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BLOG ARCHIVE: JUNE 1-30, 2007.

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SUNUNU SINKS; GRANITE (STATE) SHIFTS; IMMIGRATION REFORM DIES; STUPID CANDIDATE TRICKS IN MN.
NEW HAMPSHIRE #1: A new American Research Group poll shows US Senator John Sununu (R) is potentially in big trouble next year. In a match-up against
former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D), she leads the incumbent by a 57% to 29% vote. Sununu defeated Shaheen by a narrow margin for the seat in 2002.
NEW HAMPSHIRE #2: Governor John Lynch (D) signed a law this week that gives Secretary of State Bill Gardner virtually unfettered discretion to set the state's Presidential primary date, along with the candidate filing period, absentee ballot mailing date, and so on. The move is intended to enable the Granite State to outmaneuver all other states to maintain the state's first-in-the-nation status for the Presidential primary. This mean the NH primary could be in November is Gardner wants -- but look for him to keep it in the early January period barring unforeseen moves by states he sees as encroaching on their coveted status (i.e., like my homestate of Florida).
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill -- strongly backed by the Bush Administration -- died in the US Senate on Thursday. The latest compromise version of the bill, back yet again from the political grave just days ago, died by a fourteen vote margin after 6 Democrats and twelve Republicans changed their votes from earlier this week to oppose the bill on Thursday's vote. US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Presidential candidate Sam Brownback (R-KS) were among those who switched sides. Observers agree the issue is now dead in Congress until after the 2008 elections. President Bush announced himself "disappointed" in the outcome. The immigration issue is largely viewed as the cause of of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) seeing his campaign tank into the single-digits and second-tier status in recent weeks.
MINNESOTA: In the category of stupid candidate tricks, meet gadfly hopeful James D. McBroom (Independence-MN). McBroom just legally changed his name to "James Broom Wellstone" and announced his candidacy against US Senator Norm Coleman (R). The seat was formerly held by the late US Senator Paul Wellstone (DFL), who died in a plane crash one month before the 2002 election. And talk about misleading, the guy's new campaign website features video and pix of Senator Wellsone. This ploy has failed in Minnesota in the past, when frequent candidate Mary Jane Rachner legally changed her name to Patricia Reagan to run for Congress yet again in the 2000 GOP primary. It made no difference, as Reagan/Rachner lost by the same lopsided margin as she always did. Look for the strategy to work just as well for McBroom/Wellstone next year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.29.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.29.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ROMNEY, HILLARY GORE LEAD IN NH; REALLY OLD GOV WEIGHS RETURN; WY UPDATES.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: A new WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters shows Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton (or Al Gore) leading in the state. Iowa caucus participants shows John Edwards (D) and Mitt Romney (R) currently leading in the state.
Let's start with the GOP, because that picture is clearer: Romney - 26%, Rudy Giuliani - 22%, and Fred Thompson and John McCain tied with 13% each. This represents a 7-point gain for Romney, a 15-point drop for Giuliani, and a 14-point drop for McCain since the last WHDH poll. As for the Democrats, Clinton led with 37%, followed by Barack Obama at 17%, John Edwards and, Bill Richardson tied with 9% apiece. However, when Gore's name was added to the field, Gore jumped into the lead. with 32% and Clinton loses a quarter of her support. Now there's a mischievous poll question for 'ya!
LOUISIANA: Former Governor Dave Treen (R) said he's considering jumping into the gubernatorial race. Treen, age 78, told BayouBuzz.com that he likes frontrunner Bobby Jindal (R) "but is not convinced he can win."
WYOMING: Former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis and former US Attorney Matt Mead -- both Republicans who unsuccessfully sought the US Senate appointment in Wyoming last week -- said they are each considering GOP primary challenges next year to newly appointed US Senator John Barrasso. Lummis said she won't run against Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R) because she's a Republican incumbent, but said Barrasso "is an interim appointment, so that is a different circumstance." State House Majority Leader Colin Simpson (R) also sounded like a candidate for federal office next year, but he's already indicated he prefers to challenge Cubin in her primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.28.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.28.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NEW IOWA POLL; RICHARDSON FIRST IN CD-37 PRIMARY; GOOD NEWS FOR SENATOR DOLE.
IOWA: A new Strategic Vision-R poll of likely Iowa caucus participants shows John Edwards (D) and Mitt Romney (R) currently leading in the state.
The Dems: Edwards - 26%, Barack Obama - 21%, Hillary Clinton - 20%, Bill Richardson - 11%, Joe Biden - 4%, Chris Dodd - 2%, Dennis Kucinich - 1%. The GOP: Romney - 23%, Fred Thompson - 17%, Rudy Giuliani - 14%, John McCain - 10%, Tommy Thompson - 6%, Mike Huckabee - 5%, Newt Gingrich - 4%, Sam Brownback - 3%, Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo tied with 2% each, and Chuck Hagel, Duncan Hunter and Jim Gilmore tied with 1% apiece. The same poll also showed Iowa Republicans favor a "withdrawal of all US military from Iraq within the next six months" by a margin of 56%-38%. Dems favored the same stance by a more lopsided 83%-6% margin.
