SSP Daily Digest: 10/9

FL-Sen: Here’s something of an ooops from Bob Mendendez at the DSCC: his comments last week where he seemed to leave out the possibility of a pickup in the open seat race in Florida prompted former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre to jump into the race, saying “You can’t write off Florida” (or at least that’s what Ferre said was the impetus, although that doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you do with less than a week of planning). This week, the DSCC is saying that Menendez misspoke and that they’re pleased with Kendrick Meek’s fundraising so far.

KS-Sen: You might remember that yesterday we said that Democratic state Treasurer Dennis McKinney hadn’t ruled out running for Senate. However, a source close to McKinney tells us that McKinney (who was appointed after previous GOP Treasurer Lynn Jenkins was elected to KS-02) plans to run for Treasurer in 2010.

CT-Gov: Jodi Rell is facing some possible ethical trouble; Democrats accuse her of spending state money for political purposes by hiring pollsters to do focus groups on the state budget, and have referred the matter to the Office of State Ethics. The polling seemed to veer into politics in terms of message-testing and looking at perceptions of AG Richard Blumenthal, a possible Democratic opponent. Rell has formed an exploratory committee for re-election, but we’re still waiting to see if she follows through; stuff like this may help chip away at her veneer of inevitability.

MN-Gov: Here’s a first: someone’s not running for Minnesota governor. St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman decided against trying to wade into the crowded Democratic primary field, saying his work as mayor wasn’t done.

NJ-Gov: One more pollster finds a super-tight gubernatorial race in New Jersey. Neighborhood Research, a Republican pollster (but not working for the Christie campaign) finds Chris Christie leading Jon Corzine only 36-35, with Chris Dagget pulling in 11. Their previous poll last month gave Christie a 4-point edge. Corzine’s campaign has apparently succeeded in making Christie just as widely disliked as Corzine — Christie’s favorables have dropped to 28%, equal to Corzine’s. Also, it doesn’t look like Sarah Palin will get to ride to Chris Christie’s rescue: the Christie and McDonnell camps have both given a “thanks but not thanks” to her offer of help, according to Politico.

PA-Gov: GrassrootsPA, the rightosphere’s Pennsylvania outpost, commissioned a poll through Dane & Associates to see how Republican AG Tom Corbett matches up against his Democratic rivals (no Jim Gerlach head-to-heads, unfortunately). The sample size is a teeny-weeny 200, but the numbers line up with other polling: the closest race is with fellow statewide official, Auditor Jack Wagner, who trails Corbett 41-37. Corbett leads Philly businessman Tom Knox 44-36, Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato 44-32, and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel 53-27.

VA-Gov: Lots of poll watchers were waiting for the newest Washington Post poll of the Virginia race to come out, to see if it gave more favorable numbers to Creigh Deeds than we saw out of recent Rasmussen and SurveyUSA polls. WaPo tended to be a bit more favorable to Deeds, but they’re seeing what everyone else is seeing: Bob McDonnell now leads 53-44. Looks like whatever traction Deeds got post-thesis-gate has drifted away.

WY-Gov: The main story in Wyoming is that everyone is still waiting to see whether Dave Freudenthal challenges Wyoming’s term limits law and goes for a third term. Former GOP state Rep. Ron Micheli is running regardless, as we reported recently, but there are a few other behind-the-scenes moves going on. State House Speaker Colin Simpson (and son of Sen. Alan Simpson), at some point, filed to open an exploratory committee (and would probably be GOP frontrunner if he got in). On the Democratic side, state Sen. Mike Massie has been touring the state rounding up support (with Freudenthal’s blessing), but says he won’t create an exploratory committee until he knows Freudenthal isn’t running.

CA-03: Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis has dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd, to go up against Rep. Dan Lungren (who squeaked by in 2008). Davis didn’t seem to be making much fundraising headway against physician Ami Bera and public utility executive Bill Slaton.

CA-10: Republicans are hanging on to some glimmers of hope in the special election in the 10th, offering up an internal poll from David Harmer’s camp, by Wilson Research. The poll shows Harmer within single digits of Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, 41-34. (It also claims that, once you adjust for the 35% share that the GOP got in the primary, it closes to a 2-pt gap.)

