Better know a candidate: Jane Dittmar

Jane Dittmar.jpg

Name: Jane Dittmar

Current position: Albemarle County Supervisor

Future position: Running for U.S. House of Representatives Virginia’s 5th Congressional District

Political party: Democratic

Key issues:

Expand certification programs for high-school graduates

Invest in startup spaces throughout the 5th Congressional District

Expand broadband internet access

Expand apprenticeship programs for trade schools and technical skills

Expand local workforce training programs

Better know a candidate: Frank Lasee

Name: Frank Lasee

Current position: Wisconsin State Senate District 1 (2011 – present)

Previous position: Wisconsin State Assemblyman District 2 (2005-2009)

Future position:  Running for the U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District

Political party: Republican

Key issues:

Introduced a proposal to allow public school teachers to carry guns

Proposed cutting funding for University of Wisconsin Law School by $1 million initially and a complete removal of funding by 2010

Proposed consolidating the counties in Wisconsin

Co-sponsored the Taxpayers Bill of Rights in Wisconsin including the proposal that any increase in income, sales, franchise, or property tax rates would require the approval of voters.

Will stand up to radical Islam by calling it what it is

Supports securing the border and enforcing immigration laws

Supports balancing the budget

Supports cutting spending and providing tax relief

Supports reining in the IRS and EPA

Wants to ” promote market driven health care solutions to lower insurance premiums, increase patient choice, and enhance medical research.”


Strong 2nd Amendment supporter


Better know a candidate: Tom O’Halleran


Name: Tom O’Halleran

Current position: None

Previous position:  Arizona State Senator from Arizona District 1 (2007-2009) and member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001-2006

Future position: Running for Congress Arizona’s 1st Congressional District

Political party: Democratic

Interesting tidbit: Changed his party registration from Republican to Independent in 2014.

Key issues:

Fully fund the Office of Congressional Ethics, provide the subpoena powers to the Office of Congressional Ethics, and more authority to investigate members of Congress.

If the government shuts down, legislators should not draw a salary while the government is shut down and salary should not be reinstated.

Calls for Congress to work 5 days/week not including fundraising

Freezing Congressional pay and Congressional office budgets

Pass campaign finance reform; increasing disclosure.  Limit the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Prevent lobbyists from being a part of campaign organizations and finance committees.

Extend the ban on legislators from returning as lobbyists to five years.

Prevent luxury trips and from being reimbursed for first class travel.

Members of Congress would be required to disclose their official work schedule in an electronic format.

Opposes privatizing Social Security and a Medicare voucher program

Supports giving veterans medical treatment outside of the VA on the VA’s dime

Supported all-day kindergarten in Arizona legislature

Invest in vocational training

Supports immigration reform that secures the border, keeps families together, and meets the needs of the economy.

Supports the DREAM Act



Better know a candidate: Jim Gray

Jim Gray.jpg

Name: Jim Gray

Current position: Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky

Future position: Running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky

Political Party: Democratic

Interesting tidbit: His voice sounds like Rand Paul’s.


Opposes privatization of Social Security

Supports raising the revenue cap for social security.  Currently social security taxes are levied up to a cap of around $110,000.  That is the maximum amount of earnings that can be taxed for social security.  The Congressional Research Service wrote in September 2010: “If all earning were subject to the payroll tax, but the base was retained for benefit calculations, the Social Security Trust Funds would remain solvent for the next 75 years.”

Opposes turning Medicare into a voucher program.

Opposes the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United

Supports increased disclosure for campaign finance

Supports raising the minimum wage

Supports pay equity for women

Supports increased spending in government infrastructure

Supports the policy of no-fly, no -buy which would prevent people on the government’s no-fly list to be able to to buy guns.

Opposes an assault rifle ban

Supports restrictions on those who can buy guns, criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill should not be able to buy guns



2016 Gubernatorial Elections to Watch: A complete list

Here are the gubernatorial elections this year that I’m watching and will be spending my time focused on.

