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SUNDAY OPEN THREAD. Michael Phelps versus Ian Thorpe ... Bush versus Kerry (and others) ... any face-off you'd like.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.15.04 |

SATURDAY OPEN THREAD. Polls, Olympics, Golan Cipel ... anything at all. Also: Check out the cool iFILM Political Showcase site.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.14.04 |

GOVERNOR McGREEVEY: OUT, AND OUT OF OFFICE. The once rising star of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D) crashed and burned in a totally unexpected announcement Thursday afternoon. McGreevey -- with his wife at his side -- announced that he was gay, that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with another man, and that he would resign as Governor. McGreevey -- 47 and the father of two young daughters -- said he had struggled with issues relating to his sexuality since he was a child. "At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. And so my truth is that I am a gay American ... I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony. It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable. And for this, I ask the forgiveness and the grace of my wife ... I realize the fact of this affair and my own sexuality if kept secret leaves me, and most importantly the Governor's office, vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure. So I am removing these threats by telling you directly about my sexuality. Let me be clear, I accept total and full responsibility for my actions. However, I'm required to do now, to do what is right to correct the consequences of my actions and to be truthful to my loved ones, to my friends and my family and also to myself. It makes little difference that as governor I am gay. In fact, having the ability to truthfully set forth my identity might have enabled me to be more forthright in fulfilling and discharging my constitutional obligations. Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign," explained McGreevey. His eloquent words -- and the tone of voice and expression on his face (of almost relief) as he delivered his obviously cathartic remarks live on television -- made for an extraordinary moment of political theater. McGreevey's resignation will take effect November 15, and will avoid the need under state law for a special election had he resigned earlier. State Senate President Richard Codey (D) will become Governor when McGreevey leaves office. Congressman Rob Andrews (D), US Senator Jon Corzine (D), former State Assembly Minority Leader Paul DiGaetano (R), '02 US Senate nominee Doug Forrester (R), Morris County Freeholder John Murphy (R), Washington Township Councilman Robert Schroeder (R), and former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler (R) are all likely to run for Governor next year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.13.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In Florida, the new Quinnipiac College poll shows Senator Kerry leading President Bush in the state by a 47% to 41% vote, with Nader at 4%. In Ohio, the latest ARG tracking poll also has Kerry in front. The numbers: Kerry-48%, Bush-45%, Nader-2%. In other P2004 news, it's official: Ralph Nader will not be on the ballot in California. The executive committee of the California Greens voted 11-7 to not call a special meeting to considering giving their ballot line to Nader instead of party nominee David Cobb. Also, Mike Peroutka (Constitution) was certified for ballot spots this week in Pennsylvania and Washington -- bringing his total thus far to 25 states. Peroutka expects to be on the ballot in 40+ states.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.13.04 |

CONGRESSMAN LIPINSKI TO ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT FRIDAY. Congressman Bill Lipinski (D-IL) -- who was cruising to an easy re-election for a 12th term this year -- will announce Friday that he is withdrawing his candidacy. Why? Bill LipinskiBecause he now has apparently secured the necessary pledges from his fellow Democratic machine leaders to ensure he will be replaced on the ballot by his son. The Illinois primary was March 16, so the 66-year-old Lipinski is already the Democratic nominee. Lipinski -- a low-key legislator and "Daley Machine" leader from Chicago's southside -- also holds the important party post of 23rd Ward Democratic Committeeman, meaning that he will also be able to greatly influence the process next week that selects a replacement nominee. That seems to give the green light to Dan Lipinski, who is currently a political science professor at the University of Tennessee. While other local pols were interested in being the replacement candidate, they have all now agreed to not challenge Dan Lipinski this year for the nod. The seat is safely Democratic, so whoever the nominee is will score a landslide victory in November.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.13.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Athens Olympics open ... and anything else you can think of.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.13.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In Michigan, the new Detroit Free Press/EPIC-MRA poll shows that Senator Kerry is leading President Bush in the state by a 49% to 42% vote. In related P2004 news, there will soon be competing attack books on store shelves. On the right will be the book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry -- in which some Vietnam vets attack Kerry as a self-promoting fake who never really earned his medals. The left was clearly prepared for this, as Deserter: George W. Bush's War on Military Families, Veterans and His Past -- which claims Bush went AWOL for a lengthy period while in the Air National Guard -- is also hitting store shelves (along with the DVD of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 arriving in stores in early October). Buckle your seatbelts, folks, as this race is going to get really rough.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.12.04 |

REFORM PARTY ON BRINK OF TERMNINATION. In the mid-1990s, billionaire Ross Perot created the Reform Party as a vehicle for his Presidential ambitions and protectionist political views. In 1996, Perot ran as the Reform Party's presidential nominee and captured 8 million votes. After the Jesse Ventura faction grabbed control in 1999, and then the Pat Buchanan faction wrested control in 2000, Perot walked away from the party. The party splintered and rapidly shrank in size since the 2000 election. Earlier this year, the party handed its endorsement and ballot lines in six states to Ralph Nader. Now it appears the party is on the verge of extinction. Reform Party National Treasurer William Chapman last week sent the Federal Elections Commission a formal "request for termination based on guidelines the FEC had established for the Reform Party." Chapman says that the national party has less than $19 remaining in its bank account. Reform Party National Chair Shawn O'Hara -- a gadfly perennial candidate in Mississippi under various party labels -- said that he has suspended Chapman for what he called a "minor coup" attempt. "I love [Chapman] and he's my friend, but he did wrong," O'Hara said. O'Hara acknowledged the party has money troubles, but said the party is "in the process of rebuilding and raising money." None of this will disqualify Nader from any ballots in 2004, but this is probably the death knell of the Reform Party of the US.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.12.04 |

