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Leading Off:

NY Redistricting: This one is hard to figure. Dem Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been threatening to veto any maps he believes are not independently drawn and non-partisan. So this statement Cuomo made during a radio interview with WXXI on Friday has me baffled:

"So to the extent there is an impetus to resolve and compromise the matter, among everyone — Assembly, Senate, good-government groups — because going to court is not the optimum for the good-government groups, either, right — so to the extent there is a situation where people would want to compromise, fine. And I think there are conversations that are going on now, and I think you see good-government groups that are showing flexibility and creativity. I think that's a good thing. But my position is what my position was in the campaign."

Cuomo didn't sound like someone who was backing down, because he repeated his position on who should draw the lines and how multiple times during the interview — and just before this portion, he even said he thought the existing process is "flawed by design" and neither independent nor non-partisan. Furthermore, in another interview the same day (with WCNY), Cuomo flatly stated that he'd veto a map produced by the legislature's commission (known as LATFOR).

So what kind of compromise is he talking about? This is pure speculation, but I think perhaps Cuomo's very subtly endorsing Common Cause's new approach. Common Cause recently split with other goo-goo groups, saying that "it is equally or more important how the lines are drawn, and less who draws the lines." To that end, CC has backed away from demanding an independent commission and instead wants to see LATFOR adopt a certain set of criteria for line-drawing. I tend to doubt that the lege would go for even this watered-down approach (CC, for instance, wants LATFOR to ignore incumbent residency and partisan demographics), so if I'm right, then Cuomo's new-found openness to "compromise" doesn't sound like much.


AZ-Sen: Is this game ever going to end? Joe Arpaio, the notorious sheriff of Maricopa County who has forever flirted with running for higher office, said back in February that he wouldn't seek Arizona's open Senate seat. Now, though, he's apparently formed a new federal PAC and "hasn’t closed the door" on the race. Whatever.

DE-Sen: Republican businessman Kevin Wade has formed an exploratory committee to consider a challenge to Dem Sen. Tom Carper. Wade briefly ran for Delaware's open House seat last year but dropped out before the primary after faring poorly at the state GOP convention.

MA-Sen: I just wanted to give some belated credit to Newton Mayor Setti Warren for his candor. Warren, who dropped out of the Democratic Senate primary late last week, declared he was getting out of the race "for one reason and for one reason only: I no longer believe I have a clear path to victory." It's a refreshing change from the usual platitudes, at least. Warren added that Elizabeth Warren "changed the race for me and it was clear to me that I could not win." The question now is whether the other remaining Democrats feel the same way.

NY-Sen: Diana Taylor, the girlfriend of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has once again shot down the idea of challenging Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Republicans attempted to recruit Taylor last year, but she declined. Now, mercifully, she's thrown in a few snotty comments about DC and elective office in general that, with any luck, will permanently remove her from consideration for any race in the future. (Amusingly, she also insists she could have beaten Gillibrand last year.)

VA-Sen: Well, lookee here: It's Rasmussen's first poll of a state-level race this cycle... and it looks like they're trying to play it straight up the middle, after flying too close to the sun last year. They've got Tim Kaine at 46 and George Allen at 45 — the same tossup every other pollster has shown. On the presidential side, they have Barack Obama leading Rick Perry 50-40 but trailing Mitt Romney 46-45. The sample breaks down at 36% Republican, 33% Democrat, and 31% "other." (Also of note: It looks like Rasmussen is putting almost everything behind paywalls now.)

WA-Sen: Though his name has only circulated briefly, and though a request for feedback about a run from his Twitter followers was met with crickets, freshman state Sen. Michael Baumgartner says he'll get into the race against Dem Sen. Maria Cantwell today. He doesn't seem to be the only Republican gearing up to run, though: Bloomberg anchor Phillip Yin (previously mentioned here) plans to join the race later this month, and even Rep. Dave Reichert still hasn't ruled out the race.

WI-Sen: Uh, is Eric Hovde mooting the right primary? Hovde, a super-wealthy hedge fund manager, says he's thinking about joining the already-crowded GOP field and says he'd be willing to drop in $10 million of his own money on the race. He also explains that he's motivated to run because "the economic policies for the last 10 or 12 years have been dominated by Washington being bought off by Wall Street." That sure as hell doesn't sound very much like Republican-speak to me, though it echoes this 2008 op-ed he wrote for the Washington Post that expands upon those themes. On the current crisis, he said:

And in my view, there's no need to look beyond Wall Street — and the halls of power in Washington. The former has created the nightmare by chasing obscene profits, and the latter have allowed it to spread by not practicing the oversight that is the federal government's responsibility.

