SSP Daily Digest: 6/4

CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons needs to look like one of those allegedly-not-quite-extinct moderate New England Republicans in order to get elected in Connecticut, but he’s not doing himself any favors by appearing with Newt Gingrich at the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. With a large Puerto Rican population in Connecticut, Simmons probably doesn’t want to be anywhere near Sonia Sotomayor’s loudest and most toxic critic. Another problem for Simmons: businessman Tom Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland, made his official entry into the GOP primary field today. Foley, unlike Simmons, has deep pockets he can self-fund with.

MN-Sen: Sources close to Norm Coleman are suggesting he won’t appeal at the federal level if he loses his case with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Republicans still publicly say they’ll try to stop any Dem efforts to seat Al Franken until Coleman has conceded or exhausted his appeals. John Cornyn has sent some mixed signals, though, saying it’s “entirely” Coleman’s decision whether to keep fighting and that he’s “amazed that Sen. Coleman’s been willing to persevere as long as he has.”

NV-Sen: Wondering why the GOP is having a hard time attracting a challenger to supposedly-vulnerable Harry Reid? Maybe it’s because of his deep levels of support among much of the state’s Republican establishment. The Reid camp released a list of 60 GOP endorsers, including, most prominently, soon-to-be-ex-First Lady (and former NV-02 candidate) Dawn Gibbons, Reno mayor Bob Cashell, and, in a move guaranteed to nail down the key 18-29 demographic, Wayne Newton.

NH-Sen: Could it be that the NRSC could actually be stuck running Ovide Lamontagne against Rep. Paul Hodes? Just the very fact that the NRSC is talking to Lamontagne (a businessman whose one claim to fame is losing the 1996 governor’s race to Jeanne Shaheen) with an apparently straight face should be a red flag that their top-tier possibilities (ex-Sen. John Sununu, ex-Rep. Charlie Bass) aren’t looking likely.

NY-Sen-B: Joe Biden reportedly had a sit-down earlier this week with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who may or may not be running in the Senate primary against Kirsten Gillibrand. Presumably the meeting would contain some of the same content as Barack Obama’s now-famous phone call to Rep. Steve Israel.

OH-Sen: If a candidate falls in the woods with no one around, does he make a sound? State Rep. Tyrone Yates has been exploring the Senate race for several months, and apparently found nothing that would help him overcome Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and SoS Jennifer Brunner, as he bowed out of the race.

NJ-Gov: Rasmussen has the first post-primary poll of the New Jersey governor’s race. Chris Christie may have gotten a bit of a brief unity bounce in the wake of his primary victory, as he’s up to a 51-38 edge over Jon Corzine now, as opposed to 47-38 last month. There’s one spot of ‘good’ news, as it were, for Corzine: his approval rating is back up to 42%.

AZ-08: Construction company executive and ex-Marine Jesse Kelly seems to be the establishment GOP’s choice to go against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2010. He announced endorsements from three House members: Trent Franks, Duncan Hunter, and Frank Wolf. (Not quite clear how endorsements from Hunter and Wolf help him in Arizona, though.)

KS-01: State Senator Jim Barnett got into the race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Jerry Moran, who’s running for Senate. Barnett may quickly become front-runner, based on his name recognition from being the 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate (where he lost the state as a whole to Kathleen Sebelius, but won the dark-red 1st). He’s up against a more conservative state Senator Tim Huelskamp, and Sam Brownback’s former chief of staff, Rob Wasinger. The primary is the whole shooting match in this R+23 district.

KY-01: After the purchase of “” got people’s attention yesterday, Rep. Ed Whitfield had to tamp that down, confirming that he’s running for re-election in his R+15 House seat.

MN-06: Even if this goes nowhere, it’s great to have a GOPer doing our framing for us… attorney Chris Johnston is publicly mulling a primary challenge to (his words, on his website) “‘anti-American’ hurling, malaprop-spouting, ‘they took me out of context'” Rep. Michele Bachmann. He confirms that he and Bachmann share “strong conservative beliefs;” he just thinks the 6th would prefer someone “who thinks before they speak.”

NH-02: Attorney Ann McLane Kuster is launching an exploratory committee to run for the open seat left behind by Rep. Paul Hodes. St. Rep. John DeJoie is already in the primary field, and they may soon be joined by Katrina Swett.

NY-03: Dems are scoping out potential candidates in Long Island’s NY-03 (which fell to R+4 in the wake of 2008), thinking that even if Rep. Peter King doesn’t vacate to run for Senate he’s still vulnerable. The biggest fish would be Nassau Co. Exec Tom Suozzi, who seems to have bigger fish to fry (reportedly AG if Andrew Cuomo vacates). The next-biggest fish would Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice. Smaller fish listed include Isobel Coleman of the Council of Foreign Relations, and minor league baseball team owner Frank Boulton.

NH-Legislature: It took a rewrite of a couple sentences that Gov. John Lynch didn’t like, but after a few weeks of back-and-forth New Hampshire finally enacted gay marriage. Both chambers passed the amended bill yesterday (clearing the House 198-176) and Lynch signed it into law on the same day.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/3

MN-Sen: Despite the seemingly increased likelihood that he’d jerk Al Franken around now that he doesn’t have to worry about re-election and how impatient Minnesotans feel about the Senate vacancy, Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he’ll certify Al Franken as winner of the Senate race if the state Supreme Court directs him to do so. Also, many are interpreting John Cornyn‘s comments about how the Senate GOP doesn’t have the votes to filibuster Sonia Sotomayor, even if they wanted to, as being a tacit admission that Franken would be seated soon.

