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(AND P2008). In a surprisingly candid interview with
Minnesota Public Radio, Governor
Tim Pawlenty (R) said that the Republican Party is "on the
ropes" nationally and that he doesn't plan to run for President
in 2008. "I'll be lucky to get re-elected Governor in Minnesota
next year ... My only political plans are to get re-elected next
year, and I hope that I do," said an unusually pessimistic
Pawlenty. A recent independent poll showed Pawlenty with a 48%
approval rating and a 45% disapproval rating with Minnesota voters.
He acknowledged being a Republican and Bush supporter in Minnesota
could be very damaging next year. "Things aren't going well
for the President or the Republican Party nationally. That's fairly
obvious ... But politics is smarmy enough without people bailing
out on friends just because times are tough. That's a weenie move.
I'm not going to run away like a little chicken from President
Bush because he's unpopular," explained Pawlenty. He has
frequently been mentioned as a dark horse White House hopeful
in the '08 contest. Pawlenty's comments came the same day Attorney
General Mike Hatch (D) announced his candidacy for Governor. In
response to Hatch's entry and immediate SEIU labor endorsement,
former State Representative Bud Philbrook (D) -- the first Dem
to jump into the contest several months ago -- immediately ended
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard (R) is scheduled to announce
his candidacy against US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) in Monday.
Bouchard briefly explored a bid against Stabenow earlier this
year, but abandoned it in February because
of undisclosed health problems (well, that, and the fact he was
trailing the incumbent by double-digits in early polls). Bouchard
is also the former State Senate Majority Leader. Social conservative
candidate and current GOP frontrunner Keith Butler -- an evangelical
minister and former Detroit City Councilman -- is livid that Bouchard
is coming back into the race. Butler told the Detroit News
that "a small but very powerful cabal" within the party
-- which he said included US Senate Republican Campaign Chair
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) -- was responsible for recruiting the more
moderate Bouchard into the contest. RNC Member Chuck Yob -- a
Butler supporter -- confirmed Dole's involvement to the newspaper.
"Dole is begging him every week" to run, said Yob. Polls
show Stabenow easily leading any of her current GOP foes by more
than 25 points. In related news, the latest EPIC/MRA poll of the
gubernatorial contest shows Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) holding
a large lead over billionaire businessman Dick DeVos (R). The
numbers: Granholm-53%, DeVos-30%. What is amazing about these
landslide numbers is that the poll showed Granholm with a 46%-approve,
52%-disapprove rating -- but the same poll also showed substantially
more respondents blamed President Bush for the state's economic
problems than those who blamed Granholm.
US Senator Olympia Snowe (R) suddenly finds herself facing several
Democratic opponents. Liberal activist Jean Hay Bright (D) has
been in the race -- and alone -- for months. Within the past week,
two more jumped in. The first was civil rights attorney Eric Mehnert
(D) who, like Bright, is not a major threat to Snowe and her $1.8
million campaign bankroll. The surprise was when State Senator
Majority Leader Michael Brennan (D) filed paperwork to seek an
unspecified federal office. Brennan said he would either run against
Snowe or -- if Snowe retires and Congressman Tom Allen (D) runs
for her open Senate seat -- he would run for Allen's open House
seat. Snowe's spokeswoman called the retirement rumors "bizarre"
and added that Snowe is "planning on running for re-election.
Sometimes I think we need to set ourselves on fire to make that
clear." That means Brennan is in the Senate race. Snowe would
start as a prohibitive favorite over Brennan, but he would be
a credible candidate for the Dems. And speaking of an equally
bizarre unlikelihood, check out the Draft
Snowe for President group. Snowe has expressed zero interest
in running for President in 2008.
With just over a week to go, a new Washington Post poll
shows former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) now unexpectedly
trails Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D) by a 47% to 44% vote,
with State Senator Russ Potts (Independent) at 4%. Voters appear
to be turned-off by Kilgore's hard attack ads. Kaine, by contrast,
is portraying himself in the closing days as the logical heir
to term-limited, popular Governor Mark Warner (D). This race is
going down to the wire.
It doesn't appear US Senator John Ensign (R) will have much to
worry about from the challenge next year by Presidential scion
Jack Carter (D). At least, not yet. According to a new Las
Vegas Sun/Mason-Dixon poll, Ensign currently leads Carter
by a 59% to 25% vote. A whopping 61% of voters said they were
unfamiliar with Carter.
UPDATE. I'm writing this update Sunday night -- powered by
our new 5,500 watt generator (but it can only run 13 hours max
at half load, before being rested for a few hours) -- as we are
still without electricity. The power company is giving us a vague
restoration date: "Your area should be fully restored by
November 22, but many people will see their electrical power return
well before that date." More good news: the gas lines have
substantially eased. Also, I'm starting to get to all those emails
that piled up over the past week, but it will take some time because
I'm not able to devote as much time to Politics1 during these
post-hurricane days until life here returns to normal.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.05 | Permalink
UPDATE. Still no electricity, but the phones are working again.
I had the pleasure yesterday of standing in the pedestrian line
for 5½ hours at one of the only open gas station to buy
a few gallons of gas to power the generator for a day. People
are still rather friendly and neighborly, and this will hopefully
last for the few weeks until power is restored and life returns
to normal. We're still under a curfew order -- and with no moon
in the sky and no electricity it is very dark on the streets
at night -- but instead of the 7pm-7am curfew of the past several
days, it is now eased to 11pm-7am. Police are constantly patrolling
the major streets, with lights flashing at all times. No significant
reports of looting, although there has been a rise of gas siphoning
and gas can thefts. Here
are two pix I took in the aftermath of the storm. They give you
a good idea of what our neighborhood is like these days. My house
is the yellow and blue one in the top photo.
QUICK TAKES . In the world of politics, VP Chief of Staff
Scooter Libby was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on
one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and
two counts of making false statements. The case arose from the
matter related to the leaking by Bush Administration officials
of the identity of covert CIA spy Valerie Plame in 2003 in retaliation
for her husband being an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. In
response to the indictment, Libby immediately resigned. Presidential
political advisor Karl Rove was not indicted, but Rove's lawyer
indicated his client remains under federal investigation. This
caps off a rather bad week for the President, in which his Supreme
Court nominee and friend -- Harriet Miers -- withdrew her nomination
for the court in the face of stiff opposition from both the left
and right ... In Vermont, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie (R)
ended his exploratory bid for the state's open US Senate seat
by announcing he will instead seek re-election next year ... In
West Virginia, Secretary of State Betty Ireland (R) told the Charleston
Gazette that, after much consideration, she will not run against
US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D) next year. Congresswoman Shelley
Moore Capito (R) also recently declined to challenge Byrd ...
In Alabama, former Governor Don Siegelman (D) was indicted in
a case involving federal charges of bribery, extortion and racketeering.
A candidate for Guv again next year, Siegelman claims the charges
are politically motivated by a GOP prosecutor. Siegelman was acquitted
of other political corruption charges just last year ... Finally,
in new polls out this past week, US Senator Jon Corzine (D) continues
to hold a healthy lead in the 2005 race for New Jersey Governor,
while New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (R) appears likely to
score a landslide victory next month.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.05 | Permalink
(October 26) - Thanks to a friend with a nearby office with
electricity and Internet access, I'm able to post this brief update.
Right up front, I'm grateful that Dana and I, along with all of
our local family and friends, came through the storm without injury.
