Redistricting Oregon: O So Svelte

Dave Bradlee finally managed to sort the obnoxious problems with Oregon’s 2010 Census data, which means it’s time for me to give my home state a whirl.

Nothing too much has changed, as you can see. It just has pretty lines and definitely preserves communities of interest. Only three counties (Columbia, Josephine, and Lincoln) are split between congressional districts, and none of those three are split between more than two districts.

OR-01 (blue)

Democratic Rep. David Wu, who lives in Multnomah County, is out. Unfortunately, some depopulation along the Oregon Coast means this district is stretching a bit further south to find constituents, which is maybe the only part of this map I’m not thrilled about (for aesthetic reasons). As for the politics, as this is a horse-race elections site: Despite Yamhill County’s Republican lean, the great majority of this district’s population is in true blue northwestern Oregon. If Wu can be kept out by this redistricting job, state senators Suzanne Bonamici and Mark Hass are probably in line, provided Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian doesn’t want the job. The inside scoop is that if Wu’s job opens up, he’s got first right of refusal. Likely Democratic.

OR-02 (green)

Walden lives in Hood River. Hood River has been moved elsewhere. Even if Walden doesn’t move back – and I think the diehard conservatives in eastern Oregon, which is (surprisingly enough) one of the most conservative parts of the entire country, may prefer to send Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli or Bend-area state senator and ambitious “rising star” Chris Telfer to Congress instead of Walden, a close ally of (the possibly doomed) Speaker Boehner who has taken flak for being a leading member of the quasi-moderate Main Street Partnership – this district is red enough to elect an Oregonian version of Christine O’Donnell without a fuss. Anyway, I felt Hood River County belongs with eastern Multnomah County in terms of communities of interest more than it belongs with the high desert cow counties. Safe Republican.

OR-03 (purple)

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s district has consolidated all of Multnomah County, taken over Hood River County, and poked up into Columbia County just a tad bit, simultaneously withdrawing from Clackamas County. As for politics: Che Guevara could get elected here by double-digit margins. Walden could run here, but he would get clobbered. Wu could also run here, but he would also get clobbered. Mostly, I just think this district looks nice. Safe Democratic.

OR-04 (red)

One of the enduring mysteries of Congress is the charmed existence of Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, a blunt, unabashed, aggressively off-the-reservation left-winger sitting in a light-blue seat. Last year, when conditions seemed perfect for a Republican to potentially upset DeFazio, Republicans in the district nominated certifiable crazy person Art Robinson. DeFazio’s final margin was closer than expected, perhaps on account of his taking victory against Robinson pretty much for granted, but it was still fairly convincing. This district hasn’t changed much. DeFazio still has the red ball-and-chain that is Linn County tethered to him, but it’s easily offset by flaming liberal Benton and Lane counties, both of which are anchored by legendarily left-wing college towns. In terms of actually drawing the map, since I wasn’t consulting political data, it was basically just leftover western Oregon and as much of southern Oregon as fit with population limits stretching east from the coast (which turned out to be not much). Likely Democratic.

OR-05 (yellow)

What is there to do about Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader? Well, one thing to do that would make Clackamas County residents happy would be to give the piece of OR-03 reaching down a little bit into Schrader’s home county back to this fairly swingy district. Another thing might be to embark on a registration drive in increasingly Hispanic Salem and its suburbs, but that’s not really redistricting’s job. Redistricting’s job is to preserve communities of interest, and that was my chief consideration here. As a progressive who generally supports Democrats, I’m not honestly worried about Schrader, and this is why: Republicans target OR-05 every cycle, and every time, they do worse than they were expecting. Last year, Schrader was supposed to lose to Scott Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuun (who, yes, still lives in this district). He won by over five points instead. Republicans were supposed to take over the district in 2008 when then-Rep. Darlene Hooley retired. Schrader crushed Hooley’s 2006 opponent (who was supposed to beat her then, too) by 16 points. Fun fact: in this D+1 district, Republicans haven’t even come as close as five points away since 1994 – the cycle before then-Rep. Jim Bunn lost to Hooley (in 1996) by a margin nearly identical to the margin by which Schrader prevailed last year. For whatever reason, this district is fools’ gold for the Oregon Republican Party. But my favorite part of this redrawn district? It consists simply of all of Polk, Marion, and Clackamas counties, and it’s just 515 heads over the target population. Sexy. Lean Democratic.

CO, OR, and WA: Population by CD

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

We’ve got three more states’ worth of Census data dump to look at today, and instead of a random collection today, it’s thematically consistent: the three medium-size light-blue states of the west. First off the bat is Colorado, which stays at seven seats; its target population is 718,457, up from an average of about 615K in 2000. (Remember, the “deviation” is how many seats the district will need to gain or shed in order to conform, not a raw number reflecting loss or gain. You can calculate raw gain/loss by working off the 2000 target, if you’re curious.)

District Population Deviation
CO-01 662,039 (56,418)
CO-02 733,805 15,348
CO-03 706,186 (12,271)
CO-04 725,041 6,584
CO-05 725,902 7,445
CO-06 797,813 79,356
CO-07 678,410 (40,047)
Total: 5,029,196

The redistricting solution here seems pretty simple: CO-01 (Denver proper) and CO-07 (Denver’s northern suburbs) will need to shift southward to accommodate the large growth in CO-06 (Denver’s southern suburbs), while the rest of the state stayed pretty stable. Interestingly, despite CO-07 lagging the state growth-wise, the state’s strongest Hispanic growth was in CO-07, which since 2000 went from 20% to 28% Hispanic.

Oregon stays at five seats, having just barely missed the cut for #6. Its target population is a beefy 766,215, up from about 684K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
OR-01 802,570 36,355
OR-02 769,987 3,772
OR-03 762,155 (4,060)
OR-04 739,234 (26,981)
OR-05 757,128 (9,087)
Total: 3,831,074

Several Oregon districts are going to have to shift north, where the state’s growth was centered in Portland’s western suburbs in OR-01. The smallest gains happened in OR-04, which is Eugene and the economically-hard-hit timber country to its south. OR-05, which is sandwiched between the 1st and 4th in the mid-Valley also needs to pick up population; the 5th is the state’s most Hispanic district, going from 10% to 15% Hispanic since 2000.

Finally, here’s Washington, which barely made the cut, and got its tenth seat. Its target is 672,454, up from 655K in 2010. (Interestingly, if you divided Washington by 9, you’d wind up with a lower target than Oregon, at 747,171. There’s a lot more to the reapportionment formula than that sort of purely mechanical calculation, of course, but that ought to raise a few eyebrows in Oregon.)

District Population Deviation
WA-01 739,455 67,001
WA-02 760,041 87,587
WA-03 779,348 106,894
WA-04 774,409 101,955
WA-05 723,609 51,155
WA-06 709,570 37,116
WA-07 704,225 31,771
WA-08 810,754 138,300
WA-09 723,129 50,675
Total: 6,724,540

The two main nodes of growth in Washington are WA-08 (Seattle’s eastern suburbs) and WA-03 (Vancouver, which is really Portland’s northern suburbs). However, there was almost as much growth in WA-04, east of the Cascades, which means that any new configuration is going to have two-and-a-half districts east of the Cascades, with (unlike now) one district traversing the mountains. The 4th is also by far the most Hispanic district in the state, growing from 27% to 34% Hispanic since 2000. One other interesting tidbit: in three of the state’s nine districts (1st, 7th, and 8th, all in the Seattle area) the largest non-white group isn’t African-Americans or Hispanics, but rather Asians.

