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Formally launches re-election campaign
President Obama formally launched his reelection campaign Monday morning--illustrating his eagerness to start raising money for a race that could prove difficult but exposing himself to criticism for focusing on politics despite pressing crises at home and abroad.
The announcement--via an e-mail message and a Web video to supporters--makes Obama the first declared candidate in the 2012 presidential race. By filing his candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission, the president will be able to start raising campaign money immediately.
Obama’s formal entrance into the race comes as his potential challengers are playing a surprising waiting game. For the 2008 race, former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) announced his candidacy in December 2006, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) did the same two months later. The entries of those two prominent candidates effectively forced other contenders to start as well, and almost a dozen candidates, including Obama, were running by April 2007. This time, although former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) formed an exploratory committee last month and is virtually certain to run, as is Romney, none of the most prominent Republicans has made it official. And Republicans say the first member of their party to enter would face what Obama already has to deal with as president: the pundits, press and their opponents watching their every move.
Click for complete records of Pres. Obama; or our 2012 Presidential VoteMatch quiz.
First round of House bills by new Republican Congress
Massscorecard.org covers bill sponsorships as well as Congressional voting records. This set of House bills are the first bills introduced by the new GOP-majority House of Representatives. Most have not yet come to the House floor for a vote; we will cover voting records later in the year. Click below for sponsors of each 2011 bill:
Click for issue stances for Members of the House.
Outline of newly-assigned House committees
When you see members of the U.S. House of Representatives on C-Span, they are usually on the "House floor", where final votes take place. But the real work of writing and editing bills takes place in House Committees. House Committee assignments were made in January and finalized in February; Massscorecard.org includes on each House member's page their committee assignments. We summarize the committees with links to each member; some important committees are:
Click for issue stances for Members of the House. or Lists of Committee memberships
Excerpts from Newt's biography Newt! Revolution
Newt! Revolution was written in 1995, when Newt Gingrich's was the newly-elected Speaker of the House. He had just engineered the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, and had not yet fallen from power after struggles with Pres. Bill Clinton. Hence this book is a snapshot of Newt at the peak of his power. If Newt runs for President in 2012, as currently seems likely, this book will become a valuable indicator of his views before any post-Clinton lessons.
The book is important for two reasons in the 2012 presidential race: it pinpoints where Newt stands on the scale of conservatism; and demonstrates the consistency of his political views over time. Newt's 2009 book, Real Change, will be excerpted shortly, as will his 2011 book, "To Save America".
We have added Newt Gingrich to our early Presidential 2012 VoteMatch quiz, where you answer 20 questions and get matched issue-by-issue with the major candidates. All of the candidates for the Republican nomination discussed above are also included in the VoteMatch quiz.
This book is the second in our series of 2012 GOP presidential contenders. Also in preparation for the 2012 race, we cover retrospectives on the obama presidency from different political perspectives. Some of the other recently-excerpted books include:
Click for all issue stances from Newt Gingrich or his biography, Newt! Revolution
U.S. Army caught applying "psy-ops" illegally on Senators
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war– and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.
The list of targeted visitors was long. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
According to the Defense Department’s own definition, psy-ops – the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors – are supposed to be used exclusively on "hostile foreign groups." Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a "propaganda rider" that also prohibits such manipulation.
Click for issue stances for Members of the Senate or Mmebers of the House.
2012 Republican contenders speak at CPAC convention
For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., emerged as the potential presidential candidate that an active group of conservative activists want to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012. Paul won this year's Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a healthy margin. Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw vote in 2007, 2008 and 2009. 3,742 conference-goers voted in this years straw poll -- more than twice the number who participated in 2007.
Click for policy statements from the 2011 CPAC convention
Harman exits revolving door; Lee exits in sex scandal; 2 down; 433 to go.
Two members of Congress demonstrated today why voters should have an attitude of "Throw the bums out!". One Democrat and one Republican resigned from Congress, requiring special elections later in 2011 in New York and California.
Rep. Jane Harman (D, CA-36) is leaving Congress to go to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a nonpartisan research institution (a "think tank"). Harman is worth an estimated $300 million. She presumably quit Congress because the Democrats were no longer in control and millionaires don't like to toil away in the minority. Harman served all of 33 days of her 730 day commitment before announcing her departure.
