Virginia fair maps, Congress, State Senate and State House

With all the talk by Virginia Gov Bob McDonnell about fair redistricting, I thought it would be interesting to make a map that is actually fair. However, instead of just doing a congressional map, I did a State House and State Senate map as well. Do to the fact that it is 150 districts, I will not be giving information on each like i usually do. Instead, i just did a count and classified each district. Any district with less than 45% Obama is Safe R, 45-49.9 is Likely R, 50-53.9 is Lean R, 54-56 is Toss-Up, 56.1-59.9 is Lean D, 60-64.9 is Likely D, 65 and up is Safe D.

First up, the plan for the Congressional seats.

3 Safe R, 3 Likely R, 1 Toss Up, 2 Lean D, 2 Safe D.

That would be 3 Probably R, 2 Probably D, and 3 Competitive seats.

State Senate Plan

15 Safe R, 3 Likely R, 5 Lean R, 4 Toss-Ups, 2 Lean D, 7 Likely D, 4 Safe D.

That would be 18 Probably Republican, 11 Probably Democrat, and 11 Competitive.

State House

31 Safe R, 16 Likely R, 8 Lean R, 9 Toss-Ups, 10 Lean D, 12 Likely D, 14 Safe D.

47 Probably Republican, 26 Probably D, 27 Competitive.

My initial reaction was one of surprise, as I thought the seat count would be more even. But as I thought about it, Virginia was closer than the nation as a whole, so if we use the nation as a whole as the way to determine how safe a district is, we of course get this result. If you assume 08 is closer to the truth, dems would win almost all of the “competitive” districts. If we assume it is more like 2010, than those would go to republicans. If you want more info on any districts or VRA or any of that good stuff, lemme know.

Michigan State House Redistricting, Part I

This is first in a series of diaries looking at redistricting in the Michigan State House. I’m not totally sure how many parts there will be yet. The current diary is focused on Wayne County, home of Detroit, and the county with the worst numerical net loss of population over the last ten years of any in the country — just short of a quarter million.

The upshot here is that Wayne County currently possesses 23 state house districts; with the population loss, it’s going to drop to 20. All three seats loss are Detroit-based.

Michigan has a 110-member state house. In 2010, the Republicans gained nineteen seats while losing none, to take control of the chamber by a 63-47 margin.

I haven’t done a full map yet, so I don’t know for sure where those seats are going, but I have to assume that the loss of three safe seats in Detroit is going to make the task of regaining the chamber even more difficult for the Democrats.

Maps and more after the jump.

Note: ideal district size is now 89,851 people. The allowed deviation is 5%, I believe, which translates to 4492 people.

Old Districts

Here’s an approximation of the current districts based solely or partially in Detroit in Dave’s App:

Notice how under-populated the Detroit-based districts are. HD-01 (Grosse Pointes) is majority white; HD-12 (Southern Detroit) is majority Hispanic (total population, just short on VAP); the rest are majority African American. HD-01 is the only competive district, going 54-46 Democratic in 2010. The rest are safely Democratic.

Here’s the approximation of the rest of the county’s districts:

I lightened the colors to make the locality boundaries stand out. This obscures, to my vision, one of the district boundaries. The boundary between HD-14 (Northern Downriver) and HD-22 (Romulus/Taylor) is the Taylor/Allen Park city line.

Surprisingly, to me, there are actually four districts that are overpopulated; three of which are outside the allowable deviation. HD-21 is going to have to be broken up — that’s a really significant positive deviation.

Republicans hold three of these seats: HD-19 (Livonia), HD-20 (Plymouth/Northville), and HD-23 (Southern townships). Of the remaining seats, only HD-21 is competitive. The Democrats held on in 2010 by 51%-49% – about 900 votes. All of these seats should be winnable by the right Democrat in the right environment — I’m pretty sure, for example, that Obama carried every Wayne County district. Also, I’m reasonably certain that HD-20 would have the most Republican PVI, and it was a 2010 pickup for them.

Collectively, the Wayne County districts are 246k underpopulated. The twelve Detroit-based districts account for all but .8k of that shortfall. (That is, the number of non-Detroit-based districts is the same. All of the districts lost in Wayne County will be Detroit-based.)

New Districts

Michigan redistricting standards encourage linedrawers to maintain the integrity of localities where possible. This is the arrangement that I came to while redistributing the eleven non-Detroit-based districts within the limits of that guideline, while trying to protect the three Republican incumbents.

HD-23 (Southern townships) and HD-13 (Southern Downriver) are the only truly clean districts, with Gibraltar having been swapped from the former to the latter.

HD-21 needs to be broken up. Plymouth, Plymouth Twp, Northville, Northville Twp, Canton and Wayne combine to within 4k of the ideal for two districts. A real Republican plan would take into account how best to split Canton to their advantage; my selection of precincts to end up in HD-20 and HD-21 was arbitrary. HD-21, however, should end up more Republican than before: Van Buren Twp and Belleville together are both more Democratic and larger than Wayne.

Livonia and Dearborn are each slightly too large to be single district. I maintained Livonia’s current donation to HD-17, Dearborn ends up donating into HD-14 (Northern Downriver) instead of into Detroit. This is because HD-14 was too large with River Rouge (which therefore ends up in a Detroit-based district) but worked with the donation from Dearborn.

With Van Buren/Belleville bounded on the north by HD-21 and on the south by HD-23, the only place for them to go was into HD-22 to the east. This required Romulus and Taylor to split. I ended up combining Romulus/Van Buren/Belleville with Inkster and enough of Westland to connect them (the portion south of Garden City and east of Merriman Rd), thereby creating an African-American opportunity district. (It’s W 46.8, B 44.9 by total pop; W 50.7, B 42.4 by VAP.) Taylor then combines with the portion of Dearborn Heights south of Ford Road to make HD-16.

The final two districts are then HD-18 (Garden City and the portion of Westland west of Merriman Rd) and HD-17 (Redford, the part of Livonia not in HD-19, the part of Dearborn Heights not in HD-16, and the part of Westland not in HD-18 or HD-22).

The Detroit-based district here are more representative than predictive. I don’t know enough about the incumbent representatives to know which the Republicans might favor or disfavor through redistricting. But you can see in general terms what Detroit looks like with three fewer districts than before.

HD-01 is still majority white, although slightly less so. (It should therefore become less competive for the Republicans.) HD-12 is no longer majority Hispanic. It previously contained every heavily-Hispanic precinct it could; its necessary growth diluted the Hispanic percentage down to 44.5% by total population and 39.2% plurality by VAP.


Republicans could potentially net as many as four state House seats in Wayne County from their control of the redistricting process: the three that are disappeared from Detroit (depending on where they end up) and HD-21, a competitive seat that will be somewhat less Democratic than before.

DLCC Essential Race: Can Dan “Death Threat” Manning Dominate Downballot?

We’re going way downballot, baby. As I like to say: SSPers do it downballot.  [and yes, I would buy a t-shirt that said that]

Wait, what is the DLCC and what are their essential races?

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the downballot counterpart to the attention-hogging DCCC (triage!) and DSCC (save the saucer!). They focus on state legislative races and are especially active this cycle with redistricting hanging in the balance. State legislatures, of course, are crucial players in the process, and swinging them our way will help prevent DeLaymanders. The DLCC party poohbahs, as it were, selected 40 races, mostly focused on redistricting and the most hotly-contested state houses. Party Picks 1-20. Party Picks 21-40. But then the DLCC did something that made me love them. Oh yes, love. The DLCC solicited right here on SSP, nominations for more of these Essential downballot races. And apparently, we nominated the hell out of our candidates, because the DLCC announced The Grassroots 15, instead of just 10. And frankly, looking at the grassroots nominees, we did good y’all.

Why should I care?

Besides being SSP’s bread and butter (well, Congressional races are probably the bread & butter…downballot is more like…the arugula?), I would posit that it is these sort of races that are truly the purest form of American democracy. The Founders, I think, both envisioned and practiced this sort of meet-your-neighbors campaigning. Downballot races are also much more dependent on candidates–almost never national forces sweep in and, say, donate $13 million to Sharron Angle when she’s running for the Nevada state legislature. But the great thing from the perspective of civic-minded citizens is that participating in races like these can yield bigger and more tangible results than say, giving Jack Conway $20 (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But when $20-$25k is enough for the entire race, even a small donation to Manning’s campaign can make a big difference. So why does the DLCC say this race matters?

Why this Race Matters: This campaign turned ugly for Democratic nominee Dan Manning a few weeks ago when he discovered a death threat laced with anti-gay slurs on his doorstep. Manning is a decorated West Point graduate who was discharged from the military because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. If Manning wins his race, factional divisions within the state Republican Party would give him considerably more influence in the Kansas House than the GOP’s wide chamber majority would suggest.

Plus, as our own James L. pointed out in a 2006 diary:

Democratic gains in state legislatures are crucial for building the “farm team” for higher offices.

That James L. link btw, enumerates the gains made in state legislatures in the 2006 election. And James, of course, is/was right–state Rep. Raj Goyle (KS-04) and state Rep. Bryan Lentz (PA-07), for example, are now in tight races for Congress, and were among those 268 net pickups in 2006 (that was in state Houses alone).

Well, in Dan Manning, Democrats may have a candidate who could eventually go far, far beyond the mostly middle-class neighborhoods of Wichita’s 91st District. Find out why, after the jump….

Dan Manning at ArtAid BenefitTHE CANDIDATE:

Dan “Death Threat” Manning … oh yeah, I’m making that his official nickname now.

