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BLOG ARCHIVE: MAY 16-31, 2006

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WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

P2008: NEW GROUP SEEKS "NATIONAL UNITY" TICKET FOR 2008.
A respected group of political centrists -- including former political consultant and The Hotline founder Doug Bailey (R), Carter White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan (D), former Maine Governor Angus King (Independent) and others -- have formed a new group that threatens the political status quo for the next Presidential election. Named Unity '08, the group vows to field a mixed D/R national unity White House ticket. In an interesting move indicative of an attempt to target the youth vote, a number of the Unity '08 co-founders are college students. Here is how the group explains itself: "Unity08 believes that neither of today’s major parties reflects the aspirations, fears or will of the majority of Americans ... Recent Presidential elections, however, have not been focused on the middle but on the turnout of each party’s special interest groups – with each party’s 'base' representing barely ten percent of the American people ... As a result, most Americans have not been enthusiastic about the choices for President in recent elections, the key issues they ran on, or the manner in which the campaigns were conducted. Therefore Unity08 will act to assure that an alternative ticket is presented to the American voters in 2008 ... headed by a woman and/or man from each major party or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties." On issues, the group seem very reminiscent of Ross Perot's 1992 campaign (i.e., focused largely on national security, economic, trade, energy, health care and education issues -- and downplaying social hot-button issues like abortion, guns and gay marriage). It remains to be seen if a group like this can succeed without being financially backed by a deep pocket like the eccentric Perot. Unless, of course, this is a well-planned, stealthy first stage of a NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg for President effort. Like Perot, the billionaire Bloomberg could easily self-finance a purported "national unity" coalition campaign for the Presidency. "I think I have a better job than the Governor and the President does," said Bloomberg a few days ago to the New York Daily News, in his latest and less-than-convincing denial of interest in the 2008 race.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

DC: OF FREEBIE BOXING TICKETS AND GREENHOUSE GASSES.
US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) apparently didn't break the law by accepting expensive boxing tickets from a governmental entity in Nevada when Reid was looking into adopting new regulations of the sport -- put it is the certainly the kind of ethical "gray area" stories Democratic candidates don't want to see in the news so they can continue their mantra of "Republican Culture of Corruption" ... and President Bush nominated Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry Paulson to be the next US Treasury Secretary. As was long expected, Secretary John Snow announced his resignation on Tuesday. Paulson, who also served as Chair of the Nature Conservancy, is a strong supporter of the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse emissions. The President staunchly opposes the Kyoto treaty. Under Paulson's leadership, both the Nature Conservancy and Goldman Sachs issued statements acknowledging the harm of global warming and calling for US adoption of the Kyoto treaty.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

KANSAS: EX-GOP STATE CHAIR SWITCHES PARTIES ... TO RUN AS DEM?
Former state legislator and former Republican State Chairman Mark Parkinson quietly switched his party registration to Democrat on Tuesday. Parkinson, 46, was a GOP centrist who tried to keep peace during his tenure as Chair between warring factions of centrists and Religious Right activists. Most believe Parkinson made the switch because he will soon be named the new Lieutenant Governor runningmate of Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D). The current Lt Gov -- former Republican and former Cessna Aircraft Company VP John Moore -- previously announced his intention to retire. Parkinson could help Sebelius hold onto the GOP moderate voters who crossed party lines to elect her in 2002. "I think he's being opportunistic on a personal basis. The Republican Party had been very good to Mark Parkinson," said State House Speaker Doug Mays (R), a candidate for Governor. Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison switched from GOP to Dem earlier this year when he announced his candidacy against Attorney General Phill KIine (R). In related news, the Wichita Eagle reported Tuesday that "two [social] conservative Republican groups with some bad blood between them are likely to endorse different candidates, and a moderate [Republican] group focusing on education and business may remain silent on the Governor's race."

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
CALIFORNIA - GOVERNOR - DEM PRIMARY: State Treasurer Phil Angelides - 37%, State Controller Steve Westly - 34%. (Los Angeles Times).
CALIFORNIA - ATTORNEY GENERAL - DEM PRIMARY: Former Governor Jerry Brown - 60%, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo - 27%. (Los Angeles Times).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY.
Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Ben Westlund for Oregon Governor (Independent) -- a great example of effectively using a website as an organizational tool, a really nice effort.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE.
Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage in a daily "thank you" note. My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Whatever.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ALASKA: RUMORS BUZZING AS FILING DEADLINE LOOMS.
The unexpected announcement on Friday by Governor Frank Murkowski (R) that he will seek re-election has all the political pundits in the Last Frontier buzzing. Murkowski has among the lowest approval ratings of any Governor in the nation, a dismal disapproval rating that even extends to Republican voters. Former two-term Governor Tony Knowles (D) -- who lost a competitive US Senate in 2004 against incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R) -- confirmed over the weekend to reporters he is considering jumping into the Gov race. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Knowles is expected to enter the race. The newspaper also reported the buzz that State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D) will purportedly end his gubernatorial campaign before Thursday's filing deadline to become Knowles' Lieutenant Governor runningmate. Candidates for Alaska Governor and Lieutenant Governor run separately in the primary, but are then paired as teams in the general election. Other sources claim State Representative Eric Croft (D) is also apparently willing to end his run for Governor and support Knowles. On the GOP side, the Daily News said Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman (R) will announce this week he will file for reelection instead of challenging Murkowski in the primary. Leman is expected to withhold making any endorsement of anyone in the hot GOP primary fight between Murkowski, wealthy Alaska Railroad Commission Chair John Binkley and former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin. Interestingly, Murkowski's announcement was so unexpected that nearly all of the people who organized Murkowski's winning 2002 campaign had signed on with Binkley.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
ALABAMA - GOVERNOR - DEM PRIMARY: Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley - 45%, former Governor Don Siegelman - 27%, environmental activist Joe Copeland - 1%, former State Rep. Nathan Mathis - 1%. (Mobile Press-Register/University of South Alabama).
MONTANA - US SENATE (Helena Independent Record/Mason-Dixon):
State Auditor John Morrison (D) - 48%, US Senator Conrad Burns (R) - 41%.
State Senate President Jon Tester (D) - 45%, Burns - 42%.
Morrison - 43%, State Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan (R) - 31%.
Tester - 40%, Keenan - 37%.
GOP PRIMARY: Burns - 66%, State Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan - 18%, frequent candidate Bob Kelleher - 3%.
DEM PRIMARY: Morrison - 42%, Tester - 41%, former State Rep. Paul Richards - 2%, teacher Ken Marcure - 1%.
NORTH CAROLINA - CD-11: Former pro football player Heath Shuler (D) - 46%, Congressman Charles Taylor (R) - 42%. (Public Policy Polling).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

OHIO: DIFFERENT DISTRICTS, DISTRICT APPROACHES FOR GOP STRATEGISTS.
The Ohio Republican Party is finding itself taking opposite positions on Independent candidates in two congressional districts. According to the Columbus Dispatch, GOP leaders are actively working to challenge the petition signatures presented by businessman Charlie Morrison (Independent) in the CD-15 race against Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R). Republicans argue "it's improper for the Madison County Republican -- Morrison has run against Pryce in past GOP primaries and ran for Republican committees in the May 2 primary -- to get on the ballot as an independent." They worry the conservative Morrison could strip away crucial votes from Pryce in her already competitive re-election battle with challenger Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D). Morrison's candidacy is "not helpful" for Pryce and he should be barred from the ballot "as a matter of good government," said Franklin County GOP Chair Doug Preisse. However, in the open CD-13 race for the seat being vacated by Congressman Sherrod Brown (D), the Dispatch reported GOP leaders "are trying to help local Republican, lawyer Traci Kennedy get on the ballot as an independent ... It is thought that Kennedy might pull votes away from Democrat Betty Sutton and aid the candidacy of Republican Craig Foltin."

