ARCHIVE: MAY 1-15, 2009.
STEELE SAYS SOTOMAYOR IS A "TRAP" FOR GOP; REP VISCLOSKY
TARGET OF FBI PROBE; MURTHA GETS PRIMARIED; POLL SHOWS AMERICANS
WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM.
SUPREME COURT. In a move that may surprise some, RNC
Chairman Michael Steele called on Republicans to hold-off attacking
US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. “The trap here
for the GOP I think is enormous," Steele said. "And
I know that a lot of folks want to do the knee-jerk, you know,
let's start slammin' and rammin', but I think we really need to
take a step back from this and deal with two things, one, the
historic aspect of it, acknowledge it, but then move on to the
substance of the conversation about what this woman believes."
A new Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans support Sotomayor's
nomination: 54% supporting her confirmation, 24% oppose it.
Congressman Pete Visclosky (D) has confirmed that he is under
investigation by the FBI in an investigation relating to a defense
lobbying firm tied to his former chief of staff. Federal agents
also subpoenaed records from Visclosky's campaign and congressional
offices. Visclosky said he expects to be cleared of all charges
by the end of the investigation.
Veteran Congressman John Murtha (D) drew a primary challenger
this week. Ryan Bucchianeri, a Harvard-educated former Naval officer,
jumped into the race. Bucchianeri, 34, will likely make age an
issue against the 76-year-old incumbent and USMC combat veteran.
Retired Army officer and '08 nominee William Russell (R) and businessman
Tim Burns (R) are also running against Murtha. Russell gave Murtha
an unexpectedly close re-election challenge last year.
CARE. A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll indicates that
most Americans want more government intervention in their health
care in order to attain lower costs and more coverage. The poll
showed 63% support the it, versus 36% who oppose more government
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.30.09 | Permalink
GOV PATERSON THINKS CUOMO WON'T RUN; SPECTER LEADS ALL CHALLENGERS;
DURBIN TRASHES BURRIS (AGAIN); ANOTHER PALIN CHALLENGER; BILL
CLINTON STILL SULKING.
YORK. EXCLUSIVE. A
well-placed NY political consultant tells Politics1 he spoke directly
with Governor David Paterson (D) last week about the 2010 elections.
Paterson "absolutely plans to run again" and "is
convinced [Attorney General Andrew] Cuomo will not challenge him
in the primary" due to racism concerns. Cuomo was involved
in a divisive 2002 gubernatorial nomination fight against State
Comptroller Carl McCall, who is black. The contest left lingering
feels against Cuomo in the black community. "When Cuomo realizes
Paterson isn't going to walk away, and that Paterson will also
likely be on the November ballot on a third-party line, Cuomo
will walk away from the race," said the consultant. A series
of recent independent polls show Cuomo leading the vulnerable
Paterson by lopsider margins of 40-50 points in a Democratic primary.
Paterson would also struggle in a general election against any
of the likely GOP nominees.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows US Senator Arlen Specter (D) leading
conservative challenger former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) by a
46% to 37% vote. This margin is down 20-points since the last
poll. Specter also leads Congressman Joe Sestak (D) by a 50% to
21% vote in a Democratic primary. The poll was taken before news
broke about Sestak's decision that he would run. In a GOP primary,
Toomey leads with 38%, centrist Congressman Jim Gerlach was at
10%, and conservative activist Peg Luksik had 3%.
As expected, US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced
he will not support embattled interim US Senator Roland Burris
(D) in next year's primary. "We stuck our neck out for him
and said if you do this thing, you'll do it in a proper, professional
way, then we can stand behind you being sworn into the Senate.
And I just don't think his testimony [to the Illinois Legislature's
Blagojevich impeachment panel] was complete and accurate,"
said Durbin to NBCChicago.com.
Former State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D) is considering
a gubernatorial bid next year against incumbent Governor Sarah
Palin (R). Berkowitz came within 5-points of toppling veteran
Congressman Don Young (R) last year, and also lost a run for Lieutenant
Governor in 2006. A recent Hays Research Poll shows Palin at a
53% approval rating.
A revealing story in this upcoming Sunday's New York Times
Magazine will report that former President Bill Clinton has
gotten over any resentment towards President Obama for defeating
Hillary Clinton last year. However, the story says he still harbors
strong ill-feelings towards Senator Ted Kennedy, attorney Carolyn
Kennedy, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for endorsing
Obama over his wife. From his White House years, Clinton thought
of Ted Kennedy as being like family. He also feels betrayed by
Richardson -- who also made a run for President last year -- as
Richardson held several posts in the Clinton Administration.
Report by Ron Gunzburger and Vin Gopal - 05.29.09 | Permalink
ROY BARNES WEIGHS GA GOV COMEBACK; BURRIS CAUGHT ON FBI TAPES;
SESTAK TO CHALLENGE SPECTER; REP McINTYRE RECONSIDERS SENATE RUN;
PLUS ARKANSAS SEN AND ARIZONA CD-8 NEWS.
Sounding more and more
like a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, former Governor Roy Barnes
(D) blasted the entire field of GOP candidate for Governor for
endorsing a resolution in the state legislature reaffirming Georgia's
"right" to secede from the United States. "Have
we absolutely gotten down in the politics of Georgia that leading
candidates say we ought to secede from the Union? How dare them,"
said Barnes to WSB Radio. Barnes is planning to announce next
Monday whether or not he'll enter next year's race. If you think
you're good at reading the tea leaves, here is how Barnes answered
as to what he is planning to do: "Having said that, I'm very
concerned about where the state is. There's a saying in the Old
Testament that says, 'The people perish where there is no vision.'
What we have here, to a large extent, is a lack of vision and
just looking towards petty, political gains." Major announced
candidates for Governor to date include Attorney General Thurbert
Baker (D), State House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D), former
State Labor Commissioner David Poythress (D), Congressman Nathan
Deal (R), Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), State Senate President
Eric Johnson (R), State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine (R)
and State Representative Austin Scott (R). Governor Sonny Perdue
(R) is term-limited -- and is believed to be tacitly supporting
Handel as his successor.
FBI tape recordings of phone conversations released publicly on
Wednesday inflicted substantial political (and possibly criminal)
damage on US Senator Roland Burris (D). The recordings detail
Burris subtly negotiating with ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich's
brother to raise money for Blagojevich's re-election campaign
in exchange for being appointed to the Barack Obama's vacant US
Senate seat. Answering questions on MSNBC's Hardball,
Burris offered the somewhat lame defense that he was lying to
Blagojevich's brother about being willing to follow through on
his fundraising promises if he received the appointment -- as
he never really intended to pay them for the seat.
Congressman Joe Sestak (D) plans to ignore White House and DSCC
pressure and will shortly announce his primary challenge to US
Senator Arlen Specter (D). TalkingPointsMemo.com reports "is
privately telling supporters that he intends to run for Senate."
