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BLOG ARCHIVE: NOVEMBER 16-31, 2006

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FRIST QUITS; CARTER WANTS GORE; OBAMA DRAFT; NEWT'S LIMITS; TANCREDO INSULTS.
Retiring US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) -- who did not seek re-election in 2006 in order, seemingly, to prepare for a White House run -- announced Wednesday he will not run for President in 2008. Polls showed Frist had been gaining.little support in the GOP contest, despite his frequent visits to Iowa and New Hampshire. "For me, for now, this season of being an elected official has come to a close," said Frist. A surgeon and multi-millionaire hospital chain executive, First reportedly plans to return to the medical industry. Frist's exit is most likely to benefit retiring Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who appear to be the most likely Southerners to enter the contest ... Retired Army General Wes Clark (D-AR) said he will not make the same mistake in 2008 that he made in 2004: a late entry in the Presidential contest. Clark promises to make a formal decision by early 2007 ... North Carolina CD-8 contest is finally over. With the hand recount well underway, and with few changes in the outcome, Larry Kissel (D) conceded the race to Congressman Robin Hayes (R). Kissel lost by 329 votes ... Speaking on MSNBC's Hardball, former President Jimmy Carter said he wanted former Vice President Al Gore (D-TN) to run for President in 2004. So much so that Gore actually got annoyed with Carter's frequent pestering. Carter said he still hasn't given up on Gore: "If I had to choose now a candidate out of all the ones that exist, at this point, at least, Al Gore would still be my preference" ... The "Draft Obama" movement keeps growing. Just check out RunObamaRun.com and DraftObama.org -- and Obama's own Hopefund leadership PAC. Obama is expected to make a public decision on the race by January 2007 ... Republicans got some good news in Montana. The recount in a State House race showed the GOP candidate won by 3 votes. That gives the GOP a 50-49 advantage, with a Constitution Party member holding the one remaining seat ... Stumping in New Hampshire this week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) said President Bush needs to admit the Iraq War is "a failure." According to the Union Leader, Gingrich also ominously "said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism." He explained a "different set of rules" for free speech may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message ... Not winning friends in what is likely to be an early P2008 contest state, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is drawing lots of fire for his insulting comments this week about South Florida. "You would never know you're in the United States of America [in Miami]. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country," said Tancredo. Governor Jeb Bush, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and other Florida Republicans have demanded that Tancredo apologize for his xenophobic "Third World" remarks. Not only did Tancredo not back down, by mid-week he blasted back at Bush in a written statement: "I certainly understand and appreciate your need and desire to try and create the illusion of Miami as a multiethnic 'All American' city. Indeed sir, one of us is naive."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.30.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
The more I learn about Senator Obama, the more I like him as my top choice for 2008 (although I think Al Gore would still be my first choice, if he'd just reconsider his earlier decision to skip the race).

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.30.06 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NO INTEL CHAIR FOR HASTINGS; DEMS TAKE PA HOUSE; GILMORE WEIGHS P2008 RUN.
Incoming US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) met Monday with Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to let him know he would not be the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings' past ethics problems -- he was impeached and removed from the federal bench in the 1980s on corruption allegations (although he had already been acquitted of bribery charges in the criminal trial) -- ultimately killed his bid for the seat. The senior Dem on the panel is Conrgesswoman Jane Harman (D-CA), but Pelosi and Harman are known to strongly dislike each other, so she is unlikely to get the job. Two names in play now for the Chairmanship are Congressmen Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) ... Former Virginia Governor and former Republican National Chairman Jim Gilmore told reporters Monday he is considering either running for President in 2008 or running for Governor again in 2009 ... It took nearly a month to count all the votes but, on Monday, the Democrats won the Pennsylvania State House District 156 seat by only 23 votes. With that win, the Dems also grabbed control of the State House for the first time since 1994. Here's another interesting election factoid: Dems also captured both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature this year, giving them total control of the state government for the first time since 1874 ... Congressman Chaka Fatta (D-PA) announced his candidacy for Philadelphia Mayor. Incumbent John Street (D) is term-limited in 2007 ... The Rocky Mountain News reports US Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) is pondering retiring in 2008. He is currently serving his second term and had originally made a voluntary term limits pledge that he would serve only two terms. He promises to make a formal decision by early next year, but he's sounding like a probable retiree. Congressman Mark Udall (D) is already running for the seat, regardless of what Allard decides. Udall currently holds a 10-to-1 advantage over Allard in campaign cash-on-hand.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.29.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.29.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

