• FL-13: Candidates running in the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young were required to file fundraising reports on Thursday, ahead of the Jan. 14 primary, but Republicans were utterly mowed down by Hurricane Alex. Democrat Alex Sink reported raising a mammoth $1.1 million from Oct. 30, when she entered the campaign, through Dec. 25, and she has over $1 million on hand. Republican lobbyist David Jolly didn't exactly do too badly, taking in $338,000, but that haul pales in comparison to Sink's, especially since he has only $142,000 left in the bank.
Jolly, as you'd expect, is spending heavily to win his upcoming primary against state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who raised just $160,000 and has a mere $18,000 in her coffers. (A third candidate, the Allen West-endorsed Mark Bircher, pulled in $35,000.) Peters' burn rate, of course, has been high, too, so not only will Sink be sitting on a huge pile of doubloons, but whoever emerges as the GOP nominee will likely be drained of resources as well.
• MT-Sen: The headline here is a bit overblown, but this piece is not a positive one for Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Montana's open Senate seat. In a 2010 report, the Army's inspector general said that Walsh used his position as adjutant general of the Montana National Guard to pressure subordinates into joining a private lobbying organization called the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), because Walsh was running for vice-chairman of the group. (He was ultimately elected to the post.)
The original report and the article describing it say Walsh engaged in improper activity for "private gain," but Walsh didn't have his hand in the till—it looks like Walsh's aspirations were entirely limited to ascending the leadership ranks at the NGAUS. However, here's an example of an email Walsh sent to further his ambitions:
"I was disappointed to see that you have decided not to support the NGAUS especially after my previous memo outlining the significant contributions of NGAUS over the past several years," Walsh wrote in one such email to subordinates who hadn't joined the group. "I am concerned that as an officer and leader in our organization you do not support my priorities which is to improve the readiness of MTNG which NGAUS clearly does."I certainly would hate getting an email like this from a superior, and indeed, several officers complained, saying they felt like they were being "bullied" and subject to "coercion." Walsh, in response, is disputing the whole "private gain" notion and argues that the NGAUS helps ensure National Guard readiness through its lobbying efforts.
Will this story matter? It's hard to say. Walsh can argue that he was just looking out for his troops, and if he was kind of a dick in doing so, well, you don't become a National Guard general by being Mr. Nice Guy. We'll soon see how Walsh's opponents react, though. He faces a primary against ex-Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, while Rep. Steve Daines has the Republican nomination all but locked up.
• NC-, LA-, NH-Sen: Americans for Prosperity is launching a new $2.5 million ad campaign against three Democratic senators—Mary Landrieu (LA), Kay Hagan (NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH)—over Obamacare. All three spots revolve around various attacks along the "if you like it, you can keep it" theme. It looks like Hagan is bearing the brunt of this assault, since $1.4 million of this buy is devoted to her, bring AFP's total outlay in North Carolina this cycle to $4.2 million.
Hagan's also getting it from GOP frontrunner Thom Tillis, who says he is spending $300,000 to air his first ad of the campaign, again on the subject of Obamacare. Tillis speaks directly to the camera to castigate Hagan, saying she "enabled President Obama's worst ideas. She refuses to clean up his mess, so you and I have to clean up hers."
• IA-Gov: Former state Rep. Bob Krause, who had for some time been exploring a gubernatorial bid, announced on Thursday that he won't run and will instead back fellow Democrat Jack Hatch, a state senator. Krause did say, however, that he will run for GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley's seat in 2016, though it's always good to be skeptical of these super-early declarations. Krause also apparently took himself out of the running for Iowa' open 3rd Congressional District, too.
• OH-Gov: Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, who started contemplating a run for governor just a couple of weeks ago, has, somewhat surprisingly, decided to go ahead with a bid. Ohio Democrats have long been united behind Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, but Portune seemed to think that FitzGerald's recent stumbles over selecting a running-mate created an opportunity for a second candidate.
That doesn't really seem to be the case, though, as zero elected officials participated in Portune's announcement, and the party establishment is still solidly on Fitz's side. What's more, a recent PPP poll showed the race unchanged, with FitzGerald still neck-and-neck with GOP Gov. John Kasich. Even Portune seems to recognize this, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer: "If I'm wrong, if things really are all locked up and support doesn't materialize, I won't file just to be on the ballot." The filing deadline is Feb. 5.
• IA-03: It looks very likely that Secretary of State Matt Schultz will enter the GOP primary for Iowa's open 3rd District, since he's promising "an important and exciting announcement" next week about his plans. Schultz is probably the biggest Republican name considering a bid, though he doesn't have field-clearing star power, seeing as former Chuck Grassley chief of staff David Young has decided to drop down from the crowded Senate race to run for the House instead. One Republican is declining, though: State Sen. Jack Whitver says he'll seek re-election rather than join the congressional ruckus.
• ID-02: The dentists are back! The American Dental Association, one of the odder outside spending groups around, is forking out $22,000 on mailers to support GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, who faces a Club for Growth-backed primary challenge from attorney Bryan Smith.
• MA-06: In a new fundraising email for Iraq vet Seth Moulton, the progressive veterans organization VoteVets labels the man he's hoping to unseat in the Democratic primary, Rep. John Tierney, "a corrupt incumbent." That's an ugly, negative move that plays right into Republican attacks on Tierney, particularly since no one has ever produced a single piece of evidence tying Tierney to the tax evasion scandal that sent his wife to prison for a month back in 2011.
