WV-Gov: Dems Win All Permutations, Tomblin Leads Primary

Public Policy Polling (4/21-24, West Virginia voters, 1/20-23 in parentheses):

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 51 (49)

Betty Ireland (R): 29 (32)

Undecided: 20 (19)

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 56

Bill Maloney (R): 23

Undecided: 21

John Perdue (D): 37 (37)

Betty Ireland (R): 32 (37)

Undecided: 30 (26)

John Perdue (D): 38

Bill Maloney (R): 26

Undecided: 36

Natalie Tennant (D): 39 (43)

Betty Ireland (R): 33 (32)

Undecided: 28 (26)

Natalie Tennant (D): 42

Bill Maloney (R): 29

Undecided: 30

Rick Thompson (D): 38 (31)

Betty Ireland (R): 35 (37)

Undecided: 28 (32)

Rick Thompson (D): 38

Bill Maloney (R): 28

Undecided: 34

(MoE: ±3.4%)

The West Virginia gubernatorial special election (which, remember, is being held on Oct. 4, not on Election Day in November) looks like it’s shaping up without much drama: to replace popular conservaDem Joe Manchin, who moved on to the Senate, it looks like fellow popular conservaDem (and Manchin ally) Earl Roy Tomblin has a strong inside track. Tomblin, whose name rec has improved significantly in the months since PPP’s previous (and only other poll) of the race, is now putting up very big margins against the Republican opposition.

Tomblin’s favorables are 49/24, including a plurality, 39/33, among Republicans, and his ‘not sures’ are down to 27%, from 39% in January. His endorsement this week from the NRA ought to only help solidify his standing among right-of-center voters. The other less-known Democratic options (SoS Natalie Tennant’s at 36/29, Treasurer John Perdue is at 27/27, and House speaker Rick Thompson is at 25/24) put up less convincing numbers, but thanks to high Democratic registration advantages, all also win, usually by comfortable margins. That’s a turnaround from January, where Perdue tied Ireland and Thompson lost; only Tennant finds herself in worse position than before. (Bill Maloney, a mining industry businessman without political experience, wasn’t polled by PPP in their January poll, so the trendlines are only partial.)

Public Policy Polling (4/21-24, West Virginia voters, no trendlines):

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 32

John Perdue (D): 17

Natalie Tennant (D): 16

Rick Thompson (D): 15

Jeff Kessler (D): 5

Arne Moltis (D): 1

Undecided: 14

(MoE: ±4.0%)

Betty Ireland (R): 31

Bill Maloney (R): 17

Clark Barnes (R): 8

Mitch Carmichael (R): 8

Mark Sorsaia (R): 4

Ralph William Clark (R): 2

Larry Faircloth (R): 2

Cliff Ellis (R): 1

Undecided: 28

(MoE: ±5.9%)

The more important story for now, though, is the primaries, which will take place on May 14 (a Saturday, three weeks away). Unlike with the generals, this is PPP’s first look at the primaries and assumedly will be their last; it’s also our only primary poll outside of candidates’ internals. Again, name rec carries the day: Tomblin has a sizable advantage. In fact, as Tom Jensen points out, despite the clutter in the Democratic field, Tomblin actually has a bigger lead there than does ex-SoS Betty Ireland on the GOP side (although watch out for that giant MoE in the GOP poll!). Maloney has set the pace on advertising on the GOP side, leaving Ireland playing catch-up. Maloney’s latest ad, in fact, plays his ace in the hole: his firm’s connections to the rescue of the Chilean miners earlier this year. (One other ad of note: John Perdue’s newest ad actually features a jingle! That’s such a throwback it’s almost a little charming.)

For more on where the Dem candidates fit on the left-right spectrum, check out this excellent primer. This poses an interesting question for Democratic armchair quarterbacks, in terms of who to pull for (which is probably just a question of rooting, as this race certainly isn’t much of a magnet for netroots dollars). Is it better to hope for the slam-dunk candidacy of Tomblin, or to go with a bit more of a roll-of-the-dice in the general to get someone, like Thompson or Tennant, who’s a bit more to the left?

