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BLOG ARCHIVE: JUNE 2009.

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BAUER TRIED TO PRESSURE SANFORD; PAWLENTY WILL SIGN FRANKEN CERTIFICATION; CRIST-RUBIO RACE GETS INTERESTING; HOEVEN CONSIDERS US SEN RACE; ADD PENCE TO P2012 LIST.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Islamic reformation scholar Reza Aslan has a great new article about the latest developments in the Green Revolution. After first writing this past weekend that the movement appeared to be leaderless and losing momentum, Aslan said new developments have caused him to reconsider. "Rumors of the demise of Iran’s uprising may be premature," explained Aslan, noting that the nation's influential Muslim clerics seem to be wavering in their support for the regime. Iran is at a crossroads -- depending which side the cleric's take -- between evolving into a China model ("a country ruled by an oligarchy but with greater freedoms for its people and open to the international community") or a North Korea model ("a military state akin to North Korea or Myanmar" run by a Revolutionary Guard dictatorship). Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (R) is reportedly trying to pressure Governor Mark Sanford (R) into resigning, telling CNN he promised that he will not run for a full-term as Governor next year if Sanford resigns now. Various media sources say Bauer is floating the offer because he calculates Sanford won't quit, but Bauer will look more statesman-like. The move could help Bauer in the crowded 2010 GOP primary for Governor.

MINNESOTA. Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) said he will sign the election certification in the contested US Senate race once the Minnesota Supreme Court rules declares a winner between former US Senator Norm Coleman (R) and humorist Al Franken (D). "I'm prepared to sign [the certification] as soon as they give the green light ... I'm not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty," said Pawlenty. An order declaring Franken the winner is expected any day now.

FLORIDA. A new Mason-Dixon poll shows some interesting numbers in the GOP primary for US Senate. Governor Charlie Crist leads former House Speaker Marco Rubio by a 51-23 vote among all Republicans, based largely upon his high name ID and Rubio's low name recognition to date. The numbers are significantly different, however, among Republicans who are familiar with both men. Among those "informed" Republicans, Crist leads Rubio by just a 33-31 vote. In related news, the Club for Growth announced Monday it was considering launching a TV advertising blitz in support of Rubio.

NORTH DAKOTA. In an unexpected comment, Governor John Hoeven (R) told the AP he is still considering a challenge next year to US Senator Byron Dorgan (D). He promises to make a decision by Labor Day because "whoever is going to run has to do all of the things that go into running a strong campaign, and that takes time. Putting together a good, strong organization, making sure you do your fundraising, building a team, and getting to work getting your message out." Replied Dorgan: "A high-profile opponent could make my Senate rates competitive almost overnight." Dorgan already has $2.7 million in his campaign account.

P2012. Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) -- chair of the House Republican Conference -- looks like he's starting to test the waters for a possible White House run. A favorite of the fiscal conservative Club for Growth, Politico reports that Pence plans a political visit to Iowa next month.

MAINE. Just a snide aside ... but compare the new campaign logo of Republican gubernatorial candidate and wealthy businessman Les Otten versus the iconic 2008 Obama campaign logo. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

** UPCOMING POLITICS1 VACATION PLANS ** Ron and Vin will both be taking an extended Independence Day holiday from publishing any Politics1 updates between July 1-July 8. Instead, we'll post several open threads you can use for the week.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.30.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

TAUSCHER CONFIRMED; SANFORD SAYS HE WON'T QUIT; GOV DOYLE MAY BE GOING TO DC; AND DNC DISCUSSES ENDING SUPERDELEGATES.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Sunday was pretty embarrassing for CNN, as the death of a TV commercial pitchman was the lead news story -- ahead of all other news (Iran, health care, cap-and-trade, Iraq, etc.). If you think I'm kidding, check out this screen capture of the CNN website on Sunday afternoon. Anyways ... Sunday was tens of thousands of pro-reform protesters return to the streets of Tehran, with some sporadic street clashes. Evening rooftop shouts of "Allah Akbar" and "Death to the Dictatorship" were reported to be louder than ever, so this thing isn't dead. It's just hidden in the US news coverage. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Governor Mark Sanford (R) announced he would not resign, despite some public calls to do so following the news of his extramarital affair and taking state-funded junkets to Argentina to visit his mistress. US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) offered words of support, saying Sanford should not resign. Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (R) -- a Sanford political foe -- is reportedly one of those working behind the scenes to pressure Sanford into quitting. Bauer believes it would be a big boost in next year's crowded gubernatorial primary if he is running as the incumbent Governor.

CALIFORNIA. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D) was confirmed as US Undersecretary of State, setting in place a special election for her now vacant CD-10 seat. The district demographics favor the Democrats. Seven Dems, two Republicans and a Green have already announced candidacies for the seat. The early frontrunners are Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi (D), State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D), and State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D).

WISCONSIN. WisPolitics.com reports that Governor Jim Doyle (D) is being considered by President Obama to become head of the Peace Corps. Doyle has yet to decide if will seek a third term next year, and some Dems already believe Doyle will not run. Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton has already positioned herself well to be the Democratic candidate if Doyle retires. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

P2012. Not that President Obama will face any significant opposition for renomination, but the DNC is meeting to discuss ways to avoid the problems caused by superdelegates in the Obama-Clinton primary fight last year. According to ABC News, the DNC is considering abolishing the entire "superdelegate" concept which guarantees automatic delegate spots to every Democratic member of Congress, Governor, DNC members, and others. The Republicans do not have automatic superdelegates from each state.

