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The House Republican Train Wreck

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  McCarthy's Got Troubles
      •  Oh, Look, It's a Unicorn!
      •  There Is No Republican Party
      •  Newsom Owns His COVID Mistakes...
      •  ...However, He Also Owns a $21,000 Bottle of Wine
      •  He's Baaaaaaack

McCarthy's Got Troubles

We are getting close to the time when Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) must somehow pay the piper. He secured his current post, and held onto it, with several displays of political jiu-jitsu that we didn't know he had in him. But by the end of the month, the government needs to be funded. If not, it will shut down and Republicans will likely get the blame. Given that McCarthy needs the votes of Freedom Caucusers who think that would be a fine and dandy outcome, if the Speaker is going to extract himself from the mess he's in, he's going to need to show some moves that would put Bruce Lee to shame.

Before we get to the actual news from yesterday, let's lay out the various things that McCarthy is dealing with as he plots his chess (checkers?) moves:

  • The Budget Situation: In a little over 2 weeks, the government will have no budget in place, and will no longer be able to spend money (other than that paying for essential things, and for things that are funded with instruments other than the annual budget—such as, for example, the salaries of the members of Congress). McCarthy can pursue the usual course, which is a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps funding level and kicks the can down the road to December or so. Alternatively, he can also try to pass a complete budget proposal for FY 2023-24. The latter option really only exists in theory, however, like a perfect vacuum or absolute zero temperatures. In the real world, there's no way a budget gets hammered out by September 30, what with all the cat herding that needs to be done.

  • The White House: The Biden administration is perfectly happy to sign off on a CR, since the President knows full well how this works. There hasn't been a budget in place on October 1 since 1998, and since Biden's career in politics began, it's only happened four times in total.

    That said, Biden is also a wily operator. In addition to the overall budget, the White House has put forward a supplemental spending bill that gives the far-right something they say they want ($4 billion for border security), along with something that many members in both parties want ($16 billion in disaster relief), along with something that the Biden administration wants ($24 billion for Ukraine). Merely bringing this bill to the floor of the House might threaten McCarthy's speakership, so he's not going to do it. That means the primary effect of the proposal will be to highlight and exacerbate the fissures in the House Republican Conference.

  • The Senate: The members of the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, also understand how things work, and are also (largely) on board with the usual CR. This week, they will begin discussion of $280 billion in funding to keep the government operating through the end of the year. Republican leadership, starting with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has made clear that if McCarthy wants to pursue a different course, it's up to him to come up with a bill and get it through the House, because Senate Republicans aren't going to help.

  • House Democrats: House Democrats are also OK with the CR. The more interesting question is why there has been no movement by McCarthy to try to get some moderate Democratic votes for budget matters (and for other things, like him keeping his speakership). It is true that if the Democrats give McCarthy the votes needed to nullify the Freedom Caucusers, they are going to be in an excellent position to demand lots of juicy concessions. That undoubtedly grinds the Speaker's gears, but the real question should be: Are the concessions the Democrats would want really more odious and politically problematic than the ones the Freedom Caucusers want?

    Maybe McCarthy has tried to reach across the aisle, and has been rebuffed (if true, that would represent a change of course from May, when the blue team was more than willing to play ball). Or maybe he's so scared of someone finding out that he tried an olive branch, he just doesn't want to take the risk. Or maybe he's so fully internalized the notion that Democrats are evil socialists, he's not willing to make the seemingly obvious move when it comes to neutering the Freedom Caucusers. Undoubtedly, there will one day be a great book written about all of this, and then we'll finally know what the deal was.

  • The Freedom Caucus: And here we hit the real roadblock. Whether it is a CR or it is the actual budget, the Freedom Caucusers want all kinds of things that are probably not going to be OK with the correct number of House Republicans (i.e., 220 of them), are not going to get through the Senate, and are certainly not going to get Biden's signature. For example, several of them want to gut funding for the Dept. of Justice. Nearly all of them want to dramatically cut spending from current levels. Some of them want to "solve" the "border crisis" while at the same time slashing funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

    The problem is that the sword of Damocles that normally hangs over recalcitrant factions like this, namely a shutdown, doesn't bother the FCers. Not only are they not concerned about a shutdown, most of them say (probably truthfully) that they welcome it, and they are sure that Biden will get the blame. That's not what history says, but the FCers are not exactly studious types. In addition, if the FCers are displeased—say, by negotiations for a bipartisan CR—they are more than willing to invoke their negotiated right to try to vacate the chair. If the FCers and the Democrats all vote to eject McCarthy, then he'd lose his gavel.

