Archive for the ‘Senate’ Category
Yesterday, Prof. Larry Sabato was on Cavuto’s show to talk about the midterm elections. He said at the time that Democrats had all but written off the seats currently held by South Dakota’s Tim Johnson and West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller. Republicans need to pick up a net of 6 seats in 2014 to regain the majority in the Senate. According to this post, that possibility just got a little more likely:
Popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he will not run for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.The Democrat tells The Associated Press on Saturday he doesn’t want to leave Montana and go to Washington, D.C.
Schweitzer says he felt compelled to consider the race because many in his party said they needed him to run. He was considered the best chance Democrats have to hold onto the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus next year.
Schweitzer had led the GOP candidate in early polling. His decision essentially ends the Democrats’ chances of holding Sen. Baucus’s seat. Coupled with the Johnson and Rockefeller seats, the Republicans are half the way to retaking the Senate majority.
In a February poll from Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling, Schweitzer led Baucus in a potential primary match-up, and while Baucus trailed some of his potential GOP opponents, Schweitzer polled stronger.
Baucus had a difficult time the last time he ran for re-election. After writing a significant portion of the Senate version of the PPACA, Sen. Baucus’s popularity had dropped significantly.
At this point, no other Democrat is positioned to win that statewide race. The only positive that comes out of this news is that the DSCC can focus more of its money and GOTV operations on the other tight races.
I hadn’t paid any attention to the Akin-McCaskill race recently but this polling suggests I should:
The News 4, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star poll shows Senator Claire McCaskill with a 2 percent lead over Congressman Todd Akin, at 45 and 43 percent, respectively.
What’s interesting is that Rep. Akin leads Sen. McCaskill amongst independents by a 42%-36% margin. Another thing that’s interesting is that Rep. Akin only got 82% of the GOP votes vs. Sen. McCaskill getting 97% of the Democrats’ votes. Finally, 9% of Republicans and 13% of independents are undecided. It isn’t likely that those votes will break for Sen. McCaskill, especially after they see this video:
In fact, I’m betting that Rep. Akin’s lead with independents grows after they see that ad. Here’s the transcript of that ad:
Todd Akin: “I’m Todd Akin and I approved this message.”
Announcer: “It’s been revealed, Claire McCaskill’s husband was caught cutting business deals in the Senate dining room, selling tax credits tied to Obama’s stimulus money, money Claire McCaskill voted for. McCaskill uses her position and power to cash in. It’s no surprise that McCaskill thinks she’s above the law, she didn’t pay her taxes but voted to raise ours. The arrogance and corruption of Claire McCaskill. Dealing herself in. Selling us out.”
It wasn’t that long ago that Sen. McCaskill was the most vulnerable senator up for re-election, mostly because she’s used her position to benefit her husband’s business and because she’s the most dishonest member of the U.S. Senate this side of Harry Reid.
Those facts haven’t changed. Now that Rep. Akin and Sen. McCaskill are making their closing arguments, voters are getting reminded why they don’t like her.
Six weeks ago, Rep. Akin looked like toast. Things settled down. Sen. McCaskill’s past has been dredged up. Now Sen. McCaskill’s looking like she’s heading for defeat. Good riddance.
When I saw that Al Hunt had written this article, I thought it would be another screed about the loss of civility in politics, that ‘the right’ was villainizing the word compromise and other familiar complaints whenever Republicans are beating Democrats in a debate.
Instead, I saw an article that’s fairly reasonable, especially considering it’s written by a hard left lefty:
This year, Tea Party activists are winning Republican Senate primaries and are favored to win seats in the fall. They include Ted Cruz in Texas, Deb Fischer in Nebraska and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Primaries over the next 10 days in Missouri and Wisconsin could catapult others.
Cruz, a former law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, handily defeated the Texas lieutenant governor last week. He’s considered a virtual shoo-in in the general election.
