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BLOG ARCHIVE: FEBRUARY 17-28, 2006

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TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FLORIDA. US Senator Bill Nelson (D) is up in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. The new numbers: Nelson - 53%, Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) - 31%. Harris got more bad news this past week as her finance director and campaign treasurer both quit. Also, the same corrupt defense contractor who previously pled guilty to bribing former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) told prosecutors he funnelled over $50,000 in illegal contributions to Harris. While that made the contractor Harris' largest donor in the last election cycle, there is no hint of wrongdoing by Harris in that nothing indicates she knew the illegal source of the money.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.28.06 | Permalink |

ALABAMA. Governor Bob Riley (R) is on the rebound, after previously looking to be endangered in both his primary and general election contests, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. Riley leads Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley (D) by a 53% to 37% vote. By contrast, the latest Mobile Register/University of South Alabama statewide poll shows a slightly closer race: Riley-45%, Baxley-36%. The poll also shows Riley would destroy former Governor Don Siegelman (D) by a 26-point margin.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.28.06 | Permalink |

OREGON. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) is regaining previously lost ground. The incumbent has a 54% approval rating versus a 42% disapproval rating -- a real approval over his weaker numbers in recent months. In terms of specific match-ups, Kulongoski is also performing much better. Kulongoski leads former State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix by a 51% to 36% vote. He also leads State Senator Jason Atkinson (R) by a 48% to 36% vote, and holds a 47% to 33% advantage over centrist former Portland School Board Member Ron Saxton.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.28.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Becky Lourey for Minnesota Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.28.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Just an aside -- and I certainly am not yet willing to name any names -- but my gut feeling tells me the anti-DC corruption sentiments will cause at least one or two Congressional incumbents to unexpectedly lose primaries this year to little-known challengers. Think Guy Vander Jagt or Alan Dixon, circa 1992.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.28.06 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

WEST VIRGINIA. US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D) -- the aging dean of the Senate -- is cruising to a comfortable re-election victory, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll. The poll also shows it makes little difference whether Byrd faces off against the perceived GOP frontrunner or a total unknown. When matched against wealthy state media mogul and former State GOP Chair John Raese, Byrd wins by a 58% to 32% vote. Byrd beats attorney Hiram Lewis (R) by a 60% to 29% vote. The incumbent also crushes optometrist Zane Lawhorn (R) by a vote of 61% to 28%. These numbers seemingly place Byrd somewhere between the "Dem Favored" and "Safe Dem" columns.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

TENNESSEE. A new development in the gubernatorial race. Congressman Bill Jenkins (R) -- who recently announced his decision to retire this year to spend more time with his family -- said Saturday that GOP activists are pressing him to run for Governor. Speaking at the Greene County Lincoln Day Dinner, Jenkins said "This talk of [running for] Governor is pretty heavy ... I want to remind you all, I did that once [in 1970]." Jenkins said he was 33 during that campaign, looked to be in his 20s, and everyone thought he "looked too young" then to be Governor. "I guess I’ve gotten old enough," joked the 69-year-old Jenkins. While Jenkins promised to give the race serious consideration and make a formal decision soon, he said entering the race "would undo all the reasons" why he was retiring from Congress. If Jenkins passes on the race -- as is ultimately expected -- no major GOP hopefuls remain in play to challenge Governor Phil Bredesen (D). In related news, check out our Tennessee page to view the crowded races for the open CD-1 and CD-9 seats.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

COLORADO. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter (D) is pulling ahead of either of his likely GOP rivals in the open gubernatorial contest, now that Democrats are largely unifying behind Ritter's candidacy. Ritter leads Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) by a vote of 40% to 33%. Ritter leads former university president Marc Holtzman (R) by an even wider vote of 41% to 28%. Interestingly, little-known State Representative Gary Lindstrom (D) -- who has almost a zero chance of capturing the nomination -- holds his own against both Republicans. The poll showed Lindstrom besting Beauprez by one point and leading Holtzman by two points.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

ARIZONA. State Treasurer David Peterson (R) unexpectedly announced Friday he would not seek reelection this year -- even though he was not yet facing any opposition. The announcement came just a day after word leaked out to the media that Peterson was being investigated on allegations of possible wrongdoing. The Attorney General's office apparently seized a computer and documents from Peterson's office, but Peterson's office declined to discuss the investigation or allegations. "It is not a public matter. It's not something that's out there for public consumption," said Peterson's spokesman, who refused to provide any further details. Subsequent news reports indicate the investigation is focused upon theft and fraud allegations. Even before the investigation broke, Peterson had been getting bad press starting when a top aide resigned and issued a scathing, 4-page letter sent to state legislative leaders detailing a lengthy list of problems in the Treasurer's office. And -- while we're on the topic of (allegedly) corrupt State Treasurers -- recently resigned New Mexico State Treasurer Robert Vigil (D) was indicted last week by the feds on two counts of racketeering and one count of extortion. That is in addition to the 19 felonies he pled not guilty to following his October resignation. Vigil's trial is set to start in April.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

GAY ADOPTION. State Senator Robert Hagan (D-Ohio) says he will introduce legislation to ban Republican couples from adopting children. According to Hagan, "credible research'' shows that adopted children raised in GOP households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities." Hagan agrees there is no scientific evidence backing his claims about Republican parents -- just, as Hagan notes, there is none backing State Representative Ron Hood's (R) bill banning gay parents from adopting. Hood claims children purportedly suffer from emotional "harm" when they are adopted by gay couples. Hagan admits he created his proposal to mock Hood's proposed ban on gay adoption in a way that people would see the "blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive" nature of the bill. The GOP House leadership does not support Hood's proposal.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is TerriPAC.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Special thanks to Bob Bruce -- a candidate for NH Executive Council -- who this weekend became the first candidate to purchase one of our specially-priced ($50/month) banner ads on a state page. Check our Bob's ad on our New Hampshire page, to give you an idea of what your ad could look like on the state page covering your race.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.27.06 | Permalink |

SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE. The weekend open thread.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.25.06 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Sorry about this, but I was so swamped at work Thursday -- and ended up working really late -- that I'm just too exhauster to write updates tonight. But ... here's one usual item to ponder: Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and surgeon Bob Johnson (D-NY) -- an '04 Congressional nominee and current '06 candidate -- showed up at his local airport for a flight to Florida ... and found himself barred from flying because he is now on the FAA's "No Fly List" of high-risk, banned travelers. Johnson concedes he is against the Iraq war, but didn't think that could get him banned. Click here to read more of this disturbing and odd story.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.24.06 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OHIO. Talk about embarrassing, but the frontrunner for the CD-6 seat left open by the gubernatorial candidacy of incumbent Congressman Ted Strickland (D) was bounced from the ballot this week because he failed fell short of the required 50 valid petition signatures. State Senator and former State House Minority Whip Charlie Wilson (D) fell two signatures short of the meager number requirement, forcing the Columbiana County Board of Elections to disqualify him. Write it off to sloppiness. It's not the end of Wilson's campaign, but it is a needless setback. Wilson has raised nearly $500,000 last year for the race, and faces only minor opposition in the primary -- but now he must win the primary as a write-in candidate. Wilson also has the option of filing as an Independent, instead of taking the primary write-in route, but the primary option appears most likely. If Wilson secures the nomination as a write-in candidate -- just as DC Mayor Anthony Wiliams (D) was forced to do in his sloppy but successful 2002 re-election -- we'll move this race back to "Leans Dem" from our new rating of "Toss-Up." State House Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Blasdel faces a primary against four others, but is the likely GOP nominee.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

FLORIDA. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows clear favorites emerging in the gubernatorial primary contests. On the GOP side, the poll showed Attorney General Charlie Crist now leading State CFO Tom Gallagher by a vote of 40% to 31%. On the Democratic side, Congressman Jim Davis holds a wide lead of 29% to 13% over State Senator Rod Smith. The poll also included general election match-ups -- with Crist again the strongest of the bunch. The numbers: Crist-40%, Davis-36% ... Crist-42%, Smith-32% ... Gallagher-37%, Davis-36% ... Gallagher-38%, Smith-34%. (Full Disclosure: I'm openly supporting Jim Davis and contributed to his campaign -- but I also like and respect Rod Smith, and think he'd make a great Lieutenant Governor runningmate for Jim.)
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

MARYLAND. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele's (R) recent verbal blunders have wounded his campaign. According to the poll, Congressman Ben Cardin (D) now leads Steele in the open US Senate race by a vote of 49% to 35%. However, if former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (D) trails Steele by a 42% to 41% vote.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

PENNSYLVANIA. The silence from Governor Ed Rendell (D) in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor speaks volumes, based upon his past history. Normally Rendell intervenes in statewide primary fights to twist arms and avoid divisive ballots contests. However, Rendell has never been close to incumbent Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll (D), who was matched with him in the 2002 general election after she won a primary upset over Rendell's preferred runningmate. Jump forward four years to 2006 and Rendell is uncharacteristically silent about the energetic primary challenge Knoll is facing from former Congressman Joe Hoeffel and one other. Observers believe Rendell's silence is a clear sign he prefers Hoeffel as a runningmate to the 76-year-old, gaffe-prone Knoll. Montgomery County Commission Chair Jim Matthews -- brother of MSNBC Hardball show host Chris Matthews -- is unopposed for the GOP nomination to be Lynn Swann's Lt Gov runningmate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Joe Dunn for California State Controller.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. What did we miss today?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.23.06 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OHIO. Eleventh Commandment ... What Eleventh Commandment? The GOP primary for Governor took a sudden nasty turn in new TV and radio spots. The ads also blast retiring Governor Bob Taft (R). Secretary of State Ken Blackwell went on this air this week with commercials attacking GOP primary rival Jim Petro for lacking integrity. Here's the full script:

ANNOUNCER: "Scandal. Coin-gate. A 53-count indictment. Governor Taft: guilty of ethics violations. Now, Attorney General Jim Petro under an FBI probe. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's called for a special prosecutor. Petro gave $129 million in unbid legal contracts, and expected campaign kickbacks in return. He's used the special counsel program as a fundraising.
CLOSING SCREEN: It's ethics worse than Taft's. Blackwell for Governor. Courage in the public square."

State GOP Chair Bob Bennett blasted Blackwell: "The race for Governor should be a contest of ideas, not smear tactics and attack ads. I expect this kind of negative campaigning from the Democrats, but Ken Blackwell should have a better strategy for winning this primary than simply burning down the house." From our perspective, the theme is smart way for Blackwell to continue to package himself as the anti-Taft Republican.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

TEXAS. A new Dallas Morning News poll shows Governor Rick Perry (R) holding a big lead in his multi-candidate race for re-election. The poll also shows former Congressman Chris Bell leading former Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage by a 28% to 12% vote among likely Democratic primary voters -- leaving a whopping 60% undecided with the March 7 primary just two weeks away. As for the general election, Perry has no problem against either Democrat. Scenario #1: Perry-36%, Bell-19%, State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn (Independent)-16%, author/musician Kinky Friedman (Independent)-10%. Scenario #2: Perry-36%, Gammage-17%, Strayhorn-17%, Friedman-10%. The only bad news for Perry: only 59% of Perry's 2002 voters say they plan to vote for Perry again.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

PENNSYLVANIA. The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows US Senator Rick Santorum (R) continues to lag far behind State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D). The numbers: Casey-52%, Santorum-36%. The gubernatorial contest is much closer: Governor Ed Rendell (D) - 46%, retired football player Lynn Swann (R) - 43%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

ALABAMA. The Democratic primary for Governor appears much closer than previously believed. According to the latest Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll, Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley leads former Governor Don Siegelman by a vote of 37% to 34% among likely Dem primary voters. Siegelman is currently under indictment on corruption charges, which he claim are politically motiviated. "Even though Lucy Baxley does have some name recognition, a lot of Democrats in Alabama are still not sure who she is," said the pollster.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Eliot Spitzer for New York Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Olympics, politics, David Irving, Bosnia, whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.22.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

IOWA. Iowa Republicans have brokered a deal to avoid a costly gubernatorial primary. Wealthy businessman Bob Vander Plaats (R) is ending his campaign for Governor, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Instead, Vander Plaats will become conservative Congressman Jim Nussle's runningmate for Lieutenant Governor. State GOP leaders said a formal Nussle-Vander Plaats announcement ceremony is being planned for Wednesday. The move will allow the Republicans to unify early and conserve money for the fall. Secretary of State Chet Culver, former State Economic Development Director Mike Blouin and liberal State Representative Ed Fallon are the leaders for the Democratic nomination. Fairfield City Councilwoman Christy Welty (Libertarian), a frequent statewide candidate, also entered the race this week.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

OREGON. The race against centrist Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) is getting rather interesting these days. Kulongoski -- though not embroiled in any scandals -- consistently draws only lackluster support in all the independent polls. Former State Treasurer Jim Hill (D) announced two weeks ago he'd challenge Kulongoski in the primary. The liberal Hill previously opposed Kulongoski in the open seat 2002 primary, but finished third. However, the most significant development came within the past few days when agribusinessman and State Senator Ben Westlund announced he was quitting the Republican Party to make an Independent run for Governor. Westlund espouses a fairly libertarian philosophy -- pro-business, pro-gun rights, pro-gay marriage -- so it is hard to tell how much his candidacy will hurt the eventual Republican nominee. The two leading candidates for the GOP nomination, State Senator Jason Atkinson and former State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix, both come from the Religious Right wing of the party. Oregon State University political scientist Bill Lunch predicted to CQPolitics.com that Westlund will ultimately draw around 23% of the vote -- numbers similar to those Ross Perot attracted in the state in his '92 Presidential race. Portland Oregonian editorial page editor Robert Caldwell agreed Westlund would be a spoiler -- most likely drawing substantially more from the Republican nominee -- but predicted Westlund would still only finish in the single digits.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

ILLINOIS. The gay rights issues are becoming the defining topics splitting the GOP candidates for Governor into two camps: centrists and conservatives. The centrists are State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and former State Board of Education Chairman Ron Gidwitz. The conservatives are State Senator Bill Brady and securities firm executive Jim Oberweis. Topinka and Gidwitz both support gay civil unions and allowing gay couples to continue adopting children. Brady and Oberweis oppose civil unions and want to ban gay couples from adopting kids. All four Republicans oppose gay marriage -- but Topinka and Gidwitz oppose the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Topinka also supported the move last year to add sexual orientation to the state’s human rights law forbidding discrimination in areas like jobs and housing -- although the other three disagree. On the Democratic side, both Dems oppose the proposed constitutional amendment and support gay adoption. However, Governor Rod Balgojevich has backed away from his 2002 support for gay civil unions while his primary challenger -- former Chicago Alderman Edwin Eisendrath -- strongly supports civil unions. Polls show Blagojevich and Topinka are the frontrunners for their respective nominations.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

OHIO. The latest Rasmussen Reports tracking poll shows Congressman Ted Strickland (D) widening his lead in the open gubernatorial contest. Strickland leads conservative Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) by a vote of 47% to 35% -- widening the gap by 8-points since last month. Strickland also leads centrist Attorney General Jim Petro (R) by a vote of 44% to 37%. Retiring Governor Bob Taft (R) -- with a dismal 16% approval rating and a reputation stained by corruption allegations -- is apparently so disliked his mere continuing presence on the political scene is hurting many high-profile GOP candidates in the Buckeye State.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Nick Reid for Congress (R-WI).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Your turn.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.21.06 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

