CANDIDATE FILING CLOSES.
Candidate filing closed this past week in California. The state
has an odd filing process, in that some congressional candidates
file directly with the Secretary of State, while others qualify
for Congress in the local county elections office. Based upon
various government listsing and news stories, click
here to see the list of California congressional candidates.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.15.08 | Permalink
IS EMBEZZLEMENT VICTIM; CONGRESSMAN CRAMER RETIRES; DSCC RECRUITS
KANSAS CANDIDATE; GRAVEL BACKS GREEN FOR PREZ.
Chris Ward, the longtime treasurer of the NRCC, allegedly embezzled
hundreds of thousands of dollars from the group. The money was
diverted in the form of bogus charges, which resulted in funds
being transferred into various personal and business accounts
owned by Ward. According to various news reports, Ward
was confronted by a group of GOP Congressmen with concerns about
irregularities. Ward finally admitted he had lied to Cole and
that no outside audits had been performed for several years. NRCC
Chairman Tom Cole fired Ward in January and immediately turned
the matter over the FBI. Cole says the amount missing could reach
as much as $1 million. FEC records show that Ward served as treasurer
for 25 other congressional campaigns and Republican fundraising
committees. The Politico reports Ward "also
diverted funds from the leadership PACs and re-election campaigns
for which he worked, usually in smaller amounts, although ...
the total taken from those PACs and campaigns may actually end
up being greater than the losses suffered by the NRCC itself."
In a surprise move, Congressman
Bud Cramer (D), 60, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election
to a tenth term this year. "This was a difficult decision,
but after 28 years of public service it is time for me to step
aside, spend more time with my family and begin another chapter
in my life ... While I am closing my career as a member of Congress
I will continue to be active in the life, growth and development
of the community that I, my parents and my grandchildren will
always call home," explained Cramer, in his prepared statement.
Cramer was a leading member of the Blue Dog Caucus of Democratic
conservatives in the US House. The district has never before elected
a Republican to Congress -- and Cramer won re-elections by landslide
margins -- but the district voted 60% for Bush in 2004. Thus,
this open seat may be the GOP's top congressional pickup opportunity
this year. Possible candidates for the seat include State Representative
John Robinson (D), State Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker
(D), State Senator Parker Griffith (D), Madison County Commissioner
Mo Brooks (R), and State Senator Arthur Orr (R). Race Rating:
The DSCC recruited its top choice for the long-shot race against
US Senator Pat Roberts (R). The Kansas City Star reports
former Congressman Jim Slattery (D) will officially announce his
candidacy next week. Slattery, once a rising star in Kansas politics,
was defeated in the 1994 gubernatorial race. Since then he has
worked as a lobbyist in DC. "We welcome the opportunity to
draw the clear distinction between a Senator who has been a full-time
advocate for Kansans and a $600-an-hour Washington lobbyist who
has been a full-time advocate for special interests," said
Roberts' spokeswoman. Race rating: GOP Favored.
Former US Senator Mike Gravel (D) says he is still running for
President. But that hasn't stopped him from endorsing a candidate
for the White House. Gravel's choice: filmmaker and environmental
activist Jesse Johnson (Green-WV). Johnson posted the endorsement
on his campaign website."We must have a voice in the political
realm speaking earnestly and intelligently about all of our environmental
needs. Johnson and the Green Party have that environmental credibility
that we Democrats have lost ... If we want to end the war in Iraq,
provide health care to all citizens, educate our young people,
we're going to have to start not only working together with these
alternate parties: but literally working to support them. That's
why I'm supporting Jesse Johnson's campaign for President,"
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.14.08 | Permalink
RESIGNS IN SEX SCANDAL; OREGON FILING CLOSES; DR. DEATH FOR CONGRESS.
YORK: As expected, Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) resigned on
Wednesday in the wake of a sex scandal. Spitzer was released as
"Client 9" in a federal investigation related to a multi-state
prostitution ring. While others may have weathered this political
storm, Spitzer could not because it revealed him as a hypocrite.
As Attorney General, Spitzer prosecuted two high-profile prostitution
rings. As Governor, Spitzer signed legislation into law which
increased the penalties for clients of prostitutes. Under that
law, the penalty for hiring a prostitute in New York -- a misdemeanor
-- was increased from a maximum of three months in jail to a maximum
of one year in jail. With Spitzer out, Lieutenant Governor David
Paterson (D) is the new Governor. Paterson, who is legally blind,
is only the nation's third black Governor since the post-Civil
War Reconstruction era. Paterson, who is more socially liberal
than was Spitzer, also has a reputation as being able to work
well with legislators on both sides of the partisan aisle. With
Paterson's promotion, State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R)
also takes on the dual role of Acting Lieutenant Governor.
Filing closed in Oregon this week for statewide and congressional
offices. US Senator Gordon Smith (R) faces a minor primary opponent,
plus six Democratic challengers. Smith's two main Dem opponents
are State House Speaker Jeff Merkley and progressive attorney
Steve Novick. None of the state's congressional incumbents faces
serious opposition -- and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D) doesn't
even face any major party opposition. The race worth watching
is the open CD-5 contest to replace retiring Congresswoman Darlene
Hooley (D). Five Democats and three Republicans filed for the
seat. The candidates worth noting are State Senator Kurt Schrader
(D), former gubernatorial chief of staff Steve Marks (D), former
State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix, and transportation executive/'06
GOP nominee Mike Erickson. The state will also see open seat contests
for Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Attorney General.
