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On Deck: 2022

lpetrich

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Peter DeFazio was rather eccentric, voting against every trade agreement and supporting a Constitutional amendment to balance the Federal budget.
And he opposed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill, saying it didn’t include enough money for infrastructure spending.

DeFazio often talked about battling “idiots,” as when he told a TV station in Eugene in 2011 that there was a shortage of federal money for needed dam repairs in Oregon because of “some of the idiots I’m working within Washington.”

DeFazio’s disillusionment with the political gamesmanship in D.C. has only grown since then. On Wednesday, he railed against House Republican leadership for threatening to punish 13 GOP members who voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“He is frustrated that he is spending a lot of time in committee with Republicans just complaining,” Blumenauer said. “They’re not involved in any constructive efforts. Peter’s instincts are to get things done.”

...
News of his impending retirement drew praise for DeFazio from many in his party.

“Peter DeFazio blends all the best qualities of a top-notch legislator – he’s an effective, passionate and powerful advocate who always puts the best interests of his constituents first,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement. “Thanks to Peter DeFazio, roads, bridges and transportation systems in Oregon and nationwide are stronger, last longer and are cleaner and greener.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement called DeFazio “an absolutely force for progress, whose 36 years of effective leadership in the House will leave a legacy that will benefit the Congress and Country for decades to come.”

“Our Democratic Caucus will miss a trusted voice and valued friend,” Pelosi said.
Congressman Peter DeFazio Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election | Congressman Peter DeFazio

He plans to spend his retirement in Oregon, including visiting wilderness areas that he helped to protect.
But he’s got work in mind, too: A book that will offer a dim view of the chances of salvaging democracy in the United States.

“I want to write that,” DeFazio said. “For years I gave a speech called, ‘Can American democracy survive?’ Even before Trump, it was pessimistic. The challenges are even greater now.”
 

lpetrich

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Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of transportation panel, to retire at end of his term - The Washington Post
“It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being,” DeFazio, 74, said in a statement. “This was a tough decision at a challenging time for our republic with the very pillars of our democracy under threat, but I am bolstered by the passion and principles of my colleagues in Congress and the ingenuity and determination of young Americans who are civically engaged and working for change.”
He's also the third committee head to not seek re-election next year, joining Rep. John Yarmuth D-KY, head of the House Budget Committee, and Eddie Bernice Johnson D-TX, head of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Nancy Pelosi will miss her long-time colleague. She may join him in retiring next year, and they could spend a vacation together.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said DeFazio is “an absolute force for progress, whose 36 years of effective leadership in the House will leave a legacy that will benefit the Congress and Country for decades to come.” She said the Democratic Caucus “will miss a trusted voice and valued friend.”

“Chairman DeFazio is known and respected by all as a champion of sustainable, smart and green infrastructure, whose progressive values, passion and persistence have helped rebuild America and the middle class,” Pelosi said. “His legislative successes — including expanding preservation and conservation efforts, protecting affordable health care, advancing tribal sovereignty, rebuilding our highways, ensuring aviation safety and, most recently, helping pass the historic, once-in-a-century Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Build Back Better Act — leave an outstanding legacy of progress for America’s children and future.”
Pelosi Statement on Retirement of Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio | Speaker Nancy Pelosi

He didn't get all that he wanted in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
DeFazio, for example, had wanted states hungry for billions of new highway funds to be required to first address huge outstanding maintenance needs before taking on major expansion projects. But that so-called Fix-it First provision in the transportation bill he shepherded through the House died in the Senate process.

DeFazio’s push for a fundamental shift in the infrastructure bill toward prioritizing reducing transportation emissions, the top U.S. source of greenhouse gases, was also pared back dramatically. He said he remains hopeful key provisions sought by the House will survive in the budget reconciliation bill that includes many of Biden’s climate and social policy priorities and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

...
He said when Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House, President Donald Trump’s promises on infrastructure proved hollow. “They just kicked the can down the road,” DeFazio said. Compared to that, he said, the legislation Biden signed was “truly an amazing bill,” although one limited by Washington realities.

“We do what we can do. We are hobbled by a Senate which is operating with arcane rules that basically hobble its capability to do anything meaningfully over there unless one party has a supermajority,” DeFazio said. “So the president being able to negotiate this bill with the Senate was pretty amazing to me.”

And, he added, “This isn’t the end of what we’re going to do. We are now engaged in reconciliation.”
He'll be keeping busy in his remaining 13 months in office.
 

lpetrich

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection - POLITICO
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is also not running.
Baker and Polito said in a joint statement that a reelection bid would "be a distraction" from managing the Covid-19 pandemic. "We want to focus on recovery," they said in a note to friends and supporters, "not on the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into."

