SSP Daily Digest: 3/29


FL-Sen: I was pretty bored with reading the George LeMieux tea leaves even before his cuppa began brewing, but in case you’re not me, the very-short-tenured former senator has been busy attending Lincoln Day dinners and meeting with GOP activists and potential donors. In beltway land, I think this upgrades him from “Lean Run” to “Likely Run.”

IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is trying to cause some trouble by saying that Gov. Mitch Daniels encouraged him to run against Dick Lugar in the GOP primary, while a Daniels spokesperson said the governor did no such thing. Daniels previously said he’d vote for Lugar, but didn’t exactly endorse him. In other news, Mourdock says he expects to show $125K raised for his race in just a month of campaigning.


KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear just punked his top opposition in this year’s gubernatorial race, state Senate President David Williams, hard. Williams had insisted on broad spending cuts (including to education) as part of a Medicaid budget bill; the Democratic-controlled House had no interest in these cuts, but Williams refused any possible compromise. So House Dems (and rebellious House Republicans) passed the Williams bill anyway… I know, hang on … but full-well expecting Beshear to use his line-item veto to strike the cuts. Then they adjourned, so that the vetoes couldn’t get over-ridden. And that’s exactly what happened, handing Williams a humiliating defeat.

WI-Gov: I’m wondering which pollster will finally have the courage to report numbers to the THOUSANDTHS of a percent. For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with Republican-affiliated pollster We Ask America, which bravely ignores all rules about significant digits and goes all the way to hundredths. They show what other polls are showing: that Scott Walker (like other loser Midwestern Republican governors) has crappy job approval ratings, in this case 43.71 to 54.87. YES DECIMALS.

WV-Gov: The AP has a good run-down on which groups are endorsing whom in the gubernatorial race. On the Dem side, we’ve noted several of the big union heavy hitters, most of whom are backing state House Speaker Rick Thompson. But some important labor groups are supporting other candidates, like state Sen. Jeff Kessler (Fraternal Order of Police, nurses) and Treasurer John Perdue (teamsters, state troopers). Meanwhile, EMILY’s List has endorsed SoS Natalie Tenant. The AP also tried to get candidates to cough up estimates of their fundraising figures (final reports are due Friday), but only acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin responded, saying he’d pulled in about a million bucks.

And speaking of Thompson, he’s apparently the first on TV, with an ad touting his hardscrabble upbringing. By the way, SSP Southern Correspondent Trent Thompson notes that the soundtrack you hear is a Baptist hymn, which seems to be popular among Southern Dems (Bobby Bright featured this sort of thing in his advertising). (UPDATE: Actually, it’s an actually an old Hank Williams gospel song that’s commonly sung in churches.)


CA-36: It looks like we have the final list of candidate filings for the special election. I count ten Democrats, six Republicans, five “nonpartisan,” two Libertarians (splitter!), and one “Peace and Freedom” candidate. Also, Howard Dean just endorsed Debra Bowen, which is not too surprising given that his former organization, Democracy for America (run by Howard’s brother Jim), also recently endorsed.

CA-51: Apparently there had been vague rumors that Dem Rep. Bob Filner might run for mayor of San Diego… and now apparently Filner just went and announced he was in fact doing so in a totally off-hand remark after a screening of the film Freedom Riders. (Filner himself was one of the Mississippi Freedom Riders.) There’s been some dispute over whether Filner’s remarks were accurately conveyed, but oddly, Filner’s office has refused to either confirm or deny the statement. Note that the race is in June of next year, so I believe Filner gets a free shot while keeping his House seat.

TX-23: Not so fast, Quico! Gary Martin of the Houston Chronicle says that Dems are looking at a few potential challengers to freshman GOPer Quico Canseco, including state Rep. Joaquin Castro and Pete Gallego, and state Sen. Carlos Uresti. Ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is also apparently weighing a rematch. While the borders of the 23rd will undoubtedly shift somewhat, it probably can’t change a whole lot thanks to the VRA (it’s 66% Hispanic), so this race could heat up earlier than many others.

