Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: 6/15

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The Senate section of this digest was written by James L.


CT-Sen: Roll Call has a rundown on still-undefined GOP field for the open seat Senate race to replace Joe Lieberman. The only Republican to actually enter the race so far is attorney Brian Hill, who ran as a write-in candidate in last year’s race and was only able to draw 559 votes. A number of other names are giving the race “strong consideration”, though, including former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, ex-Rep. Chris Shays, wealthy 2010 loser Linda McMahon, and possibly even ex-Rep. Rob Simmons.

IN-Sen: Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock “will shortly be apologizing” to a conservative blogger who says that he was “assaulted” by Mourdock’s campaign manager after he asked Mourdock why he doesn’t want to identify himself as a “Tea Party candidate.” When you’re courting the teabagger vote in an insurgent primary campaign against an incumbent Senator, this is probably not a good place to be. Click the link and scroll a bit to find the video of the incident.

MA-Sen: The Boston Globe takes a look at the low-profile Democratic contenders running against Republican Sen. Scott Brown. They also mention the name of James King, a corporate lawyer from Dover who may get in the ring soon.

MO-Sen: So it turns out that GOP Rep. Todd Akin, who’s gunning for the Senate seat of Democrat Claire McCaskill, changed his voter registration to reflect his actual address on the same day as the St. Louis Dispatch broke the story that he very possibly committed felony voter fraud by continuing to vote in a town where he no longer lived. What’s more, he then compared himself to American soldiers serving in Iraq who nonetheless vote in elections back home. Click the link for the full details of this pathetic story.

NM-Sen: Greg Sowards, the underdog in the GOP primary against ex-Rep. Heather Wilson and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, is out with a new ad that zings Wilson for her 2008 TARP vote and Sanchez over his track record on immigration. We actually have WOTSOTB: $ 18,000, according to a Republican tracker, which really isn’t much of a buy at all. (For serious horserace buffs, note how similar the spot is in concept to UT-02 GOP candidate Morgan Philpot’s iPad-themed ads last year.) Sowards’ previous claim to fame was losing the NM-02 Republican primary in 2008.


MT-Gov: Charles Johnson of the Billings Gazette runs through a batch of new names considering runs for statewide office in Montana. State Sen. Ryan Zinke says he’ll make a decision about jumping into the very crowded GOP primary field in the gubernatorial race by mid-July, and state Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann is looking at the race, too. They’d be joining former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill, former state Sens. Ken Miller and Corey Stapleton, national security consultant Neil Livingstone, and Chouteau County Commissioner Jim O’Hara.

On the Democratic side, state Sens. Larry Jent and Dave Wanzenried are already in; Jent pushed back sharply at any suggestion he might drop down to the AG race if current Attorney General Steve Bullock instead decided to run for governor. Businsessman Carl Borgquist also says he’s interested. But a bigger wildcard is Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who, in an unusual bipartisan pairing, has served as Democrat Brian Schweitzer’s running-mate for two terms. However, Bohlinger said that “there’s probably greater support for my candidacy for being a Democrat as opposed to being a Republican,” and pledged to serve only one term (he’s 75) if he ran.

WA-Gov: Reid Wilson catches up with Ron Sims, who just quit his post as the number two official at HUD. Sims, a Democrat, is a former King County Executive who ran for governor once before in 2004, and Reid speculated that he was interested in trying again next year. However, Sims says he has no such plans, and in fact said he called fellow Dem (and likely candidate) Jay Inslee to pledge his support.


CA-51, San Diego Mayor: This is odd. Dem Rep. Bob Filner, who just filed paperwork to run for mayor of San Diego, is still holding a $ 1000-a-head fundraiser for his congressional campaign. When Liam Dillon of Voice of San Diego called him out on it, Filner gave a very weird response: “A sitting congressman has certain political responsibilities and obligations. You have to keep some of that going.” Surely he doesn’t care about DCCC dues if he’s on his way out the door?

CA-East Ventura, CA-West San Fernando-Calabasas: Dave Wasserman’s sources are telling him that big donors are asking Rep. Brad Sherman to seek re-election in the new Ventura seat, to avoid a potential pileup with fellow Dem Howard Berman. Berman is staking a claim to WSF-C, saying that his “home is squarely in the district.”

CA-Riverside-Moreno Valley: Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller says he’ll run in this new district, which lacks an incumbent.