A moderate Republican with enduring support among Democrats and independents, Baker was the GOP’s best hope of holding onto the governor’s office in deep-blue Massachusetts and Polito was widely seen as his heir apparent. But Baker, who eschews national politics, has been increasingly at odds with his own party as it coalesced around former President Donald Trump. Running for reelection presented plenty of obstacles, including a conservative primary challenger backed by the former president and attacks from across the political spectrum on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We both love the work," Baker said while briefing reporters Wednesday afternoon, adding, "focusing on campaigning and focusing on politics and on all the things that come with that — while certainly appropriate and necessary to anybody who chooses to run in 2022 — just seemed to us like a big step away from what we should be focused on."
CB is 65 years old and in his second term. Running again would mean an unprecedented third term.
One recent survey showed Baker with higher job approval ratings among Democrats and independents than among members of his own party. Other recent surveys from Democrat-aligned firms showed him trailing Trump-endorsed former state Rep. Geoff Diehl in a Republican primary and suggested the incumbent had a better path forward as an independent rather than continuing with his own party — though Baker repeatedly rejected the idea of deserting his party.

He said he blanked his ballot for president in 2016 and 2020 so as not to vote for Trump, and emerged as a persistent critic of the president’s handling of the pandemic. Baker also supported Trump’s second impeachment and rejected the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was rife with fraud — prompting direct attacks from Trump and the endorsement of Diehl for governor. Baker has increasingly and publicly clashed with the pro-Trump chair of his state party as well, a bitter intraparty feud that would have muddied the Republican primary waters and provided ample fodder for the Democrats next year.
CB is the kind of Republican who used to be very common, especially in heavily-Democratic areas, but his kind is steadily being pushed out by the Trumpies in the party.
 

lpetrich

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Donald Trump has become the de facto leader of the Republican Party. His endorsements for governor:
  • MA: Geoff Diehl -- Charlie Baker is retiring
  • AR: Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • AZ: Kari Lake, supporter of Trump's election-theft beliefs -- Doug Ducey is term limited, and he rejects Trump's election-theft beliefs
  • GA: (no endorsement yet, possibly fmr Sen. David Perdue) -- against Brian Kemp, for rejecting Trump's election-theft beliefs
  • ID: Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin -- against Brad Little
  • MD: (someone) -- against Larry Hogan, who has opposed Trump, and who is term-limited. LH wants Commerce Sec'y Kelly Schulz to succeed him
The Democrats have a good chance in MA and MD, and at least something of a chance in AZ and GA.

Senate Republicans quietly buck Trump in Alabama race - POLITICO - "Despite Trump’s strong support for Rep. Mo Brooks, GOP senators have donated to Katie Britt and appeared with her at events."
No senator other than her former boss, Sen. Richard Shelby, has publicly endorsed Katie Britt yet. But she is quietly getting support from at least a half-dozen of Shelby’s Republican colleagues in her bid against Donald Trump’s pick in Alabama’s open Senate race.

Five Republican senators — Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) — have donated to Britt’s campaign from their leadership PACs. None of them have done so yet for GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who Trump endorsed in April to replace the retiring Shelby (R-Ala.).

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a Trump ally who won his seat in 2020 with Trump’s backing, attended a Wednesday night D.C. fundraiser for Britt, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who served as the event’s “special guest,” according to the invitation.

“I like Katie a lot,” Graham told POLITICO on Thursday, noting he has known Britt since she worked for Shelby, and eventually became the senator’s chief of staff.
However,
I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his ‘assistant’ fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat,” Trump said in a July statement. “She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants.”

But Brooks has faltered since he entered the race, and a narrative has spread that Trump is disappointed in the Alabama congressman’s performance.
 

lpetrich

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Herschel Walker’s Long Run from Racial Controversy - POLITICO
"He has often remained silent when asked to take sides. Running for Senate in Georgia, that might not be possible."

Then on how he refused to get involved in racial issues ever since his days as a high-school athlete who lived in a town with major racial strife.
But after a lifetime of mainly steering clear of making head-on comments on matters of racial conflict, Walker only relatively recently began to more overtly engage in the political arena — and did so on behalf of a polarizing white celebrity-politician who had earned a reputation for stoking the very racial divisions Walker says he was taught and inclined to evade.
Donald Trump, and HW supported him back in 2015.
Walker’s first challenge is winning a GOP primary. Should he win, though, as expected, he will face in the general election not merely another Black man — incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock — but a Black man who is the first Black senator from Georgia, a Black man who is an heir of sorts of Martin Luther King, the senior pastor of King’s spiritual home of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Walker is a political novice — and also, by any conventional measure, an imperfect candidate, with a documented history of erratic behavior and alleged threats of violence against women that he’s partly chalked up to a rare mental health condition about which he has been eye-openingly candid. Given, though, the salience of Black voters in this state and the looming matchup with Warnock, the way Walker has engaged with race and race-related matters, and the way he has not, could be an equally or even more important facet of the coming contest, say Georgia-experienced political analysts and strategists from both parties.
The article discussed his football career, and had this:
He was, in other words, a Black athlete white fans cheered and liked — in that era, more O.J. Simpson, say, than Muhammad Ali. While Walker “kept close track” of Ali, Wrightsville mentors said in 1981, he was impressed by Simpson’s “stature” and “class.”

“Herschel Walker,” Harry Edwards, the Black sociologist and longtime advocate for activism among Black athletes, once told the Atlanta Constitution, “was in good shape in Georgia as long as he was ‘the right kind of n-----.’ It’s as simple as that. That’s something Black people recognize universally in this society. As long as he restricted himself to activities and comments about what was happening on the football field, he was OK. They were demonstrating against racial injustice in his hometown, and he couldn’t come out and make a statement about it because he was eminently concerned about being above reproach as far as his credentials relative to being ‘the right kind of n-----.’”

