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The Democratic Governors Association has released this statement on Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-SC) resignation as chairman of the Republican Governors Association:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Governor Sanford and his family, and I wish them the best as they try to heal this wound," said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association.

Here's an item that no doubt rankles supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act. Steve Patterson--who once served as Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln's Chief of Staff, and is now managing her 2010 re-election campaign--appeared before the group Benton County Democratic Women on Monday to praise his boss for 'voicing concerns' about the bill.

According to the Benton County Daily Record, "[l]ast month, the club welcomed AFL-CIO representative Amy Niehouse, who spoke about the EFCA and described the benefits to workers and communities when workers choose to organize a union."

Apparently an aide to Blanche Lincoln is the obvious counterpoint to this.

There's a huge number of rumors floating around, so it's worth being cautious. But a South Carolina political blogger who used to work for Governor Sanford is now reporting:

S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford is allegedly having an extramarital-affair, evidence of which may have been obtained prior to his mysterious trip to Argentina by at least one South Carolina news outlet, sources tell FITS.

The woman with whom Sanford is allegedly involved was reportedly with the governor on his recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina - a trip the governor appears to have lied about to his wife, his staff and his security detail.

Sources tell FITS that The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper is in possession of materials which may confirm the governor's affair, although a source at the paper declined to comment on that report.


The blogger, Will Folks, had previously reported that the Sanfords had been having marital problems.

And we had reported other possible evidence that Sanford was not alone on his trip.

More in about twenty minutes when Sanford goes before the cameras.

Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)--the powerful ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee--lashed out against a public health insurance option, and government involvement in health care generally.

Well, thanks to the government's involvement in health care, Grassley himself saves a pile of money insurance costs himself. In a letter to the Des Moines Register earlier this month, Grassley wrote, "I pay $356 a month for Blue Cross insurance coverage, a plan that is available to federal employees."

That, of course, is significantly cheaper than the average monthly cost of insurance for American families--and that's notwithstanding Grassley's age, which makes him a significantly riskier insuree than the average citizen. But Grassley opposes a public insurance option, which supporters say would lower the cost of insurance for all consumers.

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) has announced that he will not run for Senate in 2010, clearing away what may have been one of the few remaining obstacles between former Rep. Pat Toomey and the Republican nomination.

"That is pretty much off the table," Gerlach told the Allentown Morning Call.

Some Republicans had been urging Gerlach to make the race, after incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties from the GOP to the Democrats in order to avoid Toomey's conservative primary challenge. Former Gov. Tom Ridge also announced a few weeks ago that he isn't running.

The 2010 Republican Senate primary in Florida is quickly emerging as a new fault line within the Republican Party, between two key groups: The party establishment that values electability as they perceive it, versus the more hard-line conservative activists.

The primary pits moderate Gov. Charlie Crist against the more conservative former state House speaker Marco Rubio. A big issue will be that Crist broke from the party line on a key issue in the last few months, when he endorsed the stimulus bill and even appeared with President Obama to promote it.

Crist has a big lead in all the polls -- both for the primary and in the general election in this big perennial swing state -- and was actively recruited and then endorsed right out of the gate by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As NRSC chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has explained, Crist is a candidate who can not only win, but also save the party a lot of money that could now be spent elsewhere.

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Things are still murky on the Mark Sanford story. But it's looking increasingly likely that Sanford's trip to Argentina was about more than a scenic drive down the coast.

"There is some evidence he was not alone," a source in South Carolina politics told TPMmuckraker. "The other shoe's gonna drop. I believe there's a reason he wanted to drop his SLED detail."

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At about 11 this morning, the Senate voted 65-31 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Harold Koh to be the State Department's legal adviser. You'll be able to see the roll call here momentarily.

Once cloture is invoked, debate is limited to 30 hours after which a vote on confirmation is required. And according to Laura Rozen, Republicans are threatening to use up all 30 hours. So it may take another day before Koh is officially confirmed.

A new Quinnipiac poll of New York suggests that despite her recent efforts to nail down Democratic support, appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is not the frontrunner against a possible primary challenge in 2010 -- in fact, she's running slightly behind, with a high undecided figure.

The numbers: Rep. Carolyn Maloney 27%, Gillibrand 23%, labor activist Jonathan Tasini 4% -- and "undecided" at 44%. The margin of error is ±3%.

Maloney is not officially in the race, but all indications are that she is highly likely to challenge Gillibrand in the primary.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) says "Americans don't want more government in health care"--which is true if you define 'Americans' as the 28-or-so percent of the population who don't want more government in health care.



Perhaps the Americans who don't want more government involvement in health care are the very same Americans who fled forced unionization in Pennsylvania and sought refuge in the South. On the policy question of government involvement in health care, there are a number of problems with DeMint's statement. But the public seems to have caught on to them.

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