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US Politics, Elections, Candidates and Campaigns

Published: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 22:17:32 -0400

Last Build Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 22:17:47 -0400



Thu, 6 Aug 2009 22:17:32 -0400

SUPREME COURT. US Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as Associate US Supreme Court Justice by a 68-31 vote. Nine Republicans -- none of whom are up for reelection next year -- were among those voting to confirm her. Conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association and the Senate GOP Leadership, opposed her nomination. Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic and the third woman to ever serve on the nation's highest court. VIRGINIA. Former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) leads State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by a 51-43 vote, according to the new Research 2000 poll. NEW JERSEY. In the latest Research 2000 poll, former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) holds a 48-40 lead over Governor Jon Corzine (D). In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, Christie leads by a 50-37 vote. P2008. Former US Senator John Edwards (D-NC) appears to be the target of an ongoing grand jury criminal investigation in Raleigh, according to various published news reports. Federal prosecutors are examining whether Edwards improperly diverted funds from his failed 2008 Presidential campaign to unlawfully finance any payoffs or personal expenses for his mistress Rielle Hunter and the baby he fathered with her, or to cover-up his extramarital actions. Reporters saw Hunter and her baby quickly hustled into the federal courthouse on Thursday through a back entrance to avoid public contact. A FAREWELL MESSAGE FROM VIN. I've really enjoyed writing for Politics1 during the past nine months. I want to thank Ron for the kind opportunity that he gave me. I also want to thank the countless people for their well-wishes and news tips. As the site continues to transform, I'm finding I have more demands on my personal and professional life -- so this is a good time to step down from writing the daily updates. Please, though, keep in touch by friending me on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you on Facebook and keep in contact with you there. Thanks again, everyone, and please keep in touch! [Ron's note: keep reading below, as this is not the end of today's new postings.] Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.07.09 | Permalink | postCount('080709'); A HEALTH CARE PARABLE. In the movie Godfather, the rival Barzini family makes failed assassination attempt against rival godfather Don Vito Corleone. Afterwards, the recovering Don determines the earlier hit attempts was an inside job by enemies purporting to be new friends wanting to build a strong new alliance. In a subsequent scene, Vito Corleone advises his son Michael -- the new Don -- about what he needs to know. Vito Corleone explains: "So, Barzini will move against you first. He'll set up a meeting with someone you absolutely trust, guaranteeing your safety -- and at the meeting you'll be assassinated. ... Now listen: whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he's the traitor. Don't forget that." Later in the film at Vito's funeral, trusted Corleone capo Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) approaches Michael and says: "Mike, could I have a minute? Barzini wants to arrange a meeting. He says we can straighten any of our problems out." Of course, Michael uses the meeting to unexpectedly turn the table on his enemy by killing Barzini -- and, at the finish of the amazing final "settling of scores" montage near the end of the film, the Corleone's clean house by sending Tessio on a one-way ride. Substitute the Senate Republicans for the Barzini family, and sub in Max Baucus for Sallie Tessio, and, well ... you get my view of what Baucus is doing to health care reform. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not urging any violence against Baucus ... but I wouldn't mind seeing his political career die in an embarrassing 2014 primary crash-and-burn (and stripped of his committee chairmanship after the 2010 elections). POLITICS1. With Vin departing, what's next for this site? I'm going to try some new ways to deliver the news while posting regular blog comment threads for you to use. Let's try some variants and see what works. Stick with me. Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 08.07.09 [...]


Wed, 5 Aug 2009 22:39:44 -0400

LOUISIANA. Former Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA) was convicted Wednesday in Virginia on federal felony political corruption charges. The jury convicted Jefferson on four counts of bribery, three counts of racketeering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering in a case which alleged he accepted over $400,000 in unlawful payments. Jefferson -- who had $90,000 of cash hidden in his freezer when FBI agents searched his home -- served in Congress from nine terms until he was defeated by Republican Joseph Cao in 2008. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so the vote was clearly a backlash against Jefferson's corruption. Jefferson faces up to 235 years in prison time, but will certainly receive a sentence a significantly shorter time.

