PA-12, PA-17: The biggest news from Pennsylvania's primaries on Tuesday night may be the losses of two different Blue Dog Democratic House members: Jason Altmire in PA-12 and Tim Holden in PA-17. Altmire lost to fellow member Mark Critz by a 54-46 margin; the two of them were forced into the same southwest Pennsylvania district by a Republican-drawn map. The majority of redrawn PA-12 is on Altmire's turf, but Critz managed to eke out the victory thanks to aggressive labor backing and huge turnout in his own smaller portion of the district (in the Johnstown area). Critz is no liberal either, but is considered more labor-friendly than Altmire.
The other loss was Holden in the 17th, which was redrawn dramatically to be a Democratic vote sink for the cities of northeastern Pennsylvania. Holden has had great success fending off Republican challengers in GOP-leaning districts for the last few decades, but ran out of luck when put into a Dem-leaning district and facing an opponent from the left. (Also a big problem for Holden: less than a quarter of his new constituents were in his old district, so he was effectively a blank slate to most of them. His opponent, Matt Cartwright, is a well-known local trial lawyer in the Scranton area, and may have actually had the name rec advantage despite not having an incumbency advantage.)
Other highlights from last night: Rich guy Tom Smith, as expected, was the winner of the Republican Senate primary. He's a serious underdog against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in November. State Rep. Scott Perry won the open seat primary in the safely-GOP PA-04 (vacated by retiring Todd Platts), and is a shoo-in in November. Rep. Tim Murphy easily turned back a tea party-fueled challenge from Evan Feinberg in the GOP primary in PA-18. And in the Democratic primary for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's race, netroots fave and former Rep. Patrick Murphy lost to prosecutor Kathleen Kane, ending his comeback bid.
• FL-Sen: I really have a hard time believing this. Connie Mack was interviewed by Chuck Todd, who thought it'd be a good idea to get Mack on the record on the student loan bill that's currently being debated. Mack had other ideas.
Connie Mack: Well, look, again, I think what is happening in the state of Florida, if you don’t mind, Chuck, I want to talk about what’s happening here in the state of Florida.Yes, he declined to respond when asked four times about it. One may wonder what state his campaign is in while he flails about under questioning from Florida Republicans.
CM: Wait, wait, wait, what I’m telling you in the state of Florida during this Senate campaign people are concerned about their homes and jobs. That is the issue …
CM: Well, we’ll take it – when the vote comes up, we’ll cast that vote, but I’m telling you that people who are watching your program today and if they’re in Florida, what they’re concerned about is jobs…
CM: We will absolutely be able to cast a vote, and when that happens we’ll be happy to do so.
Mack didn't specifically answer a question about whether character should matter including his own past run-ins with the law decades ago.And there’s one more area where Mack doesn’t want to be answering questions: Facing a question at that same Broward County GOP event, Mack defensively refused to release his travel logs.
"Raise your hand who wrote that?" Mack joked. "The mudslinging and name calling and dividing of the party we are beyond that. This is a distraction away from our real goal which is to beat Senator Nelson."
Mack, who is married to California Rep. Mary Bono Mack, was asked how much time he spends in California and whether he’d release travel logs.(James Allen)
“You think this is a loaded question?” Mack began. “Look, first of all, I’m very proud of my wife. She serves in the United States Congress and she does it very, very well. And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this question. But I’ll tell you this. Typically — not all the time — typically this comes from my political opponents who would like to try to make an issue about where I live. I know it drives people crazy but I was born and raised right here in the state of Florida. This is my home. When I’m not in Washington I come back home. This is where I live. This is where my parents are. This is where my kids are. So this is an attempt by political opponents to try to make an issue that just doesn’t exist.”
• IL-Sen: Republican Sen. Mark Kirk's office released the first photo of the senator since his serious stroke several months ago, and he is looking pretty good.
Here is the full release from Richard L. Harvey, medical director of the institute:Get well soon, Senator. (SaoMagnifico)
"Sen. Kirk remains fully engaged in all aspects of his rehabilitation program. He is mentally sharp, and meets with his staff nearly every day to discuss policy issues and global current events. Sen. Kirk is working very hard in daily therapy sessions to increase his strength and mobility, and has walked more than 10 miles in total since his arrival at RIC. In addition he is climbing stairs and getting in and out of vehicles. We are quite pleased with his ongoing recovery."
• ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe may finally be coming to the rescue for Democrats, at least indirectly. The Maine Senator has said she'll use her reported $2.36 million in the bank
to support "like-minded" candidates, a center to give "a national voice" to the "sensible center" and an institute to promote Maine women leaders.She did not commit to donating her funds to Republican candidates in Maine running to succeed her or for other offices. For his part, the state Republican Party chair Charlie Webster says he understands why she wouldn't want to give her money to her party, as many of her donors "would not necessarily give to the Republican Party." (James Allen)
• MO-Sen: Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill only narrowly won in the Democratic wave year of 2006. On paper, this should be a big pick-up opportunity for Republicans, but the GOP hasn't seemed to settle on a candidate between Rep. Todd Akin, ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, and "businessman John Brunner." But the latter just got what might be a very big endorsement: The United States Chamber of Commerce, which (via the A.P.) "said Tuesday it's backing Brunner because his private-sector experience in cutting spending and balancing a budget could provide the greatest contrast with Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill."
McCaskill's demonstrated significant fundraising advantages so far. According to the FEC, she has $6,083,099 on hand, while Akin (the closest Republican) has $1,400,639 and Steelman has $599,073. Brunner, meanwhile, raised $2,639,748, almost entirely from his own pocket ($2,242,614)--and spent most of it already, leaving him with only $225,173 on hand. According to the Hill's story on the endorsement, "Polls show him running in third place." Still, it’s unlikely that Brunner, or whoever the Republican candidate ends up being, will lack for the direct or indirect financial support necessary to be viable: According to the A.P. story, "The chamber already has been running TV ads against McCaskill and has vowed to remain involved through the November election."
So, it's unlikely the eventual Republican nominee in this race will be wanting for cash, which might incline some Republicans to cheer for former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman (who looks good on paper aside from her underwhelming fundraising). Just one problem: she's a complete and total doofus. When asked for her position on the Violence Against Women Act, Steelman fumbled bigtime, replying, “I’m not sure what that is because I’m not serving right now." (Here's a hint, Sarah: it has to do with violence against women.) That's a great sales pitch right there. "Vote for me or else I won't tell you my positions on the issues!" (Xenocrypt & sapelcovits)
• NE-Sen: I have to admit, Nebraska Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning is a pretty impressive guy. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination to contest the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is demonstrating some amazing clairvoyant powers in his newest ad. Sure, the Supreme Court isn't expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) for another two months, but Bruning has seen into the future and divined for himself that the law is indeed unconstitutional. The ad doesn't mention Bruning's likely Democratic opponent, ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey, even once. Seems Bruning is perfectly content to run against President Barack Obama in blood-run Nebraska, at least for now.
• NM-Sen: PPP finds little change in New Mexico's Senate race over the last half a year, with Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich now leading Republican ex-Rep. Heather Wilson 48-43 (instead of 47-40). Wilson's considerably better-known than Heinrich, though, leaving her very little wiggle-room to break through to 50. Click the link for our full analysis of the poll. (David Jarman)
• OH-Sen: More he-said she-said, this time in Ohio. Tween idol and Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel says he doesn't accept gifts, yet the Brown campaign notes that he's disclosed accepting many gifts over the years.
