OFFICIAL SWITCHES PARTIES IN PENN. Term-limited
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Barbara Hafer switched from Republican
to Democrat this week, after 20 years as a GOP elected official.
In fact, Hafer had originally been a Democrat until the local
Republican leaders in her county convinced her to switch in the
mid-1970s -- a move that began the nurse and community activist
on her career in politics. After serving in local office, Hafer
was elected State Auditor in 1988 and re-elected in 1992. In 1996,
she was elected to the first of her two terms as State Treasurer.
Hafer was the GOP nominee for Governor in 1990 -- and briefly
flirted with running for Governor again in 2002. Ultimately, she
passed on the race but endorsed Democrat Ed Rendell for Governor
over her own party's nominee. Since then, Hafer has contributed
money to the 2003 re-election campaign of Philadelphia Mayor John
Street (D) and Presidential candidate John Kerry. Why the switch
now? Because Hafer -- a social liberal and fiscal conservative
-- appears to be positioning herself to challenge conservative
US Senate Rick Santorum (R) in 2006. "The Senate is a good
place to be, and I have a lot of concerns about the [federal]
budget," explained Hafer. Replied Santorum: "I am disappointed
that Treasurer Hafer would abandon the Republican Party that has
endorsed her for statewide office on five different occasions."
GOVERNOR MAY FACE PRIMARY. Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ)
let it be known that he is considering a Democratic primary challenge
to Governor Jim McGreevey in 2005. Andrews and McGreevey have
long been at odds with each other, with their difference escalating
in recent months over financial issues. "People are asking
me to run and I have not turned them down," said Andews in
a Tuesday radio interview. Later, Andrews tried -- but failed
-- to clarify his remarks with other reporters: "My focus
is not on 2005. It is on winning elections at every level in 2004."
Notice that, when pressed, he never said he was not going to run
against McGreevey. The two men ran against each other for Governor
in 1997, with McGreevey winning the primary but losing the general
election. McGreevey returned four years later and was elected
Governor in the 2001 open seat race. Several leading GOP hopefuls
are also looking at the '05 race.
DEMOTION OR DOWNWARD PROMOTION? We're not sure what term
best describes the career move taken Ron Ross (R-NE), 49, who
was appointed by Governor Mike Johanns (R) last week to the vacant
State Treasurer position. State Treasurer Lorelee Byrd (R) announced
her resignation last month after entering a guilty plea to a criminal
ethics charge. Here's the interesting twist: Ross is giving up
his $107,000-a-year career service job as State Health and Human
Services Director to accept the $60,000-a-year elective office
post as State Treasurer. "I've been contemplating a new course
in my public service to Nebraska for quite some time, and I appreciate
the Governor giving me this opportunity, " he explained.
Ross -- who takes office on January 6 -- will serve the remaining
three years left in Byrd's term. Before entering government in
1999, Ross served as a health care company CEO and had previously
been a hospital administrator.
TODAY: Michigan, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and P2004:
HE DID IT AGAIN. Forget
all the media pundits who predicted in recent weeks that Howard
Dean's fundraising for this quarter would lag quite a bit behind
the amazing $14.8 million he raised in the previous quarter. Likewise,
ignore those "insiders" who confidently stated in news
articles that Wesley Clark's solid fundraising would give him
the highest total for the quarter. That's because -- once again
-- Dean will report the highest fundraising total for 4Q 2003
out of all the Democrats in the Presidential contest. As of Tuesday
afternoon, Dean was already past the $14.4 million mark for the
reporting period -- and he still has over a day to go to break
his total from 3Q. According to the Clark campaign, they will
also show a very strong quarter and will have collected somewhere
"in the range of $10-12 million." John Kerry and Dick
Gephardt expect to report amounts of somewhat under $4 million
for the quarter -- and the other Dems will all lag even further
behind in the money hunt. I know that not a single primary vote
has been cast ... but is it too early to start speculating about
who will be Dean's VP runningmate?
PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE. The American
Party -- which 20 years ago had ballot status in dozens of
states -- failed to qualify for the ballot anywhere with it's
2000 Presidential ticket. Even more embarrassing, Bob Boyd --
the party's nominee for 2004 -- quit the race less than a month
after being nominated because he suddenly realized how much time
was involved in trying to run a national race for President. From
what we understand, the VP nominee also quit the ticket. Well,
this small, very conservative, Christian party is seeking replacement
nominees. If you're interested, plan to attend the AP's January
9-10 national committee meeting. At least three folks -- including
1996 Presidential nominee Diane Templin and 2000 Presidential
nominee Don Rogers -- are now seeking spots on the ticket.
NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. Here's yet another installment
in our continuing series
on the more obscure Presidential candidates. Meet Willie
Carter (D-TX), who is making his fifth run for President in
2004. Carter is a US Air Force veteran, former aircraft mechanic,
union member, former businessman, and Pentecostal church deacon.
He's also a father of nine children. From his website bio, his
political experience seems entirely limited to his membership
in the Gardena Valley Democratic Club of Southern California (and
his frequent runs for President). In 2000, Carter captured just
30 votes (17th place) in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
Carter filed federal paperwork in 2001 announcing he is again
a candidate in 2004. Carter's message is entirely a theocratic
one, vowing to "rebuild America God's way." Here's how
the candidate explains it: "Now, for our nation to continue
to succeed, we must not leave off the success formula. SUCCESS
FORMULA: GOD + CREATION + LOVE + MANKIND = GOOD SUCCESS."
Calling himself a "Vandidate", Carter is driving around
the nation by van, tyring to meet with voters are various churches
and other places. His favorite campaign events are "meet-the-candidate"
breakfasts at various Denny's restaurants. Carter has qualified
for a spot on the 2004 New Hampshire primary ballot.
TODAY: Alabama, California,
Florida, New Mexico,
P2004, P2004: Dean,
P2004: Clark, and P2004:
NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. Political
news is slow during the holidays ... so today we continue our
series on the more obscure Presidential candidates with a profile
Ashby (R-MO). This candidate proudly notes that he already
achieved his first professional goal: he became a self-made multi-millionaire
before age 40. Ashby says the stock market crash of 2000, however,
dropped his net worth below the $1,000,000 mark. That's why he
figures he's got nothing to lose by making a run for President
in 2004. Ashby -- who has already qualified for the New Hampshire
and Missouri primary ballots -- vows he will spend what it takes
to get on additional state ballots and get his message out about
where the GOP needs to go. Ashby earned his millions by co-founding
an independent communications provider in the mid-1990s and then
selling the company to a wealthy competitor. He is running for
President because he believes President Bush has ignored the party's
traditional commitment to fiscal responsibility by running up
a $400 billion deficit. "Deficits are stealing from our children,
and not a way to run a government ... We're historically the party
of a balanced budget, small government and a free market,"
said Ashby. He also takes issue with the increasing role social
conservatives have been playing in the GOP: "It's time for
freedom-loving moderates to take [control of the party] back."
He explains that he is not running to defeat Bush -- whom he says
he respects -- but is ultimately running "because the Republican
primaries are our one chance to let the party know how important
our traditional Republican values are." He supports medical
marijuana, opposes unfunded mandates "such as the current
'no child left behind' rhetoric", advocates federal tax reform,
supports strengthening environmental protection laws, opposes
deficit budgets, believes "our first and best line of national
defense has always been democratic capitalism [and] free trade",
and wants to return nearly all control over education to the state/local
Think of Ashby as the Morry Taylor of 2004 ... but with even less
TODAY: Alaska, Arizona,
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii,
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Texas, Virginia, Washington,
Wisconsin, American Samoa,
P2004, P2004: Dean,
P2004: Clark, P2004:
Other Republicans, P2004: Independents,
P2004: Libertarian Party, P2004:
Green Party, P2004: Constitution Party,
Calendar, and News
OF POLITICS1. Politics1 is largely reader supported
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NOW LEADING JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE. Independent polls
continue to pile up showing that Howard Dean is now leading the
field for the Democratic Presidential nomination
in just about every key contest state -- even in states with a
more conservative electorate. We're not even going to bother with
any NH polls today, as Dean holds a landslide lead of around 30-points
there. Here are some of the latest poll results from the past
week ... OKLAHOMA: Dean-24%, Wesley Clark-21%,
Joe Lieberman-9%, and all others each at 4% or less. Lieberman
has made OK and AZ key "make-or-break" states for him,
so a loss here on February 3rd will be fatal for him. John Edwards
is also trying to make a dent here here, so far without results
... ARIZONA: Dean-26%, Clark-15%, Lieberman-9%,
Dick Gephardt-7%, John Kerry-6%, and all others at 1% or less.
