Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Georgia 6 Results

I hate it when I’m right.

At the very least, we made her work for it, and in last November’s election, the Republican won by over 20 points.  So there’s a storm brewing for them.

As for dumb punditry, Chris Cillizza of CNN wins for telling me that the Democrats blew an easy win.  In a district that hasn’t been won by the Democrats since the Carter administration, the fact that Jon Ossoff came within ten points was pretty damn good.  So bite me.

Bonus Track: Josh Marshall.

This is a big disappointment. But remember, by any objective measure these races show a Democratic party resurgent and a GOP on the ropes. These seats came open because they were vacated by people Trump picked for cabinet appointments. They got those picks because they came from safe seats. They are by no means a cross section of House seats. The thing to do is learn what we can from coming up just short and move on to the next fight. No one should expect any of this to be easy. If you do, bow out of civic questions and just watch movies and TV. We need people with more endurance.

Who’s next?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Signs of Life

Like blades of grass emerging from under the crusty old snowfall in spring, Democrats are showing signs of life.

This is from Newsday out on Long Island:

Democrat Christine Pellegrino defeated Conservative Tom Gargiulo on Tuesday in the 9th Assembly District special election as the progressive and union-backed candidate pulled off an upset victory for the heavily Republican seat.

“This is a thunderbolt of resistance,” said Pellegrino, who becomes the first Democrat to hold the Assembly seat. “This is for all the supporters and voters who understand a strong progressive agenda is the way forward in New York.”

With all precincts reporting, Pellegrino won 58 percent of the vote to Gargiulo’s 42 percent, according to Suffolk and Nassau boards of election results posted Tuesday night.

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party and Working Families Party had invested heavily in the seat left vacant when Assemb. Joseph Saladino was appointed Oyster Bay supervisor. President Donald Trump had won the district with 60 percent of the vote.

In Georgia where they’re holding a run-off election to Congress to replace Tom Price on June 20, Democrat Jon Ossoff is up by seven points against Republican Karen Handel.

Now, to beat the metaphor to death, there could always come another freeze that kills off the early growth, but these are the elections that really matter in winning back the House and the Senate, proving that the late Tip O’Neill’s point about all politics being local is not just true but vital.

How do you think the hard-core GOP got to where they are?  They started small: county commissions, school boards, city councils, spreading their gospel of fear and loathing, capitalizing on anecdotal local issues — welfare queens!  back-alley abortions!  gays dancing! — and by the time the national Democrats even took notice, we had Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell, and gerrymandered districts that are so safe that they elect idiots like Steve King (R-IA) who sees drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes behind the 7-11, Louis Gohmert (R-TX) casting asparagus, and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) who just acts goofy.

They’re the ones who helped hype the base for Trump and they’ll be the hardest to dislodge, but as we say at the meeting, one step at a time.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ros-Lentinen Won’t Run In 2018

This could make things interesting in my neighborhood.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first Cuban American elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year, saying it’s time to move on after more than 35 years in elected office.

“It’s been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week,” the Miami Republican told the Miami Herald in an exclusive telephone interview Sunday. “We just said, ‘It’s time to take a new step.’ ”

Her unexpected retirement marks the end of a storied career in which Ros-Lehtinen repeatedly broke political ground as a Cuban-American woman — and gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up a South Florida congressional seat in 2018.

Ros-Lehtinen, 64, was elected last November to Florida’s redrawn 27th district, a stretch of Southeast Miami-Dade County that leans so Democratic that Hillary Clinton won it over Donald Trump by 20 percentage points. It was Clinton’s biggest margin of any Republican-held seat in the country.

Ros-Lehtinen defeated Democratic challenger Scott Fuhrman, a first-time candidate, by 10 points. It was her closest reelection race in years and forced her to deplete her $3.4 million campaign account, but she said Sunday she wasn’t worried about 2018.

“There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I would not only win in this election, but I would win by a greater percentage,” Ros-Lehtinen said, adding that she would have been able to raise at least $2.5 million and win in a midterm election without a Democratic presidential candidate leading the ballot.

But she said the prospect of another two or four or more years in Congress just didn’t appeal to her anymore.

“There was no epiphany. There was no moment, nothing that has happened that I’ve said, “I’ve got to move on,’” Ros-Lehtinen said. “It was just a realization that I could keep getting elected — but it’s not about getting elected.”

Compared to the right-wing nutsery that has taken over the GOP, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is a moderate and she’s right on LGBT issues.  But as the article points out, she won re-election narrowly the last time and her district — which is also mine — is overwhelmingly Democratic; we gave Hillary Clinton the largest margin of victory in the state.  Democrats are lining up to run for the seat.

