Points By Drew Pritt

McCain could tap Johnny Isakson as Veep!
June 29, 2008, 2:16 am
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Enter into the lists as a potential running mate a new name that has popped up….U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) The mild mannered Isakson could be the right choice to counter the Libertarian bid by former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.), and maybe hold the Deep South for the Republicans.

Isakson is the owner of Northside Realty which has became the biggest independent real estate company in Georgia. Isakson first entered Republican politics in 1974, losing a race for the Georgia House of Representatives in an eastern Cobb County district. He ran again in 1976 and won. He served seven terms in the House, the last two as minority leader. He was the Republican nominee for Governor of Georgia in 1990, losing to then-Lt. Governor Zell Miller (D). Two years later, he was elected to the Georgia Senate and served two terms.

In 1996 he ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sam Nunn. However, when he announced his candidacy, he declared that he was the pro-choice Republican candidate. Isakson finished first in the primary election but did not win a majority of total votes. Therefore, per Georgia law he was forced into a primary runoff election, which he lost to multimillionaire, Guy Millner, who would go onto lose to then-Secretary of State Max Cleland.

In January 1999, 6th District Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich faced a revolt in his caucus after the Republicans lost five seats in the midterm elections two months earlier. Amid the ruckus, Gingrich decided not only to resign as Speaker, but also not to take his seat for an eleventh term. Isakson ran for the seat in a special election in February and won by finishing 40 points ahead of the runner-up. He won a full term in 2000 and was reelected in 2002. The 6th is one of the most Republican districts in Georgia, and Isakson never faced a truly serious or well-financed challenge in either election. In early 2003, Zell Miller by then a U.S. Senator declared his intention not to run for a full term in the Senate in 2004. Isakson immediately entered the race. He quickly picked up the endorsements of much of the Republican establishment in Georgia, as well as that of President George W. Bush. He also picked up support of social conservatives including the Georgia Christian Coalition. Though he faced U.S. Congressman Mac Collins (R) and millionaire Herman Cain, who is African-American, in the primary, Isakson won without the need for a runoff. In the general election, he defeated the Democratic candidate, 4th District Congresswoman Denise Majette, also who is African-American, by 16 points. Isakson’s election marked the first time in Georgia’s history that both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats had been held by Republicans.

Isakson has been given an “A” rating by the National Rifle Association, the “Hero of the Taxpayer” award by Citizens Against Government Waste, and a “92” rating on a scale of 100 by the Christian Coalition of America. He has moved right on many issues though largely ignores the issue of a woman’s right to choose. In the Senate, Isakson is currently working to oppose the Castle-DeGette Stem Cell Bill by offering an alternative that does not allow for the destruction of a human embryo. This alternative legislation recently garnered a veto-proof 70-vote majority. Isakson favors tougher border security to address the immigration issue. He is credited for developing the “Isakson Principle,” which denies the legalization of status to any illegal immigrant or the creation of a temporary worker program unless the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies to the President and Congress that measurable border security provisions are in place.

All in all, Isakson tends to be fiscally conservative, business-oriented, and moderate on civil rights issues. Isakson is a 1966 graduate of the University of Georgia and he served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. Johnny and his wife, Dianne, have three children and eight grandchildren. Johnny and Dianne have been married 40 years, and they attend Mount Zion United Methodist Church, where Johnny taught sixth grade Sunday School for 30 years.


HAPPY PRIDE 2008!!!!
June 29, 2008, 1:45 am
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As I sat and had coffee with my friend Thompson this week as is our custom, I bemoaned the lack of knowledge, or understanding the GLBT Community about what PRIDE means, what PRIDE Week means, and why we do it. Thompson, who is heterosexual, asked me questions and it occurred to me that I have this venue to impart wisdom to those who wish to read and understand.

The first gay pride parade in 1969, known as the March on Stonewall, started as a protest against discrimination and violence against gays in New York City. Prior to that, most bars were owned by the mob, and to admit one was Gay or Lesbian meant a sure ticket to go have shock therapy or to be prosecuted in the court system. After the police raided the Stonewall Bar in New York City, the weekend Judy Garland died, and a young man was killed, the “Drag Queens” lead a riot, civil disobiedience, to demand equality, protection, and most of all a society free of Gestapo-like raids.

In 1973, the American Association of Psychiatric Medicine removed homosexuality and lesbianism from a list of recognized mental perversions. Homosexuality also was decriminalized. In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (after two previous bids in 1973 and 1975.) Then Milk was assasinated along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (D) in 1978. The same year, the gay pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker and debuted at the 1978 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Also, Did you know that each color on the gay pride flag has a different meaning? Each color on the gay pride flag (also known as the rainbow flag) has a different meaning. 

Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sun
Green = Nature
Blue = Harmony
Violet = Faith

In addition, for us in the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) Community, the Rainbow Flag reminds us that ours is a diverse community – composed of people with a variety of individual tastes of which we should all be proud.

The pink triangle, now a gay pride and gay rights symbol, was originally used to denote homosexual men as a Nazi concentration camp badge.

Some people ask me about the Pink Triangle. This was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges, used by the Nazis to identify male prisoners in concentration camps who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Prior to WWII, pink was historically a male colour as an offshoot of red, and pink was chosen not because it meant the wearer was feminine, but because they liked other men. Every prisoner had to wear a triangle on his or her jacket, the color of which was to categorize him or her according “to his kind.” Between 1933 to 1944 most estimates are that 50,000 and 63,000 men were sent to their deaths for being gay.


What is a Drag Queen?

Okay, if one likes to wear women’s clothing and are male, they are a transvestite. If they believe they are the opposite gender trapped in a different gender’s body, you are a transexual.

