Vote For President Today!

During the Texas Democratic Party’s recent Town Hall Tour, I traveled nearly 10,000 miles and visited with thousands of Democrats.  And I am proud to report that Texas Democrats are unified, energized and eager to win in 2008! 

Like most Americans, Democrats from Texarkana to El Paso are tired of George Bush’s failure and ready for a change in the White House.  That’s why I am very pleased to announce that the Texas Democratic Party is holding our first-ever ePrimary Poll, a weeklong online event that will give Texas Democrats a chance to support their favorite candidate for President. 

Starting today, Democrats across the Lone Star State have the opportunity to cast their vote for any of our outstanding presidential candidates at the TDP website.  After Republican leaders weakened the influence of Texas voters by failing to move up our state’s primary election, the TDP is doing everything we can to ensure Texas Democrats have a say in determining the next president of the United States.  Now is the time to make your voice heard!

If you’re still deciding which of our potential nominees to support, I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out the TDP website, where you’ll find a profile of each candidate, as well as their personal message to Texas Democrats. 

Voting for the ePrimary Poll lasts until 11:59pm on Friday, September 7th, and we’ll announce the winner on September 10th.  But if you want to know how your favorite Democrat is doing, check our website for the latest vote tallies, which will updated daily beginning Tuesday.

It’s no secret that Texas has produced some of America’s greatest Democratic political heroes, and Texas voters have always played a significant role in our nation’s politics. 

The Lone Star State is one of the largest and most populous states in the country – and one of the most diverse.  From the woods of East Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, the widespread cultural and geographical differences among Texas voters are a reflection of the diversity of the country as a whole.  To win in Texas, a presidential candidate must appeal to urban, suburban and rural voters alike and earn support from Texans of every race, creed, and color.

As usual, while Texas Democrats are encouraging voter participation, those Republican politicians in Austin refused to listen to voters who want to have a say in the next presidential election.  Because of the Republican Legislature’s inability to see beyond their own partisan agendas, Texas could potentially be left behind as both political parties choose their candidate for president.  But the ePrimary Poll will give Texas Democrats a chance to weigh in on the presidential nomination process and ensure our voices are heard.

After seven long years of George Bush’s arrogance and incompetence, voters are ready for a President who will chart a new course for America.  Voters are ready for a change, and our Democratic candidates are qualified and ready to lead with new ideas.

Make your voice heard and tell the country which Democrat you want see take back the White House in 2008. Vote NOW!

Your friend and fellow Democrat,

Boyd L. Richie
Texas Democratic Party Chair

TX-10: Let’s stand with U.S. workers this Labor Day — and beyond

When Congress gets back to work after its August recess, the first thing lawmakers should do is unite behind a common sense initiative to support our National Guard troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ‘Patriot Corporations of America Act’ would require corporations to support U.S. troops by paying the difference between regular salary and military salary for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called up to active duty, and by continuing health insurance coverage for the Guard member and his or her family.

It’s time for America to export our values, not our jobs. This initiative will take an important step toward that goal by rewarding companies that invest in our economy and the middle-class families who drive it.

The act would also:

  * provide tax breaks and preferences in federal contracting to companies that produce at least 90 percent of their goods and services in this country
  * require corporations to invest at least 50 percent of their research and development budgets in domestic projects
  * provide at least 70 percent of the cost of quality health care for their employees
  * contribute at least five percent of payroll to a portable pension fund
  * enforce compliance with federal environmental, workplace safety, and consumer protection regulations.

When Congress returns after Labor Day, passage of this legislation would be a fitting way to mark a fresh start in a new direction for working families and small businesses.


Progressive politics on the ground

During the past few weeks, we’ve all watched the Republican party continue to implode. First Karl Rove resigned, then Alberto Gonzales’s reign at the Justice Department finally came to a close. This week, we saw another intolerant, far-right Republican exposed as a hypocrite.

