The current U.S. Senate has a bare Republican majority of 51-49 and an early look at 2004 finds the GOP positioned to add to that number.
First, the Democrats have nineteen seats at stake, Republicans fifteen. Of the nineteen Democratic seats at stake, ten are in states carried by President Bush in 2002 and Republicans have only three seats up in states won by Al Gore.
Second, we have the retirement issue - Democrats have already lost three incumbents and at least one is a fence strider. Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and John Edwards of North Carolina are out and Senator Bob Graham of Florida is halfway out as he is running for President. In the open seat states - Georgia and South Carolina are probable Republican take overs, while Florida and North Carolina are considered tossups. This just in - Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma is on the fence about re-election, this could create a competitive open seat.
Third, we have the difficult re-election states for Democrats - South Dakota, Washington and Nevada, where a strong GOP candidate could win.
Now, let's look at Democratic opportunities against us - the GOP has problems at this point in two states: Illinois and Alaska. In Illinois, incumbent Senator Fitzgerald (R) opted out in a Gore state and with multi-candidate primaries on for both parties, this seat leans Democrat. In Alaska, "family" appointed GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski looks to face former popular Governor Tony Knowles. A few tidbits here, this is a Bush state, Knowles has never won election with more than 51% and Murkowski is working hard in the state that's sure to go big for Bush/Cheney, leans Republican.
The Democrats have targeted secondarily, Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, Senator Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, and Senator Ben Campbell in Colorado. Only Senator Specter has a real primary against Representative Toomey which could go either way, so this state is a toss up. Both Senator Bond and Bunning have been very active fundraising though the new rumor is Dick Gephardt will run in Missouri after dropping his presidential bid, Senator Campbell is a legend in Colorado and will be formidable.
With any luck and a strong showing from President Bush, the GOP should gain three to five seats, not enough to stop filibusters but awful close. Of course, we are fourteen months from the election and anything can and will happen. I'll keep you updated.
The Questions We Have for
Houston City Candidates
TCR has given a lot of thought about what critical issues facing the City of Houston to query the candidates about.
First, it is important we cover a limited number of areas. Second, it is essential we cover a range of issues of interest to conservatives. Third, it is critical to flush out "true" positions and not simply get campaign rhetoric.
Wars "New" Rules?
- Do you support a 5% cap per year on the increase in appraised value for real property as the state house passed in the last session of the legislature?
- Do you favor the requirement of a super majority prior to raising tax rates?
- Do you support the modification of the affirmative action program so it will be need-based and have graduation features?
- Do you support ending term limits for elected officials?
- Do you believe in coordination of government functions where practical between the city and county?
- Do you favor outsourcing of city functions that don't pass the yellow pages test (if someone in the private sector does a city function more efficiently and at a lower cost) in order to control overall city spending?
- Most agreed, the top two priorities for city spending are public safety and roads (infrastructure), what is your third priority?
- Do you support the current Metro Rail referendum?
- Should the total City budget grow faster than the combined increase of inflation and population?
Daniel Pipes, President Bush's latest appointee to the U.S. Institute for Peace recently released a remarkable essay on the changing face of war.
Specifically, it used to be waged against an entire country, now it's only versus the government. Traditionally, in war each side sought to cause as many casualties to the other side as possible. Now, the goal is to keep the other sides losses to a minimum. War used to be to lay waste to the other side, now we rehabilitate the other side.
Pipes describes Western (i.e. U.S. and Israel) operations against non-western states as more like police raids with the west being the police, the population the victims and the local thugs, the criminals.
On their face the new rules may sound appealing but here's the problem, it prevents the transformation of the defeated country as its population never experiences real defeat. So far, both the U.S. and Israel have seen limited actions, don't change the attitude or behavior of the Iraqis or the Palestinian Arabs. Pipes gives us much to ponder.
This week's third (and hopefully) final special session on redistricting should be able to finalize congressional lines for 2004.
The House and Senate Democrats have wasted time and money by running from their responsibility, although they helped the economies of Oklahoma and New Mexico. Did they gain anything with voters? Clearly, no - their hardcore base liked cutting and running and the rest of the voters either didn't care or are hostile.
So what is coming? Hopefully, new lines that will result in an increase in conservative congressmen from Texas. For the Houston area, look for one or two GOP opportunity seats in the Harris County area. The district may replace Beaumont Democrat incumbent Nick Lampson with a conservative from Harris County, and another district may be essentially an open seat. What will it take to win? A strong well funded candidate who can excite the base and swing voters. Rumored at looking at the potential seats are long time high profile District Judge Ted Poe of Humble, GOP activist Clint Moore, former Congressman Steve Stockman and State Representative Peggy Hamric. I'm sure there are others too, but this is what I've heard.
Bill White for Mayor
A GOP or Conservative Option?
Give Me a Break
Nine reasons to say no to Bill White:
- He was Democrat Party chair for Texas,
- He was Assistant Secretary of Energy for Bill Clinton.
- He slept in the Lincoln bedroom because he had a fundraiser for Clinton.
- He recently hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.
- He is the darling of Planned Parenthood.
- He is the choice of the Gay Political caucus.
- He is a big time supporter of the rail "plan" for Houston.
- He was a big supporter of failed Mayor Brown and never once publicly criticized his reign of error as mayor.
- He is this year's Chris Bell except he has a lot of money and is no fiscal conservative.
Thanks to the "Lone Star Defender" for the truth about Bill White.
How much more evidence do you need? But lots of Republican friends think White's a Republican! WAKE UP! Don't let a Democrat wolf in sheep's clothing beat the real conservatives in the race.
Howard Dean - Will He Drive
the Democrats Over the Left Wing Cliff?
Crazy as it may seem, the front runner for the Democratic nomination for President is former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who wants to do for America what Gray Davis has done to California!
Dean has moved to the lead by moving sharply left-ward on issue after issue. (In fact, one Democratic consultant friend said Dean is McGovern times 2).
For conservatives, his nomination will set up the sharpest choice on the issues facing America in a long time. As for "centrist" democrats, there is no place for you in the Dean Democratic Party.
On issue after issue Dean is clearly a charter member of the looney left, for a sampling see below:
- Repeal all Bush tax cuts even on the middle class and working poor.
- Raise social security taxes for maximum earners.
- Nationwide same sex civil unions and a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
- Amnesty for illegal aliens.
- For gender quotas and race based admissions.
- Opposes ban on partial birth abortion and would use the issue as a litmus test for judicial appointments.
- Raise minimum wage on small business and a California style family leave mandate (so we can have more jobs go off shore).
- And of course, we should not have removed Sadaam by force and let our allies handle it.
That is just a brief look at the man who would be President. Pretty scary isn't it?
Rest In Peace - Al Clements, Sr.
Al Clements, Sr. - Long time Republican and pro-life leader and former Harris County Republican Party Pioneer award winner passed away on September 9, 2003. His dedication, principles and hard work will be missed by all conservatives.
About Your Editor
is a long time Republican spokesman, fund-raiser and leader who
recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican
Chair. During his time as Chairman, Gary was described as the
most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events.
For six years, Gary put out a bi-weekly newsletter which he has
continued due to requests from many Republican activists.
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