NC-Sen: It never quite seemed likely, but Elizabeth Edwards silenced any speculation that she might run for Senate against Richard Burr next year.

KY-Sen: Here’s a new name sniffing out the Kentucky Senate primary. A staffer for Rep. Ed Whitfield from KY-01 just bought both domain names for “” and “” (and inexplicably paid $800 for the two names). Maybe SoS Trey Grayson may have some company in the primary if Jim Bunning truly does bail out?

VA-Gov: Ex-Del. Brian Moran leaked an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to Political Wire. Lo and behold, it shows Moran in the lead, with 29% to 27% for Creigh Deeds and 26% for Terry McAuliffe. (Meaning that in the last week, each of the three primary candidates have led a poll.) (UPDATE: PPP points out a flaw here: this isn’t a topline, but the result from a subsample that’s disposed to do well for Moran: people who’ve participated in Democratic primaries prior to last year’s presidential race.)

Fundraising numbers for the three candidates also just came out: McAuliffe is way ahead on the money front, with $1.8 mil raised last quarter and $1.3 mil CoH ($7 mil total). Deeds raised $676K with $521K CoH ($3.8 mil total), and Moran raised $844K with $700 CoH ($4.8 mil total).

MN-Gov: With T-Paw getting out, a flood of second-tier Republicans has spilled out in search of the nomination. State Sen. David Hann, state Sen. Geoff Michel, state Rep. Marty Seifert, state Rep. Paul Kohls, and former legislator Charlie Weaver are “interested.” Former Auditor Pat Anderson is going so far as to say she’ll announce in a month or two. Others mentioned include state Rep. Laura Brod, national committee member Brian Sullivan, and former state House speaker and current Labor and Industry Commissioner Steve Sviggum. The Star-Tribune also mentioned former Rep. Jim Ramstad (who’d do well in the general but may be too moderate to survive the nominating convention), state Sen. minority leader David Senjem, and one very big wild card… Norm Coleman, although his dragging-out of the Senate race can’t have helped his favorables. One prominent name who apparently isn’t interested: Rep. Michele Bachmann.

MI-Gov: The Republican field in the Michigan governor’s race got even more crowded, as Oakland Co. Sheriff Rick Bouchard got in. (Bouchard lost the 2006 Senate race to Debbie Stabenow.) Bouchard’s entry was faciliated when his boss, Oakland Co. Exec L. Brooks Patterson, declined to run — but Bouchard may do exactly what Patterson would have done, which is split the Detroit suburban vote with AG Mike Cox, making it easier for Rep. Pete Hoekstra from the state’s west to sneak through.

CO-04: Ex-Rep. Marilyn Musgrave fired off a rather unhinged-sounding fundraising letter on behalf of her new employers in the culture war, the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. This may actually work to Rep. Betsy Markey’s advantage; she made reference to Musgrave’s letter in her own appeal for contributions.

FL-17: Politics1 has an interesting, if a bit unsavory, rumor coming out of south Florida: 83-year-old former Rep. Carrie Meek may get on the ballot in FL-17, essentially to act as a one-term placeholder for her son, Rep. Kendrick Meek. (If he lost the Senate race, she would re-retire in 2012 and thus let him get his old job back. Or, if Meek won the Senate race, she’d still retire and let someone new take over FL-17.) Meek denied the rumor, though, to National Journal.

FL-25: Here’s a potentially big name to take on Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who beat Joe Garcia by a small margin in 2008. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is reportedly taking a look at the race; his name has also been mentioned in connection with the open Lt. Gov. slot.

NC-11: PPP’s Tom Jensen looks at possible Democratic successors in this R+6 district if Rep. Heath Shuler gives up the seat to run for Senate. He cites state Sens. John Snow and Joe Sam Queen as likeliest. (He also links to a great map from Civitas that calculates the PVI for all of North Carolina’s state Senate districts.)

SC-01: Rep. Henry Brown threw a “thank you” party in Myrtle Beach for his supporters, and at least 11 people walked away with the best possible tokens of his gratitude: diarrhea and nausea. State health officials are investigating to see if it was the result of food poisoning or just of the Republican rhetoric. Also, 2008 challenger Linda Ketner, who came close to knocking off Brown as an openly lesbian candidate in a dark-red district, may not be looking to run again. She did a refreshingly honest interview with FireDogLake, maybe a little too refreshing vis-a-vis her future viability, in terms of referring to “the conservative, religious crazy vote” and outing several prominent South Carolina politicians.

UT-LG: A third generation of Romneys is getting warmed up (in a third state). Mitt Romney’s 33-year-old son Josh has been in talks with soon-to-be-Gov. Gary Herbert about the open Lieutenant Governor’s position.

AL-St. Senate: Democrats can still be a downballot force in Alabama, managing to hold a state Senate seat in a deep-red part of rural Alabama north of Mobile. State Rep. Mark Keahey (who’s only 28) narrowly defeated Republican former state Rep. Greg Albritton, in a special election triggered by the January death of Democratic Sen. Pat Lindsey. (UPDATE: Actually, it turns out that the margin wasn’t so tight. Keahey crushed Albritton by a devastating 58-42 margin.)

NH-St. House: In another special election, Democrats held a state House seat based in Lebanon, New Hampshire, as fire captain Andy White beat Republican Randy Wagoner. It’s Democratic-leaning turf, but the GOP turned this into a proxy battle over gay marriage (White is a vote in favor of it), and out-of-district money enabled Wagoner to outspend White at least 4-to-1.