The Brown campaign notes that Mandel has listed more than 800 gifts in disclosure statements going as far back as 2005 -- a lot of gifts for a politician who says he doesn't take them.The Mandel camp says the Brown camp is being ridiculous, the Brown camp says Mandel's claim is itself ridiculous. I love politics. (James Allen)
• UT-Sen: In a big disappointment for Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, insurgent ex-state Sen. Dan Liljenquist managed to hold him below 60% at the Utah Republican Party convention on Sunday, forcing him into his first primary since 1978. And now Hatch's partner in the Beehive State's senatorial delegation, faux-libertarianish Republican Sen. Mike Lee, is declaring he won't endorse either Hatch or Liljenquist, nor will he publicly predict a winner in the race. If Lee's refusal to get in line behind his Senate colleague seems surprising, recall that Lee took the same path to the Senate that Liljenquist is now attempting -- though in 2010, he defeated then-Sen. Bob Bennett outright at the Republican convention, avoiding a primary against the senator. (SaoMagnifico)
• FL-Gov: The Tampa Bay Times reports that Rick Scott not only reaffirmed his commitment to run for re-election, but said he'd not need to self-fund this time around. Scott, who spent $73 million of his own funds on his 2010 campaign, has a 527 which raised $910K in the first quarter from a few big donors, including the Florida Optometric Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising given Scott's background in health care. (James Allen)
• NC-Gov: Looks like we finally have word on the size of the ad buys from Walter Dalton and Bob Etheridge as they head into the Democratic primary. "Under the Dome" reports that Etheridge put up $188,000 for a buy first in Raleigh and Greensboro, then hitting Charlotte and Wilmington in the last week. Dalton's spending $406K, though, "with most concentration in Wilmington and Greensboro."
And in the epic clash between Dalton and Etheridge, a new poll from PPP finds Dalton pulling into parity with the former congressman. Dalton now leads Etheridge 26-25, a statistically insignificant amount -- but a dramatic change from last month's Etheridge lead of 11 points. State Rep. Bill Faison trails at 5% in the poll. (James Allen & SaoMagnifico)
• WA-Gov: I find the he-said she-said nature of this article hilarious. So Democrats accuse Rob McKenna of trying to push reforms during the legislative session, that they say delayed the budget process. This is how the article sums up what happened:
McKenna supported the maneuver by all 22 Republicans and three breakaway Democrats late in the regular session that pushed through an alternative budget. Murray questioned how McKenna, who has called for increased spending on education in his capacity as a gubernatorial candidate, could support a budget that cut public schools and colleges.McKenna's camp denies the accusation, which may make sense, because as the article says, the delay in ending the session also delayed when he could begin fundraising again, since he couldn't raise money during the session. And in fact, the McKenna camp accuses Democrats of holding up the session for that very purpose. Ah, shenanigans. (James Allen)
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett has picked up an endorsement from the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, via the A.P./Wausau Daily Herald, which adds that "He and primary rival Kathleen Falk have been wrestling over union support. Falk has had the upper hand, winning endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the largest statewide public workers union, and the state’s largest teacher’s union." (Xenocrypt)
• DCCC: Click through for 14 new additions to the DCCC's Red-to-Blue program. I won't list them all here, but it is worth pointing out that they have taken sides in AZ-01 (where they endorsed former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick over Wenona Benally Baldenegro), CA-31 (Pete Aguilar over Justin Sungsup Kim), and NY-19 (Julian Schreibman over Joel Tyner). Granted, these were mostly pretty establishment picks to begin with.
In addition to the 12 candidates they endorsed, they also added two districts: AZ-09 (featuring a three-way primary between Kyrsten Sinema, David Schapira, and Andrei Cherny) and NY-18 (where Sean Patrick Maloney, Matt Alexander, and Rich Becker are competing for the right to take on freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth). (sapelcovits)
• AZ-04: Oh boy, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's employees really love their boss! Or at least they appear to in Babeu's new ads, which you can see below:
Babeu, of course, is denying any wrongdoing, and a bunch of the people who were in the ads backed him up at a news conference. Of course, just because they agreed to do the ads doesn't mean the sheriff didn't potentially break the law if he asked them to help out. The Office of Special Counsel is investigating the matter, and Daily Kos Elections will keep track of this story. (SaoMagnifico)
• CA-21: This one's about a week old, but the Fresno Bee managed to get a few quotes from Fresno City Councilman Blong Xiong, one of two Democrats vying for this open swing district in the Central Valley, on his first-quarter fundraising. Xiong nearly matched Republican rival David Valadao's fundraising despite only kicking off his campaign early last month, but much of his cash came from Hmong groups both in and out of the state. A fundraising excursion to Minnesota netted Xiong $25,000, and the candidate himself acknowledged he's picked "the low hanging fruit". I probably don't need to give advice, as Xiong has been to this rodeo before, but he's going to have to look beyond the Hmong-American network and start using some of those Spanish language skills to raise cash in the district if he wants to catch up with Valadao's overall cash edge. (SaoMagnifico)
• FL-26: The good folks at Daily Kos Elections have been updating you on the saga of this South Florida district for a while now. Our fearless leader David Nir was happy to report earlier this month that Democrats found a candidate to take on ethically challenged Republican Rep. David Rivera in the personage of Gloria Romero Roses, a real estate developer from Southwest Ranches.
