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BLOG ARCHIVE: AUGUST 2009.

OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 31, 2009. The nation said farewell to US Senator Ted Kennedy on Saturday as he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, near the graves of his brothers Jack and Bobby. Now starts the fight to fill his open seat ... Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) appointed his longtime campaign manager and political alter-ego George LeMieux -- a successful lobbyist and GOP centrist -- to fill the vacant US Senate seat ... Congress remains on vacation this week ... South Carolina Republican leaders are openly discussing impeaching Governor Mark Sanford (R) over his sex scandal and related junketeering. Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (R) says Sanford should resign, and he promises not to run for Governor next year if Sanford quits now. FYI: The Sanford pin at right is from his winning 2002 run ... The Washington Post published explosive excerpts from the master's degree thesis written by Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell. He wrote that working women and feminists damaged families, opposed a 1972 Supreme Court ruling which legalized the sale of contraceptives to unmarried persons, and says government should favor married families over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." In fact, McDonnell's thesis ends with a 15-point plan to turn his ideas into state law ... In Louisiana, retired General Russel Honoré -- the hero of the Hurricane Katrina rescue operation four years ago -- is apparently leaning towards making a GOP primary challenge next year against embattled US Senator David Vitter. Congressman Charlie Melancon is the Democratic challenger against Vitter.
Week of 08.31.09 >>

THIRD OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 24, 2009. US Senator Ted Kennedy (1932-2009). This is the simple statement release Wednesday by the Kennedy family: "Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him." The Kennedy family has set up a page for us all to share our memories in Senator Kennedy's honor. Let's join them in celebrating the life and work of a true American hero. Please visit: TedKennedy.org. And -- yes, here's a brief memorial-editorial from Ron -- let's honor Senator Kennedy's legacy by making guaranteed universal health care (with a vibrant public option) into a federal law before the end of this year. And let's name the soon-to-be federal health care reform law after Ted Kennedy and his lifelong vision for a better, fairer and more socially just America.
Week of 08.24.09 >>

SECOND OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 24, 2009. US Senator Ted Kennedy (1932-2009). This is the simple statement release Wednesday by the Kennedy family: "Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him." The Kennedy family has set up a page for us all to share our memories in Senator Kennedy's honor. Let's join them in celebrating the life and work of a true American hero. Please visit: TedKennedy.org. And -- yes, here's a brief memorial-editorial from Ron -- let's honor Senator Kennedy's legacy by making guaranteed universal health care (with a vibrant public option) into a federal law before the end of this year. And let's name the soon-to-be federal health care reform law after Ted Kennedy and his lifelong vision for a better, fairer and more socially just America.
Week of 08.24.09 >>

OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 24, 2009. President Obama and family left DC on Sunday for their summer vacation in Martha's Vineyard ... In Iowa, it's starting to look more likely that former four-term Governor Terry Branstad (R) will "un-retire" from politics to run against incumbent Governor Chet Culver (D) next year. Independent polls show that Branstad -- who retired in 1998 -- appears to be the only viable GOP candidate against the incumbent ... Speaking of polls, numbers last week indicate embattled Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons (R) is virtually unelectable next year. A series of independent polls show Gibbons would lose by a wide margin to any of the big-name Democrats looking at the race -- and would also potentially lose his GOP primary for renomination ... Other polls last week showed that Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (D), US Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and US Senate Majority Leader (D-NV) all trailing by small margins in their respective 2010 reelection races ... In North Carolina, Congressman Bob Ethridge (D) and former Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker (D) both acknoweldged last week they are taking another look at challenging US Senator Richard Burr (R), now that several other Dems have taken themself out of the race ... Excerpts from former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's new book show extensive political pressure was placed on him by the White House in October 2004 to raise the national security threat level in the days leading up to the Presidential election. Ridge resisted the suggestions and submitted his resignation just after the November elections. Several Bush Administration officials have attacked the allegations. This rare pin is from Ridge's winning 1998 gubernatorial reelection race.
Week of 08.24.09 >>