The Republicans failed to field any candidate in the Attorney
General race. Click here to see all of the Oregon
Retired physician and medically-assisted suicide activist
Jack Kevorkian, 79, plans to run against Congressman Joe Knollenberg
(R) as an Independent. Kevorkian, who was released from prison
last year, was serving a second-degree murder sentence for for
assisting in a suicide. Kevorkian -- widely known in the media
as "Dr. Death" -- claims he helped roughly 130 terminally
ill people commit suicide. He says he is running to focus on prison
reform, legalizing physician-assisted suicide, and improving government
integrity. Knollenberg is already locked in a tough fight against
former State Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters (D). Kevorkian could
possibly play a spoiler role in a tight race.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.13.08 | Permalink
As expected, Barack
Obama won the Mississippi primary on Tuesday. The results: Obama
- 58%, Hillary Clinton - 40%. In terms of delegates, Obama won
16 and Clinton won 9. As each week passes and fewer states remains
unvoted, Clinton's mathematical odds of overtaking Obama continue
to worsen. In the US Senate race, State Representative Erik Fleming
(D) easily won the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Thad
Cochran (R) in November. In CD-1, both party races appeared headed
into April run-offs. Former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough led
Southhaven Mayor Greg Davis for the GOP nomination in Tuesday's
vote. On the Dem side, Prentiss County Clerk Travis Childers narrowly
led State Representative Steve Holland in primary voting. In CD-3,
State Senator Charlie Ross and Rankin County GOP Chair Gregg Harper
appeared to be heading towards a GOP run-off. Pickens Alderman
Joel Gill won the Dem primary for the seat.
- DEMS: I'm not going to spend time bashing former Congresswoman
Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY) for her fairly racist comments bashing
Barack Obama -- including her bitter, unrepentant comments Tuesday
where she mockingly said she was being attacked because she was
white. Why? Because every campaign -- Obama, Clinton and McCain
-- will have the support of a certain number of losers and jerks
associated with them. I'm not holding a candidate responsible
for comments by idiots like Ferraro (or Samantha Power or John
Hagee). And I'll accept Clinton's comments distancing herself
from Ferraro's offensive comments. In other news, Florida Democrats
appear to have decided upon holding a re-vote via mail-in primary.
It will be Florida's first statewide mail-in election. Ballots
are expected to be mailed out in April, with a return deadline
in early June.
YORK: Not much to add to the ongoing Governor Eliot Spitzer
(D) sex-ring scandal -- except to add that Spitzer defied the
constantly swirling rumors that he would imminently resign. Spitzer,
of course, may still quit as he is potentially facing federal
felony charges under the Mann Act and possible money laundering
charges for how he paid for the escort services through dummy
shell corporations. But, as of Tuesday, he's staying put and weathering
Voters on Tuesday elected the grandson of the late Congresswoman
Julia Carson (D) to fill her vacant seat in the special election.
Indianapolis City Councilman Andre Carson (D) defeated State Representative
Jon Elrod (R) by a vote of 53% to 44%. Carson will become only
the second Muslim ever elected to Congress. Both men -- along
with other Democrats and Republicans -- are also seeking their
respective nominations for the full-term in the May 6 primary.
Carson will take office this week to complete his grandmother's
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.12.08 | Permalink
VOTES; SPITZER IN PROSTITUTE SCANDAL; EVERYONE UNOPPOSED IN ARKANSAS;
FRANKEN PRIMARY OPPONENT QUITS MN SEN RACE.
Voters cast primary ballots Tuesday in the Presidential contest,
along with several congressional races. Obama appears to be a
safe bet to win the Prez primary. Campaigning in the state on
Monday, he ridiculed suggestions from the Clintons that he would
make a good VP runningmate. "With all due respect. I won
twice as many states as Senator Clinton. I've won more of the
popular vote than Senator Clinton. I have more delegates than
Senator Clinton. So I don't know how somebody who's in second
place is offering Vice Presidency to the person who's in first
place," said Obama. Also worth watching on Tuesday are the
GOP congressional primaries in the CD-1 and CD-3 open seats.
YORK: Governor Eliot
Spitzer (D) acknowledged his involvement in a prostitution scandal
on Monday. Spitzer -- who the New York Times reported is
the unnamed "Client 9" in a federal indictment related
to a major escort ring -- apologized for his conduct. Spitzer
met as recently as last month with a highly-paid prostitute in
a DC hotel room. The woman reportedly charged as much as $5,000
per encounter. A federal wiretap reportedly ensnared Spitzer in
the scandal. "I have acted in a way that violates my obligation
to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong. I
apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize
to the public to whom I promised better. I have disappointed and
failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must
now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family,"
said Spitzer, with his wife loyally standing by his side. Despite
rumors to the contrary, Spitzer's office said he has no plans
to resign. It is unknown whether Spitzer will be charged with
a crime in the growing federal investigation of the escort service.
According to CNN, Spitzer as Attorney General had his office prosecute
several escort rings. Republicans are already gloating, telling
Politics1 that Lieutenant Governor David Paterson (D) may also
have ethics problems. Senate Republicans say Paterson may face
significant legislative scrutiny for financial conduct related
to state appropriations which benefited businesses in his former
State Senate district. Republicans are already dreaming of a scenario
in which Spitzer resigns , then Paterson is likewise forced from
office, and then Senate President Joe Bruno (R) is installed as
The close of primary candidate filing in Arkansas on Monday saw
every federal incumbent move into the "safe" category.
US Senator Mark Pryor (D) and Congressmen Marion Berry (D), Vic
Snyder (D), John Boozman (R) and Mike Ross (D) will all head into
November without any major party opposition. They may, however,
still face third party or independent opposition in the general
election. The only one of the five incumbents currently facing
opposition is Pryor, who is being challenged by attorney Rebekah
Humorist Al Franken is now a lock to win the Democratic nomination
to face US Senator Norm Coleman (R) in November. Multimillionaire
attorney Mike Ciresi (D) unexpectedly quit the race on Monday,
acknowledging that Franken has won the support of key party activists.
"Continuing the [Democratic] endorsement race would only
lead to an unnecessary [convention] floor fight. It is time to
step aside," said Ciresi. Franken still faces primary opposition,
but should have no problem winning both the party's pre-primary
endorsement and the September 9 primary. Polls show Franken and
Coleman locked in a virtual tie. Race Rating: Toss-Up.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.11.08 | Permalink
HOUSE: OBAMA WINS WYOMING; VEEPSTAKES; FLA SOLUTIONS; MISSISSIPPI
WYOMING: Barack Obama won the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday,
defeating Hillary Clinton by a 61% to 38% vote. In terms of convention
delegates, Obama gained 7 and Clinton captured 4. Obama has consistently
out-performed Clinton in states which used the caucus format --
largely on his strength at the organizational level.