Time to get serious about expanding the field (NJ-05, CA-46, KY-01, IA-05)

Americans appear ready to sweep a lot of Democrats into office on November 4. Not only does Barack Obama maintain a solid lead in the popular vote and electoral vote estimates, several Senate races that appeared safe Republican holds a few months ago are now considered tossups.

Polling is harder to come by in House races, but here too there is scattered evidence of a coming Democratic tsunami. Having already lost three special Congressional elections in red districts this year, House Republicans are now scrambling to defend many entrenched incumbents.

In this diary, I hope to convince you of three things:

1. Some Republicans who never saw it coming are going to be out of a job in two weeks.

On a related note,

2. Even the smartest experts cannot always predict which seats offer the best pickup opportunities.

For that reason,

3. Activists should put resources behind many under-funded challengers now, instead of going all in for a handful of Democratic candidates.

Allow me to elaborate.

1. A lot of seemingly safe incumbents have lost in wave elections, even in districts tilted toward their own party.

The Republican landslide of 1994 claimed my own Congressman Neal Smith, a 36-year incumbent who had a senior position on the House Appropriations Committee. Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley spent “what aides say may total $1.5 million to $2 million, a staggering amount for a House race” in 1994, but he still lost to George Nethercutt in Washington’s fifth district.

Many of you probably remember long-serving House and Senate Democrats in your own states who were swept away in the Reagan landslide of 1980.

By the same token, a lot of entrenched Republicans lost their seats during the 1974 post-Watergate wave. That was the year Iowans elected Tom Harkin and Berkley Bedell in the fifth and sixth Congressional districts, where both candidates had lost elections in 1972.

2. Even the political pros and the best analysts cannot always handicap Congressional races accurately, especially House races where public polls are scarce.

In 2006, could anyone have predicted that Lois Murphy (who almost beat Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach two years earlier) would fall short again in PA-06, while the massively under-funded Carol Shea-Porter would defeat Jeb Bradley in NH-01?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poured millions into IL-06 in 2006, only to see Tammy Duckworth lose to Peter Roskam. Meanwhile, Larry Kissell didn’t get the time of day from the DCCC and came just a few hundred votes short of beating Republican incumbent Robin Hayes in NC-08.

My point is that we can’t always know where our best chances lie. Sometimes a stealth candidate can catch an incumbent napping in a race that hasn’t been targeted by either party.

Look at the seats Republicans are now worried about, according to Politico:

GOP Reps. John B. Shadegg of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, Henry Brown Jr. of South Carolina and Dan Lungren of California are all fighting for their political lives, a reversal of fortunes that has caught even the most astute campaign observers by surprise.

Markos commented on the Politico piece,

Shadegg’s AZ-03 is R+5.9.

Terry’s NE-02 is R+9.0.

Brown’s SC-01 is R+9.6

Lungren’s CA-03 is R+6.7.

We haven’t had any public polls in Iowa’s fourth or fifth district races, but last week Republican incumbent Tom Latham (IA-04, D+0) released his first negative television ad, suggesting that his internal polls may show Becky Greenwald gaining on him.

I can’t tell you today who will win on November 4, but I guarantee you that some Democrats in “tossup” seats will lose, even as other Democrats take over “likely Republican” or “safe Republican” districts. Which brings me to my third point.

3. We need to expand the field of Republican-held districts we’re playing for.

Thankfully, the bad old days when the DCCC would target 22 races, hoping to win 15, are just a memory. The DCCC has put more than 60 Republican-held seats in the “Red to Blue” category. Not all of those seats have seen media buys or other significant financial investment from the DCCC, however.

Plus, as I mentioned above, Dan Lungren is sweating bullets in CA-03, which isn’t even on the Red to Blue list.

In 2006 we won at least two seats that were not in the Red to Blue program (IA-02 and NH-01) and came oh, so close in NC-08.

The bottom line is that a lot of Democratic challengers with the potential to win are not getting the support of the DCCC. This post at Swing State Project lists lots of seats once thought safe for Republicans, which are becoming competitive.

Where can netroots fundraising have the most impact? In my view, it’s in the winnable districts where there will be no influx of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the DCCC or other outside groups. Many of these are districts where an additional $50,000 or even $25,000 can make the difference.

The mother of all moneybombs dumped three-quarters of a million dollars into Elwyn Tinklenberg’s campaign in 24 hours over the weekend. It was a strong statement against the intolerance and bigotry Michelle Bachmann (MN-06) displayed on Hardball.

While I respect the enthusiasm, I can’t agree with those who are still asking the netroots to give to Tinklenberg, even after he’s collected more than $750,000 and the DCCC has promised to put $1 million into this race. Tinklenberg now has the resources to run an aggressive paid media and GOTV effort for the next two weeks. He probably has more money than he can spend effectively with so little time left.

Raising $50,000 for each of ten good challengers would be a better use of our energy than continuing to push activists to give to Tinklenberg.

Remember, few challengers are able to match incumbents dollar-for-dollar, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win. They don’t need to match incumbent spending, but they do need the resources to improve their name recognition and capitalize on the Democratic wave.

Which House races should we target for a moneybomb? I would suggest looking at the list of candidates on the Blue America ’08 page at Act Blue, as well as the candidates endorsed by Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund. We have good reason to believe that those candidates will stand up for progressive values.

I would then pick a few Democrats on those lists who are not benefiting from large independent expenditures by the DCCC or others.

Our money will go further in districts with relatively inexpensive paid media.

