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BLOG ARCHIVE: MARCH 16-31, 2009.

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

HOEKSTRA RUNS FOR GOV; SEN LINCOLN POSSIBLY VULNERABLE; NY CD-20 SPECIAL TODAY; OBAMA HEADS TO EUROPE.

MICHIGAN. Eight-term Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R) announced Monday that he will be a candidate for Governor in 2010. Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) is term-limited. Attorney General Mike Cox, State Senator Tom George and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land are already running on the GOP side. Democratic candidates include frontrunner Lieutenant Governor John Cherry, Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel, former Michigan State University football coach George Perles, former Flint Mayor Don Williamson and State Representative Alma Smith.

ARKANSAS. Polls continue to indicate that US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) could face a competitive race next year. According to a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey, Lincoln has a 45% approval rating -- a weak number for an incumbent. President Barack Obama took a beating in Arkansas, losing by more than 20-points to John McCain. “We are going to tie Lincoln to Obama as much as possible,” stated one Republican consultant. Republicans looking at the race include State Senators Gerald Baker and Kim Hendren, former US Attorney Tim Griffin and banker French Hill. The PPP results showed Lincoln leading Griffin 46-38. She leads Baker by a 48-37 vote.

NEW YORK. Tuesday is election day for the CD-20 special contest. Venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) faces State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R). VIN'S ASIDES: The three biggest stakeholders in this election are (1) Gov. David Paterson – who struggles from low poll numbers and is responsible for opening this seat up with his U.S. Senate appointment; (2) RNC Chairman Michael Steele – all eyes are on the controversial chairman's first political fight as the leader of the GOP; and (3) President Barack Obama – some argue the election is a referendum on his leadership as President.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. As President Barack Obama heads to Europe this week, he enjoys high approval ratings among internationals, despite their opposition to some of his policies. According to a new Harris Interactive Survey, more than 80% of those polled in Italy, France, Spain and Germany said they held either a “very good” or “somewhat good” opinion of the President. At the same time, 71% of those polled in the United States shared similar feelings. Still, the poll shows that more than 70% of those living in France, Spain, Italy and Germany said they oppose bank bailouts. Many also oppose Obama's policy in Afghanistan.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.31.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ED MAKES HIS CASE FOR CONGRESS; WALTZ WITH BESHEAR; GEORGIA GOP GOV RACE GETS CROWDED; EX-MS GOV TO BE NAVY SECRETARY.

HAWAII. Former Congressman Ed Case (D) will once again run for his old job -- except this time from a different district. Case will seek the CD-1 seat being vacated by Congressman Neil Abercombie (D), who is making a run for Governor. Case was State House Majority Leader before losing a close primary for Governor in 2002. He was elected in a special election to Congress in 2002 from CD-2, serving until his failed 2006 primary challenge against US Senator Dan Akaka.

KENTUCKY. Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo (D) has received the endorsement of Governor Steve Beshear (D) for the 2010 US Senate contest. The written endorsement statement was not a major surprise, in that Beshear had previously selected Mongiardo to be his runningmate in 2007, so there were already close political ties between the two men. However, the move was clearly meant as a message for Attorney General Jack Conway (D), who appears on the verge of also jumping into the race against vulnerable US Senator Jim Bunning (R). State Auditor Crit Luallen and Congressman Ben Chandler are also considering entering the Democratic primary, but they have an apparent agreement with Conway that only one of the three will challenge Mongiardo in the primary. Republican incumbent Jim Bunning is seeking a 3rd term, but may face a competitive primary challenge.

GEORGIA. Secretary of State Karen Handel has become the third statewide Republican elected official to enter the 2010 race to replace term-limited Governor Sonny Perdue (R). Previously announced GOP candidates include Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and State Representative Austin Scott. Congressman Jack Kingstom and Cobb County Commission Chair Sam Olens are also looking at the GOP contest. On the Democratic side, former State Adjutant General David Poythress is the lone announced candidate. Former Governor Roy Barnes, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter and other Dems are also considering the race.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. President Barack Obama has tapped former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus (D) to be the next US Navy Secretary. Mabus previously served as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994-96 during the Clinton Administration.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.30.09 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

DEM SURGES IN NY CD-20 SPECIAL; MISSOURI US SEN POLL; PALIN SNUBS ALASKA GOP LEG LEADERS.

