It’s often been said that the Republican Party, from coast to coast, has run into some pretty bad luck this cycle. But I think it’s very easy to forget just how much bad luck they’ve run into. To remedy that, the Swing State Project has put together the most comprehensive compendium of Republican hubris, fuckups and misfortunes you will find anywhere, ever. Call it the “Year of Living Catastrophically”, if you will.
I hope you packed a snack, because this is gonna take a while.
January 9: US Attorney Chris Christie declines to challenge Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
January 15: Colorado GOP Sen. Wayne Allard announces that he will retire at the end of his term, leaving his seat vulnerable to a takeover by Democrat Mark Udall.
January 15: The Wall Street Journal reports that Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) is under federal investigation for bribery.
January 29: Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, considered a potential challenger to Sen. John Kerry, announces that he will play in 2008, denying the NRSC a star recruit.
February 23: GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06) claims to know of a secret Iranian plan to partition Iraq and create a “a terrorist safe haven zone” called the “Iraq State of Islam” in order to launch attacks throughout the Middle East and on the United States. Bachmann is forced to recant her unsourced delusions days later.
March 6: On the same day that ex-US Attorney David Iglesias testifies before the House Judiciary Committee that he received intimidating phone calls from GOP Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) prior to the 2006 mid-term elections about an investigation of a Democratic state senator, Wilson admits that she called Iglesias, but claims her intent was not to intimidate Iglesias.
March 6: One of the GOP’s top choices to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Ron Klein (FL-22), state Rep. Adam Hasner, declines to run. State Sen. Jeff Atwater also says “no”.
March 15: GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-02) reportedly slips and falls in vomit in a Capitol Hill bathroom.
March 19: GOP Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) sticks his foot in his mouth by saying that most of Iraq is about as safe as Detroit or Chicago.
March 21: Ex-Rep. Scott McInnis, who was considered a credible candidate for statewide office, declines to seek the GOP nomination for the open Senate seat of retiring Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard.
March 31: The NRSC’s dream candidate to challenge Dem Sen. Mark Pryor, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, says that he won’t run for Senate.
April 10: Nevada GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons serves up a whopper to the local press when he says that he’s “heard rumors” of Democrats paying the Wall Street Journal to write articles exposing his corruption.
April 18: The FBI raids the home of GOP Rep. John Doolittle (CA-04).
April 20: GOP Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01) steps down from the House Intelligence Committee after the FBI raids his family business.
May 5: Ex-Rep. Bob Schaffer bizarrely tries to un-announce his candidacy for the open Senate seat of retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.
May 15: Boca Raton Mayor Steve Abrams, one of the NRCC’s top choices to run against Democratic Rep. Ron Klein (FL-22), declines to run, joining a long list of local officeholders passing on the race.
May 29: The Anchorage Daily News reports that the FBI and a federal grand jury are investigating a remodeling project at the Girdwood home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) that was organized by the oil services company VECO.
July 1: The NRCC’s much-hyped recruit against freshman Democrat Joe Courtney (CT-02), former Groton submarine base commander Sean Sullivan, discloses that he only raised “between $25,000 and $30,000” in his first three months of campaigning. After failing to pick up the pace significantly in the coming months, Sullivan becomes “persona non grata” to DC Republicans and the district quickly falls off the list of Republican targets.
July 5: Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg announces that he won’t challenge Sen. Max Baucus in 2008, denying the NRSC their top choice in the state.
July 9: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) admits to being a customer of the DC madam and enjoying the company of prostitutes in the past.
July 19: GOP Rep. Chris Shays (CT-04) loses his cool and “screams obscenities” at a Capitol police officer.
July 25: The Wall Street Journal reveals 18-term GOP Rep. Don Young (AK-AL) is under criminal investigation for his dealings with VECO, just like Ted Stevens.
July 26: GOP Rep. Ray LaHood (IL-18) announces his retirement, putting his R+5.5 district on the map for Democrats.
July 30: The FBI and the IRS raid the home of GOP Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).
There’s more – much, much more – below the fold.
