Until recently, the re-election chances of Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, looked poor. A combination of low approval ratings and low charisma, coupled with his lead role in pushing Obama’s expensive policy agenda through the US Senate, made him an easy target for Republicans.
His biggest Republican threat appeared to be a former state legislator and casino owner Sue Lowden—until she waded into the policy debate over subsidized health care. “Before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents,” mused Lowden, “They would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house.” Democrats responded with chicken suits, chicken ads, and Chickens for Checkups. Rather than retract her comments, Lowden’s campaign produced a letter from a physician who said she had exchanged medical care for, among other things, “alfalfa hay, yard work, and horse shoeing.”
Now the leading Republican contender is Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favourite, who opposes federal taxes, the Department of Education, wants to phase out Social Security and withdraw from the United Nations.
Harry Reid thinks this is awesome.
Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of EBay, is the leading GOP contender to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. She is spending US $80 million on her primary campaign , including $71 million of her own money. That amount is “obscene” according to her GOP rival, a former high tech entrepreneur, Steve Poizner, who serves as the state’s insurance commissioner. Poizner is spending a paltry $25 million.
The kicker: The big-spenders are battling over who will do a better job cutting spending in the indebted state.
Bonus kicker: The winner will face off against Jerry Yes-He’s-Still-Around Brown, 72, who is touting his experience of already having held the job once – 35 years ago.
Also in California, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, is the leading Republican contender aiming to take on incumbent Democratic senator Barbara Boxer. Using footage of Boxer calling climate change a national security issue, Fiorina launched a television ad in which she says, “Terrorism kills…And Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather.”
First there was the amorous governor, Mark Sanford, who disappeared from his office for several days last year while his staff scrambled to tell reporters he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, until it emerged that the very married governor had jetted off to Buenos Aires to having a tryst with his Argentinian “soulmate”. Now comes the race to succeed him and restore the state’s reputation and turn the page on the state’s soap opera politics — or not. This time the front-runner, Nikki Haley, an accountant, state politician and daughter of Indian immigrants. She boasts endorsements from Sarah Palin and Jenny Sanford, the two-timing governor’s wife. Inconveniently, though, two men have come forward to say she had affairs with them – including the former governor’s former press secretary. Haley has vehemently denied the accusations and says she would resign her office if any evidence ever came forward.
Also: no one can accuse the GOP of lacking for female candidates.