NEW YORK. A new Siena Research poll shows venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) has erased State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco's (R) previous double-digit lead and now leads by a 47-43 vote in Tuesday's CD-20 special election. A prominent national Republican political consultant -- who has worked extensively in New York race over the years -- told Politics1 he is convinced Tedisco will lose. "Tedisco should have had this in the bag against someone who was a total unknown just eight weeks ago -- but he took the wrong tone," said the consultant. In other related news, Libertarian Party nominee Eric Sundwall -- who was disqualified from the ballot this week -- endorsed Murphy on Friday.

MISSOURI. A Wilson Research Strategies (R) poll released Friday shows Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) leading either of her potential GOP opponents for the open US Senate seat next year. Carnahan leads Congressman Roy Blunt (R) by a 47-44 vote. She also leads former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) by a 47-39 vote.

ALASKA. Governor Sarah Palin (R) snubbed her state's Legislative leaders this week. They were scheduled to meet with Palin to discuss her decision to not accept federal funding from the Obama stimulus package. “We had a meeting scheduled with the Governor today and her legislative liaison told us that she wasn’t there and that we could [instead[ meet with the staff,” said State Senate President Gary Stevens (R) at an afternoon press conference. Palin immediately fired back a written statement claiming it was the lawmakers who canceled the meeting with her so that they could “host their own press conference.” Stevens returned fire by saying Palin’s account of events “is absolutely false. To say that we canceled the meeting to have a press conference is absolutely untrue and somebody should be brought to task on that.” The Alaskan legislative leaders can bypass Palin to accept stimulus funds, and have accused the Governor of playing national politics with federal money given to a state now facing a massive budget deficit. “We think the stimulus package brings a unique opportunity for communities around Alaska to benefit,” said Alaska House Speaker Mike Chenault (R).
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 03.28.09 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NY CD-20 UPDATE; GOV PATRICK WEAK; DODD LEADS CHALLENGERS; LINC CHAFEE SEEKS INDY COMEBACK; VITTER PRIMARY FOE ON FENCE.

NEW YORK. Libertarian Party nominee Eric Sundwall was disqualified from the ballot just days before next Tuesday's congressional special election in CD-20. Although he collected nearly 7,000 signatures in a short time, he only had 2,944 valid signatures-- far short of the required 3,500. Review of the signatures showed most were of valid registered voters in the district -- but were declared invalid because they failed to write the full name of their town or other similar technical errors. The challenge was filed by two supporters of State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R). The election is set for Tuesday. Tedisco and ventura capitalist Scott Murphy (D) are locked in a close contest. Tedisco started with a double-digit lead a few weeks ago, but all polls within the past week now show Murphy either tied or edging past Tedisco by a point or two.

MASSACHUSETTS. Governor Deval Patrick (D) looks in trouble in his re-election bid next year. A Suffolk University poll showed only 34% of voters want to see Patrick re-elected, versus 47% who want "someone else." In fact, the same poll shows Patrick trailing for renomination by a 35-30 vote if State Treasurer Tim Cahill runs against him.

CONNECTICUT. A new Research 2000 poll shows US Senator Chris Dodd (D) leading former Congressman Rob Simmons (R) by a 45-40 vote. Dodd leads other GOP hopefuls by a margin of 20+ points. The same respondents also indicated they'd solidly back Governor Jodi Rell (R) for Independent US Senate Joe Lieberman's seat in 2012. In that matchup, Rell was at 42%, businessman Ned Lamont (D) had 30% and Lieberman was third with 25%. If Attorney General Dick Blumenthal is the Dem candidate instead of Lamont, the results are nearly unchanged (Rell - 43%, Blumenthal - 28%, Lieberman - 25%). In related news, CNBC show host Larry Kudlow (R) announced this week he will not challenge Dodd

RHODE ISLAND. WRNI Public Radio reports that former GOP US Senator Lincoln Chafee "has decided to run for Governor in 2010, and will soon begin to assemble a campaign organization." Chafee lost for re-election in 2006, quit the Republican Party in 2007, endorsed Obama for President last year, and now plans to run as an Independent. Governor Don Carcieri (R) is term-limited. While several big-name Democrats are looking at the race, all of the major GOP hopefuls have withdrawn from the race.

