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QUICK TAKES: Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R) will announce his decision on Friday on whether or not he'll seek to regain his old job again next year. Polls show he'd be the strongest possible GOP candidate against Governor Rod Blagojevich (D). However, WLS-TV in Chicago is reporting GOP insiders who spoke with Edgar over the past day say "the answer is probably no ... but no final decision has been made yet" ... Judge John Roberts was confirmed for US Supreme Court Chief Justice on Thursday by a solid 78-22 vote ... DC Mayor Anthony Williams (D) announced he will not seek re-election next year. A large group of Dems are already in the race to succeed Williams ... State Senate Majority Leader Derrick Schmidt (R) said he will not run for Kansas Governor next year ... GOP candidates around the nation who accepted money from Tom DeLay's PAC or held fundraising events featuring DeLay have tough decisions to make. Do they give back the tainted money or keep it and risk being closely tied to DeLay. Congressman Jeb Bradley (R-NH) became the first to announce he'll return the $15,000 he received from DeLay's PAC ... Reliable sources tell Politics1 that former Ambassador and two-time GOP Presidential candidate Alan Keyes will become the latest Republican to cross party lines to endorse Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist (AIP-CA) in the CD-48 special election set for Tuesday. Keyes is expected to make the endorsement in California on Friday afternoon at an event celebrating the first anniversary of the controversial civilian border patrol group.

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.30.05 | Permalink |


DELAY INDICTED: US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was indicted on Wednesday by a Texas grand jury on a conspiracy charge related to a long-running state corruption investigation into campaign financing -- an action that could have shocking political repercussions. The lack of a DeLay indictment in recent months led most observers believe the threat of actual criminal charges against the powerful GOP leader had largely passed. He had assured his GOP House colleagues for months that the criminal threat had passed and he would not be indicted. DeLay and two political associates are charges with conspiring to illegally funnel corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature. If convicted, DeLay would face up to two years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. DeLay was quick to proclaim his innocence, claiming the charges were "political retribution" directed by "partisan hack" District Attorney Ronnie Earle (D). In response, Earle notes he has prosecuted nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans over the years on political charges -- including former Attorney General Jim Mattox (D), former State House Speaker Gib Lewis (D), and Supreme Court Justice Don Yarborough (D). DeLay immediately stepped aside as House Majority Leader, so as to not continue as the face of House Republicans during this critical candidate recruitment period. In a meeting behind closed doors, House Republicans elevated House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) to Majority Leader and announced House Rules Chair Dave Dreier (R-CA) would "share" leadership responsibilities with Blunt.

OPPOSING IMMIGRANTS ... AND REPUBLICANS. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) -- a 2008 White House hopeful and the leading Hill advocate of imposing a radical crackdown on immigration into the US -- broke with the GOP in the upcoming California special election for the congressional CD-48 seat recently vacated by SEC Chair Christopher Cox (R). Although ten of the 17 candidates -- including frontrunners State Senator John Campbell and former Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer -- are Republicans, Tancredo formally endorsed an ideological ally. Tancredo endorsed American Independent Party nominee Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the "Minuteman Project" of citizen border patrols. "I need Jim Gilchrist with me in Congress. Together Jim and I can fight to stop illegal immigration," said Tancredo. Based upon the most recently filed campaign finance reports, Gilchrist has outraised any of the individual Dems in the race.

SPEAKING FOR GOD. State Senator Hank Erwin (R-AL), a former radio talk show host, wrote a newspaper column about Hurricane Katrina that is causing controversy. After touring storm-ravaged areas on the Alabama and Mississippi coast last week, Erwin wrote the hurricane was God's punishment on the region for its "gambling, sin and wickedness." He continued: "Warnings year after year by godly evangelists and preachers went unheeded. So why were we surprised when finally the hand of judgment fell? ... Sadly, innocents suffered along with the guilty. Sin always brings suffering to good people as well as the bad ... New Orleans has always been know for sin ... The wages of sin is death." Equally disturbing, Alabama's NBC TV-13 conducted a poll on their website asking readers if they agreed with Erwin. The results (as of when I checked on Wednesday evening): 33% agreed.

ALABAMA. Within the next ten days, we'll know who is (or isn't) running for GOP nomination for Alabama Governor next year. On October 8, Governor Bob Riley (R) will use his birthday party to announce his candidacy for re-election. Possibly spoiling the fun for Riley will be ousted Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) -- the "Ten Commandments Judge" -- who will announce his decision on the race on October 3. Moore appears likely to enter the primary contest.

NAKED TRUTH. The Fargo Forum newspaper revealed the bare truth about Crystal Dueker, the co-founder and spokesperson of the Americans for Condi Rice '08 draft campaign. Duecker, who briefly weighed a 1998 GOP bid for US Senate against Byron Dorgan (D-ND), is apparently a "self-proclaimed nudist rights advocate."

A NAGIN SUSPICION OF INCOMPETENCE: Just so I don't come across as a shrill partisan hack (well, at least not come across entirely as one), I'll concede former FEMA Director Michael Brown wasn't the only buffoon who did damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Day after day, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) proves that he may well have been a great businessman in his past career ... but he's a truly incompetent elected official. The fiasco of the evacuation buses, his repeating of exaggerated and false reports of storm aftermath violence, his "come back ... wait, don't come back ...okay, come back ... maybe not ... wait ... okay, come back" directions to the residentsc are just a few examples of his ineptness.

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WILL LIGHTNING STRIKE TWICE? On Monday (09.26.05), we presciently wrote: "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has also been the subject of a state grand jury probe in Texas, although it appears less likely that he'll personally face any charges." I was proven wrong. Well, let's see if I can cause results twice by expressing my pessimistic views that a true investigation of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's role in the illegal leaking of the covert CIA status of spy Valerie Plame is unlikely to happen. Thus, I'd offer this prediction: "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has also been the subject of a federal investigation, although it appears less likely that he'll personally face any charges." Prove me wrong, again. Please!!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.29.05 | Permalink | \


NEW JERSEY: There's a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll out on the NJ Gov race. The numbers: US Senator Jon Corzine (D) - 48%, businessman Doug Forrester (R) - 38%.

NYC MAYOR: A new WNBC/Marist College poll shows incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg (R/IP) well placed to win re-election in November over former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer (D). The numbers: Bloomberg-53%, Ferrar-38%.

WEST VIRGINIA. US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D), 87, officially announced his candidacy for re-election on Tuesday. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito was the leading GOP prospect to oppose Byrd earlier this year. Following a series of weak independent poll numbers, Capito these days appears much less likely to oppose Byrd next year. If Capito passes on the race, WV GOP leaders are trying to convince former WVU basketball coach Gale Catlett to run against Byrd. Three little-known Republicans are already in the race. Byrd was first elected to political office in 1946, when Harry Truman was in his first term as President. He formerly served as US Senate Majority Leader and was a candidate for President in 1976.

FEMA-GATE. Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, testifying before a Congressional committee on Tuesday, said "I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it." Yeah, right -- tell it to the residents of New Orleans. Brown blamed state and local officials for all of the failures, maintaining he did what he was supposed to do.

