Another Southern Democrat Senator to retire

Discussion in 'Politics' started by MtnBiker, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    La. Sen. John Breaux Plans to Retire

    December 16, 2003 05:35 AM EST


    BATON ROUGE, La. - Three-term Democratic Sen. John Breaux intends to retire next year, ending a 30-year political career and giving Republicans another strong opportunity to pick up a Southern Senate seat in 2004.

    "There comes a time in every career when it is time to step aside and let others step up. For my family and me, that time has arrived," Breaux said at a news conference Monday, choking back tears several times.

    Breaux, 59, becomes the fifth Southern Democrat in the Senate to step down in 2004, further compounding the party's difficulties in its struggle to retake control of the chamber.

    Republicans hold a 51-48 majority in the Senate, with one Democrat-leaning independent. And Breaux's seniority and clout on Capitol Hill have often translated into benefits for Louisianans.

    "This one's going to hurt," said political consultant Elliot Stonecipher. "This is a very real hit, and it's going to hurt."

    Breaux frequently crossed the aisle to work with Republicans, sometimes angering fellow Democrats and earning a reputation as one of the GOP's favorite Democrats.

    "Throughout my years in Congress I have been guided by a simple philosophy - to make government work for everyone. I didn't go to Washington to get nothing done other than argue about whose fault it was when we failed to make government work," Breaux said Monday.

    The latest example was the Medicare reform bill, where he was one of only a few Democrats to be involved in crafting the legislation, which creates a new prescription drug benefit for millions of senior citizens. Other examples include his work on health care and tax issues.

    "John Breaux is a distinguished public servant. His tenure in the Senate has been marked by bipartisan statesmanship, results for the people of Louisiana, and dedicated service for America," President Bush said in a statement.

    Breaux deflected questions about his plans, saying he had not "negotiated" with anyone, and that he couldn't make commitments because he is still a serving U.S senator.

    His son John Breaux Jr. is a highly successful Washington, D.C., lobbyist and Breaux wouldn't say whether he too intends to become a lobbyist. But he made it clear that a primary reason for leaving the Senate is to have a "second career."

    He told reporters: "There is something to be said for retiring at the top of your game."

    Two of Louisiana's congressmen - Democrat Chris John and Republican David Vitter - are expected to jump into the 2004 Senate race, but both remained mum on their intentions Monday.

    Four other Southern Democrats in the Senate have announced plans to retire: Bob Graham of Florida; John Edwards of North Carolina, Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and Zell Miller of Georgia.

    Two Senate Republicans have announced plans to retire at the end of the term, Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois and Don Nickles of Oklahoma.

    Breaux represents a state with a strong dependence on federal spending, especially in the military sector, and his seniority was expected to be particularly missed on the powerful Finance Committee.

    "There's one thing time always will cure," Breaux quipped, "and that's seniority. We'll build up that seniority, and we'll have new and young and aggressive people that will fit that bill."

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  2. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    sounds to me like he was a democrat in name only, voted what he thought was right for the people, not the party!!! enjoy your retirement!!!
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Chalk another GOP senator up! I think we could wind up with 55-56 GOP senators when this is overwith... hopefully including one from Washington state.
     
  4. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    I suspect you will be helping to make that happen.:thup:
     
  5. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    :beer: lets hope so!!!!
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    My primary concern (i.e. the one I'm getting paid for) is to re-elect a state House rep. But yes, I have contributed to the Nethercutt campaign already.
     
  7. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    I wouldn't get too cocky...the other Senator from Louisiana is Mary Landrieu a Democrat. Breaux was what I call a Republicrat. I think the Democrats will hold that seat, and pick up Illinois. I think we can compete in Georgia and the Carolinas as well. Even Oklahoma is a possibility, they elected a democratic governor in 2002! Kit Bond, a Republican, will have a strong challenge here in my home state of Missouri as well. 2004 will be a pivotal year in American history, many, many close races will be contested. Democrats will win in Florida as well. Bill McCollum is likely, once again, to be the Republican candidate and he can't win a statewide election, he's far too controversial.