Yet another sign that Lieberman's strategy is failing ... SOUTH
CAROLINA: Dean-16%, Clark and Al Sharpton tied at 12%
apiece, Edwards-11%, Lieberman-7%, and all others at 3% or less.
Lots of second place finishes are nice, but can anybody tell us
what is the first state that Clark is actually going to win?...
WISCONSIN: Dean-33%, Lieberman-12%, Clark-11%,
Gephardt-9%, and Kerry-6%. The primary here is February 17 --
three weeks after NH -- so several of these guys will already
be gone by that date ... GEORGIA: Dean-18%, Gephardt-8%,
Clark-7%, Sharpton and Lieberman tied with 6% each, and the rest
trailing behind. Clark dropped 6 points -- and from first to third
-- since the last Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in
October. Gephardt dropped 4, while Dean moved up by 11 points.
President Bush, meanwhile, continues to lead Dean by a comfortable
margin in all national polls of the likely general election match-up.
In related news, John Kerry loaned his campaign more than $6 million
this week, secured by a mortgage on property he owns, in an effort
to revive his failing campaign.
DEM SENATE PROSPECT SAYS "NO" IN COLORADO.
US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) got a great Christmas
present this week when his strongest likely opponent announced
he would not run for the Senate next year. The 70-year-old Campbell
-- a colorful, motorcycle-riding politican and ex-Democrat --
has recently been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Although
some statewide polls showed Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) leading
Campbell in the Senate race, Udall said he will instead seek re-election
to the House in 2004. Udall said that the deciding factor for
him was his family -- and that his wife and two children all opposed
him making a statewide run. Udall said he is not "leaving
the Democrats in a lurch" because there are several other
good potential candidates, including former US Senate Gary Hart
(D). Hart had previously said he would not run if Udall did, but
would consider a return to elective office if Udall opted out
of the Senate race.
TODAY: Delaware, Illinois,
Louisiana, New Mexico,
Political Parties, Jobs,
HOLIDAYS FROM POLITICS1. Merry Christmas.
SAYS NO TO GREENS. While
he is not yet ruling out making a fourth run for President in
2004, consumer advocate Ralph Nader this week informed the Green
Party's leadership that he will not seek their nomination in next
year. Instead, Nader is keeping open the option that he may run
as an Independent candidate for President. If Nader takes that
route, he would have to secure ballot status for himself in each
state. Any ballot status positions that he secured in states with
his last run would be reserved for the Green Party's 2004 nominee.
If he runs, a Nader ally told the Washington Post that
Nader "would run the most serious campaign possible to unseat
George Bush" and was concerned that the Greens have no clear
strategy for approaching the 2004 elections. On his Presidential
Exploratory Committee site,
Nader is currently conducting a poll to purportedly determine
if he should run at all next year. Dems are likely flocking there
to vote "don't run" while Republicans are likely driving
up the numbers urging the opposite.
TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS AND ONE OLD SOCIALIST. The
Question: Describe the three candidates competing in California's
March 2 primary for the Peace & Freedom Party's Presidential
nomination (and ballot status). The old guy is Socialist Party-USA's
2004 Presidential nominee Walt Brown, a 78-year-old semi-retired
attorney and former Oregon State Senator. The two killers are
Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, both cause celebres
among the international leftist set. Depending upon whom you believe,
imprisoned radical journalist Mumia is either a cop killer or
an innocent political prisoner. Likewise for Native American activist
Peltier, who is either the murdered of two FBI agents or a political
prisoner framed by evil law enforcement officers. Mumia was on
death row in Pennsylvania awaiting execution until last year (but
a court set aside his death sentence, so now he's "doing
life"), while Peltier is serving a life sentence in federal
prison but hoping someday for a shot at Presidential clemency.
The Mumia and Peltier campaigns seem largely intended to generate
attention for their ongoing legal battles for freedom. Brown,
on the other hand, is seeking to improve his party's lackluster
showings in recent election cycles. The PFP is a fairly small
Marxist party that has historically been torn between a democratic
socialist faction and a hardcore communist authoritarian faction.
To learn more about these three guys -- and the PFP -- click here.
TO POLITICS1, GET
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-- a $25 value!! Written by consultants Emi Ireland and Phil Nash
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TODAY: Maryland, Missouri,
Texas, P2004: Dean,
P2004: Independents, and P2004:
CONGRESSWOMAN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT. Congresswoman
Karen McCarthy (D-MO) announced this weekend that she will not
seek re-election to a sixth term next year. Within the past year
-- after some embarrassing public incidents -- McCarhty checked
herself into an alcohol rehab program and acknowledged she was
an alcoholic. Since her return from treatment, McCarthy has continued
to act in an erratic and volatile manner -- and her actions have
caused a heavy rate of departures from her staff. In recent days,
McCarthy came under fire for using campaign money to take a trip
to attend the Grammy awards. She also faced recent allegations
that she was using government staffers for run her personal errands.
In fact -- even before her announcement -- she was viewed as vulnerable
enough that she had already drawn two primary opponents and was
likely to attract more. "I want to focus on balance in my
life. Too often, I've put my career and helping others ahead of
my own needs," explained McCarthy of her decision. The seat
is heavily Democratic, so it is likely to remain in Democratic
LEADS IN GEORGIA. A new independent poll released Friday
shows that Howard Dean is leading the Democratic field for the
March 2nd Presidential primary in that state. The poll -- conducted
for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- showed Dean was
the only candidate registering support in the double-digits. The
numbers: Dean-19%, Dick Gephardt-8%, Wesley Clark-7%, Al Sharpton
and Joe Lieberman tied with 6% each, and the rest trailed behind.
However, 42% of all respondents said they remained undecided.
Since the last AJ-C poll in October, Dean has climbed
12 points and Sharpton rose by 3% -- while Clark dropped six points,
Gephardt fell four points, and others also fell back some more.
GRATUITOUS PLUG. When I was away skiing last week in
Park City, Utah, I spent a day over at the Utah Olympic Park.
The park was location of several of the 2002 SLC Olympic events
-- and is still used as a main training site for several winter
sports like luge, bobsled, aerial ski jumping, etc. I participated
in the one-day Intro to Luge program (left). To ensure we didn't
kill ourselves, we only got to take our three runs down the lower
third of the course -- but that was more than sufficient for first
timers. I had a really big crash on my second run when I was going
near 40 mph -- but only ended up with some bruises. Minutes later
on my third run, I had the fastest recorded speed of the day for
our group. Highly recommended -- and the guys who run the program
help make it a great experience! If you'd like to learn more about
trying sliding (luge, skeleton, or bobsled), check it out here.
As for me: I'm trying the Intro to Skeleton program next time!
TODAY: California, Georgia,
Indiana, Iowa, Maine,
New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Vermont, Politial
Parties, P2004: Gephardt, P2004:
Kerry, P2004: Kucinich, P2004:
Libertarian Party, P2004: Peace &
Freedom Party, P2004: Other Republicans,
MAY PASS ON '04 RUN IF DEAN IS DEM NOMINEE. Former Green
Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader continues his on-and-off
flirtation with making a fourth run for the White House in 2004.
Nader has yet to decide if he'll run next year and yet to decide
if he'd run as a Green or an Independent if does make the race.
