CALL ME LAZARUS. In
what appears to be the making of an amazing political "back
from the dead" story, John Kerry continues to move ahead
in Iowa over perceived frontrunners Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt.
According to the latest MSNBC/Zogby tracking poll, Kerry has moved
up to 24%, Dean and Gephardt are tied at 19% each, and Edwards
is at 17%. The poll has a 4.5% margin of error. "We're essentially
in, as far as I can tell, a four-way tie here," said Dean.
All of the campaigns stressed how hard it is to accurately measure
support in the caucuses, where many Democrats keep changing between
several candidates they all like. Also, most polls are based on
registered voter lists, which do not include new voters who register
for the first time on caucus night. Many believe that the Dean
support is likely underrepresented in the polls, as he is believed
to be attracting backing from lots of young, first-time activists
with no prior voter history. Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver
predicted that the close race will produce a record high turnout
on Monday evening at the caucuses. Over this final weekend, the
candidates are all criss-crossing the state in an effort to convince
last-minute undecideds. Politics1's predicitions: Order of
finish in Iowa - Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards. Gephardt will
quit the Presidential race next week after Iowa.
DEMS FOR BUSH. We've been so focused on the exciting
Democratic contest that we haven't mentioned President Bush here
for a while. But the President was also making news on the Dem
side of the contest this week when he landed the endorsements
of a group of Georgia elected officials. Twelve Democratic State
Representatives endorsed Bush at an Atlanta fundraiser. Other
"Georgia Dems for Bush" announced at the event included
former US Attorney General Griffin Bell, former Congressman Doug
Barnard and former US Senator David Gambrell. US Senator Zell
Miller (D-GA) -- who is retiring in 2004 -- had previously announced
his support for Bush.
NUMBERS FROM N.H. A new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV
poll from New Hampshire shows Howard Dean still leading, bu the
contest is tightening. The numbers: Dean-32%, Clark-23%, Kerry-12%.
Today's latest ARG New Hampshire Poll shows: Dean-28%, Clark-23%,
SOME MORE POLLS... Here are some more independent polls
from various upcoming primary states. DELAWARE
(WCAU-TV): Dean-27%, Clark-18%, Sharpton-13%, Gephardt-11%, Kerry-7%,
Edwards-6%. SOUTH CAROLINA (WCSC-TV): Dean-25%,
Clark-23%, Edwards-17%, Sharpton-12%, Gephardt-6%, Lieberman-5%,
Kerry-2%, Kucinich-1%. ILLINOIS (WBBM-TV): Dean-29%,
Gephardt-16%, Braun-14%, Clark-13%, Kerry-7%, Edwards-6%, Lieberman-5%,
DROPS OUT, ENDORSES DEAN. Former US Senator Carol Moseley
Braun (D-IL) withdrew from the Presidential race on Thursday morning.
in the day, Braun is scheduled to endorse Howard Dean in Iowa.
Braun's campaign never got off the ground, and she rarely surpassed
the 2% in any state polls. She finished third with 12% in this
week's DC primary -- but that happened in large part because nearly
every well-financed Dem contender (except Dean) skipped the contest.
Braun was hampered from the outset by an inability to raise money
-- and raised less than $400,000 in three combined reporting periods.
Later, she retooled her message to explain they she was running
so that little girls could grow up understanding that women can
run for President and -- someday -- win a Presidential election.