FL-24: Another three-way primary got less crowded, this time on the Republican side. State Rep. Dorothy Hukill decided to end her campaign for the primary to go up against Democratic freshman Suzanne Kosmas; Hukill will run for re-election instead. That leaves fellow state Rep. Sandy Adams, and Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel in the Republican field.

IN-02: It looks like Republican state Rep. Jackie Wolarski (generally known as “Wacky Jackie”) is set to launch her campaign against sophomore Rep. Joe Donnelly. She says she’s leaning in that direction and will open an exploratory committee by Monday.

KS-02: The Democrats have nailed down a solid recruit to go up against Great White Dope Lynn Jenkins in the 2nd. State senator Laura Kelly, who has represented a Topeka-area district since 2004, announced today that she will try to reclaim the seat lost by Nancy Boyda last year.

NY-19: This could get inconvenient for Republican Assemblyman Greg Ball, who’s going up against Rep. John Hall in this swing district. The New York Democratic Lawyers Council filed an FEC complaint against Ball this week, alleging a series of illegal solicitations, improper automatic phone calls, and illegal use of Assembly resources for his congressional campaign.

NY-23: The establishment/hardliner schism continues unabated in the 23rd, where state Conservative Party chair Michael Long has sent around a memo calling on other conservative activists to stop funding the NRCC until it backs off its support for moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava. However, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling didn’t get the message; the former chair of the Republican Study Committee (the House GOP’s right-wing ideological caucus) gave his endorsement to Scozzafava, on purely pragmatic grounds (saying “she’s the only Republican who can win”). This endorsement probably won’t resonate much outside the Beltway’s financial circles, though; I can’t imagine more than a handful of 23rd district residents know Hensarling’s name.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/21

AR-Sen: I’m not sure what it is about the Arkansas Senate race that’s making it flypaper for never-before-elected wingnuts. At any rate, former Army colonel Conrad Reynolds, from Conway, announced his candidacy on Monday.

FL-Sen: The Fix confirms that Marco Rubio will stay in the Florida GOP Senate primary, despite a terrible fundraising disparity and a brief public flirtation with dropping down to the AG race in the hopes of, y’know, not getting demolished.

IL-Sen: Newly elected Rep. Mike Quigley became the third Democratic House member from Illinois to endorse Alexi Giannoulias today (although the endorsement may not even be necessary if Chris Kennedy doesn’t get around to showing up).

MO-Sen: State Senator Chuck Purgason has been sending around e-mails telling the press that tomorrow he’ll hold a press conference (at the Ozark Cafe, in West Plains, if you happen to be in the area) where he’ll announce his plans for the GOP primary race against Rep. Roy Blunt. Spoiler alert! Purgason’s own e-mail goes on to say “It is expected that Purgason will announce that he will enter the race…”

NH-Sen: Here are two items that fall in the “well, duh” file: Kelly Ayotte has set up an exploratory committee so she can consider running for Senate, and Senator Judd Gregg hints strongly that he plans to endorse her.

WV-Sen: Here’s some good news, not just because we like to see our friends stay healthy but because he’s badly needed for cloture votes: Robert Byrd is back on the job on the Hill, after six weeks of hospitalization and some additional time to recuperate.

KS-Gov: Kansas Democrats are back to Plan A in the 2010 Governor’s race (not that they ever really had a Plan B): going back to Gov. Mark Parkinson and begging him to reconsider his decision not to run for election to a full term. Parkinson remains adamant, though.

ME-Gov: Another entrant to the Democratic field in the slow-to-take-shape Maine governor’s race: Portland businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli, who owns a housing company. Former state House Speaker and AG Steve Rowe still seems to have inside track for the Dems; the GOP, by contrast, doesn’t seem to have anyone yet.

MI-Gov: The GOP primary in the Michigan governor’s race got even more cluttered today, when, as expected, businessman Rick Snyder got into the race. Snyder is a venture capitalist who briefly served as CEO of PC maker Gateway back in the 1990s.

