not help the Dems too much by siphoning off far-right Republican votes.

    PA-07: One more Democrat is getting into the open seat field in the 7th, although it’s unclear whether she’ll get much traction against state Rep. Bryan Lentz. Environmental lawyer Gail Conner, an Obama convention delegate last year, threw her hat into the ring.

    PA-11: Third time’s the charm? It looks like Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will give crusty Dem incumbent Paul Kanjorski another challenge next year. Barletta fell just a few points shy of knocking off Kanjorski last year, prompting Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien to enter the Democratic primary for the seat. With pressure from both sides, one has to wonder if Kanjo will hit the eject button. (J)

    PA-17: Here’s an example of how voting against health care reform does Blue Dogs a fat lot of good: Rep. Tim Holden got about two days of peace before a Republican state Senator started making noises about a campaign against him anyway. Holden has had little in the way of opposition recently, but now he may face David Argall, who represents Holden’s coal-country turf of Schuylkill County. Relatedly, over in Ohio’s 16th, a Cleveland Plain Dealer profile of fellow anti-HCR vote John Boccieri shows how he managed to win over exactly no Republicans while ticking off his base.

    PA-19: With Republican Rep. Todd Platts looking to bail on the House and head over to the GAO, candidates are already scoping out the potential special election. Although it’s a dark-red district (R+12), one good-sounding Dem is gearing up: Ryan Sanders, real estate developer, president of the Red Lion Area Business Association, and most usefully, an organizer for the Obama campaign in York County.

    UT-02: More fallout from the health care reform vote: Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (one of the ‘no’ votes) may, as a result, be facing a primary challenge from the left from state Sen. Scott McCoy (Utah’s only gay state Senator and one of its few liberals). The Salt Lake City-based district is still strongly Republican, although it hasn’t presented Matheson with much trouble lately.

    MI-St. Sen.: Here’s an interesting look at the fight by Dems to reclaim the state Senate in Michigan (currently held 22-16 by the GOP, but where the majority of seats are open next year), which would give them the redistricting trifecta. Even if they don’t pick it up (or do while losing the gubernatorial race), the state Supreme Court breaks any logjam, making next year’s Supreme Court elections paramount too. The article also contains a map of the Dems’ preferred redistricting plan, to turf out Rep. Vern Ehlers by creating a Dem-leaning 3rd District linking Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

    NH-St. Sen.: A special election will be happening in New Hampshire, giving the Dems the chance to add to their narrow lead in the state Senate there (they currently have a 14-10 edge). Republican state Sen. Ted Gatsas is poised to resign after having been elected Manchester mayor. Democratic state Rep. Jeff Goley is set to get into the race, though several other state House Dems are looking at it too.

    Mayors: The Seattle mayor’s race has finally come to an end, with as late-breaking ballots are going more toward former local Sierra Club leader Mike McGinn. Joe Mallahan conceded after McGinn’s lead pushed up to nearly 5,000, for a 51-49 edge.

    Ads: In the wake of this weekend’s health care vote, the DNC is planning to target 32 House Republicans in Obama districts who voted ‘no.’ They aren’t planning on using paid media yet, but will use the OFA campaign e-mail lists to organize in those districts. Meanwhile, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is promising ads against 10 ‘no’ votes, saying it’s “payback” time: Barrow, Shuler, Herseth Sandlin, Murphy, Altmire, Nye, Kissell, Adler, Kosmas, and Ross.

    Demographics: If you’re like me, you may spend a lot of time wondering how Scandinavian-Americans got so liberal and Dutch-Americans got so conservative. Dreaminonempty takes a look at ancestry and voting patterns in a very interesting diary at Open Left.

    SSP Daily Digest: 11/4

    CA-Sen: The Carlyfornia Dreaming commenced today, as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina officially  announced her bid for the GOP Senate nomination. In a development that’s both DeLightful and DeLovely as the GOP barrels headlong into civil war, though, SC Sen. Jim DeMint endorsed GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in the GOP primary, in his ongoing quest to have a Senate caucus of 30 pure Republicans.

    DE-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, the movement/establishment split is even spilling over into Delaware, which most pundits look at as the GOP’s closest to a sure thing. Conservative activist Christine O’Donnell, who lost badly to Joe Biden last year, will stay in the GOP field with or without Castle. O’Donnell is sitting on $2K CoH, along with $24K in debts from her previous run.

    IL-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, one of Rep. Mark Kirk’s minor-league GOP primary opponents — not Patrick Hughes, but even lower down the food chain: Eric Wallace — is looking at Doug Hoffman and saying “That could be me!” Wallace is dropping out of the GOP field and planning to run as an independent — which could conceivably tip the race to Alexi Giannoulias in a close contest. Kirk, sensing trouble brewing on his right flank, is asking for help from an unlikely source (based on his attacks on her inexperience during the 2008 election). He’s asking queen teabagger Sarah Palin for her endorsement!

    NH-Sen: Also on the GOP civil war front, wealthy businessman William Binnie made official his run for the GOP nod in New Hampshire’s Senate race. Sounds like lots of Granite Staters aren’t buying GOP establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte’s smoke-and-mirrors campaign.