WI-01: Food service company owner and Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban is apparently interested in challenging GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. Despite his leadership post and his inflexible conservatism, Ryan sits in a very swingish district that can’t really be improved in redistricting for a variety of reasons.

Other Races:

ME-St. Sen.: The Maine SoS has set May 10th as the date for a special election to fill the seat of state Sen. Larry Bliss (D). The reason for Bliss’s resignation was certainly unusual and quite poignant: He couldn’t find a job in Maine. State legislators work part-time and are only paid $13,000 a year. Bliss said that in the absence of other work, he’d been working as a “full-time” legislator and was really enjoying his job, but he could only find employment in California, prompting his resignation. Of course, this story really isn’t that unusual at all, given how many people are still out of work and struggling terribly. Also of note: Bliss was one of only a handful of openly LGBT state legislators nationwide.

PA-AG: Longtime Philly DA Lynne Abraham (D), who left office just last year, said she’s considering a run for state AG, despite being 70 years old. (Devoted Swingnuts will recall that ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy is also thinking about a run.) Believe it or not, no Democrat has won the AG’s office since it became an elected position in 1980.

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Unnamed sources tell the National Review they’ve seen polling showing the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg “near even.”


Census: Like in NYC, pols in Atlanta are wondering why the new Census numbers for their city are so much lower than expected – 420K vs. a projected 540K. Jacob Alperin-Sherrif (better known to you as DemocraticLuntz) has an excellent post comparing Census projections with actual numbers for cities between 100K and 1 million people. You need to click through for his must-see scatterplot. There is one massive outlier: Atlanta, which is more than six standard deviations away from the mean.

Redistricting Roundup:

Indiana: Despite total Republican control over the process, it’s starting to look like the Indiana legislature won’t finish their congressional map before the body adjourns on April 29th, largely because of a walk-out by Democrats which ground most work to a halt. But the Democrats just reached what they’re saying is a favorable a deal with the Republicans, so perhaps the process will pick up again soon.

Iowa: The state’s independent redistricting panel will release the first draft of a new congressional map at 8:15 am local time on Thursday morning.

Virginia: New maps for Congress, the state House and the state Senate could be released by the legislature today. Stay alert!

SSP Daily Digest: 8/16 (Morning Edition)

