Leading Off:• FL-17, FL-18, FL-22, FL-Sen: It seems like the fix must be in, because even though Florida still doesn’t have a final congressional map—there are, in fact, two competing versions circulating—some members of Congress are already announcing their re-election plans. It sounds, though, like incumbents are expecting the proposal put forth by the state House to rule the day. I say that because unlike the state Senate map, the House plan completely renumbers the entire state, from north to south, and the announcements we’re hearing so far all appear to rely on those new numbers.
We start with GOP Rep. Tom Rooney, who says he’ll move from what the House map designates as the 18th (his current district number is 16) to the brand-new (and thus open) 17th to seek re-election. This is somewhat surprising, seeing as Rooney is from Tequesta on the Atlantic coast, while the new 17th covers a vast, Everglades-y swath of the middle of the state and actually touches Gulf waters to the west. The old 16th does overlap considerably with this seat, though, which went for John McCain by a 56-43 margin. It’s possible Rooney could have some primary company here, but he’s the likely favorite for both his party’s nomination and the general.
Rooney’s announcement, in turn, led to another, by Tea Party favorite Allen West. West says he, too, will shuffle northward and run in the seat Rooney’s vacating, the 18th. Like Rooney, West also doesn’t live in his new district, but in point of fact, he doesn’t live in his current seat, the 22nd, either. Ironically, West’s hometown of Plantation (they could come up with a better name, right?) got moved into the new 22nd (which by chance keeps the same district number), but at 57-43 Obama, there was no way West had any hope here. The great news is that the 18th is very swingish (51-48 Obama), so West should still be eminently beatable with the right candidate. (The question is who?)
But wait, there’s one more domino: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner will reportedly drop out of the GOP Senate primary (where Rep. Connie Mack’s entry reduced him to schmendrick status) and run in West’s seat, the 22nd. That seems like an extremely uphill climb for any Republican, but particularly so for someone as conservative as Hasner. The two Democrats already running here, Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy, had different reactions: Frankel promises to stay put in the 22nd, while Murphy doesn’t seem quite so certain that we do actually know what the final maps look like (which is how we feel) and says he’ll “continue to monitor the redistricting process closely.”
• CT-Sen: William Tong (D): $160K raised, $300K cash-on-hand
• NY-Sen: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D): $1.8 mil raised, $8.1 mil cash-on-hand
• OH-Sen: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D): $1.6 mil raised, $5 mil cash-on-hand
• PA-Sen: Sen. Bob Casey (D): $1.1 mil raised, $4.3 mil cash-on-hand
• WI-Sen: Tommy Thompson (R): $656K raised, $544K cash-on-hand
• MT-Sen, NM-Sen (PDF): Just a day after they dropped a poll in Montana’s Senate race on behalf of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, now Republican pollster POS is back with another one… but this is a bipartisan effort conducted along with Dem pollster Fairbank Maslin, on behalf of Colorado College. (Why would Colorado College be polling Montana and New Mexico? It’s not that there’s nothing to poll in Colorado in 2012, but rather it’s part of a Rocky Mountain states analysis that’s mostly about conservation but also includes some horserace numbers.)
At any rate, this look at the race finds it much closer than the Crossroads poll’s gaudy 10-point lead for Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg; here, Rehberg is leading Dem incumbent Jon Tester by 3: 46-43 (close in line with how PPP has always seen the race). Meanwhile, they see a closer race in New Mexico than other pollsters have: they have it at 45 for Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich and 44 for Republican ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (with no numbers for the other candidates in the race). Digging deeper, they also have gubernatorial approvals in six states (all these states, with the exception of Arizona, love their governors), and a warning siren for Orrin Hatch, regarding whom 58% say time for a “new person.” (David Jarman)
• NY-Sen: Oh, you sorry-ass d-bag—I’m going to miss you! Like having the cops raid your frat party just minutes after you’ve tapped the first keg, Marc Cenedella’s nascent Senate campaign has already come to an end. Cenedella, a wealthy businessman whom Republicans vainly hoped might pose a challenge to Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was very quickly brought low by widespread publicity over years of douchey, low-brow blog posts (sample topic: “dating advice for sluts”). And in classic fratboy fashion, he signed off with a whiny, fact-free rant:
“I will not be running for the United States Senate in 2012. I have given a run careful consideration, and I believe Senator Gillibrand is beatable,” he said in a statement. “Her early and unfounded attacks on me, her weak poll numbers, and her lethargic quarterly fundraising results all point to a politician in trouble — and encourage me to challenge her.”