Since we last checked in on him and his campaign, as well as other top state legislative races in Kansas, Dan “Death Threat” Manning has emerged as one of the Kansas Democratic Party’s most formidable new candidates.

He’s like the new Sean Tevis, except way, way different.

Georgia-born Dan Manning is a West Point grad (’04) and Mandarin-speaking military vet booted from the Army thanks to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (timely!).

If I have the story right, Manning actually “told” via press release upon announcing the formal creation of Knights Out, the pro-LGBT, anti-DADT West Point alumni group. Manning currently sits on the Knights Out board.

UPDATE: Yeah, I was totally wrong. He was outed and kicked out before they did the whole press release thing. Still, I’ve never come out via press release, and I don’t really know of many who have.

Btw, guess who Dan Manning recruited to be spokesperson and a co-founder of Knights Out? Dan Choi.

So yes, gays, you partially have Dan Manning to thank for Dan Choi becoming the badass LGBT activist he is today.

After all, Dan Choi probably wouldn’t have been on TV talking to Rachel Maddow if he wasn’t speaking for Knights Out at the time. And thus, no springboard to national fame.  

Dan Choi Chains Himself To White HouseNo seriously, thank you for Dan Choi.

After getting his honorable discharge from the US Army, Manning put his artillery battalion skills to use in electrical engineering and business management, oh, and picked up an MBA and started work on a PhD. After almost four years in the private sector, he currently serves as a production supervisor at AGCO, which manufactures tractors and all manner of farming-related “Serious Machinery” in Hesston, KS, a little ways north of Wichita.

I honestly couldn’t have written a better profile for the first openly-gay member of the state Legislature…and I’m, like, a really good writer. As a campaigner, the West Point discipline has him canvassing and campaigning with precision, and it also neutralizes much of the potential antipathy from the D by his name and the rainbow in his heart. He works at an actual factory (Labor) but as a managerial type (Business) who is soon to have a PhD (Education/Professionals). Sure, he’s gay (LGBT) but he was a soldier first (Military). Oh, and did I mention he manufactures tractors and farming equipment (Farmers).

Let’s see…Labor, Business, Professionals, LGBT, Military, and Farmers….that’s not just a Democratic coalition that can win in Kansas, that’s a Democratic coalition that can wipe the floor with its opponents in Kansas. Basically, Dan Manning has the Kansas version of the profile Harvey Milk wished he’d had. Look, I don’t invoke the de-facto Gay MLK lightly (well, he was a politician, so maybe Milk is the…Gay Obama?). But it’s true. Manning has the profile to do really, really well in politics. And dude’s just 30, and if he wins this year, as I think he probably will in the end, he could be … is… someone good.

Brenda Landwehr - official photoTHE OPPONENT:

Dan Manning’s opponent is state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, who has been in the Legislature since 1995 and now serves as the Health & Human Services Chair. Her biggest donor? The KS Hospital Association, of course, followed immediately by Koch Industries, then the KS Bankers Association, rounded off by everyone’s favorite small business killer: Wal-Mart. Quite a Top 4, even for a hard-right Republican…

While she has a long anti-gay, anti-moderate, anti-anything-but-super-conservative record, Landwehr’s latest media buzz was as an attack dog against fellow state Rep. Raj Goyle, the well-funded Democrat making a strong bid to become Wichita’s Congressman. She made her forceful comments as a main backer of Mike Pompeo at a Republican legislator unity rally that turned out to be not-so-united when Pompeo’s primary rival, moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf, was a no-show. Source: Wichita Eagle

Raj Goyle & Dan ManningIf moderate Republicans don’t come home to Pompeo (and his ineffectual campaign doesn’t seem to be helping), Kansas could end up electing an Indian-American Democrat to a R+14 seat.

Yes, Pompeo may yet win the KS-04 seat thanks to its ruby red nature, but he is not particularly popular outside of the Koch set. The 91st, on the other hand, the one Brenda Landwehr actually has to run in, is decidedly swingy–purple, if you will.  Let’s explore it!


Welcome to Wichita, Kansas, the biggest city in the state we all think of as “Home” (thanks Wizard of Oz!). In the 91st district, you’ve got partisan demographics that are pretty close to those statewide.

Partisan Makeup of Kansas: 43.5R/27D/28.6U

Partisan Makeup of the 91st District:  42R/31D/26.4U

As you can see on the District Map, the 91st is located in the northern reaches of the city of Wichita. Most of these areas are relatively new-ish and decidedly middle-class. They’re mostly the type of folks who are scrupulous with their yards, and picky with their political yard signs.

Finally, a note to Karl Rove wannabes: the death threat is not an effective political weapon. It will almost certainly backfire…especially when you try it on a West Point graduate who knows how to handle a gun.

Please help win this Essential Race for Kansas, America, rainbows, puppies, children, veterans and the American Way:

Donate to Dan Manning by clicking here.

Please help. Seriously. Please. Pretty please with a cherry on top. Please. Dan Manning actually has “first LGBT President of the United States” potential. Do it for America.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

OH St.-House: Campaigns Ramping Up

[cross-posted at – SSP has been paying a lot of attention to the Ohio House and Ohio redistricting, so we hope the latest campaign news is of interest to folks here.]

Part 1 of 2:

A relative handful of Ohio House contests offer Democrats an opportunity to unpack one of the worst GOP gerrymanders in the country, and they offer Republicans a chance to fine-tune their handiwork and wipe away the Democratic gains since 2006.

Last week was a busy one in the campaign to defend the Democrats' narrow majority, underscoring the two-month sprint that's all that remains between now and Election Day.

Democratic House Speaker Armond Budish started things off on a confident note, predicting that his Caucus’ successful legislative effort on job creation and other campaign advantages would allow House Democrats to localize their races and survive a tough climate:

Democrats will do well against the odds based on the strength of a significant fundraising advantage of roughly 3-to-1 and a strong ground game focused on door-to-door campaigning, he said.

“State rep races are local and even though you all know there is a strong headwind this year, we will keep and expand the Democratic majority in the House because we have a strong message of job creation,” Budish said. The Beachwood Democrat cited a film tax credit, a renewal of the Third Frontier program and a $100 million expansion of the Venture Capital Fund as job-creating efforts pushed by Democrats.

When told that GOP leaders were already predicting victory in the chamber, Budish gave a characteristically pithy response:

“At the local level, Ohioans understand that we have fought for them, and we've put their interest first,” Budish said. “We're hearing that people want common-sense solutions. They don't want extreme ideology.”

Talking to reporters, Budish gave the exact measurements of the windows in the speaker's office, suggesting that Minority Leader William G. Batchelder could now stop measuring the curtains and “maybe he can spend time working with us on policy for a change.”

That same day, the Dayton Daily News profiled two districts where observers feel Democrats remain on the offensive:

Republican Seth Morgan holds the 36th District seat but is not seeking re-election because he ran for the GOP nomination for auditor and lost. Democrat Carl Fisher, Jr., a Huber Heights school board member, is running against Republican Michael Henne of Clayton, an insurance agency co-owner.

Henne was a GOP “second choice” who won the nomination after frontrunner Joe Ellis had a bar fight, Budish said.

The 72nd is more competitive but Republican incumbent Ross McGregor, who’s seeking re-election, won in 2006 and 2008, great years for Democrats.

Democrat Gregory Krouse, a teacher and president of the Springfield Education Association, is challenging McGregor.

Winning either of these districts would complicate GOP electoral math, but it would also strongly suggest Democrats are doing well enough statewide to retain their majority.

Finally, as if to reinforce Speaker Budish’s original point, Democrats got two pieces of good news for their candidates. First, the GOP nominee in the Columbus-based 25th district withdrew from the race – leaving Democratic nominee Michael Stinziano unopposed this November. Stinziano was already considered the favorite in this race, but one fewer open seat to worry about is always good news for the defending party.

Second, the AFL-CIO has announced the start of its own Get Out the Vote operation targeting 650,000 union households in Ohio:

The Ohio union has established 16 call centers in cities across the state from which voluteers talk nightly with prospective voters about union-friendly candidates. Ohio AFL-CIO, which represents 650,000 workers from 1,600 local unions, also is targeting direct mail and worksite leafleting to union households and members.

Focused on helping the Democrats’ statewide ticket, this effort is also likely to boost down-ticket Democrats in vote-rich swing areas of the state – exactly the areas where swing legislative districts tend to be concentrated.

Part 2 of this series will look at the Democratic House Caucus’ field effort.

KS: Complete Kansas State Legislative Race Ratings 2010, Districts 41-80

In my last diary, I ran through KS House seats 1-40, so if you haven’t read that, I’d advise starting there. In this edition, I’ll examine seats 40-80, which include some in suburban Johnson County (heavily covered in the previous edition) as well as Topeka, Salina, and much of the eastern & central parts of the state, even reaching down to the Wichita exurbs.


Current composition: 76 Republicans, 49 Democrats (or about 61%-39%)


KS-HR-# <—this is the district’s number

43.5R/27D/28.6U   <—this is the voter affiliation breakdown, R is Republican, D is for Democrat, and U is unaffiliated voters. Statewide, as of June 2010, the state’s registration numbers were 43.5% Republican, 27.2% Democrat, and 28.6% Unaffiliated. Unless the tenth of a percent is a 4, 5 or 6, I rounded to the nearest full percentage point in most cases.