  • FL-Sen: As any attentive swingnut will now tell you, when you hear “Jeff Greene” and “Cuba” in the same sentence, you’re gonna think of the booze cruise he took their on his vomit-caked yacht a few years back. Well, Greene is (desperately?) trying to change the subject, saying that he now is open to lifting the Cuban embargo. Less than two weeks ago, though, he declared his firm support for it. Perhaps running to the right on Cuba is no longer the automatic option in Democratic primaries in Florida?
  • LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon has a new ad up just lacerating David Vitter for his record on women’s issues. I highly suggest you check it out – I think it’s very well done. NWOTSOTB, but Josh Kraushaar says the ad “is airing on broadcast and cable television throughout the state.”
  • MA-Sen: In a long profile with the Boston Globe, Vicki Kennedy (Ted’s widow) says she won’t challenge Scott Brown in 2012.
  • MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan is up with her first ad of the cycle, a negative spot hitting Roy Blunt for his support of the bailout. NWOTSOTB, but the ad (which you can view here) “is running statewide.”
  • SC-Sen: Looks like we’re stuck with the recently-indicted Alvin Greene as our candidate. In fact, say local election officials, “even if he were to be convicted before the election, the law appears to read that he could still serve and be on the ballot.” Memo to all state Democratic parties everywhere: Fix your bylaws!
  • FL-Gov: Dem Alex Sink is up with her first ad, ribbing her Republican rivals for their negative campaigning against each other. The Orlando Sentinel says that Sink “has bought $950,000 in TV from now through the Aug. 24 primary,” but I’m not sure if all of that is devoted to this one ad.
  • GA-Gov: It’s a continuing theme this digest: Roy Barnes is also up with his first ad of the general election, hitting Nathan Deal for his ethical issues. (Recall that Deal resigned from Congress earlier this year to avoid an Ethics Committee investigation.) NWOTSOTB.
  • TN-Gov: One more: Republican Bill Haslam is on the air with his first ad of the general election campaign, a super-cheesy one-minute spot in which (among other things) he name-checks his opponent’s dad, former Gov. Ned McWherter. NWOTSOTB.
  • WI-Gov: Obama alert! The POTUS will stop in Milwaukee on Monday to do a fundraiser for Dem gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. Nice to see that a guy like Barrett, running in a swing state which probably doesn’t feel too warmly toward Obama these days, isn’t afraid to appear with the president.
  • AZ-03: Ben Quayle seems to be acting like one of those defendants whose attorneys are begging him to stop talking to the papers, but who just can’t shut up. He put out a statement berating his opponents and the media for linking him to the sickeningly odious “Dirty Scottsdale” website (now – not linking them)… which of course can only have the effect of keeping this story alive even longer. Wonder where he gets these genius genes from….
  • AZ-08: Air Force vet Brian Miller, citing a lack of money, announced he was dropping out of the Republican primary and endorsing former state Sen. Jonathan Paton, rather than fellow veteran Jesse Kelly.
  • CA-52: Uh, wow. Just read the link.
  • CO-04: The conservative 501(c)4 group “Americans for Prosperity” is launching a $330K ad buy against Dem Rep. Betsy Markey. You can view the ad (which does not strike me as having the highest of production values) here.
  • IL-10: Both Dan Seals and his Republican opponent, Bob Dold!, are up on cable with their first ads of the general election. NWOTSOTB (either of them).
  • MA-10: Republican Jeff Perry’s resume takes another hit – literally. Turns out he’d been touting a “degree” he earned from a school called Columbia State University… which was, in fact, a notorious diploma mill until it was shut down by the authorities. Cape Cod Today was first on the story, and now it’s being picked up in other media outlets as well.
  • MI-01: Major bummer: State Sen. Jason Allen, who trails physician Dan Benishek by just fifteen votes following a re-canvass, won’t seek a recount. Still, I think Dems probably got our preferred candidate here.
  • NY-19: Rep. John Hall is trying to knock his Republican opponent, Nan Hayworth, off the Independence Party line, saying that her petitions contain too many invalid signatures.
  • NY-24: GOPer Richard Hanna is up with his first ad of the election campaign, a positive bio spot. NWOTSOTB.
  • PA-06, PA-07: Howard Dean is coming to suburban Philly next month to do a joint fundraiser for two Dems, Manan Trivedi and Bryan Lentz.
  • SD-AL: Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has a new ad up (“running statewide,” but NWOTSOTB) which features her two-year-old son pooping. Not kidding. Supposedly this is some kind of analogy to Congress (which likes to “eat, and eat, and eat”) that I am truly not getting.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 2/2

    AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has made it pretty clear already that he’s taking on John McCain in the Republican Senate primary, and now he’s made it official when he’s going to make it official. The launch date for his campaign: Feb. 15.

    CT-Sen, CT-02: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons did a whole lot of bobbing and weaving when an interviewer yesterday kept pressing him on the issue of whether he’d consider dropping down to run for his old House seat again (although a spokesperson followed up afterwards, saying he will not running for anything else, “period”). The idea has to be tempting to Simmons, though, who just watched his Senate dreams vaporize with Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal’s entry, and who may by enviously eyeing efforts by some of the other 2006 victims (like Mike Fitzpatrick) to turn back the clock.

    KS-Sen: There’s still six months to go before their Republican Senate primary, but time’s running out for Rep. Todd Tiahrt to make a move against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran leads this month’s SurveyUSA poll 40-33 (two months ago Tiahrt pulled within 3, but that’s the closest he’s been). Moran is currently up 38-23 in the state’s northeast, which will be the decisive region (as they each have their respective districts already locked down).