    OH-Sen: Finally, one item from what passes for the Democratic civil war. DSCC chair Bob Menendez all-but-endorsed Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in Ohio, by mentioning only him in Ohio when talking about pickup prospects. Fisher faces a primary (for the time being) against underfunded SoS Jennifer Brunner.

    CT-Gov: It looks like Ned Lamont, who beat and then lost to Joe Lieberman in 2006, is going to take a whack at the Connecticut gubernatorial race. Lamont just formed an exploratory committee; he’ll face an uphill fight just to get out of the primary, though, against SoS Susan Bysiewicz.

    FL-Gov: So many Kennedys, so little time. Yet another random member of the Kennedy clan is considering a quixotic run for office; this time it’s Maria Shriver’s brother Anthony Shriver (founder of a disabilities-related nonprofit), considering a race in the Democratic gubernatorial primary (which Alex Sink already seems to have locked down).

    NY-Gov: If there’s any doubt that AG Andrew Cuomo is gearing up for a gubernatorial run next year, Cuomo will be holding a big fundraiser in Washington in several weeks, hosted by DC power couple Tony and Heather Podesta.

    CO-04: While state House minority whip Cory Gardner seemed to have impeccable conservative bona fides (running against freshman Dem Rep. Betsy Markey), there’s some new information that calls that into question: it turns out in 1998 he was an active volunteer for Democrat Susan Kirkpatrick, who ran against then-Rep. Bob Schaffer in the 4th. (He even gave the seconding nominating speech for her at the Dem convention in the 4th.) In his defense, Gardner claims he was raised a Democrat, but became a Republican convert in college — but he graduated from college in 1997. Looks like the teabaggers have one more insufficiently pure specimen to add to their hunting list.

    FL-08: The netroots love them some Alan Grayson. Nov. 2’s online moneybomb event netted the Florida rabblerouser over $500,000, from over 13,000 contributions averaging $40 each. (The GOP also has an answer site up — “,” a nice third-grade response to “”, as apparently “” was already taken — which so far has brought in $4,000.)

    FL-19: Charlie Crist has set a special election date for the election to replace resigning Rep. Robert Wexler (although there doesn’t seem to be much drama here in this dark-blue district, as the wheels seem to be greased for state Sen. Ted Deutch). The primary will be Feb. 2, and the general will be April 6.

    KS-04: Republican state Sen. Susan Wagle was considered on the short list for the open seat being left behind by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, but yesterday she confirmed that she won’t run for it next year.

    NY-23: The gift that keeps giving. Doug Hoffman is reportedly already sounding interested, via Twitter, in running again in the 23rd. (No clue as to what ballot lines he’d seek to run on.)

    PA-19: Here’s a surprise: long-time Republican Rep. Todd Platts may be looking for an exit strategy. He’s applying to become the Comptroller General, an appointed position at the top of the government’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Platts has been safe so far in his York-based R+12 district, but as a Main Street Republican, he’s rather out-of-whack with his red turf and may suddenly not be relishing the thought of having teabaggers using him for target practice in 2010.

    NYC-Mayor: Well, somebody at the White House is feeling defensive over the decision not to get involved in the surprisingly-close mayoral race. When Rep. Anthony Weiner (who’d considered running) asked maybe if Obama should have helped out, an anonymous leaker snarled “Maybe Anthony Weiner should have manned-up and run against Michael Bloomberg.”

    NRSC: Having gotten the message from the rabid teabagging hordes, NRSC head John Cornyn is announcing that the NRSC won’t be spending money in any Republican primaries next year. The NRSC has endorsed in four primaries so far (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Pennsylvania), but it’s sounding like they may not endorse in any more, either… Cornyn admits “Endorsements, frankly, are overrated. They can to some extent be a negative.” Guess who is coming to play in GOP Senate primaries, though? That’s right, the Club for Growth, who are now threatening involvement in Illinois and Connecticut, saying that the best Mark Kirk and newly-converted teabag-carrier Rob Simmons can hope for is to be “left alone.”

    NRCC: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 2? All over the punditosphere today are proclamations of the NRCC head as one of yesterday’s top “losers,” as the NRCC’s special election losing streak had two more notches added to it. George Stephanopolous makes the case that Sessions actually managed to lose NY-23 twice, once with Scozzafava over the long haul, then over the weekend again with Hoffman.

    SSP Daily Digest: 8/13

    FL-Sen: Charlie Crist barely survived another county-level GOP censure vote, this time in heavily-Democratic Palm Beach County, where one would expect the GOP faithful to be Chamber of Commerce types and not run-of-the-mill teabagging rageaholics. The censure bid failed on a 65-65 tie. The party member who led the bid referred to Crist as “nothing more than Arlen Specter with a tan.”

    NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller, who recently declined to run for Senate, laid his cards on the table, confirming what many suspected, that the John Ensign scandal contributed to Heller’s decision not to run against Harry Reid. Any Ensign support for Heller would have been a distraction rather than an asset. In the same interview, Heller also encouraged Ensign to answer remaining questions about payoffs to the former staffer he had the affair with. (One other interesting question raised here… does Heller calling out Ensign mean Heller is trying to help push Ensign out the door and then run for the open Senate seat in 2012? Because that would mean Heller wouldn’t run in the primary against Jim Gibbons in 2010, making it likelier that Gibbons survives the primary — and I know Democrats would rather face Gibbons than Heller in the governor’s race.)

    Also, CQ is reporting that, bolstered by an internal poll giving her a small edge over Harry Reid (and also by Heller’s decision to stand down), state GOP party chair Sue Lowden is getting more interested in making the race, and she’s testing the fundraising waters.

    PA-Gov: Rep. Jim Gerlach got another endorsement from Pennsylvania’s GOP House delegation, Bill Shuster from PA-05 (coming on the heels of endorsements from Todd Platts and ex-Rep. Phil English). Of course, House colleagues tend to stick together, and their endorsements are of questionable value since they generally don’t bring local machines along with them, but these endorsements are at least interesting to the extent that they’re coming from the rural, most conservative parts of the “T,” not from Gerlach’s moderate southeastern suburban base.

    VA-Gov: There’s been some shuffling of personnel on the Creigh Deeds campaign, which has seemed kind of listless for the last month. Larry Sabato reported that campaign manager Joe Abbey, who engineered the primary victory, had been shoved over in favor of Mark Warner ally Monica Dixon. Dixon, however, says that Abbey’s still in charge but that she and some other new additions are there to bolster the ranks.

    KS-04: One more random wealthy Republican to add to the ever-expanding field in the open seat race in the Wichita-based 4th: oilman Willis “Wink” Hartman. State Sen. Dick Kelsey and RNC member Mike Pompeo are considered the GOP frontrunners.

    NY-23: GOP nominee for the special election, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, had temporarily put her campaign on hold to tend to her father, who is recovering from heart surgery. Without a John McHugh Senate confirmation or a set election date, though, this isn’t likely to be much of a setback. (Stuart Rothenberg, as part of a good overview of the race, says it’s likely it’ll be held on Election Day in November, meaning that the significance of whatever happens may be subsumed by NJ-Gov and VA-Gov.)

    OH-SoS: The Secretary of State field for the Democrats may keep growing, with a potential new entrant with an impressive resume. Paul Gains is the Prosecutor in Mahoning County (where Youngstown is); he says he’s leaning toward the race. (His biggest claim to fame is surviving a mob hit upon first taking office in 1996.) Ohio SoS is one of the most important lower-tier statewide offices in the country, given the state’s narrow divide and the SoS’s role on the legislative apportionment board. Franklin Co. Commissioner Marilyn Brown and State Rep. Jennifer Garrison are also likely to run for the Dems.

    SSP Daily Digest: 5/14

    NJ-Gov: Believe it or not, we’re in the home stretch heading toward the June 2 primary in the New Jersey governor’s race, and Rasmussen takes a quick look at the GOP primary field. US Attorney Chris Christie leads former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan 39-29, with 3% voting for someone else and 29% still undecided. That’s a lot of undecideds with just a few weeks to go, and I have no way of knowing whether they’d tend to break for the better-known establishment figure of Christie, or the anti-tax raging of Lonegan.

    TX-Sen: The last thing John Cornyn wants is a special election on his watch at the NRSC, but he may get one anyway. Despite his pressure on fellow Texan Kay Bailey Hutchison to remain in place while she runs for Governor, Cornyn is now publicly warning to expect her resignation “this fall sometime.”

    PA-Sen: Seems like the GOP is going through its whole Rolodex looking for someone more normal than Pat Toomey to run in the Pennsylvania primary. Two of the more moderate members of the Keystone State’s House delegation, Charlie Dent and Todd Platts, felt compelled to announce today that they won’t be running. Dent, in fact, endorsed Toomey, the previous holder of PA-15 (making him the first PA House GOPer to endorse Toomey).

    AR-Sen: State Senator Kim Hendren, the GOP’s only candidate so far against Blanche Lincoln (and they may want to keep looking…), has been in politics a long time (one claim to fame is that he lost a gubernatorial race to Bill Clinton). But now he actually seems to be caught in a timewarp from a different century. Today he’s trying to walk back having called Chuck Schumer “that Jew” (and, in doing so, tried using The Andy Griffith Show by way of explaining himself).

    IL-Sen: Speaking of shifts in the space-time continuum, Mark Tiberius Kirk’s end-of-April deadline on announcing his Senate plans has seemingly disappeared into a wormhole, while the GOP waits impatiently for him to emerge at the other end. (No backup date for a decision has been set.) A likely explanation is that he’s waiting to see what Lisa Madigan does, and he may meekly go wherever she doesn’t.

