Friday, October 9, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Weekend Update 6

In the wake of the withdrawal of Kevin McCarthy, the hitherto
favorite to replace him as speaker of the U.S. house, Speaker
John Boehner has let it be known that he intends to serve in his
post until a successor is chosen. This might take his incumbency
past the October 30 date which Mr, Boehner had earlier announced
would be his date of resignation from his seat in Congress.

Could Minnesota’s become the next U.S. house speaker? Rumors
have it that the retiring congressman (as of January, 2017) might be
a compromise choice following the unexpected chaotic turn taken
in the contest when the favorite, Kevin McCarthy, withdrew. A solid
conservative, and much respected by colleagues from both parties,
Mr. Kline however is part of the current house leadership, and that
could be a drawback to the radical conservative wing members of
the caucus, many of whom ironically have a lower conservative
voting record than he has had (or as had Mr. Boehner) in Congress.

Although he narrowly lost his 2014 challenge to incumbent
Democratic (DFL) Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s sprawling northeast
eight district, businessman Stewart Mills has indicated he is running
again in 2016. Citing strong support from Republicans in the
more-conservative-than-usual DFL district, the lack of statewide
races this cycle, and the likelihood that the Democratic presidential
nominee will not match the turnout in 2008 and 2012, Mr. Mills says
he has also polled voters district and found Mr Nolan’s prospects for
re-election weak. Without a Mills challenge in 2016, the race had been
rated “safe” for the incumbent. If Stewart Mills is his GOP opponent
next year, the race is close to a toss-up, with a slight advantage to Mr.

After weeks of teasing the media and his political colleagues, it is
becoming more and more likely that Vice President Joe Biden will
enter the presidential race in the next several weeks. He could yet
decline to run, but this would go against the momentum of the
behind-the-scenes activity by Biden and his supporters in recent
days, the continued decline of frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and the
rise of Biden’s own poll numbers. Should he choose not to run, as
well, the approaching primary and caucus filing deadlines would
make it almost impossible for any other major liberal candidate to
enter the contest, thus making the nomination of Vermont Senator
Bernie Sanders a much more likely possibility. Mr. Biden’s delay
so far, furthermore, has been probably excellent political strategy,
making his formal announcement, when and if it happens, all the
more likely to be well-received by Democratic activists and voters
alarmed by Mrs. Clinton’s incredibly inept campaign to date.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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