LAME DUCK CONGRESS MAY QUICKLY ADJOURN; PRYCE WINS; P2008 NEWS.
Roll Call is reporting that a "squabble among Republicans over spending bills makes it increasingly likely that the House will finish its business by the end of next week ... Given that GOP conservatives have prevented their colleagues on the House and Senate Appropriations panels from moving forward with plans to pass the nine remaining spending bills as an omnibus package, Republicans leaders are now expected to punt the issue to next year’s Democratic-led Congress rather than take the time to piece together major spending legislation" ... Ohio election officials finally finished the initial counting of ballots in the CD-15 race on Monday. With all votes counted, Congresswoman Deb Pryce (R) defeated Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by 1,055 votes (or 50.2% to 49.8%). However, as the margin was less than 0.5% of the vote, state law requires an automatic recount. Neither side expects the the outcome to change in the recount ... Iowa Republicans selected August 11, 2007, as the date for their non-binding Ames Straw Poll. The vote is a major test of grassroots organization strength. Also, the Boston Globe reported that California, Florida and Michigan -- three giant states -- are attempting to move their Presidential primaries to "as close as possible" to the date of the New Hampshire primary.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.28.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
According to the New York Times, the highly touted Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group just produced a first draft of recommended options that does NOT include any version of a phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. All these newly elected congressional Dems -- and the Dem leadership -- kept saying for weeks they wanted to the see the ISG recommendations before formulating a specific Iraq policy. Now they look likely to be stuck with a "new" plan of options that -- essentially -- consists of "stay the course" variants. US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) had the guts this week to break with his party and openly call for the start of the phased withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. So, what will it take for the new Democratic leadership to find some backbone and follow suit?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.28.06 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BROWNBACK CLOSE TO P2008 BID; GENERAL SAYS RUMSFELD AUTHORIZED ABUSES.
US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) strongly hinted on ABC's This Week that he will soon make an official announcement on his likely Presidential candidacy. "We're very close with announcements ... and really considering whether we could bring a message to the country that needs to be discussed. I think there is room, on the Republican side, for somebody that's a full-scale conservative, that's an economic and fiscal and social conservative," he said. He is also a leading voice in Congress for US action to end the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Brownback has made several trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and other early contest states over the past year. Brownback -- the most socially conservative of the likely GOP candidates -- would need to rely on heavy support from the party's Religious Right base in order to gain traction ... Former US Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper that Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld personally authorized in writing the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Karpinski was the commandant of the prison when the abuses took place. The letter authorized US contractors to use sleep deprivation, making prisoners stand for hours on end, and other similar techniques. "The handwritten signature was above his printed name [in the letter] and in the same handwriting in the margin was written 'Make sure this is accomplished,'" said Karpinski. She said she is now willing to testify against Rumsfeld in any court cases or hearings. The Pentagon declined comment on Karpinski's statements ... Incoming House Committee Chairs Barney Frank (D-MA) and John Dingell (D-MI) said the Dems plan to advance an agenda for "mainstream America" in the next Congress. Because of that, according to Frank, don't look for the new House leadership to spend time on divisive, hot button, liberal issues like gays-in-the-military, etc.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.27.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.27.06 | Permalink |

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
FYI -- if you collect campaign buttons -- few of my duplicate 2006 items are for sale on eBay (closing Sunday). Click here to see 'em.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.25.06 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

Note: We're going to take a brief break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our next update will be on Monday, November 27.

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Talk about sore losers, check out this bitter message from a recent Congressional candidate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.23.06 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

Note: We're going to take a brief break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our next update will be on Monday, November 27.

SHAHEEN PONDERS COMEBACK; SCHMIDT WINS; FRANKEN PONDERS.
Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) -- who lost a competitive 2002 race for US Senate to John Sununu (R) -- is considering a 2008 rematch, according to the Boston Globe ... Comic and author Al Franken (D-MN) promises to make a public decision as to whether or not he will challenge US Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) by the end of this holiday long weekend ... While the counting of provisional ballots continues in Ohio, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R) can be declared the winner in CD-2. Schmidt gained votes in the ongoing counting, making her 51% advantage mathematically insurmountable at this point ... In the Ohio CD-15 race between Congressman Deb Pryce (R) and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D), the incumbent leads by 3,717 votes. However, nearly 19,000 ballots still remain to be counted in Franklin County. That count is expected to be completed sometime next week ... Texas has yet to decide whether the CD-23 runoff between Congressman Henry Bonilla (R) and former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D) will take place on December 12 or December 19. Postscript: Governor Perry selected December 12 as the run-off day.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.22.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Have a happy thanksgiving.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.22.06 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