That said ... Hurricane Wilma proved much worse than anyone here
expected -- the worst hurricane damage to Broward County since
1950. As you may have seen in the news, Broward -- and my hometown
of Fort Lauderdale in particular -- oddly suffered among the most
extensive property damage in Florida from this storm. I wrote
"oddly" because we were on the Atlantic side and the
storm first had to traverse the state starting from the Gulf of
Mexico coast before it reached us. Broward recorded winds during
the storm in 100-120 mph range -- although fortunately it was
a fast moving storm and I'm not aware of any serious storm injuries
in my immediate area. My neighborhood, however, took a solid hit.
Large trees, power lines, power and phone poles, etc., were downed.
Some homes had extensive roof damage. A few houses away, a giant
oak fell across and flattened two cars. The two pix below at left
are of my Victoria Park neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale; the damaged
School Board office building at upper right is about a mile from
my house; and lower right shows a toppled ficus tree (much like
the larger one in my yard).
had a few roof tiles torn off, but no leaks and no extensive damage.
Our fence was entirely destroyed, with the winds snapping the
fence posts at ground level. We lost our three largest trees:
the 50-foot avocado tree fell in our back yard; a great Florida
Live Oak tree on the swale crashed across the street, blocking
it entirely; and a towering 60-foot high ficus next the house
is leaning precariously at a seventy-degree angle towards the
house (a work crew is trying to cut it down right now to avoid
it falling onto the house). We are without power -- but water
service was restored late Tuesday (albeit with a "boil water"
order in effect because it is contaminated -- but at least we
don't need to haul any more buckets of water from the pool into
the house just to flush the toilets). As for the electric, here
is what Florida Power & Light estimates on their website:
should be restored to the majority of customers within
two weeks (by November 8). Some 95% of customers in these
areas should have power restored within three weeks -- by November
15. Many customers will have power restored well before these
estimated dates; the announced dates represent when the very
last customers will get their electric service back.
I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back posting regular updates
or answering my emails. Trust me, it will be as soon as I am able
to do so. That, however, is more in the hands of FPL than it is
in mine. The good news: Politics1 will stay online (thanks to
my ISP host Softec,
as they are located far enough up the Florida coast to have avoided
storm damage). So, until I'm able to post updates again -- maybe
in a few days, or maybe 2-3 weeks (see above) -- I'd invite you
to have some fun exploring the content on the rest of the site.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.26.05 | Permalink
HURRICANE WARNING FOR POLITICS1 READERS - Hurricane
Wilma is going to directly pass over the area where I live beginning
in the early morning hours on Monday, so I needed to start today's
postings with this brief note asking in advance for your patience.
I'm not worried about this being a deadly storm for us -- it will
only be a Category 1 or 2 when we get hit -- but it will still
be rather disruptive and expected to cause some property damage.
If this hurricane is like all the others, I expect to again lose
electricity (like most South Floridians). Sometimes we get power
back in a few hours, but more often it has taken as many as several
days. Even if I lose power, Politics1 will likely stay online
because it is hosted by an ISP far enough upstate to hopefully
be well outside the intended hurricane path. Thus, I'll be back
with updates tomorrow if all goes really well ... or the next
day ... or maybe a day or two or three after that (depending on
how quickly Florida Power & Light restores our power).
- The new Richmond Times-Dispatch/Mason-Dixon poll confirms
what every other poll is showing: the gubernatorial contest remains
amazingly close. The numbers: Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore
(R) - 44%, Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D) - 42%, and State
Senator Russ Potts (Independent) - 5%. Mason-Dixon described the
2-point difference as "statistically insignificant."
YORK - Prominent anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said
last week she could not bring herself to vote for the re-election
next year of US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) unless HRC first
publicly admits her vote for the Iraq war was a mistake. That
subsequently prompted NY Libertarian Party State Chair John Clifton
to issue a statement inviting Sheehan to seek the party's US Senate
nomination next year as a peace candidate. The Libertarian Party
has already called for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
Clifton was the LP's US Senate nominee against Clinton in 2000.
- Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to announce
indictments this week in the matter related to the leaking by
Bush Administration officials of the identity of covert CIA spy
Valerie Plame in 2003 in retaliation for her husband being an
outspoken critic of the Iraq War. Fitzgerald is expected to convene
the grand jury this week to lay out a final summary of the case
and ask for possible indictments. Amusingly, US Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchison (R-TX) said Sunday on NBC that she hoped Fitzgerald
would bring charges -- if at all -- for "a [real] crime and
not some perjury technicality." Hmm ... I recall
Congressional Republicans thought perjury was a real
crime back in the late 1990s when the alleged culprit was President
- Influential GOP political consultant and lobbyist Ralph
Reed -- the former executive director of the Christian Coalition
and now a candidate for Georgia Lieutenant Governor -- has now
been ensnared in the Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay scandals. Some of
Reed's Religious Right backers were already upset with him when
they read a few months ago that Reed secretly fronted for Indian
gaming interests in his political campaign activities. Now Time
magazine is reporting that is was Reed who helped Abramoff get
access to top Bush Administration officials, including Karl Rove.
Abramoff and a business partner were recently indicted on federal
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.24.05 | Permalink
THREAD - As usual, here's a weekend open thread to play
with. Meanwhile, we're under a declared "Hurricane Warning"
for the fifth time this year. Wilma should only be a Category
1 hurricane when it arrives here on Monday on the Atlantic coast
side of Florida -- so we'll probably just lose a few more trees
at my house and maybe lose electricity again for some time --
but getting hit by three friggin' hurricanes and two tropical
storms in one season is tremendously annoying. On the plus side,
these storms are the only time we get any head-high and double-overhead
surfing waves (although I envy a paradise like Hawaii that gets
the good waves even on normal, sunny days).
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.23.05 | Permalink
- It looks like the race against Governor Frank Murkowski
(R) is going to get very crowded and very competitive. Murkowski
earned the ire of his own party's leaders when -- immediately
after being elected Governor in 2002 -- he
passed over lots of elected officials and community leaders to
appoint his daughter Lisa to his vacant US Senate seat. Since
then, he recorded what most perceive as a mediocre performance
as Governor. His 2002 runningmate -- conservative Lieutenant Governor
Loren Leman (R) -- is set to officially enter the primary race
against the incumbent within the next month. Leman is substantially
more to the right of the 72-year-old Murkowski. Former Wasilla
Mayor and former Alaska Oil & Gas Commission Chair Sarah Palin
(R) announced her primary challenge Murkowski this week. Palin
is viewed as a maverick who successfully filed ethics complaints
that brought the downfall of some of her fellow state GOP leaders.
Former Republican State Representative Andrew Halcro is yet another
announced candidate -- although he's running as an Independent.
"For far too long, our Governors [have] been elected on personality
instead of on competence, and there are a lot of people like myself
who want to see a change," said Halcro to the Fairbanks
Daily News-Miner. On the Democratic side, both State House
Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz and State Representative Eric
Croft are active candidates. Popular former Governor Tony Knowles
(D) -- who lost a competitive race last year against US Senator
Lisa Murkowski (R) -- acknowledged he may attempt a run for his
old job next year. "It's really too early to make that kind
of decision," said Knowles. And what about Governor Murkowski's
plans? He has yet to indicate if he will even seek re-election
JERSEY - The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows US Senator
Jon Corzine (D) widening his lead once again over businessman
Doug Forrester (R). The numbers: Corzine-49%, Forrester-40%. A
new Quinnipiac University poll showed very similar numbers: Corzine-50%,
PIC - Suspended US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)
obviously got some good political advice about how to handle his
dreaded criminal booking photo. Rather than the mussed hair, downward
gazing eyes, and embarrassed look of other busted politicos --
DeLay looked like he was posing for a new set of campaign pix.
