9:28 AM PT: Special Elections: Johnny has the results from Tuesday's special in California:
California SD-32: Assemblywoman Norma Torres held the seat for the Democrats, defeating Republican Paul Leon by a 59-41 margin.Torres's victory gives Democrats a one-seat cushion over the two-thirds mark in the Senate, but it actually puts them one seat shy of supermajority status in the Assembly. They should get that back, though, in another special next week.
9:55 AM PT: Omaha Mayor: Democrat Jim Suttle got rocked in his effort to be re-elected as mayor of Omaha Tuesday night, losing to Republican City Councilwoman Jean Stothert by a 57-42 margin. Suttle barely survived a recall attempt in 2011, and most observers seem to view his tenure as rocky and his campaign as weak. Suttle attempted to make gun safety a centerpiece of his campaign, but in addition to supporting expanded background checks (which poll well), he also favored an assault weapons ban, a move that probably put him at odds with many voters (and earned him criticism from Stothert).
But probably more important in the race than guns were, amazingly enough, potholes. Yep, sometimes politics really is that parochial. For years, Suttle has said repairing potholes is his "number one priority," but Stothert attacked him on that score, too, saying she wanted to spend more money on fixing them. That must have been maddening to Suttle, whose recall was fueled in part by his support for increased taxes for, yes, road repairs—something Stothert opposed.
You can get a sense of the kind of campaign the Republican was able to run with this headline: "Jean Stothert's goal: Cut taxes yet improve city services." In other words, promise voters they can lose weight by eating more candy. The fact that Suttle couldn't successfully push back against this sort of fantasy shows how badly on the defensive he was, and how much he fumbled in his responses.
11:02 AM PT: VA-Gov: If you were as befuddled as I was about that Washington Post poll from last week that showed GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell's job approval rating moving up despite months of negative headlines about the Star Scientific gifting scandal, well, at least Quinnipiac has new numbers that make more sense. According to Quinnipiac, McDonnell's approvals have moved down a bit since March, to 49-28 from 52-26. That's not especially dramatic, and there are governors out there who would envy even McDonnell's reduced standing, but Quinnipiac notes that these figures match the worst of his tenure. And helpfully, the firm will also have head-to-heads on this fall's gubernatorial race out on Thursday.
11:35 AM PT: LA-Sen: Not a surprise: The Senate Conservatives Fund doesn't like Rep. Bill Cassidy, the establishment GOP choice to take on Sen. Mary Landrieu. Also not a surprise: They don't really have any better alternatives. They say they're vetting retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who recently entered the race, but he's a first-time candidate without any apparent notability, so I'd be surprised if he passes muster. (Remember, Richard Mourdock had been elected state treasurer.)
2:27 PM PT (David Jarman): Demographics: This is probably the most interesting chart you're going to see today: relying on exits, it compiles the 2012 Obama vote percentage among white voters at various income brackets, and then breaks it down into southern and non-southern categories. In the non-southern states, the resulting trendline resembles that same U-shaped curve that describes the relationship between education and voting (better Democratic performance at the upper and lower ends, worse performance in the middle). In the southern states, though, the curve flattens out a lot, with a similar performance (around 40%) at all income levels. (This type of chart should seem pretty familiar to anyone who knows Andrew Gelman's work, especially his book "Rich State Poor State Red State Blue State," especially if you bear in mind that most of the "poor states" are also southern states.)
2:43 PM PT: HI-Sen: Gov. Neil Abercrombie hasn't had much to say about Hawaii's brewing Democratic primary for Senate, perhaps because he didn't want to tempt Rep. Colleen Hanabusa into challenging him instead. But an unnamed "adviser" tells the National Journal that Abercrombie is "clearly going to stand behind his pick," Sen. Brian Schatz. The same adviser used the word "clearly" three times in three sentences, though, so I don't know how "clear" anything is.
2:47 PM PT (David Jarman): Census: Here's an important postscript to the Census's Current Population Survey numbers of 2012 voter turnout (which we described last weekend). That study found a huge gap (8.7%) in turnout between African-American women and men, but that number depends on how you define eligible voters. If you define it so that persons who are of voting age but aren't eligible because of incarceration or felon disenfranchisement (which includes 9.7% of all black men), the gap shrinks considerably, according to the New York Times. If you look at turnout among the non-disenfranchised black male population, their turnout zooms up to 68%: still not as high as black women, but higher than either white men or women.
The Census Bureau also released new information on Wednesday that further amplifies the scope of the demographic problems facing the Republicans long-term, as whites become a smaller and smaller share of the electorate. Today's release states that, regardless of what happens short-term with immigration policy, international migration is going to replace births as the main driver of population growth next decade (probably starting around 2027).
That's not because immigration is at historically high levels right now -- in fact, births accounted for more population growth than immigration even in the late 1800s and early 1900s when immigration was at its heaviest -- but rather more because of declining fertility among the people who are already here (and also as mortality starts to cull the huge herd of Baby Boomers). Their release also provides more interesting data about the growing minority population, such as the years when the working population will be minority-majority (2036) and when the under-18 population will (only five years away: 2018).
3:41 PM PT: MN-06: So Michele Bachmann is going up with a TV ad buy, 18 months before her next election. I'm guessing this is designed more than anything else to ward off those apparently baseless retirement rumors, especially since she's spending just $15,000, which is sort of "I'm not dead yet!" money.
3:50 PM PT: CO-Gov: We should only get so lucky. The Denver Post reports that anti-immigration lunatic Tom Tancredo is "seriously considering" a second consecutive bid for governor, though in follow-up comments to the Washington Post, Tancredo cautioned that "the word 'seriously' may be too strong." Tancredo served five terms in Congress as a Republican but ran for governor in 2010 as an independent. However, the Post (the Denver one) says that Tancredo "has since switched his party affiliation back to Republican."
3:53 PM PT: NC-12: We have our first official filer in the nascent race to succeed Rep. Mel Watt: state Rep. Marcus Brandon. Watt's been nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Administration, and if he's confirmed, there will likely be a serious special election free-for-all in this safely Democratic seat.
3:59 PM PT: MI-14: State Rep. Rudy Hobbs, who serves as the Democratic floor leader in the Michigan state House, just became the first candidate to announce a bid for the House seat being left open by Rep. Gary Peters. (Peters is running for Senate.)
4:20 PM PT: Detroit Mayor: After a difficult term in office in a city that's as unforgiving as they come, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a Democrat, has announced that he will not seek re-election. Earlier this year, the state appointed an emergency manager for the fiscally troubled town, Kevyn Orr, who's described as having "more power than all city officials." Bing had expressed frustration about working with Orr, but despite this state of affairs, a whole host of others look poised to try to succeed Bing.