Maryland Archive:

Saturday, September 09, 2006

9/12 Primary Races Round-Up

Posted by James L.

So it's primary day this Tuesday, with elections being held in AZ, DC, DE, MD, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, and WI. Here's a round-up of everything you should be keeping your eye on.

AZ-08 (Open, Kolbe): Boy, do I ever feel good about the Democratic chances in this district. Jim Kolbe, the district's Republican incumbent, is retiring. Kolbe, one of those elusive gay Republicans, cultivated a moderate reputation (whatever that means in the Republican Party these days), but received a slight scare in 2004 when conservative firebrand Randy Graf ran on a hard-right platform and scored 43% of the vote in the Republican primary of that year. That's a pretty impressive showing, given the traditional resource gap between a no-name challenger and an entrenched incumbent (admittedly, Graf's a state legislator, so he did start off with base of support). Now, Graf, an anti-immigration advocate, is leading the charge to clinch the Republican nomination for this open seat, and the most recent polling puts him ahead of primary opponent Steve Huffman (33-25, with 14% dispersed among three other minor candidates, and 29% undecided). However, Graf's in-your-face conservatism isn't exactly the best fit for a district that only tilts ever so slightly to the Republicans (Cook rates it as R+1.4), and the NRCC is in panic mode, spending $100k in a last-ditch effort to drag Huffman across the finish line. Clearly, we should be rooting for Graf in the primary if the NRCC is willing to spend coin to stop him. That said, even if Huffman is the winner, Hotline On Call notes that Huffman has plenty of weaknesses of his own:

But there are signs that Huffman is running a lackluster campaign. Despite a big fundraising advantage and Kolbe's endorsement, he remains down in polls. His treasurer was snooping around his challenger's ex-wife's home, prompting the Tucson Weekly to revoke their endorsement of him. And unlike ex-state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords (D) and Graf, he kept his seat in the legislature during the campaign - allowing the DCCC to hammer him for missing recent votes on border security.

Yikes. Things are looking pretty stressful for the Republicans if Huffman is the best they can come up with in this district. I can already see the negative ads in my head regarding his treasurer's bizarre antics.

The Democratic primary, on the other hand, is pitting two candidates who would either be strong or reasonably strong performers in the general election: ex-State Sen. Gabrielle Giffords and local TV anchor Patty Weiss. Giffords, though, leads Weiss 46-29 in the latest polling, and looks like the likely winner on Tuesday. Giffords is also the only Democrat in the current field who leads Huffman in a hypothetical general election match-up, by 42-39. Additionally, recent generic polling suggests that the district is leaning towards pulling the lever for the Democratic candidate this cycle, by a 50-46 margin. Between the nasty Republican primary pitting the NRCC against the local conservative base, a strong Democratic candidate, and an electorate that's beginning to tilt Democratic in the most recent polls, I'm expecting good things from AZ-08 in November.

MD-Sen (Open, Sarbanes): A whopper. A late August poll put Rep. Ben Cardin ahead of former NCAAP head Kweisi Mfume by a 43-30 margin in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes, although other polls have shown a tighter contest over the past several months. However, the demographics of Maryland's Democratic electorate would seem to hold more favorables for Mfume than Cardin, at least on the surface. Still, Cardin has outraised Mfume by a wide margin, and has been putting up a far greater amount of resources on air time in this stretch run than Mfume can afford to spend. I'd be surprised if Mfume pulled off this upset.

MD-04 (Incumbent, Wynn): 2006 has seen a series of surprising primary elections where incumbents have been knocked off their perch--Lieberman, Joe Schwarz in Michigan, and Cynthia McKinney in Georgia. Can Donna Edwards make it four by knocking off entrenched Democratic incumbent Al Wynn? Edwards has made a strong case against Wynn, who has supported the Bush administration on several crucial votes, including the Bankruptcy Bill and the Iraq War. Lemme just chime in and say this: no Democrat has any business voting for the ass-backwards Bankruptcy Bill, but this especially applies to any Democrat who represents a district that delivered 70% of its vote to John Kerry in 2004, like Wynn's. The Club For Growth, even if their choice in candidates is often extremely questionable, has the right philosophy: use primary races in districts with deep partisan favorability to their cause, and push ideological purity there. An Al Wynn-style voting record may be a lot easier to stomach for, say, a Democrat representing a white-majority district in the South, but Maryland's fourth can do a lot better than Al Wynn. Edwards has been picking up momentum in recent weeks, with the impressive achievement of securing the Washington Post's endorsement. If she can't do it this time, Edwards will be well-placed to make an earlier, more well-funded challenge to Wynn in 2008.