** UPCOMING POLITICS1 VACATION PLANS ** Ron and Vin will both be taking an extended Independence Day holiday from publishing any Politics1 updates between July 1-July 8. Instead, we'll post several open threads you can use for the week.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.29.09 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SANFORD RESIGNATION CALLS GROW; LAND QUITS MICH GOV RACE; FL GOV, SEN POLLS; JOCKO, FARRAH K-O IRAN NEWS.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Celebrity mortality (Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson) and politico infidelity (Mark Sanford) conspired to know the Iranian Green Revolution from the lead headlines on Thursday. All in all, Thursday saw decreased and sporadic street clashes in Iran as the reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi plans his next move against the oppressive regime. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at left and make it into your Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

SOUTH CAROLINA. Resignation calls grew for Governor Mark Sanford (R) to step down, as more details of his extramarital affair became public. Most damaging to Sanford were the reports he used state funds to pay for several "trade mission" junkets to Argentina where he met up with his mistress. Sanford has promised to repay the state for the costs of his travel.

MICHIGAN. In a surprise move, term-limited Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) withdrew from the open and crowded gubernatorial contest on Thursday. She had been exploring the contest for several months. Instead, she endorsed and traveled the state with Oakland Sheriff Mike Bouchard. The Sheriff quickly hinted he'd be interested in Land possibly being his runningmate: "Any candidate would be well served by having Terri on their short list for Lieutenant Governor. She should rightfully would be on anyone’s short list." Other announced GOP candidates include Attorney General Mike Cox, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, State Senator Tom George, and wealthy venture capitalist Rick Snyder. Four Democrats have also announced candidacies to date.

FLORIDA. A new Rasmussen poll shows Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) leading State CFO Alex Sink (D) by a 42-34 vote. In the open US Senate race, Governor Charlie Crist (R) leads either of the Democratic candidates. Crist leads Congressman Kendrick Meek (D) by a 46-28 vote. Crist lead Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D) by a 50-29 vote. In related news, Congressman Jeff Miller (R) become the first member of the Florida delegation to endorse conservative former House Speaker Marco Rubio over centrist Crist in the GOP primary.

** UPCOMING POLITICS1 VACATION PLANS ** Vin is already off on holiday attending a family wedding (which is why Ron has been writing for the past few days), and will be away for another week more. Ron also feels like taking a brief publishing vacation later next week related to celebrating his own July 4th birthday. Translation: Ron and Vin don't expect they will be writing any Politics1 updates between July 2-July 8.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.26.09 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BLOODY DAY IN TEHRAN; SANFORD RETURNS, ADMITS AFFAIRS, QUITS AS RGA CHAIR; SAND CASTLES OR CAMPAIGN; MALONEY LEADS GILLIBRAND; CHRISTIE LEADS CORZINE.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Wednesday was a gruesomely violent and bloody day in Tehran. Basij, IRG and foreign mercenary Hamas/Hezbollah thugs were waiting for the peaceful Green Revolution crowds today. They sprang ambushes around key rallying points in Tehran, even driving reformers into deadend alleys to then beat unconscious. Basij troops fired live rounds and tear gas at demonstrators, used clubs and chains to beat people, and even attacked unarmed people with axes at one point. There were mass arrests of reform activists. Reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi met with 70 university professors -- who were all immediately arrested after leaving the meeting. After the bloody attacks on his supporters, Mousavi posted this message on his official Facebook page: "Guns versus ‘Allah Akbar’; armed forces versus mobile phones, batons versus mourning, lies versus cameras, state-run television versus twitter, bullets versus Facebook, power versus dignity. Who wins?" Pray for a free, democratic Iran. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

SOUTH CAROLINA. Governor Mark Sanford (R) reemerged from his bizarre seven-day disappearance on Wednesday, returning from a secret rendezvous in Argentina with his mistress. On Wednesday afternoon, Sanford held a teary press conference in which he admitted his affair with an Argentinian woman whom he first met online eight years ago. Sanford said he had been in marital counseling with his wife for five months, before he bolted to spend a week with the mistress. Sanford said his staff did not intentionally lie when they told the media he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" -- because he had told them he was "thinking about" doing it before he disappeared last week. Records indicate state money was used to pay for at least three of Sanford's trips to Argentine during the relationship, although this most recent trip was paid for out of Sanford's own pocket. In related news, Sanford also resigned his role as Chair of the Republican Governors Association -- which made Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) the new RGA Chair. The revelations also end any talk of Sanford running for President in 2012, as he had previously built his reputation as a Religious Right "family values" candidate. An admission of an extramarital affair last week also derailed US Senator John Ensign's (R-NV) plan to run for President in 2012.