But with Roses barely in the race, angry rumbles are already surfacing from a frequent Democratic ally: the Service Employees International Union, which clashed with a condo development group while Roses was working on the group's behalf back in 2004. Now the director of the SEIU Local 32BJ is saying his union has "deep concerns about her candidacy." Maybe Roses and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whose recent entry into the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race similarly elicited grumbling from local unions, can grab a beer together sometime. And seriously, can't we all just get along until after the election? Sheesh. (h/t ndrwmls10) (SaoMagnifico)
• HI-02: Tulsi Gabbard got a nice nod for a Democratic primary: the Sierra Club, which also endorsed Mazie Hirono for Senate and Colleen Hanabusa in HI-01, via Hawaii News Now. Meanwhile, "[Mufi Hannemann] received labor endorsements Sunday from the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots and IBEW Local 1357. Hannemann has received endorsements from 22 labor organizations in the race." (Xenocrypt)
• KY-04: Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie -- no relation to 1994 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee and 2012 blink-and-you-missed him Senate candidate Bob Massie of Massachusetts -- is getting a bit of good news in the form of a possible endorsement from Sen. Rand Paul. The famously contrarian Paul -- direct relation to libertarianish Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is the senator's father -- wasn't planning on endorsing, but evidently yesterday's endorsement of Massie rival Alecia Webb-Edgington by his predecessor in the Senate, Jim Bunning, is causing him to reconsider.
Even if the Paul endorsement isn't quite a fait accompli, Massie does have a new internal poll to smile over. Republican polling firm Wenzel Strategies gave Massie a 32-22 edge over Webb-Edgington in a survey conducted on behalf of the judge-executive. (SaoMagnifico)
• MD-01: This race is probably well out of reach for us, since Republican Rep. (and Milhouse Van Houten lookalike) Andy Harris was strengthened considerably by redistricting, but Sen. Barbara Mikulski stumped for small business owner Wendy Rosen this past weekend at the Eastern Shore Democratic Summit. (SaoMagnifico)
• MO-01: Russ Carnahan just got a boost in his primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay: two firefighters' unions (Local 73 in St. Louis City and Local 2665 in St. Louis County) have thrown their backing to Carnahan. (Carnahan, of course, elected to run here after Clay successfully lobbied for a map eliminating Carnahan's district.)
Despite these endorsements, Carnahan still faces an uphill battle here: not only does Clay have labor endorsements of his own (including AFL-CIO), but Clay also has a large advantage in currently representing 70% of the new district (to only 29% for Carnahan). Still, perhaps Carnahan's response to the firefighters' endorsements says it best:
"I'm not one to run away from a fire, either."(sapelcovits)
• NC-08: Via the News and Observer's "Under the Dome" blog, Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell "was once again endorsed by the National Rifle Association." (Xenocrypt)
• NC-11: You might recall that David Nir had some fun with 26-year-old Republican candidate Ethan Wingfield and his "hand-drawn" campaign ad. About a week ago, Ethan gave a response via his campaign's FB:
It’s too bad the folks over at Daily Kos would rather pick a fight over the stylistic elements of my ad than actually talk about the issues I’m raising. None of their angry rhetoric is going to make our $15 trillion debt go away or get 12 million unemployed people their jobs back. And if they want to pick a fight because my Christian faith makes me concerned about these issues, I say bring it on!While picking fights with Daily Kos might not be the worst thing in a primary election, Ethan! This is Daily Kos Elections. Our job isn't to discuss policy, but (in part) to analyze the efficacy of campaign strategies, and your strange decision to go back to kindergarten-level technology in your ad seems relevant to that. Also, David didn't go after your Christian faith--just your selective quotation thereof. (Xenocrypt)
The neck-and-neck primary war between North Jersey's two entrenched Democratic congressmen has triggered an early explosion in new Passaic County voters to a level not seen since Barack Obama's 2008 presidential run spurred the highest turnout in election history….Click through for still more, including counterarguments from one of Rothman's people. (Xenocrypt)
The sudden spike traces to vigorous registration drives by the Pascrell campaign and a Newark-based Obama advocacy group.
