Redistricting Relay

[cross-posted at DLCC.org]

Late Friday afternoon, Politico’s Ken Vogel published an interesting assessment of the upcoming fight over redistricting.

“GOP lags in early redistricting race” is a broad look at the players in this year’s state-level elections and next year’s map-drawing, as well as at how those organizations fit together.

If you don’t have the time to peruse the three-page article at the moment (or even if you do), I thought you might enjoy some selected highlights.

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Baby Killers

[corss-posted at DLCC.org]

The debate still rages in America over when life begins. But what is beyond debate is that an infant born into this world is indisputably a living, breathing, feeling human being.

And Republicans in Tennessee just voted to let some of them die.

 

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Republican St. Rep. picks fight on House Floor

[cross-posted at DLCC.org]

Republican State Rep. Denny Hoskins of Missouri has had a bad few months. He ran for office touting his experience as a Certified Public Accountant, but once he got to the legislature, it turned out that he had more than 20 grand in late, unpaid taxes. The stress has clearly gotten to Denny, as he’s now getting into fights on the House Floor:

 

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NV-St.Sen: Explosive audio of possible bribe

[cross-posted at DLCC.org]

Something in the water must be affecting Republican primaries in Nevada. Hot on the heels of the “chickens for checkups” incident roiling the U.S. Senate race, an incumbent State Senator has been caught on tape allegedly offering to bribe the parents of a rape victim in an effort to protect the man who was convicted in the case:

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More Details on the Hawaii Civil Unions Vote

The Democratic sponsor of Hawaii’s civil unions may face a tougher than normal re-election fight in the wake of the April 29th vote to grant gays and lesbians the right to join civil unions. Still, State Rep. Blake Oshiro was heartened by the outcome:

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Hawaii Civil Unions Bill Hangs in the Balance

On April 29th, the Hawaii Legislature overwhelmingly passed House Bill 444, which grants same-sex couples in civil unions "the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities" as those enjoyed by married couples.

Republican Governor Linda Lingle is reportedly undecided about whether to sign or veto Hawaii's civil unions bill.  Her decision could come any day.

The DLCC is collecting petitions asking that the civil unions bill be signed into law.

More below the fold...

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A nationwide voter shift?

Today, the New York Times looks at the movement in voter registrations across the country:

For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among voters who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.

As the story notes, swings in voter registration happen all the time. Often it's reflective of nothing more than which party has the better field organization or the more heated primary. It's also true that party affiliation often does not have an impact on Election Day turnout. Plenty of registered Democrats pulled the lever for Bush in 2004, for instance.

But a sustained movement away from the GOP over a period of years is significant:

[F]or a shift away from one party to sustain itself -- the current registration trend is now in its fourth year -- is remarkable, researchers who study voting patterns say. And though comparable data are not available for the 21 states where voters do not register by party, there is evidence that an increasing number of voters in those states are also moving away from the Republican Party based on the results of recent state and Congressional elections, the researchers said.

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Activism, Texas style

There isn't a state in the country with a better group of online activists than Texas. The more attention I pay to their work, the more impressed I become.

First, you've got the individual efforts of many, many talented bloggers. There are a lot of states that would be fortunate to have a single, progressive site as good as Capitol Annex, Burnt Orange Report, Off the Kuff, or Greg's Opinion (a list heavily biased by the folks I read regularly but by no means exclusive). That's not even counting relatively newer bloggers who are engaging in the state (folks like Rachel -- who actually wrote an open letter to her state rep, offering to set him up with a DLCCWeb-powered site).  

Second, these folks have organized an alliance to unify the efforts of bloggers and netroots activists in the state to promote progressive ideas and candidates. They promote each others' posts, raise money for candidates, organize offline events, and have developed an advertising network.

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Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves

I'm blowing the dust off of this user diary because I want to start a conversation.

There are 7,382 legislators across the country, and they represent every conceivable kind of district. Most have been using radio, television, and mail for years, but for many, the Internet remains unfamiliar. They see its potential but have reservations about its cost, complexity, and challenges.

This cycle, our committee partnered with Wired for Change to introduce a resource that reduces the barriers for campaigning online. We call it DLCCWeb.

Our goal is to make the Internet simple and affordable enough that all of our legislative candidates can build and update their own websites. They can choose from a range of templates and color schemes to create the best design for their campaigns. Blog publishing is built right into DLCCWeb, along with advocacy tools, online fundraising, and social network integration.

This cycle, more than 200 candidates in 30 states (with a whole range of technology comfort levels) are using the Internet in a way that they haven't before because of this service. To me, that represents a major step forward in participatory democracy and a big advantage for Democrats at the state level. Check out a little marketing video that Wired for Change put together about DLCCWeb here.

We are also launching a new website to practice what we preach.

DLCC.org will be a clearinghouse for news about statehouses and legislative elections. The centerpiece will be a blog, hosted right on the front page, which will be updated multiple times a day, at least five days a week. Most posts will be short and quick, though each will include some sort of commentary and context. Most content will be written by our staff, but as we move forward, we plan to encourage contributions from our elected leaders and allies.

We are ready to talk about our nation's statehouses. We want to engage you to help us identify the next generation of Democratic leaders, to set real Democratic agendas in the legislatures, and to build new majorities before the next round Congressional redistricting.

I hope you'll take a moment to visit these sites and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment here or there or send me an email at compton[at]dlcc.org. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.

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It's not rocket science...

Bumped from the diaries -- jonathan

Republican Tom Dempster is the Assistant Majority Leader seeking his fourth term in the South Dakota state Senate.

Obviously Dempster has some cursory knowledge of the filing process in the state, given he's been through the process three times. Or so you'd think...

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