Big smile, great suit, and a nice gold Member of Congress lapel
pin. Smart move. Too bad they Sheriff's Office didn't
use the old-fashioned height stripes in the back ground or make
him hold a sign with his name and booking number, as it would
have made for a more dramatic photo.
WASN'T ME ... IT WAS HIM!" According to the Washington
Post, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove reportedly
told the federal grand jury last week that VP Chief of Staff Scooter
Libby told him that ambassadorial wife Valerie Plame was a covert
CIA agent before the info was leaked to the media. The testimony
could help Rove stave off indictment -- but at the cost of directly
implicating White House involvement in the leak. Other media reports
indicate a second Cheney staffer is also now cooperating with
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.05 | Permalink
- The Democrats seem
to be gaining a significant advantage from the very bitter, personal
contest for the GOP gubernatorial nomination fight between Congressman
Bob Beauprez and wealthy former university president Marc Holtzman.
The two Republicans have already exchanged assorted allegations,
including of stealing rival mailing lists, faking implied endorsements,
and so on. Term-limited Governor Bill Owens is backing Beauprez,
as are many other state GOP leaders, but the damage is taking
a toll. According to a new Denver Post/Mason-Dixon poll,
former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter (D) holds leads over
both Republicans. The numbers: Ritter-42%, Beauprez-36% ... and
Ritter-41%, Holtzman-30%. The three men are the only announced
candidates in the race. All of this is prompting former US Senator
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R), term-limited Senate President Joan
Fitz-Gerald (D), and State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) to
consider jumping into the open seat race. Meanwhile, Congressman
John Salazar (D) shot down a news report on Tuesday that floated
his name, saying he absolutely would not enter the race.
- Yes, I know that nobody outside of the Special Prosecutor's
office and grand jury room actually know who -- if anyone -- will
be indicted for leaking the identity of covert CIA spy Valerie
Plame in 2003 in retaliation for her husband being an outspoken
critic of the Iraq War. That hasn't stopped journalist and Beltway
insiders from buzzing with rumors and speculation about who is
in hot water. Depending on which reports you believe, Vice President
Dick Cheney himself may be indicted and forced to resign (I'm
skeptical of this one) ... or the New York Daily News
report that a member of Cheney's staff (purportedly National Security
staffer John Hannah) has flipped and is cooperating with the prosecutors
... or that Presidential Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, VP Chief
of Staff Scooter Libby, and National Security Advisor Stephen
Hadley all expect to be indicted. The AP reported Karl Rove has
canceled his upcoming campaign fundraiser appearances as he awaits
the conclusion of the grand jury investigation by the end of this
month. US News & World Report claims the "Cheney
will resign" rumors are so rampant in DC that some prominent
GOP insiders are already trying to "block" Condi Rice
from replacing Cheney as Vice President -- and getting a leg up
on the 2008 Presidential nomination -- because they fear she is
too moderate on social issues. Pure speculation? You betcha ...
but isn't it still a lot of fun!
COURT - It turns out US Supreme Court nominee Harriet
Miers does have a paper trail on abortion, after all.
Miers implied in recent meetings with US Senators and in papers
filed this week with the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had
never made any statements indicating how she would rule on Roe
v. Wade related cases. It turns out this isn't true. According
to Reuters, Miers as a 1989 candidate for Dallas City Council
answered a questionnaire from Texans United For Life in which
she supported the proposed Human Life Amendment to the US Constitution
that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary
to prevent the death of the mother. Look for Senate Dems -- and
possibly some pro-choice Senate Republicans -- to start announcing
their opposition to Miers for a variety of purported reasons.
- Yet another gubernatorial poll out. According to the new Hotline/Financial
Dynamics poll of registered voters, Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine
(D) leads former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) by a vote
of 40% to 38%, with 5% backing State Senator Russ Potts (Independent).
When the survey pool is limited to just likely voters, Kaine leads
by just 1%. And, when the survey is further narrowed to "extremely
likely voters," Kilgore slipped ahead by a 42% to 41% vote.
Anyway you try to spin it, this one is going down to the wire.
- While most Americans are unlikely to recognize his name, the
intellectual Marxist visionary who helped bring about the end
of Communist Party's iron fisted rule in the former Soviet Union
has died. Alexander Yakovlev,
81, passed away at his Moscow home. An unlikely reformer, he rose
through the ranks as a Communist Party (CPSU) aparatchnik for
much of his career. Badly wounded as a Soviet soldier in World
War II, Yakovlev later attended college and embarked on a career
as a CPSU economist. He served as the Soviet Ambassador to Canada
for a decade, before being elevated to the powerful Politburo
as a Gorbachev ally in the 1980s. By 1987, Yakovlev was promoted
to the position of chief ideologue of the party. In that capacity,
he emerged as the leading architect of the glasnost and
perestroika democratic reforms. Yakovlev also worked
to expose the historical crimes of the party under Stalin and
other previous Soviet leaders -- earning the eternal ire of the
the old guard CPSU neo-Stalinists (who also distrusted Yakovlev
because of his Jewish heritage). In time, the reactionary forces
were able to pressure Gorbachev -- who tried unsuccessfully to
hold power by a series of Faustian bargains with the reactionaries
who eventually overthrew him in a failed 1991 coup -- to force
Yakovlev out of his governing circle and expel him from the party.
But, before being forced out, Yakovlev succeeded in allowing independent,
liberal political parties to form and run candidates. Yakovlev
eventually founded his own reformist Social
Democratic Party of Russia. Within the last few years, he
established and ran the International Democracy Foundation. Yakovlev
has earned with place -- alongside Boris
Dubček and others -- in the pantheon of those who personally
risked everything to fight for real freedoms by working to place
a democratic and human face on Marxism.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.19.05 | Permalink
AND THAT - The Wall Street Journal and the Bloomberg
wire are both reporting the purported role of Vice President Dick
Cheney appears to be the current focus of the federal grand jury
investigating into who leaked the identity of covert CIA spy Valerie
Plame in 2003 in retaliation for her husband being an outspoken
critic of the Iraq War ... GOP State Senator Russ Potts (Independent-VA)
denies the rumors that he is planning to exit the gubernatorial
race and endorse Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine (D). According
to the latest SurveyUSA poll, Kaine now leads former Attorney
General Jerry Kilgore (R) by a 47% to 45% vote. Kaine trailed
Kilgore by 3 points in the same poll last month ... US Senator
George Allen (R-VA) is heading to New Hampshire, US Senator Chuck
Hagel (R-NE) is visiting Iowa, and US Secretary of State Condi
Rice (R-CA) again denies she has any interest in running for President
next time, in the latest P2008 news ... .A new Mobile Register-University
of South Alabama shows Governor Bob Riley (R) in good shape to
win re-election next year. According to the poll, Riley leads
Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley (D) by a vote of 44% to 33%, and
leads former Governor Don Siegelman (D) by a vote of 46% to 31%.