INDIANA. Candidate filing for the Hoosier State's May 2 primary closed on Friday, with no real surprises. No Democrat filed against US Senator Dick Lugar (R), guaranteeing him a sixth term. The hottest race in the state is the CD-9 rematch between Congressman Mike Sodrel (R) and former Congressman Baron Hill (D). It is the third face-off between the two men: Hill narrowly won in 2002, then Sodrel won in 2004 by a margin of just 0.5%. Sodrel and Hill both face primary opposition, but should easily secure their respective nominations. Current rating: Leans GOP. Two other races worth watching are the CD-2 and CD-8 contests. In CD-2, Congressman Chris Chocola (R) faces a likely rematch from attorney Joe Donnelly (D) -- and we'd put this one in the "GOP Favored" column. In CD-8, perpetual Dem target John Hotstettler (R) -- a traditionally poor fundraiser -- looks to be facing the toughest challenge of his career. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) is an attractive candidate who is the raising the money he needs to run a truly viable race, so place this one in the "Leans GOP" category. Congresswoman Julia Carson (D) is facing a crowded and colorful field of eight challengers -- including a neo-nazi drifter named "Hippie Joe" (who formerly called himself "Anti-Semitic Joe") and a convicted felon who has worked as a female impersonator. A few of Carson's other challengers are more credible, but she's still safe.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.20.06 | Permalink |

OHIO. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows US Senator Mike DeWine (R) has moved into a decent lead over Congressman Sherrod Brown (D). The numbers: DeWine-46%, Brown-37%. The poll was taken last week immediately following the withdrawal from the race of Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett (D). An angry Hackett has said he was "betrayed" by Democratic leaders who forced him to quit the race in order to close ranks behind Brown. Interestingly, 31% of Ohio Democrats agreed Hackett was betrayed by party leaders versus 24% who disagreed (and the rest offered no opinion).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.20.06 | Permalink |

MISSOURI. Facing a competitive race for re-election, US Senator Jim Talent (R) has shifted his position on the hot-button issue of stem-cell research. Speaking on the Senate floor a few days ago, Talent withdraw his name as co-sponsor of an anti-cloning bill that would outlaw a promising form of embryonic stem-cell research. Talent said a new approach called "altered nuclear transfer" can alter the genetic material of an embryo to prevent it from developing into a human being and create "an ethically untroubling way" of obtaining embryonic stem-cell material for research. Pro-life groups -- which are very powerful in Missouri -- are outraged with Talent's shift and vow revenge. Sam Lee, leader of the Campaign Life Missouri lobbying group, told Reuters that pro-life activists "were angry enough to skip voting for Talent in November." However, with polling in Missouri running 2-to-1 in support of stem-cell research -- and with the issue expected to be on the state's ballot in a November referendum -- the move is a risky gamble for Talent.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.20.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Kinky Friedman for Texas Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.20.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Sorry for posting so few items today -- and for posting unusually early on Sunday evening -- but I'll be at a friend's wedding on Sunday night and had to get it done quickly.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.20.06 | Permalink |

WEEKEND UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE. An open thread for the weekend.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.18.06 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OHIO. Candidate filing for the primary closed on Thursday, giving a better picture of the key races. In the gubernatorial contest, Congressman Ted Strickland (D) is the prohibitive favorite to capture the nomination. By contrast, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Attorney General Jim Petro are locked in a very competitive fight -- with Blackwell holding a slim edge in the primary. The US Senate race will feature incumbent Mike DeWine (R) versus Congressman Sherrod Brown (D), although both face minor primary opposition. Several Congressional races here are also worth watching. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt faces a tough GOP primary challenge from former Congressman Bob McEwen in CD-2. Abramoff scandal-linked Congressman Bob Ney (R) can, at best, be rated just a slight favorite in his CD-18 contest. State Senator Jim Jordan (R) is the heavy favorite to win the open CD-4 race. State Senator Charlie Wilson (D) and State House Speaker Chuck Blasdel (R) are expected to face-off in a close contest for the CD-6 open seat. Lorain Mayor Chuck Fortin (R) jumped into the open CD-13 seat, requiring the Dems to make a serious effort to hold this Dem seat. Former State Representative Betty Sutton, former Congressman Tom Sawyer and shopping mall heiress Capri Cafaro are the Dem leaders for the seat. Congresswoman Deb Pryce (R) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R) face lively challenges, but both are favored as of today.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