What’s also interesting is that her colleague and next-district-over represntative, Carlos Curbelo, is vulnerable as well.  If the Florida Democratic Party — or what’s left of it — can win back these two districts, that would be a good start to taking back the House.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Primary Day

It’s primary day in Florida.  Yip yah; that means the polling and the junk mail are over for a week or so.

The attention of this election will be on the governor’s race, although it’s already pretty much a study in foregone conclusions.  Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor now running as a Democrat, will beat former state senator Nan Rich because of name recognition and the notoriety and novelty of Mr. Crist being a party switcher.  He will take on the man who succeeded him, Rick Scott.

The other race that is drawing attention in the Miami area is the race for County Commission being waged between incumbent Lynda Bell and Daniella Levine Cava.  For a local race it’s been generating a lot of direct mail and negative TV ads, especially from Ms. Bell, a right-winger of the first order.

There are also the usual local issues, including one in the city of Miami as to whether or not to approve a deal that would build a 1,000 foot tower in downtown that resembles a giant nail clipper.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Read On

The campaign to save Miami-Dade County libraries worked.

In a surprise last-minute move, Miami-Dade commissioners decided in the wee hours Wednesday morning to raid rainy-day reserves to avoid laying off 169 library workers and slashing library hours in the coming budget year.

Though the action will save the jobs of employees who turned out in force to a public hearing that began Tuesday afternoon, it will create a whopping $20 million budget hole next year to fund the county’s 49 public libraries at the same level as this year.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez warned against tapping the one-time reserves, since they would not be available again to cover recurring expenses. Unless Miami-Dade overhauls the way it funds and runs the libraries between now and next year, commissioners will have to cut services or hike the property-tax rate in 12 months.

“It’s on us,” Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell said, acknowledging the burden the board agreed to take on. “It’s our responsibility.”

Libraries are more than just quiet places to read.  They are community gathering places, and for a lot of people without access to the internet, it’s their only way of getting on-line.  That may sound like a luxury, but a lot of services such as job placement, public information, and things we on the wired/wireless side take for granted are only available to them through the public libraries.  It truly is a public service.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Short Takes

Fired Up — The president spoke to the AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati yesterday and brought some campaign spirit with him.

Is there a compromise in the works on healthcare?

Three men are convicted in Britain of plotting to bomb airliners.

Today’s the day of the big education speech. Read it here.

Joe Kennedy will not run for the Senate in Massachusetts.

4-H gets the axe in the new budget for Miami-Dade County.

Tropical Update: TS Fred is spooling up in the Atlantic but won’t come near North America.

The Tigers were idle last night as they head to KC (and lead the division by 6.5 games). In other sports news, the Miami Hurricanes upset FSU in Tallahassee.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Short Takes

Tropical Update: Tropical Storm Ericka heads for the Bahamas, and Hurricane Jimena heads for Baja California.

The weather is helping the firefighters in the Los Angeles wildfire.

There are claims of nearly 24,000 forged votes in Afghanistan.

Let’s Talk: Iran is ready to discuss their nuclear future.

Cash for Clunkers helped boost auto sales in August.

Manufacturing takes a turn for the better.

The Blue Dogs still think a healthcare bill is possible, all the shouting to the contrary.

Payday: Miami-Dade Commissioner Moss handed out some pretty nice raises to his staff right after budget cuts were announced.

Proofreading: The word “negro” still showed up in a Broward County Public Schools handbook.

R.I.P. Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel.

The Tigers beat Cleveland 8-5.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Short Takes

Chrysler-Fiat deal is back on; the Supreme Court declines to hear a challenge to the sale.

Pakistan bombing — At least 11 are dead in an attack on a hotel in Peshawar.

Payback — 10 banks are ready to repay their loans to the government…with interest.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town — R. Creigh Deeds cleans Terry McAuliffe’s clock in the Democratic primary for governor in Virginia.

The first Gitmo detainee arrives in New York — and those tough “bring ’em on” Republicans are having the vapours.

The terrorists win — Dr. Tiller’s clinic in Wichita will close.

Tigers win in the tenth against Chicago.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Short Takes

The Supreme Court temporary puts a hold on the Chrysler sale to Fiat.

You can’t buy a judge any more.

New York State Assembly politics get rowdy.

The election in Iran is getting interesting.

Boston Globe workers vote against pay and benefit cuts, which could doom the paper.

She’s back…. Sarah Palin at the GOP fundraiser. (Tina Fey has job security.)

Ouch — Judge Sonia Sotomayor breaks her ankle. (Been there, done that.)

Dullsville — China requires PC’s have “anti-porn” software. (Of course, there’s porn and then there’s “porn,” such as the sites that show pictures of real democracy.)

Off and running — Florida’s CFO Alex Sink introduces herself to the state.