By contrast, Baxley led former State Supreme Court Chief Justice
Roy Moore (R) by a vote of 44% to 37%. Siegelman and Moore were
tied with 40% apiece ... Former Congressman Dennis Eckart (D-OH)
announced he will run for State Democratic Chair when the office
next comes open. Also in Ohio, attorney and Iraq War veteran Paul
Hackett says he will not back down from a Dem primary battle against
Congressman Sherrod Brown in the US Senate race -- no matter how
competitive or bitter the race gets.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.05 | Permalink
- Potential primary opponents continue to pile up for
Governor Ted Kulongoski (D). Two state senators and a county commissioner
are already announced challengers against the incumbent in the
primary -- popular former Governor John Kitzhaber (D) is still
toying with a come-back run -- and now former State Treasurer
Jim Hill (D) says he wants to oppose Kulongoski next year. Hill
faced off against him in 2002, finishing second in that six-candidate
primary. Hill told KATU TV-2 that Kulongoski is weak on economic
development, and he would like to enter the race depending on
"what kind of support I can drum up." A spokesperson
for Kulongoski said it is merely a healthy "part of democracy"
for an incumbent to have a broad field of opponents.
ISLAND - Talk about embarrassing, but vulnerable US
Senator Linc Chafee (R-RI) recorded the lowest fundraising numbers
in the most recent quarter of any major contender in his race.
Former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D), Secretary of State
Matt Brown (D) and Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey (R) each raised
more than Chafee in 3Q-2005, according to FEC records. The incumbent
raised just $287,000 in the quarter -- versus $383,000 for primary
rival Laffey. In cash-on-hand, Chafee has $1.28 million, Whitehouse
has $1.4 million, Brown has $600,000 and Laffey has $598,000.
A spokesperson for Chafee indicated the Senator was not concerned,
as he'll spend whatever it takes out of his own pocket to ensure
he has enough money to run a competitive race. Chafee has a family
net worth of over $60 million. Interestingly, the liberal Brown
is the only non-multimillionaire in the race.
Businessman Rich Tarrant (R) delayed his official entry into the
US Senate race last month -- even though he already launched his
exploratory committee -- because he needed time to complete the
sale of his IDX Systems software company to General Electric.
According to the AP, GE purchased IDX for $1.2 billion. Of that
amount, Tarrant will reportedly get about $108 million from the
sale. Tarrant, who clearly states he is in the race, has already
said he'd spend at least a $550,000 from his pocket on the contest.
Tarrant faces Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, State Senator Mark
Shepard and frequent candidate Greg Parke in the GOP primary.
The winner will face socialist Congressman Bernie Sanders (Independent)
-- who is also supported by the Democratic and the Progressive
parties -- in the general election.
SUCCESSES - In New Mexico, the Democrats scored another
recruiting success. Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D-NM) confirmed
she will file federal paperword this week to challenge Congresswoman
Heather Wilson (R) next year. The CD-1 seat is a swing district,
and Madrid will be the most viable candidate the Dems have thrown
at Wilson to date. In South Carolina, Republicans succeeded in
recruiting State Representative Ralph Norman (R) to challenge
Congressman John Spratt (D) next year. Spratt has not faced a
viable opponent in at least a decade.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.17.05 | Permalink
YORK - In an unexpected political development,
wealthy attorney Ed Cox (R) quit the US Senate race on Friday.
Cox -- the son-in-law of President Richard Nixon -- exited the
contest just hours after retiring Governor George Pataki (R) endorsed
Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro to be the GOP
candidate next year against US Senator Hillary Clinton (D). "I
have been truly honored by the confidence members of both the
Republican and Conservative Parties have placed in my ability
to not only wage an aggressive campaign, but effectively represent
New York State in the Senate. The Governor is the leader of the
Republican Party. Out of respect for his position and his decision,
I have decided to stop my campaign for the United States Senate,"
explained Cox. Pirro is now strongly favored to win the GOP nomination
next year over former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and attorney
Bill Brenner. Despite solidifying her position with Republicans,
polls show Pirro trailing Clinton by huge margins. In related
news, the latest FEC filings show that HRC raised $5.4 million
for her re-election race in the most recent quarter and has $13.8
million in cash on hand. At her current pace, the incumbent is
on track to raise as much as $70 million -- with lots likely to
be leftover for kicking-off a 2008 Presidential race.
- After an agonizingly lengthy period in which it appeared Island
Dems would fail to find any significant candidate to oppose Governor
Linda Lingle (R) next year, things are starting to look up. State
Dem leaders recently approached Congressman Neil Abercrombie about
making the race. The ponytailed Abercrombie -- a liberal former
State Senator, State Representative and Honolulu City Commissioner
-- was apparently flattered but non-committal. "It is very
kind of someone to think that my hard work over these years might
induce them to think that [I should run for Governor], but I will
just keep doing the best I can and see what results from [the
State Democratic Chairman's recruitment] work," said Abercrombie
to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
CAROLINA - Former Congressman Frank Ballance (D) -- who
abruptly quit his re-election race in mid-2004 and immediately
resigned from Congress in the days before he was indicted on federal
corruption charges -- was sentenced this week to four years in
prison. He pled guilty to charges he diverted charity funds to
his own pocket. "I'm sorry that my mother -- those principles
that she instilled in me -- I violated some of them," Ballance
told the judge at the sentencing.
- US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) became the second '08 GOP Presidential
hopeful to weigh into the Ohio gubernatorial contest with a pre-primary
endorsement. Brownback endorsed Secretary of State Ken Blackwell
(R) -- just as did US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) one week ago.
While McCain focused on Blackwell's independence from the state's
ethically-challenged GOP establishment, Brownback instead singled
out Blackwell's social conservative views for praise.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.05 | Permalink
HOUSE - No matter which poll you look at these days,
the Bush Administration is rapidly losing support with the American
people. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this
week, only 39% of Americans approve of the job the President is
doing. By contrast, 54% disapprove of his performance. This is
the first time Bush's approval has dropped below the 40% mark
since NBC/WSJ has been tracking this Administration. Even worse,
the same poll showed only 28% of respondents thought the US was
on "the right track." On Thursday, a new Fox News poll
showed very similar numbers: 40% approve, 51% disapprove. For
those seeking to spin all of this as a positive, Bush's numbers
are certainly much better than the current 18% approval rating
-- an all-time record low -- for Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R). On
top of all the other problems, the President is apparently rather
annoyed with conservative leaders who are calling for Harriet
Miers to withdraw as a Supreme Court nominee because they believe
she is insufficiently proven as a social conservative and has
"unimpressive" credentials. The White House says there
is no discussion of even the possibility of withdrawing the Miers
- In the open race for Governor, former Attorney General Jerry
Kilgore (R) continues to hold a very narrow lead over Lieutenant
Governor Tim Kaine (D). According to the latest Rasmussen Reports
poll, Kilgore leads Kaine by a vote of 46% to 44%, with State
Senator Russ Potts (Independent) at just 1%. Kilgore this week
started running an
attack spot on Kaine that claims Kaine's moral opposition
to the death penalty would even make him reluctant "to execute
Hitler." Kaine -- who says he morally opposes the death penalty
as a Catholic on religious grounds but would follow the law as
Governor -- called the Kilgore spot "outrageous."
JERSEY - A new poll by a GOP consulting firm -- Strategic
Vision -- shows US Senator Jon Corzine (D) holding onto his lead
over businessman Doug Forrester (R) by a vote of 46% to 40%.
YORK CITY - Mayor Mike Bloomberg (R) is heading to a
landslide re-election victory next month, according to the latest
Quinnipiac University poll. The Q-poll numbers: Bloomberg - 60%,
former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer (D) - 32%, former
NYC Commissioner Tom Ognibene (Conservative) - 1%. The polling
director described the race as now being "an absolute blowout."