CALIFORNIA: Voters went to the polls on Tuesday in the CD-37 special election to replace the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D), advancing candidates to the August 21 run-off. Seventeen candidates ran in the open primary, with the top finishers for each party moving forward as no one candidate won a majority of the vote to score an outright victory. The real fight in this minority district was between State Senator Jenny Oropeza (D), a Latina, and State Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D), a black. Oropeza hoped for a large enough split in the black vote between the various black candidates so as to allow her to place first. However, Richardson ran an aggressive campaign and defeated Oropeza by a 37% to 31% vote. The late Congresswoman's daughter Valerie McDonald (D) was third with 9%. The top GOP candidate, police officer John Kanaley, was next with 8%. Also advancing to the run-off are social worker Daniel Brezenoff (Green) and retired engineer Herb Peters (Libertarian). Richardson is assured of victory in this safe Dem seat in the run-off.
NORTH CAROLINA: Congressman Brad Miller (D) announced Tuesday he would not challenge US Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) next year, despite the DSCC courting him to run. He said personal family considerations mde him decide against running. With Miller out, the Dems appear to be looking at a group of second tier hopefuls interested in the seat. The most likely Democratic candidates appear to be either Afghan War veteran and State Representative Grier Martin or State Senator Kay Hagan.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.27.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.27.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

WARNER RETIREMENT LOOMS; CD-37 PREVIEW; PRIMARIED IN ALASKA; FEENEY DEFENDS; LITMUS TEST.
VIRGINIA: The Washington Times reports that US Senator John Warner (R) "is giving clear indications that he will not return for another term and that his coyness is merely an attempt to help" centrist Congressman Tom Davis (R) position himself as his successor. Warner's vague response: "I am seriously considering running again for the Senate and ... I will announce my decision about the Senate race in September." If Warner quits, the conservative newspaper said others possibly interested in challenging Davis for the GOP nomination include former Governor Jim Gilmore, former State GOP Chair Kate Griffin, and Congressmen Eric Cantor, Bob Goodlatte and Randy Forbes. Former US Senator George Allen (R) announced last week he would not run if the seat comes open next year. Davis' supporters acknowledge he is a social moderate -- which might not appeal to GOP religious conservatives -- but that his Northern Virginia base makes him the most electable Republican candidate in an open seat race. The newspaper also reports that former Governor Mark Warner is likely to be the Democratic candidate if Senator Warner retires.

CALIFORNIA: Voters go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the CD-37 special election to replace the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D). Seventeen candidates are running -- 11 Democrats, 4 Republicans, a Green and a Libertarian -- and the top candidates from each party will meet in an August 21 run-off if no one candidate captures a majority of the vote. State Senator Jenny Oropeza (D), State Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D) and the late congresswoman's daughter Valerie McDonald (D) are viewed as the frontrunners. Oropeza is believed to hold an edge, but Richardson has been running a very aggressive campaign in these closing days. The winner of the Dem primary is sure to win the run-off in this safe Democratic seat
NEVADA: A new Mason-Dixon poll shows Fred Thompson (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) leading their respective contests among likely participants in the state's early January 19 caucuses. The GOP numbers: Thompson - 25%,
Mitt Romney - 20%, Rudy Giuliani - 17%, and John McCain - 8%. The Dem numbers: Clinton - 39%, Barack Obama - 17%, John Edwards - 12%, and Bill Richardson - 7%.
ALASKA: Roll Call reports former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman (R), former State Senate President Mike Miller (R), former State Senator John Binkley (R) and State House Speaker John Harris (R) are all "weighing challenging" either US Senator Ted Stevens (R) or Congressman Don Young (R) in next year's primary.
FLORIDA: Congressman Tom Feeney (R) has launched a legal defense fund, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Feeney is seemingly seeking contributions to the fund to help defer his legal expenses in the criminal investigation of his ties to disgraced lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Feeney denies he is the "target of a federal probe" but acknowledged in FEC filings that he's already spent over $23,000 during 1Q-07 in legal expenses to a DC firm that handles criminal matters.
LITMUS TEST: A few days ago, US Senator Sam Brownback (R) said he's use an abortion litmus test in selecting US Supreme Court justices -- saying only one more vote was needed to overturn Roe v. Wade. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) agrees abortion should be a litmus test, but from the other side of the issue. "I know that I am going to upset some people. I would say, 'Do you believe Roe v. Wade is settled law?' and if they say, 'Yes,' they have a good chance of being picked. If they say 'No,' I will not pick them," said Richardson in Des Moines.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.26.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
So ... what else is going on today in the world of politics?

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.26.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BARRASSO GETS WY SEN SEAT; CALIF GOP IMPORTS ALIENS; ROMNEY'S MORMON PROBLEM.