    NV-Sen: File this under “it’s bad news even if you have to be out there repeatedly saying this,” but Harry Reid again denied (this time to Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston) that he’d drop out of his fizzling Senate race to make way for a different candidate. On the GOP side, one potential opponent, Sue Lowden, is up with her first TV spot, a soft-focus biographical ad. Taking note of these developments, no doubt, are Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; insiders are observing that the two of them are both busy doling out campaign cash to their colleagues in order to build loyalties for what looks like the fight to be the next majority leader.

    NY-Sen-B: In case you missed it, last night’s point-by-point dismantling of Harold Ford Jr. by Stephen Colbert is a must-see. It clearly wasn’t the coming-out gala that Ford had envisioned.

    UT-Sen: The establishment is riding to the rescue for Bob Bennett, who could be threatened in this year’s primary if the teabagging rabble somehow coalesced behind one of his many opponents. The NRSC just handed $43K to Bennett’s campaign (an important sign to other institutional contributors), and Newt Gingrich is headlining a big-bucks fundraiser for Bennett.

    CA-Gov: Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates (apparently not working on behalf of any of the candidates) released a poll of the Republican gubernatorial primary, finding zillionairess Meg Whitman leading zillionaire Steve Poizner, 39-12. Apparently they were in the field when Tom Campbell bailed out, as they also offer up a three-way head-to-head, which was 31 Whitman, 17 Campbell, 5 Poizner.  

    CT-Gov: A couple comings and goings in Connecticut today: as expected, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton got in the Republican field. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, who’d been polling in the low single digits, dropped out. In a moment of unusual honesty for a politician, LeBeau said, “The state has no idea who Gary LeBeau is.”

    OR-Gov: This is a bit of a surprise, but in the wake of Al Gore’s endorsement, it’s certainly an indication that ex-SoS Bill Bradbury (something of an underdog in the Democratic primary against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber) has some powerful friends back in DC. Howard Dean will appear at several fundraisers for Bradbury in Oregon next week.

    FL-08: Here’s another surprise: brash 20-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez dropped out of the GOP field in the 8th, despite having attracted a lot of favorable buzz and even picked up a few endorsements from members of Florida’s House delegation. The national party never warmed up to him, though, seemingly put off by his line-crashing, and he may have finally gotten the message, between the NRCC’s preferred pick, businessman Bruce O’Donoghue, officially filing yesterday, and the endorsement by neighboring Rep. Cliff Stearns of yet another Republican in the crowded field, state Rep. Kurt Kelly.

    FL-19: In all the madness over the Illinois primaries today, it’s been almost universally forgotten that the primary in the safely-blue 19th to replace resigned Rep. Robert Wexler is also today. It’s hardly worth a look, though, as state Sen. Ted Deutch pretty much has it locked down, having raised many times more money than anyone else and nailed down the establishment endorsements. Former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber is the only other candidate of note.

    IN-04: Despite the advantages that his statewide profile brings him, SoS Todd Rokita won’t have the GOP field to replace retiring Rep. Steve Buyer to himself. He’ll have to face state Sen. Brandt Hershman too. Hershman has one key advantage himself: he works as an aide to Buyer, and has Buyer’s backing.

    NV-03: Here’s some good news for ex-state Sen. Joe Heck: he just got $10K to go toward his campaign against vulnerable Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus. The bad news is: that $10K came from the PAC of John Ensign, who just won’t stop trying to make himself useful to Nevada’s other Republicans despite the fact that he’s about as popular as shingles right now. But then Heck got some more good news: he won’t face a seriously contested primary, as self-funding businessman Rob Lauer dropped his teabaggish challenge to Heck to run for SoS instead.

    NY-13: A lot of people are asking who Michael Grimm is, after he banked over $300K last quarter to go up against Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon. He’s a former FBI agent, who apparently has a lot of friends in high places… in places outside of his district. Only $3,500 of that amount came from within the actual district, and $2,000 of that was from Staten Island Republican guru Guy Molinari.