In support of the report, TPM quoted Sestak's sister and campaign
employee: "He intends to get in the race." TPM also
produced a scan of handwritten note from Sestak to a supporter
in which the Congressman wrote: "I am writing you as especially
dear supporters to let you know I intend to run for the US Senate."
Meanwhile, State Representative Bill Kortz (D) -- a retired steelworker
-- says he plans to also continue his primary run against Specter.
While Sestak is positioning himself to the left of the incumbent
former Republican, the pro-life and pro-gun rights Kortz is positioning
himself to the right of Specter.
CAROLINA. Congressman Mike McIntyre (D) acknowledged
he is reconsidering his earlier decision to not run against US
Senator Richard Burr (R). "We have had several people encourage
me to consider running for the US Senate, and make very positive
comments about that possibility. So we’ll take a look at
it. You never say never to those kinds of possibilities,"
said McIntyre to the Fayetteville Observer. McIntyre's
shift comes in the wake of Attorney General Roy Cooper's announcement
last week that he won't enter the race. If McIntyre runs, he'd
be the solid fronturnner for the Dem nomination.
Former US Attorney Tim Griffin (R) -- a former White House aide
-- announced he would not challenge US Senator Blanche Lincoln
(D) next year. He said "the timing" was not right for
Republicans had hoped to recruit former US Surgeon General Richard
Carmona to challenge Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D). However,
the Arizona Daily Star reports that Giffords is featuring
Carmona as a speaker at Giffords' upcoming town hall forum on
health care reform. "So much for the rumor that Carmona will
run against Giffords next year," reported the newspaper.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.28.09 | Permalink
SOTOMAYOR TAPPED FOR SUPREME COURT; MORE BAD NUMBERS FOR GOV PATERSON;
OBAMA TO RAISE $$ FOR REID; BURR LEADS, BUT NOT OUT OF WOODS.
SUPREME COURT. President Barack Obama nominated US
Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York to become an
Associate Justice on the US Supreme Court. If confirmed, Sotomayor
will become the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the
nation's highest court. Obama's pick would also place a sixth
Catholic on the bench out of the nine justices. Sotomayor's nomination
received praise from top Democrats and several Republican Senators.
Justice David Souter is retiring, which created the vacancy. Meanwhile,
right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted President Barack Obama
on Tuesday for picking a “reverse racist” and “hack”
in Sotomayor. Her nomination is expected to easily received Senate
ratification due to the Democrats' strong majority. [Ron's
note: Here's a comment from my friend Alvin Entin (R-FL), a former
GOP nominee for Congress and former legal counsel for the Broward
County Republican Party: "I am enthusiastic about Obama's
pick for the Supreme Court. I have appeared before [Sotomayor]
when she sat on the SDNY bench. Super bright, knew the law, ruled
decisively. Loved her style and she ruled against my client! Great
YORK. A new Siena College poll shows Governor David Paterson
(D) continuing to face major trouble next year. Only 27% have
a favorable view of Paterson versus 63% with an unfavorable view.
The poll -- yet again -- shows Paterson badly losing in a Democratic
primary to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) by a 70% to 19% vote.
President Barack Obama will host a fundraiser for US Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Thursday – an event expected
to raise over a million dollars for Reid's 2010 re-election campaign.
Recent polls show Reid is vulnerable. This is Obama's first major
fundraising effort for a Democratic Senator.
FOX News talk show host Mike Huckabee -- a former Arkansas Governor
and 2008 GOP Presidential candidate -- said he believes that RNC
Chairman Michael Steele is doing a good job partly because of
his skin color. "I'm not sure anyone else could be as effective
in challenging the Obama policies any more so than Michael ...
[because] I believe that no one is gonna be able to use the racism
charge [against Steele when he criticizes Obama],” declared
Huckabee. Former Huckabee campaign manager and a CNN analyst Ed
Rollins distanced himself from Huckabee's comments. "I think
the bottom line here is, Michael Steele is Chairman of our party
not because he an African-American ... Whatever Mike [Huckabee]
was trying to say was not thought out." Huckabee is a likely
2012 White House candidate.
CAROLINA. US Senator Richard Burr (R) appears to be the
current favorite for re-election next year according to a new
survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (D). National Dems have
yet to recruit a strong candidate to run against Burr. Attorney
General Roy Cooper (D) announced earlier this month that he would
not run. In several prospective matchups, Burr defeats all his
opponents by at least 8 points. However, Burr does not break the
50% against any potential rival. Several Democrats, including
two sitting member of Congress, recently acknowledged they are
looking at the race.
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.27.09 | Permalink
SUPREME COURT PICK EXPECTED THIS WEEK; SERRANO TOYS; SEN REID
LOOKS WEAK; GOP STRONG IN VA GOV RACE.
SUPREME COURT. Leading Colorado Democrats -- including
Governor Bill Ritter and US Senator Mark Udall and Michael Bennet
-- signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to appoint
US Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to the US Supreme Court vacancy.
Salazar was a US Senator from Colorado prior to his elevation
to the Cabinet. While Salazar is not believed to be on any short-lists
for Justice David Souter's vacancy, the President is expected
to announce his selection this week.
YORK. Congressman Jose Serrano (D) announced he is strongly
considering a primary run next year against interim US Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand (D). Serrano, an ardent liberal, has strong
ties in the Hispanic and progressive political communities. Serrano's
announcement comes just after US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
predicted that in the end Gillibrand won't face any serious primary
A new Mason-Dixon poll shows US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D) continuing to look vulnerable. The poll reported that 45%
say they will vote to replace Reid next year. Most importantly:
50% had an unfavorable view of Reid versus just 38% with a favorable
view. Running in Reid's favor is the old adage: "You can't
beat someone with no one." To date Reid's announced GOP challengers
include Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki and politically-unknown
physician Robin Titus. Krolicki is facing an upcoming criminal
trial for alleged wrong-doing during his previous service as State
Treasurer -- but proclaims his innocence and says he will stay
in the Senate race.
New polls from SurveyUSA and Research 2000 both show former Attorney
General Bob McDonnell (R) leading any of the three Democratic
hopefuls. Depending on the poll and matchup, McDonnell holds leads
any rival by margins of 6 to 13 points. Three new independent
polls also show former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe
leading his gubernatorial primary opponents by comfortable margins
of 9-14 points.
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.26.09 | Permalink
BARBOUR ACTING LIKE PREZ CANDIDATE; LAZIO, LYNCH, McINNIS IN;
WATTS OUT OF GUV RACES.
Wondering if Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) -- a former
Republican National Chairman and former top DC lobbyist -- is
planning to run for President in 2012? Then check out his upcoming
travel plans. Barbour is making political visits in June to both
Iowa and New Hampshire to help state GOP groups raise money.
