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BLOG ARCHIVE: APRIL 16-30, 2008.

WEDESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CLINTON WINS PENNSYLVANIA; DEM LEADS AS MS CD-1 SPECIAL HEADS TO RUN-OFF; NC GOV & US SENATE PRIMARY POLLS.

P2008 - DEMS. Hillary Clinton rolled to victory in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Clinton defeated Barack Obama by a vote of 55% to 45% (note: identical to our prediction of two days ago). While Obama ran strong in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and surrounding areas, Clinton swept nearly everywhere else in the state. While both sides are spinning this is a victory, the race played out almost exactly as most pundits had long expected. The race now moves on to Guam on May 3 and Indiana and North Carolina on May 6. Obama leads in Indiana and North Carolina according to recent polls, and holds a massive advantage in money according to FEC filings.

PENNSYLVANIA. Here are the congressional primary results from Tuesday. CD-3: Businesswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D) won the four-way primary to face potentially vulnerable Congressman Phil English (R). He was re-elected with a surprisingly unimpressive vote two years ago. Race rating: GOP Favored. CD-5: Congressman John Peterson (R) is retiring and Dems see a longshot pickup opportunity here. Nine Republicans and three Democrats competed for the open seat. Centre County GOP Chair Glenn Thompson -- Peterson's endorsed candidate -- won the Republican primary with 19.5%. Wealthy developer Matt Shaner, the Club for Growth's candidate, finished third with 17%. On the Democratic side, Clearfield County Commissioner Mark McCracken won the three-way primary by edging favored Iraq War veteran Bill Cahir by a 5-point margin. Race rating: GOP Favored. CD-10: Republicans want to recapture this traditionally GOP seat, currently held by freshman Congressman Chris Carney (D). Two wealthy businessmen -- Chris Hackett and Dan Meuser -- engaged in a very nasty, expensive and close primary battle. Hackett won by a 52% to 48% vote. Race rating: Leans DEM. CD-18: Businessman Steve O'Donnell (D) defeated two others to win the right to face Congressman Tim Murphy (R) in November in this swing district. Race rating: Leans GOP.

MISSISSIPPI. The CD-1 special election contest appears heading towards a run-off on May 13, in what is a major embarrassment for the Republicans in this overwhelmingly GOP district. In an upset, Prentiss County Clerk Travis Childers (D) finished ahead of initial frontrunner Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R). The numbers: Childers - 49%, Davis - 47%, Others - 4%. The folksy Childers fell just 700 votes shy of an outright win in his surprise first place finish. Both men are social and fiscal conservatives, but they differ sharply on the Iraq War. Davis strongly supports the war, while Childers advocates a swift withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. While the NRCC and DCCC both spent money here in the primary, look for both to dump even more money into this suprisingly close race.

NORTH CAROLINA: WTVD-TV/SurveyUSA are out with polling numbers on the upcoming primaries for US Senate and Governor. The Democratic primary US Senate: State Senator Kay Hagan - 38%, investment banker Jim Neal - 16%, attorney Marcus Williams - 6%, physician Howard Staley - 4%, truck driver Duskin Lassiter - 3%. The winner will face US Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) in November. In the gubernatorial contest, both parties have hotly contested races because Governor Mike Easley (D) is term-limited. The Democrats: Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue - 43%, State Treasurer Richard Moore - 39%, retired USAF officer Dennis Nielsen - 2%. The Republicans: Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory - 35%, State Senator Fred Smith - 24%, former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr - 9%, attorney Bill Graham - 8%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.23.08 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

PENNSYLVANIA VOTES; OBAMA'S BUCKS VERSUS CLINTON'S DEBTS; MS CD-1 SPECIAL.

P2008 - DEMS. On the eve of Pennsylvania's Presidential primary, polling numbers are all over the map. In nearly all polls, Hillary Clinton leads -- but the agreement ends there. Depending upon which pollster you trust, Clinton is leading by anywhere from 5-10 points. Here are the latest polls:
PENNSYLVANIA (Newsmax/Zogby): Clinton - 48%, Obama - 42%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Rasmussen): Clinton - 49%, Obama - 44%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Public Policy Polling): Obama - 49%, Clinton - 46%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Insider Advantage): Clinton - 49%, Obama - 39%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac University): Clinton - 51%, Obama - 44%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Suffolk University): Clinton - 52%, Obama - 42%.
In related news, the AP reports Obama started April with $42 million cash-on-hand -- while Clinton's campaign is essentially broke. Clinton eported $9.3 million cash-on-hand, but owed $10.3 million in unpaid debts to her pollster, phone bank firm, and advertising agency.