    NY-14: Live by the primary challenge, die by the primary challenge. Rep. Carolyn Maloney now faces one of her own, a well-funded challenge from the apparent right from 30-something attorney Reshma Saujani, who has previously raised serious dollars within the Indian-American community for other Democratic candidates. Saujani, believe it or not, is running on an unashamedly pro-Wall Street platform (although this is maybe the one district in the country where that might still work).

    PA-06: Two more prominent local Democrats who had endorsed Doug Pike when he was the only game in town have switched their endorsements to Manan Trivedi instead. Significantly, they’re both in Berks County (which is also where Trivedi is from, and which is where Dems have tended to run the weakest in the district in the past): Reading mayor Tom McMahon and Berks Co. Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

    TN-01: Would you believe that there’s a Republican who lost in one of the wave elections who isn’t running for something this year? However, before you get too excited, it’s ex-Rep. David Davis, who’d been mulling a third matchup against Rep. Phil Roe, who knocked him off in a GOP primary in this super-red district in eastern Tennessee. The not-insane Roe may be the best we can hope for in this district, especially compared with Davis, who’d been making outreach to the local teabaggers in preparation for another run.

    WV-03: A credible challenger to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall sneaked under the rope at the filing deadline: former state Supreme Court justice Elliott Maynard. Maynard was, until recently, a Democrat, but switched parties pushed along largely by his perception of Democrats’ anti-coal environmental policies (and no doubt also influenced by West Virginia’s reddish turn over the last decade).

    OH-SoS: This was painless and easy: not only did a more progressive alternative to conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison get into the Secretary of State race – Franklin Co. Court Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy – but she won’t even face a contested primary. Getting the message that her establishment support was practically nil, Garrison got out of the race. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the GOP establishment seems to have settled the trouble it was having finding a replacement Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor ditched the job to run for Lt. Governor. They got Delaware Co. Prosecutor Kevin Yost to switch over from the AG’s race, where he was facing ex-Sen. Mike DeWine in a primary. That caused a lot of consternation among the state’s right-wingers, though – they were looking forward to Yost picking off the unacceptably moderate (and generally underwhelming) DeWine in the primary. Both the SoS and Auditor positions are key from a redistricting perspective, as along with the Governor they control the state’s legislative redistricting process.

    Republicans: If you haven’t checked out the details of Research 2000’s in-depth poll of the state of what Republicans believe today, please do. Although I’m not really still sure what to do with all this knowledge… except maybe acknowledge that you can’t negotiate with such irrational actors.

    Redistricting: CQ’s Josh Kurtz takes an interesting look at redistricting in California over the decades, as seen through the prism of a new book that covers the many ups and downs of legendary California Rep. Philip Burton. Will it be an incumbent protection map or an aggressive push, and how will the state’s fast-growing Latino population be accommodated?

    SSP Daily Digest: 7/15

    CA-32: Congratulations to Judy Chu, who will be the newest member of the House Democrats. She defeated Republican Betty Chu in last night’s special election, by a margin of 62-33, with the balance going to Libertarian Chris Agrella. (It’s a bit of an underperformance in the district, where Obama won 68-30, so I’m wondering if the Chu/Chu confusion actually ate into her share a bit. Or, it could just be a highly unmotivated base on a day when nothing else was on the ballot.)

    AR-Sen: State Senator Kim Hendren, last heard from calling Chuck Schumer “that Jew” when he couldn’t think of his name, had something of a reprise yesterday, referring to African-American federal judge Brian Miller as “this new minority judge.” Don’t confuse Hendren with other GOP candidate Curtis Coleman, who’s the one who thought you should “get shots” before going down to southeast Arkansas.

    IL-Sen: Mark Kirk — who’s had some past problems with the space-time continuum — has pinned down a date for announcing his Senate candidacy: Monday the 20th. Meanwhile, he’s been lunching with his would-be colleagues among the Senate Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon.

