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• Demographics: Bloomberg's master number-cruncher Greg Giroux gets co-writer credit on what's mostly a man-on-the-street story about the increasing use of food stamps, but it's pretty easy to identify which sections he's responsible for:
Among the 254 counties where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Republican Mitt Romney won 213 of them in last year's presidential election, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. Kentucky's Owsley County, which backed Romney with 81 percent of its vote, has the largest proportion of food stamp recipients among those that he carried. [...]
The Bloomberg review of 2,049 counties where the data was available included the 250 with the highest concentration of food stamp recipients. Among that group, 227 are wholly within one congressional district, with 160 represented by Republicans and 67 by Democrats.
The article doesn't really get into any "What's The Matter With Kansas?"-style analysis of why the residents of Owsley and similar counties persist in voting for a political party that's intent on cutting off the few lifelines keeping them afloat. But it's a good reminder that people aren't necessarily rational actors when it comes to voting their economic interests—there's also a complex matrix of race, religion, resentment, culture, and just plain tradition at work as well.
Owsley, by the way, is part of that small cluster of south central Kentucky counties, a bit to the west of the once-strongly-Dem counties in Appalachia's real core in coal country, that have been Republican since time immemorial. It even went 67 percent for Barry Goldwater in 1964! (David Jarman)
• LA-Sen: The NRSC is courting a copyright takedown notice with a new ad attacking Sen. Mary Landrieu that they're spending just a few breadcrumbs to air. The spot rips off the classic NES game Duck Hunt—it's some tie-in with the reality show Duck Dynasty. I couldn't really tell you what it's about, though, because I kept getting pissed at that damn dog who heckles you every time you miss a shot.
• SC-Sen-A: Okay, this made me laugh:
State Sen. Lee Bright announced his candidacy Tuesday for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, calling incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham "a community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood."
Continued Bright: "He needs to spend more time listening to what the brothers in South Carolina have to say." Heh.
• CT-Gov: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has been looking at a gubernatorial bid since at least last year, and now he's taking a step toward entering the GOP primary by forming an exploratory committee. Boughton briefly ran for governor in 2010 before dropping out and ultimately serving as GOP nominee Tom Foley's running-mate. Foley's likely to run again, but the two have had words since their arranged marriage ended in a loss, so it could be fun to see these two square off directly.
• ID-Gov: Tea partying Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, who had been considering a possible challenge to Gov. Butch Otter in the GOP primary, has decided against the idea and will instead seek re-election. Note that Otter himself still has not yet announced whether he'll run for a third term.
• ME-Gov: Given the excitement over his candidacy, as well as his strong fundraising, it's easy to forget that Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud's campaign for governor is still in "exploratory" mode. But that will change on Thursday, when Michaud says he'll make a formal announcement at noon. Michaud is hoping to unseat GOP Gov. Paul LePage, who still hasn't made an official declaration of his own yet. Independent attorney Eliot Cutler is also in the race.
• LA-05: State Rep. Robert Johnson just announced that he'll run in the special election to fill Rep. Rodney Alexander's seat, apparently making him the second Democrat to do so. I say "apparently" because some reports have said that state Rep. Marcus Hunter is in the race, but others hedge. I don't think that's ever a good sign for a campaign, though.
In any event, it also probably means that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and state Sen. Rick Gallot will likely stay out, as both Democrats have indicated they're only interested in running with official party backing. And a couple of Republicans have said no as well: Alexander chief of staff Adam Terry and "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson. I cannot believe something called "Duck Dynasty" has come up twice in one Digest.
P.S. Alexander also claims he might run for governor in 2015, but it sounds like it's just talk. You don't typically quit politics just so you can re-enter a year later.
• PA-12, PA-LG: Well, darn. Ex-Rep. Mark Critz, who had been weighing a comeback bid for his old seat but had also been looking at a run for lieutenant governor, has decided on the latter. Critz would have faced a tough race against GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus, the man who beat him last year, but he'd almost certainly have been the strongest Democratic option in Pennsylvania's 12th District.
I'm also wondering what a ticket with Critz and Rep. Allyson Schwartz, the Democrats' gubernatorial front-runner, would look like. (Governor and lieutenant governor candidates are nominated in separate primaries, but they run together in the general election.) Before entering politics, Schwartz was a Planned Parenthood clinic director; Critz, meanwhile, calls himself pro-life and earned a zero rating from PP in 2010. Seems like it would be an awkward pairing.
• NYC Comptroller: Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer just saw a huge jump in his standing in the Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller, at least according to Quinnipiac's newest poll. Spitzer now has a wide 56-37 lead over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, up from just 49-45 three weeks ago. Spitzer is self-funding, and his heavy TV spending is probably a key driver here
Stringer did finally go on the air with his first spot on Thursday, though. While a camera tilted sharply upward pans across luxury high-rises, the narrator says that the folks living there "may not feel it up here, but the people who built this city are getting priced right out of it," as the shot changes to one featuring subway workers. It's a little hard to link the plight of the middle class with the comptroller's duties, but the ad continues on to say that Stringer will "audit every city agency to cut waste," so that the money can somehow be redirected toward education and small businesses. Not sure how he can make that second part happen, though.
• SD Mayor, CA-52: This is intriguing:
DeMaio said his focus has shifted from his congressional campaign to ousting Filner from office.
"Anyone would be better than Bob Filner, so our first step has to be driving Bob Filner from office," he said.
DeMaio did not directly answer questions about whether he would run for mayor if Filner leaves office. He said he doesn't think Filner will leave willingly.
"There is a 50-50 chance he will finish his term," DeMaio said.
Former Republican City Councilor Carl DeMaio, as you probably know, ran for San Diego mayor in 2012, losing a close race to Filner. Now he's running a much-touted campaign for Congress against freshman Rep. Scott Peters, but a second shot at the mayoral gig could prove more appealing.
A recent SurveyUSA poll showed DeMaio crushing most potential Democratic candidates, aside from last year's third-place finisher in the primary, Nathan Fletcher, but it's no sure thing Fletcher would want to run again. If he doesn't, DeMaio would be the favorite should Filner resign. And certainly Peters and the DCCC would breathe a sigh of relief, too.
• WATN?: Former Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was just sentenced to 30 months in prison by a federal judge for stealing $750,000 in campaign funds and putting them to personal use. Jackson's wife Sandi was also sentenced to a one-year term. The couple had pleaded guilty earlier this year.