VIRGINIA: According to the Washington Post, Virginia Democratic Party leaders apparently are trying to persuade actor and Dem activist Ben Affleck to run next year against US Senator George Allen (R). Affleck and his wife -- actress Jennifer Garner -- are reportedly already buying a home in Charlottesvillle, Virginia. A Massachusetts native and recently registered NY voter, Affleck campaigned for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Affleck's spokesman downplayed the rumors: "He would be a superb candidate for public office in the future. Right now, he's very busy directing his first feature movie." Dems apparently want to keep Allen tied down with a costly campaign in '06, in order to help derail his 2008 White House ambitions. Former Reagan Administration Navy Secretary and author James Webb -- a sharp Iraq War critic -- is also a possible Dem candidate against Allen.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

ROVE-GATE. Just a new mention so that this scandal stays in the public debate. What's the latest with the federal investigation of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's role in the illegal leaking of the covert CIA status of spy Valerie Plame? When is someone going to charged with the felony? Will it be Rove ... or Vice President Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby ... or some other White House insider?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.28.05 | Permalink |


OKLAHOMA: It appears Congressman Ernest Istook (R) has decided to enter to race against Governor Brad Henry (D). Istook is expected to announce his candidacy next Monday. A poll last week paid for by the Oklahoma Republican Party showed Istook is easily the strongest potential GOP candidate against Henry -- but the Republican poll still showed Istook could not win the race at this time. The GOP's numbers: Henry-44%, Istook-36%.

P2008: DEMS. Of the potential Democrats looking to run for President, most have lined up in opposition to the confirmation of Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Of those who have already announced positions, here is how they stand. AGAINST ROBERTS: Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry (and not eligible to vote but says he is against: John Edwards). FOR ROBERTS: Russ Feingold. To date, 15 Dem Senators have announced opposition to Roberts versus 13 Dems who announced they plan to vote for confirmation. Roberts will be confirmed with 75+ votes.

P2008: GOP. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) brought his anti-immigration message to the Granite State this week. According to the Concord Monitor, Tancredo decried the "cult of multiculturalism" and complained that "printing signs in both English and Spanish [was] ...an 'attack on [US] citizenship.'" As for the other hopefuls, Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback wrapped up visits to Michigan, George Pataki is on his way home from a NY "trade mission" to China and Finland, Newt Gingrich is heading to NH, Mike Huckabee just visited DC, and the "Draft Rice" folks bought TV time this week in Iowa (well, they'll run one primetime network spot Tuesday night).

FEMA-GATE. CBS News reported Monday that former FEMA Director Michael Brown -- who resigned in disgrace after he botched the post-storm relief efforts in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- has found a new job. You've gotta ask yourselves what morons would hire this incompetent. The answer: FEMA. Get this ... Brown "has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate its response following Hurricane Katrina." Yup, Brown is being paid to consult on how well Brown did (or didn't do) his old job. Couldn't they have just subpoenaed him for free? This one rates pretty high on the W*T*F scale!

FLORIDA: If at first you don't succeed (2000), try (2004), try (2006) again. After losing two runs for US Senate, we're hearing that former Congressman Bill McCollum (R) -- a former House Clinton Impeachment Manager -- is getting ready to enter next year's race for Florida Attorney General. He'd be the heavy favorite to win the GOP nomination. State Senator Skip Campbell -- a multimillionaire trial lawyer -- appears unlikely to face serious opposition for the Dem nomination.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

A WAR HERO FOR THE LEFT. If those progressives who oppose the Iraq War want a fallen military hero to adopt as a martyr, the soldier should clearly be Pat Tillman. Check out the detailed new profile from the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Tillman's parents, close friends, and fellow Rangers all cooperate to present a detailed look at the life and death of this former pro football star. It turns out Tillman gave up the NFL and joined the Army post-9/11 in his hope to fight Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. And -- while conservatives like Ann Coulter praised him after his death as "an American original -- virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be" -- it turns out Tillman was a liberal. He opposed the Iraq war as "illegal," urged his fellow Rangers to support John Kerry for President, and leftist Noam Chomsky was his favorite author. His family is still pressing for a truthful full-scale investigation into his death by friendly fire i n Afghanistan and the resulting cover-up. The Pentagon just launched a fourth formal review of his death, agreeing the previous three were highly flawed and misleading. "Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as," said Tillman's mother, referring to the Bush Administration.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.27.05 | Permalink |


CONGRESS. We've reported in recent months that Congressmen Duke Cunningham (R-CA) and Bill Jefferson (D-LA) are both facing separate federal political corruption investigations (and, in the case of these two, likely indictments). House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has also been the subject of a state grand jury probe in Texas, although it appears less likely that he'll personally face any charges. Well, now you can add US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) to the list of DC officials who are targets of federal corruption probes. Frist has a potential "Martha Stewart problem" -- as some are already describing it -- in that the SEC is investigating him for alleged insider trading based upon his dumping of HCA stock days before bad news was released that caused HCA stocks to substantially drop in value. HCA is the national hospital chain Frist and his family founded before he entered politics. As for Ney, the Miami Herald reported Sunday the FBI is investigating whether Ney abused his position in office to improperly help DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Abramoff business partner Adam Kidan get a better deal in 2000 when they purchased the Suncruz gambling ships operation in Florida from company founder Gus Boulis. Abramoff -- a close DeLay confidant -- and Kidan were indicted this summer on federal corruption charges in Florida related to the purchase. Boulis was later murdered in a still-unsolved mob-style hit as he drove home from work at night in 2001, when his bitter dispute with Abramoff and Kidan went public. To date, nothing has tied Abramoff and Kidan to the killing. Ney admittedly inserted damaging info about Boulis into the Congressional Record and allegedly attempted to get federal regulators interested in Boulis while Abramoff was actively negotiating the controversial purchase. Ney denies any wrongdoing.

OREGON: Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) is clearly vulnerable as he faces re-election next year. Although he has indicated he will run again, elected officials in his own party are openly lining up to oppose him in the primary. State Senator Vicki Walker, State Senator Rick Metzger and Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorensen have announced plans to challenge Kulongoski in the primary -- and all openly fear the somewhat unpopular incumbent would be vulnerable to defeat against the eventual Republican nominee. While Kulongoski would likely be able to survive a primary challenge from his more liberal rivals, a real primary threat is now emerging. Some Dem activists are trying to persuade former Governor John Kitzhaber (D) to seek a third-term comeback against his endorsed successor. Kitzhaber confirmed people are talking to him about the race -- "unsolicited" -- but that he's listening to their concerns. Kitzhaber, a physician and former State Senate President -- retired from office in '02 saying he was "burned out" and frustrated he couldn't solve enough problems as Governor. "It would take an awful lot to make me believe that I could do more good for the world [my 7-year-old son] Logan will inherit with another four years as Governor rather than with what I'm doing privately," he told the Portland Oregonian. Walker said that if Kitzhaber decided to get into the race, she expected all of Kulongoski's current primary opponents "would clear the decks" for Kitzhaber. While Kitzhaber -- who admits he is disappointed in Kulongoski's performance -- seems disinclined to run again, he made a point of not closing the door on the idea.

CALIFORNIA: Movie star and liberal activist Warren Beatty (D) continued his hard-hitting attacks on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in a speech last week. However, in subsequent comments to reporters, Beatty made it pretty clear he does not intend to seek the Dem nomination for Governor. Beatty said he believes he can achieve much in opposition to Schwarzenegger while doing so in his capacity as a private citizen.

MICHIGAN: New independent poll numbers out on the statewide races in Michigan. According to the latest EPIC/MRA poll, Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) leads billionaire businessman Dick DeVos (R) by a vote of 49% to 36%. In the US Senate race, incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) appears a safe candidate to win another term. She leads her closest opponent -- Bishop Keith Butler (R) -- by a whopping 24% margin.

A CORRECTION. I received an email from Tony Lopez-Cisneros, a candidate for Illinois State Treasurer in 2006. You see, I described TLC on our Illinois page as an "Anti-Gay Activist." In an email to Politics1, TLC demanded the following correction: "Your website indicates that I am an 'Anti-Gay Activist' ... [THIS IS] GROSSLY INACCURATE AND UNTRUE ... I AM AN ANTI-SODOMY/SODIMITE ACTIVIST & PRO-HISTORIC/AUTHORIZED-BIBLICAL/JUDEO-CHRISTIAN TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE." Thanks for clearing that up, Tony -- guess I stand corrected for being so "grossly inaccurate" -- but I still think my three-word summary was more concise. TLC is running as a Dem in '06, after making failed runs as the GOP nominee for Congress in 2002 and 2004 against Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.26.05 | Permalink |


YOUR TURN. What's on your mind?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.24.05 | Permalink |


POLITICAL APPRENTICE. Will the voters say "You're Fired" or "Your Hired" to candidates trying to launch their political careers from appearances on Donald Trump's The Apprentice TV show. Perhaps you remember the bow-tie wearing, walking stick strutting prig and womanizer Raj Bhakta from Season 2? Well, it turns out businessman Raj, 29, is exploring a run next year against Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). "Another girl who got fired from The Apprentice is off eating bugs. I've gotten off and tried to talk about issues I think are important for the country. I care deeply, and that's why I'm doing this," he explained to The Intelligencer suburban Philadelphia newspaper. "For somebody who's not well-known by the electorate, except for people who watch the television show, I would say it's an uphill battle [for Raj] ... He could be a good candidate, but it's a question of money and message," said local GOP Chair Ken Davis. Raj has already launched three websites: a personal site, a political group, and a blog. Another Apprentice - Season 2 alumni seeking political office is attorney Bradford Cohen (for show fans, he was the guy who got fired by Trump for being a nice guy who stupidly gave up his immunity). An Independent, he recently announced his candidacy for an open Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Commission seat in next year's non-partisan election. Bradford has two official websites: a personal site and a law firm site. (Personal note: Although Bradford is running in my own district, and I'm very active in local politics and serve on the City's Charter Revision Board, I don't believe I've ever seen the guy -- nor any of his little-known opponents).

TEXAS: Points to Governor Rick Perry (R) for making a very astute political move. Perry selected former State Comptroller John Sharp (D) -- his longtime rival -- to head the state's new blue ribbon panel that will seek to identify new tax sources for public education and property tax relief. In return, Sharp announced he would not run for Governor in 2006. Sharp and Perry previously faced-off in the hotly contested '98 race for Lieutenant Governor -- and recent polls showed Sharp was only Dem with a real chance of defeating Perry next year. Sharp was also the object of a slick draft campaign. "You can rule out all politics during this process. I don't intend to go to any partisan fundraisers ... I'm not very good at politics anyway. If I were good, I would be appointing him," joked Sharp. Former Congressman Chris Bell (D), State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorne (R) and country music singer Kinky Friedman (Independent) are already announced candidates against Perry.

FLORIDA: Even a GOP polling firm says that Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) is unlikely to defeat US Senator Bill Nelson (D) next year. According to the new Strategic Vision (R) poll, Nelson would defeat Harris by a 48% to 36% vote.

NEW YORK: State GOP Chair Stephen Minarik proudly announced this week to the media there would be no GOP primary for Governor or US Senate next year because all of the candidates agreed to seek the nomination at next year's State Republican Convention and pass on making primary challenges. The only problem with that is ... well ... almost none of the candidates agree with his statement. A spokesman for former Secretary of State Randy Daniels -- a gubernatorial hopeful -- said "primaries are good for the Republican Party and democracy." All three US Senate candidates -- Ed Cox, Jeanine Pirro and John Spencer -- said through spokespersons that they had not made any promises to Minarik. "Those responses and others sparked disbelief from Minarik and other GOP officials, who said the candidates had concurred with the no-primary stance during candidate screenings over the summer," reported Newsday. The Erie County GOP Chair agreed with Minarik, noting "there wasn't a single candidate that said they would run a primary." Guess they all changed their minds -- apparently deciding a primary is preferable to a boss-controlled selection process.

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EDITORIAL: CONFIRM ROBERTS. Yes, I'm a proud liberal (and also a civil libertarian lawyer). Yes, this editorial will likely piss-off some of my friends and allies. And yes, I oppose most of the positions espoused by the Bush Administration. But, when it comes to US Supreme Court nominees, Presidents are generally afforded the right to select the person of their choice so long as the nominee doesn't have seriously disqualifying flaws (i.e., the racist history of a Judge Carswell or the dark ages fringe views espoused by a Judge Bork). If I were President, I wouldn't have selected Judge John Roberts. But, if I were in the US Senate, I would have to take the position espoused by Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and others. Here is how Feingold explained it: "Judge Roberts's impeccable legal credentials, his reputation and record as a fair-minded person, and his commitment to modesty and respect for precedent have persuaded me that he will not bring an ideological agenda to the position of Chief Justice of the United States and that he should be confirmed." Added Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), "I will vote my hopes today and not my fears." I agree. Not enthusiastically -- but I agree. There was no testimony produced, nor evidence advanced, to reasonably disqualify Roberts. Could Roberts have misled the Judiciary Committee? Yes. Could Roberts be seeking to advance a Scalia-like radical right agenda? Possibly. Do I have concerns? Yes. But there is nothing in the record of the confirmation hearings that would disqualify him. Roberts would not have been my first choice for the US Supreme Court. He wouldn't have been my tenth choice, either. But I would vote to confirm him (just as many conservative Senators voted to confirm liberal Justices Ginsberg and Breyer during the Clinton Administration). Let us pray Roberts meant what he said during his confirmation hearings. And let us pray even harder that the nominee for the O'Connor seat is a centrist more in the O'Connor mold -- because that seat will be the real fight.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.23.05 | Permalink |


P2008? It is tough to figure out what is up these days with former US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). Defeated for re-election in 2004, Daschle has recently reactivated and renamed his old leadership PAC. Gone is the old DASHPAC moniker, replaced by "New Leadership for America PAC." He's also transferred $500,000 from his old group to the new one. Daschle originally created the DASHPAC group when he was looking to raise his profile in anticipation of a possible '04 Presidential race. Further, the Washington Post reports Dashcle will be speaker -- "a coveted slot for any 2008 aspirant" -- at the upcoming Iowa Democratic Party annual dinner. Does all this mean Daschle is looking at a White House run or other political comeback. If he's looking for an office to seek, the SD Dems still don't have a viable candidate for Governor next year.

KENTUCKY: During his close re-election battle last year, newspaper stories raised questions about US Senator Jim Bunning's (R) mental capacity. Certainly, Bunning acted belligerent and erratic during the close weeks. Well, Bunning weighed in now with an opinion that places him at odds with most other GOP leaders in his state. In comments to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Bunning said he expects embattled Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) will win the 2007 GOP primary -- and went on to say Fletcher's renomination "would be best for the party." The Kentucky Dems certainly hope Bunning proves correct.

NEBRASKA: Former Navy pilot Shane Osborn (R) announced Wednesday that he will not run against US Senate Ben Nelson (D) next year. Recent polls placed Osborn -- who gained fame for his heroism when his place was forced down by the Chinese in 2001 -- in a solid second place for the GOP nomination. Instead, the 31-year-old Osborn said he will oppose State Treasurer Ron Ross in next year's GOP primary.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

NEW YORK: Jeff Cook -- an attorney and former National Field Director of the gay Log Cabin Republicans -- has launched a primary challenge against Congresswoman Sue Kelly (R-NY). Cook, 26, says that the incumbent has "lost sight of the Contract With America." He attacks Kelly for supporting excessive "pork" and "larger and larger government." The American Conservative Union has also blasted Kelly for many of her votes on budget and tax issues. Cook hopes to raise money from gay activists nationwide, and says Republican primary voters shouldn't have a problem with his views on the issues they care most about. Kelly's spokesperson wouldn't directly acknowledge Cook's candidacy, but said: "When the time comes, [Kelly] will run an aggressive campaign just like she always does." Three Dems are also running: attorney Judy Aydelott, political fundraiser Darren Rigger, and teacher Bert Shuldiner.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.22.05 | Permalink |


P2008: Despite inside-the-beltway buzz that the White House is imminently planning to name Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) as the "Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Czar" -- or whatever catchy moniker they give it -- Romney says the rumors are wrong. "Our office hasn't been contacted by the White House nor has our office contacted the White House about this. Governor Romney loves the job he has and is intent on serving his full term," said Romney's press secretary on Tuesday. The 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Committee brought Romney in to manage the games after they became enmeshed in an embarrassing bribery scandal -- giving the venture capitalist a reputation as an effective troubleshooter. Romney has yet to decide if he will seek re-election next year or instead run for President in 2008. Political trivia: Of Romney's three immediate predecessors, two resigned to accept federal appointments.