The Presidential contest next moves to Mississippi on Tuesday
-- a primary
state -- where three new independent polls show Obama leading
by 14 points (Rasmussen), 24 points (ARG) and 6 points (Insider
Advantage). Obama is expected to perform very strongly with Mississippi's
large base of black Democrats.
In other news, Bill Clinton suggested on Saturday that a ticket
featuring both his wife and Obama would be "an almost unstoppable
force," according to CNN. In recent days, Hillary Clinton
and her surrogates have repeatedly suggested the national ticket
would likely be strongest if it featured both her and Obama in
whatever order the delegates decide. Obama did not entirely shoot
down the idea. In an interview with KTVQ in Montana, Obama said
that any VP talk -- by either candidate -- was "premature"
because "you won't see me as a Vice Presidential candidate,
you know, I'm running for President." Obama and his surrogates
generally avoid talking about possible runningmates. On the other
side, John McCain's camp say they have not yet started their runningmate
selection process. However, names being frequently mentioned as
potential McCain runningmates include Governors Tim Pawlenty (R-MN),
Charlie Crist (R-FL), Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Sarah Palin (R-AK),
and former Congressman Rob Portman (R-OH).
Sunshine State Democrats seem to be moving towards a compromise
that will reportedly satisfy the DNC, ensuring the state's convention
delegates get seated. The solution appears to be a mail-in primary
in June, which could be conducted at a cost of around $2-3 million.
State Senator Nan Rich (D), a Florida co-chair of the Clinton
campaign, proposed a more draconian alternative to force the DNC
to seat Florida's delegates as is from the January 29 primary.
Rich suggested Friday she may introduce a bill that would block
a party from having it's national ticket appear on Florida's November
presidential ballot if the state's delegates to the national convention
are not fully credentialed and allowed to vote. Setting aside
debate on the constitutionality of Rich's proposal, the alternative
mail-in compromise idea seemed to rapidly gain traction a few
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.10.08 | Permalink
DEMS WIN HASTERT'S ILLINOIS OPEN SEAT; RUN-OFFS SET IN LA SPECIAL
ELECTIONS; MISSISSIPPI PRIMARY PREVIEW; HUCKABEE WON'T RUN FOR
- CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL ELECTION: In a major embarrassment
to the Republican Party, wealthy research scientist Bill
Foster (D) won Saturday's CD-14 special election to fill the seat
left vacant by the resignation of former US House Speaker Denny
Hastert (R). With only a brief one-term exception (the 1974 Watergate
elections), the seat had been in GOP hands without interruption
since 1934. While both parties' national congressional committees
spent money in the contest, the NRCC poured in $1.2 million into
in support of Oberweis -- an amount which equaled nearly 20% of
the NRCC's total cash-on-hand for all races nationwide this year.
Foster defeated multimillionaire dairy owner and frequent candidate
Jim Oberweis (R) by a 52% to 48% vote. Both men largely self-financed,
with Oberweis spending $2.3 million of his own money, and Foster
spending $1.8 million from his own pocket. Foster even carried
three of the most Republican counties in the district: Kane, Kendall
and DuPage. Kendall County, for example, was Hastert's home county
and had voted 61% for Bush in 2004. "Back in the laboratory,
this is what we'd say was a pretty successful experiment,"
said Foster, in his victory comments. As expected, Dems are calling
the victory a bellweather of an anti-GOP national trend for November,
and Republicans say the defeat was merely a localized backlash
to Oberweis's abrasive personality. In further bad news for Republicans,
Oberweis is also the party's nominee for the seat in November.
Look for the NRCC to pressure Oberweis to voluntarily withdraw
from the race so a potentially stronger replacement nominee can
be substituted on the general election ballot. On Saturday night,
however, Oberweis sounded like someone planning to remain in the
race. "I am disappointed we've come out second ... [but]
we're going to have another run in about seven months," he
said. Race Rating (for November): Leans DEM.
LOUISIANA - CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL ELECTIONS: Louisiana
held two special elections on Saturday. In a change from past
years, the state now has traditional elections with closed party
primaries (Saturday), followed by primary runoffs if needed on
April 5, and a general election on May 3. Here are the two contests: CD-1: This solidly GOP seat became
vacant when Bobby Jindal (R) was elected Governor last year. State
Senator Steve Scalise (R) placed first, as expected, but fell
short the 50% mark needed to avoid a run-off. The GOP primary
results: Scalise - 48%, State Representative Tim Burns - 28%,
Slidell Mayor Ben Morris - 21%, and attorney David Simpson - 3%.
Scalise is favored over Burns in the run-off. In the Democratic
primary, psychologist Gilda Reed defeated USAF veteran and frequent
candidate Vinny Mendoza by a 70% to 30% vote. Race Rating: Safe
GOP. CD-6: This seat was left vacant when Congressman Richard
Baker (R) abruptly resigned in February to become a DC lobbyist.
Former State Representative and frequent candidate Woody Jenkins
narrowly missed the majority mark to score an outright win for
the GOP nomination. With all precincts counted, Jenkins won 49.86%
-- just 43 votes short of what was needed to avoid a run-off.
Businesswoman Laurinda Calongne was second with 25%, former Baker
Chief of Staff Paul Sawyer was third with 23%, and Navy veteran
Michael Cloonan had 2%. The Democrats will also have a run-off.
The results: State Representative Don Cazayoux - 35%, State Representative
Michael Jackson - 27%, attorney Jason DeCuir - 19%, former State
Recovery Director Andy Kopplin - 17%, and construction worker
Joe Delatte - 2%. The Dem run-off is expected to be a rather competitive
contest. Race Rating: GOP Favored.
