• MO-Gov: You know life sucks when you feel compelled to release an internal poll showing you down seven points — and that actually counts as good news. But, well, Peter Kinder’s life does suck, and his survey from the renamed Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research (fka “Wilson Research Strategies”) shows exactly that, with Kinder down 48-41. In the “Why you should view this poll skeptically” Dept., note that it purports to canvass likely voters (over a year out from election day). It also tries to establish a trendline with, amusingly, a PPP poll, claiming that Kinder’s favorables are improving! (They stand at 33-20 in this test.)
• MS-Gov: Today is the Mississippi runoff for the Democratic gubernatorial nod. Businessman and attorney Bill Luckett has been outspending Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree by about two-to-one, but they finished very close in the first round and there hasn’t been any public polling, so I’d say this is probably anyone’s race. (The third- and fourth-place finishers, who combined for 17 percent of the vote, both endorsed DuPree.)
• FL-08, AR-02: Remember that gross story about GOP Rep. Tim Griffin, who represents Arkansas, handing out a Soviet-style “watch list” of progressive activists at his town halls — activists who hailed from Florida? Well, this answers the question of where Griffin got that list. We already knew that the activists had attended meetings hosted by another Republican freshman, Dan Webster, so I guess it’s no surprise that Webster himself was responsible for circulating these names to fellow lawmakers. Webster claims it was all an accident. Sure, sure.
• FL-10: It’s not every day that a former governor gets mentioned as a possible congressional candidate — let alone a candidate for a different party than the one he was a member of while in office. But in point of fact, this is the second such day. Back in June, we relayed speculation that Charlie Crist could challenge GOP Rep. Bill Young (or run for his 10th District seat if he retires). At the time, it seemed like a bit of an outlier idea, but it seems to be gaining currency, with the St. Petersburg Times now discussing it as well. Of course, this is all just a giant game of telephone for now, but it’s interesting to see chatter unfold like this.
• IA-02: The NRCC is spending $11K to trot out the same ad they’re running against Tim Walz and Kurt Schrader in Dave Loebsack’s district. The spot (which you can watch here) is notable only because it’s trying to turn healthcare reform into a salient issue again.
• IL-11: Businessman and Grundy County Board member Chris Balkema says he’s forming an exploratory committee for the GOP nod in this redrawn (and much bluer) district. The current incumbent Republican, Adam Kinzinger, isn’t expected to seek re-election here, and Dem ex-Rep. Bill Foster is the early favorite to pick up this seat.
Another GOPer, state Sen. Chris Lauzen, who had been considering a run here has declined to do so. Instead, he’ll seek the position of Kane County Board Chairman. It’s interesting to see Lauzen pull the plug on his state Senate career like this (Illinois does not have term limits). I believe he may have gotten screwed in redistricting, but regardless, the new map not only locks in Dem majorities but probably Dem super-majorities, which will make being a Republican in Springfield about as fun as, well… how fun is Springfield anyway?
• IN-05: According to the scrolling ticker on Howey Politics Indiana over the weekend, Dem state Rep. Scott Reske is considering a run against Rep. Dan Burton (or whoever emerges from that cockadoodle primary) in the 5th CD. Reskegot jacked in redistricting, so this is an interesting escape hatch, especially since this district actually got a lot bluer as a result of the congressional remap. It went from 59-40 McCain all the way to 53-47 McCain. Now obviously those 2008 Obama numbers in Indiana are a serious high-water mark, but could this wind up being a hidden opportunity for Democrats, especially if Burton is the GOP nominee? (Hat-tip: SouthernINDem)
• KY-01, KY-02, KY-Sen: Dem state Rep. Brent Yonts says he might run for the 1st CD seat (currently held by GOPer Ed Whitfield)… but not until 2014. Yonts doesn’t want to share ballot space with Barack Obama for his inaugural run because “Kentucky doesn’t like President Obama.” True enough! The same article also says that Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who lost a primary earlier this year to Allison Lundergan Grimes, wants to run for office again, and she hasn’t ruled out campaigns for Senate, KY-02, or possibly statewide office in 2015. (Walker was appointed by Steve Beshear after 2010 GOP Senate candidate Trey Grayson fled the state for the friendly confines of Harvard University.)
