Political Roundtable: News, Opinion and Commentary

Since Martinez announced his plans to retire after the end of his term, in 2010, there has been rampant speculation about who would step into the race. Early hopes that Jeb Bush would run were dashed when the former Governor told supporters that it was not to be. So far, the only major candidate to declare is a Democrat - Congressman Kendrick Meek of Miami.

But now, it seems that national Republican leaders are apparently making an effort to convince Governor Charlie Crist to seek the seat.

From The Hill…

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) on Wednesday said efforts are ongoing to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to run for his state’s open Senate seat.

We’re going to continue to visit. It’s very early in the game, but recruitment is important and the ability to be competitive on the financial front is very important too. We’re working on both of those fronts, Cornyn told The Hill.

The Republican presidential primary for 2012 is in full swing. Sarah Palin has embarked on a coast to coast whining tour, speaking to every reporter she can corral and making accusations of media bias and mean spirited bloggers. At least one of her potential rivals isn’t having any of it. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had this to say about Palin’s performance in key interviews:

“Now I must say I did not think that either the Charlie Gibson interview or the Katie Couric interviews were unfair,” Huckabee said. “In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle, even helpful. [Palin] just … I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it. It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”

Huckabee is generally regarded as one of the smoothest talking Republicans to run for president in recent years. The contrast with Palin could not be more obvious. Palin’s fans are unlikely to take Huckabee’s comments well. Is it too early to get Huckabee some Secret Service

I think the prospect of losing 2 Congressional seats in the state will be a major factor in who decides to run.

With that in mind, a list of our Democratic Congressional leaders: Steve Driehaus (1), Charlie Wilson (6), Marcy Kaptur (9), Denis Kucinich (10), Marcia Fudge (11), Betty Sutton (13), Mary Jo Kilroy (15), John Boccieri (16), Tim Ryan (17), Zack Space (18)

begin with, I can't imagine any first term Congressmen running; good-bye Driehaus, Fudge, Kilroy, and Boccieri. That leaves you with Wilson, Kaptur, Kucinich, Sutton, Ryan, and Space.


Kaptur: Could run on a similar platform as Sherrod Brown, arguing against free trade. Her credentials/experience are unquestioned, as she's been in the House since the '82 election. She also has great appeal — a Catholic from a working class family who was a champion to honor WWII veterans with the Memorial. Her downside would be that she is perhaps in the safest of all seats, and is a high ranking member in a very important committee (Appropriations). If she has Senate ambitions, I think the time would be right for her to run. She's also 62, if she loses she could retire at the age of 64 and be happy — or she could be a U.S. Senator — not a bad gig. In the end, she might have too much to lose to run, but I think she would be an appealing figure. Verdict: I think she should, depends on her own ambitions (not necessarily a bad thing — she is a very powerful Congressional leader and may not want to give it up when she could serve the district as long as she'd like)

Kucinich: He certainly views himself worthy of the position. That said, no. No way, fairly or unfairly, he has consistently been seen as the left wing loonie in each of his past two presidential runs. I can't see himself connecting with the rest of Ohio the way that Brown and Strickland could. I'm not saying he doesn't run, but not a viable candidate. Verdict: No reason to say that he wouldn't do it, but barring a Jack Ryan-esque primary scandal by his opponent, I can not envision a Senator Kucinich.

Sutton: No. Too much to lose. Just 45 and with a good assignment. Also, the same district as Brown — which, somehow or someway, would be construed as being bad ("Don't let all them NEO liberals run our state!" ~ somewhere in Cincinnati, during a Portman for Senate rally in 2010 if he runs against Sutton). Verdict: no chance, not even a consideration.

Ryan: Has the most to lose and gain. Regardless of redistricting, he should be safe in The Valley. He just entered his 4th term in the House and I am contractually obligated to refer to him as a "Rising Star in the Democratic Party". Now, he could be a rising star in the Senate, or continue his path to stardom in the Senate. Rumor had it he was going to run in '06, but didn't b/c of his divorce. I don't buy it, but I'm not sold that he'll run. I hope he does, but he could also be a very powerful Representative 10 years from now. Verdict: Out; hope he does.

 Space/Wilson: Here's where things get interesting. My first instinct was nope, no way. But then again, the prospect of these seats being merged/modified is key. First, there is absolutely no way that these guys square off in a Democratic primary. Second, they are both conservative enough to win statewide like Strickland, which will probably be important because we already have a rather progressive Senator in Sherrod Brown. My original thoughts with Wilson were that he would serve out his seat in the House for a good long while (he's pretty safe), and eventually — in the Democratic spirit of America — pave the way for his son Jason to take over. Now factoring in the redistricting goes both ways because it's possible there districts could overlap significantly (this would be especially important if the Southern tip of Wilson's districts moves North, since he is in fact a resident of Space's district). The other side of that coin is that his son, the aforementioned Jason, is a State Senator and will no doubt have his father's interests in mind when it comes to redistricting. I'm not aware of either of their abilities when it comes to fund raising; and, although Wilson is a moderately wealthy man, he's by no means in a situation where he can bank roll a statewide election. It of course is important to point out that both men our both just starting their second term in the House. They by no means have the record that Katpur or Ryan (or Kucinich!) could run on, but I wouldn't rule one of them out. Now Space is young, but is no means in a safe district. In fact, he's in quite the Red District. It might not be a bad idea for the "Accidental Congressman" to get the hell out of that conservative area. If Democratic leadership/Obama falls out of favor with the national opinion, he could be one of the first to go. The question if your Zack Space is how comfortable do you feel tying your fortunes in with Democratic leadership? I would not feel very good. Given history, it's almost impossible to imagine him surviving in the House through the Election of 2014 (getting way ahead of myself, of course, but if Obama were to win reelection (I know, I know, he's still just President-Elect) history shows us that a President is likely to lose seats in his 6th year. If you're Zack Space wouldn't you rather run for the office with more prestige and at the same time get the hell out of a very unsafe seat? It'll take intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger and run for the Senate, but it might be in the best interest of his long-term career. Verdict: Space more likely than Wilson, but both are interesting cases.

Final Thoughts: I think Kaptur is electable, not sure if she has enough motivation to run. Don't rule out Space, I would put him as more likely to run than even Ryan.


Other thoughts… Well, I'll let others dissect our non-Congressmen.

Don't forget about Jerry Springer :-D


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