She apparently approached Dean after the last debate and offered
him her support. Dean also picked up the endorsements this week
of Congresswomen Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Diane Watson (D-CA)
and Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
MOVES INTO NARROW IOWA LEAD. In
stunning news, John Kerry has moved into a very narrow lead in
Iowa over frontrunners Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt. Further,
according to the latest MSNBC/Zogby tracking poll, John Edwards
is also closing in on the lead. The close numbers will likely
add to a higher turnout on Monday night. Here are the latest Iowa
numbers: Kerry at 22%, Dean and Gephardt at 21% apiece, and Edwards
at 17%. The poll has a 4.5% margin of error -- making the contest
a virtual four-way tie. State Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge
(D-IA) also endorsed Kerry on Wednesday, adding to the momentum
he's been building in the state over the past two weeks. Kerry
-- by diverting nearly all his national resources into the Iowa
contest -- has virtually declared it a "make-or-break"
state for him. If Kerry finishes worse than a close second place
in Iowa, he'll likely be forced to drop out. He's hoping a strong
finish in Iowa will quickly revive his failing campaign in New
LEAD HOLDING IN N.H. Another new poll from New Hampshire
shows Howard Dean's wide lead continuing to hold. The latest poll
was conducted by Suffolk University. The numbers: Dean-32%, Clark-17%,
Kerry-12%, Lieberman-11%, Gephardt and Edwards tied with 3% each,
and Kucinich and Sharpton tied for last place with 1% apiece.
WINS D.C. PRIMARY. Despite
attacks hurled at him on race issues over the past week, Howard
Dean placed first with 43% in DC's largely symbolic Democratic
Presidential primary on Tuesday. Al Sharpton was second with 35%,
Carol Braun was third with 12%, followed by Dennis Kucinich at
8%. A group of seven others -- ranging from earnest unknowns to
colorful gaflies to conspiracy theorists -- divided the remaining
votes. Kerry, Clark, Gephardt, Lieberman and Edwards refused to
participate in the DC contest out of fear of alienating Iowa and
New Hampshire voters. No delegates were awarded, however, per
national party rules because the event took place before the IA
and NH contests. The early vote, however, was intended to highlight
DC lack of real voting rights. In an odd twist, voters were not
allowed to cast write-in ballots in these DC races -- even though
several city leaders urged residents to do so as a protest vote.
In the Green Party primary race, attorney David Cobb placed first
by a nearly 30-point margin over his lone opponent. Interestingly,
19% of voters in the Green primary voted for "No Candidate"
-- the option expressing the view that the party should not run
any nominee in 2004. Click here for the complete primary
CONTEST TIGHTENING. Various new polls out in Iowa show
that next Monday night's caucuses could be a very close, three-way
-- or even four-way -- contest. The latest Zogby daily tracking
poll there shows Howard Dean dropped to 24%. The big news, however,
is that Dick Gephardt and John Kerry are now tied at 21% apiece.
John Edwards is fourth with 15%. A second or third place finish
by Gephardt in Iowa would almost certainly force him to immediately
abandon the race -- as his strategy requires a win in Iowa to
give him momentum for the upcoming contests elsewhere. Dean could
survive a second place finish, as he already has the financial
resources and organization in place for the other looming primaries.
Kerry is hoping to replicate Gary Hart's 1984 strategy by scoring
a strong and unexpected second place in Iowa to energize his supporters
and revive his chances in New Hampshire. Wes Clark, by contrast,
is skipping Iowa entirely and trying for a McCain-style upset
over Dean in New Hampshire on January 27.
POLL NUMBERS. What's the current score in New Hampshire?
Two new tracking polls show Dean still leading by a comfortable
margin, but Clark continuing to move up and Kerry slipping further
back. Survey USA/WCSH-TV poll: Dean-35%, Clark-26%,
Kerry-13%, Lieberman-9%, Edwards-6%, and Gephardt-3%. American
Research Group poll: Dean-34%, Clark-20%, Kerry-11%,
Lieberman-9%, Gephardt-4%, Edwards-3%, and Kucinich-1%.
SAID, SHE SAID. In the 2002 campaign, Maryland voters
were treated to the spectacle of Congressman Albert Wynn's (D)
ex-wife campaigning for Wynn's
GOP opponent and waving a sign that read: "Albert Wynn does
not respect black women. He left me for a white woman." Despite
that, Wynn won an easy victory in his safe district. In 2004,
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) now finds himself facing his
own ex-wife in his upcoming re-election contest. Gonzalez's ex-wife
-- former newspaper columnist Becky Whetstone -- has filed papers
to oppose him as an independent candidate. Whetstone's issues
are clearly personal, as her campaign website is even named CongressmansWife.com.