    SC-Gov: Who would’ve guessed that the South Carolina governor’s race would be one of 2010’s hottest tickets? Two more GOPers are trying to hop onto that ride: state Senator Larry Grooms, who officially launched a campaign, and state Rep. Nikki Haley, who now says she’s considering it. (Haley is a young rising star who’s a close ally of Mark Sanford and the hardcore anti-taxers.) They’d join Rep. Gresham Barrett and professor Brent Nelsen, as well as likely candidates Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and AG Henry McMaster, in the hunt for the GOP nod.

    NC-08: Freshman Rep. Larry Kissell has drawn a potential opponent with no previous political background, but very high name rec: Mike Minter, who was safety for the Carolina Panthers for 10 years until recently retiring. Kissell handily beat incumbent Rep. Robin Hayes in 2008 in this now R+2 district, but Minter, who’s still scoping out the race, is well-connected in the local megachurch community and could also eat into Kissell’s African-American support. Minter is apparently looking with Hayes’ encouragement, suggesting that the 10-year Congressman is looking to spend more time with his money instead of seeking out a rematch.

    NRSC: Here’s a double shot of John Cornyn news: in another one of his occasional reality-based moments, Cornyn slapped down strange remarks by his NRCC counterpart, Rep. Pete Sessions, alleging that Barack Obama is intentionally sabotaging the American economy. When asked if he was comfortable with Sessions still leading the NRCC, Cornyn equivocated, deferring the judgment of the House Republicans on the matter. (Because “judgment” and “House Republicans” always go together so well.)

    Jurassic Park IV, or Redistricting Pennsylvania

    (From the diaries with minor edits – promoted by DavidNYC)

    As I’d promised in my diary on New Jersey, Pennsylvania would be the next state I’d tackle. This would  have been done a lot sooner, but those things called work and exams kind of got in the way….

    My goal, flat out, was to carve more Democratic districts. I’m all for compactness when it comes to suitcases and mp3’s, but not when I’m gerrymandering states. Again, I kept Democratic Congresscritters in their homes.

    Unlike New Jersey though, Pennsylvania is probably maxed-out when it comes to Democrats (save Gerlach and Dent, whose districts are certainly Democratic.) Pennsylvania is also losing one seat (most likely) in 2010, so I drew 18 seats on 2008 population estimates. I didn’t “merge” two districts per se, but more like took the 16th, 17th, and 19th and produced two districts from them.

    I had the following goals in mind:

    • Dislodge Gerlach (6th) and Dent (15th) by increasing Democratic performance in their districts.

    • Give Dahlkemper (3rd), Altmire (4th), Murtha (12th), and Holden (17th) more favorable territory. They represent McCain districts now, I wanted to change those to Obama districts.

    • Maintain strength for Sestak (7th), Patrick Murphy (8th), Kanjorski (11th), and Schwartz (13th). They have decently strongly Democratic districts, which I wanted to maintain at their current levels.

    • Keep Brady (1st), Fattah (2nd), and Doyle (14th) in strongly Democratic districts, but perhaps not as absurdly strong as before. Obama scored 88%, 90%, and 70% respectively, I felt this could afford to be lowered somewhat. A corollary to this goal is keeping Fattah’s district majority Black. I didn’t bother with Brady’s currently plurality Black district, though it may still be.

    Here’s the new map (click for full-size version):

    Much more below the flip.

    Again, to start, I used this map of Obama’s performance across the state, by municipality. As before, lightest shade is a margin of less than 5%, then 5 to 15, 15 to 25, 25 to 35, and the new uber-dark, which is a margin of 35+.

    Going district by district, here’s what we’ve got. As a sidenote, I didn’t bother renumbering districts to make sense (which they don’t right now). I think it’s easier to keep core areas the same when numbering, since I think most of us automatically relate, for example, “PA-14” to Pittsburgh.

    Summary statistics are: County, Population, Obama Votes, McCain Votes, Total Votes, Obama%, McCain%.

    I’m going to go Northwest to Southeast, as opposed to in order by non-sensical district number. I think that makes the most sense.

    3 689,046 169,632 139,373 314,100 54.01% 44.37%
    Cameron 5,974 879 1,323 2,257 38.95% 58.62%
    Centre 96,991 33,113 21,090 55,022 60.18% 38.33%
    Clarion 11,906 2,701 2,626 5,432 49.72% 48.34%
    Clearfield 38,795 7,372 7,835 15,582 47.31% 50.28%
    Clinton 27,232 5,557 5,070 10,767 51.61% 47.09%
    Crawford 88,880 16,780 20,750 38,134 44.00% 54.41%
    Elk 32,914 7,290 6,676 14,361 50.76% 46.49%
    Erie 279,255 75,775 50,351 127,691 59.34% 39.43%
    Forest 4,946 1,038 1,366 2,468 42.06% 55.35%
    McKean 20,003 3,579 3,628 7,370 48.56% 49.23%
    Mercer 16,892 2,842 4,191 7,184 39.56% 58.34%
    Venango 24,009 4,169 4,782 9,169 45.47% 52.15%
    Warren 41,249 8,537 9,685 18,663 45.74% 51.89%

    Sad to say, this district probably isn’t much more gerrymandered than its current counterpart. It contains the entirety of Erie and Crawford counties in the northwest, and starts a slow march towards State College. I’d hate to leave those Democratic votes behind, and plus they’re a good way to shore up Dahlkemper’s district, which Obama lost by 17 votes. It takes in the Democratic parts of Centre and Clinton counties on the east end, with some arms into Clarion and Venango. I’d like to think I succeeded, since Obama scored 45% in the 3rd’s part of Venango and 50% in Clarion, compared to 35% and 33% in the parts not in the 3rd. All in all, a 54% Obama district – a 6% increase from its current form.