“Down in Georgia at that time they didn’t call you Black. They called you a n-----,” Edwards told me recently. “He was simply saying, ‘I’m not going to get involved with activism, because it’s not about Black folks, it’s not about the state of Georgia — it’s about me. And as long as they think that I’m a good n-----, I got a chance.’”
In effect, he was OK with honkies as long as he didn't seem threatening to them.
Perhaps no less important than these admissions, his past transgressions or mental health, though, is just hard electoral and demographic math. “When he stops carrying that football, he has to return to the Black community.” That’s what Hosea Williams, the civil rights activist and state rep, said back in 1980, and now, headed into 2022, Black people make up nearly a third of the registered voters in Georgia — a state in which the share of the white vote is shrinking, a state that currently has a Black man as one of its two U.S. senators, a state that came within a whisp of electing a Black woman to be governor in 2018 and will have another chance next year now that Stacey Abrams is running again.
 

lpetrich

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Book Review: Chris Christie to the Rescue? - Insider NJ - his most recent book, "Republican Rescue", shows an elephant carrying a life ring on its cover.

"As the name implies, the GOP is in danger. If not, why would it need to be rescued? The peril for Republicans is Donald Trump and the wacky conspiracy theories the former president seems to inspire." -- like his being a very sore loser about the 2020 Presidential election.

Part of the book was CC's experience with Donald Trump, like Trump offering CC a lot of jobs, but not the one that CC might have accepted: attorney general.
The anecdotes and observations Christie presents of Trump will shock no one who follows politics closely.

When a very ill Christie was fighting COVID at Morristown Medical Center, he got a call from the president.

A heartfelt wish to get well?

Not really. Christie said the president was concerned that he (Christie) would blame him (Trump) for his getting the virus.
Then about Trump getting very sore about something during debate preparation, where CC played Joe Biden.

About the Jan. 6 attacks, "Christie, who was home that day, said he tried to contact Trump four different ways in hopes of getting him to do something – anything – to stop what was happening at the Capitol. But he never reached him." Trump also ignored other Republican politicians, like Sen. Susan Collins.

The second part of the book is "Crazy Talk".
Christie is candid about the dopey conspiracy beliefs and theories that he says are hurting the Republican party, among them Q-anon, Pizzagate ( the belief Hillary Clinton and other top Dems are running a child sex operation out of a D.C. pizzeria) and, of course, the refusal of Trump and many other Republicans to accept results of the 2020 election.

In my view, this is the most controversial section of the book, simply because the problem is probably greater than Christie believes.
CC thinks that there are still a lot of sensible Republicans in the party, Republicans who dislike this lunatic-fringe theorizing. But Trump continues to poll well among Republicans, and his main competition is the likes of FL Gov Ron DeSantis.

Then, "Winning Again". CC described his successes as NJ Gov.
But there’s nothing provocative here. For all the independent thought he offers in the first two sections, the last part of the book is very much standard Republican thinking. Conservatives will like it; liberals will not.

Christie condemns “critical race theory” as something that indoctrinates students when it is mostly a college level discipline. He criticizes corporate America for now leaning left. OK. But for many, many years, it leaned right – if it leaned anyway at all.
Also defending GA's recent controversial election laws as creating opportunities, despite making voting by mail much more difficult. He also ignored the issue of climate change.

Why Chris Christie’s ‘Republican Rescue’ Isn’t Selling - YouTube
Chris Hayes: “The problem for Christie is that no matter how many times he repeats the message of his book on air—his argument for a...not explicitly authoritarian, anti-democratic version of Republicanism—there's no market for it.”
 

lpetrich

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Trump intervenes in Ohio Senate primary — for himself - POLITICO
The Ohio Senate race is turning into one of the most brutal contests of next year’s midterm elections — and former President Donald Trump is worried it could hurt him if he waged a 2024 comeback bid.

Trump last month called Club for Growth President David McIntosh to complain about a TV advertising campaign the conservative organization was running targeting Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, and asked McIntosh to take the ads down. The commercials attacked Vance by using footage of him from 2016, when he described himself as a “Never Trump guy” and called Trump an “idiot,” “noxious” and “offensive.” The message was designed to hurt Vance in a Republican primary centered on fealty toward the former president. Vance, like others in the race, has cast himself as a staunch Trump ally.

But according to three people briefed on the call, Trump told McIntosh the commercials could have the effect of driving down his popularity in Ohio, which he won by 8 percentage points in the 2020 election. Prior to the call, Trump had been stewing over the ads and had complained about them to people in his circle.

...
Trump’s intervention in the race illustrates how he views the 2022 midterm election: as a tool to bolster and measure his own political standing ahead of a potential 2024 bid. The former president has been endorsing Republican candidates across the country and using their successes to trumpet his popularity within the party. And when he believes he hasn’t gotten enough credit he’s lashed out: After Republican Glenn Youngkin’s upset win in last month’s Virginia gubernatorial race, the former president steamed that he wasn’t getting enough recognition.
Seems like Trump wants the position of President more than wanting to do anything as President.