However -- in what must be good news to the Democrats -- Nader
told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that he would
probably not run if Howard Dean is the Democratic nominee. "Reading
his position papers sounds eerily similar to what we've been saying.
He speaks clearly … not in Senate-ese … and projects
vigor. We need a macho Democrat," said Nader. Nader has previously
expressed strong support for Dennis Kucinich's Presidential campaign,
but this is the first time he's praised Dean. Don't think, however,
that Nader is a total Dean cheerleader: "Dean's record as
Governor is nothing to shout about," explained Nader.
TODAY: Alabama, Arizona,
Florida, Illinois, Kentucky,
Nebraska, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, South Dakota,
Virginia, West Virginia,
and The Bush Cabinet.
UP. It doesn't seem like much happened while we took
our short ski vacation in Utah: A US Senator announced his retirement,
as did a Congressman ... the US Army captured Saddam Hussein ...
a former Governor was indicted on political corruption charges
... a current Governor admits questionable ethics deals and may
face impeachment ... candidate filing closed in Illinois for the
2004 primary ... and more. Like we said, a pretty uneventful week.
BEREUTER ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT PLANS. Two
safe incumbents decided this week to call it quits in 2004. US
Senator John Breaux (D-LA) announced on Monday that he would not
seek re-election next year. Expect a highly competitive race between
the two most likely candidates: Congressmen David Vitter (R) and
Chris John (D). Other possible hopefuls being mentioned for the
seat include '02 US Senate nominee Suzie Terrell (R), outgoing
Attorney General Richard Ieyoub (D) and State Treasurer John Kennedy.
In Nebraska, Congressman Doug Bereuter (R) announced Tuesday that
he will retire from office next year. Bereuter -- first elected
in 1978 -- is the longest serving member of Congress in Nebraska
history. He won every one of his races with at least 60% -- establishing
this as a fairly reliable GOP seat. Bereuter is reportedly interested
in serving as President of the University of Nebraska. Several
prominent GOP names are looking at the race, along with two Democrats
who had previously announced candidacies against the incumbent.
ILLINOIS GOVERNOR INDICTED. Earlier
this year, former Governor George Ryan (R-IL) was nominated for
the Nobel Peace Prize for his vocal crusade against the death
penalty. Ryan -- who did not seek re-election in 2002 -- made
the news again Wednesday, but this time it was less flattering.
Ryan was indicted on 22 counts of federal political corruption
for allegedly taking payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for
government contracts and leases while he was Illinois Secretary
of State from 1991-99. The charges were not unexpected, as the
developing scandal was in the news since shortly before his election
as Governor in 1998. To date, 59 former Ryan aides -- including
his Chief of Staff -- have already been convicted in the widening
GOV ALSO IN TROUBLE. A growing corruption scandal in
Connecticut is starting to threaten the career of Governor John
Rowland (R). On Friday, Rowland admitted that a major state contractor
and others helped pay for renovations on his summer cottage --
despite his earlier insistence that he had paid for all the work
himself. He apologized for the misstatements and turned his financial
records over to the US Attorney for review. Rowland's former deputy
chief of staff pled guilty earlier this year to federal charges
that he took bribes in exchange for steering state contracts to
certain companies. Rowland has not been charged with any crimes
to date, but some Democratic legislators are already raising the
possibility of impeachment hearings. Senate President Pro Tem
Kevin Sullivan (D), however, said he met with several legislative
leaders and that talk of impeachment appears premature. "This
is a very, very grave moment for the state of Connecticut ...
we have to proceed a day at a time," said Sullivan. Legislative
leaders "should be having a conversation [with Rowland] about
resignation," added House Majority Leader James Amann (D).
"He knows that he's made a mistake. He's apologized for it
... He appreciates the fact the leadership of the legislature
is waiting to see how things go," said Rowland's spokesman
to the AP.
UPDATED: Arkansas, California,
Florida, Georgia, Indiana,
Montana, Nevada, New
Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon,
South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Washington,
West Virginia, Utah,
Calendar and Jobs.