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Politics

Starting Lineup: A Country, Divided

February 4, 2011
Frank's Rematch: Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank's (D) announcement on Thursday that he'll seek reelection in 2012 was immediately greeted by a lengthy -- and highly critical -- statement by his 2010 challenger, Republican Sean Bielat (R). Bielat, a former Marine, is particularly critical of Frank on military issues, saying he wants to "slash our armed forces even if it imperils our security." "Voters," Bielat wrote, "should be wary of sending Frank back to Washington yet again if his goal is to push for such a dangerous and ideological agenda." The eight paragraph release immediately raises the specter of a rematch. Bielat gave Frank a closer run in 2010 than he has had in decades, but he still lost by 10 points. He did, however, gain national recognition -- and a national fundraising base -- in the process of taking on the former chair of the Financial Services Committee. If nothing else, his statement means we haven't seen the last of Bielat, and neither has Frank. You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Former Republican Rep. Mark Foley (R), who had to leave office in 2006 amid an Internet sex scandal involving House pages, resurfaced in politics last week and spoke at a Palm Beach County Young Republicans meeting. But wait, it gets better. Foley also popped up on Tuesday at the grand opening of Rep. Allen West's (R) new district office. West, no stranger to garnering controversy, drew fresh scrutiny this week after he raised questions about a House colleague's ties to a Muslim group. The Starting Five 1. Potential 2012 Republican White House contenders have stayed remarkably silent on the crisis in Egypt. 2. Missouri Rep. Sam Graves (R) won't run for the Senate. That leaves Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and 2011 Republican National Committee chair candidate Ann Wagner as the other Republicans who may still join former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Republican Ed Martin in the GOP field. 3. Jeb Bush graces the cover of National Review and doesn't rule out a run for the White House in 2016. 4. Texas Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) has filed for bankruptcy. Hinojosa sits on the House Financial Services Committee. 5. And Jennifer Lopez will attend the White House Super Bowl party this weekend.
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