    NV-Sen: Both the Nevada GOP and minority leader Mitch McConnell sound more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of John Ensign running for re-election in 2012. Meanwhile, Nevada’s other Senator, Harry Reid, pulled down $3.25 million last quarter, a very large haul indeed for someone who can’t count on mommy and daddy to write him a big check.

    NY-Sen-B: Two more endorsements for Kirsten Gillibrand in the face of a potential primary with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, both of which ought to help her with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party: Planned Parenthood’s political wing, and, reportedly, Howard Dean himself. Latest fundraising reports point to Gillibrand doubling up on Maloney, both in terms of 2Q results and cash on hand.

    MN-Gov: Dems dodged a bullet in Minnesota: former GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad (of MN-03) announced that he won’t run for governor in 2010, either as a Republican or (as sometimes rumored) for the Independence Party. The likable and generally moderate Ramstad would have been probably the toughest foe the GOP could have put up. (Norm Coleman is better known, of course, but not very well-thought-of anymore, if that recent PPP poll is any indication.)

    NC-Gov: PPP took a look at Bev Perdue’s job approvals halfway through her first year in office, and, well, let’s just say we should be glad she isn’t up for re-election in 2010. Her approvals are now 25-55, down from a high of 44% in March. PPP says that’s the worst individual performance of anyone they’ve polled this year except for Roland Burris!

    CA-47: Shades of Tom McClintock, anybody? GOP Assemblyman Van Tran, who’s running against Loretta Sanchez in the 47th (and had a good fundraising quarter, pulling down $250,000), has just filed the paperwork to run for State Senate in 2012. Considering that the State Senate (and its term limits) can’t really be seen as a promotion from the U.S. House, could this be a sign of how confident Tran is about the future of his challenge to Sanchez?

    FL-10: In the wake of Mike Castle’s tepid fundraising numbers, a similar number leaps out from the Bill Young camp: he only raised $50,155 last quarter (with $437K CoH). Is retirement on the horizon? Of course, his Dem challenger, state Sen. Charlie Justice, hasn’t been burning up the charts either, with an $86K quarter.

    NC-08: Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory is getting his name out there, perhaps while testing the waters for an NC-08 run, CQ observes. He’s joining Americans for Prosperity (a group that’s been linked to the teabagging movement) on their “Patients First Tour” in several North Carolina cities (including a stop in Wingate, which is in the 8th).

    PA-06: No surprise: with Rep. Jim Gerlach officialy out (and in the gubernatorial race), next-in-line state Rep. Curt Schroder officially got in the race to be the GOP nominee in the 6th. On the Dem side, Doug Pike seems to be marching unopposed to the nomination; rather than seeing other Dem candidates jump in now that Gerlach finally hit ‘eject,’ he’s starting to score some endorsements, starting with Rep. Patrick Murphy from the nearby 8th today.

    OH-???: This is kind of strange way to drum up publicity, but former Sen. Mike DeWine has announced that next week he’ll announce his campaign plans for “statewide office,” without specifying which one. Attorney General seems likely, since John Kasich already has a firm grasp on the governor’s race. Does Ohio have a statewide “dogcatcher” position?

    AL-St. House: In a special election last night, Dems lost an open, Dem-held state House seat in the Huntsville area (the same area where they lost a special election for a Dem-held open state Senate seat earlier this year). The seat was open because state Rep. Sue Schmitz was forced to resign because she was convicted of fraud, so this race kind of had a pall over it from the beginning. GOPer Phil Williams beat Dem Jenny Askins 60-39; this cuts the Dem advantage in the House to 61-44.

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    DemocracyFest is a political festival for liberal/progressive activists which features trainings, speakers and entertainment; teaching people how to make a difference and have fun doing it! Prior DemocracyFests have been held in Massachusetts, Texas, California, New Hampshire and Virginia. Over 4,000 activists have been trained to help on campaigns and make a difference in their communities.

