• NM Redistricting: Late on Thursday, the judge hearing New Mexico’s congressional redistricting lawsuit issued a ruling, selecting a compromise map supported by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez and a coalition of Democrats. However, other Democrats favored a different proposal that would have made the swingy 1st District bluer, and some Hispanic advocacy groups favored a plan that would have increased the Latino presence in the decidedly red 2nd CD. So any or all of these parties could conceivably appeal. We’ll bring you a full analysis shortly, but in the meantime, you can view the new map here or below:
• FL-Sen: A new poll from Republican pollster TelOpinion Research finds Rep. Connie Mack at 39%, with the rest of the field far behind. George LeMieux is at 6, Mike McCalister at 5, and Adam Hasner at just 1. (Craig Miller was not included.) TelOpinion founder Bill Lee says he’s not working for any of the candidates—or, with some odd specificity, any super PACs. (So does that mean he might be working for a 501(c)(4)? A 527? Who knows.)
• MA-Sen: Hah, man. Tell me Scott Brown doesn’t sound truly pathetic here:
“It’s all fluff. It’s all fluff. Gimme a break,” said an exasperated Brown about the media’s coverage of Warren, a former Obama administration official. “I just think that if you’re going to find out where people stand, you gotta ask them tough questions like you guys ask me every single day. Every single day of my existence I get tough questions from you guys.”
Brown stopped short of accusing the media of a liberal bias — a complaint often lobbed by conservatives such as former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — but suggested Warren has the backing of a purported media “machine.”
“She’s going to have every advantage. … I don’t have a machine behind me like she will, and she does clearly,” Brown said. “It would help if you guys would ask her some tough questions, too, and ask her about how she would vote on things and why.”
• MT-Sen: So Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates is out with a survey of the Montana Senate race, and they find GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg leading Dem Sen. Jon Tester 46-40. It isn’t clear who paid for the poll, but what’s even weirder is the PDF itself—it’s just bizarre-looking. James: “It looks like an e-mail chain letter from 1996.” Me: “It looks like a print-out you’d find in the hatch from LOST.” Daily Kos Elections commenters: “Max Baucus’s approval is at 48-43 with this crowd? Shah, right.”
• NE-Sen: Former Sen. Bob Kerrey says he expects to make a decision about whether to run for the seat of the guy who replaced him, Sen. Ben Nelson, in the next 10 to 14 days. Not only has Kerrey not run for office since 1994, but he hasn’t lived in Nebraska for over a decade. Meanwhile, another Democrat, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, wouldn’t rule out a bid, but sounded very unlikely, saying: “I believe I can best serve people by continuing my term as Lincoln’s mayor.”
• NJ-Sen: Somehow we missed this piece of news from a month ago (you’ll forgive us, won’t you?): Tea Partier Anna Little, who had long been talking up the possibility of a Senate run, set up a “Little for Senate” website, though the Newark Star-Ledger reported that she wasn’t formally declaring a bid just yet. Little said she wanted to wait until the outcome of redistricting before deciding whether to pursue a rematch against Dem Rep. Frank Pallone, so she should be able to make up her mind now. Politics1 tweets that she has now in fact switched over to the Senate race, but I’m not seeing that confirmed anywhere else.
• VA-Sen: It’s been a long time since there was any reason to hold out hope that George Allen might get teabagged to death, but whatever slim chance remained almost certainly evaporated on Wednesday. Wealthy businessman Tim Donner dropped out of the race, after spending (he says) about a quarter million dollars of his own money. Donner had previously said he’d only chip in a million bucks to his campaign, which really didn’t seem like nearly enough to make a difference to me—but he also ran headlong into a GOP establishment that’s firmly lined up behind Allen.
• CA-15: I guess that was some bad information: Back in September, after state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett created an exploratory committee with the FEC, the East Bay Citizen reported that she wasn’t actually planning to run in 2012. Rather, the Citizen’s source said, she was laying groundwork for a 2014 bid, when she’ll be term-limited out of her current post, and when 80-year-old incumbent Rep. Pete Stark might retire. Well, it now looks like Corbett is in fact considering entering the race this cycle, which would set up a battle in the Democratic primary against Stark, who has said he plans to seek re-election. (Side-note: California’s top-two primary system largely means the end of incumbents losing primaries as we know it, but the 15th is blue enough—67% Obama—that it’s quite conceivable that both Corbett and Stark could advance to the November election and face off a second time, if she pulls the trigger.)
• CA-21: Well, at least he’s not saying “no”: Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, the strongest potential Democrat to run in this open seat with state Sen. Michael Rubio bowing out, isn’t returning phone calls from the press asking about his intentions. He’d long ago said he was considering the race, so I can only conclude this means he still is.
• CA-44: Whoa, this is a surprise. Assemblyman Isadore Hall, who had been running in the Democratic primary in the new 44th CD, abruptly decided to switch gears and seek re-election to the Assembly instead. Hall was facing not one but two incumbents: Janice Hahn, who’s only been in office since winning a special election in June, and Laura Richardson, who has been facing serious ethical issues pretty much since she was first elected in 2007. Still, it seemed like Hall had a plausible path to victory here, given Richardson’s extreme weakness and the fact that Hahn represents only a small fraction of the 44th.
In a statement, though, Hall said that the initial maps from the redistricting commission were what drew him into the race, but the final maps altered the district’s boundaries and encouraged Hahn and Richardson to run here—and that he didn’t want to “engage in an expensive intra-party war.” Of course, he’s known this for some time—since August, in fact—so I’m guessing he figured he’d try things out but found the sledding to be tougher than he’d hoped.