Drag Queens….or more appropriately, the artform of Female Illusion, is an artform that goes back to Sir William Shakespere’s Globe Theater when women were not allowed on the stage. Norman Jones, who is known on stage as Norma Kristie was crowned the first Miss Gay America in 1972. Norma helped to promote the pageant until 1975 when he purchased the rights to the contest from the original owner. Incorporating in business as Norma Kristie, Inc, Norman Jones proudly promoted the Official Miss Gay America Pageant and its network of preliminary pageants across the nation. Norman Jones (Norma Kristie) has firmly established the pageant’s reputation as the most prestigious contest in the world for competitive female impersonation. In February 2005, the Miss Gay America pageantry system was purchased by Larry Tyger and Terry Eason of L & T Entertainment.

There are many systems of competition but the four main ones are the Miss Gay America, Miss Gay US of A, FFI (For Female Impersonators), and the Miss Drag All-Star System.

But the “Queens” are famous because they were the leaders of the Stonewall riots. Many drag queens prefer to be referred to as “she” while in drag and desire to stay completely in character. Some performers may be offended if they are referred to as “he” or by their legal name while in character. Drag performer RuPaul is one of the few exceptions to this rule, as he seems to be completely ambivalent to which pronoun is used to refer to him. In his words, “You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care.” But there have been many who have seen this community, unique as it is, and the best example is La Cage Aux Folles, aka The Birdcage, popularized by Nathan Lane & Robin Williams.

In closing, PRIDE is about being who you are and who God created you to be. If you believe in God, as I do, you believe him to be infallible and therefore doesn’t make mistakes. I was not sexually molested as a child. I am not a person who is an outcast. I have a loving mother & father, grandfather, aunt, and a brother with a wife and two girls who love their Uncle Drew. I am in college, work, pay my taxes, and just live a full life. My life before I came out, when I lived a lie, was horrible. I drank, was contentious, and just overall not happy. Once I came out, there came balance and peace to my life. Its hard for me to hear those who are not gay try to tell me what I feel, what I think, and what I know not to be true. Until we have a society who sees people by their names, their character, and their talents, not some label forced upon them like the Nazis did the pink triangles, and yellow Star of Davids, we will have PRIDE Celebrations worldwide.

So to my family and my readers, stay safe, be who God made you to be, and never let anyone take away your dignity! Happy Pride 2008!!!

The Ranger is coming….in Virginia.
June 29, 2008, 12:46 am
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Well I don’t know how I missed this….well I know how. I verified candidacies often with my friend Ron Gunzburger’s site, Politics1.com  Only Ron didn’t have John Brownlee (R) listed but one of my faithful readers did. So I did some research and let me say to Democrats and Republicans alike….beware the Ranger is coming.

John Brownlee, a former U.S. Attorney and Army Ranger will be challenging State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R) for the right to run for Virginia Attorney General. As is the case, sometimes you are never sure of the potential of untested electorally speaking candidates, but Brownlee has a pedigree that every political consultant dreams of.

(From his campaign bio)

As a young military officer, John volunteered for the Infantry and successfully graduated from the Army’s rigorous Airborne and Ranger programs. In 2001, President Bush appointed John as United States Attorney. As the top federal law enforcement official, John successfully prosecuted some of our nation’s most corrupt corporations and dangerous criminals. As one of Virginia’s leading crime fighters, John has earned the reputation as a tough prosecutor who knows how to keep our communities safe from violent criminals and drug dealers. John’s mother served as a public school teacher for over 40 years – the last 17 in Fairfax County, Virginia. John’s father was a decorated Army officer and Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat and earned two Silver Stars for valor. John’s father retired in 2004 as the acting Secretary of the Army.

Key Primaries Left….
June 28, 2008, 4:06 pm
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The Presidential Primaries are over and there are still a few Congressional & Gubernatorial primaries to be settled before we enter the fall phase of the election. The outcome of these primaries will determine a large amount of what will happen in November.




In 1996, wealthy banker Dave Cuddy (R), a former State Senator, spent $1.3 million and got a third of the vote to try to defeat U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R). Right now Cuddy is following the same script and latest polling shows Cuddy trailing Stevens by 11 points. Cuddy will have to invest a few million into negative ads to possibly chip off enough votes to spring a surprise on Stevens but he’s running out of time. Stevens could be weakened even more where Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) obliterates instead of just defeats Stevens in November.


U.S. Congressman Don Young (R) is facing two well financed and strong opponents in the primary. Lt. Governor Sean Parnell (R), whose father Pat Parnell challenged Young in 1980, and State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R) are mounting credible and strong challenges. Parnell, of the two, is making the stronger challenge. In some polls he is a few points ahead of Young but within the margin of error. LeDoux remains competitive but is in the back of the pack. She could make a late surge depending how she distributes her resources. She could end up splitting the anti-Young vote with Parnell, putting the incumbent back on top.


In the Democratic Primary, former State Representative Ethan Berkowitz (D) who was the 2006 nominee for Lt. Governor is challenging Diane Benson, who in 2006 was the Congressional nominee. The race has been close but Berkowitz has maintained a consistent edge. Benson’s strong support from the Teamsters and other labor groups could overcome Berkowitz’s financial edge. A third self-funding candidate, Jake Metcalfe, has dropped after it was revealed his campaign manager had purchased internet domains with the express determination to attack Berkowitz.

