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Obama’s GOP Ambassador to China Resigns; Will Huntsman Seek Prez Nom?

3:27 pm in 2012 Election, Elections, Government, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Jon Huntsman (photo: saucy_pan via Flickr)

Jon Huntsman, the Mormon former Governor of Utah chosen by Barack Obama to be his ambassador to China, has resigned, effective April 30th, CNN is reporting.

U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman submitted a hand-delivered letter of resignation to President Obama Monday, effective April 30th, according to two senior administration officials.

The news comes amid speculation that the former Utah governor will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

From that “amid speculation” link above:

But Republican strategists backing Huntsman – a former Utah governor now serving as U.S. Ambassador to China – say there is room for a “center-right” presidential candidate as the rest of the early GOP field races to the right.

“Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it’s not,” said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, should he decide to enter the race.

The adviser stressed that Huntsman is not involved in the details of setting up a potential campaign.

Politico ran with a “White House expects Huntsman to resign early in 2011” post earlier Monday.

GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.

While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called “Horizon PAC” to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.

WaPo Presents Census Re-Alignment as ‘Good News for John McCain’

2:10 pm in Elections, Media, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Arizona's Sen. John McCain: still not the President. (graphic: danagraves via Flickr)

As if the non-presidency of John Sidney McCain III mattered any longer, especially after his unseemly gloating with GOP freshmen and wild homophobic rants on the Senate floor this past week, the Washington Post presented the winners and losers in reapportionment within the context of the long-concluded 2008 presidential election. Unsurprisingly, the Census reapportionment is good news for John McCain!

Eight states will gain congressional districts, including five that backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president two years ago. The big winner was Texas, a state that routinely backs Republicans for president. Its population has swelled by about 21 percent since 2000 and as a result will add four House seats.

The gains come at the expense of some states whose growth has been stunted by the decline of manufacturing. Many of them have been historically Democratic; of the 10 states losing seats, eight backed President Obama in the 2008 presidential election. New York and Ohio took the biggest hits, losing two congressional seats each.

After some discussion of the fact that the actual voters in these red states are more likely to vote Democratic (due to the immigration hatred that’s a plank in every GOP’s platform now) the Post presents (in paragraph TEN) the irrelevance of viewing this reapportionment as good news for John McCain:

The shift will change the partisan lean from blue to red of a net of six electoral college votes. Obama beat McCain by 192 electoral college votes in 2008.

So, yeah: 192 or 186. You’re still not president, Ace.

Why Did LGBT Voters Move to GOP in 2010?

11:08 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Government, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Initial figures of LGBT voters showed they shunned Democrats in this medterm election:

The number seemed startling: 31 percent of voters who identified as “gay, lesbian, bisexual” in a national exit poll on November 2 said they voted Republican. Just two years ago, only 19 percent voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

When precinct-level data was analyzed and then weighted, these exit polls seemed to be close to the money:

Keen News Service looked at the vote November 2 in precincts in heavily gay neighborhoods in six cities around the country. That data suggests the gay vote for Republicans was 26 percent. But that 26 percent represents a seven percent increase over how those same precincts voted in the 2006 midterm elections.

And when you consider that the national exit poll data was re-weighted a few days after the election so it would correspond with actual election results – meaning the estimate of the gay vote for Republicans is now calculated at 29 percent – then the two data sets are not that far off.

Furthermore, notes Patrick Egan, a public opinion specialist and professor at New York University, both sets of data show a relatively similar shift. Between 2006 and 2010, the exit poll data showed a shift of about five points toward voting Republican. The gay precinct data showed a shift of about seven points.

The two very different polling methods produced very similar results about gay voters moving to the GOP:

The national exit poll data was collected by an independent firm, Edison Research, for a coalition of national news organizations called the National Election Pool. This year’s data was based on information collected from 17,504 voters as they left 268 polling places around the country on November 2. To collect data from the many voters who vote absentee, by mail, or early, the researchers also interviewed another 1,601 voters by phone. How the gay or lesbian voter cast his or her ballot in the House race determined how they were scored in the exit poll. The re-weighted exit polling data can be viewed at CNN’s website.

The gay precinct data was collected from election officials and/or their websites for Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Provincetown, San Francisco, and South Beach. Precincts were chosen in neighborhoods which local gay activists or newspaper editors had identified as heavily gay populated. The data covered a total of 20,882 voters in 34 precincts.

With the gay precinct data, one city, Boston, posed a problem because its House race involved an unopposed Democratic incumbent. However, a look at how gay precincts voted in the governor’s race indicated a similar increase (6.7 percent) – from 13.9 percent Republican in 2006 to 20.6 percent in 2010.

