Campaign News I Noticed On TPM Election Central
• Another swing district Republican is calling it quits:
Congressman Jerry Weller (R-IL) will reportedly announce tomorrow that he is not seeking re-election.
President Bush carried his district with 53% in 2004, and Weller was re-elected with 55% in 2006. With those non-landslide margins in a district that simply was not targeted, we might just see the Democrats trying for a pick-up in a possible wave election next year.
As a side note, Weller is married to the daughter of the former dictator of Guatemala? Wow. We have a good shot to pick up this seat.
• The Republicans in the Senate finally bagged a decent candidate, but it's to replace a retiring member. Mike Johans, the current Secretary of Agriculture, resigned from the cabinet to run in Nebraska to replace Chuck Hagel. If Bob Kerrey runs on the Democratic side, this could set up a match between a former governor and a former Senator, and would become a top-tier race. But what's interesting is that Johanns is so personally ambitious that he would resign in the middle of negotiations on the farm bill, which only happens once every five years and is the most important bit of agricultural policy there is.
“For the secretary to walk away in the middle of a farm bill borders on irresponsible,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. His remarks were echoed by Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
I would imagine that farm policy is kind of important to Nebraskans too.
• There's a new poll out in North Carolina which shows Elizabeth Dole under 50% in a hypothetical matchup against state legislator Grier Martin - and then LOSING to Martin after some biographical information is put forth. I do think NC is trending blue. As long as we don't run two-time loser and terrible candidate Erskine Bowles, I think we can take out Liddy.
• Now here's something that's not from TPM. The Ted Stevens saga has hit WaPo:
A construction worker who oversaw renovation of Sen. Ted Stevens's home said his company also paid him to help run fundraisers for the Alaska Republican, a practice that appears to violate federal campaign finance laws.
Contractor Robert Williams is a key witness in a bribery investigation that stretches from Alaska to Capitol Hill and threatens legal and political headaches for the Senate's longest-serving Republican. The FBI is investigating whether Stevens received illegal gifts from Veco Corp., a once-powerful Alaska oil contractor.
Williams said he was in charge of "special projects" for Veco founder Bill Allen, and the renovation of Stevens's home was one such project. Others included working three or four fundraisers for Stevens while on the clock with Veco. Federal election laws prohibit candidates from accepting donations or free services from corporations.
Considering that Allen has admitted to bribing Stevens' son in open court, and that there are all of these other unseemly connections, Hulk Smash Ted is probably calling every lawyer in DC right now.