District Map    <—-this is the official map (pdf format) of this district from the Legislature’s website (opens in a new window). Maps from:


Candidate Guide + District PVIs from Capitol Strategies LLC [pdf]

Guide to every KS House seat’s past voting from

Candidate Fundraising from


KS-HR-41: 32R/34.5D/32.5U : District Map : (D/Open) – With the retirement of Democrat Marti Crow, this still-competitive, but increasingly blue, seat is now open. In 2008, Crow smacked down Republican Jana Taylor Goodman 59-41, who, having won the Republican primary convincingly, is back for another try at the seat in 2010. Crow and other local Democrats are backing Nancy Bauder, the Exec. Dir. of the Community Development Corp. of Leavenworth, and a small business owner. Gov. Parkinson held a fundraiser for Bauder, whose high-quality website makes Goodman’s look outlandishly amateurish. Her economic development credentials are also flawless, and make Goodman’s non-existent ones even more pronounced. Rating: Lean Democrat

Connie O'Brien, Worst State Representative in KansasKS-HR-42: 41R/27D/31U :  District Map : (R) Connie O’Brien, a retired special education teacher, won her seat in 2008 with almost 60% of the vote against the underfunded Timothy Moran, but faces a challenge from James “Jim” Pittman, a military veteran, engineer, and Chairman of the Lansing Planning Commission. O’Brien, a mother of 11(!) and vice-chair of Leavenworth County Republicans, is a past President (1996) of Kansans for Life, the most powerful local anti-abortion group. As such, she’s aligned herself with the hardcore conservatives, both socially and fiscally. This could make her vulnerable to a strong challenge, though I’m unsure if Pittman can provide it (though he certainly has a good profile to do it). Rating: Likely Republican

On a personal note, having examined lots of local legislators’ websites, voting records, biographies, positions and electoral histories, I have concluded that Connie O’Brien is the single worst person in the entire Kansas Legislature. She is a hardcore, unthinking, dogmatic partisan who insults her fellow legislators (Democrats and Republicans alike) while distorting the work of the Legislature. While Connie’s Corner sounds like the type of place you might find knitting tips, with Connie O’Brien you’ll find intense partisan invective that you won’t find on nearly any other legislator’s website. And what the hell kind of grandmother votes against requiring people to wear seatbelts while voting to let them smoke in restaurants? She is a lying, egotistical, hypocritical bigot whose presence in the Legislature is a disgrace to the state, and especially to the people of Leavenworth County.

Kevin King of Kansas, District 43 Candidate"Big" Mike KiegerlBeard Fight!

KS-HR-43: 44R/22D/33.4U :  District Map : (R) Mike Kiegerl (at right) was first elected to this new district upon its creation in 2002. He’s faced a declining share of the vote as the area urbanizes (well, suburbanizes) and grows more moderate, taking only 53% of the vote in 2008 (thanks to a Libertarian eating a huge 12% of the vote). This cycle, he faces Democrat Kevin King (at left), an analyst at Sprint, who looks a bit like Kiegerl, actually. The area remains quite Republican-friendly and Kiegerl has been a low-profile conservative, but King’s been running a pretty strong campaign, racking up endorsements and showing up at community events.  Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-45: 35.6R/32D/32U :  District Map : (R) Tom Sloan – While the moderate Sloan has managed to hold this blue-tinted district since 1995, winning 53-47 over an untested Democrat in 2008, his luck may be about to run out as he faces two-term former Lawrence school board member (and former President) Linda Robinson. She also happens to be a longtime community leader (Governor’s Education Council, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc) while not being terribly old (I’d guess late 50s?) She’s about as top-tier as they come for a race like this. Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-47: 46R/25D/28.5U : District Map : (R) Lee Tafanelli – First elected in 2000, Tafanelli faced a somewhat close call in 2002, winning 56%. In 2004 & 2008, he was unopposed. He served in Iraq in 2005-2006, but got back in time to defeat the youthful bluegrass musician/student Jim Faris in 2006 with 65% of the vote. He will face Faris, now an Oskaloosa city councilman (pop. 1165), local journalist and paraeducator, again in 2010. It should be a closer race, now that the warm glow of military service has dissipated more fully from Tafanelli and Faris has some local political credibility. Also, Faris plays the upright bass in his family’s mildly successful bluegrass band, which is kinda awesome. And he’s a newlywed and expecting a baby this month, actually. Awww…  Rating: Likely Republican  

State Rep. Scott Schwab, Jerk-offKS-HR-49: 48R/21.5D/30U : District Map : (R) Scott Schwab – Aside from practicing his shiiteating grin, Schwab enjoys trying to throttle more representative democracy in its cradle. I first heard of incorrigible douchebag Schwab when he introduced legislation just after the 2008 cycle that became known as the “Sean Tevis Bill”. After Sean Tevis raised $108k from small donors in 2008, Schwab introduced a bill requiring donations under $50 have the same disclosure requirements as big donations–but only if the candidate got a lot of them. Tevis fought back, and with the Internet’s help, the bill got put on ice and Schwab crawled back under a rock. So if you like Sean Tevis–and I know you do because you’re on the Internet right now–consider a donation to Schwab’s opponent, the awesomely-named Keith Mace. Mace was an IT guy and a telecoms expert for the General Services Administration, even serving as Acting Director for the GSA FAST Program (fast acquisition of tech, basically). Also, Mace has a fine, upstanding mustache. Plus, Schwab only got 59% against a non-entity-type opponent in 2008, and uber-conservative Ben Hodge only got 55% here in 2006 (Hodge replaced Schwab when Schwab ran for Dennis Moore’s seat in 2006–and couldn’t even get past the primary). Keith Mace’s website:   Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-52:  48.6R/27D/24U :  District Map : (R) Lana Gordon – Kyle Kessler is a reasonably strong opponent (he’d been mentioned as a possible candidate in the post-Laura Kelly days in KS-02 to take on Lynn Jenkins). Unfortunately, this district is probably too red for him to win, especially over the popular and fairly moderate Lana Gordon, who has regularly won with 70%+ of the vote since elected in 2000.  Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-54: 45R/30D/24U :  District Map : (R) Joe Patton – As he has since winning election in 2006 with 51.5% of the vote (he nabbed 57% in ’08), Patton will face a race this year, this time thanks to 26-year-old teacher Scott Seel (who needs to fill in some of the pages of his otherwise-nice website, Topeka voters are notorious for dumping useless Republican incumbents (see: Ryun, Jim) and Patton has not been terribly impressive. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-59: 47R/24D/28U: District Map : (R) William Prescott – Freshman Prescott, a former Osage County Commissioner, is running for a second term after winning his first with 54.3% of the vote. In 2006, Democrat Jim Irey held the then-incumbent to just 51.2%, prompting his retirement. Irey lost the 2008 follow-up race to Prescott. This year, Prescott will face the weaker Blossom Barth, who appears to be doing little in the way of campaigning. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-60: 38.6R/29D/32U :  District Map :  (R) Don Hill –  Elected in 2002, the relatively popular and moderate (pro-choice and led the pro-school Republicans) Hill wasn’t even challenged by Democrats in 2008, despite the increasingly blue tint of his district. This cycle, Hill has a serious opponent in Mike Dorcey, who lost the County Clerk race in 2008, but at least has electoral experience. Additionally, Dorcey is Community Relations Director of the Emporia Unified School District, giving him education bonafides in a cycle where that’s a hot topic. Overall, Hill’s moderate profile should keep him safe. Rating: Likely Republican

State Rep. Steve LukertKS-HR-62: 53R/24D/22.6U : District Map : (D) Steve Lukert – A former Republican, Lukert lost a state Senate race in 2004, switched parties, and won his KS House seat in 2006 with 53% of the vote, and won re-election with 57%, despite the heavy Republican tilt of the district, making him Kansas’ answer to Chet Edwards. He will face Randy Garber, a Navy vet, heating/cooling specialist, and pastor of Trinity Church of the Brethren. Despite the partisan lean of the district, Garber seems a wee bit….hmm, how to say this in a nice Kansas way? Garber’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. And that’s all I’m gonna say. Rating: Likely Democrat

KS-HR-65: 38R/33D/28U : District Map :  (R/Open) Incumbent Barbara “Barbie” Craft is retiring, leaving her Junction City seat open. Geary County Commissioner Larry Hicks is in the running for the Democrats, while Republicans had a Junction City Commissioner running, and passed him up for a guy named James Fawcett. With an open seat, a moderate, responsible already-elected official is exactly the sort of politician Kansans like to send to Topeka. Plus, popular Gov. Parkinson held a fundraiser for Hicks two weeks ago, so KS Dems are obviously pretty high on his chances. Even better, the Republican Craft showed up to that fundraiser and praised Hicks, although she’s technically supporting the Republican Fawcett. Link for that story. Rating: Lean Democrat

KS-HR-67: 47R/24.6D/28U : District Map : (D) Tom Hawk is a former Manhattan (KS) school superintendent and is going for his fourth term, after winning his third with 56%. It’s a tough district but the adamantly pro-education Hawk fits in well here. His opponent is opthamologist Dr. Susan Mosier, who would be a strong candidate thanks to her civic involvement, if it weren’t for her right-wing flirtations. Still, Republicans are high on her chances and the district is pretty tough.  Rating: Lean Democrat

Gerrett Morris, the new Deena Horst?KS-HR-69: 40R/25D/34U  : District Map :  (R/Open) The teabaggers strike! Elected in 1994, incumbent Deena Horst is a retired art teacher and frankly, she does seem like the nicest person ever, and I say that as someone disinclined to like Republicans–but she lost her primary to teabagging Salina City Commissioner Tom Arpke.  Meanwhile, Team Blue has an attractive young fellow named Gerrett Morris (at left), who, according to his campaign website is “serving as Chairman of both the Saline County Young Democrats and the Salina Tree Advisory Board.” Hear that, Arpke! Tree Advisory Board (this actually is important in central KS where there aren’t a lot of trees, btw). Who would you rather District 69 with now, eh Salina voters? Rating: Tossup

