Thursday, December 20, 2007 

Possible Ramstad Un-Retirement

Rep. Jim Ramstad flip-flopping and deciding to run for re-election is big news. His doing so would save the NRCC an enormous amount of money and likely save the seat for the GOP.

Republican leadership is leaning on Ramstad to run, but Ramstad maintains that "he has no plans to run for reelection". The implied caveat, if you read the article, is that he may do so if Congress doesn't act on his mental health parity legislation.

Needless to say, Democratic leadership should make this a top priority once they come back from their holiday recess. It doesn't seem as if Ramstad actually wants to run again; if he did, I don't think that he would have announced his retirement, and the Republicans urging him to change his mind would have prevailed later anyways. On the other hand, all the incentives he's being offered, plus the perception that he left unfinished work in Congress, could be enough to convince him to return.

Ramstad running would be a huge blow to Democrats here in Minnesota. In 2008 we have the chance for practically a clean sweep - beating Sen. Coleman would make Gov. Pawlenty & Lt. Gov. Molnau the only statewide elected officials, and taking Ramstad's seat would make the House delegation 6-2, with only the very conservative 2nd and 6th districts remaining red. As things stand right now, the state GOP and NRCC will be forced to pour resources into the 3rd CD to try to hold onto the seat, resources that cannot be spent on other races. With Rep. Walz running for his first re-election and a tough race shaping up against Sen. Coleman, keeping Republican resources spread thin will be crucial. Further, a close race in CD3 will help in turning out DFLers to vote in the presidential, senate, and local races.

Ramstad remains quite popular in his district, and if he runs his victory is practically assured, all without a significant dedication of resources from outside the district. This is in distinct contrast to Erik Paulsen, the currently leading Republican candidate, whose campaign does not seem to be gaining much steam.

Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Reid: PLEASE put mental health parity legislation on the fast track. Not only is it good policy, it's good politics too.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 

Notta Lotta

Good riddance.

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Ramstad Retirement Rumors Continuing

Jim Ramstad is still set to retire, but rumors that he will flip-flop are ramping up. Analysis later on tonight.

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Monday, December 17, 2007 

"A fatter, whiter, balder Michael Vick"

The Republicans' new wonder boy is starting to wither under the glaring spotlight of national politics. Turns out he may have tried to cover up for his son's hanging of a stray dog back in 1998.

I wonder how his Baptist values justify that.

In an abbreviated primary schedule, this is the kind of thing that may not get caught until too late. Huckabee has every ounce of the momentum in this race. He is clearly going to win Iowa, and at that point it'll be very difficult to stop him from winning the nomination. He is now a close second place nationally, despite increasing resistance from Republicans, and those trendlines aren't going away.

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel good about the Democrats' chances come November. The worst case scenario for the GOP is that Huckabee makes it through primary season before some horrific scandal is unearthed and leaves them with a politically crippled candidate for the general election. Somewhat less damaging for the GOP's chances would be for Huckabee to become bogged down in something before the primaries are over, leaving Romney and Giuliani to duke it out for the right to lose in November. It seems unlikely, however, that a fairly obscure small-state governor will make it to the end of the nomination process without facing scandal of some size; the suddenly losing campaigns are working too hard to dig up the dirt.

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