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As Caroline Kennedy pursues her bright-lights, big-city bid for the U.S. Senate, another child of dynasty is quietly testing the waters for his own Senate run.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — the son of one president and the brother of another — has been working the phones since Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) announced earlier this month that he won’t seek reelection in 2010. Sources say Bush hasn’t made up his mind about running for Martinez’ seat, but that he’s getting green lights from would-be contributors and blessings from Republican Party leaders.
Strategists and political observers take it as a sign that Bush will run.
“Everything indicates that he’s in,” said David Johnson, a Republican strategist and the CEO of Strategic Vision. “You’re not making calls and laying the ground work for fundraising unless you’re clearing the field for your candidacy.”
Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida and an expert on Florida politics, said Bush’s phone calls around the state are “a good sign” that he could be jumping in the race, something that she says is “music to the ears of Florida Republicans.”
“Nothing could have come at a better time,” MacManus said. “Republicans here in Florida were so down after the election. The mere mention of Jeb’s potential Senate run has put Republicans in a much more festive holiday mood.”
Still, those who know Jeb Bush best say there’s just no telling what he’ll decide.
“I would be more surprised if he did run than if he didn’t,” said Republican state Sen. Michael Bennett. “And I know that’s surprising considering he would be walking away from a surefire win and a seat in the U.S. Senate. I don’t know of many people who would walk away from that.”
Bennett said that the legislative process has never appealed to Bush.
“Jeb wants to be king. He doesn’t want to be a prince,” he said. “He’s used to getting things done and getting things done now. He’s not one to wait for the process.”
Courtesy Huffington Post:
In what may very well be the death knell for Norm Coleman’s time in the U.S. Senate, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously dismissed one of his last legal objections to the recount process.
In a five-to-zero decision, the court rejected a Coleman campaign lawsuit that sought to block the course of the recount due to concerns that some ballots had been counted twice. It was the Minnesota Republican’s last legal angle for making up the 47-vote deficit he currently faces against Al Franken.
Coleman had argued that in the process of recounting, some precincts had accidentally counted both the original ballots and duplicates that were used for those original ballots that couldn’t be properly scanned. But the campaign asked only for the state to look at 25 specific counties, suggesting that the argument was politically and not legally motivated. Moreover, it couldn’t provide evidence that voting tallies during the recount exceeded those on Election Day — which would have been the obvious result of duplicates being counted.
With this issue, seemingly, out of the way, the recount process will come to an end once the state and both campaigns decide what to do about improperly rejected absentee ballots. That should come in early January. And while it would be foolish to predict how the counting and disbursement of these 1,600 ballots would proceed — the two camps have agreed on principles by which the process will be conducted — it seems likely that the results will favor Franken.
Franken’s campaign has been pining to have these wrongfully rejected absentee ballots counted from the beginning of the recount process, suggesting that they believe the votes will favor Franken. It is more common for Democratic voters to make clerical errors on their absentee ballots than it is for Republicans.
All told, the window through which Coleman was looking to hold unto his Senate seat just became measurably narrower.
UPDATE. Not entirely surprising, the Coleman campaign says a lawsuit challenging the results of the election is now a near certainty. According to the Hil l:
A Minnesota Supreme Court justice haspredicted “an extended legal contest” in the Minnesota senate race, no matter which way the final recount between Democratic challenger Al Franken and incumbent Normal Coleman goes, and election analyst Nate Silver of 538.com agrees.
“There are any number of grounds on which you can challenge an election,” Silver told MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer on Monday. “So far, people have been pretty well behaved, but if Al Franken wins by 12 votes, Norm Coleman will probably sue. If the reverse is true, then Al Franken will probably sue. We may not have a senator seated until mid-January or February.”
Franken is currently leading by 250 votes, but Silver believes that Coleman is likely to gain about 200 votes as challenged ballots are resolved, while Franken may get back 50 from the absentee ballots.
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A top level Republican IT consultant who was set to testify in a case alleging GOP election tampering in Ohio died in a plane crash late Friday night.
Michael Connell — founder of Ohio-based New Media Communications, which created campaign Web sites for George W. Bush and John McCain — died instantly after his single-prop, private aircraft smashed into a vacant home in suburban Lake Township, Ohio.
“The plane was attempting to land around 6 p.m. Friday at Akron-Canton Airport when it crashed about three miles short of the runway,” reports theAkron Beacon Journal .
Connell’s exploits as a top GOP IT ‘guru’ have been well documented by RAW STORY’s investigative team.
The interest in Mike Connell stems from his association with a firm called GovTech, which he had spun off from his own New Media Communications under his wife Heather Connell’s name. GovTech was hired by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to set up an official election website at election.sos.state.oh.us to presented the 2004 presidential returns as they came in.
Connell is a long-time GOP operative, whose New Media Communications provided web services for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Republican National Committee and many Republican candidates. This in itself might have raised questions about his involvement in creating Ohio’s official state election website.
However, the alternative media group ePlubibus Media further discovered in November 2006 that election.sos.state.oh.us was hosted on the servers of a company in Chattanooga, TN called SmarTech, which also provided hosting for a long list of Republican Internet domains.