Making a List and Checking it Twice


It’s not that time of year, again (Christmas), and it sure isn’t the old man with reindeer; so who do we know or what group of individuals do we know that tried almost every way possible to propose a bipartisan agreement on the Economic Stimulus Package for the past month and finally got it into law yesterday with the President’s signature?

For me its unbelievable when this issue was before our legislative branch of government, referring to the temporarily controlling factions within the GOP; and why would the GOP “only” agree to a bipartisan stimulus bill if it was “one-half” authored by them.  Are these folks ready for the fruit juice farm or what?  Do they understand the meaning of the word “compromise?”

Isn’t this why, we in America we go through the trouble of having elections; to see who more or less, which “party” controls the mandates presented before our “elected” congress?

Alright now I’m setup to present my favorite topic, which the coming “Election 2010.”  It is much too early to predict elections two years from now, but there are some known facts and early movement in key contests, as presented by The Council for a Livable World in an article entitled The Chain Reaction.

  • Number of seats up in 2010: Republicans again have to defend more seats than Democrats, 19 seats compared to 17.
  • Retirements: At this point, five GOP Senators have announced their retirements at the end of this term, compared to only one Democrat. Open seats are frequently highly competitive.
  • Newly-appointed Senators: There will be four Democratic seats previously held by invulnerable incumbents with names like Obama, Biden, Clinton and Salazar that will feature appointed incumbents in office for less than two years.  The effect of these appointments is to make each seat more competitive.
  • Candidate recruitment: Both parties are looking for strong candidates to run, but already both have also suffered disappointments as favored candidates declined to enter the races.

The major imponderable:  How popular will President Barack Obama be in November 2010? Many mid-term elections become referenda on the incumbent President’s party.

Some of the early battleground states:

California: The nation’s largest state only becomes a battleground if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) decides to challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).  Even so, she should face spirited competition.

Colorado: Political newcomer Michael Bennet (D) was selected to replace Sen. Ken Salazar (D), the new Secretary of Interior.  He is well-regarded by insider circles for his job as superintendent of Denver public schools and other work but is little known across the state.  Former Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) may challenge Bennet in a primary.  Republicans are sure to mount a stiff challenge.  Polls point to a close contest.

Delaware: Sen. Ted Kaufman (D), Sen. Joseph Biden’s former chief of staff, has announced he will hold the seat for only two years.  Attorney General Beau Biden, one of Biden’s sons, is expected to announce a run after he returns from an Iraq deployment.  Republicans would like popular U.S. Rep. Mike Castle to run.  Castle will be 71 in 2010, which would set up a strong contrast between himself and the much younger Beau Biden.

Florida: Both parties suffered recruiting disappointments for this race. The GOP hoped that former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) would run, and Democrats tried to persuade Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) to run for the seat of Sen. Mel Martinez (R), who announced his retirement. A slew of other candidates are considering the contest, including U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) and former Florida state Speaker Marco Rubio (R). At this point, the race is a toss-up.

Illinois: Controversial Governor Rod Blagojevich’s (D) appointment of Sen. Roland Burris (D) embarrassed state and national Democrats.  It is not clear whether or not 71-year old African American Roland Burris will run in 2010. State treasurer Alexi Giannoulias may run. The GOP is recruiting the popular suburban U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R) to run.

Kansas:  Sen. Sam Brownback (R), currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, has kept his promise to retire after two terms.  Two GOP House members, Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran have indicated they will run in a primary against each other. Democrats will only be competitive if popular Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), who is term-limited for the Governor’s race in 2010, enters the contest.  Polls show here with a significant lead over either Republican.  Democrats have not won a Kansas Senate seat since 1932.

Kentucky: Two-term incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning (R) won by only 23,000 votes in 2004, a strong Republican year, and is considered highly vulnerable.  Indeed, some Republicans are urging Bunning to retire rather than risk defeat. Bunning had only $150,000 in the bank at the end of December. Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo , who ran in 2004, has declared he will run.  Other  Democrats are considering the race, including, state Rep. Ben Chandler, state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) and Auditor Crit Luallen (D).

Louisiana: Democrats have been targeting Sen. David Vitter (R) since Mr. Family Values’ name was found in the D.C. Madam’s list of prostitutes’ customers.  Vitter may get a primary challenge and – almost certainly – will receive a strong general election opponent.

Missouri: Sen. Kit Bond (R), who beat back a series of highly credible Democratic challengers over the years, has announced his retirement. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D), the daughter of a governor and senator and brother of a congressman, is the early Democratic frontrunner.  Early polls show her with a narrow lead over three potential Republican opponents, ex-Senator Jim Talent (D), U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt (R), and ex-state treasurer Sarah Steelman (R).  This is probably a toss-up race.

Nevada: Republicans knocked off Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle in 2004 and hope to repeat their victory by defeating Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D) from Nevada in 2010.  In 2008, Reid helped defeat one potential challenger, U.S. Representative Jon Porter (R), and Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki’s (R) already has legal problems, but the GOP will almost surely find a serious challenger to contest Reid’s seat.  While Reid won handily in 2004, he won by only 428 votes six years before. At the end of November, Reid had $3.3 million in the bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee began running attack ads against Reid in January 2009.

New Hampshire: This state has been going increasingly Democratic with the defeat of both Republican House members in 2006 and Sen. John Sununu in 2008.  Democrats are optimistic about winning the seat in 2010, particularly now that the seat is open with J. Bonnie Newman a temporary Senator.   While Gov. John Lynch (D) has declined to run, Rep. Paul Hodes (D) has declared.  Also considering the contest is the other U.S. Rep. from New Hampshire, Carol Shea-Porter.  Early polls show Hodes a stronger candidate than Shea-Porter.

New York: Gov. David Paterson’s selection of little-known U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) from upstate New York to replace former Sen. and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could lead to stiff primary opposition from U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), who objects to Gillibrand’s pro-gun position, or from a Republican like U.S. Rep. Peter King.  Gillibrand is a ferocious fundraiser and a formidable campaigner, but she has to move quickly to get herself known across the Empire state.  The state’s Democratic leanings make her the early favorite.

North Carolina: North Carolina went for Barack Obama in 2008 and ousted Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) with the election of Sen. Kay Hagan (D).  Now Democrats have turned their sights on Sen. Richard Burr (R).  State Attorney General Roy Cooper  (D) and U.S. Rep. Heath Schuler (D) are considering a challenge.  Polling shows Burr only slightly ahead of these and other potential challengers.

North Dakota: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) will breeze to re-election unless Gov. John Hoeven (R) gets into the contest.

Ohio: Ex-U.S. Rep. and ex-Office of Management and Budget director Rob Portman (R) declared his candidacy immediately after the announced retirement of Sen. George Voinovich (R).  He may run opposed for the GOP nomination.  Democrats fear a primary between Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. The contest is considered wide open.

Pennsylvania: MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews decided against running, but incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (R) will have ample competition, perhaps from members of both parties.  Club for Growth president Pat Toomey, who almost defeated Specter in a 2004 primary, has decided to run for Governor this time.  Pennsylvania, which has been trending Democratic, will almost certainly produce a tough Democratic challenger.

17 Democratic seats

  1. Evan Bayh (IN)
  2. Michael Bennett (CO)
  3. Barbara Boxer (CA)
  4. Roland Burris (IL)
  5. Christopher Dodd (CT)
  6. Byron Dorgan (ND)
  7. Russell Feingold (WI)
  8. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
  9. Daniel Inouye (HI)
  10. Ted Kaufman (DE) – retiring
  11. Patrick Leahy (VT)
  12. Blanche Lincoln (AR)
  13. Barbara Mikulski (MD)
  14. Patty Murray (WA)
  15. Harry Reid (NV)
  16. Charles Schumer (NY)
  17. Ron Wyden (OR)

19 Republican seats

  1. Robert Bennett (UT)
  2. Christopher Bond (MO) – retiring
  3. Sam Brownback (KS) – retiring
  4. Jim Bunning (KY)
  5. Richard Burr (NC)
  6. Tom Coburn (OK)
  7. Mike Crapo (ID)
  8. Jim DeMint (SC)
  9. Chuck Grassley (IA)
  10. Johnny Isakson (GA)
  11. Mel Martinez (FL) – retiring
  12. John McCain (AZ)
  13. J. Bonnie Newman (NH) – retiring
  14. Lisa Murkowski (AK)
  15. Richard Shelby (AL)
  16. Arlen Specter (PA)
  17. John Thune (SD)
  18. David Vitter (LA)
  19. George Voinovich (OH) – retiring

Update 20 Feb 09:

Nine Republicans want stimulus cash
from Politico by Glenn Thrush

They voted against the stimulus package, but now they want the dough.

Here’s the latest YouTube video produced by National Republican Congressional Committee, entitled simply: “NRCC Stimulus Video” where the point of the overall video is very hard to ascertain, but what I do understand is the GOP never came up with a “Jobs” program of their own, only tax breaks!

NRCC Stimulus Video

And finally of course the GOP must have a come-back to targeting Dems, so here it is this time:

NRCC launches robocalls against Dems
from Politico by Alex Isenstadt

The committee is targeting House Dems who voted for the $787 billion stimulus package.

3 Responses to “Making a List and Checking it Twice”

  1. 1 Dennis Myers
    February 19, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    Regarding your Nevada comments, “legal problems” is a pretty benign way to describe an indictment. You report, “The National Republican Senatorial Committee began running attack ads against Reid in January 2009”. That’s true, but Americans United for Change and AFSCME began running ads SUPPORTING Reid. I would be curious why you believe “the GOP will almost surely find a serious challenger to contest Reid’s seat”. They may, of course, but no one I know here in Nevada assigns to it the certainty you do.

  2. February 19, 2009 at 11:33 PM

    The article states that Rep. Mark Kirk, my congressman, might run for the U.S. Senate. If he doesn’t run for re-election, I hope that St. Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, a Republican, will run for his House seat. She agrees with him about many issues, and she’s been a legislator since 1999.

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The Month in Review

February 2009

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