Posts Tagged ‘2010 Elections’
March 14th, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Utah Conservatives Looking for an Escape Hatch
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Though you won’t hear much about it in the press, tomorrow will be a big day for the Tea Party movement. That’s because it will be the day that Republican voters caucus throughout Utah to pick their delegates to the state convention — delegates who, in turn, will choose which candidates to put on the Beehive State’s June primary ballot.

This is momentous because there’s a big push by Tea Partiers — with FreedomWorks leading the charge — to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and replace him with a more conservative alternative. This is how Politico frames it:

The group’s tactics are the latest chapter of the debate still hounding Republicans as they try to win a majority on Capitol Hill this November: Should they purge their own to find fresh blood who will be less willing to seek bipartisan compromises by straying from conservative principles? Or should they unite behind the most electable candidate and train all their fire power on Democrats?

Allow me to answer both of those questions: yes.

It’s all a matter of political prudence. One of the lessons of the 2010 midterm senate races was the importance of finding the right candidate for the right jurisdiction — and that means different things in different places. In Utah, for instance, which is the most Republican state in the nation, it was utterly sensible to replace incumbent Bob Bennett (not exactly a liberal, but not really a constitutional conservative either) with Tea Party darling Mike Lee, knowing that Lee could easily carry the general election in the fall. The Tea Party was similarly shrewd in getting behind Marco Rubio in Florida, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

There were a few missteps, however. The hyper-conservative Sharron Angle was a poor choice for the swing state of Nevada, where either Sue Lowden or Danny Tarkanian (both of whom would have voted as conventional conservatives) would have stood a better chance at defeating Harry Reid. Even less suited for her contest was Christine O’Donnell, the conservative firebrand running in deep-blue Delaware. O’Donnell’s primary opponent, the moderate-to-liberal Republican Mike Castle, would doubtlessly have taken many votes as a U.S. Senator that would have made conservatives squirm — but fewer than the eventual winner, Democrat Chris Coons, who Castle likely would have beaten had he been the nominee.

So what does this principle mean for Utah? Hatch, like Bennett before him, has been an able public servant, who has, most of the time, been in conservatism if not exactly of conservatism. Were he from a swing state where moving to the right could be an electoral death sentence, then that would probably be a sufficient argument for retaining him. That’s not the case in Utah, however. And the state’s conservatives are going to have a hard time turning down the opportunity to elect another senator as consistently principled in his defense of limited government as Mike Lee.

It doesn’t help either that the best argument against Hatch comes from Hatch. I’ll let Politico have the final word:

In Utah, FreedomWorks distributed a 44-page brochure to 37,000 potential convention-goers, highlighting Hatch’s positions over the years on earmarks, the bank bailout and deals with Ted Kennedy over a child health care law.

On the inside page of the brochure is a quote from Hatch during his first campaign in 1976 against 18-year incumbent Sen. Frank Moss: “What do you call a senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.”

September 3rd, 2010 at 10:41 am
Video: Big Labor Out of Touch With Workers
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Timothy Lee discusses the recent announcement by big labor unions to spend more than $100 million on the November elections while their individual members try to make ends meet in a struggling economy.


June 29th, 2010 at 6:17 pm
Who is Ron Johnson?
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Answer: quite possibly, the margin of victory for Republicans in the United States Senate.

According to a new report from Public Policy Polling today, the largely unknown Johnson (a plastics manufacturer from Oshkosh) is within two points of the Badger State’s liberal stalwart, Senator Russ Feingold.  If the Wisconsin seat flips, it puts Republicans very close to retaking the Senate. Here’s the succint explanation.

Republicans currently have 41 seats in the Senate. Since the tie-breaking vote in the Senate belongs to the Democratic Vice President, Republicans would need a net pickup of 10 seats to retake the majority — an extremely high threshold.

To start with, that means having no Republican incumbents get beat. That shouldn’t be too hard. There aren’t many GOP incumbents around these days, and the ones that are are fairly safe. Only North Carolina’s Richard Burr looks vulnerable this year and he’ll probably be able to ride it out.

The next step is hanging on to the seven open GOP seats: one due to a Republican primary in Utah, the other six owing to retirements in Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, and New Hampshire. Utah, Kansas, and New Hampshire look very safe right now. Kentucky will be close and will likely hinge on how cautious Rand Paul can learn to be. Florida has scrambled into a three-way race with Charlie Crist’s decision to run as an independent, but look for Marco Rubio to make a strong showing as the year continues. Ohio and Missouri will likely stay tight up through election day.

Assuming a perfect defense, then, Republicans will still need to pickup 10 seats on offense. There are a few pieces of low-lying fruit: North Dakota Governor John Hoeven will almost certaintly win the seat being vacated by Byron Dorgan. The odds also look quite favorable for Dan Coats in Indiana and Mike Castle in Delaware to pick up open seats, and for John Boozman in Arkansas to defeat incumbent Blanche Lincoln.

