Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day of 2007 Rundown

  • With today being the last day of 2007, it's also the last day of the fundraising quarter, so, if you can, please contribute to some terrific candidates this afternoon. Thanks so so so so much.

  • Mississippi: Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has appointed GOP Rep. Roger Wicker to fill the vacancy in the Senate caused by Trent Lott's resignation. Now, we should see the debate over the scheduling of the special election come to a head. What needs further highlighting now is Wicker's ethical questions, possibly trading earmarks for campaign contributions.

  • Louisiana: KALB-5 out of Alexandria, Louisiana, takes a look at the political scene for 2008, closing with a synopsis of the 2008 Senate race. They mention something awfully interesting toward the very end of the article (emphasis added by me):

    Landrieu’s already attracted one well-known Republican opponent, state Treasurer John Kennedy, a new convert to the GOP who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate a few years ago as a Democrat. More Republican candidates are eyeing the job as well. Landrieu’s amassed a considerable campaign warchest to launch what is expected to be an expensive campaign.
    More Republican candidates are considering a bid? We know that Secretary of State Jay Dardenne hasn't ruled out a bid; and we've heard rumors that Landrieu's vanquished foes Woody Jenkins (1996) and Suzanne Haik Terrell (2002) were considering another shot. But could there be more? Louisiana has one of the latest filing deadlines in the country (7/11/08), so there will be plenty of time for other Republicans to fill out the paperwork and gather the signatures. Stay tuned!

  • New Mexico: Joe Monahan reports on the latest monkey wrench in Republicans' plans to retain the Senate seat from which Pete Domenici is retiring in 2008:

    Tom Benavides, a longtime former ABQ Dem state senator and a candidate for too many offices to list, is at it again. Tom, who must be in his 70's by now, is circulating petitions to make the ballot for the GOP US Senate race. But if he is to join US Reps Wilson and Pearce on the June primary ballot he will have to score 20% of the delegates at the March pre-primary. That is highly unlikely. But Tom will have fun until then.
    I'm sure Benavides will have plenty of fun jabbing both Wilson and Pearce right up until the pre-primary.

  • On a personal note, as the Senate 2008 Guru completes its first full year, let me say that this has been a very rewarding, educational, and fun endeavor, if not also fairly time-consuming and even a little overwhelming at times. I'm very much looking forward to 2008. (And, if you've enjoyed reading the blog all year, the best way you can show your appreciation is by contributing via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page before the clock strikes midnight tonight! Thanks!!!)

  • Sunday, December 30, 2007

    Weekend Quick Hits Round-Up

  • Mississippi: The rumor mill is offering that Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has selected GOP Rep. Roger Wicker for the Senate seat from which Trent Lott resigned. We'll know for sure tomorrow.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell is suffering from the worst approval ratings of his career and he is out of whack with a majority of his constituents on Iraq. It seems that the one thing on which he is basing his re-election campaign is the pork spending that comes to Kentucky. So what happens to the rationale for his candidacy when federal funding for Kentucky programs gets slashed? Kind of makes McConnell seem useless for Kentucky, doesn't it?

  • Montana: A new poll by the Billings Gazette on the 2008 Senate race sees Senator Max Baucus obliterating his likely Republican opponent, disgraced state rep. Michael Lange, by a margin of 63-25. The poll also pegged Baucus' approval rating at a whopping 67%, the same level as six months ago, demonstrating the steadiness of Baucus' approval numbers.

  • The Pensito Review released its list of the 2007 nominees for the "GOP Adulterers Hall of Fame." Among the nominees are Republican Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig. Good luck to both men as they seek this honor.

  • Saturday, December 29, 2007

    MS-Sen: Lott Successor to Be Named on Monday

  • Mississippi: Republican Gov. Haley Barbour will announce his selection to succeed Trent Lott at a press conference in Jackson on Monday at 11am Central Time. Surprisingly, Chip Pickering has removed himself from consideration for the appointment. With Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr also not considering the appointment, Rep. Roger Wicker continues to appear the frontrunner for the appointment, with state Treasurer Tate Reeves the oft-mentioned second fiddle possibility.

    The scheduling of the special election, though, seems destined to be determined by the courts:

    Meanwhile, a battle continues between the governor and Attorney General Jim Hood about the timing of a special election for the seat.

    Barbour is standing firm that it will be held Nov. 4, the date of the general election.

    Hood has disputed the timing, saying according to state statute, it should be held within 90 days after an appointment is made. That would put the special election sometime in March.

    Hood has said he would file a lawsuit if the two could not come to some agreement.
    Hood's position is backed up by (and possibly courtesy of) two people who The Clarion-Ledger's Bill Minor calls "the state's two most experienced election law authorities," Reese Partridge and Phil Carter, assistants in Hood's office. The Clarion-Ledger also offers a theory on why GOP Gov. Barbour is pushing so hard for a November election rather than a 90-day election:

    Two theories were in play last week about Barbour's choices: One, that he will start a young Republican such as Chip Pickering on a path to keep the Senate seat in GOP hands for decades. Or two - an intriguing scheme - that Barbour will name a seat-warmer who would not run for the unexpired term, so that Barbour himself could run and return to the Washington scene he loves.

    Early on, Barbour said he would not appoint himself to succeed Lott, but that does not rule out him asking voters in November to elevate him to a higher level.

    However, that scenario will depend on Barbour getting the court to OK his Nov. 4 special election date rather than the 90 days Hood's team will argue.
    I think that that is unlikely. But you never know. I still say the smart money is on either Wicker or Reeves, with Wicker as the favorite. Currently, about half of the state has no opinion of Wicker. The first poll out there matching up Wicker against Democratic former Governor Ronnie Musgrove saw a 48-34 lead for Musgrove. However, with Musgrove enjoying much higher name ID, I would expect a much closer race, should the special election race come down to Musgrove and Wicker.

    What should be of bigger concern to Republicans if Wicker is named is his burgeoning ethics problem:

    Apparently, Wicker and aerospace company Aurora Flight Sciences have a questionably cozy relationship. In 2006, Aurora was Wicker's top campaign contributor; and, then in 2007, Wicker secures a juicy little earmark for Aurora. The relationship is furthered by the fact that Wicker's former Chief of Staff works for the lobbying outfit that lobbies for, you guessed it, Aurora. With Trent Lott and Chip Pickering expected to bolt to K Street, and with Republican corruption stories again flowing like water, this story has the potential to blow up should Wicker get appointed to the Senate or run for the seat opened up by Lott's resignation. Stay tuned! (HT: Cotton Mouth)
    We'll know a lot more Monday afternoon. Stay tuned!

  • Friday, December 28, 2007

    Post-Christmas Catch-Up

  • Idaho: The Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey likens Democratic Senate candidate Larry LaRocco to Rocky Balboa. If LaRocco is Balboa to Republican Jim Risch's Apollo Creed, I trust the result will be more similar to Rocky II than the original. One fun fact that Popkey mentions in his column: during their Lieutenant Governor campaign against one another last year, when Risch could not get the specific debate format he wanted (which would have resulted in Risch and LaRocco not actually debating but appearing on stage one after the other, never actually interacting), Risch refused to debate, not unlike a coward.

    Meanwhile, Risch is getting another Republican primary opponent:

    An Iraq veteran from Wilder says he will run to replace U.S. Sen. Larry Craig.

