Daniel Schulman

Senior Editor

Based in DC, Dan covers politics and national security. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, the Village Voice, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications. He is the author of the new Koch brothers biography, Sons of Wichita (Grand Central Publishing). Email him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com.

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An Update on Washington's Shadiest Shoo-Ins

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 5:45 PM EST

In the latest issue of the magazine, Josh Harkinson and I detailed the 5 shadiest members of Congress, who, despite their ethically-challenged ways, were bound to be reelected. Well, last night the people spoke and reelected all five, all by more than 60 percent of the vote. Due to last night's shake-up, the Republicans on our list will lose some measure of clout and (hopefully) some of their ability to game the system. Not so the lone Dem on our list, whose power will only grow.

Here's where things stand now:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the former oilman and climate change denier, is reportedly jockeying for a post in the House minority leadership. He'll no longer be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, though.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) will soon lose his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee, where, most recently, he axed 60 investigators "charged with closely monitoring defense contracting and intelligence spending," according to OMBWatch.

Come January Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) will no longer serve as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and thus will no longer be able to shut down hearings when he doesn't like the topic of conversation.

Rep. Roy (the "midnight rider") Blunt (R-Mo.), currently the House Majority Whip, will reportedly seek another term as the second most powerful House Republican.

The "prince of pork," Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), will ascend to the chairmanship of the House Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies, a position he will likely use to take his earmarking bonanza to new and outrageous levels.

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GOP Strategy in Maryland: Pretend You're a Dem

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 9:28 PM EST

Now this is truly bizarre. In Maryland, where I spent most of the day reporting on technical snafus with the state's electronic voting system, the GOP was handing out campaign literature that listed Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, who's running for reelection, and Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who's running against Ben Cardin for an open Senate seat, as Democrats. "The intent could not be clearer: to confuse those looking to vote a straight Democratic ticket," the Washington Monthly reports. It gets stranger from here:

I talked to the man who handed me the pamphlet. A thirty-something African-American who wouldn't give his name, he told me that, starting last Friday, some people had come to the Philadelphia homeless shelter where he said he volunteers, and had begun to recruit residents. Eventually, he said that 300 people filled five buses. He said he was paid $100 for the day's work.

And this just in from the AP:

Governor Ehrlich's campaign is acknowledging that it paid for fliers handed out on Election Day, suggesting Ehrlich and Michael Steele are Democrats.

I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

UPDATE: As Clara notes below, it looks like Steele's Senate bid was unsuccessful.

Hostettler's Out in Indiana

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 9:03 PM EST

Roll Call reports that John Hostettler, the Indiana Republican, has been unseated by Brad Ellsworth, a county sheriff. A handful of other Republican incumbents in Indiana could share Hostettler's fate, among them Mike Sodrel, Anne Northrup, and Chris Chocola. Stay tuned.

Massachusetts Elects its First Black Governor

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 8:47 PM EST

Deval Patrick, a former Clinton administration official, has just been declared the winner of Massachusetts' widely watched gubernatorial race, becoming the first black governor in the state's history. Judging from the poll figures, he gave his opponent, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, a drubbing too.

More Coverage of Push Polling

| Mon Nov. 6, 2006 5:05 PM EST

The New York Times weighs in today on the GOP's push polling efforts in contested districts, noting this gem from a recent smear on Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who's running against Conrad Burns: "Does the fact that Jon Tester says he would have voted against common-sense, pro-life judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and Conrad Burns supported them, make you less favorable toward Jon Tester?"

According to the Times, ccAdvertising (a/k/a FreeEats.com), which I reported on recently, has been robo-calling on behalf of an attack group called Common Sense Ohio, which "was formed in July to run issue advertisements in the governor's race there, and it became involved in the Senate races in Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Tennessee, and in the abortion referendum in South Dakota." FreeEats, which is chaired by Donald Hodel, a Reagan-era cabinet official and the former president of both the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family, has also been working on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fund, a 527-committee bankrolled by Bob Perry (of Swift Boat Veterans fame).

The Times notes that "some experts question how much impact the calls will have amid the rest of the political fog, especially since some voters quickly get annoyed with the technique." Gabriel Joseph, the president of FreeEats, would beg to differ. As he told me, "When you make 3 ½ million phone calls a day, we generally talk to more people than watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper combined."

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