Doesn't he know that greed is good, and that government just needs to get out of the way of the free market?


KY-Gov: Man, I sure would love to meet the saps behind the brand-new (and very temporary) GOP front group Restoring America because I would like some free money, too. These bozos are spending at least $668K on ads attacking Dem Gov. Steve Beshear in a race that a) national Republicans have abandoned; b) is just a month away; and c) features twenty-point leads for the Democrat. You can watch their spots here and here if you care; one of them already got bounced off the air for containing falsehoods. Amateur hour.


IL-12: Roger Cook, a Republican who served one term as mayor of Belleville (pop. 44K) some fifteen years ago, says he'll run against Dem Rep. Jerry Costello.

IN-05: Dem state Rep. Scott Reske confirms that he will in fact run for Congress, nominally against Dan Burton. (I say that because, of course, there's an excellent chance that Burton won't survive the Republican primary.) As we noted when we first mentioned Reske back in August:

Reske got jacked in redistricting, so this is an interesting escape hatch, especially since this district actually got a lot bluer as a result of the congressional remap. It went from 59-40 McCain all the way to 53-47 McCain. Now obviously those 2008 Obama numbers in Indiana are a serious high-water mark, but could this wind up being a hidden opportunity for Democrats, especially if Burton is the GOP nominee?

Reske also adds that former Sen. Evan Bayh would have received 56% of the vote in this district, but that calculation has to date back to 2004, the last time Bayh ran for office.

MI-01: Derek Bailey, chairman of the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, says he'll join the Democratic field that's looking to unseat freshman GOPer Dan Benishek. Already in the race is 2010 nominee Gary McDowell, a former state representative. Bailey's tribe numbers about 4,100, and he was elected chair in 2008.

ND-AL: Former state Rep. Ben Vig (who had been considering a bid) says he won't run for the state open House seat. He was clearly boxed out by Pam Gulleson, a former colleague in the legislature who announced her surprise candidacy last week. Vig didn't appear to formally endorse her, but said at the time that Gulleson's entrance was "exciting news for everybody."

NY-09: Greg Giroux has a chart breaking down last month's special election vote by Assembly District.

NY-12: Roberto Perez of El Diario says that NYC Councilman Erik Dilan could challenge Rep. Nydia Velazquez in the Democratic primary. According to Perez, this possibility stems from the complicated machine politics that played out in the recent Assembly special election in the 54th AD, which we explained in brief last month. In short, Velazquez belatedly backed the insurgent (Jesus Gonzalez) against the machine-picked candidate (Rafael Espinal), but the machine guy won, in a district that overlaps with one corner of the 12th CD. Dilan apparently believes this points to weakness on the part of Velazquez, who also has a long-running feud with Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez — a patron of both Espinal's and Dilan's. (Hat-tip: Colin Campbell)

OR-01: The Oregon Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, has endorsed Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian in the upcoming Democratic primary.

PA-18: This should be entertaining. Evan Feinberg, a 27-year-old congressional aide who just quit his job for Sen. Rand Paul to move back home to southwestern Pennsylvania, says he plans to challenge Rep. Tim Murphy in the Republican primary. Feinberg makes Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel look like as pedigreed as Warren Christopher by comparison.

RI-01: Scott MacKay of NPR affiliate WRNI mentions another possible challenger to freshman Dem Rep. David Cicilline in the Democratic primary: Merrill Sherman, president of BankRI. It doesn't appear that she's publicly expressed interest, though, and I'd point out that she served as an advisor to Cicilline almost a decade ago when he was first elected mayor of Providence.

SC-07: Former Lt. Gov André Bauer, who came in a disastrous fourth place (out of four candidates) in last year's GOP gubernatorial primary, says he's "seriously considering" a run for the state's brand-new 7th Congressional District.

SD-AL: David Montgomery of the Rapid City Journal engages in one of the most thorough and lengthy dissections of an eyebrow-raising poll I've ever seen — specifically, a survey by Nielson Brothers Polling which showed freshman GOPer Kristi Noem losing a rematch to ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin by an almost impossible-to-believe 58-37 margin. (Noem beats Generic Dem 59-25.) There are quite a few problems with the poll (for example, it weighted by party ID), so I encourage you to follow the link for the full run-down. I would also add that this firm has a very short track record, and not an impressive one at that: A poll of last year's gubernatorial race they released just before election day showed Republican Dennis Daugaard with a three-point lead. He won by twenty-three.

