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Leading Off:

AZ Redistricting: Wow. Gov. Jan Brewer is on the verge of going nuclear on Arizona's redistricting commission, all because Republicans can't believe they didn't get a map that was perfectly gerrymandered to suit their tastes. Yes, she's invoking the specter of impeachment:

Brewer today sent a letter to all five commissioners seeking a response to allegations that the IRC violated open meeting laws, public records laws and the constitutionally mandated criteria for redistricting. The letter comes as Republican lawmakers, conservative activists and others have been clamoring for a special session of the Legislature to remove IRC Chairwoman Colleen Mathis, who has been accused of colluding with the commission’s two Democrats.

The governor accused the commissioners of “substantial neglect of duty and gross misconduct in office,” repeating verbatim the provision in the Arizona Constitution that details the grounds for removing a commissioner from the panel. The removal of a commissioner requires the approval of the governor and two-thirds of the Senate.

Remember, the proposed map the commission produced has four safe GOP seats and only two solid Dem seats, with three "fair fight" districts. Of course, Republicans have been howling about the commission since long before they issued their draft map, so reality never had anything to do with these complaints. Anyhow, the article games out what might happen if commissioners get impeached—Republicans control 21 of 30 seats in the Senate, so it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but I'm not optimistic.


CA-Sen: Can Orly Taitz do better this cycle? When I say "better," I mean, "provide more lulz," because her run for California Secretary of State was seriously lacking in that department. The Birther Clown Princess just filed to run for the Senate, though, so maybe a more high-profile bid will yield improved results. Or maybe she'll just wind up like Mickey Kaus. Remember Mickey Kaus? Yeah, me neither.

FL-Sen: Ridiculous, but true: GOP Rep. Connie Mack has decided to run for Senate after all, despite pulling the plug on a run at the last minute back in March. The complete story is even more absurd, though, so click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.

FL-Sen: More freaking Artur Davis linkbait… but damn if he isn't good at getting under my skin. Now he's defending Marco Rubio, but in a way that's really calculated as more of an assault on the kind of people who think ArturD2 is a toolbag:

Marco Rubio has suggested that his parents left Cuba out of fear of Castro's Marxism. The reality is that his parents left Cuba, and couldn't return out of fear of Castro's Marxism. The only individuals likely to see a legitimate moral difference in those accounts are liberal bloggers or partisan campaign operatives.

And it goes on like this. But the "reality" is actually that Rubio's parents said they intended to move here permanently when they emigrated in 1956—but Davis is not really one for "evidence." Anyway, f*ck him. He's all but said in recent days that he's not a Democrat anymore (to the extent he ever was), telling Roll Call "I don’t have to grapple with the question of what party label to wear." What's more, he's been busy donating to Republican candidates, including ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (running for Senate in New Mexico) and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi (running for governor). That last donation is particularly galling, because Bryant is facing Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree, the first black gubernatorial nominee in the state since reconstruction.

NV-Sen: Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley has pulled into a tie with Sen. Dean Heller in Public Policy Polling's newest survey. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.

TX-Sen, TX-10: Can't say I'm surprised, but for the second cycle in a row, GOP Rep. Mike McCaul has flirted with a run for higher office only to eventually decline. Last time it was attorney general; this time it's the Senate. McCaul is monstrously wealthy but would have faced a tough time gaining traction against the existing field.

WI-Sen: PPP is out with the Senate portion of their new Wisconsin poll, and it shows a tossup all around. Click the link for all the numbers and our full analysis at Daily Kos Elections.


UT-Gov: Remember, it's not just Sen. Orrin Hatch who has run afoul of movement conservatives: GOP Gov. Gary Herbert is considered an apostate, too, largely for signing into law a bill that created a guest worker program—something xenophobes regard as "amnesty." While various names have come and gone (mostly gone) with regard to Herbert primary challenge, two heavy hitters are still refusing to close any doors: Senate President Michael Waddoups and House Speaker Becky Lockhart. (Waddoups in particular also clashed with Herbert over redistricting, though Herbert eventually went along with the team.) Neither Waddoups or Lockhart sounds particularly enthused, and Waddoups isn't even seeking re-election to the Senate, but an intra-party battle is nevertheless a possibility.

