Friday, January 27, 2012

The California Supreme Court is insane

I see no other explanation. The court says that they will stay the state senate maps, if the referendum qualifies, as per the law. And they'll substitute the same maps they just stayed. Do they know what stay means? It means that you temporarily set aside the law until the matter is resolved. Yet they're doing the opposite. I don't see how this is legal.

California Friday morning notes

Today the California Supreme Court will decide which districts will be used for 2012. One of the issues is what "likely" means.

The Democrats finally have a candidate for the swingy 21st. Hernandez heads the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. That hardly sounds like a seasoned electoral veteran, but outsiders sell these days. I'll keep this one at Lean Republican.

The Democrats also have a candidate for the 42nd, Michael Williamson. This is a district Meg Whitman won 60%-33% and is a suicide mission for Williamson. I don't know why people run in these races. Is it really worth all your time and money?

Apparently, someone else figured out top 2. I thought I'd be the only one.

A group called Independent Voter Network has commissioned some polls. It mostly confirms my belief that Republicans will vote for Republicans and vice versa. It is worth noting, however, that adding a Democrat as an independent to the CA-30 race does suck more Republican voters away. In CA-52, the Democrat/independent takes Democratic voters.

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro has endorsed Tony Strickland for CA-26. This is a bit of a surprise. New party rules mean that it's unlikely the party will endorse any candidate. Del Beccaro's endorsement would seem to carry similar weight. It's not surprising that he'd endorse Strickland or that Strickland would be the first, and perhaps only, candidate Del Beccaro endorsed. Strickland is very close to party leadership.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

LA City Council Redistricting

The first City Council maps have come out. Of course everyone has a complaint. New census data shows Los Angeles is now 48.5% Latino, 28.6% white, 11.3% Asian and 9.2% black. There are 15 seats and they are trying to have 5 Latino majority seats. That's reasonable. If you could get more than that without silly gerrymandering, you should. There are no guaranteed Asian seats. There are, however, once again 3 African-American influence seats. An African-American influence seats is one where Blacks aren't in the majority but they so dominate the CVAP, an African-American is sure to win election.

Asians are 11.3% and get Koreatown divided up. African Americans are 9.2% and get 20% of the seats. Now, that's power.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Presidential vote and House vote

I've heard some people say that the only way the Democrats take back the House is if Obama wins in a landslide. His coattails could carry the party to victory in the House. There's a certain logic to it, as people often vote down the ballot how they vote for President. History shows us otherwise. There have been three recent landslides in re-election, Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1984, and Bill Clinton in 1996.

In their election, Nixon and Clinton had House votes that were pretty close to their two party Presidential vote. The Republicans were weak in 1980, so Reagan could only take them so far. Yet when Reagan and Nixon won big in re-election, their party did worse in the House.

The two party numbers are used to compare apples to apples in both the President and the House. The presence of Ross Perot threw off the Presidential numbers. The House vote suggests that we probably should probably assign more of Ross Perot's votes to Clinton, instead of going proportionally.

I don't have a definitive idea for why this happens. The voters each added in their re-election runs probably voted regularly for the other party and so no reason not to keep doing that. That might explain the disparity in the re-election, but not the House vote drop.

This chart adds three Presidents who ran for re-election who didn't win big. Carter's presidential vote and House vote both sharply declined. The Republican House vote percentage in George Bush's election year was the lowest any President has gotten when he won and the lowest when a candidate lost since 1960. So, it shouldn't be all that surprising the numbers went up.

The most hopeful model for Barack Obama is George W. Bush. His percentage when he was elected was much lower than Obama. That might make the comparison moot. Bush's party didn't do that well in the re-election. It's possible that if Bush had gotten 54-55% of the vote, the Republican Party wouldn't win any more votes.

I can't definitively say that Democrats won't get 55.6% of the vote if Obama wins in a landslide. There's just no reason to think they will do any better than they'd do if he lost. Of course, if he loses that means the Republicans will have an initial Presidential election and that's often very good for his party.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Strickland raises $318,000... in one day

If there's any doubt that Tony Strickland is backed by the entire California Republican base, then his one day haul of $318,000 should dispel it. Most challengers haven't raised $318,000 overall, and that includes those who've been at it a year. This total is what a senate candidate can get in a one day money bomb.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Occupy Newt

I usually don't throw a lot of opinionated stuff in here, but I can't resist. The anybody but Romney people perplex me. They really will choose anybody, because Mitt once was pro-choice, Romneycare, and well, I'm not sure what else.

I like Newt. He's loaded with ideas, funny, and he was Speaker during a good period. But come on:

1. He sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi. This wasn't an explicit endorsement of Pelosi's environmental policies, but Newt did talk about what he agreed with Nancy on.

2. His marriages. Now, I'm libertarian, so I'm judging him. That's between him, his wives, and Jesus. Yet my social conservative friends are judging Mitt negatively because he was once pro-choice. This guy cheated on his wives. I don't see how you can be "pro-family" and be okay with that.

3. "Right wing social engineering" The Ryan budget was something the whole party chose to rally around, whether establishment or tea party. And Newt tore all that down in one interview. You might say that Newt backed off that, but it showed that Newt is a prima donna who doesn't work well with others. Those that served with him in the House say that he was a terrible leader and you can see that because he's the only Speaker I know of that's ever been thrown out by his own party. I think Newt would spend his Presidency fighting with Republicans.

4. Earmarks. Newt is the father of earmarks.

5. He was giving advice to Freddie Mac while they were bringing down the economy.

6. His support of the individual mandate, something he was still pushing a year ago. I'm even giving him a pass for lobbying for Big Pharma to create the prescription drug plan. If they did it for seniors in need, that's one thing, but it's welfare for the rich. Okay, maybe I'm not quite giving him a pass.

7. His attack on capitalism. The core of my beliefs is individual responsibility. I believe that other people shouldn't be responsible for me. If things don't go my way, I don't ask government to bail me out. What Romney did at Bain was amazing. He didn't ask for a government hand-out or expect someone else to do it. He went in to troubled companies and most of the time succeeded in turning them around. Having had my own business, I know how important people like this are.

And they're vilified by the left and the Occupy movement. And Newt has taken the Occupy rhetoric and hammered it on Romney. He's confirmed that wealthy people are evil robber barons who live off the misery of others. That's entirely inaccurate, but when a Republican says it, the left's argument is bolstered.

I can defend Romney better than he can defend himself, but I understand looking for an alternative to Romney. Just because Newt zings the media in interviews doesn't make him it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dutton in for CA-31

As expected, term-out California State Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) has announced he'll challenge Congressman Gary Miller in CA-31. It's something how the dam broke as soon as Jerry Lewis announced his retirement.

Having two Republicans in the field is ideal. They won't scatter the vote and there's a chance both could be top two.

Likewise, CA-26 was waiting on Elton. Linda Parks and Tony Strickland both jumped in. Both are good candidates, although Parks is considered a RINO by many Republicans. That'll test the top two.

Unfortunately, Republicans lost their best candidate for CA-16 when Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier decided not to run. This is the only district Republicans lack a top flight candidate. I have no idea who Brian Whelan is, but he has yet to report raising any money to the FEC.

The Democrats, however, lack any candidates for CA-21, an open seat. Democrat Blong Xiong also a Fresno City Council member,is being pushed to run. Former state Sen. Dean Florez is thought to be a top tier candidate, but it's been three weeks since Michael Rubio decided against running and he has yet to indicate what he's doing one way or the other. It's four and a half months until the primary and nine and a half until the general election. Xiong thinks it's a tough time frame, but people have won and gotten in later.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

San Bernardino Dominos

The long-rumored Jerry Lewis retirement became official today and that resulted in domino after domino dropping. We'll start with the easier district.

CA-8: This is the rural/desert/mountain district that's very Republican. Up until today four Republicans had entered the race, the most notable being Victorville mayor Ryan McEachron. If you've never heard of Victorville, then you realize we're not talking a major metropolis here.

It didn't take long for the race to attract bigger names. San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt and Assemblyman Paul Cook of Yucaipa jumped in immediately. That gives you six Republicans and one Democrat running for the seat. If another Democrat joins, the top two primary could be a disaster for the GOP. It's possible the Republican vote could be so spread out none of them make November. I know that sounds far-fetched in such a Republican district but there aren't that many votes to go around.

CA-31: Lewis' announcement brought several other announcements. Congressman Gary Miller abandoned his challenge to fellow Republican Ed Royce in CA-39 and announced he'd run here. House Speaker John Boehner and NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions immediately endorsed the move. Miller currently represents none of this district, as his current district is just to the west.

Miller has had some ethics issues and he's not a great fit for the district. He does, however, have a lot of money in the bank.

Miller's immediate switch and the endorsement of Pete Sessions means that Congressman David Dreier won't run here. Dreier is well connected with Republican leadership and they're not going to endorse someone else if he's interested. If Dreier isn't running here he'll likely retire. Of maybe he'll do a kamikaze run for the senate as Congressman Kevin McCarthy suggests.

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar immediately announced he'd run as a Democrat. He's a stronger candidate than the current Democrats in the race.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, a Republican, announced he wouldn't run for the seat.

State Sen. Bob Dutton, who was the Senate minority leader until this month, had indicated he was considering running here and has yet to rule it out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

California State Senate Supreme Court Case

The plaintiffs and defendants argued on "likely' to qualify. They'll decide soon. One question before the court is whether "nesting," a remedy proposed by the plaintiffs would violate the Voting Rights Act. Nesting is combining two assembly districts to make a senate district. The districts can be drawn so that they don't violate the VRA. As the chart below shows the districts wouldn't be better for Republicans than the current ones.

Note that the yellow districts on the right are up in 2012. The blue are up in 2014. How that would break down in nesting is anybody's guess.

Herger, Lewis to Retire

Between the time I went to bed and woke up two California Republican congressmen retired. Wally Herger (CA-1) and Jerry Lewis (CA-8) are both hanging it up. Herger has been in congress for 25 years. Lewis has been there for 33. Lewis was faced with a dilemma. He could run in CA-8, most of which is in his current district, or in the far more competitive CA-31, where he lives. He's said he doesn't want to move. Neither option was likely very appealing.

Doug LaMalfa is set to announce for CA-1. Obviously he's been in touch with Herger about his retirement. Colonel Pete Stiglich and Gregory Cheadle already were running. They likely will position themselves as tea party Republicans.

A number of Republicans have been vying for CA-8, but none have yet to announce for CA-31. Congressman David Dreier represents more of CA-31 than Lewis and is an obvious candidate. He's indicated he will run. He not only hasn't committed to a district but has insisted the districts won't be final.

Below are charts of the current California candidates. A green background is an incumbent or incumbent's party. A yellow one is a challenger. Blue is an open seat. There are now 9 open seats. On the end are the two party shares for Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in the 2010 Gubernatorial and Senate elections. The column at the far left is what the consensus of the prognosticators (Cook, Rothenberg, Roll Call, Sabato).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mitt Romney's record at Bain

Mitt Romney's record at Bain is going to be a big deal in this election and it's a question of how the narrative will take. The Democrats are saying he destroyed companies and people's lives. I scoured the web for info and didn't find much on successful companies. No one writes about that. Let's start with companies that were started or saved while Romney was CEO of Bain.

This is a partial list. I can't find a more complete list, there were over 100 companies, so I'll just go with these. I can't find the employee counts on many of these companies. So I only listed those that I could find.

The argument against Romney:

1. Romney can't provide how many jobs were also lost during this period.

2. These are current employee counts and Romney has been gone from Bain since 1999. So he can hardly be credited with them.

3. Bain was only one investor in many of these and he was just one person among many at Bain.

4. These companies would've probably hired just as many people if Bain hadn't gotten involved.

Because the fact checkers can't verify all the information and some of it happened after he left, the numbers are regarded as "bogus." Usually you don't dismiss something you can't prove is wrong, but that's the determination. Staples very likely wouldn't exist without Bain. While the company seems to be a no brainer now, it wasn't then. Tom Stemberg couldn't get investors. Even Romney dismissed it at first. If Romney doesn't invest in Staples, one assumes Office Depot, which was founded the following year, would've come up with the idea. They might be successful, even though they were beaten by Staples.

Here are the failures, which are very well documented:

They don't add up to the successes, but since the successes don't count Romney is a net -4,325.

