ARCHIVE: FEBRUARY 16-28, 2009.
DEMS QUESTION OBAMA'S IRAQ RESIDUAL FORCE PLAN; DEMS EXPECT FRANKEN
BE DECLARED SENATE WINNER IN APRIL; HUCKABEE SOUNDS OFF AT CPAC;
TAYLOR NOT A TEAM PLAYER.
Some leading Democrats are expressing some concerns over President
Barack Obama's plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq after the withdrawal
from the country next year of "all United States combat forces."
US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "That’s
a little higher number than I expected." US Senator Chuck
Schumer (D-NY) said the withdrawal "has to be done responsibly,
we all agree, but 50,000 is more than I would have thought.”
D-NY). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also commented: "I don't
know what the justification is for ... 50,000 troops in Iraq.
I do think that there's a need for some. I don't know that all
of them have to be in country.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is calling on now-former
US Senator Norm Coleman (R) to concede last year's race for US
Senate to humorist Al Franken (D). Franken continues to hold a
narrow 225 vote lead and most court rulings have gone in his favor.
Reid explained that -- in his own 1998 Senate race -- now-US Senator
John Ensign decided to concede defeat to Reid rather than pursue
a recount. "John Ensign wound up as a real hero in Nevada,"
Reid said, who noted Ensign won a Senate seat in the following
election. Coleman's legal challenge to Franken's victory is continuing
in the courts. "The projections -- and they're not locked
in -- are that this should all be finished by the very beginning
of April," said US Senator Chuck Schumer, who expects Franken
to soon join him in the Senate.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) told attendees
at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference
that he was not happy last year when John McCain suspended his
Presidential campaign due to the economy. Huckabee, a likely 2012
candidate for President, felt that McCain's vote for the first
bailout was the end of his Presidential campaign. Huckabee said
he continued to back the GOP ticket, however, because he was being
a good soldier. Huckabee also didn't have nice words to say about
MSNBC. "It's not MSNBC, but the MS-B-S channel," cracked
Huckabee, about the cable channel that conservatives love to hate.
Congressman Gene Taylor (D) sharply attacked his own party's President
over the proposed new spending programs. “I don’t
like it ... Change is not running up even bigger deficits that
George Bush did. That’s what George Bush did very well.
Apparently that’s what President Obama is doing,”
complained the Taylor, a Blue Dog Democrat who voted against the
Obama stimulus bill.
The remarks aren't a big surprise. Taylor -- along with subsequently
defeated Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL) -- were among the only
sitting Democratic incumbents in the nation who refused to endorse
Obama's candidacy last year.
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A MUST READ: UTAH GOVERNOR SUGGESTS WAY OUT OF WILDERNESS FOR
of our readers posted an item in yesterday's blog thread that
I thought intriguing enough to make the focus of today's posting.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) -- a businessman, heir to a
billionaire fortune, former US Ambassador, former Reagan White
House aide, Mormon, and a father of seven -- says
the Republican Party must moderate on social issues and abandon
the current negativity or risk a slow national political death
as a party. And he's also one of the more intriguing possible
GOP White House contenders for 2012, as he wants to push the Republicans
in a new direction. Here are some excerpts from Huntsman's provocative
interview with Politico:
What is your take on the stimulus? Will you take all the money?
It's easy to criticize the bill and if you don't like it, you
don't have to take the money. It's pretty simple. ... We will
take the money.
Q: You said the stimulus wasn't large enough. In addition to
the tax cuts that you mentioned, are there other measures you
would have liked to see included in the bill?
Well, the size of about a trillion dollars was floated by Mark
Zandi, who's a very respected economist. I tend to believe what
he is saying about the size of the package, which didn't necessarily
hit the mark in terms of size.
Q: What do you make of the rhetoric coming out of the Democratic
Party or the Obama administration on fair trade and “Buy American”
That's shades of Smoot-Hawley, 1931. When America closes its
doors, so does everybody else. We are the primary engine of
growth in the world and we are the only beacon of free trade
left, and open markets.