SECOND OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 17, 2009. Okay, there were lots of comments in this week's open thread, so here is a fresh one ... Let's see what's going on ... Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R) filed federal paperwork to launch an exporatory committee to run against US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) next year in California ... Folks are showing up at President Obama health care rallies openly carrying automatic weapons. Perhaps its time to create a federal law prohibiting all citizens (except on-duty law enforcement officers) from carrying firearms within 1,000 feet of the entrance of any facility while the President is there ... News reports seem to indicate the Congressional Dems are giving the GOP an ultimatum. Either join us to pass bipartisan health care reform by the end of the first week in October, or the Dems will simply pass a plan without any GOP input. Meanwhile, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) announced Tuesday that there are now 100 House Dems who have pledged to vote against any health care plan that doesn't include a public option. Appearing at a town hall meeting this week, Congressman Pete DeFazio (D-OR) said Senator Max Baucus's (D-MT) health insurance co-op proposal was an "unacceptable" compromise. DeFazio noted that the public option already was the compromise for those Dems like himself who support a goverment-run single-payer health care system modeled after those currently operating in Canada and Western Europe ... "Hey, isn't that 'Pa Walton' on that campaign button?" Yup, that's him. Actor Ralph Waite (D-CA) made runs for Congress in 1990 and in a 1998 special election. This pin is from when Waite unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Al McCandless (R) in 1990.
Week of 08.17.09 >>

OPEN THREAD FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 17, 2009. It appears the health care public option is dead, according to comments from the White House and key US Senate Democrats (and you know where I stand on this: If the President is going to use up his political capital on this, then go for it all -- not some wishy-washy compromise with the big insurance companies) ... Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) is set to announce his retirement ... and new polls show Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) look strong for 2010, while Governors David Paterson (D-NY) and Deval Patrick (D-MA) look like almost certain "goners ... As for the old campaign button at left, it is from John Chafee's winning GOP run for Rhode Island Governor in 1962. He later went on to serve as US Navy Secretary and US Senator. His son -- former US Senator Linc Chafee (Independent-RI) -- is a candidate for Governor next year.
Week of 08.17.09 >>

OPEN THREAD (10 August 2009). Change we can believe in. I promised some big changes to Politics1 and now I'm keeping that promise. Below you'll see three sets of customized feeds -- but the first one is the one you'll want to come back several times each day to check. The first group is an aggregated feed I put together from the sources in the 50 states I rely upon to find out what is happening at the state and local levels (i.e., NOT the stuff you read on all of the other sites). Plus, I created separate aggregated threads of polls and -- finally -- the top stories from the usual suspects (CQ, Hotline, Politico, etc.). And, as I promised, I'll keep the interior pages regularly updated, plus give you new open threads as needed. So, you reaction?
Week of 08.10.09 >>

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SOTOMAYOR CONFIRMED; NEW NJ, VA POLLS; JOHN EDWARDS TARGET OF FED GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION; AND VIN SIGNS OFF.

SUPREME COURT. US Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as Associate US Supreme Court Justice by a 68-31 vote. Nine Republicans -- none of whom are up for reelection next year -- were among those voting to confirm her. Conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association and the Senate GOP Leadership, opposed her nomination. Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic and the third woman to ever serve on the nation's highest court.

VIRGINIA. Former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) leads State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by a 51-43 vote, according to the new Research 2000 poll.

NEW JERSEY. In the latest Research 2000 poll, former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) holds a 48-40 lead over Governor Jon Corzine (D). In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, Christie leads by a 50-37 vote.

P2008. Former US Senator John Edwards (D-NC) appears to be the target of an ongoing grand jury criminal investigation in Raleigh, according to various published news reports. Federal prosecutors are examining whether Edwards improperly diverted funds from his failed 2008 Presidential campaign to unlawfully finance any payoffs or personal expenses for his mistress Rielle Hunter and the baby he fathered with her, or to cover-up his extramarital actions. Reporters saw Hunter and her baby quickly hustled into the federal courthouse on Thursday through a back entrance to avoid public contact.

A FAREWELL MESSAGE FROM VIN. I've really enjoyed writing for Politics1 during the past nine months. I want to thank Ron for the kind opportunity that he gave me. I also want to thank the countless people for their well-wishes and news tips. As the site continues to transform, I'm finding I have more demands on my personal and professional life -- so this is a good time to step down from writing the daily updates. Please, though, keep in touch by friending me on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you on Facebook and keep in contact with you there. Thanks again, everyone, and please keep in touch! [Ron's note: keep reading below, as this is not the end of today's new postings.]
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.07.09 | Permalink |

RON SAYS BAUCUS IS AS TRUSTWORTHY AS SAL TESSIO; ... AND WHAT'S NEXT FOR POLITICS1.

