A few items here that I wouldn't want to let fall into the ether without a comment or two. This is just me doing a poor job of keeping up with interesting news items as I come across them, so if there's anything particularly out of date among the items I ultimately post this week ... now ya know why that might be.
» TPM: Nate Silver: Politico Covers Politics Like Sports But ‘Not In An Intelligent Way At All’
The Bill Simmons podcast that Silver's quote is from is worth listening to in full. There are plenty of other useful insights from it ... just be sure to not make a drinking game out of the number of times Silver uses the word "Right?" to end his points with. You'll be drunk in 5 minutes regardless of your Body Mass Index. Depending on how productive the holiday trek to DFW is this season, I've got Silver's book on my list of things I'd like to read during that time.
» Dem. Strategist: States with Election Day Registration Led Turnout in '12
It remains to be seen whether this is a causal issue or merely coincidental. But I think getting same-day voter registration enacted in Texas would certainly help determine whether high turnout is a more of a function of midwestern historical voting habits or laws that enable more people to vote.
» NY Times: Beyond Black and White in the Mississippi Delta
There's a lot for me to like in an article such as this: political coverage of town I lived in (Indianola) and the intersection of demographics and elections. But one flaw remains: you can't adequately cover demographics and elections by comparing total population counts to who wins elections. There's nothing in the story that adequately proves blacks in the towns mentioned supported the white mayors (though I'd suspect that they might have) and there's no mention of the fact that just because a demographic group makes up 65% of the town's population doesn't mean they make up a similar amount of the electorate. Ignoring that difference is what tends to send me looking for a 2x4 to smack against my skull.
» Washington Post: For Maryland Democrats, redistricting referendum forces a look in the mirror
» Washington Post: Maryland ad war coming over same-sex marriage vote
» Washington Post: Costs, benefits of Md. Dream Act hard for voters to measure
I foresee a lot of interesting post-election analysis out of Maryland this season. That is all.
I'm sure it was an impossible job living up to the billing as the "Next Obama". Be that as it may, but I'm still underwhelmed ...
Ryan Lizza speaks for me on this matter.
His speech started with a compelling and promising premise. He talked about how he was “of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution.” But he never returned to these generational touchstones or explained what they meant to him. Instead, he told a very heart-warming story of his grandmother’s immigrant experience. Despite a tribute to his mother, Rosie, that brought delegates to their feet, he left out the most interesting details of her life: that’s she was a prominent radical Chicana activist who was a leader of La Raza Unida in Texas in the nineteen-seventies. The closest he came to mentioning his mother’s fascinating political background was a reference that she “fought hard for civil rights.”
Much of the rest of the speech consisted of well-written and well-delivered attacks on Mitt Romney and praise for Barack Obama. “Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it,” he said of the Republican nominee. “I believe in you. Barack Obama believes in you,” he said about the President.
But there was no new idea about what Obama’s second term might offer and no attempt to explain this moment in American politics in a fresh and compelling way. Instead, Castro ended with a touching story about taking his daughter to kindergarten and sending her off with the same words his grandmother once told him: “Que Dios te bendiga. (May God bless you.)” It was a poignant moment, but one I doubt many will remember years from now.
Tonight, it's Bubba's turn.
ADD-ON: Via AtlanticWire's liveblog from last night:
"Is O'Malley the Democrat Tim Pawlenty?"
Possibly. His speech certainly wasn't a wake-up call to his Presidential prospects. But he still starts off as my default, non-"Hillary 2016" candidate. I just wish there was a little something there that suggested "Yeah, this is the guy that's gonna win!"
Long time no blog. I've pretty much got the remainder of primary contests mapped out that I'm interested in seeing. But I do need to relocate a moment of free time to get everything uploaded and web-ready. Some of the larger fields of candidates made for some interesting research and I'm not sure they tell an easy story in one map. So those will probably get a side-by-side treatment. And by the time I'm done with all of that, I'll be able to go through the runoff elections. I don't know what your hobbies are, but surely they can't be this much fun. Right?
Anyway, the reason I wanted to post this one from the last batch of primaries was simply because I found it to be the most interesting of all the GOP Primary maps. The final results of this contest weren't really all that close:
Robert Talton: 64.6%
Leslie Johnson: 35.4%
What the map below demonstrates, to me, is that Talton essentially ran the table outside of the River Oaks-Memorial region. Or, as I'll call it, "Establishment Row" for GOP voters. You'd expect to see Talton do well in the southeastern area of the county since his old State Rep district covered Pasadena and surrounding areas. Johnson, as far as I can tell, seemed to have evident support inside the Loop. I don't know enough about how this campaign played out to suggest that it was a true case of Insider vs Outsider or Establishment vs Tea Party style choice. Talton certainly has his social conservativism ducks in a row, but he's also been thought of as a bit too friendly to trial attorneys for most GOP tastes.
Whatever the case may be, the contours definitely show up for something vaguely resembling the social vs business conservative breakdown. It'll be interesting to see how closely this map resembles the runoff map for the US Senate seat. Till that gets posted, feel free to click, poke, and explore. Oh, and download if you're into that sorta thing.
ADD-ON: Also, I tweaked the color-coding to make the different reds a bit easier to sort out visually. In this case, the dark red is Talton, the light red is Johnson, and white means there were no votes cast.