... AND MINNESOTA LIBERTARIANS HAVE SIMILAR WOES. The Reform Party is not the only political entity with financial problems. The Minnesota Libertarian Party disclosed this week that the state party's treasurer apparently embezzled the entire $10,000 balance from the party's bank account. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, state LP Chair Ron Helwig said that "the woman embezzled the money and gave it to her 17-year-old daughter under extortion threats from her and members of a gang." Helwig said the party's $25/year dues should "barely" keep the party alive in the state for the remainder of the year. The Minnesota LP only qualified one candidate for office in the state this year -- a major setback from past years -- and is still attempting to get enough signatures to place Michael Badnarik on the Presidential ballot there.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.12.04 |

NC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE PUBLISHED FAKE POLITICS1 STORY TO BASH OPPONENT. Controversial congressional candidate Vernon Robinson (R-NC) -- who describes himself as "the black Jesse Helms" (even though Helms endorsed an opponent) -- mailed out a "Voter's Guide" during the recent primary filled with fictional news articles attributed to various news sources. The phony articles bashed all of Robinson's primary opponents for a variety of sins from personal foibles (alcohol, arrests, etc.) to bankruptcy to "liberalism" and so forth. The only problem was that the sources cited in the booklet appeared to all be fictional. On one page, Robinson's guide carried an article by "Tyler Brooks" of Politics1.com. Who? Anyways, the article by Brooks was headlined "Lesbian Wedding Dogs Helvey" (note: Jay Helvey was a wealthy primary rival). Now, if any candidate took part in a lesbian wedding (or even a wedding involving lesbian dogs), we'd be the first to cover it. However, we didn't -- and Robinson's Politics1 article is a total fraud. According to the Rothenberg Political Report, all of the other articles in the booklet also appear to be fakes or major distortions. The Robinson campaign, meanwhile, refused to admit the falsity of anything published in their booklet. Robinson faces a run-off on August 17 against State Senator Virginia Foxx in the CD-5 race. While we're flattered that Robinson thought the Politics1 brand name had enough political street cred to use as a weapon against an opponent, the willful deceitfulness clearly shows that Robinson lacks the integrity to serve in Congress.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.12.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Yada, yada, yada.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.12.04 |

GEORGIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT PRIMARY RESULTS. In Georgia, Congresswoman Denise Majette won the open US Senate Dem run-off against multimillionaire businessman Cliff Oxford by a surprisingly wide 18-point margin. This race now moves into the "Republican Favored" column as Majette is a longshot in November against Congressman Johnny Isakson (R). Majette cannot expect much help from the DSCC for this uphill race, making her odds longer. GOP Congressional run-offs in CD-6 and CD-8 will decide who will next represent these two heavily Republican open seats. State Senate Majority Leader Tom Price (R) overcame a major financial disadvantage to win the open CD-6 race in an upset, and State House Minority Leader Lynn Westmoreland (R) won the open CD-8 contest -- ensuring that both of these men will be among the freshman class of the next Congress. In Colorado's open US Senate race, centrist Attorney General Ken Salazar won a 3-to-1 landslide victory over his liberal challenger in the Dem primary. On the GOP side, brewery magnate Pete Coors defeated former Congressman Bob Schaffer by a surprisingly comfortable margin. Salazar led Coors in the most recent polls, but Coors' deep pockets are likely to make the contest highly competitive. In CD-3, State Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher led the field of five Republicans competing for the seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Scott McInnis -- and appears to have won by a margin off less than 300 votes over McInnis brother-in-law and State Rep. Matt Smith. Walcher will face State Rep. John Salazar (D) in November in this "Leans GOP" seat. In Connecticut, former Norwich Councilor Jim Sullivan easily won the Dem primary in CD-2. Sullivan is likely to offer an aggressive challenge to Congressman Rob Simmons (R) -- but the moderate incumbent is still favored to win.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.11.04 |

FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN NOMINATED FOR CIA DIRECTOR POST. Eight-term Congressman Porter Goss (R-FL) -- who was already retiring from Congress at the end of this year -- was nominated Tuesday by President Bush to be the next CIA Director. Years before entering politics, Goss was himself a CIA field officer engaged in clandestine spying activities overseas from 1960-71. Reaction to the Goss nomination was fairly predictable. Republicans praised the selection as someone who understands the troubled agency from both the inside and the outside. Democratic reaction was mixed. Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said he was "disappointed" by the choice. Rockefeller wanted someone "objective and independent" and "not a politician" to reform the CIA. By contrast, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Bob Graham (D-FL) praised Goss as someone who will be a "vigorous and visionary leader" for the CIA. Goss appears likely to win a quick Senate confirmation. Goss originally announced plans to retire from Congress in 2002. However, he soon reversed course and ran for re-election one more time in a successful effort to stop state Republican legislators from carving up his existing -- and safe GOP -- district.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.11.04 |

OBAMA VERSUS KEYES. So much for any thoughts that this match-up would be competitive. A new WBBM-TV/SurveyUSA poll was released Tuesday on the open Illinois US Senate race. The results: Barack Obama (D) - 67%, Alan Keyes (R) - 28%. Entertaining, yes. Competitive, no.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.11.04 |