MN-05 (Open, Sabo): I gotta say, I know next to nothing about this hotly-contested open D seat race in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. The field is huge, but the big spenders and movers have been Keith Ellison, Mike Erlandson, and Ember Reichgott Junge. I would invite our resident MN commentators to give us the lowdown in the comments.

NH-01 (Incumbent, Bradley): This race isn't quite as sexy as NH-02, but there's still a glimmer of hope here. Cook rates this district as a highly competitive R+0.1, and Bush only edged Kerry by 2% here in 2004. One of the Democratic challengers, NH House Minority Leader Jim Craig, is credible, and holds at least some name recognition in the district. But first he'll have to get through a primary with Carol Shea-Porter, who has her share of supporters as well.

NY-11 (Open, Owens): The most recent polling I've seen in this open seat shows a dead heat between the four would-be Democratic successors to retiring incumbent Major Owens in this central Brooklyn district (and my home away from home): NYC Councilmembers Yvette Clark, David Yassky, State Sen. Carl Andrews, and Owens' son, Chris Owens. Yassky's had the best fundraising, but also the most controversy, with the other candidates criticizing Yassky for running in an African-American majority district. Looks like this one will go down to the wire.

NY-19 (Incumbent, Kelly): The Democratic field to take on incumbent Republican congresswoman Sue Kelly has been annoyingly huge, but it's been whittled down to four: ex-Republican attorney Judy Aydelott, school principal Ben Schuldiner, political hack Darren Rigger, and Orleans guitarist John Hall. Aydelott had the very early mo' in this district, but Hall's fundraising has really picked up steam, and the endorsements (including one from the NY Democratic Party) followed suit. Cook rates this district R+1.5, but the locals are hoping for some serious coattails from the Spitzer-Clinton bulldozer at the top of the ticket this year, as well as changing demographics as a result of NYC residents moving into the district for more affordable housing.

RI-Sen (Incumbent, Chafee): The big one! Depending on whether you choose to believe Rhode Island College or the National Republican Senatorial Committee, this primary race is either firmly in conservative challenger Steve Laffey's hands, or will be held safely by incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee--both organizations put out wildly conflicting polls. The NRSC has made it clear that they're reading to cede the Rhode Island Senate seat to the Democrats if Laffey wins on Tuesday, so... well, you know who to root for.

RI-02 (Incumbent, Langevin): I don't have much to say about this one, but Jennifer Lawless has been running a primary challenge against Rep. Jim Langevin from the left. Langevin, in my estimation, is a pretty decent Rep, aside from his pro-life/anti-choice record. Lawless has gone so far as to say that Langevin Equals Lieberman, but given Langevin's opposition to the Iraq War, I don't think that passes the sniff test. So whatever.

WI-08 (Open, Green): No question about it: this is a Republican district. Bush scored nearly 55% of the vote against Kerry's 44% in 2004, yet Democrats are smelling an opportunity this year. Indeed, the most recent RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics poll has the generic Democrat edging the generic Republican by 48-44 in this open seat race. The DCCC has gone up on the air to soften up likely Republican nominee John Gard's numbers, while the NRCC has done the same against physician Steve Kagen, the big spender in the Democratic primary race (he's put up over $1m of his own funds into this race, the last time I checked). Kagen's primary opponents, former Brown County Executive and De Pere mayor Nancy Nusbaum and business consultant Jamie Wall, have also raised impressive amounts for a crowded field, but Kagen's deep pockets has put the local Republicans on edge. If the NRCC is committing resources to defend this seat, the 2006 field is favorable indeed for Democrats.

Posted at 09:02 PM in 2006 Elections, Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MD-Gov: Duncan Drops Out

Posted by James L.

From the Washington Post:

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan will announce this afternoon that he is dropping out of the race for governor, sources close to the campaign said today.

Duncan, 50, decided to end his quest for Maryland's highest office because he is suffering from clinical depression, sources said.

The Democratic nominee to face Gov. Robert Ehrlich will be Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley. Duncan was competitive enough to sap a lot of O'Malley's early momentum. The O'Malley campaign can now concentrate on beating Ehrlich, but it's sure tough to watch a candidate drop out under circumstances like these.