    4 689,397 182,724 168,763 356,152 51.31% 47.39%
    Allegheny 389,960 110,152 102,177 214,148 51.44% 47.71%
    Beaver 149,042 36,109 35,781 73,326 49.24% 48.80%
    Lawrence 75,681 17,041 16,670 34,362 49.59% 48.51%
    Mercer 74,714 19,422 14,135 34,316 56.60% 41.19%

    Altmire is pretty much in the same boat as Dahlkemper, except with a district that Obama lost 44-55. There’s no need to complicate this by including any parts of Butler County, so this district sticks along the Ohio, Beaver, and Shenango Rivers up from Pittsburgh (but not including) to Sharon, through Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, and Mercer counties. It’s a point of pride for me that Obama won each county component. Specifically in Allegheny County, Altmire swaps out a bunch of Republican northern suburbs for friendlier stuff east of the city, notably Monroeville and Penn Hills. Obama scored 44% in the Allegheny portion of the old 4th, compard to 51% here. If Altmire didn’t live in Republican-leaning McCandless, there could have perhaps been more improvement. Anyways, this works out to a 51% Obama district – an improvement of 7%.

    18 689,231 136,738 218,177 359,372 38.05% 60.71%
    Allegheny 127,747 30,252 41,789 72,634 41.65% 57.53%
    Beaver 24,444 4,390 7,114 11,706 37.50% 60.77%
    Butler 181,082 32,260 57,074 90,761 35.54% 62.88%
    Greene 13,925 2,072 2,748 4,892 42.35% 56.17%
    Lawrence 16,216 2,670 5,181 7,987 33.43% 64.87%
    Mercer 25,909 4,147 8,239 12,668 32.74% 65.04%
    Washington 82,349 18,019 27,503 46,141 39.05% 59.61%
    Westmoreland 217,559 42,928 68,529 112,583 38.13% 60.87%

    This district is what happens when you try to strip all the Republican territory out of the 3rd, 4th, and 12th districts and pack it together. Butler County has no place in a Democratic district, nor does the large chunk of Westmoreland County which is quickly trending away from us. Throw in some the northern Pittsburgh suburbs stripped out of Altmire’s district and the core of Tim Murphy’s old district, and you get this 38% – an 8% drop in Democratic performance.

    14 688,540 227,685 124,055 355,158 64.11% 34.93%
    Allegheny 688,540 227,685 124,055 355,158 64.11% 34.93%

    The 14th doesn’t change much – it keeps the entirety of the city of Pittsburgh and suburbs to the east like Swissvale and Doyle’s home in Forest Hills. Instead of reaching southwest, the new 14th looks south to the southern Pittsburgh suburbs like Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park. Arguably, this district is actually more compact than the current 14th. No worries for Mike F. Doyle though, since Obama still won 55% in the non-Pittsburgh part of the district.  Combine that with the 75% Obama scored in the city, and you get a 64% Democratic district, a drop of 6%.

    12 689,579 146,095 143,358 294,030 49.69% 48.76%
    Allegheny 19,931 4,385 3,865 8,347 52.53% 46.30%
    Armstrong 26,485 5,114 6,186 11,454 44.65% 54.01%
    Cambria 131,716 29,955 28,623 59,705 50.17% 47.94%
    Fayette 135,292 24,805 23,726 49,108 50.51% 48.31%
    Greene 25,794 5,757 5,141 11,084 51.94% 46.38%
    Indiana 55,368 12,477 12,254 25,068 49.77% 48.88%
    Somerset 26,108 5,709 6,599 12,656 45.11% 52.14%
    Washington 122,958 28,100 23,199 52,318 53.71% 44.34%
    Westmoreland 145,927 29,793 33,765 64,290 46.34% 52.52%

    It’s no secret Obama didn’t do all that hot in Southwest PA, and it’s painfully obvious here. Kerry won the old 12th, which Obama lost by about 1,000 votes. Trying to create an Obama district required some creative districting and ends up being more like connect-the-dots between traditionally Democratic Fayette and Greene counties, Johnstown (Murtha’s residence), Washington, the college town of Indiana, and Lower Burrell in Westmoreland. The old 12th pretty much packed all the Democratic votes in the area, so the increased population requirement really made me stretch. I think again, I have a strong case for this being more compact than the old 12th. Either way, it’s a slight improvement to a district Obama won by 3,000 votes, an improvement of 0.5%.