WHEN DID BILL CLINTON BECOME SO BORING? There are a lot of adjectives one could use to describe Bill Clinton, but boring is not usually one of them. Unless, of course, you saw Clinton on Comedy Central's The Daily Show on Monday night. He was stiff, uncharismatic, overly-serious, and humorless. Maybe it was an off-night for him -- but he was terrible. Where was the energetic Clinton who spoke at the Dem convention two weeks ago?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.11.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. What else?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.11.04 |

TUESDAY IS PRIMARY DAY IN CT, CO; RUN-OFF DAY IN GA. Voters go the the polls in three states on Tuesday to decide several hot nomination contests. There are several races to watch in Colorado. In the open US Senate race, Attorney General Ken Salazar looks likely to win a comfortable win on the Dem side. The GOP contest between brewery magnate Pete Coors and former Congressman Bob Schaffer, by contrast, is a close contest. Salazar currently leads either man in November polling match-ups, but both are within striking range of him. In CD-3, five Republicans are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Scott McInnis -- and the race is close enough that any of the five could win. The primary victor will face State Rep. John Salazar (D) -- Ken's brother -- in November. In Connecticut, the only race worth noting is the CD-2 Dem primary between former State Rep. Shawn McNally and former Norwich Alderman Jim Sullivan. Both men are progressives, although McNally is the more populist and liberal of the two. Sullivan has raised $351,000 to McNally's $138,000 -- but both totals a paltry in comparison to incumbent Congressman Rob Simmons' (R) $1.4 million in campaign funds. In Georgia, Congresswoman Denise Majette is probably a slight favorite in the open US Senate Dem run-off against wealthy businessman Cliff Oxford. The winner will be an underdog in November against Congressman Johnny Isakson (R). GOP Congressional run-offs in CD-6 and CD-8 will decide who will next represent these two heavily Republican open seats. While State Senator Robert Lamutt is favored to win in the CD-6 race, either former gubernatorial aide Dylan Glenn or State House Minority Leader Lynn Westomoreland could win the CD-8 contest.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.10.04 |

MOST DISGUSTING ITEM FOR SALE ON eBAY. I'm not sure what is more ridiculous ... the item for sale, or that people have been bidding on it. The item, of course, is the "Napkin with sweat from Ambassador Alan Keyes' forehead." This description is from the listing on eBay: "Own a part of American history; own the napkin containing sweat from Ambassador Alan Keyes' forehead, immediately following Alan Keyes' historic announcement that he agreed to replace Jack Ryan as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois to take on Democrat Barak Obama. GOP Senatorial Candidate Keyes was sweating profusely after his stem-winder speech and the sweat was collected from a napkin at approximately 3:02 pm Central Time just outside the Wellington Restaurant in Arlington Heights, Illinois, under the watchful eye of multiple news reporters including multiple television cameras." Even crazier: as of Monday evening, there had been 70 bids to date and the current high bid was at $265.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.10.04 |

THE 1/23D MARINES: FINAL PRE-DEPLOYMENT MESSAGE. We just got a final pre-deployment email from our special correspondent and friend, Lt. James Crabtree, of the 1/23d Marines. He and his fellow Marine Infantry Reservists ship off to Iraq this week. Here's what James wrote:

"Dear Politics1.com Readers,

Well, like I said in a brief email yesterday, I'm back and ready to finally leave for Iraq. There are about 50 of us that are going over there early on the "advance party" later this week to make liaison with the battalion we are replacing and to get everything ready for when the rest of the battalion gets over there. Right now our offices here in 29 Palms are quiet because the Marines and sailors going to Iraq with the main body are back home on block leave. This is their last chance to see family and loved ones for up to seven months. Probably the hardest thing we ever have to do is say good-bye to our families. It has been painful and heart-wrenching since people started going off to war centuries ago, but at least today with email and phone centers we should be better connected then ever before.

The families never get the credit they deserve for all the sacrifices they make when Marines get deployed. In fact, I personally think it is harder on them then it is the individual Marine because at least we'll be busy. The families however are left to wonder and guess from day to day as to how their loved one may be doing. The families also are many times not the ones that volunteered for this.

One nice surprise when I got back here to the desert last night was getting our first care package (from Craig Shay of Tucson, AZ). It made our day and we've already spread the goodies around. Thank you! We also got more free magazines in during my week away. Forbes and The New Republic sent a lot of issues. With The New Republic added to our list I think it'll help balance out The Weekly Standard. National Geographic also emailed to say they would be sending issues.

Another great surprise over the weekend was a Texas flag that was flown over the State Capitol building was sent to us from my friends in Rep Terry Keel's (TX State Rep from the Austin area) office, along with a nice certificate and a great camouflaged handkerchief with a Psalm printed on it as well as notes and signatures from everyone in their office and some from the Texas General Land Office, to include former Marine and now State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

One idea my brother had is for me to do Q and A pieces on individual Marines and sailors within the battalion. I think the idea is great and plan to start doing that soon. We've got so many great people here and this would be a good way to help everyone out there learn more about them.

Well, I'll close for now. Thank you again for everything.

Semper Fidelis,
Lt James Crabtree

P.S. Feel free to send me any questions you have and I'll answer them the best I can.

P.P.S. I've enclosed a photo of a scorpion we killed while training in the field. He was a big one. The scorpion is next to a pair of sunglasses to give one a better idea how big it was.