PENNSYLVANIA. Much overlooked because of the high-profile Clinton-Obama fight are other important races on Pennsylvania's primary ballot. The primaries worth noting are the Democratic contest for State Treasurer and several congressional races. CD-3: Four Dems believe Congressman Phil English (R) is vulnerable. Erie County Councilman Kyle Foust and attorney Tom Myers appear to be the Democratic frontrunners. Race rating: GOP Favored. CD-5: Congressman John Peterson (R) is retiring and Dems see a longshot pickup opportunity here. Nine Republicans and three Democrats are seeking the open seat. Peterson has endorsed Centre County GOP Chair Glenn Thompson, but Thompson's fundraising has lagged far behind several other GOP hopefuls. Former Congressman Bill Clinger and several top GOP leaders are backing wealthy financial consultant Derek Walker -- although Walker was unexpectedly charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors last Thursday for an alleged incident which took place at his girlfriend's home last summer. Walker says the timing of the indictment was politically motivated. Hotel developer Matt Shaner loaned himself $1.2 million, and is also one of the top contenders. Shaner, a one-time aide to former US Senator Rick Santorum, is backed by the Club for Growth. Former Woodward Township Supervisor and wealthy businessman Jeff Stroehman rounds out the first-tier of GOP frontrunners. On the Dem side, Iraq War veteran Bill Cahir appears to be the likely primary winner over two local elected officials. Race rating: GOP Favored. CD-10: Republicans want to recapture this seat, which freshman Congressman Chris Carney (D) handily won in a 2006 upset. Two wealthy businessmen -- Chris Hackett and Dan Meuser -- have engaged in a very nasty, expensive and divisive primary battle. No matter which man wins, we'll rate this race: Leans DEM. CD-18: Three Dems are competing for the right to take on Congressman Tim Murphy (R) in November in this swing district. Race rating: Leans GOP.

MISSISSIPPI. Republicans find themselves in an unexpectedly competitive open seat race to defend the CD-1 seat left vacant by the elevation of US Senator Roger Wicker (R). The contest is hot enough that both the NRCC and DCCC are spending money here. Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) and Prentiss County Clerk Travis Childers (D) are facing off, although the names of two Republicans and one Democrats who lost in the regular election primary last month also remain on the ballot. The reason the race is so competitive is because of the unhealed wounds from the divisive GOP primary run-off. The Democrats, by comparison, are totally united behind Childers. Restaurant owner Wally Pang (Ind.) and college professor John Wages (Green) are also running. Davis enjoys a 4-to-1 spending advantage and is still likely to win this race. But, if Childers scores an upset win in this usually safe GOP district, it could be an ominous harbinger of a cataclysmically devastating year for the GOP on a par with 1932 or 1974.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.22.08 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

McCAIN FINANCE CHAIR PLAYED MAJOR ROLE IN SPITZER'S DOWNFALL; CLINTON HOLDS PA LEAD.