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    VT-Gov 2010 Racine’s in, Douglas proposes changing school funding, Spaulding will decide soon.

    During the 2008 gubernatorial season democrats waited until May to field a candidate.  This cycle, Vermont democrats stepped up with Doug Racine announcing that he would take on Jim Douglas come 2010.  Racine was a former Lite governor who lost to Douglas in 2002, 47-44.  

    “Racine, 56, who expects to return as chairman of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, said he is focused on the 2009 legislative session. He said he informed several Douglas administration officials Monday of his plans to run for governor and that he doesn’t expect it to affect his work with them.”

    There have also been rumblings of stronger candidates mounting a challenge against Douglas.  

    “Several high-profile Democrats are considering a run, amid pressure from party activists to get an early start. State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding said he’s still considering a run and expects to decide within a few months.”

    Spaulding has been Treasurer since 2002, is the president of the national association of state treasurers, and was a state senator from1995-2001.  This would make him one of the strongest candidates to challenge Douglas since Racine’s first challenge back in 2002.  He will decide within three months.  

    The race is also complicated by Douglas’ recent proposals to deal with the recession.  The biggest issue will be scrapping act 68, the way that Vermonters pay for education, without offering any sort of alternative way to fund education.  

    “If local school boards want to spend more per pupil than they are doing in the current year, any additional funds would have to be paid for entirely by local residential property taxpayers. Income sensitivity provisions – under which homeowners pay school taxes based on income, not property values – would not apply.”

    Reopening this can of worms could potentially weaken Governor Douglas’ popularity.  Normally Douglas survives by not doing or proposing anything too controversial, then benefits from the independence of the electorate and the left far left split.  A violent education battle could be the issue that makes Douglas vulnerable.

    If Douglas is indeed weakened by the education battle or seems weak, then Spaulding will most likely join the fray, as could sec of state Deb Markowitz.  If however Douglas runs for re-election, and doesn’t appear vulnerable, Racine will have the nomination all to himself, and will most likely face a three way race with Anthony Pollina.  Pollina was the progressive turned independent who beat Gaye Symington in the 2008 election.  

    If Douglas retires, the election will quickly become bedlam.  The Vermont political scene is constipated, with every statewide official, as well as many aspiring state senators and mayors stuck.  Should Douglas retire, plethora of positions open up.  The governors seat will free up first, then the lite govs seat, if lite gov Brian Dubie runs for governor, or retires.  From there, Markowitz and Spaulding will run hopefully for those two positions, or will primary each other for the governor’s seat.  This will open the treasurer’s position and secretary of state.  If Douglas retires, Racine will most likely lose the primary battle, and democrats will be favored for all of the aforementioned positions.  There are some wildcards however.

    1. Leahy retirement/Death:  in his seventies, Leahy could decide to retire in 2010 giving Douglas and Dubie the option to run for senate.  They passed on the open seat in 2006, but both knew they couldn’t beat Bernie Sanders.  For the democrats the only dems who could win would be Markowitz, Spaulding and current House rep Peter Welch.  Welch is popular, but Douglas and Dubie have been on the statewide scene the longest.  This would be his only chance to become a senator as Bernie will almost certainly run for re-election in 2012.  By the time an open seat comes up in 2016 or 2018 Welch will be 67-70. 67-70 Year olds do not run for freshman terms in the senate unless they know they can’t win.  By 2016/2018 Welch will have seniority and will probably be looking towards either a good committee assignment, house leadership role, or cabinet position depending on who wins in 2016.   With Markowitz and Spaulding, who knows?

    2.  Howard Dean returns to Vermont politics:  there haven’t been any rumblings of this, but with the whole “Obama is dissing Dean Meme” it’s possible that dean will return to Vermont either to run for senator if there’s a retirement or governor again.  I put the chances in the low single digits, but were it to happen, it would change everything.  

    3.  Further economic downturns.  Who knows how this could affect the race, but it probably will.


    The Doctor is IN! How about You?

