Friday, April 29, 2011

This Week in Redistricting 4/29

It's been awhile since the last TWIR but I've finally been able to cobble together a couple of links for a post, so that's a good thing.

  • Some movement has begun on the actual legislative redistricting effort, the brodkorbmander, with both sides outlining their "principals" for redistricting, which are simply all the things we usually associate with redistricting, equal population, compactness, not splitting counties and cities, etc.

    Aaron Klemz points out that the principals released by Governor Dayton and those released by the GOP have one major difference, the placement of the incumbency language in the principals.

    In Dayton's:

    5. Not be drawn for the purpose of protecting or defeating an incumbent.

    Where is it in the GOP's principals? (emphasis mine)

    As a factor subordinate to all other principles contained in this section, a plan may be reviewed to determine its effect on all incumbents, including determination of whether the plan results in either undue incumbent protection or excessive incumbent conflicts

    In other words, they don't care much for the incumbency language. That's not surprising, they have two congressional incumbents who live on the fringes of their districts so they'll want to massage those lines as much as possible, god forbid Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack get drawn into the same district. Or Michele's stillwater home drawn into Betty McCollum's district.

    The thing is this though, if Brodkorb and Dayton are able to hammer out a deal, it will be an incumbent protection deal, so in the end, this language is meaningless as far as the legislative process is concerned. If redistricting ends up being done in the courts however, then all of this stuff will be considered by the judges who draw the lines, or at least, they'll have that option.

  • In Aaron's above linked post he also talks a little about the relative quite surrounding the redistricting negotiations so far, at least until the flurry of activity this week. He's no the only one worried about that, Mike Dean the Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota talks about his concerns about the lack of attention to such an important issue.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michele raises a lot of money, and spends a lot too

There has been much talk about the massive amounts of money Michele Bachmann raised in Q1, more than Mitt Romney, no lightweight fundraiser for sure. And while she did raise a lot of money, the part of the story that hasn't been reported very much is how much she spent to raise that money.

This is from the FEC report for the Bachmann for Congress committee:

Total Receipts: $1,747,618
Total Disbursements: $786,614
Net raised: $961,004

While netting almost a million dollars is still a very good fundraising quarter, it's not as good as the headlines make it sound. You see, Michele Bachmann uses a fundraising technique popular with conservatives that involves paying direct mail and telemarketing companies vast sums of money to raise money for her.

Of that almost $800k of expenses, $440,000 went to these activities. To be more precise:

Direct Mail: $152,278.53
Telemarketing: $286,768.21
Total: $439,046,74

That $440k represents 25% of the money she raised, no small amount to be sure. For comparisons sake, let's look at another Minnesota politician who is raising money for re-election right now, Amy Klobuchar.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round One - The DFL Gerrymanders

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs promised, I finally got around to drawing some redistricting maps with the easy to use, and free(!) Dave's Redistricting App.

For my first set of maps I'm going to do what I like best and draw some Democratic gerrymanders, which in Minnesota means cracking open the Twin Cities.

Let's start with what is the essential problem that drives the motivation for the Democratic gerrymander, that is the consolidation of Democratic votes in the Twin Cities. As a refresher, here's Obama's share of the vote in the eight congressional districts as they are currently drawn:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCD1: 51%
CD2: 48%
CD3: 52%
CD4: 64%
CD5: 74%
CD6: 45%
CD7: 47%
CD8: 53%

All of the districts were within 5 points of being even except for the two Twin Cities districts which are packed with Democrats. What if we could spread those voters into more than just two districts, though, how many strong DFL seats can we get?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Additional Prosser votes are not that suspicious

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNews that some 14,000 additional votes had been added to the totals of conservative Waukesha County, netting David Prosser an additional 7,500 votes, was met with quite a bit of skepticism, esspecially considering County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus spotty history and refusal to follow state procedures.

None of this means that mistakes can't happen though, and anyone who has been following Minnesota elections for the last few years should know that unofficial results are just that, until a vote total is certified by the proper authority we can't be certain of the numbers.

I began working on this post this morning and because of the obligations of life some sports guy from the New York Times posted something very similar before I could finish. Undaunted, (or more accurately, not wanting to waste all the words I'd already written and charts I'd already made) I will post this thing anyway.

What I want to do is take a look at what these 14,000 additional votes mean in the grand scheme of things. For this analysis I'm going to use the number of registered voters from the 2010 midterm elections as the baseline to see what the turnout numbers looked like for all the counties in the Supreme Court election.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Random Story Roundup

It's Friday, you know what that means don't you? Partying, partying and fun, fun, fun.

I couldn't resist that one on April fools day.

Now that you're in the proper frame of mind, on to the random goodness!

  • Politico reported earlier in the week that former Senator Norm Coleman wasn't too bullish on the GOPs chances of taking Amy Klobuchar's Senate seat.

    I think it could be a tough year. She’s certainly strong. She’s got good numbers and good support. She hasn’t been a very polarizing force. Clearly, that's going to be a challenge.

    Did I say "wasn't too bullish?" From an insider like Coleman the above quote is about as close as you're likely to get to "we don't have a snowballs chance in hell."

  • In November Nancy Reagan announced that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, along with NBC and Politico, would host the first of the Republican Presidential nomination debates.

    Since than no one has actually announced they are running, at least no one anyone is taking seriously, leaving debate organizers in a dilemma, either they let the Bachmann's and Cain's of the GOP have the stage to themselves or they postpone the event until some actual candidates emerge.

    Not surprisingly they decided to postpone.