WYOMING: Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) on Friday appointed State Senator
John Barrasso (R) to fill the US Senate seat left vacant by the June 4 death of Craig Thomas (R). By state law, the Governor was required to select one of the three Republican names submitted to him by the Wyoming GOP. Barrasso, a surgeon, takes office immediately and will serve until November 2008. Barrasso has already stated he will be a candidate in the November 2008 special election to fill the remaining four years of Thomas' term. "I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense ... I have voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and have sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life ... I'm very grateful to the [Republican State] Central Committee, and I'm very grateful to the Governor," said Barrasso on Friday. Barrasso lost the 1996 open seat GOP primary for US Senate to Mike Enzi, before being elected to the State Senate in 2002. He starts as a strong favorite to hold the seat next year, based upon the state's GOP voting history.
CALIFORNIA: The California Republican Party finds its own hiring practices subject to the political debate surrounding the immigration reform issues. State GOP Chair Ron Nehring hired Michael Kamburowski to be the party's Chief Operating Officer and hired Christopher Matthews to be the party's Political Director. Kamburowski is an Australian immigrant who was ordered deported in 2001, jailed three years later for visa violations, sold real estate in the Dominican Republic last year, and has now filed a $5 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against the US Department of Homeland Security. He recently obtained his Green Card status in the US. Kamburowski worked several years ago in DC for a group headed by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist. As for Kamburowski's work last year in the Caribbean, his former boss didn't have much nice to say about him to the San Francisco Chronicle: "He didn't rent anything and he didn't sell anything ... I have no idea what he was doing." Matthews is a Canadian citizen in the US on an H1B "skilled worker" visa -- which he obtained due to his job offer from the state party. "The fact that we have two people on staff who want to become Americans ... is a great story that is at the heart of what the Republican Party is all about," responded Nehring to the newspaper. Some Republican activists are upset the party did not hire US citizens for the two high-ranking positions.
ROMNEY: Subtle -- and less-than-subtle -- damaging attacks on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's Mormon faith in the past few weeks may finally force Romney to more
directly discuss the LDS Church's beliefs and his view of them. The McCain and Brownback campaigns were both caught in disseminating anti-Mormon messages in Iowa. And last week, for example, a prominent Southern Baptist leader released a statement explaining why he thought fundamentalist Christians would be unable to support Romney due to religious beliefs. Romney supporter Ryan Bell -- a Utah attorney and Mormon -- launched RomneyExperience.com this month to directly address the attacks. Bell wrote the site exists to explain "Mitt and Mormonism to an underinformed world." Since this is becoming a significant issue in the campaign of this "first tier" GOP White House hopeful -- one he must soon address at length and directly -- let me take a moment to recommend a book. Mormons: History, Culture, Beliefs is a concise, unbiased, richly illustrated, non-judgmental introduction to the LDS Church and its beliefs. Interestingly, the book is published by White Horse Books, one of the only non-LDS publishers in Utah. This one-hour read will not make you an expert on the Mormons, but it will certainly make you better informed than 99% of people are on the topic. Highly informative and recommended.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.25.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Nah, nah, nah, nah. Nah, nah, nah, nah. Hey, hey, hey ... goodbye. Since we asked about the Republican hopefuls last week, let's speculate now as to which Democratic White House candidate will be the first to quit the race? Chris Dodd? Joe Biden? Bill Richardson? My guess: nobody is going anywhere until the Iowa caucuses narrows the field next January. Unlike the GOP, the Dems have no significant mid-summer straw poll in Iowa that may force someone from the race prematurely.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.25.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NADER RETURNS; DSCC RECRUITS IN NH, NE; TAX GROUP SNUBS PAUL; GOD'S CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE; KEYES DRAFTS HIMSELF.
NADER: Consumer advocate Ralph Nader (I-CT) is again sounding like a probable White House candidate. In a series of media interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, the 73-year-old Nader acknowledged he is "seriously thinking" of making a fifth White House run in 2008. He said 2008 looks to be another "Tweedledum-Tweedledee election that offers little real choice to voters." Nader offered some mild praise for NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's possible Indy run -- saying it could help ease ballot and debate access for other Independents as well -- and said Bloomberg "is interesting, unpredictable. I really like the stand he took against smoking, but he goes along with corporate welfare in New York and tax-funded stadiums. So he is unfinished in that way." Nader told The Politico Hillary Clinton as "a political coward ... [who] goes around pandering to powerful interest groups on the one hand and flattering general audiences on the other. She doesn't even have the minimal political fortitude of her husband." As for candidates he respects, he named two: Ron Paul (R) and Mike Gravel (D). Nader said his biggest obstacle to running again was simply putting together enough volunteers and pro bono lawyers to win him ballot access in enough states.

US SENATE: According to the Rothenberg Political Report, it now appears the DSCC is succeeding in efforts to recruit former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and former US Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) into US Senate races next year. Rothenberg said Shaheen is now "likely" to run and Kerrey is "inching toward entering" the race. Kerrey has recently done polling in the state and is already speaking at Democratic events in Nebraska. Score two major coups for the DSCC, as this would seriously place the NH and NE seats into play if both Shaheen and Kerrey run. US Senator John Sununu (R-NH) is seeking re-election, while US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) seems unlikely to run again.