Horst Vs. Arpke – Salina Journal

KS-HR-71: 46.5R/23.5D/29U : District Map :  (R) Charles Roth survived a double teabagging in the Republican primary, and his moderate reputation will serve him well in the general election. In his two previous runs since his 2005 appointment, he scored 59.4% (2006) and 62.6% (2008). Still, Democrats have a credible opponent in Salina School Board member and Dean of Academic Affairs at Brown Mackie College Phil Black. Roth’s moderate reputation should be enough. Rating: Likely Republican

KS-HR-72: 45R/27D/28U :  District Map :  (R) Amy Schumacher faces off against incumbent Mark Rhoades, who won in 2008 by just 40 votes (after a similarly-skimpy win to defeat an incumbent Democrat in 2006), among the closest margins in the state. She’ll be helped by a new local campaign office and the strong Goyle campaign. Schumacher is definitely a-runnin’ and getting good local press: Source  Rating: Tossup

KS-HR-75: 46R/26D/27.4U : District Map :  (R) John Grange is in the hunt for a fourth term after winning his previous ones with around 54-55% of the vote. He’ll face Glenda Reynolds, whose husband is the vice-chair of the Butler County Democrats. She’s a solid candidate, with good community links, a solid website (, a smart platform (ending tax breaks for non-KS companies, citing specific examples) and a lovely family. Grange is certainly favored, but Reynolds will make it a race, thanks to both institutional support from local Dems and being named after the good witch from The Wizard of Oz. Rating: Lean Republican

KS-HR-80: 47.5R/26.6D/25.5U :  District Map : (D) Vincent Wetta – Wetta, a retired railroad engineer, won in 2006 with 57% of the vote over incumbent Bill McCreary, went unchallenged in 2008, and faces the little-known Ellen Hathaway in 2010. Rating: Likely Democrat

Join me next week for the final installment of this series along with a final tally of seat projections and more insight into Kansas politics.

Alabama Legislature

      The Alabama legislature has been known to be one of the conservative legislatures in the nation. The democrats have maintained control of both chambers continuously for over a century. That said while these democrats tend to be pretty conservative they still tend to be more populist and left leaning on certain economic issues compared to their Republican counterparts. For a state that has only voted for one democratic president(Carter) in the last 50 years, it is amazing to see the local level under so much democratic control

   It looks like it will be real battle to hold both of these chambers this year. For the longest time I thought it was a miracle that this legislature has remained in democratic hands for so long. That was until I noticed  that 60% of the democrats were first  elected over 15 years ago some as much 30 years ago in the senate. The house is slightly better with only 40% of the dems first elected over 15 years ago.

    The senate right now is barely on the Dem turf. A couple years ago back in 2007, when there were more dems in the chamber, there was a coalition of Republicans and disaffected Democrats to elect leadership that would be more favorable to Republican Gov. Riley. The coalition was barely defeated 18-17! But it showed that democrats could still muster an offensive against the republicans even in a state like Alabama. This was a decisive win for the interesting power play that had been going on in the state. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the senate. When a republican was elected to this position the Democrats in the senate moved to transfer most of that power to their Senate president Pro-temp(who was elected by their caucus).

    In the following 2008 elections (plus the special elections) Republicans continued to eat away at the Dem majority in the senate. But Jim Folsom Jr., a democrat, was elected to the position of lieutenant governor. The democrats in the senate then tried to restore much of the power back to the Lieutenant Governor (I don’t know if they were successful).The move made sense as I’m sure there enough republicans and disaffected Democrats to elect a leadership more favorable to Governor Riley this time around.

Democrats chances of holding  the senate look bleak when you look at the numbers. Dems control the chamber 20-15.  A mere 3 seats are all it takes to switch control.  That’s not to say that the Dems can’t pick up seats.  Parker Griffith for example won seat by defeating an incumbent Republican 66-34 which was an impressive result in the south( Where Dems tend to bleed more seats than win them; on top of the fact that the few seats we win, tend to be open/or have an incumbent immersed in a scandal). Griffith then resigned t o run for congress and his senate seat reverted back to republican just as his affiliation would later in the house). There seems to be a theme of a popular conservative Dems  winning against republicans only to make the switch later down the road. The same thing happened with Dick Shelby( who was the last democrat to defeat a sitting republican senator). It will really come down to which incumbent democrats chose retire and the year they were first elected. The more recent they incumbent was first elected (such as mid 2000’s) the better the chance we can hold these seats.

   The state house looks slightly more favorable to hold. Looking at the numbers the Dems control the chamber with a 60-45 advantage. It takes 8 seat pick-up for the Republicans to win control of this chamber.  There are quite a few open seats for Democrats to defend including the current Speaker who was elected in the late 1970s.  The Tennessee state house also had similar margin of control prior to the 2008 election. So nothing can be taken for granted. This chamber is as most pundits have said tossup at best.

    Now why do I feel this chamber is important to control? Well mainly because the Alabama dems in the legislatures are the only thing standing between governor Riley/the republican party from having the trifecta in this state. These races along with the open governor’s race are what control the redistricting map for the next 10 years. If Bobby Bright does survive his tough race this year his next race will ultimately depend which party is in power in this state.

It ‘s only a matter of time when the republicans take over both chambers as many of the Dem legislators who were first elected in the 1970s finally retire (much like the NY Senate in reverse). A lot on who controls the chambers will depend on how well Ron sparks does in his governor’s race.  His coattails could be the difference between Republican controlled of the legislature and one controlled by the Democrats. Tensions have also been high in this chamber as just a couple years ago there was a little fist fight in the senate.…

This is my first real diary. Feel free to comment and let me know  if there are any discrepancies

The Northeast – Continuing the realignment in 2010?

That the Northeast has been trending blue in recent cycles is self evidently true. Will it continue in 2010?

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the 2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Open Left)

Whilst current polls don’t look too good for incumbent Democrats across the Northeast I believe that we have hit the bottom. Now that Health Care reform is done I believe that the polls will rebound for Democrats, particularly in the Northeast.

Thus it is my contention that despite the current challenging environment the Northeast will continue its long term move towards the Democratic Party, despite a sure to be spiteful debate on cap and trade and despite an economic outlook that is improving in fits and starts.

The US Census defines the Northeast region as including 9 states as follows: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. And aggregating across all 9 states the lay of the land looks like this:

States that voted for Obama: 9/9

Governors: 5/9

US Senators: 15/18 (Counting Sanders and Leiberman as Dems)

House Districts: 69/83

State Senates: 8/9

State Houses: 9/9

Where I think a race is a safe Democratic hold I won’t be saying anything about it.

Going state by state then:


Gubernatorial – With GOP Gov Jodi Rell not running again it is very likely to be a Dem pickup.

US Senate – Both Dems. If Dodd runs he may lose for any other Dem it is a safe hold.

US House – All Dem, all Safe (including Himes in the 4th.)

State Senate – 24D/12R – Safe

State House – 114D/37R – Safe


Gubernatorial – Whilst it seems that half of Maine is running for the open Gubernatorial mansion I believe that the Democratic nature of the state will lead to a Democratic retention.

US Senate – Both Repubs! Not on ballot in 2010

US House – All Dem, all Safe

State Senate – 20D/15R – Safe (Margin is growing).

State House – 95D/55R – Safe

Massachusetts –

Gubernatorial – Whilst Deval Patrick really hasn’t set the world on fire the 2nd tier nature of his potential opponents should see him safely re-elected.

US Senate – Both Dems (at least after the upcoming special election.)

US House – All Dem, all Safe

State Senate – 35D/5R – Safe

State House – 144D/16R – Safe

New Hampshire

Gubernatorial – Safe Dem

US Senate – definitely a race to watch. I will be stunned if Hodes loses here. Hodes has almost $1 million dollars COH and there is a divisive GOP primary in the offing also. New Hampshire, whilst less Blue than almost all of the other states in the North East, is not going to elect a Republican as US Senator in 2010.

US House –

NH-01 – There has been a lot of focus on both of the New Hampshire congressional races. I don’t get it to be honest – Shea Porter will win, not by much but she will win.

NH-02 – Again a lot of focus here including a lot of hand wringing about how vulnerable it is to switch. Not gonna happen folks. Gore, Kerry and Obama all won this district – Obama by 13 points – and we have a quality field of candidates  running AND a divisive GOP Primary. Lead Dem Ann McLane Kuster has 250K COH as at the end of September.

State Senate – 14/10 – No change in 2008 really locks in our 2006 gains. If this one flips it will be a bad night for us.

State House – 223D/176R – Safe

New Jersey

Gubernatorial – Repub – Not on ballot in 2010

US Senate – Both Dems

US House –

NJ-02 – If State Senator Jeff Van Drew finally steps up and runs this race becomes very competitive. Hopefully he won’t wait until 2012. If State Sen Jim Whelan runs it could also get competitive in this district that Obama won 54/45 and that Bush won by less than 1% in 2004.

NJ-03 – Adler is safe.

NJ-04 – Gore carried this district and Obama lost 47/52 so a good candidate here is a must to get it on the radar instead of the second tier candidates we have run thus far.

NJ-05 – Unlikely to be on the radar in 2010.

NJ-07 – This district is winnable particularly with a freshman GOP incumbent. Obama carried it 51/48 also. Surprising then that there is no declared Dem candidate yet. Potentially a top tier race that will probably be a big miss for the DCCC.