Posted at 01:58 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Maryland | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MD-Sen: Can Steele Actually Draw Black Votes?

Posted by DavidNYC

Conflicting reports:

An internal document prepared by a top Democratic strategist warns that a majority of African American voters in Maryland are open to supporting Republican Senate candidate Michael S. Steele and advises the party not to wait to "knock Steele down."

The 37-page report says a sizable segment of likely black voters -- as much as 44 percent -- would readily abandon their historic Democratic allegiances "after hearing Steele's messaging."

"Governor Ehrlich and [Lt. Gov.] Michael Steele have a clear ability to break through the Democratic stronghold among African American voters in Maryland," says the March 27 report by Cornell Belcher, polling consultant for the Democratic National Committee, which bases its findings on a survey of 489 black voters in Maryland conducted last month.


If the findings of the poll are correct, they paint a somewhat different vision of the black electorate from what has been commonly understood to this point, said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Bositis said nothing in his research suggests that an African American Republican will be able to grab a significant segment of the black vote.

The DNC survey finds that 22 percent of black voters support Steele when matched against a "generic" Democrat.

"There's just no way it's that high," Bositis said, noting that Steele's performance among black voters in the 2002 election did not approach that number. "If he was that much of a draw then it's doubtful he would only have received 13 percent of the black vote."

I don't want to believe only that which I'd like to believe, hence I remain vigilant about Steele's chances among the African American community. However - and this is a big however - the internal DNC poll sounds like a classic message-testing poll. We all know that those kinds of polls, with their captive audiences listening to a candidate's entire messaging package, don't reflect how politics works. Few voters will ever seriously tune in to a single message of Steele's, let alone the entire kit-n-kaboodle. Message-testing polls are great for precisely that - testing a message, not taking the temperature of the electorate.

Of course, when Cornell Belcher says we shouldn't wait to knock Steele down... well obviously, on that front, I couldn't agree more. And it shouldn't be too hard:

A message that resonated with black voters identified Steele as "George W. Bush's hand-picked candidate," the survey found. It's a message Democrats have tried to exploit. Even as Walker discussed the findings, he pointed to a photograph hanging in his office -- it shows Steele and Bush arm in arm.

The poll finds that only 8 percent of black voters in Maryland approve of the president's performance. And it signals that early support Steele has received from Bush and his advisers will rub black voters the wrong way.

Now that's a simple message that's easy to push and easy for voters to take home.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MD-Sen: Cardin Chalks Up 14-Point Lead Over Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen warms the cockles of my heart (likely voters, January in parens):

Cardin: 49 (40)
Steele: 35 (45)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Rasmussen believes the January poll was an outlier because the November results (49-41 Cardin) are much more in line with these. (To believe all three polls are accurate would imply a level of volatility in this race that's just not borne out by other available evidence.)

Oh, and by a 73-11 margin, Maryland voters reject Say Anything Steele's comparison of stem cell research to the horrors of the Holocaust. For once, I'm not surprised - in a good way.

Posted at 08:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MD-Sen: The Wheels on the Bus Fall Off, Off, Off

Posted by DavidNYC

Yet another key staffer bails as Say Anything Steele's campaign comes apart at the hinges:

In a matter of weeks, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele lost his campaign manager, offended an audience of Jewish leaders by comparing stem cell research to Nazi experimentation and then confounded a conservative talk show audience by saying he actually supports embryonic research.

Yesterday came more turmoil, as the Republican with the best chance of winning a U.S. Senate seat from Maryland in two decades lost his communications director, Leonardo Alcivar, who resigned.

The public signs of disarray have exposed what campaign insiders confirmed yesterday are even deeper internal problems, stemming from a rift between Steele's longtime loyalists and the professional consultants who trooped to Annapolis to run his first big-league campaign.

As I suggested a few days ago, bringing in the big boys from DC wasn't likely to work. I had no idea it would get this bad this quickly, though:

The lieutenant governor's longtime supporters said yesterday that they have tried to fend off a national GOP "consultant culture" that espouses a cookie-cutter approach ill-suited for Maryland, a state dominated by Democratic voters.

National advisers, however, described Steele loyalists as rigid and unsophisticated about the needs of a campaign of that scale. They said a parochial approach being counseled by Steele aides was destined to fail in a media-driven race that has drawn national attention and could cost more than $10 million before it's done.