PAUL: In an unfair move, Iowans for Tax Relief have decided to exclude Congressman Ron Paul from their GOP Presidential forum next week in Des Moines.
Ed Failor Jr., VP of the group, offered the weak excuse that they did not invite Paul because he was not a "credible" candidate. Paul does not yet have an Iowa HQ, although his campaign is currently trying to fill two full-time staff positions in the state. The group, however, invited second tier hopefuls Mike Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo. If there is one issue upon which Paul -- "Dr. No" -- has been most vocal during his many years in Congress, it is his strident opposition to any and all taxes. To denounce Paul as a non-credible candidate while inviting Hunter, Tancredo and Tommy Thompson -- all generally tied with him in the polls -- smacks of disingenuousness on behalf of the group's leadership. Shame on them.
MARYLAND: Former Cumberland Mayor Frank Nethken (R) announced his primary challenge this week against Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R). Sounding a very conservative note, Nethken said fighting illegal immigration is his top concern and he sees himself as a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms. Where Nethken probably lost all credibility is when he told the Hagerstown Daily-Mail why he decided to challenge Bartlett: "God told me I'm going to be the next Congressman." He also told the newspaper he very much respected Joe Lieberman. "I love a good Jew," he added.
KEYES: Not that there aren't already a large pack of second tier White House hopefuls fighting for attention, but it now appears former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R-MD) is readying to enter the race. Check out alankeyes.com -- a site which Keyes has controlled for many years and which is owned by Alan Keyes Enterprises, Inc. The website disclaimer said it is paid for by "We Need Alan Keyes for President, Inc." The group is described on the site as "a political action committee organized according to rules established by the FEC ... [and] not managed by Alan Keyes, but rather is an organization designed to determine and rally support for a presidential candidacy by Dr. Keyes, should he choose to run." Yup, Alan Keyes is drafting Alan Keyes to run for President. To date, the bombastic Keyes has lost two GOP nomination runs for President and three very lopsided bids for the US Senate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.22.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Nah, nah, nah, nah. Nah, nah, nah, nah. Hey, hey, hey ... goodbye. Just musing here, but who do you think will be the first GOP White House candidate to quit the race? Jim Gilmore, Tom Tancredo,
Tommy Thompson, John McCain? Name your choice for the most likely first casualty. My guess -- pure speculation -- is Thompson or McCain. (Yes, we'll ask about the Dem hopefuls next week.)
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.22.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

LIBS LOVE OBAMA, EDWARDS; STEVENS LAWYERS UP; HILLARY & RUDY ENJOY THE SUNSHINE; ARNOLD LOVES MIKE.
P2008: The Democratic White House hopefuls all made appearances at the Take Back America conference on Wednesday, a large national gathring of liberal activists. Senator Hillary Clinton -- who attended the event despite warning the crowd was hostile to her candidacy because of her refusal to apologize for her vote in favor of the Iraq War -- was booed by the crowd when she made remarks praising the US military. The Politico sponsored a straw poll of attendees, and 720 participated. Senator Barack Obama placed first with 29%, followed closely by John Edwards with 26%. Clinton was third with 17%, followed by Bill Richardson at 9%, write-in non-candidate Al Gore at 8%, Dennis Kucinich at 5%, and all others with 1% or less apiece. Dem pollster Stan Greenberg, who conducted the survey, said the results confirmed yet again that Obama and Edwards are the favorite of the party's progressive base. FYI: Some attendees at the convo loudly heckled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not doing enough to oppose the Iraq War.
ALASKA: According to The Politico, US Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has now hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent him in the ongoing FBI corruption probe as to whether he received illegal gifts in exchange for helping secure financing for specific appropriations projects.

FLORIDA: A new Strategic Vision-R poll of likely Florida primary votes show New Yorkers Hillary Clinton (D) and Rudy Giuliani (R) holding comfortable leads in their respective primary contests. The Dem numbers: Clinton - 37%, Barack Obama - 21%, John Edwards - 20%, Bill Richardson - 4%, Joe Biden - 3%, Chris Dodd - 2%, Dennis Kucinich -1%. The GOP numbers: Giuliani - 30%, Fred Thompson - 24%, John McCain - 11%, Mitt Romney - 8%, Newt Gingrich - 4%, and all others with 2% or less each.
BLOOMBERG: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) appears to be throwing his support behind the possible Indy Presidential candidacy of billionaire NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The Governator told reporters Bloomberg should considering jumping into the race because he would be an "excellent candidate [because he's] all about fixing problems and creating a great vision for the future." When asked about Bloomberg abandoning the GOP, Schwarzenegger's spokesman said "the Governor has always said it doesn't matter what party you are a member of, what matters is serving the public."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.21.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Have at it.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.21.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BLOOMBERG GOES INDY; IA POLL; GA CD-10 RESULTS; THE WYO THREE; SC TREASURER INDICTED; THE RETURN OF JOHNNY SACK.
