Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Senate’
A week and a half ago, the Chicago Bears’ Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending injury as a result of a post-play celebration. Mr. Houston sacked the Patriots’ backup quarterback…while the Bears were losing by 25 points…in the fourth quarter. Aside from looking like an idiot, Houston now cannot do the job for which he is paid millions. In the coming weeks and months, Republicans risk committing the same error: rendering themselves incapable due to unnecessary and unwarranted celebrations.
Yes, Republicans won big this midterm – once all the dust settles they will have picked up at least nine seats in the Senate, adding at least 15 seats to their majority in the House, and will occupy 32 Governor’s seats. It was a blowout – primarily because the nation’s problems are big and our president incompetent. So while we cheer for the wave of wins, the reasons for the wins are not necessarily cause for celebration.
Abroad America’s influence diminishes. We’re weak, we lack resolve; we waffle on issues where we once stood firm. Our foes move in to fill the power vacuum and instability reigns.
At home, “mistakes” in Washington turn to scandals, which result in crises of confidence, giving way to partisan squabbling; rinse and repeat. Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, the cycle seems endless. Meanwhile, too many Americans remain out of work, the economy remains feeble, the Affordable Care Act remains unaffordable and uncaring, and the American Dream slips farther out of reach.
Polling in the lead up to Election Day showed that a large majority of Americans think we’re headed in the wrong direction, an ABC/Washington Post poll showed 70% think our country is on the wrong track. And, more than half of Americans, 54% according to Gallup, disapprove of Obama. These voters hope, skeptically perhaps, that the GOP can fix it or at least stem the tide of failure.
In 2012, had voters known what they know today, they would have elected Mitt Romney and I firmly believe our nation would now be on the upswing. Thanks however to a media that seeks to create “a narrative” of the world it wants rather than reporting the facts, Americans went to the polls woefully under-informed about Obama’s true job performance.
In a free society, the truth eventually gets out. No matter what damage control sound bites liberal pundits spin our way— “the opposing party historically tends to win big in midterm elections, especially during a president’s second term,” seems to be the go-to line—Obama’s lies, cover-ups, mismanagement, and failures are the reason the GOP now controls both the House and Senate. Jovial or smug celebrations on our part would demonstrate to voters that Republicans aren’t up to the task of governing either.
So, before we start that victory dance, Republicans must recognize that Americans didn’t vote for us because they think we’re good, but because they think we cannot be worse. Let’s not prove them wrong. Skip the celebration. It’s time to govern.
Election Night 2014 ongoing updates.
(11:00 pm EST) – Networks have reversed their call for New Hampshire as Brown gains ground as votes continue to be counted.
Tillis is growing his lead over Sen. Hagan in North Carolina.
In Arizona – Ducey declared winner for Governor in Arizona. Republican Mark Brnovich, the cinderella story of Arizona politics this year, is leading Democrat Felicia Rotellini 53-47 in Attorney General race. Michelle Reagan leads Terry Goddard 52-48 for Secretary of State.
(10:00 pm EST) – Gardner has won the Senate race in Colorado. That is a HUGE win.
(9:30 pm EST) – South Dakota has been called for Mike Rounds – another pick up for the GOP march towards a Senate Majority. While the networks have called New Hampshire for Sen. Shaheen, it’s only a four point spread with 33% of precincts reporting. A little early.
Colorado has about 50% reporting and Gardner leads Sen. Udall by five.
Virginia continues to look very close – could be the story of the night.
Gov. Rick Scott appears to have overcome the challenge from Charlie Crist in Florida.
(8:30 pm EST) – Polls just closed in Arkansas and the race is already called for Tom Cotton – who defeated Sen. Mark Pryor. The wave continues.
(7:45 pm EST) – Polls have closed in Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. McConnell has been declared the winner in Kentucky, Capito wins West Virginia, Perdue led in the exit polls in Georgia, and exit polls in North Carolina showed the race tied.
Exits showed leads for the GOP in IA, CO, AR, AK, and KS.
If all that holds, GOP Senate majority is a certainty.
Republicans are going to have a good night next Tuesday, a very good night. And it will be, in large part, because President Obama is so unpopular. In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, Obama’s fav/unfav among likely voters is at a dismal 36%-61%.
For the U.S. Senate, Republicans will win in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota. Republicans will also win in North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa and Colorado.
Mitch McConnell will win in Kentucky.
So without knowing what happens in either Louisiana or Georgia (both likely to go to run-offs), Republicans are a lock to retake the U.S. Senate.
In the U.S. House, Republicans will have a net gain of at least 10 seats – giving them the strongest majority since the 1940’s. Those will include wins by Andy Tobin in AZ-01 and Martha McSally in AZ-02.
