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Hi there to all the wonderful Kossacks! With the New Year settled in, and with the din of Iowa and New Hampshire engulfing us all, this writer decided to do a little searching and see what happenings are occuring outside the Presidential race. So, here's this week's Yellin Report:

Arizona-Democrats have cleared the field in AZ-1 for Paul Babbit, the brother of former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt. P. Babbitt, a former Mayor of Flagstaff and a Cococino County Supervisor, is backed by Governor Janet Napolitano and the first female Governor of the state, Rose Mofford. His website is http://www.babbittaz.com. The Republican incumbent, Rick Renzi, won unimpressively with 49% in 2002 against a scandal-plagued and little-known opponent, who dropped out a few days ago to back Babbitt. This seat is a marginal one (I think Gore carried it, but don't quote me on that), but Babbitt's name recognition and Renzi's weak hold on the district give Babbitt a great shot at winning the seat.

Also in Arizona, 2nd district Congressman Trent Franks will face a primary challenge from two Republicans. Rick Murphy, a Radio Broadcasting Executive, is the more serious one. Murphy's website doesn't list the issues, but he can't be  worse than Franks, who is one of the most conservative GOPers in the House. This is heavily GOP seat, but Randy Camacho, who lost 59-37 to Franks in 2002, is running again.

In Florida, there is talk that former Congresswoman Karen Thurman may attempt a comeback in 2004, and run for her old seat, FL-5. She lost 48-46 to Ginny Brown-Waite, after being drawn into a less favorable district than she was used to. Should Thurman run, this race will be competitive-if not, Brown-Waite will likely win in 2004 and beyond.

In Georgia, another Democrat is running for the US Senate. Gary LeShaw, a former DeKalb County Magistrate and an attorney, has announced he will run for the Democratic nomination to succeed Zell Miller. Democrats are still trying to get a top-tier challenger into the race. Among the choices are State Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond, Cookie Company CEO Michael Coles, wealthy attorney Jim Butler, and Congresswoman Denise Majette. If the Democrats cannot find a strong challenger by the April 30th deadline, then LeShaw is likely to be the nominee, and will probably lose in November.

In Illinois's Democratic Senate primary, Comptroller Dan Hynes snagged the AFL-CIO endorsement. However, State Senator Barack Obama (whose mentor was the late,great Paul Simon) won the AFCSME endorsement. The race seems to be wide open right now, although a pecking order would have Hynes and Obama at the top.

In Iowa, ex-State Senator Art Small is running for the US Senate against Chuck Grassley. Small would be a sacrificial lamb against Grassley, but SOS Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Sally Pederson are both considering bids.

In Louisiana, there is the potential of five competitive races in 2004: The Senate race and four House races (the 1st, the 3rd, the 5th and the 7th). The Senate race so far has Congressman Chris John and Congressman David Vitter running. Other Democrats considering a bid are former AG Richard Ieyoub, CEO Jim Berhnard, Jr. and State PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell. In the 1st district, a GOP-leaning one, Republicans are likely to have a crowded field-so far, five Republicans are considering bids, include Bobby Jindal (2003 Guv nominee) and Suzie Terrell (no ID required). The Democrats may have a strong challenger for the seat. Una Anderson,the VP of the Orleans Parish school system, is considering a bid. She's pro-life, but otherwise is a centrist (consider her in the mold of Kathleen Blanco).

In the Third District, it appears that Billy Tauzin may wait until January to leave the House. January 2005, that is. Tauzin is still likely to be chosen for a high-profile CEO job (I think it's the Motion Pictures industry), but he may wait until his term ends to take the job. Since the district is competitive on a national level, Democrats will have a great shot at the seat. In the 5th district, still no word on who the GOP nominee will be against Rodney Alexander. Several GOPers are in consideration-former Congressman John "Diaper Head" Cooksey is one of them. In the 7th, State Senators Willie Mount (a woman) and Don Cravins are running as Democrats to succeed John, while David Thibodeaux is running for the GOP.

