Do you want to know who to blame for the US not being optimally prepared for an influenza pandemic? Start with Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins:
“Everybody in the room is concerned about a pandemic flu, but does it belong in this bill? Should we have 870 million dollars in this bill? No, we should not.”
As The Nation’s John Nichols points out, not only did Collins kill off the $900 million pandemic preparedness proposal–a budgetary execution called for by that well-regarded public health expert Karl Rove–Collins even brags on her Senate website about blocking passage of the pandemic preparedness initiative.
This is what Maine re-elected last year because Collins did an effective job of persuading voters that she is competent and forward-thinking, when, in fact, she is not.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the U.S. has doubled overnight, and the pandemic is leading to school closures as authorities are suggesting that another 100 students in Queens, New York may be sick.
I wonder what impact a major health scare will have on the economy, both globally and domestically. Note to Susan Collins: maybe emergency preparedness funding does belong in an economic stimulus bill if the emergency in question has the potential to massively slow our economy. Thanks for nothing, Susan Collins.
Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 22:50 PM EDT
Senate Republicans are preparing to filibuster the confirmation of the Secretary of Health & Human Services over petty political nonsense as the federal government works to address the swine flu.Senate Republicans: they’ll always put political posturing over public health and public safety.
Sun Apr 26, 2009 at 14:30 PM EDT
Two new polls makes it clear that Minnesotans want Republican Norm Coleman to give them back their second Senate seat that he is holding hostage with his endless appeals.Poll number one:
Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans surveyed think Norm Coleman should concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken, but just as many believe the voting system that gave the state its longest running election contest needs improvement.A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found that 64 percent of those responding believe Coleman, the Republican, should accept the recount trial court’s April 13 verdict that Democrat Franken won the race by 312 votes.
Only 28 percent consider last week’s appeal by Coleman to the Minnesota Supreme Court “appropriate.”
Large majorities of those polled said they would oppose any further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Should Coleman win at the state Supreme Court, 57 percent of respondents said Franken should concede. And 73 percent believe Coleman should give up if he loses at the state’s highest court.
“I voted for Coleman, but this thing has gone on way too long,” said Mike McCombs, 50, a Lakeville furnace and air conditioning salesman. “Obviously, the Republican Party is trying to keep Franken’s vote out of the United States Senate. We should get another [senator] in there.” …
Although 57 percent of Republican poll respondents approve of Coleman’s appeal to the state Supreme Court, the same portion of Republicans want him to quit should he lose there.
A new poll from Grove Insight Research shows that Minnesota voters want Norm Coleman to concede and Gov. Pawlenty to sign the election certificate that will allow Al Franken to be seated — finally — in the U.S. Senate.The poll, commissioned by Alliance for a Better Minnesota, showed that 59% of surveyed voters believe Coleman should concede to Al Franken, while just 34% believe he should keep his legal challenge going. Those numbers fit with the 61% who believe the recount and challenge process has been fair and impartial, against just 24% — the true dead-end of the conservative rump — who still question the process.
54% now believe that Franken won in November fair and square, while just 26% believe Coleman actually won. Among the remainder, 14% are unsure of who actually came out ahead and 5% believe the two candidates actually tied.
As for Governor Pawlenty, there are some potential landmines waiting for him should he decide that he, and not the state Supreme Court, is the Decider:
What ought to be of concern to Governor Pawlenty is the fallout should he refuse to sign a certificate of election. A clear majority (58%) believe that failure to certify Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court rules raises at least “somewhat serious doubts” about Tim Pawlenty. This number grows to 64% when voters are told that the governor is legally required to sign an election certificate. In fact, even four in 10 (40%) self-identified Republicans say they would have “serious doubts” with their Republican Governor should he fail to sign an election certificate after the Minnesota Supreme Court rules.
A strong majority of Minnesotans think that the election and post-election recount and trial were properly conducted; a strong majority of Minnesotans think that Senator-elect Al Franken won fair and square; a strong majority of Minnesotans want Coleman to concede and release the Senate seat he is holding hostage. Only about one-quarter of Minnesotans – the dead-enders – think that Coleman won and that he should press on with his appeals. The will of the voters, for which Coleman keeps saying that he is fighting, is clear in its desire for Coleman to concede and allow Senator-elect Franken to be seated so that Minnesota can again enjoy full representation in the U.S. Senate. Help put pressure on Coleman to concede by joining the One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away effort.
Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 18:09 PM EDT
- WaPo’s Cillizza’s latest Senate Line: 10) Louisiana-R; 9) Illinois-D; 8) Colorado-D; 7) Florida-R; 6) Ohio-R; 5) Missouri-R; 4) New Hampshire-R; 3) Connecticut-D; 2) Pennsylvania-R; 1) Kentucky-R. By the time next month’s Line comes around, Illinois should be off of the list as I expect that Republican Rep. Mark Kirk will have announced that he will not make a 2010 Senate bid. Hopefully, it will be replaced by North Carolina, if my prediction about a forthcoming campaign announcement from state Attorney General Roy Cooper comes to pass.
- Minnesota: With Republican Jim Tedisco respectfully conceding the NY-20 House race once all the votes were counted, Democrats are hoping Tedisco’s display of integrity and common sense inspires Republican Norm Coleman. (On a related note: Congratulations, Representative-elect Scott Murphy!)
- Arkansas: As for potential Republican challengers to Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-WalMart), state senator Gilbert Baker is sounding less likely and Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin is sounding more likely. State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren is already in. Other Republicans considering a run are George W. Bush economic policy staffer French Hill, Rogers Arkansas Mayor Steve Womack, and Safe Foods CEO Curtis Coleman.
- Arizona: The Arizona Daily Star is running an online (read: not at all scientific) poll of readers’ preference in the 2010 Republican Senate primary between John McCain and Chris Simcox. While, again, not scientific, the results as of 5:30pm ET have Simcox leading McCain 93% to 7%. Almost begs for a pollster to do a baseline poll of the AZ-GOP 2010 Senate primary to get a sense of exactly how concerned McCain should be to start.
- Open Left’s Chris Bowers challenges the conventional wisdom that primaries are bad for Democratic candidates for Senate, pointing to the general election results of Democratic Senate nominees who faced competitive primaries:
Maryland 2006 (Cardin vs. Mfume)
Minnesota 2008 (Franken vs. several)
Montana 2006 (Tester vs. Morrison)
Oregon 2008 (Merkley vs. Novick)
Virginia 2006 (Webb vs. Harris)Losses (Two)
Georgia 2008 (Martin vs. Jones)
Kentucky 2008 (Lunsford vs. Fischer)
Connecticut 2006 (loss, but not to Republican)
My only contention with Bowers’ analysis is that several races have extenuating circumstances that render a competitive Democratic primary as less of a significant factor. The two losses were in deep red states. Of the five wins, two were in 2008 in states where Obama’s coattails were extremely helpful (I don’t think many would suggest that Senator-elect Al Franken would have eked out his narrow victory in a non-Obama year). One of the ’06 wins (Maryland) was in a deep blue state. And the other two were against fatally flawed Republicans (George “Macaca” Allen in Virginia and Conrad “Friend of Jack Abramoff” Burns in Montana). One race where I think Bowers’ premise is very clearly illustrated, though not considered a competitive primary due to the size of the primary victory, is North Carolina ’08, where then-state Senator Kay Hagan’s primary competition was critical to her ability to raise her name ID and hone her message against Elizabeth Dole.
One of the key factors that should be mentioned differentiating the five wins from the two losses is that, if memory serves, in the five wins, the primary combatants largely “played nice,” while in the two losses, the primaries were noticeably more negatively-toned (Jones and Fischer both took their share of shots at the eventual nominees). I think that determines whether a primary helps or hurts the eventual nominee. This is why I always root for competitive Republican primaries – they appear to take a much more negative tone (see Pearce v. Wilson in 2008′s combative NM-GOP primary or how Toomey v. Specter is shaping up this year, as well as the thinly veiled shots Marco Rubio is already taking at Charlie Crist). Democratic primaries are rarely divisive slugfests on par with Republican primaries, so they tend to be more helpful for the eventual Democratic nominee.
- I feel compelled to disagree with Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander’s statement:
“In President Obama’s first 100 days, we haven’t found our voice,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate.
I think the GOP has found its voice – and that voice keeps saying “No!” To wit, 100 Days of ‘No’ from the Republican Party:
Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 14:27 PM EDT
- Pennsylvania: A new Rasmussen Reports poll has damning numbers for Arlen Specter. 2010 Senate Republican primary challenger and former Congressman Pat Toomey leads Specter by a gaping 51-30 margin. Among the PA-GOP, Specter’s favorable-unfavorable is in its deathbed at 42-55, while Toomey’s favorable-unfavorable is at a vigorous 66-19. If those numbers are accurate and future polls corroborate them, it’s hard to see any way in which Specter can claw back. Further, as it becomes likelier that Toomey and not Specter will be the Republican Senate nominee in 2010, I’d expect at least one of the Joe Sestak-Allyson Schwartz-Patrick Murphy trio of Democratic Congresspeople to step forward with a Senate bid.
