Thursday, November 30, 2006

IA - Clinton Not Laying Iowa Groundwork

Interesting news out of Iowa, which could impact Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) decision on running for President in '08:

On Fox News last night, the chairman of Iowa's Democratic party said that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is not laying the adequate groundwork for a presidenial campaign in the first caucus state and that many are starting to speculate she may not run if Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) enters the race.

Said Iowa Democratic Chair Rob Tully: "She's been quiet and, you know, there's a question that we all hear is that she may not get in this if Barack Obama gets in. I have never seen a reaction other than Bill Clinton in terms of the excitement that people have to meet Barack Obama.
Some people just wanted to touch him."

One other possible reason: According to the Quad City Times, former Democratic state party chairman Dave Nagle said he is concerned candidates might eventually choose not to come to Iowa with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) in the race.

IL - Rep. Bobby Rush (D) Bucking Black Political Establishment in Chicago ...

To the chagrin and outrage of Black mayoral candidates in Chicago (who are now like crabs in a barrel since Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) pulled out of the race, Congressman Bobby Rush (D) - fresh out of personal financial ruin - gives the current Mayor big-ups for a job some don't think was well done. Fran Spielman writes in the Chicago Sun Times:

In 1999, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush campaigned for mayor on a promise to end "one of the most corrupt administrations" in Chicago history.

He accused Mayor Daley of making cosmetic changes while allowing major problems to fester and creating a "police culture that permits harassments, cover-ups and false arrests" of young black men.

What a difference seven years can make.

On Wednesday, Rush called Daley a "great mayor" who's done a "fantastic job" and "deserves another term." The South Side congressman said Daley has changed -- and Chicago has "improved substantially" -- in the seven years since Daley clobbered him, winning 72 percent of the vote.

Monday, November 27, 2006

IA - Getting Closer to a Black Presidency ...

Des Moines Register reports:

Democrat Barack Obama has sought the advice of top campaign workers in Iowa and has established a seedling support network in this state as he prepares to decide whether to seek the 2008 presidential nomination.The first-term Illinois senator has surrounded himself with advisers rich in experience in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state.Obama has vaulted to the top tier among prospective candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination, even as the new star in the party says he has not made up his mind about running.

Interesting to note here that the first, most serious Black presidential contender in some time is focused on a primary state that many Democrats lambasted as not reflecting the diversity of the national electorate (a conclusion we agree with). Still, if Obama ranks well in a state as lily-White as Iowa, he should expect warm receptions in other primary states with predominantly White populations like New Hampshire.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

TN - An Interesting Angle on Ford's Demise ...

Kevin Rennie, Hartford Courant columnist, offers a somewhat cogent perspective on Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.'s failed Senate bid in TN:

This election brought one overlooked blessing. There will probably be less public flaunting of private religious beliefs in campaigns. The voters in one state issued a firm rebuke to that. That’s one way to interpret the defeat of Harold Ford, Jr. in Tennessee. Good Lord, a political commercial filmed in church. Democrats must have sent silence prayers into the ether for relief from that stunt. The voters of Tennessee answered them. Please, let the curse of blunt displays of piety in politics initiated by Jimmy Carter thirty years ago, come to an end. If Jesus had cared that much about politics he would have delivered the Sermon on the Mount in Rome.

Chicago - Jackson, Jr. Pulling Out of Mayoral Contention

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL) won't be running for Mayor of Chicago in 2007. His spokesman claims the change in the Hill's political climate influenced that decision as Jackson, Jr. may be mulling future leadership positions in the House. Observes the Chicago Tribune:

Jackson, who scheduled a news conference for Thursday, declined to confirm his decision when reached by telephone."I don't want to scoop myself. Let me wait for [Thursday]," Jackson said.Vincent Fry, a Jackson aide, said the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House added a new element for Jackson to consider as he ponders a mayoral run."The congressman has been out of power his entire career," Fry said, but the changed political landscape in Washington "is definitely something to add to the consideration of whether or not he runs for mayor."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

MD - CNN Projects Steele Losing

With only 1% of precincts reporting in MD, CNN projects Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) losing this bid for the open Senate seat. Right now at 9:30pm ET Steele holds 55% to Cardin's 43%. Washington Post & Baltimore Sun have not issued projections, yet, so we'll hold on that one until its done.

OH - Called It ... 11 months ago

We're not rubbing it in, but the Editorial Staff is looking golden on the OH Gubernatorial race - which we called 11 months ago

Congressman Ted Strickland (D) beating Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (R) handily 66% to 31%. We can now confidently say that 2004 was the beginning of the end for Blackwell.

Battle for the Hill - CBC Watch ...