RI, SC, and WV: Population by CD

Rhode Island doesn’t offer much for redistricting fans to sink their teeth into: it has two districts that are about equally blue, the Dems control the redistricting trifecta, and the disparity between the two districts, while not New Hampshire-close, requires only minimal boundary-shifting. Rhode Island’s target is a tiny 526,284 (only up from 524K in 2000… Rhode Island had the smallest growth, percentage-wise, of any state over the decade, putting it 2nd overall behind only Michigan, which actually lost population). If this continues, there’s the distinct possibility we could see Rhode Island reduced to one House seat come 2020. Also worth noting: Rhode Island had a lot of Hispanic growth over the decade, not quite on par with the Southwest but high for the Northeast; it went from 8.5% Hispanic to 12.4%, and Providence moved to a Hispanic plurality.

District Rep. Population Deviation
RI-01 Cicilline (D) 519,021 (7,263)
RI-02 Langevin (D) 533,546 7,263
Total: 1,052,567

South Carolina is gaining one seat to move from six to seven; its new target based on 7 seats is 660,766 (it was 668K in 2000, so every district gained significantly over the decade). With the GOP holding the trifecta and much of the growth seeming to come among white retirees, look for the creation of one more Republican-friendly seat… with one possible wild card, that the Obama DOJ might weigh in and push for a second African-American VRA seat (theoretically possible if terribly ugly, as SSP’s crack team of freelance mapmakers have shown here). The biggest growth has come in the coastal Low Country, rather than the fiercely evangelical uplands; I’d expect Charleston and Myrtle Beach, both part of SC-01 for now, to wind up each anchoring their own districts.

District Rep. Population Deviation
SC-01 Scott (R) 856,956 196,190
SC-02 Wilson (R) 825,324 164,558
SC-03 Duncan (R) 722,675 61,909
SC-04 Gowdy (R) 770,226 109,460
SC-05 Mulvaney (R) 767,773 107,007
SC-06 Clyburn (D) 682,410 21,644
Total: 4,625,364

West Virginia is staying at three seats for now, although it might be headed for two seats in 2020, given its slow growth and low targets; its target is 617,665, only up from 603K in 2000. The 3rd, in coal country in the southern part of the state, is losing population (though not as fast as one might suspect); the 2nd needs to shed an amount equivalent to what the 3rd needs to gain, leaving the 1st pretty stable. Much of the state’s growth is in the far east tip of the Panhandle (in the 2nd), especially Berkeley County, which serves as Washington DC’s furthest-out exurbs. Dave Wasserman, who seems to get all the good redistricting-related gossip, says that while the obvious solution (moving Mason County from the 2nd to the 3rd, and calling it a wrap) still seems likely, the Dems who control the redistricting trifecta might want to cobble together a slightly Dem-friendlier 1st along the state’s northern boundary that includes both Morgantown and the Panhandle exurbs (the only counties in the state that are getting bluer).

District Rep. Population Deviation
WV-01 McKinley (R) 615,991 (1,674)
WV-02 Capito (R) 648,186 30,521
WV-03 Rahall (D) 588,817 (28,848)
Total: 1,852,994

Arkansas and West Virginia Re-Maps

I have combined the two states in this diary as they both only have a few Congressional seats, and, if I understand correctly, both have a rule whereby counties should not be split when doing redistricting.  Both Arkansas and West Virginia are also states which historically have been very Democratic — but in the recent past, both are trending Republican (though both are still controlled by Democrats when it comes to remapping).  Each state currently has only one Democratic House member left.  Via these maps, the goal is to have two Democrats in both Arkansas and West Virginia.



All the districts conform to the “no-county splitting” rule with population deviations ranging from 266 to 2902 persons using Dave’s Application.  Under demographics, ethnic/racial groups are provided if 5% or more of a district’s population.

District 1 (Green)

Proposed District Demographics: 90% white; 5% black

Current District: Obama 38; McCain 59

Proposed District: Obama 33; McCain 64

This new district includes the most Republican counties of northern Arkansas, combining parts of the current AR-1, AR-2 and AR-3.