In short, it's a mess, and one in which McCarthy is clearly not willing to pursue the obvious solution, namely reaching across the aisle.

And that brings us to the actual news from yesterday. All the signs pointed in this direction, and now it's come to pass: The Speaker announced that he was initiating a formal impeachment inquiry targeting Biden. He wants the relevant committees to take a long look at Hunter Biden, the DoJ, the border and whatever else they can think of.

Let us now consider some of the problems with impeaching Biden:

  • There's No "There" There: The Biden family has been under a microscope, one wielded by a U.S. Attorney, for five years, and there has been nothing found that links the President to any illegal behavior. That is not likely to change.

  • No House Vote: Back in 2019, McCarthy took to the platform then known as Twitter to declare: "Speaker Pelosi can't decide on impeachment unilaterally. It requires a full vote of the House of Representatives." He has now changed his tune, showing that he's learned at least a little something from Mitch McConnell about one set of rules for Republicans and a different set for Democrats. That said, the important thing here is not that the Speaker is a hypocrite (although many Democrats did not hesitate to point that out yesterday). The important thing is that McCarthy would have brought it up for a vote if he knew he had 220 Republicans. And if he doesn't have 220 votes to merely consider an impeachment, he surely doesn't have 220 votes to actually impeach Biden.

  • DOJ Policy: Back in 2020, the Department of Justice adopted, as its official policy, a document that declares that impeachment investigations are only valid if they are approved by the entire House. We all know why the Trump-era DoJ adopted that position; it's the same reason McCarthy adopted that position. But while McCarthy is free to pretend that he never said what he said, the DoJ policy is still on the books, and is still binding until AG Merrick Garland decides otherwise. That means that, courtesy of Donald Trump & Co., the various executive agencies (DoJ, IRS, HHS) are free to ignore any impeachment-related requests from House Committees, because according to Trump-White-House-approved executive branch policy, the impeachment inquiry is not valid.

  • The Senate GOP Wants No Part of It: Not only is the executive branch not going to lift a finger to help McCarthy & Co., the Senate GOP isn't either. They don't believe the evidence is there, and what they are concerned with is the budget. When Mitch McConnell was asked about the subject, he said that "impeachment ought to be rare" and "is not good for our country," and "I don't think Speaker McCarthy needs any advice from the Senate on how to run the House." Translation: You're on your own, you little pi**ant.

  • Trump Wants It Badly: In contrast to Senate Republicans, Donald Trump does not care one bit about the budget, but he cares very much about getting Biden impeached. And he is busy lobbying friendly House members to make it happen. They will not give this up easily, since they do not want to displease the Dear Leader.

Bringing it all together, here's what it boils down to: In an effort to placate the Freedom Caucus, and to get them to back a CR, McCarthy backed the impeachment inquiry the FCers so badly wanted. However, the inquiry isn't going to go anywhere, and certainly isn't going to lead the House to pass an impeachment resolution. Meanwhile, it's also not going to placate the FCers. They insist on getting 100% of what they want, and will not be happy with anything less. Indeed, just about an hour after McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) took to the floor to talk about how it might be time to talk about removing the Speaker from his post.

We haven't the faintest idea how this all ends. But the odds that McCarthy is still speaker by the time Christmas rolls around are, what, 50/50 at best?

Oh, and another little detail. If Gaetz brings up a motion to vacate the chair, all the Democrats and the FCers will vote for it. Presto! Empty chair. But the House needs a speaker. Remember last time the chair was technically vacant, say, Jan. 3, 2023? It took the better part of a week and 15 rounds of voting to fill it. Would it be easier this time around? Is there anybody that 218 Republicans could support for House speaker (other than maybe Donald Trump)? If it took a couple of weeks for the House Republicans to elect a compromise speaker with the help of Democratic votes (say, a moderate, noncontroversial Republican), then Democrats would campaign in 2024 on a platform of "The Republicans are crazy and can't govern. Vote a straight Democratic ticket to flush them all down the toilet." Yes, McCarthy made a deal in January, but he should have read Faust before doing so. It has some useful lessons. (Z)

Oh, Look, It's a Unicorn!