I think that he could do well as a ceremonial President in a parliamentary republic. He wouldn't have to do much more than strut round and proclaim what a great he-man he is.
 

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Defazio has been a great dependable democrat who has delivered for the people for many years. He defeated a real Trumpian piece of shit named Alex Skarlatos. Shockingly, Alex came relatively close to beating Defazio in 2020 in Eugene, a very liberal area. I wish that people when attacking moderates, would spend as much time attacking the far right opponents that they have to face every election period.

 

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Dr. Oz announces Senate bid to his millions of followers - POLITICO - "The celebrity television doctor will run in one of the nation’s most important races."
Mehmet Oz, a Republican, will self-fund part of his campaign and is planning to “put significant resources” into the battleground state race, campaign manager Casey Contres said.

His opening ad, set to begin airing on television Friday, takes aim at the government’s response to Covid, a topic Oz has spoken about in interviews over the course of the pandemic.

“Covid has shown us that our system is broken,” Oz said in the campaign ad. “We lost too many lives, too many jobs and too many opportunities because Washington got it wrong. They took away our freedom without making us safer, and tried to kill our spirit and our dignity.”

Lowering drug prices, bringing back jobs from China and establishing a “secure border” are among the issues his campaign plans to champion, according to his website.

Oz’s campaign launch comes a week after Sean Parnell, the GOP candidate who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, suspended his Senate campaign after losing legal custody of his children. The former frontrunner’s departure from the race has scrambled the GOP primary, with Oz jumping in and other top candidates eyeing runs.
Some people are claiming that he is a carpetbagger.
One challenge that has already surfaced for Oz: Republicans are questioning whether, and for how long, he has been a resident of Pennsylvania, a famously parochial state. According to his campaign, Oz has lived in Pennsylvania since December 2020, renting a home in Bryn Athyn owned by his wife’s family. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for both medical and business school.

Oz was previously a decadeslong resident of New Jersey, where he voted in October 2020. He registered to vote in Pennsylvania soon after.
Several other Republicans are also in the race or are considering running, and also several Democrats.

The junk medicine peddler did pick the right party to run for.
 

lpetrich

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 Mehmet Oz - Mehmet Cengiz Öz - /'mehh-met 'dZen-giz öz/ - the vowel in his last name pronounced like German ö / French eu -- lips like "o", mouth interior like "e". The C is English "j": /dZ/, like the C in Cenk Uygur's name.

False and Baseless Medical Claims From Dr. Oz, GOP Senate Candidate
  1. Oz pushed hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus, even though its effects were still unproven.
  2. Oz repeatedly claimed that raspberry ketones are 'the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.'
  3. Oz has said astrological signs "may reveal a great deal about our health."
  4. Oz told viewers that green coffee extract "has scientists saying they've found the magic weight-loss cure."
  5. Oz said most countries require genetically-modified foods to have special labels.
  6. He's also said umckaloabo root extract "has been incredibly effective at relieving cold symptoms" even though it isn't.
  7. Oz recommended using lavender soap to cure leg cramps.
  8. A strawberry-and-baking-soda mixture can whiten teeth, Oz said.
He was a good heart surgeon, but that's like Ben Carson being a good neurosurgeon. The two of them ought to have stuck to surgery, because they made absolute fools of themselves in their post-surgery careers. Ben Carson saying that the pyramids of Egypt were granaries? Ben Carson's bizarre theory about the pyramids, explained - Vox That's an elementary mistake about them.
 

lpetrich

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Home - Dr. Oz for Senate -- Dr. Oz has replaced his TV-show pages with campaign pages.
Today, America’s heartbeat is in a code red in need of a defibrillator to shock it back to life.

Many of us feel like we’re in the adjacent operating room, armed with insights and already scrubbed up but reluctant to leave our quiet, serene setting for the chaos next door. But for me, stepping into the political arena is the right thing to do.

In our time of need, we want to be surrounded by people of action more than armchair intellectuals, because a great surgeon never censors ideas and never shuts off the light that shines on our wounds, which is what happened while our nation battled the pandemic.
Huh? What?
The urgency of my decision crystalized during the pandemic. At least half a million American people have died from the virus, a devastating toll for families and communities. What also hurts is that many of those deaths were preventable.
Because of the policies of his party's de facto leader, Donald Trump.

(lots of crybaby victimhood snipped)

Including sneering at "elites", the same people that right-wingers normally whine are "successful" and whine about how hard they supposedly worked.
America should have been the world leader on how to beat the pandemic. Instead, we were not. That’s not the America my parents came to. That’s not the one I grew up in. That’s not the one I want to leave behind.

In this emergency, we needed capable leaders ready to act—and we didn’t get that. The entire situation angered me. Sometimes, in medical emergencies, we will need to operate with swift and decisive action. Sometimes, we can use less invasive medications to correct course. Sometimes, we will use preventive health to stop problems from even emerging in the first place.
Like lower-face masks, like what he and his assistants would wear when they did surgery. Not willing to acknowledge that is a big hole in his campaign pitch.

