Gov. Rod Blagjevich (D-IL) Arrested for on Corruption Charges
Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was
arrested by the FBI
this morning on charges of trying to barter his appointment of Barack
Obama's replacement in the Senate for personal gain. According to federal
prosecutors, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as Blagojevich has
been trying to shake down organizations receiving state contracts for years.
What with the conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) on corruption charges
in October, it appears that criminal behavior of top elected officials is
definitely a bipartisan affair. The only problem here is that until
Blagojevich resigns--which is unlikely until he is actually convicted--he
has the sole power to name Obama's replacement. No matter who he chooses,
that person will be tainted. Probably the only thing he could do now to
make sure the new senator gets a clean start is to ask Obama himself to
make a suggestion and then follow it, but that is unlikely, especially
since Blagojevich has not admitted to any wrongdoing.
that Blagojevich's best choice now is to appoint a placeholder who won't
run in 2010, but it remains to be seen if Blagojevich does this.
Ted Kennedy Lobbying for his Niece, Caroline Kennedy
The NY Times
that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is lobbying Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) to
appoint his niece, Caroline Kennedy, to Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated
Senate seat. However, the late President's daughter has always avoided
the limelight and it is far from clear that she would do well in the
rough-and-tumble world of national politics. Women's groups are supporting
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for the job. Furthermore, Paterson is no doubt
aware that state attorney general Andrew Cuomo wants his job and appointing
Cuomo to the Senate would not be controversial and would get Cuomo
out of the way. Furthermore, Cuomo has already been elected to statewide
office and could probably hold the seat in 2010. Whether Kennedy could
actually win a statewide election is far less certain.
The third open senate seat is Joe Biden's seat in Delaware.
Gov. Ruth Minner (D-DE) has already
Biden's long-time aide, Ted Kaufman, to the seat. It is widely expected
that Kaufman will not run in 2010, allowing Biden's son, Beau Biden,
to compete for the open seat,
Minnesota Gives Up on the 133 Lost Ballots
The fourth Senate seat in play is the close race in Minnesota.
In one Minneapolis precinct, 133 votes have vanished, that is, the total
number of votes in the recount is 133 less than in the original count.
The precinct went heavily for Democrat Al Franken and he is complaining
loudly about the missing votes. The state has looked high and low for the
missing envelope and
can't find it
anywhere. It will be up to the
canvassing board to determine what to do.
One option is to forget the recount for this precinct and use the original
count. Franken would like that but his opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN),
will surely complain. The Minneapolis Star Tribune currently
puts Coleman's' lead at 192 votes, but there are thousands of challenged
ballots and absentee ballots yet to be dealt with.
Craig's Appeal Is Rejected by the Court of Appeals
Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested in a Minneapolis mens room in a
sex sting, has
lost his appeal
that playing footsie in a public mens room is constitutionally protected
speech. The court didn't buy this, so Craig's guilty plea cannot be
withdrawn. However, Craig is retiring so his loss in court is not
directly significant for the new Senate. However, the Republicans are
planning to attack Democrats as corrupt on the basis of Blagojevich's
arrest, so putting Craig back in the news will tend to neutralize
their case. People will think: "Both parties are immoral" even though
the two cases are not comparable.
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