Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam in tight race for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nomination

The two Virginia Democrats are well within the margin of error, and the split seems clearly to be an echo of last year’s Democratic presidential race, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll.

Democratic likely voters say Perriello’s endorsements by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), icons of the national progressive movement, carry at least as much weight as Northam’s support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe and nearly all other Virginia Democrats in Congress and the state legislature.

Forty percent of likely Democratic voters are for Perriello, while 38 percent for Northam. Perriello is a former congressman, and Northam is the state’s lieutenant governor.

The primary is on June 13th.

At the moment, “more than 2 in 10 Democratic voters are undecided or have no current preference,” which indicates a significant degree of volatility.

These one will be fun to watch.

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Roger Ailes is dead. Champion of the post-truth society and serial sexual harasser

Jeffrey Jones, the director of the Peabody Awards, said in a statement, “No single individual has done more harm to American democracy in the last generation than Roger Ailes. He ushered in the post-truth society. Through a constant drumbeat of fear, anger, and hatred, he turned citizen-on-citizen. He helped craft an enormous gulf of distrust between people and news.”

Agreed. Some people the world is just better without.

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Schumer steps up

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Morning Headlines

New York Times: Robert Mueller, former F.B.I. Director, is named special counsel for Russia investigation

Politico: Special prosecutor to complicate West Wing life

The Hill: Rosenstein to be grilled today on Trump bombshells

NBC News: Obstruction of justice: What it is and why Trump should care

CNN Politics: Trump donors closely watch the daily fracas, whether it’s Comey or Israel

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Versions: The Happenings (1966) / The Tempos (1959) / The Quotations (1962) – “See You in September”

“See You in September” was written by Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards. It was originally recorded by The Tempos out of Pittsburgh. This first version made it to No. 23 in the summer of 1959. The best known version was by The Happenings in 1966, reaching No. 3.

For no apparent reason there was also a doo-wop version by The Quotations released in 1962, which did nothing on the charts as far as I can tell, but it’s interesting in its own frenetic way.

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Democrat Phil Murphy frontrunner in NJ Governor race

Joe Biden is scheduled to be in New Jersey over the Memorial Day weekend to stump for Phil Murphy, the consensus Democratic front-runner for governor.

Gov. Christie is term-limited which is probably lucky for him as he is one of the most unpopular governors in the country.

Murphy has a double-digit lead for the Democratic nomination, although nearly half of voters are undecided this late. The frontrunner for the Republicans is Kim Guadagno, lieutenant governor under Christie. A poll done in April showed Murphy with a 47-25 percent lead in a head-to-head matchup with Guadagno.

According to

Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and ex-Goldman Sachs banking executive, is one of six Democrats for the party’s nomination. He’s leading opinion polls by double digits and has spent about $18.4 million on the race — nearly four times more than the other 10 major-party contenders combined. He has lent his campaign more than $15.1 million.

The primary is on June 6th. The general election is this November. New Jersey and Virginia are the only states to have gubernatorial elections this year.

Most handicappers see the New Jersey race as Lean or Likely Democrat. Looks like Christie has made this one pretty toxic for fellow Republicans.

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Recount possible in the SC-5th Congressional District GOP primary

Hard to believe but there is political news beyond the latest stupid, corrupt, or insane thing Donald Trump just did. With all votes counted in yesterday’s Republican primary  for the open South Carolina’s 5th District seat, it would appear we are heading for a recount.

By a margin of just 200 votes former state Rep. Ralph Norman finished ahead of state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope (50.3 to 49.7 percent).  The margin is close enough to force an automatic recount, under state law.

The winner will face Democrat Archie Parnell. According to Roll Call, “Democrats would rather face Norman, the more conservative of the two candidates who has said he’d join the House Freedom Caucus.”

[T]he primary runoff has evolved into a more typical tug-of-war between two factions of the Republican Party. While the Club for Growth stood with Norman, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed Pope.

Former Rep. Mick Mulvaney held the seat until Trump made him his budget director.

Those who rate elections seem to think this one is safely Republican.

With the current insanity in Washington perhaps something miraculous could happen for the Democrats.  They point to the fact that the losing Democratic congressional candidate in the SC-5th District in November received a higher percentage of the vote than did the Democrats in districts in Kansas and Georgia, where there have been special elections this year. Add to that Trump won the SC-5th District  by 9 points fewer than he carried Kansas’ 4th District in November. The Republicans held the Kansas seat in an April 11th special election but only by about 7 points. And the polling for the Georgia 6th District is razor thin.