But while these events might give us some encouragement, we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us if we’re going to bring about real progressive change. In the DC area, local elections are beginning to ramp up, and these can go a long way in affecting communities. At Twenty-First Century Democrats, we’re jumping in and hitting the ground running to help progressive local candidates build the foundation for national change.

Our September schedule is packed. We’ll be helping out four different campaigns this month – knocking on doors, dropping literature and coordinating our results with the various campaigns we are supporting. Starting this Saturday, our team will be in Central Baltimore for an all day walk on behalf of Fred Mason III We’re working with SEIU/1199, the Baltimore Federation of Teachers, HERE/UNITE and the Victory Fund to get the vote out for the September 11 primary.  We’ll also spend two full days in Virginia on for Albert Pollard and Carlos Del Toro in Stafford County and in Fairfax for the Janet Oleszek campaign.

Every one of these candidates deserves our support. 

We believe that each of them, when elected, will carry progressive values and legislative smarts into their new jobs. We’ll keep you updated on our progress.

In the meantime, what local races are you interested in?

Shannon Scanlan
Twenty-First Century Democrats

MI-07: Nacht Drops Out

According to a comment left on Walberg Watch, David Nacht, an Ann Arbor attorney vying for the nomination to take on Republican Rep. Tim Walberg next year, has dropped out of the race, citing the recent decision of state Senator Mark Schauer to enter the Democratic primary:

This is David Nacht. I am withdrawing from the race because I do not believe I have a realistic likelihood to defeat Sen. Mark Schauer in a Democratic Primary. I cannot in good faith ask for donations to support such a long odds effort. […]

I intend to do whatever I can to assist the Democratic nominee in this race.

Nacht had displayed some jump in his step last quarter, when his fundraising total of $160K eclipsed Walberg’s poor showing of $119K.  While Schauer’s profile as the state Senate Minority Leader has nudged Nacht out of the race, his other two primary opponents, former state Sen. Jim Berryman and organic farmer and 2006 nominee Sharon Renier, have pledged to remain in the primary.

The wildcard here is Joe Schwarz, the Republican incumbent that Walberg dislodged (with the generous helping hand of the Club For Growth).  There has been some occasional chatter since last November that Schwarz, a moderate by Republican standards, has been mulling a party switch or an independent bid to reclaim his old seat.  A recent poll commissioned by a group of Schwarz associates showing the ex-Representative beating Walberg by a 44%-41% margin as a Democrat has certainly done little to stem the rumors.

Schwarz, for his part, has said that he will not discuss a bid until his role as chairman of a state health care task force concludes on October 1.  But if he was indeed planning a bid, Schauer’s entry has thrown a huge monkey wrench into those plans.  Since a hypothetical independent candidacy appears to be an unattractive option (with much splitting of the anti-Walberg vote, according to his exploratory committee’s poll), Schwarz may end up wishing that he showed some hustle earlier in the year.

VA-Sen: John Warner to Announce Re-Election Plans Tomorrow

From the Politico:

Sen. John Warner will announce tomorrow at the University of Virginia whether or not he intends to seek a sixth term, according to two top Virginia sources. Warner is planning a 2 p.m. news conference on the grounds of the Charlottesville, Va., school, where he took his law degree over 50 years ago. The Virginian will give his speech near the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the steps of the school’s famous Rotunda, adding a fitting Warner flourish to the event. 

His office didn’t immediately reply to inquiries about his plans.

Virginia and national political officials have been waiting with anticipation for the Warner decision. His retirement would set off a scramble for the open seat, perhaps pitting former Gov. Mark R. Warner against Rep. Thomas M. Davis or former Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Given John Warner’s recent calls for a minor scaleback of U.S. troop levels in Iraq, the smart money says that a retirement announcement is in store for us tomorrow.  With Tom Davis running for Senate, Democrats would have an excellent shot at picking up his trending-Democratic 11th district House seat (Gore lost this district by 7 points in 2000, but Bush only won it by 1 point four years later).  And while Davis’ base in the DC suburbs would help him against the Democratic nominee, his profile is no match for former Democratic Governor Mark Warner’s.  The only question is: will Mark answer the call?  Or will he bide his time to accept either running mate status on the Presidential ticket, or take another shot at the Governor’s office in 2009–a position that he very enjoyed?

