Joe Donnelly

The Urgency Of The Democratic Party Taking Back The House Of Representatives, And State Governorships And Legislatures In 2018

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic front runner in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia (Atlanta suburbs), fell just short of the 50 percent needed to win that seat in the House of Representatives, and avoid a runoff.

Now he will face Republican Karen Handel on June 20, and it will be more difficult to gain the seat, a traditionally GOP district in the past 38 years since Newt Gingrich won the seat in 1979, followed up by Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, who vacated the seat to become part of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

One can be assured massive amounts of money will be spent on both sides of this race, which, if Ossoff wins, would be a major blow to Donald Trump and his agenda.

The 24 point swing in Kansas’s special election for the House, and now the 10 point swing in Georgia, in the first round, are signs that the Democrats COULD regain the majority in the House of Representatives in 2018, after eight years in the “wilderness”.

It is simply a sign of the reality that the Democratic Party, at a low point, having lost so many seats in both houses of Congress in the Barack Obama era, along with governorships and state legislatures, have the urgency to work very hard to start their revival.

The average number of seats gained by the “out” party in the midterm elections is 23 in the House of Representatives, and right now, the Democrats need 24 seats to regain control, so it is within potential gains that one might expect.

The US Senate will be nearly impossible to win seats, however, as only 8 Republicans are up for reelection in 2018, as against 25 Democrats.

Looking at the GOP held seats, the only possible gains, and not easily, might be Jeff Flake’s seat in Arizona, and Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada. The only other possible hope would be if somehow Ted Cruz could be unseated in Texas, but that is highly unlikely. So at this point, the most that could be expected is a 50-50 tie in the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence able to use his vote in a tied Senate.

One must realize that while many of the 25 Democratic seats are seen as safe, a large number are not so, including Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania. Note that Heitkamp, Manchin, and Donnelly tried to protect their flank by voting for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but McCaskill, Tester, Nelson and Casey did not do so.

But beyond Congress, it is urgent that state governorships be gained, as well as control of more state legislatures, all in planning for the next census of 2020 and the redistricting of House seats and state legislative seats that will come after 2020, with the evil reality of gerrymandering affecting the next decade.

The US Senate Becomes More Ideological Than Ever!

The US Senate used to be a legislative body with moderate and even liberal Republicans, and moderate and conservative Democrats, allowing for a “crossing of the aisle”, and the creation of coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to promote legislation.

The recent Senate elections further destroyed any such “crossing of the aisle”, and insured more deadlock and gridlock, as moderate Democrats were defeated, and the most moderate Republican Senate nominee was defeated.

I am referring to the defeat of Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and the pending likely defeat of Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, on the Democratic side, and the defeat of Scott Brown of New Hampshire, who was often called the most moderate Republican.

When one looks at the new 2015 Senate, who is really “Moderate”?

On the Democratic side, we could say Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and the almost defeated Mark Warner of Virginia, who shocked everyone, including himself, by his almost loss to Ed Gillespie.

On the Republican side, the list of “Moderates” would include Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Some readers might be shocked to see McCain and Flake included on this list, but in comparison to the rest of the GOP, they are, often, somewhat moderate and reasonable, although not reliably so.

This is a sad state of affairs, and not likely to change anytime soon!

The Courage Of Pro NRA Senators Who Voted For The Universal Background Checks Bill

Attention has been paid to those Pro NRA Senators who refused to support the Universal Background Checks bill, and who now have suffered drops in public opinion polls in their states, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, Nevada Senator Dean Heller, and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Not as much attention has been paid to the Senators of both parties who did not let their basically Pro NRA viewpoints stand in the way of common sense and reality.

These include:

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana
Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Senator Jon Tester of Montana
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

And shame on Democratic Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Nick Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Max Baucus of Montana for voting against the Universal Background Checks, and a salute to Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mark Kirk of Illinois, who joined Pat Toomey in support of the legislation!

The US Senate Changes At Accelerated Pace, But With Little Hope Of BiPartisanship!

The US Senate, often called the greatest deliberative body in the world, is rapidly changing, as we will see at least 15 new members being sworn in on January 3 or shortly thereafter,

This is due to the retirement of eleven Senators; the primary defeat of one; the upcoming resignation of two; and the death of one.

Eleven of these 15 Senators will be Democrats, including Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Angus King of Maine, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and the appointed replacements for John Kerry in Massachusetts who is resigning to become Secretary of State, and for Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who died in office a week ago.

Four new Senators will be Republicans, including Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, by appointment after the resignation of Jim DeMint to become the head of the Heritage Foundation.

At the same time, the longest serving Senators head the committees, and their average age is higher than it has ever been, and we now know, at the least, that the oldest Senator now, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who will be 90 when he comes up for reelection in 2014, is not yet ready to say he will retire, even in the face of a potential challenge in the Democratic primary from Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

So the Senate, seen as a barrier to progress by many, is becoming more divided, by age, ideology, and party, making the likelihood of “crossing the aisle” far less likely in the near future! Bipartisanship is NOT thriving!

Final Projection On Presidential Race: Obama-Biden 332 Electoral Votes, Romney-Ryan 206 Electoral Votes

This author has spent a lot of time and effort in studying, analyzing, evaluating the Presidential Election contest of 2012, and is now ready to project the final result.

Barack Obama has been long predicted to win at least 237 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 191 electoral votes, with nine states in play as “swing” or “battleground” states, all of which Obama won in 2008.

The prediction that the author wishes to make is that Obama will win ALL of the nine competitive states, except North Carolina, giving him 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206 electoral votes!

So Obama will win New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Colorado, with a total of 95 electoral votes, added to the 237, making the final total of 332 electoral votes.

Romney, by winning the 15 electoral votes of North Carolina, will go from 191 to 206 in the final total of electoral votes.