NJ-Gov: Chris Christie picked Monmouth County Sheriff Kimberly Guadagno as his Lt. Gov. candidate yesterday. It’s consistent with his approach of running a law and order, outsider-ish campaign. Christie supposedly also gave a lot of consideration to picking Rep. Frank LoBiondo, who, had he won, would have created a tasty pickup opportunity in NJ-02.

UT-Gov: This week’s confirmation hearing of Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China is expected to be a quick affair. He could be in his new job before the summer recess, leaving Gary Herbert in charge of Utah in a matter of weeks.

AL-07: In the wake of recent fundraising reports, Roll Call takes a look at the race to fill the open seat left behind by Rep. Artur Davis, running for Alabama governor. Corporate attorney Terri Sewell, thanks to her job, seems to have the best fundraising connections, and leads the money chase by far ($173K last quarter). However, she probably trails two other candidates in name recognition: state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. (son of the former Representative that Davis beat in a primary) and Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot, who is also known for having her own radio show. Also in the race are former Selma mayor James Perkins Jr., attorney Martha Bozeman (Davis’s former campaign manager), and businessman Eddison Walters (who racked up 9% against Davis in a 2006 primary).

KS-02: Former Rep. Nancy Boyda landed on her feet, getting sworn in yesterday to her new job at the Pentagon, as deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for manpower and personnel. This would suggest she won’t be running again in KS-02, which is fine, as she seems better suited for a policy job than one that requires a lot of campaigning.

NY-23: In other confirmation news, John McHugh’s confirmation hearing as Secretary of the Army won’t happen until after the August recess (although no one expects holds on the moderate Republican to be a problem). McHugh will remain in office until his confirmation, and after that there will still be several months’ lead time until a special election.

TX-23: Republican lawyer and banker Quico Canseco is back for another whack at Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the San Antonio-based 23rd. Actually, Canseco never got that whack in 2008 — highly touted by the NRCC, Canseco was upset in the GOP primary by Bexar Co. Commissioner Lyle Larson, despite spending over $1 million of his own money.

Mayors: You may remember businessman Greg Fischer, who lost the 2008 Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky to Bruce Lunsford. He announced that he’ll run for Louisville mayor in 2010, as 20-year mayor Jerry Abramson recently announced he won’t run again.

Who do you wanna see coming back?

Well, I don’t know who else to include in the tags, but this thread is about people who lost races–even if by landslides–who we think have real potential to do something awesome.

Scott Kleeb: obviously, the netroots darling of this cycle.  With his coming so close in NE-03 last time, I think he should have run again there, rather than get in over his head running for the Senate seat against a non-crappy (and quite tough) candidate.  It seems that the fact that Adrian Smith sucked hasn’t yet resonated into netroots consciousness the way Bill Sali’s antics have, and thus it was passed around that Kleeb’s overperformance in NE-03 meant that he could similarly overperform in all of Nebraska.  But he seems like he’s got a future ahead of him, and I think we’d love to see him back.

Gary Trauner: I think I’ve mentioned several times that he’s my favorite candidate, and not only that, he’s almost singlehandedly built a semblance of a Democratic bench in Wyoming (of all places!).  His name’s been tossed around as a gubernatorial candidate, since (to paraphrase someone) Wyomingites are more comfortable sending a Democrat to Cheyenne than to DC.

Nancy Boyda: a nearly heart-breaking loss, from the person who I’ve heard got DCCC money in 2004 and lost badly, then refused it in 2006 (mostly) and won a surprise victory, and then refused it again in 2008 and lost narrowly.  I remember seeing one of her announcements in her capacity as a Representative, and she seemed like a quite hard-working person who really wanted to serve her constituents.

Jon Powers: three words: Jack ****ing Davis.  Will we see more of him?  He can’t really high-tail back to New York immediately either, so this one is really in the air.

Alice Kryzan: How good of a candidate was she?  Will we see more of her?  Would we like to?  I have little to no information about her.

Chris Rothfuss: the Democratic Senate candidate against Mike Enzi of Wyoming, this college instructor with chemical engineering and diplomacy experiences was in WAYYYYYY over his head.  But as my mother mentioned, this guy’s got presidential-level potential, and I hope he gets somewhere.  I was very receptive to his appeal for more scientists in Congress, and while we just got one more recently (Bill Foster), there’s no question that we need more.