NJ-11 – The safest GOP district in NJ and a rarity in the Northeast, (outside Pennsylvania,) a generically safe GOP district. Short of a fantastic candidate this one won’t be on the radar.

State Senate – Up in 2011

State House – Up in 2011

New York

Gubernatorial – Safe for Cuomo.

US Senate – Gillibrand will get over the line against 3rd tier opponents and Schumer is Safe too.

US House –

NY-03 – Unless Suozzi or another top tier candidate emerges then this will be a big miss for the DCCC.

NY-13 – McMahon is safe.

NY-20 – Murphy will prevail – bet on it. He had almost 1 Mill COH at the end of September!

NY-23 – One of two really competitive races in Dem held districts in NY. I think Owens will prevail, especially against Hoffman.

NY-24 – After a scare in 2008 Arcuri will be safe.

NY-25 – Maffei is safe.

NY-26 – Unless a good candidate pops up this will be a big miss for the DCCC.

NY-29 – Massa has his work cut out for him – that’s for sure. But for me Massa by a nose. Why? When was the last time the NY GOP won a District off us? Massa’s 500K COH as at end of September will help too.

State Senate – 32D/30R – A chamber to watch – big time. I expect us to hang onto or increase our majority.

State House – 109D/41R – Safe


Gubernatorial – A real worry this one could flip.

US Senate – 2 Dems – Whoever emerges from the Dem primary will beat Toomey. The good folk of Pennsylvania wouldn’t be crazy enough to sent Toomey to the US Senate would they?

US House –

PA-03 – Dahlkemper will have her work cut out to win this District that Obama JUST lost. Race to watch.

PA-04 – Altmire will be safe.

PA-05 – This central Pennsylvania district will not be on the radar unless we have an ultra conservative candidate. One of 4 super safe districts in the state for the Republicans.

PA-06 – Generic Dem beats generic Rep – Period. Doug Pike’s massive COH advantage (largely self funded) of 750K as at end of September should help him pull this one out.  

PA-07 – Not quite sure why so many people are predicting this will flip. Top tier candidates for both parties makes for a tough race but this district was won by Gore, Kerry and Obama. Add in a competitive GOP Primary and it is Dem for me.

PA-09 – One of 4 super safe districts in the state for the Republicans. This central Pennsylvania district will not be on the radar unless we have an ultra conservative candidate. Yep just like PA-05.

PA-11 – Against Lou Barletta Kanjorski will be fine. Tough part of Pennsylvania for Democrats though.

PA-12 – Murtha is vulnerable but i expect him to survive (just).

PA-15 – Like PA-06 Obama carried every county in this one and yep it is also one of only 5 won by Kerry that is occupied by a GOP House Rep. Dem Callahan is a top tier challenger and is fundraising like one (325K COH as at end of Spetember).

PA-16 – Another super safe district for the GOP. Like the 5th and 9th unlikely to be a priority.

PA-18 – In theory could be vaguely competitive in 2010 (Bush only got 54% here in 2004) but unlikely given the low hanging fruit in the 6th and 15th.

PA-19 – Another super safe district for the GOP. Like the 5th, 6th and 16th unlikely to be a priority in 2010, unless Todd Platts lands the Government job he is chasing. Even then unlikely to be competitive.

State Senate – 20D/30R – Safe GOP

State House – 104D/99R – Definitely a chamber to watch.

Rhode Island

Gubernatorial – GOP Gov Don Carcieri is term limited so either a Dem or former Repub Sen now Indy Lincoln Chaffee will be elected. The GOP bench here is terrible.

US Senate – Both Dems

US House – All Dem, all Safe

State Senate – 35D/5R Safe

State House – 69D/6R Safe


Gubernatorial – With GOP Gov Douglas not running the GOP have scored their best possible candidate in Lt Gov Brian Dubie; who will lose to a Dem (unless the Progressive Party act as a spoiler).

US Senate – Both Dems

US House – All Dem, all Safe

State Senate – 28D/7R Safe

State House – 95D/48R Safe

So with 10 months until election day it is off to the races!

What do you think?

Analysis of Competitive and Potentially Competitive Michigan State House Races

On the heels of my last Michigan related diary, which received some pretty suprising attention from the DLCC, I’ve decided to overview the potentially competitive State House Races going forward into 2010.  By my count, about a third (34 out of 110) of the State House seats will be open in 2010, a far smaller percentage than in the State Senate, where at least 30 of 38 seats will be open.  Although Democrats stand to gain several seats in the Senate, the House is not such a rosy picture.  The competitive nature of the open seats means that there will be a lot of turnovers in the next election, but Democrats will at best only achieve a net gain of 1-2 seats, While the most likely scenario is a no net change to Republicans gaining 1-2.  In a bad year Democrats could lose 5-6 seats, but I don’t envision the Republicans gaining the 13 seats needed to take back control of the body.  Democrats control the House by a 67-43 margin, after two successive cycles of huge gains (+6 in 2006 and +9 in 2008).  You can view my Senate overview here http://www.swingstateproject.c…

Because most of the districts will be uncompetitive, I’m only listing ones that I consider to be “Lean” or “Tossup” districts.  I will include, as in my Senate Diary, a list of announced and potential candidates and 2008 Presidential results.

District 30– Tory Rocca (R) OPEN Northern Sterling Heights (Macomb County)

This district has been represented by the Rocca family consistently for the past 26 years.  First the Father, Sal, from 1983 to 1994.  Then the mother, Sue, from 1994 to 2000, then Sal again from 2000 to 2004, and finally, the son, Tory from 2004 to present.  This district has trended democratic since the beginning of the Rocca reign, and Tory is term limited.  According to Sal’s biography, he has another son, Michael, but it is unclear whether he lives in the 30th District or not.  The Democratic bench in this district is strong.  Macomb County Commissioner Ken Lampar (D), who was elected in 2008, has already announced his candidacy and is considered a strong contender.  23 year old Commissioner Dave Flynn (D) is also a potential candidate.  The only Republican commissioner who represents a portion of this district is Matriarch Sue Rocca, who is barred by term limits of running for her old seat.  Unless a Rocca steps up, I like Democrats chances here.  Still this is a historically Republican district.

Presidential Results- 50.9 – 46.4 Obama

Announced Candidates- Ken Lampar (D) Current Macomb County Commissioner

Potential Candidates- Dave Flynn (D) Current Macomb County Commissioner

Rating- Tossup

District 57– Dudley Spade (D) OPEN Most of Lenawee County

Rep. Dudley Spade is term limited in 2010, and his district will be home to one of the biggest and most heavily contested races in the state.  The county is competitive but normally leans slightly Republican nationally, while Democrats usually do well here locally.  Prior to Dudley Spade, this seat was represented by his brother, Doug Spade from 1998-2004.  If another Spade steps up, our chances for holding this seat improve. (Maybe actor David Spade should move here.)  Both sides have deep benches here, but only Harvey Schmidt has announced his candidacy yet.  Schmidt, a Democrat, is the mayor of Tecumseh, the 2nd largest city in the district.  Former State Senator and brief 2008 candidate for Congress Jim Berryman (D) is considered a possible candidate, and has the name recognition to win.  There is a long list of Republican County and City Commissioners who could make this district competitives, as well.

Presidential Results- 51.4 – 46.4 Obama

Announced Candidates- Wayne Schmidt (D) Mayor of Tecumseh

Potential Candidates- Larry Richardson (D) Madison Township Supervisor

Karol Bolton (D) Lenawee County Commissioner

Michael Osborne (D) Adrian City Commissioner

Jim Berryman (D) Former State Senator

James Van Doren (R) Lenawee County Commissioner; Chairman

John Tuckerman (R) Lenawee County Commissioner

David Simpson (R) Lenawee County Commissioner

Rob Hall (R) Lenawee County Commissioner

Rating- Tossup

District 70– Mike Huckleberry (D) Montcalm County, Part of Ionia County

The 70th District was one of the closest districts between Obama and McCain, with Pres. Obama only narrowly prevailing by 313 votes.  Yet the same year, Democrat Mike Huckleberry, an entrepreneur and former Congressional candidate, Upset the favorite, Republican Judge Tom Ginster, by a wide 54-46 margin.  Republicans will contend that Huckleberry’s election was a fluke in such a Republican district, and will surely run a strong candidate against him.  Still, Incumbents almost never lose in the Michigan legislature.  In fact, of the Democrats 15 pickups in the last 2 cylces, only one was due to the loss of an incumbent.  This is not because Michigan has any particularly strong affinity for its incumbents, it’s just that with so many open seats, the state parties rarely spend money against incumbents.  Only businessman Ed Sternisha has yet announced his candidacy, and Republicans will likely need someone stronger than him to defeat Huckleberry.

Presidential Results- 49.5 – 49.4 Obama

Announced Candidates- Ed Sternisha (R)

Potential Candidates- Ron Retzloff (R) Montcalm County Commissioner

Pat Carr (R) Montcalm County Commissioner

Amanda Powell (R) Ionia County Commissioner

Rating- Leans Democrat

District 71– Rick Jones (R) OPEN Most of Eaton County

Between 2004 and 2008, Eaton County went from being a slightly Republican leaning swing county, to a slightly Democrat leaning swing county.  Eaton voted for Obama, and Mark Schauer, and at the same time gave Democrats control of its County Commission.  Democrats control 9 commission seats and Republicans control 6.  Almost any of these commissioners would make solid candidates for State House.  Republicans Deb Shaughnessy, the mayor of Charlotte, and Cheryl Krapf-Haddock, Executive Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council have both announced their candidacies, with more Republicans likely to enter.  Democrat Robert Robinson has announced his candidacy as well.  It looks like both sides will have competitive primaries.  At this point, I can’t pick a favorite, and it could stay that way until election day.