DELAWARE. Congressman Mike Castle (R) did not sound much like a likely US Senate candidate in comments he made to the Philadelphia Business Today newspaper. "My wife talks about beaches in Florida. I don't know if I want to run for the House again, let alone for the four years of Biden's term," said Castle, who will turn 71 next year. Attorney General Beau Biden (D) -- an Iraq War veteran and son of Vice President Joe Biden -- is expected to be the Democratic nominee for his father's former seat. Castle, GOP centrist, is a popular former Delaware Governor.

NEW YORK. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney leading US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand by a 27% to 23% vote in a Democratic primary match-up. Maloney has not yet decided if she will challenge Gillibrand. The poll also showed either woman leads Congressman Pete King (R) by lopsided, double-digit margins in general election contests.

PENNSYLVANIA. Congressman Jim Gerlach, a GOP centrist, said he will not be a candidate for US Senate next year. Gerlach had opened an exploratory committee to run for Governor, but NRSC leaders had instead pushed Gerlach to run against US Senator Arlen Specter (D). Conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey is the solid frontrunner for the GOP nomination for US Senate.

NEW JERSEY. Former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) leads Governor Jon Corzine (D) by a 59-32 vote, with 2% backing other third party hopefuls, according to the latest Strategic Vision-R poll.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.25.09 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

GOV SANFORD STILL MISSING; OH SEN POLL; IL GOV RACE GETS VERY CROWDED; FL SEN UPDATE.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Tuesday saw small demonstrations and street clashes in the ongoing Green Revolution in Iran. The regime again deployed a truly massive police presence with lots of roadblocks, tear gas, and firing live rounds into the sky to disperse any attempts to form an organized rally. The regime also raided the offices of Mousavi's newspaper and website, arresting the entire staff. Reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi called for passive daily national strikes starting on Wednesday, urging supporters and families to congregate on downtown Tehran as pretend shoppers, clogging streets, not working, and buying nothing. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

SOUTH CAROLINA. The disappearance of Governor Mark Sanford (R) has grown more bizarre. On Monday, after reports surfaced that Sanford was last seen on June 18 driving away from the State Capitol, Sanford's staff told the media and Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (R) that they had been "in contact" with Sanford and everything was fine. Sanford aides said the Governor was off hiking on the Appalachian Trail. On Tuesday, Bauer came forward to accuse Sanford's staff of lying. Bauer told Sanford's staff he wanted to confirm the story himself by speaking directly with Sanford -- and they admitted they had no way of contacting Sanford. "The Governor's chief of staff does not know where the Governor is, and has not communicated with the Governor since he left South Carolina last Thursday. I cannot take lightly that his staff has not had communication with him for more than four days, and that no one, including his own family, knows his whereabouts," said Bauer. Also, his state-owned car was found parked at Atlanta's airport and witnesses reportedly saw Sanford at the airport last Thursday. His wife told state newspapers on Tuesday that she still had not heard from Sanford, but also was not worried about his absence. The story hit the news when one of Sanford's political foes -- State Senator Jake Knotts (R) -- told newspapers about the rumors of Sanford's unusual disappearance.

OHIO. A new Public Policy Polling Survery shows Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) and Lieuteant Governor Lee Fisher (D) both leading Republican frontrunner former Congressman Rob Portman in the open US Senate race. Brunner leads Portman by a 40-32 vote. Fisher leads by a 41-32 margin.

ILLINOIS. State Senator Matt Murphy and political consultant Dan Proft this week both formally launched GOP bids for Governor. The two join DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, State Senator Bill Brady, DuPage County Board Chair Bob Schillerstrom, Springfield City Councilman Frank Edwards, and businessman Adam Andrzejewski in the crowded GOP primary. The winner will likely face Governor Pat Quinn (D) in the general election, presuming Quinn survives his own primary.

FLORIDA. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) endorsed former State House Speaker Marco Rubio for the US Senate next year. Rubio had endorsed Huckabee for President in the 2008 primary. Most of the national and state Republican Party establishment is supporting moderate Governor Charlie Crist for the seat. Crist has massive leads over Rubio in most polls. Huckabee – a Fox News Host – appears to be laying the groundwork for a second run for President in 2012. US Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) endorsed Rubio last week.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 06.24.09 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SC'S "MISSING" GOVERNOR; L.A. MAYOR SAYS NO TO GUV RACE; OHIO GUV RACE TIGHTENS; OXENDINE, BARNES LEAD FOR GA GOV; NATIONAL STRIKE PLANNED FOR IRAN.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Monday was a relatively quiet day in Iran's Green Revolution. The regime deployed a truly massive police presence with lots of roadblocks, tear gas, and firing live rounds into the sky to disperse any attempts to form an organized rally. The regime also reportedly sacked and arrested Revolutionary Guard Tehran Commander General Ali Fazli -- an Iran-Iraq war hero -- for purportedly refusing to carry out orders to use more violent force against the pro-reform crowds over the weekend. In response, reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi called for a crippling National Strike on Tuesday to bring the nation to a total standstill. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues). The graphic at right is something I designed this weekend as an homage to one of the most famous student posters from May 1968 uprising in Paris.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Governor Mark Sanford (R) has oddly disappeared, totally out of touch with everyone -- including his own wife -- since last Thursday. He drove away from the State Capitol in a black SUV, and Sanford's cell phone signal was last detected Thursday afternoon near Atlanta. At that point, Sanford apparently turned off the phone. Sanford's staff say they have "been in contact" with the Governor, but later statements made clarified that Sanford purportedly told his staffers of his secretive plans. Sanford's wife told reporters she didn't know where he went but wasn't worried, even though this is the longest period for which he ever disappeared. The State Law Enforcement Division, responsible for the Governor's protection, has also been unable to reach him. Sanford's staff claim he went away to unwind and focus on writing something. Sanford is a potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidate -- albeit one sounding much more quirky right now.