I would also favor candidates taking on particularly odious incumbents, such as Dennis Shulman (running against Scott Garrett in NJ-05) and Debbie Cook (facing Dana Rohrbacher in CA-46). RDemocrat has written a book’s worth of material on why we should support Heather Ryan against “Exxon Ed” Whitfield in KY-01.

And what kind of Iowan would I be if I didn’t mention Rob Hubler, who is taking on Steve King in IA-05? My fellow Iowa blogger 2laneIA published this comprehensive diary showing that if we’re talking about the most ignorant and bigoted wingnuts in Congress, King gives Michelle Bachmann a run for her money. Click the link to read all about King’s “greatest hits,” including his suggestion that we electrify the border fence with Mexico like we do “with livestock,” his prediction that terrorists will be “dancing in the streets” if Obama becomes president, and his pride in working to scale back funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (which he calls Socialist Clinton-style Hillarycare for Illegals and their Parents). King considers his work to reduce SCHIP funding a “key moment” in his Congressional career.

Amazingly, there’s even more to dislike about King than 2laneIA had room to mention in that piece. For instance, while still a state senator, King was a leading advocate for Iowa’s “official English” law, which was adopted in 2002. Then he filed a lawsuit in 2007 to stop the Iowa Secretary of State’s office from providing voter information in languages besides English. It’s not for nothing that Ann Coulter calls King “one of my favorites.”

Hubler is a good progressive who spoke out against the FISA bill and supports the Responsible Plan for Iraq. I just found out yesterday that during the 1980s he was INFACT’s national director of the boycott against Nestle. Hubler also happens to be running a great campaign, but he is not getting much outside help except from Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund, which has sent an organizer to work on the campaign.

Two dozen House Democrats already represent districts with a partisan voting index of R+5 or worse. We should be able to increase that number in two weeks and send home Republicans who didn’t even realize they were in trouble.

Few people have enough money to donate to every worthy Democratic candidate. But if the netroots could raise more than three-quarters of a million dollars for Elwyn Tinklenberg in just over 48 hours, we ought to be able to raise $50,000 each for ten good challengers, whose races are relatively low-profile.

Who’s with me on this, and which districts should we target?

Heather Ryan’s First T.V. Ad: The Zephyr Hillbilly

Well, Heather Ryan has her first T.V. ad completed. It is a humourous take on Exxon Ed Whitfield’s record of serving Big Oil and the Bush Administration which I have named “The Zephyr Hillbilly”. It is our 30 sec. spot, and we have a couple of more in the offing.

Without further adeu, here is “The Zephyr Hillbilly”:

Now, the jingle you here on this ad doubles as our radio spot. We already have some money to run this ad, but we need help to run it as much as possible, and run the two other ads we have nearly completed.

Progressive Democrats, we need your help!! Can you give $100, $50, $25, $10, or even $5 to help us run our ads as much as possible? No donation is too small for our grassroots campaign!!

Exxon Ed Whitfield is tied to our failing economic policies and has voted over 90% of the time with the failed Bush Administration. If we get a chance to introduce his record and our candidate, we win!!

Please, help “Fighting Kentucky Democrats” pull a huge upset here:

Goal Thermometer

KY-01: Ryan Press Conference Reveals Much

One thing that has been consistent in the race for Kentucky’s First Congressional District is that Ed Whitfield and his supporters can’t stand to talk about issues, or anything of substance. Instead of talking about what Heather Ryan wants to bring to the next Congress, or how the candidates feel about Healthcare, Iraq, and the crashing Economy, they seem particularly angry at Heather and want to call her things like crazy, and fat.  

Well, in her press conference today she fired back at them with a biological excuse:

Congrats to Carl and Heather!!!!

No matter what anyone wants to call Heather the plain and simple fact of the matter is that she is the one that is not afraid to show up and debate the issues that effect this district and these voters. Is he actually scared of the “pregnant woman”??

I say he is afraid of the “courageous woman”, who is not afraid to stand up to him and debate him over his sorry record of representing our district, and will contrast their visions of representing these voters through the challenges of the next two years. The “intelligent woman”, knows the facts.

This is an insult to the voters of the First Congressional District, just as Heather stated, and shows the disdain of Ed Whitfield for anyone that would question his vision of deregulation, debt, recession, lost jobs, stagnant wages, and higher energy prices.

Whitfield is scared of debating his record of failure. From the failed “Contract with America” that devolve into a “Culture of Corruption”, Ed Whitfield has consistenty rubber stamped the failed policies of men like Phil Gramm, Tom Delay, Mitch McConnell, and President Bush. He is as complicit in the failures at the national, state, and local levels as any of them.

So this Press conference reaveled we will have a new Democrat voter in the First District in eighteen and a half years, and that like Mitch McConnell, Ed Whitfield is too cowardly to face his opponent and the voters. If I were them I wouldn’t show up to debate a Reeses Monkey!!

Heather Ryan has a new T.V. ad coming out, please help her run it so these voters get a chance to see the failed record of Ed Whitfield:

Goal Thermometer

Kentucky Republicans Answer for Failed Policies

The Repubicans running in the Congressional and Senate races in Kentucky face a serious dilemma. Aside from Brett Guthrie every one them were around and voted for the very failed policies that have led to our economic debacle. No matter what their vote on the bailout, every Repubican in the Kentucky delegation holds blame for the failing economy.  

An excellent article from the Lexington Herald-Leader last week really pounded home the fact of how intagled with this current failure all the major Republican candidates are. An excerpt:

Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials hit Capitol Hill on Tuesday to sell the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, getting a mixed reception from lawmakers who argued about the role of government in business.