District  2 (Blue)

Proposed District Demographics: 62% white; 31% black

Current District: Obama 44; McCain 54

Proposed District: Obama 50+; McCain 48

Population-wise, almost 60% of this new district comes out of the existing AR-2, while the rest comes out of AR-1.  I was surprised, but it’s apparently possible to create an Obama-majority district in Arkansas even when all districts have to correspond to the county lines rule (while also not messing with Mike Ross’ district).  This new district combines the most Democratic parts of AR-1 and AR-2.  11 out of 15 counties in the new district were carried by the Democratic candidate in last November’s House elections (the exceptions being Conway, Lonoke, Perry and Van Buren Counties).  Likewise, Blanche Lincoln carried the same 11 out of 15 counties.

District 3 (Purple)

Proposed District Demographics: 80% white; 12% hispanic

Current District: Obama 34; McCain 64

Proposed District: Obama 33; McCain 64

The new AR-3 in the northwestern part of the state maintains its hyper-GOP nature under this map.

District  4 (Red)

Proposed District Demographics: 71% white; 23% black

Current District: Obama 39; McCain 58

Proposed District: Obama 38; McCain 59

Arkansas’ only House Democrat, Mike Ross, gets to keep about 90% of his current territory, as the district becomes only a sliver more Republican.

West Virginia:


All the districts conform to the “no-county splitting” rule with population deviations ranging from 3026 to 7993 persons using Dave’s Application.  

District  1 (Blue)

Proposed District Demographics: 93% white

Current District: Obama 42; McCain 57

Proposed District: Obama 45; McCain 53

The new WV-1 combines some of the most Democratic parts of the current WV-1 and WV-2 into one district.  However, both GOP incumbents from those districts would now be in WV-1 under the new lines.  The goal is to have the two Republicans fight it out in the primary, while a Democrat ultimately emerges on top in November.

District 2 (Green)

Proposed District Demographics: 93% white

Current District: Obama 44; McCain 55

Proposed District: Obama 39; McCain 59

The new WV-2 becomes sort of a “sink” for GOP votes under this map.  However, it would have no incumbent under the new lines.

District 3 (Purple)

Proposed District Demographics: 94% white

Current District: Obama 42; McCain 56

Proposed District: Obama 43; McCain 55

West Virginia’s only House Democrat, Nick Rahall, gets to keep about 75% of his current territory, as the district becomes slightly more Democratic.

Two Gerrymanders of West Virginia

Since it is one of the states the Dems completely control, I decided to look some at what could be done in West Virginia. Two objectives came to mind:

– Shore up Rahall

– Make life difficult for McKinley

Here is my first map:

The second district (in green) is designed to soak up as many Republican areas as possible and is around 61% McCain.  The first district (in blue) is now up about 45% Obama, while the third district clocks in at just over 46% Obama.  This is compared with 42% that Obama got in both districts in their current form.

Capito Moore lives in Charleston, so she might run for statewide office rather than in the new second, but should she decide to stay in congress her non-residency should be a non-issue, given her popularity.

This got me thinking: Is 46% Obama really the best we can do in West Virginia?  Only 7 counties went for Obama and they’re scattered throughout the state.  

This lead to my second map:

The 11 counties entirely contained in the 2nd (green) district went for Obama by just over 2000 votes.  Once you include the connective strips, it probably flips to McCain, but not by very much. With precinct data I’m sure it would be possible to create something similar that actually went Dem in 2008.

I wouldn’t actually recommend such a map.  Not only does it strengthen McKinley, it puts Capito Moore in the intended D second district and Rahall and his Beckley base in the now more Republican third. Nevertheless, I thought it an interesting experiment.

Louisiana and West Virginia Primary Results

Swing State Project came down with a rare case of Saturday Night Fever over the weekend, with regularly scheduled primaries in Louisiana and the Senate special primary in West Virginia.

Louisiana: For a brief moment there, back in June, David Vitter vs. Chet Traylor looked like it was going to be a fascinating GOP primary. In the end, though, Traylor’s failure to raise money or increase his profile, along with Louisianans’ decidedly laissez-faire (or is it laissez-les-bons-temps-rouler?) approach to their politicians’ peccadilloes, let Vitter escape with an 88-7 victory. That’s actually better than Charlie Melancon’s 71% against no-name opposition.