VIRGINIA: Yet another poll shows the gubernatorial contest narrowing. The new SurveyUSA poll placed former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) at 46%, Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D) at 43%, and State Senator Russ Potts (Independent) at 4%.

SUPREME COURT: US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he will vote against confirmation of Judge John Roberts as the next Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Despite this, look for Roberts to be easily confirmed.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

FLORIDA: According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Congressman Clay Shaw (R-FL) is upset that liberal Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) -- who represents an adjoining district -- is helping raise money for Shaw's opponent. You see, Shaw worries that having a viable opponent means he will have to spend his campaign money on his own '06 campaign (i.e., he cannot distribute it in donations to other congressional Republicans around the nation in an attempt to score votes for Shaw's bid to become Ways & Means Committee Chair in the next Congress). Shaw told the newspaper "the Florida delegation should be unified behind his quest and stay out of his re-election race." DWS -- who proudly described herself as "a partisan Democrat" -- disagrees: "I have a documented reputation of working both sides of the aisles. I also believe we should elect more Democrats." In past years, members of the Florida Congressional delegation -- regardless of party -- had an unspoken agreement to never actively help the opponent of any Florida incumbent. DWS is a rising star in the Dems who is clearly breaking from the politics-as-usual traditions. (Note: If this was Texas, does anyoe think Tom DeLay would have any reservations about working to defeat Texas Dem incumbents?)
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.21.05 | Permalink |


KENTUCKY: You can almost hear the shouts of "Dead Man Walking!" Yup, Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) announced this week he plans to run for re-election in 2007 -- even as he remains the target of a state hiring criminal ethics probe. "I see that it's going to be more challenging, but I do believe we can move forward," he said. Fletcher was embarrassed this week when he demanded the ouster of the State GOP Chair and the Kentucky Republican leadership -- with the reported backing of powerful US Senator Mitch McConnell -- refused to even consider Fletcher's demand. In fact, WHAS-TV reported that McConnell "is in a not-so-private fight with Fletcher." McConnell is reportedly one of those trying to drum-up a serious primary challenge to Flecther in '07. State Agriculture Secretary Richie Farmer, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, Congresswoman Anne Northup, and State Senate President David Williams are reportedly among the growing list of Republicans interested in challenging Fletcher. Grayson is believed to be McConnell's preferred candidate against Fletcher.

VIRGINIA: The latest Richmond Times-Dispatch/Mason-Dixon poll shows this year's race for Governor has further narrowed. According to the newspaper, former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) now holds a "statistically insignificant" lead over Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D), with GOP State Senator Russ Potts (Independent) trailing far behind. The numbers: Kilgore-41%, Kaine-40%, Potts-6%. In further analysis, the newspaper reported that "Kaine and Kilgore have their bases intact, [while] the Democrat appears to have a negligible advantage among those voters who typically decide Virginia contests: independents ... [and Potts is] apparently less of threat to Kilgore than he was two months ago."

ALABAMA: Ousted State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) -- the self-proclaimed "Ten Commandments Judge" -- told the Birmingham News he will make a formal decision next month about running for Alabama Governor. "We've got a war going on and most Christians are asleep ... I'll let you know if I decide to run ... There are things to consider. Politics hasn't always exactly been kind to me," said Moore. In other Alabama news, former Governor Don Siegelman (D) -- indicted last year on corruption charges he claims are politically motivated -- confirmed this past weekend that he will be a candidate for his old job next year.

P2008: The private Carter-Baker Commission -- that's former President Jimmy Carter (D) and former US Secretary of State James Baker (R) -- have released their bipartisan recommendations for electoral reforms. Officially called the Commission on Federal Election Reform, the group suggested a major overhaul of the Presidential primary process. In a salute to tradition, they suggest allowing Iowa and New Hampshire to remain the first two contests -- but say changes are needed in what follows. They suggest four regional series of primaries -- staggered one month apart and with the regional order rotated every four years. The group also proposed auditable paper trails for electronic voting machines, requiring voters to produce photos IDs at the polls on Election Day, and moving the voter registration process from the local level to the state level.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

NEW MEXICO: Ohio is currently dealing with "Coin-gate" -- the state investment fiasco that has mired the Taft Administration in an ongoing corruption probe. Well, now New Mexico's state government is facing a similarly embarrassing investment fiasco. State Treasurer Robert Vigil (D) and former State Treasurer Michael Montoya (D) were both arrested and charged with felony racketeering charges for allegedly lucrative steering state business contracts to investment advisers in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks. According to the indictment, three financial advisers paid state commissions for helping invest public funds directed the cash to Vigil and Montoya. Both men -- who face 20 years in prison apiece if convicted -- pled not guilty in their initial court appearances and were released on their own recognizance. "I feel I’ve done a great job and continue to do a great job," said Vigil, who stated he will not resign. Montoya refused to comment.

NEW YORK: The NY Independence Party -- a spin-off from Ross Perot's faded national political network -- purged itself in recent days of controversial Marxist psychotherapist Dr. Lenora Fulani and five of her followers. Fulani played a leading role in the NYIP for years, but her recent anti-Semitic statements -- calling Jews "mass murderers of people of color" -- prompted the ouster. Fulani, the former leader of the defunct New Alliance Party, achieved ballot status in all 50 states as a Presidential candidate in 1988. An overwhelming majority of the State Executive Committee -- 74% -- voted to remove Fulani and her allies. "Dr. Fulani's continuing need to falsely portray herself as the leader of the Independence Party along with her inflammatory, wrongheaded remarks about the Jewish people has caused our party's leadership to take this action, " explained State Party Chair Frank MacKay. The world is filled with "a ton" of anti-Semites, answered a disappointed Fulani, "but Lenora Fulani isn't one of them."

HURRICANE RITA AND SHARKS: Our office is closed Tuesday because we're under a storm watch (yet again) for the day, so it sounds like a great morning to get out and do some boardsurfing on double overheads. In the realm of close encounters, I was just out swimming Sunday afternoon and -- about 70 yards off the beach -- found myself swimming in the middle of a large school of flying fish. That was pretty cool, but then I caught a quick splash beyond a nearby wave and saw a flying fish yanked backwards out of the water and pulled down. Before I had time to even think WTF, I had a four-foot shark quickly buzz past me about a foot or so below the surface (maybe 3 to 4 feet away). Hey, I was in his home and it was his food I was in the middle of, so I quickly swam away. In all my years of playing in the ocean, it was only my second shark close encounter (the first was years ago in Mexico, on the far side of a coral reef, and it was a really BIG, scary shark). Real sharks always seem much more menacing than political sharks. Thus, I live to blog another day!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.20.05 | Permalink |


MISSISSIPPI. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Mississippi home of US Senator Trent Lott (R) -- causing Lott to consider retiring from politics next year. Lott told the Washington Post his family home in Pascagoula was his to be his retirement nest egg, he has "no personal wealth" and his political career "has already crested." Lott, 63, would like to become Senate Republican Whip if current #3 GOP leader Rick Santorum (R-PA) loses for re-election next year -- but he also realizes he could opt to retire next year and earn big bucks as a DC lobbyist. "It's very, very tough," said Lott of the choice he is facing. He promises to make a decision later this year. If Lott retires, potential candidates for his open seat would include Congressman Chip Pickering (R), former Governor Ray Mabus (D), former Attorney General Mike Moore (D) and Congressman Gene Taylor (D). FYI: Taylor's home was also destroyed by the hurricane.