    9 689,087 102,284 191,267 298,149 34.31% 64.15%
    Adams 5,926 1,018 1,671 2,739 37.17% 61.01%
    Armstrong 42,940 6,024 12,356 18,627 32.34% 66.33%
    Bedford 49,650 6,059 16,124 22,508 26.92% 71.64%
    Blair 125,593 19,813 32,708 53,298 37.17% 61.37%
    Cambria 14,271 2,496 3,372 5,965 41.84% 56.53%
    Clarion 28,186 4,045 8,111 12,435 32.53% 65.23%
    Clearfield 33,268 5,672 8,599 14,588 38.88% 58.95%
    Cumberland 19,402 3,428 4,426 7,976 42.98% 55.49%
    Fayette 9,667 1,090 2,054 3,172 34.36% 64.75%
    Franklin 139,459 21,169 41,906 63,641 33.26% 65.85%
    Fulton 14,261 1,576 4,642 6,306 24.99% 73.61%
    Huntingdon 45,552 6,621 11,745 18,730 35.35% 62.71%
    Indiana 32,520 4,588 7,473 12,236 37.50% 61.07%
    Jefferson 45,151 6,447 12,057 18,904 34.10% 63.78%
    Somerset 52,087 7,169 15,087 22,712 31.56% 66.43%
    Venango 31,154 5,069 8,936 14,312 35.42% 62.44%

    Moving into the ‘T’ now, this is the first of two extremely Republican districts. Arguably, there are two population centers, one in Altoona in Blair County and the other in Chambersburg in Franklin. From there, it moves northwest, picking up the parts of Somerset, Cambria, Indiana, and Armstrong not packed into Murtha’s 12th, and then the parts of Venango and Clarion not in Dahlkemper’s 3rd. At 34% Obama, this is the most Republican district in Pennsylvania and a 1% drop from the current 9th.

    5 689,043 114,992 195,836 315,767 36.42% 62.02%
    Berks 9,899 993 2,312 3,366 29.50% 68.69%
    Centre 46,567 8,837 11,902 21,089 41.90% 56.44%
    Clearfield 9,696 1,511 2,228 3,839 39.36% 58.04%
    Clinton 10,002 1,540 2,434 4,024 38.27% 60.49%
    Cumberland 199,164 43,028 57,531 102,130 42.13% 56.33%
    Dauphin 43,419 8,423 15,149 23,834 35.34% 63.56%
    Juniata 23,163 3,068 6,484 9,819 31.25% 66.04%
    Lebanon 53,875 9,202 16,904 26,528 34.69% 63.72%
    Lycoming 49,426 7,076 15,691 23,131 30.59% 67.84%
    McKean 23,852 2,886 5,596 8,645 33.38% 64.73%
    Mifflin 46,609 5,375 10,929 16,502 32.57% 66.23%
    Montour 3,868 590 1,167 1,771 33.31% 65.89%
    Northumberland 22,909 3,245 6,360 9,734 33.34% 65.34%
    Perry 44,850 6,396 13,058 19,745 32.39% 66.13%
    Potter 18,080 2,300 5,109 7,583 30.33% 67.37%
    Schuylkill 10,533 1,776 3,294 5,139 34.56% 64.10%
    Snyder 23,134 2,499 6,442 9,069 27.56% 71.03%
    Tioga 24,641 3,610 7,527 11,305 31.93% 66.58%
    Union 25,356 2,637 5,719 8,514 30.97% 67.17%

    The is the other Republican district taking in a large chunk of the T. More packing of Republicans here, as this district on the east side swaps many tentacles with Chris Carney’s new 10th district. Any pockets of even-remotely Democratic friendliness are pulled out, including Williamsport and Sunbury. What’s left is expansive Republican space, centered in Cumberland County moving north towards the Northern Tier. At 36% Obama, this is a drop of 8%.

    10 688,967 134,946 156,456 296,409 45.53% 52.78%
    Berks 8,704 1,724 2,167 3,995 43.15% 54.24%
    Bradford 61,626 10,306 15,057 25,884 39.82% 58.17%
    Columbia 64,663 13,019 14,255 27,838 46.77% 51.21%
    Dauphin 5,728 823 1,231 2,073 39.70% 59.38%
    Lackawanna 44,778 13,784 10,806 24,913 55.33% 43.37%
    Luzerne 11,637 2,044 3,020 5,153 39.67% 58.61%
    Lycoming 67,880 11,305 14,589 26,316 42.96% 55.44%
    Montour 14,368 2,757 3,388 6,216 44.35% 54.50%
    Northumberland 68,307 11,083 12,655 24,201 45.80% 52.29%
    Pike 57,102 11,493 12,519 24,285 47.33% 51.55%
    Schuylkill 108,170 20,758 23,247 44,766 46.37% 51.93%
    Snyder 14,849 2,883 3,458 6,410 44.98% 53.95%
    Sullivan 6,556 1,233 1,841 3,131 39.38% 58.80%
    Susquehanna 41,388 8,381 10,633 19,383 43.24% 54.86%
    Tioga 16,194 2,780 3,799 6,679 41.62% 56.88%
    Union 17,997 4,696 4,140 8,961 52.40% 46.20%
    Wayne 51,139 9,892 12,702 22,932 43.14% 55.39%
    Wyoming 27,881 5,985 6,949 13,273 45.09% 52.35%