WI-Gov: It looks like ex-Rep. Dave Obey, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk are still the main options as opponents for Scott Walker in a possible recall election, seeing as all three addressed a training session for recall organizers earlier this week. But a completely brand-new name has also surfaced: Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin. Earlier this year, Mitchell became the first African American head of the organization and, at age 33, the youngest-ever as well. He was also a prominent voice during the wintertime protests over the GOP's anti-union wrecking ball, and now he tells Mother Jones that he is "seriously considering a run" in the recall elections.

And while we're on the subject of Wisconsin, here's some other news: Republicans are now pushing legislation which would require that recall petitions get notarized, obviously an attempt to thwart Democratic efforts to recall Walker. Click the link for our full story on this latest shenanigan.


CA-02: Activist Norman Solomon released an internal poll from Lake Research Partners, and while I'm usually harsh on surveys like this which show tons of undecideds, I actually think this is a smart move, even though the survey doesn't show Solomon leading. Why? Solomon is running in a heavily Democratic district that is an open seat thanks to Rep. Lynn Woolsey's retirement. He's also facing off against better-known (and better-funded) opponents, so it's wise for him to demonstrate that the race is still wide open—particularly since the nominal frontrunner, Jared Huffman, released a poll showing Solomon much further behind last week. Anyhow, an all-party jungle primary test produces the following results:

State Assemblymember Jared Huffman draws 16% of votes; small business owner Dan Roberts, the only Republican in the race so far, is currently getting 12% support, with Norman Solomon following closely with 11%. County Supervisor Susan Adams and entrepreneur Stacey Lawson achieve 4% of support each, followed by medical marijuana expert William Courtney with 3%, activist Andy Caffrey with 2%, and Petaluma Councilwoman Tiffany Renee with 1%. The race is up for grabs, with nearly half (46%) of voters undecided.

FL-14: Now that GOP Rep. Connie Mack is running for Senate (for reals, this time—see FL-Sen link above), he's also finally leaving behind his House seat. That is setting off your typical scramble for replacements, mostly on the Republican side (this is a very red seat and will probably remain so). Anyhow, Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall had originally opened up an exploratory committee back in April but said she didn't plan to primary Mack—rather, she was hoping for a new seat to open up via redistricting. Now she says she will indeed run for the GOP nomination in the 14th District.

Meanwhile, Republican Chauncey Goss had been considering a primary challenge against Mack; he says he'll make up his mind in a few more weeks. (He's also the son of ex-Rep. Porter Goss, the man who held this seat before Mack did. And apparently people do still name their kids "Chauncey.") As you'd expect, these aren't the only folks who might run, so here are even more Republican possibilities: state Rep. Gary Aubuchon, ex-state Rep. Dudley Goodlette, ex-state Sen. Burt Saunders, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, and possibly former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, though he just took a job as CEO of a biotech company yesterday.

IL-10: Activist Ilya Sheyman just secured endorsements from three Democratic congressmen for his bid to unseat GOP freshman Bob Dold! in the redrawn 10th CD, including one from his home state. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02), Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), and Keith Ellison (MN-05) all gave Sheyman their backing over businessman Brad Schneider, who came into the race with the mantle of the "establishment" candidate. (I don't know how an awesome a get JJJ is, though, given the ethical issues that have recently resurfaced for him.) While Sheyman's fundraising hasn't been awesome ($151K last quarter, $108K in Q2), Schneider's has turned downright sucky (just $79K in Q3, after a $321K initial splash), and Sheyman's greater appeal to the progressive base could allow him to pull what, at least back in July, would have been viewed as an upset.

MA-01: Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo says that he still intends to run in the Democratic primary for whatever seat emerges in Western Mass. after redistricting, in spite of Rep. John Olver's retirement announcement on Wednesday. The linked article adds that Dem state Rep. Dennis Rosa could run as well, and also identifies a couple of possible Republican candidates: Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella and real estate developer Gregg Lisciotti.