Another interesting fact is that when Mick Mulvaney defeated long-serving Congressman John Spratt in 2010 he became the first Republican since Robert Smalls and the end of Reconstruction to represent the district.

And still, few are giving Democrats a chance here. Curious.

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David Gergen: “I think we’re in impeachment territory”

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Morning Headlines

New York Times: Comey memo says Trump asked him to end Flynn investigation

Politico: White House on edge: ‘We are kind of helpless’

CNN Politics: Trump vs. Comey: Who will America trust?

The Hill: Right pushes Trump to make staff, press changes

NBC News: House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz demands all FBI documents on Trump, Comey

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CNN Panel: Is Trump competent to be president? (Serious question, BTW)

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Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) won’t run for U.S. Senate, leaving Josh Mandel to face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting today that  Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi will not run for the U.S. Senate next year against Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. This likely means that Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel will try to unseat Brown in what would be the second consecutive general election between the two.

Tiberi… told The Dispatch today that he opted to retain his House seat where he would have a say in overhauling the U.S. health-care system and tax code. Tiberi is a member of the tax-writing House and Ways Means Committee.

Tiberi said that he believes he “could have been the best candidate to win a seat in November of 2018 on our side,” but was concerned about splitting his energies between his work in the House and campaigning.

Now it will be Mandel and Brown as it was in 2012. Polling between the two shows a potentially close race, with a survey released in early May putting Mandel slightly ahead but within the margin of error. Brown beat Mandel by 6 points in 2012, a good year for Democrats with Obama on the ballot. 2018 could be another good year as midterms tend to favour the party out of power, and with Trump now floundering below 40 percent approval, this could be very close.

On the other hand, Ohio is becoming an increasingly tough state for Democrats.

Wouldn’t want to handicap this one, but I also wouldn’t want to guess what kind of trouble Trump will get himself into over the next year and a half.

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Ed Gillespie on course for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Virginia

Ed Gillespie seems to be running away with the Republican nomination for Virginia governor, according to a new poll by the Washington Post-Schar School of Policy and Government.* The GOP primary is on June 13th.

Thirty-eight percent of likely Republican voters are for Gillespie, 18 percent for Prince William County supervisor Corey Stewart and 15 percent for state Sen. Frank Wagner.

About a quarter are undecided.

According to the poll Gillespie’s strength is based in great part on perceptions of his electability. He also has a significant cash advantage over his Republican rivals.

As the Washington Post notes, Gillespie is seen as the best Trump supporter of the three contenders, but that may not ultimately be good news if he makes it to the general election. Trump’s “approval rating among all Virginia residents is 36 percent, which is even lower than his national approval rating of 42 percent in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month.”

What’s more, while some 20 percent of Virginians strongly approve of President Trump’s job performance, 52 percent strongly disapprove.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former congressman Tom Perriello are contending for the Democratic nomination.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is term-limited.

The general election is on November 7, 2017, which will make it a very important indicator of how Trump is doing early in the mandate as Virginia is a swing state and the only southern state he lost.

*The Washington Post-Schar School poll was conducted by telephone May 9-14 among a random sample of 1,602 adults in Virginia, including landline and cellphone respondents, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three points. The error margin is 4.5 points among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, and seven points among the sample of 264 Republican likely primary voters.
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Quotable Quote: Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

“I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda, which is deregulations, tax reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

Commenting on Trump’s sharing of highly classified information with the Russians.

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Legal Scholar Laurence Tribe thinks Trump should be impeached. Not yet, I’d say

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NY Lt. Gov. Hochul (D) won’t challenge Chris Collins (R) in the 27th Congressional District

The 27th Congressional District of New York is in Western New York, containing most of the “eastern and southern suburbs of Buffalo, most of the southern suburbs of Rochester, as well rural areas to the east.”

Chris Collins (R) currently represents the district. In 2013 he defeated incumbent Kathy Hochul (D) when the 26th district was redistricted to the 27th. She won the 26th in a special election on May 24, 2011 to fill the seat left vacant when Republican Chris Lee resigned after it became known that he had “solicited a woman on Craigslist and emailed a shirtless photo of himself,” an action that would probably get him a Cabinet post in Trump’s administration today.