    Army Reserve Col. Scott Syme, 53, announced Christmas Day he will challenge Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and elk farmer Rex Rammell in the Republican Primary. Larry LaRocco has announced he will run for Craig's seat as a Democrat. Craig is stepping down at the end of his term in January 2009.

    Syme, who grew up in Weiser and is now a real estate broker in Caldwell, will kick off his campaign Thursday morning at the Washington County Courthouse in Weiser.

    "I think a lot of people are dissatisfied with career politicians being the only ones with a chance," he said Tuesday.
    An Iraq veteran could galvanize a chunk of Republican voters and, at least, give Risch a headache if not a run for his money.

  • Alaska: Uh oh. The foreman for the construction job that the corrupt VECO Corporation oversaw on the home of Ted Stevens has given an interview on the proceedings, during which he called it "ludicrous" that the cost of the job was in line with what Stevens claims to have paid for it. It continues to look awfully bad for Stevens.

  • New Mexico: Joe Monahan has heard fundraising amounts on the Republican Senate candidates (note: actual filings are due next month - this is just hearsay): Steve Pearce $450,000; Heather Wilson $350,000. It will be interesting to compare to Democratic Congressman Tom Udall's take once numbers are out.

  • Maine: The Vice Chair of the local County Democratic Committee smartly responds to a string of astroturf on behalf of Susan Collins that has been clogging the pages of the Kennebec Journal. I hope the Kennebec Journal wises up and pays closer attention to authors of the letters they print as we approach Election Day. (To see the astroturf in question, check here and here for the links.)

  • Kentucky: The Louisville Courier-Journal has dubbed Mitch McConnell "The Obstructer."

  • Nebraska: Tony Raimondo has scored a big addition to his team as he inches closer to a 2008 Senate bid, former Kerrey/Nelson/Fahey campaign honcho Paul Johnson. Still no word from (Draft) Scott Kleeb on a possible bid.

  • Georgia: Spineless Saxby Chambliss is taking heat on tax issues from Allen Buckley, a Libertarian Party candidate for Senate in 2008. Couple that with the loud chorus of boos Chambliss got over immigration reform back in May at his state's Republican convention, and, clearly, a lot of folks who should be populating Chambliss' base aren't too enthused about him. I don't think there is a critical mass of discontent with Chambliss among Georgia conservative circles (yet) for it to make an electoral difference, but it's always nice to hear.

  • Tuesday, December 25, 2007

    Ten Terrific Charities

    With this being the holiday season (and with news from the 2008 Senate races being very light right now), I thought I'd highlight a few charities you should consider.

    The Death Penalty Project: "The Death Penalty Project is an international human rights organisation which provides free legal representation to the many individuals still facing the death penalty in the Caribbean and Africa, and works to ensure compliance with regional and international human rights standards."

    Emergency Communities: "Emergency Communities is a non-profit organization that employs compassion and creativity to provide community-based disaster relief. Since Katrina, we have operated four relief sites, served over 300,000 meals and 25,000 residents of the Gulf."

    Human Rights Campaign: "The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality."

    Human Rights Watch: "Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world."

    Kiva: "Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world - empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty."

    National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: "The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) will end homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers."

    Natural Resources Defense Council: "NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of 1.2 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things."

    Planned Parenthood: "Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, educator, and advocate, serving women, men, teens, and families. For more than 90 years, we’ve done more than any other organization in the United States to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices."

    Southern Poverty Law Center: "Today, SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups."

    United Negro College Fund: "At a time when a college degree is what a high school diploma was to previous generations, the minimum entry-level requirement for almost every well-paying career, UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 65,000 students each year to attend college and get the education they want and deserve." - "Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste."

    If, after your holiday shopping and charitable giving, you have a few bucks left burning a hole in your pocket, consider a contribution to some terrific Democratic candidates for Senate in 2008.

    Happy Holidays!

    Saturday, December 22, 2007

    Saturday Briefs

  • Mississippi: A primarily Democratic pollster found that former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is leading Republican Rep. Roger Wicker by double-digits (48-34) in a possible match-up to succeed Trent Lott. Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has ten days from this past Tuesday, the day Lott formally resigned, to appoint a successor until a special election. Whether the special election will be held in the next 100 days or on Election Day 2008, of course, will likely be decided in the courts.

  • Alaska: Ted Stevens' first Republican primary opponent has stepped up to the plate, and it's someone Ted is rather familiar with:

    Anchorage developer David Cuddy is making another run against Ted Stevens.

    Cuddy said he would file a letter of intent after New Year's to run in the 2008 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. He last challenged Stevens over a decade ago.

    Cuddy comes from one of Alaska's most prominent banking families. He's a former state legislator and used to be president of First National Bank of Anchorage. He spent time earlier this decade living in Los Angeles, consulting for the entertainment industry.

    Cuddy spent roughly $1 million, most of that from his own bank account, in an unsuccessful effort to wrest the party nomination from Stevens in 1996. Cuddy got just 27 percent of the primary vote then.

    Cuddy, 55, ran that race as a conservative who said he wanted to shrink government and cut taxes. It turned into a hard-hitting campaign in which Cuddy accused Stevens in a series of advertisements of breaking the law and abusing the perks of power. The Federal Election Commission ended up dismissing a claim by Cuddy that Stevens' 1990 campaign committee improperly spent campaign contributions on him and his staff.

    Cuddy said Friday that in this race he doesn't plan to make an issue of the federal investigation of Stevens.

    The FBI and IRS raided Stevens' Girdwood home in late July as part of a probe into corruption in Alaska politics. Stevens has not been charged.
    Cuddy has experience in the public sector, experience in business, conservative cred, and money to at least partially self-finance a run. And Cuddy should make it a point to say at every single campaign stop, "I don't intend to make an issue out of the numerous corruption investigations by the FBI, IRS, and others into Ted Stevens' wheelings and dealings." Heck, he should say it every other paragraph so people know for sure that he doesn't intend to make it an issue. By the way, shrinking government and cutting taxes (and, based on that, probably limiting the earmarks for which Ted Stevens is so notorious)? Sounds like a candidate the Club for Growth could really get behind in a primary challenge to Stevens.

  • Oklahoma: Jim Inhofe misleading the public on climate change and global warming? No!?! Actually, yes.

  • Idaho: Democratic Senate candidate and former Congressman Larry LaRocco released his position paper on immigration issues.

  • Texas: Stop Cornyn has rounded up its 12 Days of a Cornyn Christmas. My favorite: Four Undisclosed Earmarks.

  • A Republican dirty-trickster, pissed at the Republican establishment for throwing him under the bus, tells all in a new book. It should be very enlightening reading. (Fun fact: the author frequently compares Mitch McConnell to "a sheet of drywall.")

  • Friday, December 21, 2007

    Friday Tidbits

  • North Carolina: Earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer slammed Elizabeth Dole on immigration:

    Sen. Dole worked hard to help kill a decent immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate in July. It wasn't perfect, but it provided a practical, intelligent way to secure the border -- and pay for it. It also took the sensible step of providing illegal immigrants a conditional path to legal status. Too bad lawmakers such as Sen. Dole were more interested in shouting "amnesty" and opposing any step toward legal status than they were in helping the folks back home.
    Subsequently, Dole weakly responded to the paper: 1) confusing inaction with accomplishment 2) listing how she would throw literally billions of dollars at the problem without explaining where those billions would come from, and 3) focusing on ways to enhance border security without addressing exactly what her position is on what should be done with the more than ten million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

  • South Dakota: A new (though apparently partisan) poll sees Senator Tim Johnson absolutely crushing his hypothetical Republican opponent by a 67-29 margin. The poll also clocked Johnson's favorable-unfavorable at 64-18.