The Primary is August 26, 2008



Arizona’s 1st Congressional District will likely swing blue barring some unforseen circumstance, so the fight is in the Democratic primary. Mary Kim Titla, a Native American Indian is fast building a grassroots campaign, while activist Howard Shanker has U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva while the AFL-CIO has endorsed State Representative Ann Kirkpatrick along with Governor Janet Napolitano. The 21st Century Democrats recently endorsed Kirkpatrick but the contentious battle between Kirkpatrick and Shanker, with the edge given to Kirkpatrick currently, is benefitting Titla who is largely ignoring the fight and focusing on running for Congress.

The Primary is September 2, 2008



State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, wealthy developer & entrepreneur Jared Polis, and Colorado Conservation Executive Director Will Shafroth all plunged into a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs. Udall is the Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Wayne Allard.

Polis is openly gay however Fitz-Gerald has a record in the GLBT community so strong and consistent that her supporters started a website entitled http://www.GayerThanJared.com/

Fitz-Gerald has the money, the support, and the momentum. She’s not your typical politician. Her idea of relaxation is to read a good book, like Doris Kearns Goodwin’s latest, “Team of Rivals.” She once ran the New York City Marathon. In 2005, the State Senate elected her the first female Senate president. She was elected a State Senator in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 1991, she became the first woman ever elected clerk and recorder of Jefferson County.

Polis is a policy wonk. He served six years on the Colorado State Board of Education, and was selected by my colleagues to serve as the first Democratic Chairman in over thirty years. He founded and served as superintendent of the New America School – a school focused on empowering new immigrants with the educational tools and support they need to maximize their potential. In addition, he successfully creating and then selling an Internet service company in 1998 for a reported $22 million and the Blue Mountain Arts web site in 1999 for about $780 million. He is 32.

Shafroth is a fourth-generation Coloradan and the grandson of one of Colorado’s most progressive Governors, John Shafroth. Will Shafroth is the Executive Director of Colorado Conservation Trust, a non-profit environmental organization that raises money for conservation projects that help preserve Colorado landscapes from development. Prior to his creation of Colorado Conservation Trust, Shafroth was the first Executive Director of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) which has “distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for open space, parks, trails and wildlife.”

The Primary is August 12, 2008



Lt. Governor John Carney (D) and State Treasurer Jack Markell (D) have been battling, spending millions of dollars, and collecting dueling endorsements for some time now to decide which one will succeed Governor Ruth Ann Miner (D).

Carney is very professional and the mere fact the two candidates share the same name and the Lt. Governor uses the proper form is indicative of personalities. Carney has served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of New Castle County and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Thomas R. Carper (D). For several years in the late 1990’s he was the Delaware State Secretary of Finance. He then was elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2000, re-elected in 2004. Carney has long been an advocate for wellness issues in Delaware, sponsoring “BeHealthy Delaware” and “The Lt. Governor’s Challenge” to encourage Delawareans to be more active and address the State’s high rate of chronic diseases. He recently proposed the creation of a health care assistance program to be called “Delaware First Care.” Through this system the state of Delaware would guarantee access to primary and preventive care by subsidizing routine screening and medical visits, based on a sliding payment scale depending on household income.

Markell meanwhile is a business mogul. Markell served as Vice President for Corporate Development at Nextel, where he was responsible for coming up with the name “Nextel,” and helping to lead the movement to wireless technology. His other work experiences included a senior management position at Comcast Corporation. Markell was first elected State Treasurer of Delaware in 1998, unseating Republican incumbent Janet C. Rzewnicki, and was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. As State Treasurer, Markell has led the development of several educational efforts in personal financial management, known collectively as “the Financial Literacy initiatives.” He created the Delaware Money School which offers free classes to Delawareans throughout the year on topics such as saving for college and retirement planning. He also began the “Delaware Bank at School Program” which takes banks and financial education to schools. In a third program, he has partnered with the University of Delaware, Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, as well as leading Delaware banks, to teach young children the basics of money and savings.

There was little doubt that Carney would run for Governor and he made his intentions known early, which enabled him to garner support from much of the party establishment, including Carper and Minner. Carney supporters held out hope that Senator Joe Biden (D) in his Presidential bid would catch fire, creating the possibility that he would either forego re-election this year or that the seat would come open next year. Another possibility was that Congressman Mike Castle (R) would retire, leaving an open House seat. Obviously none of these possibilities has panned out. Then, there was an effort to convince Markell to run for Lieutenant Governor, essentially implying that he needed to wait his turn. None of the suggestions or offers put on the table could dissuade Markell.

Markell is also the only candidate to have aired television advertising, putting up a spot in mid-December featuring Hall of Fame coach Tubby Raymond. It aired on ESPN2 during the University of Delaware’s NCAA FSC championship game. Carney has the party establishment behind him, but Markell’s cash advantage could cut into the value of that support. Carney comes across at times as incredulous that he even has a primary opponent, intimating that he is the rightful heir to the nomination and thus the seat.

The Primary is September 9, 2008



In 2002, then-Senator Max Cleland (D), who lost both his legs and an arm while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, was attacked in his reelection campaign by a series of smears and attacks by then-U.S. Congressman Saxby Chambliss (R) that worked. Since then, Democrats both in Georgia and nationwide have been spoiling for a fight to take Chambliss down a peg or two.

Former State Representative Jim Martin who in 2006 was the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor has consolidated the most internal party support. Martin is a unique Democrat who appeals to both rural voters, the women’s groups, minorities, the GLBT Community, labor & business leaders. In 1982, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. During his 18 years in the legislature, he became a leader on healthcare issues and helped to create PeachCare, which provides quality and affordable healthcare to thousands of Georgia’s children. As Chairman of the Budget Committee, when Georgia faced tough economic times in the early 1990s, state leaders turned to Martin to preserve critical services for seniors, children, and people with disabilities, while making necessary cuts in the budget. Ultimately millions of dollars were cut but at the same time the same level of support continued for these communities. In 2006 when he ran for Lt. Governor he won more votes than any other non-incumbent Democrat on the ticket.

DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, Jr. began his career with BellSouth Corporation, where he was part of a team that established wireless communications in Montevideo, Uruguay. Jones served as a state representative for eight years, from 1993 to 2001.

In 2000, Jones was elected chief executive of DeKalb County, a position in which he presides at meetings of the county Board of Commissioners. He is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a 7,000-employee civic workforce and a $2.6 billion budget within the state’s second most populous county. He has the honor of being the youngest person to hold this position. Since being elected, Jones has been active in purchasing land for the county to be used as parks, as well as a landmark initiative requiring all senior county employees to disclose financial information to prevent any conflicts of interest. Jones was re-elected in 2004. Jones, who is African-American, has angered many Democrats for openly supporting George W. Bush (R).

Josh Lanier joined the staff of Senator Herman E. Talmadge (D-GA). He was selected to specialize in military and veterans issues for Senator Talmadge and was selected to a small group of Congressional staff to visit South Viet Nam in the closing days of it’s existence in 1974. He went on to serve as an association executive and journalist over the next ten years in Washington. He served as Director of Congressional Relations for the National Cable Television Association, Washington Editor for CATV Weekly Magazine, Director of Public Affairs for the Manufactured Housing Institute and, through an association management firm that he founded with former Congressman Robert Leggett (D-CA) in 1979, as Executive Director of the Shellfish Institute and National Insulation Certification Institute. He helped found in 1998 LightStream Technologies, a developer of safe technologies for the treatment of water and air that won the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award.

Dale Cardwell is a former Emmy-winning television journalist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cardwell was an investigative reporter for Atlanta’s WSB-TV for eleven years. Cardwell’s six “Emmy” awards, presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous other honors such as 2005’s “Journalist of the Year,” from the Atlanta Press Club are his claim to fame. Cardwell quickly demonstrated his “nose for news” when he obtained an audio tape sent from a serviceman who later died in the crash of an army-chartered jet in route to the US from Gander, Newfoundland in December of 1986, which killed all 248 aboard. The tape, mailed to the serviceman’s fiancé days before the flight, told her of the service men and women’s fear of flying on what he referred to as the “rickety-old” army-chartered transportation. His story was aired on every national network and led to hearings in Washington and a thorough vetting of the military’s aviation transport policy. Cardwell has made a host of enemies as well as admirers for his investigations that have led to the exposure of corruption on the part of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, the conviction of former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the resignation of Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, the return of public funds by Senator Zell Miller, and the termination of Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue’s abuse of government airplanes and helicopters for private benefit.

Rand” Knight, Jr.’s roots in Georgia go back more than 300 years, and his mother’s family can be traced all the way back to the Jamestown settlement. What has surprised everyone is Knight was endorsed by the Georgia AFL-CIO. This is the first time in Georgia’s history that the AFL-CIO has endorsed a federal Candidate with no elected experience. He has also earned the support of Former Congresswoman Denise Majette, who is also serving as his State Chair. He began his professional career working under the Vice President of Environmental Policy at Turner Productions. Rand started a sustainable development business with a classmate. After working for several years as an ecologist with the United States Forest Service and as a manager and systems analyst in the private sector, Rand continued his formal education and earned a Ph.D. in Ecosystems Analysis at the University of Washington in 2003. From 2004 to 2006 Rand was a scientist for the National Ecological Observatory Network, and he is currently the Director of Enterprise Sales and Global Business Development at QL2 Software, Inc. in Seattle.

Martin leads Jones 21%-16% with the rest of the candidates in the single digits and a large undecided. Cardwell seems to be the most disturbed as he lashes out at every primary opponent acting like he’s entitled to the Senate nomination.

The Primary is July 15, 2008 ; A Run-Off Primary will be August 5, 2008



A Sneak Peek At Virginia 2009
June 28, 2008, 12:15 am
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Already State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) and State Delegate Brian Moran (D) are crisscrossing the state and campaigning for Governor. For the Republicans, Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R), who narrowly defeated Deeds in 2005, has locked up his party’s nomination. The only candidate who is actively pursuing a stealth campaign is former U.S. Congressman L.F. Payne (D) who was the nominee for Lt. Governor in 1997.

In 1991, Deeds won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates from the 18th as a Democrat. He was re-elected 5 times with an average 82% of the vote, serving as a delegate for ten years. He was elected to the Virginia State Senate in a special election in 2001 after the death of Senator Emily Couric, sister of television news anchor Katie Couric. He was subsequently re-elected in 2003. He was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Virginia in 2005, eventually losing by the closest margin in Virginia history, 323 votes or about 0.017%. Deeds is a self-professed conservative Democrat, supporting gun rights, strong punishment for criminals, and the death penalty. In his bid for Attorney General, he earned the endorsement of the N.R.A. Deeds is however, strongly pro-choice, although he did profess opposition to partial birth abortions. 

Brian Moran is the younger brother of U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.). Moran was elected the Prosecutor of Alexandria in 1989. At the urging of then Alexandria businessman (and future Governor) Mark Warner, Brian Moran left the prosecutor’s office after 7 years and ran for the House of Delegates in 1995. Since being elected, Moran has served on the Transportation; Courts of Justice; and Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committees. He is a repeat winner of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Legislator of the Year, a recipient of the prestigious Tech-10 award from the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and a ‘Friend of Business’ awardee from the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. Moran is also the 2006 Legislator of the Year for the Virginia Sheriffs Association.

