- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2008

POLITICS

2012 campaign gets under way

Let the 2012 presidential race begin - or at least the speculation about it.

From their travel schedules to their public comments, several Republicans seem to be testing the waters for potential White House runs. At least two are on tap for visits this month to Iowa, which traditionally opens the nominating season with its presidential caucuses.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, considered a rising star in the Republican Party and thought to be on Sen. John McCain’s short list of potential running mates, is slated to deliver the keynote address Nov. 22 to the Iowa Family Policy Center, a prominent Christian conservative group.

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses this year in his failed bid for the Republican nomination, is scheduled to visit the state Nov. 20 as part of a nationwide book tour promoting his campaign memoir, “Do the Right Thing.”

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who became Mr. McCain’s running mate, has signaled that she will remain on the national political scene. She says: “I’m not doing this for naught.” And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who also failed to win the nomination this year, has restarted his political action committee.

Speculation about possible candidacies is certain to swirl when Republican governors meet in Florida later this week.

POLITICS

South Carolinian looks to lead GOP

COLUMBIA, S.C. | South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson has for months quietly been courting support among the Republican National Committee’s members, who now are in the market for new leadership, party officials say.

The South Carolina auto parts salesman has a knack for raising Republican Party money. But Mr. Dawson is not alone in his bid for the RNC post. Republican leaders in different states said a growing number of hopefuls have been making calls and sending out feelers to replace Chairman Mike Duncan, even though Mr. Duncan is said to want a new two-year term.

Energy, a track record and the ability to raise money seem to be qualities high on many Republican officials’ lists. They’ll make the decision in January, when national committee members from every state and territory vote.

Mr. Dawson, 52, isn’t trying to squelch the chatter about his ambitions.

“We’re not at the point we’re ready to make a formal announcement,” Mr. Dawson said Friday. “I am certainly encouraged by the conversations I’ve had.”

Next weekend, Mr. Dawson plans to bring RNC members from across the country to Myrtle Beach to hash over what went right and what went wrong on Election Day.

POLITICS

Baby boomers split their votes

The election of the first post-baby-boomer president raises the question: Who captured the vote of that enormous, often-influential cohort?

The answer: Neither presidential candidate did.

According to exit polls, the boomer vote split almost down the middle, Scripps Howard News Service reports.

Among those ages 45 to 64 - which includes most boomers - 50 percent voted for Barack Obama and 49 percent for John McCain.

POLITICS

Winners, losers among pollsters

So, how did pollsters do in foreshadowing the results of the race?

Political scientist Costas Panagopoulos at Fordham University compared the findings of the final national pre-election polls conducted by 23 survey research outfits with the actual final tally.

The top polls: Rasmussen, Pew, YouGov/Polimetrix, Harris Interactive and GWU/Battleground.

The least accurate: Newsweek, CBS/Times, Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby and Gallup.

POLITICS

Big spenders came out on top

Bottom line for this election season: The candidate who spent the most money won.

The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed campaign-spending reports and found that in 93 percent of House races and 94 percent of Senate races the winner was the biggest spender.

The average price tag for a House seat now is nearly $1.1 million. For a Senate seat, it was $6.5 million.

The biggest losers: Candidates who spent piles of their own money. The campaign-funding watchdog group calculated that, of the 49 congressional candidates who spent more than $500,000 of their own money, just six House candidates and one for the Senate won.

The booby prize goes to Sandy Treadwell, a Republican who ran against incumbent Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. Despite spending at least $5.9 million of his own money, he lost.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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