YORK. As expected, former Congressman Rick Lazio (R)
formally entered the race for Governor. A new Marist University
poll shows Lazio leading vulnerable Governor David Paterson (D)
by a 40-37 vote. The poll shows Paterson also trailing former
New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R) by a wider margin of 53-38
vote. Guiliani is no longer expected to enter the gubernatorial
race -- although the poll shows he'd defeat Lazio by 75-14 vote
in the GOP primary. Attorney Ed Cox (R), son-in-law of President
Nixon, is also exploring the race. The poll also shows Paterson
getting crushed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a prospective
Democratic primary by a 70-21 margin.
Former Congressman JC Watts Jr. (R) announced he will not be a
candidate for the state's highest office next year. With Watts
out, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, a former Lieutenant Governor,
is the solid GOP frontrunner for Governor.
ISLAND. Attorney General Patrick Lynch (D) announced
he will be a candidate for Governor next year. Several other Dems
are also looking at the race. Former US Senator Linc Chafee --
who quit the GOP and became an Independent after his 2006 reelection
defeat -- is running. State Representative Joe Trillo is the only
announced GOP hopeful. Governor Dan Carcieri (R) is term-limited.
Former Congressman Scott McInnis (R) filed paperwork this week
to officially enter the 2010 race against Governor Bill Ritter
Report by Vin Gopal and Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.09 | Permalink
THREE BAIL ON GOP GUV RACES, NY DEM BAILS ON GILLIBRAND PRIMARY
CHALLENGE; CHRISTIE LEADING FOR NJ GOV GOP NOMINATION; SPECTER
LEADS SESTAK BY WIDE MARGIN.
2010. Three prominent Republican elected officials announced
they would not be making gubernatorial runs in their respective
states. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson announced
Thursday he will not run for Governor -- and he declined, for
now, to endorse Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) for Governor.
State Auditor Dave Vaudt -- one of only three Republicans who
hold statewide office in Iowa -- said he will seek re-election
next year rather than run for Governor. In Alabama, Hoover Mayor
Tony Petelos said he won’t make a run for Governor.
YORK. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (D),
who has previously launched an exploratory committee to run against
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) next year, announced he will
not be a candidate. “In light of President Obama’s
clear desire to avoid a Democratic primary in New York State,
I have decided to focus on my re-election race for Manhattan Borough
President and to suspend my exploratory committee and fund-raising
efforts for the 2010 Senate race,” stated Stringer. Several
other high profile Democrats, including three members of Congress,
are still considering entering the race. Last week, Congressman
Steve Israel announced he would not run after being persuaded
so by Obama.
JERSEY. Former US
Attorney Chis Christie has a strong 56%-33% lead over former Bogota
Mayor Steve Lonegan for the GOP nomination for Governor, according
to a new Quinnipiac University Poll. Christie is a centrist, while
Lonegan is a conservative. Both candidates lead Democratic Governnor
Jon Corzine in the polls.
Vice President Joe Biden reiterated his support for Republican-turned-Democrat
US Senator Arlen Specter's re-election campaign next year. "Over
the years, we've certainly had our disagreements," Biden
writes in a note sent to 500,000 Pennsylvanians on the Democratic
National Committee/Organizing for America email list. "During
that time, however, Arlen has been my friend, my confidant, and
my partner in enacting many pieces of significant legislation."
Specter may face a primary challenge from Congressman Joe Sestak.
A new Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group poll conducted for the DSCC
shows Specter leading Sestak by a 56-16 vote in a Democratic primary
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.22.09 | Permalink
"ALL ABOARD" FOR THE CHU-CHU RUN-OFF; McAULIFFE STILL
LEADS; RUDY LIKELY OUT, LAZIO IN FOR NY GOV; COBURN TO ANNOUNCE
PLANS ON JUNE 1; GARMIN IS MY CO-PILOT.
State Board of Equalization Vice Chair Judy Chu (D) placed first
in Tuesday's open primary special election to fill US Labor Secretary
Hilda Solis' vacant CD-32 seat. Chu finished first with 32%, followed
by State Senator Gil Cedillo (D) at 23%, political activist Emanuel
Pleitez (D) at 14%, and Monterey Park City Councilwoman Betty
Chu (R) at 10%. Chu's first-place finish was particularly impressive
as she is an Asian-American candidate in a district in which a
majority of the voters are Hispanic. Judy Chu is a safe bet to
win the July 14 run-off against Betty Chu and businessman Christopher
A new SurveyUSA poll shows former Democratic National Chairman
Terry McAuliffe continuing to lead in the gubernatorial primary
contest. The numbers: McAuliffe - 37%, State Senator Creigh Deeds
- 26%, former State House Democratic Caucus Chair Brian Moran
- 22%. The primary is June 9.
YORK. With former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)
dropping hints that he has decided not to run for Governor next
year, former Congressman
Rick Lazio (R) appears likely to announce his candidacy next week.
Lazio was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for US Senate against Hillary
Clinton in 2000.
US Senator Tom Coburn (R) will announced on June 1 whether he
will seek reelection next year or retire. Although Coburn has
less than $20,000 cash-on-hand and has made no fundraising effort
for 2010, Republicans believe the conservative incumbent has changed
his plans and will now announce he plans to run again. If Coburn
runs, he is unlikely to face serious opposition.
Our political quote of the day, showing some real self-deprecating
humor, comes from long-shot US Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R).
The conservative former State House Speaker posted this comment
on Twitter about his low-budget effort: "On the road again
today with my campaign aides Mr. Garmin and Mr. [Florida Turnpike]
Report by Ron Gunzburger
- 05.21.09 | Permalink |
TAKES. A new Mason-Dixon poll shows Florida Governor
Charlie Crist leading former House Speaker Marco Rubio by a 53-18
vote in next year's GOP primary for US Senate. On the Dem side,
the same poll shows Congressman Kendrick Meek leading State Senator
Dan Gelber by a 26-16 vote. In a general election for Governor,
Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) leads State CFO Alex Sink (D)
by a 40-34 vote ... US
Senator Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) brain cancer is apparently in remission.
He plans to return to work in June ... The US Senate passed the
credit card reform legislation on Tuesday, which imposes strict
new regulations on the industry. The House previously approved
it ... Republican National Chairman Michael Steele said he is
against the proposed RNC resolution to symbolically brand the
Democratic Party as the "Democrat Socialist Party."
Steele told FOX News: "I am not for that at all ... We need
to be smart and strategic ... without the name calling and without
the noise making." Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer, in an interview
with the AP, also announced his opposition to the resolution:
"I think it's stupid ... We need to be serious." New
Jersey Republican National Committeeman David Norcross supports
the resolution, and told CNN the resolution was being reworded
to satisfy the concerns raised by Steele. Instead of "re-naming"
the Democratic Party, the revised resolution will simply "condemn
the Democrats' march to socialism."
Report by Ron Gunzburger
- 05.20.09 | Permalink |
KS DEMS STILL WITHOUT GOV CANDIDATE; DODD DRAWS DEM FOE; TUESDAY
IS CALIFORNIA CD-32 PRIMARY DAY.