More over the flip…

Finally, did you know that Census 2010 data, via American FactFinder, is available not only at the congressional district level, but also the legislative district level? Because a) I’m a Washingtonian, and b) I’m a nerd (and c), it’s not that big a project, since Washington doesn’t have separate Senate and House districts), I thought I’d also include Washington broken down by LD, in case you want a finer-grained sort on the state’s population gain. The number of districts will stay at 49, so the new target is 137,236.

District Population Deviation
LD-01 147,265 10,029
LD-02 163,707 26,471
LD-03 120,601 (16,635)
LD-04 141,254 4,018
LD-05 161,403 24,167
LD-06 141,123 3,887
LD-07 130,475 (6,761)
LD-08 149,474 12,238
LD-09 136,166 (1,070)
LD-10 134,117 (3,119)
LD-11 134,027 (3,209)
LD-12 132,531 (4,705)
LD-13 143,750 6,514
LD-14 130,478 (6,758)
LD-15 132,788 (4,448)
LD-16 154,830 17,594
LD-17 150,727 13,491
LD-18 160,083 22,847
LD-19 126,904 (10,332)
LD-20 141,029 3,793
LD-21 133,156 (4,080)
LD-22 141,695 4,459
LD-23 130,119 (7,117)
LD-24 132,679 (4,557)
LD-25 145,035 7,799
LD-26 133,755 (3,481)
LD-27 123,857 (13,379)
LD-28 119,494 (17,742)
LD-29 127,259 (9,977)
LD-30 129,998 (7,238)
LD-31 137,685 449
LD-32 122,038 (15,198)
LD-33 129,246 (7,990)
LD-34 125,055 (12,181)
LD-35 138,142 906
LD-36 133,901 (3,335)
LD-37 127,546 (9,690)
LD-38 129,624 (7,612)
LD-39 143,154 5,918
LD-40 138,925 1,689
LD-41 142,722 5,486
LD-42 146,619 9,383
LD-43 133,976 (3,260)
LD-44 156,499 19,263
LD-45 136,432 (804)
LD-46 127,849 (9,387)
LD-47 140,146 2,910
LD-48 130,423 (6,813)
LD-49 134,779 (2,457)
Total: 6,724,540

What’s that you say? You don’t have the Washington legislative district map committed to memory? And yet you call yourself a Swingnut? Well, here it is. The largest growth came in LDs 2 (eastern Pierce Co.) and 5 (eastern King Co.), which are the most exurban parts of WA-08, as well as 44 (eastern Snohomish Co.: exurban WA-02), and 18 (northern Clark Co.: exurban WA-03). The slowest growth was in LDs 3 (downtown Spokane), 28 (Lakewood and Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma), 32 (Shoreline and Edmonds, north of Seattle), 27 (downtown Tacoma), and 34 (West Seattle). (If you’re wondering what the lean of these districts is, we’ve got that, too.)

What if Oregon Gets That Sixth District?

Oregon is one of the closest states, at last projection, to adding a House seat (and an electoral vote). I believe the Democrats should be cheering for this outcome, and here is why.

I think this map should shake out to a 5D-1R split in a neutral year, although Republicans may be able to swing the new OR-06 in an especially good year.

OR-01 (salmon, safe Democratic)

Democratic Rep. David Wu’s district consolidates to the western Portland suburbs, Portland’s West Hills, Columbia County, and the Oregon side of the Columbia River Delta. Wu is safe now in a district that includes a lot more reddish territory. He’s safe here.

OR-02 (red, safe Republican)

Eastern Oregon will never, ever vote for a Democrat. As incumbent Republican Rep. Greg Walden, who lives in Hood River, has been drawn out of this district, I think the electorate here would be happy to elect a more conservative Republican. State Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day would be a top recruit, but really, Some Dude could win here as long as he touted his conservatism and ran on the Republican ticket.

OR-03 (green, safe Democratic

This district is basically just most of Multnomah County. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer could get reelected here until the day he dies. After that, I’m sure this district would be happy to elect any other Democrat.

OR-04 (purple, safe Democratic)

Yes, it still includes Linn County. Yes, it retains most of Douglas County. It also includes all of Lane County, including the People’s Republic of Eugene. It also includes the most liberal parts of the Oregon Coast. Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio is safe here. If and when he retires, I like Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa to succeed him, although I have no idea if she’s interested; running on a platform of environmental conservation and responsible urban growth management in a city renowned for being a conservative island in the middle of the sapphire Willamette Valley, she stomped the chairwoman of the Linn County Republican Central Committee in a nonpartisan election last month.

OR-05 (yellow, likely Democratic)

Yamhill and Polk counties are Republican, but Benton County is Democratic, and Marion County is bluer than not, especially with the influx of Latinos along the I-5 corridor from Salem to Aurora. The district also includes southern precincts of Washington and Clackamas counties. Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader has been drawn out of this district, but Brian Clem, a Salem-area state representative who briefly was a candidate for governor this cycle, is probably in line to succeed him in any district centered on Salem. Fellow Salem-area representatives Kevin Cameron and Vicki Berger are probably the likeliest Republican entries, although I think Berger is too moderate to win in a primary. Matt Wingard, a representative from Wilsonville, could pick up support from the conservative wing of the party if he ran, but any competent Democrat would clean his clock in a district like this.

OR-06 (blue, lean Democratic)

This is the new district, and it could swing. But it includes the Democratic stronghold of Hood River County, most of blueing Clackamas County, and all of blueing Deschutes County. Not sure if it would have gone Republican this year; I believe Gov.-elect Kitzhaber narrowly lost the portions of the state included in this hypothetical district, but Sen. Wyden won it pretty handily. Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader and Republican Rep. Greg Walden have both been drawn into this district. The terrain is more familiar for Walden, but Schrader has a base in populous Clackamas County and probably an overall advantage in terms of what politics are likely to play here. If Walden wants to move next door, Chris Telfer, a Bend-area state senator, would be the Republicans’ top recruit here; if Schrader would prefer to run in OR-05, his current district, the Democrats would probably like to turn to Rick Metsger, a Mount Hood-area state senator.

This whole exercise may be entirely academic. We’ll know for sure on 21 December…

Oregoming: Breaking Down the Internal Borders

Oregon is the latest guinea pig in my experiment with Wyoming Rule redistricting. Because under the rule, the number of seats in the House are apportioned by dividing the U.S. population by the population of its least populous state, Wyoming, Oregon would add two districts to its existing five.

Somehow, I managed to draw a 5-1-1 map for Democrats, although part of it is strong incumbency value in Oregon…and part of it is that Oregon is much more liberal on the federal level than it is on the state level.

Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have voter information for Oregon; fortunately, I did most of my division along county lines, and most of the rest of my division along lines I’m familiar with as a former Oregon resident.