Unfortunately for Democratic candidates and officeholders who blow smoke on gay rights at election time, it looks like gay voters pay attention, and have paid attention in the past. Performance matters to this voting bloc, and we punish non-performers:

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all in gay voting data, however, comes from looking at a chart published by the New York Times of all the national exit polling data collected which included “gay, lesbian, and bisexual” voter identification. It shows that the largest gay vote for Republicans was not in 2010, but in 1998. That’s the year voters shifted away from Republicans, many believe because of the unpopularity of the Republican-led impeachment proceedings against Democratic President Bill Clinton. But that was also just two years after Congress passed – and Clinton signed – the Defense of Marriage Act, and the exit poll data showed that 33 percent of the gay vote went to Republicans.

Lisa Keen wisely wonders what lies ahead for a Democratic party that fails to deliver for a core voting bloc they may have taken for granted one too many times:

But there are questions that loom inside the data. Will the swing of gay voters toward Republicans again last for two election cycles – 2010 and 2012 – as it did in 1998 and 2000? Will the potential failure to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act like a catalyst for gay Republican voting as DOMA did in 1998? The numbers don’t say.

CA Results: Kamala Harris is next AG; McNerney Re-Elected

2:54 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, State Government by Teddy Partridge

Two more things to give thanks for, if you’re a Prop 8 opponent in the first case and a loyal Democratic team member in the second.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will be California’s next attorney general, after her Republican opponent conceded today – a full three weeks after the Nov. 2 election.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley had declared victory on election night, only to see the race flip-flop between the two candidates in the coming days as counties around the state continued to tally mail-in and provisional ballots. This morning, Cooley called Harris – who is now leading by 50,000 votes – to concede and congratulate her.

She will become the state’s first female attorney general.

She is also the state’s first non-white attorney general.

And the jockeying — after you, Alphonse! — begins at San Francisco City Hall:

Harris will now join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – the state’s lieutenant governor-elect – in Sacramento next year, leaving the City by the Bay without a top prosecutor and mayor. Newsom has expressed interest in having Harris resign before he does, so that he can appoint the next district attorney. The Board of Supervisors will choose Newsom’s replacement.

In the second case, Congressman Jerry McNerney has barely survived a challenge for a third term, in his suburban Bay Area district.

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney has been re-elected to a third term in a Northern California congressional district, fending off a challenge from Republican David Harmer.

McNerney held a lead of nearly 2,500 votes on Wednesday with less than 1,900 ballots left to be counted. His re-election means no California congressional seat changed party hands, even as Republicans took back the U.S. House of Representatives with a national GOP landslide on Nov. 2.

This bears repeating, I think, as redistricting begins across America based on the 2010 census:

no California congressional seat changed party hands

AZ Approves Medical MJ

7:36 pm in 2010 election, Drug Policy, Elections, Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

After all the votes are counted, it looks like patients in Arizona won their battle for medicine:

Arizona voters have approved Proposition 203, which legalizes marijuana for medicinal use.

The Secretary of State’s unofficial results indicate that the “yes” vote on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has won by a narrow margin of 4,341 votes, or 50.13 percent of more than 1.67 million votes counted.

This after Maricopa County officials finished counting about 11,000 outstanding ballots Saturday.

The “yes” and “no” votes remained neck-and-neck for more than a week since Election Night, with the “yes” vote trailing behind by at least 3,000 each day. But the “yes” vote picked up traction after election officials started counting provisional ballots and by Friday, it was leading by 4,421 for the first time.

Arizona would be the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The general-election canvass will be held Nov. 29. The Arizona Department of Health Services has 120 days from that day to finalize all rules for implementation. The department is expected to begin reviewing dispensary and patient applications by April 2011.

This means that Just Say Now! wasn’t a total wipeout after all!

Hurray Arizona!

Pelosi Sorts Leadership Tussle

3:54 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Legislature, Politics by Teddy Partridge

By inventing a new post of “assistant leader” for James Clyburn of South Carolina, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has headed off a leadership fight that threatened the unity of her caucus just as it became drastically smaller:

Trying to resolve a dispute among her top lieutenants, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Saturday that she will offer Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) the newly created position of “assistant leader,” calling the No. 3 leadership position [sic].

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues Saturday afternoon, Pelosi did not mention her internal rival, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), but her endorsement of Clyburn served to be an indirect backing of Hoyer to continue on as her chief deputy next year in the No. 2 post of minority whip.

The only way for everyone to move down one rung on the ladder was to create a new rung. While this seemed intuitive from the outside, apparently the Speaker waited until both candidates rounded up some votes before she made her move:

Pelosi’s statement and her letter was viewed by party insiders to mean that Hoyer, an ally of many of the party’s centrists and few remaining conservatives, had collected far more votes than had Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in congressional history.

Two dozen (unnamed in this article) Democrats have questioned Speaker Pelosi’s decision to seek the minority leader spot and no one has announced a challenge to her candidacy.

Barney Frank: Zero Chance of LGBT Laws Passing

6:57 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Government, Legislature, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)(photo: World Economic Forum via Flickr)

Barney Frank (D-MA), in a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Blade after winning his hardest-fought re-election ever, dismissed chances of LGBT progress in the next Congress:

“Next year there’s no chance of anything happening,” he said of pro-LGBT legislation. “There’s zero chance.”