And earlier this fall, the House Ethics Committee declined to open an investigation into Tierney's finances. So I don't understand why VoteVets feels the need to "go there," particularly when there's no there there. (Notably, their ActBlue page leaves off any reference to Tierney.)
VoteVets also refers to Moulton as a "progressive," but that doesn't seem to be how Moulton regards himself; rather, Moulton has called himself "fairly centrist." He also considered running as an independent in 2012 (though he did say he'd caucus as a Democrat).
• MA-09: Attorney John Chapman, a former aide to then-Gov. Mitt Romney, will run against Democratic Rep. Bill Keating. The 9th is one of Massachusetts' more competitive districts—both Scott Brown and Gabriel Gomez carried it—but Keating handily won re-election last cycle by a 59-32 margin.
• ME-02: Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, a brother of ex-Gov. John Baldacci, has decided not to run for Maine's open 2nd Congressional District. That leaves state Sens. Emily Cain and Troy Jackson as the most notable Democrats running to hold this seat.
• MT-AL: Shortly after losing his race for Senate in 2012, Republican ex-Rep. Denny Rehberg declared he was finished with politics. But just a few months later, he started expressing interest in a second Senate campaign, after Max Baucus announced his retirement. Rehberg never followed through, but here's more proof (in addition to the beard) that retirement isn't suiting him: He just said that he's "seriously looking" at a run for his old House seat, which is open because Rep. Steve Daines decided to pursue the Senate bid that Rehberg eschewed.
None of the Republicans currently running for Montana's lone congressional district are especially prominent, so a Rehberg comeback could potentially clear the field, or at least render other candidates irrelevant. Democrats are hoping former Baucus aide John Lewis can convert a longshot pickup opportunity, but a November PPP poll showed him trailing all four GOP lesser lights. Against the well-known Rehberg, Lewis would face even steeper odds.
• NJ-02: State Sen. Jeff Van Drew says he'll announce his plans about a possible congressional bid against GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo by the end of the month. Attorney Bill Hughes, Jr. (the son of ex-Rep. Bill Hughes) is already running, but Van Drew's indecision is forcing local Democratic leaders to wait before making endorsements. However, it seems like they are happy to take their time, since a half-dozen county chairs recently penned a joint letter praising Van Drew.
• NJ-07: PolitickerNJ reports that Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach is gearing up to run against GOP Rep. Leonard Lance, though that's only according to unnamed sources, not any kind of on-the-record quote. Kovach also reportedly met with the DCCC last month, but the 7th went for Romney 53-46 and Lance has proven to be a tough opponent, so this race will be very challenging for Democrats. (Clinton is also a very tiny town, with a population of just 2,700.)
• VA-10: Outgoing state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for retiring Rep. Frank Wolf's seat, but in a new exit interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cuccinelli reaffirmed that he's "not running for anything for a while."
• NY State Senate: A second Republican-held state Senate seat has opened up on Long Island, this time thanks to Charles Fuschillo, who has resigned to head up an Alzheimer's charity. According to our preliminary calculations, Fuschillo's 8th District went for Barack Obama 56-43 in 2012, meaning the seat is very winnable for Democrats. The party also has a chance for a pickup in the 3rd District, because state Sen. Lee Zeldin is running for Congress.
• Census: The Census Bureau is out with new population estimates (measuring the size of the country as of July 1, 2013), and they largely show a continuation of the same patterns: population losses in the Northeast and Midwest, counterbalanced with gains in the West and South.
We can cut the data a few different ways to get a sense of the reapportionment picture (which Sean Trende does as well). The following table shows a few different scenarios, depending on how you want to model the growth from here until 2020 (only states with projected changes are shown):
|Projected in 2020 Using:|
|State||In 2010||In 2013||10-13 Growth||11-13 Growth||12-13 Growth|
There are a few states right on the edge, with different projected numbers of seats based on which model you use: California and Montana may each gain a seat, while New York may lose a seat, and Minnesota may yet hang onto its eighth seat.
Of course, there's plenty of time left before the next Census and all of this is subject to change, but these early estimates give us a sense of what's to come. But a good question to ask is how would reapportionment in 2010 have looked based on the 2003 population projections (using a linear projection of 2000-03 changes to the rest of the decade)?
The answer: slightly different from how it actually turned out. California would have gained two seats, and Michigan and New Jersey would each have kept the seat that they lost. Alabama would have lost a seat, Texas would have gained only three seats, and South Carolina and Washington would not have gained the new seat that each did.
This all makes sense, given the demographic changes—namely, continued migration to the sunbelt—that occurred in the mid-aughts before the recession hit, which wouldn't haven been captured in the 2003 projections. (And Hurricane Katrina, of course, hit in 2005, shifting the balance between Louisiana and Texas.) The Census Bureau knows what it's doing, but unforeseeable events can always throw a wrench into even the best models.
P.S. Despite projections to the contrary, New York still narrowly remains the third-largest state in the nation, but is fewer than 100,000 people ahead of Florida. But given the trends, Florida will surpass New York very soon. (jeffmd)
• Ideology: VoteView has published new DW-Nominate scores, the gold standard for measuring the ideology of members of Congress, for the first session of the 113th Congress (i.e., all of 2013). If you're interested in learning more about Nominate, here's a primer.
• SeaTac, WA: The ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the small Washington city of SeaTac narrowly succeeded in November, and then it survived a recount as well. Now, though, it's under attack in the courts, and opponents have won a sizable victory. A judge has agreed that the new law does not apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport because it's run by the Port of Seattle rather than SeaTac itself, meaning that the wage increase will only affect a quarter of those it was intended to help. Supporters of the hike are filing an appeal.