But there was little dissent in 1999, when Sen. Mitch McConnell and the rest of Kentucky’s congressional delegation voted to deregulate Wall Street banking and investments. They – and most other members of Congress – brushed aside concerns that deregulation could create massive financial institutions that would be “too big to fail,” requiring a government bailout if they started to stagger.

The Kentucky delegation went on to collect millions of dollars in combined campaign donations from the financial sector, while the banking, securities and insurance industries merged into the creature that is now collapsing and calling for government aid.

Now that is a serious Problem!! When every candidate you have running for re-election except the one you have running for an open seat have a record of such failure, it is distressing. I submit that every member of the Kentucky Republican delegation has already shown the lack of judgement and leadership that negates any “Experience” and shows that they are not fit to hold office representing Kentucky.

Of course, as always with this bunch, money always clouds good judgement:

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. $4.3 million

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. $2.4 million

Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville $697,116

Rep. Ron Lewis, R-Cecilia $551,266

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset $406,765

Source: Center for Responsive Politics…

Those are the donations to the Kentucky Republicans from the very sector they voted to deregulate so it could implode the Economy.

But it gets even worse in the case of Ed Whitfield, my Congressman. He voted no on the bailout in the House, but his reasons show that he still doesn’t realize what has crashed the economy, or how to fix it:

Whitfield, who represents the 1st District spanning much of western Kentucky, complained that the bailout plan puts unprecedented regulations on financial institutions and markets. He said some leading economists believe such heavy oversight might do more to hinder the economy than help it.…

It is amazing to me that for a sitting Congressman to have seen his vote for de-regulation crash our economy, and then submit MORE de-regulation as the solution is just mind-boggling.

This was not lost on Heather Ryan, who released this statement on Ed Whitfield’s vote on the Bailout Bill:

I find it interesting that Mr. Whitfield’s reason for opposing the compromised bail out legislation is because it imposes too many regulations on the banking industry.  Astonishingly, Exxon Eddie is one of the few who will admit that he still has a love affair with deregulation, the very reason the economy is in ruins now.  

Lest we not forget that when this bail out bill was but a mere $700 Billion Blank Check from George Bush on the backs of taxpayers, Mr. Whitfield was a gleeful supporter.  Only once consumer protections, ie. restrictions on how the massive amounts of money could be doled out to banks, were added did he suddenly oppose the bill.  

While I also oppose this bail out, I believe Mr. Whitfield’s motives are vial as he, yet again, sides with the rich special interests and ignores the middle class.  Perhaps someone can send a wake-up call to Exxon Eddie’s Florida estate soon to let him know that the Billionaire Boy’s Club isn’t very popular this election year.

Heather Ryan

Democratic Candidate

U.S. House of Representatives KY-01

Indeed!!! We ARE fed up with the Billionaire Boys Club that has bankrupted our state, and country.

We need to replace the constant De-regulate at any costs vote of Ed Whitfield, and replace it with a young, energetic voice of common sense. Ed Whitfield has not only failed, but he will continue to vote against any Progress for working Americans if given the chance.

All Kentucky Republicans running this year are hurting bad over this. Whitfield is especially vulnerable, if Heather can get her message out. She has called a press conference Wednesday morning at her headquarters at 4905 Clark’s River Rd. in Paducah, please help us by writing the Paducah Sun and asking them to report it here:…

Please consider supporting Heather in this race, we are going to be fighting hard in the last month, including our first radio and T.V. spots, and we need your help!!:

Goal Thermometer

Here is the link to the Kentucky ActBlue page, with many candidates who can all win:…

Kentucky Republicans have a record. Help us expose it!!

KY-01: Whitfield Voted For and Profited From Wall St. De-Regulation

With the crashing of the economy, and the up-coming taxpayer bailout of hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars, Americans and Kentuckians need to take a hard look at the root causes of the reversal of budget surpluses into TRILLIONS of dollars of national debt. In Kentucky, one need not look past the failed Republican Congressional delegation of the time, many of which are still serving and running for re-election.

Led by Mitch McConnell, this bunch of Corporate Profiteers never met a Corporate Welfare or de-regulation bill they would not vote for. One need only look back to the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, which overturned many of the protections of FDR’s New Deal to find the root of our current woes. While there, one will also find that Kentucky Republicans were unanimous in their support, and failure of leadership.

But there was little dissent in 1999, when Sen. Mitch McConnell and the rest of Kentucky’s congressional delegation voted to deregulate Wall Street banking and investments. They – and most other members of Congress – brushed aside concerns that deregulation could create massive financial institutions that would be “too big to fail,” requiring a government bailout if they started to stagger.…

Of course as always with Kentucky Republicans, their votes garnered them huge dollars in campaign contributions from the very industries taxpayers must now bail out:

The Kentucky delegation went on to collect millions of dollars in combined campaign donations from the financial sector, while the banking, securities and insurance industries merged into the creature that is now collapsing and calling for government aid.…

The numbers are staggering:

McConnell has been individually feted in New York City by major banks, including a 2005 luncheon given in his honor by UBS and Citigroup, which raised at least $60,000 for his campaign fund. Former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who sponsored the Wall Street deregulation bill and then left Congress to become an investment banker at UBS, helped organize that event and donated $4,000 to McConnell.