    You can’t win all of them, and this is the one district that wasn’t to my liking. I really wanted to protect Carney a bit more, but the territory simply wasn’t there to do that and protect the Democratic strength of Kanjorski’s 11th. I chose to hedge a bit and to keep the 11th strongly Democratic. It might be a waste to protect Kanjorski like that, but he’s got to retire eventually and we can definitely get a good Democrat out of Scranton. Thus, this district starts in Wayne and Pike counties, before moving through Susquehanna (Carney lives in Dimock) and northern Lackawanna counties. Lycoming County outside of Williamsport is stripped out as much as possible, and it gains Columbia County and a large chunk of Schuylkill County freed up from Holden’s 17th. Surprisingly, I still managed a gain of 0.5% to 45.5% Obama. Carney should be fine here regardless.

    11 689,582 177,101 128,039 309,934 57.14% 41.31%
    Carbon 62,326 13,464 12,957 27,050 49.77% 47.90%
    Lackawanna 164,442 53,736 28,682 83,626 64.26% 34.30%
    Luzerne 300,203 70,448 58,107 130,815 53.85% 44.42%
    Monroe 162,611 39,453 28,293 68,443 57.64% 41.34%

    Kanjorski was probably saved in 2008 by Obama’s coattails, and shoring up the 11th was one of my major goals. Surprisingly, this actually becomes more compact, too, it seems. What we get is a district centered on the Lackawanna Valley. 43% of this district is Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County, and another 23% each for Scranton/Lackawanna County and Monroe County. All in all, a 57% Obama district, up 0.3% from the old 11th. Also a rare victory for compactness.

    17 689,314 176,601 148,808 329,673 53.57% 45.14%
    Berks 52,440 11,062 13,461 24,959 44.32% 53.93%
    Cumberland 6,969 1,850 1,782 3,719 49.74% 47.92%
    Dauphin 199,854 59,866 40,264 101,138 59.19% 39.81%
    Lancaster 229,139 60,406 52,477 114,386 52.81% 45.88%
    Lebanon 72,551 14,108 17,410 32,035 44.04% 54.35%
    Schuylkill 28,135 5,938 7,418 13,522 43.91% 54.86%
    York 100,226 23,371 15,996 39,914 58.55% 40.08%

    Connect the dots version 2.0 here, as we string together the cities of York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Tim Holden’s home in St. Clair in Schuylkill County, all of which are strongly Democratic. They’re counterbalanced by the Republican outlying portions of York, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties, though. However, 59% Obama performances in the 17th’s parts of Dauphin and York and a 53% showing in Lancaster anchor this 54% Obama district on balance, an improvement of 6% from the current 17th.

    16 688,715 118,510 197,429 320,910 36.93% 61.52%
    Adams 93,986 16,615 24,678 41,924 39.63% 58.86%
    Berks 9,821 2,245 3,260 5,596 40.12% 58.26%
    Chester 1,059 243 552 806 30.15% 68.49%
    Dauphin 5,275 759 1,576 2,362 32.13% 66.72%
    Lancaster 264,774 39,180 74,091 114,863 34.11% 64.50%
    York 313,800 59,468 93,272 155,359 38.28% 60.04%

    This is what remains of the old 16th and 19th districts once the Democratic cities are stripped out. There’s really not much to say about this district based in York and Lancaster, except that it’s the last “Republican” district we have to talk about, it only gets better from here. At 37% Obama, it’s a drop of 6% from the old 19th and 10% from the old 16th – which was intentional, of course.

    15 688,754 177,367 136,903 318,961 55.61% 42.92%
    Berks 65,559 15,023 14,970 30,535 49.20% 49.03%
    Lehigh 333,423 87,089 63,382 152,473 57.12% 41.57%
    Northampton 289,772 75,255 58,551 135,953 55.35% 43.07%

    Starting with the Lehigh Valley, the 15th continues to have the entirety of Northampton County. Lehigh County did have a bite taken out of it by the old pterodactyl of the 6th, but the Lehigh in its entirety stays here too. Instead of reaching into MontCo with two rods hugging the MontCo-Berks and MontCo-BucksCo line, it goes for Bucks County instead. At 56% Obama, this is a slight improvement. Charlie Dent should be gone as soon as we get a good challenger anyway.

    Southeast PA is definitely (in my mind, anyway), the coup de grace of this map. Here’s an inset of that:

    Each district is colored by county component: all greens are the 6th or 8th, blues are the 7th or 13th, red is the 1st, and yellow is the 2nd.