Two House races also had some drama. In LA-02 the question was more one of whether state Rep. Cedric Richmond could avoid a runoff against Juan LaFonta, rather than whether he could get the most votes. In the end, he did, winning 60-21 — despite a late financial onslaught from a deep-pocketed LaFonta-backing attorney, Stuart Smith, who created an anti-Richmond PAC called Louisiana Truth PAC — and will face endangered GOP accidental incumbent Joe Cao in November. In LA-03, former state House speaker Hunt Downer was the presumed frontrunner, but barely even squeaked into a runoff with attorney Jeff Landry; Landry got 49.6% to Downer’s 36%. Maybe it’s not that surprising, as Downer got in late and Landry had been running and fundraising all cycle; also, Landry had the teabagger cred while Downer was dragged down by the twin lead zeppelins of “establishment” and “former Democrat.” Downer has shrugged off calls for him to withdraw and avoid prolonging the fight, so the battle in the runoff (for the right to face Dem Ravi Sangisetty) will be for those 14% of voters who went for fellow teabagger Kristian Magar.

West Virginia: Not much drama was expected here, and none was to be found. Gov. Joe Manchin won the Democratic nomination against a challenge from the left from former Rep., former SoS, and former Truman (!) administration official Ken Hechler, 73-17. He’ll face John Raese, whom you may remember spending millions of his own money in 2006 to finish in the mid-30s against Robert Byrd. Raese won the 10-person GOP field, drawing 71%. (The only other GOPer to break double-digits, at 15, was Mac Warner, last seen losing the WV-01 primary this spring.)

Louisiana and West Virginia Primary Results Thread

11:32pm: One final update to play us out: The AP has indeed called a runoff for LA-03 (R). Jeff Landry must be gnashing his teeth at his 49.6% haul. Hunt Downer will probably have a hell of a time turning things around, having taken just 36.1%, and since I’d have to guess Kristian Magar is much more likely to endorse Landry. Still, this is probably good news for Dem Ravi Sangisetty in this long-shot race, since the runoff won’t take place until October 2nd! Anyhow, that ends the show.

11:07pm: Only a single precinct remains, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough to bump Landry from 49.6% back up to 50. Runoff time!

10:50pm: Just three precincts are outstanding in LA-03, and Jeff Landry has fallen below the runoff line — to 49.6% of the vote. One precinct is left in Landry-friendly Jefferson, and another in Lafourche, which split its votes fairly evenly between Landry and Downer.

10:40pm: The AP also calls LA-02 for Cedric Richmond, and over in LA-03, I may have spoke too soon. There are still 10 Downer-friendly precincts left, all in Terrebonne Parish, in the remaining 14.

10:34pm: We’re up to 96% done in LA-03, and Landry is holding steady at 50.3%. Looks like Hunt Downer is finished.

10:30pm: Things are tiiiight in LA-03, where Jeff Landry must hold the line at 50.2% (with 82% reporting) in order to avoid a runoff.

10:26pm: As noted in the comments, WWL-TV has called LA-02 for Cedric Richmond. With 21% in, Richmond has 63% of the vote. I’ll keep an eye on that one for a little longer, though.

10:14pm: We’re up to 11% of precincts in LA-02, and Richmond’s rolling with a 63-16 lead over LaFonta.

10:11pm: Chalie Melancon has won the Dem Senate nod in Louisiana. The AP has called the race for him, with 67% of the vote.

10:04pm: Landry now has a 52-33 lead on Downer with 43% in.

10:00pm: The AP has called the GOP Senate nod for David Vitter.

9:45pm: What a Downer! Landry now has a 51-37 lead on Downer with about 10% in.

9:43pm: Richmond’s now up to a 63-19 lead on LaFonta with 9% in. This is good news for Dems so far.

9:38pm: In LA-02, which is, from my perspective, the race with the most at stake tonight for Team Blue, Richmond now leads LaFonta by 58-20 with 6% of precincts reporting.

