Manzullo to have challenger in IL-16

Don Manzullo has been around a long time representing Northwest Illinois. Unfortunately his recent challengers have with not been legitimate candidates or have been severely under funded. Manzullo ran on a term limits pledge that he broke long ago. Recently Rockford Register Star political editor Chuck Sweeny interviewed one of the most promising potential candidates that Democrats have run in years.

Manzullo rival fears the demise of manufacturing

U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo was elected in 1992 and has never faced a serious challenge to re-election. Until now: The 2008 campaign is shaping up to be a barn-burner.

This time, Democrats say they have a candidate who can beat the popular Egan Republican. He’s Robert G. “Bob” Abboud, a McHenry County Democrat.

Unlike Manzullo, Abboud isn’t a lawyer. He’s a nuclear scientist and engineer who holds five patents. He’s president of RGA Labs Inc., an engineering, research and development firm. In his spare time, Abboud, 50, is village president of Barrington Hills, an enclave of business titans.

Abboud also has plenty of money. And he said he understands that defeating Manzullo will mean having to raise $2 million. So, why does a successful businessman in the prime of life want to run for Congress?

Read the whole article here

NRSC Recruitment Update

(From the diaries. – promoted by James L.)

[Cross-posted at my blog Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

A little over two months ago, I took a look at the state of NRSC recruiting in the one open seat (Colorado) and the twelve states with Democratic incumbents, concluding, up to that point in time, that the NRSC was 0-for-13 in recruiting so far.  Keep in mind that we’re approaching the dog days of summer, not a heavy recruitment period.  (Note that during June-August of 2005, only five Senate candidates announced, all five of whom were Republican losers.)  So where does the state of NRSC recruitment stand, and what has changed in the last two months?

(Much more below the fold.)

Colorado: New CO-GOP chief Dick Wadhams muscled the more moderate Scott McInnis out to make room for his good pal conservative “Backwards” Bob Schaffer, who will, barring any unforeseen events, be the Republican nominee for Senate.  Schaffer then proceeded to have a stammering start to his campaign, embarrassing himself right from the start, before hiring a bunch of electoral losers to staff his campaign.  Never mind that Democratic Congressman Mark Udall has a significant advantage in fundraising and a big head start in reaching out to voters.  I suppose we could credit the GOP with an accomplishment for finding a living, breathing human being who has held office before and ostensibly has a base of support to run.  But, with Colorado’s trending blue over the last few years, muscling out the more moderate choice for the more conservative one might not have been the best play.

Arkansas: Since Republican former Governor and current Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, arguably the only Republican to give Senator Mark Pryor a real challenge, ruled out a Senate bid, it also came out that Pryor saw better Q1 fundraising for his Senate re-election than Huckabee saw for his Presidential bid.  So no Arkansas Republicans seem to be stepping up to the plate at present.  Meanwhile, the new Chair of the AR-GOP, who should be out looking for challengers to Pryor, is instead getting himself in trouble with comments like “I think all we need is some attacks on American soil.”  In a nutshell, as it stands now in Arkansas, the Green Party is doing better than the Republican Party when it comes to Senate recruitment.

Delaware: Nothing new then; nothing new now.  Still zip from the DE-GOP.

Illinois: The NRSC met with wealthy businessman Steve Greenberg.  He however turned down their entreaties and is considering a House bid, leaving political unknown Steve Sauerberg as the sole announced Republican candidate.  Having lost one potential self-funder in Greenberg, expect the GOP to seek out another potential self-funder before writing off the seat and settling for token opposition.

Iowa: While Senator Harkin had a strong Q1, GOP Rep. Tom Latham barely raised a solid amount by House standards, much less Senate standards; and GOP Rep. Steve King raised next to nothing, with a scant amount for cash-on-hand.  It’s getting safer to assume that Harkin won’t have a strong opponent.  The Iowa Republican Senate primary could wind up being between businessman Steve Rathje, businessman Troy Cook, and part-time tae kwon do instructor Bob McDowell.  Um, yeah.

Louisiana: Here’s the summary that I penned for Daily Kingfish a little less than a month ago:

Bobby Jindal is running for Governor.  GOP Congressmen Charles Boustany and Jim McCrery have both taken their names out of the running.  GOP Congressman Richard Baker has a whopping $66,000 cash-on-hand.  And Jay Dardenne, who is already polling significantly behind the “vulnerable” [Senator Mary] Landrieu, is embarrassing himself.  In fact, the only Republicans who have demonstrated any interest are Woody Jenkins and Suzanne Haik Terrell, the two Republicans Landrieu has already defeated.

Since this summary, the only development has been Karl Rove trying to get the Democratic state Treasurer to switch Parties to run against Landrieu.  I suppose that even Rove doubts there are any strong Republican challengers.  The LA-GOP and NRSC really don’t have much to show for all of Landrieu’s supposed vulnerability.

