Tomorrow, the Minnesota canvassing board will convene to settle some of the outstanding issues in the Senate recount - what should be done with the “fifth pile” of wrongly rejected absentee ballots? what standards should the board use when considering the challenged ballots (a process that will be launched next week)? shall unanimity be required to decide a ballot’s face, or will a simple majority of the five-person board suffice?
Until then, we can concentrate on the 2010 races - and the latest retirement and recruitment news that is coming our way.
A few days after Kentucky’s Jim Bunning announced that he would run for re-election, another Senator who is rumored as a possible retiree - Hawaii’s Daniel Inouye - attempted to squash retirement rumors. Inouye, who will be 86 in 2010, is finishing his eight term - 48 years - so this would be an attempt to secure a ninth term. It is no wonder, then, that people are closely monitoring Inouye’s intentions.
If Inouye retires, Republicans are hoping to entice Governor Linda Lingle into the race (they have very few other credible contenders); if Inouye runs for re-election, it is far less likely that Lingle would run (though she might have little to lose, since she is term-limited out of the governor’s mansion in 2010).
Today, Inouye issued a forceful statement about his intentions. “Make no mistake, I am a candidate for re-election in 2010,” he wrote. “I am calling upon my friends and supporters to once again stand with me.” This does not settle anything, however, and we should certainly not speculating about a possible Inouye retirement.
As I explained two days ago, as long as an incumbent has not made definite plans, it is foolish to even hint at the possibility of retirement as that would only dry up fundraising and encourage challengers to jump in. Inouy’e
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, the gubernatorial race made some news - briefly eclipsing the for now more high-profile senatorial contest. Incumbent Govenror Ed Rendell is term-limited, so the Keystone State will host one of the most important open seats of 2010.
Today, Republican Rep. Gerlach announced that he was mulling a run for the Republican nomination, predicting that the primary would see a crowded field of five or six contenders. Among other potential candidates is Attorney General Tom Corbett. Both parties have enough of a bench in Pennsylvania to guarantee a contested race.
A potential Gerlach candidacy would also be very important in the House battle: Gerlach represents a Democratic-trending district in Philadelphia’s suburbs (PA-06) that he narrowly won in 2002 before barely surviving in 2004 and 2006.
In 2008, Gerlach was supposedly facing a weak Democrat but he nonetheless drew an unexpectedly weak result, a testament to how difficult it is for any Republican to prevail in this district. At the same time, Gerlach survived while the rest of his state party collapsed (Democrats picked-up 5 House seats over the past two cycles while saving endangered incumbents in PA-11 and PA-12), a testament to Gerlach’s personal appeal.
To make matters worse, PA-06 has grown more Democratic over the past few years, along with the rest of Pennsylvania. All of this would make it very difficult for Republicans to keep PA-06 if Gerlach were to seek statewide office. (Update: A commentor has a thorough list of potential Democratic candidates in the district.)