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Analysis of House races in November: June 7, 2010

Can the Republicans recapture a House majority?

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
AL-7: Artur DavisRunning for Governor
AR-2: Vic SnyderRetiring
AZ-5: Harry MitchellTargeted
AR-1: Marion BerryRetiring
CA-33: Diane WatsonRetiring
CO-4: Betsy MarkeyHot race
FL-8: Alan GraysonTargeted
FL-17: Kendrick MeekRunning for Senate
FL-24: Suzanne KosmasTargeted
HI-1: Neil AbercrombieRunning for Governor
ID-1: Walt MinnickFacing ex-Rep.
IL-14: Bill FosterHot Race
IN-9: Baron HillFacing ex-Rep.
KS-3: Dennis MooreRetiring
LA-3: Charlie MelanconRunning for Senate
MA-10: Bill DelahuntRetiring
MD-1: Frank KratovilFacing State Sen.
MI-1: Bart StupakRetiring
MI-7: Mark SchauerFacing 2 former Reps.
MI-9: Gary C. PetersFacing ex-Nominee
MS-1: Travis ChildersHot Race
NC-8: Larry KissellTargeted
ND-0: Earl PomeroyHot race
NH-1: Carol Shea-PorterTargeted
NH-2: Paul HodesRunning for Senate
NM-2: Harry TeagueFacing Former Rep.
NV-3: Dina TitusTargeted
NY-23: Bill OwensHot race
NY-24: Michael ArcuriHot race
NY-29: Eric MassaTargeted
OH-1: Steven DriehausFacing Former Rep.
OH-15: Mary Jo KilroyTargeted
OH-18: Zack SpaceTargeted
PA-7: Joe SestakRunning for Senate
PA-8: Patrick J. MurphyFacing ex-U.S. Rep.
PA-11: Paul KanjorskiTargeted
TN-6: Bart GordonRetiring
TN-8: John TannerRetiring
TX-17: Chet EdwardsHot race
VA-2: Glenn Nye IIITargeted
VA-5: Tom PerrielloTargeted
WA-3: Brian BairdRetiring
WI-7: David ObeyRetiring
WI-8: Steve KagenTargeted
WV-1: Alan MollohanLost primary
AL-2: Bobby BrightHot race
AR-3: John BoozmanRunning for Senate
AZ-3: John ShadeggRetiring
CA-19: George RadanovichRetiring
CA-44: Ken CalvertHot race
DE-0: Michael CastleRunning for Senate
FL-4: Ginny Brown-WaiteRetiring
FL-12: Adam PutnamRunning for Ag. Cmsn.
FL-21: Lincoln Diaz-BalartRetiring
FL-25: Mario Diaz-BalartRunning in FL-21
GA-7: John LinderRetiring
GA-9: Nathan DealRunning for Governor
IL-10: Mark KirkRunning for Senate
IL-13: Judy BiggertHot race
IN-3: Mark SouderResigned
IN-4: Steve BuyerRetiring
IN-8: Brad EllsworthRunning for Senate
KS-1: Jerry MoranRunning for Senate
KS-4: Todd TiahrtRunning for Senate
LA-2: Joseph Anh CaoTargeted
MI-2: Peter HoekstraRunning for Governor
MN-6: Michele BachmannHot Race
NE-2: Lee TerryHot Race
NJ-5: Scott GarrettHot race
NJ-7: Leonard LanceTargeted
PA-6: Jim GerlachHot race
PA-15: Charlie DentHot race
WA-8: Dave ReichertTargeted
That list comprises 44 vulnerable Democrats and 28 vulnerable Republicans. Let's assume, in an anti-Democrat fit, that the voters choose Republicans in all 28 of the vulnerable Republican races. And then, in an anti-incumbent-party fit, throw out all 44 of the vulnerable Democrats. Even that is not enough to match the 1994 results, where 54 seats changed party.

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 below 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.

Source: Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org
Click for issues stances for House incumbents and challengers


Analysis of Senate races in November: May 30, 2010

Can the Republicans recapture a Senate majority?

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 nomineeViable 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 nomineeViable 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. 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.

Source: Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org
Click for issues stances for Senate incumbents and challengers


Decisive primaries: May 18, 2010

Critical congressional nominees decided in 3 states.

Source: DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for House races and Senate races.


Decisive primaries: May 4 and 11, 2010

Critical congressional nominees decided in 4 states.

Source: DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for House races and Senate races.


Gov. Charlie Crist switches parties: April 29, 2010

Elected as Republican, runs for Senate as Independent

Gov. Charlie Crist heads to St. Petersburg today to announce that he is snubbing the Republican Party and running for the U.S. Senate as in independent. Florida has never had a third-party or non-party affiliated governor or U.S. senator.

Republican frontrunner Marco Rubio spent the morning thanking supporters while saying a three-candidate race will change nothing in his campaign message and strategy. Rubio quietly registered as a candidate for the Senate in early 2009, when Crist was widely seen as the Republican frontrunner in the race. But today, Crist is a Republican Party pariah and polls show Rubio holds a wide lead in a primary race. ``Today feels like an election day,'' Rubio told volunteers as a gaggle of media surrounded him. But Thursday was ``no celebration,'' he said: ``This is still an election. No one has cast any votes yet.''

Will GOP leaders shun Crist? “I will not be seen anywhere in public with the governor. I will not be participating in anything with the governor,” said House budget chief David Rivera, a Marco Rubio supporter and Miami Congressional candidate.

“He is still the duly-elected governor of the state. He just happens to be a candidate with no party affiliation running for the U.S. Senate. We still have to respect that,” House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala said.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of Florida voters found that in a race against Crist and Meek, Rubio would pull 37 percent, Crist 30 percent and Meek 22 percent. Asked if his campaign started as a David and Goliath bout, Rubio said ``I always remind people that David won.''

