Thursday, January 26, 2006

Garden State Hates Lautenberg

Our Senior U.S Senator, Frank R. Lautenberg, has the second lowest approval rating in the U.S Senate at 40%. His disapproval rating is 2nd highest, giving him a net job approval rating of - 4%.

What has Lautenberg done to gain this sort of negative attention? Nothing. He and Corzine delivered a bunch of transportation pork last summer, and he even introduced an amendment to deliver extra highway funds to states without universal helmet laws.

One thing is for sure: if Lautenberg doesn't impress you with his record then he won't sway you with his speaking skills. He goes off on tangeants and never seems to get to the point.

At the other end of the political spectrum is a man who bested Lautenberg's disapproval rating: Conrad Burns. 51% of the Montana population disapproves of Burn's job in the Senate. Unfortunately Jack Abramoff can't bail him out this time.

How Will Chafee Vote?

Chafee, the liberal Republican from Rhode Island, appears to be the only realistic opponent of the Alito confirmation within the Republican caucus. Although the senator has not come out against the nominee, his views on judicial issues such as abortion, civil rights, and criminal defendents are much more closely aligned with Democrats opposed to Alito than Republicans in favor. Nevertheless, Chafee has yet to vote against any of Bush's major nominees, including court and cabinet positions.

However, Chafee is not only up against tough Democrats this upcoming election. His competition in the primary appears to be just as stiff. Voting NO could give him a better chance in the general election, but he might face mutiny from his party this spring.

GOP Has Votes for Cloture

Sens. Feinstein (CA), Landrieu (LA), and Salazar (CO) have come out against a filibuster of the Alito confirmation. Although they haven't specified whether or not they will support the judge, they have now essentially ensured that a Democratic filibuster, lead by John Kerry, will be short lived.

Update: Senator Joe Lieberman will vote in favor of a filibuster.

Pirro Lowers Standards...and Fails

Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney would lose miserably in an election for the attorney generalship in New York. Her Democratic challenger, Andrew Cuomo, leads her 45% to 34%.

Pirro was not pushed out of the race against Hillary because Hillary is unbeatable. She couldn't speak, laughed at funerals, and had a corrupt husband.

Byrd and Johnson Support Alito

Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) came out in support of Alito's confirmation today.

Byrd and Johnson, both moderate Democrats in red states, have good reason to vote for the nominee. Byrd, who is up for reelection this year in the increasingly red state of West Virginia, has little care for the court battles that worry other Democrats, such as civil rights and abortion. Although Byrd has evolved with the national Democratic Party's stance on such issues, he unlikely cares deeply about them.

Johnson, who has been a reliable vote in the Democratic caucus, is harder to understand. He is not up for reelection this year and it's hard to see how the Alito confirmation will be a big issue two and a half years from now.

Meanwhile, the New York Times came out in favor of a filibuster of the Alito vote.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kean Takes Solid Lead Over Menendez

State Senator Tom Kean Jr. (we're not supposed to refer to him as "Jr" anymore) now has a solid lead over Senator Robert Menendez, a new Rasmussen poll reports.

42% to 35%? That's a pretty low showing for a U.S Senator, even if he's only been in office a few days. It seems that one mistake the Menendez team might have made is the lack of P.R surrounding his appointment to the Senate by Corzine. He made few public speaking appearences, and when he did, he made little point of what he planned to do in office. Most of the stories about him concentrated on his background (son of immigrants, always wanted to be a Senator blah blah blah..).

Menendez hasn't yet convinced the voters that he's more than a party hack.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Menendez Losing Lead

Senator Bob Menendez, finishing up Jon Corzine's term, is going to be in a closely contested election this fall with Tom Kean Jr., the son of the former govenor of New Jersey. This election will likely come right down to the wire with an event right around election time causing undecided voters to go one way or the other.

I think that this race is not going to end well for democrats. Menendez, a shady politician at best, has not impressed potential voters in this battle ground state. Tom Kean Jr. on the other hand, has and will benefit greatly from the name of his father in older voters of the state who remember the good days of New Jersey before all the corruption and scandals. Kean Jr. will likely cash in on a lot of independent voters who are swayed because of the name recgonition, something the democrats cannot afford to happen. Come November, look for Tom Kean Jr. to be Senator Tom Kean Jr.

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