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

THE HOTTEST WOMAN IN POLITICS: MARSHA BLACKBURN.
We had a real upset in our biennial "Hottest Women in US Politics" poll, and that was true even after we eliminated all of duplicate voting (i.e., the same IP address voting numerous times). Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), the 2004 winner and presumed favorite coming into this race, finished second. The winner -- over a bevy of younger contenders -- is Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who turns 54 next week. Thank you to the more than 3,300 readers who cast ballots in the poll. Click here to view the complete results. We'll hold our survey for "Hottest Guy in US Politics" starting later this week.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY.
Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is Coleen Rowley for Congress (DFL-Minnesota) -- cool design for a unique campaign site.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE.
Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage in a daily "thank you" note. My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
What's on your mind on this start of a four-day work week?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.30.06 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

ALASKA: MURKOWSKI TO RUN AGAIN.
In an unexpected move, Governor Frank Murkowski (R) announced Friday he will seek reelection to a second term. Murkowski, the oldest Governor in the nation at age 73, is beset by poll numbers also showing him to be one of the least popular Governors in the nation. Speaking about the weak economy, Murkowski explained: "When I thought about the reasons for coming back, it was to get this thing moving again ... Building the [natural] gas line is certainly the number one priority of my administration." Alaska Railroad Commission Chair John Binkley (R) made it clear he would continue his campaign, even with Murkowski running. "Murkowski’s time as governor has been one of failed leadership. His getting into the race today is just another example of how out of touch he is with Alaskans," said Binkley to the Anchorage Daily News. Former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin also said she would stay in the GOP primary fight against Murkowski. Interestingly, even Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman (R) said he's continuing to contemplate entering the race for Governor. "I never underestimate an incumbent. I think of Jimmy Carter [in 1980], who was unpopular. He wasn’t elected again, but he was nominated," said Leman. Two Democrats are already in the race, but former Governor Tony Knowles (D) is now considering a challenge. Knowles will make his plans known within a week. While Murkowski would be very vulnerable against Knowles, his popularity is so low he is at risk of losing his own primary in August if one of his challenges runs an effective race.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.27.06 | Permalink |

Politics1 Poll: PICK THE HOTTEST WOMAN IN POLITICS.
A pretty cool feature of the new poll software: I can see the IP addresses associated with each vote. This means I can view -- and eliminate (and did eliminate) -- all of the duplicate "cheat" votes. I've also activated some other controls to keep the vote honest. That said, the current totals (from around 11 pm on Friday night) reflect the real and fair tally. Click here to cast your ballot or click here to view the results. We'll keep this vote open through Monday evening ... and then we'll have the vote on the Hottest Guys in politics next week.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.27.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
NEW JERSEY - US SENATE: State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) - 40%, US Senator Bob Menendez (D) - 37%. (Rasmussen Reports).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.27.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.27.06 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

The Politics1 Poll: Name the Hottest Woman in US Politics (v 2.0)
Call it flippant, sexist, irreverent, or whatever ... but it is time for our biennial poll on the hottest woman in US politics. First, we limited the contenders to either elected officials or candidates for elective office (but we excluded porn star/candidates like Mary Carey and Mimi Miyagi -- as that wouldn't be a fair race). Contenders are white, hispanic and black, democrats and republicans, from coast-to-coast. 2004 winner Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) is back with a new look for her second run, facing off against nine others. And, FYI, we totally reject the "sexist" tag -- as we're also going to run a poll for the Hottest Male politico next week. Click here to cast your ballot or click here to view the results. (Tech note: We dumped Freepolls.com -- they sucked, as their polls also crashed several times on us in 2004 -- and we're trying a new company. It doesn't have an option for write-ins, so use the comments here for those votes).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
ALABAMA - GOVERNOR - GOP PRIMARY: Governor Bob Riley - 64%, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore - 33%. (WKRG-TV/SurveyUSA).
ALABAMA - GOVERNOR - DEM PRIMARY: Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley and former Governor Don Siegelman tied at 43% each, Others - 12%. (WKRG-TV/SurveyUSA).
CALIFORNIA - GOVERNOR - DEM PRIMARY: State Treasurer Phil Angelides - 44%, State Controller Steve Westly - 32%. (KABC-TV/SurveyUSA).
CALIFORNIA - GOVERNOR - DEM PRIMARY: State Treasurer Phil Angelides - 35%, State Controller Steve Westly - 32%. (Public Policy Institute of California).
CALIFORNIA - GOVERNOR (Rasmussen Reports):
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) - 45%, State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) - 45%.
State Controller Steve Westly (D) - 46%, Schwarzenegger - 45%.
FLORIDA - US SENATE: US Senator Bill Nelson (D) - 58%, Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) - 25%. (Quinnipiac Univ.).
OHIO - GOVERNOR: Congressman Ted Strickland (D) - 50%, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) - 44%. (Ohio Poll/Univ. of Cincinnati).
OHIO - US SENATE: US Senator Mike DeWine (R) - 52%, Congressman Sherrod Brown (D) - 42%. (Ohio Poll/Univ. of Cincinnati).
PENNSYLVANIA - GOVERNOR: Governor Ed Rendell (D) - 52%, retired pro football player Lynn Swann (R) - 34%. (Rasmussen Reports).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.06 | Permalink |

COLORADO: HOLTZMAN WON'T QUIT GOV RACE.
Former university president Marc Holtzman lost the GOP gubernatorial endorsement to Congressman Bob Beauprez by a 72% to 28% vote last weekend. In the aftermath, Holtzman vowed he would petition his way onto the primary ballot. Since then, State GOP Chair Bob Martinez and 33 state legislators openly called on Holtzman to quit the race in the interests of party unity. On Thursday, Holtzman said he will continue the costly and nasty primary because of the "strong anti-incumbency sentiment right now, especially against [a] big-spending Republican Congressman."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.06 | Permalink |

