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Archive for August, 2009

Teddy Kennedy Week at Senate Agenda Blog

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

All this week, the Senate Agenda blog will pay tribute to the great Sen. Ted Kennedy, the liberal champion of the voiceless, the powerless, and the underdog.  His life serves as an inspiration both on a policy level due to his many legislative accomplishments and on a personal level about how a person can persevere though the greatest of tragedies.

Personally, I’ll never forget the day the Senator fought for me on the Senate floor.  Thank you Sen. Kennedy, for everything.

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Senatorial Battlegrounds in 2010 – The Republicans

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment

The Republicans will attempt to get out of their deep minority in 2010 by well … winning, something they haven’t done in four years.  To do that, the Party of No will have to win in blue or swing states for the Goopers to become non-losers.

Here’s the Republican targets for 2010:

  • Connecticut – D-incumbent: Sen. Chris Dodd is in the fight of his political life as he tries to fend off a challenge from Republican Rob Simmons.   Hurt by ties to the financial industry, namely AIG, and questions over his personal mortgage, which he’s been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee, Dodd goes into this contest trailing his opponent as of this moment.  Still, Connecticut is a blue state and thus, hostile territory to any Repub.  To win, Dodd must show legislative results to the people of Connecticut and explain why a Republican will not effectively advance Obama’s agenda, something I’m sure Connecticut voters care about.
  • Nevada – D-incumbent: Republicans are salivating over defeating another Democratic leader a la Tom Daschle by ending Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s political career.  But Sen. Reid has faced tough political battles before and came out more or less intact.  With over seven million dollars in his campaign war chest and the promise of a Majority Leader delivering for the people of Nevada, Sen. Reid is ready for a political street fight with any Republican upstart.
  • Colorado – D-incumbent: Newcomer Michael Bennet will defend his Senate seat from Republican challengers even though a major Republican challenger has yet to emerge.  He’s a political rookie though with his previous position before being appointed Senator was Denver schools superintendant.  This contest will no doubt test his political mettle.
  • Arkansas – D-incumbent: Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be up for re-election in 2010.  While a red state, Arkansas likes to send plenty of Democrats to office but what will the mood be in 2010 towards Dems?  As an incumbent, she still holds the advantage in this race especially among low name ID Republican opponents.
  • Pennsylvania – D-incumbent: Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter might battle former Rep. and extreme right winger Pat Toomey in 2010.  I say might because Arlen Specter has to win against Rep. Joe Sestak for the Democratic nomination.  Specter defeated Toomey before in a Republican primary of all places but will he defeat Sestak in a Democratic one?
  • Illinois – Open: I’m going on record in saying that the people of Illinois will not send a Republican to take the seat formerly held by former Senator and now President Obama.  But Republican Rep. Mark Kirk is presumptuous enough to think it’s possible.  Ads by President Obama for the Democratic nominee will seal the deal in this race.  Count on it.

UPDATE:

Former CO House Speaker Andrew Romanoff will likely challenge Sen. Bennet for the Democratic nomination.  On the Republican side, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is exploring whether to throw her hat in the ring.

UPDATE 2:

  • Delaware – Dem held: Delaware’s lone Representative Mike Castle (R-DE at large) is entering the race making it a major race to watch for 2010.  Castle will still have to fight to win this race because of the state’s Democratic hue.  We’re awaiting to see if Beau Biden will run for this seat.

Crist Picks Confidant George Lemieux to Replace Sen. Martinez

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

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Gov. Crist (R-FL) picked former chief of staff Goerge Lemieux to replace Sen. Martinez in the Senate.  Sen. designate Lemieux will only serve as a caretaker and promises to serve the year and half remaining in Martinez’s term, a term Martinez vacated when he announced his abrupt withdrawal from the Senate.

Mr. Lemieux says he is a “Charlie Crist” Republican, but what that means won’t exactly be known until we see his voting record.  It does suggest he is more of a moderate, but with a primary audience to please and Charlie Crist to serve, Lemieux might vote like a typical conservative, adverse to anything resembling progress.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

AARP/National Journal Poll: 79% of Americans Support Public Option

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

The nonpartisan groups AARP and National Journal commissioned Penn, Schoen, and Berland to do a health care poll and found 79% of Americans favor a public option for their health care needs.  The poll asked if the individual supported “a new federal health insurance plan that individuals could purchase if they can’t afford private plans offered to them” and virtually eight in ten Americans agreed with that sentiment.  This is the second poll in August showing overwhelming support for a public option even after enemies of reform promised to scuttle reform this month.

Senatorial Battlegrounds in 2010 – The Democrats

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

In 2010, Democrats actually have a chance to increase their majority even more with several Republican open seats up for grabs provided that several Democratic incumbents fend off Republican challengers.  Today, we’ll discuss the Democratic game plan.

The Democrats look to make the most gains from open seats vacated by retiring Republican Senators although the North Carolina incumbent Richard Burr is a tempting target for Team Blue.

  • New Hampshire – Open:  Sen. Judd Gregg is retiring in 2010 leaving the Democrats a chance to capture a Senate seat in this increasingly blue state.  Likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Paul Hodes, could battle NH Attorney General and faux moderate in exploratory mode, Kelly Ayote, for the Live Free or Die State’s coveted Senate seat.
  • Ohio – Open: Sen. George Voinovich will retire from politics as of 2010 leaving both Democrats and Republicans scrambling for this seat in the swingiest of swing states.  Democrats will point to likely Republican nominee Rob Portman’s embarassing ties to the failed Bush Administration where on Portman’s watch as Trade Representative, thousands upon thousands of Ohio jobs were shipped overseas.
  • Missouri – Open: Sen. Kit Bond is also retiring, and the Dems have already recruited a strong candidate for this state’s Senate seat,  Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a member of the politically popular Carnahan clan.  Her father, Mel Carnahan, was a former Governor who posthumously defeated John Ashcroft in a 2000 Senate contest.  Her mother, Jean Carnahan, served in her husband’s place but was narrowly defeated in 2002 by former Sen. Jim Talent in a 50-49% contest.  Her brother, Russ Carnahan, is a US Representative serving the people of Missori’s third district.  As for the Repubs, Congressman Roy Blunt and  former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman will duke it out for the Gooper nomination.
  • Kentucky – Open: Shunted aside by his own party, the Republican Leadership forced Sen. Jim Bunning to retire in 2010.  Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and KY Attorney General Jack Conway are battling for the Democratic nomination while KY Secretary of State Trey Grayson and underdog Rand Paul, son of doctrinaire libertarian Ron Paul, will battle for the Republican nomination.
  • Florida – Open: The Sunshine State’s Senate seat used to be a Democratic target after Mel Martinez announced his retirement until Gov. Crist decided to run for Senate.  Crist currently has a strong lead right now and is seen as a frontrunner in this race.
  • North Carolina – R-incumbent: Unpopular incumbent Senator Richard Burr is in danger of losing his seat to a Democratic challenger.  However, the Dems have yet to land a strong candidate willing to take on Burr.  NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall could save the day because Marshall recently said she is “seriously leaning” in favor of a Senate candidacy.

For 2010 to be successful, the Dems must show results to be worthy of the majority they possess.  I’m sure President Obama and the Dem Leadership are mindful of that.

UPDATE:

  • Louisiana: R – Incumbent: Rep. Charlie Melancon will challenge Sen. David Vitter for the Bayou State’s Senate seat.  If you remember, Vitter is infamous as a client of the DC Madame’s prostitutes, a revelation that cost Vitter his reputation.  But we’ll see how Louisiana voters will judge the two candidates.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (1932-2009)

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The Work Goes On, The Cause Endures, The Hope Still Lives, and The Dream Shall Never Die

Rest in Peace to the Lion of the Senate, Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Democrats Defend Two Governorships in 09

August 24, 2009 Leave a comment

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Democrats may find 2009 to be a tough year as two embattled Democratic candidates find themselves in tough contests with their Republican opponents.  In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine is battling Republican Chris Christie, and in Virginia, Democrat Creigh Deeds is facing off against Republican Bob McDonnell for an open gubernatorial slot left by term limited and current DNC Chair, Tim Kaine.

Unfortunately, both Republicans are leading in the polls right now according to the aggregate of polls over at Pollster.   However, there may be signs of hope in New Jersey.  The Republican candidate, Chris Christie, is beset by ethics problems including his ties to Bush lackey Karl Rove while serving as a federal prosecutor and Christie’s recent spate of tax disclosure problems.

What may save Corzine in the end is New Jersey’s tendency to flirt with the right, but then vote Democratic on Election Day finding that the Republicans do not serve the interests of average New Jersey residents well.  Such was the case with Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. Menendez’s election victories in past contests.

Still, the Corzine campaign has lots of work to do if they hope to win this fight.  Fortunately, he has time to fight back.  Go Corzine!