Harman announced her resignation saying, "I'm just movin' down the street; I'm not leavin' this place." Massscorecard.org considers that a restatement of the "revolving door" that members of Congress routinely claim to abhor when applied to others. It is difficult to believe that Harman was unaware of the Woodrow Wilson Center deal just three months ago at the time of her re-election, or just one month ago at her swearing-in, when she promised the people of her district to serve for two years.
Rep. Chris Lee (R, NY-26) has a more immediate crisis that forced his resignation -- a sex scandal. Lee abruptly resigned after a shirtless photo of himself, which he had e-mailed to a woman, was published on the Internet. Mr. Lee, who is married and has a son, replied to a personal ad that the woman had placed in the “Women for Men” section of Craigslist.
Mr. Lee’s office released a statement in which he asked for forgiveness. “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” he wrote. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”
Under New York law, it falls to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to call a special election to find a successor for Mr. Lee. The special election in California, which has to be called by Gov. Jerry Brown, will test California's new election system: all candidates run in the primary and the top two finishers regardless of party face each other in a runoff.
Click for issue stances for Harman and Lee or other remaining House members.
Round 2: Governors address state legislatures nationwide
To complement Obama's State of the Union speech, during January and February, Governors describe the "State of the State" to their legislatures. This is the second round of speech coverage; see our first round dated Jan. 16
Click for excerpts from other governors' State of the State speeches or other governors' views on the issues
Election day: Feb. 22, 2011
Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Miguel del Valle kicked off the first day of early voting by casting ballots for themselves. Registered voters can cast ballots at any of the city's 51 early voting sites through Feb. 17. The elections board also allows "grace period" voting through Feb. 15 for individuals who are not already registered. Election Day is Feb. 22.
White House aides say President Obama has applied for an absentee ballot to vote for mayor in his hometown of Chicago.
Six candidates will appear on the February 22 ballot:
Click for complete records of Rep. Rahm Emanuel's or Sen. Carol Moseley Braun's issue stances; or Emanuel's biography "The Thumpin'"; or Sen. Moseley Braun in the 2003-2004 Presidential primary debates.
Sens. Lieberman (I-CT), Conrad (D-ND), and Hutchison (R-TX) will not run in 2012
Q: Will the president find bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill? Joining me now, Senators Joe Lieberman, Kent Conrad, and from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison. All three have recently declared they will not be seeking re-election. Sen. Lieberman, what will you be listening to from the president at the State of the Union?
LIEBERMAN: Well, the president listened to the results of the election in November, and that's -- that's the right thing to do in America. Elections have consequences. And since then, he has really reconnected to the vital center of American politics and, I think, to the American people.
Q: Sen. Hutchison, do you think the president can convey that message of unity and confidence to move forward?
HUTCHISON: I think he can convey the message. But I think the question is, will there be a follow-through? Will he really get his regulatory commissions to cut back on the regulations that are hurting the growth of business? Will he agree to some changes in the Obamacare which is keeping people from hiring?
Q: Senator Conrad, what does Obama need to say?
CONRAD: Well, I think three things. 1) growing the economy and jobs. 2) the debt threat. That's got to be taken on. 3) reducing our dependence on foreign energy.
Click for all senators' views on the issues
Governors address state legislatures nationwide
During January and February, Governors describe the "State of the State" to their legislatures, and outline their agenda for the year. (Obama will do the same in late January as the "State of the Union").
Click for excerpts from other governors' State of the State speeches or other governors' views on the issues
"Decision Points": George W. Bush's presidential memoir
This book is Bush's first public discussion of his presidency since leaving office. Hence it represents his preliminary presentation of his legacy as president. There is plenty of material here on which political critics will disagree; Bush only addresses some of them. Perhaps a future book by Bush will address more of the political criticisms -- books about Bush most certainly will!
The title of the book, "Decision Points", provides Bush's framework: he explains in detail how many of his major decisions as president came about, including some decisions prior to his presidency. This does provide details that were previously unknown (such as comparing his "call to run" for the presidency with Moses' call from God to lead, p. 60-61). But mostly it provides for justifications of his decisions, some of which are intensely unsatisfying. We'll group these justifications into three categories:
Click for issues stances for Pres. Bush's views on the issues and Bush's book, Decision Points
Six killed in Tucson rampage
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D, AZ-8) has undergone brain surgery after being shot through the head Saturday morning by a man who opened fire with a handgun when the Congresswoman was holding a public appearance in Tucson.