In his "Issues" page, he states about how he would respond to COVID-19:
Dr. Oz is a world-class heart surgeon who holds numerous patents and has written hundreds of original peer reviewed publications. He knows the truth, the data, and the science about combatting COVID and understands how it really affects you and your family. While elites with yards tell those without yards to stay inside (where the virus was waiting) and mask up, Dr. Oz has been putting his expertise to work on behalf of us. Dr. Oz is opposed to prolonged business shutdowns, and he believes it is critical to keep our children in school because the science overwhelmingly supports it.
That's an ignorant comment. Staying indoors in one's home is a way of staying away from other people, just as the "elites" so easily do.
 

lpetrich

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On fixing healthcare, Dr. Oz states
As a doctor, Oz has seen the inside of the massive health-care industrial complex and knows how they work with lobbyists and powerful special interests to protect it. He’s bravely argued against costly drugs, even as it made him a target of drug companies. As a U.S. Senator, he’ll work to dismantle policies that lead to more expensive prescription drugs for our seniors, and he’ll expand access to private sector plans expanded by President Trump and beloved by seniors for their low costs and high quality that could be available to all Americans who want them.
In effect, Obamacare / Romneycare / Chafeecare / Heritagecare

As to bringing down the prices of prescription drugs, Kyrsten Sinema campaigned on doing that, then stopped doing that after receiving campaign contributions from drug companies. I wouldn't be surprised if MO ends up doing the same, be silenced by drug-company lobbyists' money.

"Dr. Oz is a successful heart surgeon – he has literally held a beating heart in his hands. He knows how precious life is and is 100% Pro-Life." -- anti-abortion.

"Dr. Oz also believes that the extreme left wants to use our schools to indoctrinate our children with an anti-American ideology –and as Senator he’ll fight to block that from happening." -- whatever counts as "anti-Americanism".

While he supported leaving Afghanistan, he strongly opposed the way President Biden surrendered to the Taliban and the tragedy that ensued with our soldiers." -- what would he have done instead? It's the same problem with the other Republican critics of that evacuation. They don't say what they would have done differently.

"Get tough on China"
 

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California Representative Devin Nunes is leaving Congress to be the CEO of former President Donald Trump's media company, the company and Nunes said in a statement Monday.

Nunes, one of Trump's biggest allies in Congress, was first elected to the House in 2002 and had been the chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee in 2015 when Republicans held the majority. But he was forced to recuse himself from that committee's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election amid an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics into whether he had leaked classified information.

Nunes is the 12th House Republican to leave during the 2022 election cycle. He's the second to resign before his term ends. Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers was the first after he took a role with Ohio's Chamber of Commerce.
I hope he gets paid up front.
 

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David Perdue officially announces run for governor in Georgia, setting up primary challenge to Brian Kemp - CNNPolitics
Former US Sen. David Perdue officially announced his run for governor of Georgia on Monday, launching a primary challenge to sitting Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state that has been trending away from the GOP for years.

"I'm running for governor to make sure Stacey Abrams is never governor of Georgia," Perdue said in a video posted on his campaign website.
He lost to Jon Ossoff early this year.
 

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Inside Dr. Oz’s Shameless Flip-Flop on Abortion - "Dr. Oz claims to have seen up close what happens when women are forced to get unsafe abortions. But now that's he's running for Senate, he's fine with overturning Roe v. Wade."

But only two years earlier, Oz characterized efforts to overturn Roe as a misleading and possibly conspiratorial crusade. Not only was Oz supportive of abortion rights, he seemed puzzled that people would spend time fighting abortion rights—going so far as to say that, as a physician, he was “really worried” about the anti-abortion movement and that eliminating Roe would have negative effects on women’s health.

“It’s, as a doctor—just putting my doctor hat on—it’s a big-time concern,” Oz said in the 2019 interview, which aired on the Breakfast Club radio show. “Because I went to medical school in Philadelphia, and I saw women who had coat-hanger events. And I mean really traumatic events that happened when they were younger, before Roe v. Wade. And many of them were harmed for life.”

Oz conceded that abortion “is a hard issue for everybody,” and he said that, on “a personal level,” he disliked abortion and would not want anyone in his family to have one. But he took a common pro-choice position in 2019 that his belief should not be forced onto others. He would not want to “interfere with everyone else’s stuff,” he said, “because it’s hard enough to get into life as it is.”
What a humbug.

But then again, Rep. Nancy Mace sounded both anti-vax and pro-vax on the same day, wearing the same shirt and with her mic clip in the same place on Fox and CNN.
 

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Manchin and Sinema get star billing in Pa. Senate race - POLITICO
One candidate promises he won’t be a centrist Democratic senator like Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema. Another proudly declares he’s no socialist, and knocks the liberal “Squad” members who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

...
The frontrunner in the Democratic contest, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, anchors one end of the ideological pole. He is harshly critical of the role that Manchin and Sinema have played in opposing major parts of President Joe Biden’s social spending bill. At the other end is moderate Rep. Conor Lamb, who has positioned himself against the party’s left wing.

Two other liberal contenders, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, are also taking shots at Manchin.

...
Fetterman, a progressive who endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016, is a tattooed, six-foot-eight former mayor of a struggling steel town. His supporters argue that he can win back working-class white and rural voters who’ve fled the Democratic Party with his populist message and not-your-typical-politician persona.