- According to the Boston Globe, Bay State Republican
leaders are attempting to recruit Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins
(R) to challenge US Senator Ted Kennedy (D) next year. While Cousins
would have just about a zero-percent chance of ousting Kennedy,
some GOP activists believe Cousins would run an "effective"
campaign that won't embarrass the party. Others within the party
disagree with fielding anyone against Kennedy -- who is sitting
on an $8 million campaign treasury -- believing the party should
instead focus on other races in the state it has a better chance
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.05 | Permalink
OPEN THREAD - Being that it is Yom Kippur and all, y'all
will have the settle for an open thread today. Use it to post
the new political stories until I'm back with updates on Friday
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.05 | Permalink
- It was the "same old, same old" once again
from Attorney General Dick Blumenthal (D). He announced he would
not be a candidate against Governor Jodi Rell (R) next year, although
polls showed he was the strongest Dem candidate. "I love
this job ... My children are still at ages where they are counting
on me to be there," he gave as his explanation this for 2006.
He previously talked of running for Gov -- then passed on the
race -- in 1994, 1998 and 2002. To save time in the future, let's
already presume he won't run for Governor in 2010.
- Governor Jim Doyle's (D) poll numbers are looking better these
days, according to a new poll conducted by the Wisconsin Policy
Research Institute/Diversified Research. Doyle led Congressman
Mark Green (R) by a 46% to 33% vote. Likewise, Doyle also led
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R) by an even wider vote
of 50% to 31%.
- Speaking at a GOP gathering, State Senator Mike Bennett (R)
lashed out at Governor Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush for
their apparent efforts to undermine the US Senate campaign of
Congresswoman Katherine Harris by attempting to recruit potential
primary opponents. "What the Republican Party is doing to
Katherine Harris borders on treason ... That's not how we repay
loyalty in the Republican Party," said Bennett, according
to the Bradenton Herald.
- Congressman Tom Osborne (R) named State Auditor Kate
Witek as his runningmate for Lieutenant Governor. The legendary
former college football coach is challenging Governor Dave Heineman
in next year's very competitive GOP primary.
- The Columbus Dispatch is out with new polls in the
open gubernatorial contest. On
the Dem side, Congressman Ted Strickland led with 22%, followed
closely by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman at 19%, and former State
Representative Bryan Flannery at 4%. On the GOP side, Secretary
of State Ken Blackwell was first with 32%, Attorney General Jim
Petro has 18%, and State Auditor Betty Montgomery was third with
- Controversial trial attorney Geoffrey Feiger (D) announced his
candidacy for Attorney General. Best known as the former attorney
for "Doctor Death" Jack Kevorkian, Feiger ran an abysmal
campaign as the Dem nominee for Governor in 1998. During that
campaign, he once commented that Jesus was "just some goofball
that got nailed to the cross." Dem leaders are unlikely to
permit Feiger to win the AG nomination at the tightly controlled
convention next summer.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.05 | Permalink
Governor Bob Riley (R)
kicked-off his re-election campaign with a broadside blast against
ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R). "I have
never, and I never will use my faith or belief in almighty God
for political purposes," said Riley, who boasted that he
"added 50,000 new jobs and more than 500 companies have located
or expanded in Alabama" during his first three years in office.
A spokesman for Moore quickly responded that "we'll leave
the slings and arrows to someone else in this campaign" --
and added that everyone knows Moore was removed as Chief Justice
over the Ten Commandments monument fight in 2003 "because
of his acknowledgment of God." In this battle between the
pro-business fiscal conservative wing of the GOP led by Riley
and the religious-right evangelical wing led by Moore, the Riley
faction is clearly winning. According to a new Mobile Register
poll, Riley leads Moore by a 44% to 25% vote. Moore had led Riley
in some speculative primary polls last year. The winner will likely
face Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley (D) in the general election.
JERSEY: Another day, another poll showing the gubernatorial
race narrowing. The latest WNBC/Marist College poll shows US Senator
Jon Corzine (D) at 44% and businessman Doug Forrester (R) at 43%.
YORK: A bitter fight for control of a local Republican
Party organization may produce a competitive congressional primary
challenge next year for Congressman John Sweeney (R). Former State
GOP Chairman Bill Powers and Sweeney -- who once served as Powers'
Executive Director of the party -- last week tried to select the
next chair of the Columbia County Republican Party. However, GOP
activists backed by former State GOP Chair Sandy Treadwell won
a decisive victory as they overwhelmingly rejected the Powers/Sweeney
candidate. The Albany Times-Union described the outcome
as "a resounding defeat" for Sweeney. "If they
can't take out the Columbia County chairman after years of prodding
and scheming, that's not a good sign," said an aide to Governor
George Pataki. Sweeney once served as State Labor Commissioner
under Pataki. Now, in yet another escalation of the fight, it
appears the wealthy Treadwell -- a Pataki ally -- is preparing
to challenge Sweeney in next year's GOP primary in CD-20.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.05 | Permalink
TAKES:Time magazine reports that White House
Chief of Staff Andy Card was the driving force behind the selection
of White House Counsel Harriet Miers -- to the exclusion of Deputy
Chief of Staff
Karl Rove, who traditionally played a leading role in key selections.
Card may have taken advantage of Rove's current distractions because
of the ongoing CIA leak grand jury probe. The two men have had
differences before -- as each vied for influence with the President
-- and Time reports the Miers move "has reignited
the tension" between Rove and Card ... OHIO: State Representative
Joe Koziura (D) and Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin (R) are the leading
candidates being mentioned for the CD-13 seat being vacated next
year by Congressman Sherrod Brown (D). Koziura is a former Lorain
Mayor and Vietnam War veteran. Foltin joked he was getting lots
of calls from Republican leaders to consider the race because
"there aren't too many Republicans in the area to consider"
for the solidly Dem seat -- and said he was strongly inclined
against running for Congress ... NEW JERSEY: The race for Governor
is rapidly tightening with less than a month to go. According
to the latest Newarl Star-Ledger/Rutgers poll, US Senator
Jon Corzine (D) now leads businessman Doug Forrester (R) by a
vote of 44% to 37%. Corzine held a 20-point lead in the same poll
last month. Other polls also show a similar narrowing of this
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.10.05 | Permalink
TAKES: In Florida, former State Democratic Chair Scott
Maddox quit the race for Governor and immediately endorsed Congressman
Jim Davis for Gov ... In New York, billionaire businessman Tom
Golisano changed his registration from the Independence Party
to Republican, in anticipation of his likely fourth run for NY
Governor ... Here's
another sign that US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is definitely
positioning himself to run for President in 2008: He endorsed
Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) for Ohio Governor. Blackwell
is the most conservative of the Republicans already in the race.
McCain praised him, without directly saying it, for staying clear
of the state's scandals that have sullied the reputation of most
other Ohio GOP leaders ... In Georgia, Congressman John Lewis
(D) told the AP that state Dems are unlikely to file a lawsuit
to challenge to new, GOP-led congressional redistricting that
solidifies the current Republican's advantage. The only significant
change is to CD-12, which was modified to be slightly more GOP-friendly
... In Iowa, former State Economic Development Director and former
Congressman Mike Blouin (D) is quickly locking-up support in his
race for Governor. He just scored the endorsements of 18 of the
25 Dem State Senator and 32 out of the 49 Dem State Representatives.
Other Dems in the race include Secretary of State Chet Culver,
State Agriculture Commissioner Patty Judge and State Rep. Ed Fallon.