Don Cazayoux: Unfortunately, Michael Jackson Wanted to Be Where Don Cazayoux Is, and made everyone not Happy by running as an independent and not Beating It.  This caused this One Day of Cazayoux’s Life, this past Tuesday, to be Bad, because the district’s African-American voters were torn by the question of Black or White, and caused a rare election-day Thriller for Republicans this year as Bill Cassidy succeeded in letting himself say “This Seat Is Mine”.  So Farewell Our Summer Love, LA-06, but let’s not Cry over it, because Cazayoux might Wanna Be Startin’ Something since he’s still got quite a bit of potential.  Will You Be There for him?

Nick Lampson: A comeback kid swept back out of office, by extremely unfriendly turf that nearly elected Snelly Dracula-Gibbr Shelly Sekula-Gibbs in write-in ballots.  Will he be back for another round once we can tip Texas’s districting a bit closer back to sanity?

Larry LaRocco: does this guy have anything else he can do?  Will he wait until Risch really screws it up?  Or can he do something else?  Or is Walt Minnick the way of the future, with apologies to poor LaRocco who worked his butt off on one of the best Senate campaigns this year?  (Speaking of which, what’s Larry Grant doing?)

Larry Craig: Hmm, I think we’d love to have him around!  (What about other Idahoans named Larry?  Is there something that really curses them to political problems?)

Debbie Cook: Seems like a quite awesome candidate…can we get her to run again in 2010?

Dan Seals: Will he be running again?  Or is third time seriously not going to be the charm?  What else could he do?

Elwyn Tinklenberg: How about our favorite light rail champion?  How about another run against the House Anti-American Activities Committee’s lone member?

Tom Allen: I’ve heard that he kept the campaign relatively placid in order to position himself to run for governor.

Rick Noriega: Rumor has it that Hutchison wants the governorship.  Is Noriega our man for the job?  He ran a decent (though, according to people around here it seems, not quite stellar) campaign even though it was a serious uphill battle.

Who else do we want to see again?

KS-02 Why Nancy Boyda is Getting Safer

As her Republican opponent files the biggest single quarter fundraising report from a Kansas congressional candidate in the state’s history, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda (D-KS) actually finds herself increasingly more secure in her first re-election bid.

Even with a $681,000 quarter and running in a district that went to George W. Bush by double digits, Republican Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins woke up today to not only still find herself behind in cash-on-hand, but she also had to read that The Cook Political Report had moved the race in the Kansas 2nd out of the “Toss Up” column and into “Leans Democratic.”  

The question is: Why?

For those of us on the ground, it’s easy to see the answer to that question.

Over the course of the last 2 years, Boyda has been an able representative- never quite liberal enough for the liberals, and never quite conservative enough for the conservatives.  Instead she has been a very traditional Kansas Democrat, bucking the party when it doesn’t represent her district’s interests.  While that hasn’t always made her popular with lots different interest groups, it has left her quite popular and well-regarded back at home.

Also, the simple fact the folk back at home have seen so much of Boyda has made a massive difference in the way she’s perceived in district.  Boyda has held hundreds of public meetings, has been home nearly every single weekend (save the few she spent in Iraq and Afghanistan- including Christmas 2007), and her constituent services office has been open and accessible, potentially the very best in Kansas.

While those things certainly have insulated Boyda, in at least some regard, to the ceaseless partisan attacks she’s been bludgeoned with for two years, simply coming home a lot and being available only goes so far for a Democrat in an R+7 district.  Why, then, is a Republican like Jenkins having such a hard time gaining traction in this previously reliably Republican district- and why has The Cook Political Report moved this race out of the toss up category this late in the game?

All you need to do is open a district newspaper to find out.

Over the course of the last two weeks, Lynn Jenkins has been hit by two revelations that went straight to the core of her candidacy (the fact that, as a CPA and a competent state treasurer, she could better manage the fiscal house of the United States than Boyda) and have totally derailed her bid.

First: While campaigning against former Congressman Jim Ryun in the Republican primary, Jenkins skipped every single monthly meeting of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System Board of Trustees- while that fund, which provides for the pensions of every state employee and school teacher in Kansas, lost more than $1 billion.

