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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daily Political Wire 5-19-2010

George Wenschhof

Today, President Barack Obama meets with the President of Mexico Felipe Calderon at the White House -
sure to be topics of discussion are immigration, drugs, and the economy. has more here. Tonight, a state dinner will be held at the White House.


Sestak beats Specter, Crist wins Pennsylvania special election, Paul wins in Kentucky and Halter/Lincoln to face each other in a runoff -
it was enjoyable watching the returns come in last night. had live updates on all the races.

In the Pennsylvania special election to fill the seat of deceased Representative John Murtha (D), Democrat Mark Crist won 53%-46% against Republican Tim Burns. Republican leadership wanted this win to point to changes they hope will happen nationwide in the fall elections. Fortunately, for the Democrats, that did not happen.

However, these two will not stop campaigning as they will face each other again in the November general election. You can read more here.

The win by Representative Joe Sestak over newly declared Democratic Senator Arlen Specter was one I was pulling for. Sestak won easier than expected with the final tally being 54%-46%. Sestak will be facing a tough Republican opponent in Pat Toomey in the November election.

Many of us did not like the changing of political parties by a 30 year Senator, for the sole purpose of being reelected and were also unhappy with the deal made by Democratic Party leadership to back Specter in the primary. However, Specter's vote during the remainder of this congress will be needed. Sestak will also need Specter's support in November. So let's hope an over amount of gloating does not transpire, while I must admit I am smiling as I type this paragraph.

In Arkansas, it was Democratic businessman D.C. Morrison who was the spoiler and perhaps the new kingmaker in the Democratic Senate primary. Morrison received a little over 14% of the vote forcing a runoff election between incumbent Blanche Lincoln (43%) and Lt. Governor Bill Halter (42%).

Lincoln came under fire by the far left netroots such as and Democracy for America for her conservative votes and they threw their support to Halter. Arkansas state law requires a majority vote and a runoff is necessary between the top two finishers. The runoff election will be June 8.

If Morrison throws his support to Halter, which is probable, the June 8 election will be tilted toward the Lt. Governor. However, Lincoln still receives the support of former President Bill Clinton, so expect the election to be close.

In Kentucky, it was the established Republican leadership that took the hit when Rand Paul won easily by 24 points over Trey Grayson who received the support of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republican Senator Jim Bunning, who was ushered to the retirement door by McConnell, got even by endorsing and throwing support to Rand Paul.

The NY Times has a recap here.

Oregon, which has voting by mail, did not have any surprises in their primary. For sports fans, former NBA Portland Trailblazers player Chris Dudley won the Republican primary for Governor. He will face favored and former Democratic two term Governor John Kitzhaber in the general election. has more here.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to call for vote on Financial Reform today -
it does not appear it will be easy to get the 60 votes needed to end discussion and move to a final vote. Democratic Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are upset their amendments have been tabled by Republicans and consequently are threatening not to vote for cloture. Dorgan's amendment calls for an end to trading in credit default swaps and Cantwell's amendment segregates consumer and investment banks. Liberal Democrats are also upset with Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) who has an amendment that would soften Senator Blanche Lincoln's strict provision on regulating derivatives. has more here. Stay tuned...


On the foreign policy front, U.S. in security talks with Pakistan today -
CIA director Leon Panetta and National Security Advisor General James Jones met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss strategy. Zardari needs continued U.S. support for both military and economic development. The U.S. needs Pakistan to continue to crack down on Islamic militants within their borders, especially in the Warziristan region. has more here.


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