In March, the congressman's aides brought in so many signed registrations — averaging several hundred a week — that staff at the county's elections office was forced to clock overtime to file what amounted to 3,567 new voters. That accounts for almost half of all new Passaic County registrations so far this election year. It's also about 1,000 more than in the March lead-up to the historic presidential election four years ago, according to voter records. An additional 1,553 have arrived this month, and about 3,300 still need to be processed.
• NJ-10: Powerful Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, the first black woman to lead New Jersey's lower house, has just formally thrown her backing to Donald Payne Jr. in his quest to succeed his late father in Congress. The two are buddy-buddy, and this endorsement doesn't come as a huge surprise, but it's especially significant not only due to Oliver's post but also the fact that she represents the same legislative district as another NJ-10 candidate, State Sen. Nia Gill. (In New Jersey, each legislative district elects one senator and two assemblypeople.) Gill, already somewhat of an underdog, could find herself in further trouble if Oliver flexes her political muscle on Payne's behalf. Nevertheless, whoever wins the Democratic primary is sure to go on to victory in November in this majority-black district. (sapelcovits)
• NY-01: Ex-SEC prosecutor George Demos is playing the "electability" card against 2010 loser Randy Altschuler in the Republican primary for this Long Island swing seat. He's dropping $100,000 on a cable ad that, amazingly, revives an argument used by Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop to stave off Altschuler amid 2010’s Great Bloodletting -- outsourcing by Office Tiger, Altschuler's old company. (SaoMagnifico)
• NY-06: Hey, remember Reshma Saujani? Tried to primary Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney from the right in 2010, lost by an embarrassingly massive margin despite (or perhaps because of) having Wall Street backing? Well, she's baaaaack...to endorse Grace Meng, who is increasingly looking like the establishment favorite in the Queens seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman.
Other Meng endorsers mentioned at the link include the presidents of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, the New American Democratic Club, and the Saul Weprin Democratic Club. Hey, doesn't that name "Weprin" ring a bell? Why yes it does -- David Weprin, who ran a special election campaign for NY-09 last year that would have been funny if it didn't mean right-wing Republican Rep. Bob Turner took over a Democratic district in the heart of New York City, is the aforementioned Saul Weprin's son. And David Weprin is one of the Saul Weprin Democratic Club's executive members, so how 'bout dat? (h/t ndrwmls10) (SaoMagnifico)
• NY-23: Rep. Tom Reed is taking the lead among Republicans in an effort to "bring back earmarks", according to Politico, but the issue seems to be specifically related to tariffs. This could become a broader reaching issue, as it says not just Reed, but 65 freshmen Republicans are pushing the issue. (James Allen)
• NY-24: After Tea Partier Ann Marie Buerkle pulled off an upset in NY-25 against Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in 2010, many observers assumed that she would be a one-termer. After all, she was an anti-abortion activist with no experience in elected office, and her fundraising was unimpressive (albeit supplemented with ample support from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS super PAC). Furthermore, the Syracuse-based district had a decided blue tint to it, with Maffei having won the open seat by double digits in 2008.