Among others in the Kentucky delegation who voted for Wall Street deregulation in 1999, and who are still in Congress, Bunning got $2.4 million; Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, got $697,116; Rep. Ron Lewis, R-Cecilia, got $551,266; and Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, got $406,765, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Totals are for donations from 1989 to 2008.…

As you can see, Congressman Ed Whitfield was not only tied up in the failure by voting for this bill, but actually was rewarded with $700,000 worth of campaign contributions for his irresponsibility, and failed judgement.

His response would be laughable if it was a joke, and not a $700 billion or more debt for our children and grandchildren to pay off:

A Whitfield spokeswoman likewise noted that her boss was far from alone in supporting the 1999 law, and she said the congressman doubted whether deregulation – as opposed to greed – led to the current meltdown.

“It’s always easy to point fingers and try to place blame when any kind of crisis arises,” Whitfield wrote in a statement. “Addressing our current financial situation and turning our economy around is a difficult challenge we as a nation face and we in Congress must address.”

In the immortal words of mothers everywhere, if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you jump off of it too? That IS NOT leadership!! At Ryan for Kentucky, we submit that it was the greed of men like Whitfield, following the leader Mitch McConnell that led to the current meltdown. Their greed caused the de-regulation they profited from, and that went on to crash our economy.

Of course Exxon Eddie doesn’t want us to “point fingers” and “place blame” because he knows he showed horrible leadership and judgement, and profited handsomely to the tune of $700,000 to smear his opponents with. At Ryan for Kentucky, we submit once more that a Congressman who was so tied up with the terrible failure of 1999 has not the vision, judgement, courage, or leadership to “Address our current financial situation and turn our economy around”. This same failed leadership is what created this mess, led by all Kentucky Republicans in 1999, including Exxon Ed Whitfield.

In fact, Exxon Ed Whitfield and the whole Republican delegation lined up firmly behind now disgraced Senator Larry “Foottapper” Craig:

“The Financial Services Modernization Act overhauled the financial services industry by eliminating outdated Depression-era laws that have hampered the industry’s ability to increase its efficiency,” Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, wrote in a 1999 article on behalf of the Senate Republican caucus.…

Is this the kind of leadership we need in Kentucky? Blindly lining up behind corrupt industries and leaders that crash our economy off a cliff? I submit that this debacle brings to light exactly why we need new leadership in Kentucky, including the First Congressional District:

Heather Ryan

This has left us with a huge opening against Exxon Ed Whitfield in this district. As you can see by his own statement, he knows he is intricately tied into this failure. All we need to do is let these voters know just how dirty his hands are.

Please consider supporting Heather Ryan in Kentucky’s First. With the resources to bring Exxon Eddie’s failed record in crashing the economy to these voters, she will win in a landslide. Voters of this district hate to see their tax dollars wasted, and will hold Exxon Eddie accountable. Please, contribute to expand our Congressional majority with real leadership here:

Goal Thermometer

As of now, this race is on the map!!

KY-01: Whitfield Trucking- A New Business Plan

Here at Whitfield Trucking, business was getting slow. We couldn’t understand why so many Kentuckians who were suffering with high gas prices would object so much to us driving an empty tractor-trailer around the First Congressional District of Kentucky. Do they not own hundreds of thousands of dollars in Exxon and Chevron stock like we do? Why would they object to us getting rich off their pain?


Well, to figure out how to turn our business fortunes around, our CEO Exxon Ed Whitfield decided to meet with the wisest business mind he knew:

Exxon Eddie and W

He told us we should not be driving an empty tractor-trailer around. He said that we simply must start delivering for the citizens of this district.

Luckily for us, he pointed out that Whitfield Trucking HAS delivered much more than our empty tractor-trailer would suggest. We hadn’t realized it, but our little company has delivered plenty. We have delivered a myriad of failed policies, lovingly rubber-stamped for President Bush that has

made us rich while our district has fallen further behind and our economy has crashed into the ditch. Just look at what all we have delivered in our once empty tractor-trailer. First we delivered for President Bush, and the Credit Card Companies:

Voted YES on Bankruptcy Overhaul requiring partial debt repayment.

Vote to pass a bill that would make it easier for courts to change debtors from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which allows most debts to be dismissed, to Chapter 13, which requires a repayment plan.

Reference: Bill sponsored by Gekas, R-PA; Bill HR 333 ; vote number 2001-25 on Mar 1, 2001…

Then, we delivered the Bush Administration Energy Policy written by Dick Cheney, and the Energy Companies, which has led to record prices for our fellow Americans:

Voted YES on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy.

Vote to pass a bill that would put into practice a comprehensive national policy for energy conservation, research and development. The bill would authorize o $25.7 billion tax break over a 10-year period. The tax breaks would include $11.9 billion to promote oil and gas production, $2.5 billion for “clean coal” programs, $2.2 billion in incentives for alternative motor vehicles, and $1.8 billion for the electric power industry and other businesses. A natural gas pipeline from Alaska would be authorized an $18 billion loan guarantee. It would add to the requirement that gasoline sold in the United States contain a specified volume of ethanol. Makers of the gasoline additive MTBE would be protected from liability. They would be required though to cease production of the additive by 2015. Reliability standards would be imposed for electricity transmissions networks, through this bill. The bill would also ease the restrictions on utility ownership and mergers.

Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2004; Bill HR 4503 ; vote number 2004-241 on Jun 15, 2004…

Then, we delivered for the People’s Republic of Communist China:

Voted NO on deterring foreign arms transfers to China.