August 15: GOP Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15) announces her retirement, putting her Dem-trending R+1.1 district at the top of the Democratic takeover list.
August 17: GOP Rep. Dennis Hastert (IL-14), the former Speaker of the House, announces his retirement at the end of his term. Hastert’s decision puts his R+4.8 open seat on the DCCC’s target map.
August 17: GOP state Sen. Steve Stivers and former Columbus Mayor Buck Rinehart both decline to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15).
August 23: Embattled GOP Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01) announces his retirement, opening up his competitive district for a Democratic takeover.
August 23: GOP state Rep. Jim Hughes also declines to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15).
August 27: It is revealed that GOP Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was busted on charges of lewd behavior in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. Craig famously defends his conduct by saying that he tends to take a “wide stance” while using the toilet.
August 27: Two of the GOP’s top choices to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15), former state AG Jim Petro and former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka, both decline to run, leaving the GOP empty-handed in this tossup district for months.
August 31: Virginia GOP Sen. John Warner announces his retirement, putting his Senate seat in play for Democrats.
September 6: Former AZ state Senate President Ken Bennett, the GOP’s top choice to replace retiring Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01), says that he won’t run for Congress.
September 7: Nailed by the Chicago Tribune over various shady land deals, GOP Rep. Jerry Weller (IL-11) goes into hiding.
September 10: In an explosive closed-door meeting with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt and Rep. Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner sharply criticizes Tom Cole’s performance and strategic decisions as NRCC chair. Word leaks out that Cole threatened to resign if Boehner forced any personnel changes at the NRCC.
September 13: DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer hits the mother lode when former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announces that he’ll run for the open seat of retiring GOP Sen. John Warner.
September 14: Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen announces that she will run against GOP Sen. John Sununu, giving the senator his stiffest possible challenge.
September 17: GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad (MN-03) decides that he’s just not fit for life in the Minority and announces his retirement, putting his tossup R+0.5 seat into play.
September 21: GOP Rep. Jerry Weller (IL-11) announces his retirement, vaulting his R+1.1 suburban district to the top of the DCCC’s targeted races list.
September 26: GOP Rep. Terry Everett (AL-02) announces his retirement, putting his conservative R+13.2 district on the target map for Democrats.
September 30: Retiring GOP Rep. Ray LaHood (IL-18) predicts the future: “The Democrats will continue to be the majority party in the House and Senate and Hillary Clinton will make history by being the first woman president.”
October 3: The GOP’s top choice to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (IL-11), state Sen. Christine Radogno, declines to run.
October 4: Longtime New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici announces his retirement, giving Democrats another excellent Senate pick-up opportunity.
October 5: GOP Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) jumps into the race to replace Domenici, opening up her Dem-leaning D+2.4 seat.
October 11: GOP Rep. Ralph Regula (OH-16) announces his retirement, putting his Dem-trending R+3.6 near the top of the DCCC’s target list.
October 13: Garbage magnate James Galante is charged with violating Connecticut state campaign finance laws for suspicious donations to various PACs, including one controlled by GOP state Sen. David Cappiello, who is running for congress against freshman Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-05).
October 14: GOP Rep. Dave Hobson (OH-07) announces his retirement, putting his R+6 seat on the table for Democrats.
October 16: GOP Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) announces that he will run against Heather Wilson for the Senate nomination to succeed Pete Domenici, setting up the GOP for a bruising primary and putting his R+5.7 open seat into play.
October 19: After his contracting relationship with Blackwater and past run-ins with the law gained scrutiny in the press, IN-02 GOP candidate Chris Minor ends his campaign against frosh Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly, leaving the GOP empty-handed once again.
October 22: A spokesman for South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds says that he has no plans to challenge Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, denying the NRSC their most coveted recruit in the state.
October 23: A sign of the times? The entire membership of the all-Republican governing body of the swing town of Lyndhurst, New Jersey switch from Republican to Democrat. In addition, nearly 60% of Lyndhurst’s Republican County Committee defect to the Democratic Party.
