United States Senate

From the St. Petersburg Times: Crist has previously denied he's thinking about running as an independent, and on Wednesday he brushed off the question. "I'm focused on the session," the governor said. "I'm focused on these bills that are pending and coming up shortly. That's where my focus is, there will be time for other things later." This is best translated as "yes." Update: Or maybe not: To put these rumors to rest once and for all, as we have said countless times before, Gov. Crist is running for the United States Senate as a Republican.

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Judging for Dollars

Illinois is home to the nation’s costliest judicial election ever: the 2004 contest between Lloyd Karmeier and Gordon Maag. The two candidates in Illinois's fifth judicial district together raised almost $9.4 million, nearly double the previous national record. It topped the money raised in 18 of 34 U.S. Senate races decided that year.

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It's obvious that the Golden State isn’t golden anymore. As a new transplant here, the first state political event I watched up close was a May 2009 special election, featuring six ballot initiatives designed to avert a titanic budget crisis. California’s voters responded with what can best be described as snarling apathy. Turnout was 20 percent, which beat the previous California record for low turnout in a statewide election. The five initiatives that dealt with spending and revenue—which needed to pass in order to implement a major fiscal comprom ise—all went down, hard.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was precisely the sort of event that Gov. Charlie Crist loves: a nonpartisan, non-ideological chance to boost Florida, its people and its weather. Ironically, it was also a moment rooted in partisanship, a news conference on Tuesday capping an effort by leaders from around Tampa Bay to persuade Republicans to bring their national convention here in 2012. Crist happens to be in a tough Republican primary for a U.S.

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Yesterday's debate between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio doesn't change my long-held view that Crist will/should run for Senate as an independent. This answer to the question of whether he'll run as an independent, for instance, sounded awfully like the words of a man who, at the very least, is keeping the door open: CRIST: I'm running as a Republican. I'm very proud to be from the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, others that really have stood up for the principles of our party, like Ronald Reagan. This is a great party. It has a great future.

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It's obvious that the Golden State isn’t golden anymore. As a new transplant here, the first state political event I watched up close was a May 2009 special election, featuring six ballot initiatives designed to avert a titanic budget crisis. California’s voters responded with what can best be described as snarling apathy. Turnout was 20 percent, which beat the previous California record for low turnout in a statewide election. The five initiatives that dealt with spending and revenue—which needed to pass in order to implement a major fiscal comprom ise—all went down, hard.

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Sarah Binder is a professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is the author of several books on Congress, including Stalemate (Brookings 2003) and Politics or Principle? Filibustering in the U.S. Senate (Brookings 1997) co-authored with Steven Smith. All eyes this weekend will be on the House, as it takes up health care reform for what is possibly (and hopefully) the last time.

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The Chief

You think it’s so great being Rahm Emanuel?

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The most effective Republican arguments about health care reform lately have been about procedure, not policy. Over and over again, Republicans have accused Democrats of making shady backroom deals, of twisting the legislative process, and of trying to foist a secret plan on the country. From the looks of things, the attacks are working. In December and January, Scott Brown made many of these allegations in his successful run for the U.S. Senate.

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Hearts and Minds

WASHINGTON--If you want to be honest, face these facts: At this moment, President Obama is losing, Democrats are losing, and liberals are losing. Who's winning? Republicans, conservatives, the practitioners of obstruction, and the Tea Party. The two immediate causes for this state of affairs are a single election result in Massachusetts, and the way the United States Senate operates. What's not responsible is the supposed failure of Obama and the Democrats to govern as "moderates." Pause to consider where we would be if a Democrat had won January's Massachusetts Senate race.

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