• LA-03, LA-07: Sen. David Vitter insists that the two town halls he’s co-hosting with fellow Republican Jeff Landry do not constitute endorsements — even though they’re taking place within the current 7th District, home of Rep. Charles Boustany. Of course, there is no more 7th CD, and most of Boustany’s new district is now renumbered into the 3rd. That seat also includes Landry’s home and about a quarter of his current constituents, making it the most obvious place for Landry to try to continue his brief congressional career. But while Vitter swears he’s not backing Landry, the linked article notes that Boustany refused to endorse Vitter for re-election last year, so perhaps it’s payback time.
• MI-13, MI-14: It looks like the switcheroo is in effect: Freshman Dem Hansen Clarke, who currently represents the 13th CD, tweeted that he’d seek re-election in the 14th; meanwhile, veteran John Conyers, the occupant of the 14th, will “absolutely” run in the 13th, according to a Politico source. The GOP tried to scramble these two seats in redistricting, but they by and large wound up creating two districts that still made sense for Clarke and Conyers, so long as they could broker a swap. Several other Democrats had been mooting primary challenges to Conyers, though, so it remains to be seen what they decide in the wake of this new arrangement.
• NV-02: Democrat Kate Marshall is out with a new ad, backed by a substantial 1,000-point buy. (For a good explanation of Gross Ratings Points — which are actually a more useful metric than raw dollars — see here.) The spot (which you can watch at the first link) hits Mark Amodei on ethics/goo-goo issues, which suggests that Medicare isn’t gaining the traction here that we might hope. Also of note: Early voting begins this Saturday. The special election is on Sept. 13.
• NY-09: According to the New York Post, the NRCC will apparently “dole out a five-figure sum” to Republican Bob Turner — big money, I know. Though the exact number isn’t specified, I’m guessing this may be that rare breed known as a “coordinated expenditure” (as opposed to the vastly more common independent expenditure), based on the size (if the report is even accurate in the first place). Party committees are allowed to spend small sums in concert with campaigns, and in the case of House races, that number is $44,200. Chump change, but sometimes committees do this to give off the appearance of getting involved.
• NY-23: I wonder if this will start a trend. Dem Rep. Bill Owens “declined to immediately endorse President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012, saying he’ll have to ‘wait and see.’” Before anyone gets bent out of shape, Owens had almost entirely positive comments about Obama, and even said: “I think he’s done a good job under very, very difficult circumstances.” I actually think this is a pretty smart move given his district, since it makes Owens look all “independent” and like he’s thoughtfully making up his mind with each election, rather than reflexively supporting his party’s nominee. (Also recall he pulled something similar last year with regard to the House speaker vote before coming around in the end.)
• OK-02: Randy Krehbiel at the Tulsa World has a helpful roundup of the playing field in the open-seat race for OK-02. On the GOP side, the announced candidates so far are state Rep. George Faught, businessman Markwayne Mullin (who actually has already filed FEC reports), and Marine Corps vet Dakota Wood, who just got into the race. Also considering: ex-state Rep. Wayne Pettigrew, Tishomingo city attorney Dustin Rowe, and ex-state Sen. Randy Brogdon (who could also challenge 1st CD Rep. John Sullivan in a primary).
The piece also mentions a possible name on the Democratic side, assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace, who is described as the “leading” candidate for Team Blue. Other potential Dems listed in this AP writeup from a few weeks ago include former state Sen. Ben Robinson and current state Sen. Jim Wilson.
• PA-11: Mike Magner at the National Journal flags a month-old report in The Scranton Times-Tribune which says that Dem ex-Rep. Chris Carney took a “government relations” job at defense contractor BAE Systems back in June. (Amusingly, BAE claims it’s not a lobbying job, but please go ahead and decipher this Beltway-speak for me: “He was brought on to interface and build relationships between our business sectors and the leadership of the relevant civilian agencies that they are going to work with, most notably the Department of Homeland Security.”) Anyhow, it sounds like a plum gig, so perhaps Carney isn’t all that interested in attempting a return to Congress by challenging GOP freshman Lou Barletta.
• WI-01: A week after claiming that Rep. Paul Ryan had changed his mind andwould run for president, the Weekly Standard now regrets to report that he’ll do no such thing.
• NJ-St. Sen.: This is certainly an odd story. Pat Delany, a Republican Assemblyman, resigned his post last month, apparently because his wife had the genius idea to respond to an email blast from Democrat Carl Lewis with the following unsubscribe message:
Imagine, not having to pay NJ state income taxes…It must be nice. Imagine getting a court ruling overturned so your name could get put on the ballot. Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled (sic) knowing something about politics. Sure, knowing someone with fat purse strings is nice, but you have no knowledge.Remove my email. To think you STOLE my email and name from a complaint letter. I’m reporting you as SPAM.