MISSISSIPPI - CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY PREVIEW. Primary voters
select US Senate and congressional nominees here on Tuesday. US
SENATE: State Representative Erik Fleming is favored over
frequent candidate Shawn O''Hara in the Dem primary, but it really
doesn't matter. Either man
will lose in a landslide in November to US Senator Thad Cochran
(R). CD-1: Southhaven Mayor Greg Davis is heavily favored
to win the GOP primary over former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough
and physician Randy Russell. Davis' advantage is mainly geographic,
as his home county significantly outvotes the other parts of the
district. State Representative Steve Holland and Prentiss County
Chancery Clerk Travis Childers are the leading Dem candidates.
The seat is vacant, due to the appointment of Congressman Roger
Wicker (R) to the US Senate in January. FYI: The CD-1 separate
special election -- featuring most of the same candidates -- will
be held April 22. Race rating: Safe GOP. CD-3: Eight Republicans
are competing in the primary to succeed retiring Congressman Chip
Pickering (R). Wealthy businessman David Landrum (R) has spent
over $500,000 of his own money on ads, dominating the airwaves
and making himself the early frontrunner. He stumbled, however,
when it was revealed Landrum failed to vote in the 2003 gubernatorial
race or any contest since then. Landrum's campaign compounded
the problem by releasing documents that purported to be the 2003
voter roll showing signatures of Landrum and his wife -- but it
was quickly proven the signatures weren't genuine. Thus, Landrum
lost his momentum but is still likely to make the run-off. Others
with a shot at the GOP run-off spot include State Senator Charlie
Ross, former congressional aide John Rounsaville and Rankin County
GOP Chair Gregg Harper.
ARKANSAS - US SENATE. Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R)
-- who ended his White House run last week -- reemphasized Friday
he will not be a candidate this year against US Senaror Mark Pryor
(D). Filing in the race closes Monday. "There's a greater
chance that I would dye my hair green, cover my body with tattoos
and go on a rock tour with Amy Winehouse ... That [is] a pretty
apt description of my total lack of interest in running for the
Senate," said Huckabee to The Hill.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.10.08 | Permalink
CAUCUSES + 3 CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL ELECTIONS ON SATURDAY.
WYOMING: The Obama and Clinton campaigns both descended on
Wyoming -- a statement months ago that would have provoked laughter
by the seeming implausibility of it -- for Saturday's Democratic
Presidential caucuses. Only a dozen delegates are at stake but,
with a race this close, every delegate vote now matters. It is
hard to poll caucuses but reporters in Wyoming report the contest
is believed to be close. Other pundits believe Obama possibly
holds an organizational edge in the state. The caucuses will be
held in the afternoon, so expect results around the time of the
evening news shows.
Voter cast ballots Saturday in the CD-14 special election to fill
the seat left vacant by the resignation of former US House Speaker
Denny Hastert (R). Although the seat has been in GOP hands for
decades -- well before Hastert was first elected -- polling shows
the contest to be very close. Research scientist Bill Foster (D)
and wealthy dairy owner Jim Oberweis (R). Oberweis previously
lost primary contests for US Senate in 2002 and 2004, and for
Governor in 2006. Foster is endorsed by the Chicago Tribune
and has Barack Obama appearing in his TV ads. Oberweis is endorsed
by the Chicago Sun-Times and has had John McCain campaign
for him in the district. Republicans are already saying that if
they lose the seat, it will be because of Oberweis's abrasive
personality and not a signal of any national bellweather. The
election date is an expirement for Illinois, as the state has
never before held a Saturday election. Race rating: Toss-Up.
LOUISIANA: Louisiana is holding two special elections on
Saturday. In a change from past years, the state is now holding
traditional elections with closed party primaries (Saturday),
followed by primary runoffs if needed on April 5, and a general
election on May 3. The state has jettisoned the previous election
format where candidates of all parties competed in a single primary,
with the top two vote-getters advancing to a runoff if nobody
won a majority of the primary vote. Low turnout is expected for
both contests. CD-1: Republicans are expected to have an
easy time retaining the CD-1 seat left vacant when Bobby Jindal
(R) was elected Governor last year, so the GOP contest is key.
All of the GOP candidates acknowledge that State Senator Steve
Scalise (R) will finish first in the primary, with the real fight
being for second place if Scalise falls short of the 50% mark.
Slidell Mayor Ben Morris, State Representative Tim Burns and attorney
David Simpson are the GOP candidates battling for second place
in the primary. Former US Air Force Assistant Inspector General
Vinny Mendoza and psychologist Gilda Reed are competing in the
Democratic primary. Race Rating: Safe GOP. CD-6: Unlike
Jindal's seat, Democrats are viewed as having an outside shot
at scoring a pickup for the seat left vacant when Congressman
Richard Baker (R) abruptly resigned to become a DC lobbyist. Former
State Representative and frequent candidate Woody Jenkins is the
GOP frontrunner. Former Baker Chief of Staff Paul Sawyer and two
others are also seeking the Republican nomination. Three of the
five Dems seeking the seat are viewed as the most viable candidates
in the general election: former State Recovery Director Andy Kopplin,
and State Representatives Michael Jackson and Don Cazayoux. Race
Rating: GOP Favored.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.08.08 | Permalink
DEMS TO HOLD NEW CAUCUSES; FLA DEMS SAY "NO RE-VOTE";
PAUL QUITS; IL CD-14 SPECIAL POLL.
P2008 - DEMS. The Michigan Democratic Party has decided to
hold Presidential caucuses, which will result in a full slate
of convention delegates being selected and seated. "We are
currently in negotiations over the seating
of a Michigan delegation to the National Convention. Any resolution
must be agreeable to all four interested parties: the MDP, the
DNC, and both the Clinton and Obama campaigns because we all want
a united Democratic Party in Michigan to ensure a victory for
the Democratic nominee this fall," said State Democratic
Chair Mark Brewer. While the specific details -- like the date
-- have yet to be worked out, The New Republic reports
Michigan Dems will be "announcing a new caucus in the next
few days." Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) has endorsed the
caucus re-vote. In Florida, by contrast, leaders of the both the
Clinton and Obama camps agree a re-vote is not going to happen.
