Politics

02.28.12

2012’s Other Elections: Olympia Snowe Out, Bob Kerrey In, and More

With the Maine Republican retiring from the Senate and the former Nebraska Democratic senator back in the race, local and congressional campaigns are heating up. Check out the day’s biggest news.

Olympia Snowe to Leave the Senate

Maine’s senior U.S. senator, Olympia Snowe, announced Tuesday that she will not seek reelection this year. The retirement of the Republican, who has been in office since 1995, is sure to harm her party’s chances of holding on to a Senate seat in the largely Democratic state. Snowe is considered a relatively moderate member of the GOP, having recently supported President Obama’s birth-control rule once he made it optional for religious employers to pay for coverage.

Bob Kerrey Changes His Mind About Senate Run

Former senator Bob Kerrey has decided to reverse course and seek Nebraska’s open Senate seat. The Democrat announced earlier in February that he would not be running for Congress, but he called Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday to inform him that he’d changed his mind. Kerrey was a U.S. senator from 1989 to 2001 and sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. After leaving the Senate, he was president of the New School in New York until 2010.

Wisconsin Democrats See Opportunity in Governor Walker Recall

Potential Democratic candidates in Wisconsin see a good chance against Republican Gov. Scott Walker after the state’s upcoming recall vote, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. The Democratic pollsters found that Walker’s campaign is already hindered by a disapproval rating of 52 percent over 47 percent approval. Walker announced Monday that he will not contest any of the signatures on a petition requesting his recall, citing a lack of time. Who will go against Walker has not been officially determined, but Wisconsin Democrats have already started airing advertisements for the recall. A 30-second spot aired this week compares the Wisconsin governor to Richard Nixon.

Missouri Democratic Primary Could Be Racially Charged

Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan announced Tuesday that he’ll be running in St. Louis’s First District—an admission of defeat in the fight to save his recently eliminated Third District and the beginning of a Democratic primary focused on race. Carnahan, who is white, will be running against Rep. William Lacy Clay, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “It’s impossible to overlook the minority aspect here,” Mike Kelley, former executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party, told Roll Call. “There will be a lot of downticket races that will have primaries, particularly in the African-American community, that will drive some turnout in this election. It will be something Carnahan will have to overcome, and it will be something that Clay will have to capitalize on.”