Interesting piece in The Hill about what'll happen if Dems re-take control of the House. That should mean some serious power for African Americans in Congress. But, that could be the next battle royale if the Democratic leadership snubs Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) for the House Majority Whip spot. Here's Jonathan Kaplan writing:

In the House, both parties have gerrymandered districts to protect incumbents. Few districts with sizable black populations are competitive. The only competitive House race where black voters could determine the outcome is in Rep. John Barrow's (D-Ga.), district, which is 38 percent black.

In three competitive districts represented by Republican Reps. Thelma Drake (Va.), Anne Northup (Ky.) and Steve Chabot (Ohio), black voters make up 27, 19 and 21 percent of the population respectively.

Monday, November 06, 2006

CA - Watching Aimee Allison (G) ...

We've been watching Aimee Allison's (G) tough fight in Oaktown. Here's the latest:

Big buzz in Oakland over the battle royal between incumbent City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan and challenger Aimee Allison -- with a reluctant Mayor-elect Ron Dellums right in the middle of it.

It's no secret that many of Democrat Dellums' troops are backing Green Party member Allison, and that her vote could help swing his agenda if she gets elected.

But Dellums has made a point of not taking sides in the race, and was none too happy when Allison's camp slapped his picture on a mailer without his approval.

MD - Black Democrats Feeling Unfulfilled by State Party Leadership

Old, but interesting news on Black Democrats - particularly in Prince George's County - being fed up with the White-dominated state party. These cats are ready for, and deserve to be at the next level. Diversity means much more than colored faces at the polls and the victory parties:

Before the meal was over, a seed had been planted that three weeks later would sprout into one of this election year's most controversial moves: crossing party lines to endorse Republican Michael S. Steele for U.S. Senate.

According to four participants, the move was aimed at driving home a point: Don't take the county leadership and its majority of black voters for granted.

"This is a position we took to effect change -- change that would be beneficial to the citizens of Prince George's County -- and also to allow us to be part of the decision-making process of the Democratic Party," said County Council member Samuel H. Dean (D-Mitchellville), one of the leaders involved. "This was less about Michael Steele and more about the Democratic Party taking us for granted."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

MD - Ugly Words from the Washington Post

A recent editorial from The Washington Post that endorses MD Democratic nominee Rep. Ben Cardin strikes an unusually ugly tone by focusing 379 out of that endorsement's 394 words on GOP nominee Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's flaws as a potential Senate legislator. Something really nasty - we don't know - must have happened during Steele's meeting with The Post that led to this loaded piece:

Despite his efforts to construct an image as an independent-minded newcomer, there is nothing in Mr. Steele's past -- no achievement, no record, no evidence and certainly no command of the issues -- to support it. Pressed on energy or the environment, health care or North Korea, he tells reporters that he would get "all the players in the room." That sounds fine but means nothing; he's running to be a senator, not a meetings coordinator. He proposes a list of big-ticket spending programs but offers no convincing idea about how they might be paid for. He knocks special-interest politics but is flush with campaign cash thanks to a team of GOP lobbyists.

What's unusual is that this official Post endorsement of Cardin says nothing about Cardin until the very last sentence. Hence, it first gives the impression that Steele is actually dominating this race despite the best efforts of the Democratic opposition. Secondly, the unusually terse tone in this anti-endorsement (something rare in our long time as avid readers of The Post) comes off as rather suspicious since there is nothing in it that mentions why The Post endorses Cardin other than its apparent hatred for Steele.

Certainly, many - particularly African Americans in Prince George's County, Maryland - will ask if The Post employed a double standard here. The question will be posed: "If Steele were White, would this editorial have been as ugly?" If that's the case, this may actually work against Cardin in the final stretch of a brutal campaign.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

PA - Swann Getting His Black On ...

Here's PA Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann getting his Black on a dollar short and months late:

For the first time, Lynn Swann has interjected the issue of race in his quest to unseat Gov. Rendell and become Pennsylvania's first black governor.
In ads on three black radio stations in Philadelphia, the Republican accuses Rendell of distorting his record, and contends that it isn't the first time the governor has attacked an African American politician.

"For too long now," the ad says, "career politicians like Ed Rendell have taken us for granted. Remember how Ed Rendell attacked Mayor Goode by calling him a liar, incompetent, deceitful?... Now he's doing the same thing to another African American, Lynn Swann. It's time to stand up."

Still, Swann failed to accept an invitation by the Philadelphia Tribune's editorial board to discuss his platform. Too many White Republican operatives running his campaign? What's funny is that ultra-conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum (PA), currently in a fight for his political life with former PA Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. (D), actually showed up for his Tribune invitation and left a respectful impression.

More from the Inquirer:

Many Republicans had hoped Swann could woo African American voters away from Rendell, particularly in the governor's home base of Philadelphia. But in a Temple University/Philadelphia Inquirer Poll last month, 92 percent of black voters said they would vote for Rendell, with 6 percent supporting Swann.

Nuff said.