Democrats still cannot find a candidate to run for Governor --
even though they've held the big office since 2002. Governor Mark
Parkinson (D), who succeeded to office a month ago when Governor
Kathleen Sebelius was confirmed as US Health Secretary, has repeatedly
said he won't run. Now newly sworn-in Lieutenant Governor Troy
Findlay (D) announced during his first week in office that he
won't run. State Treasurer Dennis McKinney (D) and Attorney General
Stephen Six (D) said they intend to seek re-election next year.
Dems are running out of viable options. On the GOP side, by contrast,
US Senator Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh
are both announced gubernatorial candidates.
Embattled US Senator Chris Dodd (D) has drawn a seemingly significant
primary challenger for 2010. Multimillionaire businessman Merrick
Alpert has jumped into the race and launched his campaign website.
Alpert -- a Dem activist who previously worked in the White House
as an aide to Vice President Al Gore -- is also an attorney and
Air Force veteran. Polls continue to show Dodd is highly vulnerable
in general election matchups against either of the two top GOP
Tuesday is election day in the CD-32 special election to fill
US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis' vacant congressional seat. The
district is solidly Democratic. Eight Dems, three Republicans
and a Libertarian are competing on the ballot. If no candidate
wins a majority of the vote in the all-party primary, the top
finishers from each party will meet in a July 14 run-off. State
Board of Equalization Vice Chair Judy Chu (D) is the solid frontrunner
to ultimately win the seat, but most pundits expect she will be
unable to to score an outright win Tuesday because of the crowded
field -- and the last-name confusion caused by distant cousin
and Monterey Park City Councilwoman Betty Chu (R) also running.
State Senator Gil Cedillo is Chu's main Democratic rival. A very
low turnout is expected.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.19.09 | Permalink
TOP DEM RECRUIT PASSES ON NC SENATE RACE; REP ISRAEL REVERSES
COURSE, WON'T CHALLENGE GILLIBRAND.
CAROLINA. Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) announced he
will not be a candidate for the US Senate next year, instead opting
to seek re-election. Cooper had been heavily courted by the DSCC
to challenge vulnerable incumbent Richard Burr (R). Several other
Democratic elected officials -- including some US House members
-- are looking at the race.
YORK. Congressman Steve Israel (D) reversed course and
now announced that he will not challenge US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
in next year's Democratic primary. The news came just a week after
Israel told his colleagues he had decided to run. Israel said
he was persuaded not to run by President Barack Obama. “The
President asked me to continue my leadership in Congress ... [and]
not run for the US Senate," explained the Long Island Congressman
in his written statement.
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.18.09 | Permalink
GOV HUNTSMAN JOINS OBAMA ADMINISTRATION; NJ GOV CORZINE STILL
TRAILING; KENNEDY ENDORSES MORAN; PAGING DR. PAUL #2; REFLECTING
HOUSE. In a major
surprise, President Obama will announce Saturday that he has selected
two-term Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) to be the next US
Ambassador to China. Huntsman, who previously served as US Ambassador
to Singapore during the Bush-43 Administration, speaks fluent
Mandarin Chinese, serbed as a Mormon missionairy in Taiwan, and
has an adopted daughter from China. The billionaire business scion
and father of seven -- has also become an outspoken leader of
the centrist faction of the Republican Party in recent months,
as Huntsman was seemingly preparing to make a 2012 run for President.
Huntsman is pro-life but supports same-sex civil unions and has
criticized the Obama stimulus package ... for not being big enough.
He has asserted that the Republican Party must significantly change
on gay and environmental issues to win the support of voters under
age 40 -- or the party will have no political future. Click
here to read more about Huntsman's vision for the saving the GOP.
Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert (R) was apparently surprised
that Huntsman was planning to imminently resign, telling the Salt
Lake Tribune he hadn't known anything about the move.
JERSEY. Former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) now leads
Governor Jon Corzine (D) by a 47%-38% vote, according to the latest
Rasmussen poll. Corzine narrowly trails former Bogota Mayor Steve
Lonegan (R) by a 42-41 vote. Christie is a GOP centrist, while
Lonegan is a staunch conservative.
Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) -- the son of US Senator Ted
Kennedy (D-MA) -- announced his endorsement of former State House
Democratic Caucus Chair Brian Moran in the June 9 primary. Kennedy
is also trying to raise Moran money. Another Kennedy -- Ethel,
widow of the late US Senator Robert F. Kennedy -- is hosting a
fundraiser for Moran on May 27 at her home.
Dr. Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), announced
his candidacy against US Senator Jim Bunning in next year's Republican
primary. Rand Paul says his libertarian political views mirror
those of his father.
PHOTO EDITORIAL FROM RON: Florida has one of the most
diverse populations in the nation. Pictures speak louder than
words, so check out this amazingly diverse crew ...
diversity, these white guys run the skin-tone gamut from dark
tan (Crist) to pasty pale (Putnam), plus one wears glasses, and
another even has a mustache. Wow! Meet the Republican Party of
Florida "establishment" slate of statewide candidates
for 2010. Good work, guys ... and, obviously, I just mean white
Report by Vin Gopal and Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.09 | Permalink
SPECTER PRIMARY FOE QUITS; ARK GOP US SEN CANDIDATE CALLS SCHUMER
"THAT JEW"; NRCC TRYING TO ENTICE EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER
TO RUN IN NC; GOV SANFORD'S CHOICE; NEW KS LT GOV; NH ON BRINK
OF GAY MARRIAGE.
US Senator Arlen Specter's (D) leading opponent in the Democratic
primary next year has dropped out. Joe Torsella, the former head
of the National Constitution Center and a close ally of Governor
Ed Rendell (D), is exiting the contest. Congressman Joe Sestak
(D) -- a former Navy Admiral -- is still seriously considering
the race, although many pundits believe Sestak is just pushing
Specter to vote more with the Democrats while at the same time
serving to raise Sestak's national profile.
State Senator Kim Hendren ( R), the current frontrunner to challenge
US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) next year, is drawing heat for
referring to US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as “that Jew.”
The speech was given to Pulaski County Republican Party activists.
Hendren quickly apologized: “At the meeting I was attempting
to explain that unlike Senator Schumer, I believe in traditional
values ... I made the mistake of referring to Senator Schumer
as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way
as this took away from what I was trying to say." State Senator
Gilbert Baker and former US Attorney Tim Griffin are both considering
running against Hendren in the GOP primary. Arkansas, a state
which Barack Obama lost by over 20 points, is expected to be targeted
by the NRSC.
CAROLINA. Former Carolina Panthers football star safety
Mike Minter (R) is considering running for Congress next year
against freshman Congressman Larry Kissell (D). Obama narrowly
carried Kissell's district with 52% and a high African-American
turnout. However, Minter is African-American. Republicans believe
he could be the candidate to take back the seat for them.
