US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader
by Charles Lemos, Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 02:26:36 AM EDT
Florida Primary Preview
Polling last week showed Kendrick Meek overtaking Jeff Greene in the Democratic Senate primary and Bill McCollum overtaking Rick Scott in the GOP guberanatorial primary. However, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Attorney General Bill McCollum's lead narrowing to 39-35 percent against Rick Scott, a healthcare billionaire. In the Democratic primary for US Senate, Rep. Kendrick Meek appears to have a steady 39-29 percent lead over investment billionaire Jeff Greene, according to the poll of likely primary voters. The Miami Herald has more on these races.
Earlier this year, the New York Times wondered if Marco Rubio might be the first Senator from the Tea Party but now the nation's paper of record finds the right wing Tea Party darling veering off-script. Of course, Rubio has already pivoted towards the general election where he will face Governor Charlie Crist now running as a centrist independent and the winner of the Meek/Greene primary. The Florida Senate race is certainly the nation's most intriguing one.
I'm pretty adamant on this but I think Marco Rubio is the most dangerous candidate running in any race this cycle - one that must be defeated at all costs. That's quite a statement given the likes of Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey and Ken Buck. Why do I think that Rubio must be defeated? Well statements like this one where he is perceived as the next Ronald Reagan.
And frankly, I concur. He's the next Reagan, polished enough to hide his real agenda and articulate enough to sound sane at least say compared to Sarah Palin. Rubio has his feet in several conservative camps. First and foremost, he is Jeb Bush's designated heir giving him an in with the Bush wing and more importantly their money and organizing prowess. Second, he's close to the neocon presidential pardoned felon Elliot Abrams, who like Jeb Bush is a signatory in the Project for the Next American Century. Third, he's got Jim DeMint's backing and the support the red-meat conservative wing of the GOP. While he's a not a social conservative along the likes of Mike Huckabee, he's a good-looking somewhat charismatic Hispanic with the picture perfect family who seemingly lives his values. He's Florida's answer to Wisconsin's Paul Ryan. One of these two will be on GOP ticket before long. Giving Marco Rubio a Senate seat is giving him a launching pad to a presidential bid. I'd just assume beating him here and now.
The Woes of Chet Culver
Stateline interviewed Iowa Governor who is fighting for his political life trailing Terry Branstad by 16 points in the latest poll. While Culver has Iowa sitting pretty with a balanced budget, cash reserves, low debt, and unemployment below the national average, it's not translating into votes. Here's part of the reason why, an unmotivated base.
Relations between Culver and labor hit a low in 2008, when the governor vetoed a bill that would have expanded collective bargaining rights for public employees. The move so infuriated labor unions that one union lobbyist, when asked what Culver’s biggest misstep as governor has been, asked, “Have you talked to anyone around here?”
Culver has governed as a political centrist in other ways. To balance the budget last year, he and lawmakers relied on an across-the-board spending cut of 10 percent that slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from key areas such as public education and health and human services. While deep budget-slashing has won New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plaudits from national Republicans, it is not typically the way to draw Democrats to the polls in droves, says Mack Shelley, a political science professor at Iowa State University.
Vermont's Democratic Gubernatorial Primary
Susan Bartlett, Matt Dunne, Deb Markowitz, Doug Racine and Peter Shumlin are down to the wire battling for votes ahead of Tuesday's primary in the Green Mountain State. After months of campaigning, no candidate has emerged as the clear favorite. The Burlington Free Press has more on what promises to be a cliffhanger election.
The Comeback Kid
The New York Times recaps the return of John McCain from the nearly politically dead.
Polls showed Mr. McCain, 73, with a comfortable lead — anywhere from 15 to 21 points, depending on who was doing the polling — over his Republican challenger, J. D. Hayworth, 51, a conservative former radio talk show host and six-term congressman who offered a spirited challenge but one that seemed to lose sizzle the longer it went on.
Mr. McCain’s comfortable position as Arizonans prepared to vote on Tuesday was a reversal of fortunes from earlier in the year, when he was considered a potential victim of the anti-establishment fervor sweeping the nation. Even some of his supporters had predicted that he would be cleaning out his office like his veteran Senate colleagues Robert F. Bennett, Republican of Utah, and Arlen Specter, Democrat of Pennsylvania.
Mr. McCain had clear vulnerabilities going into the race: his 27 years in Washington at a time when the anti-incumbency mood was fierce and his high-profile efforts to reform the immigration system that ran up against the hard-line approaches emanating from Arizona.
But by spending freely and by acting as if he might lose, the senator managed to turn things around. Mr. McCain tapped into money left over from his failed presidential effort, spending more than $20 million (compared with about $3 million for Mr. Hayworth) making his visage and his harsh attacks on Mr. Hayworth omnipresent on Arizona’s airwaves. Mr. McCain’s spending was among the highest ever for a Senate primary in Arizona and, depending on turnout, could translate into more than $75 a vote, political analysts said.
The question now is whether Mr. McCain’s sharp shift to the right during the campaign — the onetime maverick declared at one point that he no longer wanted anything to do with that label — will ultimately come back to haunt him and perhaps tarnish his legacy as a pragmatist willing to reach across the aisle.
Sad really and pathetic beyond belief that someone who for over 20 years had been the leading Republican advocate for immigration legislation promising a pathway to citizenship for many illegal immigrants could so pander to the hate so prevalent now in his party. In his acceptance speech of the nomination of the Republican Party in 2008, Senator McCain said, "We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential from the boy whose descendants arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We're all God's children and we're all Americans."
Now he is among those calling for Congressional hearings into altering the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.