LIKELY CANDIDATES POSTURING FOR '07 KENTUCKY GOV RACE.
Leaders in both major parties agree scandal-tinged Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) appears highly vulnerable as he seeks re-election next year. With the January 31 filing deadline drawing nearer, potential candidates are starting to tip their hands. Former Governer Brereton Jones (D) -- who served 1991-95 -- confirmed to the Lexington Herald-Leader he is interested in the race. One other possible candidate -- attorney and '02 Congressional nominee Jack Conway (D) -- said Jones recently met with him to see if Conway would be his runningmate. Conway, however, remains interested in the top job. Term-limited State Treasurer Jonathan Miller (D) appears likely to run, as does Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence (R). Other Dems openly considering the race include State Senator and '04 US Senate nominee Dan Mongiardo (D), State Senator David Boswell, and former State House Speaker and '79 candidate Terry McBrayer (D). Attorney General Greg Stumbo told reporters last week he had "no plans to run for Governor at this time" -- but added that he was not yet ready to make a final decision ruling out a run. Congressman Ben Chandler, who was the Dem nominee against Fletcher in 2003, is sounding like he plans to stay in Congress now that the Dems captured majority control. Former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry (D), McCracken County Board of Education Chair Billy Harper (R), demolition contractor Otis Hensley (D) and frequent candidates Peppy Martin (R) and Gatewood Galbreath (D) have each publicly stated they are in the race. Other prominent Republicans are also being mentioned as possible primary challengers. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson (D) and State Auditor Crit Luallen (D) both announced last week they are not running.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.21.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Have at it.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.21.06 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

DEMS WIN MT SEN; FL-13 HEADS TO COURT; NC-8 GOES TO HAND RECOUNT; GREENS GAIN.
Montana State Senator Sam Kitzenberg switched from Republican to Democrat on Friday, breaking a tie and giving the Dems majority control of the State Senate. He told the AP he'd been thinking of switching parties "for about 12 years" ... The recount in the NM-1 race shows Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) officially won re-election by 879 votes ... Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger -- who served during the Vietnam War under Presidents Nixon and Ford -- said Sunday in an interview with the BBC that he did not believe it was realistic for the US to win a victory in Iraq. "If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control ... I don't believe that is possible," he said ... In FL-13, auto dealer Vern Buchanan (R) will be certified the winner on Monday by a 369 vote margin. The big issue remains the inexplicable 18,000 "undervotes" -- possibly meaning that thousands of cast ballot were lost in Sarasota County due to machine or programming errors. Florida touchscreen voting machines currently do not produce any paper trail of receipts, meaning that ballots "lost" by machines are permanently lost. Look for banker Christine Jennings (D) to file suit within the next ten days seeking a new special election against Buchanan ... A "hand-eye" manual sampling recount is expected to begin this week in NC-8, where Congressman Robin Hayes (R) is currently leading teacher Larry Kissel (D) by just 339 votes. The provisional ballots will also begin to be counted Monday in the still undecided OH-2 and OH-15 races ... Green Party candidates for Governor across the nation this year scored a combined total of over 854,000 votes, making this the best third party showing in gubernatorial contests since the Reform Party's showing of 1.3 million in 1998 (when Jesse Ventura was elected Minnesota Governor as a Reform candidate). The Libertarian candidates came in this year at around 422,000 votes ... Recently defeated US Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) said he will "absolutely, positively not" be a candidate for President in 2008 ... Governor John Lynch (D-NH) said he is not looking to run against US Senator John Sununu (R) in 2008.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.20.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
FYI -- if you collect campaign buttons -- I've got a few of my duplicate 2006 items for sale this week on eBay. The pins include some of the Pennsylvania congressional winners (Carney, Sestak, Murtha), a few of the Dems who didn't win (Winter, Madrid, Seals), Florida Governor pins (Crist and Davis), some Green Party locals items from Maine and NY, and a button from porn star Mimi Miyagi's recent GOP run for Nevada Governor. Click here to see 'em.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.20.06 | Permalink |