In Minnesota, Teresa Daly is running against Congressman John Kline. Daly, a Burnsville City Councilwoman, kicked off her campaign on January 7th. Also, Janet Robert, who lost to Mark Kennedy 57-35 in 2002, is running again against Kennedy. Daly is thought to have a slim chance against Kline, while Robert, who ran a nasty campaign in 2002, is unlikely to win.

In Nevada, State Teacher's Union Executive Director Ken Lange may run in NV-3 against Congressman John Porter as a Democrat. Porter won easily in 2002 against a scandal-plagued Democrat (who recently was indicted on corruption charges)with 56%, but will likely get a tougher challenge this time. In the Senate race, three GOP statewide office holders are considering bids against Harry Reid-Controller Kathy Augustine, SOS Dean Heller, and State Treasurer Brian Krolicki. Rich Ziser, an anti-gay activist and conservative leader in Nevada, is the only GOPer actively running so far.

In Ohio,the filing deadline has come and gone. Suprisingly, the Ohio Democratic Party found candidates to challenge every GOP incumbent in the House, except for Steve Chabot in OH-1.  The strongest ones are Political Consultant L. Jane Mitakides in OH-3 (Mike Turner), Robin Weirauch, a Think Tank official in OH-5 (Paul Gillmor), and Ed Jerse, a State Rep. in OH-14 (where Congressman Steve LaTourette has been damaged by a messy divorce). In the Senate race, State Senator Eric Fingerhut faces a frequent candidate, Norbert Dennerll (a former councilman from Cleveland), while Senator George Voinovich faces a retired USAF officer, John Mitchell, another frequent candidate.

In Pennsylvania, three Democrats are considering a bid against Congressman Jim Greenwood. The strongest one would be Jules Mermelstein, an Upper Dublin Town Councilman and an attorney. Also considering bids are former Republican candidate Tom Ligenfelter, who drew 40% in a primary against Greenwood in 2000, and Virginia Schraeder, an attorney and 2002 State Rep. candidate. Should Mermelstein run, Greenwood might have to work for reelection a little. He drew 62% in 2002, however, so he'd likely win.

In PA-15, the Democrats are still trying to get State Senator Lisa Boscola into the race. Boscola, a popular moderate, would be a good candidate, but at this late stage faces an uphill battle against State Senator Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican (who, btw, is not a lock in the GOP primary).

Finally, watch out for Montana in 2004. Democrat Brian Schweitzer has broken all records in his gubenatorial campaign, and so far leads in the polls. Also, former Congressman Pat Williams is considering a comeback in 2004. He retired in 1996, and Rick Hill won the seat. Now occupied by Denny Rehberg, it would be a tough fight for Williams. However, he remains a popular Democrat in a GOP-leaning state, and so cannot be ruled out as a potential upset should he run.

That's this week's Yellin Report-I'm Stephen Yellin. Thanks for reading.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:40 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a fantastic report... (none)
    Thanks, Mr. Yellin.

    John Ashcroft... dinner and a bottle of wine away from getting my DNA sample.

    by theoria on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 10:47:49 PM PST

  •  Good report... (none)
    One small correction regarding the Nevada part.  Former Clark County Commissioner and District 3 Congressional Candidate Dario Herrera has not (yet) pled guilty to those charges in the so-called "G-Sting" federal corruption probe, which involved allegedly accepting cash bribes and free lapdances from a strip-club owner in return for support on key votes.  His former colleague on the Commission, however, Erin Kenny (who was the 2002 Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor) has pled guilty and became a government informant, implicating Herrera, as well Mary Kincaid-Chauncy (a Democrat and current Commission chair) as well as former Commissioner Lance Malone (a Republican).  
    •  My error. (none)
      I was under the impression that Herrera had pled guilty and was the informant, not Kenny. Thanks for the correction.
      •  Erin Kenny (none)
        Kenny is a 42 year-old mother of five young kids and despite her misdeeds, I think the feds' thinking was that making her feel the full brunt of the law would have had a tragic effect.   Interestingly, Herrera's father, a Cuban immigrant, is incarcerated in federal prison, serving a long sentence for drug trafficking.  The big question now is, will Kincaid-Chauncy file for reelection?   She seems to still be in denial about the charges she's facing and has some very strong Democratic opponents in the Commission primary.