A HEALTH CARE PARABLE. In the movie Godfather, the rival Barzini family makes failed assassination attempt against rival godfather Don Vito Corleone. Afterwards, the recovering Don determines the earlier hit attempts was an inside job by enemies purporting to be new friends wanting to build a strong new alliance. In a subsequent scene, Vito Corleone advises his son Michael -- the new Don -- about what he needs to know. Vito Corleone explains: “So, Barzini will move against you first. He’ll set up a meeting with someone you absolutely trust, guaranteeing your safety -- and at the meeting you’ll be assassinated. ... Now listen: whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he’s the traitor. Don’t forget that.” Later in the film at Vito's funeral, trusted Corleone capo Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) approaches Michael and says: “Mike, could I have a minute? Barzini wants to arrange a meeting. He says we can straighten any of our problems out.” Of course, Michael uses the meeting to unexpectedly turn the table on his enemy by killing Barzini -- and, at the finish of the amazing final "settling of scores" montage near the end of the film, the Corleone's clean house by sending Tessio on a one-way ride. Substitute the Senate Republicans for the Barzini family, and sub in Max Baucus for Sallie Tessio, and, well ... you get my view of what Baucus is doing to health care reform. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not urging any violence against Baucus ... but I wouldn't mind seeing his political career die in an embarrassing 2014 primary crash-and-burn (and stripped of his committee chairmanship after the 2010 elections).

POLITICS1. With Vin departing, what's next for this site? I'm going to try some new ways to deliver the news while posting regular blog comment threads for you to use. Let's try some variants and see what works. Stick with me.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.09 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FORMER CONGRESSMAN JEFFERSON CONVICTED; BOND IS PRO-SOTOMAYOR; NH CD-2 FIELD COMES INTO FOCUS; DOCTOR PAUL x 2.

LOUISIANA. Former Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA) was convicted Wednesday in Virginia on federal felony political corruption charges. The jury convicted Jefferson on four counts of bribery, three counts of racketeering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering in a case which alleged he accepted over $400,000 in unlawful payments. Jefferson -- who had $90,000 of cash hidden in his freezer when FBI agents searched his home -- served in Congress from nine terms until he was defeated by Republican Joseph Cao in 2008. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so the vote was clearly a backlash against Jefferson's corruption. Jefferson faces up to 235 years in prison time, but will certainly receive a sentence a significantly shorter time.

SUPREME COURT. A seventh Republican – US Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) -- announced he will support Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to be Associate US Supreme Court Justice. "I do not believe that the Constitution tells me that I should refuse to support her merely because I disagree with her on some cases. I will support her, I'll be proud for her," said Bond. Sotomayor is expected to be easily confirmed.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. Former State Senator and '00/'02 Governor candidate Mark Fernald (D) has dropped out of the open CD-2 Congressional contest. This sets up a hot Democratic primary contest between State Representative John DeJoie, political consultant Katrina Swett and politically-connected attorney Ann McLane Kuster. Republicans running include former State Representative Bob Giuda, businessman Andrew Hemmingway and Milford School Board Member Len Mannino. Incumbent Congressman Paul Hodes (D) is running for US Senate.

KENTUCKY. As expected, physician Rand Paul -- son of Texas Congressman and two-time Presidential candidate Ron Paul -- will seek the GOP Nomination for next year's open US Senate seat. Other Republicans running include Secretary of State Tray Grayson, business executive Bill Johnson and engineer Roger Thoney. State Senate President David Williams is also seriously considering making a run for the seat -- but Grayson is currently the solid frontrunner for the nomination. Democrats running include Attorney General Jack Conway, Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, farmer Maurice Sweeney and law student Darlene Fitzgerald Price. Incumbent US Senator Jim Bunning (R) is retiring.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.06.09 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

GOP CANDIDATES MOVE FAR AHEAD IN NJ, VA GOV RACES; MEG BIDS $19 MILLION ON HER CAL GOV RACE; DEMS UNIFYING IN RACE AGAINST BACHMANN.

NEW JERSEY. A new Monmouth University Poll shows former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) leading Governor Jon Corzine (D) by wide 50% to 36% margin among likely voters. Among registered voters, Christie leads Corzine 43% to 39%.