What makes this more than your run-of-the-mill “racist email derails political career” story is, well, a few things! First off, why is this story coming out now — a month after Delany’s resignation? And why did he quit on account of something he didn’t even say? A statement Delany issued yesterday (you can read it at the link) threw his wife under the bus anyway, so it’s not like he was looking to protect her. Anyhow, there’s a good lesson for all campaigns here: Read the crap that people send back to the generic email addresses you use for sending spam. You never know what goodies you might find.
• CO Redistricting: Republicans have filed their proposed map in the federal case that’s currently adjudicating redistricting in Colorado. (You’ll recall that the divided legislature couldn’t reach a compromise.) You’d be forgiven for thinking they simply cut-and-pasted the current map, because it’s basically designed to change existing lines as little as possible. Indeed, according to Lynn Bartels, “Republicans have named their map ‘Minimum Disruption.1,’ which Democrats dismissed as the name of a light jazz quartet.’” The over-arching irony here is that the GOP bitterly opposed the court-drawn map from a decade ago, but now they realize it’s the closest thing possible to a Republican gerrymander. (Democrats were supposed to file their map yesterday but we haven’t come across it yet.)
• GA Redistricting: Jim Galloway has a first look at the just-released Georgia congressional redistricting map. More details on the plans here (including a PDF of racial statistics), and a full version of the map below:
Some initial thoughts from David Jarman:
While the goo-goo in me likes the new Georgia map from the standpoint of having nice polygonal shapes and honoring county lines, having done some number-crunching, I can say this is a really effective screw-job against Rep. John Barrow, one of the few white Blue Dogs in the South who survived 2010. The new GA-12, centered on Augusta and shorn of Barrow’s adopted hometown of Savannah, went 44% for Obama, 55% for McCain (down from 54/45 under the old lines). The flipside is that it’s now equal to GOP Rep. Jack Kingston’s GA-01, which used to be 36/63, but thanks to taking on African-American majority Savannah, is now also 44/55. I’m wondering if Barrow, rather than picking up stakes and casting his lot in with Augusta, should pull a Tim Holden: stay in his home district and fight the GOP incumbent, hoping that the previously-safe Kingston doesn’t remember how to campaign.Further west, Dem Sanford Bishop’s GA-02 seems to have gained very little ground, despite gaining most or all of Macon… under the worst case scenario his district is unchanged at 54/45 (although it’s probably a point or two better than that; it’s hard to tell from the small map where exactly the district line cuts through Macon’s northern suburbs). GOP frosh Austin Scott’s sitting pretty, though, with his formerly 43/56 district now 38 Obama, 61 McCain. (That mostly has to do with the way that the 8th loses the arm to the north of Macon that reached up into Atlanta’s southern tier of mostly-black exurbs.)
As it turns out, it looks like Barrow has rejected our sage advice, at least based on his public comments in response to the map. Rather, it sounds like he’ll seek re-election in the soon-to-be-much-redder 12th CD. Dan Hirschhorn also notes that State Rep. Lee Anderson “is seen as a leading Republican candidate to challenge Barrow.”
And on a separate note, I’m glad to see that state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams runs a tight ship — and that her threats are feared. Abrams had promised primary challenges to any Democrat who voted for the GOP’s new legislative maps, and indeed, her entire caucus stuck together in voting on the House plan. Dems in the state Senate also voted en masse against the corresponding map. Of course, the Republican plans passed easily, but rule #1 of redistricting is never vote for the other side’s gerrymander. With congressional redistricting now underway, I presume Abrams’ cudgel is still handy.
• ID Redistricting: Idaho is an interesting case: Despite the GOP’s complete dominance, state law calls for a commission composed of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans — and further requires that maps receive at least one vote from the opposite party in order to pass. If no one defects, then the whole thing winds up in the courts. The GOP seems intent on punishing some wayward “moderates,” and the linked article gives no indication that they’re likely to pull any Dems over to their side (or vice versa, for that matter). The commission has until the first week in September to reach a deal.
• WV Redistricting: After a bunch of rigmarole, West Virginia’s state House map is going back to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk for his approval. Tomblin had vetoed the original map for technical errors, but some folks (mostly Republicans) were hoping to revisit the issue of single-member districts. While the latest plan contains more single-member seats than the current map (47, versus 36), that’s unchanged from the vetoed version. (Republicans want to see the entire body served by single-member districts.) Interestingly, while the map passed the House by a wide margin, it only made it through the Senate by a single vote, despite Dem control of the entire trifecta.