Here is James' address: Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900. So, for those of you interested in sending Care Packages, notes, whatever ... we'd appreciate anything you can do to support the folks in our adopted battalion.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.10.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. Bush, Kerry, Nader, Badnarik, Cobb, Peroutka ... whomever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.10.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES ... AND THE SENATE RACES. In New Jersey, a new Newark Star-Ledger/Rutgers University poll shows Senator Kerry at 52%, President Bush at 32%, and "Nader/Others" at 3%. In Ohio, a new Columbus Dispatch poll shows Bush leading there with 47%, and Kerry with 44%. We also have some new polls from a few US Senate races. In California, the latest Field Poll shows Senator Barbara Boxer (D) continuing to hold a wide lead. The numbers: Boxer-50%, Bill Jones (R)-33%, Others-8%. That's an improvement for Jones from the huge 23-point deficit he trailed by back in May, but he still has a long way to go just to be competitive. In Colorado, the Denver Post is out with two new polls on Tuesday's Senate primaries. The GOP contest remains very tight: brewery magnate Pete Coors led with 45%, and former Congressman Bob Schaffer had 41%. The Dem primary, by contrast, isn't even close: Attorney General Ken Salazar-67%, former diplomat Mike Miles-21%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.09.04 |

NADER CAUSING DEEP SPLIT IN GREEN PARTY. In 1996 and 2000, Ralph Nader's Presidential candidacy under the banner of the Green Party helped attract both voters and new members to the party. Now -- after failing to win the party's 2004 nomination/endorsement -- Nader is making another run at winning the party's ballot spots in various states. His campaign is openly encouraging individual state Green Party affiliates to ignore the national party's nomination of Green Party member David Cobb for President and instead submit the Nader/Camejo ticket to their respective state elections office as their names for the ballot line. Nader's runningmate Peter Camejo -- who is a leader of the California Greens -- is urging the state group to convene an emergency state Green Party assembly to nominate Nader. Otherwise, Nader will not appear on California's ballot (he fell far short of the signature requirement by last week's deadline). Medea Benjamin, another California Green leader, called the Nader/Camejo effort "misguided" and "potentially damaging to progressive efforts" to build the Green Party. Nader supporters are also attempting similar moves in Vermont, New Mexico and elsewhere.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.09.04 |

CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK RAISES ECONOMY FEARS. Shifting economic conditions in the US are causing some respected conservatives to start voicing economic concerns. Here's what MarketWatch.com reported Sunday: "'A whiff of stagflation is in the air,' and the negative impact on corporate earnings and stock prices 'could be ugly,' said John Makin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. Some economists are outraged at Makin, saying he's exaggerating current conditions by using 'stagflation,' a term coined during the malaise of the 1970s to describe the combination of slower growth and higher inflation. Nevertheless, many experts have acknowledged the U.S. economy is downshifting and inflation pressures are rising." Now -- before you start bashing AEI as some left-wing apologists -- AEI is the conservative think tank home to Robert Bork, Newt Gingrich and others.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.08.04 |

THE 1/23D MARINES LEAVE FOR IRAQ THIS WEEK. We just got a brief email from our special correspondent and friend, Lt. James Crabtree, of the 1/23d Marines. He and his fellow Marine Infantry Reservists are done with their training exercises and back from their pre-deployment leave. Later this week, they head off to Iraq. "I just want to let you know I'm back from my block leave. It's not easy saying goodbye to loved ones. I arrive in Iraq later this week. My mailing address will be:

Lt Crabtree
1/23 H&S Co
Unit 41900
FPO, AP 96426-1900
I don't know my email address over there yet. Thanks to all of you for your emails, phone calls, and support. It means a great deal! I'll try to send y'all pictures and such when I can. Take care. Semper Fi, James." So, for those of you interested in sending Care Packages to the folks in our adopted battalion, now you have the shipping address. Whatever you can do for them is certainly appreciated. Please keep them in your thoughts, and pray for their safe return.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.09.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. ¿Que pasa?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.09.04 |

LOUISIANA CONGRESSMAN MAKES LAST MINUTE PARTY SWITCH. On Wednesday, conservative freshman Congressman Rodney Alexander of Louisiana filed for re-election as a Democrat. "I'm not ashamed to be a Democrat, but I vote what I think the people of the 5th District want me to represent," said Alexander at the time. What a difference two days can make. On Friday, with just minutes remaining before the close of filing, Alexander returned to re-file for re-election as a Republican. "I just decided it would be best for me to switch parties, that I would be more effective in the Fifth District in the state of Louisiana as a Republican," he now says. Alexander flirted with changing parties back in March, but announced then that he would not do so. "I'd be letting some people down who worked very hard for me and I would hate to let anybody down ... Although I am flattered by the offers of the Republicans to join their ranks, I am deciding to stay where I am," said Alexander in March. US Senator John Breaux (D) -- who was key in helping Alexander win his first election to Congress two years ago -- quickly denounced Alexander as "a confused politician who has placed loyalty at the very bottom of his priorities." Reaction on the GOP side was much warmer. "I welcome him to the GOP, and I look forward to working with Rodney," said NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds. "Rodney Alexander has betrayed voters in Louisiana ... We have no use for turncoats like Rodney Alexander in the new Democratic majority," said a DCCC spokesperson. Because of the last minute timing of the switch -- a move Breaux called a deceptive move that "effectively prevented the people of his district from a having a choice" -- Democrats, who had been raising money for Alexander, had no viable candidate to place into the race. Alexander is now a safe bet to win re-election this year -- but watch for national Dems to target him for defeat in two years.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In Florida, the new American Research Group tracking poll shows Kerry-50%, Bush-43%. There is also a new ARG tracking poll out of New Hampshire. The results: Kerry-49%, Bush-42%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.04 |