And yes, there is justice in this world:

The professional staffers argued that, had Steele been better prepared to face unanticipated questions, he might have avoided the kind of lengthy, stream-of-consciousness reply that left him equating the research to Holocaust experimentation.

Those closely monitoring the race said the resulting firestorm has left some Marylanders, and some national Republicans who have considered pouring cash into his Senate bid, reexamining whether Steele is ready for the race.

Ah, I could spend all day quote bits of this article. Go read the whole thing, and watch an allegedly top-tier Republican campaign crumble to dust before your very eyes.

Posted at 03:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, February 16, 2006

MD-Sen: Steele's Campaign Manager Quits

Posted by DavidNYC

Campaign in disarray:

Campaign manager Graham M. Shafer made a quiet exit earlier this month, citing family obligations, a campaign spokesman confirmed yesterday. His departure highlighted a growing tug within the Steele campaign between the candidate's Washington advisers and his coterie of longtime loyalists from Maryland, of which Shafer was one.

That internal struggle intensified last week, sources said, as Steele sought to minimize damage caused when he equated stem cell research to the experiments Nazi doctors conducted on Jews during World War II while speaking to a Baltimore Jewish group.

As criticism of the remark had Steele hustling to issue profuse apologies, national GOP officials were clashing with Steele's longtime advisers on how to handle the crisis, said three well-placed sources, all of whom spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were divulging internal campaign deliberations.

Nothing like having the big boys from DC come in and try to bail Say Anything Steele's ass out. After national GOP figures lambasted Coretta Scott King's mourners and lectured them on how they ought to behave, do guys like Ken Mehlman have any realistic chance whatsoever at convincing black voters to go Republican? That seems to be the Steele campaign's entire strategy. Good luck with that one.

Posted at 12:27 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 13, 2006

MD-Sen: "Say Anything" Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

"Say Anything" Steele. That's my new nickname for MD Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele, and I hope it sticks.

In the midst of my fury over his remarks comparing Holocaust victims to stem cell research, I spouted the following about Say Anything Steele.:

You think nothing through, you say anything for political gain, you have no sense of right and wrong and decency.

Look how right I was!

In his latest comments, [Steele] said, "I support embryonic stem cell research," a position that seemed to be at odds with his previous remarks.

Unbelievable. I was right on all counts. How could a man who thinks that stem cell research is the kin of Dr. Mengele's experiments actually support such a thing? That's the "think nothing through" part. But obviously, he doesn't actually feel that way if he now supports stem cell research. That's the "say anything for political gain" part. And either way you slice it, he triggers the "no sense of right and wrong and decency" part, too.

However, I just want to make one thing clear: My outrage at Steele's remarks had nothing to do with his personal views on stem cell research. If he wants to oppose it, that's his perogative. And if he wants to delusionally believe it's anything like the horrors of the Holocaust, he's free to think that, too.

My anger was directed at the fact that he was telling others what they ought to believe - that Jews ("of all folks") ought to think the way he does precisely because so many of us have such close links to the Holocaust. That being touched by the Holocaust ought to mean you want to foreshorten the lives of those who might be saved by stem cell research. That is what disgusted me. The notion that he could presume to speak for people like my father - and attribute such callous, hateful views to them - was beyond outrageous.

Of course, now that stem cell research is hunky-dory in Say Anything Steele's world, I guess we can chuck all that out the window. What a pathetic hack.

Posted at 02:50 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, February 10, 2006

MD-Sen: Fuck You, Michael Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm not sure I've ever used profanity in the title of a post here, but I am beyond outraged right now. Beyond outraged. This is what Republican Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele said about stem cell research to the board of the Baltimore Jewish Council:

"You of all folks know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool."

You goddamn motherfucking sonofabitch. You dirty, filthy, rotten scumbag. That you would dare, DARE make this comparison tells me that you are a warped, crippled, self-hating human being. You think nothing through, you say anything for political gain, you have no sense of right and wrong and decency.

Let me put it another way. My father is a Holocaust survivor. My fiancee has Type I diabetes. Do you think for a fucking SECOND that my dad doesn't want to see stem cells used to cure the love of my life?

Of course not, you fucking asshole. You don't know what my father - "of all folks" - knows, but I'll tell you. He hates to see life cut short. His father was murdered - murdered! - when my dad was just 11 years old. He'd hate more than anything if my bride-to-be was taken from me prematurely because of illness - especially if something could have been done to prevent it. You not only fail to understand that, but you presume the opposite.