October 25: The GOP’s great “moderate” hope of retaining the seat of retiring Virginia Sen. John Warner, Rep. Tom Davis, drops out of the race after getting snubbed by the VA GOP. The news leaves Republicans hobbled with unpopular former Gov. Jim Gilmore as their leading candidate.
November 6: The Hill writes that “a recruiting surge anticipated by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in recent weeks has yet to take shape as promised.”
November 7: Democrat Steve Beshear crushes incumbent Kentucky Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher in a landslide.
November 7: Democrats in Virginia and Mississippi capture control of their state Senates, and Virginia Dems gain more ground in the House of Delegates, as well.
November 8: 26 year-old GOP “wunderkind” Aaron Schock, who’s running to succeed retiring Republican Ray LaHood (IL-18), announces a downright insane plan to sell nuclear weapons to Taiwan in order to coerce China to fall in line with American policy towards Iran.
November 9: GOP Rep. Jim Saxton (NJ-03) announces his retirement from the House, leaving Democratic state Sen. John Adler well-poised to capture this D+3 open seat.
November 10: Democrat Tom Udall announces that he’s definitely running for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Pete Domenici. Short of Gov. Bill Richardson, Udall is the strongest possible Democratic candidate and his entry immediately gives the Democrats the upper hand in this race.
November 19: GOP Rep. Mike Ferguson (NJ-07) makes a surprise retirement announcement, moving this competitive district into the tossup column.
November 20: The GOP’s top three choices to run for the open seat left behind by retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson (NJ-07) — Jon Bramnick, Bob Franks, and Tom Kean, Jr. — all pass on the race.
November 20: Wealthy businessman Andrew Saul, who had been posting impressive fundraising numbers in his race against Democratic Rep. John Hall (NY-19), shocks the political world by abruptly dropping out of the race. The GOP is left without a viable candidate to challenge the freshman Hall.
November 20: Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, a media-savvy police chief with loads of name recognition, declines to challenge freshman Democrat Joe Sestak (PA-07).
November 26: Mississippi GOP Sen. Trent Lott announces that he will resign from Congress by the end of the year, putting his Senate seat in play and triggering a series of downballot shuffles that eventually put a House district in play.
November 26: GOP Rep. Dennis Hastert (IL-14), the immediate past Speaker of the House, resigns from Congress, setting up a special election for early 2008. The vacancy puts this historically Republican R+4.8 district in play.
November 29: Well-liked GOP state Sen. Diane Allen declines to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (NJ-03) after not being able to secure financial assurances from the cash-strapped NRCC.
November 29: Former Assemblyman Howard Mills says that he won’t challenge freshman Democratic Rep. John Hall (NY-19).
December 7: GOP Rep. Jim McCrery (LA-04) announces his retirement, putting this R+6.5 district into play.
December 8: Ex-GOP Rep. Charles Taylor finally makes up his mind and announces that he won’t challenge freshman Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-11) in a rematch. Several other high-profile Republican candidates, kept out of the race by Taylor’s indecision, ultimately decline to enter.
December 11: The NRCC gets successfully head-faked in two special elections in deeply red districts (OH-05 and VA-01) by the DCCC, and spends over $500,000 (20% of the committee’s cash-on-hand) defending the two seats. NRCC Chair Tom Cole is later attacked for wasting scarce resources.
December 11: Iraq Vet and surgeon Wayne Mosley declines to challenge Democratic Rep. John Barrow (GA-12).
December 31: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour taps Rep. Roger Wicker (MS-01) to fill the open seat left behind by retired Sen. Trent Lott, opening up his R+10 House district for a Democratic takeover.
January 1: NY Assemblyman Greg Ball declines to run against Dem Rep. John Hall (NY-19), leaving the GOP with third-tier candidate Kieran Lalor.
January 11: State Rep. Bill Konopnicki, one of the GOP’s top choices to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01), drops out of the race, leaving Republicans without a top tier candidate in this competitive district.