SUPREME COURT. A seventh Republican - US Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) -- announced he will support Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to be Associate US Supreme Court Justice. "I do not believe that the Constitution tells me that I should refuse to support her merely because I disagree with her on some cases. I will support her, I'll be proud for her," said Bond. Sotomayor is expected to be easily confirmed.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. Former State Senator and '00/'02 Governor candidate Mark Fernald (D) has dropped out of the open CD-2 Congressional contest. This sets up a hot Democratic primary contest between State Representative John DeJoie, political consultant Katrina Swett and politically-connected attorney Ann McLane Kuster. Republicans running include former State Representative Bob Giuda, businessman Andrew Hemmingway and Milford School Board Member Len Mannino. Incumbent Congressman Paul Hodes (D) is running for US Senate.

KENTUCKY. As expected, physician Rand Paul -- son of Texas Congressman and two-time Presidential candidate Ron Paul -- will seek the GOP Nomination for next year's open US Senate seat. Other Republicans running include Secretary of State Tray Grayson, business executive Bill Johnson and engineer Roger Thoney. State Senate President David Williams is also seriously considering making a run for the seat -- but Grayson is currently the solid frontrunner for the nomination. Democrats running include Attorney General Jack Conway, Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, farmer Maurice Sweeney and law student Darlene Fitzgerald Price. Incumbent US Senator Jim Bunning (R) is retiring.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.06.09 | Permalink | postCount('080609');


Tue, 4 Aug 2009 22:49:13 -0400

NEW JERSEY. A new Monmouth University Poll shows former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) leading Governor Jon Corzine (D) by wide 50% to 36% margin among likely voters. Among registered voters, Christie leads Corzine 43% to 39%.Governor Tim Kaine (D) is term-limited.

VIRGINA. The new Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) leading State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by a lopsided 51-37 vote. Several polls have shown McDonnell significantly widening his lead over the past month.

CALIFORNIA. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) has loaned herself $19 million for her 2010 gubernatorial campaign. She raised an additional $6.8 million, bringing her to over $25 million for the 2Q-2009. Money isn't always a guarantee of success in a race like this: Northwest Airlines CEO Al Checchi (D) spent $40 million from his own pocket in his 1998 run for California Governor but captured just 12.5% in the crowded primary. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is term-limited and both major parties will see competitive primary contests.

MINNESOTA. Former State Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) has ended his rematch bid against controversial conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R). Tinklenberg lost to Bachmann by 3-points in 2008. "While the image of the next campaign against Michele Bachmann is certainly energizing, the path to that campaign is becoming increasingly improbable," explained Tinkenberg, because party leaders are rallying behind the candidacy of State Senator Tarryl Clark (D). Former University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chair Maureen Reed (D) is also running.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.05.09


Mon, 3 Aug 2009 22:24:35 -0400

PENNSYLVANIA. Congressman Joe Sestak (D), as expected, will officially announce his candidacy against US Senator Arlen Specter in next year's Democratic primary. Sestak has already began blasting Sestak from the left, arguing the recent party-switching incumbent doesn't hold sincere Democratic views. Specter, in turn, has already fired back at Sestak for having only switched from Independent to Democrat before making his first run for Congress and for having missed voting in many elections during Sestak's years of military service. Sestak is a retired Navy Admiral. Expect a hot race between these two well-financed candidates.

SUPREME COURT. US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced he will vote against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation. By contrast, GOP Senate Conference Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he will vote to confirm Sotomayor.

NEW MEXICO. State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones announced she will seek the GOP nomination for Governor next year. She is the third Republican to enter the contest. Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez and former State GOP Chair Allen Weh are also announced Republican candidates. Two Democrats are in the race: Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish and State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Governor Bill Richardson (D) is term-limited.

LOUISIANA. Governor Bobby Jindal (R) made it clear he would not challenge embattled US Senator David Vitter in next year's GOP primary. However, from Jindal's remarks to WWWL-TV, it is also clear Jindal is distancing himself from Vitter and his prostitution scandal problems. "Well a couple of things, first [Senator] Vitter's going to have to make his case with the voters, just like every candidate does. There's been a lot of speculation. Let me answer your question very directly, I'm not running for the Senate -- I'm running for re-election as governor in 2011 -- but David's going have to make his case with the voters directly just like any other candidate's going to have to do that," said Vitter.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 08.04.09