CAROLINA. State Representative Nikki Haley (R) -- a staunch
anti-tax activist -- announced her candidacy for Governor on Thursday.
Governor Mark Sanford (R), who is term-limited, is purportedly
tacitly backing the dynamic and young Haley as his successor.
Congressman Gresham Barrett, State Senator Larry Grooms previously
announced their GOP candidacies for Governor, and Attorney General
Henry McMaster and Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer are expected
to enter the race soon. Announced Democratic candidates to date
include State Senators Robert Ford and Vincent Sheheen and wealthy
attorney Mullins McLeod.
Governor Mark Parkinson (D), who rose the governorship recently
with the elevation of Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) into President
Barack Obama's Cabinet, appointed his Chief of Staff Troy Findley
(D) to replace him as the new Lieutenant Governor. Findley will
also continue to serve as Parkinson's Chief of Staff
MARRIAGE. New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) announced
he will sign into law a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry
-- but only if the state legislature agrees to adding some key
terms to protect religious groups. The suggested changes would
only give further legal protection to individuals working directly
for a religious organization or an entity that a religious group
owns or controls. "This morning, I met with House and Senate
leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language
that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.
This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections
for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals
working with such institutions," said Lynch. The requested
changes are fairly non-controversial, so New Hampshire is certain
to become the sixth state to recognize same-sex civil marriages.
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.15.09 | Permalink
FLA DEMS RALLY BEHIND SINK; HODES NARROWLY LEADS IN NH; CUOMO
HAS LADNSLIDE LEAD OVER PATERSON ; KIRK WAFFLES ON IL SEN RACE.
State CFO Adelaide "Alex" Sink (D) jumped into the open
race for Governor on Wednesday. Sink is unlikely to face serious
opposition for the nomination, as Dems were quickly to rally behind
her. Sink is also a retired bank president and the wife of 2002
Dem gubernatorial nominee Bill McBride. Attorney General Bill
McCollum and State Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson are
expected to jump into the race by the end of next week.
HAMPSHIRE. A new Dartmouth
College poll shows Congressman Paul Hodes (D) narrowly leading
in the open seat race for US Senator. Hodes leads former US Senator
John Sununu Jr (R) by a 38-35 vote. Hodes leads former Congressman
Charlie Bass (R) by a 31-30 vote.
YORK. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Governor
David Paterson (D) continuing to trail badly in his bid next year
to keep his job. The poll shows Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
leading Paterson by a lopsided 62-17 vote in next year's gubernatorial
Congressman Mark Kirk (R) has again delayed his announced date
for making a decision on the 2010 US Senate race. He had promised
to make a decision by the end of April. Now he says he's still
pondering the race. According to The Hill, GOP strategists who
have spoken with Kirk say he is "highly risk-averse”
and "very cautious." They now say the odds of Kirk running
are only 50-50. Kirk is apparently waiting to see what happens
on the Democratic side of the race. While it is clear incumbent
US Senator Roland Burris will lose badly in a primary if he decides
to run, it is unclear is announce candidate State Treasurer Alex
Giannoulias will be the Democratic nominee. Kirk believes he can
defeat Giannoulias. However, the DSCC is reportedly trying to
entice Attorney General Lisa Madigan to jump in, as polls show
she would easily defeat Kirk. If Madigan runs, Kirk is certain
to instead seek reelection next year. Other Dems are also still
looking at the race. Congressman Peter Roskam (R), who had openly
explored the contest, now has made it clear that he will stay
out and seek reelection to the House next year.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.14.09 | Permalink
UTAH A.G. WILL PRIMARY SEN BENNETT; HUCKABEE MOCKS GOP "RE-BRANDING"
GROUP; ONLY STATEWIDE GOP ELECTED OFFICIAL PASSES ON NM GOV RACE;
GOP LEADERS RALLIES BEHIND CRIST.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff accidentally issued a statement
on Twitter -- one he thought was just being privately sent in
response to a friend's posting -- admitting he's planning to imminently
announce his GOP primary challenge next week against US Senator
Bob Bennett. Shurtleff is trying to position himself as a "conservative
alternative" to Bennett. The incumbent has a 83% lifetime
approval rating from the American Conservative Union. Former Juab
County Prosecutor David Leavitt -- brother of former Governor
Mike Leavitt -- is also running against Bennett in the 2010 primary.
Polls show Bennett holding a solid lead over both men. State Alcoholic
Beverage Control Commission Chair Sam Granato appears likely to
be the sacrificial Democratic nominee for the Senate seat. Race
rating: Safe GOP.
PARTY. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee -- a 2008
GOP Presidential candidate -- is openly mocking the new group
Council for a New America for its attempt to "re-brand"
the Republican Party. The Baptist pastor and FOX TV show host
wrote in his Tuesday column that it was "hard to keep from
laughing out loud when people living in the bubble of the Beltway
suddenly wake up one day and think they ought to have a listening
tour." The conservative NCNA group was formed by US House
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA). In addition to Cantor, other
leaders of the group include US Senator John McCain (R-AZ.), Governors
Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Haley Barbour (R-MS),
and former Governors Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Jeb Bush (R-FL). "For
those on the listening tour, listen to this. If the party elite
want to abandon principled leadership to protect life, support
traditional marriage while going along with deficit exploding
spending, interference and micro-managing of private business
and failing to police corruption and govern competently, then
hearing aids or a panel of experts won't help," Huckabee
wrote. The NCNA group is trying to develop a consensus opposition
agenda that entirely avoids discussing the hot-button abortion,
gay marriage, and immigration issues. Huckabee, Palin, Jindal,
Romney, Barbour and Bush are all potential 2012 GOP Presidential
MEXICO. State Land Commission Pat Lyons (R) had decided
to pass on the open gubernatorial race, despite being term-limited
and the only current GOP statewide elected official. Instead,
Lyons announced he will run for an open seat on the state's Public
That was quick. Just hours after Governor Charlie Crist (R) jumped
into the open US Senate race, he scored the endorsements of the
NRSC, the Florida Republican Party, US Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell. Retiring US Senator Mel Martinez (R) openly boasted
he was the one who rounded up the DC endorsements for Crist. Former
State House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) -- positioning himself as
a conservative Club for Growth alternative to the centrist Crist
-- quickly launched an online anti-Crist ad and blasted the NRSC.
"It appears I won't win the Washington DC primary. Lucky
for me I am running in the Florida GOP primary ... Disappointed
[the NRSC] endorses Crist on Day 1. Remember that reform must
always come from the outside. Status quo won't change itself,"
wrote Rubio on his Twitter
page. In related news, former Governor Jeb Bush and Congressman
Vern Buchanan immediately issued statements saying they will not
be GOP candidates for Governor next year.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.13.09 | Permalink
CRIST ENTERS FLA SENATE RACE; CONGRESSMAN ISRAEL TO CHALLENGE
GILLIBRAND; BATMAN WON'T RUN FOR NM GOV; NRCC'S TOP CHOICE WON'T
RUN IN IDAHO.