A rabbi once told me something very interesting. In Jewish tradition, if you harm someone, only that person can forgive you. Not a rabbi, not God, not someone else - only the person you've wronged. Michael Steele, you've desecrated the memory of people who can no longer speak. Only they may forgive you. But I don't expect you'll ever be able to ask them for forgiveness, because I don't believe you'll be joining them up in Heaven.

Posted at 04:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MD-Sen: Dubya's Anemic Fundraising for Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

Michael's new best friend George came for a visit. Most of Michael's other friends didn't like George very much, but George promised Michael he'd make him rich.

George told Michael how rich he'd made some of George's other buddies:

Bush Raised $1.4 Millionfor Kyl This Week. On Monday, Bush raised more than $1.4 million at a Phoenix fundraiser for Jon Kyl. [East Valley Tribune, 11/29/05]

Bush Raised $1.7 Million For Santorum and PA GOP at a Luncheon of Tea Sandwiches, Quiche and Crab. President Bush raised $1.7 million for Santorum and the state Republican Party in an appearance at a private fund-raiser that attracted about 1,000 people to a Bryn Mawr estate. While Santorum supporters mixed with the President and sampled tea sandwiches, quiche and crab, about 200 demonstrators lined Montgomery Avenue, several blocks away. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/15/05]

Bush Raised $1.5 Million for Talent. In June, President Bush raised $1.5 million for Jim Talent at an event in St. Louis. [Missourinet, 6/27/05]

But unfortunately for Michael, George's promise didn't quite pan out this time:

Bush Raised $500K for Steele. [Baltimore Sun, 11/30/05]

Oh well. Better luck next time, Michael!

(Hat tip to the great guys at the DSCC.)

Posted at 10:33 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MD-Sen: Keep On Huggin'

Posted by DavidNYC

MD Lt. Gov. and US Senate hopeful Michael Steele shows who his number one buddy is:

Marylanders, don't forget it.

(Pic thanks to jorndorff.)

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Raise a Ruckus: Bush Fundraising for Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow morning at 10am, Marylanders will protest Bush's fundraising appearance for Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. As I say below, it's important to make sure that the media and the public realize exactly who supports Steele - and whom he supports.

I like the idea some Arizonans had when Bush came to town for Jon Kyl just last night - they formed a human chain from Kyl's office to the location the fundraiser was held to demonstrate the "link" between the two men. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any photos of that bit of guerilla theater. So Marylanders, if you've got any tricks like that up your sleeve tomorrow, please take pictures. And raise a ruckus!

Follow this link for complete details. Thanks to Nick in comments for the info.

Posted at 09:51 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Bush Pimping for Ehrlich and Steele in MD

Posted by DavidNYC

Maryland is a very blue state. It's a challenge for any Republican to win there statewide. And yet two if its most prominent Republicans, Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, are apparently sucking up to George Bush without hesitation. Dubya is coming to town for some fundraising events (not that it's very far from home), and I wonder how well that'll play during the general election campaign.

Someone, though, needs to explain this bit to me:

Bush's stop at a $125-a-plate fundraising luncheon at M&T Bank Stadium - attendees who contribute $5,000 get a photograph with Bush - will drum up early campaign cash for Steele.

$5,000? That's more than the maximum, even for a couple (who can give $2,100 each or $4,200 combined). What's going on here?

These kinds of visits can't be dismissed, though. Bush is still an incredibly powerful fundraiser - he just raked in $1.4M for Jon Kyl last night in Arizona, a state record. Doubtless this visit will bolster Steele and Ehrlich financially. But that's all the more reason why Dems have to turn this lemonade back into lemons, by roping President Albatross as tightly around their opponents' necks as possible.

Posted at 02:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Maryland | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 28, 2005

MD-Sen: Michael Steele Blasted as Traitor

Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm glad to see this battle playing out back in Maryland, instead of Virginia. Here's today's Baltimore Sun:

In an e-mail interview with The Sun, Gilliard said he considers Steele a traitor to his race because he initially dismissed news that his political partner, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., held a golfing fund-raiser this year at the Elkridge Club of Baltimore, which at the time had never admitted a black member in its 127-year history.

"Generally, it is an accurate depiction of Steele's groveling, lackey behavior," Gilliard said of the image. "It is 2005, and such an institution [as the Elkridge Club] should not exist, nor should a governor with as many black people as the state of Maryland attend a function at such a place.