OR-01 (safe Democratic)

Interestingly enough, when I originally drew this Wyoming Rule-sized district, the neat little combination of adjacent Washington and Columbia counties was the perfect size. Then I realized I was still using the 2000 Census data rather than the 2008 population projections, and that went to hell because the western Portland suburbs have positively exploded population-wise over the past decade. So I had to chop out the western halves of those counties, removing a lot of more conservative, rural areas to create a district that, especially with Yamhill County gone too, is even safer for Democratic Rep. David Wu. I say “even safer” because a lot of non-Oregonians are under the impression Wu isn’t completely fireproof in his current district. In 2004, Wu won going away despite being forced to admit to late-breaking claims of attempted date rape, against a highly qualified, moderate candidate with gangbusters fundraising in a cycle Republican enough that Oregonians cast the state’s electoral votes for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts by an uncomfortably close four-point margin while passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in a state that today, just a few years later, has an openly gay man as mayor of its largest city; has the highest-ranking openly bisexual politician in the country in Secy. Kate Brown, first in line to the governorship; and has both of the nation’s only two openly gay state Supreme Court justices, both of whom were elected by popular vote. In 2010, amid a 63-seat loss for House Democrats nationally, Wu won by a double-digit margin over a challenger endorsed by the highly influential and fairly liberal Portland daily newspaper The Oregonian. If Wu is safe now, he will live forever here, even without the little spur into the western Multnomah County suburbs.

OR-02 (safe Republican)

This was one of the trickiest districts to draw, which is funny, because on the current map, it’s obviously just the half of the state east of the Cascades. But recent population growth in Deschutes County has complicated the traditional breakdown of electoral politics in Oregon, with exploding Bend nearly handing the county to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in 2008; Sen. John McCain of Arizona only won Deschutes County by 0.3% in the worst showing by a Republican there since 1964. This year, Republican Jim Huffman appears to have won the county over Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, the incumbent, by a whopping 22 votes in a year Republicans almost won the Oregon gubernatorial election for the first time since 1982, when moderate Gov. Victor Atiyeh blew now-Gov. Ted Kulongoski out of the water (how times change). Because districts are smaller under the Wyoming Rule anyway, I decided to cut out Central Oregon, including Deschutes County, and because Bend is by far the largest population center in the current district, that left me with a lot of ground to make up despite the fact each district is much less populous now. To make up for it, the district absorbed all of Josephine County and extended slightly upward into Douglas County. Instead of being just an Eastern Oregon district, it is now effectively Eastern and Southern Oregon, minus the Central Oregon subregion. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican known to be close to incoming House Speaker John Boehner, would be fine here if his Hood River residence wasn’t drawn out of the district. I think he would probably move east to run here again, although if he chose not to, State Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day would probably be the Republicans’ strongest potential candidate. If former Sen. Gordon Smith of Pendleton, defeated by now-Sen. Jeff Merkley in 2008, decided to run, he would be a very strong candidate, but he might be too moderate for this intensely red district’s Republican primary voters.

OR-03 (safe Democratic)

Instead of containing most of part of Clackamas County, this district is now Multnomah County-only, containing nearly all of Portland proper. Just to give you an idea of how safe Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer is here, he destroyed challenger Delia Lopez in the portion of Multnomah County now in his district by a better-than-3:1 margin. In the small part of Multnomah County now in OR-01 that has been reallocated to this compact district, Wu did equally well. This would be one of the safest Democratic districts in the country.

OR-04 (likely Democratic)

I took great pains here to keep Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Springfield, in this drawing of the district. Somehow, despite being one of the most left-wing members of the House, DeFazio is able to win reelection in a swingish district even when he barely campaigns. With the district stripped out and reapportioned as an Oregon Coast district extending a finger out to take in the twin cities of Eugene and Springfield, which drive the strong Democratic bias of Lane County, I doubt DeFazio would have much trouble. The Oregon Coast is traditionally union territory, and although unions don’t have as much sway in Oregon as they do in some other states, most of the coastal counties are good for Democrats at the federal level.

OR-05 (likely Democratic)

There are two important things to note about this district. First, Marion and Clackamas counties may be swingy on the state level, but on the federal level, they generally prefer Democrats. Second, Yamhill and Polk counties are much less friendly to Democrats at every level, and indeed, they are among the most conservative counties in the Willamette River Valley (although Linn County is by far the most conservative). Despite that, and despite the fact that on paper, this district looks like a tossup, I think it’s likely Democratic. Without the numbers, it’s hard to justify my reasoning here, but basically it goes like this: Chris Dudley may have won practically this entire district in the gubernatorial race, but Obama carried it in 2008 and Rep. Kurt Schrader, the incumbent Democrat, defied the polls in a serious way to win this district so frequently mentioned as a potential Republican pickup, so consistently held by a Democrat. Schrader, who wife is a state senator from Canby (still locked in an as-yet-undecided race for reelection, by the way), has actually been drawn out of this district, but I think a Salem-area Democrat like Brian Clem, a fairly young state representative who has stated his ambitions for higher office, would be a strong candidate here. Fellow Salem-area state Rep. Vicki Berger would probably be the Republicans’ strongest candidate, but she would slot in to the left of several Blue Dogs as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, so she would probably fail to win the nomination. West Linn-based state Rep. Scott Bruun, who won the Republican nomination this year, has been drawn out of the district along with Schrader.

OR-06 (likely Democratic)

Schrader and Bruun both wound up in this new Portland-area district, which covers the swingy Clackamas County suburbs of Oregon’s largest city, as well as eastern Multnomah County. Fiscally conservative, wealthy Lake Oswego and Wilsonville are more than balanced out in this district by strongly Democratic, working-class Gresham and Milwaukee. Lake Oswego is rapidly turning blue anyway, preferring former (and now future) Gov. John Kitzhaber over Chris Dudley and Schrader over Bruun this year, what with the Oregon Republican Party forgetting what made Vic Atiyeh and Gordon Smith so popular (hint: a combination of bipartisan credentials and socially moderate, environmentally conscious positions). It is entirely possible a rematch between Schrader and Bruun could take place, or that failed gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley could mount a bid for the House from his Lake Oswego mansion. I think this district should be pretty good for Democrats, though.

OR-07 (swing)

This district includes the tiny Republican counties of Wheeler and Sherman, as well as the larger Republican counties of Crook and Linn, as well as the Democratic counties of Hood River and Benton and the swingy, blueing counties of Deschutes and Wasco. It also borrows large chunks of Democratic Lane County (excluding especially liberal Eugene and Springfield, though) and Republican Douglas County. To be blunt, I have no idea what will happen in this district, although I suspect that if current demographic trends and growth rates hold, it will be solid territory for the Democrats by the time of the next redistricting in 2022. As it is, I think it may tilt Republican. Walden has been drawn into this district, and while he could win here, I think he might prefer to run in his current OR-02. Freshman State Sen. Chris Telfer of Bend, who represents much of Deschutes County and waged an unsuccessful bid for state treasurer this year, may be a stronger candidate to run on the Republican side. State Sen. Rick Metsger of Welches, who did not seek reelection this year, is a potential Democratic candidate (he lost the Democratic primary for secretary of state to Brown in 2008).

Thoughts on the map or the Wyoming Rule?

Dodging a Bullet: Oregon 3-2

As we all know, Republicans very, very narrowly fell short of taking the governorship of Oregon. Oregonians instead opted to send former Gov. John Kitzhaber back to the governor’s mansion over Republican Chris Dudley, best known for playing basketball.

Republicans also came extremely close to capturing slim majorities in both the State House and the State Senate. The State House is now evenly split, while it appears Democrats will hang onto a majority of one or two in the Senate.