9:34pm: With six precincts reporting in the 3rd, Landry leads Downer by 48-44. Ultrabagger Kristian Magar has 9%. Whether or not this one goes to a runoff could be a close call.

9:30pm: Thanks to GOPVoter in the comments, we have some actual LA-02 results (neither the AP nor the SoS are reporting anything there so far). With 4% of precincts reporting, Cedric Richmond leads Juan LaFonta by 56-22, a few points above the runoff threshold.

9:19pm: Chet Traylor has surged all the way up to 8%, vastly exceeding expectations. In the 3rd, Landry has a 52%-38% lead on Downer, but we’re only looking at a couple hundred votes there so far.

9:08pm: With one precinct reporting (check out the LA SoS site), Melancon has 71% and Diaper Dave is at 92%. In the 3rd, Landry leads Downer by 3 votes.

9:02pm: Polls have now closed in Louisiana. This thing is about to go off.

8:51pm: It’s time to send this race to a farm upstate. The AP has called the GOP Senate nod for ’06 loser John Raese. He’s winning with 72% of the vote — a nearly equal share (in terms of %, not raw vote total) to Manchin’s 73%.

8:31pm: You don’t need money. You don’t need fame. You may not even need a credit card to ride the Ken Hechler train, but that’s a one-way express to nowhere. The AP calls the Dem Senate nod for Gov. Joe “The Manchine” Manchin. No call yet for the Republicans, even though Raese is cruising with nearly 70% of the vote.

8:11pm: I’m smelling an upset brewing. With almost 1% of precincts in, Hechler is hot on Manchin’s heels at 73-19.

7:55pm: And we’re off! A batch of early votes from Marion County are in, and Joe Manchin leads Ken Hechler by 83-10. (Stunner.) For the GOP, John Raese leads Mac Warner by 63-17.

Polls are now closed in West Virginia, where fireworks are about to go off as Joe Manchin faces off against the formidable 95 year-old Ken Hechler for the special Democratic Senate primary. Polls in Louisiana will close at 9pm Eastern.


Louisiana and West Virginia Primary Preview

Saturday night is alright for hot congressional primary action. Polls close in West Virginia at 7:30pm Eastern, and Louisiana at 9pm.

  • LA-Sen (R): The race that never was. After being teased with the tantalizing prospect of cat fud for, well, years, David Vitter just never drew a Republican challenger of any substance despite his “serious sins”. The best he got was ex-state supreme court justice Chet Traylor, who has yet to break 5% in the polls. I believe that Crisitunity summed this race up pretty well earlier in the week:

    Former state supreme court justice Chet Traylor’s late-breaking bid against Vitter was very interesting for the first few days, but at this point we might as well just close the book on it: his fundraising never materialized, his “family values” turned out to be as suspect as Vitter’s, and somehow he manages to be upside-down on favorables among GOP voters.

    It’d probably be something of a minor accomplishment if Traylor could crack double digits tonight.

  • LA-02 (D): This Democratic primary — originally thought to be essentially to be the offer of a free House seat, although accidental GOP incumbent Joe Cao released an internal that suggests otherwise — was supposed to attract every ambitious New Orleans politician around. In the end, though, it really only attracted two of note: state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan LaFonta. The establishment, both local and in DC, also quickly got behind Richmond (who finished third in the 2008 primary that Bill Jefferson eventually won). The DCCC added him but not LaFonta to Red to Blue, and both Mitch and Mary Landrieu recently endorsed him. The lone internal poll of the primary made public gave Richmond a 53-13 edge over LaFonta, outside the runoff zone. (There are some minor candidates present, so a runoff is possible.) (C)
  • LA-03 (R): Three GOPers are in the race for this Cajun Country seat left behind by Dem Charlie Melancon: former Houma State Rep. (and Democrat until 2000) Hunt Downer, attorney Jeff Landry, and engineer Kristian Magar. Downer is the establishment pick, but we saw on Tuesday how far that may or may not get you in the GOP these days. The tea-stained Landry and Magar have both been hitting Downer, whose history as a Democrat might just come back to bite him. Landry’s outspent Downer ($297k to $282k) and has the CoH advantage as well ($234k to $126k). This race will head to a runoff should no one clear 50%; a mano-a-mano matchup against either ‘bagger may be more difficult for Downer to handle. (JMD)
  • WV-Sen (D/R): If Gov. Joe Manchin doesn’t win the Democratic primary for the race to fill the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s senate seat, we might have transitioned into an alternate universe. Manchin’s “main” opponent is Ken Hechler, “a 95-year-old former congressmen who represented West Virginia between 1959 and 1976 and also served in the Truman administration.” That means Hechler is actually older than Byrd was at the time of his death! Manchin’s already raised $1.2 million. No one else is even remotely close.