        As for Lange, I heard he does intend to file.  Krolicki's seems to be leaning in that direction although he's feuding with the 2002 Republican District 1 candidate, LV Councilwoman Lynnette Boggs-McDonald, over Krolicki's firing of her husband from a state job.  She accused him of retaliation because of her interest in a Senate run against Reid, and racism.   My guess is that Boggs-McDonald might challenge Rep. Berkely again this year, just to keep in the limelight.  

    •  Nevada (none)
      Some other, more important corrections: Lange has not yet announced he will run and there is some speculation he won't; Krolicki and Heller are considered unlikely as of present to run for Senate.
  •  Ohio 1st District (none)
    Actually, 2002 Democratic nominee Greg Harris has filed to run again. I don't know if he has a chance, but he lives a 5-minute walk from me, and I'm gonna do all I can for him. He's an honest-to-(insert deity here) progressive, and the increased Presidential turnout might make it more interesting.

    WF

    Walk In Brain - the finest blogging in my apartment building.

    by Wes F on Sun Jan 11, 2004 at 11:05:38 PM PST

  •  Trippi of the Future (none)
    Stephen,

    I lay better than even odds that you become a sought-after campaign director.

  •  Who keeps mentioning Majette for Senate? (none)
    I've never seen it mentioned anywhere but here.  She's great, but she's as liberal as John Lewis and less established.  All indications are that she's running for re-election.

    Thurmond, at least, has suggested he might run for other seats.

  •  Renzi=Carpetbagger (none)
    Renzi is a carpetbagger.  Till he ran he lived mostly in Virginia and still does.  Since Cordova wasn't from the Cd-1 part of AZ until recently he couldn't make much of a point of it.  Babbit will be able to.  Renzi is toast.
    •  Re: AZ-8 (none)
      I agree. Cordova couldn't go negative on Renzi personally because he was such a slimeball himself. But don't under-estimate Renzi's ability to be a mudslinger in the election season. Babbitt is a good candidate, but Renzi will go down kicking and screaming in another close race.
      •  Although Cordova... (none)
        Cordova did come out of no where with his GOTV effecots in both the primary and the general (esp. on the Indian reservations).  One of the things I liked about him.  Cordova could have won but would have been vulnerable like Renzi now is.
        •  Fair Point (none)
          That's a reasonable point, Lavoisier1794. Even though I didn't care for the guy personally, Cordova at least supported policies that were consistent with my own beliefs and did do a good job of reaching out to Native Americans. I voted for him in the general, even though he seemed like toast.
    •  Cd-8 (none)
      Meant Cd-8 not Cd-1
  •  Louisiana (none)
    I know Una Anderson but haven't spoken with her for some time.  However, I want to back up Yellin and second that she will be a strong candidate.  Aside from the fact that she's an attorney who graduated from Yale, she's a no nonsense kind of person who is also amiable.  She's paid her dues on the N.O. schoolboard (no easy feat) - however, I was surprised hear that she's pro-life.  I wonder...
  •  Geez, Janet Robert again? (none)
    There's gotta be a better Democratic campaigner somewhere in the 6th District.  Has anybody heard any other names?

    Seriously, Kennedy is uninspiring, and the 6th should be competitive.  I'm sick of hearing it held up as evidence of Minnesota becoming more Republican.

  •  Tauzin (none)
    Tauzin is expected to take over the Motion Picture Association of America (the movie ratings people and movie industry lobbyist) when Jack Valenti retires.
  •  Re: The Yellin Report (none)
    Stephen, as always, an excellent analysis.