NEW YORK: FASO, WELD (AND GREENS) ADVANCE TO NOVEMBER.
The two Republican candidates for New York Governor are both assured of appearing on state ballots in November. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld last month won the Libertarian nomination for Governor. This week, former State Assembly Minority Leader John Faso won the Conservative Party nomination for Governor. New York allows "fusion" candidacies, meaning candidates may appear simultaneously on the ballot as the nominees of different parties. Thus, no matter whether Weld or Faso win the GOP primary in September, the loser will continue his campaign into the general election. By contrast, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is a safe bet to win the Democratic line and has already won the Working Families Party line. In related news, the New York Green Party nominated their slate of candidates this week. Bestselling author Malachy McCourt won the Green nomination for Governor and Green Party of the US co-founder Howie Hawkins won the US Senate nomination. Polls show Spitzer leading all his rivals by a landslide margin.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
What's else on your mind as we head into a holiday weekend?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.06 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

The Politics1 Poll: Who is the hottest woman in US politics?
Call it flippant, sexist, irreverent, or whatever ... but it is time for our biennial poll on the hottest woman in US politics. First, we limited the contenders to either elected officials or candidates for elective office (but we excluded porn star/candidates like Mary Carey and Mimi Miyagi -- as that wouldn't be a fair race). Contenders are white, hispanic and black, democrats and republicans, from coast-to-coast. 2004 winner Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) is back with a new look for her second run, facing off against nine others. And, FYI, we totally reject the "sexist" tag -- as we're also going to run a poll for the hottest male politico next week.Click here to cast your ballot or click here to view the results.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.25.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
ALABAMA - GOVERNOR - GOP PRIMARY: Governor Bob Riley - 69%, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy "Ten Commandments Judge" Moore - 20%. (Mobile Press-Register/University of South Alabama).
FLORIDA - GOVERNOR (Quinnipiac Univ.):
Congressman Jim Davis (D) - 40%, Attorney General Charlie Crist (R) - 37%.
Davis - 40%, State CFO Tom Gallagher (R) - 37%.
Crist - 39%, State Senator Rod Smith (D) - 37%.
Gallagher - 39%, Smith - 35%.
GOP PRIMARY: Crist - 43%, Gallagher - 26%.
DEM PRIMARY: Davis - 38%, Smith - 17%.
FLORIDA - GOVERNOR (Strategic Vision):
Attorney General Charlie Crist (R) - 48%, Congressman Jim Davis (D) - 40%.
State CFO Tom Gallagher (R) - 43%, Davis - 42%.
Crist - 49%, State Senator Rod Smith (D) - 37%.
Gallagher - 42%, Smith - 38%.
GOP PRIMARY: Crist - 48%, Gallagher - 35%.
DEM PRIMARY: Davis - 42%, Smith - 27%.
IOWA - GOVERNOR (KCCI/Research 2000):
Secretary of State Chet Culver (D) - 49%, Congressman Jim Nussle (R) - 41%.
Nussle - 42%, former State Economic Development Director Mike Blouin (D) - 39%.
Nussle - 46%, State Rep. Ed Fallon (D) - 35%.
DEM PRIMARY: Culver - 38%, Blouin - 25%, Fallon - 20%.
NEVADA - US SENATE: US Senator John Ensign (R) - 52%, businessman Jack Carter (D) - 32%. (Reno Gazette-Journal).
WASHINGTON - US SENATE: US Senator Maria Cantwell (D) - 47%, insurance executive Mike McGavick (R) - 42%. (Strategic Vision).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.25.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Sorry, but just too tired to write much ... but you do have the Hottest Woman poll, some poll results and this open thread to play with today.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.25.06 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

IDAHO & ARKANSAS: PRIMARY RESULTS.
ARKANSAS: The Secretary of State's office reported an exceptionally low voter turnout. Also, several areas experienced significant voting machine problems, which the Secretary of State is vowing to investigate. As for results, the outcomes were largely as expected. In the open race for Lieutenant Governor, '04 US Senate nominee and State Senator Jim Holt easily won the GOP nomination over two opponents. On the Democratic side, former Clinton Administration Social Security Commissioner Bill Halter finished well ahead of his three rivals with 40%. State Senator Tim Wooldridge was second with 26% and will face Halter in a run-off on June 13. Democrats will also see run-offs in the races for Attorney General and State Treasurer. In the GOP primary in CD-2, pro-life activist and businessman Andy Mayberry crushed wealthy health care executive Tom Formicola by a 56-point margin. However, CD-2 Congressman Vic Snyder (D) -- who became a first-time father on primary day -- remains heavily favored to hold the seat in November.
IDAHO: In the open gubernatorial race, Congressman Butch Otter (R) cruised to a primary win with 70% against three minor opponents. Newspaper publisher and '02 nominee Jerry Brady did likewise on the Democratic side, winning his primary with 83%. Race rating: GOP Favored. In the race for Lieutenant Governor, former Congressman Larry LaRocco (D) won his primary by a 2-to-1 margin and will face incumbent Jim Risch (R) in November. In the race the succeed Otter in CD-1, State Representative Bill Sali won the six-way GOP primary with 25% of the vote -- finishing 6-points over his nearest rival. Sali raised more than any of his rivals and was backed by the Club for Growth, Gun Owners of America, American Conservative Union, National Right to Life and many other conservative groups. However, as conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote last week, Sali was also the Republican the Democrats wanted most to face because Sali is "detested by the state's Republican establishment for reasons of both conservative principle and his lack of personal skills." (And, FYI, detested by me simply because he broke my 100% wining streak on political predictions this year.) Republican leaders have had extensive problems working with Sali in the State House, so much so that the GOP House Speaker stripped Sali of his committee chairmanship late last year after a round of floor arguments. On the Democratic side, attorney Larry Grant easily won the much lower profile CD-1 primary with 75% of the vote. Sali "has a core group of supporters who believe in him and work for him, but frankly, I think it's a pretty limited group," said Grant. Race rating: GOP Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

CONGRESS: UNITED HILL REACTION TO FBI SEARCH OF JEFFERSON OFFICE.
The FBI's Saturday night search warrant execution in the Capitol Hill office of soon-to-be-indicted Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA) has managed to produce a level of bipartisan agreement on the Hill not seen since the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) all denounced the FBI's search of a congressional office as a violation of the constitutional separation of powers. "Well, I have got to believe at the end of the day it is going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court. I don't see anything short of that ... [the search was] the Justice Department's invasion of the legislative branch ... [The FBI] take the same oath, so somebody better start reading the Constitution down there," said Boehner. Hastert was outraged: "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years [of barring Justice Department searches of Capitol Hill offices] ... I am very concerned about the necessity of a Saturday night raid on Congressman Jefferson's Capitol Hill Office in pursuit of information that was already under subpoena and at a time when those subpoenas are still pending and all the documents that have been subpoenaed were being preserved. The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned about limiting the power of the Executive Branch. Every Congressional Office contains certain Legislative Branch documents that are protected by the Constitution." Hastert demanded -- and received -- a meeting with President Bush. At the meeting, Hastert said he told the President the search was "unconstitutional" and demanded that the Justice Department "back up, and we need to go from there." Hoyer was equally blunt, saying he had "grave concerns regarding the very serious constitutional issues" raised by the search. "No Member is above the law, but the institution has a right to protect itself against the Executive [branch] going into our offices," added Hoyer. Pelosi made remarks largely echoing Hoyer's comments. All of the leaders seemed to express their greatest anger that the FBI did not even give the leadership any advance notice of the impending search. US Senate leaders -- from both parties -- were largely silent on the FBI search. "We have a great deal of respect for the Congress as a coequal branch of government ... [but] we have an obligation to the American people to pursue the evidence where it exists," responded Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at his press conference. Jefferson is under investigation for accepting a $100,000 cash bribe. Numerous media sources also report Democratic leaders are pressuring Jefferson to resign -- although he remains defiant, insists he is innocent, and says he "expects to" seek reelection. (An aside: "I have been racking my brain all day and calling people, wanting to know what could be the other side of the story for a Congressman having $90,000 of cash in his freezer. And the collective wisdom of my friends have not been able to come up with anything. But if he can come up with a reason for this ... I want to hear it, because I can't think of it," said Democratic consultant James Carville.)