"A do-over is unworkable,
too expensive, unfair and not logistically possible in a state
our size this late in the game," said Congresswoman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
DWS is national co-chair of the Clinton campaign. Congressman
Robert Wexler (D-FL), state co-chair of the Obama campaign, agreed:
"There does not appear to be an appetite for a new election,
and there doesn't appear to be any way to pay for it either."
Both sides are demanding the DNC seat a full compliment of Florida
delegates, but the proposals of how to do this widely diverge.
The Clinton campaign say the Florida delegation should reflect
the results of the record turnout primary vote on January 29.
Others have proposed an even split of delegates between Clinton
and Obama, or -- bizarrely -- seating a Florida delegation that
is allowed to attend the convention but not vote on the Presidential
race. DNC Chair Howard Dean says he supports having a Florida
re-vote -- either caucuses or primary -- but the Florida Democrats
must find a way on their own to entirely finance it. US Senator
Bill Nelson (D-FL), a Clinton supporter, disagrees. Nelson said
the DNC must either seat the January primary delegates or foot
the bill for a new primary if they refuse to do so. "We're
coming on the biggest train wreck you've ever seen" if they
refuse to seat the Florida delegates, wrote Nelson in a letter
to Dean on Thursday.
- GOP. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is making his withdrawal
from the Presidential race official. According to ABC News, Paul
will announce his exit from White House race in a video on his
campaign site. "The message of freedom is popular. And I
will continue to trumpet it in Congress and across America as
I fight on behalf of the conservative, common sense values which
made our country so great. In conclusion, I would like to offer
my thanks and gratitude to all of the wonderful people who supported
me in this campaign. I look forward to representing all of the
good people of the 14th District of Texas in Congress in the years
to come," explained Paul. He won 70% in his congressional
primary this week.
ILLINOIS: A new Roll Call/SurveyUSA poll of Saturday's
IL CD-14 special election shows scientist Bill Foster (D) leading
businessman Jim Oberweis (R) by a vote of 52% to 45%. The seat
was left vacant by the resignation of former US House Speaker
Denny Hastert (R).
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.07.08 | Permalink
it's time to revive humorist Stephen Colbert's idea: The Florida
Democratic Primary ... Sponsored by Doritos ® - Snack Strong!
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.07.08 | Permalink
ENDORSES McCAIN; OBAMA TO SCORE 50+ ADDITIONAL SUPERDELEGATES;
FL & MI GOVERNORS DISCUSS PREZ RE-VOTE PLANS.
P2008 - GOP. John McCain visited the White House on Wednesday,
a day after securing the GOP Presidential nomination. President
Bush endorsed McCain at a photo op in the Rose
Garden. "Whatever he wants me to do, I want him to win,"
said Bush, because "he's not gonna change when it comes to
taking on the enemy" and the Iraq War. The McCain campaign
would like Bush to help with fundraising, but is not expected
to use Bush in any high-profile roll during the general election
campaign. Look for the Dems to use pictures from the Bush-McCain
meeting during the campaign fall in various advertisements linking
McCain to the unpopular incumbent and the war.
P2008 - DEMS. While Hillary Clinton won the Texas primary
by a 51% to 48% vote over Barack Obama, it appears Obama won the
Texas caucuses for the remaining third of the state's delegates.
To date, about half of the caucus results have been reported --
as the tallies are not required to be mailed to the state party
headquarters until Friday. Of those caucuses reporting results,
Obama leads by a 52-48 vote. Also, Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO)
-- an Obama supporter -- confirmed the the media on Wednesday
that the Obama campaign will announce the endorsements of 50+
superdelegates within the next few days. "This race is over,"
said Clay to the Columbia Missourian. If true, this will
push Obama's overall superdelegate total ahead of Clinton's superdelegate
number. While the nomination contest will continue for weeks,
if not months, Clinton seemingly opened the door Wednesday to
the possibility of a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket in
November. "That may be where this is headed, but of course
we have to decide who is on the top of ticket," Clinton told
the AP. In other news, Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) on Wednesday
said he is willing to have the state schedule a new Democratic
Presidential primary in June -- but only if the Democratic Party
agrees to pay the estimated $10 million cost for the election.
Holding caucuses are much cheaper for the party -- and are run
exclusively by the party (instead of the state) -- but the Clinton
camp insists on having the re-vote in the form of a primary. Michigan
Governor Jennifer Granholm (D), a Clinton supporter, said Wednesday
she believes Michigan Democrats may be able to hold caucuses in
June to select convention delegates.
OHIO RECAP. With all of the votes now counted from Tuesday's
congressional primaries, there are a few updates to report. In
CD-2, the final numbers dropped Congresswoman Jean Schmidt's (R)
primary victory percentage down to 57% when the final areas were
counted. In CD-10, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D) defeated Cleveland
City Councilman Joe Cimperman by a 50% to 35% vote, with three
others trailing far behind. In the open CD-16 race, State Senator
Kirk Schuring won by the GOP nomination over Ashland County Commission
Matt Miller by a 47% to 42% vote. Schuring will face State Senator
John Boccieri (D) in November.
RECAP. State Representative and National Guard officer Rick
Noreiga (D) won the Dem primary for US Senate with 51%, avoiding
a run-off. He will face US Senator John Cornyn (R) in the general
election. In CD-22, former Congresswoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs
placed first in the crowded ten-candidate GOP primary with 30%,
followed by former Congressional aide and Navy veteran Pete Olson
at 21%. The two will face-off in a run-off primary next month.
The winner will challenge Congressman Nick Lampson (D).
NEW JERSEY. Wealthy developer Anne Evans Estabrook (R)
-- the leading GOP candidate against US Senator Frank Lautenberg
(D) -- quit the race Wednesday due to health reasons. In a written
statement, Estabrook announced she had suffered a mild stroke
over the weekend and was leaving the contest to focus on her recovery.
