Abby Rapoport

Why Perry Stands to Lose the Texas Senate Race, No Matter Who Wins


Friday night, after candidates David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz finished their debate on who would be best to fill Texas' Senate seat, Cruz fired off a shot at his opponent. He argued that Dewhurst's key supporter, Governor Rick Perry, only endorsed the lieutenant governor so that he could replace his number two. Perry, of course, quickly dismissed the allegation, but the exchange raised a good question—why has Rick Perry waded so far into a Senate primary from which he has little to gain?

How Should Voter Purges Work?

(Flickr / dailyfortnight)

The mess that is Florida's voter-purge effort keeps growing by the day. Both the ACLU and the Department of Justice are suing the state, which in turn is suing the federal government. After the state's Division of Elections declared it had found around 182,000 noncitizens on voter rolls, the state sent letters to 2,600 people of them asking if they were citizens. Those who failed to respond risk being removed from the lists. The trouble, of course, is that 500 of them proved to be citizens. Less than 100 have so far been proved ineligible to vote. Because the list examines citizenship, Hatians and Latinos are disproportionately targeted.

Public Employee Union Endorse (And Help) The Guy Who Supports Dictators

It's no secret that times are tough for public employees unions and that such groups need to foster support wherever they can. But in the effort to get pro-labor candidates into office, there may need to be some limits. For instance, regardless of his stances on workers' rights, one would assume unions would shy away from openly supporting a New York city councilman who's known largely for his support of human-rights-flouting dictators Robert Mugabe and Muammar Qaddafi—let alone spending money to campaign for him.


But that assumption would be incorrect.

Wisconsin Recall: A Conservative Case for Election Day Registration

(Flickr/Katri Niemi)

As the nation waited for the Wisconsin recall results to come in, Twitter began to light up with conservative claims of voter fraud. "Please @ me with any stories of #WI #WIrecall voter fraud," tweeted conservative radio host and pundit Dana Loesch around 11 a.m.  She noted stories on busing voters in across state lines and on supposedly suspicious high turn-out rates. "It's not 'fraud' if you didn't cheat enough to rob voters of the lawmakers they choose," she wrote. 

Others joined in. 

The Union Fight You Might Not Have Been Watching


The fight around Wisconsin's public employee unions has in the national spotlight frequently over the last 18 months—culminating in Governor Scott Walker defeating an effort to recall him from office. But while most were at least a little familiar with the Badger State's turmoil around the right to organize and collectively bargain, few have watched the unfolding drama in Maine, where Governor Paul LePage has courted controversy in his discussion of the state's unions.

AFL-CIO Tries to Claim Some Victories in Wisconsin

(Flickr/Sue Peacock)

After Governor Scott Walker's win in Wisconsin last night, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka decided to walk a strange line on today's press call. WaPo's The Fix has a post arguing that the call was about distancing the union from the recall effort, but to me the union president seemed eager to point to victories—a strange tactic in the face of a devastating loss.

Just How Hard Was It to Vote In Wisconsin?

(Flickr/Katri Niemi)

Last night's Wisconsin recall resulted in more than just Governor Scott Walker's re-election. It also showed the tremendous difficulties some voters in the state faced simply trying to cast their ballot. While Wisconsin has had same-day registration since 2006, which helps more people get to vote, the state passed a controversial photo-ID law last year that put up new barriers. The most stringent part of the law—requiring residents to show a form of photo-ID—is not in effect thanks to a court injunction, but other elements of the law came into play yesterday as new and old voters arrived at their polling places. 

Wisconsin's Not-So-Silver Lining


Around 1 a.m. Wednesday night, while most of Wisconsin's recall activists coped with their candidate's decisive loss, around 30 supporters in Racine cheered as John Lehman declared victory in a state Senate race. Taking the seat gives the Democrats control of the state Senate, which was split 16-16 with one vacancy. However, Lehman's opponent, Republican Van Wanggaard, has yet to concede. It's hard to blame him. The margin of victory—less than 800 votes—practically ensures a recount. 

Despite Predictions, Turnout Looks Good and Recall Activists Are Flying High

(Flickr/Sue Peacock)

"I'm pretty confident that Walker's going to go," Roberta Retrum told me last night. "I know what I hear from the people on the ground. I know how much support there is here for getting rid of Walker." Retrum, a grandmother and recall activist who's decided to run for state Assembly in November, lives in the small conservative town of Eagle River. Her confidence was seemed well meaning, but I had my doubts. After all, to have a shot at beating Walker, recall activists need turnout numbers like those during the 2008 presidential election.

An Uphill Battle in Wisconsin

(Flickr/Katri Niemi)

If Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is indeed recalled today, it will be an unexpected upset for his supporters. 

The Other Wisconsin Recall

While the effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has received gads of attention, most people don't know there are a variety of other recall races tomorrow—including four for state Senate. Today, Mother Jones has a nice profile of Democratic challenger Lori Compas, who's running as an alternative to Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican and a Walker supporter.

Win or Lose, Walker Recall Was No Mistake

(Flickr/ Lost Albatross)

Tomorrow, after more than a year watching the Wisconsin saga unfold, the nation will see whether Governor Scott Walker stays or goes. Nationally, Democrats haven't been outspoken in their support of the recall effort—in May, the DNC took heat for not supporting activists and just this weekend, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell told MSNBC he though the recall was a "mistake" since Walker admitted he should have sold his anti-union policies in a more conciliatory fashion.  

Are the Winds Shifting Towards Wisconsin Democrats?

(Flickr/ Lost Albatross)

There's been quite a bit of bad news for the recall activists hoping to oust Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A close primary at the beginning of the month divided party supporters and muddied the unified front activists formed when they collected over a million signatures to prompt the recall. Then there was the money—Walker spent much of 2012 testing his stump speech with out-of-state voters.

An Epic—and Not Totally Unreasonable—Rant



In a moment of Network-worthy rage, Illinois state Representative Mike Bost went a little berserk Tuesday after House Speaker Mike Madigan set a vote on some important pension bills, giving lawmakers little time to read them. The vote seemed to push the Republican lawmaker over the edge. "Total power in one person's hands is NOT the American way!" he yelled, first throwing the bill in the air and then throwing some papers at his colleagues—all of whom seemed to be looking the other way as the rant started to take shape.


In Texas, Incumbents Suffer for Not Being Extreme Enough


Yesterday I asked whether Texas voters would punish those incumbents who approved billions in state education cuts. I didn't even mention the billions of dollars in cuts to health and human services—or that despite these cuts, critical structural revenue problems remain in the state, which means this coming session will be worse. I just wondered whether incumbents would suffer for the session's austere approach.