ADD-ON 2.0: Grrr. One point of clarification that eluded me while posting this: the map indicates where Talton won over 60% of the vote, not simply where he won. A won/loss map was more of a wipeout for Talton. So the outline here for "establishment" support for Johnson should be viewed relative to areas where she performed under 40%. In short: the outline is still interesting. But the nature of the contest was certainly a lot more muted in terms of how much of any "establishment" vs "non-establishment" differences existed between candidates. This is what I get for leaving maps on Google Earth for several days without blogging about them.
Here's a muddled picture since all three candidates came out of the first round with a decent-to-good showing.
Lissa Squiers - 39.9%
James Cargas - 33.8%
Phillip Andrews - 26.3%
I went with color-coding for the ultimate winner again, so the coding is: dark blue = Cargas; light blue = Squiers; purple = Andrews.
There weren't many areas where Squiers was winning a majority in this map, so the ocean of aqua blue is a bit misleading here. Had I been interpreting this in realtime, I think it's safe to say she was getting her benefit of being the only female in the race at this point. Viewed in isolation, that might make a runoff either a tossup or a slight advantage for the female candidate. But with Squiers running a shoestring campaign and Cargas loosening the purse-strings for a little mail in the runoff, that calculus didn't quite hold up in July.
Here's one of the more muddled Primary contests I'll be mapping out - the six-way election for Constable, Precinct 1. This would go to a runoff between Alan Rosen and Cindy Vara-Leija, but the first round settled out as follows:
Alan Rosen - 28.0%
Cindy Vara-Leija - 23.8%
Grady Castleberry - 21.8%
Quincy Whitaker - 19.7%
Jaime Tellez, Jr. - 3.7%
Richard Talamantez - 3.1%
The map below is coded as follows: dark blue = Rosen; light blue = Vara-Leija; purple = anyone else. That purple basically broke down to Castleberry and Whitaker splitting much of the African-American vote in Acres Homes, Independence Heights, and the Fifth Ward.
All told, the breakdown is a pretty good overview of the district's demographics. What jumped out to me from this view is Rosen's showing in the Anglo Dem dogleg from the Heights to Meyerland. Rosen did exceptionally well in Montrose, pushing close to 70% of the vote there. Ditto for much of Rosen's home base of Bellaire. But in the River Oaks - to - West U area, Rosen only got anywhere from a near-majority to a bare majority. That left a lot of room for improvement in the runoff and I think it would be clear where those votes would go regardless of who was in a runoff. That might account for the overwhelming showing that he'd see in the runoff.
Picking back up from where I left off with the mapping and whatnot, the first batch of maps today are going to be Democratic district contests and the second batch will be some more of the Statewide and Countywide GOP contests.
In this case, HD131 had a bit of a surprise Primary contest, with the decision of Houston Council Member Wanda Adams to challenge incumbent Alma Allen. This one went about as expected, with Allen winning 59.4 to Adams' 40.6%. There was a bit of new territory to the far west of the district, which provided many of the closer outcomes. The precincts in Hiram Clarke and Sunnyside weren't close and that was enough to make things easy for Alma on Election Night.
Another Democratic district contest here. This one was a bit of a surprise in that it was won in the first round by Mary Ann Perez. The final results were:
Mary Ann Perez - 52.2%
Ornaldo Ybarra - 26.8%
Kevin Risner - 21.0%
Color coding is: dark blue = Mary Ann Perez; light blue = Ornaldo Ybarra; purple = Kevin Risner. And in case it's indecipherable, I've outlined the precincts shaded white in the Ship Channel area where there were (predictably) no votes.
Ybarra obviously did very well around his Pasadena Council district. Risner got a few nice returns in the southern part of Pasadena. But the scope of Perez's win was the biggest surprise given the negligible overlap with her HCC district along the far southwestern border of the district. It's also pretty clear that Perez was the candidate of choice in the more traditional bastions of Hispanic vote closer to the East End. Perez picked up several of those boxes with over 70% of the vote.
One of the more pleasant outcomes to watch outside of my own HD137, Borris Miles fended off two-time previous incumbent, Al Edwards, 57.6% to 42.4%. One tidbit that gives some of us hope that this will be the last go-round for Al Edwards: this was the first of the four matchups where Borris Miles has won the Sunnyside half of the district. In fact, the areas where Edwards did best this time, were the newer precincts to the far west.
On the whole, the scope of Borris' win is pretty broad. Edwards didn't have a lot of help from his previous enablers, so his campaign was on far more of a shoestring. I've got to think that if he still sees a State Representative in the mirror, it seems likelier that his former constituents don't.
Color-coding is: dark blue = Miles; light blue = Edwards.
Here's another modest surprise - a three-way contest that didn't need a runoff to decide the nominee. And, as was the case with HD144, it was a female candidate who ended up winning.
Traci Jensen - 51.5%
Patty Quintana-Nilsson - 29.7%
David Scott - 18.8%
This was a district that Obama only won 40.8% of the vote in, so it's not the most significant in terms of viability or changing the culture (or, for that matter, existence) of the State Board of Education. But since it's an open race in a Presidential year, there's hope that we'll see some improvement on the Dem baseline in this district. There wasn't a lot of communication in this contest, but what there was, it was all Jensen that I saw. A pretty good example of how to shut out the rest of the pack in an otherwise low-information contest.
Color-coding is: dark blue = Jensen; light blue = Scott; purple = Quintana-Nilsson. Not sure why I coded Scott and Q-Nilsson opposite, but I'll live with the break in pattern.