If Republicans had garnered just another point in the statewide popular vote, it seems likely they would have flipped both houses of the Oregon state legislature and installed Chris Dudley as governor, giving them a trifecta in the Beaver State. As a left-leaning independent and an Oregonian expat, let me just take a moment to editorialize by way of gagging.

With redistricting coming up, Republicans could have taken control and gerrymandered Oregon, provided they could agree on a map (otherwise, Secy. Kate Brown, Oregon’s Democratic secretary of state, would have been constitutionally empowered to draw one up – which, as it is, puts considerable pressure on Republicans to compromise with Democrats). Here’s one they might have liked.

I’ve done what any self-respecting, all-powerful Republican trifecta would do, and I’ve just handed Democrats the Willamette River Valley while giving Republicans two seats in the rest of the state.

There should be little controversy about the Portland metropolitan area. The new OR-01 I’ve drawn would have been, if Republicans had won and drew this map, one of the most Democratic districts in the entire country; Rep. Blumenauer’s Republican opponent, Delia Lopez, picked up three percent of the vote in the portion of Multnomah County in Blumenauer’s district, currently OR-03. Note: I spent so much time playing around with the district lines that some of the district numbers are mixed up.

OR-01 here includes some of the most liberal parts of Clackamas County, including Milwaukee. Rep. Blumenauer would thrive here, obviously.

As for OR-05, it includes most of Portland’s western suburbs, as well as some of the most swingy parts of Clackamas County. It’d probably be a Democratic district, but an Oregonian answer to Reps. Reichert or Tiberi might be able to flip it in a good year.

I originally had OR-05 reaching up into Columbia County to encompass St. Helens and Scappoose, but I decided against it. They were instead awarded to OR-04, which thus holds the entire Oregon Coast. OR-04 also reaches inland to western Washington, Yamhill, and Polk counties. It’s almost entirely rural, and despite Astoria and a few other lean Democratic cities in northwestern Oregon, it would be safely Republican.

The reason OR-04 would be safely Republican is simple: Eugene has been gerrymandered into a district with the lean Democratic cities of the Willamette River Valley, including the capital of Salem and its suburbs. Conservative Albany is left to OR-04. Because of the way OR-03 is drawn, it would be a pretty safe Democratic district, especially considering the surging Latino population in and around Salem.

OR-02, currently Rep. Walden’s district, remains safely Republican, soaking up the swingy population centers of Bend, Medford, Ashland, and Hood River with the entirety of hard-right eastern Oregon, as well as most of fairly conservative central and southern Oregon.

In plain speech, OR-02 and OR-04 would be safely Republican, while OR-01, OR-03, and OR-05 would be Democratic. Definitely a good thing Republicans didn’t manage to take over Salem this year.

BONUS: Just for kicks, here’s a picture of the way I originally gerrymandered OR-03:

I decided Bend would be fine in OR-02 and it would be best to keep the district more compact and inclusive of the Salem suburbs, not just the I-5 corridor down the Willamette River Valley. The way this district is drawn would force OR-03 to spill into Clackamas County. While it’s funny (and hideous), I decided it wasn’t practical.

Baselines for California, Maryland, Oregon, Washington!

 You may remember all the baseline diaries I used to post here. Now that election day is only two days away, I have combined all my baseline diaries together so you can look at them while watching the returns come in. I did this with the Washington Primary in August and I thought it worked well. This diary goes on for awhile.

If swing state project has to crash on Nov. 2nd (God forbid,) you can still see my baseline diaries by going to my blog: http://frogandturtle.blogspot….

California Gubernatorial race baselines combining results from 2006 Attorney General election and 2008 Presidential election:

Dark Red: Whitman 70%+

Red: Whitman 56%-69%

Light Red: Whitman 50%-55%

Light Blue: Brown 50%-55%

Blue: Brown 56%-69%

Dark Blue: Brown 70%+


Baseline Excel


Cali Baselines 3

Regional breakdowns:

Bay Area:

Bay Area

Cali SoCal

Now for the Maryland Gubernatorial race which recently is going toward Martin O’Malley (D). It combines the results of the 2008 Presidential election with the 2006 Gubernatorial election results.

Dark Red=Ehlrich 70%+

Red=Ehlrich 60%-69%

Light Red=Ehlrich 50%-69%

Blue=O’Malley 60%-69%

Dark Blue= O’Malley 70%+

For a clearer map:…


County name O’Malley Ehlrich Other

Alleghany 32% 67% 1%

Anne Arundel 38% 61% 1%

Baltimore County 46% 53% 1%

Balitmore City 73% 26% 1%

Calvert 36% 63% 1%

Caroline 27% 72% 1%

Carrol 23% 76% 1%

Cecil 34% 65% 1%

Charles 49% 50% 1%

Dorcester 33% 66% 1%

Frederick 36% 63% 1%

Garrett 22% 77% 1%

Harford 30% 69% 1%

Howard 48% 51% 1%

Kent 39% 60% 1%

Montgomery 60% 39% 1%

Prince George’s 76% 23% 1%

Queen Anne’s 26% 73% 1%

Somerset 36% 63% 1%

St. Mary’s 33% 66% 1%

Talbot 32% 67% 1%

Washington 32% 67% 1%

Wicomico 34% 65% 1%

Worcester 30% 69% 1%

Now for the Oregon Gubernatorial race with a combination of the 2008 Presidential election and the 1998 Gubernatorial race with John Kitzhaber.

Dark Blue: Kitzhaber 50%+

Blue: Kitzhaber 50%-59%

Light Red: Dudley 50%-59%

Red: Dudley 60%-69%

Dark Red: Dudley 70%+

A clearer map:…


Counties Kitzhaber Dudley

Baker 32% 68%

Benton 57% 43%

Clackamas 48% 52%

Clatsop 54% 46%

Columbia 50% 50%

Coos 43% 57%

Crook 32% 68%

Curry 39% 61%

Deschutes 42% 58%

Douglas 36% 64%

Gilliam 43% 57%

Grant 27% 73%

Harney 26% 74%

Hood River 55% 45%

Jackson 44% 56%

Jefferson 42% 58%

Josephine 35% 65%

Klamath 29% 71%

Lake 26% 74%

Lane 56% 44%

Lincoln 54% 46%

Linn 40% 60%

Malheur 25% 75%

Marion 46% 54%

Morrow 40% 60%

Multnomah 66% 34%

Polk 45% 55%

Sherman 40% 60%

Tillamook 51% 49%

Umatilla 40% 60%

Union 38% 62%

Wallowa 33% 67%

Wasco 50% 50%

Washington 52% 48%

Wheeler 34% 66%

Yamhill 44% 56%

Now for Washington Senate combining results from the 2008 Presidential election, 2004 Senatorial race and 2004 Gubernatorial race.