Now, however, a 4/16-4/17 poll by GOP firm McLaughlin & Associates actually shows Buerkle leading Maffei in their rematch in NY-25's successor district. It's a relatively small lead (42-38), and the pollster's partisan affiliation as well as the survey's bulky margin of error (4.9 points) make the results somewhat suspect. Still, it's worth noting that this district had been held by a Republican since the 1980s before Maffei won it. While this area has strayed from its Republican roots, this poll serves as a reminder that Democrats can't rest on their laurels if they want to dislodge Buerkle. (sapelcovits)
• SC-07: Well, well -- state Rep. Ted Vick (D-Chesterfield), a candidate in this new open seat, has decided to call it quits with the American Legislative Exchange Council, saying it has "steadily drifted to the right" and has become "too partisan and too extreme". ALEC, one of the many shadowy arms of various pro-Republican corporate interests, has seen a mass exodus of clients lately due to its lobbying work on behalf of, among others, the "stand your ground" law that now forms the basis of George Zimmerman's defense in the Trayvon Martin shooting case in Sanford, Florida. Obviously, all that is outside the purview of Daily Kos Elections, but it is interesting that a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district would leave ALEC with such a pointed statement. He may be feeling some heat from Democratic rival trial lawyer Preston Brittain, who outraised Vick last quarter. (SaoMagnifico)
• WA-01: Another day, another endorsement for Democrat Suzan DelBene in this vacant seat. State Rep. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds), who briefly sought this seat before redistricting dumped him into WA-07, is backing the businesswoman over leading rivals Darcy Burner and state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), his fellow Snohomish County legislator. (SaoMagnifico)
• WA-01, WA-08: A couple points here. First, the committee of the King County Democrats apparently decided on Sunday after reviewing Democratic candidate Darcy Burner's infamous tweets dissing President Obama that they would withdraw their endorsement of her. They previously endorsed all of the Democrats in the race, because apparently they're all special snowflakes.
But King County Democratic Party Chair Steve Zemke called the move "meaningless"...and then he went on to say something else that is kind of bizarre -- namely, he encouraged Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who got flattened in the OH-09 primary last month, to move to Washington, as he has been threatening to do, to be the Democrats' white knight against faux-moderate Republican and political survivalist Rep. Dave Reichert. As David Jarman says, it's not likely this story is much more than empty talk, but if Kucinich packs up his flying saucer and parachutes down into WA-08, at least it won't come totally out of left field. I think this is also the first time a Democratic Party leader in Washington has publicly called for Kucinich to run for Congress in the Evergreen State -- correct me if I'm wrong. (SaoMagnifico)
• Crossroads: Crossroads GPS is putting up $1.2 million in 5 senate races, those in Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Virginia, and North Dakota. According to the Hotline, Americans Crossroads & Crossroads GPS have raised $100 million this cycle and Crossroads GPS has spent $8.3 million on "issue ads" against Democratic senate candidates since last summer. (James Allen)
• House of Representatives: I thought I would throw this in. Using jeffmd and David's invaluable post-redistricting table of Presidential results by CD, and assuming a "no-change" KS map, I've sorted the new districts by Obama percentage. Some thoughts:
1. The 217th-best district for the Democrats is 51% Obama, and the 218th-best is 50% Obama (which aren't uniquely defined, since that's rounded to the nearest integer).
2. There are 32 districts that are either 50% or 51% Obama, which would a priori seem to be the critical districts for control of the House. Democrats only hold 3(!!) of these districts right now--IN-02 (held by Joe Donnelly, stepping down to run for Senate), MN-01 (held by Tim Walz) and NY-01 (held by Tim Bishop). Another, AZ-09, is a new district, but also doesn't really belong, thanks to the McCain home state effect. Republicans hold the remaining 28 districts:
CA-07 LungrenObviously, those aren't all going to be battlegrounds/crucial districts, but I thought it was an interesting list, now that we can be "big picture" post-redistricting.
CA-36 Bono Mack
FL-13 Young, Bill
NY-02 King, Peter
WA-03 Herrera Beutler
WI-01 Ryan, Paul
3. Was there a redistricting/population change effect? Maybe! The median districts used to be a bit better for Democrats, at 52% Obama--but even then, 216 districts were at 51% Obama or below, and given the strong but imperfect relationship between Presidential and House results, I'm not sure how significant a change that is. (Xenocrypt)
• MI-St. Sen.: State Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) appears to have cheesed off some of his colleagues in Lansing. He is now facing his second recall attempt in just two years, with state Sen. Jeff Andring (R-Newport) attempting to file a recall petition against him. As if I actually need to explain why this is, because I think y'all are pretty smart people and have figured it out by now, it's because Richardville is insufficiently conservative. Andring, who is actually the former chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, went so far as to call Richardville a "liberal Republican" because -- gasp -- Richardville cosponsored right-to-work legislation that would only affect public school teachers' unions, among other staggering apostasies.