    On the GOP side, richie rich John Raese is expected to win the nod against an even more uninspiring field. Raese has self-funded half a million bucks so far, and again, everyone else is scrounging for couch change. (Note that Raese spent more than $2 million of his own money running against Byrd in 2006, only to pull just 34% of the vote.) (D)

  • August Primaries to Watch

    After a slow few weeks in late June and July, August promises to be quite exciting, primary-wise!

    Here are some races to watch in August:


    MO-Sen (R) – Blunt v. teabagger

    MO-04 (R) – Free-for-all

    MO-07 (R) – open seat

    Proposition C – It’s about NULLIFICATION!

    KS-Sen (R) – Moran/Tiahrt

    KS-01, 04 (R) – open seats

    KS-03 (R) – Yoder v. Lightner

    KS-04 (D) – will Raj Goyle get VicRawl’d?

    MI-Gov (D), (R)

    MI-01, 02, 03 (R) – open seats

    MI-07 (R) – Rooney/Walberg

    MI-09 (R) – Rocky v. Welday

    MI-12 (D)

    MI-13 (D) – Kilpatrick weak

    8/5: (hey, two primaries in one week!)

    TN-Gov (R) – open seat

    TN-03 (R) – Wamp’s open seat

    TN-04 (R) – clusterfuck

    TN-06 (R) – open seat

    TN-08 (R) – Kirkland v. Flinn

    TN-09 (D) – impending Willie Herenton fail


    CT-Gov (D) and (R) – Lamont/Malloy and Fedele/Foley

    CT-Sen (R) – ghost of Rob Simmons?

    CT-02, 04, 05 (R)

    CO-Gov (R) – McInnis and Maes double fail

    CO-Sen (D) – Bennet v. Romanoff

    CO-Sen (R) – the devil wears prada?

    CO-03, 07 (R)

    GA-Gov (R)Palin Handel v. Newt Deal

    GA-07, 12 (R) – more runoffs

    GA-09 (R) – Graves v. Hawkins round 3

    MN-Gov (D) – Dayton v. Kelliher




    WY-Gov (D), (R)


    AZ-Sen (D), (R)

    AZ-03 (R) – Shadegg’s open seat

    AZ-01, 05, 08 (R)

    VT-Gov (D)

    FL-Gov (R) – (yes!!!!!!)

    FL-Sen (D) – Meek v. Greene

    FL-12, 25 (R) – open seats

    FL-02, 08, 22, 24 (R)

    FL-02 (D) – challenge to a Blue Dog from the left, v4.1

    FL-17 (D) – Meek’s open seat

    AK-Gov (R) – Parnell and the ghost of Palin?

    AK-Sen (R) – Murkowski v. Palin proxy


    LA-Sen (R) – Vitter v. Traylor

    LA-02 (D) – Lafonta v. Richmond

    LA-03 (R)

    WV-Sen (D), (R) – Byrd special primary

    PBI (Party Brand Index) Part 6: West Virginia & New Hampshire

    PBI or Party Brand Index is a concept I developed (with some much appreciated help from pl515) as a replacement for PVI.  PVI (Partisan Voting Index), which is measured by averaging the percentage of the vote from the last two presidential elections in each house district, and comparing it to the nation as a whole, is a useful shorthand for understanding the liberal v. conservative dynamics of a district. But PVI in my opinion it falls short in a number of areas. First it doesn’t explain states like Arkansas or West Virginia. These states have districts who’s PVIs indicates a Democrat shouldn’t win, yet Democrats (outside of the presidency) win quite handily. Secondly why is this the case in Arkansas but not Oklahoma with similar PVI rated districts?