Gelber eyes AG office — After deciding not to run for the U.S. Senate, State Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) announces he’s running to be the state’s chief lawyer.

The Write Stuff — Author Tom Wolfe, researching a book on Miami, stopped by the newsroom of the Miami Herald.

Tigers split a double-header with Chicago.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tell-Tale Signs

Josh Marshall writes on the on-going investigation into “Troopergate” and its importance beyond Alaska’s borders…even the one with Russia.

[T]his is an opportunity to refocus our attention on something that has been lost in the nonstop coverage of Palin’s campaign trail lies and botched interviews: her record in Alaska strongly suggests she lacks the character to be trusted with high office. Though the troopergate scandal is tied narrowly to Palin’s firing of Alaska’s top cop, Walt Monegan, the heart of the story is about a private vendetta that Palin tried to settle using her new powers as the chief executive of the state of Alaska. Thwarted in doing so, all evidence suggests she fired the public official who refused to execute her plan.

Nor is it the only example. Both as mayor and governor, Palin has shown the tell-tale signs of a politician who hires cronies and fires or blackballs critics. This part of Palin’s record gets deep in the weeds. So it’s not as flashy as the boffo interviews or and irresistible as the straight-up lies she’s been caught in. But we need no closer example than the Bush administration to know that people like this are dangerous and corrosive to our public institutions.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Jim Morin in the Miami Herald on what’s really important here in Miami-Dade County (click image to embiggen):

PS: Kudos to the new website design of the Miami Herald. It’s easier to read, easier to find articles, and they’ve finally resolved the formatting issue with quotation marks (” vs. ‘ ‘). Hey, sometimes it’s the little details that matter.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Local Election Results

There was a primary election here in Miami yesterday, and one surprise.

In an election night shocker that could spell the end of embattled Superintendent Rudy Crew’s tenure in Miami, incumbent School Board member Evelyn Greer lost her seat to a retired principal whose recent offer to stay on the job for a $1 salary was rebuffed by the district.

The surprise victory by Larry Feldman could shift the balance of power on the Miami-Dade School Board.

Greer had been one of Crew’s strongest supporters on the bitterly divided nine-member board. Feldman has said in the past he would bring new leadership to the nation’s fourth-largest school district.

But Tuesday night, Feldman was more measured and said he would first enjoy his ”David and Goliath” win.

This could get interesting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fools’ Names

Fred Grimm in the Miami Herald looks at places named in honor of some unsavory people.

The rightful location for the Barry Kutun Boat Ramp would be in the bowels of the Julia Tuttle Causeway with the sex offenders.

But Miami Beach has kept its tribute to Kutun not far from the kiddie playground at Maurice Gibb Park — despite his 2007 conviction for cavorting with a 16-year-old.

The ramp not only memorializes Kutun, who had sex with the underaged girl at least eight times, but says something about the enduring reverence enjoyed hereabouts by disgraced politicians.

Maybe the only things named after non-dead politicians — or dead ones, for that matter — should be public restrooms.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ohio 5th Special Election Results

Okay, let’s get this over with quickly. From The Blade:

State Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) yesterday won by a large margin the 5th District congressional seat that he lost by 27 votes almost 20 years ago. With all precincts in the 16 counties that make up the sprawling district reporting, Mr. Latta beat Robin Weirauch of Napoleon 56.8 per cent to 42.9 percent.

I wonder when the voters of the 5th district will realize that they have just elected a Congressman who will be at the bottom of the seniority list in the minority party in the House, and likely to become even more of a minority after next year’s election?

In other words, don’t expect much from him; he won’t be able to deliver much more than platitudes.

Matt Stoller wraps it up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ohio 5th Special Election

Today is the special election in the 5th Congressional district in Ohio to fill the vacant seat left by the death of Paul Gillmor back in September. It pits Republican Bob Latta against Democrat Robin Weirauch, and the race has drawn a lot of attention outside of Perrysburg, Bowling Green, and the rest of the largely rural district that stretches from the Indiana line in the northwest corner of the state to the heartland of central Ohio.

Turnout is expected to be 20 to 25 percent. A similar special election in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District in August, 2005, drew about 25 percent.

Although the district’s boundaries have been adjusted over the years, it is considered solidly Republican. President Bush received 61 percent of the district’s vote during his 2004 re-election bid.

Giving Democrats reason for hope, 5th District voters last year went for Democrats Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown, helping them win as governor and U.S. senator, respectively.

It’s also caused both parties to spend a lot of money.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent $243,745 in the effort to pry the seat out of Republican hands; the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $427,998 to keep it, reports filed yesterday said.