Source: Jim Ash, The Tallahassee Democrat; Dara Kam, Palm Beach Post; David Smiley, Miami Herald
Click for issues stances for Gov. Charlie Crist(I), Rep. Kendrick Meek(D), or Speaker Marco Rubio(R)


Justice Stevens replacement speculation: April 21, 2010

Obama to announce replacement for John Paul Stevens

The White House has begun floating trial balloons for candidates President Obama might appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

  • Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears was the first African-American woman to serve as chief justice of any state supreme court.
  • Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sidney Thomas, appointed by President Clinton in 1995.
  • Solicitor General Elena Kagan, The solicitor general's position is sometimes referred to as the "10th justice" because of the importance of the role before the nation's highest court.
  • 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood clerked for liberal Justice Harry Blackmun and was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, appointed by Obama, was governor of Arizona and, prior to that, its attorney general.
  • D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland.
  • Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is labeled a "long shot" by her home state newspaper, the Free Press, but her name keeps coming up.
Source: Lisa Keen, Windy City Times
Click for complete records of John Paul Stevens's issue stances.


Justice Stevens to resign: April 9, 2010

John Paul Stevens announces retirement

Justice John Paul Stevens, 89, who served on the high court for a near record breaking 34 years, announced his retirement today, giving President Barack Obama his second chance to name a Supreme Court justice.

The announcement comes 11 days before Stevens' 90th birthday. When he turns 90, Stevens will be only the second Supreme Court Justice to pass such a milestone on the bench.

Stevens wrote in a letter to the president, stating his retirement would be "effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year." The last day of oral arguments is April 28 and the last day of the court will be sometime in the last week of June.

Source: ARIANE de VOGUE, ABC News
Click for complete records of John Paul Stevens's issue stances.


Political Conventions: Apr. 9, 2010

Excerpts from archives speeches and debates.

We cover major political events during the off-season, such as political conventions and major speeches. Often these comprise the early "invisible primary" for positioning for upcoming electoral primaries. We cover five such events for early 2010:

Source: OnTheIssues.org and Speakout.com
Click for our Political Archive.


Gubernatorial races: Apr. 5, 2010

Excerpts from Governors and challengers.

Governor's races are now getting started. Unilke Congress, most governors are term-limited. Our coverage of governors' races starts with previously-elected challengers, including:
GovernorParty / StateChallengers
Bob Riley
Term-limited, 2010
R, AL Rep. Artur Davis (D, AL-7)
Sonny Perdue D, GA Rep. Nathan Deal (R, GA-9)
Former Gov. Roy Barnes (D)
Linda Lingle
Term-limited; Running for Senate
R, HI Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D, HI-1)
Mark Parkinson D, KS Sen. Sam Brownback (R)
Deval PatrickD, MA Christy Mihos (R)
Grace Ross (D)
Dr. Jill Stein (G)
Jennifer Granholm
Term-limited, 2010
D, MI Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, MI-2)
Former Rep. Joe Schwarz (I, MI-7)
David Paterson
Retiring 2010
D, NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D)
Rep. Rick Lazio (R, NY-2)
Brad Henry D, OK Rep. Mary Fallin (R, OK-5)
Mark Sanford
Term-limited, 2010
R, SC Rep. Gresham Barrett (R, SC-3)
Jennifer Granholm
Term-limited, 2010
D, MI Rep. Zach Wamp (R, TN-3)

Source: OnTheIssues.org and DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for Governor's list by state.


State of the State speeches: Apr. 1, 2010

Excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.

Throughout the early months of 2010, Governors delivered their annual State of the State addresses to their respective state legislatures. See Feb. 3 entry below for early speeches; Our final round of coverage includes governors who delivered the speech in February, including:
GovernorStateDate
Phil BredesenTennesseeFeb. 1
Dave FreudenthalTennesseeFeb. 8
Ed RendellPennsylvaniaFeb. 9
Jim GibbonsNevadaFeb. 8
Tim PawlentyMinnesotaFeb. 11

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts
Click for excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.


Interviews of U.S. Senate candidates: March 29, 2010

Races for the 112th Senate.

Our 2010 Senate race coverage expands this week to include candidate interviews. This adds a third round of candidates to the first two rounds (listed below March 15 and Jan. 9).
StateSenate ChallengerParty & Position
AZRudy GarciaDemocratic challenger; formerly Mayor
CTRichard BlumenthalRepublican challenger; currently Attorney General
FLBob SmithRepublican challenger; formerly NH Senator
FLDennis BradleyVeterans Party challenger
NCCal CunninghamDemocratic challenger; formerly State Senator
NHTom AlciereRepublican challenger; formerly State Rep
OHEric DeatonConstitution Party challenger
SCMullins McLeodDemocratic challenger
SDNancy Turbak BerryDemocratic challenger; currently State Senator
Some late additions to the 'previous officeholder' list:
INDaniel CoatsRepublican challenger; former US Senator (until 1998)
UTMerrill CookRepublican challenger; former US Rep.
We have requested that all candidates answer our 20-question VoteMatch quiz. Stay tuned for more responses!

Source: Speakout.com and candidate campaign websites
Click for complete details of VoteMatch candidate interviews.


Key vote on healthcare reform: March 21, 2010

Final Healthcare bill in US House

OnTheIssues.org opens our coverage of healthcare reform with an attempt at clarifying the contents of the healthcare bill. This bill is by far the most significant political legislation of the current Congress. Discussions about healthcare reform gave rise to the Tea Party movement, as part of Town Hall protests in August 2009. Blocking this legislation in the Senate (by creating a 41st vote against its passage) is credited with the upset victory of Scott Brown (R, MA). Pres. Obama has declared this legislation core to his presidency, and it will likely be a decisive factor in many 2010 House and Senate races.