The big date to watch here is May 2, when the Monroe County Elections Commission will issue a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Andring's petition language. Then Andring will need to scrounge up more than 22,000 signatures from Richardville's Senate district. Needless to say, that's not very easy to do, which is probably why Richardville survived last year without even facing a recall election. This seat, SD-17, is a pretty securely Republican district in Detroit's southern exurbs, unfortunately, but it's always fun to watch the cat fud fly. (SaoMagnifico)
• NYC-Mayor: A bit down in the weeds, but since it is the largest city in the English-speaking world, we'll cover it. Speaker Christine Quinn, leader of the New York City Council, appears to be in the driver's seat for the Democratic primary, according to a Marist College poll conducted on behalf of NY1 (the news station, not the Long Island congressional district). Quinn leads ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson, her closest rival, 32-12 in the primary race. (SaoMagnifico)
• OR-AG: This race, which may be resolved in less than a month on the day of Oregon's primary elections, seems to be coming down to law & order issues, unsurprisingly. The Oregonian, the state's most circulated newspaper, had a piece today on how medical marijuana and mandatory minimum sentencing have both become top issues in the race between two Democrats, with US Attorney Dwight Holton coming down to the right of Judge Ellen Rosenblum on both issues. Medical marijuana has gotten a lot of press in this race, including this recent piece at BlueOregon penned by "the chief petitioner of IP-24, a measure to legalize and regulate marijuana in Oregon. He is also the director of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, leading the anti-Holton campaign by marijuana activists."
Generally an issue like this may play well for the more liberal candidate in the Democratic primary, but raise electability concerns that may benefit the more conservative candidate. There's less cause for concern here, since Republicans failed to file a candidate for the office for the second cycle in a row. In fact, while discussing the last Republican candidate for Attorney General, who ran in 2004, Chris Lehman at Captiol Currents mentions that it's been since 1992 that Republicans have had more than one candidate file for the office, though they still lost that race badly to some dude named Ted Kulongoski.
Meanwhile, Oregon’s outgoing Attorney General John Kroger will be appointed President of Reed College. I am responding to this both positively and negatively, as I was a supporter of his from nearly the beginning in 2008, and want to see him go on to do great things, but as an entering law student at Lewis & Clark this fall, I was hoping he'd return to his old job as a law professor there.
This also means that he will almost certainly have to resign before his term ends, and if I recall my Oregon constitution correctly, the governor will appoint a successor to fill out his term. I doubt this would happen before the primary election determines the Democratic nominee, but we shall see how this plays out. (James Allen)
• Kansas redistricting: I don't think we're on schedule anymore, Toto. Due to a stalemate between moderate Republicans and Democrats on one side and conservative Republicans on the other, Kansas will not only become the last state in the nation to finish congressional redistricting, but is also behind on state legislative redistricting as well. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, is complaining that some legislators believe that the Kansas Supreme Court can step in if the legislature fails to do so, even though the state's constitution contains no such provisions. Now Kobach is warning of chaos if the state doesn't deal with redistricting by May 10 - a failure to meet that deadline would push the candidate filing deadline from June 1 to June 11, a mere twelve days before the state is supposed to send out military ballots. This, in turn, could necessitate postponing the primary, which is already late (August 7).
To add to the mayhem, Attorney General Derek Schmidt is now saying that the state will have to pay plaintiffs' legal fees if redistricting goes to court, pointing to a 1982 redistricting case as precedent. This whole situation is fast going down the yellow brick road to hell for Kansas legislators. (sapelcovits)
• NH redistricting: And that's a wrap! To no one's surprise, Democratic Governor John Lynch signed the Granite State's new congressional map, officially leaving Kansas as the nation's redistricting straggler (although some states, such as West Virginia and Florida, technically still face litigation).
However, it wouldn't be politics if there weren't a twist: the city of Manchester, pissed off about losing several districts in the new State House map, has filed suit against the state, which could possibly delay State House elections (although it's unclear if that would have ramifications for other offices). In the cat fud department, the Republican legislative leaders are slamming GOP Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas (himself a former state senator) for deciding to "waste taxpayers' resources," even though the city is being represented pro bono in court. (sapelcovits)