• OH Redistricting: Ohio Democrats are throwing down the gauntlet to Republicans, saying they have until Friday to come to the negotiating table over the state's controversial new redistricting map, or else face a referendum on it. Republicans might also try passing a new map that can win seven Democratic votes in the state House, to give it a referendum-proof two-thirds majority. (They already have a supermajority in the Senate.)
When the original plan passed, three of the House's ten Legislative Black Caucus members crossed the aisle to support it: Sandra Williams, William Patmon, and John Barnes. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the GOP is reaching out to the LBC to see if they can forge an unholy alliance to find those final four votes:
"Can we contact you about the maps? That was the message that I got," said Rep. Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat who heads the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
Williams said the message came from "a third party" on Tuesday and that she had not responded to the overture. Instead, she said she was contacting OLBC members to let them know about the interest from Republicans.
"If the members of the caucus were interested, I would definitely entertain it," she said. Williams said a black caucus meeting is scheduled for Wednesday where the topic is likely to come up for discussion.
But if we are able to force a referendum, there's good news on that front from the same PPP Ohio poll discussed below with regard to SB5. Tom Jensen explains:
Finally, the proposed Congressional redistricting lines for Ohio are getting bad reviews from the voters in the state who have an opinion about them, and people would like a chance to go to the polls and have their say on the matter. 40% are opposed to the new maps while only 26% support them and 34% have no opinion on this decidedly insider baseball issue. Independents split against the maps by a 47/27 margin and while 56% of Democrats are against them, only 39% of Republicans stand up in favor of them.
36% of voters think there should be a referendum on the Congressional lines to 28% opposed, with 36% against expressing no opinion. Democrats and independents want the issue put to a vote of the people, Republicans are opposed.
• AZ-Sen: Former Democratic state party chair Don Bivens is running for Arizona's Class 1 Senate seat, and the last guy who did so (who also happens to be a former state party chair as well) is now backing him for the job. Jim Pederson, who lost to Jon Kyl in 2006, just sent out a fundraising email on Bivens' behalf. This is the second recent big-name endorsement for Bivens (ex-Rep. Harry Mitchell came on board last week), who is contending with a national recruitment effort of former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
• NM-Sen: In a move reminiscent of something the mighty Carl Mumpower might do, teabagger Greg Sowards has fired his entire staff and plans to run a Campaign of One. Not that Sowards ever had much of a chance, but this probably helps Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, who has been running as the True Conservative alternative to "moderate" ex-Rep. Heather Wilson in the GOP primary.
• PA-Sen: Former coal company owner Tom Smith followed through on his promise to inject some early funds into his campaign, giving himself a $750K loan. Combined with about $50K in actual donations, he now has $773K cash-on-hand. The other Republican candidates pretty much have bupkes.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold just endorsed Tammy Baldwin for the Democratic Senate nomination, and at this point, I have to start wondering if Baldwin might wind up with the field largely to herself. With the possible exception of ex-Rep. Steve Kagen, no other major candidates really seem to be interested in seeking the nod, and time's a-wastin'.
• VT-Gov: Republican state party chair Patricia McDonald says she might run for governor, but notes that several other GOPers are still considering: ex-LG Brian Dubie (who narrowly lost last year), state Sen. Randy Brock, and businessman Mark Snelling.
• CA-02: Assemblyman Jared Huffman has released one of those "I'm leading! but with a really tiny plurality and tons of undecideds" polls. In the all-party survey of the "top-two" primary from Fairbank, Maslin, Huffman is at 20, Dan Roberts (the only Republican tested) at 18, activist Norman Solomon at 7, and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams at 5. As you probably know by now, the two highest vote-getters regardless of party in the June primary advance to the November general.
• CA-03: The NRCC is running an ad (presumably just a tiny buy) trying to tie Dem Rep. John Garamendi to Solyndra, the failed solar energy company which received loan guarantees from the federal government. The ad (which you can watch at the link) is a ridiculous 60 seconds long, and it feels even longer, given the complicated chain it tries to set up (some absurd intro about gambling addicts → Solyndra was a bad bet → Obama supported Solyndra → Garamendi supported Obama). More salient is the fact that Garamendi raised very little in the third quarter (just $93K), while Republican Colusa County Supervisor Kim Dolbow Vann pulled in $125K and has more cash-on-hand ($125K to $113K).