Mon, 27 Jul 2009 22:46:19 -0400

A MESSAGE FROM RON. As I explained over the weekend, I'm giving serious thought to making a big change to Politics1. Several of you expressed an interest in "taking over" in some shared way the homepage news updates. That would only be possible if I change the way the blog is currently written (i.e., in HTML code using Dreamweaver -- and not using any of the popular, easy blogger tools). I can speak with my ISP to see if they are willing to move Politics1 onto a server with PERL, which is required for the WordPress blogging software everyone uses -- but only so long as there is no additional costs to me. In any event, even if I go to my new proposed format, I'll still provide you with weekly open threads (and would also consider restarting writing my own daily posts at some future date, possibly in mid-2010). However, for those who say they like following the news stories I find of interest blended with my personal take, then I'd suggest you follow me on Twitter and/or friend me on Facebook (my twitter posts + additional items). I'm lately using those two sites to express myself, but the topics are not limited to politics. Using my BlackBerry to write the Twitter and Facebook items, I post briefs notes on the fly on politics, foreign affairs, news of the strange, personal stuff, travel, France, Iran, photos I like, or whatever. So, for now, that's the latest.
Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 07.28.09


Mon, 27 Jul 2009 22:46:19 -0400

KENTUCKY. US Senator Jim Bunning (R) announced Monday he won't seek re-election in 2010. The former star baseball pitcher blamed Republican leaders -- particularly Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) -- for his decision. "To win a general election, a candidate has to be able to raise millions of dollars to get the message out to voters. Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising," said Bunning in a written statement. SUPREME COURT. US Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will vote against the Supreme Court nomination Sonya Sotomayor. Not surprisingly, US Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also announced he will vote against the nomination. VIRGINIA. Former Congressman Virgil Goode (R) surprisingly announced Monday he will not seek a rematch next year against freshman Congressman Tom Perriello (D). Goode narrowly lost for in one of the biggest upsets of 2008. Goode gave no reason in his written statement for the decision, and reportedly did not inform party leaders of his plans before Monday. Factory worker Brad Rees is the only announced GOP candidate to date. State Delegate Danny Marshall (R) immediately said he would not run, as he has too much seniority in the State Assembly. State Senator Robert Hurt (R) was also mentioned as a potential candidate, but he said he's busy helping Bob McDonnell's campaign for Governor right now. "I'll think long and hard about the opportunity being presented to me, but it's a long way off," said Hurt. REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) -- a prospective candidate for President in 2012 -- has been named as the next Vice Chair of the Republican Governors Association. "His firsthand knowledge of how to win in a so-called purple state will be a major asset to the RGA," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the RGA's current Chair. Barbour is also a prospective 2012 Presidendial candidate. Barbour succeeded embattled South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who resigned from the Chair post after his sex scandal hit national headlines. CALIFORNIA. A new Rasmussen Poll shows US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) locked in a surprisingly tight race with former computer manufacturing executive Carly Fiorina (R) in next year's race for US Senate. Boxer leads 45% to 41% in a potential general election matchup. Fiorina has not yet decided whether she will run against Boxer, but she has a campaign-like website. OHIO. State Senator Kevin Coughlin (R) dropped-out of next year's race for Governor. This means that former Congressman John Kasich (R) is unlikely to face any significant oppisition in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary. Governor Ted Strickland (D) is seeking re-election. MASSACHUSETTS. Governor Deval Patrick (D) is in big trouble, according to the latest Boston Glove-UNH poll. Wealthy health care executive Charlie Baker (R) leads Patrick by a 41-35 vote. Businessman Christy Mihos (R) leads Patrick by a 41-40 vote. However, the picture looks very different if State Treasurer Tim Cahill (Independent) -- a former Democrat -- runs for Governor, as is expected. In a three-way race, Patrick 30% and Cahill are tied with 30% apiece, followed by Baker at 20%. Patrick and Cahill are tied at 31% is the GOP nominee is Mihos (18%). ALASKA. Governor Sarah Palin's (R) last day in office was on Sunday. Palin resigned from office to pursue new opportunities. She is succeeded by 46-year-old Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell (R), a close Palin ally. P2012. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee leading the GOP race for President for 2012. Huckabee leads with 26%, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 21%, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at 19%, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 10%. No Opinion polled at 6%. Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 07.28.09 [...]