Lamb, who won a district that Trump carried by about 20 points, also makes the case that he has the ability to flip white working-class as well as suburban voters. But he cuts a more moderate profile. He personally opposes abortion (though he has voted to support abortion rights) and is a vocal critic of defunding the police. To him, Manchin is not a dirty word — he recently held a fundraiser with the West Virginia senator.

Both Fetterman and Lamb are from the Pittsburgh-area. Arkoosh and Kenyatta hail from the Philadelphia-area, on the other side of the state.
So it's JF, MK, and VA on the left and CL on the right. Let's see if any of JF, MK, and VA will be willing to drop out to avoid splitting the left-wing vote. Ranked-choice voting would be great, because it would make multiple candidates more able to compete without vote splitting -- voters can vote for some candidates as fallbacks for other candidates in case those others don't win.
 

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Trump’s 2022 Endorsements Are Earlier, Bolder And More Dangerous Than When He Was President | FiveThirtyEight

1. He’s endorsing earlier than usual
So far in the 2022 midterm cycle (as of Dec. 7), he has endorsed 46 candidates in Republican primaries to fill roles in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state governorships. That’s more than three times the number of candidates Trump had endorsed by the end of December 2019.

2. He’s taking more risks with his endorsements

Back in 2020, he endorsed 113 candidates in GOP primaries for Senate, House, and governor, 21 unopposed, 67 incumbents, and only 25 non-incumbents in contested primaries. Only 22% were risky.

But so far, he has endorsed 21 contested-primary non-incumbents out of 46, meaning that 46% are risky.
What’s more, Trump has actively tried to unseat 10 incumbent members of his own party: He has endorsed primary challengers to Rep. Liz Cheney, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Rep. David McKinley,2 Rep. Peter Meijer, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Fred Upton, and he also endorsed challengers to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — before both announced they would not seek reelection (decisions that may have been influenced by Trump’s opposition). Opposing the reelection of an incumbent from your own party is quite rare, even for Trump. In 2018 and 2020 combined, Trump endorsed only two candidates who were challenging incumbents: Katie Arrington against Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Kris Kobach against Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer.
Among his endorsees for is Kari Lake for AZ Gov. She is a news anchor who quit to run for Governor. Trump likes her because she believes that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Trump.

Part of Trump's endorsements is purging the party of those opposed to him.
Cheney, Gonzalez, Herrera Beutler, Meijer and Upton all voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, while Murkowski voted to convict him. Baker, Kemp and Little, as governors, played no role in Trump’s impeachment, but Baker did express support for it, and Kemp earned Trump’s wrath for certifying President Biden’s win in Georgia.

3. He’s endorsing down-ballot candidates, especially in election-administration roles
Trump has endorsed candidates for secretary of state — a state’s top election official — in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. This is an unusually niche endorsement for a president to make; Trump didn’t endorse in any secretary of state primaries in 2018, for instance. But the logic here is clear: These three secretaries of state in question refused to overturn the 2020 presidential result in their states, and Trump is now attempting to fill these positions with officials who baselessly think the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
So he's purging those positions also.
For instance, Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, the Trump-backed secretary of state candidate, believes the 2020 election was unfair and voted against certifying the election. It’s a similar story in Arizona, where Mark Finchem, a current state representative, has continued to call for the decertification of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County. And finally, in Michigan, Kristina Karamo claimed that as a poll challenger she saw fraud during the state’s absentee ballot counting in the 2020 election.
Anti-Trump Republicans don't seem to have much of a base in their party.
 

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Opinion: How Dr. Oz went from being Oprah's protégé to Trump's cheerleader - CNN
"Oprah for President"?
Though some close to Oprah whispered she was "actively thinking" about a presidential bid, a month later she told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel she was "definitely not running" — a line she had to repeat for months before the speculation died down.

Yet if the "Oprah for President" bubble burst in 2018, her impact on US politics persisted. Marianne Williamson and Dr. Mehmet Oz, elevated as lifestyle and wellness gurus through their appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," have transformed their Oprah anointments into political launching pads.
Then MO's career as an Oprah guest, then in his own TV show, then as a Trumpie.

The Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Running as the Anti-Dr. Oz - The New York Times
Dr. Val Arkoosh is the Pennsylvania Senate candidate who is often an afterthought compared to the two front-running Democrats, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb.

...
Dr. Arkoosh, a physician in obstetric anesthesiology and a top elected official in Montgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs, is trying to pitch herself as a kind of anti-Dr. Oz.

“It really does take a doctor to stand up to a doctor,” Dr. Arkoosh told me. “I don’t even know how he still has a license, with some of the stuff that comes out his mouth,” she said of his promotion of unproved Covid-19 treatments early in the pandemic.
I like that. Very good point. With the quackery that he has endorsed, he deserves it.
Dr. Oz, who jumped into the race last week, is framing his candidacy as a conservative’s response to the pandemic, pushing back against mandates, shutdowns and limits to “freedom.”

Dr. Arkoosh, on the other hand, helped lead an aggressive response to the pandemic as the leader of the Montgomery County board of commissioners. In an interview, she contrasted her efforts to ensure the safety of students in her county to Dr. Oz’s position on schools at the time: During the same month that she canceled graduation ceremonies last year, Dr. Oz urged on Fox News that schools should be open because it “may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality” of the population.