Gillibrand’s “lethargic” fundraising: $1.8 mil in the fourth quarter, $10.2 mil on the year, and $8.2 mil cash-on-hand. What’s so funny is that earlier in the day, a Cenedella spokesman said the exact opposite:
“Kirsten Gillibrand is always fundraising. Virtually every email she sends is a not-so-artfully masqued appeal for cash. Anyone who runs against her will know, as a given, that she will be well funded. She is a favorite of the Washington money types.”
And Marc Cenedella is the favorite of nobody at all. Thanks for playing—see you next time! P.S. Major props to the—I assume—Gillibrand oppo team for laying Cenedella on the mat with this hit. I didn’t think it would be a killshot, but it sure as hell turned out to be the knockout blow.
• MO-Gov, MO-Sen, MO-LG: PPP has numbers out for the various Republican primaries in Missouri, and the most amusing definitely belong to the gubernatorial race. Wealthy plastics magnate, home ec major, and fraternity brother Dave Spence—who was supposed to be The Answer for the GOP—trails Some Dude Bill Randles by a (wait for it) 15-12 margin. As Tom Jensen says: “[I]t’s not often we poll a race and find 73% of voters undecided.” No kidding.
The Senate numbers are interesting as well. It’s starting to look like a three-way race, with ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman at 32, Rep. Todd Akin at 23, and businessman John Brunner at 18. That’s a big change from September, when it was 40 Steelman, 29 Akin, and 6 Brunner. But Brunner, despite a spate of bad press for skipping out on candidate debates, has put a million bucks of his own money into the race, which probably explains his surge.
Finally, a few Republicans got in to the lt. gov. race back when it looked like Peter Kinder would seek a promotion to the governor’s mansion. But even though Kinder’s fallen back to seeking re-election as LG, these opponents may not be in any hurry to get out. Kinder’s numbers are atrocious, scoring only 37%, while state Sen. Brad Lager is at 12, state Sen. Luann Ridgeway is at 9, and attorney Mike Carter at 5. As Tom notes, though, if the anti-Kinder forces can’t coalesce around a single challenger, he could skate by with a plurality.
• NC-Gov, NC-11: So it turns out that all those sources claiming Rep. Heath Shuler was likely to run for governor were full of it. The third-term Democrat says he won’t be a candidate in the suddenly-open gubernatorial race. Presumably that means he’ll stick with his plans to seek re-election, though commenter sawolf notes that in the internals of PPP’s new poll, Shuler only scores a 32-42 favorability rating in North Carolina’s 828 area code, which covers all of his current and new turf plus about half of Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry’s district. It’s obviously not a perfect overlay for the 11th District, but it’s not an especially positive sign.
And here’s one more person to take off the Democratic gubernatorial short list: Charlotte’s up-and-coming mayor Anthony Foxx says he gave it some serious consideration, but won’t run for statewide office “this cycle.”
Finally, while we’re still on the topic, there’s one (very big) name out there that we still haven’t heard from: former White House chief-of-staff Erskine Bowles, who served under Bill Clinton and then later ran two unsuccessful campaigns for Senate in the Tarheel State in back-to-back cycles (2002 and 2004). Despite that track record, the state has changed in the intervening decade or so, and what’s more Bowles polls the best among all potential Democrats, according to PPP. Bowles, for whatever reason, is refusing to answer reporters’ phone calls, but according to Rob Christensen at the News & Observer, people close to Bowles are saying he’s “seriously weighing” a bid. (Incidentally, the linked article offers some good background on Bowles’ prior two statewide runs.) (David Nir & David Jarman)
• AZ-08: We’ve gotten our first official Democratic entrant in the special election to replace Gabby Giffords, who just resigned last week. As most expected, it’s state Rep. Matt Heinz, a Tucson-area physician, though with a Feb. 27 filing deadline, more Dems should be expected. A number of Republicans (Frank Antentori, Jesse Kelly, Dave Sitton) are exploring or are already in the field, so Heinz will need to catch-up. [Rim shot!] (David Jarman)
• CA-26: You’ve gotta wonder what prompted this: Tom Del Beccaro, chair of the California GOP, just endorsed state Sen. Tony Strickland in the hotly contested (and open) 26th CD, even though there’s another Republican running as well, Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks.