Sat, 25 Jul 2009 12:16:39 -0400

A MESSAGE FROM RON. I'm giving serious thought to making a big change to Politics1. As of this fall, I will have been publishing this website for 12 years. That's a very long time. And, as I also have a "full-time plus" day job, this is something I need to research, write and edit in my limited free time at night and on weekends. This news page is the single most time-consuming part of the site. Even with Vin writing update (much appreciated help), it still takes quite a bit of time to edit and also insert other news items I've come across. And, to be candid, with advertising revenues sharply down on all political sites (including this site), it simply isn't worth the expenditure of time to keep reporting the news on our own. The core value of this site -- at least, the thing that sets Politics1 apart from nearly every other site on the net -- are the state-by-state pages listing every candidate and potential candidate for Governor, State Cabinet, US Senate and Congress. As for the news page, there are so many other sites out there that cover political news better than Politics1. That's why I'm thinking of trying something different by fully automating the news page. Click here to view the prototype (it may take a few seconds for the news stories to load). I've selected the specific RSS fees from the sites I check daily, which include a few mainstream media, polling results, and many focused political sites (including some sites which certainly have a pro-D or pro-R bias, plus a Green and Libertarian site or two). By adopting this format, the front page news would always be current and updated throughout the day every day -- without any involvement on my part -- and I'd still have the time needed to keep the state pages currently updated. I'd also be willing to try keeping an open thread at the header so all of you can continue to debate the daily happenings. Plus, this change would give me much of my free time back. At this point, I'm 90% decided I want to move to this format. Another option was simply ending Politics1, but I don't see the point in doing that if an alternative exists. I'll make some final decisions on these changes within the next two weeks or so. Thus, using this comment thread, please check our the proposed change and give me your thoughts on it.

Daily Report by Ron Gunzburger - 07.25.09


Sat, 25 Jul 2009 12:16:39 -0400

SUPREME COURT. Two GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say they will vote against the confirmation of Associate US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and John Cornyn of Texas announced they will vote nay.

NEW JERSEY. Governor Jon Corzine (D) had named State Senator Loretta Weinberg as his Lieutenant Governor runningmate. Weinberg - a 74-year-old Madoff scheme victim -- has a reputation as an anti-machine Democrat during her tenure in the state legislature. Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Ken Kaplan picked open government advocate John Paff as his runningmate. Former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) selected Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno as his runningmate last week. Former EPA State Commissioner Chris Daggett (Independent) has yet to pick a runningmate.

MAINE. Just an aside, but have you recently checked out our list of announced and potential gubernatorial candidates in Maine for 2010? The list includes 19 Democrats, 12 Republicans, 3 Greens and 6 Independents. That's an astounding 40 people looking at the race (and 13 of them are already announced candidates)!

OHIO. Democrats have recruited State Representative Todd Book (D) to run against controversial Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R). Schmidt, a perennial Democratic target, continues to win slim victories in what should otherwise be a safe Republican seat. Democrats believe Book will present Schmidt with her strongest re-election challenge to date.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 07.25.09


Thu, 23 Jul 2009 22:57:07 -0400

HEALTH CARE. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Thursday that the first floor votes on health care reform will be delayed until September.

CONNECTICUT. A new Quinnipiac poll shows former Congressman Rob Simmons (R) leading incumbent US Senator Chris Dodd (D) by a 48-39 margin. In a sign of true weakness, Dodd is virtually tied with even the relatively minor other leading GOP contenders in possible general election matchups. Simmons leads the GOP primary field with 42%, with his opponents tied with 5% apiece. In the Democratic primary, Dodd leads software executive/former Al Gore aide Merrick Alpert by a vote of 52% to 18%.

MINNESOTA. State Senator Tarryl Clark (DFL) -- who is viewed as the strongest potential Democratic candidate against controversial conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R) -- has filed paperwork this week to enter the contest. Clark had also been looking at the crowded gubernatorial race, but ultimately passed on it. Before she gets to face Bachmann, Clark must win the DFL nomination over former State Transportation Commissioner/'08 nominee Elwyn Tinklenberg and former University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chair/physician Maureen Reed.