January 15: GOP Rep. Richard Baker (LA-06) announces that he’ll hang up his spurs and take a plum lobbying job instead, opening up his R+6.5 district for a takeover by Democratic state Rep. Don Cazayoux.
January 21: The NRCC’s preferred candidate to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08), ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, announces that he’ll run for the State House instead. Within a month, Fitzpatrick bails on that campaign, too.
January 22: Missouri Republican Gov. Matt Blunt announces that he won’t seek a second term, leaving Democratic state AG Jay Nixon as the frontrunner to succeed him.
January 23: GOP Rep. Jim Walsh (NY-25) announces that he will retire from Congress, giving Democrats a prime pick-up opportunity for his D+3.2 open seat.
January 29: GOP Rep. Kenny Hulshof (MO-09) announces that he will leave Congress to run for Governor, leaving his R+6.5 district up for grabs.
January 29: GOP Rep. Ron Lewis (KY-02) announces his retirement, putting his conservative but historically Democratic R+12.9 district on the table.
January 30: GOP Rep. Tom Davis (VA-11) announces his retirement from Congress, opening up his Dem-trending R+0.6 district for a takeover.
February 12: When asked if he will challenge Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) for his re-election, Mike Huckabee replies: “There’s a greater chance that I would dye my hair green, cover my body with tattoos and go on a rock tour with Amy Winehouse.”
February 12: Pro-war state Sen. Andy Harris successfully defeats moderate incumbent Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (MD-01) in the GOP primary. Gilchrest’s defeat gives Democrat Frank Kratovil a fighting chance of picking up the R+9.8 seat in November.
February 12: GOP Rep. John Shaddeg (AZ-03) announces his retirement.
February 21: Desperate GOPers beg John Shadegg to unretire. In an embarrassing about-face which serves as an admission that the Republicans had no ability to recruit a strong replacement in this district, Shadegg changes his mind and decides to stick it out for another term.
February 22: GOP Rep. Rick Renzi is indicted on 35 criminal counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and official extortion.
February 23: The GOP’s candidate to run for retiring Rep. Jerry Weller’s (IL-11) open seat, New Lennox Mayor Tim Baldermann, drops out of the race.
February 25: Outgoing GOP Rep. Renzi (AZ-01) bucks the orders of John Boehner and refuses to resign immediately from Congress.
February 27: GOP Sen. Ted Stevens loses his free pass when Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich announces his candidacy against him.
March 4: The NRCC’s preferred candidate to take on Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), wealthy self-funding attorney Franciso “Quico” Canseco, loses his primary to Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson, despite spending over $1 million on the race. Larson has only raised a fraction of that amount, causing many observers to downgrade this race’s competitiveness.
March 4: The GOP nominates Fred Dailey, a former state Agriculture Director, to take on freshman Rep. Zack Space (OH-18). Dailey’s fundraising is incredibly anemic, having only raised $75,000 through the primary, despite being in the race for over nine months.
March 5: Republican real estate developer Anne Estabrook drops out of the Senate race against Frank Lautenberg due to illness.
March 6: The GOP’s top choice to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ-05), Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jeff Hatch-Miller, drops out of the race.
March 7: GOP Rep. Steve King (IA-05) announces that he won’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, leaving the NRSC without a top-tier candidate once again.
March 8: South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds once again refuses to run against Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, despite President Bush begging him to change his mind.
March 8: Democrat Bill Foster wins the special election in IL-14 for the seat of retiring Rep. Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the House. The pick-up of the R+4.8 open seat inspires SSP Publisher DavidNYC to start the blog’s wildly popular Tom Cole Deathwatch series, later a hot topic of discussion on Capitol Hill.
March 10: Former Lt. Governor and Republican businessman and flesh-eating zombie Steve Kirby also declines to run against Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), dashing GOP hopes of finding a wealthy challenger to make this a race.
March 13: NRCC Chair Tom Cole reveals that the NRCC overstated its cash on hand by $740,000 due to fraud by an ex-employee.
March 13: NRSC Chair John Ensign admits that the committee’s goal of capturing “two seats” to take back the Senate is a “very long stretch”.
