SC-04: Stephen Colbert endorses Inglis (R) in runoff!

(originally posted on DailyKos)

In a move that may shock some here, but not me, Stephen Colbert really went out of his way last night to ask the Republican primary voters in SC-04 to vote for Bob Inglis in their primary runoff next Tuesday.

So why did Stephen do this?  Watch the video.  I think Stephen, while casting it with humor and jokes, is deadly serious about wanting Inglis to win.  Why?

SC-04 is a district where Obama only got 38% of the vote.  It’s that conservative, where a Democrat doesn’t have a shot.  I mean, it’s freaking Jim DeMint’s old seat!!  So, better to have a sane conservative than an insane one in office.  Conservatives deserve representation too.  That representation should come in the form of people like Inglis, rather than hate-mongers like Steve King (R-IA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and James Inhofe (R-OK), if people are actually interested in good government.

And it’s really a damning indictment of what the GOP in South Carolina stands for when they’re trying to kick him out of office because he dared to oppose the surge in Iraq in 2007, and actually dared to speak out against offshore oil drilling (yeah, he was doing that BEFORE the BP disaster) and warrantless surveillance, before voting for the bailout in 2008.

Then last year, he really pissed the base off by voting to censure Joe “You Lie” Wilson, and by calling out Glenn Beck as a fear-monger at one of those angry townhalls.  And after the Mark Sanford scandal hit the news, he said this:

But with his governor now felled by similar temptations, Inglis sees an opening for the Republican Party, a chance to “lose the stinking rot of self-righteousness” and “to understand we are all in need of some grace.”

This is not “Bob Inglis 1.0,” the one that was a “self-righteous” expletive, he said in an interview with Washington Wire today. It is a Bob Inglis that is, if anything, more Christian, more attuned to the Gospels, he said.

His last conversation with Gov. Mark Sanford was about the hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus money that the uncompromising governor was trying to refuse for his impoverished state. Inglis had voted against President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill, ardently, he said.

But he said he told the governor, now that it was approved, “for goodness sake, take the money.” It might just help.

Indeed, Sanford’s political fall could be a saving grace for what remains of his governorship, Inglis suggested. “This may be an opportunity to extend a little grace to other people, to realize that maybe it’s not 100% this way or that way,” Inglis said.

My God, sanity from a Republican!  His problem with the modern day GOP is that while he’s very conservative, he doesn’t go out of his way to be a vicious, hateful person.  He’s telling these angry fringe people to calm down, and that only makes them angrier.

There’s something to be said for us perhaps rooting for the most far-right Republican to win their primary because they’d be viewed as too far right in a general election.  (See: Angle, Sharron, and Paul, Rand.)  But in a district like SC-04, there’s basically no such thing, so in these situations, you want the sane conservative in office, rather than a nutjob to actually gain that power.  I think Stephen recognizes that scenario playing out, and knows that Inglis, while he’ll probably almost never vote with the Democrats, will at least be someone we can respect.  (But yes, I’m sure someone can dredge up some stuff he’s said in the past that aren’t that nice.)

And Inglis winning his runoff next week would be a great slap in the face of the Tea Party, that their bile and message of hatred will not even work in South Carolina.

California Republicans in Orange and San Diego counties rejected Joe Arpaio’s anti-immigrant sheriff’s candidates last week.  Let’s hope South Carolina Republicans can show a similar message against hate next week.

IN-05: Oh crap, Dem nominee is a teabagger

OK, who goofed?  Dave Weigel reports that Tim Crawford, the guy who won the Democratic primary earlier this month in IN-05, is a certifiable teabagger who seems to hate everything about Democrats and Obama.

Just look at what he’s written on his Facebook page.

So… anti-health care reform, thinks we’re all socialists, and a Tenther to boot!

How’d Indiana Democrats let this happen?  Nonpartisan had me convinced Nasser Hanna, an actual Democrat, would be the Democratic nominee.  Instead… we got Crawford, who handily won the primary, 61%-39%.


ND-Sen: Hoeven (R) in, Ed Schultz (D) being asked

Breaking news from Politico, it looks like North Dakota Governor John Hoeven (R) WILL run for the Senate to replace Dorgan.

So does this mean SSP changes it to “Likely R”?

FYI, with a nationwide economy where every state seems to be in the red, Hoeven’s popularity is sky high in part because North Dakota is like one of only two states where they actually somehow have a budget surplus.

And now we’re getting reports that MSNBC host Ed Schultz has been called up by the ND Dems leader Merle Boucher about possibly running for the Senate seat.  As it’s so new, Schultz hasn’t categorically said no.  More discussion on this at DailyKos and Huffington Post.

SC-02: Wilson raises $2.7 MILLION in Q3??

Joe Wilson’s campaign is reporting he raised $2.7 million in the 3rd quarter from 50,000 contributions.  The FEC website doesn’t have his Q3 report up yet, though.

And after all the buzz online, Rob Miller’s ActBlue page is not even at $1 million (though he obviously raised more than that from non-ActBlue places).

WTF, people?  I’m thinking it’d be really bad form to lie about how much money you raised, so I’ll assume Wilson really did raise $2.7 million in Q3.  Does this mean just about every teabagger donated to him?  Are we underestimating this movement to our peril?

FL-Sen: Crist picks George LeMieux

(h/t Jimdotz)

Charlie Crist has picked George LeMieux to replace Mel Martinez in the Senate.

Gov. Charlie Crist chose trust and loyalty Friday over Washington experience or potential political gain in choosing former chief of staff George LeMieux to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, who was considered for the position, said Crist told her he is choosing LeMieux. LeMieux is Crist’s closest political adviser and the governor’s pick shows he wants someone who thinks like him to hold the Senate seat Crist hopes to win in the November 2010 election.

As LeMieux said after interviewing for the position: “I’m a Charlie Crist Republican.”

LeMieux served as deputy attorney general under Crist and left that job to run Crist’s 2006 campaign for governor. Once elected, Crist picked LeMieux to serve as chief of staff. LeMieux left the position in December 2007 and has since worked for the Tallahassee law firm Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart.

So, looks like a placeholder.

Posey’s birther bill gets four more co-sponsors

Oh boy, the wingnut is strong in these folks.  Dave Weigel reports that Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), (in)famous for his birther bill requiring documentation that a candidate for President was born in the U.S., has picked up four more co-sponsors, all Republicans (of course).  They are:

John R. Carter (TX-31)

John Culberson (TX-07)

Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

John Campbell (CA-48)

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) had already signed on last month.  More after the fold….

Posey says those Congressmen came to him to co-sponsor the bill, that it wasn’t him begging them to do so.  And then he launched into an invective against Rachel Maddow.

You may recall that [Stephen] Colbert used the “F” word to describe on national TV a relationship my grandmother, bless her heart, deceased grandmother, must have had with an alligator to come up with the likes of me. [Keith] Olbermann named me the Worst Person in the World and angry woman Rachel Maddow has just trashed me on every show, and asked me to come on her show. You know, I won’t do it cause she’s got a lousy, low rated show, and I don’t want to give her the ratings, quite frankly. I’d love to go on and debate her and set the record straight.

Just so y’all remember, here‘s what Colbert had to say about Bill Posey.

And when Posey got upset at Colbert for doing so, he just brought upon more pain to himself with Colbert’s response.

Now, most of these people sit in VERY Republican districts where you probably have a significant chunk of the population that actually believe Obama was not really born here.  Per SSP’s presidential vote by CD, a whopping 72% of Neugebauer’s district voted for McCain, making it the 9th MOST Republican district in the country, in terms of the vote share Obama got.  So forget about defeating Neugebauer at the polls with his co-sponsorship, he might gain support from his constituents for doing this.  Sad, but true.

And Goodlatte (57%), Carter (58%), and Culberson (58%) also come from districts McCain easily won by double digits.  But Bill Posey himself may be in for a world of hurt, and should be.  McCain only beat Obama 51%-48% in Posey’s own FL-15 district.  Posey himself won 53%-42% over underfunded Democrat Dr. Stephen Blythe, outspending him by over an 8:1 margin.  With 48% of the district voting for Obama, I’m sure we could get enough of them upset at Posey for pulling this kind of shit to get them to the polls.  (Anyone know if Blythe wants to run again, or if there’s another Democrat waiting in the wings?)

What’s more, out here in California, Obama narrowly won Campbell’s district, 49.47% to 48.72%.  (Campbell himself easily won against Democrat Steve Young the last three elections.)  Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom has announced she’s running against Campbell, as Young is moving over to try his hand at winning the state assembly seat.

Ridicule is well deserved for these Republicans, for now.  But if we want to send a message, the best way would be kicking the vulnerable ones out of Congress at the ballot box in 2010.  Wanna repudiate the birthers?  Send Posey and Campbell packing next year.

NM-Gov: The return of Wilson?

So I went with some friends to the taping of Real Time with Bill Maher tonight.  The panelists were former Bush UN ambassador John Bolton, former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), and CSI: NY actor Hill Harper.  Before the show began, one of Bill’s writers came out to prep the audience, and when explaining who the guests were, said that Wilson was running for Governor of New Mexico.

This was a surprise to me, as I had no idea that she was interested in running.  And maybe the writer was simply confused.  But it seemed maybe to be a piece of inside information that he didn’t realize was not public yet, and maybe had heard backstage when they meet the guests for the evening.

So take it for what it’s worth.  He may have been completely wrong, or not.  We’ll soon find out.

TX-Sen, TX-Gov: Hutchison announces…

Just saw this quick story on MSNBC, that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) has announced she’s forming an exploratory committee to run for Governor of Texas!  So she’ll be challenging Rick Perry for the Republican nomination.  Hmm… who will Texas Republicans support there?  And also, if she gives up her Senate seat……………..

CA-04: Charlie Brown (D) concedes to McClintock (R)

From AmericanRiverCanyon at DailyKos, Charlie Brown (D) has officially conceded to carpetbagger Tom McClintock (R) in this race.  Sigh.

“We’ve come up less than one half of one percent —  just under 1800 votes — short of victory.  So  a short time ago, I called Senator Tom McClintock to congratualate him on a hard fought victory, and to wish him well in Congress.”

Election Eve: The 2008 Senate races

This is it.  It’s time for my final look at all the 2008 Senate races.  There are 35 seats up for election because of a scenario in Wyoming and Mississippi where both seats are up, due to the passing of Craig Thomas and the resignation of Trent Lott, respectively.  Obviously, quite a few of the races are considered “safe” for the incumbent.  So what are the competitive races?

Again, just to be clear, I don’t do predictions.  Every time I do, horrible things happen.  So I won’t even make an actual prediction on the Virginia Senate race, because doing so would effectively jinx Mark Warner.  And with the election tomorrow, tiers no longer matter, so I’ll simply rank the competitive races where party control of the seat may switch.  All others are deemed safe seats, which now include all of the Tier II and III seats from last time.

See my previous mid-October diary to see what things have changed since my last update.  Previous rankings are in parentheses.

Tier I

1. Virginia (1): Former popular Governor Mark Warner (D) is still cruising.  Former unpopular former Governor Jim Gilmore (R) hasn’t even gotten above 35% in any poll taken since early September, and Warner cannot get below 55%.  Only God or the Devil can stop this one now, but still, no official predictions from me.

2. New Mexico (2): Rep. Tom Udall (D) is running against Rep. Steve Pearce (R).  Since October, Udall’s re-opened his massive lead after getting hit by attacks from conservative independent groups.  Pearce has not gotten above 42% since early September, while Udall has been consistently over the 50% mark at the same time.  The NRSC has basically conceded defeat in this race.

3. Colorado (3): Rep. Mark Udall (D) is Mo Udall’s son, and Tom Udall’s cousin.  He’s facing off against former Congressman Bob Schaffer (R).  All the late October polling shows Udall ahead by double digits.  The NRSC finally pulled out of Colorado last week after doing a head fake.

4. New Hampshire (4): Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D), who John Sununu (R) beat in 2002, is back for a rematch.  She has led Sununu in almost every single poll taken in 2008, and without some illegal phone-jamming on Election Day to help Sununu out this time around, Shaheen looks to be in good shape.  Though Sununu still has a significant cash on hand advantage, it hasn’t helped him.