Missing board meetings certainly isn’t a sexy scandal, but it resonated in the district, if only because Jenkins had been hitting Boyda hard for months for Boyda’s infamous 10-minute “walkout” on Ret. Gen. Jack Keane from a 2007 Armed Services Committee meeting, with Jenkins saying Boyda wasn’t doing her job because she left the room.  Unfortunately for Jenkins, when the voters compared the two it was all too obvious who actually wasn’t doing their job and who’s lax attention to their duties had actually harmed the people of Kansas.

Jenkins dug herself deeper when she wouldn’t explain where she had been instead of at the meetings, only to state she was “busy” and that she has “a lot of balls in the air” at the current time.  Oh, also, Jenkins said she was never actually out of contact with the board, and that she communicated with everyone via email.  But, in the very same newspaper piece she was quoted saying that, the Executive Director of KPERS said:

(KPERS executive director Glenn Deck) said he hadn’t received any e-mails or phone calls from Jenkins recently and said he wasn’t aware of others receiving contact either.

“I don’t think so because I think I would be copied,” Deck said.

He also said he wasn’t aware of feedback Jenkins has provided to the board while she was away.


It got worse for Jenkins October 16 when the Topeka Capital-Journal ran a story revealing that, during her terms as state treasurer, the state of Kansas misallocated upwards of $15 million in motor fuel taxes in the way payments were made out to Kansas counties.  The accounting error that led to the mismanagement of funds wasn’t the fault of the Jenkins administration, and her staff did indeed find the flaw after using the wrong formula for six years.

But our story gets better.  So, for six years Lynn Jenkins either overpaid or shortchanged Kansas counties- millions of dollars potentially mismanaged.  After her staff discovered the error, she dashed off a letter to the governor’s office alerting her and then Lynn…did nothing…for two months.  Not a single word to any counties to let them know they might be asked to repay thousands back to the state in their next fiscal year- nor notification that they may be receiving extra cash, either.  By the time she got around to telling the counties what had happened, 2009 fiscal year budgets were already set and we can promise you not one county in Kansas budgeted an extra $150,000 just in case Lynn Jenkins screwed up.  If Jenkins had moved appropriately, counties might have been able to adjust to repay the state (or, of course, absorb new funds), but she didn’t.  

One last bit: Still to this day the treasurer’s office has not produced a spreadsheet showing where overpayments and underpayments have occured, so Kansas counties still have no idea what they might owe.  

Eventually someone’s going to have to pay for Lynn Jenkins’ mismanagement, and, sadly, it’s going to be the taxpayers of Kansas.

Lynn Jenkins’ star was near particularly bright- generally, the people of the Kansas 2nd seem happy with Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.  But, over the course of the last two weeks, Jenkins’ task ahead became much, much more difficult- all because she’s really not good at the job she already has.  When you’re running a campaign based solely on the fact you’re really competent and that you’ll be able to “clean up Washington,” nothing is more damaging that it being revealed that you’re really, really just not competent.

Boyda’s reelection certainly won’t be a blow out, and Jenkins has already tried her best to distort Boyda’s record in an effort to make her own record problems go away, but, for those of you wondering why The Cook Political Report had decided this race was a little less close than it was a couple of weeks ago, we hope this provides a little local perspective.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

KS-02: DCCC Cancels its $1.2M Ad Reservation

Boyda wins… sort of. From the Topeka Capitol-Journal:

U.S. Rep. Nancy Bodya, D-Kan., said today the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee complied with her request to withdraw plans for $1.2 million in campaign commercials in her district.

She expressed concern recently the influx of independent advertising in her 2nd District campaign against Republican Lynn Jenkins might too heavily influence the outcome.

“This is terrific news for anyone who believes that Kansas voters should control Kansas campaigns,” Boyda said. “By canceling their ads, the DCCC has given Kansas the chance to run our election without Washington interference.”

Reid Wilson has more:

But the real winners could be State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins and national Republicans. Boyda represents one of the most Republican seats held by a Democrat, and Jenkins, who won the GOP primary on Tuesday, is seen as a moderate with a better chance of winning than her more conservative primary opponent. Now, Democrats are passing up the opportunity to use the advertising money to define Jenkins as she reloads from the costly primary.