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
ARIZONA - GOVERNOR - GOP PRIMARY: GOP activist Don Goldwater - 15%, Religious Right activist Len Munsil - 4%, building contractor Gary Tupper - 3%, investment banker Mike Harris - 2%. (Rocky Mountain Poll/Arizona Republic).
FLORIDA - GOVERNOR: (Rasmussen Reports)
Attorney General Charlie Crist (R) - 44%, Congressman Jim Davis (D) - 39%.
Davis - 43%, State CFO Tom Gallagher (R) - 38%.
Crist - 45%, State Senator Rod Smith (D) - 34%.
Gallagher - 44%, Smith - 33%.
ILLINOIS - GOVERNOR: Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) - 43%, State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) - 37%, Others - 15%. (SurveyUSA/KDSK-TV).
TENNESSEE - US SENATOR - GOP PRIMARY: Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker - 38%, former Congressman Van Hilleary - 28%, former Congressman Ed Bryant - 23%, businessman Tate Harrison - 2%. (SurveyUSA/WBIR-TV).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

NORTH CAROLINA: MYRICK RULES OUT GOV RUN IN 2008.
Despite much open speculation and encouragement from GOP leaders, Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R) released a statement Tuesday saying she will not run for Governor in 2008. Incumbent Governor Mike Easley (D) is term-limited. "My focus is on my current job and I want to end the speculation to the contrary," explained Myrick. She had been viewed as the strongest potential GOP candidate for the open seat. With Myrick out, the likely GOP candidates for Governor appear to be former State Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine and State Senators Robert Pittinger and Fred Smith. Dems looking at the race are Attorney General Roy Cooper, State Treasurer Richard Moore, and Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

NEW ORLEANS: NOW FOR MY DRUDGE-LIKE RETRACTION.
<satire> Yesterday we reported -- well, entirely made-up is more like it -- a parody of Matt Drudge's fictional report about Howard Dean and the DNC being involved in the New Orleans Mayoral race. Like Drudge's non-apology not-exactly-a-retraction that followed his original story, we'll do likewise. Conservatives insist the allegation we wrote about Rove and Drudge were false. "Total lies," said some. Facts we got right: (1) Rove works for the White House; (2) New Orleans held a Mayoral election; (3) it was held on Saturday; (4) Landrieu was a candidate; (5) the RNC is a well-funded Republican organization; (6) Bush is the President; (7) Matt Drudge is a blogger; (8) New Orleans has a French Quarter; (9) you can find leftover Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans; and (10) the French Quarter has a sizable gay population. Facts we got wrong: (1) Karl Rove did not dress as "street-level female prostitute and trade sex acts for Landrieu votes" and (2) Drudge didn't trade sex acts for Landrieu votes with gay voters. Thus, although we got the facts 83% right (10 facts right vs. only 2 wrong), we'll take Drudge and Rove at their word that our report was false and ridiculous.</satire>

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Have at it.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NEW ORLEANS: DRUDGE-ROVE-LANDRIEU SEX SCANDAL
Matt Drudge retracted his apparently fictional "exclusive" story posted on his website Sunday that claimed DNC Chair Howard Dean secretly sent party operatives to New Orleans to defeat Mayor Ray Nagin. Drudge's
original report was entirely unsourced. The DNC promptly objected and demanded Drudge withdraw the false story. Without objection, Drudge offered a tacit but unapologetic retraction of the report. Let me take a stab at Drudge-style "reporting" ...

ROVE DISGUISED SELF AS FEMALE HOOKER, TRADED SEX ACTS FOR LANDRIEU VOTES

XXXXX EXCLUSIVE XXXXX POLITICS1 REPORT XXXXX EXCLUSIVE XXXXX

Reliable sources report White House political advisor Karl Rove disguised himself as a heavy-set, street-level female prostitute and traded sex acts for Landrieu votes in New Orleans on Saturday. Other sources claimed the RNC funded the covert trip, writing off the expense on the books as "Fact-Finding Golf Trip to Scotland." President Bush personally selected Rove's outfit, said a high-ranking official.

Other well-placed sources said political blogger Matt Drudge worked the gay vote in the French Quarter for Landrieu, reportedly gaining 20+ votes for Landrieu and earning himself $45 and a bunch of leftover Mardi Grad beads in the process. "Everyone knows Matt was out there doing it," said one person, "He was running around wearing a sign around his neck reading 'Polling Station' and
letting guys do him in the bathroom."

Developing ...
-----------------------------------------------------------
Reports are moved when circumstances warrant
(c)POLITICS1 2006
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

(Okay, I'll retract it tomorrow ... but only if it proves false.) Now, on to the real political news of the day ...
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

IDAHO: HOT GOP PRIMARY RACE IN OPEN CD-1 SEAT.
Idaho voters go to the polls to cast primary ballots on Tuesday. In the open gubernatorial race, folksy Congressman Butch Otter (R) should have no trouble defeating his three primary opponents by a wide margin. Likewise for newspaper publisher and '02 nominee Jerry Brady, who will again easily win the Democratic nomination for Governor. Otter is a safe bet to win in November. In the race the succeed Otter in CD-1, six Republicans are competing: State Controller Keith Johnson, State Senator Skip Brandt, State Representative Bill Sali, former State Senator Sheila Sorensen, Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez and former congressional aide Norm Semanko. Sali raised more than any of his rivals (around $375,000) and is backed by the Club for Growth, Gun Owners of America, American Conservative Union, National Right to Life and many other groups. Sorensen -- the second-best fundraiser in the race at $160,000 -- labels herself a "conservative" but positioned herself as the most centrist Republican in the primary. She's supported by the League of Conservation Voters and the centrist Main Street Partnership. Johnson is endorsed by the state's largest newspaper, pro-business BIPAC and former Governor Phil Batt (R). Vasquez, running on an immigration reform platform, is backed by Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and former US Treasurer Bay Buchanan. Semanko, a former top aide to US Senator Larry Craig (R), is backed by many of Craig's closest allies. Brandt is supported by arch-conservative former Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth Hage (R). Sali appears the likely frontrunner in terms of both money and solid conservative endorsements. However, I'll roll the dice here to preserve my 100% record on predictions this year and go with Sorensen to win the primary. She's the only woman against five men, and will also benefit from the five men splitting the same hardcore conservative base. On the Democratic side, look for attorney Larry Grant to win the low-profile CD-1 primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