  • Mississippi: Yup, the scheduling for the special election to replace Trent Lott will ultimately be determined by the courts. Why do I think that even GOP Gov. Haley Barbour knows that he's full of it and trying to get away with a fast one? Because in defending his desire to pull the special election off until Election Day 2008, he's (apparently rather vociferously) "claiming executive authority." It shouldn't matter if Barbour is the Pope or Superman or whoever. The Mississippi state Constitution has language that determines the process. It's up to the Mississippi courts to determine the interpretation. "Claiming executive authority" seems like a gambit of desperation.

  • Oregon: The Oregonian calls out Gordon Smith for his contradictory comments on Trent Lott's apparent endorsement of segregation. I think Gordo's Christmas wish is that this story goes away.

  • Virginia: Conservative state delegate Bob Marshall has formed an exploratory committee as he considers a Republican primary challenge to Jim Gilmore.

  • Kentucky: Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne received the endorsement of Democracy for America's Kentucky chapter.

  • New Hampshire: A new ARG poll actually sees Republican John Sununu leading popular Democratic former Governor Jeanne Shaheen. How can this be? Two explanations. First, the Shaheen name has been in the press in a negative light over the last couple weeks thanks to Bill's comments. If that's the reason, it should blow over after the New Hampshire primary activity wears down. Second, the ARG polls may have an anti-Democrat or pro-Republican bias. Why would I suggest that? Because ARG also saw wildly popular Democratic Governor John Lynch only poll 48-32 in a hypothetical match-up against Republican Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. Lynch won re-election last year with 74% of the vote. To only poll at 48% in a hypothetical match-up seems awfully low. If that's the reason, these numbers should not be cause for concern.

  • Thursday, December 20, 2007

    Thursday Rundown

  • November fundraising numbers, courtesy of Roll Coll:

    One year out from the November 2008 elections, the DSCC raised $4.1 million, committee officials said Wednesday, compared with the $2.3 million raised in November by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

    The DSCC counted $25.5 million in cash on hand at the end of November, while the NRSC had $10.4 million.

    The Democratic committee spent $2.1 million in November, compared with $1.4 million spent by the NRSC.

    But while the NRSC has no debt left over from the 2006 cycle, the DSCC still had a $2 million debt remaining on Nov. 30.
    Yet another month where the DSCC nearly doubled the NRSC's take. And the DSCC's debt is evaporating. The DSCC's cash-on-hand-minus-debt advantage over the NRSC is up to $13.1 million.

  • Mississippi: Republican Trent Lott officially resigned at 11:30pm Tuesday night, but, as of Wednesday afternoon, Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour's office still "had not been officially informed of the vacancy." Ummmm, you think somebody would have, maybe, faxed a note or a copy of the resignation letter over to the Governor's office sometime Wednesday morning between 9:00am and noon that their U.S. Senator had resigned. Another indication of Republicans causing government to be inefficient.

  • Oregon: Blue Oregon's intrepid Kari Chisholm thoroughly reviews Gordon Smith's integrity-free comments on Trent Lott with a fine-toothed comb. Very entertaining reading. In short, Gordon Smith was lying then or he's lying now. Either way, he is not trustworthy and, again, lacks integrity and conviction. Also, the story broken by the Guru on the Constitution Party's Mary Starrett considering a 2008 Senate challenge to Smith made top Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, though I'm quite sure Smith has heard the news by now. MyDD's Singer makes an interesting connection between the timing of Smith's possible challenge from the right and his kowtowing to conservative leadership in the form of his glowing comments about Trent Lott.

  • Kentucky: Leading conservative blog RedState attacks Mitch McConnell's lack of fiscal conservatism.

  • Virginia: State delegate Bob Marshall says an official announcement regarding a 2008 Senate primary challenge to Republican Jim Gilmore will come by the end of this week.

  • New Jersey: The Military Coalition honored Senator Frank Lautenberg for his commitment to veterans and those currently serving.

  • New Mexico: Labor is lining up behind Tom Udall for his record supporting the working families of New Mexico.

  • North Carolina: Public Policy Polling looks at the overwhelmingly similar results of the recent Daily Kos poll, compared with their most recent poll, despite different methodologies.

  • Alaska: This is pretty funny. Just a few months after the FBI raided Ted Stevens home as part of their corruption investigation, Stevens RSVPed that he would be attending the FBI's holiday party. Unfortunately, despite the RSVP, he was a no-show.

  • Republicans claim to oppose spending increases, but Republicans are also addicted to pork-barrel spending. Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe Senate Republicans are just hypocritical and dishonest when it comes to spending issues.

  • Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Reflecting on a Broken Record

  • Brian Young at Roadblock reflects on the record obstructionism by the current Senate GOP:

    And we have a record!!!!!

    Last night, the Roadblock Republicans accomplished a feat no ordinary group of obstructionists could have pulled off. No, it takes a special brand of legislator to actually break the Roadblock record in less than half the time of the previous record. Only a group with a near-pathological disregard for the actual health of our democracy, only a group with a single-minded focus on the cynical political strategies of their consultants, only a group with a imperious disdain for the people of the country could’ve pulled off such a feat.

    So, congratulations go out to the Roadblock Republicans. They have etched their names in the history books forever.

    And let’s just remember what is really being blocked:

    A new course in Iraq: BLOCKED

    A new energy future: BLOCKED

    More health care for kids: BLOCKED

    Help for people affected by the mortgage meltdown: BLOCKED

    We make fun of the Republicans, and we get snarky about the Republicans, but the cold facts are that their obstruction has real-world consequences. This stuff matters.

    But you see, that’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats right there: to Democrats, government and governing is a responsibility, something to be undertaken with care and with an appreciation of the citizens being affected. To Republicans, it’s just a meaningless, cynical game to be exploited for partisan purposes. Partisanship in service of political goals is fine … we practice that here all the time. Partisanship in service of nothing more than an ambition for power and prestige … well that’s the Roadblock Republicans.

    We’ve got to do something about this.
    Yes, we do have to do something about this. That thing to do? Get more Democratic Senators elected!

  • Wednesday Afternoon Round-Up

  • Mitch McConnell blames "the numbers" for the "rather slim" chances of Republicans winning back the Senate majority (rather than, perhaps, the quality of the candidates or the issues at hand):

    “There’s no question that if you just look at the numbers, we have a daunting task,” McConnell said at a Wednesday news conference on the eve of the year-end congressional adjournment. “I think the chances of you all calling me the majority leader a year from now are rather slim because of the number situation.”

    Out of 35 Senate seats up for reelection in 2008, 23 belong to Republicans, and Democrats either are leading or competitive in four of the five open seats in which no appointed incumbent is seeking reelection.

    McConnell said Republicans have a “good chance of staying roughly where we are” with 49 GOP senators. But even if their minority slips to 45, 46 or 47 members, he said, “Senate Republicans will be able to have an impact on public policy.”
    What if their minority slips below 45? And when McConnell says that the Senate GOP has a "good chance of staying roughly where we are," how broadly is he defining "roughly"?