He later said he “misspoke.”
What a quack.
 

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Dr. Oz Claims the Philadelphia Inquirer Is Trying to Silence Him by Using His Real Name
During a Monday interview with Steve Doocy on "Fox and Friends," Dr. Oz claimed that the Philadelphia Inquirer daily newspaper is trying to silence him by referring to him by his name, Mehmet Oz, in its coverage of the 2022 US Senate election in Pennsylvania.
Ron Filipkowski on Twitter: "The Philadelphia Inquirer recently announced that it will refer to Dr. Oz by his name - Mehmet Oz - in articles about the Senate campaign, just like all other candidates. Oz is outraged this about that this morning, saying that it is “shocking” and “they want to silence me.” (vid link)" / Twitter
"Dr. Oz fights back against cancel culture"
Oz is also not the only doctor vying for Toomey's Senate seat. In its coverage, the Inquirer has also dropped the titles of two other candidates, physician Valerie Arkoosh and emergency medicine doctor Kevin Baumlin.

"The Inquirer hates, hates, that I'm empowering you, hates that I'm taking on some of the established folks, hates that the entrepreneurial solutions that I'm offering might make sense," Oz told Doocy, who echoed concerns that the newspaper is "trying to cancel" him.
Dr. Mehmet Oz on Twitter: "I won't be canceled. (vid link)" / Twitter
What victimhood.
 
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I'm here...
"The Inquirer hates, hates, that I'm empowering you, hates that I'm taking on some of the established folks, hates that the entrepreneurial solutions that I'm offering might make sense,"
"I'm fighting the elites for you! Never mind that PEOPLE FUCKING MAGAZINE has done a layout on my home, i'm just like you voter-people."
 

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Ron Johnson's re-election bid is in peril because 'his act may be wearing thin on voters': columnist - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
On Friday WISN 12 News' Matt Smith reported that the controversial Johnson "will seek re-election and is expected to make his official announcement in the coming days."

According to Kilgore, despite being an incumbent, Johnson is not a lock for re-election after becoming so closely associated with former president Donald Trump and due to his controversial comments about Covid-19 health protocols.

As Kilgore notes, Johnson's bid could put another GOP seat in the Senate in play, joining Pennsylvania and North Carolina where two Republicans are retiring.

Ex-NFL star Herschel Walker posts baffling video promoting US Senate run | Republicans | The Guardian
In December, the former University of Georgia and Dallas Cowboys running back admitted he does not have a college degree – having repeatedly said that he did.

Then, as January began, Walker posted to social media a short but to some bafflingly phrased video.
Babbling about Build Back Better and Defund the Police.
But critics said the video – and a similarly rambling Fox News appearance – was evidence of Walker’s unsuitability for office.

From last summer, As Herschel Walker eyes Senate run, a turbulent past emerges | AP News -
“hundreds of pages of public records tied to Walker’s business ventures and his divorce, including many not previously reported, shed new light on a turbulent personal history that could dog his Senate bid”. These documents “detail accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of financial success and alarmed business associates with unpredictable behavior”. He “has at times been open about his long struggle with mental illness, writing at length in a 2008 book about being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, once known as multiple personality disorder”. Brian Kemp said that he “certainly could bring a lot of things to the table … as others have mentioned, there’s also a lot of questions out there”.

In the matter of Walker touting a college degree he does not hold, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the false claim was made on a campaign website, “in an online biography advertising Walker’s book, at a campaign rally … and even during his introduction this year at a congressional hearing”.

In a statement, Walker said: “I was majoring in criminal justice at UGA when I left to play in the USFL my junior year. After playing with the New Jersey Generals” – a team Trump owned – “I returned to Athens to complete my degree, but life and football got in the way.”
Looking forward to Raphael Warnock delivering him a ruinous defeat. He makes former football coach Tommy Tuberville seem smart.
 

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Ron Johnson announces run for third Senate term in Wisconsin | TheHill
Why did he do it?
Johnson’s decision to run for a third term breaks a vow he made in his 2016 campaign that he’d only seek two six-year stints in the Senate. However, he had increasingly sent signals that he planned to run again this November, maintaining his fundraising and making frequent appearances on Fox News.

In a statement and an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Johnson said he would prefer to retire but cast his decision to run for reelection as one made to fight against Democrats' unified control in Washington and "disastrous policies."

"During the 2016 campaign, I said it would be my last campaign and final term. That was my strong preference, and my wife’s—we both looked forward to a normal private life. Neither of us anticipated the Democrats’ complete takeover of government and the disastrous policies they have already inflicted on America and the world, to say nothing of those they threaten to enact in the future," he wrote in The Journal.
How convenient.
 

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On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood | TheHill
House Democrats facing an uphill fight to retain control of the lower chamber are finding their mission all the more imperiled by a wave of incumbents who have opted against seeking another term in Congress later this year, a troubling sign of pessimism from those who see an unappealing life in the minority ahead.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) this week became the 26th House Democrat to say he will not seek a new term in office this year. He is the 18th member to say he will quit politics outright, while another eight are running for another office.

Already, more Democrats have called it quits this year than in any cycle since 1996, when 29 members newly in the minority decided not to run again. The same number of Democrats, 29, retired in 1994, the year Republicans reclaimed control of Congress for the first time in four decades.