WEEKEND NEWS UPDATE.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS PICK BOEHNER, BLUNT, PUTNAM, COLE.
Current US House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) easily fended of a challenge from Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) for the Minority Leader position by a lopsided 168-27 vote. Pence praised Boehner's past service, but had vowed to return the House GOP to fiscal conservatism. The race for Minority Whip was thought to be much more competitive, but it also ended in a blowout. Current House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) defeated Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) by a 137-57 vote. Shadegg was aligned with Pence's call for more conservative House leadership. Congressman Adam Putnam (R-FL) defeated Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) by a 100-91 vote on the third ballot for House Republican Conference Chair. Two others were eliminated on earlier ballots. In the race for NRCC Chair, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) was elected on the second ballot. Cole -- the NRCC's Executive Director in the early 1990s -- is also the father of Mason Cole, one of our regular bloggers here on Politics1.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.18.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Enjoy the weekend!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.18.06 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

HOYER WINS; FOLEY PROBE GROWS; STEVENS & DOMENICI TO RUN AGAIN.
Current US House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) easily was elected as the next House Majority Leader on Thursday. Hoyer defeated Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) -- a decorated combat veteran and vocal Iraq War opponent -- by a vote of 149-86. Hoyer spent the past year fundraising and campaigning on behalf of over 80 House candidates. Murtha, although backed by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), was hurt by his past involvement in the 1979 ABSCAM corruption probe ... The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, after opening a preliminary review last month, confirmed Thursday it was now launching a full-scale criminal investigation into the online sex scandal of former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL). An FDLE spokesperson told CNN the agency found "a basis to open a criminal investigation" ... Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-LA) reactivated his gubernatorial campaign account this week and has begun raising money for a second run next year against Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) ... Two aging incumbents thought to be likely retirement candidates -- US Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) -- announced Thursday they will both seek re-election in 2008. Stevens, a seven-term incumbent, will be 84 in 2008. Domenici, a six-term incumbent, will be 76 in 2008 ... Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) officially survived his tough re-election challenge from former Congressman Max Burns (R) by a margin of 864 votes. Burns conceded on Thursday, saying he will not seek a recount. The vote counting and recounting still continues in five congressional contests: FL-13, NM-1 NC-8, OH-2, and OH-15.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.17.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Very brief posting today, as I'm busy studying for my Mass Appraisal test on Friday morning (related to my day job).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.17.06 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

McCONNELL, LOTT WIN SENATE GOP LEADERSHIP RACES.
US Senate Republicans on Wednesday unanimously selected current US Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to be the US Senate Minority Leader in the next Congress. By contrast, the race for Minority Whip between Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Trent Lott (R-MS) was hotly contested. Both men have national stature. Alexander is a former Presidential Cabinet membet and two-time White House candidate. Lott is the former US House Minority Whip, US Senate Majority Whip and US Senate Majority Leader -- who gave up the Leader post under pressure in 2003 after making remarks seen as praise of Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat run for President in 1948. Since then, Lott wrote his memoirs -- Herding Cats -- detailing his career. The book savaged the White House and a few of his GOP colleagues for what he complained was back-stabbing disloyalty to him during the Thurmond incident. When the votes were counted Wednesday, Lott defeated Alexander by a 25-24 upset win.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.16.06 | Permalink |

P2008 NEWS ... and SSG'S BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE.
Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) announced Wednesday in Iowa he will file paperwork in January to form a Presidential exploratory committee. Thompson briefly flirted with making a 2000 White House run, and later served as HHS Secretary in the Bush Administration. Thompson is expected to have the same impact on the GOP contest as former US Senator Mike Gravel is having on the Democratic contest ... As I previously mentioned two days ago, US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) filed paperwork this week for his Presidential exploratory committee. Since then, the GOP frontrunner launched his new campaign website. Other good news for McCain this week was the victory of his P2008 supporter Senator Trent Lott for Senate Minority Leader, and the elevation of McCain ally Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) for RNC Chair ... Appearing Tuesday on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, former US Senator John Edwards (D) pretty much said he will launch his 2008 campaign within the next few weeks by means of an announcement on his political website ... Roll Call reported that interim Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R) is off to a rocky start during her two-month term for the remainder of resigned House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's term. When Sekula-Gibbs arrived at the DC office for the first time, the entire GOP staff of DeLay holdovers immediately resigned and walked out. National Journal's Hotline also reports she is unlikely to make a second run for the seat in 2008 against incoming freshman Congressman Nick Lampson (D).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.16.06 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE: THE DAILY OPEN THREAD.
Have at it.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 11.16.06 | Permalink |

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