Dailykos Morning Digest 5/13/11

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by David Nir Senate:

• AZ-Sen: PPP has Senate primary numbers for bot h parties. Dems prefer Gabby Giffords (46%), then Terry Goddard (28). Everyone else is in single digits, except ex-Rep. Harry Mitchel at 11. The GOP side goes Sarah Palin (35), Jeff Flake (33), and JD Hayworth (11).

• FL-Sen: Even though I tend to doubt Mike Huckabee is running, I suspect this move is more about presidential positioning than any concern about the outcome of the Senate race. But anyhow, Huck is endorsing the pathetic Mike Haridopolos, who backed Huck in 2008.

• MA-Sen: Former state legislator Warren Tolman, who in recent years has hosted a radio program, is considering entering the Dem primary field. Meanwhile, a couple of local environmental organizations are running radio ads (NWOTSOTB, though they claim its “significant”) hitting Scott Brown for his vote to gut the Clean Air Act.

• MI-Sen: This is a weird line: GOP Rep. Thad McCotter’s chief-of-staff told the Detroit News (referring to his boss): “Last we heard, he has an impending announcement about the U.S. Senate.” Last we heard? Uh, well, last I heard, McCotter was busy telling Roll Call that he hadn’t even discussed a possible run with state or national Republicans. So who knows what the hell’s going on here.

• MN-Sen: GOP state Sen. Dave Thompson says he’s thinking about a run against Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and says his “goal” is to decide “by the end of June.”

• ND-Sen: North Dakota Dems are trying to recruit former state Rep. Pam Gulleson, who is also a former staffer for ex-Sen. Byron Dorgan, to seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Kent Conrad. Both Conrad and Dorgan, as well as a whole bunch of state legislators, support Gulleson, who says she’s giving the race serious consideration.


• CA-11: For reasons that aren’t readily apparent, the NRCC is testing out an ad (NWOTSOTB, though I’ll bet small) against Rep. Jerry McNerney, claiming that he (and Democrats) want to destroy Medicare. This worked well for the GOP last year, but with their party now on the defensive over Medicare thanks to the Ryan budget vote, perhaps they are trying a classic Rovian tactic and going after their opponents where they themselves are weakest.

• MO-02: Even though Rep. Todd Akin hasn’t actually announced he’ll seek the GOP nomination for Senate, the race to succeed him in the House is already turning into a free-for-all. State Sen. Jane Cunningham is the latest Republican to say she’ll enter the field, assuming Akin moves on. Meanwhile, Majority Whip Steny Hoyer is coming to town to do a fundraiser for Rep. Russ Carnahan, which I’m guessing is his way of trying to induce the now-districtless Carnahan to run for Akin’s seat rather than challenge 1st CD Rep. Lacy Clay in a primary. (Note that the 2nd CD became somewhat bluer in redistricting.)

• PA-15: I guess John Callahan is tired of notbeing a fucking congressman yet.” The mayor of Bethlehem was the right guy in the right district but ran in the wrong year last year when he faced off against Rep. Charlie Dent, so I’m glad to see that he was down in DC for a candidate training session sponsored by the DCCC. Hopefully this augurs well for a rematch, but obviously redistricting is still a big wildcard.

Other Races:

• Las Vegas Mayor: Dueling polls in the run-off: Chris Giunchigliani (the one you should be rooting for in this nominally non-partisan race) is back two in her own poll, 45-43, from Benenson Strategy Group. Meanwhile, Carolyn Goodman says she’s up53-31. Goodman is using Republican robopollster Magellan Strategies, which should tell you all you need to know.

Grab Bag:

• WATN?: Wow, this is brutal:

Senator John Ensign’s top aide warned him in 2008 that his office might be breaking the law by helping a former staff member build up a lobbying business. The senator let out a long groan, then said they should help the former employee anyway, according to a remarkably detailed Senate report that urged the government to consider criminal charges against Mr. Ensign.The report issued Thursday, a result of the most extensive Senate ethics investigation in at least two decades, describes the actions inside the senator’s office as he sought to manage the fallout from an affair with the wife of one of his former senior aides.

Perhaps seeking to cover up the wrongdoing, staff members deleted incriminating e-mails, and the senator himself may have lied under oath to thwart a separate investigation by the Federal Election Commission, according to the bipartisan report.

It’s honestly embarrassing that the DoJ dropped its investigation of Ensign last year, but they can at least belatedly make things right by pursuing this case vigorously now.

Redistricting Roundup:

• Minnesota: I think we need some sort of phrase or acronym when you’ve got a redistricting situation that’s on a guaranteed collision course with the courts. I’ll let you all think on that while I point out that the GOP’s new congressional map passed a state House panel the other day, which led Dem Gov. Mark Dayton to all but declare that he’ll veto it if it reaches his desk. It would be nice if we could just fast-forward to lawsuit phase, but I think we’ll get there soon enough.

• Oregon: Preliminary maps from Oregon’s Democrats and Republicans are now available. Although the lines don’t look that far apart at first glance, the two maps would have widely differing effects: the Democratic map unpacks Portland, which is currently almost entirely in OR-03; bigger chunks get awarded to the 1st and 5th to make them bluer, while the 3rd reaches up and down the Gorge to take in more marginal (but still Dem-leaning) turf in Columbia and Hood River Counties. The GOP map, by contrast, further packs the 3rd, so that it’s all of Multnomah County (i.e. Portland) plus the smallest possible slice of Clackamas County, making the 1st and 5th much swingier. Expect the final result to be somewhere in between: while Dems control the governorship and the state Senate, control of the state House is a 30-30 split between the Dems and GOP, necessitating a compromise… or more likely, a court-drawn map. (David Jarman)

• Wisconsin: Some excellent reporting by Steven Elbow in the Cap Times, really diving deep into an issue that a lot of us have been interested in but haven’t really been able to get to the bottom of. I’m talking of supposed GOP plans to ram through new redistricting plans before any recall elections can take place. If you’ve been following this one closely, you know Wisconsin’s timetable specifies that local municipalities must first create new wards before the legislature can draw new maps.

But one local redistricting expert says that Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP aren’t bound by these niceties—though look out:

Ken Mayer, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor and redistricting expert, says any attempt to map legislative districts before municipalities finish their work “would be an administrative nightmare.” That’s because the Republicans couldn’t start at the ward level but instead would use census data to overlay legislative districts on top of municipal electoral maps.“Think of what would happen if you draw a district line in a way that it splits a ward down the middle,” says Mayer, who served as an adviser for Senate Democrats during the redistricting battle 10 years ago. “You’d have to double the number of polling places. It would be a nightmare for the clerks.”

Obviously Walker has zero compunction about screwing public employees, and I’m sure he’d find a way to convince himself that the added costs of doing it this way are somehow Democrats’ fault. But Mayer thinks that some kind of challenge to maps drawn in this way might be possible, though as Elbow puts it, we’d be in “uncharted legal territory,” so it’s very unclear what might unfold.

• Power Brokers: Shira Toeplitz has a list (with brief profiles) of the members of Congress she says are the top ten “power brokers” when it comes to redistricting.


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