Yet few people know exactly what the bill contains. This is partly because the bill is several thousand pages long; partly because the level of rhetoric on both sides is so high; and partly because legislation is inherently messy (which is why OnTheIssues.org does not report on bills until votes actually occur).

We plan to report on this bill in its entirety over the coming months, including its content and candidate commentary. To get started, we link to the contents of the bill itself. That, too, has become controversial, with Pres. Obama promising to post on the Internet the full contents, but many commentators unable to find the final text. Our opening salvo:

  • H.R. 4872: This is the bill that will be voted on today, Sunday, March 21, 2010, in the U.S. House, which is generally considered a "final passage" of healthcare reform. In fact, this is a "reconciliation bill", which means it accepts all Senate amendments that have occured since the previous House vote. In other words, House members will vote to accept (or reject) all Senate amendments altogether in one vote, rather than voting separately on each amendment.

  • House Report 111-443: This is Budget report on the bill, concluding that, with tax changes, healthcare reform will bring in an additional $587 billion in revenues over the next ten years. (in other words, it is a large net positive to the federal treasury). Republicans complain (on page 807) that the massive tax increases will damage the recessionary economy.

  • Report 111-443 Volume 1 and Volume 2: This is the downloadable version reported on March 17, 2010, from the Committee on Ways and Means. The PDF is 902 pages for volume 1 and 445 pages for volume 2, including Republican dissent.

  • H.R. 3590: This is the bill that passed the Senate. Don't be confused by its title, "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act" -- it is the Senate "vehicle" for passing healthcare reform. The Senate vote on this "vehicle" is the Senate's amended version of healthcare reform, which is now back to the House for reconciliation. One of the amendments changed the title to "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act".

  • Senate vote #396: This is the Senate vote on healthcare reform, on Dec. 24, 2009, which passed 60-39. Under Senate rules, 60 Senators are required to avoid a filibuster, which would postpone or block a final vote. Hence this vote had just the minimum number required to avoid a filibuster, which many Republicans have promised. Sen. Scott Brown's election in Feb. 2010 (replacing a Yes vote from placeholder Paul Kirk) meant that Democrats wanted to avoid another Senate vote, since they no longer had the supermajority to avoid a filibuster.

  • H.R. 3590 PDF: This downloadable PDF of 2,407 pages is the closest there is to a "final" text in one document. Note the "vehicle" title still applies -- yes, it's the right bill!
OnTheIssues will read and summarize the 3,754-page documents in the coming months, including candidate commentary. We recognize that even just reading (or identifying!) the legislation is confusing, and numerous commentators have claimed that is a Democratic trick to avoid public scrutiny. We ascribe the confusion to legislators' inability to speak normal English, having been rendered incapable of understandable language by writing as lawyers and legislators for too long. In other words, we believe that the Democrats are not INTENTIONALLY hiding this bill or its votes from the public, but instead just don't know how to communicate normally anymore. Hence we will do so instead. Stay tuned!
Source: Speakout.com and thomas.loc.gov.
Click for complete records of past Health Care legislation.


Coverage of U.S. Senate races: March 15, 2010

Races for the 112th Senate.

Our 2010 Senate race coverage expands this week with a second round of candidate pages. The first round (see Jan. 9 below) included new Senate pages for candidates who already had OnTheIssues.org pages, either from a House or Governor position, or a previous Senate challenge. This second round includes new challengers who are added to the OnTheIssues.org pages for the first time. We will expand their coverage during the course of the Senate race to attempt to answer all 20 SenateMatch questions, so that you can compare your views with theirs, using our 20-question Quiz.

The list of candidates is always changing, so there will be a third round of additional candidates, and perhaps a fourth. Some candidates have already dropped out of the race -- Beau Biden of Delaware (Vice President Joe Biden's son) announced his withdrawal on Jan. 25 (hence opening the field to several new Democratic challengers, whom we will cover in the next round). On Feb. 2, the Senate primary was held in Illinois: Mark Kirk knocked out Andy Martin on the GOP side (we had covered both). Alexi Giannoulias won the Democratic primary, and we add his page below. We will cover all future changes as the race progresses!
StateSenate ChallengerParty & Position
CACarly FiorinaRepublican
COJane NortonRepublican; formerly Lt. Gov.
FLMarco RubioRepublican
ILAlexi GiannouliasDemocratic; currently State Treasurer
KYJack ConwayDemocratic; currently Attorney General
KYJames BuckmasterDemocrat
MORobin CarnahanDemocratic; currently Secretary of State
NDJohn HoevenRepublican; currently Governor
NHJim BenderRepublican
NHKelly AyotteRepublican; formerly Attorney General
OHJennifer BrunnerDemocratic; currently Secretary of State
OHLee FisherDemocratic; currently Lt. Gov.

Source: OnTheIssues.org
Click for status of members of the 111th Senate.


Rep. Diaz-Balart to run for brother's seat: March 1, 2010

Click for coverage of Congressional races

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R, FL-21) previously announced his retirement. His brother who is also in Congress, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R, FL-25) announced today that he would run for his brother's seat instead of his own. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI-1) also announced his retirement this weekend, ending the Kennedy family political legacy.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for coverage of 111th Congress


Coverage of U.S. House races: Feb. 13, 2010

Races for the 112th Congress.

All 435 members of Congress are up for election in 2010. Following is a list of issue stances of some of their challengers.

DistrictChallenger for 112th Congress
HI-1 Former Rep. Ed Case (D)
ID-1 Former Rep. Bill Sali (R)
IN-9 Former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R)
MD-1 State Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R)
MI-9 Former Senate Nominee Rocky Raczkowski (R)
NH-2 Former Rep. Charlie Bass (R)
NM-2 Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R)
OH-1 Former Rep. Steve Chabot (R)
Challengers in "hot races" (targeted by one party, or open seats) are listed with each incumbent. Other challengers may request a page by writing to us at submit@ontheissues.org.
Source: OnTheIssues.org
Click for status of members of the 111th Congress.


