Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Liberty Ticker, 3/30/10

Welcome to the third edition of the Liberty Ticker! My trip had come up on me much faster than planned, so unfortunately the health care series was delayed. Nevertheless, I do have the first installment in that coming soon. Until then, enjoy some interesting political scoops!

BTW, today is the last day for your donations to count for the campaign finance quarter for your favorite candidates! Candidates need a strong financial showing each quarter to show they can raise the money to win. So give them some support!

STATE HOUSE

Breakthrough (Glen Bradley, R-NC State House)

Glen Bradley, Vice Chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party in North Carolina and a Ron Paul Republican, has had a breakthrough in his race. Early rumors indicate that the incumbent, Democrat Lucy Allen, may be withdrawing from the race because she has accepted an appointment from Governor Perdue in her administration. Of course, this does not mean there will not be a new Democratic opponent. However, this does change the race in two ways- 1) the Democrat will not have the established name recognition of the incumbent and 2) the state GOP may turn to help out in the race a bit more willingly. We will keep you posted on further developments with this story.

US HOUSE

Welcome endorsement (BJ Lawson, R-NC-04)
This is a bit unusual in a relatively solid Democratic seat, but it appears that Walter Jones, a Republican congressman in North Carolina, has endorsed BJ Lawson in the Republican Primary in the 4th district for incumbent David Price's seat. Jones is a bit of an iconoclast Republican himself, speaking out against foreign intervention in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, BJ Lawson is participating in a series of summits on health care reform during the beginining of this month in North Carolina, hosted by GOP physicians running for Congress in that state.

Pre-emptive Strike (Joe Tegerdine, R-MS-04)

It looks like Joe Tegerdine's primary opponent is posturing to claim the states' rights crowd in the district. State Rep. Steven Palazzo has introduced a bill re-affirming Mississippi's sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. This tactic has worked effectively for GOP politicians seeking to win elections, particularly Governor Rick Perry's fierce federalist rhetoric in Texas.

Raking it in (John Dennis, R-CA-08)

John Dennis is attempting to do the impossible: oust Nancy Pelosi from her congressional stronghold in San Francisco. Last year, she wiped out the competition that included independent anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan (17%), Republican Dana Walsh (9%) and Libertarian birther Philip Berg (2%). So it is with this backdrop Dennis has been running against Pelosi.

However, Dennis has been running a very prominent campaign. A poll (of questionable veracity from a relatively unknown firm) puts John Dennis at 22% with low name recognition. This figure is somehow hard to believe. The SF Chronicle notes that Dennis has been exploiting the health care reform package backed by Pelosi to fundraise like crazy. The article notes that around January 1st, Dennis only had $12,000. By the end of this campaign finance quarter (ending today), he is slated to have a whopping $283,000.

Alot of this is because Dennis has done the legwork to get attention. In the past six weeks, he has done over seventy radio interviews in the runup to the health care vote. In addition, he has done the traditional campaigning of knocking on doors and soliciting votes. However, his more socially liberal positions and antiwar attitude has earned him tough competition in a primary with Dana Walsh, the 2008 nominee. She had over $100,000 in the bank before January and is slated to have $1 million at the end of the quarter. With a prominent primary and tea party anger, anything could happen.

US SENATE

9/11 Never Dies (Rand Paul, R-KEN)

The spectre of 9/11 simply will not disappear from Republican politics. Trey Grayson, Rand Paul's establishment opponent for the nod to succeed Jim Bunning in the Republican primary, has released a new ad criticizing Rand on 9/11. It splices together words from Rand, his father Dr. Ron Paul, and Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The effect is to make the theory of blowback appear to be a radical idea, and in effect Rand Paul too. Rand Paul answered back with his own ad accusing Trey Grayson of being dishonest in his manipulation of Paul's position. Grayson stands by the ad, saying it is a legitimate attack on Rand Paul's position on the cause of 9/11.

On the air (Peter Schiff, R-CT)

Peter Schiff, a Republican and investment guru in the race to succeed Chris Dodd has come out with a new ad in the Connecticut Senate race. The interesting thing is that Schiff does NOT mention he is a Republican. The ad buy is $500,000 for two weeks.

Also of note, a Schiff aide has noted the candidate does plan to run in the Republican primary regardless if he has sufficient support at the state convention for his party or not. Maybe that explains the lack of an (R) in the ad...

Rocking Indiana (John Hostettler, R-IN)

John Hostettler's campaign continues to gain momentum in the race to succeed Evan Bayh in the Senate as he hosts townhalls throughout the state. His bid has apparently been bolstered by likely Democratic nominee Brad Ellsworth's yes vote on health care reform last week in reddish Indiana. A new Rasmussen poll stakes Hostettler to a 50-32 lead against Ellsworth, outperforming perceived frontrunner Dan Coats (who leads with 49-34 to Ellsworth).

The wildcards in the primary are numerous: Dan Coats, the former lobbyist, has consolidated the establishment support, Hostettler has the illegal immigration hawks consolidated (he recently received an endorsement from the minutemen and before that Tom Tancredo's PAC), and Marlin Stutzman has South Carolina Senator and arch-conservative Jim Demint's support. Hostettler and Stutzman have significant tea party support but there is also another tea partier in the race. We need a primary poll, stat!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Liberty Ticker, 3/22/10

Hi folks, welcome to our second edition of The Liberty Ticker! Note that due to my travels across the state of Texas there will be no update from Tuesday-Saturday. Today we have a scattering of analysis from races around the country. We will also start a small series on healthcare, with the first post intended to come tonight. Stay tuned!

US HOUSE

Frontrunner in a Swing District? (Ann Marie Buerkle, R-NY-25)

A big surprise in New York. It looks like there may be a Ron Paul supporter who is leading a US House race in New York. Ann Marie Buerkle is a nurse, former New York assistant Attorney General, and former Syracuse Common Councillor. She is taking on the incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei. This article claims she worked on Ron Paul's presidential campaign in 2008. In addition, she is endorsed by a prominent central New York Ron Paul Republican, David Gay (Gay now appears to be running for the state house in New York).

Buerkle is running a legimate bid. She has already been endorsed by the local Republican and Conservative Party organizations. And with Maffei's recent yes vote on health care, she may have gotten a boost in this district. The district has a slight edge in Democratic voter registration. Buerkle's biggest obstacle will probably be funding, unless she can get national attention in her bid. However, Maffei has thus far proven to be a prolific fundraiser.

Woops! (Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA and Jim Duncan, R-TN)

Chalk this one up in the "My bad!" corner. Dana Rohrabacher, John Duncan, and Tom McClintock have come out claiming the GOP now knows the Iraq War was a mistake and stated they are against the buildup in Afghanistan. Rohrabacher actually did vote for the Iraq War, while McClintock was not in office at the time. Both are considered to lean libertarian, but they have significant caveats to that label. John Duncan is probably the most consistent in the area of nonintervention.

Don't forget me! (Linda Goldthorpe, R-MI-01)
Bart Stupak recently sent shockwaves across the political world when he cut a deal with the Obama administration and voted for the health care reform package. Conservatives, angered at his perceived betrayal of the pro-life movement, have suddenly flocked to (and funded) a formerly obscure GOP opponent of Stupak named Dr. Dan Benishek. His facebook page now has over 13,000 fans, but his website is still not up.

However, Linda Goldthorpe has been in this race since the end of the 2008 election. After modifying her message a bit, she has been actively campaigning for the Republican nomination. Nevertheless, she is considered an outright Ron Paul Republican. With Benishek's recent surge in support, her attempts to secure a bid to take on Stupak could be sidelined in obscurity.

Last Man Standing (David Krikorian, D-OH-02)

David Krikorian is the last prominent Democratic candidate left against incumbent Republican Jean Schmidt, who voted for the Bush bailout in 2008. Krikorian's primary opponent, state representative Todd Book, has withdrawn from the race. Still, other opponents may enter if the opportunity seems available. A Libertarian has also filed in the race.

Krikorian ran as an independent in 2008 in the district, securing 18% of the vote on a platform of fiscal conservatism, social liberalism, and non-intervention abroad. While that number appears low, it is a quite formidable accomplishment when acting outside of the two major parties. His campaign for the Democratic nomination is an attempt to remedy that barrier to success. Krikorian recently came out in favor of the health care reform package passed yesterday.

SENATOR

A mess (Chuck Devore and Tom Campbell, R-CAL)

Many libertarian types looking into this race may be a bit confused. Tom Campbell, the former US Representative, appears to have taken stances against foreign aid to Israel and is a social moderate on issues like gay marriage. However, state assemblyman Chuck Devore, while appearing to be more fiscally conservative, is somewhat more hawkish on military matters and much more socially conservative.

Either way, Devore has been struggling to gain ground against Campbell and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina. Campbell is the clear frontrunner in the race and polls close to Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.

Helping Hands (Rand Paul, R-Kentucky)

Rand Paul is lending a hand to his fellow Republican candidates. Rand Paul spoke outside of Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth's office today. Yarmuth voted in favor of the health care reform package yesterday. Rand Paul also recently campaigned against Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler. As the frontrunner in the race, Paul appears to be making a move to position himself as a unifying candidate for the Republican Party in Kentucky.

GOVERNOR

National Endorsements (Nikki Haley, R-SC)

State Representative Nikki Haley has received the endorsement of Mitt Romney in her bid to become the next governor of South Carolina. The impact of the endorsement is unclear, as many of her competitors have also received endorsements from 2008 presidential candidates (McCain for McMaster, Fred Thompson for Barrett, and Mike Huckabee for Bauer). Each endorsee appears to have been connected to the endorsing presidential campaign. Still, it gives her race a bit of national attention. There have also been rumors of an upcoming Ron Paul endorsement.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Ticker, 3/19/10

We’re mostly hitting some of the more prominent campaigns in this first edition of The Liberty Ticker. As we move along, I’ll be profiling less well-known campaigns that still have a good shot at electoral significance. Until then, catch up with some of these campaigns.

US HOUSE

Still A Chance (Adam Kokesh, R-NM-03)

Adam Kokesh, the antiwar Republican activist, recently attained 19.5% support at the controversial New Mexico GOP endorsements convention. The vote taken here was significant, as candidates who polled 20% or more will have to gather fewer signatures to make the primary ballot than their less fortunate counterparts. However, it is likely the continued effort by the New Mexico Republican Party to keep Kokesh off the ballot is illegal, as it just so happens a Democrat had a similar situation at his party’s convention and unveiled an obscure rounding law which indicates the party must round the result UP to 20. More will come on this drama, as the Kokesh camp has until March 23rd to turn in their signatures.

In other Kokesh news, the British newspaper The Guardian has an excellent rebuttal of Michelle Malkin’s recent attempts to smear Adam Kokesh.

It’s a start! (John Anderson, L-OH-07)

Richard Winger at ballot-access news reports that John Anderson, an Ohio Libertarian, will invest $100,000 of his own money in a campaign for the US House. This is a fairly substantial sum for any House campaign, and does not include contributions from other individuals. The incumbent, Republican Steven Austria, was first elected in 2008. Anderson’s website will be coming this month.

US SENATE

Finally! (Peter Schiff, R-CT)

Investment guru Peter Schiff, famed on Youtube for predicting the economic crisis, has finally begun advertising. The campaign recently released an ad touting Schiff’s economic experience and his status as an “outsider” to Washington.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll has Schiff at 9% in the primary right now, behind WWE executive Linda McMahon with 44% and former US Representative Rob Simmons with 34%. However, Schiff also had low name recognition (the impetus for advertising), making him a wildcard in the race.

Break away(Rand Paul, R-KY)

The open seat race for Jim Bunning’s Senate seat continues to heat up. Currently, the Republicans are caught in a close primary between Rand Paul, founder of Kentucky Taxpayers United and son of US Representative Ron Paul, and Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
However, Paul’s support now appears to be surging. He leads Grayson by a 12 point margin in the most recent polling conducted on the race, and both Democrats by margins of between 6 and 9 points. The lead, reinforced by a previous SurveyUSA poll, has forced Trey Graysonto begin running a negative ad campaign and caused rumbles in the Republican establishment.

GOVERNOR

Rumbles in Georgia (Ray Mcberry, R-GA)

Ray McBerry’s campaign to be governor of Georgia hasn’t had smooth sailing lately. Accusations of misconduct with a minor, an affair with a campaign manager, and refusal to salute the American flag have been thrown at McBerry. The candidate responded to all of the criticism here (essentially, he denies the first two charges and qualifies the third, saluting the American flag). Nevertheless, this doesn’t bode well for the campaign, which recent polling pegs at 2% in the Republican primary.

PRESIDENT

It’s only just begun (Gary Johnson, R-NM)
Former Governor Gary Johnson has been testing the waters for a Republican Presidential run in 2012. He recently appeared on Bill Maher. In addition, Johnson has been touring battleground states with his Our America PAC, including Michigan and Missouri. Johnson is well-known for his outspoken opposition to the Drug War and fiscal conservatism. Most announcements of "exploring a bid for President" will be coming during summer or late next year.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How this works

There will be a comprehensive update on "liberty candidates" and major political happenings twice a week. The days will always be monday and thursday if at all possible.

In between those days, there will be random posts about things in the political world. I will try to make it daily but there are no guarantees.

Welcome to The Liberty Ticker!

Howdy folks! I am starting up this blog for two reasons.

1) There needs to be a comprehensive source to keep track of all the libertarian or Ron Paulite candidates that have recently exploded onto the political scene.

Many political updates either don't cover these candidates enough (like the Cook Poltical Report), or they have a progressive focus (Swing State Project comes to mind). That is not to say that these sites don't serve a useful function or are corrupt; instead, this is simply to offer another viewpoint and go a little bit more thorough in a particular direction.

I hope this service will allow the libertarian-leaners to prioritize who they support. This is basically a news outlet; judge what I post as you may.

NOTE: Coverage of candidates does not equal an endorsement.

2) I do have my own opinions. So I will engage in a bit of editorializing to vent my beliefs every now and then. However, the focus will be on election or political happenings in most cases.