L.F. Payne (D) is a name many fear as his reputation is so great and his ability to self-fund a campaign makes potential opponents leery. Deeds would stand to lose the most if Payne enters the race but there are many who think a Payne candidacy makes better sense. Payne was elected as a Democrat in 1989, by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Representative Dan Daniel (D) and reelected to the four succeeding Congresses. He is the former chairman of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.  Payne retired from Congress and ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1997. He lost a very close general election contest to John H. Hager (R), failing to overcome the tide of Jim Gilmore (R)’s Gubernatorial victory over Democrat Don Beyer (D). Payne is the quinessential Virginia gentlemen who is seen as a potent force. Called “independent as hell ” by then-House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) in 1994, Payne wasn’t prone to toeing the party line. He voted against the Family Leave Act and against the 1994 Crime Bill. He objected to the gun-control provisions in the latter. He voted for the tax-raising 1993 Deficit Reduction Act saying reducing the budget deficit from $300 billion to $35 billion was “worth the risk of the vote.”

McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992, and has held the positions of Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee. In addition, he served on the Committees on Health, Welfare and Institutions, and the Rules Committee. During the first General Assembly session of his term, McDonnell formulated a legislative package that encompassed his philosphy of government which is conservative. Twenty out of twenty-one bills of Attorney General McDonnell’s legislative package passed the General Assembly are were passed into law.  Known as a leader on criminal justice and victims’ rights issues, as well as welfare, taxation and family policy. He was Chief Patron of then-Governor George Allen’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative, Chief Patron of Virginia’s historic Welfare Reform legislation, Chief Co-Patron of legislation in the 2003 General Assembly to abolish the death tax in Virginia, Chief Patron of legislation to create a transportation trust fund, and Chief Patron of legislation to rewrite Virginia’s Public Private Partnership Act. He also authored legislation and secured funding for the creation of Virginia’s first Judicial Performance Evaluation Program to assist the General Assembly in reappointing judges.


There are a host of Democrats hoping to knock off Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R). Bolling won his first term as Lt. Governor by less than one percent over former U.S. Congresswoman Leslie Byrne (D) in 2005. This year, he was a favorite for Governor but opted to let Attorney General McDonell run. Only Bowerbank & Bolling have officially announced though Ticer’s name is been pushed more and more frequently by those in the Deeds and Payne camps and Wagner’s name is balanced as a possible equal running mate for Moran.

Patsy Ticer was first elected as Senator from the 30th Senatorial District of Virginia in 1995; she was re-elected in 1999, and again in 2003. Prior to that from 1991-1995, she served as Mayor of Alexandria, and prior to that served a decade on the City Council. During her tenure in the Senate, her committee assignments and legislation have reflected those areas of greatest concern to her. Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee has provided her with an opportunity to be involved in the many environmental issues facing Virginia. Senator Ticer has worked for legislation and policies that provide children with the best educational environment, health care, and child care standards available. She successfully sponsored legislation mandating that newborn infants are tested– not only for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), a developmental disorder that can result in the death of a newborn child, but for medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD), another birth disorder which can prove to be crippling or fatal if not caught right away. Her bill requiring hearing tests for all newborn infants has become law, and a study has been completed to determine whether health insurance companies should be required to provide hearing aids to children under the age of five as part of their health benefits, and she is working for approval of this mandate.  She served on the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission, which she chaired from 1985 to 1987. She also chaired the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in 1994 and was honored to receive the prestigious Scull Award in 1996. Patsy served as a member of Virginia’s Transportation Coordinating Council and Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission as well as Chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area’s Transportation Planning Board. She has recently retired as a Commissioner with the Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) where she served for nine years. She was twice Chairman of the United Way Campaign, and President of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) from 1995-1996.

Jon Bowerbank is the larger than life candidate who is unknown but has the money to make his presence felt. He is the owner of an energy services company that employs approximately 220 people, mainly in southwestern Virginia. He has served as an operational manager for a Fortune 10 company in numerous states. I’m a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors. Born in the United Kingdom, his family moved to America from England when he was 11 years old. He said the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Republican party’s failures nationally motivated him to get involved in politics. He has put in $75,000 of his own money to start hiring staff, and has been traveling around the state to meet people.

Jody Wagner In 2000,  was the Democratic Party nominee in Virginia’s 2nd congressional district, but was defeated by Republican State Senator Ed Schrock. In January, 2002, she was appointed State Treasurer of Virginia. Jody M. Wagner was appointed as the Secretary of Finance by Governor Timothy M. Kaine and assumed office on January 15, 2006.  She served as President of the National Association of State Treasurers, but resigned that position to become Secretary of Finance.  While Treasurer, Ms. Wagner served on the Commonwealth of Virginia Treasury Board (Chairman), Debt Capacity Advisory Committee, Virginia College Building Authority, Virginia Public Building Authority, Virginia Public School Authority, Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation, Virginia College Savings Plan, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Resources Authority, and Virginia Small Business Authority.  Prior to becoming State Treasurer for the Commonwealth, Ms. Wagner practiced law in Norfolk, Virginia for almost twenty years, primarily in the areas of securities, corporate and banking law.  She was very involved in the Hampton Roads community and served on several boards of charitable and educational organizations. 