He added, “It will be a status quo. They don’t have the votes to hurt us but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause.”

Chairman Frank suggested that the recent anti-gay march of the GOP House members has stalled any hope for progress:

“The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns,” he said. “There is zero chance of anything good happening with Republicans in control of the House.”

Frank said he was hopeful that the Senate would vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the congressional lame duck session over the next two weeks. The House passed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal measure earlier this year as part of a defense authorization bill.

In my own experience, predictions from a Member of Congress about potential performance of the other House are notoriously unreliable.

Interview transcript here.

Prop 8 Hangs in the Balance in Undecided CA AG Race

3:26 pm in 2010 election, Elections, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

photo: Fritz Liess via Flickr

Among the still-undecided 2010 races around the nation, California’s Attorney General battle holds the future of Prop 8. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris (D) pledges to follow current AG and Governor-Elect Jerry Brown’s lead and not defend Proposition 8 in federal court. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley (R) has pledged to join the Defendant-Intervenors in their appeal of District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who now trails Republican Steve Cooley in their lead-changing race as thousands of late ballots are being counted, opposed Prop. 8 and backed outgoing AG Jerry Brown’s decision not to defend it in court.

Cooley, the Los Angeles County district attorney, said during the campaign that, if elected, he was prepared to give the ballot measure the defense it never got from the state.

The timing of the federal appeal probably preempts any change of direction Cooley might want to make in the AG’s office:

But Cooley probably wouldn’t have a chance to do that right away even if he won the election. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 6 in an appeal by Prop. 8′s sponsors from a federal judge’s ruling that declared the measure unconstitutional. The state’s deadline for appealing that ruling has expired, and if Cooley takes office in January, the court’s not likely to let him enter the case as a party.

It might also present a constitutional conflict if the new Attorney General and the new Governor disagree about whether to back Prop 8; Arnold has agreed with Brown regarding defending the anti-gay proposition. If Cooley wins, his decision to join a possible appeal to SCOTUS would be in defiance of Governor Brown. Whether he would be provided the resources to defend the law remains in doubt.

However, if the Appeals Court and SCOTUS deny the Defendant-Intervenors standing and dismiss the appeal on that basis, a new Attorney General backing their play could re-open the case.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Tea Party’s Voter Intimidation, Right NOW, in SC’s Black and Student Precincts

11:37 am in 2010 election, Elections by Teddy Partridge

South Carolina, leading the way in voter intimidation tactics yet again. From Jill Tubman at Jack and Jill Politics, this report:

I just got a phone call early my time (7:40am PST) that there are Tea Partiers that are trying to prevent black people from voting. This is how racism works and why it’s so important that we fight back. If our right to vote wasn’t so powerful, there wouldn’t be folks working so hard to thwart it. I don’t have any more information than what I’ve been told below.

In Columbia South Carolina, I’m hearing that there are Tea Party folks at Benedict College. There’s a precinct there. They are protesting student votes and making them vote with provisional ballots. Please go down to this polling place if you are nearby or call the police if you are a resident. Benedict is one of our proudest HBCUs and these kids don’t deserve this as one of their first experiences voting in America. I’m hearing that they were turning students away who tried to use their student id as identification. The students were being referred to the County voter registration office. Which is ridiculous — most student IDs are photo IDs and should be enough to establish you are who you say you are so you can vote. Look — to prevent this kind of stupidity: please make sure you take a gov’t issued id — driver’s license, passport, etc — to the polls with you today.

Also, this report from Sumter:

In another report, the Tea Party is on the move at the North Hope Center precinct which is also known as Morris Brown at Sumter SC. These bigots are shouting at the hard working people who have taken time from work or school and are telling them not to vote. Apparently this is happening at more than one location in Sumter.

Voter intimidation can only work if voters are actually intimidated and if authorities ignore it. This sounds like the authorities are unwilling to act against intimidation. Voters need to exercise their franchise despite this intimidation, and authorities need to act swiftly to end intimidation. The chilling effect will keep others away from the polls.

Which is, of course, exactly the goal of the intimidators.


So Why Are the White House Lawyers There? [UPDATE & UPDATE2]

3:17 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Government, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

If “legal ethics” (ha!) prevent the White House attorneys from speaking with litigants in the DADT cases without their attorneys present, but the White House wants to talk legislative strategy with the Veal Pen LGBT groups (and need the two Servicemembers groups, the Palm Center and the Log Cabin Republicans at the meeting today for cover) why invite the White House attorneys at all?

Today, Gibbsy is answering questions in his usually oblique way, without ever saying whether the president plans to use his stop/loss authority to halt the discharges under DADT.

Why not have a candid, freewheeling conversation with all the LGBT issues out on the table? . . . Read the rest of this entry →