State Current Democratic nominee Republican nominee
Indiana Republican John Gregg Eric Holcomb*
Missouri Democratic Chris Koster* Peter Kinder*
Montana Democratic Steve Bullock Greg Gianforte
North Carolina Republican Roy Cooper Pat McCrory
New Hampshire Democratic Colin Van Ostern* Chris Sununu*
Vermont Democratic Matt Dunne* Phil Scott*
West Virginia Democratic Jim Justice Bill Cole

2016 Senate Elections to Watch: A complete list

Here are the 14 Senate races that I want to watch in November.  I think the Kentucky Senate race is pretty safe for Rand Paul but I still want to watch it.

State Current Democratic nominee Republican nominee
Arizona Republican Ann Kirkpatrick John McCain*
Colorado Democratic Michael Bennet Darryl Glenn
Florida Republican Patrick Murphy* Marco Rubio*
Iowa Republican Patty Judge Chuck Grassley
Illinois Republican Tammy Duckworth Mark Kirk
Indiana Republican Evan Bayh Todd Young
Kentucky Republican Jim Gray Rand Paul
Missouri Republican Jason Kander Roy Blunt
North Carolina Republican Deborah Ross Richard Burr
New Hampshire Republican Maggie Hassan Kelly Ayotte
Nevada Democratic Catherine Cortez Masto Joe Heck
Ohio Republican Ted Strickland Rob Portman
Pennsylvania Republican Katie Mcginty Pat Toomey
Wisconsin Republican Russ Feingold Ron Johnson

Congressional elections to watch: A complete list

For November, I have about 40 Congressional elections that I am interested in watching how they turn out.  They are fairly close races or marked somewhat as battleground seats.  They are the ones I am going to be writing about the most in the next three months or so.

District Current Democratic Republican
Arizona-1 D Tom O’Halleran Paul Babeu*
Arizona-2 R Victoria Steele* Martha McSally
Arizona-9 D Kyrsten Sinema John Agra*
California-10 R Michael Eggman Jeff Denham
California-25 R Bryan Faforio Stephen Knight
California-52 D Scott Peters Denise Gitsham
California-7 D Ami Bera Scott Jones
Colorado-6 R Morgan Carroll Mike Coffman
Florida-18 D Randy Perkins* Brian Mast*
Florida-26 R Annette Taddeo* Carlos Curbelo
Illinois-10 R Brad Schneider Robert Dold
Illinois-12 R C.J. Baricevic Mike Bost
Iowa-1 R Monica Vernon Rod Blum
Iowa-3 R Jim Mowrer David Young
Maine-2 R Emily Ann Cain Bruce Poliquin
Michigan-1 R Lon Johnson* Tom Casperson*
Michigan-7 R Gretchen Driskell Tim Walberg
Minnesota-2 R Angie Craig Jason Lewis*
Minnesota-8 D Rick Nolan Stewart Mills
Nebraska-2 D Brad Ashford Don Bacon
Nevada-3 R Jacky Rosen* Michael Roberson*
Nevada-4 R Ruben Kihuen* Cresent Hardy
New Hampshire-1 R Carol Shea-Porter* Frank Guinta*
New Jersey-3 R Frederick John Lavergne Tom Macarthur
New Jersey-5 R Josh Gottheimer Scott Garrett
New York -24 R Colleen Deacon* John Katko
New york-1 R Anna Throne-Holst Lee Zeldin
New York-18 D Sean Maloney Phil Oliva
New York-19 R Zephyr Teachout John Faso
New york-21 R Mike Derrick Elise Stefanik
New York-22 R Kim Myers Claudia Tenney
New York-3 D Tom Suozzi Jack Martins
Pennsylvania-8 R Steve Santarsiero Brian Fitzpatrick
Texas-23 R Pete Gallego Will Hurd
Utah -4 R Doug Owens Mia Love
Virginia -10 R LuAnn Bennett Barbara Comstock
Virginia -4 R Donald McEachin Mike Wade
Virginia -5 R Jane Dittmar Tom Garrett
Wisconsin – 8 R Tom Nelson Frank Lasee


Thursday Teddy’s

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick is calling for term limits in her first campaign ad.  She is running against Senator John McCain.  She wrote an op-ed calling for the same thing in an effort to “fix” Washington.  She writes in her op-ed:

They’re tired of politicians who care only about their next election, their special-interest donors or their cushy lobbying job down the road. And they’re angry because hard-working Arizonans are the ones who suffer the consequences.