BLOOMBERG: Billionaire businesman and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg switched his registration from Republican to Independent on Tuesday. This makes Bloomberg now a former Democrat and former Republican -- and seemingly more likely to become an Indy Presidential candidate for 2008. "Although my plans for the future haven’t changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city," explained Bloomberg. He also said he has "no plans" to run for President in 2008 -- yet another evasive non-denial from the Mayor who told NBC he blames most of this nation's current political problems on "the politicians in Washington." A story in Politco two days ago reported that Bloomberg met in Oklahoma last month with university president and former US Senator Dave Boren (D-OK) to discuss a possibly Indy run next year. Hmm.
IOWA: A new Mason-Dixon/McClatchy Newspapers poll of likely Iowa caucus participants shows Mitt Romney holding a lead in the GOP race, but a close contests exists among the "big 3" Dems in their contest. The GOP numbers: Romney - 25%, Fred Thompson - 17%, Rudy Giuliani - 15%, Mike Huckabee - 7%, and John McCain and Sam Brownback tied with 6% apiece. McCain's leading role on the recent immigration legislation push is seemingly causing his support to implode quicker
than any candidate since Gary Hart in 1988. On the Dem side, Hillary Clinton has 22%, John Edwards has 21%, Barack Obama has 18%, Bill Richardson has 6%, Joe Biden has 4%, and all others had 2% or less apiece.
GEORGIA: Voters cast ballots on Tuesday in the CD-10 special election to replace the late Congressman Charlie Norwood (R). As no candidate captured a majority of the vote, the top two contenders will advance to a July 17 run-off. Conservative State Senator Jim Whitehead (R) placed first with 44% of the vote. With all but 3 scattered precincts counted, physician and frequent candidate Paul Broun (R) appeared to edge out wealthy former Yahoo internet executive Jim Marlow (D) for second place by a 20.6% to 20.4% vote. The two men are separated by a margin of 115 votes. All of the seven others in the race finished in the low single digits. The 64-year-old Whitehead remains a heavy favorite to win the run-off based upon the district's GOP demographics. The CD-10 seat represents parts of 21 different counties.
CLINTON: Kudos to Hillary Clinton's campaign for their Sopranos parody video used to unveil her official new campaign song. FYI: Keep in mind, I'm one of those Sopranos fans who thought the series ending was brilliant. Bonus points to HRC for the onion rings, parallel parking, Journey music, the pair of black guys, and the "focus on the good times" references -- and mega-points for getting "Johnny Sack" to return from the grave to appear in her video. Subtract a few points for filming it in daylight, but it was still an a very cool move. Sadly, after this great lead-up, Clinton picked the uninspiring choice of "You and I" by Canadian singer Celine Dion as her new campaign song. It was originally written for an Air Canada television commercial. What a terrible dénouement for her song choice!
WYOMING: The Wyoming Republican Central Committee on Tuesday narrowed from 30 to five the list of candidates to replace the late US Senator Craig Thomas (R). The state party must submit a list of three names to Governor Dave Freudenthal (D), who must then select one of the three to fill the seat until the November 2008 special election. After three rounds of voting, the party activists cut the list to three names: former State GOP Chair Tom Sansonetti, State Senator John Barrasso and former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis. Sansonetti -- the most conservative of the three finalists -- placed first in all three rounds of voting. Barrasso, a physician, said his top priority is promoting rural health care. Lummis is a longtime Freudenthal foe, so her appointment seems unlikely. (FYI: Former State Agriculture Director Ron Micheli made the short list of five, but was eliminated on the third round of voting. Ron was my immediate supervisor when I worked 25 years ago for the National Cattlemen's Association.)
SOUTH CAROLINA: State Treasurer Tom Ravenel (R) was indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent distribute. According to the indictment, Ravenel and another man possessed cocaine and criminally conspired for the past two years to distribute it within the state. If convicted, Ravenel faces up to 20 years in prison. Ravenel -- a wealthy real estate developer who made a competitive run for US Senate in the 2004 primary -- is currently state chair of Rudy Giuliani's Presidential campaign. Governor Mark Sanford (R) immediately suspended Ravenel from office after the indictment was announced. "Given the grave nature of these charges and what is alleged in this indictment, we're left with no choice but to suspend Treasurer Ravenel immediately," said Sanford. Conservatives had been trying to convince Ravenel to make a primary challenge to US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) next year -- based largely on their opposition to the incumbent's views on immigration and some War on Terror related issues -- but Ravenel recently announced he would not seek the Senate seat.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) confirmed this week she is considering a run next year against US Senator John Sununu (R). Shaheen's husband said she will announce a decision on the race within the next three months. Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, former Space Shuttle astronaut Jay Buckey and Democratic activist Katrina Swett are already announced Dem candidates for the seat. Marchand is a progressive who says he would quit the race if Shaheen runs. Swett -- wife of former Congressman Dick Swett (D) -- is a more conservative Dem who campaigned in support of US Senator Joe Lieberman's Indy re-election run last fall.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.20.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Here in my backyard, Broward County Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin resigned from the bench to reportedly accept a job as a TV show judge on CBS. That's fine by me, as Broward County's gain is CBS's loss.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.20.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

GA CD-10 SPECIAL ELECTION; 10 MORE YEARS IN IRAQ; MORE PROBLEMS FOR STEVENS.
