Shelley Berkley

Congressional Members Leaving Who Will Be Missed, And Those Who Will NOT Be Missed!

As the lame duck session of the 112th Congress finishes its last weeks, one can reflect on some of the members who will not be returning, some because of defeat, and others because of retirement or resignation.

Some of these members made major contributions and will be missed, including:

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine
Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin
Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts
Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada

Among those leaving who will NOT be missed are:

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas
Congressman Allen West of Florida
Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois
Congressman Ben Quayle of Arizona

Altogether, 47 members were defeated; 35 members are retiring; and 11 members have resigned, including just today, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr, who has serious mental illness complications.

A grand total of 93 members will have left by the end of the year, which means about one out of six members in 2013 will be brand new in Congress.

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!

Women Democratic Senate Nominees Could Boost Female Senate Total In 2013

Five Democratic women are running for US Senate seats in 2012, and if they can win, it would boost the number of Democratic women in the Senate dramatically!

These candidates include:

Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, against Senator Scott Brown.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, against former Governor Tommy Thompson.

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley in Nevada, against Senator Dean Heller.

Congesswoman Mazie Hirono in Hawaii, against former Governor Linda Lingle.

Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, against Congressman Rick Berg.

All five would add to the progressive bloc in the Senate, and would be strong supporters of women’s rights, labor rights, consumer rights, civil rights, and gay rights.

And Warren and Berkley victories would add two seats to the Democratic side, at a time when the Senate only has a six seat edge, 53-47, and is losing seven incumbent Democrats who are retiring, and facing five competitive races in which Democrats are in danger of losing their seats.

The Democrats And The US Senate: Major Challenge For 2012

The Democrats face a major problem in 2012 regarding their control of the United States Senate.

With only 53 seats, including those of Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont; with 23 seats to be defended as compared to 10 for the Republicans; and with seven Democratic incumbents retiring, it will be a massive challenge to avoid losing the Senate, and also to avoid a major GOP landslide leading to their dominance over the Senate for the long term future.

Along with Senator Lieberman, the following Senators are retiring: Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Only two Republican Senators are retiring: Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona.

The other 24 seats are being defended by incumbents–8 Republicans, 15 Democrats, and Independent Bernie Sanders.

Some of the seats for the Democrats are considered “safe”, but among those worrisome are: Bill Nelson of Florida, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Maria Cantwell of Washington, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The Republicans in trouble include: Richard Lugar of Indiana, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Orrin Hatch of Utah. Ironically, it is the Tea Party Movement which threatens the nomination for another term of Lugar, Snowe, and Hatch, who otherwise would probably be cinches for reelection, but if they lost the primaries in their states, the seats could go Democratic. Brown has a tough competitor in Elizabeth Warren in an extremely heavy Democratic state, which sees many “insulted” that a Republican, admittedly moderate, took over Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Heller in Nevada has the tough Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who represents much of Las Vegas, the bulk of the population of the state, opposing him in a difficult battle.

While a major victory by either candidate for President could turn the tide for other Senate seats, it is extremely unlikely that the Republican nominee could win by enough of a landslide to take away more Democratic seats, but an Obama landslide, not out of the realm of possibility, could have a dramatic effect on the final Senate totals.

The point is that IF the Republicans won all seven Democratic seats in danger and kept all their seats, they would have 54 members of the Senate to 45 Democrats and one Independent (Sanders).

On the other hand, IF the Democrats kept all their seats and won the five contested GOP seats, the Democrats would have 58 seats including Sanders, and the Republicans would have 42 seats.

So the swing of seats from 53-47 Democratic could be as much as 58-42 Democratic or 54–46 Republican. So the range could be 12 seats, and remember that this third of the Senate would remain there for six years, so whichever party gains seats could be dominant for the long term.

Of course, in theory, every seat defended could be victorious, but also the odds that all seven retired seats for the Democrats would go Democratic is very problematical. So in actuality, IF all seven Democratic seats went to the Republicans, it could be a true disaster as then at a maximum, there could be a division of 61-39 Republican in the Senate.

On the other hand, if the five contested GOP seats went Democratic plus the two retiree seats, and everything else worked out for the Democrats, highly unlikely, then they could have a 60-40 Democratic Senate!

So therefore, the swing could be seven maximum for the Democrats from what they have now, while the GOP could gain fourteen maximum.

In either case, there would be such dominance that it would affect the Senate for many elections to come, no matter what happens in 2014 and 2016, and affect the agenda of the next President in a positive or negative way!

The US And Turkish Relations In Reference To Israel And Iran

The United States has worked to promote close relations with Turkey as a modern, moderate Islamic nation in the years since World War II.

But the Turkish government has made this difficult by its recent actions in reference to Israel and Iran!

Already condemned historically for the Armenian genocide between 1915 and 1923, and unwilling to take responsibility for that horrific mass murder, Turkey has not been understanding of how it is now harming its present public image by its actions!

So therefore, there is now action by both Democrats and Republicans to bring up the resolution about the Armenian genocide in Congress; and to condemn Turkey’s involvement in the flotilla of ships that were stopped by the Israelis from reaching the Gaza Strip recently, and reinforcing the Hamas terrorist government that controls the government and has called for the total destruction of Israel; and the Turkish backing of Iran attempting to develop nuclear weapons!

Action to back Turkey becoming part of the European Union may also be delayed or scrapped in Congress, at least if Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley has her way!

It is essential for the US to take a strong stand against Turkey and for backing of Israel, as a result of these recent controversies that Turkey has engaged in!