LOUISIANA. All of US Senator David Vitter's potential GOP primary foes have withdrawn from the contest next year -- except one. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne (R), a wealthy businessman, this week again told reporters he's still considering the race. "I'm continuing to get a lot of encouragement from a lot of people. I have not decided to run, nor have I ruled out the possibility that I may run," said Dardenne to Roll Call. To date, the Dems have also failed to recruit anyone to challenge Vitter, despite the incumbent's admitted involvement as a long-term customer in the "DC Madam" prostitution scandal two years ago.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 03.27.09 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SPECTER TRAILS TOOMEY; SEN BURR TRAILS IN NC.

PENNSYLVANIA. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows US Senator Arlen Specter trailing conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey by a lopsided 41-27 margin in a Republican primary contest. A series of independent poll results like these have prompted Specter to openly discuss the possibility that he may cede the GOP nomination to Toomey while seeking reelection as an Independent. If Specter follows the Indy route, he promised he would caucus with the Senate Republicans if he wins another term.

NORTH CAROLINA. A new Civitas Institute poll indicates US Senator Richard Burr (R) is in trouble next year. Burr trails Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) by a vote of 41-38. Cooper has not yet decided whether he will run against Burr.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 03.26.09 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

KAINE EXPLAINS DNC MONEY WOES; BUNNING HAS HIS OWN EXCUSES; AND A VIN COMMENTARY.

DNC. Democratic National Chairman and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is defending the DNC's poor fundraising performance last month. Kaine insists his fundraising efforts were handicapped by a Virginia law which prohibits elected officials from raising money during the state's legislative session. "Fundraising stories don't interest me that much. I was unable to raise any money in February by [state] law," Kaine told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

KENTUCKY. In a conference call, US Senator Jim Bunning (R) said he has been having difficulty fundraising for his 2010 reelection race. Bunning blamed his money problems on US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) for publicly suggesting Bunning may retire. Bunning – who was narrowly re-elected in 2004 with 51% of the vote – is expected to face a GOP primary challenge from State Senate President David Williams, a McConnell ally. Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo (D), the 2004 nominee, is running again. Attorney General Jack Conway (D) also appears likely to run.

EDITORIAL: VIN'S COMMENTARY. I remember after the 2004 election when President George Bush was re-elected and Republicans picked up seats in Congress. Conservative pundit Ann Coulter predicted it to be the end the Democratic Party – that the party would die within a decade. Democrats fought back hard in the last four years and now have big majorities in Congress, control of the White House and a majority of the state capitols in the country. Now US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) says that one of the main reasons he is staying as a Republican is because the GOP is dying and maintaining a viable two-party system is important to our democracy. Republicans don't hold a single House seat in New England and only three US Senate seats in the region. But Republicans do have some chances due to a bit of good luck: three statewide officeholders are very vulnerable despite strong favorable ratings for Congress and the White House. In New York, Governor David Paterson (D) has a 19% approval rating (although Paterson may lose his primary, placing this race more solidly back into the Dem column). In New Jersey, polls show Governor Jon Corzine (D) trailing his top GOP rival by double digits. In Connecticut, veteran US Senator Chris Dodd (D) continues to face ethics problems and new polls show a seriously diminished approval rating. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Republicans are fighting to stop the Democratic gains in the state. Another statewide Democratic win in Virginia could continue to make the electoral math worse for the party of Reagan. The Republicans have opportunities to defeat those three unpopular incumbents, although all three of those states have massive Democratic voter registration. If the Republicans fail to start making gains in these three opportunity race (or some other needed but unexpected gains), and fails to win the Virginia governorship, will they still be a viable national party after 2010?
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.25.09 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

GOV PATERSON NEARLY UNELECTABLE; SEN BENNETT STRONG AGAINST PRIMARY FOES; VT SEN APPROVES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE; REP LEVIN GETS PRIMARY CHALLENGER.