In 1991 Bill Bolling sought his first elected political office. He was elected to the Hanover County Board of Supervisors and served as a member and Chairman of the Board until 1995. In 1995 Bill was elected to the Senate of Virginia. In one of Virginia’s most hotly contested political campaigns, Bolling defeated a twenty year Democrat incumbent and helped the Republican Party obtain parity in the Senate for the first time. During his service in the Senate, Bill Bolling emerged as one of Virginia’s most effective conservative leaders. He worked to keep taxes low and create a pro-business environment in Virginia. He also sponsored legislation to create a children’s health insurance program in Virginia, and led the fight to reduce the amount of garbage being imported to Virginia from other states.  Bolling has promoted a conservative legislative agenda that focuses on the things he believes in – keeping government small and focused on its core responsibilities, keeping taxes low for families and businesses, making certain that Virginia remains a great place to do business, and finding solutions to the challenges that face our state. He is widely recognized for the work he has done to improve the quality of health care in Virginia.  Through his Steptember program, Ending Cervical Cancer In Our Lifetime initiative, and Helping Virginians Breath Easier campaign, Lieutenant Governor Bolling has helped focused public attention on important health care issues like obesity, cervical cancer and asthma.



For Delegate Steve Shannon (D) and State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R). Since 1970, eight of the past Attorney Generals of Virginia have sought higher office, seven for Governor, although only Gerald Bailles (D) and Jim Gillmore (R) were successful in their bids for Governor. Still Shannon & Cuccinelli are duking it out.

Steve Shannon was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November, 2003. Prior to his election, Steve served as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for Fairfax County. Steve and his wife Abby co-founded the Metropolitan Washington AMBER Alert system in 2001. The AMBER Alert issues immediately notificiation to the general public using radio, television, and highway signs when a child is abducted. To date, the AMBER Alert systems are credited with the successful recovery of more than 300 children nationwide. In recognition of their achievement for co-founding the Metropolitan Washington AMBER Plan, the Shannons received Fairfax County’s highest public service award in 2003. Steve received the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Legislator of the Year award in 2007 and was recognized by his peers as one of Virginia’s “Legal Elite” in the December 2007 issue of Virginia Business magazine. He was also honored by the Fairfax County Police Department in 2004 and by the Fairfax Coalition of Police in 2005 for his work with the law enforcement community.

Ken Cuccinelli has been a member of the Virginia Senate since 2002.  As a State Senator, Cuccinelli has led the fight to defend constitutional rights, stop tax increases, protect life and families, and keep Virginia a low-regulation and pro-business state. In the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Legislative Sessions, Ken worked tirelessly to pass meaningful eminent domain laws. Cuccinelli has sponsored many anti-choice bills to Virginia senate which have had varying degrees of success. For example, he had introduced legislation which was defeated in committee that would charge the parents of girls under 15 who become pregnant with child neglect. In the 2007 Virginia State Senate elections, Cuccinelli faced a bitter campaign against Democrat Janet Oleszek. Initially, according to unofficial results, Cuccinelli had defeated Oleszek by 92 votes. The Fairfax Board of Elections declared Cuccinelli the winner. On November 14, Oleszek announced her intention to petition for an official recount. On December 19, the recount was conducted, which determined Cuccinelli the winner by 101 votes. Oleszek conceded to Cuccinelli that same day.

A Sneek Peak At New Jersey 2009
June 27, 2008, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know the elections are not finished yet and it could very well change the dynamics after November, but already in New Jersey and Virginia, the important pre-election developments are coming together. Both states promise an interesting election off-year.



After the less than strong performance by U.S. Congressman Rob Andrews (D) in challenging U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) its hardly likely any Democrat would challenge the embattled Governor, Jon Corzine (D) in the primary. There were rumbles of former Governor Dick Codey (D) coming back but that dissipated with the defeat of Andrews. So that leaves the battle royale in the Republican primary and three names keep coming back as the most active or strongest in preparing.

Lou Dobbs, the CNN anchor and managing editor for Lou Dobbs Tonight has been actively pursuing this race. He is currently an editorial columnist and syndicated radio show host. Lou Dobbs Tonight attracts about 800,000 viewers per night. How many translate to New Jersey voters is unknown but it could be a considerable amount. Dobbs is pro-choice, anti-gun control, and supports government regulations, as revealed in a 60 Minutes interview. Dobbs’ stance on trade has earned plaudits from some trade union activists on the traditional political left, while his stance on immigration tends to appeal to the right. Dobbs has been generally supportive of gay civil rights. In June 2006, as the U.S. Senate debated the Federal Marriage Amendment, Dobbs was critical of the action. He asserted that traditional marriage was threatened more by financial crises perpetuated by Bush administration economic policy than by gay marriage.

However, Dobbs may have alienated one key constituency, the Jewish voters. In July 2006, Dobbs criticized U.S. foreign policy as being disproportionately supportive of Israel, pointing out the U.S.’s rapid recognition of Israel in 1948, foreign aid to Israel, and other policy choices in the past and present.

Congressman Mike Ferguson (R) is a shrewd operative. After narrowly surviving reelection in 2006 and sensing the anti-incumbent mood, Ferguson is retiring, undefeated. He is currently the youngest member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation. Ferguson’s voting record is moderate by national Republican standards. His lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 74, second-highest in the state’s congressional delegation. For more traditional Republicans, Ferguson is right on all the issues. Ferguson voted to ease the burden of the marriage penalty and remove the marriage tax. Ferguson also voted to double the per-child tax credit to $1,000. He is anti-choice and voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment. He does tend to move to the left on some issues. He voted to prohibit human cloning, voted to establish a national depository for umbilical cord-blood stem cells and voted to promote federally funded research of stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood. He also supported legislation to renew the Assault Weapons Ban, to close the gun-show loophole, to strengthen and improve background checks, and to create handgun safety standards. As a result, the National Rifle Association has rated Congressman Ferguson’s record in the House as an “F.”