To authorize measures to deter arms transfers by foreign countries to the People’s Republic of China, A YES vote would grant the President the ability to place sanctions on any individual or country that violates the arms embargo, including:

Denial of participation in cooperative research and development

Prohibition of ownership and control of any business registered as a manufacturer or exporter of defense articles or services

Removal of all licenses relative to dual-use goods or technology

Prohibition of participation of any foreign military sales

Reference: East Asia Security Act; Bill HR 3100 ; vote number 2005-374 on Jul 14, 2005…

Then, we delivered for the beloved lobbyists that fund our campaigns:

Voted NO on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations.

Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require a registered lobbyist who bundles contributions totaling over $5,000 to one covered recipient in one quarter to:

file a quarterly report with Congress; and

notify the recipient.

“Covered recipient” includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].  

Reference: Honest Leadership and Open Government Act; Bill H R 2316 ; vote number 2007-423 on May 24, 2007…

Then, we delivered for President Bush, our hero in helping him to shred the worthless piece of paper known as the Constitution:

Voted NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US, but not abroad.

Reference: RESTORE Act; Bill H.R.3773 ; vote number 08-HR3773 on Mar 14, 2008

Voted NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.

Bill Veto override on H.R. 2082 ; vote number 08-HR2082 on Mar 11, 2008

Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.

Reference: Update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; Bill H.R.5825 ; vote number 2006-502 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.

Reference: Intelligence Authorization Act; Bill HR 5020 resolution H RES 774 ; vote number 2006-108 on Apr 26, 2006…

As you can see, our tractor-trailer is far from empty. It is filled with all the wonderful offerings of a failed President, rubber-stamped by a failed Congressman. We are hoping to keep this work going, so Congressman Whitfield’s failed staff can continue making over twice the median income of working families in this district working for him. It is the least we can do for the voters of this district, quite literally. Please support Exxon Ed Whitfield and keep the dream of Whitfield Trucking alive, so we can continue to get rich.

Please support Heather Ryan in Kentucky’s First, and close the doors on Whitfield Trucking for good!!:

Goal Thermometer

Anyone donating $30 or more recieves a free Ryan for Congress T-Shirt!!

Kentucky Democrats Get Serious About Gas Price Gouging

A funny thing happened last night in Paducah. Although Hurricane Ike had not even touched ground in the United States yet, prices at the pump started rising and hitting as high as $4.59 a gallon. This caused a rush on the pumps that hadn’t gone up, and resulted in lines all the way out on the road in some places, and even a few fist-fights from consumers desperate to fill their tanks before the prices spiked.

The real question is why were prices going up so quickly? Our Lt. Governor, Dan Mongiardo was quick to point out on the radio this morning that the prices seem to be spiking mostly in Western Kentucky. He also noted that not one drop of gas being sold there originated from Houston or Galveston, the areas affected by the Hurricane.

He was not the only one that smelled a rat. Our Democratic Attorney General, Jack Conway was on the job too:

“Today, I formally requested that Gov. Beshear implement the price gouging protections of Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act as they apply to gasoline and other goods and services. We have received an overwhelming influx of reports from across Kentucky regarding gasoline price spikes and even rationing. I felt it was important to get the price gouging protections in place as soon as possible to protect the commonwealth’s consumers and businesses,” General Conway said.…

Governor Steve Beshear was quick to respond:

“I am outraged by the voracious practices of price gouging we are seeing,” Gov. Beshear said at a press conference Friday afternoon. “Today, I have taken an extraordinary step to protect the consumers of the commonwealth from these predators.”

The emergency declaration, issued before Hurricane Ike hits the coast, triggers several consumer protection measures.  Among them, it empowers the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute, where appropriate, those who sell gasoline, building supplies and other goods for predatory pricing in a time of disaster.

Gov. Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway have partnered to make aggressive consumer protection a priority, launching an investigation earlier this summer into high gas prices in Louisville.…

This goes to show what Kentucky Democrats can do when they work together, fighting for what is right. Almost as soon as Gov. Beshear issued his order, gas prices in Paducah went from $4.59 and $4.55 a gallon to $3.99 and $3.95. Our former Republican Governor would not have dreamed of such a measure. These actions recieved quick praise from the KDP:

The Governor’s action today will allow many consumer protections to be put into force.  Under the order, Attorney General Jack Conway is empowered to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute anyone who sells gasoline, building materials and other products at predatory pricing levels during a time of disaster.

If you have any specific information regarding price gouging practices at a gas station or retail outlet, please contact the Attorney General’s office.

On the heels of last week’s announcement to make health insurance available to more of Kentucky’s children, Governor Beshear has again demonstrated his leadership and commitment to Kentucky’s hard working families.


Jennifer A. Moore

Chair, Kentucky Democratic Party

Heather Ryan, Democratic candidate in Kentucky’s First Congressional District where most of the almost-gouging was centered was also quick to praise our Democratic State leaders:

KUDOS goes out to Governor Beshear for issuing an Executive Order earlier today to prevent price gouging of gasoline and other essential supplies due to the impending hurricane in the Gulf Coast.  When we were returning from a campaign function last night, we witnessed two local gas stations raising their prices a whopping $0.90 a gallon.  I immediately called my campaign manager to ask if we had invaded another oil rich country – since that could be the only reason I could think of that would justify these huge price increases.  Upon hearing that we were still only illegally occupying the same oil rich countries, I realized that the citizens of Western Kentucky were experiencing even worse price gouging at the expense of an industry who has already taken so much for so long, but whose appetite is never satiated.  