ARKANSAS: LOOK FOR RELATIVELY QUIET PRIMARY DAY.
The hottest race in Arkansas this year -- the open gubernatorial contest -- isn't on Tuesday's primary ballot. Attorney General Mike Beebe (D) and former Congressman Asa Hutchinson (R) face no primary opposition and will automatically advance to the general election. However, voters in both parties will see hotly contested primaries for Lieutenant Governor. On the GOP side, look for '04 US Senate nominee and State Senator Jim Holt -- a favorite of the Religious Right -- to defeat his two primary rivals. In the Democratic race, former Clinton Administration Social Security Commissioner Bill Halter, State Senator Tim Wooldridge and two others are facing off. Look for Halter -- who jumped into this race during filing week after previously announcing his candidacy for Governor -- to win the primary. The other race to watch is the GOP primary in CD-2 between former State Economic Development Department official Andy Mayberry and wealthy health care executive Tom Formicola. Mayberry, a vocal pro-life activist, should easily win the primary. However, CD-2 Congressman Vic Snyder (D) remains heavily favored to hold the seat in November.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
FLORIDA - US SENATE: US Senator Bill Nelson (D) - 60%, Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) - 33%. (Rasmussen Reports).
TEXAS - GOVERNOR: Governor Rick Perry (R) - 41%, State Comptroller Carol Keeton Strayhorn (Independent) - 20%, former Congressman Chris Bell (D) - 18%, musician/author Kinky Friedman (Independent) - 16%. (SurveyUSA/KEYE-TV).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

P2008: MINUTEMAN GROUP FOUNDER LIKELY TO MAKE WHITE HOUSE RUN.
Immigration reform activist Jim Gilchrist -- the retired accountant who founded the controversial Minuteman Project civilian border patrol group -- met with Constitution Party national leaders last week at a Florida gathering. The leaders openly asked Gilchrist to be their nominee for President in 2008. He responded by saying that if McCain runs in the Republican contest, they can count on him to be the Constitution Party's candidate. Gilchrist sharply disagrees with McCain's support for guest worker program and amnesty for many illegal immigrants already in the US. Gilchrist made a third-party bid for Congress in the California CD-48 special election last year. He raised over $500,000 and captured an impressive 25% of the vote in that race -- finishing just 3-points behind the Democratic nominee. Gilchrist is a close political ally of Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who endorsed Gilchrist over the GOP nominee in that congressional race.
Conservative groups aligned with the GOP helped Ralph Nader obtain ballot status in several states in 2000 and 2004. Will progressive groups aligned with the Dems help Gilchrist in key swing states as payback?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Whatever. Anything and everything.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.06 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

CONNECTICUT: DEM & REP STATE CONVO'S ENDORSE CANDIDATES.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties held their state conventions this weekend, endorsing candidates and qualifying others for the August 8 primary ballot. Under state party rules, candidates must earn at least 15% of the conventionn vote to earn a spot on the primary ballot -- or, if they either fall short or skip the convention route, they are forced to quickly collect a significant number of signatures. In a high-profile battle, US Senator Joe Lieberman (D) won his party's endorsement over wealthy businessman and peace activist Ned Lamont. However, Lamont won an impressive 33% of the convention vote and will continue his to fight on in the primary. While liberal party activists and the blogosphere are solidly behind Lamont -- upset with the incumbent's support for the Iraq War and perceived closeness to President Bush -- recent polls show Lieberman holding a huge lead over Lamont among likely primary voters. Former Derby Mayor Alan Schlesinger won the GOP nomination for US Senator, as businessman and immigration reform activist Paul Streitz withdrew and endorsed Schlesinger before the floor vote. Schlesinger told reporters two weeks ago that his only real chance of winning in November is for Lamont to win the Democratic nomination and Lieberman to split the Democratic base by running as an Independent -- and, even with the Dems split like in the 1970 race that elected Lowell Weicker (R), Schlesinger admits he'd still likely be an underdog. US Senate Race rating: Safe DEM. In the gubernatorial race, popular centrist Governor Jodi Rell (R) unanimously won her party's nod. The Democratic race, by contrast, was a hotly contested event. Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano split the vote nearly evenly. After the initial first ballot count, DeStefano led by just three votes. Under party rules, delegates are then permitted to switch their votes -- and several did. After much arm-twisting on the convention floor, the lead switched and Malloy won the endorsement by a vote of 799 to 795. Both men had previously announced they would continue the relatively polite fight into the primary, regardless of the convo outcome -- so Malloy and DeStefano will face-off again in August. Rell is running far ahead of either challenger in recent polls. Check out our Connecticut page to see all the latest updates (including from last weekend's congressional district conventions). Governor Race rating: Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

CONGRESS: JEFFERSON JUMPS WAY AHEAD OF NEY IN RACE TO INDICTMENT.
In an unprecedented move, FBI agents Saturday night searched the Capitol Hill office of Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA) related to the ongoing bribery investigation. The agents were acting under a sealed search warrant. On Sunday, the AP reported the FBI has Jefferson "on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded." The information comes from new court documents partially unsealed following Saturday's search. A federal contractor and a former Jefferson aide both pled guilty earlier this year to facilitating the bribes. FBI agents last year searched Jefferson's New Orleans home and district congressional office -- and seized a large amount of cash hidden in the Congressman's freezer. The FBI alleges the money in the freezer was the same money paid to Jefferson on the FBI videotape. Jefferson says he would resign immediately if he was guilty -- but insists he did nothing wrong. Look for Jefferson to draw stiff competition in his primary this year if he goes forward with his reelection plans. In related news, the House Ethics Committee last week opened formal corruption investigations of Jefferson and Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). Don't look for Jefferson or Ney to be back in 110th Congress next year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

P2008: GORE SAYS HE WILL NEVER AGAIN RUN FOR NATIONAL OFFICE.
Former Vice President Al Gore wants Democratic activists to know his outspoken reemergence onto the political and environmental scene should not be misconstrued as a desire to run again for President. Speaking Saturday to a reporter from The Observer (UK) newspaper at the Cannes Film Festival in France, Gore was asked if is going to run in 2008. Gore's response: "I don't plan to be a candidate again for national office ... I don't see any circumstances that would cause me to change my mind. I was in elective politics for 24 years. I've made four national races, two for President, two for Vice President. I have found there are other ways to serve, and I'm enjoying them." Not exactly a Shermanesque denial -- but that was pretty darn close to being one.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