Presidential Results- 53.5 – 44.8 Obama

Announced Candidates- Deb Shaughnessy (R) Charlotte Mayor

Cheryl Krapf-Haddock (R)

Robert Robinson (D)

Potential Candidates- Joe Brehler (D) Eaton County Commissioner

Glenn Freeman (D) Eaton County Commissioner

Art Luna (D) Eaton County Commissioner

Leo Farhat (R) Eaton County Commissioner

John Forell (R) Eaton County Commissioner

Rating- Tossup

District 79– John Proos (R) OPEN Northern half of Berrien County

Like much of South-Western Michigan, Berrien County swung strongly Democratic in 2008.  In fact, Barack Obama was the first Democrat to win the County since 1964! Much of this is attributed to high African-American turnout in Benton Harbor, but it was perhaps equally because of moderate Republicans abandoning the Republican Party.  The question in 2010 is whether those moderates will return to the GOP fold or not.  If they do, Republicans will keep this seat in a walk, but if the moderates are still dissatisfied, this seat could be competitive.  Lower Black turnout makes this one tougher, but not impossible, for Democrats.  No candidates have announced yet, and Republicans have a deeper bench here than Democrats, so I’m going to call them the favorites.

Presidential Results- 53.0 – 45.8 Obama

Announced Candidates-

Potential Candidates- Jim Hahn (D) Chairman of Berrien County Democrats

John Hinkleman (R) Berrien County Commissioner

Al Pscholka (R) Aide to Congressman Fred Upton

Rating: Leans Republican

District 83– John Espinosa (D) OPEN Sanilac County, Port Huron (St. Clair County)

Democrat John Espinosa is vacating his seat to run for State Senate (He’s term limited anyway).  Republicans drew this seat in their favor, but Moderate Dem Espinosa has been able to consistently win re-election here easily.  Now that he’s vacating it, it becomes a good opportunity for Republicans.  Democrat Port Huron City Councilman Alan Lewandowski is apparently interested, but I think Democrats would have more luck with a candidate from Sanilac County, where Espinosa is from.  Unfortunately, Republicans control every single seat on the Sanilac County Commission.  An city or township official from Sanilac County or an official from Port Huron could make this seat competitive, but right now I feel like this is the Republicans’ most likely pickup next year.

Presidential Results- 51.8 – 46.1 Obama

Announced Candidates-

Potential Candidates- Alan Lewandowski (D) Port Huron City Councilman

Jamie Daws (R) Sanilac County Commissioner

Gary Russell (R) Sanilac County Commissioner

Rating- Leans Republican

District 85– Richard Ball (R) OPEN Shiawassee County, Part of Clinton County

This is another district that Republicans gerrymandered for themselves by pairing swingish Shiawassee County with portions of the normally Republican Clinton County.  Yet this area, just north of Lansing, experienced one of the biggest swings in the 2008 elections.  Barack Obama not only won the district, but suprisingly won Clinton County as a whole. Both sides have relatively good benches here, but the Democratic nominee with have to get past the historically Republican nature of Clinton County to win here.  Three Republicans have announced so far, but only Owosso Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Stechschulte seems like a viable candidate.  Republican Owosso Mayor Mike Bruff would be an even better candidate.  No Democrat has yet announced but there are several Shiawassee County Commissioners who could win this district.

Presidential Results- 53.9 – 44.2 Obama

Announced Candidates- Jim Stechschulte (R) Owosso Mayor Pro-Tem

David Lazar (R)

Harold Kuisel (R)

Potential Candidates- Judy Ford (D) 2008 Candidate

Dan Stewart (D) Shiawassee County Commissioner

Jaime Pavlica (D) Shiawassee County Commissioner

Mike Bruff (R) Owosso Mayor

Rating- Tossup

District 91– Mary Valentine (D) OPEN Suburban Muskegon County, Part of Ottawa County

Although she is not term-limited, talented Democrat Mary Valentine is vacating her house seat to run for the State Senate.  This seat was held for years by Republicans until Valentine came along in 2006 and pummeled incumbent Republican David Farhat 54-46.  She was easily re-elected in 2008 over highly touted Republican recruit Holly Hughes, while Barack Obama won the district very comfortably.  Democrats hold most of the County Commissioners seats in this district, and State Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis lives in Norton Shores and would make a strong candidate.  Still, few Democrats can match Valentine’s charisma and skillful campaigning.  Republican Ken Punter is running.  Juggernaut fundraiser and 2006 candidate may also run.  

Presidential Results- 56.2 – 42.6 Obama

Announced Candidates- Ken Punter (R)

Potential Candidates- Tony Moulatsiotis (D) Muskegon County Treasurer

Kenneth Mahoney (D) Muskegon County Commissioner; Chairman

James Derezinski (D) Muskegon County Commissioner

Holly Hughes (R) 2008 Candidate

Rating- Tossup

97th District– Tim Moore (R) OPEN Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, northern Bay Counties

In 2004, Republican Tim Moore defeated one-term Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Elkins by a narrow margin.  Since then he’s faced only token opposition, despite the swingishness of his district and its historic Democratic nature (it’s also the birth place of Sen. Debbie Stabenow).  President Obama won every County in this district, and the Republican bench here isn’t great.  For the Democrats, Fmr. Rep. Elkins want to try to regain her seat.  Freeman Township supervisor Mark Lightfoot (D) has already announced his candidacy, but several other local officeholders may join him.  Two Republicans have announced their candidacy, Kim Emmons and Joel Johnson.  Neither has held political office or seems viable against a strong Dem nominee.  radio personality Bobby Randall has been talked about for the Republican primary.

Presidential Results- 51.4 – 46.5 Obama

Announced Candidates- Mark Lightfoot (D) Freeman Township supervisor

Kim Emmons (R) Activist

Joel Johnson (R)

Potential Candidates- Jennifer Elkins (D) Former State Representative

Mike Shea (D) Gladwin County Sherrif

Josh Reid (D) Gladwin County Commissioner

Bobby Randall (R) Radio Personality

Rating- Tossup

District 99– Bill Caul (R) OPEN Isabella County, part of Midland County

The 99th is another district customized by Republicans.  And once again, the district has moved significantly to the left.  The main anchor of the district is Isabella County, a former swing district that gave president Obama huge margin in 2008.  The rest of the district is rural Republican townships in Midland County.  High Native American populations and the fact that Mount Pleasant is home to Central Michigan University makes this district one of the best pickup opportunities for Democrats.  Democrats also recruited the woman who is probably their strongest candidate, well known attorney and Chair of the Isabella County Democrats Toni Sessoms.  Sessoms is also independently wealthy and if elected she would become the first openly lesbian State Representative.  Former Republican County Commissioner and unsuccessful 2008 candidate for an at-large commissioner seat Christine Alwood is running.  Alwood is not nearly as strong as Republican Mount Pleasant mayor Jim Holton, but Holton hasn’t shown any inclination towards running yet.  I like Sessoms chances against Alwood, but Holton would be more of an uphill climb.

Presidential Results- 54.1 – 43.9 Obama

Announced Candidates- Toni Sessoms (D) Isabella County Dems Chair

Christine Alwood (R) Former Isabella County Commissioner

Potential Candidates- Jim Holton (R) Mount Pleasant Mayor

Rating- Tossup

District 103– Joel Sheltrown (D) OPEN Iosco, Ogemaw, Roscommon, and Missaukee Counties

Another district that’s all in the family.  Before Joel Sheltrown, this district was represented by his brother, Dale.  And who’s the most likely Democratic candidate in 2010? Van Sheltrown, the third brother and current Ogemaw County Road Commissioner.  The Sheltrown name is popular here, but there’s no guarantee that Van will have the primary to himself.  And this district is Republican in nature (McCain won it).  Republicans have a somewhat deep bench here, but so far only Phil Bendily has announced his candidacy.  Against Bendily, the Democrat should be favored, but against a stronger candidate like Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher, the result is less certain.

Presidential Results- 49.3 – 48.8 McCain

Announced Candidates- Phil Bendily (R)

Potential Candidates- Van Sheltrown (D) Ogemaw County Road Commission

Howie Hanft (D) Ogemaw County Sheriff

Marc Milburn (R) Roscommon County Commissioner

Jim Bosscher (R) Missauke County Sheriff

Rating- Tossup

District 105– Kevin Elsenheimer (R) OPEN Charlevoix, Otsego, and part of Cheboygan Counties

Kevin Elsenheimer, who retired in 2008 and then un-retired, is now term limited for real.  If the short lived primary from last year is any indication, the Republican primary will be crowded and may include, as it did last year and in 2004, John Ramsey, yes the John Ramsey.  Last year Cheboygan County Commissioner Connie Saltonstall ran a tough campaign against Elsenheimer, and she may run again.  If the crowded Republican primary yields a damaged or unelectable candidate like Ramsey, Saltonstall has a good shot.  But if not, this district will probably go with the Republican.  MSU student and Controversial figure Dennis Lennox, who’s currently being sued for Defamation by Ingham County Commissioner Mark Grebner.  He currently serves as Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner, even though he thinks his job should be eliminated to save money.  A Saltonstall-Lennox race would be competitive, as well, in my opinion.