Fallon, an outspoken progressive, asserts the pro-life Blouin
is out of step with mainstream Democratic views.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.05 | Permalink
Another day, another new Quinnipiac University poll.
Today's Q-poll is on the Keystone State's hot US Senate race.
The numbers: State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) - 52%, US Senator
Rick Santorum (R) - 34%. These results indicate a 7-point rise
for Casey since July. The key numbers to note: Dems back Casey
by an 81% to 8% vote, while 22% of Republicans said they were
also voting for Casey.
The White House is now clearly bracing for an indictment
-- or indictments -- later this month of top Administration officials
in the case related to leaking the identity of covert CIA agent
Valerie Plame in 2003. Despite the prosecutor's Republican credentials,
most now agree indictments are coming. The two most likely targets
appear to be Presidential political guru Karl Rove and VP Chief
of Staff Scooter Libby. It is not known yet whether or not the
men have received formal "target letters" from the Justice
Department. In an unexpected -- and bold, risky move -- Rove has
apparently asked to testify again at the eleventh-hour before
the grand jury without being granted any immunity. The US Attorney's
Office sent a formal letter accepting Rove's offer to testify
but warned in writing that his testimony could be used against
him and there is no longer a prosecutorial guarantee he won't
be indicted. This will be Rove's fourth appearance before the
grand jury -- and may put him into a position of having to explain
what not may appear to be contradictions or deceptions in his
are teamed up again for 2006 to track battleground state polls
in US Senate and Governor races. One of the most interesting set
of numbers in the new round of polls -- as questionable as these
Zogby polls are -- are those from Ohio. Taken before Congressman
Sherrod Brown (D) jumped into the race this week, the polls show
US Senator Mike DeWine (R) is highly vulnerable. Iraq War veteran
and attorney Paul Hackett (D) led DeWine by a vote of 44% to 36%.
Interestingly, former Congressman Bob McEwen (R) -- who has never
before run statewide -- polled better against Hackett than did
the incumbent. The numbers: Hackett-42%, McEwen-37%. McEwen, a
favorite of Religious Right conservatives, is making calls to
test support these for what appears a likely primary challenge
to DeWine. McEwen -- who carries some baggage from the 1990's
House Bank check bouncing scandal -- could likely expect primary
support from the Club for Growth and the NRA in a primary race
against DeWine. (Note: There's a major "red flag"
to note about all these WSJ/Zogby polls -- Zogby's unusual methodology
uses survey sent to voters' email addresses of those who volunteered
to take part in these polls, rather than the more traditional
method based on random telephone sampling. Just my professional
opinion, but all these online Zogby polls should carry the disclaimer
of "For Entertainment Purposes Only.")
Former Governor Don Siegelman (D) told the AP he expects to soon
be indicted by the feds on new corruption charges. He was acquitted
last year on fraud charges in state court last year. The likely
new charges relate to corruption allegations involving state road
contracts and liquor sales legislation. Siegelman says none of
this will force him to quit his run next year for Governor, adding
that the charges are politically motivated by Republican prosecutors
seeking to derail his comeback bid. He also believes he'll do
well in the primary as the only pro-lottery candidate in the race.
Polls show Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley remains the frontrunner
for the Dem nomination.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.07.05 | Permalink
Democrats nationally can clearly smell GOP blood in the
water as the 2006 elections are drawing near, as they are having
no trouble recruiting candidates these days. According to The
Hotline, Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has reversed himself
and is now preparing to announce his candidacy against US Senator
Mike DeWine (D). Brown had previously announced a few months ago
he would not seek the DeWine seat next year. Iraq War veteran
and attorney Paul Hackett announced his candidacy for the seat
earlier in the week -- but look for state Dem leaders to now work
quickly to steer Hackett into either a rematch against freshman
Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R), a run for the open Attorney General's
post, or the Lieutenant Governor spot on the state ticket. With
Brown in the race, downgrade DeWine into the "Leans GOP"
In New York, President Nixon's son-in-law Ed Cox is running
for US Senate. Now, in Nevada, it appears another Presidential
family member is readying a run for political office. Jack Carter
-- an investment consultant and son of President Jimmy Carter
-- says he's planning to challenge US Senator John Ensign (R)
next year. "I'm more concerned than ever with the way that
the country is headed ... I'm very seriously exploring it. I had
not planned to run for office. I have no infrastructure and this
is new to me," he said. Carter moved to the state in 2003.
He describes himself as a "social liberal with conservative
Southern roots and a business background." Despite the high-recognition
name, Carter would still be an underdog against Ensign.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Governor Ed Rendell
(D) is well positioned to win re-election next year, despite unimpressive
approval ratings. Rendell holds a 13% lead over either of the
top two GOP frontrunners (former Lieutenant Governor Bill Scranton
III and retired pro football star Lynn Swann). He holds landslide
leads of around 30 points over the other GOP hopefuls.
"ADOPTED" USMC BATALLION: During 2004, Lt.
James Crabtree of the 1/23 Marines was our special
correspondent in Iraq. Whether we individually opposed or
supported the war, James' once-to-twice weekly
updates made the war real to each of us by giving us folks
over there that we personally knew. Since returning home to Texas,
James was promoted to Captain, became engaged, and went to work
in Austin for the State Veterans Land Board. We got an email from
James this week announcing his GOP candidacy next year for Travis
County Clerk. "This campaign will be fun and exciting and
will be run for the right reasons. It will be a good first race
learning experience and it will be run not for political expediency
(which the Dist 50 race would have been) but because of heart
felt convictions. [The incumbent] will learn that nothing she
throws my way would compare to insurgent mortar attacks or road
side IEDs," wrote James, who acknowledged he is a major underdog
in his heavily-Dem county.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.05 | Permalink
YORK. The proverbial Fat Lady can already start singing
in the 2006 race for NY Governor. A new Quinnipiac University
poll confirms what every other poll has been saying for months:
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) will be the next Governor.
According to the Q-poll, Spitzer leads his nearest potential GOP
opponent -- billionaire businessman and perennial Indy candidate
Tom Golisano -- by 34 points. All the other GOP hopefuls trail
by margins exceeding 40-points. In a GOP primary match-up, here
are the numbers: Golisano - 33%, former State Assembly Minority
Leader John Faso - 8%, former Secretary of State Randy Daniels
- 7%, and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld - 6%. In the
US Senate race, the Q-poll found incumbent Hillary Clinton (D)
leading either Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro
(R) or President Nixon son-in-law Ed Cox by margins of more than
30 points. In a GOP primary, Pirro leads Cox by a vote of 40%
Voters went to the polls on Tuesday in the CD-48 special
primary election to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation
of Congressman Chris Cox (R), who resigned during the summer to
become the SEC Chairman. Amid light turnout, seventeen candidates
competed in the open primary and -- as no single candidate captured
a majority of the vote -- the top vote-getters from each party
will next compete in a run-off election on December 6. State Senator
John Campbell (R) -- the frontrunner from the start -- finished
far ahead of the field with 46%. Former Assemblywoman Marilyn
Brewer (R) was second with 17%, followed by Minuteman Project
civilian border patrol founder Jim Gilchrist (American Independent)
with 14%, and attorney Steve Young (D) with 9%. Campbell, Gilchrist,
Young, teacher Bea Tiritilli (Green) and realtor Bruce Cohen (Libertarian)
will advance to the run-off. The CD-48 district is very heavily
Republican in registration, so Campbell is virtually assured of
victory in that contest.