That kind of self-interest keeps us from passing common-sense reforms to keep suspected terrorists from buying weapons. That kind of self-interest has shut down the government and cost our local communities jobs and millions in economic activity. And that kind of self-interest means some senators now refuse to do their constitutional duty on the Supreme Court vacancy.

Hopefully, I will be able to address this soon.  But I am of the unpopular opinion that term limits would hurt things rather than help.

Representative Loretta Sanchez is upset that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have decided to endorse Kamala Harris in the California Senate race.  The race is historic as there are two Democratic candidates running in the general election. She is quoted as saying, “California’s Senate seat does not belong to the political establishment – it belongs to the People of California, and I believe California voters will make their own independent choice for U.S. Senate in November.”  Hmmm…trying to take advantage of an environment to display yourself as anti-establishment? Interesting.  Of course Sanchez only needs to win Republican voters and a fraction of the Democratic voters in California to win the Senate seat.

Representative Steve Knight might not be able to hold onto his vulnerable Congressional seat.  A new poll out shows that he is only leading by 6%shows that he is only leading by 6%.  Knight snuck into the general election in 2014 by receiving 28.40% in the primary (thanks to jungle primaries).  He trailed Tony Strickland 29.58 – 28.40%.  He then won the election 53.34% – 46.66%.

Republican politicians are being asked why they are not at the Republican convention.  Representative Rod Blum is busy campaigning.



Some pun about a sheriff

The sheriff of Pimal County in Arizona, Paul Babeu, is running, again, for Congress.  He is running as a Republican in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district for the Republican nomination to replace Ann Kirkpatrick.  Babeu ran for Congress in 2012 but dropped his bid in May of that year after an undocumented immigrant Jose Orozco came out and said that the two of them had been lovers.  Orozco further claimed that Babeu threatned Orozco with deportation if he made the affair public.  Babeu admitted that he was gay but did not admit to anything else. Babeu remained incredibly popular with the voters in his county and was re-elected to his position of sheriff of Pimal County.Babeu was cleared of any criminal charges regarding the Orozco incident.

Babeu rose to fame within the Republican Party for appearing in John McCain’s “build the dang fence” ad.

He later assisted McCain with the Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011.  As with the ad, the call was for thousands of National Guard troops deployed to the United States-Mexico border.  In addition, it would call for 5,000 additional border patrol agents to the border and funding for Customs inspectors.  More importantly since we have talked about it quite a bit in 2016,  there was a call for a double layer fence across the border.

Babeau has called for increased security for the border for the US-Mexico border.  His campaign website touts his experience as the commander for the Yuma sector supporting 700 active duty soldiers and airmen.  In an article with conservative website NewsMax that the border is not secure.  He went further saying, “I’m telling you that as somebody on the ground, as someone who experiences it every day. This is a lie that is being peddled by those who must convince the American people that it is secure and everything is just fine.”  Babeu opposes the Gang of Eight immigration bill because it does not focus enough on border security.  From the same article:

They are dead wrong. Instead of putting their focus on finding a path to citizenship and a green card, they should put their focus on American citizens and securing our border, and enforcing our laws and putting Americans first rather than these individuals.