"My point is that politicians like Michael Steele insult us, use us as whipping boys and then run to their white supporters to show how loyal they are. The suffering and problems of black Americans are beyond their concern," said Gilliard, who lives in New York City. "I find it wildly humorous that Lt. Gov. Steele calls me, a black man, racist, but then refuses to condemn the governor attending an event at an all-white country club."

The Maryland Senate race dynamics have changed radically following Katrina, especially considering Bush is polling at 2% with African Americans. The dynamic between identity politics and interest politics will be on center stage in Maryland. Steele may have found himself on the wrong side of a very powerful trend of blacks near universal agreement that Republicans don't care for black people.

Steve says:

You know, I've gotten far more support than comdemnation, and you know where a lot of that support came from? Black people. It's a wonderful feeling to have the community appreciate your words.

If Steve's sample is representative, then Gilliard may be writing what far more African Americans are thinking. In a post-Katrina world, does Mike Steele stand a chance?

Posted at 12:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland, Scandals | Comments (6) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hackett Effect: Six Veterans Running as Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiding from the Iraq issue, individuals are stepping up to fill the DC Establishment leadership void. In fact, there are already 6 veterans ready to serve again -- in Congress:

While fighting in Iraq, a private asked then-Capt. Patrick Murphy why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter; there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other veterans of the war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are in line with the American people:

Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are doing their duty:

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought in the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Murphy is challenging first-term Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican in the northern Philadelphia suburbs of the 8th District.

Another Iraq war veteran, Texas Republican Van Taylor, is also running for a House seat, but he backs President Bush.

It's too soon to measure the impact of the war on the 2006 elections, but the handful of veterans pursuing seats in the House of Representatives is an early indicator.

The press thinks this is a story, the veterans know first-hand how high the stakes are, and it is clear that individuals are stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum created by wimpy Washington Establishment Democrats.

Please use the comments to let us know what you know about this six Democrats.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

MD-Sen: Lise Van Susteren Also Running

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the AP:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and sister of Fox Television's Greta Van Susteren, plans to announce Thursday that she's seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Two well-known Democrats — former Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Rep. Benjamin Cardin — have already entered the race. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is considering running for the seat that will open up with the retirement of Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes.

A news release issued Monday said Van Susteren will open her campaign with events in Baltimore and Bethesda. She will discuss the need to improve public schools and the health care system, and will challenge the Bush administration on the conduct of the war in Iraq, the release said.

Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to run in 2006. The backlash is coming, everyone wants to be a Democratic nominee in 2006.

Posted at 06:17 PM in Maryland | Comments (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MD-Sen: Michael Steele and Karl Rove

Posted by Bob Brigham

michael steele - karl rove - corruption While Karl Rove's schedule is jammed back with political retribution and lessons on walking in shackles with a coat over his head, he is also busy playing bagman for politicians willing to continue the Republicans' Carnival of Corruption in Washington. Karl Rove's man in Maryland, Lt. Governor Michael Steele, has shown incredibly poor judgement by not cancelling a fundraiser with somebody who betrayed a CIA agent.


Join Rove and his man in Maryland tonight from 5:30 - 7:30 at the Ronald Reagan Center, 425 2nd Street NE.

Posted at 10:40 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Maryland, Plamegate | Technorati

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

MD-5: Update on Push for Hoyer to Step Down as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Swing State Project took a look at the blog-based movement pushing for Congressman Steny Hoyer to resign as Democratic Whip. It now appears that there is a clear tipping point materializing around CAFTA that could be the end of Hoyer's leadership reign or help him hold his job. Right now, it looks like it could break either way.

From David Sirota:

THE BAD NEWS: The newsletter also reports that "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) said Tuesday in a news conference that no decision had been made as to whether the Democratic leadership would whip against" CAFTA, even though he admitted most Democrats were against the deal. Hoyer, you may remember, refused to whip Democratic opposition to the Bankruptcy Bill, and supported the Australian Free Trade Agreement, even though that supposedly "free" trade pact included drug industry-written provisions preventing Americans from importing cheaper medicines from abroad. Some folks have lately been calling for Hoyer's resignation from his leadership position (I'm not sure if that's warranted, as Hoyer has been a solid lawmaker for years). And his unwillingness to take a stand even at this late hour is disheartening. If he ultimately doesn't whip on this bill, that will only fuel those calls for his resignation. Let's hope he gets in line and starts doing what he was elected to do: lead.