NEW YORK. Only 19% of the voters questioned in a Siena Research poll approved of the performance of Governor David Paterson (D) . By contrast, 78% say Paterson is doing a fair or poor job. The poll also showed Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would defeat Paterson by a 67-17 vote in a primary next year. The poll also shows Paterson would lose a general election to former New York City Mayor Rudy Guilliani (R) -- but that Cuomo leads Giuliani. In the US Senate race next year, interim US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is tied with former Governor George Pataki (R) with 41% apiece. However, Gillibrand leads Congressman Peter King (R) by a 47-23 vote.

UTAH. US Senator Bob Bennett (R) now appears likely to face a primary challenge from Attorney General Mark Shurtleff next year. Shurfleff won election to a third term in November with 70% of the vote. Shurtleff acknowledges he is looking at the race and promises a decision "soon.". A recent poll showed Bennett currently has an 80% approval rating. Former Juab County Prosecutor David Leavitt and former gubernatorial legal counsel Mike Lee are also considering GOP primary challenges. The seat is safely Republican.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY. The Vermont Senate cast a bipartisan vote of 26-4 to legalize same-sex marriage. The Vermont House is expected to soon approve the bill by a lopsided margin. Governor Jim Douglas (R) -- who supports civil unions but opposes same-sex marriage -- has not yet announced what he will do when the bill reaches his desk. However, if the House margin is similar to the Senate vote, it will have the support of a veto-proof majority. Douglas may simply let the bill become law without either signing or vetoing it. In other related news, US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who previously opposed same-sex marriage (and, at one time, even opposed civil unions), said this week he now supports same-sex marriage.

MICHIGAN. Term-limited State Senator Mickey Switalski announced he will challenge 14-term Congressman Sander Levin in next year's Democratic primary. Levin, 77, is the older brother of US Senator Carl Levin (D). Switalski is also a former State Representative and former Macomb County Commissioner. Sources tell Politics1 that the 54-year-old Switalski plans to make Levin's age an issue in the campaign.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.24.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE. For a variety of family reasons, just an open thread for Monday..
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 03.23.09 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

ISN'T THAT "SPECIAL" ... AND RNC TOPS DNC IN MOST RECENT MONEY HUNT.

OBAMA. President Barack Obama made a controversial joke during his appearance on The Today Show with Jay Leno on Thursday night. The President had taken a shot at self-deprecating humor by saying that he was unhappy with his bowling score of 129 on the White House bowling alley, saying his bowling reminded him of "like the Special Olympics, or something.” Obama later apologized to Special Olympics President Tim Shriver, and the White House issued a statement before the show even aired. "The President made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics. He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world," said a White House spokesman. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) -- a potential 2012 Presidential candidate and mother of a special needs baby -- responded with the following statement saying she "was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics. This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world.”

MONEY GAME. The RNC significantly out raised the DNC during the past month. The DNC now has $8.6 million cash-on-hand, but had $6.9 million in debts. The RNC now has over $24 million cash-on-hand.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.21.09 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

TAUSCHER TO BE US ARMS NEGOTIATOR; GOP STALLING FRANKEN SEATING; DUBYA TO WRITE BOOK; UAW PREZ RETIRES.

CALIFORNIA. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D) was tapped this week to serve in the Obama Administration as US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security -- the Administration's top arms control negotiator. The centrist Tauscher -- who represents the CD-10 district which includes the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory nuclear weapons/WMD research and development facility --- has been recognized as an expert on nuclear weapons issues during her seven-terms in Congress. "Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, making sure other countries do not obtain them and, one day, I hope, ridding the world of these terrible weapons, has become my passion and, I hope, my life's work," said Tauscher. The swing district has a Dem lean -- and the Dem bench of hopefuls is more significant. If Tauscher is quickly confirmed by the Senate, a special election will likely take place in late Spring 2009.