We dumped on The Washington Post yesterday, and now we're doing it again today. If you're reading, Mr. Bezos, you might want to skip this item.

Apropos to the previous item, reader D.C. in Portland, OR, brought to our attention the latest column from one of the Post's resident right wingers, namely Henry Olsen. Some of those resident right wingers, like Hugh Hewitt and Marc Thiessen, are just not worth reading because all they pump out is propaganda. Olsen sometimes comes up with something interesting, but... not this week. Like D.C., we are mystified that he thought he was saying something worthwhile in this piece.

Olsen begins with the observation that Kevin McCarthy has a real mess on his hands with this whole budget thing. OK, fair enough. And the proposed solution is that the Speaker should realize that not all Republicans want the same things, and that he should therefore try to find a middle ground between the various GOP factions that is agreeable to everyone. That is really Olsen's "sage" advice. See for yourself:

Fortunately, there is a better approach, but it requires accepting that the Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, is essentially a collection of ideologically diverse factions that would be different parties elsewhere. Engaging in the fiction that there is only one party encourages the type of regular blowups and breakdowns in governing that continue to make the United States look ungovernable to the rest of the world.

Instead, Republican leaders should broker a comprehensive governing agenda with all party factions, treating each as though they were separate parties. Regarding fiscal matters, this deal could take one of two approaches: The politically easier way would set tolerable spending levels that would likely be higher than the Freedom Caucus wants but also much lower than what Democrats desire. House Republicans would then present this as their best and final offer and dare Democrats and the Senate to fight them. This would tilt toward moderates on substance but toward conservatives in style.

The other approach would involve pushing fiscal limits similar to what the House GOP is trying to pass now, but with the tacit understanding that it wouldn't fly. The agreement would also establish a detailed approach to the subsequent negotiations with the White House and Senate, giving the Freedom Caucus substantial involvement—but not veto power—in discussions.

Olsen is living in fantasy land here. We suspect he wrote this op-ed after riding his unicorn-driven pumpkin carriage to a meeting with the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and perhaps inhaling a bit too much fairy dust.

We presume the two main problems here are obvious, but just in case, we'll lay them out. First, does Olsen really imagine that McCarthy and his various lieutenants have not already tried to find a middle ground satisfactory to all members of the House Republican Conference? The Speaker has never impressed us as a particularly skilled politician, but he's not a rank amateur, either. All he does, for most of his days in Washington, is try to find middle ground acceptable to his entire conference.

As to the second problem, we are reminded of a quote from Q. Not the conspiracy theorist, but the near-omnipotent Star Trek character. When the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters a scary new adversary called the Borg for the first time, Q advises: "The Borg are the ultimate user. They're unlike any threat your Federation has ever faced. They're not interested in political conquest, wealth, or power as you know it." The specifics don't quite line up when this observation is applied to the Freedom Caucus, but the general point does: They are playing a different game by different rules than everyone else, and to pretend otherwise is foolhardy. Negotiating with the FCers is pointless, because their philosophy is: "We get everything we want, or we take our ball and go home."

We've been sitting on the Olsen piece for several days now, trying to figure out how he could produce such drivel. We can only come up with two answers. The first possibility is that he has drunk so much of the Kool Aid, he honestly still sees the Freedom Caucusers as reasonable people who can be dealt with rationally. The second is that he doesn't actually believe that, and he's gaslighting the readers of the Post, in hopes that he can get the readers to believe. If readers have some better explanation, we'd be happy to hear it. (Z)

There Is No Republican Party

Now that you've had a dumb take from a conservative about the modern Republican Party, how about a more reasonable take from a conservative? There is little doubt that former federal judge J. Michael Luttig is staunchly conservative. There is also little doubt that he despises Donald Trump and Trumpism. Recently, Luttig sat for an interview and opined: "American democracy simply cannot function without two equally healthy and equally strong political parties. So today, in my view, there is no Republican Party to counter the Democratic Party in the country. And for that reason, American democracy is in grave peril."