C’mon, Chuck, old buddy, don’t let me down…

UPDATE: Another interesting wrinkle in the story:

A Senate bid by Gilmore in a hotly contested race could be a bruising battle. The ex-governor likely would face strong competition for the Republican nomination from U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, a Fairfax County moderate who raised about $600,000 in the last quarter.

The state party would have to decide whether to hold a primary election or a convention to decide on a nominee. A convention, which the GOP has traditionally favored in Virginia, would appear to benefit Gilmore because it attracts the party’s hard-core conservative base. By contrast, a primary might give the well-financed Davis an edge.

Davis spokesman Brian McNicoll said of Gilmore, “He’s won two statewide elections. He certainly couldn’t be taken lightly.”

Given how utterly disastrous Gilmore’s term as Governor was, I warmly invite him to seek his party’s nomination.

MS-Gov Haley Barbour’s Ethical Wide Stance

The following was written by Matthew Krell for Cotton Mouth.  He writes at Street Prophets and Daily Kos under uID mkrell.

Haley Barbour has led, by most accounts, a fairly charmed life.  He’s gone from being a Republican in a single-party Democratic state, to being the second Republican governor of Mississippi since Reconstruction.  Along the way, Gov. Barbour has been chairman of the Republican National Committee and the lead partner in the most influential lobbying firm on the Republican side of the aisle.

But Barbour may have reached his apogee, and although I know it’s hardly Christian of me, I think his star may be about to fall – and it’s about time.

When Barbour was elected governor, he placed his assets in a blind trust.  For those of you who don’t know, a blind trust is a mechanism whereby a property owner can receive benefits from their property without having to abandon offices of public trust that might have a role to play in determining the value of their property.  In a blind trust, the trustee manages the beneficiary’s property, but the beneficiary can receive no information regarding the disposition of the property – they just receive the payouts to which the trust structure entitles them.

In Gov. Barbour’s case, he was entitled to $25,000 a month in payouts.  His initial trust included shares in his old lobbying firm worth over three-quarters of a million dollars.  Here’s what’s interesting, to me, at least:

What we have here is that some times Barbour has made statements that he did hold an equity position in the parent company of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers — now very much in the news for its representation of the Iraq political ambitions of former Iraq Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — and at other times he said he had severed all ties to the firm but was getting a “retirement payment.”
  – Steve Clemons, The Atlantic

As Clemons points out in that same piece, Barbour’s old firm doesn’t provide retirement benefits.  So, either the Governor is receiving a benefit that no one else at BGR is getting (which might be legal, but certainly isn’t ethical), or the firm is making payments into his blind trust in return for some continuing service.

What sort of continuing service could the sitting Governor of Mississippi be providing to a lobbying firm?  Nothing good for the people of Mississippi, I’m sure.  But let’s not assume the worst.  Let’s assume that Gov. Barbour is simply receiving a pension benefit from BGR that no other member or employee of the firm gets.  Because you know, that’s totally fair.

But that’s not the end of the Governor’s ethical lapses.  Much has been made of the Governor’s nephews’ lobbying business in the Great State.  Particularly impressive has been the efficacy with which their client’s causes have made progress through the Legislature.  But more important than that, the Governor has seen fit to appoint family members time and time again to various governmental commissions that are overseeing the recosntruction of the state in the wake of Katrina.

Bloomberg News points out that the Barbour family members that have been overseeing Katrina reconstruction have been paid for lobbying services during their time on the panels.  Interestingly enough, the clients that paid the Governor’s nephews during this period managed to benefit from the work that they did on recovery, to the tune of almost three million dollars.  Isn’t that a strange coincidence?