• CA-??: At this point, I haven’t the faintest clue what district to slot GOP Rep. David Dreier into, since there pretty much isn’t anywhere he can plausibly run for re-election. He still hasn’t, however, managed to reach the final stage of the Kübler-Ross grieving cycle—acceptance—so we sit here, waiting for him to announce his seemingly inevitable retirement. The latest tea leaf that Dreier’s merely playing out the string: He raised just $10K in the fourth quarter of last year.
• IN-05: In case you hadn’t seen the news yet, veteran Republican Rep. Dan Burton is hanging up his spurs after 15 terms. He managed to survive two stiff primary challenges in a row, but evidently he felt the third time wasn’t likely to be the charm. Click the link for our full analysis of Burton’s retirement (and what’s likely to come next) at Daily Kos Elections.
• IL-08: It must be endorsement week for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Right after giving their support to Ilya Sheyman in the 10th CD, they’ve announced that they’re backing Tammy Duckworth in the 8th. (Both are Democrats.)
• NC-11: When we re-introduced you to young Republican Ethan Wingfield on Monday, we speculated that Wingfield’s showy $204K-in-ten-days fundraising blitz may have been partially self-funded, since he’d previously said he was capable of doing so. Well, turns out that was exactly right, as Wingfield now copped to the fact that about half of that was from his own pocket. (In fact, Wingfield put out a pretty defensive-sounding e-mail about it, in response to Politico’s Dave Catanese going on the warpath about being misled.) (David Jarman)
• NJ-05: Passaic County Freeholder Terry Duffy is entering the race against GOP Rep. Scott Garrett in the redrawn 5th District, joining Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen in the Democratic primary. However, local Dems are still waiting to see whether beloved former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson will get in, too—and for what it’s worth, Duffy sounds willing to defer to him if he does. (“It won’t be the end of the world if Terry Duffy is not the congressman,” he says, speaking in the Bob Dole-person.)
• NJ-09: Bill Pascrell outraised Steve Rothman, his fellow congressman and rival for the Democratic nomination in the redrawn 9th, by a 2-to-1 ratio in the fourth quarter… but I can’t say I’m impressed by either haul. Pascrell took in just $195K and Rothman a mere $99K. However, they both have a lot of cash on hand: Rothman’s got $1.7 mil and Pascrell $1.5 mil.
• NY-22: Even though New York’s 22nd Congressional District stands a good chance of getting carved up for parts now that Rep. Maurice Hinchey has announced his retirement, that hasn’t stopped at least one candidate from declaring for what is for now an open seat. Former Ulster County Democratic Party Chairman (and former federal and local prosecutor) Julian Schriebman announced on Tuesday that he wants to follow in Hinchey’s footsteps. It’s certainly not impossible that this seat will survive more or less intact, though even if not, Schriebman might eventually find himself in another district that could still use a good Democratic candidate.
• OR-01: As expected, Democrat Suzanne Bonamici won the special election in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District last night. The most notable takeaway is that, as of press time, Bonamici held a wider-than-expected 15-point lead over Republican Rob Cornilles, 54-39. A pair of somewhat older public polls (one from PPP and the other from SUSA) both showed her winning by 11. It looks like the DCCC’s early investment here locked this race in and just made it impossible for the GOP to compete. Congratulations to Bonamici, and now, on to Arizona’s 8th!
• PA-04: NRCC deputy political director Brock McCleary, who had been considering a bid, says he won’t run for retiring Rep. Todd Platts’s seat in the redrawn 4th District.
• WA-01: Darcy Burner is out with another poll of the Democratic primary, but as you know in Washington (and in California), there’s really no such precise thing. That’s because all candidates from all parties are thrown together in a “top-two” primary (also known as a jungle primary), where, as the name implies, the two highest vote-getters—regardless of party affiliation—advance to the general. Burner’s survey didn’t include the lone Republican in the race, John Koster, but that may not matter too much, since he’s almost assured of finishing in the top two slots. Kyle Trygstad sums up the results:
The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, found Burner with 45 percent among voters who picked a Democrat in the top-two primary. Burner was followed by former state Rep. Laura Ruderman with 15 percent, state Sen. Steve Hobbs with 13 percent, former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene with 12 percent, state Rep. Roger Goodman with 10 percent and tech executive Darshan Rauniyar with 5 percent.