Luttig's assessment is based on policy and principles. That is to say, he thinks (rightly) that a political party is supposed to be a vessel by which disparate interest groups are unified in support of a reasonably cohesive policy agenda. Since the modern Republican Party has virtually no substantive policy goals, it's not a party in the customary sense. Hence the conclusion that there is no Republican Party.

About a month ago, we wrote an item in which we said much the same thing as Luttig, observing that the Republican party has largely become a party without principles. In support of that, we listed the 25 most important Republicans in the country, in our view, along with notes about the undemocratic, unprincipled behavior from most of them. The only two principled folks to make our Top 25 were Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH). We welcomed comments from readers, and we thought we would take this opportunity to run down some of those.

To start with, numerous Republican (or formerly Republican) readers wrote in to agree with us (and Luttig):

  • C.S. in Philadelphia, PA: As a Never Trump Republican, I have gone over several replies in my head. My first was to do something snarky by looking up the definition of slime, which is "any substance of a dirty nature, that is moist, soft, and adhesive," only to realize your description sticks.

    I then reflected on Sununu's endorsement of Senatorial candidate and election denier Don Bolduc because of the (R) next to his name.

    I then looked more at the list. You chose to exclude out-of-office former Governors (Larry Hogan and Asa Hutchinson) but included Never-a-Governor Kari Lake. Perhaps former Governor Chris Christie should have been included, as he is now one of the few to so publicly and loudly target his former patron. And for all of Mitch McConnell's warts, he is still better than any other senator (other than Romney) on the list... which is sad.

    Okay, what has happened to my party is depressing me.

  • C.T.P. in Lancaster, PA: As a "Reagan Republican" who had no problem voting for President Obama, and President Biden (I found them both to be well-balanced in their political philosophies), I describe the "Republican Party" politicians as "con-artists, grifters, money-grubs, and thieves." But one word a relative used recently, to describe a photo she saw of someone online, works best of all: "Seedy."

  • J.D. in Breckenridge, CO: Overall, I feel your point holds that it is a challenge to name many important Republicans who have not enabled or looked the other way at undemocratic behavior (for the record, I voted for Bush 41 twice). I've stared at the lists of governors, senators and other luminaries. People like Jim Baker and Dick Cheney are too detached at this point and I don't know how to think about Bush 43 in this exercise. If you did this for Democrats, you might have both Barack and Michele Obama on that list and maybe one of the Clintons. Just an observation.

It would seem we are on to something.

There were also numerous readers who wrote in to point out we did not define our parameters properly:

  • B.G. in Kalamazoo, MI: I realize that you're not the only ones using "election denial" to cover a whole host of, well, betrayals of the country, but there is a distinction between "telling lies about who won/lost an election" and "taking active, verifiable steps to try and overturn the results of an election." I suspect you're using the same term for both, which means someone could read the first entry on your list and think that Kari Lake merely lied about losing the Arizona election, when in fact she tried, and is still trying, to steal it.

  • J.T. in Marietta, GA: I think the problem with your question about the "25 most important Republicans" is the definition of "important." For example, in no way is Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) an "important" Republican, if you ask me. She's famous, yes—but famous for being loud and extreme. She's not influential. Same for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and several others. And you reject the suggestion of Larry Hogan because he's a "medium-state former governor," and yet you include Kristi Noem, who—while a current governor—presides over a small state with no influence. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)—the Republican Senate whip—is left out, but Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is included? I feel like this list is more about "famous" Republicans than "important" Republicans.

    So maybe this question should be approached in another way? Or refined somehow?

  • T.M. in New York City, NY: I don't disagree with your overall premise about the fundamentals of the Republicans nowadays, but I feel like something is off with your list. I think it boils down to the definition of "importance." Had you said "Republicans most likely to make headlines," I would have exactly one qualm with your reasoning—including a medium-to-large-state former gubernatorial candidate who never held office while excluding medium-state former governors (one of whom is a current presidential candidate, however quixotic that may be). But if "importance" means actual governance, I would expect to see a few more governors or senators on the list, and fewer Freedom Caucus folks.