    Lastly PVI can miss trends as it takes 4 years to readjust. The purpose of Party Brand Index is to give a better idea of how a candidate does not relative to how the presidential candidate did, but compared to how their generic PARTY should be expected to perform. I’ve tackled IN, NC, CO, VA, MO, OK, AR, now I will look at the swing states of West Virginia and New Hampshire.

    First like always I would like to post the data, then I will offer some analysis. My basic pattern is to work my way “out” from the “Purple States” to the more Blue and Red ones. Once in a while I like to skip my normal pattern of working out from purple states.  I’m often curious on how my model would work in states like that are deeply blue at the local level, but deeply red at the presidential level. I will offer a refresher on them later. But first let’s examine the swings state of New Hampshire and the “split” state of West Virginia.



    Although PBI shows some level of pessimism for Carol Shea-Porter in the NH 1st, the trend in her district is truly astounding. From -26% to a +6% Democratic in 2 election cycles. Also during that time NH has seen a 5% rise in the percentage of the electorate that calls itself liberal (conservatives fell 2%) and the party split went from 32:25 Republican to 29:27 Democrat. Although this district isn’t completely safe the trend is good for Team Blue. She is still the top GOP target in the New England.

    After I come across a few “conservative” Democrats, I run a “correction” factor to account for them being Blue dogs. The general idea is that the distance they are able to maintain from the national party may help them win over voters who are more reluctant to vote for Democrats. Interestingly enough both West Virginian Democratic Reps despite coming from a Red, Socially conservative state are not members of the Blue Dog caucus. I never the less ran there data to see how my model would respond. I actually was surprised where they fell on the partisan and ideological scale. As I explained a few diaries ago I will use ADJUSTMENT FACTOR 2 in all subsequent corrections.


    As a recap, here is the first “batch” of Blue Dogs that I examined correcting for partisanship and ideology. Notice the differences in both partisanship and ideology between the West Virginian congressman, and the AK and OK ones.  Nate Silver has been hopeful that Obama could recapture West Virgina for the Democrats. This data shows West Virgina although often lumped in with the other highland/Appalachia region that turned most heavily against Obama is quite a bit more progressive then other states in that area.  If they become comfortable with Obama’s race he could maybe overcome the recent red-tide there.


    As a reminder ranking a members ideology is a somewhat subjective decision. Potentially what’s one person “liberal” position, is another person “conservative” ones, remember the wingers developed a model that ranked the Sen. Obama as more liberal than Bernie Sanders or Russ Feingold. But partisanship, how often a member votes with their party is an absolute number. A Democrat who represents a “republican district” would be expected to “break with their party” on votes that don’t reflect their districts values.

    I couldn’t find a website that ranks all the districts based on their PVI (I only could find list of them by state not rank, help please anyone), therefor I substituted a PVI ranking with where each member ranked in the Democratic caucus. In the 110th Congress the average Democrat had an ideological ranking of 170 (by the way this is a result of several members being tied, this is the medium not the midpoint). The average of members towards the center was 191, former Daily Kos celeb Ciro Rodriguez fell at exactly 191. The average of members towards the liberal side was 121, which falls between Rep. Larson of Conn. and Rep. Eshoo of CA. As or partisanship in the 110th Congress the average Democrat voted with their party 92.3% of the time.

    As a clarification in Adjustment #1, I used a deviation factor based on how far each member was from the center of the Democratic caucus. Adjustment #2 was based on how far each member was from outside the standard deviation of the caucus. In Adjustment #3 I removed the partisanship factor to see what effect it would have. As I explained a few diaries ago I will use ADJUSTMENT FACTOR 2 in all subsequent corrections.