FL-10, FL-11: Whoa. The other day, operatives were speculating that Charlie Crist could run for governor again, but as a Democrat. Now William March of the Tampa Tribune says that Crist could instead run for Congress in Rep. Bill Young’s 10th CD seat if the Republican veteran retires. March doesn’t clarify which party banner Crist would carry, but since he expects the district to get made more Democratic if Young calls it a day, I can only imagine he’s thinking Team Blue.

Meanwhile, over in the neighboring 11th, state Sen. Michael Bennett is bailing on what seemed like a suicidal run against Democrat Kathy Castor. The first link above says that another Republican could still replace him, though: Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe.

FL-13: The FEC closed its case against GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan, who was accused of reimbursing employees of his car dealership for making political donations to his campaign. (This is illegal.) However, the FEC says that it is still investigating “other respondents,” which includes business partners, other dealerships, and perhaps Buchanan’s campaign committee.

GA-05: The nascent Democratic primary battle in GA-05 is unfolding along predictable lines. Forty-two-year old Michael Johnson, who just resigned as a state judge, is trying to make an issue of Rep. John Lewis’s age and long tenure, saying “this election is not about where we were 45 or 50 years ago in the past.” Lewis, a civil rights icon and Freedom Rider, shot back: “If it hadn’t been for what I and others did 45 and 50 years ago, he wouldn’t be able to run.”

IL-13: Dem state Sen. Mike Frerichs says he won’t run for Congress in the newly re-drawn 13th CD. It’s currently home to 15th CD Rep. Tim Johnson (R), who hasn’t yet confirmed whether he’ll run there. The seat went for Obama by ten, but Republicans did quite well here in 2010.

MN-06: In case you missed it, Michele Bachmann said she would only seek re-election to the House if she’s not still running for president next year, but there’s a serious wrinkle thanks to Minnesota’s unusual system of nominating conventions. Dana Houle explains the situation in full.

MT-AL: Two more Dems are expected to get into the open-seat House race: state Sen. Kim Gillan and Missoula City Council member Dave Strohmaier. State Rep. Franke Wilmer is the only declared Democratic candidate so far.

NV-02: Jon Ralston (who will eventually post a tweet that is nothing but a 140-character hashtag) notes that Dem Treasurer Kate Marshall has raised $ 75K for the special election, more than any Republican candidate has.

NY-01: Ugh — looks like the cat fud is getting re-shelved. State GOP chair Ed Cox is hosting a fundraiser for Randy Altschuler, which sends quite the message, since Altschuler faced a nasty primary battle with Cox’s son Chris last year. While this must surely mean the younger Cox isn’t running again, 2010 third wheel George Demos is still mulling a bid, so don’t toss away your can openers just yet.

NY-09: NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Queens Republican, has formed an FEC committee with the lovely name of “Remove Weiner.” (H/t: Greg Giroux)

PA-01: Veteran Rep. Bob Brady, an entrenched fixture in Philly machine politics, is drawing a challenge in the Democratic primary from recently retired judge Jimmie Moore. This race could wind up breaking down along racial lines, as Brady is white and Moore is African American. This heavily-Democratic district is plurality (almost majority) black, and the primary electorate is likely more so.

Redistricting Roundup:

California: While most of the focus has understandably been on the new draft congressional map, PPIC offers some details on the proposed legislative plans as well.

South Carolina: Legislators have returned for a special session in which, among other things, they’ll consider redistricting maps that have already made it through committee. While the GOP’s plans may sail through the legislature, I’m quite skeptical as to whether they’ll pass pre-clearance muster under the Voting Rights Act, on account of the new map’s failure to create a new majority-minority seat.

Texas: The full state House passed a congressional redistricting plan yesterday, but because it contains differences from the Senate map, the two chambers will have to come to some kind of agreement before it can go to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk. As Charles Kuffner points out, all that hullabaloo during the regular session, and it’s taken them barely two weeks to get this whole thing cranked out.

Utah: Rural Republican legislators in Utah are speaking out in favor of creating a single, gigantic rural district that carves Salt Lake City out as a “doughnut hole.” As it happens, Democrats favor this plan, too, since a Salt Lake seat gives them the best shot at retaining their one congressman, Rep. Jim Matheson. The more aggressive Republican approach, dubbed the “pie” or “pizza,” would crack SLC four ways, ensuring four red districts.

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