8:20 AM PT: CA-52: Here's some more background on former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, whom we mentioned last week had filed papers to run against Republican Brian Bilbray in the new 52nd. Interesting side-note: Saldana, who was term-limited out last year, had planned to run for an open state Senate seat, but it looks like redistricting made this the more enticing target.
8:24 AM PT: CT-Sen: Good news, cat fud connoisseurs: Linda McMahon says she's "leaning strongly" toward a second run for Senate, and, in the AP's words, "expects to solidify that decision over the next four to six weeks." This sets her up nicely on a collision course with ex-Rep. Chris Shays in the GOP primary.
8:54 AM PT: HI-02: Former state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, who currently runs the state's Office of Environmental Quality Control, says he's considering an entry into the Democratic field for this open seat. Hooser ran here once before in 2006, losing in the primary to Mazie Hirono, who is now vacating the district to run for Senate. Hooser also lost the lieutenant governor's primary last year to now-LG Brian Schatz.
8:56 AM PT: And I meant to add, that HI-02 link just above says former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman (who lost the 2010 Dem gubernatorial primary) "is poised to announce his intentions, perhaps by the end of the month" (for whatever that's worth).
9:04 AM PT: HI-Sen: Ah, lovely. ConservaDem Ed Case signaled his intention to run a negative primary campaign, saying of frontrunner Mazie Hirono: "At the end of the day, I think [she] basically stands for how things are. I stand for how things should be." He also defended the bullshit poll he released (which earned him an unprecedented smackdown from the DSCC):
As for the DSCC attack on his polling, Case said the national organization doesn't like to think that a Republican can beat a Democrat in Hawaii.
"And that's not the case," he said. "I've said that to them directly. Common wisdom is that [GOP ex-Gov. Linda] Lingle could do very well against Hirono. So, from my perspective, the poll just said what everybody thinks. But they prefer to maintain the fiction, and I think it's better to put things on the table from the get-go."
And the CW about Lingle is just dead wrong. Two legitimate independent polls (one from PPP, another by Ward Research) showed Lingle getting destroyed by all comers. Case's poll only said what he feverishly wishes were true — but isn't.
9:43 AM PT: IL-08: A pretty good get for Tammy Duckworth: Lynn Sweet reports that her sources tell her that Sen. Dick Durbin will endorse Duckworth in the Democratic primary, over Raja Krishnamoorthi. Sweet calls the endorsement "expected" and describes Durbin as Duckworth's "political patron."
9:50 AM PT: FL-11: Mark Sharpe must be praying for a redistricting miracle. The Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner (mentioned previously) formally announced a challenge to Rep. Kathy Castor in what is a rather blue district — and one which would be hard to make a lot redder. Even if the courts pull a California-style down-to-the-studs remodelling of Florida's congressional map, those Democratic voters still have to go somewhere.
10:03 AM PT: ME-Sen: Following a report that Dem state Rep. Jon Hinck was staffing up for a possible Senate bid, Hinck himself confirms that he is "exploring" a bid, and in Roll Call's words, "said he would make a final decision in the fall."
10:08 AM PT: MI-05: David Crim, a union organizer and, probably more importantly, the son of former state House Speaker Bobby Crim, says he's thinking about joining the Democratic field to replace retiring Rep. Dale Kildee. Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal helpfully recaps the long list of names who've already said the same:
Former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee; state Rep. Woodrow Stanley; former Rep. Jim Barcia; state Sen. John Gleason; and former Lt. Gov. John Cherry.
10:13 AM PT: MN-Sen: In the wake of his (shocking, I know) abandonment of his presidential bid, ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty says: "I won't be running against [Dem Sen. Amy] Klobuchar in 2012." One line of thinking says that Pawlenty would have an easier chance trying to defeat Al Franken in 2014. But whatever the case may be, the fact remains that the GOP doesn't even have a second-tier candidate running this cycle.
10:39 AM PT: CA Redistricting: California's redistricting commission just voted to approve all of the new maps released a couple of weeks ago. As before, the vote on the congressional plan passed 12-2, with the same two Republicans voting against. Maps for the state Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization all passed 13-1. This finalizes the maps, unless they are overturned in court or via ballot initiative. The former sounds unlikely, but Republicans are busy discussing the latter. Click the link to see how it all gets gamed out.
10:50 AM PT: Passings: Former one-term Democratic Rep. Bob Shamansky passed away late last week at the age of 84, apparently unexpectedly. You may remember Shamansky from his run against GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi in OH-12 in 2006, a race he spent $1.4 million of his own money on, but wound up losing 58-42. Shamansky had previously served a single term in the House, improbably beating a Republican incumbent while Democrats lost a net of 34 seats nationwide in 1980. He got screwed in redistricting, though, and lost two years later to none other than John Kasich. Amazingly, Shamansky had run for Congress once before — in 1966. That must make Shamansky the answer to a trivia question or two, because there can't be a lot of guys who ran for the House in three separate decades with an intervening decade between each run.