Fischer, who won an upset victory against a more established candidate, has been embraced by the Tea Party, as has Mourdock who knocked off six-term Republican Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana. Facing tough Democratic opponents, they are favored in states that are decidedly Republican.
Of the 3 races, Mourdock faces the toughest fight. I’d be surprised if Cruz doesn’t win by at least 15 points. I’d be surprised if Deb Fischer doesn’t win by 12 points or more.
If all these Tea Party-backed Republicans win in November, it means Mitch McConnell, the current Republican Senate leader, will be in the majority. From day one, however, the Kentucky senator will be looking over his shoulder. The real power may be South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who stood up and supported a number of these Tea Party candidates in the 2010 elections.
Another politician who benefits: Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor endorsed Mourdock, Fischer and Cruz when they were underdogs.
Hunt is exactly right in saying that Gov. Palin and Sen. DeMint will exert considerable influence on the Senate’s agenda. If Sen. McConnell recognizes that, he could make this a productive Senate.
In fact, McConnell could earn some points with the TEA Party by saying he’d support Jim DeMint over John Cornyn if Sen. DeMint ran for the soon-to-be-open spot created by Jon Kyl’s retirement.
Increasing the number of influential conservative voices in the Senate is the fastest way of righting this nation’s economy. Despite President Obama’s spin, this nation’s economy isn’t headed in the right direction. It won’t improve until President Obama is fired by the voters this November.
Increasing the TEA Party’s influence in the Senate will dramatically hasten the economy’s recovery.
I’m usually not a big fan of the RCP polling averages because too many junk polls get included in their averages. That said, it’s occasionally a good indicator of the state of specific races.
One of those races is the U.S. Senate race in Florida between Republican Connie Mack and Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson. In a rare instance of a trio of recent polls from highly qualified pollsters that sampled likely voters give us a strong indication of the state of the race.
SurveyUSA puts the race at Mack 48%, Nelson 42%. Mason-Dixon puts the race at Nelson 47%, Mack 42%. Finally, Rasmussen has it at Mack with 46%, Nelson at 37%. Each of these polls were within the past 2 weeks and sampled likely voters.
At this point, I wouldn’t count this as a GOP gain but I’d certainly put it in the leans GOP gain column. If a former astronaut like Bill Nelson is having difficulty winning re-election in Florida, think what that says for President Obama’s chances of winning Florida again.
At this point, Sen. Nelson is in trouble. It wouldn’t surprise me if President Obama is, too.
Chip Cravaack laid the wood to the DFL in this fiery speech at the 2012 MNGOP Convention:
Here’s a transcript of the hardest-hitting part of the speech:
I have to be blunt. Our opponents don’t have the guts to do what’s right or what needs to be done. If they have any courage, they’re not showing it right now. Go ahead and ask them “Show us the tough decisions you’ve made. Show us where you’ve been at odds with the President. Show us where you have been an independent voice in the decisions in the best interests of this country.”
They can’t. The fact is that they haven’t made the tough decisions that the country needs now. They talk about leadership but that’s all it is. It’s all talk.
Under Harry Reid’s ‘leadership’, the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 3 years. They’ve sabotaged House legislation that would’ve jumpstarted the economy. Reid’s Senate filibustered the Keystone XL Pipeline to death, preventing job creation and energy independence.
On the House side, the Democrats haven’t proposed anything constructive since the 2006 disaster. We’re still paying the price for their ill-advised legislative ‘accomplishments’.
The Democrats in DC were clearly the target of Chip’s speech. Chip exposed Sen. Klobuchar’s less-than-moderate voting record. Chip fed the faithful one hunk of red meat after another. The impressive part was watching him do it while making a strong case for conservatism and without sounding mean-spirited.
If the NRSC and NRCC were wise, they’d mimic Chip’s speech, especially in terms of hitting the Democrats over the head with accusations that they’re the do-nothings in DC. The NRSC and NRCC should highlight how Democrats are devoid of leadership. Similarly, the NRSC and NRCC should highlight the fact that Democrats are the party that won’t fight against Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi when they have the opportunity to do what’s right for America.