MASSACHUSETTS. Bay State Republicans may finally have a fairly credible hopeful ready to belly up to bar in the race against US Senator Ted Kennedy (D). Former two-term Congressman Peter Blute (R) told the Boston Herald he's looking at the contest and will make up his mind within the next few weeks. "It’s something that’s been suggested to me and I’m analyzing the opportunity," he said. Kennedy already has more than $8 million in his campaign account, so Blute understands the uphill nature of the race. Still, Blute likes to note he's won 5 of the 6 races he entered -- losing only his 1996 re-election contest. Blute later was the Director of MassPort, but was forced to resign following newspaper revelations (and photos) of Blute on a weekday "booze cruise" around Boston Harbor with a topless female passenger. Referring indirectly to Kennedy's infamous Chappaquiddick scandal, Blute said that "In the scheme of Massachusetts political issues, [the booze cruise incident] doesn’t seem to be a big one." Wealthy businessman and gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos (R) recently met with Blute to entice him to be his Lieutenant Governor runningmate. Editor's Note: I used the word "credible" above -- not viable. There is a difference.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

CONNECTICUT. Independent polls repeatedly convince us that Governor Jodi Rell (R) can be moved into the "Safe GOP" column. The latest example is the a Quinnipiac University poll showing Rell destroying her Democratic rivals. Rell leads New Haven Mayor John DeStefano (D) by a vote of 70% to 16%. Rell also trounces Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy (D) by an equally lopsided 70% to 15% vote. Of course, with Rell holding an 81% approval rating, these numbers aren't surprising.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

PENNSYLVANIA. Pro football Hall of Famer and businessman Lynn Swann (R) fumbled the ball when it came to his history of casting ballots in elections. Over the last 18 years, Swann entirely missed voting in 20 out of 36 elections -- including 13 out of 18 GOP primaries and one Presidential general election. "He regrets not voting, and he should have voted," said Swann's spokesperson. She suggested that Swann's travel schedule over the years explained his poor voter record.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

COLORADO. Another day, another Congressional retirement. As had been rumored for months, Congressman Joel Hefley (R) announced he would not seek re-election this year. "I have received a great deal of encouragement to run again and I appreciate that support, but the timing seems right to move on to other opportunities," he explained. Hefley -- the former House Ethics Committee Chair -- had grown frustrated in DC in recent years as he unsuccessfully butted heads with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay over Hefley's desire for tougher bipartisan handling of purported ethics lapses. In response, the GOP leadership removed Hefley from the Ethics Committee. "It's not that I didn't like the job or was anxious to get out ... It's with a great deal of mixed feelings that I do this," said Hefley. The CD-5 seat is heavily Republican, so the real fight here will be in the likely-to-be-crowded GOP primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

GEORGIA. Governor Sonny Perdue (R) continues to look strong, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports tracking poll. Perdue leads Secretary of State Cathy Cox (D) by a 54% to 34% vote. Perdue also holds a 53% to 33% advantage over Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor (D).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

VERMONT. Democrats got some good news in the open Congressional race this week. Republicans were buoyed by the announcement this week that State Adjutant General Martha Rainville would enter the contest. That good news was quashed by the Thursday announcement by State Representative David Zuckerman (Progressive) that he was exiting the race. "[Many of my supporters] fear that a vote for someone outside the two-party system would result in a Republican being elected to office. Many said they would rather vote for their hope than their fears, but that in this race, at this time, they could not," said Zuckerman, explaining his decision as a personal sacrifice made to avert a possible GOP victory. Zuckerman's exit keeps State Senate President Peter Welch (D) as the frontrunner for the seat.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY. Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Zack Space for Congress (D-OH).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 02.17.06 | Permalink |

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GOP/RIGHT:
RNC (GOP.com)
Club for Growth
National Review: Corner
C-Log
Real Clear Politics
Andrew Sullivan
John Ellis
Mickey Kaus
Virginia Postrel
RedState.org
WSJ Opinion Journal
Free Republic
Instapundit
Drudge Report
Hugh Hewitt
Daniel Drezner
Daily Pundit
Bully Pulpit
Outside the Beltway
Little Green Footballs
World Mag Blog
Right Wing News
Volokh Conspiracy
Brothers Judd
David Frum
Mister Politics
Right Wing News
PoliPundit
Power Line
Hedgehog Report
Right Voices
Booker Rising
Save the GOP

OTHER:
ThirdPartyWatch.com
Centrist Coalition
Liberty for Sale
Green Commons
News for Greens


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