March 13: Retiring GOP Rep. Tom Davis (VA-11), a former chair of the NRCC, famously says: “The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they’d take it off the shelf.”
March 19: GOP Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY-26) — who only one cycle before helmed the NRCC — retires, opening up his R+3.5 seat for a takeover.
March 23: Andy Unanue, a former seller of luscious Goya nectars, announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate against Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) while vacationing in the posh resort community of Vail, Colorado.
March 24: The GOP finally finds a candidate for the open seat of retiring Illinois Rep. Jerry Weller (IL-11) — their twentieth choice, shady concrete mogul Martin Ozinga.
March 24: The GOP’s preferred choice to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY-26), state Sen. George Maziarz, won’t run. Their second choice, Assemblyman Jim Hayes, also declines to run.
March 25: The GOP’s lone candidate to take on Democrat Dan Maffei in the open seat of NY-25, former State Fair Director Peter Cappuccilli, pulls the plug on his candidacy, leaving the GOP without a candidate here for some time.
March 27: State Rep. Donna Stone declines to run for the Delaware Governor’s office, leaving Delaware GOP officials to lament that they “have no strong candidates” to offer for the open seat race in 2008.
March 31: The GOP’s top choice to run for the open seat left behind by retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer in Alabama, DINO state Sen. Tom Butler, declines to run.
April 6: The GOP’s top choice to take on Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, biotech millionaire John Crowley, pulls out of the race for the second time in two weeks, leaving the GOP to temporarily fall back on disgraced Goya foods frat boy Andy Unanue.
April 7: Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer’s ties to Jack Abramoff begin to receive wider exposure in local media.
April 21: The GOP’s top choice to run for the open seat of retiring Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ-01), former state Sen. President Ken Bennett, again declines to run, leaving the GOP with the far-right loon Sydney Hay as their last resort.
April 22: In the MS-01 special primary, Democrat Travis Childers very nearly wins the R+10 open seat left behind by Roger Wicker outright. GOP panic ensues as the race goes to a runoff.
May 1: GOP Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) is arrested on DWI charges in Virginia.
May 3: Democrat Don Cazayoux wins the LA-06 special election against Republican Woody Jenkins in an R+6.5 district. This is the Democrats’ second house pick-up of the year.
May 6: Rumors rage that GOP Rep. Vito Fossella is involved in an extramarital affair and has an out-of-wedlock child after details of his DWI arrest are made public.
May 7: Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower, the GOP candidate against freshman Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-11) tells the NRCC that he has no interest in accepting their campaign money, saying that the national party has “abandoned their principles”.
May 8: Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) admits to fathering a child in an extramarital affair.
May 9: Several local NY papers call on Rep. Vito Fossella to resign.
May 9: Vice President Dick Cheney makes an embarrassing gaffe on a Mississippi radio show about visiting “South Memphis” in order to campaign for GOP candidate Greg Davis in an upcoming special election. The locals are not amused.
May 13: In a back-breaking blow to Republican morale, Democrat Travis Childers beats Republican Greg Davis by eight points for the R+10 open seat left behind by appointed Sen. Roger Wicker in Mississippi. SSP Publisher DavidNYC writes that the result is the “final piece of straw set atop the shambling camel of the GOP, the one which clove its dessicated humps in two.”
May 14: GOP Senate candidate Bob Schaffer kicks off his campaign in Colorado with an embarrassing TV spot that features an image of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley in the place of Colorado’s Pikes Peak.
May 19: GOP Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) announces his retirement, creating another vulnerable open seat for Republicans to defend.
May 20: Businessman Mike Erickson wins the GOP nomination in OR-05 for the open swing seat left behind by retiring Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley. However, Erickson spends the last week of his primary campaign deflecting accusations that he used to lead a party-heavy lifestyle of cocaine use and that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion procedure several years earlier. The allegations heavily blunt the GOP’s hopes of making this race into a rare pick-up opportunity.