NEW JERSEY. Over 40 elected officials, candidates, political consultants and religious leaders were arrested in a major sting operation today, relating to bribery, extortion, money laundering, and even international transportation of human body parts. Three mayors, two state legislators, several former state legislators, several campaign managers, the Jersey City Council President, Jersey City's Deputy Mayor and numerous high-powered rabbis were among those arrested. The corruption even reached the edges of the Governor's office, where State Community Affairs Commissioner Joe Doria - a former Bayonne Mayor and State Assembly Speaker - resigned on Thursday afternoon in a move believed to be related to the arrests. This sting joins many others in recent New Jersey history - which has resulted in the arrests and indictments of over 100 elected officials in the last few years. "New Jersey's corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the country. Corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state and this great nation," said FBI supervising agent Ed Kahrer. While Governor Jon Corzine (D) was not implicated in any way in today's arrests, the move by the feds will still assist his opponent -- former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) -- who made his name prosecuting political corruption cases. Vin's Tidbit: Congressman Albio Sires (D) - who has battled his own scandals in the past - saw the arrests this year of both his primary and general election opponents from the 2006 race. Sires' 2006 primary opponent - then-Perth Amboy Mayor and State Assemblyman Joe Vas (D) - was indicted on numerous criminal counts earlier this year. Sires' general election opponent - Republican John Guarini - was among those arrested today for bribery.

GEORGIA. The latest Strategic Vision (R) poll gives a good snapshot of the open gubernatorial primaries. REPUBLICANS: State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine - 38%, Congressman Nathan Deal - 16%, Secretary of State Karen Handel - 9%, State Senate President Eric Johnson - 5%, Confederate Heritage activist Ray McBerry - 3%, State Representative Austin Scott - 2%. DEMOCRATS: Former Governor Roy Barnes - 46%, Attorney General Thurbert Baker - 31%, ex-State Adjutant General David Poythress - 4%, State House Minority Leader DuBose Porter - 3%.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 07.28.09 | Permalink | postCount('072409');


Wed, 22 Jul 2009 22:40:00 -0400

SUPREME COURT. Republican Senators continue to announce how they will on the confirmation of US Supreme Court Associate Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he will support Sotomayor, while Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) will both vote against her.

OHIO. Former US Senator Mike DeWine (R) announced Wednesday that he will run for Attorney General next year. DeWine - a former two-term US Senator - lost a bid for a reelection in 2006 by a 56-44 margin. DeWine will face Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost in the GOP primary. The winner of the GOP contest will face incumbent Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) in the general election.

PENNSYLVANIA. A new Quinnipiac poll shows US Senator Arlen Specter (D) has rapidly lost his commanding lead in next year's US Senate contest. Specter narrowly leads former Congressman Pat Toomey (R) by a 45% to 44% vote. Specter also has a disapproval rating of 46% -- his highest ever. However, Specter still leads Congressman Joe Sestak by 55-23 margin in the Democratic primary. Sestak just finished a tour of all 67 counties and is expected to make his formal entry into the contest shortly.

NEW JERSEY. A new Strategic Vision (R) poll shows former US Attorney Chris Christie (R) leading Governor Jon Corzine (D) by a 53% to 38% vote, with former State EPA Commissioner Chris Daggett (Independent) at 5%.

NEW YORK. Republicans nominated Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava -- a GOP centrist -- as their congressional candidate for the CD-23 special election. The pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-labor Scozzafava defeated eight rivals to win the nomination the third ballot. The Conservative Party announced it would not co-nominate Scozzafava because of her support for gay marriage, but has not yet decided if they will field a nominee in the race on their ballot line. The Democrats have not yet picked a nominee, but State Senator Darrel Aubertine is viewed as the frontrunner for the spot. Nine-term GOP Congressman John McHugh is resigning to become Secretary of the Army in the Obama Administration. The special election date has not yet been set.

PENNSYLVANIA. The DCCC succeeded in recruiting a major challenger into the CD-15 race. Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan (D) announced he will run against Congressman Charlie Dent (R) next year.

KENTUCKY. Nothing like starting early. Governor Steve Beshear (D) has named Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson to be his Lieutenant Governor runningmate for 2011. Current Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo (D) is running for US Senate next year, so Beshear is obviously presuming Mongiardo wins the race. The popular Abramson has served as Louisville Mayor for 20 years and is a former President of the US Conference of Mayors.

PROHIBITION PARY. Minister, temperance lecturer and artist Gene Amundson -- the Prohibition Party's candidate for President in 2004 and 2008 -- died unexpectedly this week at age 65. He had been planning to make a third run in 2012. While the anti-alcohol Prohibition Party is the oldest of America's current third parties, founded in 1869, their nominees performed terribly in recent years. In 2008, Amundson was on the ballot in three states but captured a total of just 658 votes.

Daily Report by Vin Gopal - 07.23.09