Seven of the thirteen Western states have Senators up for election this year: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The Republicans are defending six of these seven Senate seats. Montana’s Max Baucus is the sole defending Democratic incumbent in the group, and his seat is considered safe. Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico will be open seats, and Wyoming will have both their Senators up for re-election, due to the death of Senator Craig Thomas in 2007.
Colorado and New Mexico look like the best opportunities for Democratic pick ups, and both states are considered swing states in the 2008 presidential contest. Our candidates, Mark Udall in Colorado and Tom Udall in New Mexico, are cousins from the long prominent Udall family.
The remaining campaigns are still shaping up. The contests in Alaska and Oregon could be particularly interesting. Senator Stevens (R-Bridge to Nowhere) is the poster child for pork gone wild and an opponent of transparency in government. The Iraq War puts Oregon’s Gordon Smith in a bind. He voted for the war and has been a Bush enabler. Yet he has broken with the Bush administration on the war, and hence will be at odds with Senator McCain on that issue.
In a release, the DNC points out that turnout on Super Tuesday was stunningly high throughout the West -- which bodes well for the general election.
• In Colorado, Democrats saw twice the number of caucus-goers as Republicans—119,184 to 55,845. Yesterday’s turnout was eight times higher than that of turnout from 2004 when only 15,000 participated. [Denver Post, 2/6/08]
• In Idaho, 21,224 people caucused for Democrats, far exceeding anyone’s expectations, and forcing officials to print more ballots. [AP, 2/5/08; cnn.com, 2/6/08]
• In Arizona, 368,828 people turned out for Democrats, far exceeding the record of 239,000. [cnn.com, 2/6/08]
• In New Mexico, more than 152,000 ballots were cast, far surpassing the 2004 number of 104,000 in 2004.
• And in Utah, 122,617 people came out for Democrats, far exceeding the 33,839 who participated in the 2004 primary. [cnn.com]
It's going to be a good year.
Check out the Democratic alternative, Larry LaRocco at this link.
LaRocco is the kind of plain speaking, common sense western Democrat whom America needs.
I saw this in a local Idaho paper last month.
U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco worked a sweet shift Wednesday, stacking five-pound bags of sugar onto pallets at Amalgamated Sugar Company in Nampa as part of his statewide “Working for Senate” campaign.
Beginning in June, LaRocco started taking jobs all over the state to learn what life is like for Idahoans from all walks of life…
This link goes to our Larry's Act Blue page.
I know, I'm a couple of days late and a dollar or two short, but I was out of town with no internet access (despite the hotel advertising it).
As you probably know by now, embattled Idaho Senator Larry Craig has resigned, effective September 30. Boise local, Red State Rebel, has posted an account of Craig's press conference, with links to other local blogs covering the resignation.
Sen. John Ensign told MSNBC today that it would be best if Craig resigns, MSNBC reported at 1 p.m. MDT.
Ensign's turning away from Craig is especially significant because he is chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm that raises money and develops strategy to elect Republican senators. Ensign's statement suggests that Republicans fear that a prolonged battle by Craig to keep his seat will harm other GOP candidates in 2008.
They're scared. They know Larry LaRocco is a great Democratic candidate who can win Larry Craig's seat, and this situation has become John Ensign's worst nightmare, especially with the Club for Growth trying to persuade Congressman Bill Sali (R-Way Out There) to run for the Senate seat.
The word from Washington, D.C. is that there is high-level buzz that Larry Craig will resign as soon as today.
Reporters in Washington, D.C., are hearing high-level talk that Sen. Larry Craig could resign as soon as today.
The Associated Press cites "Republican activists." News stations including CNN and Fox started reporting Thursday that national Republican leaders and White House officials were huddling to find a way to persuade Craig to step down and limit the damage his scandal could cause to the party's election hopes in 2008.
Here's to a bloody Republican primary and Larry LaRocco winning in November 2008.
Update 2: Larry Craig will resign tomorrow.
Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday. Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Amid the revelations that Idaho Senator Larry Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport men's room and subsequently pled guilty to disorderly conduct, support for the Senator to continue in his current role is eroding.
Today, Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ) have called for Craig's resignation.
The AP reports, “Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, where Craig was arrested, became the first Senate Republican to say Craig should leave office. ‘Senator Craig pled guilty to a crime involving conduct unbecoming a senator,’ he said in a statement. ‘He should resign.’”
In an interview with CNN’s John King this afternoon, McCain said he thinks Craig “should resign”:
JOHN MCCAIN: I believe that he — that he pled guilty and he had the opportunity to plead innocent. So I think he should resign.
JOHN KING: And suppose he comes back to Washington and says, “I want to serve.”
MCCAIN: That’s — that will be a decision that he will make and most importantly, the people of the state of Idaho. But my opinion is that when you plead guilty to a crime, then you shouldn’t serve. And that’s not a moral stand. That’s not a holier than thou. It’s just a factual situation. I don’t try to judge people. but in this case, it’s clear that it was disgraceful.
But Senators Coleman and McCain aren't the only ones calling for Craig's resignation. The state's largest newspaper, the Idaho Statesman has called for Craig to quit.