CALIFORNIA. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) announced Monday he will not be a candidate for Governor next year.

OHIO. A new Public Policy Polling-D survey shows the once giant lead enjoyed by Governor Ted Strickland (D) has now vanished. Strickland leads former Congressman John Kasich (R) by a 44-42 vote.

NEW YORK. The latest Siena Research poll shows -- no surprise -- Governor David Paterson trailing Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by a 69-16 vote in a Democratic gubernatorial primary. However, despite these numbers, Cuomo continues to publicly insist he has "no plans" to challenge Paterson next year.

GEORGIA. A new Rasmussen poll gives a good snapshot of the open gubernatorial primaries next year. On the GOP side, State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine leads Secretary of State Karen Handel by a 35-11 vote, with Congressman Nathan Deal in third with 10%. All others are at 3% each or lower. On the Democratic side, former Governor Roy Barnes leads Attorney General Thurbert Baker by a lopsided 48-8 vote, with all others at 5% or less apiece.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.23.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

MELANCON TO CHALLENGE VITTER; IRAN STREETS TURN VIOLENT; HEINRICH DRAWS GOP FOE; BOEHNER GETS UN-PRIMARIED, AS INGLIS GETS PRIMARIES; MN GOP GOV FIELDS STARTS TO FORM.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Crowds of Green Revolution protesters poured into the streets of Tehran and other cities on Saturday and Sunday in direct defiance of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's threat of a violent response. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi also attended Saturday's march, even as regime police and thugs beat, shot and tear gassed Mousavi supporters. Mousavi said he was ready to be martyred and called on his supporters to launch a national strike to shut down the country if he is arrested. The death count on Saturday was at least 20, with hundreds hospitalized. Many more were injured, but were afraid of going to hospitals because secret police were waiting to learn the identities of injured regime opponents. Most European embassies opened their gates to injured demonstrators and provided medical attention as best as they could. On Sunday, violent clashes again erupted in the streets -- and the regime arrested most of Mousavi's closest aides and campaign managers. This is the biggest direct challenge to the authority of the Supreme Leader since the Islamic Republic came into being following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Stay tuned. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues). The graphic at right is something I designed this weekend as an homage to one of the most famous student posters from May 1968 uprising in Paris.

LOUISIANA. Congressman Charlie Melancon (D) has decided to run against embattled US Senator David Vitter (R) next year, according to veteran Louisiana political reporter John Maginnis. Melancon has already reportedly informed the DSCC and DCCC of his intentions, although no public announcement is yet planned. Melancon, the lone Democrat in the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, represents a district that went over 60% for John McCain in last year's Presidential race. Vitter, who has been hounded by his admitted involvement in a prostitution scandal, could be vulnerable in a race against a strong Blue Dog Democrat like Melancon.

NEW MEXICO. State Republican Party Vice Chair Jon Barela – a businessman -- will seek his party's nomination against freshman Congressman Martin Heinrich (D) next year. Heinrich won the open seat last year by 11-points. Barela starts the race as an underdog against Heinrich.

OHIO. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R) got some good news last week. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones (R), who previously launched an exploratory committee for the seat, had said he planned to challenge Boehner from the right. "After extensive review and discussions with various individuals in the political and private sectors, and given the current economic conditions and local needs, I have decided to continue as sheriff of Butler County," said Butler, in his written statement.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Congressman Bob Inglis (R) will face a crowded renomination contest next year. Five Republicans have already announced challenges to Inglis. The most prominent to enter to race to date is six-term State Senator David Thomas (R). "Even though I like the incumbent Congressman personally, I have been deeply disappointed by his failure to support the War in Iraq. And I have been even more disappointed by his willingness to give unlimited support, including trillions of our tax dollars, to the Wall Street speculators who have mismanaged our economy into crisis," explained Thomas in his campaign announcement. Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy (R) is also looking at the race. The CD-4 seat is safely Republican, and no Democrat has announced a challenge yet.

