POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/13

 

Obama Will Resign Senate Seat on Sunday

President-elect Barack Obama said he will step down from his U.S. Senate seat effective this Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Aides to Obama already had said he would not be returning to Washington to vote on Senate matters this fall, in advance of his being sworn in as the nation’s 44th president Jan. 20.”

Research 2000: Georgia Run Off Close

A new Research 2000 poll in Georgia shows a close race in next month’s U.S. Senate run off. 

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) narrowly leads challenger Jim Martin (D), 49% to 46%.

Rove Looks Forward to 2010

Karl Rove: “History will favor Republicans in 2010. Since World War II, the out-party has gained an average of 23 seats in the U.S. House and two in the U.S. Senate in a new president’s first midterm election. Other than FDR and George W. Bush, no president has gained seats in his first midterm election in both chambers.”

Poll Suggests Record Number for Georgia Run Off

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds 87% of registered voters claim that they will vote in the December 2 run off, even though just 67% actually turned out on Election Day last week. 

Based on the history of runoffs and special elections, that’s highly unlikely.

Since there are no head-to-head numbers given for the race between Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jim Martin (D), I would guess the pollster is having a hard time figuring out which respondents are really going to make it to the polls.

Clarifying Change

Though he definitely ran an outsider’s campaign, President-elect Obama is relying mostly on insiders to guide his transition.

Ben Smith notes the appointments of key Clinton White House aides makes clear that Obama is “less interested in changing the culture of Washington and the atmospherics of the White House, though, than changing actual policy. Which is, after all, what he was actaully elected to do. And the combination of Democratic strength (and the possible Senate gains) and continuing, total disarray from the Republicans, and Obama’s choice of effective D.C. operators, suggests that he’s in a position to get a lot done, fast.”

Marc Ambinder points out that Obama “hasn’t ever surrounded himself with outsiders; he was encouraged to run by Tom Daschle and Dick Durbin; Ab Mikva and Newt Minow and Bill Daley were among his top advisors; Because he lives in Chicago, David Axelrod is not a Washington insider, but he is not an outsider by any means, and certainly is an ‘insider’ in the colloquial sense of the phrase.  Obama chose Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder (insiders) to run his vice presidential search; the vetting was conducted by veteran DC lawyers who had done this all before.”

Future of White House Political Office Still Unclear

President-elect Obama “has been virtually silent on bipartisan calls in recent months to eliminate the White House office that has been described as the nerve center of the sprawling political operations headed up by Bush adviser Karl Rove,” Politicoreports. 

“And the fate of that office will be just one of the questions Obama will have to answer in explaining how his mammoth and skilled campaign operation can be transformed into an administration that traffics in a different kind of politics at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

However, Marc Ambinder cites a “close-in Obama adviser” who says Obama’s team “has all but decided to keep the office. It’s not clear what role an Obama White House political director will have; its power has ebbed and flowed through the Clinton and Bush years.”

Obama Successor Expected Around Christmas

The New York Times has a good story on how Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is pursuing the task of filling President-elect Obama’s soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.

“The list of those rumored to be under consideration (including some, it seems, who have blatantly offered themselves up to the governor) grows longer each day. Mr. Blagojevich, who is turning to a group of close advisers for guidance, is expected to make a decision around Christmas.”

Quote of the Day

“The Republican Party right now is like a midsize college team trying to play in the Superbowl.”

— Newt Gingrich, in an interview with Roger Simon.

Begich Takes Lead Over Stevens

Mark Begich (D) made a dramatic comeback to overtake Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) for the lead in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

After a day of counting absentee and early ballots, Begich, who was losing after election night by more than 3000 votes, now leads Stevens by 814 votes. 

The state still needs to count at least 15,000 questioned ballots and an estimated 25,000 absentees over the next week.

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