Presidential Results- 52.1 – 46.1 McCain

Announced Candidates- Dennis Lennox (R) Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner

Ken Glasser (R) Otsego County Commissioner

Potential Candidates- Connie Saltonstall (D) former Cheboygan county Commissioner

Tim Boyko (R) Former County Commissioner (R)

Greg MacMaster (R)

John Ramsey (R) 2008 Candidate (dropped out) and 2004 Candidate

Rating- Leans Republican

District 106– Andy Neumann (D) OPEN Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle, Crawford, Montmorency, and Oscoda Counties

Andy Neumann, who was state Rep from 1998-2002 and who ran for his seat again last year, is term limited.  The district leans Republican nationally, but it’s anchored by Democratic bastion Alpena and leans Democrat statewide.  Neumann won comfortably in 2008 over Republican Pete Pettalia.  Democrats have several Alpena elected officials who could do well here, although Republicans control the Alpena County Commission.  No Democrats or Republicans have yet announced their candidacies yet, but both have good benches.  

Presidential Results- 49.8 – 48.1 McCain

Announced Candidates-

Potential Candidates- Mark Hall (D) Alpena County Commissioner

Casey Viegelahn (D) 2008 Primary Candidate

Peter Pettalia (R) 2008 Candidate

Mike Nunneley (R) Alpena City Councilman

Rating- Tossup

District 107– Gary McDowell (D) OPEN Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, and part of Cheboygan Counties

Former UPS delivery man and conservative Dem Gary McDowell is term limited.  The two westernmost Counties in the Upper Peninsula, Chippewa and Mackinac, are the only two that aren’t comfortably Democratic on the local and statewide level.  President Obama nearly won both, but downstate Emmet County is much more Republican.  The Republican bench is a bit stronger than the Democratic bench.  Former Chippewa County Prosecutor Patrick Shannon would probably be the strongest Democratic candidate.  St. Ignace Mayor Paul Grondin would make a strong Republican candidate as well.  Who’s favored here depends entirely on who each side nominates.  So far only Republican Frank Foster has filed to run here.

Presidential Results- 50.6 – 47.7 McCain

Announced Candidates- Frank Foster (R)

Potential Candidates- Patrick Shannon (D) former Chippewa County Prosecutor

Keith Massaway (D) Sault Indian Tribe leader

Paul Grondin (R) St. Ignace Mayor

Michael Patrick (R) Mackinac County Commissioner

Jim Moore (R) Chippewa County Commissioner

Rating- Tossup

Special thanks to Peter Bratt for compiling This spreadsheet compiling all announced candidates.  Also thanks to whomever created this website.

The Northeast – Continuing the realignment in 2010?

We had a pretty good night on election night in the Northeast. We cleaned house. We nailed 1 GOP Senator, 6 House of Reps Districts, 1 State Senate and held on to all of the State Senates, State Houses, US House Reps and US Senators we had coming into this cycle.

That the Northeast is rapidly realigning towards team Blue is undeniable!

But the work my friends has merely begun. Forget the bunkum about us being irretrievably on defense in 2010 come below the fold to see who should be in our sights in 2010 as we stay on offense in the Northeast……..

Just to avoid any debate, (and because I got it wrong last time I tried this) the US Census defines the Northeast region as including 9 states as follows: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. And aggregating across all 9 states the lay of the land looks like this:

States that voted for Obama: 9/9

Governors: 6/9

US Senators: 14/18 (Counting Sanders and Leiberman as Dems)

House Districts: 68/83

State Senates: 8/9

State Houses: 9/9

Where I think a race is a safe Democratic hold I won’t be saying much about it such as all of our Northeast US Senators and US House races on the ballot in 2010.

Going state by state then:


Gubernatorial – GOP Gov Jodi Rell is quite popular and will likely be looking for a 3rd term. OTOH the Dem bench is VERY deep and a top tier challenger should be able to be found. Problem is who would want to take on such a popular pol?

US Senate – Both Dems (Hey Lieberman isn’t up for re-election in 2010 Dodd is.)

US House – ALL OURS BABY! – Keep an eye on CT-04

State Senate – zzzzzzzzzzz

State House – zzzzzzzzzzz


Gubernatorial – Dem John Baldacci probably won’t run again which on balance makes this gubernatorial chamber an easier hold for us than otherwise. The only possible exception to this is if either of the GOP US Senators run – a highly unlikely thing to happen.

US Senate – Both Repubs! Not on ballot in 2010


State Senate – We actually added to our margin here in 2008 moving it from 18/17 to 20/15 and yep they are all up again in 2010. A chamber to watch but we should be ok in this increasingly reliable state.

State House – zzzzzzzzzz

Massachusetts – aka nothing to see here move right along!

Gubernatorial – zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

US Senate – Both Dems zzzzzzzzzzzz

US House – ALL OURS BABY! zzzzzzzzzzzzz

State Senate – zzzzzzzzzzzzz

State House – zzzzzzzzzzzzz

New Hampshire

Gubernatorial – If Dem Gov Lynch runs he will win. If, as I hope, Lynch runs for the Senate then look for 2nd CD Rep Hodes to run and win for team Blue instead. My how New Hampshire has quickly shifted to us.

US Senate – 1 Dem 1 Rep and the Rep is on the ballot – Judd Gregg. Gregg has a target on his back already and I expect either Gov Lynch or Rep Hodes to run and for this one to be a barn burner.

US House – ALL OURS BABY! – Keep an eye on NH-01

State Senate – No change in 2008 really locks in our 2006 gains.

State House – Nothing really to see here we held onto almost all of our 2006 gains, dropping from 231 to 225 out of 400 we will hang onto this one in 2010 IMHO.

New Jersey

Gubernatorial – On ballot in 2009 (Go Corzine). Any Dem would be favoured to win this one as NJ residents hate all their pols they just hate Democrats less than Republicans.

US Senate – Both Dems

US House –

NJ-02 – If State Senator Jeff Van Drew finally steps up and runs this race becomes very competitive. Hopefully he won’t wait until 2012. If State Sen Jim Whelan runs it could also get competitive in this district that I suspect Obama won and that Bush won by less than 1% in 2004. Will have a Cook Dem PVI.

NJ-04 – Gore carried this district and I think Obama only just fell short so a good candidate here is a must to get it on the radar instead of the second tier candidates we have run thus far.

NJ-05 – Gee I hope 2008 Dem candidate Dennis Shulman runs again in 2010. Holding a GOP incumbent to 56% in this reasonably strong GOP district is a fair effort. Otherwise this one won’t be on the radar in 2010.

NJ-07 – I don’t know what happened here this year but a top tier candidate who is NOT Linda Stender is required. This district is winnable particulalrly with a freshman GOP incumbent. I think Obama carried it also.

NJ-11 – The safest GOP district in NJ and a rarity in the Northeast, (outside Pennsylvania,) a generically safe GOP district. Short of a fantastic candidate this one won’t be on the radar.

Keep an eye on NJ-03.

State Senate – Up in 2011

State House – Up in 2009 zzzzzzzzzz

New York

Gubernatorial – zzzzzzzzzzz – Name one GOPper who could be elected statewide? – exactly.

US Senate – Both Dems. Despite Hillary’s appointment as SOS this one will be held by whichever Dem is appointed IMHO.

US House –

NY-03 – Pete King is genuinely popular in his district and we should be hoping that the rumours of him making a gubernatorial run turn out to be true. Otherwise we really do need a top tier candidate here – paging Tom Suozzi – but that is unlikely unless the seat is Open.

NY-23 – I expect McHugh to retire in 2010; call it a hunch. If so we will easily find a top tier candidate here otherwise McHugh is perceived as unbeatable.

NY-26 – Democrats in this District just got it wrong in the Primary and we need a top tier candidate against a freshman incumbent who only got 55% first time at bat.

Keep an eye on Dem incumbents in NY-24, NY-25 and NY-29.

State Senate – Yep we have just won control of this chamber for the first time in like 3 million years. It should be 32/30 or maybe 33/29 with one race still undecided. With them all up again in 2010 we need to look for GOP State Senators who are in heavily Democratic areas of NYC and unlikely to run again as they are now free of the influence of Joe Bruni (R-thug) who kept a number of GOP Senators in place long after they wanted to retire.

I think the following are potentially competitive races as open, specials or vulnerable incumbents in 2010:

NY SS-06 – GOP incumbent won with 51.5% of the vote in 2008.

NY SS-11 – Race still undecided if Repub incumbent wins it will be by less than 1000 votes.

NY SS-22 – GOP incumbent in heart of blue NYC.

NY SS-42 – GOP incumbent rumoured to be retiring mid-term.

NY SS-44 – GOP incumbent rumoured to be retiring mid-term.

NY SS-56 – GOP incumbent won with 52.2% of the vote.

NY SS-61 – GOP incumbent won with 53.5% of the vote.

Not to mention that an additional 4 or 5 GOP State Senators will be older than 70 in 2010.

State House – zzzzzzzzzzz


Gubernatorial – This one might get complicated. Dem Gov Ed Rendell is term limited and Dem Lt Gov Catherine Baker Knoll has just sadly passed away thus making State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati the new Lt Gov and he is a Republican. Deep bench on our side including Senator Bob Casey? It goes without saying that the Repubs will have a top tier candidate also. This race makes me nervous as Pennsylvania is less reliably blue than any other state in the North East.

US Senate – 1 of ours (Casey), 1 of theirs (Specter) who is up in 2010. It has been suggested to me that Specter coud be approached to switch which would be fine by me but failing that we have a deep bench and this is a must win if we are to continue the blueing of the Northeast. Specter may yet decide to retire in which case we really are in the box seat for this race.

US House –

PA-05 – This central Pennsylvania district will not be on the radar unless we have an ultra conservative candidate. One of 4 super safe districts in the state for the Republicans.