CALIFORNIA: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) ended speculation that he was considering leaving office next year. Instead, he announced on Friday he will seek re-election in 2006. Polls shows Schwarzenegger locked in a very tight contest against either of his two leading Democratic challengers: State Controller Steve Westly and State Treasurer Phil Angelides. In related news, State Senator Joe Dunn (D) announced his candidacy the same day for State Controller. In a true picture of indecision, this is the third statewide office Dunn has announced for in 2006. He previously announced -- then quit -- runs for Attorney General and State Treasurer when better known candidates entered those contests.

HAWAII: What Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) is to the Republicans, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle (R) is the Democrats. Both women are up for re-election next year, are members of the decidedly minority party in their respective states, and yet both lack major challengers (although Sebelius does have some second-tier challengers). In Hawaii, Democrats are having even more problems. Retired Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki confirmed he is moving back to Hawaii, but said he will not run against Lingle in 2006. The former Army General left open, however, the possibility that he may run for political office someday. This news means the only announced Lingle challengers to date are nightclub crooner Brian Evans (D) and comic Ozell Daniel (Libertarian). Lots of Dem names floating, but none of them appear to be stepping forward.

A BLATANT PITCH FOR ADS: Politics1 records over 160,000 page views weekly. Have your Blogad seen by all those political eyes for just $85 for one week. Click here for to learn more about our Blogads opportunities. Here's another special offer (but you gotta order this one directly through us) ... Campaigns and candidates: Place your ads on the one state page you want to target for only $50 per month. Email us for more info. (And, despite my personal politics, I'm a good businessman and believer in freedom of speech ... so I'll sell the space to just about anyone who wants to pay for it.)

GERMANY: Despite all pre-election polls showing that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) would certainly lose power in Sunday's German national elections, it appears that conservative challenger Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU) finished in a virtual tie with Schroeder -- and both are far short of the parliamentary majority needed to form a new government. The results: CDU/CSU - 34%, SPD - 33%. Even if Schroeder partners with the Greens (8%), and Merkel partners with the free market FDP (10%) -- as both had planned to do -- neither reaches the majority mark. The Left Party, a new entity comprised mainly of the former Communist Party, captured 9% -- but Schroeder and Merkel both said they would not include the Left Party in any coalition government. The remaining percentage was captured by fringe parties. In terms of parliamentary seats, here are the totals: CDU/CSU - 225 seats, SDP - 222, FDP - 61, Greens - 51, Left Party - 54. While both Schroeder and Merkel claimed victory -- and each vowed to form the next German government -- it looks very likely they will be forced to form a shaky, power-sharing "unity" government that includes both the CDU/CSU and SPD leaders.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.19.05 | Permalink |


YOUR TURN. I've been just way too busy at work during these recent days ... and now am way too exhausted this evening to write much ... so, use the open thread to post news, comments, etc. You folks are in charge for the day.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.16.05 | Permalink |


NEW YORK CITY: While former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer fell less than 0.05% short of the total number of 40% requirement to avoid a September 27 run-off, he still finds himself today being the Democratic nominee for NYC Mayor. This was Ferrer's third attempt to capture the nomination. Congressman Anthony Weiner, who finished second place with 29%, conceded the race to Ferrer and surprisingly declined his right to compete in the run-off. "It was a difficult decision ... but I believe it is the right thing to do ... We must start getting behind Freddy Ferrer right away if we are to beat a Republican like Mayor Bloomberg," said Weiner to the New York Times. Weiner -- who will certainly earn future goodwill for promoting party unity -- is expected to again run for Mayor in four years if Bloomberg wins another term. Ferrer will face incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg in November. Polls show Bloomberg holding a wide lead. Several third party candidates are also running.

SUPREME COURT: No nominee yet named for the O'Connor seat ... and Judge John Roberts appears cruising to an easy Senate confirmation as the next Chief Justice. With Roberts' answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee -- to wit: that he greatly values upholding precedent and that he explicitly recognizes a constitutional right to privacy -- will ensure his confirmation with broad support. While Roberts is an ideological conservative, his answers vaguely implied he would uphold Roe v. Wade (abortion), Lawrence v. Texas (gay rights), and other similar historic rulings. Yes, he skirted any direct answers on Roe and other controversies -- but with enough wiggle room to leave partisans on both the left and right skeptical and uneasy.

RHODE ISLAND: Governor Don Carcieri (R) continues to hold a comfortable lead in his race for re-election, according to a new Brown University poll. Carcieri leads Lieutenant Governor Charlie Fogarty (D) by a 42% to 31% vote. Interestingly, both men lost support: Carcieri is down 6-points and Fogarty is down 8-points since the last Brown Univ poll three months ago.

GAY RIGHTS: Wednesday was a very good day for supporters of gay rights laws. In DC, the US House unexpectedly passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act by a 223-199 vote. The bill explicitly includes sexual orientation as a protected category within the hate crimes law. While this bill has passed before in the US Senate, it always met with failure in the House. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the State House defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage by an overwhelming and bipartisan 157-39 vote. The same proposal passed last year by a 105-92 vote. The amendment had to be approved by the legislature in two consecutive years in order to appear on the ballot. "Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the Commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry. This amendment which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a [needed] compromise today," said State Senator Brian Lees (R). By contrast, State Representative Phil Travis (D) complained: "The union of two women and two men can never consummate a marriage ... The other 49 states are right and we are wrong."

NEW JERSEY: Wealthy businessman Doug Forrester (R) has an explanation why he is now trailing US Senator Jon Corzine (D) by a 20-point margin in the latest polls. Forrester tells the AP his decline in the polls should be attributed to "a backlash against the Bush Administration's handling of the hurricane relief effort."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.15.05 | Permalink |


NEW YORK CITY: Voters cast primary ballots on Tuesday in NYC to help decide which Democrat will face incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg in November. Turnout was rather low. With 99.7% of the precincts counted, former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer was leading with 39.9%, followed by Congressman Anthony Weiner in second with 28.9%. It appears that Ferrer narrowly missed the key 40% threshold needed to win the nomination without a run-off. Thus -- and nothing will likely be final for a few days in a primary this close -- look for a very competitive Ferrer vs. Weiner run-off on September 27.

MONTANA: According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, US Senator Conrad Burns (R) continues to hold a solid lead over his two most likely Democratic opponents. Burns leads State Auditor John Morrison (D) by a vote of 51% to 39%. Burns also defeated State Senate President Jon Tester (D) by a vote of 51% to 38%. Morrison and Tester both have name I.D. levels of under 50%, meaning both have room to improve as voters learn more about them. Morrison is viewed as a more centrist Dem, while Tester is a favorite of more liberal activists. Businessman Clint Wilkes and former State Representative Paul Richards are also seeking the Democratic nomination, but were not included in the poll.

RHODE ISLAND: A new Brown University poll shows moderate US Senator Lincoln Chafee (R) holding an advantage over both his primary and Democratic challengers. Chafee would currently defeat conservative Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey by a 20-point margin in the GOP primary. For Dems, centrist former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse leads liberal Secretary of State Matt Brown by a 32% to 16% vote in the primary contest. Here are the general election matchups: Chafee-38%, Whitehouse-26% ... Chafee-41%, Brown-18% ... Whitehouse-35%, Laffey-25% ... Brown-30%, Laffey-26%. President Bush, meanwhile, scored a 25% approval rating -- meaning that Chafee's perceived independence from Bush will be a plus for him if he survives the GOP primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.14.05 | Permalink |


NEW YORK CITY: Voters go to the polls in NYC today to cast primary ballots. While incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg is unopposed for the GOP and Independence nominations. In the Democratic mayoral primary, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer has been the frontrunner from the outset -- although he has seen his once commanding lead drop as primary day neared. Congressman Anthony Weiner has come on strong with a solid advertising campaign, leaping from the back of the pack to a close second place in the polls. Ferrer and Weiner will likely advance to a run-off, as no candidate looks likely to capture the 40% needed to score an immediate win. Also, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau (D) -- age 86 -- is facing the toughest primary challenge of his long career. While you may not have ever heard of him, Morgenthau was reportedly the role model for the original D.A. Adam Schiff character on the first several seasons of Law & Order. His challenger is former sex crimes prosecutor and former Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, 63, who also serves as a consultant for the hit TV show and appeared in several episodes as a judge.

