Tuesday Night Briefs
South Dakota: You can watch the video of Senator Tim Johnson's inspiring return to South Dakota and the public eye at WelcomeBackTim.com. He addressed his condition, his recovery, and the road ahead with humor, humility, gratitude, and perseverance. Senator Johnson is badass. While we can't all line up to give Senator Johnson a hug or a high five, we can help out his re-election campaign.
Idaho: Both Senate Republican leadership and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are calling for a formal Senate Ethics investigation into Larry Craig's unfolding scandal. (It is interesting to note that while Senate Republicans are advocating for an ethics inquiry into Craig's scandal, they didn't say a word regarding recent scandals involving Republican Senators Pete Domenici, Lisa Murkowski, Ted Stevens or David Vitter. How is one not like the others?) At least Craig has a friend in Fox News who gave very little coverage to the unfolding scandal, despite numerous segments covering the arrest of Democratic former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in 2006.
While we await Craig's expected September announcement regarding his 2008 plans, it looks for now like he will try to ride out the remainder of his term rather than resign. Meanwhile, 55% of Idahoans think Craig should resign, compared with 34% who think he should stay (matching his 34% approval rating). The poll also gauged the approval ratings of Democratic Senate candidate Larry LaRocco (22%-21%-33%) and likely Republican candidate (if/when Craig retires) Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (a strikingly similar 26%-17%-32%). TCR informs us that Craig has one legal silver lining, however far-fetched:
Under Minnesota law, the Senator could file a motion requesting the withdrawal of the guilty plea. According to University of Minnesota Law School professor Steve Simon, Craig would have to allege ‘a manifest injustice’ in that motion, which he would have to file with the Hennepin County District Court judge who presided over his case. ‘He would have to allege some defect in the plea process,’ Simon said on Tuesday. ‘In other words that there was an inadequate factual basis or that his rights were not explained.’That seems like a very high threshold, especially for a U.S. Senator. We'll see.
Alabama: The first poll matching up Republican Bush rubber stamp Jeff Sessions and Democratic State Senator Vivian Figures shows Sessions with a 59-37 lead. Given the massive name ID advantage Sessions must currently enjoy and the fact that Sessions currently has the support of 30% of Democrats, this actually isn't terrible for Figures. Once she raises her name ID, ropes back in some of the Democrats who don't yet know there is an alternative to Sessions, and (hopefully) effectively ties Sessions to numerous failed Bush policies (even in Alabama, Bush has a net negative approval rating), we could see this deficit shrink to low-double-digits in short order. While Democrats focus on takeovers in states like Colorado and New Hampshire, Republicans are forced to actually hustle on defense in states they were hoping to take for granted.
Louisiana: One of the reasons that it's important for Democrats to field a candidate against Treasurer John N. Kennedy in his 2007 re-election bid is to get him to answer questions like "If elected, do you promise to serve your entire four-year term?" and "If you plan on running for another office next year, why should voters elect you to this office this year?" Why is that important? Treasurer Kennedy has a history of flip-flopping on his career goals. In 2003, as Treasurer, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor, but "abruptly" dropped out in favor of a Treasurer re-election bid, "a move that angered some donors." Then, just three months after being re-elected Treasurer, he was willing to junk that role in favor of his first failed Senate bid in 2004, a race in which he only garnered 15%. And then, earlier this year, he of course danced between another re-election bid for Treasurer and a run for state Attorney General, another office for which he had earlier run (in 1991) and lost. And now he is swapping Parties, in what appears to be the politically expedient maneuver. The bottom line is that it is clear that Treasurer Kennedy is always ready to trash his current role to climb the next rung on the ladder and better-deal whatever office he currently holds. Ambition in and of itself is not a bad thing; but when it trumps integrity, then there's a problem.
Kentucky: Attorney General Greg Stumbo sent a letter to supporters letting them know that his Senate exploratory committee was up and running to consider challenging Mitch McConnell. Consider sending a message to McConnell by helping Stumbo out.
Virginia: The local Virginia media isn't even indulging the possibility that John Warner won't retire. Notice the opening of this article on Republican Tom Davis: "U.S. Rep. Tom Davis met with area GOP leaders Tuesday, as he explores a possible Senate bid." The "if John Warner retires" clause doesn't even show up until the second paragraph.
South Carolina: Hotline On Call's Quote of the Day today:
You know what my goal is? Not for universal agreement. But for a little bit of respect."Awww, I'm getting all teary-eyed. Graham continues to not get the love from his base.
-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), being heckled on immigration, Columbia State, 8/28
New Mexico: Pajamas Pete Domenici loves George W. Bush. The vast majority of New Mexicans do not feel the same way.