In Arizona it will be a top-to-bottom sweep of statewide races. Doug Ducey will beat Fred DuVal by close to double digits, Michele Reagan will defeat Terry Goddard, Mark Brnovich will defeat Felicia Rotellini, Jeff DeWit is essentially already the next Treasurer, Diane Douglas will win as Superintendent of Public Instruction and Doug Little and Tom Forese will be the next Corporation Commissioners.
You doubt it’s a bad year for Democrats? Watch network news – and you will see no stories about how bad an election it will be for Democrats. Compare that to 2006, when Republicans were headed for a terrible night, and it was all over the networks for weeks on end. The silence is deafening.
In the race to replace Senator Jon Kyl, it’s not even a close call. Congressman Jeff Flake is by far the superior candidate over Wil Cardon.
I have known both Wil and Jeff for many years. Both are great guys, come from long-time Arizona families and are successful in their own right. I believe that Wil could have a future as a public official, but this is the wrong race at the wrong time for him to be spending millions of dollars.
Flake has a reputation for annoying establishment Washington – particularly big spenders and appropriators. There isn’t anything we need more in Washington than someone willing to stand up to the spenders on both side of the aisle and yell “Stop!”
Jeff Flake is that guy.
Vote Jeff Flake for U.S. Senate.
Democrat Senator Ben Nelson is retiring, making it almost a sure bet that his Senate seat will switch to Republican in the 2012 election.
National Democrats (particularly Harry Reid) were desperate to keep Nelson in the race (and his $3 million bank account) because if he were running for re-election, they had at least a fighting chance to keep the seat.
Ben Nelson is not dumb, and he calculated that Nebraskans have tired of his claims to be a conservative Democrat, but siding with his liberal colleagues on the big votes (Stimulus and Health care being two biggies).
I suspect recent ads run by American Crossroads (see ad here) and Americans for Prosperity Nebraska (see ad here) had an impact on Nelson’s thinking and whether he wanted to spend the next year being thrashed with his own record.
This news reminded me of a web video I came across a while ago and blogged about here. It’s really funny.
Ben Nelson may not be laughing today, but most Nebraskans are cheering.
Having been around the process when Republicans were trying to convince former Bush-appointed Surgeon General Richard Carmona for run for Congress, Democrats might want to think twice about how much hope they are putting in him to be a successful Senate candidate against Jeff Flake next year.
Carmona has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate.
The irony is that it was Senate Democrats who tried to destroy Carmona during his Senate confirmation hearings for Surgeon General. Talk about giving the Republicans a gift of solid opposition research.
This editorial in the Wall Street Journal is too good to not post in full. Dead on.
The 60th Senate Vote
The special election in Massachusetts and the Democratic agenda.
When Ted Kennedy died last August, Democrats said they’d honor him by finally passing the national health care he had long campaigned for. What an irony it would be if the race for Kennedy’s successor in Massachusetts denied Democrats the 60th vote to ram their federal takeover into law on a partisan basis.
That prospect isn’t as implausible as it once seemed in that most liberal of states, as Republican Scott Brown has closed to within striking distance of Democrat Martha Coakley in the January 19 special election. A Boston Globe survey released this weekend showed Ms. Coakley with a 15-point lead, but a survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found the race a dead heat, with Mr. Brown up 48% to 47%. The scary prospect for Democrats is that the race is even this close on their home ideological turf, and turnout is always difficult to predict in special elections.
That’s especially true in midwinter and with a voting public that is increasingly opposed to the Democratic agenda in Washington. The Public Policy Poll found that likely Bay State voters oppose the Democratic health plans by 47% to 41% and that they give President Obama only 44% job approval. This in a state he carried by 26 points only 14 months ago. It also found Republicans much more motivated to vote than Democrats.
Mr. Brown, a state senator who is little known state-wide, has been running against Washington’s blowout spending and has called for a freeze on the wages of federal employees. “It’s not right that less-paid private sector workers suffering through a recession have to pay for expensive government salaries,” he says, noting Ms. Coakley’s many union endorsements.
He’s also hit on taxes, including Ms. Coakley’s comments in November that “We need to get taxes up.” One of his TV ads shows film of Massachusetts son John F. Kennedy describing his 1962 tax cut bill, saying that “The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy.” It’s been a long time since any national Democrat said anything like that.
Regarding ObamaCare, Mr. Brown notes that 98% of the state is already insured so any national bill will hurt Bay Staters. He’s right, with the sweetheart Medicaid deal that Ben Nelson cut for Nebraska being Exhibit A. But more fundamentally, the Democratic bills would impose federally mandated rules and benefit limits that would strip states of regulatory flexibility.
Ms. Coakley is the state attorney general and ran to the left of other Democrats to win the Senate primary. She would be a reliable liberal vote for Majority Leader Harry Reid on every issue. These columns have a particular interest in Ms. Coakley’s judgment from her days as district attorney for Middlesex County when she inherited the child molestation case against Gerald Amirault long after it had been shown to be fictional.