MICHIGAN: It took less than two months, but eventually the bottomless financial resources of businessman Dick DeVos (R) scared away all GOP primary opposition in the gubernatorial contest. State Senator Nancy Cassis quit the race on Monday, making her the last of three state legislators to exit from the contest after several months of campaigning. Like the earlier departures, Cassis endorsed DeVos. The billionaire Amway heir will face Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) next year.

CONGRESSIONAL OUTLOOK: Respected political pundit Stu Rothenberg is out with a new edition of his US House outlook for 2006. In the new issue of The Rothenberg Political Report, he wrote: "Republicans have few Democratic targets next year, and GOP insiders acknowledge that for them 2006 will largely be a test of whether they can hold what they've already won. They will have a measurable financial advantage for the cycle. Democrats have recruited more top tier challengers than have the Republicans , but they don't now have enough opportunities to net 15 seats and control of the House of Representatives. Still, atmospherics could give Democrats a significant boost next year, handing the party a few seats that they would not win in a neutral political environment. For that reason, we would expect modest but not insignificant Democratic gains in the order of 4-6 seats, or possibly even a bit higher. Democrats would need a major wave to exceed those levels."

NEW JERSEY: US Senator Jon Corzine's (D) lead over businessman Doug Forrester (R) continues to grow. According to the latest Newark Star Ledger/Rutgers poll, Corzine has a 20-point advantange over Forrester among registered voters -- and holds an 18% lead among likely voters.

NORTH DAKOTA: The White House is continuing to put pressure on Governor John Hoeven (R) to challenge US Senator Kent Conrad (D) next year. Fifty state polls simultaneously conducted recently for SurveyUSA showed that both Conrad and Hoeven had among the highest approval ratings of any Senators and Governors in the nation -- meaning this would be a hot contest. Adding to the pressure will be a new poll conducted by PMR for the Fargo Forum newspaper. The results in a direct matchup: Hoeven-35%, Conrad-27%, Uncommitted-38%. Why the very high undecided? Probably, we'd guess, because most ND voters seems to truly like both men. Hoeven just won re-election last year, so he could make the race without risking his job -- but he still hasn't made any decision on the race.

BROWN OUT: Not that anyone didn't expect it, but Bush Administration FEMA Director Mike Brown quit on Monday amid complaints about his inept performance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the false claims Time magazine uncovered in Brown's professional resume. Victims died because of his poor response, so good riddance.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.13.05 | Permalink |


VIRGINIA: A new Washington Post poll shows former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) leading Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D) by a vote of 45% to 41%, with 5% for State Senator Russ Potts (Independent).

VERMONT: State Representative David Zuckerman (Progressive) launched his campaign for the state's lone congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Bernie Sanders (Independent). Zuckerman's candidacy has the potential to split the liberal vote, possibly aiding the eventual GOP nominee.

KANSAS: Some top GOP leaders and donors are trying to recruit USAF General Dick Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to run for Governor next year. Myers is retiring from the military next month. According to the Hutchinson News, US Senator Sam Brownback is among those involved in the effort.

OHIO: Former steel company president John Hritz quit his GOP primary campaign against US Senator Mike DeWine last week. Instead, Hritz will challenge State Treasurer Jennette Bradley in her GOP primary. In related news, Congressman Tim Ryan (D) announced he would not challenge DeWine next year. Ryan joined Congressmen Sherrod Brown, Ted Strickland and others who are encouraging Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett to oppose DeWine.

P2008: Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is probably not hoping for much support in the 2008 Louisiana Presidential caucuses. He was one of only eleven Members of Congress -- all Republicans -- who voted against the $51.8 billion in emergency relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "The urgent need of resources does not excuse us from our duty to safeguard the American taxpayers’ money," explained Tancredo, who said much more oversight was needed before he'd support any appropriation for storm victims.

CONNECTICUT: Liberal college professor John Orman ended his Democratic primary challenge to US Senator Joe Lieberman, who Orman said was far too conservative and too friendly to President Bush to represent a progressive blue state. Orman noted he had raised just $1,000 versus Lieberman's $3.8 million.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.12.05 | Permalink |


YOUR TURN. Have at it.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.10.05 | Permalink |


RHODE ISLAND: Despite behind the scenes pressure from party leaders to instead run for Lieutenant Governor, conservative Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey announced Thursday he would challenge moderate US Senator Lincoln Chafee in next year's GOP primary. Rhode Island is one of the more liberal states in the nation, and some GOP strategists fear that a hotly contested primary could either weaken Chafee for the general election or advance Laffey into a general election race he is too conservative to win. Chafee angered party loyalists in recent years by his record of frequently siding with Senate Democrats, his pro-choice views, his on-and-off flirtation with switching parties, and his announcement last year that he wasn't voting for President Bush's re-election. Still, Republicans are split into two camps: one believe they need someone as independent and liberal as Chafee to hold the seat in this blue state, versus the other group that note conservative Republicans like Governor Don Carcieri were able to win statewide races. Which faction is right? I guess we'll next year on September 12th. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Matt Brown, former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse and business appraiser Carl Sheeler will compete for the Democratic nomination. Does an incumbent losing a primary hand the seat to the opposing party? Not always. Here are the incumbent US Senators who lost primaries since 1980: Jacob Javits (NY - GOP held seat), Don Stewart (AL - Dems lost seat), Dick Stone (FL - Dems lost seat), Mike Gravel (AK - Dems lost seat), Alan Dixon (IL - Dems held seat), Bob Smith (NH - GOP held seat), and Sheila Frahm (KS - GOP held seat).

IRAQ: Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday told ABC News his pre-war speech to the United Nations accusing Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction was a "blot" on his career. "It was painful -- it is painful now," said Powell, because it "will always be a part of my record." Powell went on to say he was "devastated" by the fact that "people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of those sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up." Powell added he never believed there was any connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and the 9-11 Al Qaeda terrorists. "I can't think otherwise, because I'd never seen evidence to suggest there was one," he added.

CONNECTICUT: Secretary of State Sue Bysiewicz (D) is scheduled to announce Friday she's quitting the race against Governor Jodi Rell (R). Instead, Bysiewicz plans to seek re-election. With her exit, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy are the two remaining contenders for the Democratic nomination. Lieutenant Governor Kevin Sullivan (D) may still jump into the contest, as could Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- although Blumenthal's name floats every four years and he never jumps into the race.

TENNESSEE: State Representative and former State GOP Chair Beth Harwell quit the US Senate race this week. Harwell said she is "confident" several of the other Republicans in the race could each win the seat. Instead, observers believe Harwell is re-tooling herself to jump into the race against Governor Phil Bredesen (D). No major Republican has yet entered the Guv race in this fairly Republican state. Even if she enters the contest, the popular Bredersen would remain favored to win a second term.