Dark Red: Rossi 65% +

Red: Rossi 55%-64%

Light Red: Rossi 50%-54%

Light Blue: Murray 50%-54%

Blue: Murray 55%-64%

Dark Blue: Murray 65%+

Here is a better quality map of Washington:…


List of counties:

County Names Murray Rossi Percentages

Adams 853 2,305 27%-73%

Asotin 2,416 3,941 38%-62%

Benton 14,301 33,369 30%-70%

Chelan 7,568 13,337 36%-64%

Clallam 11,142 13,896 45%-55%

Clark 53,080 66,470 44%-56%

Columbia 415 1,052 28%-72%

Cowlitz 14,377 15,206 49%-51%

Douglas 3,178 6,754 32%-68%

Ferry 848 1,450 37%-63%

Franklin 4,027 8,839 31%-69%

Garfield 237 655 27%-73%

Grant 5,226 12,735 29%-71%

Grays Harbor 9,580 9,390 51%-49%

Island 12,414 14,990 45%-55%

Jefferson 7,690 5,389 59%-41%

King 366,136 236,061 61%-39%

Kitsap 39,653 41,604 49%-51%

Kittitas 4,545 7,140 39%-61%

Klickitat 2,821 3,785 43%-57%

Lewis 7,251 15,478 32%-68%

Lincoln 1,152 2,753 30%-70%

Mason 8,840 9,692 48%-52%

Okanogan 4,173 6,879 38%-62%

Pacific 3,672 3,513 51%-49%

Pend Oreille 1,640 2,653 38%-62%

Pierce 103,807 111,561 48%-52%

San Juan 4,245 2,635 62%-38%

Skagit 16,819 19,745 46%-54%

Skamina 1,634 1,934 46%-54%

Snohomish 104,923 104,505 50%-50%

Spokane 61,628 82,026 43%-57%

Stevens 4,904 9,780 33%-67%

Thurston 44,051 38,752 53%-47%

Wahkiakum 672 825 45%-55%

Walla Walla 5,805 10,365 36%-64%

Whatcom 33,054 32,530 50%-50%

Whitman 4,984 6,448 44%-56%

Yakima 17,919 31,310 36%-64%

Total 991,680 991,752 50%-50%

Here is how the baselines break down regionally:

Seattle & Vicinity

Counties   Murray Rossi

King 366,136  236,061 61%-39%

Snohomish 104,923  104,505 50%-50%

Pierce 103,807  111,561 48%-52%

Kitsap 39,653  41,604 49%-51%

Thurston 44,051  38,752 53%-47%

Total 658,570  532,483 55%-45%

Coastal Washington Murray Rossi

Whatcom 33,054 32,530 50%-50%

Skagit 16,819 19,745 46%-54%

San Juan 4,245 2,635 62%-38%

Island 12,414 14,990 45%-55%

Clallam 11,142 13,896 45%-55%

Jefferson 7,690 5,389 59%-41%

Mason 8,840 9,692 48%-52%

Grays Harbor 9,580 9,390 51%-49%

Pacific 3,672 3,513 51%-49%

Lewis 7,251 15,478 32%-68%

Wahkiakum 672 825 45%-55%

Cowlitz 14,377 15,206 49%-51%

Clark 53,080 66,470 44%-56%

Skamina 1,634 1,934 46%-54%

Total 184,470 211,693 47%-53%

Rest of the State

           Murray Rossi

Total 148,640 247,576 38%-62%

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

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Arkansas, Oregon & Pennsylvania Results Thread #3

3:07am: The AR-03 (R) runoff has been called for Womack and Bledsoe.

1:52am: OR-01’s R primary has finally been called by the AP for Rob Cornilles, who beat opponents Keller and Kuzmanich 40-29-28. We’re still waiting on one race: which wingnut squeaks into the Republican runoff in AR-03 against Steve Womack: will it be Cecile Bledsoe or Gunner DeLay? Bledsoe has pulled into a tiny lead (13% each, with a 182 vote spread, with 510 of 533 reporting).

12:54am: The AP has called the OR-Gov GOP primary for Chris Dudley. I forget which pundit made the point, but this sets up possibly the tallest major election ever, if you laid the two candidates end-to-end. At any rate, I think Dudley poses less of a challenge for Kitz than would Alley, who came across more, uh, substantial.

12:49am: Two last races out there. In the wingnut central that is AR-03, Gunner DeLay and Cecile Bledsoe are duking it out for the right to go into a runoff with Steve Womack (91% counted). And in OR-01, Rob Cornilles has a 10-point lead over Douglas Keller, but the vote’s still being counted.

12:42am: The AP calls PA-06 (D) for Manan Trivedi and PA-17 (R) for Dave Argall.

12:34am: All 100% are reporting in PA-17 as well, and David Argall seems to have won, beating Frank Ryan 32-31 (with a 900 vote spread). AP hasn’t called this one, yet.

12:22am: Trivedi wins! 100% in according to the AP, and he’s up 21,338 to 20,667, a 50.8% to 49.2% victory! WOOHOO!!!! GREAT NIGHT!

12:12am: Manan Trivedi is up 672 votes, and it looks like there are very few if any precincts outstanding. Hard to tell, though, since the SoS doesn’t say, and AP is lagging.

12:09am: AP calls OR-05 (R) for Scott Bruun. He’ll face freshman Rep. Kurt Schrader in the fall.

12:05am: Alright, where’s the foul up with the PA-19 (R) numbers? According to the AP, Rep. Todd Platts dispatched his primary challenger, Michael Smeltzer, with ease – 70-30. But the PA SoS shows him barely surviving, at 54-46. State Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D) tweets at us that the 70-30 figure is correct.

12:03am: Ah well – the AP says John Boozman won’t face a runoff. Fortunately, the Dem runoff in Arkansas is in just three weeks, so we won’t face a prolonged exposure like we do in NC (six weeks).

12:02am: The clock’s struck midnight, and as we like to say around here, we’re getting down to stems and seeds, folks. The AP has called PA-03 (R) for Mike Kelly, who wins with 28% to Paul Huber’s 26%.

11:59pm: A moment ago, Bill Halter temporarily pulled into the lead (by 86 votes) over Blanche Lincoln. She’s back ahead now by some 1,400 votes, but it would be interesting if Halter finished the night ahead.

11:55pm: Following these PA races is a bit of a pain — the AP is updating at a sluggish pace compared to the DoS, but the DoS won’t tell us where any outstanding votes are. Still, between the two, we have some good news for Manan Trivedi. Trivedi leads Pike by 800 votes according to the latest DoS count. The latest AP count (91% of the vote) indicates that almost all of Chester County is in (where Pike romped by 67-33), with a few outstanding precincts in Montgomery County, where Trivedi beat Pike. Great news.

11:40pm: What else is still on the board? Well, John Boozman is desperately trying to avoid getting teabagged into a runoff – he’s at 51.2% now with 60% reporting. And things just got a LOT tighter in PA-06, where Manan Trivedi is at 50.7% to 49.3% for Doug Pike now.

11:35pm: AP calls the OR-Sen R primary for law professor Jim Huffman, even though he’s only at 42%; none of his many opponents broke 15%.

11:32pm: Now we’re getting down to just a handful of races left. AR-01 (D) is going to be a runoff between Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey. AR-02 (D) will be a runoff between Joyce Elliott and Robbie Wills.

11:31pm: So three races left in Pennsylvania: PA-06, PA-03 (where 100% are reporting but the race is uncalled), and PA-17.

11:30pm: Looks like our friends down in PA-06 have returned from a phat ganja break – Trivedi now has 18,132 to Pike’s 15,521. The problem is that the PA SoS doesn’t say how many precincts are outstanding, and the AP is well behind the SoS. But I’m guessing we’re around 70-75% counted.

11:28pm: On the R side in OR-Gov, with 40% reporting (see how fast it goes when all the ballots are already in hand?), it’s Chris Dudley with the slam dunk, or at least the lightly-contested layup: he’s at 41, Allen Alley at 32, John Lim at 13, and Bill Sizemore proving you can still be competitive even after indictment, at 8.