Crist (R) will officially enter the open US Senate race on Tuesday.
A low-key entrance is planned: the announcement will be made by
the release of written statement. No formal kick-off tour is planned
-- at least, not yet. Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio (R)
is already an announced candidate, positioning himself as a Club
for Growth conservative running against a pro-Obama stimulus package
GOP centrist. Polls show Crist holding an almost insurmountable
lead over Rubio. However, Rubio's strategy us unconventional.
He's counting on scoring a narrow upset in a very low turnout
race -- like the roughly 15% turnout Republicans have seen in
some recent statewide primaries -- with the help of a motivated
core GOP base of angry social/fiscal conservatives. Congressman
Kendrick Meek and State Senator Dan Gelber are the leading announced
Democratic candidates for US Senator. In related news, Tampa Mayor
Pam Iorio (D) and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker (R) both announced
Monday they will not be candidates for any statewide offices in
2010. In the open gubernatorial race, State CFO Alex Sink (D),
Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) and State Agriculture Commissioner
Charles Bronson (R) are certain to jump in this week. Lieutenant
Governor Jeff Kottkamp and Congressman Vern Buchanan are also
potential GOP candidates for Governor.
YORK. Congressman Steve Israel (D) told his Democratic
colleagues this past weekend that he will soon announce his candidate
against US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in next year's primary.
Congresswomen Carolyn McCarthy and Carolyn Maloney and Manhattan
Borough President Scott Stringer are also exploring primary challenges
against the interim incumbent in the special election. US Senator
Chuck Schumer (D), who is backing Gillibrand, has backed off his
prior pledge to actively work to block a primary challenge. He
now says he will not take any action to keep candidates off the
primary ballot. Israel plans to make an official announcement
this week. Two Republicans -- former Governor George Pataki and
Congressman Pete King -- are also looking looking at the race.
MEXICO. Not entirely a surprise, but actor and rancher
Val Kilmer will not run for Governor next year. Asked by Politico
if he plans to enter the race -- as he has openly discussed for
month -- Kilmer responded: "No, probably not."
In a major surprise, State Treasurer Ron Crane (R) -- the NRCC's
first choice to challenge freshman Congressman Walt Minnick (D)
-- announced he will not run. Crane had just visited DC last week
to meet with NRCC leaders. "I seriously explored it. I have
come to the conclusion not to run," he told the Idaho
The Republicans are still certain to find a strong candidate for
this GOP-leading seat.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.12.09 | Permalink
CHU FRONTRUNNER IN CAL CD-32 SPECIAL; CHENEY SAYS LIMBAUGH IS
RIGHT, COLIN POWELL NO LONGER REPUBLICAN; CRIST TO ANNOUNCE PLANS
TUESDAY; McAULIFFE LEADS FOR VA GOV PRIMARY; CASTLE LEADS BIDEN;
BUNNING STAYS THE COURSE.
State Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu (D) leads all candidates
in fundraising for the May 19th special election for Secretary
of Labor Hilda Solis' former CD-32 seat in the US House. Chu has
raised $993,000 -- leading her top opponent State Senator Gil
Cedillo (D), who has raised $717,000 as of the most recent federal
reports. Chu, a former state legislator, has endorsements from
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswoman Loretta
Sanchez, and several other prominent members of Congress from
California. Cedillo enjoys the support of most of the Hispanic
elected officials in a district dominated by Hispanic voters.
Sanchez's sister, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, is also backing
Cedillo. The seat is considered safely Democratic.
PARTY. Former Vice President Dick Cheney told CBS this
weekend that he wasn't sure if his former Secretary of State,
Colin Powell, was still a Republican. Cheney told moderator Bob
Schieffer: “My take on it was Colin had already left the
party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.” Powell
served as National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff to President George H.W. Bush and later was Secretary
of State to President George W. Bush. Powell endorsed Barack Obama
for President last year and recently said right-wing radio host
Rush Limbaugh was doing more harm than good for the Republican
Party. Cheney, by contrast, said he'd prefer a GOP led by someone
like Limbaugh. "If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican,
I'd choose Rush Limbaugh ... I don't think the Republican Party
ought to move far to the left."
Governor Charlie Crist (R) will announce his candidacy for the
US Senate on Tuesday, according to several key sources. Florida
Republican Chairman Jim Greer -- a close Crist ally -- says he
believes Crist has "concluded that the problems and issues
that Floridians are facing -- high unemployment and the economy
-- can't be solved in Tallahassee, they need to be solved in Washington,
and I believe that's what he's going to do."
A new Public Policy Poll (D) shows former DNC Chairman
Terry McAuliffe leading in this year's primary for Governor. McAuliffe
is at 30%, followed by former State Representative Brian Moran
at 20%, and State Senator Creigh Deeds at 18%.
A new Susquehanna Polling & Research survey shows Congressman
Michael Castle (R) holding a strong lead over Attorney General
Beau Biden (D) in the 2010 special election for the open US Senate
seat. Castle leads Biden by a 55% to 34% vote. Castle openly says
he has yet to decide if he will seek reelection, run for US Senate,
or retire next year. Biden -- and Iraq War veteran and the son
of Vice President Joe Biden -- has already made it clear he will
seek the seat formerly held by his father.
Despite speculation to the contrary, vulnerable US Senator Jim
Bunning (R) reiterated at the Republican Party of Kentucky's 2009
Lincoln Day Dinner that he plans to seek reelection next year.
Many pundits believed Bunning was planning to announce his retirement,
in response to weak poll numbers and poor fundraising to date.
He is certain to face both a serious primary challenge and a tough
general election race if he stays in the contest.
REDUX. ABC's George Stephanopoulos is reporting that
several top campaign staffers to former US Senator John Edwards'
2008 Presidential campaign got together in late December of 2007
-- after they believed that the rumors of Edwards having an extramarital
affair was accurate. These staffers devised a plan to sabotage
Edwards chances of winning the nomination if it looked like he
would get close, in order to protect the Democratic Party's chances
of winning the 2008 election. Note from Ron: This seems very likely.
When I published this story,
I quickly received a call from Edwards' press secretary. He asked
me what else I heard, inquired if I planned to write more about
the "affair rumors," and questioned me as to whether
I was "sitting on more" details about a purported sexual
affair. My immediate reaction to this response was: "The
allegations are true." Postscript: Former Edwards campaign
manager Joe Trippi insists the story is false. "Complete
BS - fantasyland - not true," posted Trippi on Twitter. Stephanopoulos
says he stands by his story, and never said Trippi was part of
the insider group plotting to sabotage Edwards.