NC-04: Rep. David Price has an internal out from Garin-Hart-Yang showing him with a 46-25 lead over fellow Rep. Brad Miller in a hypothetical incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary. I don't agree with the characterization, though, that Miller is "challenging" Price. The redrawn 4th CD has as many of Miller's current constituents as it does Price's—the only reason to view as "Price's district" is because it shares the same number as his current one. This is really anyone's seat.

NY-10: I guess this is Ed Towns croaking, "I'm not dead yet!" After Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries made it clearer that he plans to challenge Towns in the Democratic primary, and after fundraising reports showed the incumbent with just $11K in the bank, retirement speculation heated up. But now Hank Sheinkopf, a consultant for Towns, says his client has… plans! Plans to raise $300K by the end of the year! And a million by the primary! Of course, as Al Swearengen said, "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." I suspect Towns might be the target of some divine chortling before too long.

NY-18: In response to rumors that Chelsea Clinton might run for Congress, Dem Rep. Nita Lowey says she has no intention of retiring to pave the way for the former president's daughter—and a Clinton spokesperson says she isn't running anyhow.

Other Races:

OH SB5: A troubling memo authored by the labor-backed group Progress Ohio warns that they think polling from Quinnipiac and PPP which shows Issue 2 losing by large margins is flawed, and that they expect the referendum to come down to the wire. I'll have more to say about this in a post later today, including thoughts from PPP's Tom Jensen. On a related note, the Democratic Governors Association just announced that it would contribute $150,000 to We Are Ohio, the union umbrella group leading the fight against SB5.

Grab Bag:

House Majority PAC: The Democratic super PAC is out with a polls of a dozen different GOP-held House seats in four states where redistricting is complete (AR, CA, IL and WI). Unfortunately, there are no head-to-heads, just generic re-elects, but the numbers (from PPP) show all twelve Republicans under water. Click the link for our complete run-down at Daily Kos Elections.

Ohio: In PPP's batch of Ohio miscellany, Democrats hold a 48-42 lead on the generic congressional ballot. Interestingly, that's up on both ends from 42-37 in August, which suggests a surprising early increase in engagement, with undecided voters shrinking by half.

Redistricting Roundup:

CA Redistricting: Unsurprisingly, the California Supreme Court rejected Republican challenges to the new congressional and senate maps produced by the state's new redistricting commission—without so much as even a written opinion. That's the good news. The bad news is that Republicans say they have already collected 500,000 signatures to put the map up for a voter referendum. They need some 505K and have a total target of 700K, which they have until mid-November to collect. Even if the ultimate vote goes against them, the commission's map would be suspended and a court would decide district lines for the 2012 elections.

One other thing: I don't expect them to have any better luck on this front, but the GOP has also filed a complaint with the Justice Department alleging the commission violated the Voting Rights Act with regard to the new state Senate map. (Four California counties—Kings, Merced, Monterey, and Yuba—are subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the VRA, which means any statewide redistricting plan falls under the DoJ's aegis.)

GA Redistricting: Like Arizona and Florida, Georgia is also asking a federal judge to rule Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against minority voting rights to preclear all changes to voting procedures (including the implementation of new redistricting maps) with the Department of Justice.

NY Redistricting: Dem Gov. Andrew Cuomo made another set of remarks on redistricting the other day which once again are turning analysts into Kremlinologists. Cuomo has long threatened to veto any maps produced by the state legislature (rather than an independent commission), but earlier this month, he appeared to soften his stance somewhat. Now, he's gone even softer, saying:

“The veto could inject a certain amount of chaos and uncertainty that wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest. […] My vetoing the law isn’t a slam dunk either. Then the court will decide whether the law is a good law or whether I have the right to veto in the first place.”

This is so baffling because, as Colin Campbell observes: "Even if Cuomo wanted to capitulate on redistricting, for whatever reason, it would make sense for him to argue the strength of his position in order to get concessions out of the legislature in the redistricting process. Instead, he’s doing the opposite." Is he signaling some kind of willingness to make a deal? If so, why?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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