On Friday, Houston Mayor Bill White pulled the trigger: He dropped out of Texas’s nonexistent Senate contest and jumped in the gubernatorial race, giving Democrats an unexpected shot at winning a rare statewide victory. I chose not to write about his announcement since I already explained why it made sense for White to make the switch last week, when we first learned such a development was likely. Furthermore, White’s prospects largely depend on just how bloody the Republican primary gets and whether Rick Perry can pull out a victory.
On a related note: For those interested in the coming Perry-Hutchison bloodbath, Robert Draper’s (long) investigation into the primary’s dynamics in today’s New York Times Magazine is a very interesting read.
In New York, with every passing week in which Rudy Giuliani is not announcing his decision, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that he’ll end up running for Senate. The Daily News is now reporting that Giuliani signed up as a long-term security consultant for the 2016 Olympics, which makes it hard to believe he is even considering challenging Gillibrand at this point. That’s making the GOP look elsewhere. Two weeks after Larchmont Mayor Lisa Feld floated her name, two new potential candidates emerged this week: Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman and former state Senator Mike Balboni, who could run as a moderate due to his participation in Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson’s administrations.
Another state whose political landscape was shook up this week is Tennessee. Not only did Rep. John Tanner announce his retirement, setting up a competitive open seat race, but the Democratic field in the Governor’s race narrow by two. First, state Senator Herron dropped out to seek Tanner’s House seat instead; second, businessman Ward Cammack pulled the plug on his campaign, citing his inability to raise enough funds. This leaves 3 candidates: state Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, former House Majority Leader Kim McMillan and Mike McWherter, the son of a former Governor. Whoever wins the August primary will have a shot in the general election, but it should be an uphill climb.
Finally, Tom Foley moved from Connecticut’s Senate race to the Governor’s race, which guarantees Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele will face a competitive primary. As the former Ambassador to Ireland and as one of the men who helped import the neo-liberal agenda to Iraq in the early years of the war (he was Director of Private Sector Development), Foley is clearly well-connected in the Republican establishment; that didn’t help him in the Senate race, but now he will not have to deal with Rob Simmons’s electability credentials and Linda McMahon’s vast fortune.
As always, I list all the changes I have logged in during the week to the “retirement watch” and recruitment pages. Written in red are those politicians who announced their definite plans rather than simply expressed interest or stroke speculation. First, updates to Retirement Watch:
|Will retire||Rep. John Tanner (TN-08)|
|Will not retire||No one|
Second, updates to the Senate recruitment page:
|CT-Sen, GOP||former Ambassador Tom Foley dropped out|
|CT-Sen, Green||Ralph Nader added to list|
|IN-Sen, GOP||former Rep. John Hostettler announced run|
|NC-Sen, Dem||former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is reportedly running|
|NY-Sen, GOP||Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman added
former state Senator Mike Balboni added
|VT-Sen, GOP||businessman Len Britton announced run|
Third, updates to gubernatorial races:
|CT-Gov, GOP||former Ambassador Tom Foley announced run|
|IA-Gov, GOP||Christian Fong dropped out|
|MI-Gov, Dem||Lansing mayor Virg Bernero added to list|
|NY-Gov, GOP||former assistant Treasury Secretary Emil Henry Jr. added to list|
|TN-Gov, Dem||businessman Ward Cammack dropped out
state senator Roy Herron dropped out
|TX-Gov, Dem||Henry “Hank” Gilbert dropped out
Houston Mayor Bill White announced run