The List Keeps Growing
Five-term Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., hopes to be appointed to the Senate if Barack Obama wins the White House. Asked whether she would be interested in Obama’s seat, Schakowsky replied: “I would be. I certainly would be interested in that. I think it is unseemly and untimely right now to do much beyond stating my interest in that.”
Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich would appoint Obama’s successor. “We do have a working relationship, and we have a long-standing friendship,” Schakowsky said of the governor. “We really haven’t discussed this particular issue. I agree with him on his priority of health care, and applaud him for the work he has done as the health care governor.”
Blagojevich has plenty of other options. He could appoint state Attorney General Lisa Madigan to keep her from challenging him for governor. He could appoint himself. Or, he could choose state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
And then there’s Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Asked whether he is interested in the appointment, Jackson said through a spokesperson that he was “intrigued” by the potential of Schakowsky’s being tapped, but added, “It’s premature to speculate right now on a replacement for Obama.”
If she is appointed, Schakowsky would likely have to fight to serve beyond 2010. Challengers would probably make hay of the conviction of her husband, Robert Creamer, who wrote bad checks to keep his public-interest group alive.
But Schakowsky says that Creamer’s stint in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., strengthened him and their marriage. “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger,” she said. “Even that experience at Terre Haute, where [ex]-Governor [George] Ryan is now, he wrote a weekly newsletter. He looks to the future. He paid the debt he owed—no money, his time in jail. It made him an advocate for prison reform. There are a lot of people in prison for crimes of substance abuse.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 4/6)
All in the Family
Now that Democratic Rep. Robert Andrews has filed his challenge to Sen. Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey’s June Senate primary, Andrews’s wife has filed to run for the House seat he has held since 1990. Andrews insisted that having his wife’s name on the ballot is not a safety net for him, in case he pulls out of the Senate race or loses in June. “I’m going to win the Senate primary,” he said. “But, win or lose, I’m not running for the House this year.”
Yet Camille Andrews’s name on petitions could just be a placeholder while South Jersey Democratic leaders pick a favorite from the field of several candidates considering her husband’s job.
Robert Andrews bucked many leaders of his party in New Jersey and Washington when he decided to take on Lautenberg in order to give Democratic voters a choice in the election.
Lautenberg said through his campaign manager that having Camille Andrews’s name on the ballot “doesn’t pass the smell test.… New Jersey needs a senator who will fight on behalf of the people of this state every day, not someone who plays games with the voters,” said campaign manager Brendan Gill. (The Record, Bergen, N.J., 4/8)
This is Camille Andrews’s first run for office, but she is considered her husband’s leading political adviser and a sharp attorney specializing in complex litigation. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/8)
Bay State Stops
Six months before Massachusetts’ Senate primaries, three challengers are looking for momentum in their races against Democratic Sen. John Kerry.
Former Republican congressional candidate Jeff Beatty spends his Friday nights talking politics over cocktails. Democratic lawyer Ed O’Reilly has laid the groundwork for his campaign for over a year. And 2007 GOP congressional nominee Jim Ogonowski plans to make 36 campaign stops across the state. And 30 of those are for coffee.
“There is an extra challenge to going against an incumbent, but not when they haven’t delivered,” Ogonowski said. “You don’t see [Kerry] in Massachusetts. He’s more interested in being a national figure than a representative of the people of Massachusetts.”
Even fellow Democrats joke about Kerry’s absence from the state. At a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast last month, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral compared him to Halley’s Comet.
But lately, Kerry’s public appearances have increased. “The senator’s served the state very well over the last four terms,” said Kerry campaign manager Roger Lau. “From health care to the economy, the Massachusetts delegation is at the forefront, and John Kerry is proud to be a part of that.”
Few observers are predicting a close general election, because Kerry already has $9.9 million cash-on-hand. (Boston Globe, 4/6)
The Ron Paul Rebellion
Ron Paul remains an impossibly long shot to win the Republican presidential nomination, but his Minnesota supporters aren’t retreating quietly. Last weekend, they captured half of the dozen GOP national convention delegates elected at congressional district meetings.
That rebellion against presumptive nominee John McCain has left local party officials crying foul, even as state leaders played down the importance of the unexpected result.
“They’ll be national delegates. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t change anything, because John McCain is going to be our nominee,” said party spokesman Mark Drake.
Nevertheless, Marianne Stebbins, who heads Paul’s Minnesota campaign, called the victories a tactical triumph designed to spread Paul’s libertarian message to the broadest possible audience. “If we get enough delegates,” she said, “we’ll be able to get [Paul] speaking time at the convention.”
And showing delight about engineering a coup over the Republican establishment, Stebbins added, “We’re just a bunch of disorganized people who happened to get lucky. At least that’s the impression we want to leave.” Paul won only 15 percent of the vote in a nonbinding preference ballot at Minnesota’s caucuses, but he was a prodigious fundraiser and grassroots organizer.
Minnesota isn’t the only state where his supporters have refused to give up. They’ve also won county or congressional district delegates in Missouri, Texas, and Washington.
And with Minnesota hosting the GOP national convention in September, strong support for Paul in the state’s delegation may be an embarrassment to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a strong McCain supporter who is said to be on the short list of possible running mates.
But Ben Golnik, volunteer coordinator for McCain in Minnesota, said that Paul’s support in the state has nothing to do with Pawlenty. “This is a people’s party, and it’s up to the activists,” he said. “As much as anyone, we believe in local control.” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis, 4/8)
“It’s time to begin an orderly process of withdrawing our troops.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her opening statement during Gen. David Petraeus’s Senate testimony (Associated Press, 4/8)
“The first and really major and overwhelming priority is a person who shares my principles, my values, my priorities—as you know, priorities are very important in presidents—and could immediately take my place.”
—John McCain, on what he is looking for in a running mate (Fox News Sunday, FNC, 4/6)
“Hillary Clinton … said she is not a quitter and compared herself to Rocky Balboa, the washed-up, over-the-hill, white contender who, despite a herculean effort, is soundly beaten by the charismatic black guy.”
—comedian Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live, NBC, 4/5)
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign … released her joint tax returns showing $109 million in income over the last seven years—though most of that comes from Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements, book royalties, and stud fees.” —comedian Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live, NBC, 4/5)
This article appears in the April 12, 2008, edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.