May 20: The filing deadline passes in Arkansas, and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, considered one of the GOP’s top targets early in the cycle, goes unchallenged by any major party opposition.
May 21: OR-05 primary loser Kevin Mannix refuses to endorse GOP candidate Mike Erickson.
May 21: In the wake of the GOP’s loss of MS-01, word leaks out that Minority Leader John Boehner is forcing some major changes upon Tom Cole and the NRCC.
May 22: In a major disappointment for the NRCC, the GOP’s top choice to replace Vito Fossella (NY-13) in the House, Richmond County DA Dan Donovan, declines to run.
May 22: GOP delegates vote to endorse wingnut Kieran Lalor over Westchester Legislator George Oros. Days later, Oros drops out of the race, setting up freshman Democratic Rep. John Hall (NY-19) for an easy re-election bid.
May 27: GOP Rep. Bill “Brain Fade” Sali (ID-01) turns back a poorly-funded primary challenge by only capturing 60% of the vote.
May 29: State Sen. Andrew Lanza, the GOP’s second choice to succeed Vito Fossella (NY-13), officially declines to run.
May 29: Failing to convince a top-tier (or second-tier) candidate to run for Fossella’s seat, the Staten Island GOP nominates some dude named Frank Powers, a retired Wall Street executive and MTA member.
May 29: Nevada Republicans are sent into a tailspin as details of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons’ divorce proceedings are made public. GOP consultant Chuck Muth laments: “This absolutely could depress Republicans who are already depressed. This could hurt McCain’s ability to hold on to Nevada. It could also affect the chances of (Rep.) Jon Porter to get re-elected.”
May 31: In a sign of grassroots disgust, Jim Gilmore very nearly loses the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. John Warner to state Del. Bob Marshall.
June 3: In a major embarrassment for NRSC Chair John Ensign and Massachusetts Republicans, dark horse candidate Jim Ogonowski fails to file enough signatures to make the ballot against John Kerry.
June 3: Carpet-bagging blockhead and conservative firebrand Tom McClintock beats the more moderate (and perhaps more electable) Doug Ose for the GOP nod to succeed John Doolittle.
June 3: In Iowa, Montana and New Mexico, party-favored candidates for Senate lose their primary bids to no-money candidates. In Montana, the upset is particularly glaring; the winning candidate, Bob Kelleher, is a former Democrat and Green Party member who has lost numerous bids for statewide office in the past. In New Mexico, hand-picked “moderate” successor to Pete Domenici, Rep. Heather Wilson, loses to the Club For Growth-backed conservative Rep. Steve Pearce.
June 3: Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower, the GOP’s candidate against Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-11) calls for the impeachment of President Bush over his “failure to protect America’s sovereignty”.
June 4: Francis M. Powers, the son of NY-13 GOP candidate Francis H. Powers, seeks to run on the Libertarian Party line against his father in the hopes of denying him the seat. While Powers’ bid is ultimately unsuccessful, the event badly embarrasses Staten Island Republicans.
June 5: Staten Island Conservatives buck the state party and press to give their endorsement to Democrat Mike McMahon.
June 7: NRSC John Ensign moves the goalposts out of the stadium by suggesting that the GOP’s “minimum goal” is to retain control of 41 Senate seats.
June 9: OH-16 GOP candidate Kirk Schuring makes an embarrassing gaffe about gun violence in his hometown of Canton.
June 12: An audit reveals that former NRCC treasurer Christopher Ward embezzled $725,000 from the committee over a period of six years, up from previous NRCC estimates of $500-$600K. In addition, it is revealed that Ward stole $27,000 from the NRSC via joint fundraising activities and $47,000 from other GOP leadership PACs, for a total of almost $800,000.
June 12: When asked to list the competitive Senate races of 2008, NRSC Chair John Ensign leaves off New Mexico and Virginia. When asked if the NRSC is writing off Steve Pearce and Jim Gilmore, Ensign replies: “You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win.”
June 16: In a move that leaves both supporters and detractors speechless, “Big John” Cornyn releases this campaign video at the Texas GOP convention.
