POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/7

Maine Proposes Unicameral Legislature

“After voting to shrink itself, the Maine House has now endorsed a plan to replace itself, and the State Senate, with so-called unicameral Legislature that would merge both chambers into one body,” according to Maine Public Broadcasting.

Proponents see the proposal saving tax dollars while opponents say it takes away an appropriate check and balance.

The only other unicameral Legislature in the nation is Nebraska’s, which merged its two chambers in 1937.

Sinks Leads McCollum in Florida

In Florida’s gubernatorial race next year, Alex Sink (D) holds an early lead over Bill McCollum (R), 38% to 34%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Ms. Sink’s gender and the fact she would be the state’s first woman governor are working to her benefit.”


Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings Scheduled

Heard in the CQ newsroom: 

Senate Judiciary Commitee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has set the date for confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor for July 13.

Quote of the Day

“I have been told that Speaker Pelosi doesn’t like to meet with Republicans… I would say that is the case in my instance. I have put in requests to meet with her and have yet to be responded to.”

— Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), quoted by The Hill, on being denied a private meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) despite repeated requests.

The McAuliffe Story

First Read notes that if Creigh Deeds (D) ends up winning today’s Virginia primary, the story won’t be his victory, but Terry McAuliffe’s (D) loss. 

“Terry may have been a flawed candidate from the start. He gave the impression that he woke up one day and thought, ‘Hey, maybe I can win the Virginia governorship.’ A few years back, he pondered a run for Florida governor, but the state has a seven-year residency requirement. If McAuliffe does come up short, his candidacy should serve as a reminder to anyone thinking about running for office — know why you want to run and lay the groundwork for years, not weeks or months.”


Missing Senators

The Washington Post notes that it’s been 15 months since all 100 senators have come to the floor of the chamber for a vote.

The lack of full attendance is due to last year’s presidential race, illnesses of several senators and, of course, the still unresolved Senate race in Minnesota.



Republicans Pull In More Than $14 Million

Despite the back-and-forth over Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s attendance, Politico reports the NRCC and NRSC announced that last night’s GOP Senate-House Dinner raised a combined total of approximately $14.45 million.



Hastert Will Run for Father’s Seat

Ethan Hastert (R), son of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R), has announced he’ll run for his father’s old seat in Congress, the Kane County Chronicle reports.

Hastert, 31, said that he’s “forming a committee to begin his campaign and fundraising for the 14th District Congressional seat. He’s the first candidate to officially announce a run at the seat in 2010.”



Health Care Politics Daily Dose

The Washington Post reports there is now “rare unanimity among Washington decision makers” that the U.S. health care system “needs a major overhaul.”

“But the consensus breaks down on the question of how best to create a coordinated, high-performing, evidence-based system that provides the right care at the right time to the right people.”

Roll Call notes that as momentum for health care reform “takes shape in the House and Senate and shows signs of veering decidedly left,” business lobbyists are considering “mounting a public relations offensive to put the brakes on President Barack Obama’s overhaul plans.”

The biggest controversy is over a “public option” that would compete with private health insurance. In fact, the Washington Post reports that nine of the ten Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to President Obama yesterday outlining their opposition to a so-called public option. 

In a great primer, Ezra Klein discusses the “many flavors” of a possible public insurance option.

Bloomberg says House Democrats will lay out their health care reform proposals today “that include creating a government-run program to help cover the uninsured, even as Republicans stiffen their resistance to that idea.” CQ Politics has more on the House plan.

The other major obstacle facing reformers is how to pay for broader coverage. CQ Politics notes the most talked-about strategy to pay for overhauling the health care system — taxing a portion of employer-provided benefits — would only generate $418.5 billion over the next 10 years. This is not enough to pay the full cost of expanding health insurance to all Americans, but it would make a significant dent in the estimated $1 trillion price.



Todd Gets a Book Deal

The New York Observer reports that NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd has sold a book proposal to Little, Brown about the first few years of the Obama presidency.

Todd’s book will be a “nuanced analytical narrative” focusing on the political relationship between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It’s expected to be published in mid-2012.

Todd’s first book, How Barack Obama Won, came out earlier this year.



Virginia Heads to the Polls

Virginians will choose the Democratic candidate for governor today.  Any registered voter is permitted to vote in today’s primary. Polls close at 7 p.m. ET.

The New York Times says the three candidates — Creigh Deeds (D), Brian Moran (D) and Terry McAuliffe (D) — “have distinguished themselves more by personality than politics during the fight to continue their party’s recent winning streak in this historically conservative state.” 

CQ Politics notes that at least two independent surveys in the past 48 hours give Deeds the momentum, in part because he’s ramped up support in the populous northern Virginia suburbs near Washington, D.C. He also appeals to many independents who can vote in today’s primary.

Several voter registrars told The Hotline that they expect light turnout. Current estimates are that about 200,000 voters will come out as compared to about a million who voted in last year’s presidential primary. We noted last week that returned absentee ballots as a percentage of applications made were low.

The winner will oppose Robert McDonnell (R) in November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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