Rep. John Murtha (D, PA-12) dies: Feb. 8, 2010

Special election to be scheduled in May 2010

Rep. Murtha was hospitalized with gallbladder problems in December 2009, and had surgery January 28 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Murtha's large intestine was damaged during the normally routine laparoscopic surgery, causing an infection. Due to the complication, Murtha was again hospitalized two days later, and died on the afternoon of February 8, 2010, in the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia with his family by his side.

 Special Elections in 2010
Jan. 3
FL-19
Rep. Robert Wexler (D) Resigned to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation. A special election will be held after April 13, 2010.
Jan. 19
MA
Sen. Scott Brown (R) Special election to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy (D). Sen. Brown will serve until the election in November 2012.
Feb. 8
PA-12
Rep. John Murtha (D) Died. A special election will be held on a date to be determined, possibly in May 2010.
Feb. 28
HI-1
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) Will resign to focus on run for Governor of Hawaii. A special election will be held on a date to be determined, possibly in May 2010.
Nov. 2
IL
Sen. Roland Burris (D) The appointment lasts only until the November 2, 2010 special election. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the term that expires January 3, 2011.
Nov. 2
DE
Sen. Ted Kaufman (D) The appointment lasts only until the November 2, 2010 special election, in which he is not a candidate. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the term that expires January 3, 2015.
Source: Speakout.com and Wikipedia.com.
Click for complete records of Rep. John Murtha's issue stances & voting record.


State of the State speeches: Feb. 3, 2010

Excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.

Throughout January and February, Governors will deliver their annual State of the State addresses to their respective state legislatures. Our first round of coverage includes governors who delivered the speech in January; we'll do another round after the later speeches are delivered. This first round includes:
GovernorStateDate
Sean ParnellAlaska1/20
Jan BrewerArizona1/11
Arnold SchwarzeneggerCalifornia1/6
Sonny PerdueGeorgia1/13
Pat QuinnIllinois1/13
Mark ParkinsonKansas1/11
Deval PatrickMassachusetts1/21
Bill RichardsonNew Mexico1/19
David PatersonNew York1/6
Brad HenryOklahoma2/1
Donald CarcieriRhode Island1/26
Mark SanfordSouth Carolina1/20
Gary HerbertUtah1/26
Bob McDonnellVirginia1/18

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts
Click for excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.


Obama Q&A at GOP House Retreat: Jan. 29, 2010

Click for Q+A from Republican members of Congress

President Obama attended the House Republican Retreat in Baltimore, and took questions from some Republican House members in attendance. The Republican Retreat is an annual event where the Republican Caucus meets to plan their Congressional agenda for the year. Since this year's Retreat occurred shortly after the State of the Union address, most of the questions responded to Pres. Obama's comments during that speech.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for excerpts from the 2010 GOP House Retreat


State of the Union speech: Jan. 27, 2010

Excerpts from Obama's speech and the GOP response, plus analysis.

This was Pres. Obama's first formal State of the Union speech -- his 2009 address to a joint session of Congress was popularly called the "State of the Union" address, but that speech was not constitutionally required of an incoming president.

Pres. Obama used this speech to summarize his first year in office, and focused on the economic woes of the deep recession as well as the cynicism in the electorate resulting from those woes. The cynicism was expressed most dramatically by the election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, which is usually a "safe" Democratic seat. The special election to replace Ted Kennedy happened to be held one week prior to the State of the Union speech, and Senator-Elect Brown was alluded to by Pres. Obama, and cited by name in the Republican response. Brown's election makes passage of Obama's healthcare reform much more difficult, and indicates that the public is dissatisfied with how the Congress has ignored the voice of the people on this issue and others.

Obama's remedy for public cynicism is to call for a reduction in partisanship. However, he then points out that the Democrats still have a large majority in the Senate (59-41 even with Brown) and that they need to get healthcare done, i.e., without Republican input. Obama then calls for Republicans to join in the healthcare process and calls for their input -- implying that they have not offered any constructive suggestions. In the Republican response, the Governor of Virginia lays out the two standard Republican ideas on healthcare reform: allowing cross-state insurance purchasing, and tort reform. Indeed, the Republicans have been pushing those ideas for years -- and if Obama truly cared about Republican input, he would call for those two ideas to be included in the healthcare reform bill. Obama instead sounds partisan -- both on healthcare and on cynicism -- despite his call for a reduction in partisanship.

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts from WhiteHouse.gov
Click for excerpts from Obama's State of the Union speech and the GOP response or Senator-Elect Scott Brown's issue stances.


Scott Brown wins: Jan. 21, 2010

41st Republican vote in the Senate

Scott Brown did manage to defeat Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, pulling off the largest political upset in years. Defeating the Democratic healthcare bill was a major part of his platform, and certainly the issue spotlighted by Democrats and Republicans alike as the greatest reason why the Massachusetts race mattered. Brown’s victory bodes well for the GOP, looking to capitalize on voter frustration over the healthcare debate and other priorities of the Obama Administration in the 2010 midterm elections. If a Republican could win a Senate seat in Massachusetts for the first time in four decades by lambasting Democratic healthcare reform efforts, then there is a distinct possibility that the GOP will make major gains, if not win an outright majority, at the next polls.

Source: Matt Cavedon, Frum Forum
Click for issue stances frmo Attorney General Martha Coakley or State Senator Scott Brown.


Massachusetts Senate Election Prediction: Jan. 17, 2010

Answer 20 questions and get matched to special election candidates

OnTheIssues.org completes our coverage of the Massachusetts special election with a prediction based on coverage of the general election debates. The debate coverage includes issue stances on all hot topics from all three candidates.