Democrats are doing well nationally because of the great job Senate Democrats are doing by standing together. We need to do better in the House. If Hoyer isn't interested in whipping votes on major issues, then he needs to step down for the good of the Party.

CAFTA is a chance for Hoyer to redeem himself. Hoyer will be graded on the unity of the Party on the vote -- whether he intends to whip or not. Democrats expect him to whip and if he fails, not trying will not be an excuse.

Posted at 03:02 PM in Maryland | Technorati

Thursday, April 28, 2005

MD-5: Steny Hoyer Pressured to Resign as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the fallout over Democrats and working people losing the Bankruptcy vote, Atrios is now calling for Steny Hoyer to resign.

And he's right. Hoyer failed in his duties when 73 Democrats voted with the GOP. Not only did Hoyer fail by letting so many Democrats defect, he even voted for the bill himself. He has utterly failed as a whip.

I'm calling Steny Hoyer (202) 225-4131.

UPDATE Kos adds his indeed to Eschaton's call for Stoyer to step down. Chris Bowers has details on the "Problem Children" of the Democratic Caucus.

Posted at 10:43 AM in Democrats, Maryland | Technorati

Monday, April 18, 2005

MD-Gov: O'Malley Beating Ehrlich

Posted by DavidNYC

Like I said below, the Balto Sun has been busy doing some in-state polling, so we've got another post on Maryland. This time it's the Governor's race (likely voters, January in parens):

O'Malley: 45 (40)
Ehrlich: 39 (40)
Undecided: 16 (20)
(MoE: 3.2%)

Martin O'Malley is the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore. Bob Ehrlich is the incumbent Governor, whose job approval has been hurting since January. Then, it was 54-31; now, it's 51-38 - a pretty big spike for the disapproval, especially. One-time DailyKos front-pager Tom Schaller explains:

"Bob Ehrlich is hurting Bob Ehrlich," said Thomas F. Schaller, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County political science professor and a supporter of Democrats.

Ehrlich's attempts to shift blame for his shortcomings to the Assembly is "wearing thin," Schaller said. "People vote based on ability to lead, not on ability to complain," he said.

Good. Let's throw him an anvil.

Posted at 11:02 PM in Maryland | Technorati

MD-Sen: Mfume Leads in Primary, Cardin Leads in General

Posted by DavidNYC

The Baltimore Sun has a pair of big new polls out for the Maryland senate and governor's races. Buncha things to look at. This post will deal with the senate side of things. This is how the primary is shaping up in the very early running (likely voters, no trendlines):

Kweisi Mfume: 32
Ben Cardin: 26
Chris Van Hollen: 16
Undecided: 24
(MoE: 4.5%)

Mfume is the former head of the NAACP and the only person to officialy declare as a candidate, while Cardin and Van Hollen are both Congressmen. I don't have any particular opinion on this primary, but the Sun does note that Cardin fares best in a head-to-head matchup with the likely GOP candidate, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, clocking in at 41-37. Mfume also leads, 43-41, while Van Hollen trails, 37-41. (These matchups, by the way, have a lower MoE of ±3.2% due to a larger sample size.)

Earlier stories indicated that another MD Congressman, Dutch Ruppersberger, was interested, but he announced last week that he's out. And yet another Rep. - Elijah Cummings - has also made noises, but I'm not sure what his status is. I guess the lesson is that in a small state, every Congressman thinks he can grow up to be Senator one day.

By the way, don't fret too much about Steele's seemingly good showing in a blue state. There may be a worry that, as an African American Republican, Steele might be able to make inroads into the black community. The Sun is pretty emphatic that this isn't the case, stating point-blank that Steele "generally fares no better" than the white Republican governor Robert Ehrlich among blacks.

Furthermore, the Sun buries the most important point in the final paragraphs:

Steele is more conservative than Ehrlich on social issues, and that could pose a problem for him with Maryland voters, Crenson said.

"He's a likable figure, and he's been generally low-profile during this administration. He hasn't been called upon to be the bad guy," Crenson said. "But any Democrat who runs against him is going to try to smoke him out on abortion, stem cell research and gay rights, and he's going to be placed in a very awkward position."

So this guy is a tabula rasa. Just wait until we shake the truth loose.