GEORGIA: Voters go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the CD-10 special election to replace the late Congressman Charlie Norwood (R). Conservative State Senator Jim Whitehead (R) is the prohibitive frontrunner to win the seat, which favors the GOP in registration and voting history. Whitehead has acted like a frontrunner, avoiding nearly all of the debates so as to avoid appearing as just "one of the ten" seeking the seat. Wealthy former Yahoo internet executive Jim Marlow (D) appears likely to secure the second place spot. Six Republicans, three Democrats and a Libertarian are competing in the primary. If Whitehead fails to win a majority in the primary, the top two will compete in a run-off on July 17.
IRAQ:
Army General David Petraeas, speaking this weekend on Fox News, seemingly discounted Congressional GOP hopes that President Bush's surge strategy would produce measurable results by this September. Instead, Petraeus said a successful military campaign against the Iraqi insurgents could take as many as 9-10 more years. If that view holds, it is clear many key Congressional Republicans -- including top members of the House and Senate GOP Leadership -- plan to rapidly distance themselves from President Bush's war strategy by this fall. "Most members of my conference in the Senate believe [that September will be] the critical point to evaluate where we are ... I think everybody anticipates that there's going to be a new strategy in the fall. I find growing support in the Senate among Republicans, and for that matter, some Democrats as well, for the recommendations of the [Baker-Hamilton] Iraq Study Group," said US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) to CBS.
ALASKA: According to The Politico, both the DSCC and DCCC are attempting to recruit popular Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) as a candidate next year. The DSCC reportedly believes US Senator Ted Stevens (R) is vulnerable as he now appears to be the target of an aggressive FBI corruption investigation. According to the Anchorage Daily News, federal prosecutors began presenting witnesses and evidence about Stevens to separate grand juries last month in both Alaska and DC -- meaning the investigation appears more advanced than previously believed. The DCCC would like Begich -- son of the late Congressman Nick Begich (D-AK) -- to instead challenge Congressman Don Young (R). The DCCC thinks Young's support for numerous questionable funding earmarks could make him a ripe target. According to Politico, Begich is more interested in the Stevens race than in seeking his father's former House seat.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.19.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.19.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OBAMA & THOMPSON LEAD IN S.C.; LEPPERT WINS IN DALLAS; GOOD NEWS FOR SESSIONS.
SOUTH CAROLINA: A new Mason-Dixon/McClatchy Newspapers poll of likely South Carolina primary voters shows Barack Obama (D) and Fred Thompson (R) leading their respective primary fields. On the Dem side, Obama had 34%, Hillary Clinton had 26%, John Edwards was at 12%, Joe Biden had 2%, Bill Richardson captured 1%, and all others were below the 1% mark. Edwards won the SC primary in 2004. Obama's strong lead is largely attributable to his 41%-18% lead over Clinton with black voters. Here are the numbers from the GOP side: Thompson - 25%; Rudy Giuliani - 21%; Mitt Romney - 11%; John McCain - 7%; Mike Huckabee - 5%; Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter and Tommy Thompson each had 1%; and all others were below the 1% mark. McCain had previously polled well in the state, visits the state repeatedly, and has significant endorsements from state GOP leaders. Thompson, however, appeared to score most of his gains at the expense of McCain. Pollster Brad Coker said the numbers show Thompson is quickly establishing himself as the major Southern candidate in the GOP race.
DALLAS:
Wealthy businessman Tom Leppert (R) defeated openly gay City Councilman Ed Oakley (D) in the non-partisan runoff for Dallas Mayor on Saturday by a 58%-42% margin. Oakley carried all of the city's largely black and Hispanic area, while Leppert carried all of the largely white communities. The white communities also produced a significantly larger turnout, giving Leppert his comfortable victory.
ALABAMA: State Agricultural Commissioner Ron Sparks (D) confirmed he will not run against US Senator Jeff Sessions (R) next year. Instead, Sparks said he is keeping the earlier promise he made to defer to State Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D). "I don't want to divide the Democratic Party," said Sparks to the AP. He said he promised Figures he would not run if she entered the race and that she recently told him she decided to run. Figures would not say she was a candidate, but says an official announcement would be "forthcoming." Sessions appears a safe bet to win over a second tier candidate like Figures.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.18.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.18.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

MASS. GAY MARRIAGE BAN FAILS; WY SEN SEAT; 2Q MONEY PRIMARY; JOHNSON STRONG IN S.D.