RON'S WEEKLY MOVIE REVIEW: COLLATERAL. Time for what is becoming a regular detour from political writing: my weekly mini-movie review. This week was Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx's new film Collateral. Cruise is really great as an unsmiling bad guy (a professional killer). Likewise, Foxx is equally good as his cab driver and unwilling partner in a single night in which Cruise sets off to commit five contract hits in Los Angeles. The action unfolds at a good pace, the dialogue is solid, and the visuals are great. Highly recommended.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.04 |

SATURDAY OPEN THREAD. You pick 'em.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In New Jersey, the new Quinnipiac College poll shows Senator Kerry leading President Bush in the state by a vote of 49% to 36%, with Nader at 6%. In Michigan, the new WDIV-TV/SurveyUSA poll also shows Kerry at 52% and Bush at 41%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.06.04 |

GOP "SWIFT VETS" LAUNCH ANTI-KERRY TV SPOT. Also in the news today is the harsh anti-Kerry TV spot being aired in three states by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The ad features several other Vietnam vets who say they all served with Kerry and that he cannot be trusted. Others have quickly stepped forward to raise serious doubts about the truthfulness and motives of these Kerry foes. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) -- a Bush supporter and former Vietnam War POW -- quickly attacked the TV spot Thursday as "dishonorable and dishonest" and called on Bush to repudiate it. The Bush campaign quickly responded to the McCain's comments. "The Bush campaign never has and will never question John Kerry's service in Vietnam," said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt to the AP. The Bush campaign, however, stopped short of calling on the group to yank the spots.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.06.04 |

PERHAPS IF SHE HAD TRIED CAMPAIGNING? Wealthy philanthropist Karen Saull (R-FL) dropped out of the open US Senate race this week after spending more than $2 million out of her own pocket on TV spots -- but was still being excluded from GOP debates limited to only the top tier candidates. State Party Chair Carole Jean Jordan, Governor Jeb Bush and former US HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (a rival candidate) all recently made comments to reporters that they "didn't know" who Saull was. Saull's husband told the AP that the three were "liars" and the GOP power structure discriminates against women (note to Saull: Jordan, Bush's Lieutenant Governor, three Members of Congress from Florida are all GOP women). "Karen said she's not dealing with people who are disingenuous, who aren't truthful, who aren't honest. Karen just doesn’t want to be in this race right now. She's very upset and she really doesn't have to take this from anyone," said Jeffrey Saull. In the nearly three months since Saull entered the race, she was a mystery candidate who was on TV spots but had not appeared at a single event, given a single speech, or attended a single newspaper screening.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.06.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.06.04 |

NORTH TO ALASKA. There are new poll numbers out this week in the tight US Senate race in Alaska. According to the latest KTUU-TV/Ivan Moore Research tracking poll, US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) looks likely to cruise to a wide victory in the August 24 GOP primary. The numbers: Murkowski-63%, former State Senate President Mike Miller-29%, Others-3%. Murkowski's real fight, of course, is her general election battle against former Governor Tony Knowles (D). This month, Knowles leads by a 46% to 44% vote, with 3% divided among several third party candidates. Knowles' numbers are unchanged since June, while Murkowski is up 3-points since then.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.05.04 |

KEYES FOR US SENATE - DAY TWO. Former Presidential candidate Alan Keyes flew to Chicago Wednesday to be screened by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee as a potential replacement candidate for US Senate. Former Bush Administration Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell was the other finalist screened Wednesday. Keyes is pro-life, anti-gay rights, and represents from the far right wing of the Republican Party. Barthwell is generally pro-choice, moderate on gay issues, and comes from the centrist "RINO" wing of the GOP. Both are African-Americans, hold doctorates, are gifted orators, and can be prone to bombastic behavior. Barthwell is from Illinois, while Keyes has never lived in the state. In an embarrassing twist during the day, ABC-7 in Chicago found this Keyes quote from 2000 about Hillary Clinton's run in New York: "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it." Contrast that with the official KeyesForSenate.com site that came back online today -- ten years after his last Senate run in Maryland. Keyes told reporters he was "flattered" to be considered but was not entirely convinced it was a good idea for him to run in Illinois this late in the game. Late Wednesday, the Committee offered the nomination to Keyes. He said he'll think about it an announce his decision by Sunday. At this point, the only way this could get even worse for the IL GOP is if Keyes leaves them standing alone at the alter.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.05.04 |

BUSH, KERRY ... AND BANK ROBBERS HIT IOWA TOWN. Here's an amusing story from the campaign trail. President Bush and Senator Kerry held competing rallies just three blocks apart from each other mid-day Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa (Pop. 98,000). The city's police force was stretched so thin with security details that they even had to bring in cops from nearby communities to help secure the locations. "While the city's police department was busy securing the candidates' locations, three downtown banks were robbed within one hour," reported the Los Angeles Times. Bank Robbery #1: The Ralston Credit Union was robbed at 10:45 am -- just after Bush arrived on Air Force One and Kerry was starting his speech. Bank Robbery #2: First National Bank was robbed at 11:23 am. Bank Robbery #3: Southeast National Bank was robbed at 11:45 am. The suspect from Robbery #1 was captured after a chase, but the other two crooks got away. "Bad guys read the paper too ... It's unfortunate that this happened today, but it did not surprise me. Anybody worth their salt knew that with a 157-person police department, we couldn't possibly cover the President and his opponent and done an adequate job with the rest of the city," said Davenport Police Lt. Don Gano.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.05.04 |

TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD. The Lemmons family almost pulled off an amazing trifecta in yesterday's Michigan primaries for three State House seats. Former State Rep. Lamar Lemmons III (D) won his District 3 primary by a whopping 24-point margin. Next door in District 2, Lamar Lemmons Jr. -- father of the former State Rep -- won the primary for that House seat with 29% (his nearest opponent had 23%). The family couldn't complete the sweep because Lamar Kweli-Baraka Lemmons -- who stopped actively campaigning a few weeks ago in order to defer to his primary opponent -- lost his primary in the neighboring District 1 race by a 56% to 44% vote. Adding to the primary day confusion was the factor that all three filed to be listed simple as "Lamar Lemmons" on their respective ballots. It certainly saved money on printing signs -- and the strategy seemed to have worked out pretty well for the Lemmons. The two victorious Lemmons are safe bets to win their heavily Dem seats in the Detroit area in November.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.05.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Talk amongst yourselves.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.05.04 |

MISSOURI GOVERNOR LOSES PRIMARY ... PLUS KANSAS, MICHIGAN PRIMARY RESULTS. Tuesday was primary day in Missouri, Kansas and Michigan. In MISSOURI, Democratic primary voters dumped Governor Bob Holden in favor of State Auditor Claire McCaskill. Holden was in trouble because of his inept handling of the state's economic woes. McCaskill's theme was simply that the state could do better with new leadership. McCaskill defeated Holden by a vote of 52% to 45%. Holden is the first sitting Governor in Missouri history to lose a re-election primary. The size of McCaskill's win should give her momentum for the November contest against Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R), and give the Dems a decent chance of holding this seat. Holden immediately congratulated and endorsed McCaskill. In CD-3, State Rep. Russ Carnahan appeared to be heading towards a narrow Dem primary victory over "Dean Democrat" Jeff Smith and conservative State Senator Steve Stoll in the crowded open seat contest. In the open CD-5 race, former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver (D) won a comfortable victory in this solid Dem seat. In an interesting aside, incumbent US Senator Kit Bond (R) actually drew an almost identical vote total in his primary as did his challenger -- State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) -- in her respective primary. In MICHIGAN's open CD-7 race, it appeared that former State Senator Joe Schwarz -- a GOP moderate -- won the GOP primary over several conservative rivals. It is a safe Republican seat, so Schwarz can start planning his move to DC. In KANSAS, former USDOJ official Kris Kobach appeared to have won the GOP primary for Kansas' CD-3 seat by less than 90 votes over '02 nominee Adam Taff. Kobach is a staunch social conservative, while Taff is a centrist. National GOP leaders had backed Taff in the primary, believing he would have been a stronger candidate in November against Congressman Dennis Moore (D) in this swing district.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.04.04 |

IL GOP HOLDS OPEN DOOR AUDITIONS FOR US SENATE. All that was missing Tuesday were Paula, Randy and Simon as the judges, but otherwise the going-ons at the Illinois Republican State Central Committee resembled that of American Idol. The group auditioned 13 potential replacement candidates -- including three "walk-ins" -- for the US Senate. Each person was given 15 minutes to make their case. Apparently the Illinois GOP is running out of options, as a few of the hopefuls don't even live in Illinois and at least one isn't even a Republican. Four unsuccessful candidates from the March primary are in the mix (Jim Oberweis, Chirinjeev Kathuria, John Borling and Norm Hill), as is the 2002 Libertarian Party nominee for US Senate (Steve Burgauer). Gadfly former Presidential candidate and waiter Daniel Vovak -- a Connecticut native who recently moved to Florida -- is clearly the William Hung of this mix. Vovak, 31, is best known for campaigning for President in his goofy GW-style white powdered wig. The surprise entrant: former Presidential candidate Alan Keyes of Maryland. Keyes, who served as an Ambassador during the Reagan Administration, sent a surrogate to express interest and speak on his behalf. "Hillary Clinton proved that when you're a United State Senator, you have a little broader base that just your own state. We're in a situation where we need to think outside of the box," said one committee member. State law requires a candidate to live in Illinois by election day in November. On Tuesday night, the committee announced they had narrowed the list down to two finalists: Keyes and former Bush Administration Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell. A final decision -- after they each possibly sing their favorite Elton John tunes -- will take place Wednesday. All we need now is for Ryan Secrest to come out and give us the 1-900 numbers to call to vote for out favorite finalist.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.04.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES ... AND THE REAGANS. In Arizona, the new Arizona Republic tracking poll shows President Bush leading Senator Kerry by a 48% to 43% vote. In Pennsylvania, the new KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Kerry widening his lead. The numbers: Kerry-53%, Bush-41%. In Tennessee, the latest WBIR-TV/SurveyUSA poll indicates the race there is narrowing: Bush-48%, Kerry-46%. In Washington State, the new KING-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Kerry-51%, Bush-43%, Nader-3%. In related P2004 news, former First Lady Nancy Reagan cleared the air Tuesday on her views on the race. Rumors had it that she would no longer support Bush because of his strong opposition to unrestricted embryonic stem cell research. "The campaign is certainly about more than one issue ... [and Mrs. Reagan is in] full and complete support of President Bush's candidacy," said a Reagan family spokesperson. Reagan still plans to skip the GOP convention later this month. So, for those keeping track of the Reagan family vote, the score is: Bush-2 (Nancy, Michael), Kerry-2 (Ron, Patti).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.04.04 |