The National Republican Congressional Committee deserves credit too, having stayed on Boyda over the past several weeks and making a big deal about her association with her party nationally, and GOP strategists gloated about Democrats’ decision to pull the money.

I’m of two minds on this one. On the one hand, some of the DC Dems that I’ve talked to are actually glad that Jim Ryun lost the GOP primary on Tuesday, as they considered him (and his name recognition) to be the more formidable opponent rather than the “moderate” Jenkins. Indeed, the lone poll we’ve seen of this race showed Boyda in better shape against Jenkins (although she’s probably received a primary bump by now). So the DCCC could be canceling its reservation at least in part because they feel that Boyda is less vulnerable.

On the other hand, Republicans in Kansas have made the DCCC’s assistance an issue only because Boyda clearly chafes at the idea of DC operatives getting involved in her campaign. But Boyda’s distaste for the DCCC’s money didn’t stop the committee from spending heavily on last-minute ads for this race in 2006, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled a similar move (if they felt it necessary) this year. The DCCC could be canceling its planned buy for now only to clear a “distraction” for Boyda off the table, but are likely monitoring the situation closely in case they have to intervene later. But that’s all just speculation on my part.

KS-02 Boyda’s courageous vote on FISA

Crossposted from BoydaBloc

On Friday, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda did something courageous.  She did something brave.  She did something historic.

And she did what was right.

On Friday, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda voted for an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillances Act, or FISA.  She voted, in every procedural motion, to send the House version of the bill- the version without retroactive immunity for the phone companies- to the floor for a vote.  It’s exactly the way she voted in August, too.

Through it all, her position stayed the same.  In newspapers up and down the district she laid out her case:

In her own Op-Ed that ran in the Ottawa Herald she said:

To my mind, “wiretap first, get permission later” makes perfect sense. It gives the executive branch the power it needs to fight terrorism, and at the same time, it preserves the checks and balances our Constitution guarantees. It ensures that the U.S. intelligence community has every tool it needs to fight terrorists. And, by providing judicial oversight, it ensures the privacy of Americans who travel overseas for business or pleasure. It is simply wrong to wiretap Americans without a warrant.

Very unfortunately, the president has drawn a line in the sand. He has sworn to veto any FISA bill that includes court oversight. Instead, he wants the executive branch to oversee itself; he wants all FISA programs to fall under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

That is a flagrant violation of checks and balances, and what’s more, it won’t help America fight terrorism more effectively. The FISA court is extremely generous with its warrants. Through 2004, the court had granted 18,761 wiretap requests. It had rejected only five.

And in the Leavenworth Times she was quoted as saying:

“I am adamant about protecting the Constitution. They’re giving nothing in return for it. We’re not getting any more security and they’re shredding the Constitution,” said U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Second Dist.


“What shocks me is how members of Congress from Kansas would so readily give up 230 years of our Constitution without gaining any additional security,” Boyda said.

And, she said in the Lawrence Journal-World:

“The foundation of our democracy … is at stake in the House of Representatives,” she said. She said Bush’s attempts to stifle inquiries into wiretapping and the role of telecom companies was “a massive cover-up … because he doesn’t want you to know that the Constitution has been shredded and he doesn’t want you to know how long” wiretapping has been happening.

And here, in her speech before the Kansas Democratic Party State Convention, she explained herself brilliantly:

The Republican Party has tried to scare Americans into allowing this President to have carte blanc authority- and to hand immunity to companies, even when he won’t tell us why they need it.  TV commercials and radio ads have attempted to scare all of us- and our members of Congress- into doing & believing what they wanted.

Nancy’s right- that was a damn lie.  And, now, 197 Republicans voted against updating FISA, only because telecoms didn’t get overarching protections from being sued.  This version of FISA protects us all, lets our national security organizations engage in investigations that are necessary- and doesn’t shred the Constitution in the process.

197 Republicans voted against ensuring Americans are safe because a phone company might get sued for potentially breaking the law.  And the President promises to veto the bill- because Lord knows phone companies are more important than American lives.

