POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/20

Fossella Nominated to Run for Old Seat

In a stunning move, Republicans overwhelmingly nominated former Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) for his old House seat — even though he wasn’t even there, the New York Post reports.

“Fossella, who served five terms in Congress, decided not to run for reelection in 2008 after he was arrested for drunken driving in Virginia — and admitted he was there to see his mistress, a retired Air Force colonel, and their love child.”

It’s not clear whether Fossella will accept the nomination.

Quote of the Day

“Let him think that.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in an interview with The Hill, when asked about House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-OH) recent claim that there are 100 House seats in play.

The Next Majority Leader

The Washington Post looks beyond the fall election to the possible race for Senate majority leader — assuming Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) loses his re-election bid.

The main contenders are Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Each can boast a strength: Durbin has the pleasant demeanor of a consensus builder; Schumer is the diehard fighter who has never lost an election. The prospect of a Chicago vs. New York majority leader race with echoes of Obama vs. Clinton is tantalizing, but also distracting.”

Interesting fact: Schumer and Durbin have shared a Washington townhouse for years.

Poizner Closes In on Whitman

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows a “dramatic reshaping” in the Republican race for governor as the 50-point lead Meg Whitman held over Steve Poizner two months ago has now closed to single digits.

Whitman now leads Poizner, 38% to 29%, among likely voters with 30% undecided.

Fiorina Grabs Lead in California Primary

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll finds that Carly Fiorina (R) has a narrow lead over Tom Campbell (R) in the Republican Senate race, 25% to 23%, with Chuck DeVore (R) gaining ground at 16%. There are 36% still undecided.

“Although Fiorina’s lead is within the 5-percentage-point margin of error, the poll highlights Campbell’s vulnerabilities as Election Day approaches: He is underfunded compared with Fiorina and under attack by conservatives unhappy with his moderate record on taxes and social issues.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“A senator broke his word with me.”

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on failure to win a cloture vote on the banking reform bill.

ABC News reports Reid was referring to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).

Candidate Caught Vandalizing Signs

Here’s a quick tip for aspiring politicians: Don’t get caught defacing another candidate’s lawn signs or it might end up in an advertisement.

See more…

Bennett Teases Possible Write-In Campaign

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), kicked off the ballot this month at Utah’s Republican convention, could make a decision about whether to seek a fourth-term as a write-in candidate as early as tomorrow, according to USA Today.

Said Bennett: “Once I make that decision, you’ll be the second to know. Stay tuned tomorrow.”

Asked if that meant he would announce his decision tomorrow, Bennett repeated, “Stay tuned tomorrow.”

Top Five Moral Hypocrites

John Cook notes that it seems “like every other week brings news that another conservative culture warrior has been caught engaging in the kind of behavior he (and, yes, they’re almost always men) spends his working hours inveighing against.”

“Since it can be hard to keep the players straight over time, we thought we’d present our ranking of the Top Five moral hypocrites since the social-conservative right came into power during the 1980s; the list is then followed by a lengthy honor roll.”

The top five: Ted Haggard, George Alan Rekers, Gov. Mark Sanford, Robert Bauman and Sen. David Vitter.

Republicans Still Not Seen as Good Alternative

A key finding from the Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district was that only 28% of voters thought Republicans did a good job running the country under President Bush while 63% think they did not. That -35 spread is 15 points worse than the -20 spread for President Obama’s approval in the district.

“Voters in PA-12 are not real thrilled with how Democrats are running the country right now. But they have an even dimmer view of the Republicans, and until the party can present itself as a more appealing alternative it may not be able to make gains to the extent you would expect in this political climate.”

Same Video Shows Blumenthal Correctly Stating Service

The AP notes that a longer version of the video showing Richard Blumenthal (D) suggesting he served in Vietnam also has him correctly characterizing his service by saying that he “served in the military, during the Vietnam era.”

See more…

Bennet Grabs Lead in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) leading Jane Norton (R) in his effort to win a full Senate term, 44% to 41%. This is his largest lead over Norton in any public polling to date.

Bennet leads Ken Buck (R) by an even wider margin, 45% to 39%.

If Andrew Romanoff (D) were the nominee, he would also edge Norton, 43% to 41%, and lead Buck, 41% to 38%.

Paul Defends Holding Victory Party at Country Club

In an interview on ABC News, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) defended holding his primary celebration at a private country club arguing that golf and country clubs aren’t exclusive anymore because people like Tiger Woods brought golf to “cities and to city youth.”

See more…

Kagan Hearings Scheduled

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) just announced confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will begin on June 28, with the goal of wrapping up before the week-long July 4 recess, Fox Newsreports.

Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions (R-AL) “quickly made it clear he and fellow Republicans wanted more time.”

Lincoln Could Have a Tough Runoff

The Washington Independent spoke to Charles Bullock, co-author of Runoff Elections in the United States, who notes the leader in a Senate primary wins the runoff about 77% of the time.

However, things don’t look that good for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) who was forced into a runoff with Bill Halter (D) last night.

“The odds of winning drop significantly when an incumbent is involved. If the incumbent is the leader in a primary race, he or she wins just 55% of the time. The premise behind this is if a voter is willing to vote against the incumbent once, the voter’s more likely to do it again in the runoff.”

The fact that Lincoln’s lead was less than two points makes her prospects even dimmer.

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