Tom Kean, Jr., the son and namesake of a popular former Governor, is a State Senator and on November 8, 2007 he was elected to serve as Minority Leader of the New Jersey State Senate. This came days after Kean had lost a contentious U.S. Senate race against Bob Menendez. Kean was appointed to the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, in April 2001, to fill out an unexpired term then was elected to a full term in the Assembly in his own right in November 2001. In March 2003, he was appointed to the New Jersey Senate, to fill out another unexpired term and then in November 2003, he was elected to fill the seat he had been appointed to. In 2004, Kean was elected Senate Minority Whip, a position he held until 2007.

In the state legislature, Kean has been a proponent of ethics reform in New Jersey government. He was the original sponsor of legislation banning pay to play practices in New Jersey. He has sponsored legislation to streamline government, promote education, protect the environment, and lower property taxes. Kean is also a huge proponent of alternative fuels, is pro-choice, but demonstrates a more conservative bent on immigration and gay rights, then his father.

Steve Lonegan was the mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, a small community just west of New York City, from 1995-2007. In the 2005, Lonegan ran for Governor of New Jersey. He lost the Republican nomination for governor to businessman Doug Forrester and 2001 Governor nominee and former Mayor of Jersey City Bret Schundler, who ran second. Lonegan built and managed retail, custom homebuilding and manufacturing businesses employing dozens of workers, prior to becoming Americans for Prosperity state director for New Jersey. In July of 2006, Mayor Lonegan called for a boycott of McDonald’s, after the chain posted a Spanish-language billboard in the borough promoting its iced-coffee, as he felt that the use of Spanish in the ad sends a message that Hispanic immigrants do not need to learn English. In an October 17, 2007 interview, Lonegan stated that he is an advocate of an immigration reform but that he does not support President George W. Bush’s proposal of a guest worker program that will not lead to a legal permanent residence in the United States.


It could be a grudge match if Ferguson and Kean both enter the race. In 2000, Ferguson defeated Kean in a Congressional primary. After the 2000 election, Tom Kean Jr. subsequently sued Mike Ferguson and the Council for Responsible Government. The complaint alleged that Ferguson and the Council illegally coordinated their messaging. The complaint also alleged that the Council funded and distributed a brochure under the guise of a nonpartisan group while acting as a partisan advocacy group on behalf of Ferguson. In June 2003, after a three-year dispute with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Congressman Ferguson agreed to pay $210,000 for a loan that he made to his campaign during his first election of $525,000 from a trust established for the Congressman by his parents. The FEC claimed that this loan from the trust equated to a gift from his parents. According to Federal law, the cap on personal contributions from an individual to a candidate is capped at $25,000 per election cycle. The fine was one of the highest ever paid to the FEC. While Kean said justice had been served, Ferguson maintained that he did nothing wrong.



In 2009, New Jersey voters will elect their very first Lt. Governor. It is anticipated a number of familiar faces will seek this office as a stepping stone to the Governorship in 2013. Starting with the Democrats, frequent names heard are U.S. Congressman Rob Andrews, State Senator Nia Gill, U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, Jr., State Senator Loretta Weinberg, N.J. Commissioner Susan Bass Levin, and State Senator Paul Sarlo.

For Andrews this could be a race of redemption.  In 1987, he was elected as a member of the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders. In 1990, after 15-year incumbent James Florio resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to take office as Governor of New Jersey, Andrews won a special election to succeed him. He won a full term later that year and has been reelected seven times without serious opposition. In 1997, Andrews ran for Governor himself and fell some 5,000 votes short of winner Jim McGreevey, out of 350,000 votes cast. Andrews is generally considered a moderate by New Jersey Democratic standards. The New York Times has characterized Congressman Andrews as “fiscally conservative…and socially moderate.” Using Amtrak to commute from his New Jersey home while Congress is in session, Andrews is an ardent supporter of Amtrak subsidies. He suddenly announced he would challenge incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg in the 2008 Democratic primary in New Jersey and later lost. Andrews’ wife, Camille, won the Democratic nomination to succeed him in the U.S. House.

Then Governor-Elect Corzine said on November 11, 2005, that he would consider appointing Nia Gill to fill his vacant seat in the United States Senate following his resignation to become Governor of New Jersey. He later picked Bob Menendez, who is hispanic. But this African-American State legislator has been a key ally of Corzines. Before her service as State Senator, Gill served in the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, the General Assembly, from 1994-2001, where she was Minority Whip from 1996 to 2001. Gill is a sponsor of the measure recently signed into law to criminalize the deprivation of civil rights by public officials, making racial profiling a state crime. She has also sponsored the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, which would give individuals a remedy whenever one person deprives another person of any rights, privileges or immunities or interferes with another’s civil rights. Gill has support garnered with working families however by sponsoring legislation that provides a $3,000 income tax deduction for certain families providing home care for an elderly relative, legislation that abolishes the death penalty in New Jersey, and has also sponsored legislation allowing PAAD recipients freedom of choice in selecting a pharmacy and prohibits the imposition of a mail order system. The Senator also sponsored legislation that establishes a central registry of domestic violence orders for use in evaluating firearm permit applications, sponsored legislation to upgrade crimes of the third degree. In addition, Senator Gill is the first African American and the first woman in the history of New Jersey named to serve on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rush Holt, Jr. was born to Rush D. Holt Sr., who served as a United States Senator for West Virginia (1935–1941), and his wife Helen Holt, the first woman to server as West Virginia Secretary of State (1957–1959). From 1989 until his successful congressional campaign in 1998, Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the University’s largest research facility and the largest center for energy research in New Jersey. Holt was also a 5-time winner on the gameshow, Jeopardy! Holt’s focus on environmental issues has led him to produce campaign bumper stickers whose predominant color is green. His scientific background has led to them reading, “My Congressman IS a rocket scientist!”