P2008: ALLEN, GIULIANI LEAD WISCONSIN GOP STRAW POLL.
Delegates to the Wisconsin State Republican Convention over the weekend cast straw ballots in the 2008 Presidential race. The vote: US Senator George Allen - 61 votes, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani - 60, former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich - 53, Secretary of State Condi Rice - 50, Governor Mitt Romney - 40, US Senator John McCain - 37, US Senator Sam Brownback - 11, US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Congressman Tom Tancredo tied with 8 each, Governor George Pataki - 4, Governor Mike Huckabee - 2, US Senator Chuck Hagel - 1. The straw poll was conducted at the event by WisPolitics.com.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

COLORADO: BEAUPREZ WINS BIG OVER HOLTZMAN AT GOP CONVO.
Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) scored a massive win at this weekend's Republican State Convention. Beauprez defeated former university president Marc Holtzman in the gubernatorial contest by a vote of 72% to 28%. Under Colorado rules, a candidate must earn 30% for an automatic primary ballot spot -- so Holtzman must now petition himself onto the August 8 ballot. Beauprez's campaign called on Holtzman to quit the bitter race in the interest of party unity. They noted the party agreed to every procedural rule for the convention that Holtzman insisted upon -- rules so cumbersome and complicates it took eight hours for all the voters to be cast. The Beauprez campaign accused Holtzman of demanding convention rules so complex as to intentionally stall the process and discourage delegates from staying for the vote. In response, a Holtzman spokesman scoffed at the claims and the call to withdraw. He said Holtzman had anticipated the convention outcome because the process was largely dominated by GOP insiders -- and Holtzman had already gathered nearly enough petitions to place himself on the primary ballot. Holtzman expected to submit the requisite number of voter signatures later this week. Meanwhile, former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter won the Democratic nomination for Governor without opposition at his party's state convention on Saturday. Race rating: Leans DEM.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

NEW ORLEANS: MAYOR NAGIN WINS RE-ELECTION.
Nearly all of my readers thought I was insane when a month ago I predicted embattled New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) would win reelection in the run-off. Well, my 2006 prognosticating score remains at 100% today. On Saturday, New Orleans voters re-elected Nagin over challenger Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D) by a vote of 52% to 48%. Landrieu was unable to assemble a winning coalition in the run-off even though he had the official endorsement of the Republican Party, the third place primary finisher, and other prominent black and white community officials. No incumbent New Orleans Mayor has been defeated for reelection in over 60 years. In the campaign, Nagin apologized for his administrative fumbles and gaffes in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina flooding -- saying it was a destructive event of an unforseen magnitude -- but that he would do his best to rebuild the city. He liked to explain that -- with his emotional outbursts and flaws -- he was much like the people of New Orleans and they understood him. In winning, Nagin offered an olive branch to those he lambasted earlier. "This election is over, and it's time for this community to start the healing process ... It's time for us to be one New Orleans ... Me and Mitch can work together. Me and the Governor can work together. I'm bringing everybody in because this is a big job." Landrieu also called for unity: "We as a people have got to come together so that we can speak with one voice and one purpose, and I am asking to you to join with me in supporting Mayor Nagin and his administration, and the people of this city, to get this city back again." Turnout was slightly higher than in the primary -- and was an impressive 38% of all registered voters, measuring from the registration tally before the post-Katrina disapora. (FYI: For those of you bloggers with short memories of your own predictions on this mayoral run-off, made just after the April primary, you can still view them here.)
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
"Sharks!" That added a bit of excitement to a day at the beach on Sunday. A pack of four black-tip sharks (looking much like the sharks in this picture) -- just small ones, maybe 3-4 feet long apiece -- swam across the submerged sand bar and, in the shallow channel between the sandbar and the beach, moved down along the beach in a casually-paced and uneven serpentine pattern. From time to time, their dorsal fins broke the surface. At their closest, they came within maybe four feet of the beach. Then, after maybe five minutes cruising along the shoreline, they just swam out to sea. Although it all happened along a crowded but un-lifeguarded stretch -- with lots of folks in the water -- nobody panicked. No mass panic scene like in Jaws. People simply moved slowly towards the shore (without much splashing) and got out, they let the sharks pass by, and then we all got back in the water. About 30 minutes later, a small, lone, black-tip swam in and followed almost the same course. And then everyone -- little kids, seniors, couples, etc. -- all waded back into the water once it passed. Best of all, nobody got hurt and it gave us all a story to tell on Monday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.06 | Permalink |

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Good news for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D), in that State Senator James Meeks (D) announced he would not wage an Independent campaign for Governor this year. Meeks is a prominent leader in the African-American community ... In Connecticut, US Senator Joe Lieberman (D) won his party's endorsement at Friday night's state convention. US Senator Chris Dodd made Lieberman's nominating speech. However, wealthy businessman and peace activist Ned Lamont won 33% of the convention vote, earning him a ballot spot in the August primary. He only needed 15% to earn the ballot spot.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.20.06 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
ARIZONA - US SENATE: US Senator Jon Kyl (R) - 40%, Former State Democratic Chair Jim Pederson (D) - 33%. (Behavior Research Center).
KENTUCKY - GOVERNOR: Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) job performance: Approve - 31%, Disapprove - 65%. (SurveyUSA/WHAS-TV).
NEW YORK - US SENATE: US Senator Hillary Clinton (D) - 63%, Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer (R) -27%. (Rasmussen Reports).
OHIO - GOVERNOR:
Congressman Ted Strickland (D) - 52%, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) - 36%. (Rasmussen Reports).
TENNESSEE - US SENATE - GOP PRIMARY: Former Congressman Van Hilleary - 40%, former Congressman Ed Bryant - 28%, former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker - 23%. (SurveyUSA/WBIR-TV).
WASHINGTON - US SENATE: US Senator Maria Cantwell (D) - 46%, insurance executive Mike McGavick (R) - 41%. (Rasmussen Reports).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.19.06 | Permalink |

PENNSYLVANIA: PROBLEMS FOR THE GOP?
Analysts looking at Tuesday's shocking primary -- a day in which an astounding 15 state legislative incumbents lost their primaries (nearly all Republicans) -- could be a bad omen in the state for Republicans in November. The vote was largely a backlash by GOP primary voters against GOP incumbents who backed unpopular, hefty payraises for themselves. Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer (R), who lost his primary, called Tuesday "a dramatic earthquake in Pennsylvania." Club for Growth President Pat Toomey (R-PA), a former Congressman, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the "message you have to take away is that rank-and-file Republican voters are very angry with incumbents. It's a mistake to conclude this was all about the pay raise. This has been brewing for some time and it's about dissatisfaction with elected Republicans who have abandoned a commitment to limited government." Toomey went on to explain to the New York Times that angry Republicans were free to express their disgust with Republican incumbents in the primary by voting for challengers -- but that he expected many of these angry Republicans to simply stay home in November because they don't want to vote for Democrats. Toomey also added that many Republicans serving in Congress had "lost their way" by backing "a fiscal culture of deficits and pork barrel spending." In another interesting development, it appears over 21,000 Republicans who voted on Tuesday skipped the top of the ballot by declining to vote for US Senator Rick Santorum (R) in his unopposed primary -- although these same voters cast ballots for Lynn Swann for Governor in his unopposed primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.19.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: "IF THIS ISN'T NICE, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS."
Got off work Thursday around 6:20 pm, raced home, changed clothes, and went down to the beach (this webcam is located about 10 blocks south of where I go). Skated six miles of laps in the state park, then went across the street for an ocean swim as the sun went down. Living in Florida might really suck during the bad times of hurricane season -- but days like today with low humidity, clear skies and a nice temparature are amazing. Just my reflection on some time spent this evening before I started to write these postings.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.19.06 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

