• MD Redistricting: It looks like Maryland's redistricting process, like that in so many other states, may be headed off the rails. After hints that she was unhappy, Dem Rep. Donna Edwards has now come out and declared her formal opposition to the map produced by the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee (aka "GRAC"). The Washington Post explains:
But the plan would also take away the portion of Montgomery that Edwards represents, stretching her 4th District from Prince George’s into Anne Arundel County instead. Rep. John Sarbanes’s (D) 3rd District would also take a portion of Montgomery.
The result, Edwards said Tuesday, would be that Montgomery—a county where minorities make up the majority, according to 2010 Census data—would be splintered into three districts, all likely represented by white men.
“I have been one of the strongest proponents as a Democrat of drawing a seventh district for Democrats,” Edwards said in an interview Tuesday. “But we can accomplish that in a different way…. Where I have a real disagreement is in making superior the political interests to the minority voting rights interests.”
Some, though, are questioning her motives, wondering whether Edwards is actually speaking out because she's fearful of a primary challenge out of Prince George's County, which would become the new center of gravity in the redrawn (and Montgomery-less) 4th District. Regardless, while Edwards of course does not literally have a vote on the matter, she has allies—and the Legislative Black Caucus is considerable in Maryland. In fact, its 34 members in the House of Delegates would be enough to tip the balance of power to the Republicans, who hold 43 seats to the Democrats' 98. And indeed, one Republican legislator, state Sen. Christopher Shank, has been suggesting precisely that coalition of convenience.
Gov. Martin O'Malley has said that he doesn't plan to make major changes to the GRAC map before submitting his final version to the legislature, so this could get very messy if one side or the other doesn't budge. And it's all doubly a shame because Democrats could have pressed forward with the much better "Option 2" map that would have created eight winnable seats for Dems.
• CT-05: Chris Donovan (D): $250K raised
• FL-Sen: Sen. Bill Nelson (D): $2 million raised, $7.5 million cash-on-hand
• IA-04: Christie Vilsack (D): $330K raised, $540K cash-on-hand
• TX-Sen: David Dewhurst (R): $2.64 mil raised, plus $2 million in self-funding
• TX-35: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D): $375K raised, $3.3 million cash-on-hand
• CT-Sen: I can't see how he'd have a hope of making a dent in a GOP primary already so crowded, which I guess is why former U.S. Comptroller David Walker says he will "probably not" run for Senate. (There's also been some speculation that he could run as an independent, but who knows.) Walker says he'll make up his mind by the end of January, which would be awfully late to enter the race if he did decide to go for it.
• HI-Sen: Linda Lingle, the Republican former two-term governor of Hawaii, finally launched her campaign yesterday for the state's open Senate seat. Click the link for our full post analyzing this decision at Daily Kos Elections—and why we think she'll lose.
• ND-Sen: This is some welcome news for Team Blue. Former state AG Heidi Heitkamp now says she is "considering" a bid for North Dakota's open Senate seat and will decide within 30 days. Heitkamp is probably the strongest Democratic candidate out there, having won statewide office three times, and she'd give us a fighting chance to hold this seat. The news is surprising (in a good way), because back in May, Heitkamp's brother Joel (a former state senator turned radio host) said of his sister, "I know her well enough to know she's running for governor." Evidently not.
• VA-Sen: Nothing ever changes in the Virginia Senate race, where Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen have been neck-and-neck in almost every single poll. Quinnipiac's latest has Kaine ahead 45-44. Last month, it was Allen up 45-44.
• WI-Sen: Yet another dragged-out "official announcement." Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said back in August that he'd join the GOP Senate field. Now, finally, some six weeks later, he actually has. As you know, the primary is already very crowded, with wealthy ex-Rep. Mark Neumann and ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson on the scene. It could get even busier if hedge fund manager Eric Hovde gets in as well.
• WI-Gov: In case you missed it, Wisconsin Democrats just announced the launch of an effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.
• AZ-04: GOP state Sen. Ron Gould says he's interested in Congress but wants to see where incumbents wind up on the final map. Currently, there's no one with a clear claim on the draft version of AZ-04, though Rep. Paul Gosar may prefer to run there since it's much more Republican-friendly than the proposed new version of his 1st CD. Gould sounds like he's more concerned with what fellow Republican Trent Franks will do, but right now, the new 8th is a perfect fit for him.
• DE-AL: New Castle County Council president Tom Kovach says he will challenge freshman Dem Rep. (not often you need to use that phrase) John Carney for Delaware's lone House seat. Kovach had picked up a Democratic-held seat in a Dec. 2008 special election but lost re-election last year. (A little anvil named Christine O'Donnell helped weigh him down.) However, he won his current council seat in another special early this year, picking up Democrat Paul Clark's seat when Clark became New Castle County Executive. (Clark succeeded to the job held by Chris Coons, the guy who of course beat O'Donnell.)
• IN-05: He may be a Some Dude, but he's got the name you know (sort of): Attorney Jack Lugar says he's joining the clusterf*ck that is the GOP primary to unseat Rep. Dan Burton—but the much more famous Richard Lugar says the two aren't related. Still, name recognition's gotta count for something.
• MI-11: Former GOP state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski, who narrowly lost last year to Dem Rep. Gary Peters, had been thinking about a rematch since January. But because Republicans eliminated Peters' seat in redistricting, that wound up leaving poor Rocky without any place to run. Peters opted for a primary fight with Hansen Clarke in the redrawn 14th, but that district's no place for someone like Raczkowski, whose only real choice was the new 11th. That seat, though, is presently occupied by GOP Rep. Thad McCotter, who apparently has firmed up his re-election plans after bailing on his extremely short-lived presidential adventure, because he's now tapped Rocky to serve as his campaign chair. However, McCotter still faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Mike Kowall.
• OK-02: Looks like Democrats finally got their huckleberry: Former district attorney and assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace, whose name has been in the mix at least since August just declared that he'd seek the seat being left open by Rep. Dan Boren, who is retiring. When former Rep. Brad Carson and former state Sen. Ken Corn both said they wouldn't run, Wallace shot to the top of many lists, so he looks like a good get. This is a red-on-the-presidential-level-but-ancestrally-Dem district which will be a tough but not impossible hold. (By the way, we need a short-hand name for that kind of district. Ideas?)
• KY-AG, KY-Gov: Democratic AG Jack Conway just received the endorsement of the NRA as he seeks re-election next month. He's the only statewide Democrat to receive the NRA's backing, though the group declined to endorse in the governor's race.
• OH SB5: This is an unreal level of chutzpah—in fact, it's downright thievery. The video below contains two ads, back-to-back. The first is from We Are Ohio, the union umbrella organization fighting to repeal Ohio's new anti-collective bargaining bill known as SB5 and placed on the ballot next month as "Issue 2." (A "no" vote on Issue 2 is a vote to repeal SB5.) The second is from a group called "Building a Better Ohio," which supports SB5. Now, we've all seen many political ads that reference prior ads, but they always make it clear where the source material is from, usually by framing it inside a fake TV. But Building a Better Ohio just outright steals clips to make it look like the woman in We Are Ohio's ad is actually endorsing a "yes" vote on Issue 2! Just watch for yourselves. It's an outrage: