GA-SEN: Martin Campaign Predicting “Close Victory”

Given the polls, the idea of Jim Martin may be crazy. It may be crazier to report a post predicting it. But, according the the progressive blog Tondee’s Tavern, Martin’s folks are feeling good right now.

Just heard from a top Martin campaign aide that they are expecting a “close” victory for Jim.

The blogger did not give any specific reasons for such a prediction and it all just be for morale. Either way, I thought I would post it and let everyone decide for themselves.

OH-15: Appeals Court Thows Out District Ruling

Folks, we are nowhere near finishing counting the votes in the OH-15 race. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the always nasty 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a lower court ruling that the 1,000 provisional ballots in Franklin County should be counted.

An appeals court ruled today that a federal judge erred in determining that Franklin County’s controversial provisional ballots can be counted.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the issue involves state law — not federal — and sent the case back to the Ohio Supreme Court, where it started. The unanimous ruling was made by Judges Jeffrey S. Sutton, Cornelia G. Kennedy and David W. McKeague.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she would not appeal, but urged justices to “quickly affirm their previous clear guidance ‘to liberally construe election laws in favor of the right to vote,’ so as not to disenfranchise approximately 1,000 Ohio voters with a hypertechnical interpretation of Ohio law.”

The decision puts a continued hold on two races that are still too close to call: the 15th Congressional District, where Republican Steve Stivers leads Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, and the 19th Ohio House District, where Democrat Marian Harris has a 40-vote lead over Republican Brad Lewis.

Stivers’ lead grew to 594 votes today after Madison County finalized its vote count.

The outcome of the congressional race, though, will remain in limbo until legal challenges decide if Franklin County’s 27,000 provisional votes can be counted. It is not known how many of those votes are in the 15th district; roughly 40 percent of the county lies within the district.

The State Supreme Court is giving interested parties until 4pm on Monday to file their arguments. I still think Kilroy is going to win, but I have the following questions.

1. How many of the remaining 27,000 Franklin County ballots are in the district?

2. How many ballots are absentee and how many are provisionals? I hear each term used in different articles.

3. If they are all provisionals, what percentage are likely to get counted?

4. Assuming for a moment that the 1,000 are not counted, what are the odds that Kilroy will overcome the nearly 600 vote lead that Stivers currently has?

It sure is getting messy down there. I hope we have a winner by January!

IA-SEN: Grassley to Get a Serious Challenger?

The progressive blog Down With Tyanny! is quoting a Congress Daily rundown of the 2010 senate races that suggests that Chuck Grassley’s free rides may be about to end.

The success of Iowa Democrats in the last two election cycles has fueled talk that the party can finally take a serious run at Sen. Charles Grassley, who will be running for a sixth term in 2010. Democrats took over both houses of the state Legislature and picked up two House seats in 2006, and President-elect Obama won the state with 54 percent of the vote this year after it narrowly went for President Bush in 2004. Democrats have held the governor’s mansion since 1999, and Gov. Chet Culver will be at the top of the ticket in 2010.

A source at the Iowa Democratic Party said she would be “very surprised if there’s not a high-profile challenger” to Grassley but acknowledged challenging the popular Grassley would be “daunting” to many candidates because of his high approval ratings. “Some folks do feel he’s unbeatable,” she said. Grassley has never faced a serious challenge for his seat, and in 2004 was re-elected with 70 percent, his highest total. Potential challengers include former two-term Gov. Tom Vilsack, Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson and Rep. Bruce Braley. The Democratic source said she expects the field to take shape next year, and said some might be waiting on Vilsack, who has been mentioned as a possible Agriculture secretary for Obama. [That rumor ended yesterday.]

I have to admit that I never really held anything against Grassley, who has always reminded me of the more sensible old-school Republicans that I grew up with. I never figured he was vulnerable either. But when is the last time he had a top-tier challenger? Wil he run again? Is he so tough? Has he been mostly getting a free ride based on his good name? Has Iowa changed that much? It will be interesting to find out.

TX: Bill White Gearing Up for Statewide Run?

It’s been discussed many time here and elsewhere that Houston mayor Bill White has his sight set on higher office. And according to the Austin American-Statesman, we should know his plans fairly soon.

Houston Mayor Bill White, whose last term runs through December 2009, intends to address his post-mayoral political goals within the next few weeks, an aide said today.

“He’s going to make a decision in the near future,” said Michael Moore, White’s chief of staff. “It will be based on where he could do the most for Texas with his experience and abilities.”

I touched bases with Moore while preparing a column running in Thursday’s newspaper on jockeying among Texans who might want to succeed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, if she resigns in advance of running for governor in 2010.

Moore said White, who wasn’t immediately available, is talking to people around Texas by telephone, sounding out his prospects. Most observers expect White to make a try for the Senate or for governor.

My hunch is that White will whatever Hutchison does not. Rumors have circulated for a long time that she could resign her seat as soon as 2009 to make the run for governor, even though nothing legally compels her to do so. Some of you might recall that she won the seat in a special election in 1993 shortly after Lloyd Bentsen resign to lead the Treasury Department under Bill Clinton. I still don’t know what Anne Richards was thinking when she appointed Bob Krueger who was a horrible candidate.

If the above speculation pans out, I would admonish those who want to push for another “grassroots” candidate to understand that running statewide in Texas requires near presidential-level fund raising and someone like White, while not ideal, is the candidate for the run. He earned high marks for during the string of hurricanes that has plagued the Gulf Coast and his leadership would be valuable in Austin or in Washington.

AK-SEN: Stevens’ Pollster Predicts Defeat

You know you are headed for defeat when your own pollster predicts that you will end up losing when all of the votes are counted.