Report by Vin Gopal - 05.11.09 | Permalink
RIDGE IS OUT; DEMS LEAD OHIO GOV, US SEN RACES; OREGON GOP RECRUITS
CANDIDATE AGAINST DeFAZIO; PORN STAR ENTER RACE AGAINST VITTER;
MD GOV MAY FACE DEM PRIMARY.
Former Governor Tom
Ridge (R) announced he will not be a candidate for the US Senate
next year. National Republican leaders had turned to the former
US Homeland Security Secretary after US Senator Arlen Specter
defected to the Democrats two weeks ago. Ridge was leading Specter
in two recent polls. "Tom Ridge didn't run for Senate because
he is pro-choice and cannot beat Toomey in a primary. Sad commentary
when a two-term Governor can't win a party primary," said
GOP political consultant Roger Stone, who has advised Specter
for years. A Research 2000 poll released Thursday backed Stone's
analysis, showing [former Congressman Pat] Toomey leading Ridge
by a 41-33 vote in a GOP primary. On MSNBC's Hardball,
Ridge later declined to state who he would support in a general
election contest between Specter and Toomey. Congressman Joe Sestak
(D) also sounds increasingly likely to challenge Specter in next
year's Democratic primary.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows the Democrats look strong
in next year's races for Govenor and US Senate. In the Democratic
primary for the open US Senate seat, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher
has 20%, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has 16%, and State
Representative Tyrone Yates has 4%. In the Republican primary,
former Congressman Rob Portman has 29%, and State Auditor Mary
Taylor and auto dealer Tom Granley are tied at 8% each. In general
election matchups, Fisher leads either Portman and Taylor by double-digits.
Brunner leads Portman by 8-points and leads Taylor by 9-points.
US Senator George Voinovoich (R) is retiring. In the race for
Governor, incumbent Ted Strickland (D) appears to be in good shape
for re-election. Strickland leads former Congressman John Kasich
(R) by a vote of 51% to 32%. Strickland also leads former US Senator
Mike DeWine (R) by a vote of 48% to 36%. However, most insiders
expect DeWine to run for Attorney General instead of seeking the
Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken (R) announced he will challenge Congressman
Peter DeFazio (D) next year. The NRCC worked to recruit Leiken
into the race, believing him to a top-tier recruit -- but DeFazio
would still be rated the frontrunner in the race. Some Oregon
political believe DeFazio may make a run for Governor in 2010
instead of seeking re-election, which could make for a competitive
open seat contest.
Porn star Stormy Daniels has announced her candidacy
against US Senator David Vitter (R). Daniels acknowledges she
won't defeat Vitter, but wants to make his hypocricy an issue.
“He ran for the Senate on a family values, anti-sex education
platform, and he’s caught with prostitutes. That’s
hypocritical. Call me what you will, but you can’t call
me a hypocrite,” said Daniels to the Times of London.
She has not decided whether to run with a political party or as
an independent. However, Daniels will certainly be just a colorful
sideshow in the race. Vitter publicly confessed to "serious
sins" after he was named as a client three years ago in a
DC prostitution ring scandal. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne
is still considering a GOP primary challenge, and several Dems
are still looking at the race.
Former State Veterans Affairs Secretary and former State House
Majority Whip George Owings (D) is considering a Democratic primary
challenge to Governor Martin O'Malley next year. Ownings is a
conservative Democrat who served in the Cabinet of former GOP
Governor Bob Ehrlich. Attorney Mike Pappas is already an announced
GOP candidate, and Ehrlich and businessman Charles Lollar are
also considering GOP runs against O'Malley.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.08.09 | Permalink
ROMNEY MAKES NH HIS NEW HOMESTATE; GAY MARRIAGE WINS MAINE, DC
VICTORIES; BACHMANN TO FACE TOUGH FIGHT AGAIN IN '10.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) has changed his
permanent residency to New Hampshire. Romney had a second home
in the Granite State for years, along with homes in Utah and Massachusetts.
However, he reportedly sold his Utah and Massachusetts homes in
recent months -- possibly related to the economic downturn. Just
another sign Romney is already focusing on making a second Presidential
run in 2012.
MARRIAGE. A day after the Maine Legislature approved
a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, Governor John
Baldacci (D) signed it into law on Wednesday. Republican National
Chairman Michael Steele attacked the move in a written statement:
"I believe that marriage should be between one man and one
woman and strongly disagree with Maine’s decision to legalize
gay marriage." Next door in New Hampshire, Governor John
Lynch (D) sounds like he plans to veto the same-sex marriage bill
approved last week by the legislature -- but he has yet to make
a final decision. Lynch says he supports the state's existing
same-sex civil union law, but not gay marriage. In other related
news, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Congress will
not repeal the DC City Council's legislative move which recognizes
same-sex marriages performed in other states. "I don’t
think the Congress should intervene there in terms of their recognition
of marriages in the states that allow them," explained Pelosi.
Controversial conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R)
appears likely to face another tough race next year. She nearly
lost in an upset in 2008 to minister and former Blaine Mayor Elwyn
Tinklenberg (DFL), after Bachmann said in a national television
interview that she wanted an investigation into the "anti-American"
members of Congress.. Tinklenberg announced this week he will
seek a rematch in 2010. Former University of Minnesota Board of
Regents Chair and physician Maureen Reed -- the Independence Party's
2006 nominee for Lieutenant Governor -- also filed paperwork this
week to seek the Democratic nomination against Bachmann.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.07.09 | Permalink
RUBIO ANNOUNCES AGAINST CRIST; SPECTER GAFFES, RIDGE RESIDES IN
WRONG STATE, DEM LEADERS WON'T BACK SESTAK; NBA GREAT DAVE BING
ELECTED DETROIT MAYOR.
Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio made it official on Tuesday,
saying he is running for the open US Senate seat. In fact, Rubio
pointedly noted he plans to stay in the contest if Governor Charlie
Crist (R) jumps in. Crist is expected to announce his Senate candidacy
next week. He was also unruffled by Rubio's shot-across-the-bow
announcement, politely responding to media inquiries that "Everybody
has the right to run. It’s a great part of our country and
a great tradition."
US Senator Arlen Specter (D) made a rather embarrassing gaffe
on Tuesday. In an interview with the New York Times magazine,
he said: "There's still time for the Minnesota courts to
do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner." In a subsequent
interview with CQ Politics, Specter corrected himself: "In
the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get
used to my new teammates. I'm ordinarily pretty correct in what
I say. I've made a career of being precise. I conclusively misspoke
... I'm looking for more Democratic members. Nothing personal,"
said Specter. Former Governor Tom Ridge (R) -- who promises to
make a decision on the race within the next two weeks -- also
had an embarrassing Tuesday. It seems that Ridge, in federal lobbying
paperwork he filed in June 2008 disclosing himself as a paid agent
for the Albanian government, listed Maryland as his home state
of residence. Congressman Joe Sestak (D) also appears to be inching
towards a primary challenge against Specter. Sestak notes that
he campaigned for Obama last year, while Specter supported Bush.