11:24pm: Well, that was easy – the AP just called OR-Gov (D) for Kitz. Kinda gotta wonder why Bradbury never just got out of the way in the first place….

11:21 pm: Detouring down into the weeds in Oregon: the nonpartisan race for Superintendent of Public Instruction is being decided today, not in November, because only two people ran. The incumbent Susan Castillo (whomever everyone knows is the D) is beating Ron Maurer (the R) 55-45. Also, in the Treasurer primary, incumbent appointee Ted Wheeler is beating Rick Metsger 63-37.

11:16pm: ALERT! AR-Sen (D) will go to a run-off. And the tally (with 50% in) is a lot closer than polls suggested it was likely to be. Blanche Lincoln is at 43.5% and Bill Halter is at 42.3%.

11:15pm: In OR-01 (R), it’s Rob Cornilles 38, Douglas Keller 32, John Kuzmanich 28 with 36% in. In OR-05 (R), it’s Scott Bruun 59, “Not That” Fred Thompson 42 (23% in).

11:13pm: Miles to go before we sleep: Out in Oregon, John Kitzhaber is crushing Bill Bradbury in the Dem gov primary, 69-27, with 20% reporting. Chris Dudley has a 41-33 lead over Allen Alley on the GOP side.

11:01pm: So it looks like the PA SoS is further along than Politico. They show PA-06 already at 54-46 Trivedi.

11:00pm: Polls have just closed in Oregon.

10:58pm: Gonna guess run-off in AR-01 as well, where Tim Wooldridge leads Chad Causey 34-28.

10:57pm: With about a third in, Joye Elliott leads AR-02 over Robbie Wills, 36-33. Looks like there will be a runoff here.

10:53pm: Alright, the AP just called it for Tom Marino, who wins with an unspiring 42% or so. He’ll square off against Chris Carney in the fall.

10:50pm: Still some unsettled GOP primaries in Pennsylvania. PA-03: Mike Kelly has a narrow 29-26 lead over Paul Huber with all but 7% counted. PA-10: Tom Marino hanging on with 42% (87% counted). PA-17: Dave Argall at just 35 with Frank Ryan at 32, with 82% in.

10:47pm: So here’s a look at what’s going on: In AR-Sen, Lincoln is up just 44-42 over Halter with a third of the vote in. John Boozman keeps flirting with the 50% mark. In PA-06, Manan Trivedi is up 59-41 with half the vote in; our model shows a 54% victory for him.

Polls will close in Oregon at 11pm Eastern. Let’s rock this party west coast style! Laiiiid back.


Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon & Pennsylvania Primary/Special Election Preview

Maybe we can’t quite call it the “Super Tuesday” of congressional primary days, but based on the gravity of some of the races that will be decided this week, it wouldn’t be far off the mark. Two Democratic incumbent Senators are embroiled in stiff primary fights, and the outcome of both party primaries in Kentucky’s Senate race will weigh heavily on the competitiveness of that seat in November. All told, there are 28 elections worth watching today (by our count), with the promise of run-offs in Arkansas on June 8 if no candidate achieves a majority of the vote in their respective races. Also on tap for the weekend is the special election to replace Dem Rep. Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii’s 1st District, which is shaping up to be a disaster of Abercrombie’s making.


  • AR-Sen (D): Polling seems to indicate that the odds of Bill Halter coming out ahead of two-term incumbent Blanche Lincoln as falling somewhere between slim and none, but the presence of Paulist weirdo D.C. Morrison on the Democratic ticket may draw enough votes away from Lincoln to force a runoff in June. Outside groups have already spent millions on this race; labor has lined solidly behind Halter while Chamber of Commerce-types have funneled significant resources behind Lincoln, telling you everything you need to know about the ideological fault lines of this primary battle. If a runoff becomes a reality, expect this race to find yet another gear.
  • AR-Sen (R): Again, first place isn’t at all in question here. GOP Rep. John Boozman’s superior name recognition has given him a big edge on the other seven dwarves of the GOP field. What is at stake, though, is whether or not Boozman (like Lincoln) can avoid a resource-draining runoff, and if not, which Republican contender will advance to the next round along with him. Boozman has stayed close to the 50% mark in recent polling, with ex-state Sen. Jim Holt (the GOP’s ’04 nominee against Lincoln) and state Sen. Gilbert Baker clawing for second place.
  • AR-01 (D): With Marion Berry hitting the exits, four Dems have lined up to replace him, making a runoff a safe bet. Ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, a pretty conservative dude who lost a runoff for Lt. Governor in 2006 to Bill Halter, is seen as the front-runner — a notion confirmed by the lone poll we’ve seen of this race. However, Berry’s ex-Chief of Staff, Chad Causey, leads the money race, and state Sen. Steve Bryles has raised six figures, too. State Rep. David Cook, who is probably the most liberal choice in this race (he favors the public option, according to his campaign site) is also the least well-funded, pulling in just $54,000 through the end of April.
  • AR-01 (R): Republicans made a lot of noise about stealing Berry’s seat after he announced his retirement decision, but that sense of optimism didn’t result in an upgrade in terms of candidate recruitment. Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford started his race off slowly, but has begun to pick up the pace after Berry hit the exits, and that may be enough to make this a very competitive contest in November. The only candidate to join him the Republican primary is Princella Smith, a former aide to future ex-Rep. Joe Cao. Smith has proven to be something of a dud, only raising $67K for her primary against Crawford.
  • AR-02 (D): The primary to replace retiring Rep. Rick Snyder is a pretty interesting one, with state House Speaker Robbie Wills seemingly leading the way in terms of November electability and insider connections, and state Sen. Joyce Elliott enjoying the support of the district’s liberal base. Snyder’s former Chief of Staff, David Boling, is also in the race and has raised nearly as much as Wills, so his presence can’t be overlooked, either. The Dem field is rounded out by former Clinton School of Public Service programming director Patrick Kennedy and assistant Attorney General John Adams, both of whom have not raised much money are not expected to win a significant share of the vote.
  • AR-02 (R): Rove acolyte and ex-US Attorney Tim Griffin is expected to win this primary pretty easily, seeing as how he’s been out-raising Little Rock restaurateur Scott Wallace by a 6-to-1 margin. Wallace, however, tied Griffin at 20-20 in an early April poll of the race, and enjoys the backing of Mike Huckabee.
  • AR-03 (R): Good luck sorting through this orgy of teabaggery. A whopping eight Republicans are duking it out for the right to succeed John Boozman in the House, pretty much guaranteeing that this sucker is going to a runoff in June. That early April Talk Business poll suggested that we’re looking at a three-way race between state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, Rogers Mayor Steve Womack, and the aptly-named ex-state Sen. Gunner DeLay, but ex-DEA official Steve Lowry, businessman Kurt Maddox, and ex-state Rep. Doug Matayo could also compete.