Massachusetts: A token opponent has stepped forward:

Jeff Beatty, who took less than 30% of the vote in a 2006 Congressional race and raised less than $50,000.  The Congressional district Beatty ran in was the most favorable to Bush and least favorable to Kerry in 2004 of any of Massachusetts’ ten Congressional districts; so, if Beatty couldn’t crack 30% or manage any significant fundraising in that district, it’s unlikely that he’d be able to accomplish anything further statewide.

It’s not like the MA-GOP doesn’t have access to some known quantities: Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift, Kerry Healey, Andrew Card, Curt Schilling.  But they’ll settle, for now, for Jeff Beatty.

Michigan: To plagiarize from the Delaware entry above: “Nothing new then; nothing new now.”

Montana: Only two Republicans have been suggested as having the capability to give popular Senator Max Baucus a challenge: former Governor Mark Racicot, who has been silent; and, GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg, who CQPolitics characterized as “resisting GOP efforts to draft him into the race.”  The CQPolitics article also notes that former Montana House Republican leader Michael Lange was considered a possibility until his obscene tirade against Governor Brian Schweitzer.  For now, it’s all quiet on the Western front.

New Jersey: With known quantities like Christie Todd Whitman, Chris Christie, and members of the Kean family sitting out, it looks like there is an NJ-GOP Senate primary brewing between conservative assemblyman Michael Doherty and less-conservative real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrook.  Estabrook has the support of GOP Rep. Mike Ferguson, Kean family ties, and sizable personal wealth.  Doherty also has the support of several notable New Jersey Republicans, as well as the apparent backing of NJ’s conservative mouthpieces.  While Senator Frank Lautenberg should handily dispatch either, Estabrook’s personal wealth and more moderate positions (at least compared with Doherty) would likely make her the less easily-beatable opponent.

Rhode Island: To plagiarize from the Michigan and Delaware entries above: “Nothing new then; nothing new now.”

South Dakota: With Senator Tim Johnson’s recovery moving along steadily, South Dakota Republicans are beginning to step up to the plate.  Two have indicated interest in a run: state representative Joel Dykstra and businessman Sam Kephart.  With Tim Johnson’s existing popularity coupled with sympathy from his impressive recovery, it is doubtful that either of these challengers would be formidable, while far-right conservative Gov. Mike Rounds remains mum on possible Senate plans.

West Virginia: About a month ago, I summed up the situation in West Virginia:

With Shelley Moore Capito taking a pass on a Senate bid, Republicans are now looking to GOP Secretary of State Betty Ireland and multiple-time-loser John Raese to take on popular Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller.  In 2004, Ireland squeaked to a 52-48 victory; and, in 2006, Raese lost to Senator Robert Byrd by a 64-34 thrashing.  Not exactly rainmakers on the WV-GOP bench.

Nothing has changed since that point.

So, among the thirteen seats discussed here, ten states (Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, and West Virginia) currently offer no Republican opposition or only token opposition.  Two states (New Jersey and South Dakota) see Republican opposition in the more-than-token but less-than-strong range.  And one state (open seat Colorado) sees a Republican contender, though the race still favors the Democrat and is the likeliest of seats up for election in 2008 to switch control (from GOP to Democrat).  With the dog days of summer ahead, the NRSC just doesn’t seem too concerned with candidate recruitment.

ME-SEN: Tom Allen Wants To “Re-Defeat” Joe Lieberman

(Partially cross-posted from My Left Nutmeg.)

This is good stuff. Tom Allen is hanging Joe Lieberman around Susan Collins’ neck:

Joe knows exactly what he’s doing in supporting Collins: attempting to retain any shred of his own continued relevance by keeping the Democratic majority in the Senate as slim as possible in what is looking, once again, like a very tough cycle for GOP incumbents across the board.

And Allen knows exactly what he’s doing in tying Collins to Joe: making sure that this “moderate” Republican owns the Bush-Cheney-Lieberman war that she’s done nothing to oppose (see this NPR report on the Allen campaign this weekend), and that the Democratic Party stays strong and united against the Lieberman-GOP nexus. It’s exactly the approach that Maine Dems hinted at when they “welcomed” news of Joe’s endorsement of Collins back in April.

GA-Sen: Chambliss Gets Another Challenger

UPDATE: Nevermind.  This guy is a gong show.

Despite recent polling showing Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia edging former Governor Roy Barnes (D) only by a 42-40 margin in a hypothetical match-up, there has been little visible enthusiasm among Peach State Democrats to reclaim the seat that Chambliss won from former Sen. Max Cleland under less than honorable circumstances.  Until now, the only candidate in the race has been DeKalb County CEO and self-professed Bush Democrat Vernon Jones.  With his beyond-awful fundraising and a somewhat controversial and flamboyant reputation, Jones has so far failed to gain much traction as a viable challenger or capture the imagination of state and national observers.  However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution informs us that Georgia Democrats have a new choice: six-time Emmy winner and investigative reporter Dick Cardwell.