MINNESOTA. US Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) directly acknowledged that the GOP strategy in the ongoing Coleman-Franken legal challenge to fill the Senate seat is simply to delay the seating of Franken. The final count showed Franken defeated incumbent Coleman by a 225 vote margin. “The battle in Washington, DC is real. Every day in the Senate without Al Franken is a great day," said Coburn to the Tulsa Beacon.

PRESIDENT BUSH. Former President George W. Bush has signed with Crown Publishing to write a book focusing on the defining decisions he made in his personal and political life. The book -- tentatively entitled Decision Points -- is set to be published during the Fall 2010 election season.

UAW. United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger -- one of organized labor's fiercest supporters for single-payer national health insurance -- says he will not seek re-election and will retire when his current term ends in June 2010. The UAW, one of the largest US unions, represents over 800 local unions with over a million members.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.20.09 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OHIO US SEN POLL; GOP HAS SECOND-TIER CHALLENGER FOR BOXER; BOSTON MAYOR LIKELY TO RUN AGAIN; TOP RACES OF 2009.

OHIO. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Lt. Governor Lee Fisher narrowly leading in the Democratic primary for US Senator over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner by a vote of 18% to 14% -- with 46% undecided. Among Republicans, former Congressman Rob Portman leads State Auditor Mary Taylor by a 31-14. In a head-to-head matchup among the frontrunners, Fisher leads Portman 41-33. US Senator George Voinovich, the GOP incumbent, is retiring. VIN'S TIDBIT: Voinovich endorsed then Cleveland City Councilman Dennis Kucinich for Mayor of Cleveland in 1977. But, after getting elected Lt. Governor in 1978, Voinovich ran against then Mayor Kucinich and defeated him for re-election in 1979.

CALIFORNIA. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a conservative Republican, is actively running against veteran US Senator Barbara Boxer (D). DeVore has represented Orange County in the state legislature since 2005. Republicans had hoped to recruit a higher profile challenger, but it now appears as if DeVore is their most realistic prospect.

BOSTON. Sources tell Politics1 that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is currently leaning towards seeking re-election. Menino, who has served as Mayor for the past 16 years, has not gone public yet on his political future. City Councilor-At-Large and mayoral candidate Sam Yoon is one of the frontrunners for the race

2009 RACES. Campaign's & Elections Magazine list of the top-13 races to watch for 2009: (1) Virginia Gubernatorial Election; (2) New Jersey Gubernatorial Election; (3) NY-20 Special Election; (4) New York City Mayoral Election; (5) Detroit Mayoral Election; (6) IL-5 Special Election; (7) New Jersey Legislative Races - entire State Assembly is up; (8) Boston Mayoral Race; (9) Los Angeles Mayoral Race; (10) CA-32 Special Election; (11) Houston Mayoral Race; (12) Charlotte Mayoral Race; (13) Jersey City Mayoral Race.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 03.19.09 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

KBH LEADS PERRY; STRICKLAND LOOKS STRONG; PENN GOP GUV RACE GETS CROWDED; DEL IS MIKE'S CASTLE.

TEXAS. Governor Rick Perry (R) continues to trail US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for renomination in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary. A new University of Texas poll shows Perry trailing in the primary by a 37-29 vote. The poll also showed that Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) is the favorite to replace KBH in the US Senate in the special election that would follow her election as Governor. However, Roll Call reports that Hutchison no longer intends to resign her seat this year to be a full-time candidate for Governor, as she implied last year.

OHIO. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Governor Ted Strickland (D) leading for re-election in 2010 by a wide margin over either of his likely GOP opponents. Strickland leads former Congressman John Kasich (R) by a 51-31 vote. He also leads former US Senator Mike DeWine (R) by a vote of 50-34. The poll also shows -- against conventional wisdom -- that DeWine leads Kasich by a 32-27 vote in the GOP primary. While Kasish is an all-but-certain candidate for Governor, DeWine is still trying to decide whether to run for Governor, Attorney General or US Senate next year. Former Congressman Rob Portman (R) is an announced candidate for US Senate, while no GOP candidate has yet emerged for the Attorney General contest.