With Estabrook out, State Senator "Jersey Joe" Pennacchio
(R) appears to be the new GOP frontrunner.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.06.08 | Permalink
WINS OHIO, TEXAS, RHODE ISLAND, OBAMA WINS VERMONT; McCAIN CLINCHES
NOMINATION, HUCKABEE ENDORSES McCAIN.
P2008 - DEMS. For the past several weeks,
top Hillary Clinton backers -- including former President Bill
Clinton and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell -- said she needed
to win both Ohio and Texas for her campaign to continue. While
her campaign lowered expectations over the past few days, the
results spoke for themselves -- and she met her goals. In Ohio,
Barack Obama heavily outspent Clinton but was never able to catch
her. In the end, it appears Clinton scored a big victory in Ohio.
defeated Obama in Ohio by a vote of 56% to 42%.
In Texas, the race remained much closer. Pre-primary "early
voting" in Texas, plus the offbeat precinct caucus process
for awarding one-third of the state's delegates, both favored
Obama. However, voters in the final days appeared broke strongly
in favor of Clinton, helping boost her election day vote tally
and give her a 50% to 48% win. The two other smaller primary states
which voted Tuesday took a back seat to Ohio and Texas. No surprise
in Vermont, where Obama cruised to a lopsided victory. Likewise
in Rhode Island, where Clinton score an expected victory. Tuesday's
results seem to ensure the race will continue for a few more months.
The end result: Clinton shows she is still very much in this race
-- although Obama still holds a significant advantage with overall
pledged delegates. The spotlight turns back to finding a solution
to the Florida and Michigan problem, with new contests -- primary
or caucuses -- likely to be scheduled in both states for June
P2008 - GOP. With solid wins in all four contests on Tuesday,
John McCain secured the Republican Presidential nomination by
capturing more than the 1,091 delegates needed to put him over
the top. Mike Huckabee withdrew from the race in his election
night speech and endorsed McCain. He called McCain an "honorable
man" and promised to "do everything we can to help Senator
McCain." Summing up his candidacy, Huckabee said "I'd
rather lose the race than lose the principles that got me into
politics."McCain will be at the White House on Wednesday,
where President Bush will endorse him. Bush is also now planning
to campaign with McCain -- and help with fundraising -- in some
states where conservatives believe his presence will be helpful.
The Bush endorsement is a mixed blessing for McCain, as Bush's
approval ratings are rather dismal overall -- and are tepid at
best even among Republicans.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.05.08 | Permalink
& TEXAS CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY RESULTS; IL CD-14 SPECIAL ELECTION
UPDATE; IN & OUT IN CALIFORNIA CD-4.
OHIO. Lots of interesting congressional races to discuss.
These are the highlights. CD-2: Congresswoman Jean Schmidt
(R) won renomination by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Physician Victoria
Wulsin (D) won her primary, setting up a competitive rematch in
November between the two women. Race rating: Leans
GOP. CD-7: State Senator Steve Austria easily won GOP primary
over three opponents, winning by 21-points over his closest rival.
Austria is a GOP centrist and protégé of retiring
Congressman Dave Hobson (R). Race rating: Safe GOP. CD-10:
Weather issues and extended poll closing times delayed the results
in Congressman Dennis Kucinich's renomination fight. WIth a third
of the vote counted, Kucinich was holding a 21-point lead over
his nearest rival. Race rating: Safe DEM. CD-14: Former
State Appeals Court Judge Bill O'Neill (D) won his primary with
63%, setting up a competitive fall race against Congressman Steve
LaTourette (R). Race rating: Leans GOP. CD-15: State Senator
Steve Stivers (R) and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy
(D) easily won their respective primaries, ensuring one of the
hottest open seat contests in the nation. Kilroy nearly toppled
Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R) two year ago. Pryce chose to retire,
rather than face a rematch with Kilroy. Race rating: Toss-Up.
CD-16: Congressman Ralph Regula (R) is retiring. State
Senator John Boccieri easily won the Dem primary with 64%. With
nearly 90% of the GOP primary votes counted, Ashland County Commissioner
Matt Miller was leading State Senator Kirk Schuring by a vote
of 46% to 43%. Miller previously won over 40% in his challenge
of Regula in GOP primary two years ago. CD-18: Former State
Agriculture Director Fred Dailey won 39% of the vote to win his
four-way GOP primary. Republicans are hoping to recapture this
usually GOP district, currently held by freshman Congressman Zack
Space (D). Race rating: Leans DEM. Click here
to view the Ohio congressional nominees.
Congressman Ron Paul (R) won a landslide renomination victory
in CD-14, capturing 70% of the vote. His primary foe had argued
Paul's libertarian views were out of sync with social conservative
values. Here are the other races of note. Race rating: Safe GOP.
CD-4: Congressman Ralph Hall (R), age 84, scored a landslide
primary win over four challengers. Hall won 71% of the vote, with
former Frisco Mayor Kathy Seei in second place with just 11% of
the vote. Race rating: Safe GOP. CD-22: Ten Republicans
faced-off for the right to challenge vulnerable Congressman Nick
Lampson (D) in this GOP-leaning district. Early returns showed
former Congresswoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs and former Congressional
aide Pete Olson seemingly heading ito an April 8 run-off. Race
Rating: Leans DEM. CD-23: Bexar County Commissioner Lyle
Larson (R) won his primary with 63%, and will face Congressman
Ciro Rodriguez (D) in November in this swing district. Race rating:
Leans DEM. US SENATE: With incomplete results, State Representative
Rick Noriega (D) was running very near the 50% mark needed to
win the four-candidate primary without a run-off. Frequent candidate
Gene Kelly was second with 27%. US Senator John Cornyn (R) easily
won his primary by a 4-to-1 margin. Race Rating: GOP Favored.
Click here to view all of the Texas congressional
run-off candidates and nominees.