VIRGINA. The new Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) leading State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by a lopsided 51-37 vote. Several polls have shown McDonnell significantly widening his lead over the past month. Governor Tim Kaine (D) is term-limited.

CALIFORNIA. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) has loaned herself $19 million for her 2010 gubernatorial campaign. She raised an additional $6.8 million, bringing her to over $25 million for the 2Q-2009. Money isn't always a guarantee of success in a race like this: Northwest Airlines CEO Al Checchi (D) spent $40 million from his own pocket in his 1998 run for California Governor but captured just 12.5% in the crowded primary. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is term-limited and both major parties will see competitive primary contests.

MINNESOTA. Former State Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) has ended his rematch bid against controversial conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R). Tinklenberg lost to Bachmann by 3-points in 2008. "While the image of the next campaign against Michele Bachmann is certainly energizing, the path to that campaign is becoming increasingly improbable," explained Tinkenberg, because party leaders are rallying behind the candidacy of State Senator Tarryl Clark (D). Former University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chair Maureen Reed (D) is also running.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.05.09 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SESTAK ENTERS SENATE RACE; McCAIN SAYS NO, LAMAR SAYS YES; ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR NM GOV; JINDAL SAYS NO TO VITTER CHALLENGE.

PENNSYLVANIA. Congressman Joe Sestak (D), as expected, will officially announce his candidacy against US Senator Arlen Specter in next year's Democratic primary. Sestak has already began blasting Specter from the left, arguing the recent party-switching incumbent doesn't hold sincere Democratic views. Specter, in turn, has already fired back at Sestak for having only switched from Independent to Democrat before making his first run for Congress and for having missed voting in many elections during Sestak's years of military service. Sestak is a retired Navy Admiral. Expect a hot race between these two well-financed candidates.

SUPREME COURT. US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced he will vote against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation. By contrast, GOP Senate Conference Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he will vote to confirm Sotomayor.

NEW MEXICO. State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones announced she will seek the GOP nomination for Governor next year. She is the third Republican to enter the contest. Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez and former State GOP Chair Allen Weh are also announced Republican candidates. Two Democrats are in the race: Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish and State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Governor Bill Richardson (D) is term-limited.

LOUISIANA. Governor Bobby Jindal (R) made it clear he would not challenge embattled US Senator David Vitter in next year's GOP primary. However, from Jindal's remarks to WWWL-TV, it is also clear Jindal is distancing himself from Vitter and his prostitution scandal problems. "Well a couple of things, first [Senator] Vitter's going to have to make his case with the voters, just like every candidate does. There's been a lot of speculation. Let me answer your question very directly, I'm not running for the Senate -- I'm running for re-election as governor in 2011 -- but David's going have to make his case with the voters directly just like any other candidate's going to have to do that," said Vitter.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.04.09 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

VIRGINIA GUV UPDATE; DODD HAS CANCER; MATHESON PASSES ON UTAH GUV RACE; MEMPHIS MAYOR RESIGNS TO RUN FOR CONGRESS.

VIRGINIA. A new SurveyUSA poll shows former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) increasing his lead over State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) in this year's governors race. McDonell now leads 55% to 40%. The Deeds campaign quickly attacked the validity of the numbers, noting the poll heavily over-samapled Republicans. When asked about their votes last year for President, respondents by a 9-point margin said they voted for McCain. Obama, however, carried Virginia last year. Meanwhile, former Governor Doug Wilder (D), the nation's first African-American to be elected Governor and who recently served as Mayor of Richmond, offered strong praise this week of McDonnell for the campaign he has run so far. Wilder has not yet endorsed a candidate.

CONNECTICUT. Embattled US Senator Chris Dodd (D) has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. The Senator, who has already begun treatment, has vowed to continue with his re-election campaign. Polls show Dodd -- subject of a formal ethics probe -- trailing in his race for re-election next year.

UTAH. Congressman Jim Matheson (D) -- widely seen as the strongest Democrat to run for Governor next year -- instead announced he will instead run for re-election to a sixth term in Congress. Also, former State Senate President Lane Beattie (R) has announced he will not seek the governorship next year.

TENNESSEE. Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton (D) -- the city's first African-American Mayor -- has resigned to focus full-time on his primary race for Congress next year against incumbent Steve Cohen (D). Cohen is the only white to currently represent a black-majority House district.
Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.01.09 | Permalink |

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