MINNESOTA. State Representative Paul Kohls last week become the second Republican to enter next year's open gubernatorial race. Former State Representative Bill Haas was the first to jump in, after Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) announced he would not seek a third term in 2010. Several other prominent Republicans are reportedly looking at the race, including former US Senator Norm Coleman, former State Auditor Pat Anderson, and several state legislators. The Democratic field is already crowded with seven viable announced candidates for the nomination.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger & Vin Gopal - 06.22.09 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

IRAN ON THE BRINK; BURRIS CLEARED; BILLIONAIRE CONSIDERS FLA SEN RACE; ABERCROMBIE, INOUYE LOOK STRONG.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei delivered an ominous warning speech on Friday, declaring the election results fair and demanding an end to all further protests. Khamenei went on to hint Mr. Mousavi and the Green Revolution movement is being directed by enemy foreign governments. Finally, Khamenei threatened that any further protests would be an attack on the Islamic Republic and would be met with a forceful suppression. In response, reform movement leaders Mousavu, Khatami and Kourabi have renewed their call for huge protests rallies around the nation on Saturday at 4 PM. This is the biggest direct challenge to the authority of the Supreme Leader since the Islamic Republic came into being following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Movement leaders expect the rallies to be met with arrests and brutal violence at the hand of the IRG/Basij thugs and foreign Hezbollah mercenaries. Global rallies of solidarity are planned in national capitols and other large cities around the world. I know I've almost totally fixated on the peaceful Green Revolution for the past week ... but this is watching dramatic history in the making. Like the fall of the Iron Curtain. Of course, for now, we don't know if this story of courage, hope and freedom will have an uplifting or tragic ending. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

ILLINOIS. US Senator Roland Burris (D) got some rare good news on Friday. Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt (D) decided he would not indict Burris on perjury charges for his inaccurate or false testimony last December to the Illinois Legislature's impeachment panel investigating then-Governor Rod Blagojevich (D). In his clearance statement, Schmidt wrote "there is insufficient evidence to charge Sen. Burris with the offense of perjury." Burris, who has yet to decide if he will seek a full term in 2010, is facing a primary challenge from wealthy State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is also being courted to run by the DSCC.

FLORIDA. Sources tell Politics1 that billionaire businessman Tom Golisano -- a former three-time Independent candidate for New York Governor -- is now contemplating a Democratic run for Florida's open US Senate seat. Golisano, who owns homes in both New York and Florida, recently switched his residency to the Sunshine State. The New York Times also reported Golisano was the driving influence beyond the recent New York Senate leadership coup which three the body into turmoil. Governor Charlie Crist (R) contacted Golisano last week to seek his financial support for Crist's Senate campaign, but was politely rebuffed.

HAWAII. Congressman Neil Abercrombie holds a wide Dem primary leader over Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the open gubernatorial contest. According to a new Reseach 2000 poll, Abercrombie leads Hannemann by a 42-22 vote. In a general election matchup, Abercrombie leads Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona (R) by a 45-36 vote. Hannemann leads Aiona by a 44-34 vote. Republicans would like to recruit term-limited Governor Linda Lingle (R) to run against US Senator Dan Inouye (D). To date, Lingle hasn't taken any moves towards making the race. However, if she runs, the poll showed Inouye leading Lingle by a 52-40 vote.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.20.09 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

IRAN UPDATE; MORE ENSIGN PROBLEMS; THUNE MOVING UP; VA GOV RACE TIED; SPECTER HOLDS WIDE LEAD.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). Hundreds of thousands of democracy protesters again pored into the streets of Tehran and Esfahan -- and large protests were reported to be spreading into Tabriz and other cities -- on Thursday's national day of mourning for the martyrs killed to date by the IGR/Basij thugs. The pro-regime/pro-Ahmadinejad forces are planning a major rally centered around a speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The regime is also trying to spread false rumors that Mousavi and the Green Revolution have shadowy US-Israel-British ties. Reform movement leaders Mousavu and Kourabi have asked their supporters to boycott the large public prayer meeting lead by Khamenei, and to instead pray silently in the streets. Mousavi and Kourabi have also called for massive Green Revolution rallies around the country on Saturday. Expectations are the crowds on reform protesters on Saturday will be the biggest to date. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

NEVADA #1. More problems for US Senator John Ensign (R). The Nevada Republican had given the the woman with whom he was having an affair several pay raises right around the time of the affair. The woman was a staffer on his Senate campaign, her husband was on Ensign's government staff, and their 19-year-old son was also paid $5,400 by one of Ensign's political groups. Questions are also being raised on why Ensign chose to go public with the news of the affair. He told some colleagues it was because he was being threatened with blackmail payoffs. "It is unfortunate the Senator chose to air this very personal matter, especially after the Hamptons [the family involved in the affair] did everything possible to keep this matter private ... In time the Hamptons will be ready and willing to tell their side of the story," said the Hampton family attorney in a written statement. Ensign, once considered a likely 2012 candidate for President, this week resigned his #4 spot in the Republican Senate Leadership. US Senator John Thune (R-SD) currently is unopposed to replace Ensign in the leadership post.

VIRGINIA. A new Research 2000 poll shows a dead heat in this year's race for Governor. Former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) leads State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by a 45-44 vote.

NEVADA #2. Former Congressman Jon Porter (R) made it official on Thursday: he won't challenge US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) next year. Porter lost his House seat to Dina Titus (D) last year. Even after his defeat, Republicans had hoped Porter could be enticed into the Senate race. Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki -- although under indictment on a felony corruption charge -- remains the leading announced GOP candidate against Reid.

