News/Campaigns/Congressional Campaigns

News/Campaigns/Congressional Campaigns

GOPer switches House races in Pennsylvania

A GOP businessman has switched races from running in Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) district to running in Rep. Jim Gerlach’s (R-Pa.). reports that Steven Welch is stepping aside for former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan (R), who is set to announce he is switching races himself, from governor to Sestak’s seat. Sesyak’s seat is now open with the incumbent running in a primary against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

Gerlach’s seat is open too, as he is running for governor, and both his 6th district and Sestak’s 7th are expected to be among the top handful of House races in the nation.

While the GOP averts a tough primary in Sestak’s district, they now face one in Gerlach’s district. State Rep. Curt Schroder and another candidate are running for Gerlach’s seat. reports that Welch lives in the 7th district, but most of his hometown lies within the 6th.

Democrats are running state Rep. Bryan Lentz for Sestak’s seat and former newspaper editorialist Doug Pike in Gerlach’s district.


Campaign Update: Minn. primary move, No Braley for Senate

Contrary to some speculation, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) won’t be running against Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

Former Rep. Martin Meehan looks to be out of the running for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, or then again, maybe he’s not.

The NRCC wants to get rid of Rep. Ike Sketon (D-Mo.), But GOP Sen. Kit Bond (Mo.) doesn't.’s Eric Black – one of my favorite bloggers – notes that Minnesota will likely be forced to move its primary from September to August. It should aid Democrats’ efforts to recover from an early primary in Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) district.

Speaking of Bachmann, here’s the latest installment in her efforts to shock us with her words.

Potential GOV candidate Rudy Giuliani to be a guest on The View on … wait for it … Sept. 11.

Speaker son Ethan Hastert (R) could have more primary opposition in the race for Rep. Bill Foster’s (D-Ill.) seat.


Christie up 15 on Corzine in GOP firm's poll

A new poll from Republican firm Strategic Vision shows former U.S. attorney Chris Christie (R) growing his lead over New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D).

Christie leads Corzine 53-38 in the new poll, which is up from 51-39 last month. The new margin mirrors a poll put out by the Republican Governors Association earlier this month but shows a slightly wider margin than more recent Quinnipiac (+12) and Monmouth (+8) polling.

There was some thought that perhaps Corzine was closing a bit following Christie's appearance before a congressional committee about a big contract he approved that went to his one-time boss, former Attorney General John Ashcroft. But Christie appears to be holding steady.

The newest poll includes 5 percent going for independent Christopher Daggett. President Obama's approval is at 50 percent, with 40 percent disapproving.

It's official: Franken's a Senator

You can now offiically call him Senator Al Franken.

The Minnesotan was sworn in about an hour ago by Vice President Joe Biden, giving Democrats a 60 seat supermajority in the Senate.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a fellow Minnesota Democrat, accompanied Franken to the Senate floor. Franken said earlier today that he hopes to be the "people's proxy" in the Senate.

Johanns endorses Moran for Kan. Senate

Seeking to turn the page on Monday's news that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) has endorsed his GOP rival, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Rep. Jerry Moran announced Tuesday that Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) has endorsed his bid for the Senate.

Tiahrt and Moran and squaring off in the GOP primary for retiring Sen. Sam Brownback's (R). Brownback is running for governor.

In a statement, Johanns touted Moran's credentials on agriculture.

"A leader both in Kansas and nationally, I look forward to having Jerry Moran as part of the United States Senate, he said. "Among the few national leaders in agriculture, Jerry has been a driving force in agriculture policy throughout his time in Congress, but has never lost sight of the people for whom he works."

Moran has also nabbed the endorsement of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Fritchey Airs First (Negative) Ad

State Rep. John Fritchey (D) is up with his first ad in the Democratic primary for Rahm Emanuel's former House seat.

The ad isn't the first of the race, but it is the first that's taken a negative tone. The ad portrays Cook Country Commissioner Mike Quigley and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz as bickering children.


Franken-Coleman Election Trial Begins Monday

Former Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-Minn.) court challenge of Democrat Al Franken's lead in their Senate race begins Monday.

Franken was certified the winner by a margin of 225 votes by the state canvassing board. But Coleman's camp is arguing that his deficit is due to improperly counted absentee ballots and other ballot irregularities.

The court proceedings start at 2 p.m. ET and can be seen at The Uptake, or below.


Netroots Skeptical of Gillibrand Pick

Liberal bloggers, who backed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) when she first ran for the House in 2006, have voiced some disappointment over her selection to the Senate.

Howie Klein, head of the Blue America political action committee that raises money for liberal candidates online, said that it was "wrongheaded" for Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) to appoint Gillibrand, a centrist candidate, to a Senate seat in a staunchly Democratic state. Gillibrand has a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association and is a member of the Blue Dog coalition of centrist Democrats, Klein noted.

Klein, whose PAC helped fund Gillibrand's 2006 campaign, also said that Paterson chose someone based on political considerations instead of picking the best person for the state.

"If that were the case, I think he would have given more consideration to Jerry Nadler," the House Democrat from Manhattan, said Klein, who blogs at Down With Tyranny! Instead, Paterson "picked someone who think is second- or third-rate, looking for some balance, who would help him in own reelection."

Paterson is up for reelection in 2010, when Gillibrand's interim Senate term will also end.

Jane Hamsher, founder of the liberal blog Firedoglake and another Blue America member, noted that Gillibrand won the PAC's endorsement despite a running with "pretty conservative frame" because "we felt her heart was in the right place."

Hamsher, however, has hopes she'll be more responsive to the left in the Senate than she was in the House.

"She took some votes that I didn't like but I hope, like many do, that she'll move to a more progressive position now that she's not tied to her district," she said.

In addition to her opposition to gun control measures, Gillibrand backed an illegal immigration bill sponsored by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), a Blue Dog who has harshly criticized the influx of illegal aliens. The bill won some support from Republicans but was greeted with ambivalence by Democratic leaders.

Hamsher said that Gillibrand will have incentive to move to her left to avoid possible primary challenges by more liberal New York Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Carolyn Maloney.

Daily Kos blogger Arjun Jaikumar believes he saw an auspicious sign for liberals in Gillibrand's decision to support of gay marriage rights, announced on the eve of her Senate appointment.

"If she does tack to the left in the Senate, I think she's got a terrific future," said Jaikumar, noting that she's young at the age of 42, has won praise from both Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and has run two strong House campaigns already.

"So if she can consolidate support in her own state party -- and become the kind of Democrat New Yorkers are accustomed to sending to the Senate -- I think her political talent can take her a long way," he said.

Gillibrand Backs Gay Marriage

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) came out in support of gay marriage rights just hours before she was announced as her state's next U.S. senator.

Gillibrand, who will leave the House for the upper chamber, announced her support to the Empire State Pride Agenda, which released a statement Friday praising Gillibrand's position.

"After talking to Kirsten Gillibrand, I am very happy to say that New York is poised to have its first U.S. Senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples," said Alan Van Capelle, the group's executive director. "She also supports the full repeal of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, repeal of Don