• MA-Sen: 1199 SEIU is launching radio ads (no word on the size of the buy) targeting Scott Brown over the upcoming vote on the Ryan budget plan, which is expected next week. I'm not sure how much Brown realizes he's jammed himself on this one.
• NJ-Sen (PDF): Bob Menendez seems to be doing pretty well in Monmouth's new poll: His job approval now stands at 48-30, his best marks in quite some time. A year ago, when Monmouth last checked in, he was at 38-33
• NY-Sen: Not that you were worried, but Kirsten Gillibrand's favorable rating clocks in at 51-20 (down a little from February's record high of 57-18) in Siena's latest survey. Her re-elects are basically unchanged at 50-30. Also, gay marriage is still favored by a majority of New Yorkers. Amusingly, when asked to name their top legislative priority out of a list of five, seven percent of respondents said they wanted lawmakers to create an independent redistricting commission. Needless to say, that was the lowest-ranked issue, but seven percent is higher than I'd have guessed!
• WI-Sen: I think this is the first time we've actually heard from the horse's mouth, but unfortunately it's not particularly interesting: Dem Rep. Tammy Baldwin confirms that she is indeed interested in seeking Herb Kohl's seat, but hasn't yet made up her mind.
Much more interesting (if entirely predictable) is the fact that the Club for Growth is already firing off broadsides against ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson, calling him a "big-government pro-tax Republican." Honestly, I don't see how Thompson isn't doomed to getting teabagged to death in the GOP primary.
• CA-11: Ricky Gill, a 24-year-old Republican law student, announced he'd challenge Dem Rep. Jerry McNerney next year. Despite seemingly automatic Some Dude status, Gill says he's already raised $170K. Of course, there's no telling what this district will look like next year.
• MO-01, MO-02, MO-LG: Who knows! Russ Carnahan tells Roll Call he's thinking about either running in the new 2nd CD (open, but still pretty red) or in the 1st CD (occupied by fellow Dem Rep. Lacy Clay). But Shira Toeplitz and Kyle Trygstad further note that Carnahan attended a Democratic Party event in Kansas City (on the opposite end of the state), adding to speculation that he might run for Lt. Gov. "or another statewide office."
• NY-10: Politico has a backgrounder on a race that we've been covering for a while here but that hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet: the nascent contest to unseat Rep. Ed Towns, one of the most useless members of the Democratic caucus. No one has officially launched a challenge, but Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries has formed an exploratory committee and would seem to be the front-runner. But also waiting in the wings is the, ah, unpredictable Charles Barron, a city councilman who primaried Towns in 2006 and has nothing but unkind words for Jeffries.
One thing Politico missed concerning Towns' future was this tea leaf that brewed up the other night. Towns lost a vote for a district leader seat in the Brooklyn Democratic Party to city councilman Erik Martin Dilan, son of state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (who held Erik's council seat before handing it off to his offspring). PolitickerNY says that County Leader Vito Lopez pushed hard for Dilan, which suggests that the knives might be out for Towns. (Hat-tip to Colin Campbell, whose blog "The Brooklyn Politics" you should add to your list.)
• NY-26: A few NY-26 updates: Marco Rubio's doing robocalls for Jane Corwin… the National Jewish Democratic Council is doing robocalls aimed at Jewish voters… a group called the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare PAC threw in $10K on radio ads for Kathy Hochul… the American Action Network spent $32K on mailers going after both Hochul and Jack Davis… and Hochul has now raised over $1 million for the campaign.
• Wisconsin Recall: So it now sounds like the GOP will face primaries in all three recall elections of Dem senators that are tentatively on the schedule. (The linked article mentions Jonathan Steitz and Fred Ekornaas running against Robert Wirch, and Robert Lussow and Kim Simac running against Jim Holperin; we previously knew that Mary Scray and John Nygren were both running against Dave Hansen.) If the elections happen as scheduled, then primaries would take place on July 12 and generals on August 9 — but recall targets who don't face a primary would run in generals on the earlier of the two dates. I'm having a hard time deciding whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for Democrats. Thoughts?
• WATN?: Former VA-09 Dem Rep. Rick Boucher, who lost last year, is heading to biglaw firm Sidley Austin, where he'll head up their lobbying shop. (Whether it's called "government relations," "government strategies," etc., if a practice group has the word "government" in it, it's probably related to lobbying.)
• Alabama: A state legislative committee approved a new congressional map on Wednesday, but I can't seem to find a copy of it anywhere. However, there's a reasonably detailed description of the changes in a scrollbox in the middle of the linked article, so perhaps an intrepid Swingnut (we can still call you that, right?) can figured it out using Dave's Redistricting App. Interestingly, a second article says that the redistricting committee rejected a map that had been put forth by the committee's chairs, and which the congressional delegation had weighed in on. Instead, they picked a map that " no one from Washington had input into," according to the adopted plan's author. I'd love to see that map, too.
• Nevada: Well, it just seems like more kabuki cartography, but Democrats passed their new plan through the Assembly on Wednesday, and presumably the Senate will do the same soon. Is there any way that Gov. Brian Sandoval doesn't veto again?
• Oregon: I'm not sure I get Kurt Schrader's complaining about the first Democratic map for Oregon that got floated, and that actually improved his fortunes by several percentage points. Maybe he thinks he needs to lob a few rhetorical grenades in that direction to preserve his bipartisan reputation, but I can't see gerrymandering (unpopular as it is among the general public) being a make-or-break issue with fickle indies, and winning over fickle indies is less of a sure-thing way to hold down your district than, y'know, getting more Portlanders into your district. One other possibility: if his district gets too blue, maybe the increasingly Blue Doggish Schrader is worried about a primary?
Well, at any rate, Schrader can claim success, as the Dems rolled out another map yesterday that's a little less aggressive (although, given the timeframe, I'm sure it was in the works long before his complaints). It is a neater and tidier-looking map that breaks up fewer counties, with OR-03 heading south into rural Clackamas County instead of over to Hood River, and with OR-05 still reaching up into southwest Portland, just not as much. (In fact, it's really the path of least resistance: only 90,000 Oregonians find themselves in new districts with this map, compared with 200K in the first Dem map and 470K in the GOP map.) This time, it's David Wu's time to complain, though (leaving the usually irascible Peter DeFazio the only Dem House member left who hasn't carped). He's unhappy with losing 36K of his 87K constituents on Portland's west side. Who else isn't happy? The GOP. One of their lawyers already filed a suit to send the whole thing to court. Why so soon? They're trying to get a jump on venue-shopping. He filed in rural Yamhill County, whereas the 2001 redistricting, which is generally understood to have worked out well for the Dems, happened in Multnomah County (Portland). (David Jarman)
• South Carolina: Republicans have released a new congressional map for the first time (click here to see), with a new seventh district based in Horry County at the state's easternmost tip. Dave Wasserman calls it a 6-1 map (that is, 6 Republican seats and just 1 Dem seat) and asks the obvious question: Will this lead to a VRA lawsuit to push for the creation of a second majority-minority district?
• Texas: Lawmakers may not get around to completing a congressional map by the time they adjourn on May 30, so a special session is looking more and more likely, at least according to the state rep in charge of redistricting. However, his counterpart in the state senate says they're still working on a plan.
• West Virginia: There's movement afoot in West Virginia to completely reshape the state House map. Though there are 100 lawmakers in the chamber, only 36 are elected in single-member districts. The rest hail from 22 multi-member districts which contain anywhere from two to seven (!) representatives. It seems that quite a few people are unhappy with this state of affairs, with many arguing that multi-member districts reduce accountability. Currently, only ten states allow such districts.
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