Hochul became the first Democrat to represent the the 26th in 40 years. It was a very exciting special election, as I recall.

She is currently the Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.

There had been speculation that Hochul would take another run at Collins in 2018, though that now appears not to be the case. In a story a few days ago in the New York Daily News she said that she “fully anticipates running again as Gov. Cuomo’s running mate in 2018 — despite some Democrats hoping she would challenge” Collins.

She said a few other things about Washington being dysfunctional, and wanting to accomplish things and believing New York State to be the kind of place where she can do that.

Though it appears not to be, Hochul had sent mixed signals recently when she attacked Collins for his support of TrumpCare.

The other thing to think about is that New York Governor Cuomo is widely thought to be considering a presidential bid in 2020, which could leave Hochul in a great position to succeed him.

It could also be that the NY-27th is a very red district. Collins won reelection by 35 points in 2012 and 40 points in 2016. Trump won the district by 25 points.

I think Hochul prefers her chances in Albany.

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Yes, Trump is a seven-year-old seeking approval

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Morning Headlines

The Hill: Frustration abounds in Trump White House

New York Times: Trump revealed highly classified intelligence to Russia, in break with ally, officials say

CNN Politics: Why the latest White House crisis is a really big deal

Roll Call: Trump feels ‘very strong’ about House health bill

NBC News: Marcus Hutchins ‘Saved the U.S.’ from WannaCry cyberattack on bedroom computer

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Versions: Elvis Presley (1957) / Bernard Hardison (1954) – “Too Much”

“Too Much” was a number #1  hit for Elvis.  It was written by Bernard Weinman and Lee Rosenberg.

Presley recorded the song in September 1956 and released it on January 4, 1957. He first performed it on January 6, 1957 on CBS-TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show.” As a single, Presley’s “Too Much” hit number one on both the Cashbox and Billboard sales charts and number three on the R&B chart.

“Too Much” was first recorded by Bernard Hardison with Band on Republic Records in 1954. The B-side was “Come to Me Baby.” Apparently the Hardison version did nothing sales-wise, and I can’t find much at all about Mr. Hardison himself. Can’t even find a picture.

If you are inclined, check out this link for an interesting tale of songwriting credits and associated skullduggery as well as how Presley came to record “Too Much.”

I don’t dislike the Hardison version below.

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When will Trump’s bumbling impact the support of his base (if ever)?

This will be the story of the day, at the very least, which is that Trump “revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.” This is according to a Washington Post report.

“The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia… After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage.”

The very bad joke now is that nothing sticks to this moron, but this might be in a category of its own. Either his base will choose to believe the story is “fake news” or that the impact attributed to Trump’s actions is overblown.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that it will further distance key Republicans from Trump, as the New York Times reported today is already happening.

The other impression this will leave with increasing numbers of Americans is that Trump is stupid, which will make him more unstable as he tries to address that perception.

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Alabama gubernatorial race gets one more – Rep. Mo Brooks

Rep. Mo Brooks (R) announced on Monday that he will run for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat, which Sessions vacated when Trump tapped him for Cabinet. The election is of the special variety and will take place December 12, 2017. Both party primaries are on August 15th, with a runoff if necessary slated for September 25th.

The filing deadline is May 17th so Brooks cut it awfully close.

Luther Strange, a great name for a politician, was appointed to replace Sessions and will run for the seat in his own right in December. Initially the election was to have been in November 2018 to coincide with the usual election cycle, but Gov. Kay Ivey, who replaced disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley, agreed with those who argued special elections should be held within a year of the original vacancy and moved it up.

The assumption by many is that Bentley gave Strange the governor gig as payback for advocating that the legislature slow down efforts to impeach Bentley. Having Strange run for reelection as part of the usual cycle in 2018 would presumably have made it easier for him to retain his seat as quirkier things are less likely to happen when elections are attached to the grand sweep, e.g., turnout anomalies.

Still, as incumbent, Strange will have a huge leg up.

In addition to Brooks and Strange, others running are state Rep. Ed Henry; Roy Moore, suspended Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court; and Randy Bryson, Alabama Christian Coalition president.

Democrats run for U.S. Senate too in Alabama,  but it’s kind of beside the point in a state where a man named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is a revered political figure.

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