MICHIGAN: PRIMARY FILING CLOSES.
Major party filing closed this week for Michigan's August 8 primary. Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) and billionaire challenger Dick DeVos (R) won their respective gubernatorial nominations without opposition. In the US Senate race, incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) faces no primary foes. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, former Detroit City Councilman Keith Butler and think tank director Jerry Zandstra filed for the GOP contest to face Stabenow in November. The only Congressional primaries worth watching are in CD-7 and CD-9. Freshman Congressman Joe Schwarz -- an outspoken GOP centrist -- faces a vigorous primary challenge from social conservative former State Representative Tim Walberg. Veteran Congressman Joe Knollenberg also will face a spirited Republican primary against Oakland Schools Board Member and former State Representative Patricia "Pan" Godchaux. Click here to view all of the filed candidates.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.18.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Sorry ... short postings today ... but I need some time this evening to replace the wheels and bearings on my in-line skates.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.18.06 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

PENNSYLVANIA: CASEY CRUISES, SHERWOOD STRUGGLES..
In the US Senate race, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) had no trouble turning aside the underfunded challenges from two pro-choice primary challengers. Casey swamped them by winning 84% of the vote. Casey is rated a favorite over incumbent US Senator Rick Santorum (R) in November. Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll (D), 75, likewise rolled to an an easy victory by capturing 63% of the vote over her three opponents. Embattled Congressman Don Sherwood (R) -- who was caught last year in a messy extramarital affair and domestic violence scandal -- struggled in his GOP primary over unknown school guidance counselor Kathy Scott. He defeated Scott by a surprisingly modest 57% to 43% vote, moving Sherwood high up on the list of vulnerable House incumbents for November. The sex scandal wrecked the conservative "family values" image Sherwood cultivated in politics. Naval Reserve Office Chris Carney (D) and counselor Niki Hannevig (Constitution) will face Sherwood in the general election. In other congressional primaries, attorney Lois Murphy (D) won a comfortable victory in CD-6, Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy (D) won the primary in CD-8, and Congressman Mike Doyle (D) scored a landslide win in CD-14.. In CD-4, former congressional aide and lobbyist Jason Altmire appears to have defeated wealthy businesswoman Georgia Berner in a competitive Democratic primary. In another sign of an anti-Republican backlash, the State Senate's top two Republican leaders who helped craft the unpopular legislative pay raise -- Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and Senate Majority Leader Chip Brightbill -- both lost their respective renomination primaries.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
MONTANA - US SENATE: State Senate President Jon Tester (D) - 48%, US Senator Conrad Burns (R) - 44% ... State Auditor John Morrison (D) - 49%, Burns - 45%. The poll also showed State Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan (R) in virtual ties against either Tester or Morrison. (Rasmussen Reports).
TENNESSEE - US SENATE - GOP PRIMARY: Former Congressman Van Hilleary - 40%, former Congressman Ed Bryant - 28%, former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker - 23%. (SurveyUSA/WBIR-TV).
WASHINGTON - US SENATE: US Senator Maria Cantwell (D) - 46%, insurance executive Mike McGavick (R) - 41%. (Rasmussen Reports).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

KENTUCKY: NO SURPRISES ON PRIMARY DAY.
Primary day in the Bluegrass State went as predicted. In CD-1, former Congressman Tom Barlow (D) captured 76% to score an easy win over his two little-known primary opponents. Barlow has lost several consecutive races and is not viewed as any real threat to Congressman Ed Whitfield (R) in November. In CD-2, State Representative Mike Weaver (D) easily won his primary with 70% of the vote and will face Congressman Ron Lewis (R) next. The most competitive primary was in CD-3, where former newspaper publisher John Yarmuth (D) scored a solid 54%-32% win over retired USMC officer Andrew Horne (D) and two others. Yarmuth is challenging Congresswoman Anne Northup (R). Although Northup is currently rated as favored to hold the seat in this swing district, this has the potential to turn into a competitive race. Attorney Ken Stepp (D) won the largely meaningless CD-5 primary with 70%, but will have no real shot at winning in November in his heavily GOP district. The hottest race in the state -- the CD-4 contest between freshman Congressman Geoff Davis (R) and retired Congressman Ken Lucas (D) -- saw no primary on Tuesday. Instead, they'll both automatically advance to the toss-up fight in November.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

OREGON: KULONGOSKI, SAXTON WIN TOUGH PRIMARIES.
Tuesday's primary in Oregon saw a near record low turnout of voters, possibly turned off by the very nasty gubernatorial campaign. Governor Ted Kulongoski (D), a political centrist, survived a spirited challenge from his left. Kulongoski captured 54%, former State Treasurer Jim Hill had 30% and Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson had 16%. The Democratic base seemed unhappy with the incumbent's handling of the economy and his poor relations with state legislative leaders. On the Republican side, former Portland School Board Member Ron Saxton won the GOP nomination on his second attempt. Saxton was the most moderate of the GOP hopefuls, but moved to the right on some issues in the primary in the face of fierce attacks against him by his more conservative rivals. Saxton scored a solid win with 43%, followed by former State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix at 30%, State Senator Jason Atkinson at 22%, and five others finished far behind. Mannix and Atkinson both endorsed Saxton in tepid remarks after the votes were counted. "Any one of us Republicans would be better than Kulongoski," said Mannix. Both primary contests were expensive and bitter brawls, and both victors called for party unity in their victory speeches. State Senator Ben Westlund, a folksy rancher with a largely libertarian philosophy, quit the GOP this year to run for Governor as an Independent. Westlund is expected to score in the double-digits in November, so both major party nominees understand he will be a major factor in the race outcome. "I'm running against two Republicans, is how I look at it," said Kulongoski. Westlund is a fiscal conservative and social liberal, so he could draw from both men. Retired businessman Joe Keating (Pacific Green) is also running. Race rating: Toss-Up. Also, FYI, none of the congressioal primaries were remotely competitive.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

CALIFORNIA: JERRY BROWN ALREADY LOOKS TO FUTURE RACES.
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (D) -- who also served two-terms as Governor (1975-83), a term as Secretary of State (1971-75) and tenure as State Democratic Chair (1989-91) -- is a heavy favorite to win the race for Attorney General. Many Americans also remember Brown from his three failed but colorful White House runs in 1976, 1980 and 1992. At age 67, Brown still clearly harbors higher political ambitions. When asked this week by a Copley News Service reporter if the AG post "might be his last political stop," Brown answered: "No. I have a bright future, into my late 70s."