Our election prediction is that Attorney General Martha Coakley will eke out a narrow victory due entirely to the "Democratic Machine" in places like Boston. State Senator Scott Brown and the Republican Party nationwide will justifiably declare moral victory because the vote was a referendum on the lack of public input in healthcare reform. Both sides will claim that this election foretells their own victory in the Congressional races in November.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for 2009 MA Senate VoteMatch Quiz or click for more detailed prediction and coverage of the general election debates.


Sens. Dodd and Dorgan announce retirement: Jan. 9, 2010

5 Democratic and 6 Republican Senators have now announced retirement

OnTheIssues.org begins its coverage of the 2010 Senate races by focusing on the 11 races (so far) in which the incumbent is not running for re-election. Those incumbents, and the challengers we are covering so far, are:

Retiring incumbentCovered challengers
CT: Chris Dodd(D) Rep. Rob Simmons(R)
DE: Ted Kaufman(D) Gov. Mike Castle(R)
Christine O'Donnell(R)
FL: George LeMieux(R) Gov. Charlie Crist(R)
Rep. Vern Buchanan(R)
Rep. Kendrick Meek(D)
Sen. Bob Smith(I)
IL: Roland Burris(D) Rep. Mark Kirk(R)
Andy Martin(R)
KS: Sam Brownback(R) Rep. Jerry Moran(R)
Rep. Todd Tiahrt(R)
KY: Jim Bunning(R) Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo(D)
MA: Paul Kirk(D)
VoteMatch quiz for Jan. 19 Special Election
Attorney General Martha Coakley(D)
State Sen. Scott Brown(R)
Joe L. Kennedy(L)
MO: Kit Bond(R) Roy Blunt(R)
ND: Byron Dorgan(D) Gov. John Hoeven(R)
NH: Judd Gregg(R) Rep. Paul Hodes(D)
OH: George Voinovich(R) Rep. Rob Portman(R)
Additional hot races where incumbent is challenged:
Challenged incumbentHot challenger
HI: Daniel Inouye(D) Gov. Linda Lingle(R)
IN: Evan Bayh(D) Rep. John Hostettler(R)
LA: David Vitter(R) Rep. Charles Melancon(D)
NY: Kirsten Gillibrand(D) Rep. Harold Ford(D)
PA: Arlen Specter(D) Rep. Joe Sestak(D)
Rep. Pat Toomey(D)
Source: OnTheIssues.org
Click for Senate coverage of the 111th Senate.


Massachusetts Senate VoteMatch Quiz: Jan. 4, 2010

Answer 20 questions and get matched to special election candidates

OnTheIssues.org is pleased to announce the publication of the Massachusetts Senate VoteMatch Quiz for the general election to replace Ted Kennedy.

The quiz now includes Joe L. Kennedy (no relation to Ted Kennedy), a late entry into the race, representing the Libertarian Party.

You answer 20 questions about your political beliefs; then the VoteMatch quiz compares your answers to those of the 6 Senate candidates, and scores each candidate relative to your answers.

The VoteMatch Quiz has been our most popular feature since its introduction in 1999; it's fun and informative! The 6 candidates in the MA Senate race are:

Source: Speakout.com
Click for 2009 MA Senate VoteMatch Quiz or Ted Kennedy's issue stances.


First Massachusetts Senate Debate: Dec. 23, 2009

Debate includes Libertarian candidate Joseph L. Kennedy

Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown clashed bitterly last night in the first debate of the US Senate race to be televised, repeatedly arguing over the traditionally partisan issues of taxes, the scope of government, and one-party rule in Washington.

The debate, which also included independent candidate Joseph L. Kennedy, was the last major campaign event before voters turn their attention to opening Christmas presents and buying champagne for New Year’s. The special election to fill the seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy is Jan. 19.

Kennedy, who is an active Libertarian running as an independent, demonstrated last night why Brown has sought to minimize him and Coakley has wanted him involved in the debates: He used nearly every speaking opportunity to challenge Brown from the right, saying the state senator has not done enough to cut spending, limit taxes, and make his voting record accessible. “I challenge him to show me three bills that he has personally submitted that cut $1 billion on spending,’’ Kennedy said.

The line of attack clearly frustrated Brown, who said, “My record speaks for itself.’’

There are several other debates being planned next month, though most have not been finalized. [Coakley insists that Joe L. Kennedy be included in all future debates; Brown would prefer more one-on-one debates].

Source: Martina Robinson in the Western Massachusetts Examiner
Click for issue stances of Martha Coakley (D), Scott Brown (R), and Joseph L. Kennedy (L).


Rep. Parker Griffith (D, AL-5) switches to Republican Party: Dec. 22, 2009

Other US Reps asked to follow Griffith's lead

Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Carney (D) announced tonight that he would not switch to the Republican party despite a personal phone call today from Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) urging him to do so.

"I am flattered by the overtures of Sen. McCain and other Republican Party officials and consider their outreach a sure sign that I have worked in a truly bipartisan manner," said Carney in a statement. "I appreciate the Republican Party's outreach, but I have no plans to change parties."

Carney won the northeastern Pennsylvania 10th district in 2006 thanks, in large part to the scandal surrounding then Rep. Don Sherwood (R). Carney won re-election in 2008 despite the fact that McCain won the seat 54 percent to 45 percent.

McCain's call to Carney signals a coordinated Republican effort to capitalize on the party switch on Tuesday of Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith, the first Democrat to switch to the GOP since Rep. Rodney Alexander in 2004.

Republicans insist there are others like Griffith out there and that the legislative course the House majority has steered is acting as a impetus to push Democrats out of the party.