• KY-04: Republican state Rep. Adam Koenig, who had considered a bid for the open 4th CD, says that he will instead seek re-election to the state House.
• NJ-03: A nameless source tells Politicker that Shelley Adler, the widow of ex-Rep. John Adler, was reportedly courted as a candidate to take on the guy who beat her husband last year, GOP freshman Jon Runyan. But Adler’s hometown of Cherry Hill was moved out of the redrawn 3rd CD, so that seems very unlikely. (John Adler, you’ll recall, served here for a single term, then stunningly died a few months after his loss at just 51.)
• NJ-05: Even though Rep. Steve Rothman took a pass on challenging GOPer Scott Garrett, other Democrats are taking a look at the race. One is Terry Duffy, the freeholder director of Passaic County. (“Board of Chosen Freeholders” is New Jersey’s awesome name for county legislature; the director is chosen by the board annually.) Politicker also mentions a few more possible names: Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (who’s being touted by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg), state Sen. Bob Gordon, and former New York Giants linebacker (and hall-of-famer) Harry Carson.
• NJ-05/09: Hmm. This is a bit thin, to say the least. Some unnamed Politicker source claims that had Steve Rothman run against GOPer Scott Garrett in the 5th, “the DCCC was willing to commit $ 1 million without even seeing a poll and would have gone to $ 2 million if Rothman was competitive.” Leaving aside questions about illegal coordination (which this kind of offer would constitute), I find this whole thing dodgy because the only reason to blab like this now is to try to ding Rothman. Since neither the D-Trip nor Rothman can actually respond to a story like this, it’d be pretty easy for someone with an agenda to put this out there in order to heighten the (phony, in my view) narrative that Rothman isn’t a team player. Pretty lame, if you ask me.
• WA-01: It certainly seemed that way at first blush, but now Washington’s new map is really starting to feel like an incumbent protection plan. Not only was Republican John Koster—the Snohomish County Council member who very nearly beat Rep. Rick Larsen last year and was planning on a rematch this cycle—moved out of Larsen’s 2nd CD and into the open 1st, but the 1st was made a lot swingier, enough to act as bait for Koster. He now sounds all but certain to make the race, saying “it appears that I will now be running” in the 1st CD. (I assume is just a small hedge in case the legislature changes the lines before passing the congressional map. The lege can actually do this, but it takes a two-thirds vote to make any alterations, and by law they can only make minor adjustments, so more likely than not, what we have now is the final map.)
A Koster win in the 1st is a real possibility, which would likely give the state a five Democrat, five Republican House delegation—pretty remarkable for a state that went for Obama by 17 points and hasn’t gone for a Republican on the presidential level since 1984. (Yes, Washington even voted for Dukakis!)
• WA-01, WA-10: Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, PubliCola takes note of reactions to the new congressional map on the part of two potential candidates. One is Suzan DelBene, who performed very well despite a brutal headwind against GOP Rep. Dave Reichert in the 8th last year. She’s been thinking about a second run, and on Wednesday she tweeted: “Looks like I now will be in the new 1st Congressional District.” So it sounds like she’s interested in joining the crowded primary field there.
Another response comes from former state Rep. Brendan Williams, who we mentioned as a possible opponent for Denny Heck in the Democratic primary in the brand new 10th. Williams immediately took a shot at Heck, saying: “Wonder what chances are for a candidate who doesn’t just mouth platitudes about middle-class values but is actually PART of the middle-class, with published POSITIONS on all issues.” PubliCola also reminds us that Williams “resigned from the legislature in anger in 2010 because the Democratic caucus wasn’t liberal enough for him.” Williams says he’s being encouraged to run, but that he’s “underwhelmed by the idea of being one of 435.”
• WA-01: State Rep. Marko Liias is dropping out of the Democratic primary in the 1st CD, since his hometown of Mukilteo was moved into the 2nd CD and Edmonds, where he’s from originally, is now in the 7th under the new congressional map. While I’m sure this is disappointing to Liias, in the end, it may not be such a bad thing. He’s only 30 years old and has strong progressive credentials, but he was facing some very stiff competition in the 1st District race and hadn’t raised much money. But he could go very far in the state legislature, or potentially run in the 7th when Dem Rep. Jim McDermott, age 75, retires.
• Recalls: Joshua Spivak, the proprietor of the excellent Recall Elections blog, has a guest op-ed in the LA Times recapping the year’s recalls. Recall fever went way beyond Wisconsin, Arizona and Michigan: There were at least 150 recalls at all levels in 17 different states in 2011. An impressive 75 officials were bounced from office and another nine resigned rather than face voters again. Spivak also has more statistics in a companion blog post. A sample:
• Recalls were held in 17 states, in 73 separate jurisdictions.
• The state with most was Michigan, with at least 30 recalls.
• 30 mayors faced recalls.
• 17 recalls were school boards.
• 11 were state legislators (by far the record — the previous high was 3 in one year).
• 52 were city councilmembers.
• One local prosecutor, York, Nebraska County Attorney, faced a recall.
• 34 jurisdictions held recalls on multiple days.
• Three jurisdictions adopted the recall.
• WA Redistricting: Our usual Google Maps overlay of the new district lines:
And our population redistribution chart:
The highlighted numbers give you a sense of exactly how much of an incumbent protection map this is. They go neatly along a diagonal, something you don’t often see, and except for Adam Smith, every incumbent already represents at least 68% (and in most cases, much more) of the constituents in their new districts.
• Redistricting Contest: MattTX is the first person to submit an entry in our new redistricting contest, where we’re asking you to draw a new map for Chicago’s city council. It’s some pretty impressive work—check it out! And remember that your entries are due by Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 11:59pm Central Time.