Anyhow, got any thoughts on the primary? Who do you like?

Posted at 10:34 PM in Maryland | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, March 28, 2005

2006 Maryland Senate Democratic Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Washington Post:

Barely two weeks after Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D) announced he would retire at the end of his term, the field for Maryland's 2006 U.S. Senate race has begun to take shape -- with three prominent Democrats and a leading Republican seriously considering bids.

Former Democratic congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume waited just three days before printing up campaign signs and entering the race. Democratic Party officials said last week that they believe Reps. Benjamin L. Cardin and Chris Van Hollen will run as well.

Kweisi Mfume

Although Mfume was first into the race, he said in an interview Saturday that he recognizes he will face a fierce battle for the nomination. To prepare, he said, he spent the first full week forming a campaign apparatus, including reaching decisions about strategists and fundraisers that "will include names that are familiar to everyone."

"Paul [Sarbanes] caught everyone off guard," Mfume said. "We had to drop everything we were doing and get started. But right now I'm very energized. I haven't felt like this since 1979," the year he first ran for Baltimore City Council.

Congressman Benjamin Cardin

Cardin, a former speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, is in his 10th term representing Maryland's 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties. He said repeatedly during an interview last week that he "will not run away from a tough battle."

His effort to drive home that point was intended to challenge perceptions that he is unwilling to take risks with his career. Last week, Maryland GOP Chairman John Kane called him "Congressman Cold Feet" because twice in the past 20 years -- in 1985 and 1997 -- Cardin expressed interest in runs for governor but backed out.

"There was no way I could win those races," Cardin said during the interview in Annapolis, which he gave after conducting a town hall-style meeting for two dozen constituents on the subject of Social Security reform. "At the time, my supporters told me not to get in. And if I had gotten in, I would have lost."

That is not what his supporters are telling him this time, Cardin said. "It's only been nine days, but in those nine days it's been very encouraging. I'm feeling very confident that my record will appeal to the voters of this state. I'm convinced of that."

Chris Van Hollen

Van Hollen, a former state senator from Kensington in his second term representing Maryland's 8th Congressional District, attended a labor rally in Baltimore County last week and announced that he had brought in veteran Democratic operative Michael Morrill to "play an active role as the exploratory team communicates with Democrats around the state." Morrill was communications director for former governor Parris N. Glendening (D).

Van Hollen sent a letter to supporters Tuesday, asking for financial help and seeking "input and support as I seriously and actively explore this possibility."

And others?

Though it's too soon to tell exactly how the field will look -- several other Democratic potential candidates, including Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Elijah E. Cummings, are pondering their options -- veteran Maryland political observers said last week that the contest will test several long-standing political assumptions about race and geography.[...]

Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's), who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) last year, said he has not decided whether to try for the seat. But he thought his chances would be greatly improved from his last attempt.

"An open seat creates a whole different dynamic," he said.

The dynamics:

For Mfume to win a three-way Democratic primary, he will have to find backing beyond the black communities in Baltimore and Prince George's County, said Timothy Maloney, a former state delegate who practices law in Prince George's. For Cardin to succeed, he will need to strike a chord with voters in the Washington suburbs who have had little exposure to him over the years. And for Van Hollen to prevail, he will have to disabuse Baltimore voters of the notion that Montgomery County breeds politicians who are wealthy and aloof.

Two decades ago, Del. William A. Bronrott (D-Montgomery) helped organize then-Rep. Michael Barnes's attempt to mount a bid for the U.S. Senate after Barnes served in the 8th District House seat Van Hollen occupies. Bronrott said he believes the perception of Montgomery "as a gold-plated place" helped seal Barnes's defeat.

This should be quite a primary. Good.

Posted at 01:49 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - State, Maryland | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Maryland Senate Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

The AP's Gretchen Parker gives us the following names:

Maryland's U.S. Senate race still is 20 months away. But the race is on. On Monday, three days after Sen. Paul Sarbanes announced he won't seek a sixth term, former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume launched a bid to take over the seat.[...]

Two Democratic contenders for governor — Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan — have said they're concentrating on the governor's race.

But two of Maryland's Democratic U.S. congressmen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Chris Van Hollen, spoke up after Mfume's announcement Monday to say they are forming exploratory panels. Reps. Elijah Cummings and Ben Cardin have not publicly ruled out making bids.

Posted at 03:46 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Technorati

Maryland Archive: