Scandals and Elections

I know that most Georgians’ interest in the Abramoff scandal is primarily related to Ralph Reed and his association therein, but there is another element to this story that has not been addressed much, but will continue to grow – How is this scandal going to affect GOP Members and candidates in future elections? 

In the early 90’s the banking scandal led to the resignations, early retirements, etc of dozens of lawmakers.  Now, the media is forecasting this scandal to be the biggest since Abscam, bigger than the banking scandal, bigger than Newt’s ethics violations, and bigger than Tom DeLay’s indictments.  Moreover, DC insiders in both Parties are also saying this is going to be VERY big. 

So, my question is:  What kind of a role will this scandal have in the elections and how will it affect the make-up of Congress?

Rich Galen of Mullings.com had a good piece today about this story, describing some of the potential implications that the Abramoff scandal, and others like it that inevitably will come up, will have drastic affects on the upcoming elections.

Do we (the GOP) have candidates that can step up and compete in competitive districts in case certain Members all the sudden decide to retire?  Furthermore, what is this going to do to the political landscape in some districts?  Many of those safe districts where Members leave due to associations with lobbyists might turn into less-safe areas for Republicans, especially as Dems try to tag us with that “Culture of Corruption” line. 

8 comments

  1. buzzbrockway says:

    I don’t think Congress will turn to the Democrats simply because Abramoff is a crook. I know CNN has already called the 2006 elections, and declared Nancy Pelosi the new Speaker, but let’s hold on a minute. Congress didn’t turn to the GOP in 1994 because of the House Bank and Post Office scandal, the GOP won because they put forward a unified, conservative platform, nationalized the Congressional elections and brought out conservatives in droves. If the Democrats emulate that, they may win, but not because Abramoff is sleazy.

    The Abramoff scandal will take down several Republicans – I expect several Democrats as well, but I’d be shocked if there is a massive exodus because of this.

  2. GAWire says:

    I tend to agree with you, Buzz, especially on the ’94 takeover. I do think that some seats are at risk, though – Dems and GOPers alike.

    What I think is crazy is MSNBC predicting that this is going to cause McCain to run as a “Clean-up” independent. I would love it if that happen, b/c it would only solidify more that the GOP DOESN’T WANT McCAIN!

    That isn’t to say that ’06 is not going to be a “clean-up” year, though. Even internally, the Party might use this to get some new blood in there to further the future. I don’t think we should cut any losses yet, but there might come a time to accept the mistakes, and use it to move forward.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    How about if almost 30 or so Republican Members of Congress are found to be a crook, you think that will have an effect?

    Still, all this and Senators’ Isakson and Chambliss and Congressman Kingston have not donated to charity their Abramoff campaign funds.

  4. Chris says:

    I think the question of whether or not this will hurt the GOP vs the Democrats depends on the quality of the official tarnished by the scandal. If a dozen or so unimportant Republicans and two big name Democrats (think Kennedy, Gephart, etc) are associated with the scandal, then the story will be about the big names, and the others will be mostly ignored. Given that DeLay has already been tainted I suspect this will hurt us some. But as I’ve come to realize recently:

    The GOP doesn’t have to be competent to maintain the congress. They just have to be less incompetent than the Democrats.

    So far I think we are safe in ’06. I suspect the total fiscal irresponsbility of the national Republicans will hurt us in ’08.

  5. Bull Moose says:

    This mess is making being an Independent more and more sense. Maybe the lady in Texas running for Governor is onto something… Imagine, with a third party, with Members of Congress, this CRAP wouldn’t go unchecked…

  6. Bull Moose says:

    So, I decided to go through the recipients of the Abramoff money and figure out who should retire…

    I would think 24 retirements from the House Republican side — they represent the top 24 recipients of Abramoff money. Notables include Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, Roy Blunt amongst others…

    4 retirements from the Republican Senate side — they represent the top 4 Abramoff money recipients. They include Senators’ Cochran, Burns, Lott, and McConnell

    7 retirements from the Democratic House side — they represent the top 50 recipients of Abramoff money. Notables include Patrick Kennedy, Charles Rangle, and Barney Frank amongst others.

    4 retirements from the Democratic Senate side — they represent the top 50 recipients of Abramoff money. They include Senators’ Murray, Reid, Dorgan, and Harkin.

  7. GAWire says:

    Those numbers won’t happen. It will be a big issue, but if 24 GOPers go, then a lot more than 11 Dems will be right there with them. It will definitely hurt the Republicans more, b/c the majority Party will always suffer more from a scandal like this, especially when you are talking about a Republican controlled Congress, GOP administration, and the media’s bombardment therein.

  8. Bull Moose says:

    According to the Dem’s, these are the Members of Congress on the GOP side that are affected by the Abramoff fallout. I think it goes without saying that it is in addition to Tom DeLay…

    Arizona
    JD Hayworth (AZ-5)
    California
    John Doolittle (CA-4), Richard Pombo (CA-11), Dana Rohrbacher (CA-46)
    Connecticut
    Rob Simmons (CT-2)
    Florida
    Ric Keller (FL-8), Tom Feeney (FL-24)
    Georgia
    Jack Kingston (GA-1)
    Iowa
    Tom Latham (IA-4)
    Idaho
    Butch Otter (ID-1), Michael Simpson (ID-2)
    Illinois
    Dennis Hastert (IL-14)
    Indiana
    Dan Burton (IN-5)
    Missouri
    Roy Blunt (MO-7)
    Mississippi
    Chip Pickering (MS-3)
    Alabama
    Dennis Rehberg (MT-AL)
    North Carolina
    Walter Jones (NC-3), Charles Taylor (NC-11)
    New Jersey
    Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), James Saxton (NJ-3), Mike Ferguson (NJ-7)
    New Mexico
    Heather Wilson (NM-1)
    Ohio
    Michael Oxley (OH-4), Ralph Regula (OH-16), Robert Ney (OH-18)
    Oklahoma
    Ernest Istook (OK-5)
    Pennsylvania
    Phil English (PA-3), Curt Weldon (PA-7)
    Utah
    Christopher Cannon (UT-3)
    Virginia
    Randy Forbes (VA-4), Eric Cantor (VA-7)

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