June 18: GOP wunderkind Jon Elrod drops out of the race against Rep. Andre Carson (IN-07), saying that he wouldn’t stand much of a chance in November.
June 20: The Alaska AFL-CIO, which has usually backed Sen. Ted Stevens, votes to give its endorsement to his Democratic challenger, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.
June 20: Republican nominee Joel Dykstra is forced to address claims that he’s the GOP’s “sacrificial lamb” against Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in South Dakota.
June 22: NY-13 GOP candidate Francis Powers dies at age 67.
June 23: OR-05 GOP candidate Mike Erickson endures more bad press when the woman whom he allegedly gave money to pay for her abortion steps forward and gives her account to the press.
June 23: Seeing the writing on the NY GOP’s wall, state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno announces his retirement.
June 25: Former Assemblyman Matthew Mirones pulls his name from consideration after briefly mulling the open seat race to replace retiring Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13). NY1 broadcaster Lisa Giovinazzo also declines to run, leaving former Rep. Guy Molinari, the dean of Staten Island Republicans, exasperated.
June 25: GOP Rep. Chris Cannon (UT-03), recently ousted in a primary, speaks candidly on the shape of the Republican Party in Utah and elsewhere: “It doesn’t take a genius to see that Republicans (in office) have lost the credibility of people in America and in the 3rd District.”
June 26: NRCC Communications Director Karen Hanretty admits that “there are no safe Republican seats in this election.”
June 30: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) admits that it is “impossible” for the GOP to reclaim control of the Senate in the 2008 elections.
June 30: GOP Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart is busted for touting labor endorsements from unions that not only did not endorse him, but are actually supporting his Democratic challenger, former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez.
July 1: Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD), while on the campaign trail for MD-01 candidate Andy Harris, admits that “the Republican brand quite frankly sucks”.
July 4: Former GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe pulls his support from AZ-08 candidate Tim Bee days after Bee votes to place a constitutional amendment on marriage on the November ballot.
July 6: NRSC Chair John Ensign (R-NV), setting a 3-4 seat loss for the GOP in the Senate as the committee’s goal, offers his take on the 2008 elections: “If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared.”
July 7: Ex-Rep. Guy Molinari, the unofficial leader of the Staten Island GOP, admits that the party’s chances of holding the open seat of retiring Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) are grim: “Based on the candidates that have surfaced so far, yes, we’re going to lose the seat.”
July 8: In the open seat race in Alabama’s heavily conservative 2nd CD, retiring GOP Rep. Terry Everett injects himself in the Republican primary runoff, begging the contestants to stop their negative attacks lest they turn off voters and hand the race to Democrat Bobby Bright.
Democrat Republican John Kennedy kicks off his U.S. Senate campaign in Louisiana in a mostly empty ballroom.
July 14: Republican Carl Mumpower suspends his campaign against Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-08) until local party leaders agree to sign a pledge to commit to core Republican principles.
July 15: Staten Island Republicans, still looking for a candidate to replace retiring Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13) settle on their last choice: former Assemblyman Robert Straniere. Guy Molinari, the unofficial dean of the Staten GOP, fumes: “They couldn’t have made a worse mistake. The party was already in desperate shape. They’ve all but buried it.”
July 16: During a campaign trip to Alaska, Republican candidate Luke Puckett (IN-02) is swarmed by mosquitoes before he can film a video on energy independence.
July 24: Republican Keith Fimian, running for the open seat of retiring Rep. Tom Davis in Virginia’s socially liberal 11th CD, is outed for his ties to socially conservative business groups and his anti-choice views.
July 24: State Rep. Todd Brinkman, who recently lost a primary to GOP wingnut Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (OH-02), spills all: “Jean Schmidt is a lying b—-. She would sell her mother to promote herself. She is a despicable person. She will go any length possible to win, to get what she wants.”
July 26: GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan is hit with allegations of illegal campaign financing.