Are you saying that congressional Republicans are irrelevant?
Well, I'm saying, to a lot of states like ours, there isn't
much guidance coming out of Congress that necessarily impacts
anything we do. But I'll tell you this about the overall debate:
we will be irrelevant as a party until we become the party of
solutions and until we become the party of preeminence.
Is it a party of "no" right now?
I'm not sure that it can be defined in any way in particular,
because there's nothing there with which to define it. And it
won't be defined until it breaks through with some real, practical
solutions. "No" isn't a solution.
Q: You've changed your position on gay rights. [Huntsman recently
endorsed civil union legislation which would grant identical
marriage rights to same-sex couples.] What prompted that?
Well, I've always been in favor of greater equality. My first
year in office I ran a reciprocal beneficiary rights piece of
legislation. It failed, but my first year in office I wanted
to see if we could do more in the name of individual rights.
And I've always thought that we were a little bit behind in
terms of equality for people born under the same constitution.
In December you talked about people 40 and under having a very
different view on the environment. Is there a similar generational
gap on gay rights?
You hit on the two issues that I think carry more of a generational
component than anything else. And I would liken it a bit to
the transformation of the Tory Party in the UK. They went two
or three election cycles without recognizing the issues that
the younger citizens in the UK really felt strongly about. They
were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching
out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the
day, much like we're going to have to do for the Republican
Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people
of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have
Q: Why do you think winning back the intelligentsia matters?
I think we've drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty
in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they
would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies,
and in this case many of their environmental policies. Richard
Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We declared
the war on cancer. A lot of intellectual rigor went into the
policies of those days, and we've drifted a little bit from
taking seriously the importance of science to buttress much
of what we're doing today.
It sounds like what you're saying is that Republicans need to
win the educated class of America.
Absolutely. ... I'm not sure that we have connected fully, meaningfully
and in any complete way on the issues of the day.
Are we going to see you in Iowa and New Hampshire next year,
do you think?
If there are some good motocross races.
Has a presidential campaign crossed your mind?
You know, it's hard to speak in those terms today, because we
just had an election. Politics is a lot of serendipity. You're
in the right place and the right time and you've got the right
message, and it either connects for you or, or it doesn't. And
I think whoever emerges as the standard-bearer for the Republican
cause in four or eight years will have to first prove that they
can be a person who delivers results in the incubator or laboratory
of democracy, as opposed to someone engaging in gratuitous rhetoric.
Is there a place in a Republican primary who has views on gay
rights, immigration, the environment, foreign policy, that are
not exactly orthodox conservative?
Well, that will all be determined in the next few years, because
it won't just be me, it will be a whole lot of people who will
probably want to expand the horizons so that we include more
people into our party. There's no other way to get it done.
And, you know, so long as we always believe in life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness, and so long as we can hold firmly
to the principles that keep entrepreneurs viable – because,
in the end, that's the one thing, other than our constitutional
freedoms, that really make us a unique country.
Can someone who believes his party is currently ideologically
bankrupt and the GOP base is essentially "a very narrow party
of angry people" succeed in trying to build a national movement
to fix his party? Agree or disagree with Huntsman -- but it's
a very bold political move which sets him sharply apart from Sarah
Palin, Bobby Jindal, Mark Sanford, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney
and the other social conservatives who are seeking to rebuild
the Republican Party by moving it further right.
Report by Ron Gunzburger- 02.26.09 | Permalink
OBAMA ADDRESSED CONGRESS, NATION; BURRIS WON'T RESIGN; SOLIS CONFIRMED;
PALIN REIMBURSES STATE; DETROIT MAYOR PRIMARY RESULTS.
PRESIDENCY. President Barack Obama, enjoying
high approval ratings, spoke to a joint session of Congress on
Tuesday night. The speech focused almost entirely on the economy,
and alternated between a frank discussion of the problems we are
now facing and his hope for where the recovery plans will take
our nation. He also announced his plan to withdraw "all US
combat troops" from Iraq by August 2010 -- although as many
as 50,000 US troops will remain there after that date in non-combat
capacities for a period of time. The speech was well received
by most pundits across the political spectrum. Louisiana Governor
Bobby Jindal (R) delivered the Republican response. In his first
national televised introduction to most Americans, a smiling Jindal
told his own story, criticized the recovery program as "irresponsible",
and set forth a uncompromising conservative message of blocking
any growth of government in dealing with business, energy and
US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) -- representing the
Senate Leadership -- met with US Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
on Tuesday. Durbin directly pressed Burris to resign, but the
suggestion was immediately rejected. In fact, Burris refused to
even give the alternative commitment Leadership wanted: a public
declaration he will not run for the seat in 2010. Instead, Burris
told Durbin he has not yet decided on his political plans for
next year. Durbin told Burris he will not support his candidacy
if he runs for the full term.
CNN reports that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) will
reimburse the state nearly $7,000 for travel expenses for related
to nine state-funded trips she took with her children. This will
settlement a 2008 ethics complaint claim. After the payment, Palin
will be fully exonerated.
CABINET. Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) was confirmed
as the new US Labor Secretary on Tuesday by a vote of 80-17. A
special election will take place later in the spring to fill her
vacant CD-32 seat. The district is safely Democratic.
Voters on Tuesday cast ballots in a special primary
election to replace former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned
last fall and pled guilty to two felony charges. In a very low
turnout contest, voters decided which two of the 15 candidates
would advance to the May 5 run-off election. Businessman Dave
Bing finished first with 29%, followed by interim Mayor Ken Cockrel
Jr. at 27%, former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix was third with
23%, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans had 10%, and all others
finished far behind in the single digits.
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A LOCKE FOR COMMERCE POST; PALIN SAYS MEDIA PLOTTED TO GET HER;
SHELBY WONDER IF OBAMA IS REALLY AMERICAN; ROMNEY LAYING GROUNDWORK;
INDY JUMPS INTO NJ GOV RACE.
CABINET. CNN reports that fomer Washington Governor Gary
Locke (D) -- the first Chinese-American to serve as a US Governor
-- is expected to be named this week to as the next US Secretary
of Commerce. Locke was Governor from 1997 to 2005. Locke was a
strong supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic
Presidential Primaries and was originally on the shortlist to
be Interior Secretary.
"We are going to seek and ... destroy this candidacy of Sarah
Palin's because of what it is that she represents,' is how the
Alaska Governor now described the national media's reaction to
her Vice Presidential candidacy last year. In a new documentary,
Palin discusses how she believes a conspiracy took place among
members of the media to undermine her candidacy.
HOUSE. US Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is complaining
that he hasn't seen President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Shelby isn't so sure that Obama is legally eligible to be President.
"Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii,
but I haven't seen any birth certificate. You have to be born
in America to be President. Obama could put the urban legend to
rest by simply releasing his actual birth certificate, but he
has declined to do so," said Shelby to an Alabama newspaper over
the weekend. On Monday, Shelby's office backpedlled and said he
has no doubt's about Obama's eligibility to serve. The newspaper,
however, said it stands by its story and that Shelby made the
remarks questioning Obama's constitutional eligibility.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is strongly leaning
towards making a second run for President in 2012. Romney is already
lending financial support to several Republican US House members
targeted by the DCCC. Romney is already planning to make the rounds
in support of these candidates as part of his efforts to lay the
groundwork for a 2012 run.
JERSEY. Former State EPA Administrator Chris Daggett
has entered the race for Governor as an Independent. Daggett,
who served in the Regan Administration, is an environmentalist
who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. At this point, it is hard
to tell which party benefits most if Daggett qualifies for the
general election ballot.
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BUNNING'S VULNERABILITY GROWS; THE RETURN OF BOB SMITH; FEDS QUESTION
BURRIS; BARBOUR SAYS OBAMA RUNNING "PERPETUAL CAMPAIGN";
CONDIT SCANDAL REDUX.