Factor in those wins and Republicans still need six seats for a majority. And with the Wisconsin race competitive, they now have seven prospects. In addition to Johnson’s challenge to Feingold, there are also serious threats to Democratic incumbents in California, Nevada, Colorado, and Washington. With Republicans competitive for open seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania, the Wisconsin race actually gives the GOP an ever-so-slight margin of error for taking back a majority come election day.

And who is this great white hope of the upper midwest? George Will’s profile in the Washington Post last month provides some insight. If he’s right, this may be one more member of an exceptional senate class in 2010. To wit:

The theme of his campaign, the genesis of which was an invitation to address a Tea Party rally, is: “First of all, freedom.” Then? “Then you’ve got to put meat on the bones.” He gets much of his meat from the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages. And from a Wisconsin congressman, Paul Ryan, whose “road map” for entitlement reform Johnson praises. Health care? “Mitch Daniels has the solution.” Indiana’s Republican governor has offered state employees the choice of consumer-controlled health savings accounts, and 70 percent now choose them.

“The most basic right,” Johnson says, “is the right to keep your property.” Remembering the golden age when, thanks to Ronald Reagan, the top income tax rate was 28 percent, Johnson says: “For a brief moment we were 72 percent free.” Johnson’s daughter — now a nurse in neonatal intensive care — was born with a serious heart defect. The operations “when her heart was only the size of a small plum” made him passionate about protecting the incentives that bring forth excellent physicians.

This sounds like a conservative who nows how to connect first principles to daily governance. Dare we dream such a thing?

June 2nd, 2010 at 6:49 pm
White House Admits to Attempting to Bribe Another Senate Candidate
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Apparently trying to contain the damage from last week’s blowup over allegations that the White House used President Clinton as the middleman in an attempt to bribe Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania senate race, the Obama Administration is now leaking that they did something similar in Colorado. From the AP:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration dangled the possibility of a government job for former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff last year in hopes he would forgo a challenge to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, officials said Wednesday, just days after the White House admitted orchestrating a job offer in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

These officials declined to specify the job that was floated or the name of the administration official who approached Romanoff, and said no formal offer was ever made. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not cleared to discuss private conversations.

Romanoff is mounting a primary challenge to Senator Michael Bennet in the Centennial State’s Democratic primary, which won’t be held until August 10. By leaking this information now, the Obama Administration looks to be cynically trying to avoid a repeat of the Sestak controversy as the Colorado race progresses. With two months left and a candidate who has thus far been more tight-lipped than Sestak, the odds are against them. And while this may feed widespread notions of administration corruption, it also has the potential to divide Democrats who resent the White House choosing sides within the Democratic Party. Stay tuned: this could get interesting.

May 18th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
“….since the days that I served in Vietnam”

Those words, spoken by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the runaway Democratic candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Chris Dodd, invoke a powerful sense of respect for one who has put his life on the line in service of our country, if only they were true.  The NY Times report, published today, traces a long history of uncorrected misleading statements and outright falsehoods about Blumenthal’s military service record.

A statement from his campaign asserts:

“(Blumenthal) voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, S.C., and six years in the reserves.”

Even that service is to be commended, although the Times reports that Blumenthal received up to five deferments prior to his enlistment.  More important, the statement is utterly inconsistent with recorded evidence in speeches made by the candidate himself.  In 2008, Blumenthal spoke to a veterans’ group in Norfolk saying (video):

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam…And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

The same year, at another event in Bridgeport:

“When we returned, we saw nothing like this…Let us do better by this generation of men and women.”

Nothing Blumenthal says at his press conference today can explain away statements like those.  The words he used clearly convey, and were intended to convey, that he was physically in Vietnam, which is simply untrue.

What was once a very comfortable campaign for Blumenthal to assume the liberal throne in Connecticut now is very much back in play, if he does not do the honorable thing and withdraw.

May 13th, 2010 at 7:59 pm
Chris Christie Plants the Flag
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Come next January, a bevy of new Republicans in Washington are going to face the question that dogged Bill McKay, Robert Redford’s character in “The Candidate”, after finally winning office: “What do we do now?”

The Obama agenda leaves so little room for compromise with the center-right that the GOP has found it both politically expedient and ideologically consistent to throw up a wall of opposition. But when they have at least partial control of the reigns of power, that dynamic will change.

Conservatives searching for a role model when it comes time to lead should look to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who in only a few months has demonstrated the precondition of effective leadership in this age of runaway government: a spine of steel. Per a story in today’s edition of the Hill:

As the United States watches a debt crisis in Greece like a fiscal oil spill, waiting to see where it will spread first and when it will make landfall on our shores, Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job. Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.  

Upon taking office Christie declared a state of emergency, signing an executive order that froze spending, and then, in eight weeks, cutting $13 billion in spending. In March he presented to the Legislature his first budget, which cuts 9 percent of spending, including more than $800 million in education funding; seeks to privatize numerous government functions; projects 1,300 layoffs; and caps tax increases.

Much like Rudy Giuliani’s quest to rescue New York City from its own excess in the 1990s, Christie’s crusade shows a politican willing to sacrifice his career in order to save his constituents.  It’s a model for politicans from Greece to California. And soon it will be a model for the entire nation.

May 11th, 2010 at 3:32 pm
DCCC Pulls Funding, Clearing Path for Djou

A remarkable event is brewing in President Obama’s old childhood stomping grounds (see CFIF’s Ashton Ellis reporting here).  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has cleared the path for Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou and his congressional bid for Hawaii’s open seat by pulling all of its resources from his opposition.

In a May 22 special election, the candidates for the seat vacated by Democrat Neil Abercrombie are running without a primary.   Djou could win, with two candidates splitting the Democratic vote.  The DCCC ad pull follows recent polling showing Djou with an 8-point margin over the leading Democrat.

Djou would be the first Republican to represent Hawaii in Congress in twenty years and would be only the third member of the GOP to serve as a representative in the island state’s history.

May 6th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
GOP Donors Demand Crist Return Donations

Earlier this week, I posted that Charlie Crist was in a lifeboat without a paddle.  Now he may have to return the lifeboat as well.  Crist currently has $7.6 million in his war chest, but RCP’s Brendan Farrington reports twenty major Republican donors have demanded he give it all back.  Their letter reads:

“For years you have been one of the Republican Party’s most outstanding and vocal leaders. But now, because of simple self-interest and political calculation, you are walking away from the people and principles that you often told us defined you ‘to your core.'”

Furthermore, they are not simply demanding the return of their own contributions, but those of supporters they brought to the table, writing,

“We helped to support, and yes to bankroll, your political career. For years you have been asking us for money. And for years we have put our names and credibility on the line by asking our friends to donate to you. Those days are over.”

In making his break from the GOP, Crist has repeatedly asserted his allegiances lie first with the people of Florida.  Those donors are people and each made contributions based on his candidacy for the Senate as a Republican.  Gov. Crist may not have a legal obligation to return a cent, but if he’s as committed to Floridians as he says he is, the public trust should compel him to reimburse anyone who feels betrayed.

May 6th, 2010 at 12:11 pm
Democrat Stalwarts: If Nothing Else, Wise Enough to Know When to Quit

Representative David Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced Wednesday he will not seek reelection this November, leaving a well-worn seat occupied since 1969.  Mr. Obey is the most recent on a lengthy list of long-serving Democrats seeking to “begin a new and exciting chapter” of life, in the words of fellow retiree, Bart Stupak.   Surely this has nothing to do with the widely expected revolt against the party in power.

Still, Obey wants there to be no confusion:

“I’ve won 25 elections. Does anybody really think I don’t know how to win another one?  Or, for that matter, has anybody ever seen me walk away from a fight in my life?”

Even so, after four decades in office, bowing out on one’s own terms is a far more desirable option than being battered or possibly blown away in the storm that’s brewing for this fall election.  Sen. Chris Dodd saw the writing on the wall and accepted his “moment to step aside.”

Dodd, Obey and Stupak all took serious political hits in the last year and a half.  Dodd was at the helm of oversight on Wall Street when things went south.  Obey spearheaded the wildly unsuccessful $787 billion economic stimulus.  Stupak infamously caved during the final ObamaCare vote.  Each has made a career contributing to a legacy of spending that has our country on the brink of financial ruin.

Now, each rides off into the sunset.  Enjoy retirement, fellas.  Don’t worry about the mess.  Our grandchildren will pick it up.

April 26th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
Obama, the Great Divider

The following is a video President Barack Obama issued through the Democratic National Committee to rally support for Democrats in the 2010 mid-terms.

Uniter or Divider?

April 15th, 2010 at 7:21 pm
The Contract From America

In honor of Tax Day, several friends in the Tea Party movement offer this ten point plan for the next U.S. Congress to enact.  A sampling:

(1)    Protect the Constitution

(2)    Reject Cap & Trade

(3)    Demand a Balanced Budget

(4)    Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

(5)    Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

(6)    End Runaway Government Spending

(7)    Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-Run Health Care

(8)    Pass an “All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

(9)    Stop the Pork

(10)  Stop the Tax Hikes

Each point comes with a nice one-sentence elaboration.  It is definitely worth the read.  Candidates, are you listening?

February 7th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
A Congressional Democratic Dummies Guide to ObamaSpeak
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At a Democratic National Committee fundraiser late last week, speaking about his stalled health care “reform,” President Obama said, “…if Congress decides we’re not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right for them or not.  And that’s how democracy works.  There will be elections coming up, and they’ll be able to make a determination and register their concerns.”

Translation:  My term’s not up until 2012.  Yours are up, oh goodness, this year.  Rahm, how many people can we throw under one bus?  Need to make sure we have enough.

January 8th, 2010 at 2:30 am
State of the Senate 2010
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With this week’s announcements that Democratic senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota won’t be seeking reelection in the fall, all eyes have turned to the U.S. Senate. With Republicans needing to gain only one seat on net to eradicate the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, the stakes are high. And with an anti-incumbent mood running hot nationally, we should expect to see some shakeups.

A few predictions:

First, it’s all but certain that Democrats will lose the filibuster-proof majority. In the current political atmosphere, 60 senators is pretty close to an absolute ceiling for either party and the Democrats are not performing anywhere near well enough to sustain it.

Second, the Republicans will not pick up the 11 net seats needed to regain control of the Senate. There are 19 Democratic seats up in 2010, but by my count 7 are entirely out of play (Connecticut now that Chris Dodd is retiring, Evan Bayh in Indiana, Barbara Mikulski in Maryland, Chuck Schumer in New York, Ron Wyden in Oregon, Patrick Leahy in Vermont, and Patty Murray in Washington). Despite a late surge from the Republican candidate, it also seems likely that Democrat Martha Coakley will win the special election in Massachusetts to succeed Ted Kennedy.

That leaves 11 possible pick-ups, but some of them are extremely remote prospects and the likelihood of all them coinciding is extremely low. The GOP’s strongest chances to swell its ranks are in North Dakota (where Governor John Hoeven is likely to become the next senator); Arkansas (where Blanche Lincoln’s dismal poll numbers show her being beat by any of four Republican challengers); Colorado (where appointed Senator Michael Bennet has proved to be a disappointment); and Nevada (where Harry Reid — elected as a moderate — seems likely to face a political death sentence for casting his lot with the likes of the DailyKos and

Republicans have fighting chances in several other races (Delaware, Illinois, and Pennsylvania) and a few other contests present outside pickup possibilities because of weakening incumbents or the possibility of viable challengers throwing their hats in the ring (California, Hawaii, New York, and Wisconsin).

However, the electoral math also has to factor in Republican losses. I don’t think there will be many. Some weak GOP incumbents in the south (David Vitter in Louisiana, Johnny Isakson in Georgia, Richard Burr in North Carolina) may have been in real danger under other circumstances, but the popular rage against Washington liberalism will probably insulate them this time around. Some of the seats the GOP is defending will be close, but the only one that currently looks to be on a trajectory for loss is Missouri, where Kit Bond is retiring and former House Minority Whip Roy Blunt — dogged by allegations of corruption — will likely be facing off against Robin Carnahan, the new face of a popular Democratic family in the Show-Me State. The upshot: look for Republican gains, but not enough to retake control of the chamber.

Finally, with Harry Reid’s loss looking more certain by the day (which would make him the second consecutive Democratic leader in the Senate to lose a popular election before losing his leadership position), 2011 should bring some interesting jockeying to head the Democratic Party in the Senate. Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois is nominally next in line for the position, but Durbin is gaffe-prone and perhaps identified too closely with President Obama’s Chicago machine. Expect a strong challenge from New York’s Chuck Schumer — and a more strategically sophisticated Democratic Party if he wins.

January 7th, 2010 at 11:21 am
As the President Goes, So Goes Congress
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The arrival of 2010 ushers in yet another federal election.  This year, every seat in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is up for grabs.

A new study from the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies demonstrates that President Obama’s approval rating could determine the fate of his strong Democratic majorities in Congress.

Public Opinion studied midterm election results and presidential job approval numbers from 1962 to 2006.  The results aren’t too surprising, but they are nevertheless discouraging for the current party in power.

Even a strong approval mark of 60% has only historically garnered the president’s party one seat in the House.  For example, President Ronald Reagan had a 63% approval rating in 1986, but Republicans still managed to lose five seats in Congress that year.

An average approval rating of 50% to 59% historically results in an average loss of 12 seats.  President Obama’s current approval rating is 50%.

If his approval rating dips below 50%, he may be welcoming Speaker John Boehner in 2011.  When the president’s approval rating falls below the Mendoza Line (50%) for politicians, his party loses an average of 41 seats, or one more than Republicans currently need to take back the lower chamber.

Generally, a president’s popularity and tenure in Congress are inexorably linked.  When November arrives, President Obama will learn that lesson anew.

Stay tuned for more coverage by CFIF on the 2010 elections.