PA-06 – As probably the single biggest recruiting miss of 2008 this one is infuriating. Gerlach was held to 52% by a 3rd tier candidate and Obama won every county that this district covers. It is also one of only 5 won by Kerry that is occupied by a GOP House Rep. Probably the highest priority house race for the DCCC on offense in the Northeast (open seats notwithstanding).

PA-09 – One of 4 super safe districts in the state for the Republicans. This central Pennsylvania district will not be on the radar unless we have an ultra conservative candidate. Yep just like PA-05.

PA-15 – Like PA-06 Obama carried every county in this one and yep it is also one of only 5 won by Kerry that is occupied by a GOP House Rep. Disappointing 41% for 2008 Dem candidate means we need a top tier challenger here ASAP.

PA-16 – Another super safe district for the GOP. Like the 5th and 9th unlikely to be a priority.

PA-18 – In theory could be vaguely competitive in 2010 (Bush only got 54% here in 2004) but unlikely given the low hanging fruit in the 6th and 15th.

PA-19 – Another super safe district for the GOP. Like the 5th, 6th and 16th unlikely to be a priority in 2010.

Watch Dem incumbents in PA-03 and PA-11.

State Senate – The only State chamber still controlled by the GOP in the Northeast. We actually went backwards there this year dropping from 21/28/1 to 20/29/1. And with only half of the State Senate up every two years this one is a hard one to flip in 2010. However the following should probably be targetted IMHO, particularly if they are open races:

PA SS-06 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 53.4% in 2006.

PA SS-10 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 51.5% in 2006.

PA SS-12 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SS-16 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 54.2% in 2006.

PA SS-20 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SS-24 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SS-26 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 52.2% in 2006.

PA SS-44 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SS-50 – Incumbent got 53.5% in 2006.

Now I am not suggesting that every State Senate race here will be competitive in 2010 as I understand that Blue counties can have Red parts, but if the Red parts of NYC can be turned then Red parts of Blue counties in PA can be turned also.

State House – In 2008 we managed to increase our margin of control from 102/101 to 104/99; still far too close for comfort. Vulnerable Repubs include:

PA SH-4 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-13 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-15 – Incumbent got 51.5% in 2008.

PA SH-18 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-26 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-28 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-29 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-30 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-31 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-44 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-57 – Incumbent got 51.6% in 2008.

PA SH-61 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-70 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-75 – Incumbent got 53.3% in 2008.

PA SH-102 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-104 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-105 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-106 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-128 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 51.8% in 2008.

PA SH-129 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-131 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-134 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-138 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-142 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 51.7% in 2008.

PA SH-146 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 53.3% in 2008.

PA SH-150 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-152 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-155 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-157 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-158 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-160 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-162 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-163 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-164 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-165 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-167 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-168 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-169 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-170 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-172 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-176 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-177 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-178 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-183 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama.

PA SH-187 – Wholly contained in Counties carried by Obama, incumbent got 52.3% in 2008.

Now I am not suggesting that every State House race here will be competitive in 2010 as I understand that Blue counties can have Red parts, particularly given that State House districts are so small, but if the Red parts of NYC can be turned then Red parts of Blue counties in PA can be turned also. Yep the same thinking that applies to the PA State Senate.

Rhode Island

Gubernatorial – GOP Gov Don Carcieri is term limited! With a bench a mile deep we should be a lock to pick this one up as the GOP bench is almost non existent.

US Senate – Both Dems


State Senate – zzzzzzzzzzz

State House – zzzzzzzzzzz


Gubernatorial – If GOP Gov Jim Douglas runs he wins I think. However if he runs for the Senate then we should win here EXCEPT for one nasty wrinkle. In Vermont the Progrssive Party frequently run in statewide races which not only splits the left of centre vote but often allows Republicans to get elected. Surely an accomodation must be able to be found to allow us to have a decent shot at this one in 2010. OTOH GOP Lt Gov Brian Dubie is almost the only statewide candidate that the GOP could present and he could make a race of it.

US Senate – Both Dems


State Senate – zzzzzzzzzzzz

State House – zzzzzzzzzzzz

What do you think?

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Michigan: What happened? Where do we go next?

The 2008 Election in Michigan was by far the best that we’ve had in years, maybe decades. We picked up two congressional seats, both of which were gerrymandered to favor Republicans.  Better yet, we won one of them by nearly 10 points.  Barack Obama won by a landslide here (16%) Compared to John Kerry, who only won by three points.  On the Statewide level, we passed two progressive ballot initiatives, threw out the conservative Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, and made huge gains in the State House of Representatives.


Barack Obama won the state of Michigan by a margin of 57%-41%, better than any Democrat has done in decades.  Also for the first time in years, the Democrat won a majority of the counties in the state.  


Democrat Gary Peters Defeated Incumbent Republican Joe Knollenberg by a margin of 52%-43% in the 9th District, located in Central Oakland County including the cities of Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester, Troy, and West Bloomfield.  This is the first time in decades that a significant portion of Oakland County has been represented by a Democrat.  Peters is a former State Senator, the 2006 candidate for Attorney General, and the current lottery commissioner.  

In the 7th District, located in south central Michigan, State Senate minority leader Mark Schauer defeated CFG wingnut Tim Walberg by a margin of 46%-49%.  The district includes Calhoun county, home to Battle Creek, as well as Jackson County, home to the city of Jackson, which is imfamous for being the birthplace of the Republican Party.  Schauer is the popular state Senator who represents the largest counties, Calhoun and Jackson.  He was endorsed by the former moderate Congressman, Joe Schwartz, whom Walberg defeated in the 2006 Republican Primary.

Ballot Initiatives

Michigan voters passed a Medical Marijuana initiative by a very wide margin, 63%-37%.  But the initiative that drew the most money, and that was the prime target of the conservatives, was Prop. 2, which would use state money to fund stem-cell research.  Voters passed Prop. 2 by 53%-47%.

State House of Representatives

In August, I predicted that Democrats would pick up anywhere from 3-7 seats in the State House. Democrats picked up a total of 9 seats!  That is three more than we won in 2006. It is also the second cycle in a row that we did not lose a single seat, a 15 seat streak.  We now have a 67-43 advantage, only 6 seats away from a 2/3 majority.  It also means that we are almost certain to hold the State House in 2012, just in time for redistricting.  Here are the Democrats who picked up Republican held seats:

District 62-Calhoun County, Battle Creek, Albion.

Kate Segal (D)-62% Gregory Moore (R)-32%

District 101- Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, and Mason Counties.

Dan Scripps (D)-60% Ray Franz (R)40%

District 1- Wayne County, Northeast Detroit, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe

Tim Bledsoe (D)-57% Mary Treder Lang (R)-43%

District 108- Delta, Menominee, and Dickinson Counties

Judy Nerat (D)-56% Mike Falcon (R)-44%

District 70- Montcalm County, part of Ionia County

Mike Huckleberry-(D) 54% Tom Ginster-(R) 46%

District 21- Wayne County, Canton

Dian Slavens (D)-52% Todd LaJoy-(R) 45%

District 39- Oakland County, West Bloomfield Township

Lisa Brown (D)-52% Amy Peterman-(R) 46%

District 32- Northeast Macomb County, Central St. Clair County

Jennifer Haase-(D) 50% John Accavitti-(R) 47%

District 24- Macomb County, St. Clair Shores

Sarah Roberts (D)-49% Bryan Brandenburg-47%

And the narrow losers:

District 61- Western Kalamazoo County, Portage

Julie Rogers (D)-49% Larry DeShazor (R)-51%

District 43- Oakland County, Waterford Township

Scott Hudson (D)-47% Gail Haines (R)-49%

District 78- Southern Berrien County, Western Cass County

Judy Truesdell (D)-52% Sharon Tyler (R)-52%

District 51- Southern Genesee County

Michael Thorp (D)-47% Paul Scott (R)-53%

Democrats held all competitve seats.  Here are the closest contests for Democrat held seats:

District 91- Muskegon County except Muskegon, Northeast Ottawa County

Mary Valentine (D)-54% Holly Hughes (R)-46%

District 106- Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle Counties.

Andy Neumann (D)-53% Peter Pettalia (R)-44%

These two were actually the only remotely competitive Democrat races.  

Republicans targeted also targeted the following Democrats who took over Republican seats in 2006: Marc Courriveau won 59-41, Robert Dean won 58-40, Terry Brown won 65-35, Mike Simpson won 63-37, and Martin Griffin won 63-37.  Vicki Barnett also won a competitve open seat 60-40.


Thad McCotter (R-11th District), the Congressman who reprents Suburban portions of Wayne and Oakland Counties, only won re-election 45-51.  State Senator Glenn Anderson represents almost all of the portion of the 11th District that lies in Wayne County. Anderson may decide to run against Mad Thad in 2010.  State Rep-elect Dian Slavens, who pulled an upset in her race this year, may also run.  Marc Courriveau also scored an upset in a strongly Republican district in 2006.  Courriveau would be the best candidate, in my opinion.  He’s young, from a Republican area, and has run for congress three times in the area.

The State Senate will also be up for re-election in 2010.  We have to take control of this body if we want to control the redistricting process, as we could well lose the governors office.  

Races to watch are The 7th District in suburban Wayne County, which will be open, The 34th which includes heavily Democratic Muskegon County and will also be open. The 20th will also be open in 2010. It is currently the most Democratic district held by a Republican in the entire state.  All three district were won by Barack Obama, and will be open in 2010.  We only need three districts to take control, since we currently hold 17 seats to the republicans 21.  These three districts will probably be the top targets of the State Democratic Party.