  • HI-01 (Special): There’s not a whole lot that need be said about this crazy-ass jungle election, where Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou looks poised to steal this seat. He of course faces off against state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa and ex-Rep. Ed Case, who used to represent the state’s other CD. The one final point I do want to make is that I blame this all on Neil Abercrombie. Had he not resigned unexpectedly, we’d never have wound up on this situation. I can appreciate that campaigning for the governorship of Hawaii when you are needed in D.C. can be quite a tiring task, especially for a septuagenarian. But Abercrombie knew he wanted to run long ago. He should either have stuck out his term, or not have stood for re-election in 2008. (DavidNYC)


  • KY-Sen (D): The Big One. While the tradmed seems to neglect this race in favor of seemingly shinier objects like Arlen Specter’s primary in Pennsylvania or Rand Paul’s surprising strength among Kentucky Republicans, the Democratic primary is the true race to watch out of Kentucky tonight. 2004 nominee and current Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo had enjoyed a consistent and seemingly impenetrable lead against state AG Jack Conway, the candidate with less baggage to exploit in the general election. However, recent polls have suggested that Conway is coming on strong in the home stretch of this campaign, perhaps making the race a dead heat. Research 2000 had Conway pulling within three points while SUSA only had Conway down by one. This one should be tight.
  • KY-Sen (R): This one shouldn’t be tight. You know things are bad when Trey Grayson is whining like a DUMBocrat about Fox News’ apparent preferential treatment of Rand Paul. Despite the best efforts of Mitch McConnell and Dick Cheney, it looks like the teabaggers are poised to make a major victory tonight, as Paul leads by 18 points in the latest poll of this race. A Paul win today will make this a fascinating race in the fall — one that could potentially yield some major GOP headaches.
  • KY-03 (R): Republicans are truly leaving no stone unturned in their quest to take back the House, and have a couple of warm bodies to take on two-term Dem Rep. John Yarmuth. Jeffrey Reetz, some guy who owns 25 Pizza Hut franchises, is facing off against Air Force vet Todd Lally. Both of these guys have raised six figures for their campaigns.
  • KY-06 (R): After rocking his GOP opponent by 30 points in 2008, Ben Chandler has attracted a pack of mouth-breathers this time around, two of whom are somewhat well-funded. Attorney Andy Barr has been in the race the longest, and has raised over $400K. Retired coal executive Mike Templeman is his chief competition, while four other Republicans have only managed to raise chump change for the primary and are expected to be non-factors tonight.


  • OR-Gov (D): The main story on May 18 in Oregon may be the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, as there’s been little activity that would qualify as volcanic in either party’s open seat gubernatorial primary. The Democratic primary has been a low-key and civil contest between two long-time friends, former Governor John Kitzhaber (termed out after two terms in 2002, but angling for a return) and former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. Bradbury has big endorsers in his corner (Al Gore, Howard Dean) and gotten local progressives revved up by running to Kitzhaber’s left, but polling gives a wide edge to Kitz. (Crisitunity)
  • OR-Gov (R): After bigger names like Greg Walden and Jason Atkinson passed, the question in the GOP primary was whether anybody other than Allen Alley, a former high-tech CEO who lost the 2008 Treasurer race, was going to show up at all. Eventually Chris Dudley, a former Portland Trail Blazers center from the 1990s, showed up and immediately assumed front-runner status simply by virtue of name rec and money. Most polling has given a lead to Dudley, but Alley seems to be closing in on him, thanks in part to Dudley’s (very large) empty-suit-ishness. Both are from the moderate end of the GOP; the more conservative options, ex-state Sen. John Lim and anti-tax initiative grifter Bill Sizemore, are there mostly to provide comic relief. (C)
  • OR-01 (R): Sports industry consultant Rob Cornilles seems to have piqued the NRCC’s interest, as they’ve touted him as the man to take down Democratic Rep. David Wu in this D+8 suburban district. Before he can tackle Wu, though, he has to survive the GOP primary. Stephan Brodhead attracted some attention with his large bankroll, but SurveyUSA‘s poll of the primary indicates the main rival to Cornilles is teabagging mortgage broker John Kuzmanich. (C)
  • OR-05 (R): Similarly, the NRCC has its favorite pony in the 5th: state Rep. Scott Bruun, a moderate from the wealthy suburban portion of this somewhat rural district. There was some brief hubbub that Bruun was vulnerable to a challenge from Tea Party-aligned retired businessman Fred Thompson (no, not that Fred Thompson), but SurveyUSA recently found that Bruun is on track to nail down the nomination. (C)


  • PA-Sen (D): The big kahuna. For a long time, a lot of observers (myself included) wondered when – or even if – Rep. Joe Sestak would go on the attack against the party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter. Well, Sestak’s certainly proved all the doubters very wrong. Polls are as tight as can be, and while he may not pull it off in the end, Sestak seems to have timed things perfectly. This should be quite the barnburner. (D)
  • PA-Gov (D): A funny thing happened on the way to the primary: After a year of desultory polling showing pretty much all candidates in the teens and single digits, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato completely pulled away from the pack. According to Pollster’s trendlines, Jack Wagner, Anthony Williams, and Joe Hoeffel are all still mired in nowheresville, so unless a lot of polling is very wrong, Onorato will be the Dem gubernatorial nominee. (D)
  • PA-03 (R): There’s a crowded field to take on freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, but only two dudes have shown serious scratch – and both because they’re self-funders: retired businessman Paul Huber, who raised $200K and loaned himself another $300K, and auto dealer and ex-city councilman Mike Kelly, who lent himself $165K on top of $80K in individual contributions. Other wannabes include Cochranton insurance agent Steven Fisher, teabagger Clayton Grabb, physician Martha Moore, and Some Dude Ed Franz, who have all raised about $30K or less. Both Huber and Kelly have been on the air with TV advertisements. A big question is whether Huber’s fundraising edge will outweigh the fact that he was a registered Democrat for 33 years – and only switched parties in 2008. (D)
  • PA-04 (R): When Bush-era US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan (one of the names that kept cropping up in the US Attorney firings scandal) got into the race, Beltway pundits seemed to think the GOP primary would be a mere formality for her before posing a strong challenge to Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire in this R+6 district in Pittsburgh’s suburbs. They didn’t count on one thing: Buchanan’s apparent ineptitude at jumping from legal practice to electoral politics. We don’t have any polls to go by, but her anti-establishment opponent, attorney Keith Rothfus has outraised her and is certainly making fewer unforced errors. (C)
  • PA-06 (D): This race pits an SSP fave, physician and veteran Manan Trivedi, against someone we simply aren’t very fond of, newspaper publisher Doug Pike. But putting aside our personal preferences, what’s going to happen here? It’s hard to say, especially since we haven’t seen any polls. Pike, thanks to massive donations from himself totaling more than a million dollars, has a big money edge. He’s also gotten his share of labor endorsements, though Trivedi has scored some of his own, as well as the backing of some key county committees. I’m rooting for Trivedi, to be sure, but I think he has an uphill fight against Pike’s bucks. (D)
  • PA-10 (R): Here’s another district where the GOP thought a former US Attorney would be just what the doctor ordered, and they didn’t quite get what they thought. Tom Marino was their hyped pick for the race, but questions about Marino’s relationship with sketchy developer Louis DeNaples have loomed large over his campaign. Marino’s fundraising has been subpar as well; what is likely to help him pull it out in the primary is that his anti-establishment opposition is split, with Snyder Co. Commissioner Malcolm Derk his most prominent foe. (C)
  • PA-11 (D): Even though there’s a long-long-time Democratic incumbent here, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the primary is on the Democratic side, rather than for the GOP (where 2008 opponent Lou Barletta is on tap for a rematch). Up-and-coming Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O’Brien is taking on Kanjorski. While he has only a fraction of Kanjorski’s money, he’s trying to outhustle the crusty Kanjorski on the ground, and also making electability arguments about the incumbent, who barely beat Barletta in the much-more favorable 2008. Without any polling, it’s hard to guess whether we’re looking at a WV-01-style unplanned retirement for Kanjorski. (C)
  • PA-12 (Special): This, by rights, should be the main event tonight, as it’s the only Democrat vs. Republican matchup anywhere. It has all the makings of a dead heat, not only in terms of polling (most recently a 1-point lead for Republican Tim Burns over Democrat Mark Critz, according to PPP), but also the lay of the land. It’s an historically Democratic district with a huge registration advantage, but it’s trending in the Republican direction as district’s aged population gets its marching orders from Fox News instead of the union hall now. Much has been made of how this R+1 district was the nation’s only one to go from backing Kerry in 2004 to McCain in 2008. Critz’s close ties to John Murtha, and the fact that the special coincides with the hotly contested Democratic Senate primary, may help Dems win the day, though. (C)
  • PA-12 (D/R): The regularly scheduled primary elections in the 12th for November are also on the same day as the special. While it’s likely that, whatever the special election outcome, Mark Critz and Tim Burns will be facing each other again in the general, that’s not guaranteed. Critz is likely to beat Ryan Bucchanieri on the Dem side, but Burns is facing a tough challenge from Bill Russell and leading only narrowly according to a recent Susquehanna poll. Russell, who was passed over by the state party for the nomination, was the 2008 candidate; he’s best known as frontman for direct-mail scammers BaseConnect, and as such, has had enough money for TV ads. Could we see a Neil Abercrombie-type result where Burns wins a special and loses a primary on the same day? (C)
  • PA-17 (D/R): Most observers expect November to be a matchup of long-time incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Holden, and top-tier-ish GOP recruit state Sen. David Argall. Both, however, have primaries to get through first. Holden faces Democratic activist Sheila Dow-Ford, who’s attacking him over his anti-HCR vote. Meanwhile, Argall (vulnerable over the issue of legislative pay raises) is barely keeping his head above water against fractured opposition, led by veteran Frank Ryan, who’s had some surprising fundraising success. (C)
  • PA-19 (R): This has the potential to be a surprise: Rep. Todd Platts is an unusually moderate Republican given the R+12 lean of this rural district, and he’s also painted a target on his own back by publicly expressing interest on getting out of that job and moving over to head the Government Accountability Office instead. Opponent Mike Smeltzer is hoping to use that as a basis for giving Platts a good teabagging. (C)

