Kicking Off the Expand the Map! ActBlue Page for the 2010 Cycle

Last cycle, I started an ActBlue page specifically for Democratic Senate candidates working to pick up seats held by Republicans.  I named it the Expand the Map! ActBlue page because the goal was to expand the map of competitive Senate seats.  The effort was a big success, achieving over 300 contributions and $40,000 for the Democratic Senate candidates included on the page.

Today, I kicked off the 2010 edition of the Expand the Map! ActBlue page with three Democratic candidates for Senate: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes, and Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak.

Click here to visit the Expand the Map! ActBlue page!

In New Hampshire and Missouri, we have the strongest candidates available, candidates who will also make terrific Democratic Senators.  In both races, however, fundraising will always be a top priority.  Missouri Republican Roy Blunt will be able to tap his lobbyist buddies and corrupt cronies for cash ad nauseum.  No doubt the NRSC will also make holding New Hampshire a top priority; and the D.C. GOP establishment has already begun fawning over Palin-esque quitter Kelly Ayotte.  Carnahan and Hodes need our support!  A few years back, all four of New Hampshire's and Missouri's combined Senate seats were held by Republicans.  Wouldn't it feel great to have flipped all four?

In Pennsylvania, y'all know the deal.  Arlen Specter was a Republican Senator for decades.  Even though he changed his Party affiliation, he's still not a Democrat as far as I'm concerned.  Joe Sestak is a real Democrat, and he - not Specter - should win the Democratic primary.  But Specter has a significant edge when it comes to campaign cash; and, Ed Rendell will do all he can to shut off Sestak's fundraising.  Let Specter, Rendell, etc. know that they can't shut down the netroots by supporting Sestak!

Please, please, please help kick off the 2010 cycle's Expand the Map! effort by sending these highly deserving Democrats a few bucks.  $100 makes a huge difference, $20 makes a huge difference, $10 makes a huge difference!  Hop over to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page and make your voice heard.

This is not just a contribution to these Democrats' campaigns.  This is a contribution toward slowing and eventually stopping Republican obstruction in the U.S. Senate.  Thank you SO much!

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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OH-Sen: Rob Portman = George W. Bush

It is said that the 2008 Presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain was as much a referendum on George W. Bush's administration, policies, and failures as it was a referendum on either of the major Party nominees.  In 2010, for most midterm races, George W. Bush will be a distant memory.  However, the race in which George W. Bush and the harmful effects of his agenda will be most front-and-center will be the U.S. Senate race in Ohio.

The Republican nominee is expected to be Rob Portman, who spent twelve years representing Ohio's 2nd Congressional district, in the Cincinnati suburbs.  More important on his resume, though, are his two roles in George W. Bush's administration: U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  In short, Portman was George W. Bush's trade chief and budget boss; and, perhaps no state has been hurt more by Bush's trade and budget policies than Ohio.  In Bush's final year in office, only a small minority of Ohioans (just 26%) approved of Bush's handling of the economy.  Rob Portman was one of the chief architects of the Bush economy of which Ohioans so overwhelmingly disapproved, and Ohio voters will have the opportunity to thank Portman for his role.

In January, I offered a thorough look at Portman's close relationship to George W. Bush.  From Portman's leadership on CAFTA (which so many Ohio labor unions opposed) to Portman's support for Bush's plan to privatize social security to Portman's intimate role in Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, George W. Bush had fewer sidekicks more loyal than Rob Portman.

I'm glad to see that the Ohio Democratic Party and the DSCC are making the centerpiece of their opposition Portman's close ties to George W. Bush and Portman's role in perpetuating the Bush economy that was so destructive to so many Ohio families.

At RobertPortman.com, the Ohio Democratic Party has put up a website highlighting Portman's leadership role on Bush's failed economic policies.  They do a strong job, both textually and visually, of pointing out that Portman is a Bush Republican, and that Bush's policies very much are Portman's policies.

Rob Portman = George W. Bush

Portman is doing himself no favors in the messaging department when he labels himself the consummate Washington D.C. insider:

In a political world where candidates are falling all over themselves to tout their "outsider" credentials, Rob Portman is a rare exception to the rule.

Portman, a former Congressman and Bush Administration official, is casting himself as a deal-making insider in his campaign for the seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R) in 2010 -- portraying his resume as just the sort of thing that will help him get things done in Washington.

"I know enough now about where the bodies are buried [and] how the Senate works that I know I can be effective there for Ohio," Portman said during a recent interview with the Fix as part of our "Rising" series.

The DSCC has made Portman's comments and Portman's role as a key George W. Bush sidekick the focal point of a terrific web video, at right.

To ensure that George W. Bush and the harm that his economic policies caused Ohio do not become memories too distant to Ohioans, I'll repeat a suggestion I made back in January:

Can I suggest that, before George W. Bush becomes too distant a memory, the Ohio Democratic Party should print up some simple "Rob Portman = George W. Bush" bumper stickers and circulate them.  Cement that message early.

And why stop at bumper stickers?  The Ohio Democratic Party or Ohio labor unions should buy some highly visible billboard space and put up the message "Rob Portman: Architect of George W. Bush's Economy" now that the according website is running.

Whether or not George W. Bush is still in office, Rob Portman is very much a George W. Bush Republican, and Bush should serve as an anchor to Portman throughout the campaign if Democrats continue to effectively highlight the extremely close Bush-Portman relationship.