GAY MARRIAGE: Supporters of same-sex marriage won a major victory on Thursday in Massachusetts. The state legislature, sitting jointly as the State Constitutional Convention, rejected in a 151-45 vote a proposal to place a gay marriage ban on the 2008 ballot. The question required just 50 votes in support to be placed on the ballot. The Campaign for Equality issued a statement after the vote thanking "the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, Senate President Terry Murray and House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who worked tirelessly to defeat this amendment. Thanks to them, our strong group of legislative allies and the courageous new allies who realized that no one's civil rights should be placed on a public ballot, all Massachusetts families are stronger and safer today." Massachusetts Family Institute President Kris Mineau was upset with the vote: "The unprecedented pressure by leaders on Beacon Hill [and Governor Patrick] ... derailed the largest initiative petition drive by citizens in the Commonwealth's history and this is a brutal loss for citizen-centered democracy." Based upon the state's complex constitutional amendment process, the earliest date a new ban attempt could appear on a Massachusetts ballot is 2012. About 8,500 same-sex couples have married in the state since the unions were legalized in 2004.
WYOMING:
In response to the Wyoming Republican Party's Thursday application deadline, 31 people filed statements expressing an interest in being appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death last week of US Senator Craig Thomas (R).
Despite much speculation, Vice Presidential wife Lynne Cheney was not among the applicants. The 71-member Wyoming Republican Party State Central Committee will meet on Tuesday to select three finalists. Under state law, those names will be submitted to Governor Dave Freudenthal (D), who must then select a replacement from the list. While the applicants range from the known to the totally unknown, several frontrunners quickly emerged. Early favorites for the shortlist appear to be State House Majority Leader Colin Simpson, former State House Speaker Randall Luthi, former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis, former US Attorney Matt Mead and State Senator John Barrasso. Simpson -- the son of retired US Senator Alan Simpson (R) -- this week told state newspapers he plans to run against Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R) in next year's primary if someone else is selected for the Senate seat. Cubin issued a response statement blasting her potential challenger's "unbridled political ambition ... This move shows a disappointing lack of judgment and discretion." Simpson spent the past several months preparing for a run against Cubin before Thomas' death. The replacement US Senator will serve until November 2008. The winner of the 2008 special election will serve the remainder of the term until January 2013.
P2008: Call it the expectations game, but Hillary Clinton (D) campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle told the Chicago Tribune she expects Barack Obama (D) will outraise Clinton in 2Q-2007. "He's raising a lot and it's likely he will out-raise us this quarter. God bless, good for him. I know how difficult it is to raise money and I have admiration for how they do it," she explained.
SOUTH DAKOTA: According to the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, national GOP operatives now believe that if US Senator Tim Johnson (D) "chooses to run again, he probably would be re-elected." Further, the NRSC is "beginning to take seriously Gov. Mike Rounds' comments on several occasions that he has no interest in running against Johnson." That said, the GOP appears to now have only a few second tier hopefuls looking at challenging Johnson. The incumbent -- who nearly died last year due to a brain hemorrhage -- has recovered enough that he is expected to soon return to the Senate.
LOUISIANA: Country music singer Sammy Kershaw (R) announced his candidacy this week against Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D). Kershaw is a platinum album selling performer who has recorded several country music hits over the years. "We must embrace the opportunity to diversify our economy with new industries such as film and music," said Kershaw. State Dem leaders say they may challenge Kershaw's eligibility to run in court, as it appears the Bayou State native may actually be a legal resident of Tennessee these days. A similar GOP threat to legally challenge the residency eligibility of former US Senator John Breaux (D) forced him to abandon plans to run for Governor this year.
THE FORGOTTEN THOMPSON: Tommy Thompson (R) issued a statement this week -- in case you've already forgotten he was still in the Presidential race -- that he does not plan to withdraw from the influential Ames Straw Poll in August.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.15.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.15.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Okay, I'm just home from France and am too tired to start writing an update. I'll post a new on tomorrow ... but, for today, here's a fresh thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.14.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

WYOMING US SENATE VACANCY;P2008 UPDATE; CONGRESSMAN JEFFERSON INDICTED.
WYOMING: The death this week of US Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) gives Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) the opportunity to select the replacement who will serve until the November 2008 Special Election. A quirk in Wyoming law, however, seriously limits Freudenthal's power in the appointment process. Under the state's laws, the party of the deceased incumbent -- the Wyoming Republican Party -- must submit a list of three names to the Governor, who must then select one of those three to fill the seat. The popular Freudenthal is term-limited and not eligible to seek re-election in 2010. He won re-election last year by a 40-point landslide margin. If Freudenthal is interested in the seat for himself -- or just wants to help the Dems with a possible bonus pickup opportunity next year -- he could help score an advantage by selecting the politically weakest of the three Republican names eventually submitted to him. This could get interesting.
