Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

GOP’s reform report arrives at a debate already well under way

The Republican National Committee has released its “autopsy” on the 2012 election and outline of how to win future federal elections, and it appears to pull no punches. But I have a bone to pick with the way it is being reported, for instance by the Associated Press story linked by my AJC colleague Jim Galloway:

In calling for the GOP to develop “a more welcoming conservatism,” the report rebukes those who remain in denial about the seriousness of the problem and those who are unwilling to broaden the party’s appeal.

A just-concluded gathering of conservatives in Washington cheered speaker after speaker who urged the GOP to stick to its guns and, instead, largely blamed the 2012 defeat on Romney or the way he ran his campaign.

I don’t know whether the AP reporter was at CPAC, the “just-concluded gathering” to which the story referred, and which I attended. But that second paragraph, in my view, completely misrepresents the take-away from the conference.

To say the attendees …

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CPAC 2013: Hearing from some of the possible next GOP standard bearers

We’re approaching the midpoint of CPAC 2013, and we’ve heard from about half of the people expected to be contenders in 2016 (at least, those who are on the agenda — and no, Donald Trump isn’t one of the people I have in mind). We can begin to see the ground these potential candidates are beginning to stake out.

The first of these possible candidates was Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio covered the waterfront of long-held conservative beliefs, on  both fiscal and social issues. “Our challenge,” he said, “is to create an agenda applying our principles.” The broad outlines of such an agenda from him mostly included conventionally conservative stuff. If there is one theme he wants to own, I’d say it is American exceptionalism.

He cited a different book: “The China Dream,” recently written by a Chinese army colonel. The gist, Rubio said, is that “China’s goals should be to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent military and economic power,” and that the 21st …

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From Italy, your latest warning about the danger of having three (or four, or five . . .) political parties

Every time you think our political system produces too much gridlock, or that more political parties might somehow make things better, there’s a good chance some European country is holding an election whose results will prove you wrong.

This week, it’s Italy. If you didn’t notice what happened there, your 401(k) almost certainly did yesterday. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s explanation of the election results there:

Early Tuesday, the left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party’s Pier Luigi Bersani appeared to have gained a razor-thin victory in the lower house of parliament over the center-right coalition headed by Mr. Berlusconi — 29.6% to 29.2%, final data from the Interior Ministry showed. By leading the vote count in the lower house, the Democratic Party will automatically get the majority of 340 out 630 seats and, therefore, will likely receive the mandate to form a government.

The Senate, however, appeared headed for political impasse. The Democratic Party was …

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Poll shows muddled Georgia Democratic field for Senate

Most of the attention paid to Georgia’s soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat has gone to possible Republican candidates — including Congressman Paul Broun, who today became the first to file paperwork to run. But the race may be the best chance Georgia Democrats have at winning a statewide election in 2014, so who might run for their nomination?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said he isn’t running. Congressman John Barrow has been more coy, but his hints suggest he is reluctant to give it a shot.

With all that in mind, I was intrigued by a poll tweeted a short while ago by the AJC’s Washington correspondent, Daniel Malloy. Pollster Fred Hicks surveyed 1,411 Democratic voters statewide Feb. 1-2. Here’s what he found:

Undecided: 21.5 percent

Congressman Sanford Bishop: 16.3 percent

Former Attorney General Thurbert Baker: 15.4 percent

Former Secretary of State Cathy Cox: 15.0 percent

Former Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond: 12.6 percent

Someone else: 8.8 percent

Former DeKalb CEO …

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Will national Republicans try to shape Georgia’s Senate race?

As possible candidates to replace Saxby Chambliss in the U.S. Senate continue to sidle up to the proverbial ring with their proverbial hats aimed at it, take a few minutes to read this story from the New York Times about how national GOP figures are trying to get more involved in recruiting and promoting candidates in Senate races across the country. Here’s the gist of it:

The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate. …

The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win …

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Before dropping out, Chambliss had mixed feelings about running again

The first serious indication I got from Sen. Saxby Chambliss that he wasn’t planning to run for re-election next year came two weeks ago, during an interview at his local office in Cobb County. I put some of it in my write-up of the meeting, and I could have written a whole column about his mixed feelings about running for a third term in the Senate. But I had to balance space considerations (that piece was for the print edition of the AJC) and interest in what the “Gang of Six” member had to say about the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, etc., so I kept the re-election talk in my column limited and placed at the end. Plus, he gave me no reason to believe he’d announce his intentions for 2014 so soon.