On Friday, Dale Cardwell ended an 11-year stint as an investigative reporter at WSB-TV.

On Saturday, he became a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, looking to knock off Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss.


Cardwell said he will run against what he calls the daily, debilitating corruption of Washington, and promises to eschew money from special interest groups and political action committees.


The first issue he mentioned to us was the immigration reform bill now before the U.S. Senate, and hammered out with the assistance of both Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.

Cardwell called it an “amnesty” bill that’s aimed at satisfying corporate interests. “Georgia has to be freed from this illegal invasion that’s holding down salaries,” he said.

Slap shots against “amnesty” aside (and Jones is no different on this score), Cardwell’s family background is “hardcore Democrat”, and grew up in Alabama and Kentucky in a mobile home as the son of a coal miner.  His biography lists a series of noteworthy investigations that have “led to the exposure of corruption on the part of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, the conviction of former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the resignation of Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, the return of public funds by Senator Zell Miller, and the termination of Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue’s abuse of government airplanes and helicopters for private benefit”.

Cardwell would certainly have an impressive story to tell to Georgians, with his populist roots and his public service via journalism.  While not a top-tier recruit (although WSB’s footprint apparently covers 60% of the state), Cardwell seems to be a cut above Jones in my eyes.  And at this point, I’ll take that much.

(Hat-tips: Senate 2008 Guru and Tondee’s Tavern.)

Race Tracker: GA-Sen

KY-Gov: Another Poll Shows a Big Lead for Beshear (D)

From Rasmussen (likely voters, no trendlines):

Beshear (D): 51
Fletcher (R-inc.): 35
Other: 8
Undecided: 6
(MoE: ±4.5%)

This poll comes on the heels of a SUSA survey which showed Beshear with an even larger lead. It’s a little hard to know what to believe, except for one thing: Fletcher is in the doghouse, and he’d have to pull off a miracle to come out of it. Then again, I figured for sure Northup would clobber him. Can lightning strike twice for Ernie? I doubt it, but I’m done saying “never” in this business.

P.S. Mark Nickolas has some more thoughts here. Amusingly, he also takes the Sean Connery pledge to never say never.

(Hat-tip: Taegan Goddard.)

(Your Town Goes Here) Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive

My co-author at The Progressive Connection, Matt Lockshin, recently received a solicitation letter that was disturbingly disingenuous and duplicitous, even while still managing to maintain that elusive whiff of incompetence we’ve all come to associate with the Democratic Party. The letter was addressed to Matt at his address in Emeryville, California. Problem is, Matt doesn’t live in Emeryville; he lives in Oakland. But, as it turns out, that’s the least of our worries.

The letter started off with this grand statement:

Emeryville Area

Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive

Dear Matt Lockshin,

As one of Emeryville’s most committed Democrats, you played a key role in the sweeping 2006 election victory that helped our Party make history.

Now we need your help to enact our agenda for change and move America in a New Direction. That’s why I’m asking you to join other leading Democrats in the Emeryville area in supporting the Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive with a generous gift of $15, $25, $35, $50 or more today.

So let’s stop right there. Who do you think sent this letter to Matt?

Was it the Emeryville Democratic Club? The Alameda County Democratic Central Committee? The California Democratic Party? The DNC? (Hint: there is no Emeryville Democratic Club)

Wrong. The letter came from the DCCC.

Now, if you were an everyday resident of Emeryville, maybe even one of its “most committed Democrats,” you might receive that letter and think that donating to the Emeryville Area Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive was a handy and useful way to spend your donor dollars — sort of a United Way for politics. You might reasonably assume that your money would be going to support various local candidates and local party building activities. You know, in Emeryville.

So you might be very surprised to learn that your contribution to the Emeryville Area Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive was going to support candidates like Heath Shuler (NC-11), who opposes a woman’s right to choose. You might be even more surprised to find out that your dollars were going to support candidates like Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) who voted against  the McGovern bill to redeploy the troops within nine months and for  the Bush blank check last week. And you might be downright shocked to discover that your money was going to support Chris Carney (PA-10) who voted against the expansion of federal hate crime legislation to include crimes against people based on their gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

But the DCCC is banking on the fact that most of the people who got that letter are going to be low-information Democrats. They’re going to send in their money to support the Emeryville Area Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive. They’re not going to ask too many questions about how their donations will be spent. And they’re going to feel good about the fact that they helped to support their Democratic Party.

But here’s the problem. When candidates in Emeryville’s local Assembly District race come looking for support, when candidates in the local State Senate race come looking for support, when candidates for Congress come looking for support — even when candidates for president come looking for support in Emeryville, the residents of Emeryville are going to say, “Oh, I already contributed — to the Emeryville Area Democratic Party 2007 Annual Fund Drive.”

Read the whole thing and weep:

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Cross posted at The Progressive Connection