Voters head to the polls on Saturday to fill the congressional
vacancy in CD-14 caused by the resignation of former House Speaker
Denny Hastert (R). Although the seat is traditionally a reliable
Republican district, both sides acknowledge the race is surprisingly
close. In an unexpected move, the influential Chicago Tribune
on Tuesday endorsed scientist Bill Foster (D). In a blistering
commentary, the Tribune wrote wealthy businessman Jim Oberweis
(R) sees public office merely as "an opportunity to pick
a fight." The race has proven so close that the NRCC has
already been forced to spend $1.2 million in support of Oberweis
-- even though that amount equals nearly 20% of the NRCC's total
cash-on-hand for all the upcoming races nationwide this year.
By contrast, the DCCC has spent $600,000 in support of Foster
-- but the DCCC had $35.5 million cash-on-hand as of the last
reporting period a month ago. The national candidates have also
jumped into the fray, with Barack Obama appearing in a Foster
television ad and John McCain headlined a recent Oberweis fundraising
CALIFORNIA: The dynamics of the open CD-4 seat changed radically
this week as conservative Republicans are now united behind a
single candidate. State Senator Tom McClintock (R) -- a four-time
candidate for statewide offices -- jumped into the race. "It
is true that we had a Republican Congress and a Republican President
and they squandered Reagan’s legacy. They abandoned our
Republican principles. I want to return to them," said McClintock.
He is known as an uncompromising fiscal and social conservative.
Former State Senator Rico Oller and Iraq War veteran Eric Egland
immediately withdrew and endorsed McClintock. The GOP primary
now features an aggressive contest between McClintock and centrist
former Congressman Doug Ose. Ose is also a wealthy businessman,
with deep personal pockets to finance his own campaign. Former
Governor Pete Wilson also endorsed Ose on Tuesday. Theodore Terbolizard,
a Ron Paul campaign activist, is also running. The winner of the
GOP primary will face retired USAF officer Charlie Brown (D).
Congressman John Doolittle (R), the target of a federal corruption
probe, is retiring. Race rating: GOP Favored.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.05.08 | Permalink
HOLDS OHIO EDGE, TEXAS TOO CLOSE TO CALL; CORNYN NOT YET READY
FOR GOP KUMBAYAH MOMENT. P2008 - DEMS. Final polling on the eve of the crucial Ohio
and Texas primaries shows Hillary Clinton continuing to hold an
advantage over Barack Obama. In Ohio, Clinton appears to be leading
by around seven points. A predicted two inches of snow on Tuesday
in southern Ohio should be good news for Obama, as it may impact
turnout in a part of the state that more heavily favors Clinton.
In Texas, Clinton appears to be leading by around 1-2 points.
However, most pundits agree Obama is better prepared for the state's
complicated delegate awarding process, meaning he may walk away
with more Texas delegates regardless of who wins the state overall.
Also, as both Texas and Ohio are open primaries, conservative
radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh urged GOP conservatives on
Monday to cast primary ballots for Clinton in order to prolong
the Dem nomination fight. The Clinton campaign also seems to have
dropped the expectations bar, sending the message she will continue
running no matter what the results on Tuesday. In other news,
Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) told CNN on Monday he would
be willing to have the state finance a second Dem "re-do"
primary if that's what the Democrats still need to pick a nominee.
P2008 - GOP. In a sign that John McCain still has a way
to go to build party unity, check out these comments by US Senator
John Cornyn (R-TX). Speaking this past weekend at a GOP dinner,
Cornyn said McCain wasn't his "first choice ... or second,
third or fourth choice" for the Presidential nomination.
"I sort of liken it to a grieving process. You come to acceptance,"
said Cornyn in his speech, according to the Dallas Morning
News. Still, Cornyn said he thought McCain was "head
and shoulders above Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton" -- as
he said he feared the election of either could lead to a "socialist
regime" in the US.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.04.08 | Permalink
PAUL, HALL FACE TOUGH PRIMARIES; NEBRASKA FILING CLOSES; NM &
NJ SENATE POLLS; ROMNEY SON WON'T RUN IN UTAH. OHIO
& TEXAS: Just a reminder that Tuesday is also the primary
day in these two states for the congressional races. Former 2008
Presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX)
each face competitive renomination primaries -- in large part
brought on because of their respective White House runs. Polling
shows both incumbents well positioned to win their races. In Ohio,
the open seat GOP primaries in CD-7 and CD-16 are worth watching.
In Texas, 84-year-old Congressman Ralph Hall
(R) is facing some credible primary challengers in CD-4, but Hall
is expected to survive. Also watch the crowded GOP primary in
CD-22, as ten hopefuls vie to face vulnerable Congressman Nick
Lampson (D) in November. NEW MEXICO: The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Congressman
Tom Udall (D) leading both of the GOP candidates in the open US
Senate race. Udall leads Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) by a
50% to 43% vote. Udall leads Congressman Steve Pearce (R) by a
50% to 42% vote. NEBRASKA. Candidate filing closed in Nebraska on Monday,
with no surprises. In the race to replace retiring US Senator
Chuck Hagel (R), former Governor Mike Johanns (R) remains the
clear frontrunner. Johanns should have little problem defeating
financial analyst Pat Flynn in the GOP primary. Rancher Scott
Kleeb, wealthy businessman Tony Raimondo and two others are seeking
the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat. Conservative activist
Kelly Rosberg (Nebraska) and State Green Party Co-Chair
Steve Larrick also filed to run in the general election. In CD-2,
Congressman Lee Terry (R) will face a rematch from businessman
Jim Esch (D). Terry defeated Esch by a competitive 55%-45% vote
two years ago. Esch said he was inspired to make a second run
because of the success of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign.