PENNSYLVANIA. The latest Rasmussen Reports polls shows US Senator Arlen Specter (D) still holds comfortable leads in both his primary and the general election. In the Dem primary, Specter leads Congressman Joe Sestak by a 51-32 vote. In the general election matchup, Specter leads former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) by a 50-39 vote. Sestak leads Toomey by a much closer 41-35 vote.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 06.19.09 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

IRAN UPDATE; ENSIGN RESIGNS LEADERSHIP POST; 52 COUNTY CHAIRS BACK GILLIBRAND; HOEKSTRA GAFFES; BLUNT DRAWS PRIMARY FOE; NY SEN SPLIT 31-31; AND A EDITORIAL FROM RON ON OBAMA'S GAY RIGHTS MEMO.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN (RON'S DAILY MESSAGE OF SUPPORT). At least 500,000 were out protesting again on the streets of Tehran on Wednesday, and hundreds of thousands protested in other large cities. No sign of the reform movement losing steam. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, Iran's top religious figure, has clearly split with the Supreme Leader with the public statement he issued: “A government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy”. The movement leaders have declared Thursday to be a national day of mourning for the martyrs killed to date by the IGR/Basij thugs. These are the same tactics used in 1979 that lead to the overthrow ofthe Shah (despite the fact that he, too, had all ofthe guns on his side back then). Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com. I also urge you to show support for reform by grabbing the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

For those who say Mr. Mousavi does not represent real reform, ask yourself this. Do you truly believe that all of these brave students and other people marching in the streets -- risking serious bodily injury, death, or imprisonment at the hands of the IRG/Basij -- are doing so because they are passionately committed to merely winning a slightly paler shade of Ahmadinejad ("Ahmadinejad-lite"?) or a "kindler, gentler" way of cutting off hands of thieves. Get real! The Iranians in the streets are seeking revolutionary change and freedom.

NEVADA. US Senator John Ensign (R) -- who on Tuesday admitted to an extramarital affair -- resigned his post as the #4 Republican in the US Senate Leadership. No word yet on who his successor will be.

NEW YORK #1. US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) announced Wednesday that she has secured the endorsements of 52 ot the state's 62 Democratic county chairs. Noticeably absent were those counties nearest to the New York City area, the home of prospective primary challenger Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D).

MICHIGAN. Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R) caused a bit of controversy Wednesday when he compared the reform protests in Iran to the Republican electoral contests against the Democrats last year. "Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House," Hoekstra tweeted from his phone. Within a minute, Hoekstra was flooded with negative reactions. CNN reports that one user quickly responded: "Except the Democrats didn't come after you with clubs and guns, did they?" Hoekstra's office quickly distanced him from the comments. “Congressman Hoekstra did not [mean to] compare the ongoing violence in Iran to when Democrats shut down the House chamber during the energy debate last summer. The two situations do share the similarity of government leadership attempting to limit debate and deliberation, and the ability of new technologies to bypass their efforts and allow for direct communication. That’s the only point that he was trying to make," said Hoekstra's spokesman. This isn't Hoekstra's first Twitter gaffe. Earlier in the year he tweeted live movement details of a congressional delegation moving visiting stops in Iraq -- which was quickly deemed a security breach. Hoekstra is now a candidate for Michigan Governor.

MISSOURI. State Senator Chuck Purgason (R) formed an exploratory committee to run for the US Senate next year. Congressman Roy Blunt currently has the backing of the party establishment in the GOP primary. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. US Senator Kit Bond (R) is retiring

NEW YORK #2. After just a few days, State Senator Hiram Monserrate (D) re-bolted back to the Democratic caucus, less than a week after he cut a deal with the Republicans. That leaves the NY Senate split 31-31, with no Lieutenant Governor to split the tie. There are 31 Democrats on one side, and 30 Republicans + one Democrat (Pedro Espada) on the other side. Republicans made Espada the Senate President, which also makes him the Acting Lieutenant Governor. Now, to split the tie, Republicans claim Espada can break the tie because he gets to cast a ballot on votes as a Senator ... and then cast a second tie-break vote in his role as Acting Lieutenant Governor. Dems say he can only cast one vote. The Lieutenant Governor's office is vacant, and will remain so until after the 2010 election. For now, the Senate is recessed so both sides can go home and get feedback from constituents about the impasse.

GAY RIGHTS: AN EDITORIAL FROM RON. President Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order ... well, really just a memo ... giving the most nominal and insignificant recognition of same-sex spouses of federal employees for a a small handful of benefits. My reaction can be summed up in three words: Insulting table scraps. Separate but equal (or, in this case, far less than equal) is not the same as equal rights. If this was meant to appease a simmering LGBT community on DOMA, DADA, and marriage, it was a serious miscalculation. Yes the President has more important things on his plate right now -- health care, Iran, the economy, etc. -- but don't insult us like this.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.18.09 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ENSIGN ADMITS AFFAIR; MORAN LEADS TIAHRT; STEELMAN LOOKS AT TWO RACES ... AND THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM CONTINUES IN IRAN.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN. Tuesday was another very fluid day for the cause of democracy in Iran, as thousands of young Iranians filled the streets again demanding reform and free elections. Once again, Basiji and Islamic Guard thugs provoked incidents and sporadiacally beat peaceful demonstrators in Tehran and other cities. With foreign journalists rapidly being expelled, and cell phone and SMS signals totally blocked inside the country, Twitter is now the main line of the communication available from Iran. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection and #GR88 developments at Twitter.com -- it's truly fascinating and addictive. You can even find instructions frequently reposted if you want to help the students by participating in the DDOS attacks on Iranian government websites. For those seeking more subtle ways to show support, grab the graphic at right and make it into your Facebook photo (or recolor your current profile pic in green hues).