If the NRSC and NRCC follow Chip’s lead, this will be a great year for Republicans.
Tags: Republican State Convention, Chip Cravaack, Keystone XL Pipeline, Energy Independence, MNGOP, NRCC, NRSC, Do-Nothing Senate, Harry Reid, Amy Klobuchar, Filibuster, Nancy Pelosi, Democrats, Election 2012
During the contentious Rules Committee debate, the Kurt Bills/Ron Paul delegates repeatedly attempted to amend the rules. They lost each of their motions, meaning the Pauligates comprise less than 50% of the delegation.
I actually suspect that they make up significantly less than 50%.
The reason why that’s important is that it’ll impact the U.S. Senate endorsing convention. This puts Bills’ endorsement at risk because he needs a strong start to the endorsement process.
If this poll is accurate, then Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-OH), is in trouble. First, here’s the poll’s screening:
From May 2 – 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,069 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Polls using registered voters are friendlier than likely voters. Now for the bad news for Sen. Brown:
If the election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Sherrod Brown the Democrat and Josh Mandel the Republican, for whom would you vote?
Brown — 46%
Mandel — 40%
This trend isn’t heading in the right direction for Sen. Brown. On Oct. 26, 2011, Sherrod Brown led by a 49-34% margin. On Jan. 19, 2012, Brown led 47%-32%. Now Brown leads 46%-40%.
At this point, I’d rate this as a leans GOP pickup seat.
Things aren’t better for President Obama, either:
If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama the Democrat and Mitt Romney the Republican, for whom would you vote?
President Obama 45%
Mitt Romney 44%
If this poll is accurate, it’s telling us that Mitt’s actually ahead. (Remember the registered voter factor.) If President Obama loses Ohio, which I think is likely, though I think it will be a tight race, President Obama’s path to 270 EVs gets significantly trickier.
Combining these figures with the polling from Michigan and Wisconsin leaves the Democrats with a challenging map for 2012. Of the 2004 red states that flipped blue in 2008, North Carolina is out of reach for President Obama, as is Indiana. Ohio is likely to return to red state status, as is Virginia.
If Wisconsin or Michigan flips from blue to red, that would seal President Obama’s fate as a one-term president.
Anyone that thinks that this will be a strong cycle for Democrats better rethink things. In his latest article, Dick Morris highlights why Harry Reid won’t be majority leader this time next year. Morris starts with the lowest of the low-hanging fruit:
Congressman Connie Mack, the likely challenger to Democratic Senator Bill Nelson currently leads by 43-36 according to Rasmussen’s poll of March 13, 2012. With Nelson so far under 50%, he is meat.
With Ben Nelson out of the way, this seat is a foregone conclusion for the Republicans. Jon Bruning, the front-runner among Republican candidates, leads former Senator Bob Kerry by 55-33 in Rasmussen’s March 15, 2012 survey.
Sarah Steelman, my personal favorite among Republican contenders, is ahead of Claire McKaskill by an unbelievable 51-41 according to Rasmussen’s March 15th poll.
Right after O’Care was passed, pundits like Karl Rove and others said that the next 2-3 election cycles would be difficult for Democrats. That was certainly true in the 2010 landslide. It appears to be repeating itself, though not to the extraordinary length of 2010.
For me, the stunner of these races is Jon Bruning’s lead over Bob Kerrey. Leading a retired U.S. senator by 22 points isn’t a tiny accomplishment.
Claire McCaskill tried sounding more moderate the last 18 months than her first years in office. Apparently, it hasn’t helped. She’s still getting her backside kicked.
Of these races, Connie Mack’s lead over Bill Nelson is the smallest. That doesn’t mean Bill Nelson isn’t in a ton of trouble. It just means he’s performing at a less terrible level of trouble than McCaskill and Kerrey.
The bad news for Democrats is that the beatings extend to other races:
A tough race because both incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester and his challenger, Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg represent the entire state, the Republican has moved out to a 47-44 lead in Rasmussen’s February 22, 2012 poll.
An obvious Republican pickup now that Democratic Senator Kent Conrad has retired. I hope that Republican Duane Sand, a genuine conservative, wins his primary against Republican Congressman Rick Berg.
While former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson faces a tough primary challenge from Mark Neumann, he still sports a 50-36 lead over Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in Rasmussen’s Feb 27, 2012 poll.
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, the most liberal member of that body, is trailing conservative Republican Josh Mandel by 44-40 in Rasmussen’s February 8, 2012 poll. Any incumbent Senator who can only amass 40% of the vote needs to look for a new job.
These are stunning figures. While it’s true they aren’t dominating numbers like the first three races I mentioned, they’re still impressive numbers. Wisconsin hadn’t had a GOP senator in decades prior to Ron Johnson’s victory.
Prior to John Hoeven’s victory in North Dakota, that state had been represented by Democrat in the House and Senate for decades, too. Now that state’s representation in DC will be Republicans. That’s a dramatic shift from the decades of Dorgan, Conrad and Pomeroy representation.
Josh Mandel is this year’s Marco Rubio. Mandel is conservative, young and charismatic. Sherrod Brown won’t know what hit him once this race develops a bit more.
If that was the extent of the trouble Democrats find themselves in, they’d probably be relieved. Unfortunately, it isn’t their only problem:
Former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine were tied at 46-46 in Rasmussen’s February 21 poll. The open seat, now held by the Democrats, is a very possible GOP takeaway.
After Democrat Jeff Bingaman’s retirement, the race between Republican Lt Governor Heather Wilson and Democratic Congressman Mark Heinrich is very tight. Heinrich nursed a 45-43 lead in Rasmussen’s February 14th survey.
In my own poll of February 15, 2012, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow was clinging to a narrow 46-43 lead over former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra.
Of these races, the bellweather race to watch is the Michigan race. Michigan’s unions will be out in force this year. They’ll want to prove that they’re still politically relevant.
If Hoekstra defeats Stabenow, coupled with a Tommy Thompson victory in Wisconsin and a Josh Mandel victory in Ohio, would flatten the union movement for a decade.
One race that isn’t on Morris’ list is the race in Massachusetts. If Scott Brown wins re-election, which I think is likely, he will have won re-election to Ted Kennedy’s seat. The symbolic nature of that victory can’t be overestimated.
This won’t be a good year for Democrats. Though it won’t be the wipeout that 2010 was, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a stinging defeat for them.
I don’t know what sparked John Hinderaker’s latest anti-Newt statements. I might never know. What I do know is that John’s usually a thoughtful blogger, one of my favorite reads.
John’s statements about Newt Gingrich are perplexing. Here’s a sample of John’s statements:
Barack Obama is a terrible president and an unpopular one. He is ripe for defeat in November, but not by Newt Gingrich. It is painful to contemplate the extent of the GOP wipeout that would follow a Gingrich nomination. Would Newt carry a state? Wyoming, maybe? South Carolina? The Republican Party could kiss its hopes of retaking the Senate goodbye, and likely would lose control over the House, giving Obama carte blanche to devastate the country for another four years.
It’s common for lawyers to make hyperbolic statements to sell their case. John’s argument against Newt Gingrich borders on the ridiculous. Let’s hope that John’s just being sarcastic. If he isn’t, then he’s being intellectually dishonest.
Let’s look at John’s claims one at a time. First, let’s examine the case for and against Newt causing the GOP to lose their majority in the House. It’s a silly argument, especially after such a resounding victory in 2010. That’s before factoring in the gains that’ll happen through reapportionment and redistricting. Republicans hold the trifecta for redistricting in 15 states:
The GOP gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers. They now have unified control, meaning both chambers, of 26 state legislatures.
That control is a particularly bad sign for Democrats as they go into the redistricting process. If the GOP is effective in gerrymandering districts in many of these states, it could eventually lead to the GOP actually expanding its majority in 2012.
Republicans now hold the redistricting “trifecta”, both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship, in 15 states. They also control the Nebraska governorship and the unicameral legislature, taking the number up to 16. And in North Carolina, probably the state most gerrymandered to benefit Democrats, Republicans hold both chambers of the state legislature and the Democratic governor does not have veto power over redistricting proposals.
That’s before factoring in reapportionment. This map tells the tale on reapportionment:
According to the map, the GOP-friendly southeastern United States will gain 8 seats, including 4 in Texas, 2 in Florida and one each in Georgia and South Carolina.
That’s before factoring in the fact that Democrats currently need a net gain of 25 seats to regain control of the House before reapportionment and redistricting. They’ll be lucky to get 10 seats under the old configuration. After reapportionment, they’ll be lucky to gain seats this cycle.
The argument that Newt will cost Republicans the Senate assumes that Mitt Romney will inspire great voter turnout. That’s like expecting John McCain or Bob Dole to inspire great voter turnout. It’s one thing to wish for it. It’s another to expect it.
I’m not expecting it.
It isn’t coincidence that Mitt’s political hacks tried blaming Newt for Bob Dole’s defeat.
Finally, assuming that Mitt will unite the GOP, fight for conservative principles during the campaign and defeat President Obama during the debates isn’t a sure thing. All too often, Mitt was declared the winner of a debate because “nobody laid a glove on him.”
That’s hardly a stirring endorsement of Mitt’s debate skills.
Let’s be honest about Mitt’s debate performances. Mitt’s shown a propensity to get rattled when criticized. It isn’t likely that President Obama’s army of dirty campaign tricksters will sit idly by while Mitt waltzes through the general election campaign. It’s almost certain that Mitt will lose his cool in those situations just like he’s lost it this week.
What’s more is that Mitt isn’t a fighter for conservative principles. He’s a status quo politician. That’s clearly not what’s needed right now. It’s clear that we need a man with the ability and communications skills to make major changes.
There’s only one person with that resume and his name is Newt Gingrich. He put together the plan to end the Democrats’ 40 year majority in the House. He then passed all 8 legislative items on the Contract With America, then got them signed into law.
As a result of that work, the federal government ran surpluses 4 straight years, something that nobody thought possible at the time. Newt not only believed it was possible. He, along with John Kasich, insisted on it.
Together, they pushed it persistently and persuasively until Bill Clinton gave into their policies.
Mitt talks about how he balanced Massachusetts’ budget each year he was governor. My reaction is simple: So what? There are 49 other governors each year who do the same thing. It’s mandated at the state level because states don’t have their own printing presses.
Newt worked with Kasich, Clinton and Santorum to get welfare reform passed. By comparison, Mitt’s signed Romneycare, which is nothing more than a major expansion of Medicaid.
What’s more impressive? Running surpluses at the federal level, welfare reform, which included a job training requirement, reducing regulations and cutting taxes while creating millions of jobs or signing Romneycare while imposing major major CO2 emission limits and price controls on power plants?
It’s time for Republicans to admit that “looks presidential” is worthless when paired against the Obama smear machine. It’s time Republicans admitted that Newt’s willingness to challenge President Obama’s and the media’s (ptr) false premises is what’ll be needed this fall.
UPDATE: Erick Erickson’s post nails it:
The buzz in Washington now is that the Republican Establishment fears Gingrich will cause them to lose the House and not get the Senate. Put another way, the current Republican leadership fears that the man who helped the GOP take back the House for the first time in 40 years and his allies in the tea party who helped take back the House in 2010 will cause the GOP to now lose.
That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Tags: Tax Cuts, Welfare Reform, Federal Surpluses, Regulatory Relief, Newt Gingrich, Blogs, Mitt Romney, Romneycare, CO2 Emissions, Power Plants, Price Controls, Regulatory Overload, Regulatory Relief, Price Controls, GOP, Election 2012
If you’re like me, you enjoyed this morning’s debate when Newt Gingrich, then Rick Santorum, dismantled Mitt’s argument that he isn’t a career politician. Byron York quoted Rick Santorum’s exchange with Mitt in this Examiner article:
Early in the debate, after Newt Gingrich attacked Romney as virtually unelectable, given his record as a “Massachusetts moderate,” Romney responded that he governed as a “solid conservative” in Massachusetts. “I’m very proud of the conservative record I have,” Romney said.
That was too much for Santorum. “If his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts, why didn’t you run for re-election?” he asked Romney. “I mean, if you didn’t want to even stand before the people of Massachusetts and run on your record, if it was that great, why did you bail out?“
“I was in a 71 percent Democratic district,” Santorum continued. “I had a 90 percent conservative voting record. It was a hard thing to do. My district was more Democrat than the state of Massachusetts, and I stood up and fought for the conservative principles. I didn’t do what Gov. Romney did in 1994 [when Romney ran for Senate against Sen. Edward Kennedy]. I was running the same year he ran, in 1994. I ran in the tough state of Pennsylvania against an incumbent. Gov. Romney lost by almost 20 points. Why?
Because at the end of that campaign, he wouldn’t stand up for conservative principles, he ran from Ronald Reagan, and he said he was going to be to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights, on abortion and a whole host of other issues. We want someone when the time gets tough, and it will in this election, we want someone who’s going to stand up and fight for the conservative principles, not bail out and not run to the left of Ted Kennedy.”
That’s what’s called drilling the frontrunner right between the eyes. Mitt didn’t have a defense against such accurate specific accusations. That’s why Rich Lowry, part of the NRO editorial board that’s twice endorsed Mitt Romney, wrote a post about Romney taking on water in this morning’s debate:
Romney had a tough start. Santorum had a very pointed question on his decision not to run for re-election in 2006, “Why did you bail out?” Romney responded with what Newt rightly called “pious baloney.” On this question, Romney simply can’t admit the truth—he didn’t run for re-election because he might have lost and, more importantly, he wanted to run for president. Romney absurdly characterized leaving office to run for another office as returning to the private sector. I’m not sure how much voters will be outraged by any of this. They probably assume every politician wants to run for office. But the exchange got to a certain falsity in Romney’s self-presentation that plays into more important doubts about his sincerity.
The other notable exchange came at the end between Romney and Newt on the Superpac ads. Here again, Romney was less than forthcoming. He said on the one hand that he hadn’t seen the ads and then immediately related some of the most damaging charges in them (carefully leaving out one of the most dubious ones, I believe).
What do these exchanges have to do with this post’s title? They have to do with Mitt’s need to run away from substantive, verifiable, accusations. Mitt wants the public to think that his reason for not running for re-election had to do with his desire to rejoin the private sector.
Sen. Santorum phrased things so exquisitely that Mitt was trapped. He left for exactly the opposite reason. He left to run for president rather than getting defeated for re-election.
Since 1994, Mitt Romney has run for the U.S. Senate, to be Massachusetts governor and twice ran to be POTUS. He’s run for election 4 times in 17 years. Does that sound like the resume of a man who cherishes his time in the private sector?
Here’s a little background on Mitt’s parents, George and Lenore Romney:
George Wilcken Romney (July 8, 1907–July 26, 1995) was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973. He is the father of former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and the husband of former Michigan U.S. Senate candidate Lenore Romney.
Mitt Romney comes from a low-profile political dynasty. While the Romney family isn’t as high profile as the Bush or Kennedy families, they’re certainly a political dynasty, albeit not a terribly successful one.
Should we belief that a man who’s wanted to be a U.S. senator, Massachusetts governor and POTUS really loves being a private citizen and a captain of industry? I think not.