Alaska: Could the end be nigh for Ted Stevens? Yesterday, the FBI and IRS raided the home of Ted Stevens "hauling off undisclosed items from inside and taking extensive pictures and video." For a terrific summary of events surrounding RenovationGate leading up to yesterday's bombshell, check out TPM's video compilation. Meanwhile, it is being reported that the FBI and the Department of the Interior are investigating earmarks that Stevens has pushed through in recent years. Calls are now being made for Stevens to relinquish his powerful committee seats until the conclusion of these investigations, a step similar to what occurs in the House of Representatives under similar circumstances. To say that this is looking bad for Stevens is an understatement. No word yet on when we can expect a statement of findings or any further action from the FBI, IRS, Department of the Interior, Senate Ethics Committee, or Mitch McConnell's office. The Nation offers a thorough rundown of the political implications and possible Democratic challengers to Stevens.
Minnesota: Things are also looking bad for Smilin' Norm Coleman. A Survey USA poll back in February, as Al Franken and Mike Ciresi were just entering the 2008 Senate race, had Coleman up over 20 points. Those 20-plus-point leads over Franken and Ciresi have shrunk to single digits according to Survey USA, with Coleman leading Franken 49-42 and leading Ciresi 48-42. Meanwhile, Ciresi continues on the attack against Coleman, and pundits are beginning to take the comedian Franken quite seriously.
Oklahoma: Could Jim "In Denial" Inhofe be on the brink of facing a dynamic, young-but-experienced Democratic challenger? RunAndrewRun.com is reporting that "it now seems likely State Senator Andrew Rice will soon be filing papers to challenge U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election." The report adds, "Rice still says he will make a formal announcement after Labor Day but fundraising prospects have surpassed his expectations and sources close to him say he may be “all in” within the next 10 days." State Senator Rice has a truly extraordinary background, from humanitarian work in Sri Lanka and India to attending Harvard Divinity School to his non-profit work to enhance democracy to his service in the Oklahoma State Senate. Given that Inhofe's approval last clocked in at a lousy 46-41, we could see the makings of an upset in the works. Good luck, Senator Rice!
Colorado: Republican "Backwards" Bob Schaffer has invited the appearance of impropriety as it has come out that he failed to disclose his involvement with the owner of a for-profit education company who contributed to Schaffer's campaign after Schaffer cast a deciding vote on the Colorado state Board of Education to grant contracts to his company. This looks really bad for Schaffer. We'll have to wait and see if Schaffer returns the company's owner's contributions, at the very least, and/or if there is a formal investigation to uncover any possible quid-pro-quo.
Oregon: The OR-Dems are taking Gordon Smith to task on SalmonGate. Outside of Oregon, this may not seem like a big deal, but inside Oregon this is huge. Smith's efforts contributed to the decimation of fishing businesses in Oregon, and Smith has been conspicuously silent on the issue as a Congressional investigation on the issue approaches. Stay tuned.
New Mexico: Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias will be offering testimony to the House Ethics Committee regarding Rep. Heather Wilson's role in the Attorney Purge scandal. Could similar testimony to the Senate Ethics Committee regarding Pajamas Pete Domenici's role be far behind?
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is expected to campaign with corrupt Ernie Fletcher during August. If McConnell wants to tie himself to a guy who was indicted by a grand jury and then pardoned everyone in his administration, I imagine the KY-Dems welcome it.
Illinois: Presenting himself as an "every-man," Republican trucker Mike Psak is entering the 2008 Senate race against Senator Richard Durbin. Psak has a campaign website up where he lists as his three agenda items: 1) Eliminate toll booths nationwide; 2) Eliminate pork-barrel spending; and, 3) Make the Labor Code fair. He also offers a broader rundown of standard conservative positions. Psak would likely face a primary against Dr. Steve Sauerberg, another political unknown. The IL-GOP earlier searched for a wealthy, self-funding candidate. Maybe they would be better off with an every-man who voters may be able to identify with, not that I want to be in the business of offering the IL-GOP any advice.
Senate Republicans put partisanship over providing health care for sick children. That is a fact.