  • North Carolina: Daily Kos has released its latest in a string of polls conducted by Research 2000 on 2008 Senate races. It found Elizabeth Dole still hovering below 50%, as she led State Senator Kay Hagan 46-39 and businessman Jim Neal 47-37. The poll also put Dole's favorable-unfavorable at an unintimidating 46-38, with Hagan's at 39-23 and Neal's at 34-27. As Kos notes:

    Just a seven-point deficit by Hagan, and a 10-point one for Neal, both of them keeping Dole under 50? With the low name ID of the two Democrats, what these results say is that North Carolina voters aren't sold on a second term for Dole, and are willing to give the Democrat a good look. No matter who emerges from the Democratic primary, this is going to be a real race.
  • Kentucky: It appears that state Attorney General Greg Stumbo will run to return to the state Legislature. So, while businessmen Charlie Owen and Greg Fischer continue to ponder a 2008 Senate bid, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne appears the likeliest candidate to carry the Democratic banner against Mitch McConnell. Be sure to watch Horne's three-minute introductory video if you haven't already - it's phenomenal.

  • Yesterday, I mentioned that the Mitch McConnell Republican Senate minority is now officially the most filibustering, most obstructionist Senate minority in history. The Campaign for America's Future put out a report (in PDF format) listing every single Republican filibuster, as well as every Bush veto and veto threat, chronicling this historic Republican obstructionism.

  • Wednesday Tidbits

  • Bob Corker and Norm Coleman are both being eyed as the next head of the NRSC. Jim Talent of Missouri was also eyed for the gig for this election cycle before he got knocked out by Senator Claire McCaskill. In other words, Bob Corker may be the frontrunner, as Coleman's re-election is in high jeopardy. My first instinct is that a piece of furniture would be a better Chair than either John Ensign is or Elizabeth Dole was. But the conventional wisdom was that Ensign would be far superior to Dole. Hopefully Corker (or whoever is next) will just be more of the same as we look ahead to 2010.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith is getting slammed in the media, both local and national, for his integrity-free flip-flop on Trent Lott's racist sentiments. He is "Say Anything" Senator Smith for a reason. (P.S. To KVAL-Eugene, KATU-Portland, and The Olympian, who ran the headline "Democrats accuse Smith of flip-flop on Lott" - it's not an accusation by the Democrats, as though it's a partisan attack or anything up for debate; it's a statement of fact. He flip-flopped. There's no debate. Please properly portray the situation as such.)

  • Maine: Jeezum Crow! Less than a week after the Kennebec Journal ran a pro-Susan-Collins letter to the editor written by a College Republican chapter Chair without identifying him as such, the same paper runs another pro-Susan-Collins letter to the editor written by a Republican state legislator again without identifying him as such! Are the Kennebec Journal's editors incredibly lazy or incredibly partisan?

  • Mississippi: Trent Lott officially resigned at 11:30pm last night. Expect an appointment by Republican Governor Haley Barbour in the next ten days, followed by a court battle when Barbour officially schedules the special election for Election Day 2008 but the state Attorney General argues that a special must be scheduled within 100 days of the Lott resignation.

  • Kentucky: Will state Attorney General Greg Stumbo return to the familiar confines of the state Legislature rather than run for Senate in 2008? We may know tomorrow. Meanwhile, BlueGrassRoots wonders how many "last chances" Mitch McConnell will give on Iraq.

  • New Mexico: Republican Senate candidate Steve Pearce could see us with a troop presence in Iraq for 50 years. Great.

  • Texas: Is the Lone Star State ready to go blue? A 61% GOP-performing state legislative district just elected a Democrat with over 52% of the vote. It is a promising omen for State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega.

  • Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    Tuesday Night Briefs

  • Break out the champagne! The Mitch McConnell Republican Senate minority is now officially the most filibustering, most obstructionist Senate minority in history. And the McConnell Republicans broke the record in less than one year of the two-year 110th Congress!

  • Oregon: Integrity and conviction are two qualities Gordon Smith completely lacks. To wit: at today's send-off of Trent Lott, Gordon Smith criticized the "wolfpack" that questioned Lott's racist sentiments at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party, calling Lott's comments "misconstrued." The problem? At the time, Gordon Smith was part of the "wolfpack," saying that "Senator Lott's words were offensive and I was deeply dismayed to hear of them." Smith sure didn't seem to consider Lott's comments misconstrued at the time. As Greg Sargent says, "Classic Gordon Smith -- condemns Lott when the pressure is on, but completely exonerates him when no one's paying any attention."

  • Mississippi: Speaking of Trent Lott, his spokesman says that a formal resignation will occur "either Wednesday or Thursday." Republican Gov. Haley Barbour plans to appoint a successor to serve until a special election in November 2008. However, state Attorney General Jim Hood released a statement saying that "a special election must be held within 100 days after U.S. Trent Lott makes his resignation official." It looks like we can expect a showdown in a Mississippi courtroom over the scheduling of the special election.

  • Tuesday Quick Hits

  • Alabama: Despite the fact that supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States is a key principle in the oath U.S. Senators take (heck, it's the first line!), Jeff Sessions actually mocks those that would fight to defend the Constitution. First, Sessions is an idiot. Second, Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death," not "Give me liberty, unless we have to work hard to maintain it from time to time."

  • Alaska: More sketchy, scandal-ridden earmarks courtesy of Ted Stevens.

  • Kentucky: More conservative leaders are unhappy with Mitch McConnell. Meanwhile, McConnell is caught pushing for tax breaks for another special interest that happens to be lining his campaign coffers.

  • Nebraska: Scott Kleeb on the Issues. Draft Kleeb!

  • Oregon: An Independent Party-commissioned poll sees the Independent Party candidate running in a statistical dead heat with Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, as they hold Republican Gordon Smith to under 40%.

  • MyDD's Beeton sees some of our Democratic Senate candidates voicing support for Chris Dodd's fight against retroactive telecom immunity.

  • Speaking of, count the Guru among those very much warming up to the idea of Chris Dodd being our next Senate Majority Leader.

  • Monday, December 17, 2007

    Monday Night Round-Up

  • Oklahoma: Do you remember about a year-and-a-half ago when Jim "In Denial" Inhofe declared how proud he was that there hasn't been a "homosexual relationship" in the "recorded history" of his family? Sounds a bit homophobic, no? Hold that thought for one second. In Wikipedia's entry on "latent homosexuality," it mentions:

    A theory that homophobia is a result of latent homosexuality was put forth in the late 20th century. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Georgia by Henry Adams, Lester Wright Jr., and Bethany Lohr indicates that a number of "homophobic" males exhibit latent homosexuality.
    What does one have to do with the other? Check out the graphic to the right. It is from an online fundraiser on Inhofe's website, www-dot-jiminhofe-dot-com. It's a tall shaft, atop which is a giant disco ball. And the slogan is "Power the Pole to Light the Ball." Draw your own conclusions, but maybe Inhofe has something else he's in denial about. (Another observer went the Viagra route. Which is more low-brow? Your call.)

    In more serious OK-Sen news, State Senator Andrew Rice's pollster released some new polling data. Some numbers in the release include: 58% of Oklahomans feel the nation is off on the wrong track; only 48% of Oklahomans feel Inhofe is doing an excellent or good job; meanwhile, 45% feel Inhofe is doing only a fair or poor job. The most interesting information from the release:

    As a result of this evaluation, fewer than half of Oklahomans want to re-elect Inhofe to the U.S. Senate. In a ballot matchup between Republican James Inhofe and an unnamed "Democratic candidate," Inhofe fails to break through 50%, beating the unnamed Democrat 46% to 38% - an 8% lead. When Andrew Rice’s name is substituted in for the unnamed Democrat, the ballot remains virtually unchanged with Inhofe failing to break 50% again: Inhofe scores 49% compared to Rice’s 35%. This slim 4% shift is barely outside the margin of error of the survey and occurs despite the fact that 73% of voters are currently unfamiliar with Rice. ...

