• OH Redistricting: As expected, the state Senate followed the House in passing the new Republican-drawn congressional map yesterday — and once again, pathetically, two Democrats voted in support of the GOP plan (both of whom were, as with the House aisle-crossers, African American). More importantly, though, Republicans included a provision designed to thwart any attempts to over-ride the bill at the ballot box:
The bill included a new appropriations provision inserted by the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee that essentially prevents Democrats from collecting petition signatures to temporarily block the bill and place it on the November 2012 ballot.
Under the Ohio Constitution, bills with appropriation provisions aren’t subject to a referendum. Because of the change, the bill has to return to the Ohio House for a concurrence vote.
The Toledo Blade has more, but it's not perfectly clear-cut:
As a general rule, appropriation bills, such as the state budget, take effective immediately and are not subject to a petition effort to put the law directly to voters. That, however, has become less clear. The Ohio Supreme Court last year derailed then Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland’s plan to install slot machines at racetracks by inserting the language into the budget, ruling that that language could be separately subjected to referendum.
"That’s a question for lawyers and legal authority, but I think the law is clear, if the appropriation is relevant to the issue at hand, the appropriation generally makes those portions effective immediately," said Sen. Keith Fabor (R., Celina), the committee’s chairman and a lawyer.
Still, if Fabor's view is right, then the GOP was clever, because they added $2.75 million "to help county boards of elections to implement the new maps." That certainly sounds "relevant to the issue at hand," though only a judge can say so for sure.
Finally, it may be moot at this point, but another interesting article from the Blade notes that Democrats successfully blocked a redistricting map at the ballot box… back in 1915. Indeed, the case even went all the way up the US Supreme Court, which upheld the validity of the referendum. We may not get the chance to try that again, though.
• CA-Sen: That's one way to bounce back from having your campaign coffers raided by a corrupt treasurer: Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she'll put $5 million of her (very considerable) personal wealth into her own race, an amount that equals what she reported to the FEC as having on hand on June 30. Amazingly, Politico also reports that Feinstein is still unable to access her campaign accounts in the three weeks since the Kinde Durkee story broke, which suggests that she had a shoddy or non-existent system of redundancies in place to protect against this sort of thing. It also means Feinstein doesn't even know how much has been stolen.
Meanwhile, Fox News (sorry, sorry) spoke with Michael Reagan, who says he isn't running against Feinstein and claims never to have spoken with the San Francisco Chronicle, which originally reported he was thinking about the race. Reagan, by the way, is indeed the name you know: He's a conservative talk radio host and the son of the former president. Michael was in fact adopted by Ronald and his first wife, Jane Wyman, and apparently didn't have a great relationship with pops.
• CT-Sen: Huh? Didn't Rob Simmons specifically say that he and Chris Shays have a non-aggression pact? According to Shira Toeplitz's Aug. 26 piece, they sure did, with both ex-Reps. telling that only one of them would go up against Linda McMahon in the GOP primary. With Shays moving ahead with a bid, it certainly seemed pretty clear whose turn it was to get steamrolled, but now comes this from Simmons:
“I’m not ruling anything out. Things can change very quickly and drastically. Politics is a calling. I’m always looking for new opportunities to serve.”
Chris Shays certainly won't be too happy to hear this… but I sure am. A Simmons entry would turn a likely McMahon primary victory into something close to a sure thing, and despite her infinite millions, I have to believe Chris Murphy would rather face her than someone with a more moderate profile like Shays or Simmons.
• MO-Sen, MO-Gov, MO-Pres: PPP has some Republican primary numbers for the state of Missouri, and the most interesting are from the Senate race. There, former Treasurer Sarah Steelman has taken an unexpected 40-29 lead over Rep. Todd Akin, who was up 29-28 four months ago. However, last time, Tom Jensen included teabagger Ed Martin (who has dropped out) and businessman John Brunner (who hasn't), so it looks like their support has gone to Steelman. Akin getting stuck at 29 is certainly bad for him, especially since he's supposed to be the frontrunner. As for the other two races, Missouri Republicans really don't like Peter Kinder and love them some Rick Perry.
• TX-Sen, TX-Gov: Back in July, we linked a story that explained what would happen if Gov. Rick Perry got elected president and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst got elected to the Senate at the same time. The answer was… complicated. But now the Austin American-Statesman's Jason Embry has added an even stranger wrinkle: What would happen if both Perry and Dewhurst won, but Dewhurst decided he'd rather spurn the Senate and ascend to the governor's mansion as Perry's automatic replacement? Read the link to explore this late-night sports radio call-in show-style hypothetical. (Incidentally, Dewhurst insists he would never do this.)
• KY-Gov: This David Williams ad featuring "two dudes at a diner" just seems utterly forced and phony. These fake attempts at authenticity so seldom seem to work. If you want to watch a truly authentic ad, check out this spot Tom Udall ran back in 2008.
• WV-Gov: Early voting has begun in the West Virginia special gubernatorial election between acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) and businessman Bill Maloney (R). The early voting period continues until Oct. 1. For obscure reasons, election day is Oct. 4 (rather than in November).
• CA-15: The East Bay Citizen reports (via an anonymous source) that Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett will not challenge Rep. Pete Stark in the Democratic primary, even though she recently filed FEC paperwork to create a campaign committee. The same piece also suggests that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi might mount a bid. Meanwhile, at least one Democrat is in fact getting in against Stark: Eric Swalwell, an Alameda County deputy district attorney and Dublin City Councilman, just joined the race.