A new University of Massachusetts poll shows Governor Mitt Romney
(R) trailing any of his potential 2006 re-election opponents.
Romney trails Attorney General Tom Reilly -- the Dem frontrunner
-- by 15%. Secretary of State Bill Galvin and former USDOJ official
Deval Patrick (D), by contrast, only leads Romney by single-digits.
However, if Romney passes on the race to focus on a likely 2008
Presidential campaign, GOP chances of holding the Governor's Mansion
fade even further. The poll showed Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey
(R) trails any of the Dems by wider margins than Romney. Healey
trails Reilly by 25%, trails Galvin by 13%, and trails Patrick
US Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is probably to most conservative
Dem currently serving in the Senate. How "Republican-lite"
is Nelson? So much so that prominent Republicans feel comfortable
showing up at his campaign events and writing him contributions
for his 2006 re-election race. Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) made
a point of visiting the Nelson fundraiser in DC -- but joked he
didn't bring a check. Conservative former Congressman Jon Christensen
(R-NE) also organized a fundraiser for Nelson, according to the
Omaha World-Herald Tribune.
ISLAND. The NRSC quickly waded into US Senator Linc Chafee's
2006 re-election race. The party organization is already running
harsh TV spots in the state attacking investment banker and Cranston
Mayor Steve Laffey, Chafee's conservative GOP primary opponent.
The commercials try to tie Laffey to the unpopular oil industry
and high gas prices, blasting Laffey for having previously run
"a company selling oil industry stocks on Wall Street. Profiting
from offshore oil drilling. The oil companies made a fortune.
Steve Laffey made a fortune."
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.05 | Permalink
TAKE ON HARRIET MIERS. Unlike those partisans on both
sides rushing to praise or attack Monday's US Supreme Court nomination
of White House Counsel Harriet Miers, I'm not yet ready to stake
out a definitive position. I don't buy the "She's a moderate
because she gave to Al Gore 17 years ago when he first ran for
President" argument. Hell, wacko homophobe Fred "Gods
Hates Fags" Phelps also backed Gore back then -- and Phelps
is not moderate on anything. I'm concerned by conservative Marvin
Olasky's reporting on Meirs having been active in her fundamentalist
church, noting her "views are consistent with that of evangelical
Christians ... you can tell a lot about her from her decade of
service in a conservative church." As for Meirs' resume,
it seems okay -- even pretty good in and of itself -- but it appears
to be far less than we should expect for a US Supreme Court nominee.
The fact that she's a Bush loyalist with an okay resume
leaves me underwhelmed. I'd note that Michael Brown could've claimed
the same when he was selected to run FEMA -- and just look at
the job he did there. So, for now, I'd say this: Give
her fair hearings, let all the research on her views and experience
come out, and then I'll weigh in with my opinion. Maybe Senators
Harry Reid, Ben Nelson, and the rest of the Dems should follow
this same course.
Republicans will see one of the hottest and highest profiles
in the nation next year in Alabama, when ousted State Supreme
Court Chief Justice Roy
Moore challenges the renomination of Governor Bill Riley. Moore
-- the self-proclaimed "Ten Commandments Judge" -- announced
Monday he is running for Governor. A favorite of hardcore Religious
Right activists, Moore will have no problem raising money from
his nationwide pool of admirers. In the past, Moore has gone so
far as to suggest the death penalty could be appropriate for homosexuals.
Here is what Moore said in 2002: "Homosexuality is an act
so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.
The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to
prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement
and even execution." Moore later said he didn't mean to necessarily
imply he supported those severe penalties for gay conduct -- as
sodomy was only then a criminal misdemeanor in Alabama in 2002
-- and "what the law is is what I must go by." Riley,
a far more mainstream Southern conservative, drew the ire of some
within his party when he pushed for a $1.3 billion tax hike in
his first year in office to improve the quality of the state's
poorly performing school system. Riley is scheduled to kick-off
his campaign later this week. Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley
is a solid frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, but will
face a contested primary. However, Baxley will likely emerge from
her primary much less bloodied that the eventual GOP nominee.
OUT, OUT: Monday continued the recent spate of candidate
recruitment bad news for the Republicans as more major prospects
bailed out. In West Virginia, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito
(R) announced she would seek re-election next year instead of
challenging US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D). The White House had
tried to recruit Capito into the race. In Maine, RNC Member and
former State Representative Peter Cianchette -- the 2002 GOP nominee
for Governor -- unexpectedly abandoned his previously announced
candidacy against Governor John Baldacci (D) for "personal
reasons." He was viewed as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination
in 2006. In North Dakota, the weekend decision by Governor John
Hoeven (R) to not challenge US Senator Kent Conrad (D) next year
did not prompt others to jump into the contest. Actually, it caused
just about every top Republican in the state -- including former
Governor Ed Schafer, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, State State
PSC Chair Tony Clark, Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman, State
House Majority Leader Rick Berg, State Senate Majority Leader
Bob Stenehjem and US Attorney Drew Wrigley -- to all announce
they would also not run against Conrad. With that news, move the
popular Conrad into the "Safe Dem" column.
Telegenic Iraq War veteran and attorney Paul Hackett (D) jumped
into the '06 race against US Senator Mike DeWine (R) on Monday.
Not a surprise, as Hackett's name has been floating for weeks
ever since he impressed party leaders with his surprisingly strong
48% finish in a Congressional special election this past summer
in a safe GOP district. What is surprising are various new reports
that Congressman Sherrod Brown (D) -- a former Ohio Secretary
of State -- is suddenly reconsidering his earlier decision to
pass on the Senate race.
DELAY UPDATE. Temporarily ousted US House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay (R-TX) was indicted a second time in a week -- or re-indicted
(depending on how you view it) -- by a Travis County grand jury.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the new indictment
came about in an attempt by prosecutor Ronnie Earle to quickly
fix serious problems from last week's indictment. Instead of the
original charge of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws,
DeLay is now charged with money laundering. The new indictment
is based on the same set of factual allegations. For more details,
check out the American-Statesman
State Senator Becky Lourey is unabashedly one of the
most liberal Dems in the state legislature. She was further thrust
into headlines when her son was killed in Iraq in June while serving
in the Army. In August, Lourey substituted for Cindy Sheehan on
that dusty road outside of the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas,
when Sheehan had to leave to family reasons. While she views herself
as a Paul Wellstone-style populist, this folksy mother (of 11
surviving children) and grandmother defies stereotypes. "I'm
pro-choice, but I adopted eight children. I support our current
gun laws, but I have a close relationship with my .30-06 Model
70 Winchester [rifle] with a Dot Weaver scope that my father gave
me in 1958. I'm a citizen volunteer. I've farmed ... I'm a business
owner. I support transit and I'm from rural Minnesota," she
said in her past campaign. Look for Lourey -- who said Monday
she will run for Governor next year -- to make the DFL nomination
contest interesting. Other Dems in the race against GOP Governor
Tim Pawlenty include State Senator Steve Kelley, wealthy developer
Kelly Doran, and non-profit group exec Bud Philbrook. Attorney
General Mike Hatch (DFL) is also leaning towards entering the
Let the musical chairs begin. Congressman Ernest Istook (R) announced
his candidacy for Governor on Monday. That immediately prompted
Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin (R) and State Corporation Commissioner
Denise Bode (R) to both jump into the CD-5 race for Istook's open
seat. More potential hopefuls are buzzing around the CD-5 race
and the Lieutenant Gov race. See our Oklahoma
page for the list of all the names in play.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.04.05 | Permalink
Speaking in Europe on Sunday, former New York City Mayor
Rudy Giuliani (R) said he will decide on making a 2008 White House
run sometime next year. "I will be considering it next year,"
he said, but added he has no idea if he'll end up running. "Sometime
you warm up and get ready and you don't get in and pitch."
