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Leading Off:

TN Redistricting, TN-05: So Tennessee's long-awaited congressional map—expected out this week—is still nowhere to be seen, and even the Republican House Majority Leader is claiming he doesn't know what the hangup is. But check this out. Dem Rep. Jim Cooper testified before the legislature and actually asked them to make his district redder:

Cooper argued for keeping the 5th District largely in its current form, other than to return areas to the south of the city that currently fall in Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn's district.

[Republican House Speaker Beth] Harwell said she will take Cooper's suggestions into consideration.

"I appreciate the fact that he wanted to restore Davidson County—it was blatantly politically gerrymandered last cycle, where we took out the most Republican precincts and put them in Congressman Blackburn's district," she said. "I appreciate he made that effort and always appreciate his input."

Amazing. I'm pretty sure Cooper and Harwell are referring to the area I've colored in red:

While Cooper would probably claim he's interesting in reuniting Davidson County on goo-goo grounds, the fact is that this territory went for John McCain at a 58% clip. That compares to McCain's 43% take in Cooper's current district—which means this change, if it happens, would also make it harder for someone to challenge the incumbent from the left in a primary, certainly a worry for the Blue Dog Cooper. How convenient.

4Q Fundraising:

IA-04: Christie Vilsack (D): $400K raised, $750K cash-on-hand


CT-Sen: Another good score for Dem Rep. Chris Murphy: The 4,000-member local branch of the Communications Workers of America just endorsed him in his bid for Senate.

MI-Sen: An internal poll taken by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the Michigan Democratic Party shows Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow beating Republican ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra by a 52-42 margin. That's pretty much in line with most of the polling we've seen this year, which has largely been conducted by EPIC-MRA and PPP.

MN-Sen: Okay, this is new. Aaron Blake speculates that Michele Bachmann's next move might be taking on Dem Sen. Al Franken in 2014. I would love that race.

NE-Sen: Sen. Jim DeMint is finally putting his money where his mouth is and spending $210K on ad buy on behalf of Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg, who his Senate Conservatives Fund previously endorsed. Maybe there are some dog whistles or tropes I'm just not picking up on, but I find it a little odd that the first 15 seconds of the ad involve Stenberg issues platitudes about the Founding Fathers. Anyhow, I'm not so impressed with the ad, but watch it here for yourself, or below:

NV-Sen: Republican Sen. Dean Heller must have "the math":
“If you get about 80 percent of what you want — and both parties are getting about 80 percent of what they want — then you've won,” Heller told the workers. “The problem is, we spend about 90 percent of the time worrying about the other 20 percent!”

If they have 80% and we have 80%... then there must be 160 total percent! Next thing you know, Heller will hypnotize Roger Clemens into thinking he's a chicken.

UT-Sen: There's nothing newsy in this year-old profile of Dan Liljenquist, the now-former state senator who is challenging Sen. Orrin Hatch for Utah's GOP Senate nomination. But it's a remarkable story nonetheless. Just over three years ago, Liljenquist survived a plane crash in Guatemala which killed 11 of the 14 passengers on board—and then won his first election while recovering in his hospital bed.


CA-26: Oxnard Harbor District President Jess Herrera just became the fifth Democrat to announce a bid for the redrawn 26th CD. He joins Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, Moorpark Councilman David Pollock, retired longshoreman Zeke Ruelas, and businessman David Cruz Thayne. The nominal incumbent here, GOP Rep. Elton Gallegly, still hasn't announced his plans, but I'd be surprised if this didn't wind up as an open seat. Not that it would matter much either way: It's now a 56% Obama district, and I just can't imagine Gallegly surviving here. Rep. Buck McKeon still thinks Gallegly will run against him in the Republican primary in the 25th, but that looks like a losing proposition, too. So my money is on Gallegly doing what he tried but failed to do in 2006: retire.

HI-02: This is some old news, but we missed it when it broke, and it's apropos of the recent discussions we've been having about the HI-02 Democratic primary. Former state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, who first expressed interest in the race in August, decided back in November not to run for the 2nd CD open seat. Hooser was probably the most progressive major alternative to the socially conservative Mufi Hannemann, but interestingly, in a blog post, Hooser admitted that his own polling showed him more likely to split the liberal vote if he entered. Indeed, Hooser specifically called Hannemann out by name, saying he didn't want to let Hannemann waltz to a plurality win.

MA-04: Joseph P. Kennedy III has taken his first formal steps toward a bid for Barney Frank's open seat. The Democratic prosecutor (and scion of the famous family) is opening up an exploratory committee and, in the Boston Globe's words, "will decide over the next several weeks" whether to actually run. On the other hand, Jim O'Sullivan at The Hotline is making it sound like a Kennedy entry into the race is already a done deal (at least, according to his sources), and that this whole "exploratory committee" thing is just a bit of kabuki. We'll see soon enough.