Boyda did what was right- and saying she didn’t is a losing argument for the Republican Party.

Fundraising for Freshman Democrats: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Hill published an article highlighting some of the fundraising efforts of freshmen Democrats in the House.  Apparently, many are doing quite well.  David Loebsack (IA-02) has raised about $71,000.  Kirsten Gillebrand (NY-20) has raised $65,000 in PAC money alone.  Earl Perlmutter (CO-07) has raised $79,000.  Charlie Wilson (OH-06) has raised $34,000.  Paul Hodes has raised $35,000.  Jason Altmire (PA-04) and Patrick Murphy (PA-08) have both raised $50,000 in PAC money alone.  Zack Space (OH-18) and Steven Kagen (WI-08) have both raised $35,000 in PAC money.

As far as simple financial numbers go, this is good news.  All of these candidates are vulnerable to some degree.  So, if all of these House members are already off to good starts, they may be able to force out potentially strong challenges early on.

But the article also has some worrying relevations.  For one thing, Nancy Boyda (KS-02) has raised only $13,000.  Considering the presidential vote in her district (Bush won it by 20 points), Boyda is probably one of our top five most vulnerable Democrats.  Plus, she will not have Sebelius’ coattails helping her and will instead have to contend with the Republican tide at the top of the ticket from the eventual Republican nominee and Senator Pat Roberts. Finally, she will possibly face a rematch against Jim Ryun. More over the flip…

However, the thing that is more disappointing to me than Boyda’s numbers (it’s early, give her some time) is where the other candidates are getting there money.  First, relying heavily on PAC money does not give the best image.  But beyond that, it’s a question of which PACs they’re getting donations from.

Both Gillebrand and Perlmutter have taken money from Altria, which represents the makers of Marlboro cigarettes. Loebsack and Perlmutter have received contributions from the American Bankers Association PAC while Perlmutter also has donations from Comcast and JP Morgan and Loebsack has donations from the American Association of Realtors.

It’s unsettling to see any elected officials taking money from cigarette makers.  It’s worse to see Democrats, liberal Democrats at that, doing that.  And while Comcast, et al. aren’t the scourge of Satan, I also don’t like the image of elected Democrats at their beg and call.


My suggestion for anyone else who feels the way I do, is to donate through the Netroots and other liberal PACs like MoveOn and Democracy for America.  The more candidates and elected officials can get from the Netroots, the less they have to rely on PACs whose goals are sometimes/often/always contrary to the goals of progressives/working people/middle class/etc.

One should also note that Netroots heroes Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Joe Sestak (PA-07), John Hall (NY-19), and Tim Walz (MN-01) are not mentioned in the article.  We need to act now to keep these people a)in Congress by making sure they have adequate resources to be re-elected and b)from becoming corrupted by negative interests.

KS-02: Ryun Jumps Back in the Ring

Via Hotline On Call:

Former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., confirmed this afternoon he would run again for Congress next year, and picked up early encouragement for his comeback attempt – but he still faces the possibility of a strong primary challenge. Ryun — who lost a re-election bid last November to now-Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda — said in an interview that he had been mulling another run for the House, but wanted to wait until the state GOP’s annual Kansas Days gathering this past weekend to gauge support and reveal his intentions. “I needed time to reflect on the last election and see what kind of support I had,” Ryun said.

After holding the seat since 1996 Ryun – a onetime Olympic runner — lost the state’s 2nd District to Boyda by a 51-47 percent margin last year. Ryun said he would soon be back on the campaign trail “full time,” and described his defeat as an election anomaly in a bad political year for Republicans. “There was a surge that came through,” he said. “I was on the wrong corner ad the wrong time.” Ryun, a social and fiscal conservative, demurred on the question of possible primary opposition; state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins is mulling the race. Ryun instead trained his rhetorical fire on Boyda, whom he said does not represent the “Kansas values.” Declared Ryun: “She’s not a conservative. She’s a liberal.”

If Ryun can make it through the primary against a more moderate opponent like Jenkins, the general election will be a good test of Kansas’ rehabilitation from its time spent on the precipice of mini-Taliban extremism.