Weekend Round-Up

  • Pennsylvania
    : Conservatives attending the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference seem quite ready to join Pat Toomeyin booting Arlen Specter in a 2010 Senate Republican primary:

    AP reports that Toomey received “resounding cheers” when he said in his keynote speech that he is “very, very likely” to run against Specter. More from AP:

    In his speech to the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, he sharply criticized Specter for voting for the federal economic stimulus package and other big spending bills supported by Democrats. He said Pennsylvania’s senator should stand up for the GOP ideals of lower taxes and smaller government.

    Toomey’s effort, and conservative enthusiasm for it, even spilled over into the portion of the Conference dedicated to the PA-Gov race:

    In a keynote address to the group, Toomey fell short of a formal announcement, but fired up a crowd of about 600 with a denunciation of the government’s “lurch to the left.” The passion to topple Specter even spilled over into the part of the program dedicated to hearing from three likely Republican candidates for governor.First, an anonymous attack flier on all the tables listed former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan’s connections to “Liberal Benedict Arlen.” Then, during a question and answer period, several audience members demanded to know where each stood on the primary.

    “We have our own situations we’re worried about,” joked Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., who said he was there to discuss gubernatorial issues. State Attorney General Tom Corbett also passed.

    Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressman and state Attorney General are both unable to publicly support the incumbent Republican Senator (or don’t want to) because it’s so unpopular, even at a conservative Republican convention.  There’s such a critical mass that I have a hard time seeing a third GOP primary candidate like social ultra-conservative Peg Luksik splitting the conservative vote, allowing Specter to win re-nomination with a plurality.  Conservatives are so fired up to oust Specter, they’ll line up behind Toomey.  How is Specter not toast?

  • Iowa: The first Democrat to enter the 2010 Senate race against Republican Chuck Grassley kicked off his campaign this weekend.  If one thing is clear, Bob Krause knows how to connect with Iowa’s agricultural community (emphasis added by me):

    Democrat Bob Krause said Saturday that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley’s support for legislation 10 years ago opened the door to the recent financial crisis.The former state legislator and transportation official also said, in kicking off his own campaign for U.S. Senate, that Grassley’s half-century in public office is too long.

    As a good farmer, Sen. Grassley must recognize that 51 years, or 58 years at the end of his term, is a long time to go without rotating crops,” Krause told about 50 supporters in Des Moines. …

    He described as disingenuous Grassley’s recent criticism of American International Group for granting huge bonuses even as the troubled insurance company was receiving billions in federal bailout money.

    Please remember that Farmer Grassley was one that opened the barn door and let the cow out at AIG,” Krause said.

    Though indeed an uphill battle, Krause has offered a positive first impression that his campaign does not lack energy or effective communication.

  • Arkansas: Republican Rep. John Boozman, Arkansas’ only prominent Republican elected official (every statewide officeholder and every other member of the federal delegation is a Democrat), might not endorse Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln for re-election to the Senate in 2010, but he does have glowingly positive words regarding her job performance:

    Boozman said he and his fellow Arkansans are effective as a team in serving the state.”We may offer different opinions or argue in Washington, but when it comes to what’s best for Arkansas, we are all able to work very well together and make sure we take care of our state,” he said. “The senators (Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor) have been very good to the 3rd District, especially.”

    Senator Lincoln’s campaign team should get the ball rolling with postcards to independent and Republican voters in Boozman’s district reading: Congressman John Boozman agrees that Senator Blanche Lincoln has “been very good to the 3rd district.”  Vote to re-elect Senator Blanche Lincoln next year.

  • North Carolina: kos compares the Republican victories in NC-Sen in 2002 and 2004 with Democratic Senator Kay Hagan’s 2008 victory as an illustration of a trend that should have freshman Republican Richard Burr very worried about 2010 – especially with the prospect looming of a candidacy by Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is already leading Burr in a couple of polls (Civitas and Public Policy Polling).  Speaking of Attorney General Cooper, The News & Observer highlights Cooper:

    FLYING THE COOP? Attorney General Roy Cooper was suddenly ubiquitous this week: Announcing the number of domestic violence homicides, speaking at an event for his father’s new memoir, filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Voting Rights Act. Now that U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler is out of the race, is it his moment to announce a run for U.S. Senate in 2010 against Sen. Richard Burr?

    The sooner, the better! (HT: Draft Coop)

  • Illinois: The IL-GOP may have their first indication of real interest in a 2010 Senate bid - from conservative magazine publisher Eric Wallace, who was last seen getting demolished in a state senate race in 2006.  Given that I expect that both Republican Reps. Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam will opt to run for re-election in 2010 rather than give up their House seats for a Senate run in a true-blue state, this could be the caliber of opposition that the eventual Democratic nominee gets.  Safe Democratic retention much?
  • Ohio: Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has picked up her latest major labor endorsement, that of the United Food and Commercial Workers, described as “probably the largest endorsement of the campaign for any candidate” to date.
  • Kentucky: It sounds like state Attorney General Jack Conway, a likely candidate for Senate in 2010, was a big hit at the recent Kentucky Young Democrats state convention.
  • Florida: Though Republican Gov. Charlie Crist currently enjoys relatively high approval numbers, he’s not necessarily guaranteed to win a 2010 Senate Republican nomination:

    Florida Republican Party circles are hearing increasing talk of conservative dissatisfaction with Gov. Charlie Crist, and a possible primary challenge if he runs for the U.S. Senate next year. …Some conservatives, never happy with Crist’s emphasis on racial diversity, environmental regulation and populist willingness to take on big business, are now saying it openly. …

    Party figures say a primary challenge is more likely if Crist switches offices, running next year for the Senate instead of re-election as governor.

    “In Tallahassee, there’s a conservative Republican Legislature to balance the governor,” noted Tony DiMatteo, former Pinellas County Republican chairman, who has pronounced himself disillusioned with his county’s favorite son governor. …

    Conservative dissatisfaction began soon after Crist was elected governor in 2006, focusing on his climate change policies and speeding up restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences.

    It has peaked with two recent events: his public support for President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, and his appointment of Judge James Perry to the state Supreme Court.

    Polls are not made of concrete.  The numbers are just a reflection of public sentiment in a given moment, and public sentiment can change.  We see a rightwardly-shifting Republican Party in Pennsylvania ready to oust Arlen Specter.  Can the same happen to Charlie Crist in Florida?  Stay tuned. (HT: FLA Politics)

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