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Senate:

ND-Sen: North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk will announce his formal entry into the Senate race to replace Kent Conrad tomorrow. Kalk, a Republican, raised a really lame $32K in Q1.

NM-Sen, NM-03: Facing an already-crowded primary field and the prospect of giving up a safe House seat, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said yesterday that he won't seek the Democratic nod to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate.

OH-Sen: I think we didn't spot this mid-April poll from GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies until now… but definitely take it with something stronger than mere salt. For one thing, they've regularly done polls for WorldNetDaily (I mean, seriously?), and for another, they released a seriously weird-ass poll last cycle that purported to show Rep. Norm Dicks losing to a perennial candidate. (Dicks won by 16.)

But even if you didn't know all that, you'd have to laugh at their absurd spin: They call Sherrod Brown's favorables "dangerous" and his re-elects "disastrous"… even though his head-to-head margin is 49-36 over Ken Blackwell, 50-36 against Mary Taylor, and 48-33 paired with Josh Mandel. In a Republican poll! Anyhow, if you want to chase this one all the way down the rabbit hole, Wenzel also had a component testing the anti-union legislation called SB5, which will very likely appear on the ballot this fall (people want it repealed by a 51-38 spread).

Gubernatorial:

WI-Gov: Another recall poll from another not-especially-prominent pollster. Republican polling firm Etheridge & Associates (based out of Tennessee) found 44% in favor of recalling Walker and 51% opposed. They also put Walker head-to-head with a real candidate (which is what would happen in a recall election) and found him tied with Russ Feingold at 48 apiece.

House:

ND-AL: This is a very good report from Kristen Daum, who writes the "Flickertales" blog for the Fargo-Moorhead Forum. She nails freshman GOP Rep. Rick Berg on two counts: First, last year Berg ran heavily on the theme that Earl Pomeroy was mostly relying on out-of-state money while he, Berg, was raking it in from North Dakotans. Well, with the Q1 reports in, Daum observes that about 80% of Berg's campaign cash is now coming from interests outside of ND, including quite a bit from DC. Better still, Berg's staff claimed he hasn't held any fundraisers or solicited contributions… but the Sunlight Foundation's "Party Time" website scrounged up a copy of an invite to high-dollar event held on Berg's behalf by Eric Cantor and a couple of PACs. Whoops!

NY-13: I'm not even going to summarize what's at the link, except to say it's a truly explosive story about GOP freshman Mike Grimm. Just click and read it.

WI-01: Businessman Rob Zerban is already running against Rep. Paul Ryan, but The Fix suggests another possible Democratic name: state Sen. Chris Larson.

Grab Bag:

Americans United: That Americans United for Change ad buy against four Republicans we mentioned yesterday apparent totals $35K. That's at least in the ballpark of real money, and I'm very glad to see groups like AUFC and House Majority PAC start doing these thousand-papercuts sort of campaigns early.

Polling & Demographics: Ben Smith has an interesting little exchange between a couple of pollsters with experience in working with the Latino community. One, André Pineda (who has polled for Obama, among others), says he thinks that pollsters who gather Hispanic samples by relying on surnames miss a lot of Hispanics who don't have such names, typically because their families have lived in the US longer. These voters, says Pineda, lean more to the right than newer immigrants. But Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race says that Pineda's estimates are "way off base." Barreto says only 5-10% of Hispanics do not have Hispanic surnames, whereas Pineda's memo suggests that the number is far higher.

Town Halls: Want to see if your member of Congress is having a town hall during this recess so that you can go and give them what for? MoveOn has a tool that lets you plug in your ZIP code and find town halls near you.

Voter Suppression: Unsurprisingly, the Florida legislature is moving forward with a big election law bill that's principally designed to suppress the Democratic vote, as always in the name of preventing VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111. Changes include shortening the early voting period, adding onerous restrictions on third-party groups which register voters, and preventing voters from changing their addresses at the poll (something which Florida has allowed for forty years). Republicans are also moving forward with bills that would eliminate payroll deductions for union dues, force unions to get each member's permission before spending money on elections, and make it harder for trial lawyers to bring medical malpractice cases. In short, as one Democratic lawmaker put it, it's the entire GOP wish list.

Redistricting Roundup:

Florida: This is sorta interesting. One Florida lawmaker on the legislature's redistricting committee is telling his fellow legislators not to talk to him about redistricting—at all. The new "Fair Districts" law says that districts can't be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents, so mapmakers are concerned that if their colleagues start telling them about how they'd like to see the lines crafted, that could later be used as evidence in court.

Virginia: And so it goes: A week after saying he wouldn't change a thing about his party's map, Dem Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw now says of Gov. Bob McDonnell: “We are talking to him. We are trying to meet all of his concerns." I can't see how this is going to end well for Democrats, who now seem to face a choice between a crappy gerrymander in the Senate and a court-drawn map… and I guess would prefer the former, based on Saslaw's hints. Sigh.

Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pretty pissed at McDonnell for vetoing their plans, supposedly with almost no warning, but there's a lot that doesn't add up here. For one, the article says that the legislature doesn't have enough votes to over-ride McDonnell's veto, but that's simply not true. If House Republicans really wanted their map badly enough, they could have prevailed on their counterparts in the Senate to vote for the package deal, ensuring it was safe from McDonnell's veto pen. For the governor's part, he's also full of shit. His spokesman said that he would have preferred the House and Senate maps had been sent to the governor in separate bills, but jeez, this is classic "born yesterday" crap. There's no way the Senate would have given away its one piece of leverage like that. Still, it does sound like the Republican anger at McDonnell is quite real (and not just limited to redistricting), which means a serious derail is not impossible. So maybe there's still a way for Saslaw to snatch something other than defeat from the jaws of… defeat.