Before being named to the Senate seat, Loretta Weinberg served in the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, the General Assembly, from 1992-2005. In the Assembly, Weinberg served as the Deputy Minority Leader from 1994-2001. Besides her work in Trenton, Weinberg has also been active in a number of community organizations including the American Red Cross, Shelter Our Sisters, the Bergen Family Center, AARP Teaneck Chapter, New Jersey Network of Women Elected Officials, National Organization of Women Legislators and the National Council of Jewish Women. Weinberg has been a key legislative ally and leader for Corzine since he became Governor.

Susan Bass Levin served as Mayor of Cherry Hill from 1992-2002. She then served as Commissioner of Community Affairs in the cabinets of former Gov. James McGreevey and former Gov. Richard Codey from 2002 to 2005. She resigned from the cabinet in June 2005 to head up operations for Corzine’s gubernatorial campaign. She returned to Trenton as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), serving in the cabinet of Governor Corzine since he was into office on January 30, 2006. In December 1996, Bass Levin was a member of the New Jersey State Electoral College, one of 15 electors casting their votes for the Clinton/Gore ticket. Levin did make one political misstep. She ran for Congress against Jim Saxton (R) in the 2000 election raising $1.7 million dollars, along with a visit from President Bill Clinton. Bass only managed to gain 42% of the vote in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district.

Paul Sarlo has served in the New Jersey State Senate since 2003, where he represents the 36th Legislative District. Sarlo is the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate, a position held since 2004. Before his service as State Senator, Sarlo spent one term in the General Assembly, the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, from 2002-2003. In the Assembly, Sarlo was the prime sponsor of the bill creating a $29 million grant to establish a statewide bio-terrorism response plan. He also sponsored legislation to restore the Office of Public Advocate and to provide benefits and incentives for members of volunteer fire departments and rescue squads. He has also taken leading roles on legislation related to the health and welfare of women and children. In addition to his legislative duties, Sarlo is Chief Engineer at Bishop-Sanzari Heavy Construction. He has has overseen more than $150 million in projects and has worked with a skilled workforce of more than 200 men and women. He worked on the Route 4 and Route 17 interchange in Paramus, which was completed two years ahead of schedule.



For Republicans, the name on everyone’s lips is State Senator Diane Allen. Also, former U.S. Congressman Bob Franks, who lost a U.S. Senate bid to Corzine in 2000, as well as Lonegan & Kean, are mentioned.

Allen has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 1998, where she represents the 7th Legislative District. She served as the Deputy Republican Conference Leader from 2002-2003 and as the Majority Whip from 1998-2001. She was a member of the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, the New Jersey General Assembly, from 1996-1998. In 2000, she made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate, losing to millionaire businessman Doug Forrester. For a Republican, Allen is VERY progressive. She has served on the Martin Luther King Commission since 1998 and the New Jersey Human Relations Council since 2003. She has been the Senate’s Deputy Minority Leader since 2006, and serves in the Senate on the Education Committee and the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Allen also has a following from her days as a television news anchor. Allen was a television anchor and reporter for KYW-TV from 1976 to 1978, and again from 1982 to 1988 and at WCAU-TV from 1989 to 1994, both in Philadelphia, but whose markets crossover into New Jersey. She is pro-choice and pro-gay rights.

Bob Franks was the rising star of the New Jersey GOP at one point. Franks initially was a Republican Party operative and a newspaper publisher. In 1979, Franks was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, where he served until being elected to the U.S. House in 1992. He served four terms in the House from 1993 to 2001. While he was a congressman, he was a member of the Transportation Committee and involved with transportation issues. Franks served two stints as chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee.

In 2000, Franks gave up his House seat to become the Republican candidate to the open Senate seat from New Jersey. However, he was defeated by Corzine, a former CEO, by $48 million dollars. Yet it still was the closest election the Republicans have ever come to winning a New Jersey Senate seat since 1972. Franks entered the 2001 governor’s race following the sudden withdrawal of former Governor Donald DiFrancesco and it is believed this late start cost him the primary as Mayor Bret Schundler, a social conservative, had a big head start in campaigning and fundraising. Franks currently serves as President of the Health Care Institute of New Jersey.


Fmr. New Jersey Governor endorses Wesley Clark for V.P.
June 27, 2008, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Former Governor Dick Codey (D-N.J.) who is currently New Jersey State Senate President says he thinks ret. General Wesley Clark is the best candidate to match with Senator Barack Obama for a winning ticket for the fall.

He’s got personality, he’s got a great wife, and he gives Obama age and military background,” Codey told PolitickerNJ.com.

Clark is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who served as Supreme Allied Commander  during the Kosovo War, suffering no fatalities of soldiers under his command. In 2004, Clark ran for President, winning Oklahoma, and running strong in key battleground swing states. Clark remains close to the Clintons and vocally supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in her failed presidential bid.

Teaming up Clark with Obama would “Match Obama with someone who is seen as a regular guy who appeals to armed forces voters and blue collar voters, who were former Clinton supporters,” in Codey’s judgment.

I don’t think anyone connotes in his mind a five star general with a guy who’s going to be on a laptop at Starbucks,” said the Senate President and former Governor, who backed Obama in the Democratic Primary after former Sen. John Edwards withdrew.

Continued signs of support for Clark by key party leaders shows he is fast approaching to be a consensus choice for some as the strongest possible running mate for Obama.