    Encourage Progressive Leadership

    {First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

    It’s been almost a year since Election Day 2008, but some of our ’08 champs could still use a little help.  Just sayin’.

    As of September 30, 2009:

    Democrat Cash on Hand Debt Amount in the Red Where to Contribute
    Al Franken $242,128 $450,859 $208,731 Contribute to Al
    Jeff Merkley $137,221 $271,589 $134,368 Contribute to Jeff

    I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of 2010 candidates that need our help.  (There are!  Please help!)  I’m just saying that helping our previous progressive winners to close their books and retire their debts could encourage other Democrats currently running to follow in more progressive footsteps, knowing we have their backs.

    I’ll leave you with a few reasons to be very, very proud of Senator Al Franken’s first months as a U.S. Senator (and very, very motivated to help retire his campaign debt):

    And a dash of Senator Merkley for good measure:

    Redistricting Oregon: 6 Districts

    Using Dave’s Application, I have drawn a redistricting plan for Oregon.  The state will either keep the current five seats or may gain one seat in 2012.  This plan is drawn for six seats.  I have seen several other proposals for a six-seat Oregon plan; however, those plans were either quite gerrymandered and/or were drawn to elect four Democrats and two Republicans.

    In this plan, the districts are very compact and the plan is designed to elect five Democrats and one Republican.  County lines are used as the demarcation for districts to the fullest extent possible.





    District 1 – Portland and Coastal Oregon

    New district: Obama 63%, McCain 35% (current district: Obama 61%, McCain 36%)

    David Wu lives in Portland, and about 45% of his new district is in Multnomah County.  He currently represents areas of west Portland.  Additional parts of Portland are added (a southern area currently a part of OR-5, and parts of north and northeast Portland currently a part of OR-3).  The remainder of the new district includes Columbia and Clatsop Counties, which Wu also currently represents, as well as all of Oregon’s other coastal counties (Tillamook, Lincoln, Coos and Curry), coastal communities of two inland counties (Florence in Lane Co. and Reedsport in Douglas Co.), and Josephine Co. in southern Oregon.  The Democratic percentage goes up a notch, and Wu is set to go.

    District 2 – eastern Oregon

    New district: Obama 41%, McCain 56% (current district: Obama 43%, McCain 54%)

    This district is designed to remain the one Republican district in the state.  The new district includes 18 counties in their entirety (17 voted for McCain, while Obama won Wasco with 52%) as well as the most GOP parts of Clackamas County.  The incumbent, Greg Walden, lives in Hood River, but that 64% Obama county is no longer in the district.  The Republican percentage here goes up a notch.

    District 3 – Portland and environs

    New district: Obama 70%, McCain 28% (current district: Obama 71%, McCain 26%)

    Earl Blumenauer’s Portland-based district remains largely intact.  67% of the new district is in Multnomah, while the rest includes all of Hood River Co. and part of Clackamas (the southern boundary of the new OR-3 in Clackamas corresponds very closely to the current southern boundary of OR-3).  The Democratic percentage goes down ever so slightly, but remains at a very comfortable 70% Obama level.

    District 4 – Eugene and southern Oregon

    New district: Obama 54%, McCain 43% (current district: Obama 54%, McCain 43%)

    The new OR-4 contains Lane, Douglas and Jackson Counties, almost in their entirety.  The only discrepancy is that coastal communities in Lane and Douglas become part of OR-1 — this works out perfectly in terms of making each district equal in population and also in terms of keeping all coastal communities together.  Btw, does anybody know why coastal communities like Florence and Reedsport are part of otherwise inland counties, it doesn’t seem to fit the pattern of other coastal areas in Oregon which form their own counties, but I’m sure there are historical reasons (?)  The new district is almost exactly the same as the current one in terms of partisanship (and just like the current OR-4, went barely for John Kerry in 2004).  Not sure if Peter DeFazio is running for re-election, but if he does, he is set to go.  If not, other Democrats should be very competitive here.

    District 5 – Salem and Willamette Valley

    New district: Obama 54%, McCain 43% (current district: Obama 54%, McCain 43%)

    The new district includes Marion, Benton and Polk Counties in their entirety as well as suburban parts of Clackamas Co. south of Portland (Lake Oswego, West Linn, Oregon City and Canby home of incumbent Kurt Schrader).  The new district is exactly the same as the current one in terms of political preference.

    District 6 – Washington and Yamhill Counties

    New district: Obama 58%, McCain 39% (current district does not exist)

    The new OR-6 corresponds almost perfectly to Washington and Yamhill Counties.  To make the population perfectly equal, two precincts in Multnomah are added.  Apparently this area has experienced high population growth over the last decade, and if Oregon gains a seat in 2012, it can easily be drawn here.  The new district, if created here, would be one that is quite Democratic.  The territory here is currently represented by David Wu, but the new OR-1 is designed for him; not sure who could run in the new OR-6 (?).

    That’s my plan for Oregon.  As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.  Thanks.