We should indeed have done a better job. We intended to include a paragraph in that piece in which we explained that because so much of modern Republican politicking is purely performative, we assigned high ranks to the most skilled performers.

There were also, of course, many suggestions for additions to the list:

  • E.B. in Denver, CO: I've been thinking since the original question to try and list five Republicans who could save the party from blanket slimeballery, but just kept coming up short, on the grounds that reasonable people just aren't welcome in the party any longer, at least in positions of Top 25 importance. The best I could do, beyond Mittens, was Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Murkowski, I believe, makes the Top 25 because in a closely divided Senate, she is a vote that could potentially affect the course of legislation. Collins less so since she is more reliably party-line, but maybe she gets an "honorable mention." As much as I can't stand the guy, Chris Christie probably should be in the discussion, too. He got off the Trump bandwagon early on, which should count for something, and if he can play spoiler (he probably can't) that would put him in the Top 25.

  • S.Y. in Skokie, IL: Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger. Both are out of office but they have scruples, and a sense of decency. I don't agree with Kinzinger's positions on the Second Amendment, but I would seriously consider voting for him if he runs for the Senate in Illinois (and the Senate majority wasn't at stake).

  • W.V. in Andover, MN: I would have to suggest replacing two of these three—Noem, Sununu or Lake—and replacing them with Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who seem to be driving the Republican legal agenda, with a touch of ethical impropriety, from the nation's highest Court. Frankly I'd put them in at 16 and 17, then re-order the remainder of the list.

  • K.C. in Augusta, ME: Susan Collins and the rest of us Mainers are very concerned you feel Kari Lake and Matt Gaetz are more important Republicans than someone in the middle of a fifth senatorial term.

  • S.B. in Berkshire, England, UK: I do think that some "emeritus" names need to appear as well. My short list: (1) Newt Gingrich, (2) Lee Atwater and (3) Ken Starr.

  • J.S. in Bellevue, WA: I'm in the difficult position of agreeing with your list, but also thinking there's at least one person missing: Rep Jim Comer (R-KY) and his parade of tragically underwhelming whistleblowers and eyewitnesses (when he can find them). I just don't know where you might add him to the list. In any event, it's still a race to the bottom.

    Also, I laughed at your "Example of Undemocratic Behavior" for Greene. Her abuses of House procedures have been very gross.

  • A.M. in Miami, FL: I'd suggest Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) deserves a place on the list, since he was a key player during the Jan. 6 coup attempt, and apologist, but I'm not sure who he would supplant from your list.

  • M.H. in Carlisle, KY: You left out Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and James Comer; both are big time Trump apologists and care nothing about their constituents.

We are irritated with ourselves that we forgot to add the Supreme Court justices to the list. We will point out, however, that Ken Starr and Lee Atwater are dead. If we're allowed to pick from the Ouija Board set, then surely St. Ronnie of Reagan is the first to make the cut.

And, finally, one last word:

  • J.R. in Grand Rapids, MI: This exercise reminds me of Lot pleading with God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; he got it down to finding five good men would be enough to avoid the destruction. He lost.

Maybe next week, we'll do a list of the Top 25 Democrats. (Z)

Newsom Owns His COVID Mistakes...

This weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) sat for an interview that we think was very interesting, given his obvious intent to run for president in 2028 (or 2024, if unusual things happen). It was with Meet the Press, and the primary subject was the Governor's management of the COVID pandemic.

In short, Newsom conceded that mistakes were made. But in contrast to the original utterer of that statement, namely Richard Nixon, the Governor really meant what he was saying and was willing to expand on the point. "I think we would've done everything differently," he remarked. "I think all of us in terms of our collective wisdom, we've evolved. We didn't know what we didn't know. We're experts in hindsight. We're all geniuses now." He also acknowledged that much of the criticism of his decision-making is on target and well deserved (though he largely avoided going into specifics as to things he could have done differently). If you want to watch for yourself, the full interview (approx. 40 minutes) is here.