- Illinois: Mayoral brother and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley has announced that he will not be a candidate for Senate in 2010, citing his upcoming June wedding and a desire to avoid the “commuter life back and forth from Washington.” This makes state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, along with his $1.1 million cash-on-hand, his personal wealth, and his close personal ties with President Obama and Illinois’ senior Senator Richard Durbin, the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and the Senate seat in 2010.
- Minnesota: This scheduling is an absolute joke:
The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear Republican Norm Coleman’s appeal of the results of his Senate contest with Democrat Al Franken on June 1.The court’s schedule is similar to what Coleman requested. Coleman must file his brief by Thursday. Franken is to file a response by May 11 and Coleman can reply to Franken’s brief by May 15.
The court will then hear the argument on June 1 at 9 A.M.
It’s April 24. Oral arguments won’t begin until June 1. In the interim, Minnesotans will continue to remain underrepresented in the U.S. Senate. And Republicans couldn’t be happier. I’ll continue to keep an eye out for estimates of how long oral arguments, specifically, could take. It has been estimated that, after oral arguments conclude, it would take two to three weeks for the Justices to write their decision. (Then, the question must be re-raised as to whether or not Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty would prepare an election certificate for Senator-elect Al Franken once state court proceedings have concluded, as is the state’s policy.) For a review of Republican Norm Coleman’s never-ending appeal, check out this particularly cool interactive timeline from the DSCC. I suppose the best case scenario at this point is a swearing in around the Fourth of July – Minnesota’s independence from Republican Norm Coleman’s obstructionism. Does this news bother you? Then join the One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away effort!
- Nevada: Nevada’s Republican bench is very thin and the GOP is having a hard time finding someone to run against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Former Rep. Jon Porter has taken a gig with a lobbying firm, former state senator Joe Heck is running for Governor, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is under indictment. Their best hope is low-dollar wingnut former state assemblywoman Sharon Angle. So what is the NRSC to do? It looks like they’re going to import a carpetbagger from Wall Street, banker John Chachas:
But Chacas’ Wall Street background during an economic recession probably wouldn’t help politically. Even more damaging is the fact that his primary residence isn’t in Nevada – he left the state when he was in high school.
Hey, if Chachas doesn’t go for the carpetbagging campaign, they might as well give Alan Keyes a call. He’s run for Senate in Illinois and Maryland – why not go for the hat trick?
Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 02:45 AM EDT
- Nate from 538 makes his picks for the Q1 fundraising winners and losers.
- Minnesota: Here’s a pretty good idea. Republican Norm Coleman should reimburse Minnesotans for the time he’s forced them to go underrepresented in the U.S. Senate. Since Minnesotans’ taxes are paying for two Senators-worth of constituent service and representation, Coleman should give them a half-off sale.
- Missouri: It’s being reported that Republican former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman is about to form an exploratory committee for a 2010 Senate bid – in which she will clash with Congresscritter Roy Blunt in the Republican primary. She’s even enlisted the help of Norm Coleman lawyer and “Swift Boat” dirtbag Ben Ginsberg. If Steelman-Blunt is anything like Steelman-Hulshof, it should be delightfully divisive.
- Texas: New Research 2000 poll numbers on the still-hypothetical race to succeed gubernatorial front-runner Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate:
State AG Greg Abbott (R) 45-26 (+19)
Fmr. Comptroller John Sharp (D) 36-24 (+12)
Houston Mayor Bill White (D) 33-23 (+10)
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) 39-31 (+8)
RR Commish Michael Williams (R) 33-25 (+8)
State Sen. Florence Shapiro (R) 28-24 (+4) Rs v. Sharp
Abbott v. Sharp 43-36
Dewhurst v. Sharp 44-37
Williams v. Sharp 34-37
Shapiro v. Sharp 33-37 Rs v. White
Abbott v. White 42-36
Dewhurst v. White 43-37
Williams v. White 34-38
Shapiro v. White 33-38
- Once again, we see Democrats Sharp and White performing nearly identically when compared to Republican challengers. Both sit in the high 30s and narrowly lead lesser-known Republicans while trailing higher profile Republicans by only 6 or 7 points. It is very clear why NRSC Chair John Cornyn is so worried about losing the Texas seat when KBH gives it up.
- Delaware: Republican at-large Rep. Mike Castle is making himself into a bit of an electoral wild card for 2010:
Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) said Thursday that he’s leaning more toward running for Senate rather than another term in the House, if he decides to run for Congress again in 2010.In an interview on Capitol Hill, Castle also acknowledged that several GOP Senators, including John McCain (Ariz.), have been pushing him in recent weeks to make the move to the other side of Capitol Hill. He said a final decision on his 2010 plans would likely have to come by early summer “at the latest.” …
At that meeting Castle told Carney “there’s probably a better chance I’ll run for the Senate than the House. [But] I said there’s a chance I won’t run at all.” …
If Castle does decide to run for Senate, it would likely set up a high-profile battle against state Attorney General Beau Biden (D), who is widely expected to run for his father’s old Senate seat next year. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D) was appointed to fill Vice President Joseph Biden’s seat after the 2008 election, but Kaufman has said he won’t run for the remainder of Biden’s term in the 2010. Castle will be 71 in 2010.
On the one hand, Castle led AG Biden 44-36 in a Public Policy Polling poll last month. On the other hand, the septuagenarian Castle only raised less than $75,000 in the first three months of 2009 (and has less than $850,000 in the bank), a paltry sum for someone planning a Senate run. On top of which, he would have to expend energy and resources in the primary against the more conservative Christine O’Donnell – and that’s before likely taking on a Democratic statewide official in a state that voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden over John McCain and Sarah Palin 62 to 37. While I reserve the right to be surprised, I just don’t see the 70-year-old Castle making the run.
- Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb is the latest local politician to add his name to the list of possible Democratic candidates for Senate in 2010. Prior to being elected Controller in 2007, Lamb served as Allegheny County prothonotary, a court recordkeeping position. Lamb also came in second in the 2005 Democratic primary for Mayor of Pittsburgh, garnering about 31% of the vote.
- Ohio: The meme of Secretary of State and 2010 Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner needing to have a more impressive Q2 than her $200,000 Q1 has made the pages of The Hill.
- Illinois: Also making it into The Hill is the story about how Democrats aren’t waiting for Roland Burris to make up his mind about his 2010 electoral plans before moving forward with their own plans. No kidding.
- Personal note: I do not like Larry Summers and I do not trust him.
- While Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, the U.S. House’s only Jewish Republican, is making his pitch to Jewish voters to come to the Republican Party, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele blows off at the last minute an organizations of Reform Jewish leaders in order to – I’m not joking – watch a documentary on boxer Mike Tyson. L’chaim!
- Two qualities about House Republicans that drive me nuts are willful ignorance and smugness. It appears that those two qualities intersect at Joe Barton Avenue. Here, Nobel laureate and Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu tries to explain in under a minute where oil comes from to an incredulous and rude Barton. Barton seems unimpressed with an answer he is simply to dumb to understand.
Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 15:39 PM EDT
- Florida: The blogs FLA Politics, You thought we wouldn’t notice, and Matt Ortega combine to illustrate how Republican 2010 Senate candidate Marco Rubio appears to have ripped off Hulu’s web design. Further, Rubio’s web team appears to concede the point as, the blog posts note, in the hours after publicity of Rubio’s apparent rip occurred, Rubio’s web team made minor cosmetic alterations to the site. Apparently, the Rubio team doesn’t think bloggers are capable of screen capping. In other news, former President Bill Clinton will hold a third fundraiser for Congressman and 2010 Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, to take place on May 3rd. The first two fundraisers combined to raise about $400,000 for Congressman Meek’s campaign. Meanwhile, retiring Republican Mel Martinez says that “there’s a strong likelihood Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will run for his open Senate seat in 2010,” according to Roll Call.
- Minnesota: It appears that Norm Coleman donor and state Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen will not recuse himself from Coleman’s appeal before the Court. This is highly disappointing. I would imagine that Justice Dietzen’s conduct regarding the appeal will be highly scrutinized as a result of his earlier support for Republican Norm Coleman.In other news, Coleman’s legal woes further compound with two filings. First, the Minnesota DFL has formally filed a complaint with the FEC in response to Coleman paying his personal legal bills with campaign funds. Second, and separately, Franken’s legal team filed a motion asking for $16,132 from Coleman for costs based on the ruling that Coleman’s lawyers failed to adequately disclose witness testimony.
- Missouri: Republican former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman claims that she is in no hurry to enter her Party’s 2010 Senate primary for U.S. Senate, but her MySpace page has already been updated to reflect a Senate run. Whoops!