    First, the boring stuff (i.e. the 1st and 2nd):

    1 689,174 266,010 78,010 347,098 76.64% 22.47%
    Delaware 208,267 65,596 42,719 109,675 59.81% 38.95%
    Philadelphia 480,907 200,414 35,291 237,423 84.41% 14.86%

    Bob Brady’s district remains anchored in South Philly with an arm into Delaware County. The composition of this arm, however, is significantly different. Brady swaps with Sestak some cities (notably strongly-Democratic Chester city) for some Republican leaning parts of the Main Line. Brady’s old 1st had a 89% Democratic section of DelCo, the new 1st has a 60% Democratic section. This lowers Democratic performance by about 11%, down to 77%. Brady need not be concerned.

    2 688,659 303,286 34,983 339,990 89.20% 10.29%
    Philadelphia 688,659 303,286 34,983 339,990 89.20% 10.29%

    No significant changes for Chaka Fattah. His district still contains most of West Philly. Cheltenham in MontCo is removed, substituted for an arm into Northeast Philly. The changes aren’t all that significant, the district is only down 0.85% in Obama performance.

    8 686,233 199,224 162,328 365,625 54.49% 44.40%
    Bucks 619,093 179,031 150,248 332,924 53.78% 45.13%
    Montgomery 27,576 7,460 5,533 13,168 56.65% 42.02%
    Philadelphia 39,564 12,733 6,547 19,533 65.19% 33.52%

    Consistent with tradition, Bucks County remains in the 8th in its entirety. The old 8th had an odd-looking protrusion into MontCo (where Obama got 63%), and took a section of Northeast Philly where Obama barely edged McCain with 49%. We flip the roles here, instead taking Wards 41 and 65 of the city, where Obama got 65%. We also take a few municipalities (funnily, Hatfield Twp, Hatfield Boro, and Hatboro Boro) in MontCo, where Obama got 57%. Overall, Obama got 54.5%, up 0.5%.

    13 688,902 224,312 140,834 368,302 60.90% 38.24%
    Montgomery 443,652 144,765 100,434 247,223 58.56% 40.62%
    Philadelphia 245,250 79,547 40,400 121,079 65.70% 33.37%

    The 13th remains a MontCo-Philly hybrid. It takes in more of MontCo now, consistent with the increased population constraint, reaching all the way to the Berks County Line. Instead of reaching through the city, the new 13th no longer touches the Delaware River, stopping short by grabbing Northeast Philly taken from the 8th. Centered in Abingdon (it’s the largest municipality), the new 13th’s section of MontCo is 59% Obama, up from 57%, and the new 13th’s section of Philly is 66% Obama, up from 60%. Together, this makes for a 61% Obama district, up from 58%.

    7 689,283 219,653 154,096 377,651 58.16% 40.80%
    Chester 211,997 66,693 57,071 125,146 53.29% 45.60%
    Delaware 345,246 113,274 72,554 187,835 60.31% 38.63%
    Montgomery 132,040 39,686 24,471 64,670 61.37% 37.84%

    The new 7th stays composed of ChesCo, DelCo, and MontCo. Since more of DelCo is given to Brady’s 1st, this district becomes more Chester County heavy, reaching further north and west into the county. It, incidentally, takes Jim Gerlach’s home in West Pikeland Township here. Even so, the new ChesCo portion is 53% Obama, up from 50%. The DelCo section gets a healthy boost from the city of Chester while keeping in Radnor, Haverford, and Upper Darby along the Main Line. The New DelCo section is 60% Obama, up from 56%. The MontCo part remains mostly the same, taking in Norristown, Upper Merion, and Lower and Upper Providence Townships. Combined, this is a 58% Obama district, up 2.5%.

    6 688,652 198,024 136,472 338,576 58.49% 40.31%
    Berks 251,731 66,000 44,343 112,060 58.90% 39.57%
    Chester 265,765 70,897 56,798 129,300 54.83% 43.93%
    Montgomery 171,156 61,127 35,331 97,216 62.88% 36.34%

    My favorite district. The pterodactyl is back (hence the title, get it?), and it’s leaner and meaner (to Republicans, anyway). The body remains majority Chester, but it swaps out a large swath of eastern ChesCo for townships along the Lancaster County line freed up from the 16th. It still, however, keeps Democratic centers in Downington and Coatesville, and adds West Chester proper, which was gerrymandered into the 16th before. Obama performed roughly the same in the old and new Chester part.

    As before, the left wing reaches into Berks County, but before, Reading was cracked three ways between the 6th, 16th, and 17th. Now, Reading and its 81% Obama goodness are kept whole in this district, raising Obama’s performance in Berks from 54% to 59%. The right arm is still my favorite. Originally, Republicans conceived of this as a way to crack MontCo into two Republican (PA-06, PA-07) and one swing district (PA-13). This is best termed, I think, an EPIC FAIL. The old right arm was 64% Obama, and this new version is 63%. I maintained the anchor in Lower Merion Township and Narberth, since their combined 71% Obama goodness is just too good to give up. Combined, this raises Obama’s performance here by another 1% to 58.5%.

    So there you have it, a new, 18-seat map for Pennsylvania. Comments? Questions? Which state should I do next? Please share what you think the districts look like, also!