- House passes VA reform compromise
- Obama admin to blame for HealthCare.gov woes, $840M cost: GAO
- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
Voinovich’s exit steepens GOP’s uphill climb
Question of the Day
Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio has joined a growing list of Republican senators who say they won’t seek re-election in 2010, making the GOP’s efforts to recapture control of the Senate more challenging than previously anticipated.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn acknowledged that the GOP faces a “competitive environment” in the 2010 elections for incumbents and new candidates. But, he said, the party already has identified several experienced and well-known candidates capable of raising campaign money to succeed Mr. Voinovich, who announced his decision Monday.
“At the end of the day, I am confident that our nominee will represent the values and priorities of the voters in the Buckeye State,” the Texas senator said.
Rob Portman, a former Republican House representative and director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, has been speculated as a possible candidate for Mr. Voinovich’s seat.
Since the November elections, four Republican senators - Mr. Voinovich and Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mel Martinez of Florida and Christopher S. Bond of Missouri - have announced that they will step down when their terms expire. Democrats currently hold 57-41 advantage in the Senate, with two vacancies.
“It’s normal when you have one party go from the majority to the minority and [then] even further into the minority to have incumbents chose not to run again,” said a senior Senate Republican aide. “It’s certainly disappointing, but I don’t think it was anything that was not expected.”
The four Republican retirements also will allow for a fresh wave of candidates to run for the Senate, a prospect GOP officials say will energize the party’s bid to win back seats it lost in 2006 and 2008.
“It’s not an ideal scenario, but that being said, it is certainly helpful that these [retirements] are coming so early in the [election] cycle,” said another senior Senate Republican aide. “It helps the Republicans’ ability to have clarity in terms of what the [political] landscape’s going to look like. So it’s not the worst thing in the world.”
The aide added that there was no guarantee Republicans would have been able to hang on to the four seats, as Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Martinez and Mr. Bond were expected to have faced tough challengers.
“You’d rather have someone who is 110 percent committed and their hearts in it, ready to do the work,” the aide said. “Frankly, if they feel their hearts aren’t in it, you want to have a candidate who is.”
Mr. Voinovich, 72, said he decided to step down because he wouldn’t be able to devote his full attention to his Senate duties if forced to campaign and raise money to run for a third term in 2010. He also cited a desire to spend more time with his family.
“Not since the Great Depression and the Second World War have we been confronted with such challenges, as a nation and as a world,” he said. “These next two years in office for me will be the most important years that I have served in my entire political career.
Mr. Voinovich, Ohio’s senior senator, broke party ranks in 2007 to express doubts about the Bush administration’s troop “surge” in Iraq, writing to President Bush of the need for a “comprehensive plan for our country’s gradual military disengagement from Iraq.”
Mr. Voinovich, a former mayor of Cleveland, was re-elected to a second six-year term in 2004 with 64 percent of the vote. He serves on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works, Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander called him “one of our finest senators.”
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world