The exodus may not be over yet. Several Democratic incumbents have not said whether they will seek another term, and others are likely waiting to see the new district lines they would have to run under after the decennial redistricting process concludes.
Noting "Historically, members of Congress head to the exits when they foresee a difficult election year ahead."

United States Congress elections, 2022 - Ballotpedia
has a section on "Incumbents not seeking re-election"

The Senate has 5 R's and 1 D.

The House has:
PartyTotalRetiringSenateGovernorOther
D2618422
R114412

Among the retirees are anti-Trump Republicans like Adam Kinzinger and Anthony Gonzalez.

On the Democratic side, many of the retirees are in their 70's or 80's, though some are much younger, like Cheri Bustos.
 

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Ballotpedia has a "retirement curve", comparing the number of retirements per month before the election for this year, 2020, and 2018. Until now and comparable dates, the numbers of retirements were close. Now, 10 months before the election, the numbers for 2022, 2020, and 2018 are 35, 33, 42. But 2020 slowly increased to 36, and 2018 kept on going, slowing down at 8 months before the election, and leveling off at 52 at 6 months before the election. So between now and April, there are likely a few more retirements.
 

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Why The Republican Party Isn’t Concerned With Popularity | FiveThirtyEight
After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee published what became known as the “GOP autopsy report,” an effort to identify and address the party’s ongoing political weaknesses. But eight years later, after losing another close race, the GOP appears wholly uninterested in reviewing or reforming its agenda. In fact, despite capturing the presidency, the Democratic Party has been far more interested in developing an attractive issue agenda. “There is only one political party that is terrified of losing an election because it looks too extreme,” said Seth Masket, a FiveThirtyEight contributor and political scientist at the University of Denver. “There’s a huge party asymmetry.”

But despite the fact that the GOP is quite unpopular and that much of its current agenda — such as overturning the Affordable Care Act or advancing restrictive immigration policies — does not appeal to a majority of voters, the party is in an enviable position heading into the 2022 midterm elections and beyond. What is to make of this glaring disconnect?
Then the article discussed how the Republicans are overrepresented in Congress and in the Electoral College, and how the Republicans have a dedicated base that will come out for Republicans no matter what. Thus making them yellow-dog Republicans.
 

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Republicans are revealing how they plan to derail Biden after the 2022 midterms - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
Though the next Presidential election is 2 years away, they will be running against Biden this year.
Republicans aren't offering much of an agenda to voters in this year's midterms, but will instead try to frame the Nov. 8 election as an up-or-down vote on Biden and the Democratic congressional majority, reported Politico.

“It’s really going to be a referendum on him and his administration and on the Democrat leadership in the Congress, so we need to stay out of our own way,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking GOP senator. "It’s really important for us to highlight our differences, how we would do it differently, and then … have some things that we would do or could do if there was a willingness to work together.”
So they will have nothing to offer but "Democrats bad".

Noting
How a GOP majority in Congress might handle Biden in 2023 - POLITICO - "Republicans emboldened about their prospects to retake the House and maybe even the Senate, too, are already gauging their governing relationship with the president."
 

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Trump comes up empty when asked a very simple question about Republicans governing - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
When former President Donald Trump appeared on right-wing Newsmax TV this week, he was asked about the 2022 midterms and the things he would like Republicans to prioritize if they regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But Trump didn’t offer any specific policy recommendations should the GOP have a House majority in 2023 and seemed to ignore the substance of the question entirely.
What he said:
Trump responded, “Number 1: take back. That’s what has to be Number 1; we have to take it back.”
Why?
Obviously referring to the Democratic majorities in Congress, Trump continued, “These are radicalized, horrible people that hate our country — what they’re doing with the open borders and the judges and all of the things they’ve been doing is so sad. And then you look at Afghanistan is a topper…. We were coming out strong, with dignity. There’s never been a lower point than what happened with Afghanistan, in my opinion. So, we’ve gotta, Number 1, we’ve gotta win the House — and I think we can win the Senate also.”
Not much of a policy recommendation.
 

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Fellow Republican accuses Trump-backed Senate candidate of having 'a porn addiction' - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism
Former NFL player and Trump-backed Republican Senate candidate in Georgia, Herschel Walker, is risking GOP efforts to retake the Senate with the racy Instagram accounts he follows, according to a GOP primary opponent.

"A review of Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s Instagram account shows he follows several accounts with links to racy material. One of the accounts has a name not suitable for a family newsletter. Several others also have accounts on OnlyFans, a social media platform popular with porn stars," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday.
This should be fun.
But the campaign of Walker's GOP rival, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, wondered if he may be addicted to pornography.

“Stalking, and domestic abuse are disqualifying by themselves but a porn addiction would be a significant third strike. That’s just handing the Senate to the Democrats,” said Black spokesman Dan McLagan. “While personally sad, it’s definitely conduct unbecoming of a candidate for elected office.”

Despite the pushback from the agriculture commissioner, Walker has the backing of Donald Trump.

"Herschel Walker will never let you down," Trump promised in a September statement. "He was a great football player and will be an even better U.S. Senator—if that is even possible. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"
 
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