The state's two other GOP Congressmen each drew Dem challengers,
but both incumbents appear to be safe. Click here for the list
of Nebraska candidates. NEW JERSEY: A new Rasmussen Reports survey from the Garden
State gives us a snapshot of the US Senate race. Incumbent Frank
Lautenberg (D) leads wealthy real estate developer Anne Evans
Estabrook (R) by a vote of 44% to 34%. Lautenberg led State Assemblyman
Joe Pennacchio (R) by a vote of 46% to 38%. Lautenberg also held
a strong advantage over libertarian college professor Murray Sabrin
(R) by a 46% to 31% vote. Lautenberg leads in each match-up but
Dems should be concerned as the aging incumbent fails to crack
the 50% mark -- even against a frequent candidate like Ron Paul
supporter Sabrin. UTAH: Dems got some good news on Monday as Josh Romney
-- a businessman and the 32-year-old son of Mitt Romney -- announced
he would not challenge Congressman Jim Matheson (D) for the CD-2
seat. "I guess I'm not ruling anything out or ruling anything
in [for 2010, but] ... this one [in 2008] I'm definitely ruling
out," said Romney to the Salt Lake Tribune. With the
telegenic younger Romney out, bombastic former Congressman and
frequent candidate Merrill Cook (R) announced Monday that he would
run against Matheson again. Race rating: DEM Favored.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.04.08 | Permalink
THINKS DEM RACE MAY END TUESDAY; CLINTON LEADS IN OHIO, TX IS
CLOSE; HUCKABEE SAYS "STOP PUSHING"; PAUL LOOKS STRONG
IN HOUSE PRIMARY; NC FILING CLOSES. P2008 - DEMS. Former Presidential candidate and New Mexico
Governor Bill Richardson sounded on Sunday like someone preparing
to endorse Barack Obama based upon simple math after Tuesday's
primaries. Appearing on Face the Nation, Richardson said:
"I just think the D-Day is Tuesday. We have to have a positive
campaign after Tuesday. Whoever has the most delegates after Tuesday,
a clear lead, should be in my judgment the nominee." As for
Tuesday's contests, two Texas polls show Obama leading (Mason-Dixon
& Zogby) by a 1-4% range, one poll shows Obama and Clinton
tied (ARG) and one says Clinton leads by 1% (Belo). All of the
new polls out of Ohio released Sunday show Clinton continuing
to lead Obama, now by margins wildly ranging from as little as
1% and as much as 16%. Clinton is favored to win Rhode Island,
while Obama is expected to score a lopsided victory in Vermont. P2008 - GOP. Mike Huckabee seems
to be enjoying his Presidential run -- even jokingly acknowledging
last week on SNL that he is "going to focus on miracles"
because he understands it is a mathematical impossibility for
him to win the Republican nomination over John McCain. However,
Huckabee made it clear over the weekend he is getting annoyed
by those who want him to end his campaign this week after Tuesday's
vote. In comments to reporters on Sunday, Huckabee implied he
plans to remain in the race for the rest of the primary season.
"You can beat me but you can’t make me quit ... What
is the big hurry here? I guess I fail to see it. The Democrats
are still having a primary, and all of these [Republicans] who
for the last two or three weeks have been saying, ‘let's hurry
and get ours over with.’ Well, what's the hurry? We have six or
seven months before the convention, and another two months after
that until we have the election. I don't know that there's a bomb
sitting under anybody's chair that's going to go off if we don't
have the nominee all settled before we get through Texas and Ohio
and go on to places like Mississippi and Pennsylvania and Nebraska
and North Carolina," said Huckabee. In related news, the
Dallas Morning News endorsed Huckabee (and Obama) in Tuesday's
primary. Huckabee campaign manager Ed Rollins partially contradicted
his candidate a few minutes later, saying that "we may end
up suspending for a while or not campaigning quite as actively,
but we’re not quitting" after the Texas primary. TEXAS. Congressman Ron
Paul (R) appears to be in decent shape to win renomination on
Tuesday, despite some media speculation to the contrary in recent
days. A Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday shows Paul
leading Friendswood City Commissioner Chris Peden by a 63% to
30% vote. Peden, a Religious Right conservative, argues Paul is
out of step with Texas Republicans on key issues like the war
and the gay marriage amendment. Paul, meanwhile, frequently reads
from a letter Peden wrote him a year ago praising his service
in Congress. In an ironic twist, Paul -- who loudly complained
about being excluded from some GOP Presidential debates -- has
refused to debate Peden. Side note: only 18% of those same poll
respondents said they planned to vote for Paul for President on
Tuesday. NORTH CAROLINA. The state's primary filing deadline produced
few surprises. Click here for the list of North
Carolina candidates. Governor Mike Easley (D) is term-limited.
Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue (D), State Treasurer Richard Moore
(D), Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R), State Senator Fred Smith
(R) and five others are running to replace Easley. Five Democrats
and a minor GOP challenger filed against US Senator Elizabeth
Dole (R), but the incumbent still holds a solid advantage. Dole's
most significant Dem foes are State Senator Kay Hagan and wealthy
investment banker Jim Neal. In CD-3, Congressman Walter Jones
Jr. is facing a very tough GOP primary challenge from Onslow County
Commissioner Joe McLaughlin. Jones, a former Iraq War supporter,
has become a vocal opponent of the war. McLaughlin supports the
war, and is making an issue of it in this district with it's large
military population. In CD-13, a surprise entrant was bombastic
former six-term State Senator Hugh Webster (R), who filed to challenge
Congressman Brad Miller (D). Miller remains favored, but Webster
-- who lost for re-election two years ago -- will run an aggressive
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.03.08 | Permalink
Now that my year of frequent Paris visits has come to an end --
as Dana just finished his culinary apprenticeship and returns
home next week -- I finally got around to posting many of my pix.
In fact, I just posted 20+ new albums of Paris (and Cote
d'Azur) pix on Facebook. From the normal touristy stuff ... to
street graffiti and street demonstrations ... to the city's grand
boulevards and famous cemeteries ... to specialized albums focusing
on just one place or neighborhood. Clearly, I took way too many
photos (as I only posted a sampling of the many I snapped) --
but this helped me truly realize how fortunate we were to have
been able to do what we did. Check out all my France photo albums
Facebook profile page. If you're not yet on my "friends"
list, just drop me a request on Facebook and I'll approve it.
by Ron Gunzburger - 03.01.08 | Permalink