PENNSYLVANIA. Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) launched his campaign for Governor on Tuesday. Congressman Jim Gerlach and former US Attorney Pat Meehan are also competing for the GOP nomination for Governor. Governor Ed Rendell (D) is term-limited. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, State Auditor General Jack Wagner , and Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham are all expected to compete for the Democratic nomination -- but, to date, none have formally entered the contest.

DELAWARE. Congressman Mike Castle (R) looks is decent shape for re-election next year -- presuming he doesn't run in the open US Senate race. According to a new PPP (D) poll, Castle leads former Lieutenant Governor John Carney (D) by 49-32 vote.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal & Ron Gunzburger - 03.18.09 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

RENDELL SAYS SPECTER UNLIKELY TO SWITCH; SIMMONS CHALLENGES DODD; OBAMA TO VISIT LENO SHOW; SHEA-PORTER PASSES ON NH SEN RACE.

PENNSYLVANIA. Governor Ed Rendell (D) is telling reporters that Vice President Joe Biden led an unsuccessful effort in trying to convince US Senator Arlen Specter (R) to run for re-election next year as a Democrat. "We've tried. Myself, Senator (Bob) Casey, Vice President Biden have tried to talk him into it, but he's bound and determined to stay a Republican," said Rendell. Of course, it's also possible Specter is simply not yet letting Rendell know his true political strategy for next year's race. Specter survived a GOP primary challenge from conservative Congressman Pat Toomey in 2004 by a 51-49 margin. Toomey is expected to seek a rematch in next year's GOP primary.

CONNECTICUT. Former Congressman Rob Simmons (R) announced Sunday he will run against US Senator Chris Dodd (D) next year. Simmons, a GOP centrist and retired CIA agent, served three terms in Congress before losing his seat by just 83 votes in the Democratic tsunami of 2006. A Quinnipiac poll last week showed Simmons narrowly leading Dodd by a 43-42 vote. Dodd has faced heavy criticism for a purported sweetheart home mortgage refinance deal he got from a company his Senate committee regulates. The DSCC quickly reacted to the Simmons announcement by releasing a collecting of Simmons quotes praising President George W. Bush.

LENO. President Barack Obama will appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday. Obama will become the first sitting US President to ever appear on late night television before a live audience.

CONGRESS. A new Pew poll shows that only 43% of Republicans approve of their own party's leadership in Congress. Among all voters, only 28% approve of the Republican leadership in Congress. By contrast, 47% of all voters approve of the Democratic leadership in Congress.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D) announced Monday that she will not run for US Senator in 2010. Congressman Paul Hodes (D) previously entered the race to succeed retiring US Senator Judd Gregg (R). Hodes now looks unlikely to face serious opposition for the Democratic nomination. Former US Senator John Sununu is considering running on the GOP side, and would be viewed as the strongest Republican candidate. Several other Republicans -- including former Congressman Charlie Bass and former Governor Steve Merrill -- are also looking at the race.

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Daily Report by Vin Gopal & Ron Gunzburger - 03.17.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

UNIONS OFFER SPECTER ENDORSEMENT DEAL; NV GOV GIBBONS & FL CONGRESSMAN TO BE "PRIMARIED"; SHRIVER FOR CAL A.G.; CONGRESSMAN RYAN LIKELY TO RUN FOR OHIO LT GOV.