10:58 AM PT: PA-07: The size of that ad buy by "Accountability PA" targeting Pat Meehan on Medicare we first mentioned last week is apparently just four figure (at least, according to Meehan's own team). One interesting detail, though: One local station refused to run the ad. Is PolitiFact's "pants on fire" bullshit about the Ryan plan seeping through to TV stations? I sure hope not, especially since the ad in question says "end Medicare as we know it," which apparently are the magic words that please the wankers at PolitiFact.
11:20 AM PT: MN-01: The NRCC is spending some $10K targeting, of all people, Tim Walz, on, of all issues, healthcare reform. You can watch the ad here; it sounds like something straight out of 2010, complete with lies about a "government takeover of healthcare." (They actually also have an identical spot running against Kurt Schrader in OR-05). Do they think this issue will get traction once again?
11:29 AM PT: MT-Gov: Well huh. Last week, Jim Lynch, the chief of Montana's Dept. of Transportation, unexpectedly resigned, and he said he was considering a run for governor as a Democrat. Lynch's resignation was precipitated by something else, though. It turns out that his department hired his daughter four years ago, a possible violation of the state's anti-nepotism laws, which led Gov. Brian Schweitzer to demand Lynch's resignation. Lynch says he was planning to step down soon anyway, and he was surprised that the hiring surfaced as an issue now since it had taken place so long ago. Lynch says he's still thinking about running for office.
11:34 AM PT: AZ Redistricting: Arizona's redistricting commission has released an initial set of maps, which they are calling "grid maps." They've already been hashed out extensively in comments, but I think any analysis is premature. These aren't even close to being legitimate maps. As the commission explains:
The Arizona Constitution mandates that redistricting begin with a grid map. This is to ensure that each Independent Redistricting Commission starts from scratch. But these grid maps reflect only two of the six criteria the commissioners are required to consider:
• Equal population; and
• Compactness and contiguousness.
In drafting the new district maps, commissioners must modify the grid maps to account for four other criteria:
• Compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act;
• Respect for communities of interest;
• Incorporation of visible geographic features, including city, town and county boundaries, as well as undivided census tracts; and
• Creation of competitive districts where there is no significant detriment to other goals.
So as you can see, these maps are illegal on their face, by the commission's own admission! They are simply a starting point.
12:41 PM PT: ME Redistricting: Democrats and Republicans each unveiled their redistricting plans earlier today, and for a state with just two districts, they are very different from one another. Democrats propose moving just a single town from the 1st CD to the 2nd CD to maintain population equality, while Republicans want a more radical remapping that would reorient the state's two east-west districts to a pair of north-south districts. The GOP plan also moves Democratic Rep. Shellie Pingree out of her 1st Congressional District. With Republicans holding the redistricting trifecta, they'll presumably do whatever they want. (Maine's commission is purely advisory.) You can see the maps below:
12:56 PM PT: TX Redistricting: Hah! What a bunch of stupid fucks. Not only did the GOP draw a congressional map that violates the Voting Rights Act, the map-makers emailed each other fretting that their plan violated the VRA, and then emailed each other to say they shouldn't put those thoughts into email! These communications were all made public thanks to the discovery process in the big redistricting lawsuit pending in San Antonio, and they sound exactly like the kind of thing my election law prof warned us all against. (Fortunately, he's representing the plaintiffs!) If you feel like dumpster diving, Michael Li has all the emails here, and a particular winner here.
1:33 PM PT: CA-42: As we had expected, GOPer Ken Calvert says he'll seek re-election in the new 42nd CD (he currently represents the old 44th).
2:03 PM PT: MT-AL: Democrat Rob Stutz (previously mentioned here) has decided to formally enter the race for Montana's open House seat.
2:09 PM PT: WI-Sen: The Club for Growth is trotting out another Republican Senate primary poll, this time in Wisconsin. The survey, from Bassword Research, shows ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (who the Club dislikes quite a bit) with just a 40-34 lead over ex-Rep. Mark Neumann.
2:47 PM PT: NC-08, NC-13: Republican Vernon Robinson, who once described himself with the almost impossibly weird sobriquet of "the black Jesse Helms," has decided to carpetbag out to the new 8th CD for the chance of taking a shot at Dem Rep. Larry Kissell. Previously, Robinson had planned to run in the 13th, a seat he sought once before in 2006.
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