    To further test openness to Rice’s candidacy we read voters a series of positive statements about Andrew Rice. After hearing these positive statements about Rice’s values, agenda and background when asked a second time about their choice for Senate, Democrat Andrew Rice jumped out to a 2% lead, beating Republican James Inhofe 43% to 41%. This indicates both that voters are potentially open to Rice and that when presented with a positive alternative to Inhofe, support for the Senator dropped significantly below 50%.
    Of course, reading positive statements about Rice would up his numbers, but it also demonstrates that, if he can effectively relay his message and his background, Rice can beat Inhofe. That the race is as close as it is with Rice currently having such low name ID shows a great deal of upside. And Rice's pollster, Benenson Strategy Group, is one of the more reputable pollsters out there (also from the release):

    The Benenson Strategy Group conducted 900 interviews statewide with likely general election voters December 8 - 12, 2007. The margin of error for overall results is ±3.27%.

    The Benenson Strategy Group’s clients include Governor Tim Kaine (VA), Senator Jim Webb (VA), and Senator Robert Menendez (NJ). Peter Brodnitz, who conducted this survey, was named "Pollster of the Year" by the American Association of Political Consultants earlier this year for his work for Kaine, Webb and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It is a bi-partisan award given to one pollster every two years.
    If you want to help Andrew Rice close in on Inhofe, combat Inhofe's disco ball fundraiser with a contribution to Rice.

  • Oregon: The story I broke this morning on 2006 Constitution Party nominee Mary Starrett not denying rumored interest in a 2008 Senate bid against Republican Gordon Smith has been picked up by numerous Oregon-based outlets: The Oregonian, Blue Oregon, PolitickerOR, Ridenbaugh Press, Forward Oregon, Witigonen, and Just Out, as well as Third Party Watch outside of Oregon. With gathering interest in a Starrett for Senate bid, perhaps she should strike while the iron is hot and announce. Just a few days ago, Ms. Starrett released a missive on her thoughts on laws regarding firearms, in which she comments:

    I would suggest voters fed up with the political duopoly that regularly works to further disarm us and now controls our government, look for another option. Polls show folks are largely dissatisfied with both “Big Box” parties and are considering the “third” option.
    Perhaps Ms. Starrett will take action and be that "third option" for Oregon voters.

    In other Oregon Senate news, a press release today by Democratic candidate Steve Novick alerts us to yet another failure by Gordon Smith on an important local issue:

    Last week, the Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, blocked consideration of an extension of federal payments to timber dependent counties – denying Oregon communities hundreds of millions of dollars in needed assistance for public safety, roads and local services. Given that Gordon Smith hosted a trip by McConnell to Oregon last June specifically to lobby him on the value of the payments, today Democratic Senate candidate Steve Novick questioned how exactly Smith and his membership in the Republican caucus benefits Oregon.
    Novick raises a good point. If Gordon Smith can't stop the leader of his own Party from blocking critical funding to Oregon, Smith is absolutely useless to Oregonians.

  • Kentucky: The DSCC gives us a two-fer today. First up is a month-by-month review of the year in follies for Mitch McConnell.

  • Colorado: The second piece from the DSCC is the latest look at Backwards Bob Schaffer's extremist positions as he "Sided Against Veterans, Homeland Security, Drug Control, Schools, [and] Cops".

  • Texas: The Texas Observer has a terrifically thorough feature on State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega.

  • MyDD's Singer takes a look at the National Republican Senatorial Committee's current doldrums. Poor NRSC; nobody wants to play with them.

  • And the Republican vultures have started circling to pick at the committee seats that will open up when Trent Lott resigns.

  • Monday Items

  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released their list of the top ten ethics scandals of 2007. On the list:

    Ted Stevens still sitting on Senate Appropriations;

    Senate Ethics Committee looking into Sen. Craig, but not Sen. Vitter
    Both are indeed highly scandalous. (HT: Think Progress) I recently commented in depth that the Senate Ethics Committee should be much busier than they seem to be.

  • Oregon: On Saturday, the Guru mentioned that he had heard rumors that the Constitution Party candidate for Governor of Oregon in 2006, Mary Starrett, is considering a 2008 Senate bid. Well, I engaged in a little investigative journalism and simply contacted Ms. Starrett. I mentioned the rumor and asked if a 2008 Senate bid was something she was considering. Her response by e-mail:

    Anything's possible...and let's face it Gordon Smith needs a spanking, don't you think?
    First off, that certainly isn't a "Nope, not considering a bid." And it certainly sounds like she's no fan of Gordon Smith. Like I mentioned on Saturday, she got 3.6% in the OR-Gov race, so her entry could cost Gordon Smith two or three percent. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, it looks like Speaker Jeff Merkley had a great event this weekend with Senator Jon Tester.

  • North Carolina: Public Policy Polling is out with their latest round of Senate polling; and, while Elizabeth Dole's approve-disapprove still languishes at a weak 46-38, she does break 50% for the first time this cycle against potential opponents, as she leads State Senator Kay Hagan 51-39 and businessman Jim Neal 52-37.

  • Virginia: Looks like Republican Jim Gilmore is getting a primary opponent after all, state delegate Bob Marshall.

  • Kentucky: Could Mitch McConnell see an opponent in the 2008 Republican Senate primary in the person of conservative Democrat Bruce Lunsford? Crazier things have happened.

  • South Carolina: Lindsey Graham's 90-day deadline until Iraq should be considered a "failed state" is up. Any comment, Lindsey?

  • Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Sunday Tidbits

  • Thank you so much! On the Expand the Map! ActBlue page, Tom Allen has reached the 10 contribution plateau and Rick Noriega has reached the 20 contribution plateau. My last ask for a while: Larry LaRocco is just one contribution away from the 25 contribution plateau. Can we get Larry LaRocco one more contribution?

  • On a personal note, it's always fulfilling to see a draft effort website auto-forward to the campaign website of the candidate they were trying to draft. What do I mean? Click on or and see where they go.

  • New Jersey: Another Garden State Republican, Ramapo College professor Murray Sabrin, is considering a 2008 Senate bid, joining businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook and state senator-elect Joe Pennacchio. It's getting awfully crowded in there.

  • Oregon: The Oregon Republican Party is having a very difficult time finding anybody to run for statewide offices. My question: does this help or hurt Gordon Smith? It could help him because, with no other viable candidates for other offices, the OR-GOP and party activists would focus singularly on his re-election bid. But it could hurt him because, with no other exciting Republican candidates revving up the base, it could deflate enthusiasm among Republicans and hurt Smith's turnout. Worse for Smith, what if some real wingnuts run unopposed for the Republican nominations for these statewide offices and spout far-right-wing Republican rhetoric, reminding moderate Oregon voters why they typically haven't elected Republicans statewide (except for Smith) in a long while.

  • North Carolina: Call me a crazy person clinging desperately to a glimmer of hope, but this exchange from Democratic Governor Mike Easley seems interesting:

    He has spent nearly 30 years in public office as a district attorney, attorney general, and now governor. Easley says he has avoided efforts from other Democrats to convince him to run for the U.S. Senate.