PENNSYLVANIA. The AFL-CIO is reportedly urging US Senator Arlen Specter (R) to switch parties. The Washington Post's "The Plum Line" blog reported that senior AFL-CIO officials have guaranteed Specter they will endorse him for re-election in 2010 -- with or without a party switch -- if Specter votes for the Employee Free Choice Act. The powerful union's spokesman later confirmed the story for the newspaper. With AFL-CIO backing, Specter would be a heavy favorite to win the Democratic primary next year. However, even if Specter stays a Republican, the union said it intended to "stick by any Senator, Democrat or Republican, who supports the Employee Free Choice Act." The Post also reports that the rival SEIU union is also expressing an interest in endorsing Specter if he support the EFCA. "We have endorsed Senator Specter in the past and we have a long-established record of standing with Members of Congress who support workers," said SEIU President Andy Stern. State Board of Education Chair Joe Torsella (D) and conservative activist Peg Luksik (R) have already announced challenges to Specter. State Representative Josh Shapiro (D) and former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) are expected to also jump in later this month.

NEVADA. Former State Senator and Iraq War veteran Joe Heck and North Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon have both announced GOP primary challenges next year to embattled Governor Jim Gibbons. A large number of prominent Democrats are also looking at the race.

CALIFORNIA. Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver (D) -- brother of California First Lady Maria Shriver -- is strongly considering a run for Attorney General next year. Shriver, 54, is the son of 1972 Democratic VP nominee Sargent Shriver. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) removed Shriver and actor/director Clint Eastwood from the State Parks Commission last year after they fiercely opposed a his plan for a toll road through a Southern California state park. Incumbent Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is running for Governor next year.

P2012. Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced legislation requiring future Presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate in order to be eligible to run in future White House races. Conservative conspiracy theorists have accused President Obama of being foreign-born and constitutionally ineligible. Obama last year produced a certified copy of his birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health, but critics argued that it was a fake or possibly altered. Hawaii officials confirmed the original document is in state records. The US Supreme Court has already rejected several lawsuits challenging the President's citizenship. "Congressman Posey should be focused on creating jobs and jump-starting the economy, but it seems he's only obsessed with pandering to the right wing," said Florida Democratic Chair Karen Thurman. "I think we are going to take the president at his word for it, just like we take every other candidate's word for it," replied Posey's spokesman.

FLORIDA. State Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson (D) -- as he previously suggested -- filed paperwork to make a primary challenge next year against Congressman Allen Boyd (D). Lawson believes Boyd, a leader of the centrist Blue Dog Caucus, is too conservative to represent mainstream Democratic values. He notes that Boyd voted last year to bailout the Wall Street corporations -- but was one of only 11 Democrats to vote against the Obama stimulus package.

OHIO. Congressman Tim Ryan (D) is "at the top, or very near the top, of Gov. Ted Strickland’s list of lieutenant governor running mates" for next year's election, according to the Youngstown Vindicator. Ryan gave the newspaper a non-denial response: "It is always flattering to have your name mentioned." Ryan had initially been looking at running for the open US Senate seat next year but -- instead -- endorsed Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher for the seat. The move seems to indicate the 35-year-old Congressman instead has his eye on the Governor's Mansion when Strickland is term-limited in 2014.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal & Ron Gunzburger - 03.16.09 | Permalink |

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FishBowl DC
Fired Up! America
TalkLeft
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ZNet
Joe Trippi
Media Matters
Juan Cole
Wonkette
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Credo Action
Crooks & Liars
Mathew Gross
Progressive Dems: Blog
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Good As You
Down With Tyranny
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Taylor Marsh
Brad Blog
Nation-Building
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Pam's House Blend
Bad Attitudes
GoLeft.tv
at-Largely
The American Street
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NRCC Blog
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TownHall.com
Real Clear Politics
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Mickey Kaus
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WSJ Opinion Journal
Free Republic
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Drudge Report
Pajamas Media
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Daniel Drezner
News Busters
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Extreme Mortman
NRO: The Corner
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Reason: Hit & Run
Outside the Beltway
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World Mag Blog
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Volokh Conspiracy
Brothers Judd
David Frum
Save the GOP
Enter Stage Right
PoliPundit
Power Line
The Next Right
Hedgehog Report
Right Voices
Right Bias
Booker Rising
Conservative Grapevine
Don Singleton
StoneZone
Diggers Realm

OTHER:
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Kn@ppster
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