Not surprisingly, after the emergency order, those two gas stations dropped their prices by $0.60 a gallon.  It is the leadership and protection from our Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General that helps stave off some of the effects of the greedy oil industry.  It is unfortunate and criminal that our representative in Congress does not feel the same responsibility toward those he represents.  Of course, why would he feel that loyalty?  The man doesn’t live in Kentucky and because of his financial conflict-of-interest in Big Oil, he is not effected the same by the outrageous price of gasoline.  Instead, his wallet increasingly benefits when Exxon and Chevron post record profits.  I intend to change that in November.  

Heather Ryan

Her opponents answer to high gas prices? Driving an empty tractor-trailer with his face on it all over Western Kentucky:

Diesel Burner

Kentucky Democrats have shown that they will fight for us once in office. With the election in Nov. up in the air, and our lead in the Congressional Generic Ballot dwindling, it is more important than ever that we stand up and fight for a Democrat that will make a difference in the Congress, Heather Ryan. She is right on the cusp of making big noise in this district, and will be filming her first T.V. ad in the next several days. Please help us get on the airwaves and defeat Exxon Ed Whitfield, and join “Fighting Kentucky Democrats” in representing what is right:

Goal Thermometer

Anyone donating $30 or more will automatically get an awesome Ryan for Congress t-shirt sent to them!!

I will put in the first $30, who will match me??

Thanks to our Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and to Heather Ryan and Jennifer Moore for being great Democratic leaders. With leaders such as these, our state is definately looking blue!!


Heather Ryan Comes Out Firing Again at St. John’s Picnic

Just down the road from Paducah, Kentucky sits St. John’s Catholic Church. Every year, they have an annual picnic with games and political speaking. While not as famous, and a lot tamer than the Fancy Farm Picnic, it is a really good idea for candidates to stop in and work for votes in Western Kentucky.

As with a lot of events in Kentucky Politics today, Heather Ryan stole the show. Unfortunately, at the last minute our camera had some technical difficulties, but I want to share a transcript of Heather’s speech, that once again fired up Democrats in attendence, and offended Republicans deeply with the hard truth of their records:

Well, we were going to bring our tractor-trailer to St. John’s Picnic like Exxon Eddie, but we simply couldn’t afford it.

After the Republican National Convention ended this week, analysts said the Republicans didn’t mention their achievements because they didn’t have any. Unfortunately, I disagree.

Republicans achieved everything they set out to achieve. They’ve made the rich richer, and the middle-class poor. You may think it is unfair for me to say, but when my opponent votes against Healthcare for poor children, he is representing Insurance companies, not you.

When Exxon Eddie votes against funding Alternative Energy, he is representing Big Oil, and his own stock options, not you. When he votes to give himself and the richest 1% of Americans a huge tax break while cutting veteran’s benefits he is representing his own wallet, not yours.

(Republican heckles from side) That is unless you are sitting over there with that bunch, who obviously aren’t hurting.

Because that is what we have had in office for 14 yrs, a cookie-cutter Republican who votes over 90% of the time with President Bush. If you are proud of what George W. Bush has done to our country, then by all means vote for Exxon Ed Whitfield.

But if you are embarrassed that we are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t provide healthcare for it’s citizens, and if you are angry that Big Oil holds our economy hostage, and if your furious that the richest among us own the politicians that are supposed to represent us, then vote for me, Heather Ryan and support the Democratic ticket.

I am Heather Ryan and I am just an ordinary person during an extra-ordinary time. I am a wife, and mother, previous labor union member, and a veteran, which means that even I have more experience than Sarah Palin.

You have heard a lot of talk about change in this election. Its something we desperately need in Kentucky’s First Congressional District, and in fact in America. Friends, if you always do what you did, then you will always get what you have gotten. So please, vote Democrat on Nov. 4th. Change isn’t a campaign slogan, it is a neccesity.

Thank you.

Now for some pics of St. John’s!! Here is Heather, and her daughter Heaven, everyone’s favorite Mitch McConnell antagonist arriving at the picnic. (McConnell was a no-show):


Here is Bruce Lunsford, McConnell’s opponent who did show to meet with the voters of Western Kentucky:


Here is our opponent, Exxon Eddie, looking worried as he arrived in an empty tractor-trailer with his face and name on the side, burning $4.10 a gallon diesel while Paducah Trucking Companies are closing their doors. Of course, with his Exxon and Chevron Stock he will get it back. The taxpayers of Western Kentucky won’t:


Here is Exxon Eddie on the stage, trying to explain away $4.00 a gallon gas, and voting against Healthcare for Children:


Here is the reaction of Democrats as Exxon Eddie states how he has worked for Energy Independence. From left to right, Former Congressman and State Senate candidate Carroll Hubbard, Bruce Lunsford, Heather Ryan, and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo:


Here is Heather, doing what she does like no other, calling the Republicans out on their sorry records of representing us:


Here is Carroll Hubbard, showing he still has what it takes to deliver a knockout speech:


Here is the leader of the Kentucky Democratic Party, Jennifer Moore, who is doing an awesome job and as Carroll Hubbard reminded us at Breakfast is the prettiest leader of the KDP ever:


It was a long, and great day for Democrats. Heather fired everyone up as usual, and better yet got under some Republican skin. As is the case every time people hear Heather for the first time, we signed up many new volunteers and recieved several contributions.

Please, help us in this race. This seat is ripe for the picking if we get the funds, and Heather would be an awesome Democrat with a spine in the Congress. Just ask Russ Feingold!! We are fighting hard here, and Exxon Eddie knows he is vulnerable. Go here to expand our Congressional majority!!:

Goal Thermometer

We need your support!!