    “So next year when we have this interview we can talk about what I will do in the future,” he said.
    Next year he can talk about it? That wasn't a "I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not running for Senate." North Carolina's filing deadline isn't until February 29th 2008 (thank goodness for leap years). Maybe somebody should kick into gear a Draft Easley effort?

  • Texas: Want to know how low Texans regard John Cornyn? Even his alleged "supporters" don't really pay attention to the job Cornyn is doing:

    Cornyn presented his candidate paperwork for the March 4 primary at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters, alongside Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams. As he introduced Cornyn, Williams inadvertently said Cornyn "now serves us as a member of the United States Supreme Court," before correcting himself.
    Inept or apathetic? Either word could apply comfortably to Cornyn's style of governance.

  • Saturday, December 15, 2007

    Saturday Rundown

  • Our condolences to the family, friends, and constituents of Congresswoman Julia Carson.

  • We're up to 8 contributions for Congressman Tom Allen. Can we get just 2 more this afternoon?

  • Republican Senators are totally cool with torture.

  • South Carolina: In case you didn't catch it in the link above, previously anti-torture Lindsey Graham is one of those Republican Senators who is now totally cool with torture.

  • Oregon: The Guru has heard rumors (yes, just rumors for now) that the Constitution Party candidate for Governor of Oregon in 2006, Mary Starrett, is considering a 2008 Senate bid. She got 3.6% in the OR-Gov race, so her entry could cost Gordon Smith two or three percent. I'll keep my ears open for developments here.

  • Idaho: The Spokesman-Review's blog Eye on Boise catches on to Republican Jim Risch's ranting paranoia.

  • Nebraska: Businessman Tony Raimondo will decide after the holidays whether or not to enter the 2008 Senate race.

  • Georgia: Tondee's Tavern has video up from a recent forum with the Democratic Senate candidates.

  • Time Magazine put racist George Macaca Allen on their panel to determine the Time Person of the Year.

  • The budget for government paper-shredding has gone up 600% since Bush-Cheney took office. I wonder why...

  • Friday, December 14, 2007

    Friday Briefs

  • Mississippi: Disappointing news out of Mississippi as popular former state Attorney General Mike Moore has decided not to run for Senate in 2008. The Clarion-Ledger gives the rundown of possible Democratic candidates:

    Aside from Moore, early speculation for Democratic contenders for the seat centered on former Govs. Ronnie Musgrove and Ray Mabus, as well as former 2nd District U.S. Rep. Mike Espy, former Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson and state Rep. Erik Fleming, who ran against Lott in 2006.
    A consolation is that polling shows that former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is nearly as strong a candidate as Moore would have been, though Musgrove is also much further to the right.

  • Kentucky: Rumor (yes, rumor for now) has it that state Attorney General Greg Stumbo put out a poll testing him against Mitch McConnll and former GOP KY-Gov nominee Larry Forgy in a hypothetical independent bid for Senate. The numbers - McConnell 34, Stumbo 31, Forgy 27 - could be very encouraging for Forgy as he considers a bid (as either a Republican or an independent). Meanwhile, with Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne in the race to oust McConnell, expect VoteVets to devote a lot of energy and attention to the KY-Sen race. Further, Matt Gunterman explains why Horne "has the potential to fire up Kentucky Democrats."

  • Maine: The always-astute Collins Watch catches even more astroturfing on Susan Collins' behalf. Surprising as it may seem (note: thick sarcasm), the Chairman of the University of Maine at Farmington College Republicans lauds Collins in a letter to the editor. Of course, the writer never identifies himself as the Chair of a College Republicans chapter in Maine. I really wish these newspaper editors would do the slightest bit of due diligence.

  • Let's hope all Republican attacks are as smooth and mellifluous as this one:

    I made it to the "fifth day of Christmas" before my shuddering became too much. How far did you make it?

  • If George W. thinks steroids have "sullied" baseball, maybe he'd be interested in further discussing what he personally knew about steroid use in baseball while he was co-owner of the Texas Rangers.

  • Bill O'Reilly is a giant hypocrite and a mind-boggling idiot.

  • Thursday, December 13, 2007

    2008 Senate Race Filing Deadlines

    I figured it would be useful, with the start of 2008 right around the corner, to know when the filing deadlines occur for the states with Senate races in 2008. So, thanks in large part to the work of the good folks over at Swing State Project, here you go:

    01/11/08MississippiWith Trent Lott's impending resignation, but the special election date up in the air, candidates for not just Thad Cochran's seat but also Lott's seat may have to file for Election Day '08 by January 11. We'll know for sure by then which Democrats will run (or at least will formally keep such options open, as they can ostensibly withdraw from the race at any time).
    01/26/08West Virginia
    01/29/08KentuckyWill state Attorney General Greg Stumbo or businessmen Charlie Owen or Greg Fischer make it official? More intriguingly, will Larry Forgy or any other Republicans challenge Mitch McConnell to a primary?
    02/12/08New Mexico
    02/29/08North Carolina
    03/03/08NebraskaWill the Draft Scott Kleeb effort achieve their desired goal?
    03/11/08OregonWill Gordon Smith see a primary challenge from Bill Sizemore?
    03/14/08IowaWill Tom Latham or Steve King sacrifice their House seats to martyr themselves before the House-member-crushing juggernaut that is Senator Tom Harkin?
    03/21/08IdahoIs it possible that Larry Craig might want to keep his options open and file just in case?
    03/25/08South Dakota
    03/31/08South CarolinaWho will be the biggest-name South Carolina Republican to join the Senate primary against Lindsey Graham?
    04/07/08New Jersey
    04/11/08Virginia *
    05/30/08WyomingWill any Senate-appointment seekers challenge Senate-appointee John Barrasso to a primary? Will any Wyoming Democrats show up to challenge Barrasso, much less Mike Enzi?
    06/02/08AlaskaPopular Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich has plenty of time to make up his mind on a race, while Ted Stevens remains buried under the weight of his scandals and investigations.
    06/13/08New Hampshire
    06/25/08Rhode Island
    07/25/08DelawareSenator Joe Biden should have long since bailed from his Presidential campaign before this date so that he can focus on Senate re-election.

    * The Virginia Republican Party has chosen to nominate its Senate candidate via convention rather than via primary election.
    ** Minnesota Democrats will hold a statewide convention on June 6-8, 2008. Traditionally, the party endorses candidates at the convention. These endorsees become all-but-official nominees, usually rendering the primary a mere formality.

    The Guru's 600th Post

  • In honor of the Guru's 600th post in just over a year, give a few bucks to Tom Allen. That'd be swell.

  • Larry Sabato's tally of "the ten hottest Senate elections" includes only one Democratic seat, Louisiana, and nine Republican-held seats, including Alaska and Mississippi and the more obvious ones (CO, ME, MN, NH, NM, OR, VA).

  • Oklahoma: Don't forget about State Senator Andrew Rice's liveblog session at Daily Kos at 4pm Eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm Mountain, 1pm Pacific (in just over an hour).

  • Kentucky: Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne has officially entered the 2008 Senate race to oust Mitch McConnell. His campaign website is up and he has a three-minute introductory video with a message that is nothing short of spectacular:

    Simply put, while Mitch McConnell carries George Bush's water on Iraq, I carried a rifle in Iraq.
    Holy cow. Game on! Ditch Mitch KY and BlueGrassRoots offer more insights and Horne's entire press release announcement. Kudos to the folks at Draft Horne for their efforts.