When the Governor’s Advisory Board on Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously to commute Amirault’s sentence in 2001, Ms. Coakley went to great lengths to see that he remain in prison. The same woman who organized protest meetings to ensure that Amirault stay behind bars now argues that would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab and other jihadists should not be held as enemy combatants. She is more zealous for politically correct causes than for national security.
The Democrat remains the favorite in such a liberal state, especially now that the unions and national Democrats have become alarmed by the polls. Bill Clinton will campaign for Ms. Coakley this week, and Mr. Brown can expect an assault linking him to George W. Bush, if not Herbert Hoover. But a sign of their worry is that Democrats are whispering that even if Mr. Brown wins, they’ll delay his swearing in long enough to let appointed Senator Paul Kirk vote for ObamaCare.
The mere fact that Democrats have to fight so hard to save Ted Kennedy’s seat shows how badly they have misjudged America by governing so far to the left.
The Liberal Lion of the Senate will be laid to rest today. With the numerous retrospectives in the papers, online and on TV, there isn’t much that I can add, other than the Left has lost its most effective and committed champion.
Senator Edward Kennedy, RIP.
One of my political heroes is Dr. Tom Coburn, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. I got to know Dr. Coburn when he was elected to the U.S. House as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution. For the next six years he led the charge against wasteful spending, health care reform and transparency in government. Then, holding to a self-imposed three-term limit, he retired from Congress and went back to the full-time practice of medicine (a family practitioner in Muskogee, OK).
In 2004 he decided to run for the open Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Don Nickles. I had the distinct privilege of spending the last two months of the 2004 election cycle in Oklahoma helping get Dr. Tom elected to the Senate in what became one of the fiercest Senate races in Oklahoma history. I used to joke with people in Oklahoma as I traveled around coordinating the campaign that “I don’t know anything about campaigning, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night!” It was relevant because I did, in fact, live in a Holiday Inn Express in Muskogee, OK for 62 nights in a row (I spent the last few nights of the campaign in Tulsa). I had a hard-boiled egg and a cinnamon roll nearly every morning.
My roommate and side-kick during that campaign was communications pro, Mike Steel (no, not that Michael Steele) who is now the Communications Director the U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner. We spent an unhealthy amount of time together and I will never hear a Big and Rich tune without rollin’ across Oklahoma in a rented Monte Carlo running the campaign with a cell phone and a blackberry. (It was my work on the Coburn campaign that led to a Washington Post profile of my wife Julie in a story about the toll politics can take on families, and how my wife has earned sainthood for tolerating my work schedule.)
Coburn amassed a great team of people to help him in that race. The Oklahoma contingent included Mike Schwartz, Curt Price, Jerry Morris, Brian Treat, Greg Treat, Courtney Cox, Jane (now Treat), Martin Updike, John Hart, Tyler Faught, Tim Barr, Patrick Wyrick, Derek Sparks, and others who, embarrassingly, I can’t remember names. Chairing the victory operation was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known, Mike Willis, and he had Austin and some others helping him.
The out-of-towners included me, Steel, Jason Miller and also Jon Lerner doing the polling and John Brabender and Rob Aho doing the media. There were a ton of others that came in towards the end, and Congressman John Shadegg spent a lot of time on conference calls assisting with strategy.
All this walk down memory lane came as a result of Dr. Tom’s announcement on Monday that he will run for re-election. A video of his announcement is here.
All you need to know is in this video produced by the folks at Brabender Cox:
The best book ever written about campaign strategy and tactics was written by Stephen Shadegg, father of Congressman John Shadegg.
How To Win An Election is a timeless must-have handbook for anyone who ever even has a faint desire to run for public office. On occasion during campaigns reporters will ask me about this or that strategy and my response is always the same: we’re running by the book. They rarely ask the follow-up of what I mean, because they think I’m being coy, but I’m being honest – we run campaigns by the book How to Win an Election.
Chapter 14 of the book is entitled, “Don’t let them steal it from you.” In it, Shadegg points out that the best prevention of voter fraud comes by not allowing unqualified voters from getting a ballot in the first place. Here is a poignant paragraph:
Once a fraudulent vote has been cast and counted, it is difficult if not impossible to correct the error. The secrecy of the ballot in this country gives the dishonest as well as the honest vote equal standing once the tally has been made. It is relatively simple to prevent an unqualified voter from voting. It is almost impossible to change the outcome or even to detect the fraud after the ballot has been placed in the box or the voter has been permitted to use the machine.
The circus that is going on in Minnesota is yet another example the potential theft of an election. Al Franken (really? Al Franken?!?) is about to be declared the winner of the U.S. Senate race over incumbent Norm Coleman. However, the questions about ballots and votes means that this race will remain in the courts for weeks, if not months.
At a minimum, this spectacle should serve as a catalyst to coming up with some solutions to prevent voter fraud. A minimum in every state should be requiring identification when you show up at the polls.
Update: Thanks to Corey for the link to the book on Amazon.