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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NRSC Endorsement "Policy" Shortchanges Conservatives, Minorities

While Arlen Specter was a Republican, NRSC Chair John Cornyn urged Republicans to support the man who was, at the time, the Republican incumbent.  After Arlen Specter left the Republican Party, the PA-GOP was left with former Congressman and former Club for Growth head Pat Toomey as their only major candidate for the seat.  Would Cornyn then shift the NRSC endorsement to the conservative Toomey?  Last week, he declined:

NRSC Chairman John Cornyn of Texas hesitated when given the opportunity to endorse Toomey on Friday.

"I don't think it's wise for me to tell Pennsylvania Republicans who their nominee should be, so I'm not going to do that," said Cornyn.

It seemed plenty wise for Cornyn to tell the PA-GOP who their nominee should be when it was the less conservative Specter.  Maybe Cornyn just didn't want to endorse the more conservative candidate.  Or, perhaps Cornyn simply learned the lesson of the problems in endorsing candidates too soon.

Turns out, Cornyn didn't learn any lesson.

In Florida, Charlie Crist just announced that he would be a candidate for Senate in 2010.  He is the third Republican to enter the primary behind former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (more conservative than Crist and Hispanic) and former Chief Medical Officer of Florida Marion Thorpe, Jr. (an African-American).  With a diversity of candidates and degrees of conservatism, would the NRSC and John Cornyn let Florida Republicans decide for themselves who to nominate?

Nope:

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), issued the following statement today regarding Florida Governor Charlie Crist's announcement that he will run for the United States Senate in 2010:

"I am pleased today to endorse Governor Charlie Crist for the United States Senate. With his record of reform in Florida, I know that Governor Crist will bring a fresh perspective to Washington in our efforts to fight for lower taxes, less government, and new job creation for all Americans. Charlie Crist is a tireless advocate on behalf of all Floridians and one of only three Governors who earned an `A' from the CATO Institute for his efforts to restrain spending and cut taxes last year.

"While I believe Marco Rubio has a very bright future within the Republican Party, Charlie Crist is the best candidate in 2010 to ensure that we maintain the checks and balances that Floridians deserve in the United States Senate. Governor Crist is a dedicated public servant and a dynamic leader, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee will provide our full support to ensure that he is elected the next United States Senator from Florida."

And national conservatives, like those at the National Review, are very displeased:

By endorsing Charlie Crist for the Senate, the NRSC is getting involved in Florida's GOP primary more than 15 months before it will actually take place (August 24, 2010). It's also selecting a very liberal Republican (Crist supported the Obama "stimulus") against Marco Rubio, a considerably more conservative choice who is also a credible statewide candidate. Is Crist more electable than Rubio? Arguably. Is Rubio nevertheless capable of winning a general election next year? Certainly. This is a contest that the NRSC should sit out, as Florida Republicans decide for themselves what to do. Instead of trying to beat conservatives, the NRSC should save its resources for defeating Democrats.

In Pennsylvania, the NRSC was willing to endorse the less conservative Arlen Specter, but then balked at endorsing the more conservative Pat Toomey.  In Florida, the NRSC chose to endorse the less conservative Charlie Crist over the more conservative Marco Rubio (or over staying out of the endorsement game altogether) - and, at the same time, snubbed the Hispanic Republican and the African-American Republican.  The NRSC has found a way to piss off its base while also curtailing outreach to minority communities.  Impressive job, John Cornyn.

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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PA-Sen: Netroots Overwhelmingly Support a Draft Sestak Effort

As many of you know, over the last five days, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in partnership with a number of progressive organizations and blogs including Senate Guru, asked those in the netroots, "Should a Draft Sestak movement be created to take on Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary?"

Netroots for SestakThe results are in and they are overwhelming.  85% of Pennsylvanian respondents and 86% of respondents nationally want Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary.  The poll has even gotten the attention of Congressman Sestak, as the PCCC points out:

"I am honored that so many of you took the time to vote in the recent grassroots Straw Poll. Let me tell you, I and many others were paying attention. If I decide to run it will be in large measure because of the grassroots energy of so many people like you. Until I and my family make that decision, please accept my thanks and my best wishes as you continue be active participants in our people-powered democracy. Thank you so very much!"

Due to such an overwhelming response, a Draft Sestak Fund has been created on ActBlue.  To contribute and further encourage Congressman Sestak to enter the race, click on the image below:

Draft Sestak Fund


If you need any additional motivation to contribute to this effort to draft a real Democrat to oppose Specter in the primary, consider Specter's actions since announcing his Party switch:

1. Specter opposed the Obama budget.
2. Specter opposed the "cramdown" mortgage/bankruptcy reform, siding with banks over families.
3. Specter reiterated his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.
4. Specter reiterated his opposition to President Obama's nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Office of Legal Counsel.
5. Specter announced his support for Republican Norm Coleman over Democratic Senator-elect Al Franken in Minnesota's Senate race.
6. Specter promoted a website that appeared to raise money for cancer research but, in actuality, simply raised money for his campaign.
7. Specter denied reports that he told President Obama that he would be a "loyal Democrat" despite multiple reporters sticking to their story.

The netroots have displayed overwhelming support for Congressman Sestak to take on recently-Republican Arlen Specter.  Help the effort by contributing to the Draft Sestak Fund.

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BREAKING: George Voinovich (R-OH) to retire Politico says (confirms)

Just a short brief Diary:
Politico just a couple of minutes ago confirms Ohio Senator George Voinovich (R) to announce Retirement Monday.
Read here:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/010 9/17324.html

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Diaries

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