“I don’t think Stevens can come back,” Dittman said, noting that he thinks the remaining trove of uncounted ballots will help Begich “increase his lead.”…

Dittman believes early and absentee ballots, which compromise the approximately 40,000 votes left to count, will likely reflect Begichs’ overall advantage so far among those who took advantage of either process. Heavy early voting occurred in the period that directly followed Stevens’ conviction on seven felony counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.

This is good news, indeed. On a personal note, I will be travelling back to Michigan tomrorrow and my elderly parents do not even have a computer, let alone access to the internet. I was wondering if some kind soul would be willing to send me text messages to my mobile phone to keep me up to date? If I don’t have vote counting information, I’ll go insane. Feel free to send me an email and I will give you the number. Any assistance will be much appreciated. Thanks.

IL-05: Forrest Claypool Mentioned as Possible Successor

It sure did not take long for names to pop up as successor to Rahm Emanuel. According to the Politico is mentioned as possibly running for the seat.

One potential name stands out: Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, a well-known, reform-minded Chicagoland politician who has been a longtime ally of Emanuel’s. He is a former consulting partner with Obama’s political adviser, David Axelrod, and is close with Obama as well.

Claypool’s name has also been mentioned as a possible appointee to fill Obama’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat but he has publicly ruled out that possibility.

I do not know much about him, so I went to Wikipedia and read this about him.

Capitalizing on his record as a reformer, Claypool made a run for the Cook County Board in 2002. Waging a fierce campaign in which he attacked what he saw as patronage and a bloated bureaucracy in the county government, Claypool went on to upset incumbent Commissioner Ted Lechowicz 51-49% in the March 19 Democratic primary. (Lechowicz was a strong supporter of Cook County Board President John Stroger, Jr.) Because Claypool’s district (the 12th) is overwhelmingly Democratic, he faced only nominal opposition in the general election.

Claypool quickly allied hiself with fellow freshmen Commissioners Larry Suffredin (D) and Tony Peraica (R). The three were joined by sophomore Commissioner Mike Quigley (D). When, in December 2003, the four reformers garnered enough swing votes to defeat Stroger’s FY 2004 budget (the first time such a thing had happened to a Cook County Board President in three decades), Stroger gave Claypool a backhanded compliment, saying, “The media has prevailed, along with Mr. Claypool.” This quote ran under the banner headline, “Hell Freezes Over: Cook County Board rejects Stroger’s budget” in the Chicago Sun-Times. The following year (FY 2005), the County Board rejected Stroger’s plan tax increases again. The Chicago Tribune has credited Claypool and his allies for “bringing democracy” to and starting a “revolution” on the Board.

Anyone know anything about him?

WA-08: Burner Leads in SUSA Poll

I’m too excited to type anything. Here it is!

I just saw that King 5 TV reported a new Survey USA poll, Darcy is up 50-46 over Reichert.  The ad which pointed out that he’s ineffective really knocked him down, the first time his reputation has been damaged in any serious way.  Reichert’s even set up a site, http://www.davereichertdeliver… to rebut the claims.

He has $725k of TV on the air right now just this week, in all likelihood thanks to an illegal corporate contribution from Republican media buying firm Media Plus.


MN-06: NRCC Pulls the Plug on Bachmann

I guess Michelle Bachmann’s mouth was more destructive that I thought. The Huffington Post] is reporting that the NRCC is pulling its ads on her behalf.

Five days after Rep. Michele Bachmann went on a McCarthy-esque rant suggesting Barack Obama was unpatriotic and urging the major newspapers of the country to investigate anti-American sentiment in Congress, the national Republican political parties are running for cover.

Two sources aware of ad buys in Minnesota say that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling its media purchases from Bachmann’s race. If true, it is a remarkable fall for a congresswoman who, until recently, seemed relatively safe in her predominantly conservative district. The race had become closer in recent days — the NRCC had transferred funds from Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) to Bachmann a little over a week ago.

Have a great early retirement, Michelle!

Fineman: Obama Will NOT Send Money Downballot

I am watching Keith Olbermann here on the West Coast and he reported that the Obama campaign will NOT send money downballot. The feel good about where the campaign is going but they don’t want to take chances and plan to bear down on the next two weeks into the finish line. Personally I think this is a good idea. The Congressional committees are flush with cash and the DNC may soon spend on the state legislative races. Don’t worry guys, there is enough money to go around.

AK-SEN: Stevens “I Was Not Aware of Some Rennovations”

Ted Stevens is either lying or too senile to serve in the US Senate. Either way, he testified today that key house rennovations were done without his knowledge (Roll Call).

Stevens testified that a steel staircase, a first-floor deck and a steel balcony were installed without his knowledge. After he saw them, he said, he asked Allen for bills. Allen has testified that he believed Stevens was just “covering his ass” with those requests, but Stevens said today that was untrue.

Allen had testified earlier about a conversation he claimed he and Stevens had in Arizona at a “boot camp” they attended together, saying the conversation revolved around legal fees in another corruption case. “That’s just an absolute lie,” Stevens said Friday.

When Stevens’ attorney asked whether he had told Allen – as Allen had testified – that he knew Allen was not telling him about all of the expenses on the renovations, Stevens replied, “That’s another falsehood.”

In three hours of testimony, Stevens reiterated his wife’s testimony yesterday that they were unhappy with much of the work at the house.

One can make the case that Uncle Ted was in Washington when this part of the work was done. However, according to testimony, his wife was overseeing the project, she could have told him what happened, unless he wants to say that she is a total moron (is that what you’re saying, Ted?). Either way, he does not deserve to remain in office.