• GA-12: Even though they've drawn Dem Rep. John Barrow into an almost unwinnable district, I guess the NRCC isn't taking any chances. They're up with a $21K ad buy criticizing Barrow for voting for the stimulus — and to show that you can never win when you play their game, they're also attacking him for refusing to vote for a repeal of healthcare reform (lolbluedogs). So this looks like part of their ongoing "get the guy to retire" strategy (they're also airing ads trying to goad California Rep. Jim Costa into hanging up his spurs, too).
• IL-12: Jason Plummer, the 2010 Republican Lt. Gov. nominee, is reportedly considering a challenge to Dem Rep. Jerry Costello. The NRCC previously spent $20K on an ad attacking Costello of "bankrupting Medicare." Note that even during last year's red hurricane, Costello won 60-37.
• IL-14: Already-disgraced GOP freshman Joe Walsh has made it official: To no one's surprise, he announced he'll run against fellow Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the redrawn 14th district. Amusingly, he said of himself and Hultgren: "We've both had a very different initial tenure in Washington." That's one way of putting it. (One article claimed that Walsh was breaking some sort of agreement between Republicans, who supposedly pledged not to campaign until their court challenge to the new map is resolved. But the piece doesn't even cite a source for that claim, and plenty of GOPers have been gearing up in their new districts for months. What's more, see the IL-16 item just below.)
• IL-16: I'm a little reluctant to link to this story in the Morris Daily Herald, because I know at least one important detail is wrong, but let me try to sort everything out. First off, GOP freshman Adam Kinzinger says he's seeking re-election "in the district that represents Grundy County." I have no idea why he's making Grundy the focus of his efforts, since Kinzinger is from Manteno, in neighboring Kankakee County, except for the fact that Manteno has now been placed in the absolutely unwinnable 2nd CD (Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s new home). So I guess Kinzinger is viewing Grundy as his new base, though he's gamely holding out false hope that the new Democratic-drawn congressional map will get thrown out in court in favor of a GOP pipe dream that would put him in a made-up district they number the 11th.
What the article definitely gets wrong is its claim that veteran Republican Don Manzullo is filing to run in the new 11th CD. That made no sense on its face, since the redrawn 11th is not only very blue, but it's also very far away from Manzullo's home in Leaf River. Because that seemed so implausible, I called Manzullo's press secretary, Rich Carter, who said that the story was an "error." Carter confirmed that Manzullo is circulating petitions to run in the current 16th. (It would also be the 16th under the GOP's alternate-universe plan.) This means, then, that Kinzinger would face off against Manzullo in the Republican primary — something he in fact said he'd do right after the new Democratic map became public back in May. Kinzinger swiftly retracted that story, though, and said he hadn't made up his mind. I guess now he has.
One final related note: Winnebago County Board member Frank Gambino, who had previously indicated he was gearing up for a run in this district, is instead going to campaign for state Senate. I suppose Gambino imagined he might have had a thin chance against Manzullo alone in the GOP primary, but perhaps he got wind of this Kinzinger decision and realized it would be hopeless going up against two incumbents.
• MI-05: Good luck winning the Republican nomination, jerkface: Former state Rep. Jim Slezak, who served a single term in the legislature as a Democrat before failing in a state Senate primary bid last year, is switching to the Republican Party in order to run for the 5th CD seat left open by Rep. Dale Kildee's retirement.
• NY-23: Even though he said he'd seek a rematch against Dem Rep. Bill Owens back in May, businessman Matt Doheny only just now filed FEC paperwork to make the race official. Yes, pre-announcements are my least-favorite thing in politics.
• PA-07: Dem ex-Rep. Joe Sestak, in the news because of his opposition to the Pennsylvania GOP's electoral college plan, is also saying he isn't ruling out another run for elective office — which is exactly what he said in February when he was last asked. Back then, though, the speculation was that he might run for governor in 2014. Now, PoliticsPA is suggesting a return to his old seat in the 7th CD could be in the cards, and adds that local politicos and potential candidates are all playing wait-and-see. I wonder if Sestak himself is waiting on Rep. Pat Meehan to decide on his own plans, since Meehan lately has been a target of (desperate) Republican recruitment efforts for the Senate race.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Wow. This could be a really stunning setback for Carl Lewis, after he already appeared to make it over the finish line. A federal appellate panel, which previously ruled he could appear on the ballot, has now made the extremely unusual move of vacating its previous decision. I don't know why the judges didn't seem to be aware of this previously, but apparently at least one is unhappy about the fact that Lewis voted in California in 2008 and 2009. It doesn't look good for Lewis.
• Special Elections: Johnny with the roundup of Tuesday night's festivities:
• Georgia HD-42: Going to a runoff on October 18 between two of the five Republicans who ran; Robert Lamutt and John Carson clinched the top two spots.
• Massachusetts House, Bristol-12: Keiko Orrall picked up this seat for the Republicans, defeating Democrat Roger Brunelle 55-45.
• New Hampshire House, Hillsborough-3: Peter Leishman picked up this seat for the Democrats in a 60-40 victory over Republican David Simpson.
• Voter Suppression: Man these people are a fucking joke. At taxpayer expense, Maine's Republican Secretary of State investigated "voter fraud" for two months, found none, and then concludes that the system is "fragile and vulnerable." Keep trying!
• VRA: Rick Hasen reports that Judge John Bates of the DC District just upheld the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — the part of the law which requires certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to "preclear" any changes to voting procedures with the Department of Justice. Hasen notes that Bates is a George W. Bush appointee and thinks that Bates wrote a very strong decision which could help sway Anthony Kennedy when this case (or one like it) eventually gets to the Supreme Court.
• WA redistricting: If you're a Daily Kos Elections regular, you probably start to get itchy and hallucinate when enough time goes by without getting a new map to look at. Well, if you're in need of a cartography fix, here's something to tide you over: the newly redistricted map for the nine seats on the King County Council (a pretty significant municipality, at 1.9 million residents). (David Jarman)