NEW YORK. A Politics1 Exclusive. John McCain's National Finance Co-Chairman played a key role in the recent downfall of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D). Reliable sources informed Politics1 that DC super-lobbyist Wayne Berman -- a longtime confidant of insurance executive Maurice Hank Greenberg -- authorized a private Investigation that discovered the links between Spitzer and a Florida escort service ring. Operating under the alias code-name "Wallace C. Bernheim," Berman directed an 18-month effort that cost en estimated $2.2 million. The investigation was allegedly paid for by a highly-secretive shadow committee Berman directed, informally nicknamed "The Group." Sources tell Politics1 that The Group included Greenberg, Home Depot founder Ken Langone and former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Ken Grasso -- all high-profile targets of Spitzer when he was Attorney General. Key players in funding the anti-Spitzer effort also included wealthy New Jersey businessman Joseph Jingoli and Florida sugar mogul Pepe Fanjul Jr. Berman also retained veteran Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone to transmit the information to the FBI five months ago. The Group also funded an on-going effort by Stone to challenge Spitzer on the "Troopergate" and illegal immigrants drivers license issues. Berman and Stone were previously partners in the Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly consulting firm, whose former clients included Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Angolan guerilla Jonas Savimbi , US Sugar, Phillip Morris Tobacco, and developer Donald Trump. Stone also had a very public sexual scandal in that past, as he was fired by Bob Dole's 1996 Presidential campaign when it was reported that Stone and his wife were advertising for other couples in sex magazines and participated in swingers sex parties. Stone also organized the so-called "Brooks Brothers Riot" in November 2000 that shut down the Miami-Dade Presidential recount. The funders decided against giving the money to the coffers of New York Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R) -- a sharp Spitzer foe -- because of lack of confidence in Bruno strategist John McArdle.

P2008 - DEMS. For both camps, Tuesday cannot come soon enough. After the millions of dollars spent on Pennsylvania TV spots, and weeks dedicated to campaigning in the state, the primary finally comes tomorrow. Here are the latest polls:
PENNSYLVANIA (Newsmax/Zogby): Clinton - 46%, Obama - 43%.
PENNSYLVANIA (MSNBC/McClatchy/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette): Clinton - 48%, Obama - 43%.
Clinton told ABC News on Sunday that "I have to win" the state. Editor's Prediction: Despite polls showing the race narrowing over the past two weeks, I don't buy it. I expect Clinton to win Pennsylvania by a margin of at least 10-points, maybe 55% to 45% (or better). But it won't much matter as, in terms of convention delegates, Clinton will win only a few more than Obama.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.21.08 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

REICH, NUNN, BOREN ENDORSE OBAMA.

P2008 - DEMS. Former US Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA) and David Boren (D-OK) -- both prominent Southern Democratic conservatives and national security "hawks" -- endorsed Barack Obama on Friday. "Based on my conversations with Senator Obama, reading his book and his speeches and seeing the kind of campaign he has run, I believe that he is our best choice to lead our nation," said Nunn. The two men issued a joint statement and will both serve as foreign policy advisors to the Obama campaign. Nunn and Boren were part of the now defunct Unity '08 movement, which wanted to organize a viable Independent Presidential ticket. The endorsement also puts to rest any of the rumors that Nunn was still planning to make an Independent run for President this year. In related news, Clinton family friend for 40+ years and former Clinton Cabinet member Robert Reich (D-MA) endorsed Obama. "Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so ... He offers the best hope of transcending the boundaries of class, race, and nationality that have divided us. His life history exemplifies this, as do his writings and his record of public service. For these same reasons, he offers the best possibility of restoring America's moral authority in the world," explained Reich.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.19.08 | Permalink |

VIEW FROM ABROAD: DR. HANS-CHRISTIAN STRÖBELE, MdB, PARLIAMENTARY VICE CHAIR OF THE GREEN PARTY (GERMANY).

GERMANY: DR. HANS-CHRISTIAN STRÖBELE, MdB, Parliamentary Vice Chair of the BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (Green Party). Born in 1939, Ströbele became active in the leftist German student movement of the 1960s. He began practicing law in 1969, after studying at Heidelberg and Freie Universität Berlin. A member of the Socialist Lawyers' Collective, Ströbele was an aggressive defender of those facing politically-related crimes. His past clients included notorious members of the Baader-Meinhof Group/Red Army Faction urban guerrillas. Originally active in the mainstream SPD -- the ruling Socialists in West German -- Ströbele co-founded the "Alternative List for Democracy and Environmental Protection." The ALDEP later became the Berlin chapter of the Greens. Ströbele was elected to the Bundestag (West German Parliament) in a 1985 by-election, and served until 1987. In 2002, Ströbele was returned to the Bundestag from Berlin's Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district. He was reelected in 2005. Ströbele currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Green caucus in the Bundestag and is among the most prominent politicians belonging to the "Fundi" wing of the party.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO DATE?