Again, a single seat like Griffith's doesn't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of the battle for the House where Democrats hold a 40-seat majority. But, the symbolic import of a Democrat abandoning the party when it hold all the levers of power in Washington should not be underestimated.

Source: Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
Click for Rep. Parker Griffith's or Sen. John McCain's issue stances.


Massachusetts Senate Primary Debates: Dec. 6, 2009

Coverage of TV debates and joint interviews.

The candidates for the MA special Senate election have done a great job hiding their views on the issues for as long as they could -- but every candidate has to participate in SOME debates. And the mainstream press have done a great job asking candidates about Tiger Woods rather than reporting the candidate's stances on the issues -- but they too sometimes let issues slip into their horserace-oriented articles. OnTheIssues.org scours the internet to find issue stances, and we report them today to good citizens and voters.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for MA Senate Primary debates and AARP interview answers.


Massachusetts Senate VoteMatch Quiz: Dec. 1, 2009

Answer 20 questions and get matched to special election candidates

OnTheIssues.org is pleased to announce the publication of the Massachusetts Senate VoteMatch Quiz for the special election to replace Ted Kennedy.

You answer 20 questions about your political beliefs; then the VoteMatch quiz compares your answers to those of the 6 Senate candidates, and scores each candidate relative to your answers.

The VoteMatch Quiz has been our most popular feature since its introduction in 1999; it's fun and informative! The 6 candidates in the MA Senate race are:

Source: Speakout.com
Click for 2009 MA Senate VoteMatch Quiz or Ted Kennedy's issue stances.


Sarah Palin releases autobiography: Nov. 17, 2009

See excerpts from Going Rogue

One year ago, Sarah Palin burst onto the national political stage like a comet. Yet even now, few Americans know who this remarkable woman really is.

On September 3, 2008 Alaska Governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention that electrified the nation and instantly made her one of the most recognizable women in the world.

In this eagerly anticipated memoir, Palin paints an intimate portrait of growing up in the wilds of Alaska; meeting her lifelong love; her decision to enter politics; the importance of faith and family; and the unique joys and trials of life as a high-profile working mother. She also opens up for the first time about the 2008 presidential race, providing a rare, mom's-eye view of high-stakes national politics—from patriots dedicated to "Country First" to slick politicos bent on winning at any cost.

Going Rogue traces one ordinary citizen's extraordinary journey and imparts Palin's vision of a way forward for America and her unfailing hope in the greatest nation on earth.

Source: Amazon.com
Click for excerpts from Going Rogue or Sarah Palin's issue stances & voting record.


Election Day results: Nov. 3, 2009

Two new Republican Governors; two new Democratic House members

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher J. "Chris" Christie (R-NJ) defeated incumbent Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ) who spent millions of dollars of his own money trying to win a second term in New Jersey.

The victory of Robert F. "Bob" McDonnell (R-VA) over R. Creigh Deeds (D-VA) in Virginia was expected, but still embarrassing for Democrats. McDonnell will succeed Governor Tim Kaine (D-VA) who is the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Deeds lost to McDonnell four years ago in the race for state attorney general.

In California, Lieutenant Governor John R. Garamendi (D-CA) easily defeated former J.P. Morgan Chase assistant general counsel David Harmer (R-CA) to win the seat vacated by Undersecretary of State Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA).

But the most defining race of the evening was the Democratic victory in New York’s 23rd Congressional District where Bill Owens (D-NY) defeated Douglas L. Hoffman (R-NY) to succeed Navy Secretary John M. McHugh (R-NY). With Owens’ victory, Democrats now hold 27 of the Empire State’s 29 congressional seats. The significance of the race, however, does not come from the Democratic pick-up. Rather it comes from the ideological battle which marred the contest. Republicans had nominated state Assembly member Dierdre K. Scozzafava (R-NY) as their candidate in the special election. Despite her overall conservative record in the state assembly, Scozzafava’s support for abortion rights, gay marriages and labor unions was unpalatable to national conservatives. They found an outlet for their frustration in accountant Douglas L. Hoffman. Scozzafava said conservatives’ hatred and lies forced her out. She then turned around and endorsed her former Democratic rival over Hoffman.

Source: DCPoliticalReport.com
Click for details of other House members or other Governors.


Jack E. Robinson announces for MA Senate: Oct. 29, 2009

Ran against Kennedy; now running to succeed him

Jack E. Robinson today announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate.

Robinson is participating in the Special Election to fill the seat created by the unfortunate passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and will be running against one other Republican candidate.

“I am excited to kick off a very positive and forward looking campaign,” said Robinson. “Our campaign will be one of fresh ideas and a fresh perspective, focusing on the issues and providing solutions for the people of Massachusetts.”

“The last thing we need is to transport Beacon Hill thinking to Capitol Hill,” said Robinson.

Source: Jack E. Robinson Campaign press release
Click for Jack E. Robinson's issue stances.


Massachusetts Senate race coverage in detail: Oct. 13, 2009

Major Republican and Democrtic candidates' issue stances

Today we begin detailed issue coverage of the Massachusetts Senate race. As usual, the mainstream press covers the "horse race" while barely touching on the issues, and then pretend they're "covering" the race. OnTheIssues.org instead presents the candidates' issue stances in detail, based on the following sources:

Stay tuned next month for direct debate coverage, and a VoteMatch quiz comparing YOUR issue stances to the candidates'.

Click for details of other Senators.


Massachusetts Senator Paul Kirk sworn in: Sept. 25, 2009

Appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy

Paul G. Kirk Jr. was sworn in this afternoon to start his four-month stint as junior senator from Massachusetts, stepping into a high-profile role while trying to leave the controversy over his appointment behind.

Kirk was formally sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on the Senate floor. The gallery -- including Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; his sons Patrick and Ted Kennedy Jr.; other relatives, and more than a dozen of Kirk's relatives -- burst into cheers.