July 29: GOP Sen. Ted Stevens, an iconic figure in his home state of Alaska, is indicted on criminal charges related to gifts and special favors received from Alaskan oil field services firm VECO. The indictment greatly boosts the chances of Democrat Mark Begich, who was already neck and neck with Stevens in the polls.
July 30: GOP Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) bumbles his way through a defense of his votes against funding for early childhood education programs, saying that such programs might allow “a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor” to claim discrimination.
July 31: GOP Rep. Joe Knollenberg (MI-09) is busted by the Swing State Project for scrubbing a racist headline on his blog.
August 1: A longtime friend of GOP dairy magnate Jim Oberweis (IL-11) compares the perennial candidate to fecal matter.
August 4: Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer is embarrassed once again, as it is revealed that his 20 year-old son has been posting extremely offensive photos on his Facebook account, including one that reads “Slavery gets shit done”.
August 13: GOP candidate Ed Tinsley, running for the open seat of Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02), sparks a firestorm when some of his outrageous comments against his Democratic opponent, Harry Teague, at a candidates’ forum are reported on local blogs. At the forum, Tinsley spat: “How can I call my two nephews over there right now [serving in Iraq]… and tell them I’m running against a guy that will cut your throat — that will cut the bottom out of your funding.”
August 13: GOP Rep. Dave Reichert (WA-08) comes under fire for accepting campaign cash from the parent company of Airbus, which is Boeing’s major competition. With 19,000 Boeing employees in his district, Reichert quickly dumps the cash, but not without embarrassment.
August 13: GOP Rep. Bill Sali (ID-01) comes under criticism from the local press for opening his campaign office in the wrong district, and for not adequately separating the boundaries of his congressional and campaign offices.
August 17: Scandal-plagued candidate Mike Erickson, running for the open seat of retiring Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR-05), is busted for attempting to portray a luxury vacation that he took to Cuba in 2004 as a “humanitarian trip”. A copy of the actual itinerary from his trip reveals that Erickson’s time was spent touring cigar factories, attending exclusive nightclubs and luxury restaurants, shooting doves, and watching the cock fights. In his defense, Erickson sputters: “If that’s not a humanitarian trip, I don’t know what is!”
August 18: GOP Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) screws the pooch and posts a press release from his Democratic opponent that brands the incumbent as an unwavering proponent of President Bush’s failed policies — right on the front page of his website.
August 18: In a major embarrassment for Republican candidate Jay Love, the Republican Mayor of Dothan and state co-chair of John McCain’s campaign in Alabama, Pat Thomas, endorses Democrat Bobby Bright for Congress.
August 20: GOP Sen. Ted Stevens is denied a home state trial, complicating his re-election efforts.
August 21: The campaign of GOP candidate Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09) is busted by the Swing State Project for releasing a deranged statement claiming that Luetkemeyer’s Democratic opponent, state Rep. Judy Baker, hates NASCAR. For the record: Judy Baker loves NASCAR.
August 22: GOP candidate Tim Bee, a highly-touted recruit running against freshman Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), is roasted by local editorials for forcing taxpayers to cover the security costs related to a private fundraiser he held with President Bush.
August 22: NRSC Chair John Ensign releases a statement stained with his own personal disgust that lambastes his Senate colleagues for not contributing to the party’s 2008 campaign efforts. Ensign announces that he has no choice but to decrease his committee’s expenditure budget for targeted races after previously vowing to match the DSCC “dollar for dollar”. The NRSC also pulls the plug on a planned $6 million reservation in the North Carolina Senate race, despite polls indicating that GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole is in an increasingly competitive race.
August 26: GOP Rep. Ric Keller (FL-08) barely defeats his primary challenger, a fringe right-wing radio host, by a 53-47 margin, helping prompt prognosticators to consider the incumbent in electoral danger in this marginal district.
August 26: In a big blow to the GOP’s hopes of retaining their at-large House seat in Alaska, corrupt GOP Rep. Don Young defeats Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by the slimmest of margins in the Republican primary. Polls show Young having a much rougher time against Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz than Parnell would have had.
Is there anything that we missed?