NEBRASKA: An independent poll conducted for the Lincoln Journal-Star shows Congressman Tom Osborne holding a comfortable but dwindling lead over Governor Dave Heineman in next year's GOP primary. The numbers: Osborne-49%, Heineman-37%, and businessman Dave Nabity-4%. Another independent poll conducted four months ago showed Osborne holding a 40-point lead over Heineman. Osborne acknowledged he's lost ground to the incumbent, which he attributed to being away working in DC much of the year. He told the newspaper his congressional responsibilities often place him in the position of being “out of sight, out of mind." In the GOP primary for US Senate, former Attorney General Don Stenberg led with 36%, followed by former Navy pilot Shane Osborne at 21%, former State GOP Chair David Kramer at 3%, and wealthy Ameritrade heir Pete Ricketts last with 2%. "I’m honored that Nebraskans consider me a viable candidate even when I’m not in the race," said Osborne, who promised to make a decision on the race by the end of this month. The winner will face incumbent Ben Nelson (D), the most conservative Dem in the US Senate.

"IS THAT A CLASSIFIED ANTI-TERROR REPORT IN YOUR PANTS OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?" A federal judge on Thursday fined former Clinton Administration Security Advisor Sandy Berger $50,000, placed him on two years probation, ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service, and barred him for three years from having any access to classified government records for three years -- in exchange for not having to serve any prison time. Berger pled guilty to secretly removing classified documents from the National Archives by hiding them in his clothing. Prosecutors recommended only a $10,000 fine. "The court finds the fine is inadequate because it doesn't reflect the seriousness of the offense," said the judge. Berger admitted to the court he removed the Clinton Administration documents on terrorism -- and destroyed some -- while preparing to testify before the 9-11 Commission. "I let considerations of personal convenience override clear rules of handling classified material," said Berger.

HURRICANE KATRINA: In our home, it's strangely personal to watch the New Orleans stories on TV. My other half, Dana, went to law school in New Orleans and over the last two days he saw on TV both of the homes he had lived in: the one near Tulane was mainly under water, and the one in the Garden District burned down yesterday. In related news, the much-publicized FEMA memo to journalists instructing them to not photograph any of the thousands of bodies that litter New Orleans is rather bizarre. So ... if you don't photograph them or show them to us, then they're not really there? People died. We all know it. FEMA is just so pathetic. Anyways ... please join us in helping the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.09.05 | Permalink |


THE SUPREMES. Some conservative blogs claim US Attorney General Al Gonzales has quietly taken himself out of consideration for Justice Sandra O'Connor's open seat -- and, to date, there is nothing that confirms these rumors -- while other leading conservatives continue to openly fret that Bush will pick his centrist friend Gonzales anyways. Some key Republican US Senators -- including Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter (R-PA), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) -- have called on President Bush to find a woman to replace O'Connor on the Court. By contrast, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) said the President should simply pick the best candidate regardless of gender or ethnicity.

CALIFORNIA: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) must now face a tough choice on the gay marriage issue. This week the California Legislature approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriages in the state. The bill is now before Schwarzenegger, who must decide whether to sign it or veto it. In the face of dismal approval ratings, he must decide what is best for his potential re-election plans next year. Does he shore up his base with conservative Republicans by vetoing it ... or does he sign it in an attempt to win over socially liberal swing voters? A few months ago -- when chances of passage looked unlikely -- Schwarzenegger indicated he would likely sign the bill if it reached his desk. Now he's waffling, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, in other California news, US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) holds a comfortable margin in her 2006 race for re-election. The latest Field Poll shows DiFi leading multimillionaire technology executive Bill Mundell (R) by a 56% to 30% vote. Postscript: Schwarzenegger's office announced Wednesday evening he will veto the gay marriage bill "out of respect" for the state's voters who voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage proposition five years ago.

NEW YORK CITY: A new Quinnipiac University poll shows incumbent NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (R) remains in great shape to win re-election. What is rather interesting, however, in the latest poll is the changing look of the Dem primary. Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer -- the early Dem frontrunner -- continues to lead, but with unimpressive numbers. Meanwhile, Congressman Anthony Weiner has steadily climbed from last place a few months ago to second place today. Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields continues to drop, while NYC Council Speaker Gifford Miller remains mired in third. The Dem numbers: Ferrer-32%, Weiner-21%, Miller-17%, Fields-13%. With the primary less than a week away, it looks like Ferrer and Weiner will advance to a Dem run-off. The winner will face Bloomberg in November.

HURRICANE RICK: Earlier this week former First Lady Barbara Bush told a Texas radio reporter that it "was scary" that many of the displaced New Orleans storm victims may decide to permanently stay in the Lone Star state. She even went so far as make a joke about the poverty of the victims: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this [she chuckles] is working very well for them." Well, US Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) just went and out did those comments for outrageousness. In a local TV interview on Tuesday, Santorum said: "There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving." Let me repeat that one: Santorum called for "tougher penalties" for poor people who are abandoned by their government and are unable to leave before a killer storm strikes!! Even Santorum soon realized he had gone way too far in his remarks. A few hours later Santorum clarified them: "Obviously, most of the people here in this case, an overwhelming majority of people, just literally couldn't have gotten out on their own .. and that really was a failure on the part of local officials ... I criticized the Mayor, the Governor, the President, FEMA, and I criticized those who should have left and could have left and didn't, and that is a problem. For the people who couldn't leave, we let them down."

HURRICANE KATRINA: Please help the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.08.05 | Permalink |


KATRINA UPDATE. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says there is plenty of blame to around -- including for himself -- because leaders at the local, state and federal levels all grossly failed the city's residents. Nagin also issued orders on Tuesday evening to the NOPD to remove the estimated 10,000 still remaining in the city. Under Nagin's order, the police are instructed "to compel the evacuation of all persons ... regardless of whether such persons are on private property or do not desire to leave."

MISSOURI: A new poll shows the US Senate race is likely to be very hotly contested. According to the Rasmussen Reports survey of likely voters, US Senate Jim Talent (R) and State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) are already tied with 46% apiece. Talent is strongest with voters in the 30-40 age range, while McCaskill runs best with voters under 30 and over 65. If these kind of polling numbers continue, look for this one to quickly jump to the top of the DSCC and NRSC target races.

VIRGINIA: Perhaps the Virginia Farm Bureau should consider growing a spine. The group's political arm -- Virginia AgPAC -- decided to endorse both Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D) and former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) in this year's gubernatorial contest. "Both candidates have worked closely with Farm Bureau on issues critical to the viability of agriculture and forestry in Virginia ... We look forward to supporting both campaigns," said the group's leader. Virginia AgPAC had no problem, however, taking sides in the races for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General: they endorsed the GOP nominees in both races.

CALIFORNIA: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) approval rating continue to plummet. According to the latest Field Poll, 52% of California disapprove of his performance versus 36% who approve. Even among Republicans, nearly a quarter give the Gov a failing grade. While Schwarzenegger has yet to make any formal decision on seeking re-election next year, he appears to be assembling a campaign team of consultants.

NEW YORK: Conservative Party activist George Marlin is trying to sink any chance former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld (R) has of winning his party's nomination next year for NY Governor, according to the New York Post. Marlin -- who was the party's nominee for NYC Mayor in 1993 -- researched and wrote a compilation of Weld's past quotes, and mailed it to hundreds of party leaders around the state. Here are some of the Weld quotes reprinted in the report: (1) "I consider myself a pretty good friend of Bill Clinton and quite a good friend of Hillary Rodham"; (2) "[I am] culturally more like an urban Democrat than a suburban Republican"; (3) "[Legal late-term abortions are] a price I would pay in order to have government stay out of the thicket"; and (4) "I do have gay friends who plan to seek a marriage license, and if legally empowered to do so, I would be glad to help officiate at the proceedings." Conservative Party State Chair Michael Long told the newspaper it would be "difficult" for Weld to win the party's nomination next year. No GOP candidate has won for NY Governor in over 35 years without also having the Conservative ballot line. An independent poll out last week also showed that billionaire businessman and frequent candidate Tom Golisano would run substantially stronger than Weld against Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) -- although both men would still handily lose to Spitzer.

KENTUCKY: Former Congressman Carroll Hubbard (D) -- a convicted felon -- is trying to make a political comeback. Hubbard, who served in Congress from 1975-93, lost his 1992 primary due to his legal problems. Later convicted of felony campaign finance violations, Hubbard served a sentence in federal prison from 1995-97. Since he release, his license to practice law was reinstated. This week, Hubbard filed paperwork to run against State Senator Bob Leeper (Independent) -- a Democrat who switched to the GOP in '99 before becoming an Independent earlier this year. "I sincerely believe people realize I made huge mistakes, paid the penalties -- both prison and monetarily," said Hubbard, who told the AP he hopes voters "would focus more on the future than the past."

HURRICANE KATRINA: Please help the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.07.05 | Permalink |


QUICK UPDATES. Encouraging the remaining residents to leave New Orleans -- residents who refuse to leave -- the city's police chief sadly declared the city as "completely destroyed." Still, some are resisting evacuation. The New Orleans Times-Picayune printed an open letter to President Bush, urging him to fire FEMA Director Mike Brown for his inept response. In political news, President Bush quickly nominated Appeals Court Judge John Roberts on Monday to be the next Chief Justice. The White House had initially viewed Roberts as a candidate for Chief Justice earlier this year, but then Rehnquist decided against retiring. Instead, Roberts was originally nominated for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Sandra O'Connor. Since Roberts was already thoroughly vetted -- and appeared likely to cruise to an easy confirmation for O'Connor's seat -- he's a safe bet to win confirmation as Chief Justice. The focus will now turn to finding a replacement for O'Connor -- with all the usual suspects in play again.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Help the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.06.05 | Permalink |


QUICK UPDATES. On our ongoing Hurricane Katrina coverage, Politics1 salutes Army Lieutenant General Russ Honore for producing solid results in New Orleans to help the victims and end the suffering. I'd also salute New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for his frank talk and his willingness to take to the streets and improve the situation. Finally -- while many criticize the pathetic post-hurricane relief responses in Louisiana and Mississippi -- most agree that Alabama Governor Bob Riley quickly and effectively got his state's relief efforts moving right after the storm moved out. True, Alabama was the least damaged of the three states -- but Riley still did a good job responding to the destruction there. Meanwhile, in political news, US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist died over the weekend at age 80 after a long battle with cancer. Agree or disagree with his conservative views, Rehnquist will go down in history as one of the most influential Chief Justice's to ever serve. President Bush should be able to quickly name a replacement, as every name in play for the Rehnquist seat was previously in play for the O'Connor seat (except, of course, for the names of current Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) and background reviews were already conducted. Appeals Court Judges Harvie Wilkinson and Michael Luttig, and Attorney General Al Gonzales are mentioned as perceived frontrunners. One of the favorite rumors buzzing inside the beltway is that President Bush will ask retiring Associate Justice Sandra O'Connor to be Chief Justice because she would easily be confirmed -- but I wouldn't bet much money on that one ... ... Also, we've added the Russ Feingold page to the P2008 section.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Help the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.05.05 | Permalink |


QUICK UPDATES. When I posted my outraged editorial yesterday -- highly critical of the New Orleans disaster response and the US Department of Homeland Security -- several folks in their blog comments attacked me for making "partisan attacks" or politicizing the relief efforts. First, you'll note (below) I wrote there was "lots of blame to go around." Second, former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) -- a potential 2008 Presidential candidate -- made almost identical comments. Here is what Gingrich said Friday: The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina "puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" So, is Gingrich now a Dem trying to politicize this tragedy? Likewise with MSNBC talk show host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-FL), who said Friday that the "inefficiency in the rescue operation cost lives." Has Joe gone liberal? I'm very glad to hear things are improving -- obviously, "improving" is a relative term -- over the past day, but people need to be held to account for their gross negligence that needlessly cost so many victims their lives by abandoning them for five days in the sweltering temperatures following the storm. US Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) jointly called for a bipartisan congressional investigation into what they called an "immense failure."

HURRICANE KATRINA: Help the American Red Cross and the Mercy Corps respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.03.05 | Permalink |


QUICK UPDATES. For now, so long as this tragic nightmare in the New Orleans area continues, I'm going to stay in this "quick update" format. It's just hard to spend much attention on political campaigns while the US appears to be a run like a third world nation in our response. With all the money we've poured into the Department of Homeland Security, if this isn't the type of homeland crisis that it could possibly assist, I'm not sure what the point was of having the DHS. Why can't we mobilize enough troops, police, buses, trucks, boats, helicopters, and so on -- even if the government needs to involuntarily commandeer the vehicles and equipment -- to entirely evacuate the the Crescent City in a day or two. Where are the air drops of the pallets of food and water to the hungry, dehydrated, sick and dying survivors like we've dropped during African famine relief operations? We need to do whatever it takes. I'm not blaming any one person, as there is plenty of blame to go around, but these have been some sad and shameful days in our history ... Now, here is a little political news: US House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is ready to pronounce New Orleans permanently dead. He told the Chicago suburban Daily Herald that a future rebuilding of New Orleans "doesn't make sense" because it sits below sea level. US Senator David Vitter (R-LA) quickly responded, calling Hastert's comments "outrageous" ... US Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), a likely 2008 Presidential hopeful, is setting himself apart from some of his potential rivals and some of his party's more liberal activist base. According to USA Today, Bayh will be one of two senators who will introduce conservative Supreme Court nominee John Roberts at his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing next week ... Not that it ever was in doubt, but US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), 87, confirmed he will seek re-election next year to a ninth term ... Justin Jeffre, best known as a singer in the boy band 98 Degrees, is a progressive candidate for Cincinnati Mayor in the non-partisan September 13 primary. 98 Degrees has sold over nine million records. Although Jeffre is running as an Independent, he is endorsed by a local chapter of the Green Party ... The California Senate approved a bill on Thursday by a 21-15 vote that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. A similar bill narrowly failed in the State House three months ago ... Kudos to those candidates who are using their campaign websites to direct money to the victims of Hurrican Katrina. In NJ, Jon Corzine (D) is prominently raising money for the Red Cross -- while it is just "politics as usual" on the website of opponent Doug Forrester (R). In VA, Jerry Kilgore (R) has an small, vague mention that points to an inside page that supports the Red Cross -- versus Tim Kaine (D), who wins the "good samaritan" contest hands down, for turning his entire homepage into a somber plug for the Red Cross.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Help the American Red Cross respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Click here to make a donation today ... or call them at 1.800.HELP.NOW (800.435.7669). Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.02.05 | Permalink |


QUICK UPDATES. I'll admit it -- I'm totally exhausted from work, etc., so this will be a very brief update today ... In Florida, US Senator Bill Nelson (D) holds a 24-point lead over Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R), according to the new Q-Univ poll. The same poll also shows State CFO Tom Gallagher leading Attorney General Charlie Crist in the GOP primary for Governor by a 39% to 36% vote ... In New York, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (R) looks very strong in his race for re-election. According to a New York Times poll, Bloomberg is even supported by nearly half of the Democratic primary voters ... Some folks just won't take "no" for an answer. Despite Virginia Governor Mark Warner (D) announcing this week he will not oppose US Senator George Allen (R) next year, a draft campaign has formed to urge Warner to change his mind. Warner, meanwhile, vowed he will help his party find a "viable" candidate to run against Allen ... Political consultant Robert Creamer -- the husband of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) pled guilty to two felony counts related to bank fraud and tax violations. Sentencing is in December, and the Congresswoman was not implicated in any of her husband's actions ... In South Carolina, attorney Michael Hollings (D) -- son of retired US Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) -- quit the race for Lieutenant Governor.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Help the American Red Cross respond to the terrible devastation left in the wake of this deadly storm. Click here to make a donation today ... or call them at 1.800.HELP.NOW (800.435.7669). Here are some more ways you can help.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 9.01.05 | Permalink |


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