I’m not so naive as to think that government doesn’t work via the personal connections between people.  As the governor’s lawyer puts it, Barbour “naturally is not going to be disinclined to help [his nephews] whenever he can.”  And I accept that.  The problem is the interconnectedness of the remunerative relationships.  The way that the Governor’s family gets appointed to help make recommendations for storm recovery – and the recommendations just magically happen to throw a lot of business to a lobbying client of the family.  There’s just something about the process that stinks.

And that stink is starting to stick to Haley Barbour.  The Clarion-Ledger is pissed about the monumental waste that Katrina recovery has involved.  Bloomberg’s Tim Burger is knocking the ball out of the park with his reporting on this, and the legalistic arguments of Barbour’s representatives ring hollow in a state that has seen two years of bull on the question of recovery.

If John Arthur Eaves is smart – and he must be, or he wouldn’t have been so successful, all evidence on the campaign trail to the contrary – he will hammer Barbour’s unwillingness to talk.  He will ask, what is Barbour hiding?  If there’s nothing to hide, why won’t Barbour let us see?

If Eaves can make this issue have legs, he may be able to make a race of it.

Cross-posted at Cotton Mouth

OK-SEN: Tell Inhofe to “Hunt Terrorists, Not Doves”

Ala the BURN BUSH campaign that helped raise $$ for Darcy Burner–

Online bloggers in support of Andrew Rice against Jim Inhofe have started the HUNT TERRORISTS, NOT DOVES campaign.

from actblue:

The country and world have turned against President George Bush’s Iraq occupation, but U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) remains one of the occupation’s most ardent supporters.

Inhofe is even holding his annual Oklahoma Dove Hunt at Quartz Mountain Lodge September 7-8 as the gruesome occupation drags on. He, along with his invited guest, the ultra-conservative John Cornyn (R-Texas), will be hunting dove, the international symbol of peace, as more American soldiers and innocent Iraqis die.

We need to send these two Bush lapdogs and Washington insiders into retirement. State Sen. Andrew Rice, a progressive Democratic from Oklahoma City, is running against Inhofe in the 2008 election. Rice, whose brother, David, died in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, believes Inhofe took his “eye off the ball” after the attacks and, instead of going after terrorists, blindly followed Bush into the Iraq debacle.

Inhofe should hunt terrorists, not doves. But while Inhofe is killing doves, you can help send him into retirement. Become a Rice Dove today by contributing to Andrew’s campaign.

give what you can: HUNT TERRORISTS, NOT DOVES

CT-Sen: Whom Might Rell Appoint?

According to Cliff, the rumor mill has churned out none other than independent Senator Joe Lieberman as a possible Bush nominee to replace disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.  However, if you’ve believed all the rumors, Lieberman should have been one or all of the following by now: Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, Ambassador to the United Nations, and George Bush’s running mate in 2004.

But for the sake of exploring every wild-eyed hypothetical, let’s assume that Lieberman answers Bush’s call and gets confirmed by the Senate as the next AG.  At present, Connecticut law states that, in the event of a Senate vacancy, the Governor gets to appoint a replacement.  If Lieberman were to leave, that would put the ball in Republican Gov. Jodi Rell’s court to name his successor.

So, whom might Rell appoint?  The Republican bench isn’t exactly burgeoning with obvious possibilities, seeing as how Rell and her Lieutenant, Michael Fedele, are the state’s only current GOP statewide office holders.  Looking to those with Congressional experience, ex-Rep. Nancy Johnson is 72 years old, and appointing current Rep. Chris Shays would almost certainly cause his House seat to fall to the Democrats–an unattractive option for Rell.  If she doesn’t tap someone from the state legislature, there’s always Rob Simmons, who represented a district with a sharply Democratic PVI of D+7.6 from 2000 until his defeat last November.

Of course, Connecticut Democrats, who hold a veto-proof majority in the state legislature, could make this hypothetical moot by quickly ushering in legislation to strip the power to fill Senate vacancies from the Governor.  In such an event, Democrats are not short of potential recruits to bring a bit more sanity to Connecticut’s Senatorial delegation in a special election.  Which one would you like to see nominated?