[Sen. Kirk's appointment was made possible by a controversial legislative change allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim senator.

Sen. Kirk's term ends in Jan. 2010, when a special election will decide his successor].
DEMOCRATS RUNNING (as of Sept. 27)REPUBLICANS RUNNING
  • Scott Brown (GOP State Senator, Wrentham)
  • Robert Burr, Jr. (Canton Selectman)

    WITHDREW FROM RUNNING:
  • Stephen Lynch (Democratic US Rep.; South Boston)

Source: Joseph Williams and Lisa Wangsness, Boston Globe
Click for complete records of Ted Kennedy's or Deval Patrick's issue stances & voting record.


Rep. John McHugh (R, NY) resigns: Sept. 16, 2009

Appointed as Secretary of the Army

More than three months after he was tapped by President Obama to serve as secretary of the Army, Rep. John McHugh was finally confirmed to that post this evening by the US Senate by a voice vote. McHugh had been expected to be confirmed prior to the Senate's summer break, but two Kansas Republicans - Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts - blocked that vote due to their anger over the prospect of Guantanamo detainees being sent to their state. The two lawmakers ended their ban earlier today after discussions with the Obama administration assuaged their fears.

Gov. David Paterson has been speculated to desire a special election in NY-23 to be held concurrent with the November general, in part because it would hold down costs.



Other 2009 Special Elections in U.S. House
Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY-20) Resigned Jan. 26; appointed as US Senator March 31, 2009: Scott Murphy elected
Rahm Emanuel (D, IL-5) Jan. 21: Appointed White House Chief of Staff April 7, 2009: Michael Quigley elected
Hilda Solis (D, CA-32) Resigned Feb. 24, appointed Secretary of Labor July 14, 2009: Judy Chu elected
John M. McHugh (R, NY-23) Sept. 16: Confirmed as Secretary of the Army Election likely scheduled for Nov. 3, 2009
Ellen Tauscher (D, CA-10) Resigned June 26; appointed Under Secretary of State Election scheduled for Nov. 3, 2009
Source: Elizabeth Benjamin in New York Daily News
Click for complete records of John_McHugh's issue stances & voting record.


Florida Senator George LeMieux sworn in: Sept. 10, 2009

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to replace Sen. Mel Martinez

Minutes after he was sworn in Thursday, new Florida Sen. George LeMieux got an earful of advice from Vice President Joe Biden, cast his first vote -- against an Obama administration appointee -- and threatened to block passage of an energy bill that would put oil drilling rigs near the Florida shore.

The Republican also sought to tamp down speculation that he would consider taking on Florida's senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, in 2012. ``I'm not focused on running for any political position in 2010 or 2012,'' he told reporters after his first press conference, fielding questions on immigration, oil drilling, President Barack Obama's healthcare speech and committee posts he might seek.

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill the remainder of retired Sen. Mel Martinez's term, LeMieux scarcely mentioned the man considered his political twin, illustrating the delicate balance he is likely to seek as he promises to be his ``own man'' in Washington. ``There are tremendous issues facing this nation, and although my time in Washington will be brief, I intend to work hard every day to address these critical challenges and serve the people of this unique, diverse and wonderful state,'' said LeMieux, who has described himself as a ``Charlie Crist Republican.''

Crist, who is running for the Senate seat in 2010, didn't attend the swearing-in. LeMieux, who orchestrated Crist's 2006 gubernatorial win, was flanked by Nelson and former Sen. Connie Mack at the ceremony. ``I've got a lot of work to do here in Florida,'' Crist said in St. Petersburg. ``I certainly wish Sen. LeMieux all the best. I'm sure he'll do great for the people of Florida.'' LeMieux's first order of the day after a staff briefing and tour of his office: a speedy oath of office administered by Biden, who, as vice president, is president of the Senate.

Source: Lesley Clark in Miami Herald
Click for complete records of George LeMieux's and Mel Martinez's and Charlie Crist's issue stances & voting record.


Ted Kennedy succession: Aug. 31, 2009

Special election set for Jan. 19, 2010

Amid fevered speculation about possible contenders for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, Gov. Deval Patrick scheduled a special election for Jan. 19 and said he would keep pushing the state legislature to change the law so he could name an interim successor.

Shortly before his death last week, Mr. Kennedy wrote legislative leaders asking them to revise the law so his seat would not stay vacant for months. The legislature indicated Monday that it would decide quickly whether to grant his request, scheduling a public hearing on the proposal for Sept. 9. Many lawmakers criticized the proposal in the days before Mr. Kennedy’s death, but legislative leaders, at least, have since hinted they would support it.

Massachusetts has not had an open Senate seat since 1984, and excitement is running high about two possible candidates in particular: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy’s widow, and Joseph P. Kennedy II, his nephew. Ms. Kennedy reiterated on Monday that she was not interested in the seat, people close to the family said.

Joseph Kennedy, 56, a former congressman from Massachusetts, has $2 million in leftover campaign money. At a memorial service for his uncle last week, he spoke of the importance of public service and of chasing “the same goals and ideals that Senator Ted Kennedy lived his life for.” Friends say he is still considering whether to run.

Other possible contenders include Attorney General Martha Coakley, Representatives Michael E. Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey; and former Representative Martin T. Meehan, who retired in 2007 to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Mr. Patrick ruled himself out as a candidate on Monday, saying he was focused on winning re-election next year.

Although the seat will almost certainly go to a Democrat, several Republicans are also said to be interested in running, including Kerry Healey, who was lieutenant governor under Gov. Mitt Romney, and Michael J. Sullivan, until recently the United States attorney in Massachusetts.
RUNNING (as of Sept. 13)NOT RUNNING

Source: Abby Goodnough, New York Times
Click for complete records of Ted Kennedy's or Deval Patrick's issue stances & voting record.


