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Leading Off:

Census: The Census Bureau is rolling out 2012 American Community Survey data all week, their annual survey of all the topics—from income and poverty to commuting and home heat sources—that used to get covered by the census's now-deprecated "long form." Several days ago, the bureau issued a national overview of its income and poverty statistics, and on Thursday, they also rolled out the data for all geographies with populations over 65,000.

That's particularly important because this is the first time that a full data set for the "new" (i.e., now a full cycle old) congressional districts has been available through American FactFinder. Until now, CD-level data that goes beyond mere population and race was only available in patchy form, and only through the Fast Facts app (which, granted, is much easier to browse than the labyrinthine AFF, but doesn't let you bulk-download mountains of data into a spreadsheet).

While AFF takes some getting used to, we've already put it to work and transformed racial stats by CD for all 435 districts into handy Google Docs form. There, you can look up things like which district is the whitest in the nation (KY-05, in eastern Kentucky, represented by Republican Hal Rogers, at 96 percent white), or the most heavily Hispanic (East Los Angeles's CA-40, served by Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard, at 87 percent Latino). You might also spot interesting oddities like the outsize population of Pacific Islanders in northwest Arkansas' AR-03, where, as it happens, a sizable number of Marshallese have settled. (David Jarman & David Nir)


GA-Sen: So he quite didn't go the full Heineman, but this from GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey is pretty good:

Capitol Hill aides, he said "may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street," the Washington, D.C., vernacular for becoming a lobbyist, "and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile I'm stuck here making $172,000 a year."
According to the National Review, Gingrey, reached by phone later, "said he does not remember exactly what he said." Let's see if his rivals for the Republican Senate nomination try to help him remember better.


CO-Gov: Republican ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez had previously been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate, but now he tells Roll Call that he's also looking at a gubernatorial bid. That may have something to do with the growing perception that Gov. John Hickenlooper will be more vulnerable than his fellow Colorado Democrat, Sen. Mark Udall. Both primary fields are actually already quite crowded, though, so Beauprez doesn't have much time left to make up his mind. But given his relatively moderate record, he'd have a hard time beating more conservative options, no matter which race he chooses.

MA-Gov: EMILY's List just endorsed state AG Martha Coakley in her bid for governor, which is a little bit interesting for two related reasons. One, there's already another woman running in the Democratic primary, former homeland security official Juliette Kayyem. And two, the Boston Globe reported over the summer that EMILY had been in touch with Kayyem, indicating at least some level of interest. All this raises the frequent question of how EMILY chooses when there are two women in the same race, a topic the group consistently refuses to address.

MD-Gov: If you were wishing or worrying that former lieutenant governor, former RNC chair, and failed GOP Senate nominee Michael Steele might wage a comeback in next year's gubernatorial race, the answer is finally in: Steele, in a rare wise move, has decided to sit the contest out.

NV-Gov: Term-limited state AG Catherine Cortez Masto was a little squirrelly, but it sounds like she's dialing herself out of a gubernatorial bid for 2014. Masto, a Democrat, told the Las Vegas Sun's Anjeanette Damon, "I have not announced one way or another whether I am running for governor, but I will tell you that no, I am not looking at running for governor this next election cycle." She added, though, that she could run for governor "in the future." The news is not a surprise, since Jon Ralston (relying on unnamed sources) reported in June that Masto was unlikely to join the race.

RI-Gov: Though he hasn't yet entered the Democratic primary—in fact, no one has—Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has released an internal poll showing him with a wide lead over state Treasurer Gina Raimondo in a hypothetical matchup. The survey, from Garin-Hart-Yang, has Taveras up 49-30 while sporting a gaudy 67-6 "positive" rating; by comparison, Raimondo's score is 45-17. (Note that this isn't a traditional favorable/unfavorable question. Rather, respondents were asked if the have a "very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative" view of the candidates in question.)

One place where Raimondo has the numerical advantage, though, is money. She has almost $2.1 million in the bank, while Taveras has just $693,000. With her connections to the business community, Raimondo is likely to maintain her cash edge. Taveras, meanwhile, will continue to count on greater progressive enthusiasm to power him to the nomination.

VA-Gov: Man, both gubernatorial campaigns in Virginia sure do like to release TV ads. Republican Ken Cuccinelli seems to live in a world where normal voters can be swayed by things like "[o]ne of Virginia's most important business PACs"—the Northern Virginia Technology Council, whose endorsement he touts with exactly that phrasing. But one thing I just can't do for you, readers, is watch Cuccinelli's new half-hour-long infomercial. Just know that it's mercifully airing only a few times, and that the poor soul at the Virginian-Pilot who had to write it up called it "unpolished."

Terry McAuliffe's new spot, meanwhile, keeps up the attack on a topic that's been the target of many of his other ads: the assistance Cuccinelli's office gave to out-of-state energy companies fighting efforts by Virginia property owners to collect royalty payments for resource extraction. Interestingly, the spot specifically focuses on "Southwest Virginia" landowners; if McAuliffe is really forcing Cuccinelli back on his heels in this conservative corner of the state, he's in his base, killin his d00dz.


