GOP Loses Scandal-Tainted Seats
Seats held by Reps. Mark Foley (R-FL), Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), all of whom resigned before the election held on Tuesday, switched hands on November 7. (AP)
"Dollar Bill" Faces Run-Off In Dec.
"Despite being at the center of a FBI bribery investigation, Congressman William Jefferson (D-La.) won the most votes in the race for his seat in Congress and will now face a runoff election on Dec. 9.
"Jefferson won 30 percent of the vote with a total of 27,706 votes, according to the unofficial results posted by the Louisiana Secretary of State.
"Jefferson vowed to run for re-election despite the FBI investigation." (The Blotter)
Harris Confident until the End
"Despite the polls, the political stumbles and the personal tribulations, Katherine Harris still believed until the very end that she would overcome the odds and unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
"Harris believed it so much that she did not start writing her first-ever concession speech until after The Associated Press had called the race for Nelson after 8 p.m., she said late Tuesday. . . .
"But she said she had no regrets.
"'I really believe this was exactly where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do.'" (Palm Beach Post)
Scandals, GOP Losses Spank Corner of D.C. Real Estate
"Newly elected Members of Congress looking for a place to live in Washington, D.C., may want to check out the 100 block of D Street Southeast. Itâs a buyerâs market, and apparently a lot of fun.
"Four Republicans who lost their races Tuesday â GOP Reps. Clay Shaw (Fla.), Chris Chocola (Ind.), Jim Ryun (Kan.) and Nancy Johnson (Conn.) â live on that block, along with disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.)." (Roll Call)
Lobbying Firms Prepare for Major Hill Realignment
"Democratic lobbyists, flush with the excitement of a victorious Election Day, already are looking to share in the spoils.
"The Democratic rout of Republican rule in Congress also spelled a definitive end of years of GOP dominance of K Street. Jubilant Democratic lobbyists spent the day after the elections basking in their glow, but also beginning to ponder a new order that restores them to relevance....
"Companies will have some adjusting to do, lobbyists from both parties agreed. Many have spent the better part of a decade responding to a Republican pressure campaign to hire more Republican lobbyists and to direct more of their campaign contributions back to the GOP. But the movers behind that effort were pushed off the stage during this Congress, when former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [R-TX] was forced to resign and Sen. Rick Santorum [R-PA] fell short in his re-election bid." (Roll Call)
Deep Pockets Carried the Day
"Money didn't just talk in Tuesday's election. It screamed.
"The year's biggest spenders â and biggest winners â were the oil and tobacco industries. In almost every contest, candidates and issues with the most money trumped the side with less, even if the losers raised bags full." (LATimes)
Payback Time: Who the Democrats Will Target
"Halliburton, the CIA and big tobacco companies are among the early targets identified by top Democratic staff to ABC News as likely targets for investigation once the Democrats take control of the House at the beginning of next year....
"Defense contractors, including Halliburton, the intelligence rationale for the war in Iraq and CIA secret prisons are what one staffer called 'uninvestigated scandals.'" (The Blotter)
Republicans' Angry Factions Point Fingers At Each Other
"By [election day's] end, Republican fingers had pointed at every conceivable Republican scapegoat: ex-representative Mark Foley of Florida and his scandal-plagued colleagues, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, presidential adviser Karl Rove, even Sen. John McCain of Arizona....
"With the benefit of hindsight, most Republicans seemed to agree that their congressional leaders should have been more aggressive about ousting members engulfed in scandals. The RNC has sent e-mails for months accusing Democrats of a "culture of corruption," but yesterday its surprisingly self-critical talking points vowed to ensure "that the leaders in our party have public service as their highest calling and not personal enrichment or power."
Many of the tainted Republicans -- including Robert W. Ney [R-OH], Randy "Duke" Cunningham [R-CA] and former House majority leader Tom DeLay [R-TX] -- are already out of Congress, and the party lost several 'scandal seats' Tuesday. But conservatives such as Sen. Tom Coburn [R-OK] believe Republicans need to change the pork-barrel culture that encouraged the use of public dollars for personal and political gain. Congressional "earmarks" have exploded on the GOP's watch, up by 700 percent since 1998, Coburn said, while domestic spending is up nearly 50 percent since 2001." (WaPo)
Hastert to Leave Leadership to Someone Else in 110th Congress
"Triggering a post-election shake-up, Dennis Hastert announced Wednesday he will not run for leader of House Republicans when Democrats take control in January.
"'Obviously I wish my party had won,' the House Speaker said in a statement that added he intends to return to the 'full-time task' of representing his Illinois constituents." (AP)
Ill. Employee: Broker Did Gov.'s Hiring
"A state employee who says he was wrongly passed over for a promotion claims in a federal lawsuit that a political power broker decided who was hired at two agencies under Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"John Gnutek alleges William Cellini, a Republican campaign cash cow, agreed to support Blagojevich with about $86,000 in contributions in 2002 for extraordinary influence over hiring decisions at the Gaming Board and State Police." (AP)
Voting Booth Glitches Show Where Fixes Needed Ahead
"As a dress rehearsal for the 2008 presidential election, Tuesday's experiences at the nation's 183,000 polling places succeeded by failing.
"Where voters encountered balky equipment, it pointed up the need to examine paper trails and other methods for verifying their votes.
"Where voters weren't helped by struggling poll workers, it illuminated the need for increased recruitment and better training.
"And where they were misinformed or misdirected by automated 'robocalls' and leaflets, it reignited calls for laws that would crack down on such practices." (USA Today)
Hoyer, Murtha Battle
"As Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] pledged Wednesday to rule the House fairly in the 110th Congress as the first-ever female Speaker, a handful of senior Democrats moved aggressively to secure other leadership posts in their nascent majority.
"Current Minority Whip Steny Hoyer [D-MD] was not...hesitant, formally announcing his bid for the Majority Leaderâs office early Wednesday morning and confidently predicting that he will secure the post when Democrats vote in leadership election on Nov. 16....
"But Rep. John Murtha [D-PA] â who stunned fellow lawmakers when he announced in June that he would campaign for the Majority Leader post against Hoyer â re-affirmed his own interest in the office Wednesday.
"Murtha, who is the ranking member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, also defended his decision to seek the leadership post, asserting that not only is the office an âopen seatâ in the new Congress, but arguing that he outranks Hoyer in the Caucus hierarchy.
â'Thereâs Nancy Pelosi, [Appropriations Committee ranking member Rep.] Dave Obey [D-WI] and myself, and then Hoyer is listed after me in the power plays,' Murtha said on NPR.
"That assertion bewildered at least one Democratic House lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity: 'In my mind that shows a lack of understanding. I like Mr. Murtha but thatâs not just the way it is.'â (Roll Call)
Dems Pledge to Scrutinize Big Business
"Generally speaking, Democrats have said they will differ from Republicans by being tougher watchdogs of corporate wrongdoing and government spending and bigger defenders of consumers and labor unions.
"Still, 'there are not going to be wholesale changes in economic policy' because neither party has an overwhelming majority in either the House or Senate â and this may explain the stock market's recent strength, according to Wachovia Securities economist Mark Vitner." (AP)
Chicago Experiences Some Voting Problems
"From the little things like not enough pens to the big ones like poll workers who couldn't run machines, Chicago and Cook County voters muddled through their first general election with electronic balloting Tuesday.
"It wasn't as bad as in the March primary, when there was widespread confusion and some results were delayed up to a week.
"Equipment fixes and extra training significantly sped up the tabulation of results, but totals still bogged down late in the evening with some races hanging in the balance." (Chicago Tribune)