Gizzi on Politics: Florida Purge; Montana Challenge; Crowded in Georgia

Friday, 29 Mar 2013 03:10 PM

By John Gizzi

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Embarrassed over the abrupt resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll over a variety of corruption charges — and already facing an uphill re-election battle — Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott has taken the unusual step of shutting down her office.

Scott said the move would save the taxpayers about $510,000 — largely to cover the salary and expenses of Carroll’s four staffers — her chief of staff made $100,000 a year.

Scott also insisted he would not name a replacement to the state’s second-highest office until the legislative session ends in May.

Baucus Facing Challenge in Montana

Elected to the House from Montana in 1974 and to the Senate in 1978, Democrat Max Baucus is actively running for his seventh term next year. But the Senate Finance Committee chairman who, at 71, was born four days after Pearl Harbor, is running into some rough sledding.

While Republicans have only elected two U.S. senators from the Big Sky Country since popular election to the upper chamber began, there are two substantive conservatives gearing up for the race: former state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds.

And popular former two-term Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer has not ruled out a primary challenge to Baucus.

Georgia GOP House Field Grows

The prediction of a knock-down, drag-out fight between four Republican House members in Georgia in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is coming true.

Rep. Phil Gingrey has made it official; he is running, thus joining fellow physician-congressman Paul Broun in the race.

At the recent Georgia Republican Party President’s Day dinner, Rep. Jack Kingston signaled he would join the race but an official announcement would have to wait a few days. Pat Millsaps, a top strategist in Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign, is expected to be the Kingston campaign’s quarterback.

Rep. Tom Price, former House Policy Committee chairman, has said he will make a decision in May.

Dems Hit Electoral College Tinkering

A proposal by a Republican state senator to alter the way Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are allocated in future presidential elections has state and national Democrats mobilizing for war — even as supporters of the measure say it isn’t going anywhere.

State Sen. Dominic Pileggi recently offered Senate Bill 538, which would change the statewide winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes to one in which 18 of the electoral votes are divided proportionally among the candidates for president and two at-large votes go to the top vote-getter statewide. Under this system, President Barack Obama would have won 12 electoral votes last fall and Republican Mitt Romney eight.

Already, Democratic voters are getting robo-calls overseen by the Democratic National Committee in which former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell tells them that Pileggi and the lawmakers are “trying to change the rules to rig the game for the Republicans because they lost fair and square in 2012.”

Also weighing in against the Pileggi measure are Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s political organization.

John Gizzi is the former political editor for Human Events, working for the conservative weekly from 1979 to 2013. Gizzi is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence, was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV talk shows.

 

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