ANSWER: From across the Atlantic, the US Presidential race looks very democratic. Voter participation in the primaries so far has been very high. My great hopes are with the Democratic candidates, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, each for different reasons. Hopefully McCain will not be the beneficiary of their fight.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT?

ANSWER: I hope that the next U.S. President will be more peaceful than Mr. Bush and end the war in Iraq immediately, along with the other armed U.S. military operations. The Iraq War not only increases the suffering of the population of that country, but is increasing the threat to Europe and the United States. The war has become a recruiting machine for international terrorism.

Ströbele used some really cool, artistic posters in his last two campaigns (click to enlarge):

2002 Campaign Poster

2005 Campaign Poster

Do you have a connection to a foreign political leader, elected official or prominent candidate you'd like to have answer these two questions? Please email Ron if you know someone you'd like featured here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.19.08 | Permalink |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD.

CLINTON, OBAMA CLOSE IN PA; WASH GOV POLL; BARNEY FRANK & RON PAUL PROPOSE MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION.

P2008 - DEMS. Just one new Pennsylvania poll released on Thursday. Here are the numbers from the latest Newsmax/Zogby poll: Clinton - 45%, Obama - 44%.

WASHINGTON. A new KING-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Governor Christine Gregoire (D) leading for re-election over former State Senator Dino Rossi (R) by a vote of 50% to 46%.

MARIJUANA. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced a bill on Thursday to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana and legalize the use of marijuana when prescribed for medical purposes. "“I think it is poor law enforcement to keep on the books legislation that establishes as a crime something which in fact society does not seriously wish to prosecute," said Frank. The bill would remove all federal criminal sanctions for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is an original co-sponsor of the bill.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.18.08 | Permalink |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD.

NEW DEM POLLS, PLUS "DEM UNITY" DEBATE; SPECTER CANCER RETURNS; BAUCUS' BIG BUCKS LEAD; UTAH CONGRESSMAN DEFENDS POLYGAMY.

P2008 - DEMS. Another day, another round of primary polls ...
PENNSYLVANIA (Philadelphia Daily News/Franklin & Marshall Collge): Clinton - 46%, Obama - 40%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Public Policy Polling): Obama - 45%, Clinton - 42%.
NORTH CAROLINA (American Research Group): Obama - 52%, Clinton - 41%.
NORTH CAROLINA (Insider Advantage): Obama - 51%, Clinton - 36%.
SOUTH DAKOTA (Dakota Wesleyan University): Obama - 46%, Clinton - 34%.
In Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Clinton held a rally featuring 100 mayors from around the Keystone State who all endorsed her candidacy. While many had previously endorsed Clinton, it still was an impressive photo op with each standing behind the candidate and holding a signs bearing the names of the cities and towns they represent. In other related news, Obama picked up three more superdelegates this week: Congressmen Mel Watt (D-NC), David Price (D-NC) and Andre Carson (D-IN). Clinton picked up a superdelegate last week: new Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA). Speier did not represent a numerical gain for Clinton, as she was elected to replace the late Congressman and Clinton superdelegate Tom Lantos. Finally, in Wednesday night's debate, Clinton and Obama both vowed they will ensure party unity behind the eventual nominee. "I will do everything to make sure that the people who supported me will support the nominee," said Clinton, who promised to campaign "anywhere" for the nominee. Likewise, Obama promised the party will "come together" once the nominee is designated. Neither, however, made any commitment to select the other as the VP runningmate.

PENNSYLVANIA. Despite being diagnosed this week with a recurrence of cancer, Senator Arlen Specter (R) vowed that he will still seek re-election in 2010. He said he was optimistic with the prognosis, and will begin 12-weeks of new chemotherapy treatment on April 25. "You deal with it as it comes. I have a good job, my faith, my family and questions from the news media to keep me on my toes," said Specter to The Politico. In related news, MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews (D) last week -- when asked on his show -- made a point of not denying the rumors he was making inquiries of party leaders to gauge support for a possible run against Specter in two years.

MONTANA. New FEC filings out this week show US Senator Max Baucus (D) has raised over $10 million for his re-election bid -- and has $6.4 milliona cash-on-hand remaining. By contrast, The Missoulian reports Baucus' five GOP opponents have a combined cash-on-hand of just over $10,000.