P2008: Two of the three national frontrunners for the GOP Presidential nomination -- Rudy Giuliani and John McCain -- both announced this week they will not actively compete in the influential Ames Straw Poll in Iowa this August. The event draws major media attention, and underdogs try to score unexpected wins at the event since everyone who purchased a ticket to the event can vote. That prompted multimillionaire businessman Morry Taylor (R) in 1996 to bus in and buy tickets for some of his company's employees from Michigan to cast ballots on his behalf in a failed attempt for a higher showing. Of course, even if non-Iowans vote in the straw ballot, it is still seen as a sign of organizational strength -- as it takes successful field work to pack the hall in Iowa with your supporters (no matter where they live). The move signals that Giuliani and McCain know they are weak in the state. Ditto for Newt Gingrich, who has yet to announce his candidacy and plans to personally attend the event, but only as a non-candidate, so as to speak with people outside the gathering about his ideas for America. Fred Thompson -- who launched his exploratory committee this week -- reportedly is also interested in finding a way to skip the straw poll, as he doesn't have sufficient time to organize in the state and cultivate supporters for the event. Mitt Romney is currently viewed as holding an organizational advantage in Iowa over all his Republican rivals.
LOUISIANA: Over a year after everyone expected it, Congressman Bill Jefferson (D) was indicted this week on 16 federal corruption charges including soliciting bribes, racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire fraud, conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Jefferson has again proclaimed his innocence -- even though the FBI seized $90,000 in marked cash (purportedly received in bribes) from the freezer of Jefferson's New Orleans home in July 2005. Look for Jefferson -- who was actively opposed for re-election in 2006 by the Louisiana Democratic Party -- to again face very tough opposition from his own party for re-election in this heavily Democratic CD-2 seat.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.08.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your free speech zone.
And, yes, I'm still away on vacation in France. I'll be back again with regular postings starting around Thursday, June 14.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.08.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

I'M STILL ON VACATION, BUT ... HERE'S A PREZ DEBATE THREAD FOR YOU ...
VACATION NEWS: Greetings from Vielle Antibes, France. Writing from the upstairs balcony of a house here in the heart of the old town section -- with the daily farmers' market and the closest bakery both less than a block away from our front foor -- I honestly can't say I'm missing the daily grind of US politics right now.
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES: The Democratic Presidential hopefuls met in New Hampshire for a televised debate on Sunday. The winner was ... well, as I'm out of the country and not watching any TV, I have no idea. But you guys can use this thread to pontificate on the winners and losers. And, on Monday night, you can do the same after the GOP candidates debate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.04.07 | Permalink |

... PLUS: BESHEAR CRUISING; NAGIN ANTSY; LEWIS TO QUIT; FRED TO EXPLORE; KERRY FINED.
KENTUCKY: A new Rasmussen Reports poll confirms former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear (D) holds a wide lead over ethically embattled Governor Ernie Fletcher (R). The numbers: Beshear - 51%, Fletcher - 35%. Race rating: DEM Favored.
LOUISIANA: CNN reported that controversial New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) is "seriously considering" making a run for Governor this year. Nagin has a dismal approval rating statewide among voters, which can attributed to his role in the failed New Orleans evaculation and post-Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. CNN noted that Nagin has curiously raised over $500,000 for his 2006 re-election campaign account since winning the race -- and noted that Nagin term-limited as Mayor. Some have speculated Nagin stockpiled the money to make a run for Congressman Bill Jefferson's (D) CD-2 seat in a special election if the current federal probe leads to his indictment, conviction and removal on bribery and other corruption charges. Nagin, however, appears to be tired of waiting for a speculative special election at some uncertain future date. Congressman Bobby Jindal (R) is currently the frontrunner for the open seat. State PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell and State Senator Walter Boasso are the leading Democratic hopefuls. Race rating: GOP Favored.
CALIFORNIA: Conservative columnist Robert Novak reported over the weekend that Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) will soon announce his 2008 retirement. Lewis, the former House Appropriations Committee chair and an unapologetic supporter of the many budget earmarks he placed over the years, has been reported to be the target of an FBI corruption probe for months. The feds are reportedly looking into whether Lewis received any personal favors or gifts in exchange for the spending earmarks he inserted into appropriation bills. Lewis has denied he engaged in any unlawful conduct. Lewis' CD-41 district is a fairly safe Republican seat based upon district demographics.
FRED THOMPSON: Everything seems to indicate that popular character actor and former Tennessee US Senator Fred Thompson (R) will file paperwork very soon to establish a Presidential exploratory committee. He's seemingly timing this announcement so he won't have to participate in Monday night's crowded debate and turn it into an eleven-man show. Thompson was also purportedly hoping he could avoid participating in the important Ames, Iowa, Straw Ballot in August -- with the event getting closer -- but event organizers recently implied they will place Thompson's name on their straw ballot regardless of whether or not he has announced by then. In related news, Thompson used a speech this past weekend in Virginia to announce he is now a resident of the state and cast his first ballot there last November in support of defeated US Senator George Allen. In remarks that play to his party's base -- but seemingly ignoring the impending shift among many Congressional Republicans to abandon support for continuing the Iraq War if major US military successes aren't won by this September -- Thompson also said in the same Virginia speech that "the only real debate in Congress is what our surrender date is going to be.”
KERRY: The Federal Elections Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to impose a $1.3 million fine against the 2004 Presidential campaign of US Senator John Kerry (D-MA). FEC auditors determined the Kerry campaign spent almost $1.4 million above the public financing federal limit of $74.6 million.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.04.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 06.04.07 | Permalink |

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