- New York: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the nation’s highest profile environmentalists, has glowing words in support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
- Connecticut: Non-Democrat Joe Lieberman keeps going back and forth as to whether he is a strong opponent of torture or a defender of it.
Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 23:51 PM EDT
Sometimes birds of a feather really do flock together.Remember what Republican Norm Coleman saidimmediately following Election Day 2008, when the incomplete, incorrect tally initially had Coleman up by a few hundred votes?
If you ask me what I would do [if I were in Al Franken's place], I would step back. I just think the need for the healing process is so important. The possibility of any change of this magnitude in the voting system we have is so remote, but that would be my judgment.
That was over five and a half months ago. Coleman obviously stopped thinking that the “need for the healing process” was very important a long time ago – probably right around the time that the recount put Senator-elect Al Franken in the lead.
It is important to note that, while Coleman is Hypocrite-in-Chief of the Coleman campaign, he surrounds himself with likeminded hypocrites.
One of Coleman’s top lawyers, Ben Ginsberg, makes himself out to be an ardent defender of “equal protection” (as it is put forth to be one of the key tenets of Coleman’s appeal).
Ginsberg reiterated the major themes of the upcoming appeal:
• The three judges allowed “illegal ballots” in the count and, by not following state election law uniformly, election officials statewide violated the “equal protection” rights of thousands of voters;
Clearly, Ginsberg is troubled by what he sees as a violation of “equal protection.” But, it turns out, Ginsberg has only very recently found religion on “equal protection.” It was not too long ago that he saw it as a notion with “fundamential philosophical” problems:
Just like, really, with the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection.
Ginsberg isn’t the only making arguments he himself doesn’t really believe on behalf of Norm Coleman’s Hypocritical All-Stars. Vin Weber is a former Congressman from Minnesota turned Washington lobbyist, and is one of Coleman’s closest friends and advisers. And Vin would do most anything for his buddy Norm, including drafting an op-ed portraying Coleman’s appeal as a courageous and noble struggle for the heart of civic decency in the battle against political cynicism:
The decision by Norm Coleman to appeal the ruling by the three-judge panel in the U.S. Senate election contest ought to be viewed as a courageous step in the long-term interests of all Minnesotans. …Let’s be clear. The issues here are not about expediency. That’s not how Minnesotans view civic life. On the contrary, Minnesota is the place where we value the legitimacy of our elections and the equal opportunity of all citizens to cast a legal ballot and have it counted.
And for that fight on behalf of our constitutional rights — and the rights of our citizens — we should all thank Norm Coleman.
Wow, Weber must be a passionate defender of using the legal system to ensure the validity of our democratic process. Oh, wait a sec, it seems that Weber only feels that way when it’s a Republican who’s on the losing end of an election:
The recount mess in Florida will not turn out to be a marvelous system-reaffirming civics lesson for the country, as some commentators have said, Vin Weber told a Minneapolis audience Thursday.”It’s a civics lesson but in my view it’s a bad civics lesson,” he said. “It’s going to increase cynicism, and it’s going to teach politicians in both parties a lesson about not accepting lightly the outcome of a narrow defeat.”
Hmmm, not accepting the outcome of a narrow defeat, Weber says. Maybe Coleman accidentally deleted that e-mail from Weber.
In short, the arguments that Coleman and his crew are making are arguments in which they themselves don’t even believe. They’re arguments against which Republicans have fought for years. But, now that it’s politically convenient to embrace them, they’re all aboard. They utterly lack any hint of integrity, and they represent the height of political cynicism. MN Progressive Project’s Joe Bodell put it best:
here’s to hoping the state Supreme Court recognizes snake oil when they smell it.
Coleman has no substance. All he and his hypocritical crew have is snake oil. I agree with Joe: here’s hoping that the state Supreme Court Justices recognize it.
Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 16:04 PM EDT
- Happy. Earth. Day. Do. Something.
- NRSC: The Hill profiles NRSC Chair John Cornyn and finds him awfully worried about 2010:
Stopping Dem 60 ‘real hard,’ Cornyn fearsThe man in charge of electing more Republicans to the Senate said it will be difficult to stop the Democrats from winning a 60-seat majority in 2010. …
“That’s going to be real hard, to be honest with you,” Cornyn said of keeping Democrats from reaching 60 seats …
For Cornyn, the man tasked with avoiding sinking below 41 seats, it’s become a very tough job. And it’s clear he’s nervous. …
In every state except Connecticut, though, Republicans have yet to find a candidate. And in most of them, because of the Democratic lean of the state, the list of viable options is extraordinarily thin.
Cornyn doesn’t have the map, the political dynamics, the recruits, or the Schumerosity. Cornyn even conceded that the Texas seat that Kay Bailey Hutchison will eventually give up is winnable for Democrats. As the 2010 cycle unfolds, expect Cornyn to spit out a lot more quotes akin to what 2008 cycle NRSC Chair John Ensign would say regarding limiting Democratic gains, as opposed to talking up Republican gains. Separate from the profile, The Hill also posted excerpts from their Q & A with Cornyn. The amount of spin Cornyn gives in every single answer will make you dizzy.
- Minnesota: Need more evidence that Republican Norm Coleman’s goal is not to win but to simply keep Senator-elect Al Franken out of the Senate for as long as possible?
Coleman asks for more time for election appealNorm Coleman today proposed a more leisurely schedule for his election appeal than Al Franken wants, asking that oral arguments in the case be held no sooner than mid-May.
In a document filed this morning with the state Supreme Court, Coleman’s lawyers asked to have until April 30 to file their opening brief. They would give Franken’s lawyers about 10 days to submit their brief, and then would plan to file their reply by May 15.
Another month before oral arguments could begin before the state Supreme Court?! Another month that Minnesotans will go underrepresented in the U.S. Senate?! There is no other conclusion besides the Coleman camp intentionally trying to string this out for as long as possible, without concern for the eventual result.
- North Carolina: In the hopefully-unlikely event that Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper does not run for Senate in 2010 against freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr, Congressman Mike McIntyre has given a “never say never” answer in response to the question of whether or not he’d run for Senate in 2010. A Public Policy Polling poll released a week ago found Congressman McIntyre trailing “Bank Run” Burr by only five points and holding Burr to under 40, at 39-34. In short, Congressman McIntyre is a very strong Plan B if we don’t get an affirmative from Attorney General Cooper.
- New Hampshire: In 2006, Paul Hodes defeated then-Congressman Charlie Bass for the House, 53-46. Now, Bass is publicly talking about challenging Congressman Hodes for Senate in 2010. However, Bass “expects to wait until the end of this year or the beginning of next year to decide.” That indicates to me that Bass plans on letting whoever wants to run run. If someone high profile gets in (like, for instance, recently-ousted former Sen. John Sununu), great. If no one of note gets in and he can walk into the nomination, then he’d take it. We’ll see.
- Colorado: New Public Policy Polling numbers have Senator Michael Bennet on relatively shaky footing. The poll puts Senator Bennet’s approve-disapprove at a net-negative 34-41 (though Colorado Pols argues that there is no way that 75% of Coloradoans have formed an opinion of Senator Bennet, yet). One key demographic that PPP points to is Hispanic voters. Senator Bennet’s approve-disapprove among Hispanic voters is only 36-45, compared with 58-36 for President Obama – so, clearly, Colorado Hispanic voters are very willing to support Democrats, but Senator Bennet still needs to work to win their support. Still, Senator Bennet matches up well against similarly unknown Republicans and runs even with a better known Republican possible challenger:
The good news for Bennet is that none of his most likely opponents are particularly well known or well liked either. Ryan Frazier, Ken Buck, and Josh Penry all have net negative favorability and are unknown to at least 50% of voters in the state. The only one with significant statewide name recognition is Bob Beauprez, and his favorability numbers are pretty dismal at 33/43.Bennet leads three of the four in hypothetical contests, 39-35 over Frazier, 40-34 over Buck, and 41-34 over Penry. Beauprez leads him 43-42.
Like fellow Senate appointee Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Bennet has to continue hustling non-stop to introduce himself to voters statewide and define himself before Republicans do. But, in both Colorado and New York, there is every indication that, once the Democratic Senator becomes better known to the statewide electorate, a Democratic hold is very likely. However, if Senator Bennet does not improve those approval numbers, it will only invite continued talk of a 2010 Democratic Senate primary challenge.
- Arkansas: Senator Blanche Lincoln’s first Republican challenger, State Senator Minority Leader Kim Hendren, doesn’t sound like he’s in a rush to hire staff or put together a campaign infrastructure or raise resources. Maybe he just likes having his name appear on the ballot.
- New York: Every female Democratic Senator has signed on for a big-dollar fundraiser for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Elsewhere, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has hired a statewide finance director, a sign that she is still seriously considering a 2010 Democratic Senate primary challenge.