MARRIAGE. The definition of marriage is becoming an issue in the Utah CD-3 congressional primary -- and the dispute isn't even centered around same-sex marriage. Congressman Chris Cannon (R) -- facing an aggressive primary challenge from former Juab County Prosecutor David Leavitt, former gubernatorial chief of staff Jason Chaffetz and two others -- expressed some support for radical Mormon polygamists. Cannon said the state should not prosecute polygamists for bigamy solely because they engage in consensual plural marriage. Further, Cannon said anti-polygamy laws were largely analogous to the anti-sodomy laws already declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Here is how Cannon explained it to the Salt Lake Tribune: There are "lots of women who choose to be in polygamous relationships and who are very articulate about the benefits they get. I don't think it's the place of society to prosecute people who choose to cohabitate responsibly and are responsible for their children as opposed to men who are licentious or women who are licentious who are producing children that don't have place or context or male authority in their lives." Cannon said his views also extended to same sex couples -- that the relationships should not be criminal, but the relationships do not get government recognition either. Leavitt told KNRS radio that the state must aggressively prosecute polygamists "or it will pave the road to same-sex marriage ... If we allow two consenting women and a consenting man to redefine what our society says is marriage, then we have opened the door for the redefinition of marriage for same-gender marriage. This is a broader scope than just polygamy." Leavitt lost for re-election by 22 votes in 2002, in what was largely viewed as a backlash against his successful bigamy prosecution of a vocal polygamist in 2000.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.17.08 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

LIEBERMAN LIKELY TO SPEAK AT GOP CONVENTION; SEVEN NEW DEM PREZ PRIMARY POLLS; SECOND POLL SHOWS LANDRIEU LEAD IN LOUISIANA.

P2008 - GOP. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) -- the 2000 Dem nominee for VP -- says he is willing to be a pro-McCain speaker at this summer's Republican National Convention. "If Senator McCain, who I support so strongly, asked me to do it, if he thinks it will help him, I will," said Lieberman to The Hill. Lieberman said it is likely he will be asked to speak at the convention, but does not expect to be asked give the keynote address. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), a close Lieberman friend, said the Dems would not strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship if he speaks at the GOP convo. When directly asked by The Hill if Lieberman's chairmanship was "at risk" in the next Congress, Reid responded "No." Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) seemed to echo Reid's stance. "We have one difference of opinion, maybe two with Senator Lieberman. As a Whip, I can tell you time and again, he’s been there when we’ve needed him," said Durbin ... Just a prediction, but don't be surprised if Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) also speaks at a rival party convention this summer. Expect to see Paul speaking at the Libertarian National Convention next month in support of former GOP Congressman Bob Barr's third party candidacy ... In other GOP news, Secretary of State Condi Rice gave a Shermanesque statement ruling out any interest in being the VP runningmate. "I don't want to be, don't intend to be, won't be on the ticket," Rice told the New York Times.

P2008 - DEMS. Another day, another round of primary polls ...
PENNSYLVANIA (Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg): Clinton - 46%, Obama - 41%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Strategic Vision): Clinton - 49%, Obama - 40%.
PENNSYLVANIA (SurveyUSA): Clinton - 54%, Obama - 40%.
PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac University): Clinton - 50%, Obama - 44%.
INDIANA (Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg): Obama - 40%, Clinton - 35%.
NORTH CAROLINA (Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg): Obama - 47%, Clinton - 34%.
KENTUCKY (SurveyUSA): Clinton - 62%, Obama - 26%.
Congressional Quarterly performed an interesting analysis of recent Pennsylvania polls in which they are able to break down the vote by congressional district -- as convention delegates are awarded at that level. Based upon this analysis, Clinton appears likely to edge Obama by a narrow margin of 53 delegates to 50 delegates of those awarded at the district level. The state will also send 84 additional delegates to the convention. Of those remaining 84 slots, 55 pledged delegates will be distributed based on the statewide popular vote, and the remaining 29 seats go to “superdelegates.”

LOUISIANA: A new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll essentially confirms yesterday's Rasmussen poll numbers. Here are the SMOR numbers: US Senator Mary Landrieu (D) - 50%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) - 38%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 04.16.08 | Permalink |

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