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News from the Votemaster            

Primaries in Florida Today     Permalink

There are a number of primaries today. Let's start with Florida as there are two very hotly contested ones there. The Democratic one features Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), a black congressman who was willing to offer himself up as a sacrificial lamb at a time when everyone assumed Gov. Charlie Crist (R/I-FL) was going to win the Republican senatorial primary and then the Senate seat opening up as a result of the retirement of Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), who was appointed by Crist. When the polling got bad, Crist dropped out of the Republican primary and is running as an independent where he thought he would face former Florida house speaker Marco Rubio (R) and Meek. However, a sleazy billionaire, Jeff Greene, unexpectedly jumped into the Democratic primary and figured by spending $20 million or more of his own money on TV ads, he could buy the nomination. Initially it looked like that might work, and for a clean billionaire it might have. It worked for Meg Whitman in the California governor's race, for example. But Greene is no ordinary billionaire. He made his money by shorting mortgages--essentially hoping people would default on their mortgages and lose their homes. He also has a yacht only slightly smaller than the QE2 on which he holds parties featuring paid female "entertainers" who, well, entertain Greene's gentlemen guests, including the likes of Mike Tyson. As this stuff leaked out, Greene began to nosedive in the polls and Meek may well yet pull it off. If the nomination if worth anything remains to be seen. In reality, Meek's only hope is that some huge scandal causes Crist to crash and burn, leaving the voters a choice between the far-right Rubio and himself, but that is a longshot--unless the Republicans do something to start the scandal, for example, accusing Crist of being gay and coming up with some proof (like witnesses).

Florida has billionaires to spare, and another one, Rick Scott, is running for the Republican nomination for governor against Attorney General Bill McCollum. Here, too, at first Scott's money (almost $40 million) bought him the lead, but like Greene, he has so much baggage, he is fading fast. His problem is that he used to run a health care company, Columbia/HCA, and was caught defrauding Medicare to the tune of $100 million. This got him a fine of $1.7 billion, real money, even for a company that size. This story has been all over the news in Florida for months. So today will tell if sleazy billionaires can buy Senate nominations against generic mainstream politicians.

Primaries in Arizona Today     Permalink

Arizona is also holding its primaries today, and the one getting most of the attention is that of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is facing former six-term congressman J.D. Hayworth, a fiery tea-party favorite. McCain is clearly running scared since he has repudiated a number of long-standing moderate positions he has held for years in an attempt to show the voters that he is as far to the right as Hayworth. Fortunately for him, Hayworth is not top-tier candidate and is not likely to do as well as other tea partiers like Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado, or Sharron Angle in Nevada. Combined with the fact that McCain is far better known than the mainstream Republicans in those races, he is likely to pull this one out of the fire, but an upset is always possible as Arizona Republicans are very conservative. A lot depends on who actually votes.

In addition to the senatorial primary, there are hotly contested primaries in several congressional districts.

Primaries in Alaska Today     Permalink

Normally, an incumbent Republican senator from Alaska merely has to show up to be renominated. But these are strange times. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has a problem: Sarah Palin. Palin endorsed her tea party opponent Joe Miller and so did former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. With these heavyweight conservatives lining up for Miller, he could conceivably upset the incumbent in today's primary just like in Utah, where conservative senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) was denied renomination by an even more conservative Republican. If Murkowski wins this one, it will hurt Palin's credibility. After all, if even Alaska voters won't listen to her, who will? But if Miller wins, Palin's star will shine. The Democrats also have a primary but it hardly matters since whichever Republican gets the GOP nomination will win the general election.

Primaries in Vermont Today     Permalink

There is a contested primary in Vermont as well, for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The major candidates are Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz and state senator Doug Racine, as well as a few others. Vermont is a fairly Democratic state so the nomination is worth having. The Republican candidate is Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R-VT).

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