- Senate procedure: I agree 100% with Chris Bowers here: “Make The Filibuster An Actual Filibuster.” Instead of allowing Republicans to abuse procedure and require 60 votes on anything, force them to follow through with an actual, talk-non-stop filibuster. Don’t eliminate the filibuster – rather, simply force the GOP to actually engage in one.
Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 22:54 PM EDT
Please keep those dollars coming! It really makes a difference.
Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 15:27 PM EDT
- The Rothenberg Political Report has updated its 2010 Senate Ratings, and there’s a lot of shifting from the March 11 ratings. In a nutshell, in Democrats’ favor, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are seen as much more competitive; but, in Republicans’ favor, Connecticut is also seen as much more competitive.
- Arizona: John W. McCain has his first announced Republican primary opponent and it’s a big one: Chris Simcox, founder of the Minutemen border patrollers. Given Simcox’ high profile in the anti-immigration movement, he should be able to raise adequate funds and enjoy significant volunteer support. Further, with McCain being synonymous with “amnesty” among conservatives for his co-authorship with Ted Kennedy of legislation providing immigrants with a path to citizenship, Simcox could be a galvanizing anti-McCain figure nationally. This race promises to become very interesting.
- New York: Republican Peter King has gotten in more hot water over comments claiming that all Muslim people are uncooperative with law enforcement. Further, he is standing by the comments and not taking anything back. I don’t know if Rep. King thinks that it is politically smart or helpful to his 2010 Senate aspirations to bash all Muslims, making no difference between moderate Muslim Americans and radical extremists, but it is wrong annd inappropriate. For more of Republican Peter King’s off-the-wall greatest hits, click here.
- North Carolina: The latest word on Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper‘s possible 2010 Senate plans:
“He’s giving it very thorough and careful consideration,” said Morgan Jackson, a consultant for Cooper. “He wants to make [a decision] soon. … He knows that this race is going to be a tough race and that if he’s going to get in … you want to allow yourself enough time. But he also understands that it’s pretty early in this process.”
Fingers still crossed about that prediction.
- Missouri: It sounds like there is growing discontent among the MO-GOP with Roy Blunt’s lagging 2010 Senate campaign:
Rep. Roy Blunt’s disappointing first-quarter fundraising performance reflects growing concern within the party that the veteran Missouri Republican may not be the ideal Senate nominee to take on likely Democratic opponent Robin Carnahan, according to Missouri Republicans.Much of the apprehension among rank-and-file Republicans stems from the former House minority whip’s deep Washington ties and worries about how his record in House GOP leadership will be used against him.
“I like Roy Blunt, but the Republican Party keeps going back to the same old names, and we’ve lost a lot of races doing that,” said Lincoln County GOP Chairwoman Carol Wessel. “You got to have that money to run, and I just think people are just being cautious right now with their money.”
“Roy Blunt has been a very big part of the mess we’re in. His new wife is a lobbyist. His children are lobbyists. We need a fresh face up there,” said Norm Harty, a longtime Republican activist and donor from southeast Missouri. “He’s going to have blood dripping from him; he’s going to be so beaten up.”
Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman has long been considering a primary challenge to Blunt; and, she has revamped her website, which now looks like it could be the foundation for either a campaign website or a conservative advocacy website.
- Kentucky: Republican Jim Bunning is lowering expectations for what he will raise for his 2010 Senate re-election bid from $10 million to $7 million, saying that he won’t need as much money because of the contested Democratic primary between state Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. Whatever you say, Jimbo.
- Georgia: Republican Johnny Isakson is tamping down speculation that he will depart his 2010 Senate re-election bid for a gubernatorial run. Regardless of his 2010 intentions, less than one-third of Georgians approve of Isakson’s job performance and nearly half are not sure. On top of which, Isakson will likely have vocal Libertarian opposition in the person of radio personality Eric Von Haessler.
- Kansas: A new Survey USA poll shows Jerry Moran with a narrow lead over Todd Tiahrt, 39-35, in the KS-GOP 2010 Senate primary. Oh, and remember how Tiahrt said that Rush Limbaugh was “just an entertainer”? Well, add Tiahrt to the list of weak-kneed Republicans who have apologetically backtracked after dissing El Rushbo.
- Pennsylvania: State Representative Bill Kortz has announced that he will enter the 2010 Democratic Senate primary scrum. Kortz is a former steelworker from a community about ten miles southeast of Pittsburgh, making him the first person from western Pennsylvania to enter the race.
- Texas: Former state Comptroller John Sharp jumped on Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s talk of secession with the direct web video at right.
- Maryland: Senator Barbara Mikulski should not be on anyone’s retirement watch.
- California: Possibly encouraged by Republican Senate candidate Chuck Devore’s relatively weak Q1 fundraising or by the lawsuit against DeVore, another Republican, former radio talk-show host Larry Elder, is publicly considering a 2010 Senate bid against Senator Barbara Boxer. Elder is indicating that he would defer to golden-parachute-recipient Carly Fiorina if she entered the race.
- Republican obstructionism: Wingnut Jim Inhofe in 2003:
“But the Democrats, who cannot muster a majority to oppose him, are seeking, in effect, to change the Constitutional majority-vote requirement. By sustaining this filibuster, they are asserting that 60 votes, not 50, will be required to approve [judicial nominee Miguel] Estrada. If successful, their effort will amount to a de facto amendment to the Constitution. This outrageous grab for power by the Senate minority is wrong and contrary to our oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Inhofe said.
“I understand that Judge Hamilton’s nomination is still pending before the Judiciary Committee, but I had to come to the floor to speak so that the American people, who are very concerned about this nomination, will know that I and my Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee are taking interest and are not just going to let this nomination sail through. In fact I will filibuster David Hamilton.”
According to detached sociopath Jim Inhofe, when Democrats are in the Senate minority and the President is a Republican, then it is unconstitutional to filibuster a judicial nominee; but, when Republicans are in the Senate minority and the President is a Democrat, filibustering a judicial nominee is a defense of the American people. So, not only is Inhofe a rabid hypocrite, but this move indicates that Republican obstructionism is alive and well:
Hamilton is a judicial moderate who enjoys bipartisan support and who was chosen precisely to avoid ugly fights with right-wing ideologues like Inhofe. That Hamilton is drawing a filibuster suggests Republican obstructionism will be as fierce as it is ridiculous for the rest of the Congress.
Democrats will only need a couple of Republican votes to support a cloture motion on Inhofe’s filibuster. With Hamilton being a moderate, it theoretically shouldn’t be difficult to get those couple of Republican votes – and the Inhofe filibuster will only serve to paint Senate Republicans as still extremist and out of touch. So, well played, Mr. Inhofe.
- Jeez! Another year, and no Pulitzer Prize for Senate Guru. What’s a guy gotta do?!
Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 20:19 PM EDT
Why just “kind of”?(emphasis added by me)
Former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman this afternoon filed notice of his intention to appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court last week’s trial verdict awarding the U.S. Senate election to his DFL opponent Al Franken, according to Coleman spokesman Tom Erickson.The appeal is contained in a short document that briefly summarizes his case. The meat of Coleman’s argument will be contained in a brief to be filed later, perhaps this week, Erickson said.
Franken attorney Marc Elias dismissed the Coleman team’s effort as “same-old, same-old,” and said the Franken campaign would ask the Supreme Court on Tuesday to require that all papers be filed within two weeks.
The “meat” of Coleman’s argument?! Coleman has ten days to file an appeal – not to provide the state Supreme Court with a bookmark. Does the Coleman legal team consist of Bar-admitted lawyers or college freshmen finishing their term papers the night before their due?!
It is likely that the trial will be as speedy as possible:
Coleman lawyer Jim Langdon said he expected it to take from two weeks to two months for the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments. …Elias said the Franken campaign will ask the Supreme Court to order that Coleman’s brief be filed by April 27, with Franken’s reply due by May 2 and any further response from Coleman due May 4. He said they would ask the justices to then schedule oral arguments as soon as convenient for them.
As for what documents Coleman did file, the Republican lays out a case more befitting a federal court, perhaps suggesting that Coelman would like to appeal for as long as possible, as financial resources allow:
Specifically, Coleman will argue the state disenfranchised voters when counties in some cases rejected ballots for reasons that other counties did not. In last week’s ruling, the judges addressed that argument by saying the constitution doesn’t require a perfect election and that human errors happen in every election. The panel said just because errors occurred, it doesn’t mean the constitution was violated.Coleman will also argue that the three-judge panel violated due process when it ruled mid-trial that some categories of rejected ballots were illegal that the state canvassing board had already accepted and counted.
In addition, Coleman will argue that the panel erred when it declined to order inspections at precincts where Coleman alleged double counting of ballots occurred; and that 132 ballots from a Franken-leaning precinct should be subtracted from the tally since they disappeared after election day.