We would suggest there are two basic interpretations of what is going on here. The less generous is that Newsom knows he's going to take incoming fire about his COVID management, once he's under the big microscope, and he's trying to get out ahead of it. The more generous is that Newsom's a reflective fellow who's willing to accept and acknowledge criticism. In truth, we think both are probably correct. But even if you assume the less charitable position, Newsom's words are still pretty unusual for a top-tier politician. Could you ever imagine, for example, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) ever admitting to the slightest mistake? Can you imagine him ever saying "Yeah, I could have done better..."?

Being willing to be a little vulnerable like this is definitely playing with fire. A politician who fumbles—say, John Kerry—looks weak and unpresidential. On the other hand, a politician who gets it just right—Barack Obama was pretty good here, as was John F. Kennedy—can certainly win over a fair number of hearts and minds. Newsom sure looks like someone who knows how to play his hand correctly here.

When Newsom won reelection in a walk, we cautioned against reading too much into that, since Californians tend to love incumbents, and since his opponent was so mediocre. But the Governor has shown an awful lot of political skill since then, and some very impressive political instincts. He and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) both look like they will be forces to reckon with in 2028. A Newsom/Whitmer ticket 2028 anyone? (Z)

...However, He Also Owns a $21,000 Bottle of Wine

And now the other side of the coin. Gavin Newsom has many things going for him when it comes to success in politics. We note his willingness to admit fault in the item above. He's also got Donald Trump's talent for attracting media attention. At the time of this writing (Wednesday, 2:00 a.m. PT), there are no less than seven Newsom stories on Politico's front page. In addition to the one linked above, they are:

Clearly, someone at that publication is a fan of the Governor.

In any event, it's the last story on the list we'd like to take note of. Newsom's single greatest liability, at least in terms of personality/biography, is that he comes off as a bit snobbish and elitist. He naturally gives off an imperious air, and he's lived a very upper crust life for the last 20 years. Recall, for example, that he got caught dining at the ultra-posh restaurant The French Laundry during the pandemic.

Anyhow, a $21,000 bottle of wine? There is just no way to make that palatable to voters. Newsom tried, once it came up in a conversation, explaining that he bought the bottle many years ago for one-tenth that price, as if a $2,100 bottle of wine is somehow plebeian. He also said he generally partakes of affordable vintages, like Robert Mondavi Coastal Chardonnay ($10 a bottle). Hmmmm... we can't seem to find that particular bottle on The French Laundry's wine menu.

The bottom line is that, sometime in the next year or two, the $21,000 bottle of wine has gotta go. Drink it, sell it, whatever, but don't give an opening for opponents to hand out "$20K wine" pins or to bestow the nickname "The $21,000 man." And in general, Newsom will need to work on being a more accessible "man of the people." We suspect he'll be better at that than Ron DeSantis is, though Newsom should start practicing his fried Twinkie eating right now. (Z)

He's Baaaaaaack

Mark Harris (R) twice ran to represent NC-09 in the House of Representatives, in 2016 and 2018. He lost the first time. The second time, it appeared that he had won, until widespread fraud was discovered, and the election result was tossed out. In the re-run, Harris was compelled to step aside, and the seat was won by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC).

Thanks to redistricting, the seat is now NC-08. And because he wants to be state AG, Bishop has decided to step down. At the same time, there's been some indication—By George!—that being a total fraud is not disqualifying for a would-be GOP congressman. So, Harris has decided to reenter the arena, and to see if the third time is the charm.

Exactly where Harris will run is not clear. He plans to shoot for Bishop's seat, but since North Carolina's district map is likely to be redrawn, it's not certain what district will be open or what its demographics will be. As currently constituted, NC-09 is R+20, so if that was to hold (or come close to holding), then Harris would be a shoo-in if he got the nomination. Clearly he's got some political talent, though he would also face at least some opposition from an opponent saying "You don't have to worry about me snatching defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to being crooked."

If Harris does become the GOP candidate, presumably the national party won't be thrilled, and won't be supportive of his bid. The more sleazy officeholders the party has, the worse their public image is. Not that it's hurt them all that much, mind you. After all, look at the fellow who leads the party. (Z)

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