    From the Desk of those hard working folks at Netroots Nation:

    We are thrilled to announce that Gov. Howard Dean will kick off the 2008 Netroots Nation convention as Thursday’s evening keynote speaker.

    The chairman of the Democratic National Committee and governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 addressed the Netroots community at the 2006 and 2007 conventions. This year, we’re especially proud to recognize his efforts to create an active, effective movement by organizing in every precinct and in every state.

    Dean has been one of the most influential forces in the progressive movement. As chairman of the DNC, he has worked to make Democrats competitive in every race, district and state, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats’ core values.

    His belief that every citizen matters, from California to Connecticut, from Alaska to Mississippi, echoes our belief that the voices of all Americans deserve to be heard.

    Netroots Nation is July 17-20 in Austin, TX. So if you haven’t registered, now’s the time!

    Click here to register now

    Anyone who was fortunate enough to get to hear Dean at any of the previous conventions knows what a great time this will be, but this is more then just a speech – this is a celebration of the success of the 50-state strategy and the impact of the Netroots on supporting Dean’s vision.

    We hope you can join us in Austin.  Every year this event seams to get bigger and better then the last, and I expect that this year will continue that trend!

    FL and MI Presidential

    It’s reached the point in Florida and Michigan where neither remaining candidate in the Democratic Party Marathon is even trying to sound reasonable, much less presidential.  Hillary Clinton is arguing the unsupportable position that the original primaries should count, as originally formatted, even though they were held in opposition to party rules and with the understanding by all candidates  that they would not count.

    Obabma is arguing an equally unsupportable position that, because the political powers in the two states (and in Florida, this means the Republican-controlled legislature) broke the rules, the people of two of the largest and most critical states should be disenfranchised with regard to the party nominee.

    normboyd40 :: Methinks I Smell Raw Politics: Boyd’s eye View


    I have two thoughts on this issue.  First, a pox on both their houses. Let the contest go as it is going.  Let them get to the convention, refuse to allow the superdelegates to vote, and nominate Al Gore on the second ballot, with John Edwards as his running mate. (Or John Edwards, with Wesley Clark or Bill Richardson)

    Second, stop the stupid squabbling. Hillary – get over it! The original primaries may have seemed like a dream come true for you, but that’s because they were a dream.  In the sense of not associated with reality. Get over it!

    Obama, knock off the pontificating.  It makes YOU look stupid when you talk to us like WE are stupid.  Of course, you would love to ignore two states that may just vote for your opponent, but don’t stand there, as “candidate for all the people, all the time” and then say the millions of Dems in these two super-sized states can be ignored. Your camp says “There are serious concerns about security and making sure that everyone gets to vote”.  But then you say that the better alternative is to simply guarantee that nobody gets to vote.

    So, both of you are exposed for just what you are.  Typical machine politicians ready to do anything at all for a victory. Yes. it is true, I will still vote for one of you, if that’s how it ends up, but only because the alternative is unthinkable. No longer will I be able to cast my vote proudly and happily for someone I see as a great American and a potentially great President.  No, I will be voting to end the Bush years, to avoid the Bush Lite ascendancy, and get us out of Iraq and back into the rule of law and reason.

    A plausible solution for Florida and Michigan has been waved in our faces by a Democrat who, quite frankly, isn’t the most progressive or most loyal to Democratic causes, Sen. Bill Nelson. He would like to tweak the system to favor his candidate,  naturally enough, but that can be dealt with. Florida and Michigan have enough big money Democrats to finance this do-over as a mail-in primary.  Don’t tell me the US Mail is less trustworthy than Dieboldt Corporation. We can do this.  We can do it fairly and efficiently, and we can get a nominee. If not, go back to my first scenario and draft either Al or John.

    Oh, and Gov. Dean?  May we humbly suggest going back to winner-take-all primaries next cycle?  God, I hate it when the GOP is more competent that we are.


    By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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