The Franken camp responded to Coleman’s appeal:
Elias called Coleman’s notice of appeal the “death throes” of the case.”This is the same old, same old that the three-judge panel had rejected,” he said. “It is, in fact, the same same old, same old that was rejected by the state canvassing board, and was rejected twice by this same state supreme court.”
The earliest that the state Supeme Court would begin to hear oral arguments would be the first week of May, meaning it will almost definitely be at least June before Senator-elect Al Franken will be seated. I suppose now would be a good time to begin asking Minnesota’s Republican Gov Tim Pawlenty: “If Norm Coleman loses his appeal to the state Supreme Court, will you prepare Senator-elect Al Franken’s election certificate, regardless of whether or not Coleman appeals to federal court, as state policy dictates?”
Want to take action in response to the Coleman camp’s “meatless” appeal? Well, one dollar a day can make Norm Coleman go away!
Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 15:44 PM EDT
- Don’t forget: One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away!
- Party Commitee fundraising numbers for March (and Q1 as a whole) are out. The DSCC raised $5 million in March, brought in $10.4 million in Q1, and has $7.2 million cash on hand, but still carries $10.8 million in debt from the 2008 cycle. The NRSC raised $4.94 million in March, took in $9.61 million in Q1, and has $2.27 million cash on hand, while still carrying $1 million in debt from the last cycle. So, in short, the DSCC is $3.6 million in the red while the NRSC is $1.27 million in the black. The less than $4.9 million edge for the NRSC represents a continually shrinking number from the first two months of the year.
- The DSCC’s Q2 fundraising looks very promising as the second quarter will be capped off by a fundraiser hosted by President Obama. Also, the DSCC has released a new web video slamming Republican Senators’ misplaced priorities, at right.
- Not only is the DSCC again proving to be stronger and more efficient fundraisers than the NRSC, but a survey by Roll Call finds Democratic Senate candidates to be stronger fundraisers than Republican Senate candidates. A key stat they point to: 11 Democratic Senate incumbents and candidates topped $1 million raised for Q1 while only 3 Republicans could say the same.
- Pennsylvania: The Republican House delegation from the Keystone State, which was largely quick to endorse Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in the 2004 Republican Senate primary, appears to be sitting out this primary. In ’04, the more conservative House Republicans served as emissaries for Specter in his very narrow victory in 2004. This means that the Republican House members join Rick Santorum and George W. Bush as weapons Specter deployed in 2004 that he will not have access to in 2010. Just another sign that Specter is toast.
- Minnesota: The Bemidji Pioneer, which “endorsed Republican Coleman for every statewide race he’s run,” is telling Republican Norm Coleman that “It’s time to end [the] Senate distraction.” Elsewhere, John Deeth lays out how Coleman’s frivolous lawsuit has cost Senator-elect Al Franken a whopping six notches in Senate seniority, which might not mean much right now, but could very well cost Senator-elect Franken (and the people of Minnesota) the clout that comes with choice committee and subcommittee chairmanships in years down the line. While Coleman may be wasting Minnesotans’ time, Senator-elect Franken is preparing to hit the ground running once he is seated. To wit, he has named his Minnesota state director for once he is seated. Meanwhile, kos highlights Coleman’s obvious foot-dragging. How do we get Coleman to stop? Like I said above: One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away!
- Missouri: The League of Conservation Voters is on the air with a new ad, at right, criticizing Republican Congresscritter Roy Blunt for holding back renewable energy development while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions over the years from Big Oil. Beyond the facts that the ad conveys is the broader message that investing in renewable energy is patriotic and that blocking such investment – as Blunt is guilty of – is unpatriotic. Very strong message.
- Arkansas: Rumors are percolating that Arkansas’ labor community, unhappy with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-WalMart) selling out working families by flip-flopping on the Employee Free Choice Act, could get behind Arkansas’ Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter if he ran in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary against Senator Lincoln.
- North Carolina: Public Policy Polling sees state Attorney General Roy Cooper measuring up very well against freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr when it comes to one key indicator:
he trailed Burr only 45-36 among white voters. Allocate the undecideds proportionately and you would have Burr winning that demographic just 56-44. For sake of comparison Barack Obama took the state with only 35% of the white vote, and Kay Hagan was able to win by nine points despite exit polls showing she got just 39% of that vote against Elizabeth Dole. Why is that so important? Black turnout is pretty inevitably going to be down next year without Obama at the top of the ticket, and that means for Democrats to win this race they’re probably going to have to do better with white voters than they often do…at least 40% most likely. Cooper starts out in a strong position to get that level of support.
I hope my prediction proves accurate!
- Florida: It appears that Republican Gov. Charlie Crist isn’t much of a hard worker. A review of two years of Crist’s daily schedules revealed that Crist worked on only part of a weekday or not at all during a weekday for the equivalent of seven months worth of weekdays. Will Floridians want that lack of a work ethic representing them in the Senate?
- There it is: I now have a crush on Meghan McCain.
Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:13 AM EDT
We’re already more than halfway through April 2009, almost one-sixth through the 2010 election cycle, believe it or not. The bulk of the candidates who will run in the 2010 Senate races will likely announce over the next six to eight months. I figured now would be a good time to review when, during the 2008 cycle, the non-incumbent Senate candidates announced, for perspective. (Given that candidates have a habit of leaking info, then announcing an exploratory committee, then filing papers, then making a formal announcement, then have a big campaign kick-off event – meaning that there are many possible dates – I’ve tried to go with the earliest date that the candidate made it clear that he or she was a candidate for Senate.) Below-right is a breakdown of announcements by month, followed by observations.
CandidatePartyStateDate AnnouncedAl FrankenDMinnesota2/14/07Jeff BeattyRMassachusetts3/10/07Larry LaRoccoDIdaho4/11/07Mark UdallDColorado4/16/07Bob SchafferRColorado4/28/07Tom AllenDMaine5/8/07Joel DykstraRSouth Dakota7/5/07Rick NoriegaDTexas7/16/07Steve SauerbergRIllinois8/1/07Jeff MerkleyDOregon8/1/07Andrew RiceDOklahoma8/2/07Vivian FiguresDAlabama8/25/07Mark WarnerDVirginia9/13/07Jeanne ShaheenDNew Hampshire9/16/07Mike JohannsRNebraska9/19/07Heather WilsonRNew Mexico10/5/07Jim RischRIdaho10/8/07Steve PearceRNew Mexico10/16/07Kay HaganDNorth Carolina10/30/07Tom UdallDNew Mexico11/11/07Jim GilmoreRVirginia11/19/07John Neely KennedyRLouisiana11/29/07Ronnie MusgroveDMississippi1/7/08Bruce LunsfordDKentucky1/29/08Christopher ReedRIowaearly Feb. ’08Jack HoogendykRMichigan2/16/08Scott KleebDNebraska2/24/08Bob TukeDTennessee2/25/08Nick CarterDWyoming3/10/08Jim MartinDGeorgia3/19/08Chris RothfussDWyoming3/23/08Dick ZimmerRNew Jersey4/11/08Mark BegichDAlaska4/21/08Jim SlatteryDKansas4/29/08Robert TingleRRhode Island6/14/08 Month#2007 Feb1Mar1Apr3May1Jun0Jul2Aug4Sep3Oct4Nov3Dec02008 Jan2Feb4Mar3Apr3May0Jun1
Observations:1) Most candidates of consequence announced between Independence Day and Thanksgiving of 2007, the year before the election year.
2) Of the 13 Senate candidates listed here who announced in 2008 – the election year – only one, Mark Begich of Alaska, was successful (and the Alaska Senate race featured unique circumstances). It wasn’t the case that these candidates didn’t have enough time, though. It’s simply that most of these candidates were of the Party not typically victorious in those states (i.e RI GOP, KS Dems, WY Dems, etc.).
Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 22:35 PM EDT
- Breaking news from Pennsylvania & Florida: Arlen Specter’s Republican Senate colleagues support him, and Kendrick Meek’s Democratic House colleagues support him. Stop the presses!
- Illinois: Violent-imagery-purveyor & Republican Congresscritter Mark Kirk is considering a gubernatorial run alongside consideration for a 2010 Senate bid. Kirk says he “will announce his intentions by the end of the month.” With recent polling indicating that Roland Burris is guaranteed to not be the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2010 (62% say Burris should resign and 54% would definitely vote against Burris) and that Governor Pat Quinn is very popular (61% approve – in other words, he is untainted by Rod Blagojevich’s circus), my money is on Kirk opting for re-election to the House. Speaking of Burris, he had his first fundraiser this weekend:
Reporters were sequestered in a parking deck next to the West Side headquarters of N’Digo publications, where more than two dozen supporters wearing “Run Roland Run” buttons held a fundraiser that one sponsor hoped would net $50,000.
“Two dozen supporters?” ”Hoped would net $50,000?” I will be truly shocked if the event broke $10,000. Burris mentions that he will decide on his 2010 Senate plans “in the very near future,” which, in Burris-speak, could mean pretty much anything.
- North Carolina: It’s making news that about half of Richard “Bank Run” Burr’s Q1 fundraising take came from special interest PACs like Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. I wonder how “Bank Run” Burr’s reliance on special interests will measure up against the law & order profile of state Attorney General Roy Cooper, if/when Attorney General Cooper enters the race. Oh, and regarding Burr’s “Bank Run” fiasco, at least one banking expert can’t fathom what Burr was thinking:
Tony Plath, a former commercial banker who is now a professor of finance at UNC-Charlotte, said the banking system worked fine after the 2001 terrorist attacks and recent economic crises. He couldn’t think of many scenarios in which he would advise people to run to the bank and get cash.”I don’t know — maybe simultaneous nuclear attacks on Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte?” he said. “Can I think of anything short of that? No.”
On the flip-side, one banker defended Burr – the CEO of Burr’s bank:
So did Burr irresponsibly sow doubts about the banking system at a time when public officials should be increasing public confidence? I checked in with the CEO at the holding corporation of Southern Community Bank, which is one of Burr’s banks as of his 2007 financial disclosure form. You’d think that if anyone is upset about this, he would be.Fairness compels me to report that he’s defending Burr. “I know Richard,” Scott Bauer, the CEO of Southern Community Financial Corporation, told me. “He has full confidence in the banking system.” He declined further comment.
It should be noted that CEO Bauer is, of course, a Richard Burr repeat-donor:
ContributorOccupationDateAmountRecipientBAUER, SCOTTSOUTHERN COMMUNITY BANK10/13/04$250Burr, Richard (R)BAUER, SCOTTSOUTHERN COMMUNITY BANK3/31/03$200Burr, Richard (R)
- “Bank Run” Burr should name his fundraisers “Hitting the ATMs for Burr 2010!”
- California: Republicans’ only announced candidate for Senate in 2010 against Senator Barbara Boxer, state assemblyman Chuck DeVore, is being sued for using copyrighted materials without permission on the campaign trail (a not-infrequent crime committed by Republican candidates):
The suit filed Friday in federal court in California claims Charles DeVore is using Henley’s hit songs “The Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” without authorization.The suit comes from two campaign videos that DeVore posted on YouTube that used Henley’s music, according to the lawsuit. …
“Don Henley and Mike Campbell brought this action to protect their song, ‘The Boys of Summer,’ which was taken and used without their permission,” Henley’s spokesman said. “The infringers have vowed to continue exploiting this and other copyrighted works, as it suits them, to further their own ambitions and agenda. It was necessary to file a lawsuit to stop them.” …
DeVore mentions Henley’s legal actions on the Web site.
“We’re responding with a counter-claim, asserting our First Amendment right to political free speech,” the site said. “While the legal issues play out, it’s time to up the ante on Mr. Henley’s liberal goon tactics. By popular request, I have penned the words to our new parody song.”
DeVore then posted the lyrics of a song he called “All She Wants to Do Is Tax.”
The copyrighted material is legal property that doesn’t belong to wingnut Republican Chuck DeVore. The owners of the copyrighted material asserting their property rights amounts to “liberal goon tactics” according to Mr. DeVore. You see, the rule of law doesn’t apply to Republicans. They can do what they want. (Completely unrelated question: Wasn’t part of the motivation for those Fox News-hyped tea parties that government officials were supposed to keep their hands off of private citizens’ property?) I suppose there is some pleasure to be taken in the knowledge that Chuck DeVore will never be a United States Senator. (HT: Scout Finch)
- Nevada: Please, please, please, John Ensign, give up your Senate seat in 2012 to run for President. Please!
- Meghan McCain, you had me at “scared sh*tless.”
- I debated whether or not to link to this because some of the messages contained within are just too demented; but, if you feel like yelling at your computer monitor, check out some of the most offensive signs from the wingnut tea parties. I don’t know which aspect of the various signs is most disheartening: the blatant racism and other bigotry displayed, the utter ignorance conveyed, or the children being indoctrinated into a culture of hatred.
Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 04:49 AM EDT
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-WalMart) has her first semi-announced Republican challenger in state Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren. Don’t be too impressed by the title, though – Arkansas’ 35-member state Senate consists of 27 Democrats and only 8 Republicans. The title may be more of a reflection of Hendren’s age and relative seniority more than anything else (as well as the fact that he is, by marriage, a part of the powerful-in-the-AR-GOP Hutchinson family, having married the sister of former Senator Tim and former Congressman Asa). He turned 71-years-old in February and first joined the state Senate about 30 years ago:
Senator, Arkansas State Senate, 1979-1982, 2003-present
Representative, Arkansas State House of Representatives, 2001-2002
After a few years in the state Senate, he made a very unsuccessful bid for Governor of Arkansas in 1982, then-former Governor Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial comeback election. In the ’82 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Hendren scored a whopping 3.85%. Democratic primary, you ask? But he’s a Republican, you say? The Arkansas Democratic Party reportedly saw fit to boot him for his family ties:
Hendren was a state senator and a Democrat before that party kicked him out in 1982. His sin? He gave money to the campaigns of his brothers-in-law Asa and Tim Hutchinson.
After becoming a gubernatorial footnote, Hendren started his own plastics company, before eventually re-entering the state Legislature this past decade. Since his return to the state Legislature, his focus, so far as I can tell, has not been on the economy, health care, or education. His signature issue has been road safety through increased government regulation and mandate:
State Sen. Kim Hendren has made a legislative career out of trying to make Arkansas’s roads safer. He’s proposed bills to require motorcyclists to wear helmets and drivers hauling loads of gravel to cover them with tarps.And session after session, he’s tried to get his fellow lawmakers to ban motorists from talking on hand-held cell phones – a step state legislatures around the country have considered. And session after session, including the one just finished, he’s failed.
The measures may be perfectly sensible – but “bigger government” in any capacity probably won’t play so well in a Republican primary. So not only does he appear to be very comfortable with increasing government’s role in our private lives in this area, but he’s failed at it, making him an ineffective legislator. On top of being for “bigger government,” he’s also a “rabid tax hiker,” in Republican parlance – he voted for an increase in the state’s cigarette tax. Still, his title and his ties to the Hutchinson family should be more than enough to mean a competitive AR-GOP Senate primary, i.e. a third-tier circular firing squad. Though several other Republicans are considering a 2010 Senate challenge to Senator Lincoln, if Lincoln and her currently $2.27 million bankroll wind up with the septuagenarian Hendren as her opponent, she should be comfortably re-elected.
UPDATE: It’s official. Hendren’s in. Apparently, he has the personal wealth to, at least in part, self-fund a campaign. He also pledges to only serve one term if elected (which makes sense for a 71-year-old seeking a six-year-term), but will Arkansans elect someone who will not be there to build seniority in a body in which seniority often translates directly to clout?
Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 17:08 PM EDT
I just noticed that the Senate Guru Facebook Group currently has 199 members.Who wants to be member number 200?
Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 14:03 PM EDT
Republican sore loser Norm Coleman’s endless and pointless appeals will not accomplish a victory for Coleman. But ol’ Normie can be proud that he has accomplished one thing: his name has become synonymous with “sore loser” to the point that “pulling a Norm Coleman” has entered the lexicon meaning “acting like a sore loser.” To wit:
Larry King: ‘I’m not a sore loser. I’m not gonna pull a Norm Coleman’Here’s evidence that Minnesota’s post-election battle for U.S. Senate has permeated pop culture. Al Franken and Norm Coleman were cited this week by contestants in another competition that attracted millions of partisans: the race between movie actor Ashton Kutcher and news juggernaut CNN to be first to gain one million followers on Twitter, the social-media phenomenon. …
Here’s a video clip of Kutcher on “Larry King Live” tonight (King’s “Norm Coleman” comment comes at the 5:00 mark):
KING: I’m not a sore loser.KUTCHER: No, you’re not.
KING: I’m not gonna pull a Norm Coleman and take this to the courts.
KUTCHER: You have been gracious, very gracious.
While Coleman sore-losers it up, Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have introduced a new effort: NormDollar.com, “A Dollar a Day to Make Norm Go Away.” Very simply put, commit to contributing just one dollar per day for every day that sore loser Norm Coleman refuses to concede. (HT: MPP)
I don’t know if this effort was inspired by Open Left’s AdamGreen’s post laying out a very similar fundraising strategy a little over a week ago, but it is exactly the correct approach to take to provide Republican leadership in Washington with adequate disincentive from continuing to fund Coleman’s endless appeals. If you so desire, you can also chip in a bit of change directly to the Franken Recount Fund.
Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 03:46 AM EDT
- NPR’s Ken Rudin ranks as the top five Senate seats most likely to switch Parties: 1) Pennsylvania; 2) Kentucky; 3) Missouri; 4) New Hampshire; 5) Connecticut. Rudin labels Illinois, Ohio, Delaware, Nevada, and Florida as “other seats to watch.”
- In a more slipshod list, Reuters names as “Key 2010 Senate races to watch” (in alphabetical order) Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Highlighted as “other potentially vulnerable seats” are Nevada, Kentucky, New York(-B), Louisiana, and New Hampshire.
- Minnesota: Feel free to mock Republican sore loser Norm Coleman – but, please, don’t egg him. If you want to hurt the Coleman camp, contribute to Senator-elect Al Franken‘s ActBlue recount fund since, as of the end of March, his campaign is several hundred thousand dollars in the red.
- Illinois: A new Rasmussen Reports poll makes it plain that Roland Burris will not be the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2010 and probably shouldn’t waste his time running:
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Illinois voters say Roland Burris, the man the disgraced governor named to Barack Obama’s Senate seat, should resign. Just 24% believe Burris should remain in the Senate, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey of voters in the state.Fifty-four percent (54%) say they will definitely vote against Burris if he chooses to run for a full six-year term in the Senate in 2010. Only four percent (4%) say they will definitely vote for him. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say it depends upon who he is running against.
Only 19% have a favorable opinion of Burris. Seventy-three percent (73%) view him unfavorably, including 44% whose view is Very Unfavorable.
I doubt that these poll numbers will hurt the already-low expectations for Burris’ first fundraiser this Sunday. Public perception is also rough for Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.. The poll indicates that 75% believe that it is “at least somewhat likely” that Jackson knew about the alleged offer to raise $5 million for impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for the Senate appointment. Further, 63% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Jackson. In other news, Progress Illinois reminds us of Republican Congresscritter Mark Kirk’s history of unsettlingly violent rhetoric.
- Connecticut: President Obama is making perfectly clear that he has Senator Chris Dodd’s back while Senator Dodd works to rehabilitate his image to his constituents. Meanwhile, as Republican Rob Simmons does everything he can to misrepresent Senator Dodd’s role in the financial services industry mess, he continues to feed at the special interest lobbyist trough. Last month: corporate lobbyist fundraiser for Rob Simmons. This month: another corporate lobbyist fundraiser for Rob Simmons. Rob Simmons: just another Republican hypocrite.
- North Carolina: Speaking of Republican hypocrisy, even as freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr told his wife to rush the neighborhood ATMs for all the cash she could scrounge up, he was telling his constituents not to. What a hypocritical lunatic. Elsewhere, I wonder if Obama-Biden’s continuing presence in the Tar Heel State will help or hurt “Bank Run” Burr’s Senate re-election chances in 2010. (Just kidding – I’m not really wondering – I have a pretty good guess.)
- Nevada: Republican Congresscritter Dean Heller dodges questions about the possibility of a 2010 Senate challenge to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Nevada Rep. Dean Heller, ducked questions about possible bids for U.S. senator or governor in 2010, telling reporters on Friday a re-election bid is “my plan today” and being vague about any political tomorrows. …Quizzed about possibly challenging GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, who already has two Republican primary opponents, or Reid next year, Heller said, “I think it’s very clear. I like the job I have. I like the committees I’m on.”
Asked whether he was saying he wouldn’t run against Reid, Heller then said, “I didn’t say that. I said my intentions today are to stay right where I am.”
Another attempt by reporters to pin him down, by asking whether he was going to seek re-election, got a similar response: “That’s my plan today.”
Asked who should run against Reid, who already has several million dollars banked for his bid for a fifth Senate term, Heller said, “I don’t think I’m in the job of calling the shots. I think we have candidates out there and I will support whoever it is.”
Senator Reid raised over $2.2 million in Q1 and ended March with over $5 million on hand. Republican Rep. Heller, by comparison, raised just under $100,000 in Q1 and ended March with under $180,000 on hand. I don’t imagine that Rep. Heller would be too keen on going up against an incumbent with almost twenty-eight times more cash to spend. Despite the NV-GOP suffering from slim pickings for a Senate candidate, Republican Sen. John Ensign is beating his chest about the race:
U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said Thursday that whoever surfaces as the top Republican challenger to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will get his support and that the race will be “a heavyweight battle.”
A “heavyweight battle” may be a huge overstatement. With former Rep. Jon Porter having taken a gig with a lobbying firm, former state senator Joe Heck running for Governor, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki under indictment, Republicans may be stuck with wingnut former state assemblywoman Sharon Angle as their “heavyweight” candidate. Angle’s big goal: raise $100,000 by May. Senator Reid has a $5+ million bankroll and Angle’s big goal is to raise one-fiftieth of that. And the NV-GOP’s possibly-top fundraiser/operative is on Senator Reid’s side this time around. Um… Ensign said something about “heavyweight,” huh?
- Kansas: Republican Congresscritter and 2010 Senate candidate Todd Tiahrt belittled Rush Limbaugh, calling him “just an entertainer,” and not paying him proper respect as the leader of the Republican Party. Will a backtrack be forthcoming on Monday – or did Tiahrt strategically time the comment to be buffered by the weekend, so he could try to boast that he’s the first Rush-mocker who didn’t apologize?
- Texas: Obviously, it’s entirely up to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison as to if and when she resigns her Senate seat to focus on her gubernatorial bid. But, at the very least, it would clarify matters a heck of a lot if she resigned sooner rather than later.
- Capitol Words is a pretty neat website.
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 16:06 PM EDT
Freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr has been a mostly silent Senator since he first won his seat back in 2004. However, in the last several weeks, he’s gained notoriety for two big political blunders. First, he inexplicably blocked the appointment of Iraq veteran, double-amputee, veterans’ advocate Tammy Duckworth to a position in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Then, he relayed the story of how, with the fiscal crisis about to hit hard last Fall, his weak-kneed response was to have his wife take out as much cash from their neighborhood bank as ATMs would allow. Not exactly the steady hand North Carolinians (or anyone) want managing our nation’s fiscal affairs.While “Bank Run” Burr was doing all he could to keep his low approval ratings low, polls were coming out showing Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper leading Burr in hypothetical match-ups (Public Policy Polling in December, Civitas in March, Public Policy Polling in April). Attorney General Cooper indicated that he was interested in a 2010 Senate bid; and, WaPo’s Chris Cillizza even reported that he had heard that AG Cooper would decide on a Senate bid “by the end of the month.” The end of the month is now less than two weeks away.So we have favorable polls, a public indication of interest, and a report that a decision would be forthcoming in the next two weeks. And today we have, what I think is, the tipping point.
An E-newsletter from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) called The Rant arrived in my inbox this morning with the subject line “Polling in NC.” The focus was, as noted, heavily on Burr’s moronic “Bank Run” story and on the new Public Policy Polling poll showing Burr still trailing Attorney General Cooper. Below is a screen cap:
In addition to the E-newsletter, there was the induction of Burr in to the DSCC’s Hall of Shame, as well as the announcement of a new DSCC web page: http://www.dscc.org/RunOnTheBanks – which, of course, highlights “Bank Run” Burr’s reckless economic “solution” and unveils a new web video highlighting recent media footage criticizing Burr’s actions, at right.So not only do we have favorable polls, a public indication of interest, and a report that a decision would be forthcoming in the next two weeks – but we also have the DSCC putting a great deal of focus on Richard Burr and hyping the poll results of Attorney General Cooper, whose decision, again, will come in the next two weeks. Given how shrewd the DSCC is about candidate recruiting and outreach, I don’t think they would put this degree of focus on NC-Sen, hyping the Burr-Cooper polls in particular, unless they knew that a positive decision would be announced in the next two weeks.
In short, I’m speculating that North Carolina’s Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he will be a candidate for Senate against freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr in 2010 and that the announcement will come before the end of April. An announcement would be a massive recruiting success for the DSCC and immediately give NC-Sen “toss-up” status, making the race one of the highest-profile Senate match-ups in the country.
Fingers extremely crossed.
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 13:51 PM EDT
Here are the Q1 fundraising numbers and cash-on-hand totals at the end of March 2009 for the 2010 Senate candidates. Compiling courtesy of National Journal’s The Hotline.
StateCandidatePartyQ1 TakeDebtEnd-of-March CoHALDick ShelbyR441,051013,517,190AKLisa MurkowskiR Not AvailableAZJohn McCainR2,557,178*»$1.45M4,440,376ARBlanche LincolnD1,722,48302,272,472CABarbara BoxerD905,35404,622,086CAChuck DeVoreR131,50253,36248,280COMichael BennetD1,426,39911,7601,345,826CTChristopher DoddD1,048,93901,387,741CTSam CaligiuriR44,5948,78236,288CTRob SimmonsR Not AvailableDEChristine O’DonnellR Not AvailableFLKendrick MeekD1,512,60201,678,309FLDan GelberD362,9730295,841FLMarco RubioR254,49814,719211,843FLMarion ThorpeR36,817012,559FLVern BuchananR526,104956,030522,524GAJohnny IsaksonR429,84302,475,544HIDaniel InouyeD640,26301,650,078IDMike CrapoR191,96601,944,271ILRoland BurrisD845111,032845ILAlexi GiannouliasD1,145,22048,1451,123,008INEvan BayhD644,766011,443,338IAChuck GrassleyR290,54013,2163,091,162KSJerry MoranR522,53402,924,651KSTodd TiahrtR390,55701,309,598KYJim BunningR262,9810375,748KYDan MongiardoD429,5530388,501LADavid VitterR739,51102,535,846MDBarbara MikulskiD442,89801,236,402MORobin CarnahanD1,048,0230927,785MORoy BluntR559,6209,101673,613NVHarry ReidD2,234,30905,053,289NHPaul HodesD301,9970261,393NY-AChuck SchumerD1,507,317011,665,324NY-BKirsten GillibrandD2,347,24502,202,825NY-BSteve IsraelD282,03201,722,940NY-BCarolyn MaloneyD426,69501,339,082NY-BCarolyn McCarthyD150,3060261,517NY-BPeter KingR130,56801,126,795NY-BRudy GiulianiR202,000$3.524M139,623NCRichard BurrR702,60101,625,510NDByron DorganD1,322,38502,708,510NDDuane SandR110,068118,39927,583OHRob PortmanR1,704,50103,041,717OHLee FisherD1,035,67360,3321,017,148OHJennifer BrunnerD207,2362,248192,554OKTom CoburnR17,189057,064ORRon WydenD271,52301,298,773PAArlen SpecterR1,277,25942,1966,735,916PAPeg LuksikR10,7353,5002,945PAJoe TorsellaD596,5140583,885PAJoe SestakD550,42403,343,701PAAllyson SchwartzD379,20802,146,271PAPatrick MurphyD367,02974,512251,773SCJim DeMintR698,81302,203,728SDJohn ThuneR919,09504,375,184UTRobert BennettR474,6760624,329VTPatrick LeahyD622,23501,694,964WAPatty MurrayD1,020,58703,255,198WIRuss FeingoldD720,05723,9632,757,970
*McCain Q1 Take includes Presidential fundraising money.Some observations:
1) Tom Coburn’s numbers scream retirement, as do some of his comments.
2) Robert Bennett’s unintimidating numbers only invite a likely primary challenge.
3) I’ll say it again: Roland Burris will not be the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2010.
4) Jennifer Brunner has to impress people with her second quarter fundraising numbers or there will be calls for her to step back from the race.
5) Hopefully, Peg Luksik’s numbers will stay virtually non-existent throughout the year, limiting her ability to peel anti-Specter votes from Pat Toomey (and hopefully encouraging her to jump to the Constitution Party for the general election).
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 12:14 PM EDT
Norm Coleman says a lot of truly dumb things, more than the average Republican says.Back in February, regarding his brewing DonorGate scandal, he gave us:
That could have been a quiet story. It could have been a story that came out the day after the election.
Here, Coleman chastises members of the media for having the audacity to question him about a very significant scandal as the events came to light, rather than to politely wait until after the election so that the scandal doesn’t politically harm him. Yeah.
Then, a few days ago, regarding the race that Coleman is desperately trying to convince us that he won, he kind of undermined his confidence:
That’s the reality, that we will never know who won.
No, Norm, we will know who won. In fact, we currently do know who won. It’s the guy who got the most legally cast, valid votes; and, that guy ain’t you.
And, today, we get the latest doozie:
I think the law is on our side.
No, Norm, the law is very much not on your side. You know how I know? There are people that are hired specifically to determine on whose side the law is. They’re called “judges.” And these “judges” keep “judging” that the law is not on your side.
I don’t think ol’ Normie has reached his pinnacle of desperation just yet, so I’ll bet that we can expect a couple more whoppers out of Coleman before this matter is fully concluded. Stay tuned.
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 11:06 AM EDT
I’ve been more than a bit awestruck how Republican Norm Coleman continues to prolong the agony in MN-Sen, arguing before numerous judges on multiple panels how he won an election that he really, truly lost. The awe was compounded by NY-20′s Republican Jim Tedisco’s inability to accept defeat, going so far as to order a judge to declare him the winner while clearly losing the race. (Yes, it is as nuts as it sounds.)Then I remembered a scene from the 1995 movie Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, where Silverstone’s character explains very clearly (and nearly fifteen years in advance) exactly what Republicans’ new post-election strategy is, trying to “win” elections that they so very clearly lost.Embedding for this YouTube video has been disabled, but you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here. Skip ahead to the 9:00-minute-mark in the video for the scene in question. (Cher is the name of Alicia Silverstone’s character.)
Cher’s Dad (looking at her new-and-improved report card): Cher, what’s this all about?
Cher: My report card?
Cher’s Dad: The same semester?
Cher’s Dad: What did you do? Turn in some extra credit reports?
Cher’s Dad: You take the midterms over?
Cher’s Dad: You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-?
Cher: Totally based on my powers of persuasion. You proud?
Cher’s Dad: Honey, I couldn’t be happier than if they were based on real grades.
Unfortunately for Norm Coleman, Jim Tedisco, and other Republicans who look to undermine the democratic will of the people, these Republicans’ powers of persuasion are not as impressive as Alicia Silverstone’s. Elections are still based on real grades votes that determine whether you receive a C+ or an A- lose or win the election. These Republicans, however, remain just as “clueless.”
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 09:13 AM EDT
Why is it that those states kicking up noise about seceding from the Union (Texas & Georgia) are states who, just a few months ago, backed the Presidential candidate whose slogan was “Country First“? Do they realize that seceding means leaving the country that they allegedly wanted to put “first”?
Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 01:41 AM EDT
- North Carolina: Freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr has announced a Q1 fundraising sum of $703,000, bringing his cash-on-hand total to an exceedingly surmountable $1.6 million. By comparison, in the first quarter of 2007, Elizabeth Dole raised $1.78 million, exceeding Burr’s number by over a million bucks. It might be time for “Bank Run” Burr to stop by the ATM. Meanwhile, it appears that Burr’s office has made the impressively dumb move of picking a fight with Rachel Maddow. Watch the video at right to witness the smackdown she lays at “Bank Run” Burr’s feet. (HT: TPC)
- Illinois: Roland Burris’ Q1 take: $845. As MyDD’s Beeton points out, that number is “not missing any zeroes.” Oh, and don’t confuse Republican Mark Kirk with a “moderate” – the guy can wingnut it up with the best of ‘em.
- Minnesota: If the Star Tribune offered Republican Norm Coleman the chance to write his own article, this Strib joke of a “story” is probably what he would have written. Maybe one of the reasons that the Strib had to file for bankruptcy is that online news sources like MinnPost and The Minnesota Independent are better sources of actual journalism.
- Pennsylvania: A very interesting non-endorsement – or UNdorsement – is coming from former Congressman John Peterson, who represented Pennsylvania’s north-central 5th district until his retirement from Congress in January at the age of 70. Widely respected in Pennsylvania’s conservative community, he endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in the 2004 Republican Senate primary. Not in 2010 though:
Former Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.), who left office in January, said it is time for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to step aside – and Peterson added that he would not support the moderate Republican for re-election in 2010.Peterson backed Specter in his hard-fought 2004 primary win against then-Rep. Pat Toomey (R). But the former six-term GOP lawmaker told Roll Call recently that the Senator can’t count on his endorsement again next year in his rematch with Toomey.
“If he asks for my support, I will tell him no,” Peterson said in a phone interview. …
“I don’t think you’d find me supporting 80-year-olds for re-election,” Peterson said. “It’s not disrespect for him, but there is a time.”
Peterson did not say he would support Toomey in 2010, but said instead that the state Republican party would be well served to have a primary without Specter. He said his endorsement would depend on who else runs in the primary.
Snarlin’ Arlen might find that a lot of his more conservative friends aren’t returning his calls over the next few months.
- New York: Of those members of Congress who might be considering a primary challenge to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Caroline Maloney had the strongest Q1 take with $425,000, followed by Steve Israel at $280,000. Of course, neither approached Senator Gillibrand’s $2.3 million haul. Congressional delegation aside, Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer has established an exploratory committee as a step toward a possible 2010 Senate primary challenge.
- Florida: Republican Congresscritter Vern Buchanan makes it clear that he won’t run for Senate in 2010 if Gov. Charlie Crist does. He was not as clear about whether or not he’d run if Crist doesn’t.
- Connecticut: A less-than-stellar development for Senator Chris Dodd: only a small fraction of his $1+ million Q1 fundraising take came from Connecticut residents.
- WaPo’s Cillizza takes a first look at Q1 fundraising “Heroes and Zeroes.”
Click here for the new senate guru blog…