MD-04: Anything other move would have been surprising, but this is still good news for Rep. Donna Edwards: Barbara Mikulski, Maryland's senior senator, just endorsed her for re-election. Edwards, as you know, faces a challenge from former Prince George's County State's Attorney Glen Ivey in the Democratic primary.

MD-06: On Wednesday, Roscoe Bartlett said yet again that he is seeking another term, something I suspect he'll have to keep telling people right up until election day, given that he's 85, his district was made much bluer, and a whole host of Republicans—including his former chief-of-staff—are gearing up to oust him in the primary.

ME-02: State Senate President Kevin Raye, who first started publicly expressing interest in the race back in July, has decided he will indeed run against veteran Dem Rep. Mike Michaud. If Raye winds up as the GOP's nominee, then this contest will be a rematch of the 2002 election, which Michaud won 52-48 when this seat was last open. As we noted when we first wrote about the original Raye-Michaud matchup, Raye ran to Michaud's left on abortion—Michaud is anti-choice—so I wonder if he'll deploy the same tactic again.

NY-19: Not a bad get for Matt Alexander, the Wappingers Falls mayor hoping to take on GOP freshman Nan Hayworth. Both Reps. Barney Frank and Carolyn Maloney are hosting a fundraiser later this month in New York City for Alexander, who is competing with physician Rich Becker for the Democratic nomination.

OR-01: A new SurveyUSA poll of the OR-01 special election finds Democrat Suzanne Bonamici leading Republican Rob Cornilles by a 50-39 margin—almost identical to the 52-41 spread PPP saw in mid-December. Click the first link for our full analysis at Daily Kos Elections, as well as a roundup of other recent developments, including a big endorsement for Bonamici.

PA-08: Det Ansinn, who lost a race for the Bucks County Commission last year and was talked about as a possible candidate to take on GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, won't make a bid. Instead, he says he's throwing his support to fellow Democrat Kathy Boockvar, who also made an unsuccessful run for office last year (for the Commonwealth Court, a statewide position). What's odd is that Boockvar hasn't publicly said anything about joining the contest (though her name has been discussed), so Ansinn may be jumping the gun here.

UT-04: State Rep. Carl Wimmer is resigning his current post as he seeks the GOP nod to take on Dem Rep. Jim Matheson. He isn't the first Utah legislator to do so this cycle, and the reason for these resignations is simple: Lawmakers are forbidden from raising money when the legislature goes back into session on Jan. 23.

WA-10: It certainly sounds like former state Rep. Brendan Williams won't run in the 10th CD Democratic primary. He posted this on his Facebook page on Thursday:

Appreciate all the support. But having used two weeks of vacation and unpaid leave volunteering against I-1183, and for I-1163; and having used, since '05, over $90,000 in home equity for contributions to causes and candidates (including, ironically, $500 in '10 for Denny Heck); I'm disarmed of time and money in being able to run for Congress against a retired, self-financed opponent.

WI-02: Former Gov. Jim Doyle just announced his support for state Rep. Mark Pocan, while several local Democratic Party chairs just gave their backing to state Rep. Kelda Roys. Pocan and Roys are seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for Senate.

Other Races:

Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff: The notorious Joe Arpaio, who is 79 years old and has lately come under the greatest scrutiny of his career, says he will seek a sixth four-year term this year. Arpaio's raised $6 million this cycle, and he's also never had a particularly close race, though his share of the vote has decreased over time, from 66% in 2000 to 57% in 2004 to 55% in 2008. He's being opposed by Scottsdale Police Dept. Lieutenant Mike Stauffer.

Redistricting Roundup:

FL Redistricting: Florida's state Senate is planning to hold votes on redistricting next week, but the House is lagging behind, since they're still tweaking their maps (and, it seems, haven't even agreed on a single congressional plan to put forward). The real question is whether the two chambers reach some kind of agreement before votes are held, or if they pass competing maps and then have to butt heads to get things resolved. We've definitely seen the latter happen more than once this cycle, even in states where one party controls the entire legislature.

HI Redistricting: Hawaii's Supreme Court just ruled that the state's new legislative redistricting plans violate the state constitution because they impermissibly "includ[ed] non-permanent residents in the population base." The court's decision will take some 100,000 Hawaiians off the rolls, mostly military members and their families (plus students), and likely shift seats away from Oahu (home of the naval base at Pearl Harbor) and to the island of Hawaii (aka the Big Island).

MS Redistricting: Our usual map, this time for Mississippi:

And our distribution analysis:
NM Redistricting: Plus a map for New Mexico:
As well as the redistribution chart:

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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