It also means that Obama will have won every state he won in 2008, except Indiana and North Carolina, and a total of 26 states and the District of Columbia. Romney will win 24 states.

Also, expect that the popular vote will be close in North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, Georgia, and Montana, with Romney winning, but with hints that Democrats will have a grand opportunity to win those states in 2016 and beyond, with the growing Hispanic-Latino vote. The first hint will be the likely victories for the Senate of Democrats Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, and Richard Carmona in Arizona.

Additionally, Obama should win about 52 percent of the vote to 47 percent of the vote for Romney, with Gary Johnson and other third party candidates winning slightly more than one percent of the total vote.

This means Obama will have won by a slightly smaller percentage of the popular vote and fewer electoral votes, but with the factor of reapportionment of seats due to the Census of 2010 changing downward many of the Frost Belt states which support Barack Obama, plus the loss of North Carolina and Indiana from 2008.

Still, overall, a very impressive performance can be expected!

Comments on this projection of the results are welcome!

Urgent To Defeat “Tea Party” Republicans Running For Senate—Akin, Mourdock, Fischer

There are three “Tea Party” type Republicans running for Senate seats in the Midwest, who are facing tough fights by Democratic opponents, and the hope is that all three of these irresponsible Republican nominees are defeated.

The three are:

Congressman Todd Akin, challenging incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, challenging Congressman Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

State Senator Deb Fischer, challenging former Senator Bob Kerrey in Nebraska.

Akin, Mourdock, and Fischer represent extremism that would create more conflict and confrontation in the US Senate. And Akin and Mourdock have made outrageous statements about rape, angering any decent person who cares about women’s rights.

McCaskill has been a courageous Senator, and Kerrey was once a Presidential candidate twenty years ago, who now has been endorsed by his former Republican Senate colleague, Chuck Hagel, a true example of crossing the aisle. Both Kerrey and Hagel were outstanding US senators, and once could wish that both were still in the Senate, but now there is an opportunity to return Kerrey to the Senate.

Donnelly is a responsible moderate Democratic Congressman, who would be a great improvement over Mourdock although neither would fully replace retiring Republican Senator Richard Lugar, defeated by Mourdock in the Indiana Senatorial primary this past spring.

These are certainly key Senatorial races to watch on Tuesday night!

Five Republican Senate Seats In Danger Of Being Won By Democrats In 2012

The usual political line is that the Democrats are in danger of losing control of the Senate, with 23 Democratic or Independent seats up for election in 2012, as compared to only 10 Republican seats.

But actually, five of the ten GOP Senate seats are in play, with Republicans on the defensive!

This includes:

Maine—where retiring Senator Olympia Snowe seems likely to be replaced by Independent Angus King, former Governor of the state, thought to be likely to caucus with the Democrats if he wins, based on greater agreement with Democratic principles.

Massachusetts—where Senator Scott Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in 2010, is behind in many polls to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, in a state so strongly Democratic that Brown’s victory in 2010 was seen as an outlier.

Indiana—where retiring Senator Richard Lugar may be replaced by Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly , because the GOP nominee, Richard Mourdock, has been labeled a Tea Party extremist, unwilling to work across the aisle with Democrats.

Nevada—where appointed Senator Dean Heller is having a rough race against long term Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.

Arizona—where Senator Jon Kyl is retiring, but the Republican nominee, Jeff Flake, is facing a surprisingly tough battle against Democrat Richard Carmona. former Surgeon General of the United States. Carmona has a distinguished law enforcement and medical career, and is seen as having a really good chance to replace Kyl, and being Hispanic (Puerto Rican) in Arizona is certainly a positive, as well as his biography.

If one had to put betting money on these five races, it would be a good bet that Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona will go Democratic in Senate races, with Indiana and Nevada tougher races.

That would mean a three seat gain for the Democrats, making it much tougher for Republicans to become a majority, as then they would need at least six to seven Democratic held seats out of 12 seats seen as in play, with 11 others of the total 23 seats seen as NOT in play!

An analysis of Democratic seats in contention will follow in the coming days!

The Imminent Loss Of A True Statesman From The US Senate: Richard Lugar Of Indiana

With 24 hours to go, it seems imminent that Indiana Senator Richard Lugar is about to lose his Republican primary for a seventh term to a Tea Party right wing extremist.

If this happens, as expected, it will be a true tragedy not only for Lugar, but also for Indiana, and for the wish for bipartisanship and principle in the US Senate.

Lugar has been in the Senate for 36 years, after serving as Mayor of Indianapolis, and while he is a strong conservative, he has never resorted to reckless statements or crazy viewpoints, always keeping his dignity and image as a person willing to cross the aisle and work with opposition Democrats.

The fact that he cooperated with a new Senator, Barack Obama, in 2005-2006, on working to avoid the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons on a world wide basis, now is being held against him.

The fact that he has occasionally supported the President on a few issues, not many, was enough to make people angry in his right wing Republican state.

The National Rifle Association is against him; Lugar has supported the DREAM Act on immigration; and he supported the two Supreme Court nominees of Barack Obama.

Lugar was twice Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and twice Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and if the Republicans won the Senate in 2012 and Lugar won, he would be Senate President Pro Tempore, third in line of succession to be President of the United States.

Of course, Lugar’s age, 80, could be used against him, but he is a very vigorous, energetic 80, and is seen by many as a brilliant statesman in his major area of interest, foreign policy.

But the GOP of 2012 is sadly controlled too much by the Tea Party and other right wingers, and the only good thing that might come out of a defeat of Richard Lugar is the takeover of the seat by a Democrat, Congressman Joe Donnelly, which would give his party a chance at keeping the Senate majority, a much endangered majority!