Needless to say, it would be a huge upset if Ms. Weirauch wins, and the GOTV effort will be the key, but as the Toledo Blade noted, “strange things happen in light turnouts.”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It Could Happen

I’ve been slightly remiss in not giving more coverage to the special election coming up in the Ohio 5th district on Tuesday. This is for the Congressional seat vacated by the death of Paul Gillmor, and the contenders are Bob Latta for the Republicans and Robin Weirauch for the Democrats.

To catch you up: Mr. Latta, son of the former Congressman Del Latta (who held the seat during the Nixon administration and sat on the House Judiciary Committee that impeached him), won a very hotly contested primary election in November. He now faces Ms. Weirauch, who has run twice for the office, losing to the late Mr. Gillmor in 2004 and 2006.

Heretofore the state and national parties have paid scant attention to this district. It is a large, predominantly rural district that has been reliably Republican for generations (its last Democratic representative left office in 1939), so the GOP has felt that it is safe. The Democrats have also written it off for this reason as well, and in Ms. Weirauch’s previous two runs, neither the state nor the national Democratic machines gave her much help other than the usual lip service.

But now things are different. Ohio has a Democratic governor, Ted Strickland, and he has been actively campaigning for Robin. The DNC has even stepped in to help…and stepped in it, too, by running attack ads that tie Latta to Tom Noe and Coingate. (The reaction of the Weirauch backers has been along the lines of “stop helping us like that.”) And now there is word that union help is on the way to get out the vote for Robin.

The union help can’t be overlooked. While labor unions may have lost some of their clout nationally over the last few decades, they are still a strong presence in places like northwestern Ohio and in cities like Toledo, which is still a Democratic stronghold. The Ohio 5th district abuts the 9th, which includes Toledo and runs east along the shore of Lake Erie to the western suburbs of Cleveland. It has been a Democratic district, with one brief two-year interruption in the early 1980’s, for over fifty years. Its current representative is Marcy Kaptur, who has been a vocal union supporter in Congress, and now she is strongly behind Robin’s campaign, knowing that another Democrat in the House from her part of the state will be good for the unions since a lot of the members who work in the 9th live in the 5th, and it will be good for the Democrats in Ohio who are beginning to flex some muscle after the debacle of the disgraced Taft administration and the languishing economy in rural districts.

The Republicans are going through the motions of backing Mr. Latta, but their heart doesn’t seem to be in it. While the Latta campaign goes forth, the national party and its big guns are not pouring a lot of effort into it. This weekend House Minority Leader John Boehner is passing up a chance to campaign for Mr. Latta, sending instead former Congressman Rob Portman, who also served as the White House OMB director. That’s a little like getting Carrot Top when you were hoping for Jay Leno. The Latta campaign is putting the best face on this:

Latta spokesman Matt Parker confirmed that Boehner is not scheduled to campaign in the district before the election – and he has not campaigned with Latta since he won the party’s nomination on Nov. 6.

“Bob Latta’s campaigning on his own merits. He’s campaigning his own way because he wants to go to Washington to do his own thing,” Parker said. “He has his own agenda. He doesn’t have to have John Boehner by his side.”

Boehner is, however, campaigning at a rally with the Republican nominee in a Virginia special election this weekend, aiding state Del. Rob Wittman in a less-contested race.

That sounds to me like a typical brave front from a campaign that knows that even if the district has been historically a lock, they also know that the district went for the Democrats in the governor and senate race in 2006.

It could be that this may be the moment for Robin. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Greer-ing Up?

I got a call from a polling organization that led me to believe that Evelyn Langlieb Greer, the former mayor of Pinecrest (an upscale Miami suburb) and current member of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board, is laying the groundwork for a run for Congress in Florida’s 18th district against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican incumbent.

Greer’s name has been mentioned as a potential candidate, but this is the first I’ve heard of an actual effort to find out whether the voters in the 18th district, which consists of most of the southern suburbs of Miami and all of the Florida Keys, would be open to her running for the seat. I told the pollster that I would be very interested in seeing anybody run against a Republican in the district.

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen has been a huge water-carrier for the Bush administration on everything from the war in Iraq to voting against SCHIP, and she stands squarely with the dwindling number of los historicos in Little Havana who flip out whenever Fidel Castro and the embargo is mentioned. But she is also a supporter of gay rights, including supporting gays in the military and voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment. According to Wikipedia, she has also been a supporter of, and received campaign contributions from, the Church of Scientology. (Does that mean that Tom Cruise will show up at her campaign rallies?)

My guess is that the poll call I got last night was from the Greer people testing the waters. It will be interesting to see if she ends up running; she might give Ros-Lehtinen a run for her considerable money. The district, which used to be held by the late Claude Pepper, went for Bush by 54% in 2004, but Greer has made a name for herself in local politics and on the school board.

Stay tuned.