    Because there are “only” 50 states (as opposed to evaluating 435 house members), I will at a later date have all the states ranked by PVI so I can adjust the Senator’s rankings. I developed Senate factors for the four states the four blue dogs came from. In the interest of full disclosure, my source for ideological rankings is Voteview, and for partisanship it was the Washington Post. This is still a work in progress, I’m making adjustments, and continuing to crunch numbers for more states. I also will use the adjustment factor on a liberal member of congress to see what effect that will have.

    WV-02 Fired up for Anne Barth and the Democratic team

    Martinsburg event 025

    Former Gov. Gaston Caperton explains why Anne Barth would be a tremendous representative for the people of West Virginia.

    I attended the Campaign for Change event in Martinsburg, West Virginia today. It was rainy, autumnal day. We had a boisterous, fired up and ready to go crowd in attendance. Most of those who arrived early did visibility for our candidates outside the headquarters. We let our voices be loud enough so even those across the street at the Shelley Moore Capito headquarters could hear us even though she’s tried to not listen to her constituents for years.

    Today’s event featured former Gov. Gaston Caperton, former Gov. Bob Wise, who also had served as the Congressional representative for the district, and West Virginia native son and U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, currently the junior senator of his state and soon to be the senior senator once Sen. Joe Biden is elected our vice president.

    More on the event and additional photos below.

    Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell is making her second bid for magistrate judge. She was out doing visibility in front of the headquarters. The Campaign for Change is not just about the presidential race, but also the down ticket races. I really hope she wins. I don’t like putting stickers on my vehicle, but I’ve got three this year: Anne Barth, Barack Obama and Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell’s. There’s other candidates I really want to see win, but too many bumper stickers and they become less effective in my opinion.

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    Many of our Democrats arrived early so they joined Mitchell in a sign wave (early voting was on King Street just around the corner from our Queen Street office).

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    And then more…

    People held up other candidate signs and began chants: “Anne Barth Anne Barth Anne Barth” and “Barack – Obama – Barack – Obama” and also the names of our other candidates as they arrived and joined us. This is earlier but eventually the area out of the rain was jammed with people with signs.

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    Across the street, not so much enthusiasm for their candidates.

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    “I’ve never seen anyone better prepared running for this seat than Anne Barth and that includes me when I ran the first time,” said former governor and U.S. representative Bob Wise. He vacated the seat in 2000 to run for governor. Barth was Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s state director before she left to run for this seat.

    “Think of that team – Robert C. Byrd in the Senate, his most trusted confidant in the HOuse,” Wise said.

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    Former Gov. Bob Wise

    Wise introduced Sen. Thomas Carper, the junior senator from Delaware and soon to be senior senator when Sen. Joe Biden is elected vice president.

    Carper is a West Virginia native son, born in Beckley. “We grow them here and send them to other parts of the country,” Wise said.

    Carper said he was happy to be in his native state to campaign for Anne Barth and Barack Obama and Joe Biden. When he was elected to the Senate, his mentor was Senator Byrd. He once offered to do anything to help Senator Byrd and Byrd said he needed him to go represent him at an event at Stonewall Jackson State Park that he was unable to attend. There he was to look up Byrd’s state director, Anne Barth.

    He was impressed by her intelligence and her deep knowledge of the people of West Virginia.

    “Anne Barth gives politics a good name,” Carper said.

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    Anne Barth, Sen. Thomas Carper, former Gov. Bob Wise, former Gov. Gaston Caperton.

    Anne Barth spoke next, describing how many people are being hurt by the current economy except for the people who “don’t know how many houses they own, then they probably think the economy is doing well.”

    That got a good laugh. She pointed out how Capito voted for Bush four out of five times over the past eight years.

    “It’s not about us, it’s really about the future of our country,” Anne Barth said.

    Former Gov. Gaston Caperton went next, who defeated former Gov. Arch Moore (Moore is Capito’s father).

    “Now Anne I ran against a Moore,” Caperton said. “They said I couldn’t beat him. I did pretty good.”

    The same group had been in Morgan County earlier and left Martinsburg to go to Jefferson County. It was a good event.

    You can see the entire set of photos here, including Bobby the Obama dog.

    Crossposted from West Virginia Blue.