• CA-47: It looks like state Sen. Alan Lowenthal's sucktastic fundraising quarter (just $39K) may have raised some eyebrows. Former state Sen. Joe Dunn, a fellow Democrat, is now reportedly looking at the race, and he sure sounds well-connected. Dunn is currently the president of the California Bar Association, and before that, he was chief of the California Medical Association. Sounds like he can bring lawyers, docs, and money.
• CT-05: State House Speaker Chris Donovan keeps cleaning up on the labor endorsement front. Now the 4,000-strong International Association of Fire Fighters–Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut has added their backing to his campaign.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, state Sen. Andrew Roraback has a press conference scheduled today, and speculation is that he's going to enter the race for the 5th CD open House seat. He'd be joining a pretty crowded GOP primary that already features four candidates, though Roraback would probably need a badly fractured field to have a chance. He's long cultivated a moderate profile that's liberal even by the standards of Connecticut Republicans, going so far as to refer to himself as a member of a "dying breed."
• FL-13: It's long been tricky to discern new developments in the ongoing Vern Buchanan campaign finance saga, with lots of old stuff often getting rehashed and recycled. But this is definitely news: The Department of Justice will reportedly open its own investigation into "allegations that Buchanan directed a former business partner, Sam Kazran, to improperly reimburse his employees for contributions they made to Buchanan’s congressional campaigns from 2005 to 2007." An earlier FEC probe of Buchanan, a third-term Republican, found no wrongdoing on his part.
• GA-12: I don't think there was any reason to believe that former one-term GOP Rep. Max Burns was considering a comeback, so maybe this is closer to a "Where Are They Now?" item than a GA-12 update. But in any event, Burns was just named president of Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia, which would presumably take a second rematch with Dem Rep. John Barrow off the table. (After Barrow ousted Burns in 2004, Burns very nearly beat him in 2006.)
• IA-02: Republican homebuilder Dan Dolan just announced he'd join the race for the right to unseat Dem Rep. Dave Loebsack. Former John Deere lawyer John Archer is already running. Roll Call's Abby Livingston notes: "Dolan has some built-in name recognition because his homebuilding business has appeared in local television advertisements."
• IL-02: It's certainly not good news for Dem Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.:
The House Ethics Committee, after a two-year delay, has reopened its investigation into whether Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. conducted a “public campaign” in late 2008 to secure an appointment to President Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois, and perhaps broke House rules in the process.
• MD-06: GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says he will seek re-election, even though he's about to get drawn into a much bluer district and, at age 85, is the second-oldest member of the House. (Only fellow Republican Ralph Hall, 88, is older.)
• ND-AL: Shane Goettle, the state director for Sen. John Hoeven, says he's "actively considering" joining the GOP field for North Dakota's open House seat.
• TX-30: Taj Clayton, a Dallas attorney, says he, too, may run in the Democratic primary against Dem Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Johnson is already facing a challenge from state Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway, so this seems like a classic case where another entry would only make it more likely that the incumbent would survive. (h/t Charles Kuffner)
• UT-02/03/04: As Dem Rep. Jim Matheson weighs his post-redistricting future, here are some stats which show just how egregiously Matheson's district was shattered:
Todd Taylor, a consultant to the Utah Democratic Party, said its voter data shows that only 30 percent of Matheson’s current constituents were drawn into his new 2nd District. Meanwhile, 39 percent were put into the new 3rd Congressional District where Chaffetz lives, 25 percent were put into the 4th Congressional District that has no incumbent and 6 percent were put into the 1st Congressional District of Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
Taylor said Democrats also figure that the new 2nd District is 65 percent Republican, the 4th is 62 percent Republican, the first is 72 percent and the 3rd is 74 percent.
I'm not sure what figures the "percent Republican" numbers actually refer to, but speaking of the new 2nd, Matheson told the Salt Lake Tribune that "it’s no tougher than my district is now. ... It’s about 65 percent Republican, too." But he also added: "With so much of my current district in the 3rd, I’m considering running there." And Matheson says he's still thinking about a gubernatorial or Senate bid, too, though he doesn't have a deadline.
