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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

“Turbulent Tuesday”

The headline at Politico, under a banner that says “Turbulent Tuesday,” kinda says it all: “Sex, lies and primaries: Oh my!”
The “primaries” part of today’s political news was expected, of course, and if you’re behind the curve on those, you can read my pithy toughts here and here and here. (You should also check out J.P. Green’s item on the special House election in Pennsylvania). The only thing I have to add is that turnout in Pennsylvania and Kentucky seems to be light; the former is probably bad news for Arlen Specter.
The “sex” part of the day’s festivities involves Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, a long-time “family values” conservative Republican who announced he was resigning his seat after his chief of staff confronted him with anonymous tips that he was having an affair with a part-time staffer. The staffer in question, who, like Souder, was married to someone else, was originally hired in 2004 to co-host a Souder radio show on a Christian station back home in Indiana. Souder did say the affair with the woman was “mutual,” which is apparently his way of saying “consensual.” His decision to resign rather than simply retiring at the end of the year was probably motivated by a desire to avoid an ethics investigation by the House, since having sex with House employees is very much against the rules.
As you might recall, Souder, a class of 1994 veteran, narrowly won renomination two weeks ago after fending off a challenge from a wealthy car dealer. Now Souder has plunged Hoosier Republicans into a complex scenario where they will have to hold a special election and also select a nominee for November. There’s some talk already that unsuccessful Senate candidate and hard-core-conservative favorite Marlin Stutzman could get one or the other nod.
Okay, that’s today’s sex news; on the “lies” front, Connecticut was roiled today by a New York Times story indicating that Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the odds-on favorite to succeed Chris Dodd in the Senate, has on at least a couple of occasions suggested erroneously that he fought in Vietnam (he actually served stateside in the Marine Reserves during the Vietnam War, after receiving a series of deferments). Blumenthal held a press conference today, and surrounded by veterans’ representatives, defiantly said he hadn’t done anything wrong beyond “misspeaking on occasion,” and pointedly did not indicate any intention rethinking of his Senate bid. The DSCC announced it was standing by its candidate.
Connecticut Democrats, as it happens, are holding their nominating convention this weekend. Thus they will have a few days to assess the damage and decide whether they want to go ahead with Blumenthal or find another candidate from their deep bench in the state.
Yeah, it’s been a rather turbulent day!

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