The Energy Bill passed the House last week and now heads to the Senate. President Bush says he wants to sign it, but Democrats plan to bury it alongside past versions. Among the critics is Sen. Chuck Schumer, who says he'll filibuster the bill because it shields fuel manufacturers from MTBE spill liability. "This bill lets the big oil companies who are responsible off the hook," he says.
Clips from my work.
U.S. Senator Jon Corzine has just discovered an unexpected opponent in his campaign for the New Jersey governor's office: Potty-mouthed Democratic political boss George Norcross III.
Republican Pat Browne won a special election in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley to fill a vacant State Senate seat. He earned 53% of the vote. His competitor, Democrat Jennifer Mann, will remain in the State House.
How much mud has to fly in a political campaign to inspire an elected Democrat to publicly defend the Republican candidate? Look no further than Pennsylvania's 16th senate district, which holds a special election tomorrow to fill the vacancy left by freshman U.S. representative Charlie Dent. The district covers eastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, which includes Allentown.
Fate didn't allow the Steelers and Eagles to meet in this year's Super Bowl, but Pennsylvanians can hope for a Pittsburgh-Philly matchup in next year's election for governor.
The queue of entertainers turned politicians may soon grow by one. Doug Friedline, former campaign manager to one-time Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura, has launched a campaign to draft "I'm from Joisey" Joe Piscopo for the New Jersey governor's race. Mr. Piscopo was an 80s-era Saturday Night Live cast member who claims to have written more Jersey jokes than anyone else. Democratic candidate Jon Corzine may be wondering if Mr. Piscopo's next joke will be on him.
Look for the property tax issue to dominate New Jersey's race for governor this year. The state's gubernatorial battles will be closely-watched around the country not just because it's an off-year with few other races -- but because a big win by Senator Jon Corzine, the likely Democratic finalist, would considerably raise his presidential profile.
To kick off the 2006 campaign, Washington lawmakers this week are hoisting the "ethics reform" standard. If voters are wondering whether Congress can rally to save itself from temptation, developments in a Tennessee political-corruption scandal that resembles the Abramoff affair aren't encouraging.
In his State of the State speech on Tuesday, New Jersey Acting Governor Richard Codey announced new funding for one of his favorite projects, the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute. How will a state that borrowed $2.3 billion to plug this year's budget and faces a $4 billion deficit next year pay for it? Borrow, of course, so that future budgets are obligated to fund it.
The acting governor promised to spend $150 million of unspent bond money to build the research center and plans to ask voters to approve an additional $230 million in new bonds for grants at the institute.
Used to be that money was the bell cow foretelling a campaign's priorities. Want to know which states are critical for an Electoral College win? Look at where a candidate spends his booty. But in an era of close races and hanging chads, a better indicator is where the lawyers hang out before Election Day.