Personally, I agree Mr. Mousavi is not truly an instrument of real reform. At least, I don't believe he ever intended to be anything but the most modest of shifts away from the status quo. But now that Mousavi has ridden this tiger -- one which proved swifter, stronger, and more uncontrollably dangerous than anything he even envisioned -- he is now forced to stay atop of it. Like the late Boris Yeltsin -- a career Soviet insider who became a true anti-communist reformer almost overnight when events in the street demanded true oppositional leadership -- Mousavi may turn out to be (or be forced to be) the reformer Iran needs. Otherwise, the tiger he's riding may also rise up and devour Mousavi in time if he betrays the hopes of the young Iranians.

NEVADA. US Senator John Ensign (R) held a press conference on Tuesday to admit he had engaged in an extramarital affair with a female campaign aide over a period of time in 2007-08. Ensign -- who had publicly urged President Clinton to resign in 1998 after he admitted an extramarital affair -- had been in the early stages of exploring a Presidential run in 2012. The news is unlikely to be more than a minor bump in the road in his career in Nevada politics, although it is certain to end his 2012 White House hopes.

KANSAS. A new SurveyUSA poll shows Congressman Jerry Moran narrowly leading Congressman Todd Tiahrt by a 40-38 vote in the GOP primary for the open US Senate seat. US Senator Sam Brownback (R) is running for Governor.

MISSOURI. Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) now seems torn between running against Congressman Roy Blunt (R) in next year's primary for US Senator or alternatively running for Blunt's open CD-7 House seat. Six Republicans have already announced candidacies for the CD-7 seat. Steelman's public comments in recent days seem to shift back and forth between the two offices -- although it appears certain she will be a candidate for one of those seats in 2010. Steelman was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 2008. US Senator Kit Bond (R) is retiring.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.17.09 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BROWNBACK'S PRIMARY FIELD CLEARS; PALIN MAY FACE PRIMARY; TOOMEY RAISES BUCKS; HUCKABEE WADES INTO S.C. PRIMARY.

GREEN REVOLUTION IN IRAN. Monday was an amazingly uplifting day for the cause of democracy in Iran, as well over a million people defied the tyrannical government and Islamic Guard thugs by peacefully demonstrating in central Tehran and other cities. Although the government was busy expelling all foreign journalists, Twitter remains the communication vehicle of choice. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection developments at Twitter.com -- like watching 24 or some other geo-political thriller, but this story is real and unfolds in real time.

KANSAS. Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh (R) ended his 2010 bid for Governor, clearing the path for US Senator Sam Brownback to win the GOP primary without significant opposition. “I did not run to make a political statement – I ran to win. The decision to withdraw from the governor’s race was a business decision. … We do not have the ability to do what we need to do in order to win,” explained Thornburgh in a statement posted on his campaign website. Governor Mark Parkinson (D) -- who moved up from the Lieutenant Governor post when Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) joined the Obama Cabinet -- is not seeking a full-term next year. State Senator Chris Steineger appears to be the most likely Democratic candidate– but party leaders are still looking for a stronger candidate. Brownback was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

ALASKA. Former State House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels is openly considering a GOP primary challenge to Governor Sarah Palin next year, if she runs again. Conversely, State House Speaker John Harris (R) says he will run for Governor next year if Palin does not seek reelection.

PENNSYLVANIA. Former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) announced he has raised over $1 million in his race for US Senate. Toomey touts over 11,000 new donors since April 15th. Incumbent Arlen Specter (D) switched parties after a series of polls showed Toomey leading Specter by a lopsided margin in the GOP primary contest. Recent polls now show Specter leading Toomey in a general election contest by several points. Specter is also expected to face a Democratic primary challenge from Congressman Joe Sestak. Meanwhile, the DSCC is planning a major fundraising event for Specter at the end of this month in New York City.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Former Arkansas Governor and '08 Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R) has made an primary endorsement in the '12 Prez battleground state of South Carolina. Huckabee is backing State Representative Rex Rice for the open CD-3 Congressional seat. Incumbent Congressman Gresham Barrett (R) is running for Governor. Huckabee carried the district in the 2008 presidential primary. Rice is one of seven announced GOP candidates for the seat.

FACEBOOK. Are you on Facebook? Vin is always looking to hear from Politics1.com readers. Facebook Vin by clicking here.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 06.16.09 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

McCONNELL BACK CRIST; PALIN VAGUE ON SECOND TERM; FRANK BACKS SESTAK; GILLIBRAND DRAWS PRIMARY FOE; JOE BRUNO'S PRO-GAY MARRIAGE EDITORIAL.

A QUICK REQUEST BY RON. In solidarity with the students of Iran who are risking their lives bring true freedom and rights to their nation, please wear something green on Monday. In the face of deadly attacks against them by government-backed thugs, the reform forces are holding rallies around Iran on Monday afternoon. In other countries around the globe, protesters plan to gather outside of Iranian embassies and consulates. Resist Ahmadinejad's government coup. Keep up on all the latest #IranElection developments at Twitter.com.