Utah: The state will apparently make redistricting software available to citizens on its website, but the linked article isn't very clear where that will happen. Any ideas?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why not just outsource the FL redistricting? (0+ / 0-)

    If they can't talk to each other about redistricting as to appear impartial why not just abdicate the job and let some honestly disinterested party do the work?

     This smells too much like the 9/11 Commission,  BRAC, Simpson-Bowles and other type of groups which basically admits that the government can't do their job and punts.

  •  Utah redistricting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    Utah has a Redistricting Committee which is making a lot of noise about putting forth a fair proposal free of gerrymandering. But the final word will be with the Utah Legislature and Governor, both of which are extremely partisan and Republican. The final product will undoubtably be a classic example of gerrymandering and will maximize the potential benefits for the Republican Party, just as it did 10 years ago.

  •  NM-Sen (0+ / 0-)

    Since Heinrich is shooting for the Dem nomination, it would be just plan nuts for Lujan to do so also.  I'm mighty glad he's not.  Whether it's his own good sense, or whether it's pressure from party operatives, either way it's a relief.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:08:34 AM PDT

    •  Ben Jr. Needs to Wait His Turn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      He is very well liked, but not sure whether he is senatorial material as of yet.  Needs more experience.  Heinrich is in his prime for this campaign.

      "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

      by emobile on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:48:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  VA redistricting (0+ / 0-)

    Saslaw is so convinced that we need a D-gerrymandered Senate map because in the present map we have four quite elderly D Senators representing districts that don't perform very well for Ds, yet a flip of only two Senate seats gives the Rs the last D basion against one-party rule.  Take my word for it, the Rs in this commonwealth are such that one-party rule would not be pretty.

    The concern is that a non-D-gerrymandered map, one in which the bias for compact districts that a judge is likely to apply, would inherently gerrymander against Ds in a close to 50-50 D/R divided state, giving the Rs the long-term advantage.  There is the further danger that some or all of our 4 geriatric Ds in R districts, who keep their seats only by the advantage of incumbency, would find themsleves in impossibly red districts, or in districts paired against each other, or against some R who also has the incumbency advantage.

    Now, if you're an optimist who believes that the D tide is rising in VA, perhaps you're not so worried about the geriatrics problem, or the inherent gerrymander created by the intense concentration of D voters in cities.  You are confident that the rising tide will lift all boats, that we aren't a 50/50 commonwealth, so you would prefer the absence of gerrymander by either side, or of a bipartisan incumbent-protection gerrymander.  You would imagine that the rising tide will protect the D Senate and make a D gerrymander there uneccessary, and even give us a shot at the House, if only the Rs aren't allowed to throw an R gerrymander over it.

    I actually lean more to the optimistic side of the argument.  But I have to admit that this is hardly a slam dunk, that the cautious Saslaw assumption that we are equally divided is probably more realistic, and clearly at least as likely as the optimistic idea of a D trend.  If you believe that doubtful cases should be resolved in favor of caution, then the Saslaw position is clearly the right position in this case.

    What I predict will happen is that McDonell will hold firm against any Senate map that shores up and protects the D majority.  Saslaw in turn will hold firm against any Senate map that doesn't give the Ds a lock on the Senate.  You're probably going to get your wish, because McDonell will reckon that mutual gerrymander disarmament helps the Rs.  It would leave the House still probably beyond D reach, but open up the Senate to possible R takeover.  No sure gains, but surely no risks.  

    The only reason that McDonell would not persist and veto this into the courts, is that he might fear a repeat of the 1981-2 scenario.  That year the federal courts threw out the new maps over VRA concerns.   There was not itme for new maps conforming to the court's directives to be drawn in time for the scheduled 1981 state elections, so the old maps were used in 1981, and then all those state races were run again with the new maps concurrently with the federal elections in 1982.  Obviously, the Rs might have some reason to not want state elections run again in November 2012, in a presidential year.

    Well, for one thing, McDonell might imagine that 2012 will be a good year for Rs, and thus not to be avoided, perhaps even to be sought, as a good time for state Rs to run again.  But more importantly, it isn't clear to me that deadlock in 2011 will result in the 1981-2 scenario of a repeat election off the regular state schedule and on the federal schedule.  I'm not sure a court couldn't get new maps in time (the technology is much better these days) for 2011, and I'm not sure that even if they can't, and 2011 elections are run on the old maps, that means that we have to have special elections when the new maps are available, or that those special elections have to be run on the same day as the federal elections.  Perhaps someone better versed in election law can help us with those questions.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:24:24 AM PDT

  •  My rep (0+ / 0-)

    never does townhalls!!  He is SO right that he is going to tip over one of these days!

  •  cal state dem backstabbing (0+ / 0-)

    Nava Lobbies For Redrawn 35th District to Include Only S.B. County
      Nava's wife lost to Williams, now Nava wants to redistrict the 35th cal state district in a way making it more likely to get a really awful reeper/tea bagger/grifter candidate with a much better chance of wnning.

    This is despicable on Nava's part.

    "Responsible people leave neither loaded guns nor paranoid, eliminationist ideologies laying around for the mentally ill to play with".....Driftglass

    by KenBee on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:27:47 PM PDT

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