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It was a travesty that would make any marriage equality activist seethe in anger. Following the Illinois Senate's 34-21 vote to legalize gay marriage and the Illinois House Executive Committee's 6-5 affirmative vote, things had been looking good for gay marriage in the state. The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D), promised that the bill would pass before the end of the session in May. Gay marriage advocates claimed that the votes were there, and Rep. La Shawn Ford (D) predicted that there were 64 "yes" votes, four more than needed for passage.

Yet, on May 31st, the House adjourned without voting on the bill.

What happened? How could a legislative chamber with a healthy Democratic majority not be able to pass gay marriage?

Follow me past the flip...

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Tue May 29, 2012 at 03:18 PM PDT

Things to Do in Providence

by sapelcovits

This is not a normal DKE diary. Rather, it's just some suggestions of things to do around Providence for those of you who will be attending Netroots Nation. I myself will not be in attendance, but as a Providence native I figured I'd point out some good spots to swing by while you're in the city. We're not a big city by any means, of course, but we do have a charming New England feel and, in addition to our rich history (many houses on the city's East Side date back to the early 17th century), we do have some interesting places to visit.

More below the fold.

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Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM PDT

DKE Official Unofficial IL Liveblog

by sapelcovits

You know how we do it.

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Inspired by the Sheyman vs. Schneider debate in today's Live Digest, I have decided to examine the state legislators representing various portions of the 10th congressional district. For Part 1, I will just look at State Senators, since there are almost twice as many state reps and I'm somewhat pressed for time today. (Illinois has 59 state senators; the target population for a senate district is about 217,000 people, although I am analyzing the 2001-2011 districts.) I want to examine several things:

1) the party of the state legislators
2) their partisan leans
3) the margin that the incumbent won by most recently

Unfortunately, as I am sketching these districts out on Dave's Redistricting App the only partisan information I have at hand is the 2008 President numbers, which are not nearly as useful as the 2010 statewide office numbers. As I am pretty busy, I don't really have the time to calculate those results (but if anyone does, I would be grateful!). Still, the President results should be able to give a rough idea of the partisan leans of these districts.

More below the fold.

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Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 10:58 PM PST

Court-Drawn Illinois Map

by sapelcovits

The Republicans are currently suing in court over the Democrat-led congressional redistricting of Illinois. Their claims are that the map discriminates against Republicans (LOL) and packs Hispanics into one district. The chances are very high that this lawsuit will go nowhere, but supposing that the court agreed with the litigants' claims and decided to draw their own map, here's what I think it might look like.

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Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 01:53 PM PST

Grading PPP

by sapelcovits

Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh, NC-based pollster with Democratic sympathies, has a well-earned reputation as one of the best pollsters in the business. In poll after poll, they have put out accurate results, while making their demographic crosstabs freely available for all to see (unlike some other pollsters...like a certain pollster that starts with "R" and ends with "asmussen"). However, like every good pollster, there are some elections which they don't do so well on, such as the 2010 special election for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district, or the 2010 Nevada senate race. Nevertheless, they deserve accolades for putting themselves out there.

In the days before last night's elections, PPP put out polls for eleven races. In this diary, I will compare PPP's results with the actual outcomes of these races. Numbers past the flip.

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November 8 will be that exciting day for all election junkies when voters all over the country head to the polls to vote on various things. We've got elections, special elections, recalls, and ballot questions. Whatever happens, it should be an exciting night. There will be several races such as the OR-01 primary and Houston mayor which aren't expected to be very competitive, but I've tried to identify the most interesting races (IMO).

Did I leave off a race? Is there a race going on in your area that you want everyone to know about? Do you think that a race I left off on purpose is going to be interesting and worth watching? Leave a comment!

(h/t Darth Jeff for filling in some info!)

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Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:12 PM PDT

Arizona: The Only Acceptable Map

by sapelcovits

If there is one thing that the redistricting fiasco in Arizona has proven, it's that Republicans don't give a shit about the independence of the Independent Redistricting Commission. They'll probably just keep impeaching independent members until they get someone who agrees to draw a Republican gerrymander. So with that in mind, I present a 7-2 GOP map, because apparently nothing less will satisfy Jan Brewer and the other Republican creeps running the state.

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There are a lot of wild cards in New York redistricting, but since I love drawing fantasy Democratic gerrymanders, I figured I'd post one for New York. The Democrats will never draw this map because it eliminates Queens Dem leader Joe Crowley, but I did that on purpose to get revenge on him for inflicting David Weprin on us. Of course, that doesn't mean that he is downstate's only eliminated seat. Douchebag Bob Turner will also have to pack his bags. New York's population doesn't support the elimination of two NYC districts, so a new district is created in Brooklyn to compensate. Upstate, Republican Chris Gibson is eliminated.

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Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 03:33 PM PDT

Brutal 9-3-2 map of Michigan

by sapelcovits

It's been a while since I posted a nice fantasymander, and Maryland/Ohio maps are so mainstream, so I decided to look at the damage Democrats could have done had they held the trifecta in Michigan. The answer? A lot. 10-3-1 or 9-3-2 depending on your view. In this map, every Dem incumbent except Gary Peters is totally safe, and even Peters is slightly strengthened (at least in the general; he might be screwed in the primary). Several other GOP congresscritters are screwed over. Dan Benishek's district is made slightly bluer but not overwhelmingly so, so he's the swing district in the map. I guess you could argue that the map is 9-3-2 since Upton's district is also a little wobbly, but he's in deep shit there, having not run a real race in forever.

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With the publication of this diary, the DK Elections sidebar will be completely made up of Maryland maps (sorry to bump off your diary, KingofSpades--it was great!). Hopefully making everyone sick of Maryland redistricting will force those bastards in Annapolis to just hurry up and get it over already. Anyway, this map is a response to feedback that a map drawing MD-01 into PGCo would have trouble passing. So here is a map that makes MD-01 winnable for us while also giving us 7 safe seats.

Advantages:

*If the right-wing nutjobs are right and gay marriage is a slippery slope to people marrying inanimate objects, Chris Van Hollen will probably want to marry this map. He keeps a ridiculously Democratic district which adds some red territory but retains the overwhelming majority of his current district.

*Bartlett is given a Safe D district and all other incumbents are kept safe as well.

*Edwards' district is made as white as possible while staying majority-black, and runs through MontCo (which, given that she won her primary through support in white MontCo precincts, should please her)

*MD-01 is made more winnable for us while not running into Baltimore or PGCo.

Disadvantages:

*If Republicans can replace Andy Harris with someone less offensive to Wayne Gilchrest, they'll probably hold MD-01 just fine.

*Sarbanes and Ruppersberger are weakened ever-so-slightly, which might make them unhappy.

*Hoyer's district is plenty blue but still drops a few points and he loses College Park, so he might be unhappy.

*Both VRA districts are barely majority-black and take on lots of new territory, though Cummings might be ok with this.

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Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 12:29 PM PDT

Pleasing Donna: 7-0-1 Maryland

by sapelcovits

It appears that Martin O'Malley has settled on only trying to get 7 Democrats out of Maryland. His proposed map would turn Andy Harris' district into a Republican vote sink that we probably would have lost even in 2008. However, things don't have to be this way. We can make Harris' district winnable for us while making the other seven incumbents plenty safe and satisfying Donna Edwards' BS whining about losing Montgomery County.

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