US Senator Jim Bunning (R) is already expected to face a tough
fight for reelection next year, as leading Bluegrass State Democrats
are lining up to run. Over the weekend, Bunning helped to contribute
to his reputation for making erratic comments. Speaking at a Lincoln
Day event over the weekend, Bunning said that US Supreme Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be dead from pancreatic cancer
within the next nine months. Bunning also complained the NRSC
isn't doing enough financially to help him and other embattled
conservative incumbents. In related news, The Hill reports
that State Senate President David Williams is considering making
a primary challenge to Bunning. Williams was in DC Friday meeting
with NRSC officials. Williams, an ally of US Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R), has high name recognition in the state. McConnell
has openly expressed his hopes that Bunning will retire next year
-- after the unexpectedly close call he survived in 2004. Secretary
of State Trey Grayson (R) says he would run for the Senate seat
if Bunning retires, but will not challenge Bunning in a primary.
Bunning insisted again this weekend that he will seek re-election
HAMPSHIRE. Well-placed sources close to former US Senator
Smith (R) tell Politics1 that Smith has shifted away from his
earlier plan to run for US Senate in Florida, where he has lived
for the past few years. Instead, Smith -- who has maintained a
home in New Hampshire -- now plans to return to the Granite State
and run for US Senate in the GOP primary next year if former US
Senator John Sununu Jr. runs for Judd Gregg's open seat. One of
Smith's consultants, who asked not too be named, said Smith will
emphasize his pro-gun rights, pro-life and pro-environment stances
against Sununu. Smith lost for renomination to Sununu in the bitter
2002 primary, so part of Smith's motiviation for running against
Sununu would be to inflict as much political damage as possible
The latest development in the saga: US Senator Roland Burris (D)
was questioned by federal agents on Saturday in his attorney's
office. Don't look for Burris to voluntarily resign, despite overwhelming
calls for him to do so. Everyone who knows Burris said it is simply
outside his nature to ever resign the seat.
HOUSE. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) said Sunday
that President Barack Obama is already running for re-election
based on the location of visits he has made to push the stimulus
package. Barbour -- a former Republican National Chairman and
a potential 2012 White House candidate -- says Obama and his White
House advisor David Axelrod are politicizing the visits as part
of a "perpetual campaign." Obama has made recent visits
to Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and Arizona. The White House
responded by saying Obama is visiting those states because they
are among the hardest hit by the nation's massive economic and
home foreclosure crisis.
REDUX. Former Congressman Gary Condit (D-CA) is writing
a book about his life, now that police are planning to charge
another man in the murder of former Condit intern Chandra Levy.
Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant already serving a 10-year
prison sentence for two assaults in Washington's Rock Creek Park
where Levy's remains were found, will be formally charged this
week with the crime. Condit lost his 2002 re-election primary
after news broke that he had an affair with the then-missing Levy,
and was a possible suspect in her disappearance. His evasive behavior
caused some of the speculation, including his bizarre night drive
around DC to dispose in random dumpsters of various gifts he had
received from Levy. Condit successfully sued Vanity Fair
writer Dominick Dunne for libel for a series of published articles
which said Condit planned Levy's kidnapping and murder. Dunne
recanted and settled to case, paying a large amount of damages
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ILL GOV CALLS ON BURRIS TO RESIGN; CLYBURN INJECTS RACE INTO STIMULUS
Governor Pat Quinn (D) on Friday called on US Senator Roland Burris
(D) to resign, saying it would be in the best interest of the
state. Burris also lost his Chief of Staff, who resigned Friday
to return to his former position in the office of Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid.
US House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) unexpectedly -- and
uncomfortably -- injected race into the economic stimulus debate.
Clyburn stated that “opponents of the stimulus bill are
insulting African-Americans.” Clyburn quickly tried to explain
himself: “Let’s take, for instance, Louisiana. Governor
Jindal has been in my office a number of times. He has called
me a number of times asking for billions of dollars in assistance
to stand communities back up as a result of hurricane Katrina
and Rita. Yet he says there is something wrong with this money
for the stimulus that comes from the same pot, that he sees nothing
wrong when he’s trying to stand back up after Katrina."
Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC), another stimulus opponent who was
criticized by Clyburn, responded: "Rep. Clyburn and I disagree
on this. He thinks it's a good idea. I think it's a horrible idea."
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PALIN'S PROBLEMS; CRIST STRONG; PATAKI PONDERS; BENNETT'S CHALLENGERS
... AND MORE BURRIS NEWS!
After a thorough review, state officials ordered Governor Sarah
Palin (R) pay her back taxes related to per diem reimbursements
she claimed while staying in her home. The Washington Post
first reported last September that Palin had billed the state
for nearly $17,000 worth of meals and other living expenses while
staying in her Wasilla home during the first 19 months in office.
YORK. Former Governor George Pataki (R) met with NRSC
officials this week to discuss a possible run next year against
newly appointed US Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D). Congressman
Peter King has also met with the NRSC to discuss his own possible
The spokesman for US Senator Roland Burris (D) resigned on Thursday.
Also, this quote Thursday to the Chicago Sun-Times for
US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL): "Short of Roland
Burris resigning or resolving this issue -- if he can, and I don't
know if he can -- I don't know what will stop it. I'm tired of
this Blagojevich burlesque that's been going on for so long. The
people of our state should be spared this."
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Governor Charlie Crist
is the GOP frontrunner for the vacant US Senate seat in 2010.
Crist leads Congressman Connie Mack -- his nearest opponent --
by a 53-13 margin. Other Republicans considering the Senate campaign
include former State House Speaker Marco Rubio and Congressman
Vern Buchanan. Asked without Crist in the race, Mack leads Buchanan
34-11, with Rubio at 6%. The poll shows Crist has an overall approval
rating of 68% -- with an 67% approval rating among Democrats.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, US Senator Bob Bennett
(R) will face primary opposition next year. Former Juab County
Prosecutor David Leavitt (R) -- brother of former Governor Mike
Leavitt -- has already announced his plans to run. The newspaper
also mentioned Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and former gubernatorial
counsel Mike Lee as two other potential primary challengers. Shurtleff
-- if he passes on the Senate race -- is also a potential candidate
for Governor in 2012 when incumbent Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) may elect
to retire. In related news, the Tribune reports that
Huntsman has avoided nearly all GOP events in the state over the
past month since he announced his support for same-sex civil union
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BURRIS RESIGNATION CALLS GROW; ROY BLUNT JUMPS INTO MO SEN RACE;
MEEKS LANDS KEY LABOR ENDORSEMENT IN FL SEN RACE.
Interim US Senator Roland
Burris (D) has been busy this week digging himself deeper into
an ethics and potentially criminal hole. US Senate leaders wouldn't
allow Burris to take his seat until he testified before the Illinois
Legislature's impeachment panel on the allegations that now-ousted
Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) tried to sell the appointment to
the seat. In his sworn testimony, Burris stated that he had not
been approached by anyone to give any money to Blagojevich or
his political committee. Remember his great quip at the time to
the media: "I ain't got no money to pay-to-play." Last
week, Burris submitted an affidavit to the Illinois House panel
which he said "supplemented" his earlier testimony.
The change: Burris admitted he had been approached by the Governor's
brother and told to raise $10,000 for Blago's political committee.
The story evolved further this week as Burris now says he did
try to raise money for the committee but was unsuccessful, so
he didn't give anything for the appointment. However, he still
faces a likely perjury probe in Illinois and is the subject of
an official US Senate Ethics Committee inquiry opened on Tuesday.
Calls are already growing for Burris to resign from Illinois newspapers
and Republicans. Leading Democrats are also now distancing themselves
from Burris -- not that they ever embraced his controversial appointment.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released a statement highly
critical of Burris. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was
asked if the President believes Burris should resign. The response:
"I'm not going to get ahead of investigations and say anything
like that yet." Burris has reportedly canceled all events
on his schedule for Thursday.
Congressman Roy Blunt (R) will officially launch his US Senate
campaign on Thursday in a series of rallies around the state.
Blunt -- the former US House Minority Whip -- is likely to face
a GOP primary challenge from former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman,
plus possibly one or two others. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan
faces no significant opposition for the Dem nomination for US
Senate. Incumbent Kit Bond (R) is retiring next year. As for Blunt's
open CD-7 seat, former Governor Matt Blunt (R) -- Roy's son --
is mentioned as a potential candidate. State Representative Shane
Shoeller (R) is also looking at the CD-7 race for this solidly
Congressman Kendrick Meek (D) got an unexpectedly early boost
in his run for the Democratic nomination for US Senate. The influential
SEIU endorsed Meek over State Senator Dan Gelber and heavyweights
like Congressman Ron Klein and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio who are still
weighing the primary race.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 02.19.09 | Permalink
BRUNER-FISHER PRIMARY SET IN OHIO; GOV PATERSON, SEN GILLIBRAND
BOTH TRAIL IN NY PRIMARY MATCHUPS.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) officially jumped into
the open US Senate race on Tuesday, just a week after Lieutenant
Governor Lee Fisher (D) filed paperwork to form a US Senate exploratory
committee. Her move prompted Fisher to officially announce his
full-fledged candidacy on Tuesday evening. Emily's List immediately
endorsed Brunner, while Governor Ted Strickland endorsed Fisher.
The biggest development was the news that Congressman Tim Ryan
(D) will not enter the race and is instead endorsing Fisher. Ryan
is viewed as a young Democratic rising star, so his decision to
pass on the Senate race may hint he is instead interest in running
for Governor in 2014 when Strickland is term-limited. Former Bush
Administration Budget Director and former Congressman Rob Portman
to date is the only major announced GOP candidate. US Senator
George Voinovich (R) is retiring.
YORK #1. Governor David Paterson (D) seems to have lost
whatever goodwill with the public from when he ascended to the
office last year -- with much of the damage seemingly self-inflicted
from his clumsy handling of the US Senate seat vacancy last month.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Paterson trailing Attorney
General Andrew Cuomo by a lopsided 55-23 vote in a Democratic
primary matchup. The Q-poll also tested the strength of former
NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) in the gubernatorial general election.
Giuliani trails Cuomo by a 51-37 vote, but is tied 43-43 if Paterson
is the Democratic nominee.
YORK #2. The Q-poll also tested the 2010 US Senate special
election. Newly appointed US Senator Kristen Gillibrand surprisingly
trails Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy by a 34-24 vote in a Democratic
primary. McCarthy -- a staunch gun control advocate and widow
of a gun murder victim -- is upset that Gillibrand has a 100%
approval rating from the NRA. In a general election pairing, Gillibrand
easily defeats Congressman Peter King (R) by a 42-26 vote. The
poll did not test King against McCarthy.
YORK #3. Sources tell Politics1 that the NRCC is planning
to spend at least $100,000 in support of State Assembly Minority
Leader Jim Tedisco (R) in the CD-20 special election next month.
Meanwhile, wealthy venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) began running
his first TV spots this week.
NOTE: I want to apologize for the information
reported yesterday about a potential primary challenger to New
Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. Although sources told us that a viable
candidate would challenge him, dozens of people heavily involved
in New Jersey politics have rebutted our claim throughout Tuesday.
They have reiterated that all the major South Jersey Democrats
are strongly supporting Corzine's re-election.
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McAULIFFE TAKES SHOTS AT TRIPPI; FRANKEN DECLARES SELF "SENATOR-ELECT";
SOUTH JERSEY DEMS WANT PRIMARY CHALLENGER FOR CORZINE.