Looking back, and in light of his statement today that he’s leaving due in largest part to “frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress,” I thought I’d publish his entire remarks about whether he’d run and how …

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With Saxby out, these Georgians might run for Senate in 2014 (With updates)

My colleague Jim Galloway drops a mighty big political bomb for a Friday morning more than 21 months before the next election: Saxby Chambliss reportedly has told his senior staff members he will not run for re-election next year. (Update at 11:40: An announcement from Chambliss’ office just arrived, making it official. He’s not running.)

There’s been plenty of speculation about this possibility in the past, and just a couple of weeks ago he told me — in probably the strongest terms he’d used to that point — that he was seriously considering it. Now that it’s set to become official this morning, we can begin speculating in earnest about who might run for that seat.

In my mind, the list is not short. Here are some possible names, in alphabetical order and with some thoughts about their respective likelihood of running:

Paul Broun: The congressman from Georgia’s 10th District is first on the list alphabetically but probably would be first on the list if I were ranking the …

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Poll Position: Should politicians who resign early help cover the cost of special elections?

Chip Rogers made news this week by announcing he was resigning his recently re-won Senate seat to take a job at Georgia Public Broadcasting. A special election for the seat will be held Jan. 8, just two months after Rogers’ replacement could have been elected in the general election had he stepped down earlier. Channel 2 Action News reports the special election will cost Cherokee and Fulton counties $500,000.

Should politicians who resign early help cover the cost of special elections?

  • Yes (203 Votes)
  • It depends on the circumstances of the resignation (166 Votes)
  • No, they should give their campaign funds back to their donors (39 Votes)
  • No, that’s part of government and they should be able to use their campaign funds as they wish (27 Votes)

Total Voters: 435

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But that’s not all. Rep. Sean Jerguson, who like Rogers hails from Cherokee County, is resigning his House seat to run for the Senate post. So there will be a special election the same day to …

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DeMint to leave Senate; 2014 now even more interesting

Just when it looked like Georgia’s 2014 GOP primary might attract the most national attention, with Sen. Saxby Chambliss facing a likely challenge from his right, South Carolina upped the ante significantly. Jim DeMint, the Palmetto State’s arch-conservative senator, said today he is resigning his seat to take over as leader of the Heritage Foundation.

Initial reports are that South Carolina law calls for the governor to appoint DeMint’s replacement, who would then stand for election in 2014. The state’s other senator, Lindsey Graham, is also up for re-election that year and there’s speculation that he’ll also be challenged by another Republican. That could make for quite a twin-bill in South Carolina’s 2014 GOP primary — not to mention that Gov. Nikki Haley faces some dissension from within her own ranks and might not cruise to re-election herself. Graham and even Chambliss might be breathing a little easier this morning, knowing the activists’ attention and money will now be …

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Poll Position: Who is GOP’s best choice for U.S. Senate?

There’s been a lot of speculation for some time now about who in the Georgia GOP might challenge U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a primary when he’s up for re-election in 2014. That speculation owes to a couple of issues on which he’s strayed from the main Republican Party line, most recently and notably with his openness to revenue increases via his work with the Gang of Six in the Senate.

Who is the GOP’s best choice for U.S. Senate?

  • The incumbent, Saxby Chambliss (217 Votes)
  • Someone else (92 Votes)
  • Tom Price (42 Votes)
  • Paul Broun (25 Votes)
  • Tom Graves (13 Votes)

Total Voters: 389

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The buzz grew last week after Congressman Tom Price lost his bid for a higher position in the House GOP leadership ranks (to Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington). Adding to the intrigue surrounding Price is the fact Speaker John Boehner, a friend of Chambliss’s, backed McMorris Rodgers.

In an article posted last night, Roll Call suggests another possible challenger to …

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