Six people were killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, a Giffords aide and a young girl, and 18 others were wounded in the shooting, authorities said.
Gov. Jan Brewer said she has ordered flags in Arizona to be flown at half staff. She called the shooting “an unbelievable tragedy’ for the people of Arizona. She called Giffords a friend.
* * *
On the House floor, on a day once scheduled to feature a polarizing vote to repeal last year's health care law, the only business was a four-page resolution memorializing Giffords. [The U.S. House will not introduce any other legislation this week, in tribute to Gifford.]
Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at her critics, saying it was a "blood libel" when some in the media and on the left said she'd contributed to an atmosphere of violence that may have pushed an Arizona gunman into shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Palin, who last March included Giffords' district on a map of Democrats she'd targeted for defeat - and marked by a rifle's crosshairs - noted that she'd decried violence while visiting the state the same month.
Click for complete records of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords issue stances.
New Year's inauguration ceremonies in NY, MI, and NM
Several states swear-in their new governors at midnight on January 1st.
Click for issues stances for other governors' views on the issues
"Saving Freedom": First in the 2012 Presidential Prospect series
Massscorecard ends the 2010 election year by focusing on the 2012 election: This is the first in our series of books from the 2012 presidential prospects.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R, SC) can take as much credit for the Tea Party victories of 2010 as can Sarah Palin. She was the outsider; he was the Senate insider. Both will likely announce for the presidency in 2012.
We will excerpt books from all of the likely contenders in the 2012 GOP primary. In fact, having a book is a prerequisite for being a serious contender these days. We have in the works:
Click for issues stances for Sen. Jim DeMint's views on the issues and DeMint's book, Saving Freedom
Recounts end for Minnesota Governor's race and New York house race
Minnesota Governor's raceIncoming Gov. Mark Dayton said that he was only now beginning to realize he would be Minnesota's next governor. Republican Tom Emmer on Wednesday abruptly ended a statewide recount and conceded the race, giving a narrow, 8,770-vote victory to Dayton. "It does take awhile to absorb all this," said Dayton, who added that he was still sifting through candidates to head the state's many departments and agencies.
Outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an outspoken conservative who may run for president, deflected a question of whether he would criticize his liberal successor once he left office. When Pawlenty instead praised how former Gov. Jesse Ventura had withheld criticizing Pawlenty, Dayton smiled at Pawlenty and quipped: "I'll make it more difficult for him. Each governor does it differently."
New York house raceThe Republican challenger on Wednesday conceded to Representative Timothy H. Bishop in a Congressional race on eastern Long Island, the nation’s only remaining undecided House contest. The challenger, Randy Altschuler, decided against requesting a hand recount in the First Congressional District. Mr. Bishop had a 263-vote lead with 977 absentee ballots left to be counted out of the more than 194,000 votes cast.
Mr. Bishop, a Democrat who was first elected in 2002, told reporters on a conference call that he was grateful to “withstand a Category 5 storm against incumbents.” But he acknowledged he would have less influence in Congress going forward as a member of the minority party. Republicans swept to a majority in the House on Nov. 2, picking up a total of 63 seats.
Click for complete records of Governor-Elect Mark_Dayton (D, MN) and Representative-Elect Tim Bishop (D, NY-1) issue stances.
Pres. Bush and others from "Courage and Consequence"
In the off-season between elections, Massscorecard.org excerpts political books. These provide analysis of past administrations and predictions for future races.
We begin the post-2010-election analysis series with Karl Rove's retrospective of the Bush presidency, called "Courage and Consequence", which was released last month.
We excerpt numerous other officeholders and political celebrities from the same book, and we always include an insightful book review.
Click for issues stances for Pres. Bush's views on the issues and Rove's book, Courage and Consequence
Contested elections decided, mostly
Several elections have been contested by recounts, and one is still being fought in court. A summary of the contested results (in context :
The 2010 election is over; the 2012 election begins
In an interview on Fox News, The Donald said he is “seriously considering” a presidential run:
"I'm a Republican so if I did anything, I'd do it, I guess, as a Republican," Trump said. "I'm totally being serious because I can't stand what's happening to the country. First time I am being serious about it. I've been asked for years to do it. And I had no interest. This is the first time I am at least considering it. That doesn't say I'm going to do it ... but I am seriously considering it."Trump has reiterated similar comments on numerous talk-shows. It is not true, however, that this is his first time considering the presidency. He seriously considered running as the Reform Party candidate in 2000. At that time, he wrote a policy book, The America We Deserve, to deflect criticism that he has not considered the issues seriously.
We will add Trump this week to our early Presidential 2012 VoteMatch quiz, where you answer 20 questions and get matched issue-by-issue with the major candidates. Numerous other candidates considering the presidency in 2012 are also included in the VoteMatch quiz.
Click for issues stances for Donald Trump's views on the issues and Trump's book, The America We Deserve
Special election means early seniority for two Republicans
Click for issues stances for House incumbents and new Representatives-elect
Special election means early seniority for two Democrats
Vice President Joe Biden swore in the two newest Democratic members of the Senate on Monday. [These two won special elections; the rest of the new Senators will await their swearing-in until January].
Joe Manchin, West Virginia’s governor, won a special election to serve out the final two years of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd’s term. “Bob Byrd would be proud.” Carte Goodwin, the West Virginia attorney Manchin appointed to temporarily fill Byrd’s seat in July, looked on.
Biden administered the oath of office in a separate ceremony for Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, the New Castle county executive who will fill out the remaining four years of Biden’s Senate term. Biden stepped down in January 2009 after he was elected vice president; his longtime aide, Ted Kaufman, was appointed to replace him.
Click for complete records of Chris Coons and Joe Manchin issue stances.
Recounts underway in 11 House Races, 1 Senate race, and 2 Governor's races
There are eleven House races still undecided, or pending a recount outcome. In all eleven cases, a Democratic incumbent may potentially still lose to a Republican challenger. The still-pending House races are listed below, followed by Senate and Gubernatorial recounts:
|Congressional Election Results: Nov. 8, 2010|
Ninety new House members were elected on Election Day. Republicans gained 65 House seats (66 GOP takeovers minus one Democratic takeover). The most interesting development of the year is the "revenge rematch": five Republicans (marked with asterisks* below) recaptured the Congressional seat they previously held.
|Gubernatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New House member of same party as incumbent:|
|Gubernatorial Election Results: Nov. 7, 2010|
The last contested results from Connecticut were finally reported on Friday; the Democrat won. Republicans gained 6 governor seats (twelve GOP takeovers minus six Democratic takeovers).
|Gubernatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New governor of same party as incumbent:|
|Incumbent Governor re-elected:|
|Senatorial Election Results: Nov. 5, 2010|
The Alaska Senate race is still contested but looks like Joe Miller will lose in a write-in recount. Republicans gained 6 Senate seats, resulting in the Democrats maintaining a Senate majority of 53-47.
|Senatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New Senator of same party as incumbent:|
|Incumbent Senator re-elected:|
|Election Prediction: Oct. 31, 2010|
|There are 37 Senate elections occuring on Tuesday. The Senate is currently split 59 Democrat-41 Republican. This first section are our predicted winners for seats where the incumbent party will remain the same. An asterisk* indicates that the named winner is not currently the incumbent (but is in the same party).|
|Following are our predicted turnovers. These are the "sure things"; where the turnover from Democratic incumbent to newly-elected Republican is nearly certain. There are no certain turnovers for Democrats where there is currently an incumbent Republican.|
|The following lists are three races where we wish our prediction could come true, but our predicted winner is well behind in the polls.|
|If all of the above predictions are correct, the Senate would be split 52 Democrat-48 Republican. The Republicans would need to gain 3 more seats to gain control of the Senate. There are 6 races where a Republican gain is possible, listed as "Vulnerable Democratic Seats" below. We predict that Republicans will gain half of those six seats, a net gain of three, which would give them control of the Senate. But there is one race where a Democratic gain is possible, in Kentucky. Rand Paul deserves to win because his opponent has broken the record for sleazy campaigning, accusing Mr. Paul of worshipping "Aqua Buddha" and kidnapping a female college student.|
|Hence we predict a 50-50 split in the Senate, which means Vice President Joe Biden wields a tie-breaking vote and gives the Senate majority to the Democrats, and hence all Senate committees will have Democratic chairs and a Democratic agenda.|
In the House, we predict that a 44-seat gain for RepublicansThat will switch a 254-181 Democratic majority to a 225-210 Republican majority. That's a thin majority, but enough so that all House committees will have Republican chairs and a Republican agenda.
A split Congress, in the view of Massscorecard.org, is good for America because neither chamber can get away with partisan extremism. Hence we predict better party comity for the 112th Congress.
Go vote on Tuesday!
|Book excerpts: Oct. 28, 2010|
Several former elected officials and pundits have published analyses of the 2010 election. We excerpt the relevant issue-based parts and provide scathing book reviews to point out the partisan aspects of each book. Our coverage for this election season includes:
More to follow!
|Debate coverage: Oct. 26, 2010|
Several news organizations sponsor debates, as well as provide news coverage of debates. Massscorecard.org excerpts both debate transcripts and news reports about debates. This year, the sponsored debates are:
More to follow!
|Senate closing arguments: Oct. 21, 2010|
Massscorecard.org now has coverage of just about all Senate races where debates have taken place. And we added today coverage for Louisiana, where Sen. David Vitter has finally deigned to debate Rep. Charles Melancon, in one of the hottest races of the season. We will cover these upcoming late debates:
Click on a state abbreviation above to view the Senate debate excerpts for candidates in that state. Click on the links there for details.
More to follow!
|Third Party Senate candidates: Oct. 18, 2010|
Massscorecard.org announces our final list of Third Party Senate candidates. Links appear below; each of these candidates appears in their respective SenateMatch quizzes, where you can match up your issue opinions against both their stances and the major-party stances. In past elections, we have covered more Third Party candidates, but this year we got no Third Party volunteers like we normally do! Maybe that's because of the Tea Party, or maybe it's because of the recession... in any case:
Click on a candidate name above to read their issue stances.
Click on the links there for details.
|Senate organization endorsements and resolutions: Oct. 16, 2010|
Massscorecard.org announces the 2010 Senate organization endorsements and resolutions are posted.
|Endorsements||These organizations provide endorsements of Senate candidates (and some House and Gubernatorial candidates) based on candidates' issue stances.|
|DFA||Democracy for America (progressive values)||6 candidates|
|LCV+||The League of Conservation Voters (pro-environment)||29 candidates|
These organizations provide ratings of Senate candidates based on candidates' issue stances.
(Look on incumbent pages for many additional ratings from previous years!)
|NRA||National Rifle Association (pro-gun rights)||66 candidates|
|LCV-||LCV Dirty Dozen (anti-environment)||12 candidates|
|Sponsorships||These organizations provide documents which candidates choose to sign, on particular issue topics.|
|ATR||"Taxpayer Protection Pledge" by the Americans for Tax Reform||200 candidates|
|CAGW||"No Pork Pledge" by Citizens Against Government Waste||11 candidates|
|CfG||"Repeal It! Pledge" by the Club for Growth||24 candidates|
|PCCC||"Protect Social Security" pledge by Progressive Change Campaign Committee||133 candidates|
Click on an organization name above to read the summary list for that organization. Click on the links there for details.
More to follow!
|Senate debates in progress: Oct. 10, 2010|
Massscorecard.org announces the 2010 Senate debates are posted. Debate season is hot-and-heavy this week, so stay tuned as we fill in the debate pages as they occur. Each debate link below includes information on upcoming debates which we plan to cover.
For senate races in states which are not listed, voters can infer that at least one of the candidates has refused to debate. Generally, the incumbent refuses to debate, or the frontrunner if there is no incumbent. We at Massscorecard consider that an affront to democracy, and would strongly recommend voting against any candidate who refuses to debate.
Sometimes public pressure shames the incumbent/frontrunner into debating despite the fact that it helps the challenger. For example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY) has so far refused to debate his Republican opponent, Jay Townsend, since Schumer holds an insurmountably large lead in the polls. Townsend is planning, therefore, to debate a cardboard cutout of Schumer. If the TV stations allow it (for which some have already scheduled airtime), we will cover these "debates" to do our part to shame Schumer into participating.
Click on a state name above to read the summary Senate debate page for that state. Click on the links there for detailed excerpts from each debate. Each page lists the future debates we plan to cover, through the end of October.
So stay tuned!
|SenateMatch quizzes ready: Oct. 6, 2010|
Massscorecard.org announces the 2010 SenateMatch quizzes are completed and are now posted online, for all 35 states which have Senate races in 2010. You answer 20 questions on your beliefs on key policy issues, and the SenateMatch quiz matcheS your answers against those of each Senate candidate. Our coverage includes candidates in each of the 35 states with Senate races:
|Rahm Emanuel resigns as White House Chief of Staff: Oct. 1, 2010|
President Obama announced the resignation of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel reportedly plans to step down in order to run for the mayor of Chicago. Pete Rouse [is] likely to take Emanuel's place as chief of staff.
The Chicago Sun-Times commissioned a poll shortly after Mayor Daley announced he wasn’t seeking re-election, and Emanuel placed fifth with 7 percent. Those topping the poll: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart at 12 percent, state Sen. James Meeks at 10 percent, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez at 9 percent and Jesse Jackson Jr. at 8 percent.
Emanuel announced online Sunday that he's preparing to run, launching a closely watched "listening tour" of the city. [Former presidential contender and former Senator Carol] Moseley Braun has been quietly building support for her mayoral run for weeks.
We can expect a bruising battle in February for the job, and as many as 15 candidates could be on the ballot. The top two vote getters will go to a runoff, and there is a strong chance that Emanuel may not be one of those two.
|Establishment candidate ousted: Sept. 23, 2010|
Could Rep. Mike Castle (R, DE) pull a Lisa Murkowski? The veteran Delaware congressman indicated yesterday that he hasn't ruled out running as a write-in candidate in the Delaware Senate race after being upset by marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell (R) in last week's primary.
A Castle spokesperson said Thursday that there's a "fraction of a chance" that Castle will run. If Castle does decide to run, he may have a somewhat easier path to the ballot than Murkowski, the Alaska senator who lost her own primary last month to little-known attorney Joe Miller (R) but announced late last week that she would pursue a write-in candidacy.
According to the Delaware Election Commission, all that Castle would have to do in order to officially run as a write-in would be to fill out a form and submit it to the state Elections Commission office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Sep. 30. Write-in candidates' names aren't listed on the ballot, but each polling place is required to post a list of write-in candidates who have declared that they're running.
But as with any write-in candidacy, there would be many logistical obstacles. As in most states, write-in candidates in Delaware have a bleak history: no write-in has ever won state-wide in Delaware. In addition, while Castle has some considerable cash left over from his primary campaign, he would have to struggle against the millions of dollars that O'Donnell has taken in online since her win. Castle would also be lacking a party infrastructure that would boost him with fundraising, TV ads and organizational heft. He also would not have a clear shot at winning Democratic votes -- a necessity for viability -- give that New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) is running a credible race.
A CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll released yesterday showed Coons as a favorite in a head to head matchup with O'Donnell; the Democrat took 55 percent to 39 percent for O'Donnell among likely voters. (If Castle were the Republican nominee, he would be leading Coons 55 percent to 37 percent.) The survey did not test a three-way race among Castle, Coons and O'Donnell.
|Senate incumbent ousted: Sept. 1, 2010|
Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded a hard-fought Senate campaign in the Republican primary Tuesday evening, clearing the way for challenger Joe Miller to face Democrat Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams for the seat held by Alaska’s senior U.S. senator.
Murkowski said she could not envision a scenario in which she could secure the Republican Senate nomination. “And for that reason, and for the good of the State of Alaska, I am now conceding the race for the Republican nomination,” Murkowski said.
When Murkowski’s campaign began she was considered a well-entrenched incumbent, enjoying both high statewide popularity ratings and massive advantages in campaign funding over Miller. She largely campaigned on the strength of her record, including her opposition to the Obama administration and the federal funds she brought to Alaska. But Miller, a self-described Constitutional conservative affiliated with the National Tea Party, ran a hard-right campaign against Murkowski, pointing to her votes with Democrats as proof that she was a RINO -- a Republican in name only -- and questioning her stance on how the Constitution applied to social and funding issues.
Conservative turnout motivated by Ballot Measure 2, a move to require parental notification of teenage daughters’ abortions which narrowly passed Tuesday, may have had a role in unseating Murkowski.
A Miller endorsement from former Gov. Sarah Palin, who became governor in 2006 by defeating the man who appointed Murkowski to the Senate -- her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski -- also could have had an impact on what became a surprisingly close race in its final week.
|Contract From America: Aug. 28, 2010|
When comparing the 2010 Congressional elections with 1994, pundits cite the "Contract with America". That was a pledge, organized by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, to vote on a list of bills if elected. In 1994, the Contract is widely recognized as a primary reason that the GOP recaptured Congress.
The "Contract FROM America" is an attempt to reproduce that outcome in 2010, loosely under the auspices of the Tea Party movement. The contract is "from" America because it represents what many in the Tea Party movement want. The list below are the signatories, followed by the pledges of the Contract. Click on any candidate to see the details of the each pledge.
|Key Senate primaries: Aug. 24, 2010|
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski fought to save her job Wednesday, locked in a stunningly tight Republican primary race against a political novice backed by Sarah Palin and tea party activists. Murkowski trailed Joe Miller by 1,960 votes out of more than 91,000 counted. Miller is a Gulf War veteran and self-described "constitutional conservative."
The outlook was far brighter for another incumbent, Sen. John McCain, who easily cinched his party's renomination--and likely re-election this fall--by dispatching former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who had tea party support. Rep. Kendrick Meek cruised to the Democratic Senate nod in Florida against a wealthy political newcomer. And a slew of Republican and Democratic members of Congress withstood primary challenges.
Murkowski becomes the seventh incumbent--and fourth Republican--to lose in a year in which the tea party has scored huge victories in GOP Senate primaries and voters have shown a willingness to punish Republicans and a handful of Democrats with ties to Washington and party leadership. The other six are:
|Key Senate primaries: Aug. 10, 2010|
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado bucked a national anti-incumbent mood to defeat an insurgent challenge on Tuesday, and a Tea Party-backed conservative narrowly led the establishment favorite in the state's Republican Senate primary. Bennet, who had been endorsed by President Barack Obama, beat liberal former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to escape the wave of anti-establishment voter anger that knocked off two Senate colleagues earlier this year. Romanoff had been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.
In the Republican Senate race, former prosecutor Ken Buck rode the backing of conservative "Tea Party" groups to a narrow lead over former Colorado Republican Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton with about three-quarters of precincts reporting. The Colorado Senate races were the highlight of primary voting in four U.S. states. Voters in Connecticut, Georgia and Minnesota also chose candidates to square off in November.
Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut after pouring tens of millions of her own dollars into the race. She beat former Representative Rob Simmons for the right to face Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
|Senate candidate interviews: July 28, 2010|
Almost always, the incumbent ignores our requests, indicating that they don't want their constituents to know their issue stances. We track their voting records accordingly, and infer their VoteMatch responses based on those. We also collect up public statements and book excerpts, and include those in our VoteMatch quiz results as well.
Below are the Senate candidates who responded to this year's 20-question quiz so far:
|Analysis of House races in November: June 7, 2010|
Many pundits compare the 2010 Congressional elections with 1994, when the GOP recaptured the U.S. House by gaining 54 seats (75 new GOP members were elected; some replaced incumbent Republicans). Is that possible in 2010? We analyze the House races in which there is a viable Republican candidate in districts with open seats or vulnerable incumbents. The list of possible turnover seats is....
|Vulnerable Democratic seats||Vulnerable Republican seats|
In 1994, 54 new GOP seats were enough to take over the House majority. The current party count in the House is 254 Democrats to 181 Republicans, a 73-seat majority. Changing an incumbent Democratic seat to Republican in 37 seats would take over the House majority in 2010. The 44 vulnerable Democrats listed above are sufficient, in other words.
As in our Senate analysis below, we list only races where the opposing candidate is viable (although some of the Democratic retirees are in safe Democrat districts). Certainly, in this longer House list, we missed a few which will be upsets. In other words, a GOP takeover of the House is politically possible, not just mathematically possible. But we don't predict a GOP takeover, because there are just too many seats that the GOP would need to win.