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
My 2006 track record to date for election predictions: 100%.
And, FYI, I'm still picking embattled Ray Nagin to win re-election as New Orleans Mayor (even though nearly everyone in the blog comments thinks I'm wrong on that one).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OREGON: KULONGOSKI, SAXTON LOOK STRONG FOR PRIMARY.
Tuesday is primary day in Oregon, although the votes have largely been cast already through the mail-in process the state uses. Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) is expected to win his primary over his more liberal challengers. Former State Treasurer Jim Hill and Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson are both challenging Kulongoski from the left. While Kulongoski has some fences to mend with his base, he should not have any real problem dispatching Hill and Sorenson. On the Republican side, former State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix and State Senator Jason Atkinson are splitting the conservative base. That split has enabled former Portland School Board Member Ron Saxton -- a GOP moderate -- to emerge as the frontrunner for the nomination. FYI: Hill, Saxton and Mannix all lost races for Governor four years ago. Several of the Congressional incumbents face primary challenges, but none of those races are remotely competitive.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

PENNSYLVANIA: RATHER QUIET PRIMARY DAY.
While voters go to the polls on Tuesday, the top statewide races don't feature any real contests. There are no gubernatorial primaries. In the US Senate race, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) will roll to a landslide victory over his earnest, progressive primary challengers. Casey is already a favorite over incumbent US Senator Rick Santorum (R) in November. Aging and gaffe-prone Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll (D) could be vulnerable to an upset in her primary, but Governor Rendell already threw his weight behind Knoll and caused her most serious rival to quit the primary race. There are several congressional primaries worth watching. In CD-4, former congressional aide and lobbyist Jason Altmire appears favored to win the Democratic nomination over wealthy businesswoman Georgia Berner. Our other primary predictions: attorney Lois Murphy (D) in CD-6 and Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy (D) in CD-8. Embattled Congressman Don Sherwood (R), who was caught last year in a messy extramarital affair, should easily win his primary. However, if teacher Kathy Scott (R) breaks the 25% mark in the primary, Sherwood could be in trouble in November against Naval Reserve officer and college professor Chris Carney (D).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

KENTUCKY: ... YAWN ... PRIMARY PREVIEW.
Tuesday is a low-key primary day in the Bluegrass State: only four Dem congressional challenger primaries. Former Congressman Tom Barlow (D) -- who already has earned the "frequent candidate" moniker -- will win the CD-1 primary over his two opponents. In CD-2, State Representative Mike Weaver (D) should easily win his primary. The hottest primary is in CD-3, when we'd peg former newspaper publisher John Yarmuth (D) as a slight favorite over retired USMC officer Andrew Horne (D). Attorney Ken Stepp (D) is likely to win the CD-5 primary.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

BY THE NUMBERS: LATEST INDEPENDENT POLLS.
MASSACHUSETTS - GOVERNOR:
Attorney General Tom Reilly (D) - 38%, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey (R) - 26%, businessman Christy Mihos (Independent) - 16%.
Ex-Justice Department Official Deval Patrick (D) - 36%, Healey - 26%, Mihos - 16%.
Venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli (D) - 37%, Healey - 25%, Mihos - 14%. (Rasmussen Reports).
OHIO - US SENATE: Congressman Sherrod Brown (D) - 44%, US Senator Mike DeWine (R) - 41%. (Rasmussen Reports).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

CALIFORNIA: CONGRESSMAN CALVERT LATEST WITH POSSIBLE ETHICS PROBLEM.
The Los Angeles Times reports the latest member of Congress enriched by very questionable investments that produced amazing returns is Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA). The newspaper reported most of Calvert's recent real estate investments -- most highly successful -- are located "near the transportation projects he has supported with federal appropriations." Calvert purchased, for example, a "dusty four-acre parcel of land" last year for $550,000 and sold it a year later "without even cutting the weeds or carting off old septic tank parts that littered the ground" for nearly $1 million. How? Calvert, in the interim, used the appropriations earmarking process to award millions for freeway interchange and commercial development in the area. Calvert is a not a stranger to scandal, having been involved in a prostitution scandal much earlier in his congressional career.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

SITE OF THE DAY.
Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is FairWisconsin.com -- a well-done grassroots site for a group fighting a proposed statewide initiative to ban civil unions and same-sex marriages. I particularly liked the Story Collection Project part of the site.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Congressman Jim Davis (D-FL) -- the candidate I'm proudly backing for Florida Governor -- is a real class act. Davis graciously telephoned me Monday to say he appreciated my decision to pass on entering the judicial
race in order to stay active in the political arena. Now, here's a pitch to my fellow Dems: Polls show Jim Davis is the strongest Dem in the general election, having already pulling within a single-digit margin of either Republicans despite the current major fundraising imbalance. Help Jim raise some bucks today so we can score a major win by capturing the Governor's Office currently held by the President's own brother. That's how we can send a real shot across the GOP bow. Click here to help elect Jim Davis.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.06 | Permalink |

BLOG ARCHIVE:

June 1-15, 2006
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January 1-15, 2006
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POLITICAL BLOG ROLL:

KINDA NEUTRAL:
ABC News: The Note
CNN: Morning Grind
CQ Politics
Political Wire
MSNBC: First Read
CJR Daily
Rothenberg Pol. Report
LexisNexis: US Politics
Stateline.org
Governing.com
Political State Report
Hotline On Call
Hotline's Blogometer
Beltway Blog
WatchBlog
Lawmakers Blog
Centerfield Aggregator
Command Post
FactCheck.org
WSJ: Best of the Web
WSJ: Washington Wire
D.C.'s Political Report
2008 Political Perspective
Media Bistro
Larry Sabato: Crystal Ball
PressThink
Politics-Line
TheCapitol.Net: Blog
MyElectionAnalysis.com

DEM/LEFT:
DNC Blog
DCCC Blog
DailyKos
Lefty Blogs
Howard Dean/DFA
OurSenate.com
Frameshop
The Washington Note
Emerging Dem Majority
Think Progress
AmericaBlog.com
Amer Prospect: Tapped
Arianna Huffington
Al Franken
BAG News Notes
Eric Alterman
Senate Majority Project
FishBowl DC
Fired Up! America
TalkLeft
TNR: The Plank
The Raw Story
Blogging of the President
Joe Trippi
Swing State Project
Media Matters
Josh Marshall
Wonkette
MyDD
Working for Change
Crooks & Liars
Mathew Gross
Penndit
Progressive Dems: Blog
Atrios/Eschaton
Off the Kuff
Tom Tomorrow
Mother Jones
Jerry Springer
TruthOut
Dem Bloggers
Liberal Oasis
Penndit
Firedoglake
Good As You
AtariDemocrat
Henry Lewis
BuzzFlash
Brad Blog
Dean Nation
Louise Slaughter
TruthDig
Dem Underground
Jared Hall
Bad Attitudes
The American Street
District Blogs

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

OTHER:
ThirdPartyWatch.com
Centrist Coalition
Kn@ppster
Green Commons
News for Greens


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