Sestak also will face opposition from the united DC and state
Democratic leaders. President Obama, US Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D-NV), US Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) and Governor
Ed Rendell (D) have all endorsed Specter for reelection next year.
Businessman Dave Bing -- a former pro basketball star and Hall
of Fame member -- was elected Detroit Mayor in Tuesday's special
election. Bing defeated City Council President and Acting Mayor
Ken Cockrel Jr by a vote of 52% to 48%.
Report by Ron Gunzburger and Vin Gopal - 05.06.09 | Permalink
SUNUNU LEADS HODES; GILLIBRAND STILL WEAK; RUBIO SUGGESTS CRIST
SWITCH PARTIES; A SECOND DR. PAUL LOOKS AT DC RUN; SPECTER HAS
BIG LEAD OVER TOOMEY.
HAMPSHIRE. A new Granite State/UNH poll shows former
US Senator John Sununu Jr (R) leading Congressman Paul Hodes (D)
by a 46% to 41% vote, with 2% supporting "Other." Sununu
also has 88% name ID versus Hodes with 65% name ID. In other NH
news, Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R) filed paperwork to run
against Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D) next year, setting
up a competitive race in 2010.
YORK. The latest Marist Poll shows interim US Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand (D) will face a tough fight to keep her job
next year. Gillibrand leads Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney by a
narrow 36-31 vote in the Democratic primary. Former Governor George
Paraki leads Congressman Pete King by a 48-36 vote in the GOP
primary. In general election matchups, Gillibrand leads King by
a 42-31 vote ... but trails Pataki by a 46-38 vote.
Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio -- the likely conservative
GOP primary opponent against Governor Charlie Crist in next year's
open US Senate race -- seemingly told a newspaper that Crist is
so moderate he should switch parties. "If you agree with
[US Senators] Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe on some of these
issues [like the Obama stimulus package], you might as well become
a Democrat," said Rubio to the St. Petersburg Times.
Former Governor Jeb Bush (R) has had a strained relationship with
Crist and Bush's faction of the party appears to be tacitly backing
Rubio. Polls, however, show Crist a near lock to win the Senate
race if he jumps in.
Dr. Rand Paul (R) -- the son of 1988 & 2008 presidential candidate
and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) -- is strongly considering a bid
for the US Senate seat currently held by incumbent Jim Bunning
(R). "I am very serious about running for Sen. Bunning's
seat if he decides not to run," Paul told CNN. "Until
he makes a final pronouncement, I'm trying not to do anything
formally, but I'm very close to making a decision." Paul
says he shares the libertarian views of his father
US Senator Arlen Specter (D) made a wise move switching parties,
according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. Specter now leads
former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) by a 55-33 vote. Specter narrowly
leads former Governor Tom Ridge (R) by a 46-43 vote.
Report by Ron Gunzburger and Vin Gopal - 05.05.09 | Permalink
RIDGE, GERLACH CONSIDER PENN SENATE RUNS; COBURN STILL UNDECIDED
ON REELECTION BID; KASICH RUNS FOR OHIO GUV; JACK KEMP DIES.
Congressman Jim Gerlach -- a GOP centrist who has already launched
an exploratory committee to run for Governor next year -- is reportedly
considering switching into the US Senate race against incumbent
Arlen Specter (D). Gerlach and Specter have nearly identical stances
on issues, but Specter's party switch last week motivated the
reconsideration. The NRSC has concerns that former Congressman
Pat Toomey (R) is simply too conservative to win the general election
for the Senate seat. Other leading Republicans are trying to convince
former Governor and former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom
Ridge to jump into the Senate race. Media reports indicate the
pro-choice Ridge is at least somewhat receptive to the idea.
US Senator Tom Coburn (R) has again deferred announcing
his reelection plans for next year. The incumbent had originally
told reporters he would decide by February or March whether he
would seek a second term in 2010. Coburn now says he's still undecided
and hopes to make a decision by mid-June.
Former Congressman John Kasich (R) -- who was briefly a candidate
for President in 2000 -- announced his candidacy for Governor
in Friday. Kasich is heavily favored to win the GOP primary over
State Senator Kevin Coughlin. Governor Ted Strickland (D) is currently
leading all potential GOP challengers in the polls.
Former Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY) died on Saturday of cancer
at age 73. Kemp first gained the national spotlight as a pro football
quarterback with the Buffalo Bills, and was the AFL's Most Valuable
Player in 1965. He was an aide to Governor Ronald Reagan for two
years in the last 1960s, before being elected to Congress in 1970.
A supply-side conservative, Kemp was a vocal leader of the Goldwater-Reagan
wing of the Republican Party -- but Kemp was also outspoken in
his belief the GOP needed to make major efforts to be more inclusive
of minorities and speak up on racial equality issues. He was also
a strong supporter of liberal immigration laws and creating a
path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Kemp gave up his House
seat to make an unsuccessful run for President in 1988. Kemp later
served as US Housing Secretary during President George H.W. Bush's
Administration. President Obama praised Kemp in Sunday as someone
who "understood that divisions involving race and class stood
in the way of the country's common goals."
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.04.09 | Permalink
NEWS UPDATE (AND HAPPY MAY DAY).
SESTAK CONSIDERS SPECTER PRIMARY RUN; BUNNING BACKS GRAYSON ...
IF HE RETIRES; JUSTICE SOUTER EXPECTED TO RETIRE IN JUNE.
Congressman Joe Sestak (D) -- a retired Navy Admiral -- said he
was still thinking of challenging US Senator Arlen Specter (D)
next year. During a radio appearance on the Bill Press Show,
Sestak said that Specter's party switch and open support from
President Obama, Senate Majority Reader Harry Reid, Governor Ed
Rendell and others wouldn't influence his decision on the race.
"Pennsylvanians need to make this decision and not have it
decided by [the] Washington, D.C., Democratic Party establishment
... I think this just comes down to what’s best for Pennsylvanians,"
Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) filed paperwork to form an
exploratory committee to run for US Senator Jim Bunning's (R)
seat next year -- and he did so with Bunning's blessing. "I
have no plans to run against Sen. Bunning. This exploratory committee
will allow me to travel the commonwealth, meet with potential
supporters and lay the foundation for a campaign" if Bunning
retires, said Grayson in his written announcement statement. "Senator
Bunning has every intention of running," said the Senator's
spokesman to The Hill on Thursday. However, many think
the news -- the way it was choreographed -- signals that Bunning
is at least contemplating a possible retirement. Polls show Bunning
badly trailing either the two leading announced Democratic candidates.
SUPREME COURT. NPR is reporting that Justice David Souter
plans to retire at the end of the current court session in June.
Souter -- a Bush-41 appointee -- is part of the liberal wing on
the court. It would present President Obama with his first opportunity
to fill a seat on the court.
Report by Ron Gunzburger - 05.01.09 | Permalink