FLORIDA. Governor Charlie Crist (R) picked up a strong endorsement from US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his race for next year's open US Senate seat. Most polls show Crist with a comfortable lead over former State House Speaker Marco Rubio, his main rival in next year's primary .

ALASKA. Governor Sarah Palin won't commit to seeking a second term as Governor next year. Palin – the Republican nominee for Vice President in 2008 – is seen as a leading candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012. Palin still enjoys strong approval ratings in the state according, but a decision to not run for re-election would be a clear sign she plans to focus on a White House run.

PENNSYLVANIA. Although he won't win the race for collecting the most high-profile endorsements, Congressman Joe Sestak (D) will get an endorsement from House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-MA), a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-MA). Frank's endorsement and active support will be helpful in a Democratic primary. Sestak is expected to challenge US Senator Arlen Specter in next year's Democratic primary for US Senate. Sestak had close to $3.5 million in his campaign account before Specter switched to the Democratic Party last month. Specter is endorsed by President Obama, Governor Ed Rendell and US Senator Bob Casey.

NEW YORK. Jonathan Tasini -- a labor union organizer and progressive activist who challenged US Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2006 – will make a second run for the seat. Tasini will challenge Clinton's successor -- US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand -- in next year's Democratic primary. Tasini will certainly lack the money to make a truly competitive campaign. Also running in the Democratic primary is Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper. Neither Tasini nor Cooper pose any real threat to Gillibrand. However, one serious primary challenger who has yet to decide on the race is Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Major Republicans considering the race are former Governor George Pataki and Congressman Pete King.

NEW YORK #2. A follow-up to Ron's weekend story about gay politco Tom Duane's tough dilemma. On Sunday, former NYS Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R) published this article in support of Governor David Paterson's proposal to legalize gay marriage.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 06.15.09 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

NY SENATE BALANCE OF POWER MAY COME DOWN TO DECISION BY GAY STATE SENATOR: DOES PARTY LOYALTY OR MARRIAGE EQUALITY COME FIRST?

NEW YORK. This brief item is part news story and part discussion topic. Last week the Republicans scored a surprise coup in New York, grabbing control of the upper chamber at the end of the business day when Democratic Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate cut a secret deal with the Republican Senate leadership. By a vote of 32-30, the Senate voted to elect new leadership and install Dean Skelos (R) as Majority Leader and Espada as Senate President Pro Tempore. The new leadership also announced a somewhat bipartisan division of chairmanships, giving a little less than half of the chairmanships to Democrats. Various news reports say billionaire businessman Tom Golisano, a former three-time Independent gubernatorial candidate, coordinated the surprise shake-up. Ousted in the coup was Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D), who was the first Dem to lead the Senate in over 40 years. Smith had trouble, however, within his own caucus from the start six months ago -- particularly on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage. A majority of Dem Senators -- including the two who this week helped give the GOP control -- support the gay marriage legislation. However, a group of three conservative Hispanic Democrats had threatened to bolt to the GOP if Smith allowed the gay marriage bill to come to a floor vote. Smith knew those three votes would have handed control back to the Republicans, so gay marriage supporters had been unable to get any committment that a floor vote on the bill would be allowed. The NY House had already passed the legislation, and Governor David Paterson (D) says he will sign it into law if it reaches his desk -- but the bill remains bottled up in the Senate. Now, here is why the matter is still up in the air. Monserrate was indicted on felony assault charges in March and would be automatically removed from office if he is convicted at his trial this summer (and many of his colleagues expect a conviction). If that happens, a special election would be held and another Democrat would eventually fill Monserrate's seat, as he represents a solid Dem district. That would make the Senate a 31-31 split. Normally, the Lieutenant Governor would break a Senate tie -- but the position is vacant (and will remain so until after the 2010 election). Now, here is the new wrinkle. State Senator Tom Duane (D) is openly gay and has been a vocal gay rights activist in NYC for several decades. Espada and the Republicans have floated a trade: if Duane will cast key organizational votes in support of the Espada/Skelos leadership team -- but may otherwise remain a Democrat and vote as he wishes on everything else -- they will guarantee him a Senate floor vote on the gay marriage bill at a time of his choosing when Duane best believes he has secured the five GOP votes needed to pass it. Sources in New York tell me there are currently 2-3 GOP Senators who will support the bill -- and influential former Senate President Joe Bruno (R), a former gay rights opponent, is now openly urging his former colleagues to support it. Republicans are so desperate for Duane's vote that one insider advising the Espada/Skelos team says Duane could easily broker a deal of trading his leadership vote in exchange for Skelos guaranteeing the five GOP votes needed to pass the gay marriage bill. Thus, for Duane, it all gets down to this: Does he place his proven loyalty to his party above his passionate dedication to gay equality? Tough choice, because advancing gay rights would require him to give "the bipartisan coalition" (i.e., the Republicans) much legislative power in Albany. Conversely, restoring Smith to leadership would return the Dems to control but block any floor vote on gay marriage. Like I said, it raises and interesting discussion topic. And, if you'd like to let Duane know what you think he should do, here is his website and you can email him at duane@senate.state.ny.us.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 06.13.09 | Permalink |

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