At the annual Virginia Capitol Correspondents Dinner, Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe took a swipe at a primary
opponent's senior campaign consultant. McAuliffe aimed his snide
shot at Joe Trippi, who is advising former State House Democratic
Caucus Chair Brian Moran. McAuliffe said Trippi had approached
him before the race began and offered to work for him. "I
said to him: 'You really want to help me? That's what you want
to do? You want to help me, Joe? Great. ... [Then] go work for
Brian and go do for him what you did for President Dean and President
Edwards.'" Moran, sitting in the audience, quickly called
out: "How's President Hillary Clinton?" The third Democratic
contender -- State Senator Creigh Deeds -- avoided this round
After winning a key round of court rulings on Friday -- in which
the judges ruled against reviewing 12 of the 19 categories of
questioned ballots requested by former US Senator Norm Coleman
(R) -- humorist Al Franken (D) has started to use a new title
for the first time. In a press release issued Monday, Franken's
office is now listing him as "Senator-elect Al Franken."
Coleman's office shot back by blasting "Al Franken’s
'Senator-for-a-day' public relations stunt." While Franken
still holds a 225 vote, and appears to be winning the drawn-out
legal challenge, he has yet to be officially certified the winner.
JERSEY. Sources tell Politics1.com that the maverick
South Jersey Democratic political organization is considering
viable primary challenger against incumbent
Governor Jon Corzine in the Democratic primary. The South Jersey
Democratic machine fielded Congressman Rob Andrews against incumbent
US Senator Frank Lautenberg in the 2008 primary. Despite the serious
challenge, the state's Democratic establishment rallied behind
Lautenberg and he defeated Andrews by a 60-34 margin. Corzine
-- like Lautenberg two years ago -- suffers from low approval
ratings and is potentially vulnerable. Former US Attorney Chris
Christie is the leading candidate for the GOP nomination. Upon
speaking with additional sources, the Corzine challenger candidate
referenced in this story would not be considered a viable
primary candidate against the Governor. Additionally, it appears
that those behind the move represent only a small splinter faction
within the South Jersey Democratic organization. Many in the South
Jersey Democratic leadership note they are backing Corzine.
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BURRIS MAY FACE PERJURY PROBE, TOUGH PRIMARY FOE; CONGRESSMAN
BURTON TO FACE CROWDED PRIMARY FIELD IN '10.
US Senator Roland Burris
(D) may have perjured himself when he testified in January before
the Illinois House committee which investigated the impeachment
of now-ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich. Burris -- testifying under
oath on the pay-for-play allegations of the Governor trying to
sell the open US Senate seat appointment -- adamantly stated that
nobody approached him on behalf of Blagojevich seeking money in
exchange for being appointed to the vacancy. Burris filed a "corrective"
affidavit last week with the Illinois House clarifying that Blagojevich's
brother did ask him for $10,000 in political contributions in
exchange for the appointment. However, Burris said neither he
nor his supporters donated any money in exchange for the appointment.
State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D) told the
Chicago Sun-Times that Burris' new account is "very
odd. I don’t know there is anything actionable here, but
I would like to check the record." He may also face a probe
on this same matter before the Senate Ethics Committee. Also adding
to Burris' woes is the likelihood he will face a serious 2010
primary challenge from State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. The
ambitious 32-year-old is a multimillionaire heir to a large banking
fortune. Giannoulias was in DC last week to meet with US Senate
Majority Whip Dick Durbin and begin hiring a campaign staff. Durbin
and Giannoulias are political allies, and Giannoulias will accompany
Durbin on a trade mission to Greece this week. GOP Congressmen
Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam are both also looking at the Senate
After winning a surprisingly close 52-45 primary renomination
victory in 2008, The Hill reports that Congressman Dan
Burton (R) has no shortage of serious primary challengers for
2010. Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff -- the '08 challenger
-- has already announced his plan to seek a rematch. State Representative
Mike Murphy and former Dan Quayle aide Brose McVey have also filed
paperwork to run. Indiana Republican Party Executive Director
Luke Messer is also looking at the seat. Despite his seniority,
Burton has a reputation as a bit of a fringe gadfly. He also was
hit in his last campaign for the high absenteeism in his House
voting record. CD-5 is solidly Republican, so the winner of the
GOP primary will be expected to easily hold the seat in the general
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 02.16.09 | Permalink