MN-07: Rep. Collin Peterson is one of the last Democrats to hold down a decidedly red district, and that's why his party is fervently hoping he won't retire. Thanks to his personal popularity, though, Peterson hasn't drawn much in the way of opposition, despite the fact that Mitt Romney carried the 7th by a 54-44 margin last year. But Peterson hasn't yet confirmed whether he'll seek re-election, and if he doesn't, a whole lot of Republicans would suddenly become interested in running for his seat.

Roll Call's Emily Cahn takes a look at the potential field and identifies no fewer than seven possible names: state Sens. Torrey Westrom and Bill Ingebrigtsen; state Reps. Dan Fabian and Mary Franson; ex-state Reps. Marty Seifert and Morrie Lanning; and businessman Scott Van Binsbergen. Democratic recruitment would be much tougher, but Cahn suggests state Rep. Paul Marquart as a potential option.

WA-01: Republican businessman John Koster, who lost to Democrat Suzanne DelBene last year in the race to replace now-Gov. Jay Inslee, is apparently not planning to seek a rematch. Republicans have tried to recruit retired Microsoft engineer Pedro Celis, but he also says he's unlikely. A third possibility is state Sen. Andy Hill, but he hasn't spoken publicly about the race. The district went 54-43 for Obama last year, so it's not likely to be competitive for the GOP.

Other Races:

Boston Mayor: With Tuesday's primary on the horizon, WBUR gives us their take (courtesy pollster MassINC) on Boston's wide-open mayoral race. Like the University of New Hampshire and Suffolk polls from earlier this week, WBUR finds city Councilor John Connolly on track to secure one of the two general election slots, with him leading the field at 15 percent. WBUR also agrees it's a tight race for the second place spot: State Rep. Martin Walsh edges former Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie 12 to 10, with City Councilor Felix Arroyo and District Attorney Daniel Conley not far behind with 8 each.

WBUR didn't poll any general election match-ups but they find Connolly tied with Arroyo for the best net favorability rating. A lot can happen on Tuesday and in the lead-up to the Nov. 5 general election, but all three of this week's polls indicate that John Connolly is the favorite to be Beantown's next mayor. (Darth Jeff)

Brooklyn DA: One of the happiest results from New York City's primaries last week, on a night filled with many, was corrupt Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' 10-point loss to challenger Kenneth Thompson. Over the course of his 24-year tenure, Hynes had become particularly notorious for his refusal to prosecute cases of sexual assault among the borough's insular Hasidic communities, in an attempt to curry favor with religious leaders known for delivering votes. Hynes' obeisance nevertheless finally failed him, allowing Thompson to pull off a stunning upset—the first time since 1911 that a Brooklyn DA had been voted out of office.

Or maybe not. Hynes has also been nominated by both the Republican and Conservative Parties, under New York's unusual fusion voting system. That means he could still challenge Thompson in the November general election. Hynes has said he won't "actively seek re-election," but some of his advisors are publicly encouraging him to continue his campaign and hinting he might actually do so.

All that said, it's hard to overstate how much of an underdog any Republican running in Brooklyn—the eighth-most populous county in the nation—would be. Not only is the borough overwhelmingly Democratic, but Brooklyn native Bill de Blasio will be leading the top of the ticket as the party's proudly progressive mayoral nominee. Are de Blasio voters really going to split their votes for a shady, over the hill DA running on the Republican line? Somehow I doubt it.

Manchester, NH Mayor: As the head of New Hampshire's largest city, incumbent Republican Ted Gatsas' name has been mentioned for pretty much every major state office under the sun. However, it looks like he may have to work to keep his current job before he can look for a promotion. In Tuesday's very low-key non-partisan primary, Democratic Alderman Patrick Arnold performed surprisingly well, winning 40 percent to Gatsas' 55.

Arnold and Gatsas will face off in the Nov. 5 general election and political observers are beginning to take Arnold much more seriously than before. An Arnold victory still looks tough but far from unprecedented: ex-Rep. Frank Guinta turned a similar 2005 primary deficit into an upset victory over an incumbent mayor. At the very least, Tuesday's primary ensures Gatsas cannot take reelection for granted. (Darth Jeff)

NYC Mayor: Doesn't look like this one is going to be much of a race. In their first post-primary poll, Quinnipiac finds Democrat Bill de Blasio obliterating Republican nominee Joe Lhota by a 66-25 margin, very similar to the 65-22 spread Marist just found.

Grab Bag:

Texas: Burnt Orange Report has a cool new feature where they're tracking Texas candidate announcements at all levels, from statewide, to Congress, to the legislature, all the way down to the Board of Education. Click through for links to each individual chart.

WATN?: On Thursday, a state appeals court overturned former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's conviction for channeling corporate political donations to legislative candidates, which is illegal in Texas. DeLay, who faced a three-year prison sentence, had been free on bond while awaiting the ruling, which prosecutors say they will appeal. Rick Hasen explains more about the nature of the decision, which he nominally supports but says "confirms that the big problem is not what's illegal, but what's legal."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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