WA, PA SENATE UPDATES. In Washington State, the new KING-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows US Senator Patty Murray (D)-51%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R)-41%. Murray moved up 2% while Nethercutt jumped up 7% since the same poll of two months ago. The division in also nearly matches the split in the state's Presidential race. In Pennsylvania, the new KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows US Senator Arlen Specter (R) at 49%, Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D) at 34%, and "Other" at 12%. It appears that even with some conservatives likely withholding their votes from Specter in favor of a third party option, Hoeffel still remains well out of range for capturing this seat. Also of note: the poll shows Hoeffel is lagging a whopping 19-points behind Kerry in the state.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.04.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. Have at it!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.04.04 |

MISSOURI, KANSAS PRIMARY PREVIEWS. Today is primary day in Missouri, Kansas and Michigan. We profiled the Michigan contests yesterday, so today we'll focus on these other two states. The hottest race of the day -- and there are several hot ones to watch -- is the Dem primary for Missouri Governor. Incumbent Governor Bob Holden is facing a very aggressive challenge from State Auditor Claire McCaskill. If the independent tracking polls are accurate, McCaskill has strong momentum and appears likely to score an upset win. McCaskill appeared to have moved past Holden about two weeks ago, although the final KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA poll released Monday showed Holden leading McCaskill by a razor thin 48% to 47% vote. McCaskill's theme is simply that the state can do better with new leadership. Holden was viewed as weak in this race from the outset because of the state's lingering economic woes and his stubborn way of dealing with the GOP-controlled state legislature. McCaskill has also won most of the leading newspaper endorsements, and did well in the debates. If Holden survives the primary, Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) should be favored to win in November. However, if McCaskill is the Dem nominee, expect a very close race against Blunt. In either instance, Blunt will hold a major financial edge over either of the two as he had to expend little money against token opposition in the GOP primary. Other Missouri races to watch are the open seat primaries for State Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor, and congressional seats in CD-3 (Gephardt) and CD-5 (McCarthy). In CD-3, liberal State Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) and more conservative State Senator Steve Stoll (D) are the marginal frontrunners in the crowded 10-person primary field -- with Carnahan viewed as the most likely winner. In CD-5, former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver appears likely to defeat former National Security Council Member Jamie Metzl (D) to win the Dem nod. Dems are expected to hold both the CD-3 and CD-5 seats in November, so the primaries are the key races. In Kansas, three Republicans are competing in CD-3 for the right to oppose targeted Congressman Dennis Moore (D) in this conservative swing district.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.03.04 |

BEN AFFLECK FOR US SENATE? According to the Boston Herald, actor Ben Affleck may be the next celebrity preparing to cross the line from show business into politics. Affleck spent all last week at the convention, appearing on TV shows and talking up his candidate Kerry. "Between the two of us -- John Edwards and I -- we decided that Ben Affleck had about four hours more TV than we did" during the convention, joked Kerry. Since then, Affleck has traveled with Kerry to campaign stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere. Affleck told the newspaper "he has an interest in politics." When asked directly if he is thinking of running in the 2005 US Senate Special Election that would take place if Kerry is elected President, Affleck coyly responded: "I'm not thinking past [November 2]." However, the Herald noted that Affleck volunteered that -- among those looking at the Senate race -- Congressman Marty Meehan is sitting on the largest campaign war chest (over $3 million), and that Congressman Ed Markey had second most dollars. Hmmm ... those were unusually specific (and accurate) facts for an actor to have committed to memory. Why would he have done that? FYI: former Governor and current US Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci (R) is also openly considering making the potential '05 Senate race.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.03.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In New Jersey, a new Bergen Record/Research2000 poll shows Kerry leading Bush in the Garden State by a 50% to 40% vote, with Nader at 2%. New polls from Alabama and Massachusetts ... wait, who cares ... as they're both safe states not in play. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (D) crossed party lines to endorse President Bush. Kelly has a close relationship with US Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) -- is predecessor -- and declined to endorse the Dem nominee against Coleman in 2002.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.03.04 |

PELTIER DEFEATS NADER FOR PFP BALLOT SPOT IN CALIFORNIA. Ralph Nader lost his last realistic chance to grab a spot on the California ballot when he failed to secure the Peace & Freedom Party's ballot line at their convention this past weekend. Nader personally addressed the 30 delegates in a last minute attempt to secure their support. PFP leaders were sympathetic to Nader -- but not sympathetic enough to give him their Presidential nomination. Instead, they went ahead with their initial plan of nominating Native American activist Leonard Peltier for President. The vote: Peltier-17, Nader-8, Walt Brown (SOC)-7. Peltier, who is either the killer of two FBI agents or a political prisoner framed by evil law enforcement officers (depending on your views), is currently serving two consecutive life sentences in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Peltier and his supporters are hoping someday for a shot at Presidential clemency to free him. "We respect [Nader] as a leader. He should have access to ballots in many states ... but we're pretty committed to Peltier ... He's in prison for a crime he didn't commit. This nomination is a statement on the plight of political prisoners in the US and the need to treat them decently," said PFP Chairman Kevin Akin. In case you're wondering, the FBI still insists Peltier is guilty and maintains an online site detailing his crimes. The PFP is a fairly small Marxist party active only in California that has historically been torn between a democratic socialist faction and a hardcore communist authoritarian faction. Nader says he will now collect the 153,035 valid signatures required by the August 6 deadline to qualify for the ballot in California as an Independent candidate. FYI: The New York Times helpfully provided a chart Monday of Nader's current status: On the ballot-6 (CO, FL, MS, NV, NJ, SC); Likely to be on ballot (DE, KS, MO, MT, RI, WV); Legal Challenges Filed/Likely: 6 (AZ, IL, IN, MI, TX, NC).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.03.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. What else?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.03.04 |