Why is that? In 2010, the anti-incumbent fervor seems as strong as in 1994, to be sure. But in 1994, Newt Gingrich engineered the House takeover via a nationwide campaign called The Contract With America. Voters therefore recognized the nationwide importance of their local district races, and candidates stepped up accordingly, and donors donated accordingly, making many more viable challengers. In 2010, the equivalent nationwide campaign is the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party has succeeded in getting candidates elected in several races, they have not yet matured sufficiently to be able to RECRUIT candidates, as Newt Gingrich did in 1994.
In summary, we predict major Democratic losses in both the House and the Senate, but we just don't see enough viable challengers for the Republicans to take over either chamber.
|Analysis of Senate races in November: May 30, 2010|
With Scott Brown's special election in Jan. 2010, the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. (A supermajority of 60 seats out of 100 means that the Republicans could not mount a filibuster to block a bill from passage). Now, with the economy sputtering and the Tea Party rallying from the Brown victory, pundits ponder whether the Democrats will lose their majority in November. The majority party chairs all Senate committees, which means they decide which bills reach the Senate floor, and have final say over the content of the bills too.
Several recent primary elections vouch for the electorate's dissatisfaction with the incumbent Congress: Arlen Specter (D, PA) and Bob Bennett (R, UT) both lost their seats before the general election season even began. The Tea Party scored a second major victory when Rand Paul defeated the party favorite Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R, KY).
But to throw the bums out, there have to be challengers to replace them. Are there enough viable challengers against incumbent Democrats for the Republicans to take over the Senate? From the current 59-41 Democratic majority, the Dems would have to lose 10 seats to Republicans. We analyze here whether that is mathematically and politically possible:
|Democratic incumbent or nominee||Viable Republican challenger|
|AR: Sen. Blanche Lincoln||vs. Rep. John Boozman|
|CA: Sen. Barbara Boxer||vs. Former Rep. Tom Campbell|
|CO: Appointee Michael Bennet||vs. Lt. Gov. Jane Norton|
|DE: Appointee Ted Kaufman (retiring)||vs. Rep. Michael Castle|
|IL: Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias||vs. Rep. Mark Kirk|
|IN: Rep. Brad Ellsworth||vs. Former Senator Daniel Coats|
|NY: Appointee Kirsten Gillibrand||vs. Former Rep. Joe DioGuardi|
|ND: State Sen. Tracy Potter||vs. Gov. John Hoeven|
|PA: Rep. Joe Sestak||vs. Former Rep. Pat Toomey|
|WA: Rep. Rob Portman||vs. State Sen. Dino Rossi|
|Republican incumbent or nominee||Viable Democratic challenger|
|FL: Appointee George LeMieux (retiring)
Marco Rubio (R)
|vs. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D)
and Gov. Charlie Crist (I)
|KY: Dr. Rand Paul||vs. Attorney General Jack Conway|
|LA: Sen. David Vitter||vs. Rep. Charles Melancon|
|MO: Rep. Roy Blunt||vs. Sec. of State Robin Carnahan|
|NH: Attorney General Kelly Ayotte||vs. Rep. Paul Hodes|
|NC: Sen. Richard Burr||vs. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall|
|OH: Rep. Rob Portman||vs. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher|
There has been a lot of talk about Harry Reid (D, NV) losing his seat -- but there are no viable Republican challengers [Update Oct. 2010: Sharron Angle has become viable -- ed.]. Same for Chuck Schumer (D, NY) -- he's unpopular but there are no Republicans capable of unseating him. Anger against incumbents is healthy for democracy; but to have an effect at the ballot box, there needs to be someone else to vote for.
The bottom line: Republicans must win in all ten of the states we list in the first half, and must also stave off viable Democratic challengers in all seven of the states we list in the second half above. It is possible there will be an upset in a race we did not list above, but that would be front-page-news-level-upset. If the Republicans miss even one of those 17 races, then the Senate is a 50-50 tie with Vice President Joe Biden giving the Dems the majority. In other words, the Republicans have a MATHEMATICAL chance of taking back the Senate, but no POLITICAL chance.
|Decisive primaries: May 18, 2010|
|Decisive primaries: May 4 and 11, 2010|
|All Quotations by Issue|