Gizzi on Politics: Bolling’s Snub; Vulnerable GOPer, Sanford’s Back; More

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 03:22 PM

By John Gizzi

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For all the relief Virginia Republicans felt when Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling announced last week he would not run as an independent for governor this fall, there was one catch.

In taking himself out of the race, Bolling pointedly did not endorse the certain Republican nominee that he feels denied him a crack at nomination: State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a favorite of conservatives.

Bolling ended his own bid for the Republican nod and considered “going rogue” as an independent after Cuccinelli backers on the state GOP committee made the nominating venue a convention rather than a primary.

Polls show Cuccinelli and likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe in a near-tie for now.

Most Vulnerable GOP House Member

Two-term GOP Rep. Scott Dejarlais of Tennessee is likely the most vulnerable Republican member in the House in next year’s mid-term elections.

Dejarlais — a pro-life, pro-family, tea partier — was rocked by revelations last year that he once urged a girlfriend to have an abortion, as well as charges of multiple affairs with co-workers while he was chief of staff at a hospital.

Despite the revelations, Dejarlais won re-election as he faced a weak Democratic foe, but Republicans in Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional District fear he will lose the seat if he is again their nominee.

With pressure mounting on the embattled GOPer to retire, his most talked-of Republican successor is former Rep. Van Hilleary, a conservative who represented the district from 1994-2002 and lost bids for governor and U.S. senator.


Will National GOP Back Sanford?

With former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford emerging on top in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the open 1st Congressional District seat, the question now is whether national GOPers will actually back Sanford — best known for being out of the country with his Argentinian mistress in 2009 after a spokesman claimed he was “hiking along the Appalachian trail.”

Should Sanford win the run-off April 2 and become the Republican nominee to succeed Sen. Tim Scott in his former House district, the National Republican Congressional Committee has signaled it will be in his corner — scandal, divorce, and all.

During the House Republican retreat in January, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden indicated to me that he would have no problem with Sanford if he became the nominee in the special election.

Asked if Sanford’s personal situation would be a problem, Walden told me: “He has to convince local Republicans of that.”

Son May Not Rise in South Dakota
Democrats in South Dakota and Washington, D.C., expect that three-term Sen. Tim Johnson will soon announce he is not seeking re-election.

The problem with Johnson’s exodus is that state and national party leaders are reportedly not enamored with the idea of his son, U.S. Attorney Brad Johnson, trying to succeed him.

The last time the son of a retiring senator ran, rather than received appointment to his father’s seat, was in 1976 when Missouri’s Rep. James Symington badly lost a three-candidate Democratic primary to succeed his father, retiring Sen. Stuart Symington.

Party leaders are said to prefer former Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, daughter of a former Democratic governor of South Dakota, over the younger Johnson. The Republican nominee is expected to be popular two-term former Gov. Mike Rounds.

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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