    Just a few comments about your Arizona analysis.
    It's hard to say if Gore carried AZ--8 in 2000, as the district didn't yet exist at that time. On a precient-level analysis, Bush would have carried the district very, very narrowly. But Gore carried Coconino county and the Navajo reservation, two very important parts of the district. The Democrats should do much better here this time around, especially since they have a strong candidate who won't have to face a brutal primary.

    The other Arizona race you mentioned, AZ-2,  is worth watching, but don't hold your breath. It's one of the most solidly Republican parts of the state and likely to remain in GOP hands unless Franks gets into some sort of scandal. A lot of Republicans consider him to be a nutcase, but so far, no one from the GOP establishment has been willing to challenge him because he's independently wealthy and could easily outspend them in the race. His two current primary challengers are not well-known in the Arizona Republican party.

    The situation gets even messier when one considers the Democrats in the picture. Randy Camacho is a decent guy who ran his campaign on a shoe-string last time, but unless he can do better fundraising and score some endorsements from moderate Republicans, I don't see him pulling off an upset in '04. But Arizona politics are notoriously weird, and anything is in the realm of possibility . . .

  •  Latourette is strong in D-14 (none)
    Ed Jerse has some stiff competition.  5 other dems filed for the seat too and the local AFL-CIO still back latourette.  Its an uphill battle.

    What amazes me is that Latourette is "seeing" a transportation lobbyist while he's on the transportation committee.  He was huge about attacking the morals of clinton.  Its so friggin hypocritical.

    Recently, his wife made a comment about how he used to be a good husband before he went to DC.  She was recently found insanely distraught in a local metro park.  Yet there is no scandal?!!!  WTF!?

    We need to get some national muckraker up here in lake county.  Latourette is the local lap dog for First Energy.  The company that lied to the NRC about a whole in one of its reactors.  This company was also ground zero for "The Blackout".

    Isn't that newsworthy?  Can't we get someone out here to invistigate this crap?

    - - - - - - - - - Burning rivers, snowy winters, sandy beaches... I LOVE C-TOWN!

    by Surfing Lake Erie on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:15:26 AM PST

  •  Pat Williams of Montana (none)
    If Pat decides to throw his hat into the ring, I hope folks 'round here will do all they can to help out.  He's a great and dedicated Democrat, a real asset in facing down Dems of the non-progressive variety.

    Go Pat!

  •  just remember... (none)
    Stephen,

    You do good work and you have a bright future.  But don't allow yourself to be swept up in personalities and trivia; they're only part of it.

    "Politics is not about observations or predictions.  Politics is what we create by what we do, what we hope for, and what we dare to imagine."  -Paul Wellstone

    •  just remember...??? (none)
      "But don't allow yourself to be swept up in personalities and trivia; they're only part of it."

      Seems rather a back-handed compliment, demgoon?! I re-read the post and could not see any tips of any icebergs to inspire it. What gives?

  •  Winnable Seat (none)
    CT-2 should be competitive as well, a possible steal for the Democrats.  It was a Democratic seat until 2000, and we lost the seat in part because of a controversy over whether the incumbent congressman actually lived in the district.  The Democrats will most likely run Shaun Mcnally, a former state rep with a good deal of experience, and besides that, the Conn Repubs must be a little demoralized with all of the problems with Rowland.  

    I'll show you the life of the mind! Barton Fink

    by nickonclark on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 01:40:22 PM PST

    •  Our likely candidate will be Jim Sullivan (none)
      You're right that CT-2 should be competitive.  But our likely candidate will be Jim Sullivan, a former Norwich city councilman.  He just officially announced today.  I'm not sure that McNally will have the funds or the organization to compete with Sullivan.

      "We need an eruption of hope, of determination, of participation, something hot enough to melt our frozen politics." --Bill McKibben

      by Conventional Wisdom on Mon Jan 12, 2004 at 07:20:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  AZ 1 (none)
    AZ 1 is approximately equivalent to what Dave Liep's election atlas lists as AZ 6, which Liep has Bush carrying by 10%.  The borders have changed, however.

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