  • Louisiana: A new Survey USA poll has Senator Mary Landrieu narrowly leading state Treasurer John N. Kennedy 46-42. This is not great. This is not even solid. But it is not that bad and could be much worse. Remember, Kennedy's re-election ads from little more than a month ago are still fresh in voters minds while Landrieu has not been in campaign mode in five years. That said, this should be a tight race, as it will be the only reasonable pick-up opportunity for Republicans. As such, even though the DSCC has a huge fundraising advantage over the NRSC, I actually expect the NRSC will devote relatively large sums of money (what money they have) to Louisiana in an attempt to prevent the possibility of going two consecutive cycles without a single Senate pick-up. Stay tuned.

  • Idaho: Another interesting tidbit out of the recent Idaho Senate polling data:

    3. Jim Risch is not as strong as conventional wisdom dictates and Democrat Larry LaRocco is rated as popular. Asked to rate their feelings toward some people and organizations using a scale from 0-100, voters rate Risch a “56,” compared to LaRocco who scores a “57.” Despite his years as State Senate President Pro Tempore, and five years as Lt. Governor (including six months as Governor), the supposed Republican frontrunner has no advantage.
    If voters hold LaRocco and Risch in roughly the same regard, then LaRocco's big challenge is preventing the knee-jerk vote-Republican sensibility of some Idaho voters by explaining why his positions and a Democratic Senate majority better suit their needs. Expect a tight race in Idaho.

  • Minnesota: Al Franken has some terrific rhetoric on the stump:

    "In reality, the Democratic Party is both the liberal and conservative party in this county," he said. "There is nothing conservative about this brand of the Republican party that we've seen the last few years. There is nothing conservative about running huge deficits. There is nothing conservative about voting in earmarks for such things as the $230 million bridge to nowhere. There is nothing conservative about violating the Geneva convention and torture. There is nothing conservative about suppressing science. There is nothing conservative about cronyism, such as Brownie and Katrina."
    Norm Coleman is toast.

  • Colorado: A good sign: Democrats' charge that Backwards Bob Schaffer is ducking the big issues is gaining earned media. We'll see in the coming weeks and months how this impacts polling numbers that are currently neck-and-neck.

  • New Jersey: A new Quinnipiac University poll puts Senator Frank Lautenberg's approve-disapprove at 42-33. For a New Jersey Democratic incumbent at this point in the election cycle, that's actually pretty stellar. Jersey, man.

  • Your guess is as good as mine.

  • Fans of an independent and objective media (remember that quaint idea?) won't like this latest development.

  • Republican Presidential candidates like to make stuff up.

  • This is messed up. Like, Roland Emmerich movie messed up.

  • Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Wednesday Night Items

  • We've climbed up to five contributions for Tom Allen on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. Thank you guys so much! Can we get to ten by Thursday night? C'mon! Let's do it!

  • Maine: Need more reason to contribute to Tom Allen? While Susan Collins did jack-squat as Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to investigate Halliburton's no-bid contracts and war profiteering in Iraq, Congressman Tom Allen is actually demonstrating leadership on the issue and working to establish an independent Commission on Wartime Contracting to "investigate Iraq and Afghanistan wartime contracts and the contracting processes." You know, the work that Susan Collins was supposed to do, but didn't. When we look back on this decade, I have no doubt that Susan Collins will be considered Halliburton's best friend in the U.S. Senate.

    Oh, and do you remember Susan Collins' laughable op-ed this past weekend paying lip service to energy independence? Well, her disingenuous sentiments run in stark contrast to her record, courtesy of a Maine Democratic Party press release:

    Highlights of the Collins Record

    * Allow market manipulation. Senator Collins opposed closing the Enron Loophole. In 2003, she voted against an amendment to regulate online trading of energy derivatives and impose stringent penalties for market manipulation. [S14, Vote 218, 6/11/03; Oil Daily, 6/11/03]
    * Allow price gouging. Senator Collins voted against imposing windfall profits tax on oil companies. In 2005, Collins voted against an amendment that would impose a temporary windfall profit tax on crude oil and to rebate the tax collected back to the American consumer. [S2020, Vote 331, 11/17/05]
    * Support Bush-Cheney Big Oil Giveaway. Senator Collins voted to preserve $14 billion in energy tax incentives, including breaks for Big Oil and Gas. In 2002, Collins voted against prohibiting any of the approximately $14 billion in the energy bill's tax incentives, until new tax hikes or spending cuts were enacted to offset the revenue loss that would come from that $14 billion in tax relief. [S 517, 4/25/02, #93]
    Of course, Democratic Congressman Tom Allen is an original co-sponsor of the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act who also supports The Close Enron Loophole Act and opposed the Bush-Cheney Big Oil Giveaway legislation. Seriously, contribute to Tom Allen if you can.

  • Idaho: Polling done in November found that, while Republican Jim Risch led Democrat Larry LaRocco 48-34, generic Democrat also led generic Republican 42-36. For a state that went 69% for Bush in 2004, these are pretty strong numbers. The generic numbers indicate that the Republican brand is pretty damaged in Idaho. If Larry LaRocco can do an effective job tying Jim Risch to the Republican tradition of failures, scandals, and corruption, while demonstrating to Idahoans, who have a historically libertarian (lowercase "L") bent, that he is better than his Republican opponent on civil libertarian issues (like warrantless wiretapping, telecom amnesty, etc.), we should see a neck-and-neck race. Stay tuned!

  • Colorado: Another poll shows a tight race in Colorado, with Congressman Mark Udall holding a narrow lead over Backwards Bob Schaffer. Meanwhile, the DSCC has a terrific new ad on Backwards Bob Schaffer's disappearing act when it comes to actually taking positions on important issues. Anybody interested in learning more about Schaffer's far-right positions that he's trying to hide, check out Bob Schaffer On the Issues.

  • New Mexico: Pete Domenici is the latest Republican interested in using his political campaign account as a slush fund to cover his legal bills amassed as a result of scandal. I'm sure ethically-compromised Heather Wilson will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of this latest incident.

  • Tennessee: Lamar Alexander says that if you don't speak English, you should be fired.

  • Oregon: Anybody who actually thinks that Gordon Smith is not a McConnell conservative might be curious as to why Smith is such a big fan of McConnell obstructionism. A vote for Gordon Smith is a vote for far-right, Mitch McConnell-style, obstructionist Republican leadership, plain and simple.

  • South Dakota: Senator Tim Johnson held his first news teleconference since returning to work and all accounts suggest that it went very well and covered a lot of ground. The Guru says, "Six more years!"

  • Georgia: In a new Strategic Vision poll, despite an approval of just over 50%, Spineless Saxby Chambliss continues to appear safe, leading all challengers by 30 points or more.

  • Y'know how Mitch McConnell is leading the Senate Republican minority toward the all-time record for most filibusters ever (by a HUGE margin on their current pace)? Well, it is not just governmentally reckless but also pretty hypocritical given that, just a few years ago, these same Senate Republicans wanted to take the filibuster away from the then-Democratic Senate minority.

  • George W. Bush still hates kids and prefers them sick.

  • Wednesday Rundown

  • On the path to ten contributions for Tom Allen, we currently have two. Can we get eight more this afternoon? Pretty please? Ousting Two-Faced Susan Collins would be a heck of a reward.