It’s unclear what effect the story of Louie Puroll has had on Sheriff Paul.  The Phoenix New Times  wrote a report regarding this shooting.  About a week after Governor Jan Brewer signed the infamous S.B. 1070 into law, Puroll sustained a shooting.  He claimed that he was on a routine patrol when he saw a handful of Latino or Native American men.  He followed these men for a while.  Then there was a shot from about 25 yards away from an AK-47.  He called 911 from his cell phone and yelled out that an officer was shot.  Within 20 minutes, dozens of police officers showed up.  This would include about 200 cops.  Within an hour, four helicopters also showed up to help with the manhunt.  The men escaped, as well as the backpacks that they were carrying which Puroll claimed were filled with marijuana.  The Phoenix New Times reported Babeu saying,”We learned a lot from the situation, about how to be better prepared and react and to marshal our forces so that bad guys aren’t able to escape like these guys did. It was very unfortunate that they got away.”  The forensice experts that the reporters for the Phoenix New Times contacted reported having suspicions of the shooting indicating that the shots sustained by Puroll may have taken place closer than what Puroll claimed. Babeu showed up fairly regularly on Fox News to talk about the poor security around the border and illegal immigration.  The Phoenix New Times posted a blog post which led to some speculation about whether or not Puroll was actually shot by illegal immigrants or if he shot himself.  Babeu jumped to the defense of his deputy but also had to correct some of the information that was released within a few hours of the police shooting.

After that report, Babeu had to send the shirt for testing as well as more investigation into Puroll.  The reporter who wrote the original story also had an interview with Puroll.  During this interview, Puroll made a claim that he was approached by multiple members of the Mexican cartel to look the other way if he “bumped into them.”  Puroll also noted he “didn’t arrest any of these men, call for backup, or write reports” about these incidents.   After the tape recorder was shut off, Puroll told the reporter that a friend of his offered to kill the reporter for writing that story.  The reporter notes that he gave Puroll opportunities to amend or retract these statements.

Puroll was investigated by internal affairs after the interview with the reporter was published.  There were 10 allegations against Puroll.  All 10 of these allegations were sustained and Puroll was fired for being untruthful.  For whatever, it’s worth Babeu “said he still believes Puroll’s story about getting shot by a drug smuggler in the Vekol Valley but conceded that the deputy told tall tales about the death threat and about meeting repeatedly with cartel members.”

Babeu continued to push for a story that involved the smugglers involved in the Puroll shooting setting an ambush for Puroll.  The claim was wildly inaccurate even if you believe Puroll’s claims about being shot.  The shooting took place as they noticed Puroll following them.  Not that it was a deliberate ambush.

RollCall refers to him as a younger man’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio with regards to immigration.  How much stock should we put into his personal life?  I personally don’t think we should be delving into people’s personal lives unless they are abusing their authority, breaking laws, or are misusing public funds.  The assistant attorney general in charge of the inquiry into Babeu found “there is no indication he misused any authority or misused public money to harass or intimidate Jose Orozco.”  However, the text messages and voicemails sent by Babeu to Orozco have not been in dispute have they happened and they are problematic for me.  You can read them in the Phoenix New Times report.







Wednesday’s Washingtons

Moderate Democrat Congressman Brad Ashford has a $1 million cash advantage over his Republican challenger Don Bacon.  Ashford should be able to be re-elected in November thanks to Omaha shading a little blue for Presidential elections but that $1 million cash advantage would have been insane to think about two years ago.

Mike Coffman in Colorado also holds a cash advantage over his challenger.

Sheriff Paul Babeu has received Young Guns status from the National Republican Congressional Committee.  He has not received the Republican nomination for Arizona’s 1st Congressional district.  Babeu is somewhat of a loose cannon and should be somewhat helpful in helping Tom O’Halleran retain Ann Kirkpatrick’s seat in November.  Babeu is in 2nd place for fundraising in the Republican primary behind Wendy Rogers.  Babeu is leading in the polls right now.  But it should be interesting to watch on August 30.

The RNC will have freshman Senators from the Republican Party brag about getting Harry Reid fired from the Senate majority.  Reid fired a scathing review of Donald Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as his Vice President nominee:

The American people will never stand for Donald Trump’s dangerous proposals and divisive rhetoric, no matter who his running mate is. But by picking Governor Mike Pence, Trump has doubled down on the fringe policies and partisan gridlock that fueled his rise as the leader of the dysfunctional Republican Party. Trump could not have selected a more extreme partner in his campaign of hate and division.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have chosen sides in Florida’s Democratic Senate primary and the California Senate election.  Their choices?  Patrick Murphy and Kamala Harris.