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had thought about switching over to the new 4th, says he'll seek re-election in the 3rd. All this is assuming, of course, that Gov. Gary Herbert signs the new map into law. Roll Call, by the way, has some much clearer numbers for the new districts. As you can see from the below, the new 4th ought to be at least as enticing to Matheson as the 2nd, while the 3rd would be ridiculous, especially with Chaffetz running there:
UT-01: McCain: 67; Bush: 76
UT-02: McCain: 58; Bush 67
UT-03: McCain: 67; Bush: 76
UT-04: McCain: 56; Bush: 66
• NJ Lege: New Jersey Newsroom has an interesting look at the overall campaign finance picture for the state's legislative races, which are just three weeks away. As you'd expect, Democrats have a big money lead, about two-to-one, though spending in general is down as compared to 2007.
• OH SB5: These numbers are a huge relief. After showing wide margins in favor of repealing Ohio's new anti-collective bargaining law known as SB5 for most of the year, PPP suddenly saw sentiment tightening on the issue in August, moving from 55-35 against to just 50-39 opposed. Fortunately, that trend has reversed, and with the referendum just weeks away, voters now favor repeal by a 56-36 margin. Tom Jensen notes that Democrats in particular have become energized against the bill, which is on the ballot as Issue 2. The high-profile advertising debacle that the chief anti-union front group brought upon itself probably hasn't helped the pro-SB5 cause either.
• OR-AG: Democratic state AG John Kroger, just 45 years old, has announced that he won't seek a second term next year, due to a "significant but not life-threatening medical condition." Kroger had been very aggressive in his role as attorney general and may have had the inside track to become governor whenever the second post-John Kitzhaber era arrives. His decision to step aside comes as a big shock to the Oregon political establishment, but the Willamette Week is already taking a look at possible replacements.
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso updates us on Tuesday night's results:
Georgia HD-43: In the R-on-R runoff, John Carson was victorious, defeating Robert Lamutt 65-35. Lamutt actually got fewer total votes than in the first round.
Massachusetts House, Berkshire-3: Another close-but-no-cigar result for the Greens; Democrat Tricia Farley-Bouvier eked out a victory with a mere 33% of the vote, while Green Mark Miller came in second with 30%. Independent Pam Malumphy was third with 22%, while Republican Mark Jester brought up the rear with 15%.
Minnesota SD-46: DFLer Chris Eaton won easily, defeating Republican Cory Jensen and IPer Tom Reynolds by a 62-33-5 margin.
Minnesota SD-61: DFLer Jeff Hayden was elevated from the House to the Senate on Tuesday night; it's no surprise that he won in a landslide with 69% of the vote. Green Farheen Hakeem was the second-place finisher with 21% (I guess she can go back and run for Hayden's House seat again now that it's open...), while Republican Bruce Lundeen pulled in 8% and IPer Matt Brillhart got 2%.
• WI Recall: Good news for Democrats: The Government Accountability Board has confirmed that any further state Senate recalls this year will take place under the old district lines, not the new ones, which is the only possible plain reading of the redistricting legislation passed earlier this year. Republicans may go to court asking that this determination be over-ruled, but one thing they apparently won't do (rather inexplicably) is pass new legislation that would make the new districts effective immediately.
• WATN?: I didn't think Artur Davis had a scrap of credibility left, but if he did, he just sold it off. The former Democratic (?) congressman just wrote an op-ed in the Montgomery Advertiser coming out in favor of voter ID laws. Without evidence, he claims that "the wholesale manufacture of ballots" in Alabama's Black Belt constitutes "aggressive contemporary voter suppression" of African Americans. I really have to wonder who he's selling out to, though.
• By the way, yesterday was the eighth birthday of the Swing State Project/Daily Kos Elections. We've truly come full circle because SSP actually began life in the diaries with this post, all the way back in 2003. (There was actually one nascent diary a few days earlier.) Hard to believe it's been so long, so a huge thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible!
• MD Redistricting: Following the state Senate's lead, the House just approved a new redistricting plan for the state by a 91-46 vote, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his certain signature. (Considering an O'Malley-created panel drew the map, he's sure to sign it.) Five Democrats broke ranks to oppose the plan:
All five Democrats who voted against the measure were from the Washington area. Among them were Prince George’s County delegates Aisha N. Braveboy and Tiffany T. Alston, two allies of Edwards who had attempted to lead opposition to the measure on the Legislative Black Caucus.
Montgomery delegates Alfred C. Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez, and Luiz R. Simmons also voted against the plan.