Burner’s take sounds very similar to what Lake found in their October poll (PDF) on her behalf. In that survey, Burner had 47%, though other candidates’ shares were not revealed.
• WI-02: The great thing about politics is that no matter how much you know, think you know, or try to know, there are always things you simply can’t and won’t know. Case in point: Pretty much every analyst has been treating the race to fill Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s open House seat as a two-way contest between state Reps. Kelda Roys and Mark Pocan in the Democratic primary. But seemingly out of nowhere, Dane County Treasurer Dave Worzala outraised both Roys and Pocan in the fourth quarter of 2011. Worzala took in $223K, while Pocan raised $151K and Roys just $77K. Also of note: Only Worzala pre-released his cash-on-hand figures (he has $252K in the bank). This definitely seems like a game-changer, and Worzala clearly deserves a lot more attention than he’s been getting. I will readily I admit that I was one of those analysts who had framed this race incorrectly, but like they say about baseball, this is why they play the games. (Hat-tip: Gpack3)
• WV-03: It certainly took him long enough to decide: Republican state Del. Rick Snuffer first started mooting a run against Dem Rep. Nick Rahall last May, and he’s only now decided to finally pull the trigger. As we noted back then, Snuffer also challenged Rahall in 2004, a match Rahall won by a punishing 65-35 margin. Hopefully history will repeat itself—or, as Mark Twain said, at least rhyme. However, this southern West Virginia district has evolved from a Democratic stronghold to one of the reddest ones held by a Democrat (at least at the presidential level), so things could indeed play out differently this time. (David Nir & David Jarman)
• WI Recall: Wisconsin Democrats unveiled their candidates in the three main recalls of Republican state senators, giving us exactly the slate that had been expected. In SD-21, former state Sen. John Lehman will run against state Sen. Van Wanggaard, who defeated Lehman in 2010 by five points. In SD-23, former state Rep. Kristin Dexter will face off against state Sen. Terry Moulton; Dexter very narrowly lost her re-election bid last cycle by less than half-a-percent in a race that eventually went to a recount. And finally, in SD-29, state Rep. Donna Seidel will challenge state Sen. Pam Galloway. It seems like we’ve scored solid gets all around, given that all three Dems have won legislative elections before. Democrats only need one victory to retake the state Senate, though control will once again be up for grabs during the regularly-scheduled elections this November.
• American Crossroads: Tuesday was the filing deadline not only for federal campaigns, but also for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, which is of course a super PAC. AC said it raised $51 million in 2011, so it will sure as hell be interesting to see who’s funding them.
• Demographics: A new study from several Harvard and Duke professors finds a heartening drop in racial segregation in America, though many barriers still exist. The nation’s level of segregation is the lowest since 1910, with few truly all-white neighborhoods left (though that has more to do with Latinos and Asians moving into those areas). Only 20% of African-Americans live in neighborhoods that are 80% or more black, compared with 50% who did 50 years ago. While regentrification plays a role, a much bigger factor is African-Americans moving from city cores to the suburbs, especially in the Sun Belt. (David Jarman)
• FL Redistricting: This is kind of a “no duh” update, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals just upheld a lower court ruling that found no constitutional problems with Florida’s new “Fair Districts” amendments, which require lawmakers to draw new maps without regard to protecting incumbents and with an eye toward compactness. You’ve gotta wonder if Dem Rep. Corrine Brown (and her BFF, Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart) will finally give up the fight, or if they’ll make one last attempt to get heard by the Supreme Court.
• TX Redistricting: Various news reports are saying that settlement talks in the Texas redistricting cases—which sounded like they were going hot-and-heavy over the weekend—have since “stalled.” Kath Haenschen at Burnt Orange Report thinks that attempts at reaching a deal were part of a “divide-and-conquer” strategy on the part of Texas’s Republican attorney general, though, so if there’s no agreement (or partial agreement) in the works, that may well be a good thing.