    I don't see either party with more than 52 seats.

    acludem
     
  8. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    GOP SENATE HOPES
    Dick Morris

    December 23, 2003 -- LOST among the focus on the Democratic presidential race is the likelihood of a huge Republican gain in the U.S. Senate in the 2004 elections. Even without a landslide victory for Bush (quite possible if Howard Dean wins the Democratic nod), the way races are shaping up, the Republicans have a lot to gloat about.
    So far, seven senators have announced their retirement - five Democrats (Florida's Bob Graham, Georgia's Zell Miller, South Carolina's Fritz Hollings, North Carolina's John Edwards and Louisiana's John Breaux) and two Republicans (Oklahoma's Don Nickles and Illinois' Peter Fitzgerald). With six of the seven seats in Southern or border states, all of which Bush carried in 2000, the GOP advantage is obvious.

    And a closer look makes that edge even stronger. Two seats lean heavily to the GOP. In Georgia, where Republicans took over the governorship and one of the Senate seats, the GOP is fielding a very strong candidate, Johnnie Isakson, who has run very strongly in the past, while the Democrats are able to put up only an underfunded state senator, Mary Squires. South Carolina, probably the most conservative state in the nation, is likely also a Republican lock with several strong GOP candidates including Rep. Jim DeMint and former Attorney General Charlie Condon.

    To offset these two Republican gains, Democrats are likely to keep the seat being vacated by North Carolina's John Edwards in his quixotic quest for the presidential nomination. Erskine Bowles, Clinton's former chief of staff, narrowly lost to Elizabeth Dole in 2002 and will likely win this seat.

    In Florida, a GOP heavyweight, HUD Secretary and former Gov. Mel Martinez is probably going to run, having just left Bush's Cabinet to prepare for a race. The Democratic candidates, Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas and Congressman Peter Deutsch, are both strong contenders, but Martinez is clearly the class of the field.

    So, if you are keeping score, that's three Republican gains - in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.

    Oklahoma and Louisiana are tossups, with one Democratic and one Republican seat at risk. In Louisiana, GOP Rep. David Vitter is likely to face either Democratic Rep. Chris John, Attorney General Richard Ieyoub or state Treasurer John Kennedy. In Oklahoma, Republicans have settled on Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, while Democrats will choose among Rep. Brad Carson, Attorney General Drew Edmondson or Treasurer Robert Butkin. It's too early to tell how these races are likely to shape up.



    The Illinois race is crowded with 20 candidates and also has to be rated as too early to call.

    The most likely result would be a Republican gain of three or four, knocking the Democrats down to only 44 or 45 seats, barely enough to sustain a filibuster. If Bush wipes out Dean in a landslide, the Democrats could fall even lower, although it seems unlikely that they would drop below the magic number of 40 needed to oppose closure on Democratic filibusters.

    Republicans will keep control of the House easily; the reapportionment of 2002 assures GOP control for the rest of the decade. In a series of state deals, Republicans and Democrats both agreed to put Democratic voters into districts now represented by Democrats. The Republicans liked the idea because it gave them permanent control of the House. Democrats loved it because it assured them of lifetime tenure in the lower house. (The only reason the Senate is so competitive is that the politicians can't gerrymander state lines!)

    So, 2004 is shaping up as a nice year for Republicans all around.

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  9. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    This is the opinion of Dick Morris, a guy who has flip-flopped more times than a dead fish. He doesn't even mention Missouri where Kit Bond will face a stiff challenge from State Treasurer Nancy Farmer. In Georgia it took a smear campaign in which Dubya had to call to question the patriotism of a Senator who gave two limbs in the service of our country to get Saxby Chambliss elected narrowly. South Carolina had a Democratic governor not so long ago and Florida's race will be extremely competitive. I wouldn't call any of these three a lock for the GOP. Of those three, South Carolina will be the hardest to win. Democrats have a strong chance to pick up Republican seats in Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri. My guess is we'll stay where we are or a difference of a seat or two one way or the other. I like the Dem. chances to pick up a few seats to narrow the gap. It will be close, Dick "flip-flop" Morris is trying to please his bosses at Fox News Channel.
     
  10. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Lol, I wondered if you were going to call him a toe-sucker also.:D
     

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