TN-03: Weston Wamp, the 24-year-old son of ex-Rep. Zach Wamp, confirmed that he would challenge freshman Chuck Fleischmann in the Republican primary. Wamp's been talking about the race since July — this was his father's seat until the elder Wamp waged a failed gubernatorial bid last year. Given his extreme youth, clearly Wamp the Younger has little else going for him other than his family name, but I wonder what his rush is.

TX-27, TX-34: Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos has been reluctant to commit to a congressional run for two reasons: First, as we noted back in May, if he goes ahead with a House bid, he'd trigger Texas's resign-to-run laws, meaning he'd have to step down as D.A. right away. Second, while Villalobos had initially set his sights on the 27th CD, he now thinks the 34th (or another district) could wind up as a more attractive target if it gets altered in redistricting litigation. The piece also has some interesting quotes from Villalobos on what it means to launch a campaign that will get taken seriously by national Democrats; nothing newsy, but they add some good color.

Other Races:

Cornelius, OR: This is way deep in the weeds, but interesting enough to merit a quick mention. The town of Cornelius (pop. 10K) just recalled its mayor and two allies on the city council — notable not only because the trio swept into office just a year ago riding teabagger sentiment, but also because, as David Jarman explains:

Cornelius is out right where the exurbs turn into rural and has a lot of tension with fast-growing Latino population... exactly the kind of environment where Tea Party bullshit is most fertile.

IA-St. Sen.: As expected, Democrats tapped former TV news anchor Liz Mathis to run in the crucial 18th Senate District special election. This race, to be held on Nov. 8th, will determine whether Democrats retain control over the state Senate.

MO-SoS: Democrat Robin Carnahan, who lost last year's open-seat Senate race by 14 points to Roy Blunt, says she won't seek a third term as Secretary of State next year. PoliticMO looks at possible replacements on both sides.

Redistricting Roundup:

AZ Redistricting: Arizona's redistricting commission (or at least, presumably, its Democratic and independent members) are fighting back against Republican AG Tom Horne's investigation of their activities. They've filed a lawsuit asking a judge to rule that the commission is not subject to the state's open meetings law, and also seeking an injunction against Horne's inquest.

CA Redistricting: Another one of those not-gonna-go-nowhere lawsuits: California Republicans are attempting to challenge the new commission-drawn congressional map, mostly on some spurious VRA grounds. With a signature drive to put the map on the ballot for a referendum apparently dead, this is all the state GOP has left… and it ain't much.

MD Redistricting: DKos Electioneers will rejoice: We'd previously linked to several 7-1 Maryland plans floating about, but now both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post are reporting that Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Dem-controlled lege are actively considering an 8-0 map ("Option 2" in both links). The would-be plan trisects Montgomery County into a western MD-based 6th, a Carroll-Montgomery centered 8th, and a Howard-Montgomery 3rd. Andy Harris' 1st would jump the bay at Annapolis, reaching across into Columbia and Northern PG County; Donna Edwards, ever the trooper, would take on a nasty chunk of Anna Runnell (Anne Arundel County, that is, for those that don't speak Ballmer-ese). The other plan is similar to what we've previously seen: an Eastern-shore based GOP sink for Andy Harris and a significant chunk of MoCo for Bartlett. (Though the 7-1 plan presented is, certainly, in my opinion, nastier looking than the 8-0. I wonder if that's a tactical move on O'Malley's part to make the 8-0 be more palatable?) (jeffmd)

NM Redistricting: Unsurprisingly, several lawsuits have bloomed in the wake of the legislature's failure to complete congressional redistricting, as well as promised gubernatorial vetoes of new legislative maps. Democrats and Republicans are both engaged in what lawyers call "forum shopping" — that is, filing suit in jurisdictions you think will be favorable to you. Democrats have therefore asked the state Supreme Court to consolidate the cases… in Dem-heavy Santa Fe, of course.

TX Redistricting: The three-judge panel in San Antonio hearing the main Texas redistricting case has enjoined the state from implementing the contested state House and congressional maps that the legislature passed earlier this year because it has not yet (and may never) receive preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. Instead, the court just laid out an accelerated schedule for the creation of temporary maps — and time is of the essence, since the candidate filing period in Texas runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12. So we could see an interim map next month.

UT Redistricting: Utah's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has told the legislature he isn't happy with the new congressional map the redistricting committee has selected — and publicly, a Herbert spokeswoman is emphatically insisting her boss is simply trying to ensure "fairness" in line-drawing. Not-so-privately, local politicos think that Herbert is afraid of a challenge from Dem Rep. Jim Matheson and wants to make sure Matheson has a district he's content to seek re-election in. That's not the case under the proposed map, which could push Matheson into next year's Senate or gubernatorial race instead.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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