Ted Kennedy succession: Aug. 20, 2009

Asked MA Legislature to change rules prior to his death on Aug. 25

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in a poignant acknowledgment of his mortality at a critical time in the national health care debate, has privately asked the governor and legislative leaders to change the succession law to guarantee that Massachusetts will not lack a Senate vote when his seat becomes vacant.

In a personal, sometimes wistful letter sent Tuesday to Governor Deval Patrick [and legislative leaders], Kennedy asks that Patrick be given authority to appoint someone to the seat temporarily before voters choose a new senator in a special election.

Although Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, does not specifically mention his illness or the health care debate raging in Washington, the implication of his letter is clear: He is trying to make sure that the leading cause in his life, better health coverage for all, advances in the event of his death.

In his letter, which was obtained by the Globe, Kennedy said that he backs the current succession law, enacted in 2004, which gives voters the power to fill a US Senate vacancy. But he said the state and country need two Massachusetts senators.

“I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,’’ Kennedy wrote. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.’’

Under the 2004 law, if Kennedy were to die or step down, voters would select his successor in a special election to be held within five months of the vacancy. But the law makes no provisions for Massachusetts to be represented in the Senate in the interim. In the meantime, President Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system, the fate of which may hinge on one or two votes, could come before Congress.

“I am now writing to you about an issue that concerns me deeply, the continuity of representation for Massachusetts, should a vacancy occur,’’ Kennedy wrote.

To ensure that the special election is fair, the senator also urged that the governor obtain an “explicit personal commitment’’ from his appointee not to seek the office on a permanent basis.

{Note: Sen. Kennedy passed away five days after the letter was made public.]

Source: Frank Phillips, Boston Globe
Click for complete records of Ted Kennedy's or Deval Patrick's issue stances & voting record.


Gubernatorial debate coverage begins: Aug. 12, 2009

New Jersey and Virginia debates

New Jersey and Virginia are the only states with gubernatorial races in 2009. OnTheIssues coverage of their debates have begun:

In addition, several governors have taken office in 2009:

Click for details of other Governors.


Sen. Mel Martinez (R, FL) resigns: Aug. 7, 2009

Gov. Charlie Crist (R, FL) to appoint successor, perhaps himself

Sen. Mel Martinez told friends and supporters Friday in an e-mail that he'll step down from the Senate as soon as a replacement is appointed to fill out his term. ``My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly 12 years of public service in Florida and Washington, it's time I return to Florida and my family,'' said Martinez, who had already ruled out a run for reelection in 2010.

In an extraordinary turn of events, Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading Republican to replace Martinez in the U.S. Senate, will have the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Martinez's term.

Crist has denied that he'd appoint himself. He's expected to make an announcement on a fill-in before the end of the August recess when the Senate returns to Washington. Some names already surfacing: former Sen. Connie Mack, former Gov. Bob Martinez and former Secretary of State Jim Smith. Some speculate that Crist might step down as governor, thereby elevating Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, who could then appoint Crist to the Senate.

Source: Lesley Clark & Marc Caputo, Miami Herald
Click for complete records of Charlie Crist's or Mel Martinez' issue stances & voting record.


Sonia Sotomayor confirmed: Aug. 6, 2009

Replaces David Souter on the Supreme Court

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who rose from the housing projects of the Bronx to the top of the legal profession, made history Thursday when the Senate confirmed her to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

Sotomayor was easily confirmed in a 68-31 vote. Nine Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in supporting her nomination. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, supported Sotomayor but was not present for the vote because of illness.

Sotomayor, a 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, will be the 111th person to sit on the high court and the third female justice. She will be sworn in at the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday.

Sotomayor was confirmed after senators spent a final day of debate rehashing arguments for and against her. Democrats continued to praised Sotomayor as a fair and impartial jurist with an extraordinary life story. Many Republicans portrayed her as a judicial activist intent on reinterpreting the law to conform with her own liberal political beliefs.

Among other things, Republican opponents emphasized concerns over her statements and rulings on hot-button issues such as gun control, affirmative action and property rights. They also raised questions about some of her most controversial speeches and statements, including her hope that a "wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences" would reach a better conclusion than a white man "who hasn't lived that life."

Source: CNN.com
Click for complete records of David Souter's or Sonia Sotomayor's issue stances & voting record.


Sarah Palin (R, AK) resigns: July 26, 2009

Sean Parnell sworn in as Governor

As thousands of cheering supporters vowed to keep her feisty, down-home political legacy alive, Sarah Palin stepped down as Alaska governor Sunday, pledging to continue fighting for independence from Washington and for Americans' personal freedoms "as that grizzly guards her cubs."

The hand-over to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell at a family-style picnic marked an unexpected end to a brief but remarkable governorship in which the 45-year-old hockey mom turned the Republican Party on its head and propelled Alaska's frontier-style, moose-meat-picnic politics into the national dialogue.

"Let's not start believing that government is the answer," she told the largely affectionate crowd of about 5,000 at Pioneer Park. "It can't help make you healthy or wealthy or wise. What can? It is the wisdom of the people. . . . It is God's grace, helping those who help themselves."

Betraying no sadness or second thoughts, she chastised those who question why she stepped down 18 months before the end of her term. "It should be so obvious to you," she said. "It is because I love Alaska this much, sir, that I feel that it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical politics-as-usual lame-duck session in one's last year in office. . . . I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right. And I have never felt that you need a title to do that."

Palin has declined to say what she plans to do next -- other than write a book and make public appearances, beginning Aug. 8 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Simi Valley. She has not ruled out a bid for the presidency in 2012. At Sunday's picnic, few supporters appeared to believe that she would stay out of the limelight for long.

Source: Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
Click for complete records of Sarah Palin's issue stances & voting record.

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