The Congressman called her candidacy a "publicity stunt"
for her upcoming book about life as congressional spouse. "He
is the master of making things up and twisting the truth,"
responded Whetstone in a newspaper exchange. Whetstone believes
she was "bullied by people in power" when Gonzelez divorced
her. "This is not about revenge. I'm not doing this just
because I got a bad deal ... I'm taking action. I really do believe
I'd make a much better Congressperson than Charlie Gonzalez,"
she told one newspaper. Her motives as a candidate "diminishes
the valid interest people have in seeking office," retorted
Gonzalez. The district is heavily Democratic, so Gonzalez -- like
Wynn -- should still cruise to a comfortable win.
PRESIDENTIAL "PRIMARY" TODAY. Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich,
Al Sharpton, Carol Braun and a group of gadfly unknowns compete
in today's symbolic Presidential primary -- but no delegates are
at stake (per national party rules). Two Green Party candidates
are also competing today in that party's DC Presidential primary.
WON'T MAKE GREEN RUN, WILL INSTEAD SEEK REMATCH. Controversial
former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) released a statement
this week that she will not seek the Green Party's 2004 Presidential
nomination. "I have received words of encouragement from
every corner of this country and from Green Party supporters beyond
our shores. But in the end, a national campaign is not in the
cards for me at this time," she wrote. McKinney had spent
the past year encouraging the "Draft McKinney" effort
by giving occasional speeches at Green gatherings around the country.
Meanwhile, McKinney's father -- an equally controversial former
state legislator -- told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
on Monday that his daughter intends to seek a primary rematch
this year against Congresswoman Denise Majette (D-GA). Majette
ousted McKinney in the 2002 primary by a 20-point margin after
McKinney suggested that the US government had advance knowledge
of specific details of the 9-11 attacks but allowed them to occur
to justify a massive US military build-up and global adventurism.
With McKinney and Ralph Nader already out of the Green Party contest,
little-known attorney David Cobb -- the General Counsel of the
party -- now appears to be the favorite to win the GP Presidential
CALLS MOUNT FOR CT GOVERNOR. Republican leaders are now adding
their voices to the calls for Connecticut Governor John Rowland
(R) to resign amidst the
growing corruption scandal. Rowland now admits he allowed state
contractors to pay for improvements on his vacation home, although
he lied about it and denied the allegations for several months
in a failed cover-up attempt. Federal prosecutors are investigating
the matter. Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT) directly called on
Rowland to resign, saying that the Governor has lost his "moral
authority" to lead. Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT) also said
the he could no longer support Rowland. "I am not prepared
to stand by a Governor, even a friend, who has done wrong, lied
about it, and then refused to account for his actions," said
Shays. Additionally, 11 of the 15 Republicans in the State Senate
have also called for Rowland to resign. The Governor's spokesman
said Rowland was "disappointed on a personal level"
by the calls for him to resign. He added that Rowland wants to
finish serving the three years remaining in his current term.
A University of Connecticut poll out this week shows that a solid
majority of state residents support impeaching Rowland, while
nearly two-thirds think he should resign. Our prediction: Despite
his official spin, Rowland will soon quit.
just a week to go until the Iowa Caucuses, John Edwards enjoyed
a good weekend in the state. He scored a solid performance in
Sunday's debate and -- more importantly -- he won the endorsement
of the Des Moines Register. The latest polls in the state
still have Edwards running fourth. John Kerry is also making a
major effort in the state but, thus far, seems to be getting little
return on his investment. Polls continue to show Kerry in third
place and still outside of striking range for his target of second
place. Kerry's massive reallocation of resources into Iowa has
also enabled Wesley Clark to pass Kerry in New Hampshire for the
second place spot there behind Dean. The real contest in Iowa,
however, continues to be Howard Dean versus Dick Gephardt -- just
as it has been for months. The two men are locked in a close race,
with Dean continuing to lead Gephardt by a very narrow margin.
As had been recently anticipated, US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
endorsed Dean on Friday. In late news: Iowa First Lady Christie
Vilsack made a surprise endorsement of Kerry on Monday morning --
even though her husband is officially remaining "neutral."
PRESIDENTIAL "PRIMARY" TOMORROW. Not that it
matters -- as most of the candidates are ignoring it entirely
-- but the District of Columbia
is holding a Presidential primary on January 13. Because it comes
before Iowa and New Hampshire, national party rules prohibit the
primary from playing any role in the delegate selection process.
Thus, it quickly became a mere beauty contest, despite DC's attempt
to use the primary as a vehicle to garner attention for DC statehood.
See the DC First
website, which touts the vote as "A Freedom Primary to Bring
Equal Rights to DC." The District would like the event to
promote voting representation in Congress and "full local
self-government" for DC residents. Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich,
Al Sharpton and Carol Braun have all campaigned in local DC neighborhoods
seeking votes for the primary. Seven other little-known Dems are
also on the DC ballot. Dean is expected to win by a decent margin.
Gephardt, Edwards, Clark, Lieberman and Kerry all demanded that
DC officials remove their names from the ballot, as they did not
want to even create the impression they supported any weakening
of the "first-in-the-nation" status of Iowa and NH.
Two candidates competing in the Green Party's Presidential primary
are also on the ballot.
The American Party selected new nominees for President and
Vice President this weekend, replacing their previous nominees
who withdrew last fall. The
party's national committee -- by a 7-6 vote -- selected attorney
Diane Templin of California as the
replacement Presidential nominee. Templin -- a frequent candidate
for office -- was the AP's nominee for President in 1996 (1,900
votes). Templin's political and religious beliefs are entirely
intertwined, as she explained that she would only belong to a
political party that "acknowledges God as creator and the Lord
Jesus Christ as our Savior." Describing her uncompromising social
conservative campaign platform, she said: "I support Biblical
and Constitutional Principles of Life, Liberty and Property."
Templin has done some odd things in the past as a candidate. For
example, at the 1996 US Taxpayers Party Presidential Convention,
Templin unsuccessfully sought the nomination by dressing up as
the Statue of Liberty. If Templin -- who is already on the 2004
California ballot as a Congressional nominee of another conservative
party -- can secure ballot status somewhere for the AP Presidential
ticket, she will already be guaranteed a better finish than the
AP did in the last election. The 2000 AP ticket did not gain ballot
status anywhere, marking the first time that happened since the
party was launched in the 1970s. AP National Vice Chair Al Moore
of Virginia -- who lost to Templin for the replacement Presidential
nomination -- was unanimously selected to be Templin's VP runningmate.
Moore was previously the party's VP nominee in 2000. The original
2004 AP nominees withdrew because they found they did not have
the time needed to devote to running for President.
MISSISSIPPI FILING CLOSES. Candidate filing closed in Mississippi on Friday and none of the Congressional incumbents appear to be facing any serious challengers. While all drew opponents -- including some who will wage aggressive races -- few at this time appear likely to pose major threats to the incumbents. See our Mississippi page for all of the candidate names and links.
"YOU LIKE US, YOU REALLY LIKE US." We're doing our Sally Field routine here because we just received our latest site traffic report and -- thanks to all of you -- we're recording a very high level of traffic these days. Our stats: Over 419,000 unique user sessions, 928,000 page views, and 10.6 million hits per month.
ENDORSEMENTS IMMINENT. John Kerry's campaign appears
to be is on the rise again in Iowa, in part because he redirected
much of his resources from New Hampshire to Iowa. Kerry appears
to be trying to score a surprise second place finish behind Dean
in Iowa -- an outcome that would knock Dick
Gephardt out of the race. Kerry's campaign said he will be endorsed
Friday in Iowa by "a prominent state leader." Most believe
the endorser to be Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) -- a fellow
Vietnam War veteran -- who has been making pro-Kerry comments
for months. Meanwhile, influential US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
is expected to make his preference known sometime before the end
of this weekend. Speculation is that Harkin will endorse Dean,
as the two share a populist agenda and fiesty campaign style.
Another major Dem leader in the state -- Governor Tom Vilsack
-- has repeatedly said he will make no endorsement. In related
news, Gephardt's campaign on Thursday accussed Dean of trying
to cheat in the January 19 Iowa Caucuses. Gephardt Campaign Manager
Steve Murphy said that Dean plans to "violate caucus rules
and send out-of-state supporters to pose as Iowa residents"
to vote on caucus day. Dean's campaign quickly responded by calling
Murphy's comments "ridiculous" and a "sleazy tactic"
intended to falsely hurt Dean's reputation. A new WHO-TV poll
out Thursday has Dean leading in Iowa with 29%, followed by Gephardt
at 22%, Kerry at 21%, John Edwards at 17%, and all others with
a combined total of 8%. A new KCCI-TV poll also released yesterday,
however, showed very different numbers: Dean-29%, Gephardt-25%,
Kerry-18%, and Edwards-8%.
CONTEST CLOSE. A new WBIR-TV poll out Thursday shows
that Howard Dean and Wesley Clark are locked in a tight race in
Tennessee. The numbers: Dean-27%, Wesley Clark-26%, Joe Lieberman-9%,
Gephard-8%, Edwards-6%, and Kerry-4%. The Tennessee primary is
set for February 10.
HART EDGE TOWARDS US SENATE RACES. Two well-known political
figures -- former US Senator Gary Hart (D-CO) and Congresswoman
Katherine Harris (R-FL) -- both appear to be moving towards making
US Senate runs this year. Both are expected to announce their
plans by the end of next week. Sources who have spoken with Harris
believe she has already decided to enter the race for the open
seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Bob Graham (D). The White
House is reportedly trying to discourage Harris from making the
race, as her candidacy could remind voters daily of the 2000 Presidential
recount and polarize the race in Florida. Hart, meanwhile, has
been holding meetings with top DSCC officials in DC and Democratic
leaders in Colorado -- a sign that he is actively considering
making the race against incumbent US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
(R). In related news, former Governor David Beasley (R-SC) appears
to be leaning towards entering the open US Senate race in his
TODAY: Georgia, Iowa,
Kentucky, New York,
P2004: Dean, P2004:
Clark, and Calendar.
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by generous contributions. Thank you to today's donor: Glenn C.
If you'd like to make a donation to help support our work,
FALLOUT. Since a federal panel of judges ruled Tuesday
that the GOP-led Congressional redistricting plan was constitutional,
a lot has happened. Congressman
Jim Turner (D) announced he would not seek re-election, as it
would be impossible for him to win under the new lines. President
Bush stepped into the crowded CD-4 race by strongly endorsing
Congressman Ralph Hall (R), who just switched parties on Saturday.
The Bush endorsement is likely to prod several of Hall's GOP primary
opponents to exit the race. Congressman Martin Frost (D) -- the
former DCCC Chair and one of the top targets of the redistricting
plan -- vows that he will seek re-election, only he hasn't decided
where yet. "If Republicans think I'm just going to disappear
from the scene... they're sadly, sadly wrong," said Frost.
Finally, Congressman Nick Lampson (D) announced that he may jump
into the race against US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R),
the architect of the redistricting plan. "In response to
the the many people who have been asking me if I'm going to run
against Tom DeLay, I will tell them this: Anybody that is going
to run in any of these district is running against Tom DeLay,"
said Lampson. DeLay seemed amused by the prospect, as his district
appears reliably Republican. Other endangered Dem incumbents include
Congressmen Charlie Stenholm, Chet Edwards and Max Sandlin. Congressman
Chris Bell (D) -- who is white -- could face problems in his primary
from black opponents in his new, minority district.
HE WON'T GO. In the wake of rapidly growing corruption scandal,
pressure is increasing on Connecticut Governor John Rowland (R)
to resign. Rowland
recently admitted he allowed state contractors to pay for improvements
on his vacation home -- after lying about the work for several
months. Democrats in the legislature are talking impeachment.
Federal prosecutors are looking into possible criminal charges.
Even GOP elected officials in the state are fairly silent when
given the opportunity to offer words of support for Rowland. A
new Quinnipiac University poll shows that CT voters -- by a 56%
to 34% margin -- want Rowland to resign. The poll also found that
only 13% thought Rowland "was honest and trustworthy." The Governor,
meanwhile, says he has no plans to quit. Speaking live on TV on
Wednesday night, Rowland apologized and said he never provided
any favors in exchange for those gifts. "I humbly ask for a renewed
opportunity to earn back your trust, to redeem myself in your
eyes and to continue to lead this state," he pleaded. If Rowland
departs, Lieutenant Governor Jodi Rell (R) would become Governor.
TODAY: Arizona, Connecticut,
Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Missouri, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, South Dakota,
Texas, Virginia, P2004:
Bush, P2004: Green Party, and Jobs.
IS STILL RUNNING? It seems unlikely that things could
get any more dire for Senator John Kerry's Presidential campaign.
Since Summer 2003, Howard Dean has been leading Kerry in New Hampshire.
In December, three separate polls showed Dean even beating Kerry
in Massachusetts -- Kerry's homestate. Now, a new independent
poll is showing that Kerry could possibly finish third in New
Hampshire. According to the latest American Research Group tracking
poll out Tuesday, Kerry barely edges out Wes Clark for a distant second
place finish. The numbers: Dean-39%, Kerry-14%, Clark-12%, Dick Gephardt
and Joe Lieberman tied at 6% each, and the rest are ... well ...
entirely irrelevant. In related news, WMUR TV-9 in New Hampshire
reported Tuesday that a poll conducted "for one of Clark's
competitors shows Clark has passed ... Kerry for second place"
in the state.
GOP REDISTRICTING PLAN APPROVED. A three judge panel
of federal judges Tuesday ruled that the GOP-led Congressional
was constitutional. The plan -- inspired by US House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- is expected to eliminate the Democrats'
current 17-15 advantage in the Texas delegation and instead result
in a likely lopsided 22-10 GOP majority. "We decide only the legality
of [the plan], not its wisdom," wrote the court, in holding that
the plan did not violate minority voting rights. Democrats were
incensed by the decision. "By judicial fiat, a three-judge federal
panel has effectively repealed the Voting Rights Act and turned
back the clock on nearly 40 years of progress for minority voters,"
griped Congressman Marty Frost (D-TX), who is likely to lose his
seat under the ruling. The ruling was unanimous, except as to
the new CD-23 district lines (which was approved by a 2-1 decision).
The court decision almost entirely eliminates any Democratic chance
to recapture control of the House in 2004.
2004. A group of Democrats who were active in the original
"Draft Wesley Clark for President" effort are now launching a
new "Draft Clark" bid in Iowa. You see, they support Clark and
are unhappy that he has decided to pass on participating in the
upcoming Iowa caucuses on January 19. They are encouraging Democrats
to show up at the caucuses and vote for Clark. Now, if only they
could do the same in the other early contest states where Clark
is already campaigning.
TODAY: Maine, Massachusetts,
Montana, Nevada, South
Dakota, Texas, Vermont,
and West Virginia.
ENDORSE DEAN. Former US Senator and 2000 Presidential
candidate Bill Bradley (D-NJ) is set to endorse Howard Dean on
Tuesday. The announcement is set for New Hampshire. Of course,
in the Dean press advisories, Bradley isn't named. He's just called
"a special guest." In somewhat related news, a new independent
poll shows Dean is holding a small lead in Arizona. The numbers
(Arizona Republic poll): Dean-22%, Wes Clark-19%, Joe
Lieberman-7%, and the rest trailing behind. Meanwhile, General
Clark said on Meet the Press: "I'm running to be
the President of the United States, not the Vice President, and
I will not accept that nomination." The Dean folks keep insisting
that they never offered it to Clark, anyways. "He can repeat
the story 500 times, but that still doesn't make it true,"
said a Dean spokesperson.
ENDORSES BUSH. Not
that God told me his views on the P2004 race, but God apparently
shared his political preferences with televangelist Pat Robertson.
In remarks on Friday's edition of The 700 Club, Robertson
said: "George Bush is going to win in a walk. I really believe
I'm hearing from the Lord [that] it's going to be like a blowout
election in 2004. It's shaping up that way ... I mean, [Bush]
could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make
any difference what he does -- good or bad -- God picks him up
because he's a man of prayer and God is blessing him." Robertson
has claimed in the past to have received messages from God, but
with very mixed accuracy. For example, God has yet to destroy
Orlando, Florida by "some serious hurricanes ... terrorist
bombs ... earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor" --
which, Robertson claimed in 1998, God told him was going to occur
after Disney permitted "Gay Days" parties to take place
in the theme park.
DRAWS TOP-LEVEL OPPONENT. GOP dreams were answered Monday
night in South Dakota when former Congressman John Thune (R) announced
that he will run against US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle
(D) this year. Thune -- who very narrowly lost a US Senate race
in 2002 to a Daschle
protege -- had been heavily recruited for the race by the White
TODAY: California, Delaware,
Florida, Michigan, New
Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Texas, P2004: Peace &
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CONGRESSMAN BOLTS TO GOP. Facing a tough re-election
fight in an increasingly Republican leading district -- especially
after the new reapportionment -- Congressman
Ralph Hall switched from Democrat to Republican on Friday. "I've
always said that if being a Democrat hurt my district I would
switch or I would resign," explained Hall to the AP. He claimed
that GOP leaders recently refused to fund projects in his district
and -- when he asked a colleague why -- "the only reason
I was given was I was a Democrat." Even before the switch,
Hall had built one of the most conservative voting records in
Congress. "I don't think this is going to upset the Democratic Party. I haven't been voting with them in 10 or 15 or 20 years," joked the Congressman. Hall, 80, is currently serving his 12th term in
Washington. Congressional candidate filing in the state ends January 16.
NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. We continue our series on
the more obscure Presidential candidates with our profile of perennial
candidate Ed O'Donnell (D-NH). He recently moved to New Hampshire
and qualified for the Presidential primary ballot there as part
of his latest White House campaign strategy. O'Donnell's Democratic
run for President this year is designed to garner him some attention
that, he hopes, he can parlay into making a viable Independent
run for President in November 2004. "I don't need to win
in New Hampshire. I just have to become an overnight sensation
on January 27th or I'm finished [as an Independent candidate],"
he explained. O'Donnell previously ran for President in 1984,
1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. During his 2000 run -- when he finished
16th place in the primary with just 35 votes -- he promised to
slash the President's salary to $25,000 if elected (because, he
said, that's what George Washington was paid). He also vowed to
turn Camp David into an alcohol rehab facility. "I am physically
fit. I'm a teetotaler. I don't smoke. I won't even use caffeine,"
said O'Donnell. He believes the police in the US are generally
abusive to the public -- and says the police have a history of
profiling and harrassing him personally. He advocates curing that
problem through the use of "a Nuremberg-like trial ... about
all police mistreatment of private citizens."
He also supports terms limits for politicians, the media, religious
leaders, etc. "Everyone in the media has to go, and I'm on
record as saying that the greatest tyrants in society today are
Brokaw, Jennings, Rather, Couric, and Russert," said O'Donnell.
He also specifically wants to remove Pope John Paul II and Rev.
Billy Graham from any positions of public influence. O'Donnell also supports
calling a constitutional convention in Williamsburg, Virginia ("a
very inspiring place") and wants to ensure that a bunch of
the delegates are "milk men and garbage men and maids and
waitresses -- we don't want it to be an academic elitist group."
He supports "total gun control" and is also opposed
to knives, too. "Now I'm also asking if I were to speak before
the National Academy of Sciences, I've got some requests for them.
One, with all our scientific brilliance can we devise -- well
first we're going to have a knife turn-in day as well as a gun
turn-in day. I want every knife that can do harm to a human being
turned in -- can our scientists design a kitchen utensil which
will not do the damage that these knives that people stab [with]
... A gun turn-in day and a knife turn-in day and even if we get
twenty to thirty percent of these out of circulation, that would
help," he explained in a newspaper interview. Hey, he's got
a point, as there's no Second Amendment right to own steak knives.
But, let's get back to the media: "You have 54 wars going
on right now, and the media is covering that up ... The national
press hates me because I want them removed and essentially put
in a Nuremberg-like trial." We almost forgot: he advocates
cutting Medicare costs by having healthier people and less use
of medicines. And -- if you don't agree -- he'll probably have
"a Nuremberg-like trial" idea for you, too.
CHECK IS IN THE MAIL. Today
is the day that several Democratic Presidential hopefuls have
been waiting for: the day the Federal Election Commission gives
them their first payment of federal matching funds. On Wednesday,
the FEC certified the first checks -- totaling $15.4 million --
that it will pay out today to each of the six candidates currently
participating in the Presidential public financing system this
year. The latest entrant into race -- retired General Wesley Clark
-- is also the person collecting the largest check: $3.7 million.
Here is what the others are receiving today: Senator Joe Lieberman-$3.6
million, Senator John Edwards-$3.4 million, Congressman Dick Gephardt-$3.1
million, Congressman Dennis Kucinich-$736,000, and purported cult
leader Lyndon LaRouche-$839,000. Carol Braun and Al Sharpton have
yet to raise enough money to qualify for matching funds. By contrast,
President Bush, Governor Dean and Senator Kerry opted out of public
financing in order to avoid the mandatory spending limits that
come with the payments.
NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. Today we continue our series
on the more obscure Presidential candidates with our profile of
one of several candidates who qualified for a spot on the January
13 Presidential Primary ballot in the District of Columbia.
-- before you read any further -- let me assure you we are not
making this one up. Vermin's
campaign is clearly intended to be humorous, and he uses his campaign
web site to make lots of jokes -- but he's really on the ballot.
How did he pick his
politicians are, in fact, vermin. I am the Vermin Supreme, therefore
I am the most qualified candidate in this race ... Yes, I am a
politician, that's my job. Of course, as a politician, I shall
lie to you because I am a politician and have no reason not to,"
he wrote. His campaign theme: "Vermin Supreme
represents many abstract emotionally charged buzzwords -- such
as freedom, justice, law, order, liberty and democracy -- just
to name a few." A large part of his platform relates to promoting
better dental hygiene ("Stong Teeth for a Strong America").
To make sure the American people regularly brush and floss, he
promises: "Warrantless random no knock dental inspections;
Government issued toothpaste containing addictive yet harmless
substances; Video surveillance through two way bathroom mirrors;
Electronic tracking, moisture and motion sensor devices in all
toothbrushes ... or even preventative dental maintenance detention
facilities." Our favorite among his proposals: "Gene
splicing to create a race of winged monkeys to act as tooth fairies."
His other campaign promises include: "To do something about
the weather ... Massive and arbitrary censorship of anything found
offensive by an appointed truth and morality squad ... Making
dangerous weapons available to anyone who wants them ... Polygraph,
drug tests and loyalty oaths for all citizens, along with the
issuance of citizen identity cards, radio transmitter implants
and laser fingerprint tattoos to keep track of you and your children,
for your protection ... Legalization of prostitution and gambling
along with the promotion of professional sports, video arcades,
and crack houses together with other mindless forms of diversion
to help you take your mind off what's really going on ... To appoint
lots of committees to look into all sorts of things ... To tax
the bejeezus out of everything ... [and] Free pizza and beer for
TODAY: Colorado, District
of Columbia, Kentucky, Missouri,
Maine, New Hampshire,
New York, North Carolina,
Texas, Vermont, Washington,
P2004, P2004: Clark,
P2004: Other Democrats, P2004:
Other Republicans, P2004: Green Party,
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New Year from POLITICS1.
TODAY: California, Florida,
Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma,
and P2004: Dean.