  • Kentucky: Lots of hits here today. First up, the Louisville Courier-Journal has received a bunch of letters from Kentuckians angry at Mitch McConnell over his disgusting comment about troop deaths in Iraq. (HT: DMKY) Phrases like "beyond the pale" and "incredibly callous" populate these letters. Also, following yesterday's piece in the Politico, CQ Politics runs a story on the incongruity of Mitch McConnell talking tough on cutting spending while campaigning for re-election in Kentucky on the taxpayer-funded largesse he has brought home in the form of pork projects. Meanwhile, McConnell makes more threats and draws more protests. Finally, the Club for Growth is slamming McConnell's support for pork projects. (Could they be in touch with Larry Forgy or other possible primary opponents for McConnell? I wouldn't doubt it.)

  • Oregon: Speaker Jeff Merkley's Senate campaign snagged another major endorsement, the Oregon AFL-CIO. It's especially notable given that a two-thirds vote of its member unions is required for any endorsement. The OR AFL-CIO represents 145,000 members.

  • Idaho: Former Congressman Larry LaRocco's Senate campaign has kicked off Veterans for LaRocco. LaRocco will also be liveblogging on Daily Kos today at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, Noon Mountain, 11am Pacific (in other words, in half an hour!).

  • Oklahoma: Speaking of Daily Kos liveblogs, State Senator Andrew Rice, campaigning to depose the vile Jim Inhofe, will hold a liveblog session on Daily Kos tomorrow at 4pm Eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm Mountain, 1pm Pacific. Oklahoma has been wracked by terrible ice storms recently, which the Rice campaign has blogged about. I'm sure I speak for all readers when I wish all Oklahomans well as they recover from the recent storms.

  • New Jersey: Politics1 reports:

    State Republican leaders have been disappointed with the lack of a strong candidate to challenge aging Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) next year. State Assemblyman Joe Pennachio and wealthy developer Anne Estabrook are both considered weak candidates. Now comes word that the NRSC is interested in enticing State Assemblyman Kevin O'Toole (R) into the race. O'Toole -- despite the name -- is a Korean-American who currently represents an urban district and has run well with Democrats and Independent voters in the past. He is also Chair of the powerful Essex County Republican organization. The Korean-American community is seen as a strong potential fund-raising base, as money woes are a big GOP concern for 2008. O'Toole has reportedly agreed to meet with NRSC officials to discuss the race.
    Over the last several years, New Jersey has just been a big tease to Republicans. Keep it up!

  • Alaska: Roll Call looks at Alaska political dynamics, noting that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich is still "seriously considering a bid," and that State Senator Hollis French could be a solid Senate candidate if Begich declines a 2008 Senate bid. Names mentioned for the Republicans if Ted Stevens doesn't run "include Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Binkley, and 1996 Senate candidate and real estate developer David Cuddy."

  • Michigan: The Associated Press reports that "Businessman Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk said they are leaning toward entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate next year." Senator Carl Levin demolished Raczkowski in 2002 by a 61-38 margin. (HT: Michigan Liberal)

  • Kit Bond is an idiot.

  • There is a political victory to be had by Democrats regarding yesterday's special House elections in Ohio and Virginia in that the Dems forced the already-heavily-in-the-red NRCC to blow over half-a-million bucks to defend heavily-Bush-voting seats that should have been easy victories.

  • Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Tuesday Tidbits

  • Yesterday, I hoped that ten readers of the blog would contribute to Tom Allen's campaign to oust Susan Collins via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. Unfortunately, zero readers were able to contribute yesterday, making for a sad Guru. C'mon, even after all the holiday shopping you have ten bucks left over to help Tom Allen beat the dishonest, hypocritical Susan Collins, right? Please chip in if you can!

  • RealClearPolitics has their latest list of the ten most competitive Senate races. They've removed South Dakota from their top ten, leaving Louisiana as the sole Democratic-held seat. The other nine are all GOP-held, including Mississippi making its first appearance, in the ten-spot.

  • Mississippi: Speaking of Mississippi, there may be ethical issues that could cripple Republican Roger Wicker's chances at the Senate. Apparently, Wicker and aerospace company Aurora Flight Sciences have a questionably cozy relationship. In 2006, Aurora was Wicker's top campaign contributor; and, then in 2007, Wicker secures a juicy little earmark for Aurora. The relationship is furthered by the fact that Wicker's former Chief of Staff works for the lobbying outfit that lobbies for, you guessed it, Aurora. With Trent Lott and Chip Pickering expected to bolt to K Street, and with Republican corruption stories again flowing like water, this story has the potential to blow up should Wicker get appointed to the Senate or run for the seat opened up by Lott's resignation. Stay tuned! (HT: Cotton Mouth)

  • Virginia: Even with Republican Jim Gilmore tanking in the polls, George Macaca Allen re-iterated that he is "definitely not interested" in joining the 2008 Senate race. (Of course not - Mark Warner would embarrass him.)

  • Kentucky: The Politico profiles Mitch McConnell's spending tug-of-war. On one side are the Bush administration and hard-line conservatives looking to slash domestic spending where ever possible; and, on the other side is McConnell's own desire to bring home piles of pork as he ramps up his re-election bid, pork that Robert Novak thinks may be necessary for McConnell's "political survival." Also in Kentucky news, Jim Bunning says he's going to run again in 2010. With Ben Chandler on deck for the Democrats, I hope so! Bunning barely squeaked by now-Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo 51-49 in 2004 (even with George W. Bush beating John Kerry 60-40 in Kentucky), and Chandler may be the most popular Democrat in the state.

  • Nebraska: Meet Scott Kleeb.

  • Maine: Local media is charging that Susan Collins is "selling out Maine workers" when she voted for the free trade deal with Peru. Turn Maine Blue reminds us that Tom Allen opposed the deal. Just another reason to contribute to Tom Allen.

  • Monday, December 10, 2007

    Monday Briefs

  • Maine: My Sunday column at MyDD focused on Susan Collins' record of lies, hypocrisy and allegiance to the far-right wing of the GOP. The column isn't half-bad, if I say so myself. By the end of writing the column, I was so disgusted with Collins' record that, even though it's a relatively high-profile race, I had to add Tom Allen to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page even though his race is already firmly on the map. Read the column and contribute to Tom Allen so we can oust Susan Collins! It would be awesome to get 10 contributions to Allen today, any amount, just give a little if you can.

  • Alaska: A new Research 2000 poll commissioned by Daily Kos finds that Ted Stevens is in deep trouble if/when Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich enters the 2008 Senate race. Begich leads Stevens 47-41. And that's before Begich even enters the race! Further, Stevens' favorable-unfavorable stands at 39-58 while Begich's stands at 48-19. Lookin' good! (It's almost good enough to hope that Stevens doesn't get indicted!)

  • Kentucky: We should expect an announcement from Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horne about a 2008 Senate challenge to Mitch McConnell within two weeks. Meanwhile, anybody accepting that state Attorney General Greg Stumbo had ruled out a Senate challenge is mistaken, for now.

  • Tennessee: While attorney Kevin Doherty mulls over a possible 2008 Senate challenge to Lamar Alexander, businessman Andrew Byrd's name is popping up as a possible challenger.

  • Alabama: State Senator Vivian Davis Figures' full Senate campaign website is up and running. (HT: Left in Alabama)

  • South Carolina: If political reconciliation in Iraq doesn't occur by Christmas, boy, Lindsey Graham sure will have egg on his face!

  • I'm not saying that White House Press Secretary Dana Perino is dumb as bricks, but she doesn't know the difference between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs "thing." Sound clip here.