However, we cannot abide an elected official who didn't disclose a lewd conduct arrest until the story broke 77 days later -- a lie by omission and a violation of the public trust. We cannot believe Craig can effectively serve Idaho, under the shadow of his guilty plea on a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. We cannot afford, as a state with but four congressional representatives, to have a senator who merely provides fodder for bloggers and late-night talk show hosts.
Whether Craig is gay or not is not the issue. The issue is a Senator who was arrested for lewd conduct and pled guilty to disorderly conduct (either one is as Senator Coleman describes it "conduct unbecoming a senator"), and then hid it from his family, his colleagues, and his constituents. People demand more of public officials and Craig's conduct and intentional deceit violated the public trust and he should resign.
As for what the political landscape might look like after the fallout, mcjoan writes that the Club for Growth seems to be doing some dirty work for Congressman Bill Sali (R-Way Out There) to clear the way for him to run for an empty Senate seat should Craig he resign.
In any case, our man in this race is former Congressman Larry LaRocco and you can help end years of right-wing rule in Idaho by showing Larry some love.\
Update: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that SurveyUSA polled Idaho voters and 55% think Larry Craig should resign versus 34% who favor him staying in office.
A Washington, D.C., newspaper reported on its Web site today that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was arrested in June for lewd conduct in the restroom of a Minnesota airport.
Roll Call reported that Craig was arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom.
Much like the gay/anti-gay former mayor of Spokane, Larry Craig has made a habit of being strongly anti-gay in his legislative career.
- Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
- Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
- Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
- Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
- Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
So if you're tired of politicians who say one thing while doing another, go visit Larry LaRocco's ActBlue page and show him some love.
Update: There's a little more to the story that I didn't get from the Idaho Statesman. Kos put up a post with more of the subscription-only article from Roll Call, which shows that Larry Craig used his position as a U.S. Senator to try to
intimidate police get out of the trouble he was in. Retirement can't be far off for Senator Craig.
Larry LaRocco is running for Senate in Idaho, taking on the incumbent Senator Larry Craig, who seems to suffer from the same foot-in-mouth disease as former Montana Senator Conrad Burns.
Sen. Larry Craig told his home state constituents that fraud is as much a part of the fabric of Louisiana as it is in Iraq and that flooded sections of New Orleans should be abandoned.
"Fraud is in the culture of Iraqis. I believe that is true in the state of Louisiana as well," Craig was quoted as saying in the Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune on Thursday.
He was also quoted in the McCall (Idaho) Star News, saying "Louisiana and New Orleans are the most corrupt governments in our country, and they always have been... . A rookie cop in New Orleans, they pay him or her $17,000 starting pay and then wink and say you better make the rest of it on the street."
Here is an excellent recent video of Larry LaRocco, continuing his "Working for the Senate" series.
Here is an excellent recent video of Larry LaRocco, continuing his "Working for the Senate" series.
So if you like what you see and would like to help send Larry Craig packing for a long fishing vacation with his compadre Conrad Burns, please visit Larry LaRocco's ActBlue page and show him some love.
Idaho Congressman Bill Sali (R-Intolerant) strikes again, showing just how ignorant he really is, taking issue with cultures that are not his own. Not that this is the first time or anything.
In an interview posted online this week by the Christian news outlet American Family News Network, Sali said: "We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The principles that this country was built on, that have made it great over these centuries were Christian principles derived from Scriptures. You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike." [emphasis mine]
Looks like Bill Sali has taken a page out of his colleague Virgil Goode's playbook. I hope George Allen and Conrad Burns have trademarked their bigoted catchphrases because Bill Sali might just start using them.
Here's a little civics lesson for you Bill. Those "Christian principles derived from Scriptures" that you speak of, allow for the separation of church and state. It's called the first Amendment to the Constitution. And I thought memorized recitation of the U.S. Constitution was a litmus test for Republican Congressmen. So take your theocracy to some other country. And thanks for the imitation of Pat Robertson.
There is hope for Idaho, however. Larry Grant is running again, so go give Larry some love and let's retire ignorance from the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Idaho Statesman had an interesting oped earlier last week about a piece of environmental legislation written by easterners that has a big impact on Idaho:
As Westerners, we can fuss and foam and fret about an out-of-the-region vision of Big Wilderness; the bill's lead sponsors are Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn. But it isn't enough just to say no. It's more important, and more persuasive, to unite and say yes to workable, consensus-based wilderness bills developed close to home.
These lands are the region's backyard; that's why a 23-million-acre "solution" makes many Westerners suspicious and angry. But these lands belong to all Americans; that's why these kind of big-score bills resurface every congressional session. Westerners should view the latest version of this bills not as a threat, but instead as a call to local action.
Its obvious to see why Western Republicans can easily paint Democrats as the big evil. They're the ones who are legislating a way of life from back east, with little or no input from the people who actually live out west. But, the paper also points out a positive solution to the problem, a Western answer to intrusive eastern legislating.
Great idea, but the problem is that Idaho's uninfluential and close-minded congressional delegation is unlikely to come up with solution for the West, rather than just saying "No."
Emmett O'Connell | April 29, 2007 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)