When I moved to North Carolina in 1986 it didn't take long for me to see my first Klan rally. Parents with their kids dressed up in their best bed sheets. My junior high was formerly the black high school. Ignorance is is passed down from generation to generation.
North Carolina is a different place than it was in the 80's. A state that elected Jesse Helms to five terms in the Senate voted for the Nation's first black President in 2008. There are sane people in North Carolina. A lot of them. And they're growing in numbers. Here's a map of what counties voted against Amendment One.
Note the red counties. All of the metropolitan areas in the state which also are home to the biggest universities. These people are North Carolina. The ignorant people will die off and they will eventually lose. Here is one of the people leading the fight against ignorance:
So for the people calling for a boycott of North Carolina or for the Convention to be pulled... think of the people on our side fighting for basic human rights. The attention that the Convention will bring and the growth of the volunteer lists will help our cause. This isn't over.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Charlotte N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx went to Washington this week with the same message:
Don't let the partisan rancor over the national debt get in the way of a proposed $110 million federal appropriation for security at next year's Republican and Democratic national conventions.
"In spite of the debt ceiling debate and the sort of overheated rhetoric, we have conventions to put on and the federal government has obligations to provide security costs," Buckhorn said Wednesday.
"Everyone that we spoke to acknowledged that that was correct," he said. "Where they differed was how the money was to be allocated. That was more of a process question."
For the two cities, the stakes could not be higher. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 27-30, 2012 in Tampa. The Democratic National Convention takes place a week later in Charlotte. - St Petersburg Times
We've talked about weather affecting conventions plenty of times. You can see all of the posts from 2008 here. Last cycle a hurricane delayed the Republican National Convention and it was a thousand miles away.
As he looks ahead to hosting next year's Republican National Convention, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is upbeat, but blunt.
"The only thing that could make our life miserable is a hurricane," he said last week.
That's possible, but not likely.
The chance of a hurricane hitting Tampa Bay the week of the convention are probably less than 1 percent, a National Hurricane Center scientist estimates.
Still, it's not zero. So Buckhorn vows Tampa will not be caught off-guard. There will be, he said, no Katrina-style chaos.
According to Hurricane City, Tampa Bay gets "brushed or hit ever 2.04 years." So on average every 2.04 years Tampa sees some sort of tropical weather. The chances of it happening the week of the convention are slim but it would make for some unhappy convention-goers if it does.
Ask anybody from Charlotte about Hurricane Hugo and they'll tell you that Charlotte isn't immune.
Chances are good that neither city will see any major storms. Tampa is all but guaranteed to see rain though.
Both in terms of time and in terms of the number of states, we are just past the mid-point of the release of redistricting data by the census. By the end of this month, we will have the data for all 50 states, and the discussion about redistricting will move from the theoretical -- how could we draw the districts -- to the practical -- what are the 50 (actually 43, since 7 states only have one representative) states doing in terms of drawing the lines and in which states could there be a viable voting rights challenge to the lines.
First off this week, Delaware and Wyoming. Both states grew a little faster than the rest of the country this past decade. That doesn't change the fact that Wyoming is still smaller than the average House District, and, while Delaware may be one of the bigger districts, it is still about 200,000 short of being large enough to get a second seat. That means that the only issue in both states will be legislative lines.
Next up is Nebraska. Half of the population in the state is contained within three counties -- Douglas (Omaha), Sarpy (the southern suburbs of Omaha), and Lancaster (Lincoln and the Univesity of Nebraska). All three counties (and some surrounding counties) grew during the past decade. Outside of the counties in close proximity to these counties, most of the rest of the state lost population. As a result, the second district (comprised of Douglas and part of Sarpy) is about 20,000 people to big. Technically, Nebraska could barely get away with leaving the Second intact without falling afoul of one man, one vote. Nebraska's problem is the Third Diststrict (covering the western three-quarters of the state) which is about 46,000 people short. Some of the people from the First (covering the remainder of Eastern Nebraska) will have to go to the Third. The bottom line is some minor shifting on the edge (maybe around the Sioux City suburbs) to the Third, and maybe some parts of Sarpy County to the First. Whether or not that will make the Second a little bit more competitive, I can't tell.
Like Nebraska, Kansas stayed constant in terms of the number of seats (but has four to Nebraska's three). Like Nebraska, except for some isolated pockets, most of the growth occurred near the major urban centers. In Kansas, that means the Topeka-Lawrence-KC suburbs in the east and Wichita in the South. Right now Republicans control all four seats, but the Democrats did manage to pull some wins in the Second District (Topeka and most of Eastern Kansas) and the Third District (the KC suburbs and Lawrence) in the last decade, and -- given the national tide -- actually did respectable in the Fourth in 2010 (Wichita and Southern Kansas). Given the hollowing out of rural Kansas, the First District (western and central Kansas) is around 60,000 people short of where it should be. Currently, the Second and the Fourth are within 6,000 of where they should be, but since those are the two districts which actually border the First. They both could be asked to give up some. The easier line drawing would be to keep the Fourth intact (or at most give up there slight excess -- Harvey County would do the trick) and make most of the changes in the Second. The Third, on the other hand is about 53,000 over the target number. The bad news for Democrats is that Wyandotte and Johnson County (the immediate KC suburbs) are just about perfect for a district (only 14,000 short of the target, making it within the allowable variance). Democrats would probably prefer keeping Douglas and getting rid of the southern part of Johnson County (which has some theocratic leanings). In the 2010 Senate Race, the Democratic candidate won Wyandotte and Douglas while losing Johnson by around 2-1. However as Johnson is the largest county in Kansas, its going to be difficult to split up Johnson.
Personally, I'm not big on the idea of choosing a convention site based on the state's importance in that year's Presidential election, but a recent poll caught my eye.
Conventional wisdom has it that if Obama wins North Carolina in 2012, it will only be because he is winning handily nationally. In other words, North Carolina is not a swing state, but a "reach" state, and thus is not important to Obama's chances for reelection.
But PPP has released a series of early polls on the 2012 Presidential race, testing Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, and Palin against Obama. Obama trounces both Gingrich and Palin almost everywhere, so let's set those two aside for a moment. Here is Obama's margin against Romney and Huckabee in several states PPP has recently surveyed:
Unfortunately, PPP has not surveyed Missouri, Ohio, or Minnesota recently. But the North Carolina result is an eye-opener. To within the margin of error, Obama does as well there as he does nationally. The results are also essentially the same as Pennsylvania--Pennsylvania!
For President Obama, North Carolina could easily be a key to victory. With his relative weakness among working-class whites and the elderly, and his strength with African-Americans and the highly educated, it's possible to imagine scenarios in which President Obama loses Ohio and Missouri, and yet wins North Carolina and perhaps, because of it, the Presidency.
There are good reasons that the DNC might prefer not to hold their convention in Charlotte. But this poll suggests the importance of the state to Obama's 2012 chances is no longer one of them.
In NC-Sen, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall is in a run-off against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham. Marshall came in first in the original primary, and is considered a favorite to get the nomination.
In the SC-Gov, GOP run-off, state Rep. Nikki Haley should win easily.
And in UT-Sen (R), former Utah County GOP chair Tim Bridgewater is running against Mike Lee to see who can be the wingiest and nuttiest. 'Cause current Senator Bob Bennett was neither wingy or nutty enough for Utah Republicans.
We'll have results here later.
8:00: Haley and Marshall both ahead in early results. 8:15: Over 20% in, Haley and Marshall both over 60%. Only question is which race gets called first. 8:25: Haley wins. 8:30: Marshall wins. Utah polls close at 10 Eastern. 11:20: Slow counting in Utah. Lee is up 52-48 with 18% in. We'll have final results in the morning. 7:30 AM: Lee won 51-49.
Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham have both gained ground on Richard Burr after building up their exposure during the Democratic primary campaign. Burr is now in a weaker position than Elizabeth Dole was at the same point in the election cycle two years ago.
Burr leads Marshall by just a single point, 43-42, and is up 44-39 on Cunningham. Dole led Kay Hagan 48-43 immediately after the primary in 2008.
North Carolina Democrats were unable to avoid a runoff in their Senate primary this week and now they’ll have to wait until June 22 to determine their nominee.
That’s bad news for party operatives who wanted to start the general election campaign as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the poor approval ratings that have been dogging Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.).
Now Burr will have six more weeks to pad his bank account and boost his image, while his potential Democratic opponents will be spending what little money they’re raising to compete against each other.
The extended Democratic primary season combined with the underwhelming fundraising performance this cycle by the two top Democratic candidates has prompted CQ Politics to change our race rating for the North Carolina Senate contest from Leans Republican to the less competitive category of Likely Republican.
Pretty embarrassing, huh? Cook also has NC as a Likely-R. But there is one forecaster who has had this race as a Tossup all along. Nice going!
For all of us who watched Kay Hagan come from behind to beat Libby Dole, and for all of us who have seen Richard Burr's approval numbers, we've been waiting for this:
Dole's polling advantage in the early part of 2008 turned out to be inflated due to her opponents' lack of name recognition, and as soon as Kay Hagan became a more familiar face to the state's voters over the course of her primary campaign she pulled within the margin of error against Dole on our first poll after she was the nominee. Our numbers tomorrow find Marshall doing even better than Hagan was at this point in the race, and Cunningham doing similarly.
In North Carolina, it still looks like Sen. Richard Burr (R) can be defeated, but it would be easier if he were running against a "generic" Democrat:
45% Burr, 38% Generic Democrat 41% Burr, 34% Bob Etheridge 42% Burr, 31% Elaine Marshall 42% Burr, 31% Dennis Wicker 42% Burr, 30% Cal Cunningham 43% Burr, 29% Kevin Foy 43% Burr, 27% Kenneth Lewis
It really might not matter who the Democratic candidate ends up being. With Burr's numbers where they are, if the political climate moves back in a Democratic direction any candidate who can raise some money, has something to say and can avoid making a fool of themselves is probably going to beat him. But if things stay the way they are today, or move in a more Republican direction, none of them are going to beat him. -PPP
Elizabeth Dole led Kay Hagan 43-27 in their first matchup two years ago, so in reality there's plenty of time for a Democrat to win.
NJ-Gov: Chris Christie picked Monmouth County Sheriff Kimberly Guadagno as his running mate. (FYI, Guadagno is pro-choice). Then again your humble NJ-based blogger is still trying to figure out why Monmouth County, basically a suburb of NY, even has a sheriff! Still no word on whether Corzine is still picking former Apprentice star Randal Pinkett as his Lt. Gov.
NC-Sen: We may finally have a significant candidate, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall
Upcoming: Last year, we had Senate ranking charts. We're starting them again this week, and we'll be doing them the first weekend of every month (or thereabouts). This year, there will be a DCW column. As a sneak peak, my April rankings are after the jump. Once we put up all the rankings from different sources, we'll run a poll so that once a month, you can hazard a guess at how many Democratic senators we'll have in January 2011, and whether you've changed your mind since the previous month.
Now, on with the races --
Pennsylvania: Last night, Matt reported that Jim Gerlach is considering a run against Arlen Specter. I had to call Gerlach's office this past week with a question about the stimulus package. (He is my congressman, and the congressman for the place I work.) I was basically told to call someone who'd voted for it. It's going to hurt him. A lot.
There is an interesting piece comparing Pennsylvania unemployment rates with the Congressional votes and finally the projected impact of the stimulus money. Gerlach currently represents one of the districts with unemployement that is low compared to the rest of the state. (Still under 6%, compared to a state rate of more like 7%.) Hard to sell a candidate dedicated to keeping people unemployed.
Last year, I was convinced that Gerlach would hold his seat. If you were reading DCW back then, you know all my reasoning. Not this time: he doesn't get to be Senator. He doesn't even get to win the primary. It is not unsurprising that he would be branching out this year: not because of his record, but because there is a chance that the 6th CD will be split in 2011 when the districts are realigned based on the census, and the 1 - 2 seats we will likely lose. There are some interesting names currently deciding whether or not to run. I personally know a lot of the players on both sides, but will not report on who is running until their decisions are finalized.
North Carolina: Richard Burr has worse numbers than Liddy Dole had at this time last cycle. He currently has a 33% approval rating, while hers was 43%. The question is whether Secretary of State Elaine Marshall will run against Burr. He beats her in a head-to-head, but only 43-35. Not good enough for an incumbent.
Connecticut: Chris Dodd is in trouble. He was already in trouble before the "yes it was I who worked the AIG bonuses" imbroglio. No chance that Connecticut elects a Republican next year, they are too down on the semi-Republican they have in TLB Lieberman. But his opposition will be stiff.
Ohio: It turns out that the electorate has no idea who's running to replace the retiring Voinovich.
In an early look at the 2010 Republican primary for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat being vacated by George Voinovich, former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman holds a 33 - 11 percent lead over State Auditor Mary Taylor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Both Republicans trail either of the two leading Democratic candidates, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher or Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, by almost identical double-digit margins.
In a possible Democratic primary, Fisher, Brunner and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan each get from 14 to 18 percent of the vote and more than half of the Democratic electorate is undecided, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.
The poll numbers really mean nothing when half the people just plain don't know.
Minnesota: We still don't have a decision. Even the Coleman camp is saying that Franken will win the court case. However, they're going to take their appeal up the ladder, and base it on Bush v Gore. Before you get nervous: Minnesota is NOT Florida.
I have no idea how much the inauguration for President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden is going to cost. If you add together what attendees spend for travel, hotel, food, drink, tickets, etc., plus what the Inagural Committee spends, plus what it is going to cost the District of Columbia for trash pick-up and other responsibilities....it's going to be a big number.
Many Governors elected or re-elected in 2008 are taking a different approach. They are saying that the economy is bad, and there may be a better use of money. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) has cancelled his second term ball. Jim Douglas (R-VT) is holding a ball for his inagural, but tickets are $40, and any monies remaining after expenses will go to a food bank. Bev Purdue (D-NC) will be holding an Open House after the swearing in and parade.
My favourite: in Delaware, Jack Markell (D) is skipping any balls, and instead asking residents to join in a "Weekend of Service" on 24 - 25 January. Details here, if you'd like to participate.