1. Three of these companies, GS Industries, DDI Corp, and Dade International, failed after Romney left Bain. Apparently a company with smart management that succeeds after he leaves doesn't relate to Romney, but the ones that fail are.

2. Waters, like many of the companies acquired by Bain, was in trouble. Companies in trouble often shed jobs. Kind of like what GM and Chrysler did. Waters now employs 3,500 people and is very successful. Obama can be credited with the success of GM and Chrysler which later rehired many of the employees let go. It doesn't count for Romney.

3. When a company fails, it's irrelevant that Bain is only one investor and Romney is only one person at Bain. There's no evidence the decision to lay off employees was made by anyone other than management. It's all his fault.

4.The companies listed were all troubled when Bain got involved and were available at a good price because they were in danger of failing. It's likely that most of them would've failed within a year or so if Bain didn't get involved. While we assume businesses like Staples would've succeeded without Romney, we know that these companies which failed after he left would've also succeeded without Romney.

If the Democrats win this argument, Republicans are truly inept.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Elton Gallegly Retiring

He's finally made up his mind. It's a little bit of a surprise since he indicated we'd be surprised where he was running, but Gallegly has wanted to retire for years. This'll open up CA-26 for either Tony Strickland or Linda Parks. If both run, it'd be an excellent test of my top two theory. There are currently five Democrats. If this district goes 47%D 47%R in June, it's possible the Democrats could finish 15%-11%-9%-8%-4%. If there are only two Republicans and they finish 28%-19%, they'll both advance. The GOP will win a swing district without competition in November.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Member v. Member Congressional Races Part 2

LA-3: Landry(R) v. Boustany (R)
It was inevitable that two Republicans were going to face off in Louisiana. Landry was savaged in the process. His district was divided four ways between the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th in such a way that no district is made up of more than 24.5% of his constituents. Most of this district belongs to Boustany, so he'd appear to be the favorite. Landry, however, is tea party favorite and his popularity might not adhere to district lines.

Louisiana has an unusual primary system, that's similar to California. In California, everyone competes on June 5 and the top 2 move on to November. In Louisiana, everyone competes on election day, November 6. If one candidate gets 50%, he wins. If not, the top two compete in December. So this one will go all the way to election day. And maybe beyond.

MI-14: Clarke (D) v. Peters (D)
This one has ruffled quite a few feathers. Gary Peters, like Jeff Landry, had his district torn up so much that there's no new district where he has more constituents than anyone else. He could've challenged Republicans Mike Rogers or Thad McCotter, both of whom are in districts that Barack Obama won in 2008. The problem here is that even if he won that uphill battle, he'd have to defend the district from a Republican challenger every two years.

The other choices were MI-9, a district that is mostly Sander Levin's old MI-12, or MI-14, a majority Black district. The good news on MI-14 is that only 38.5% of it is currently repped by Hansen Clarke and it's a safe Democratic seat. The bad news is that Peters has upset the Black community, some of whom are accusing a White man of trying to steal something that belongs to the Black community.

Yeah, that's not going to look good.

NJ-9: Rothman (D) v. Pascrall (D)
This one couldn't have gone better for the GOP. The new NJ-5 consists of 79% of Republican Scott Garrett's district and 21% belonging to Democrat Steve Rothman. The district leans Republican, but Democrats' chances of taking the seat would increase if Garrett were challenged by Rothman. Rothman instead chose the 9th, as it's safe Democratic and has more of his constituents than Pascrall's. The Democratic party is none too happy about this.

OH-9: Kaptur (D) v. Kucinich (D)

Ohio was torn asunder because the state lost two districts. Only one new district is made up of more than 77% of the old one. This led to some difficult choices. More of each of their constituents are here and it's a safe Democratic district. Kaptur could've challenged Republican Bob Latta in OH-5, but that would've been a suicide mission, especially considering it wouldn't have included her Toledo base.

Kucinich, on the other hand, had a lot of choices. He was considering running in Washington state, so it's obvious he doesn't feel he needs his current constituents to win. Kucinich was left with three choices, challenge Kaptur, challenge Marcia Fudge (D) in a majority Black district, or take on Republican freshman Jim Renacci in a lean Republican district.