MICHIGAN PRIMARY PREVIEW. Very few voters are expected to go to the polls on Tuesday in Michigan to cast ballots in various Congressional and state legislative primaries. The only contest of note to watch appears to be the crowded GOP congressional race for the open CD-7 seat. Six-term Congressman Nick Smith (R) is not seeking re-election in the reliably Republican district -- but his son, attorney Brad Smith, is one of the two leading candidates seeking the seat. The other frontrunner is former State Senate President Joe Schwarz. Issues and personalities draw a sharp distinction between the two men. Smith, backed by the Club for Growth, touts himself as the "most conservative" candidate in the race. Smith -- who is pro-life, anti-gay rights and against funding for stem-cell research -- promises that he "will stand up against the Hollywood elites, liberal judges and tax hikers." Schwarz -- a surgeon, Vietnam War veteran and former CIA operative -- is a centrist who has a reputation for political independence, much like his friend and supporter John McCain. Schwarz also benefits in the fractured primary dynamics of being the lone moderate facing off against five who must battle for support from a divided conservative base. Opponents have hammered Schwarz for being pro-choice, pro-gun control and pro-gay civil unions. Schwarz loudly disputes the civil unions part, but his objection appears to mainly be one of semantics as he says he "opposes" gay civil unions but says "same-sex couples deserve basic human rights and equality" with married couples. Schwarz has also won all of the major newspaper endorsements. An independent poll last week showed Schwarz and Smith tied with 22% apiece. State Representative Clark Bisbee -- who is endorsed by Michigan Right to Life and the Chamber of Commerce -- was backed by 14%. State Representative Gene DeRossett was in fourth place and the upper single-digits, but he has poured over $500,000 of personal money into the race and is running more TV and radio spots in the closing days than anyone else. Whichever man wins the primary should be a solid favorite to hold the seat in November.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.02.04 |

" ... AND IN THIS CORNER ..." Depending on what polls you trust, Senator Kerry either scored a decent convention bounce nationwide ... or he shockingly lost ground to President Bush during the convention. A new Newsweek/Princeton poll shows Kerry leading with 49%, Bush at 42% and Nader at 3% -- or by a 52% to 44% vote in a two-way race. The previous Newsweek tracking poll, taken last week during the convention, showed Kerry then leading by only a 47% to 45% vote. The new Zogby poll -- this one conducted in the traditional telephonic method (unlike many of their other online polls this year) -- seems to agree with the Newsweek numbers. Zogby has the race at Kerry-48%, Bush-43%. By contrast, the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows a very different race: Bush-50%, Kerry-46%, Nader-2%. Those numbers reflect a 4-point increase for Bush and 1-point drop for Kerry from the same poll taken a week before the Democratic Convention. However, the same poll gave Kerry a 50% to 47% lead among registered voters. Complicated, isn't it! [Yes, I know I have a general rule that I won't report on national polls because they -- unlike polls from key battleground states -- are largely meaningless since the race is about electoral votes from states, not the total national vote. However, since so many of you have been debating the "convention bounce" topic in the blog, I published this exception to my rule for your edification.]
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.02.04 |

NADER LEAVES HOMELESS OUT IN THE COLD. Ralph Nader's attempt to secure a spot on the Pennsylvania ballot descended in a chaotic and loud scene last week. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "police were called as dozens of homeless people lined up to collect money they said they were owed for circulating petitions on the candidate's behalf." In the end, the Nader campaign hastily abandoned their Philadelphia campaign office overnight and many of the petition circulators went unpaid. Ed Seip, who told the newspaper he had turned in over 200 signatures, complained that "a lot of us were scammed." Nader must submit at least 25,697 valid petition signatures by the close of business Monday to qualify for the state's ballot. Nader ballot-access contractor John Slevin promised the newspaper that "all circulators would be paid." Petition circulators were promised payments ranging from 75 cents to $1 for each valid signature, with half of the money paid immediately when petitions were turned in to the Nader office a week ago and the balance was to have been paid by check last Wednesday. Yet, when the homeless people arrived at the Nader office to get their checks Wednesday, they found Slevin and his assistant "protected by armed guards." Slevin processed the people in line so slowly -- and apparently argued with many when they complained they were being underpaid -- that "many" went home at the end of the day and returned Thursday to the office hoping to be paid, only to find it locked and abandoned. Slevin told the newspaper that he would "mail checks to the addresses people had given when hired" -- which seems like a rather nasty tactic as he knew from the start that these were homeless people working for Nader. Slevin also "speculated that the accusations and chaos at the office [on Wednesday] were the result of political trickery" by the Dems because he said he was unable to determine any other reason that the homeless people might have been upset. In an ironic twist for consumer advocate Nader, some of the homeless people involved have already filed formal complaints against Nader with the city's consumer protection office. Meanwhile, the building's owner complained that he may also take legal action against Nader as the campaign "trashed the place," urinated in the garbage cans, and damaged stairway railings. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party also plans to challenge the validity of the signatures on Nader's petitions once they are filed.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.02.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. So, what else do you want to talk about?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.02.04 |

SUNDAY OPEN THREAD. Ron's weekend movie reviews ... I saw two flicks this weekend: Manchurian Candidate and The Village. Manchurian is a well-done, respectful remake of the classic 1962 political suspense film. Now that the Cold War has ended, a giant corporation has replaced communism as the villainous threat. Meryl Streep will likely get an Oscar nomination for her acting here. Film #2: The Village was lush, languidly told monster/suspense film (with a great musical score) that -- without giving much away -- I think was intended as a parable on life in the US today with all of our homeland security warnings.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 08.01.04 |

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