( ... OR "LIBBY-GATE" ... OR "CHENEY-GATE").
Was it White
House political guru Karl Rove who leaked to the media that Valerie
Plame was an undercover CIA agent ... or was it Vice Presidential
Chief of Staff Scooter Libby ... or does the trail of potential
criminality go all the way to the top? The Washington Post
reported on Sunday that the White House is bracing for possible
indictments in the case. However, ABC's George Stephanopoulos
reported Sunday a "source close to this [reported] that President
Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some
of these discussions" planning the leak of damaging info
on the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, an Administration critic.
The New York Times reported evidence now appears to indicate
that Vice President Cheney may have directed Libby to leak the
info about Plame's undercover role. Plame had no known association
with the CIA prior to the 2003 leaks. Because of the complexities
of proving the leaking charge, the federal prosecutor is believed
to be focusing instead on criminal conspiracy charges.
DELAY UPDATE #1: In the movie Casino, Robert
DeNiro played Lefty, the mob-controlled boss of the Tangiers casino
in Vegas. When state casino licensing problems appeared for Lefty,
he stepped aside as General Manager and was given the new title
of "Catering Manager" -- but still went ahead and told
a local TV news crew that it didn't matter what his official title
was because he was still the boss
of the Tangiers. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, former
US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) displayed the same hubris
as DeNiro's character. "I can do my job with or without the
title. That doesn't concern me," said DeLay, who defiantly
implied he will remain part of the GOP House leadership despite
last week's criminal indictment. DeLay also called the charges
"sleavy." DeLay said he only is guilty of raising lots
of money to defeat Dems -- "but that's not illegal."
Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT) -- a GOP moderate -- told CNN he
has never been comfortable with DeLay's leadership style. Shays
said DeLay engages in "continual acts that border and go
sometimes beyond the ethical edge. They may not be illegal, but
he's always pushing that ethical edge to the limit." And,
if you thought the news for DeLay couldn't get worse, check out
what Time magazine will report on Monday: "A federal
investigation into the spreading scandal around disgraced lobbyist
Jack Abramoff, accused with Michael Scanlon (a former press secretary
of DeLay's) of bilking their Indian-tribe clients out of $66 million,
has begun lapping at the edges of the former Majority Leader's
DELAY UPDATE #2: To date, two House members -- Jeb Bradley
(R-NH) and Heather Wilson (R-NM) -- announced they are returning
contributions received in the past from DeLay's PAC. Congressman
Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) said he would donate all of the $14,500 he
received from DeLay's PAC to the Bush-Clinton hurricane relief
group. "It’s time [for me] to sever any and all ties
with the gentleman from Texas," explained Hulshof to the
Columbia Daily Tribune, who added Sunday he does not want
DeLay returning to the leadership regardless of the outcome of
the charges. "If you're afraid of keeping Tom DeLay's PAC
money, you're probably afraid of your own shadow," responded
Congressman Henry Bonilla (R-TX), a DeLay ally. Congressmen Sherwood
Boehlert (R-NY) and Clay Shaw (R-FL) -- as just two examples --
willingly told reporters they would keep the DeLay money. By contrast,
Congressman Mark Green (R-WI) -- a 2006 candidate for Governor
-- is trying to weasel out of the whole mess while keeping the
money. His campaign spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
that Green "legally could not return the donations ... We'd
be in violation of federal law, which sets limits on the size
of gifts to federal campaign committees ... [and, besides] that
money has been since spent, so there is no contribution to return."
Yet others are taking the silent approach, refusing to answer
any media questions about the DeLay money.
DELAY UPDATE #3: Apparently some people believe there
is a nexus between these two proven maxims: "Timing is everything"
and "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Otherwise,
how else could you explain this item. Former State Senator Gunner
DeLay (R-AR) -- Tom's second cousin -- decided the timing was
right to announce his candidacy over the weekend for Arkansas
Attorney General. He is unlikely to face serious opposition for
the GOP nomination. The seat is open because Attorney General
Mike Beebe (D) is running for Governor.
ENEMIES LIST REDUX. Over the
weekend we reported former US Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut
was contemplating a comeback bid for office next year against
Joe Lieberman. The liberal Weicker earned his spot as a Nixon
enemy by being one of the first Republicans who supported Nixon's
impeachment in 1974. Since then, Weicker left the GOP and moved
to the left -- going as far as to endorse Howard Dean for President
in 2004. Now we're hearing of another Nixon foe -- 78-year-old
former California Congressman Pete McCloskey (R) -- thinking of
running for Congress again next year. McCloskey made a quixotic
bid against President Nixon in the 1972 primaries as an anti-Vietnam
War peace candidate, then gave the first speech of any House member
calling for Nixon's impeachment. He remained in Congress until
losing a bid for US Senate in 1982. Since then, McCloskey has
spent his time as an ardent environmental activist (and a vocal
Israel critic). The co-founder of Earth Day in 1970 and an original
co-sponsor of the Endangered Species Act, McCloskey is "outraged"
that Congressman Dick Pombo (R-CA) wants to substantially scale
back the Act. McCloskey was attempting to recruit an environmentalist
Republican to run against Pombo, but now says he himself will
run if he cannot find a viable primary candidate against Pombo.
In a primary, McCloskey -- an Iraq War opponent -- would also
have to answer for his endorsement of John Kerry last year. A
spokesman for the incumbent said "Republicans are happy with
Pombo and don't see a need for change."
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.03.05 | Permalink
TAKES: In the wake of former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar
(R) announcing Friday that he will not run for against Governor
Rod Blagojevich (D) next year, the GOP may now lose the candidate
who polled best after Edgar. State Treasurer Judy Baar
Topinka (R) -- who also served as State GOP Chair -- now says
she is considering withdrawing from the gubernatorial contest.
Topinka had deferred making a formal entry into the race to allow
Edgar time to make a decision -- but now says the time Edgar spent
contemplating the race also caused her to rethink her interest
in the contest ... In North Dakota, Dems got even more good news.
Governor John Hoeven (R) announced Friday that he will not challenge
US Senator Kent Conrad (D). "The outpouring of support and
encouragement I have received to run for the United States Senate
is truly humbling, but as I have said, repeatedly, I am focused
squarely on the job of Governor," he said. The White House
had strongly pressed Hoeven to run. With Hoeven out of the race,
the popular Conrad is a safe bet to win re-election ... The Virginia
gubernatorial race is further narrowing. The latest Rasmussen
Reports poll shows Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine and former Attorney
General Jerry Kilgore (R) tied with 45% apiece -- and Kaine hasn't
even started running the TV spots (reportedly already filmed)
with popular outgoing incumbent Mark Warner (D) endorsing Kaine
... In Connecticut, former US Senator and former Governor Lowell
Weicker is sounding like a possible Indy candidate against US
Senator Joe Lieberman (D) next year. Weicker, a liberal, served
three terms in the US Senate as a Republican before being elected
Governor as a progressive Independent in 1990. Lieberman ousted
then-incumbent Weicker from the Senate seat in 1988.
by Ron Gunzburger - 10.01.05 | Permalink