Initially this district had more of Kucinich's constituents. In the final deal, however, that was reversed, leading to speculation that Democrats were trying to get rid of Kucinich. Dennis isn't beloved in his own caucus. He elected to try here and we should see a knockdown drag out fight.

People think that Kucinich filing for this race ends his flirtation with running elsewhere, but Ohio has a March 6 primary. If Kucinich loses, he could still move to Washington and establish residency to run in their later primary. At that point he'd have nothing to lose if he made that decision.

OH-16: Sutton (D) v. Renacci (R)
This is only one of two Republican v. Democrat match-ups. Congressmen will almost always choose a safe seat they only have to beat a fellow party member once over one that they'll have to defend every two years from a well financed challenger. Betty Sutton's district was torn apart six ways. That meant she didn't have a constituent advantage anywhere but had choices. They were:

OH-4 (10% of her constituents) While Democrats would cheer the opportunity to take down Jim Jordan, only the Speaker has a more Republican seat.

OH-7 (14% of her constituents) She would've taken on Republican freshman Bob Gibbs in a lean Republican district. She probably considered it, but had better alternatives.

OH-9 (15% of her constituents) This one was already a little to crowded. She'd be unlikely to beat both Kucinich and Kaptur and running here with two other members of her caucus would really annoy Democrats.

OH-11 (17% of her constituents) This would mean challenging Marcia Fudge in a Black majority district. Even if she won, which was unlikely, she'd have big headaches. Just ask Gary Peters.

OH-13 (18% of her constituents) She had to seriously consider this one. It's a safe Democratic district that only had one of her caucus and wasn't majority Black. Since most of the district belongs to Tim Ryan, however, winning was probably a long shot.

OH-16 (21% of her constituents) This district has Sutton's home and the most constituents. It leans Republican, about the same as OH-7. I can see why she chose it, but I wouldn't have been surprised with a different choice.

There may be an additional primary battle in NC-4, but that's still up in the air.

Today's Stories

Since Red Racing Horses is down, I'll post links to today's election stories on the blog.

Mike Michaud Pulls GOP Challenger in Maine

West Virginia Redistricting battle to be appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

Kentucky House panel OKs congressional redistricting plan

Broward Complaint about Allen West's District Could Blow Up on GOP

Redistrict Dave Wasserman
Hearing #AZ01 Paul Gosar (R) likely to announce soon that he will move to new #AZ04 to primary Paul Babeu (R) & Ron Gould (R)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


There is huge potential for the GOP here. It's roughly going to be a 47%R-47%D seat in the primary. Democrats could go 16%-12%-8%-7%-4%. If there are two Republicans they can go 29%-18% and both advance to November.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Redistricting: Who's Been Helped or Hurt

Redistricting is nearly finished, with only about 10 states left to go. So it's a good time to look district by district to see which congressmen will benefit the most and which are in the most trouble.

The chart below only has districts that either were competitive or may be competitive as a result of redistricting. If a district goes from 73% Obama to 80% or to 65% it won't be competitive. So it won't help or hurt either party. The Before and After are the percentage of vote Barack Obama got in 2008. I've excluded all the Texas districts except one, because different things happen to the districts in each. In both the Republican plan and the court plan, there's a new Corpus Christi district for Black Farenthold.

Farenthold looks like the biggest winner, but almost all of the Republicans helped go from competitive to non-competitive. Going down so far is just overkill. Republicans have been helped more than Democrats have been and hurt less than Democrats. If the Republican helped list went down to +2 it'd add a lot more districts.

There is, without a doubt, a few doozies on the Republicans hurt list, although they are almost exclusively in Illinois and California. Those two states figure big into the Democrats' plans. To get the majority back and be +25 they'll have to take all of these districts.

The Democrats hurt is almost exclusively North Carolina and California. There are actually 4 additional Democratic districts (CA-27, 32, 33, and 53) that could be on this list, but they are all still at Obama 61% or higher. That's a little out of reach for the GOP. Maybe later in the decade. There remains 4 vulnerable Democratic districts on this list.

You may see sites that say Democrats will pick up a few seats due to redistricting. They likely will. What you won't see is that Republicans have moved a number of districts off the endangered list.