5. Alaska (8): Conviction!  84-year-old Ted Stevens (R) was convicted on all 7 felony counts for not disclosing the gifts (over $250,000 worth) he got from oil company Veco Corp. last Monday.  Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D), who had been in a very close race with Stevens, has now opened up a decent lead in the polls, turning what seemed to be a nailbiter into a more comfortable lead.  Something about voting for a convicted felon, I guess.  Still, Rasmussen’s poll has it as a single-digit race, so don’t count out Alaska’s unique brand of crazy just yet.

6. North Carolina (5): The polls have shown a complete reversal of fortune starting in August.  Kay Hagan (D) has been climbing steadily in the polls, while incumbent Elizabeth Dole (R) has been steadily falling.  So what do you do if you’re Dole?  Run an incredibly horrible attack ad calling your opponent, a Sunday school teacher, “godless”.  That’s the sign of a desperate and losing campaign, as four different polls taken in late October now show Hagan at or above the 50% mark.

7. Oregon (6): Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D) is challenging incumbent Gordon Smith (R), and has been steadily gaining ground in the polls over the past month.  Every non-partisan poll taken in late October showed Merkley with some kind of lead.  Still, none of them showed him at 50% or above, so this one’s not a done deal yet.

8. Minnesota (7): Norm Coleman (R) won this seat in 2002 only after Paul Wellstone (D) died just a few weeks before the election.  Comedian Al Franken got the DFL (basically the Democratic Party for Minnesota) nod.  The recent polling now shows a pure tossup, with some polls showing Franken in teh lead, and some polls showing Coleman leading.  But late-breaking news has a new lawsuit filed against Coleman alledging $75,000 being funneled to Coleman’s wife from a big GOP donor.

9. Georgia (9): Former state representative Jim Martin (D) is going up against Saxby Chambliss (R), who ousted Vietnam veteran and triple amputee Max Cleland (D) in 2002 by running a despicable ad blending the images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein into Cleland’s face, earning him the nickname “Shameless Saxby”.  Starting with the economic collapse, poll after poll showed a completely different race, with Martin only behind by a statistically insignificant margin.  However, they all still show Martin trailing.  Now, Georgia has a rule that the winner must get over 50% of the vote, and the Libertarian candidate may take enough away that nobody can get 50%, in which case it will go to a runoff in December.

10. Kentucky (10): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is now a top target of the Democrats.  Wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford (D) can afford to self-fund, and he’ll need to, with McConnell’s HUGE warchest of over $9 million.  In just the last month, the polls suddenly showed Lunsford gaining significant ground on McConnell, but the latest two polls show McConnell gaining ground again, getting over the 50% mark.

11. Mississippi-B (11): Roger Wicker (R), appointed by governor Haley Barbour (R) on New Year’s Eve after Trent Lott (R) resigned to become a lobbyist, was previously the Congressman from MS-01.  Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) has kept it close in the polls until recently.  As with Kentucky, the latest two polls now show Wicker above 50%.

Democratic safe seats

Arkansas (Mark Pryor)

Delaware (Joe Biden)

Illinois (Dick Durbin)

Iowa (Tom Harkin)

Louisiana (Mary Landrieu)

Massachusetts (John Kerry)

Michigan (Carl Levin)

Montana (Max Baucus)

New Jersey (Frank Lautenberg)

Rhode Island (Jack Reed)

South Dakota (Tim Johnson)

West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller)

Republican safe seats

Alabama (Jeff Sessions)

Idaho (Jim Risch)

Kansas (Pat Roberts)

Maine (Susan Collins)

Mississippi (Thad Cochran)

Nebraska (Mike Johanns)

Oklahoma (James Inhofe)

South Carolina (Lindsey Graham)

Tennessee (Lamar Alexander)

Texas (John Cornyn)

Wyoming (Michael Enzi)

Wyoming (John Barrasso)

So there you have it, my final rankings for the 2008 Senate races, as they stand with less than 24 hours to go.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.