Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Last Call For Strickland From The Record

Things aren't looking good for Ted Strickland in Ohio in his race to unseat GOP Sen. Rob Portman this fall, so much so that Democrats are holding off on ad spending for now to see if he can't find a way to get back in the race that currently has him down by about 8 points.

The Democratic Party’s national Senate campaign arm has canceled more than a week of television ads that were set to run next month in the key battleground of Ohio, where former governor Ted Strickland (D) has struggled to gain traction against incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R). 
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had reserved advertising time on Ohio TV stations starting Sept. 13. Now, according to political ad trackers in both parties, the national Democrats won’t launch that campaign until Sept. 22. 
The DSCC has not withdrawn its support from Strickland entirely — the committee is currently funding a Strickland campaign ad through its limited coordinated-spending accounts that seeks to tie Portman to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump — but the delay in unleashing ads from the committee’s more substantial independent expenditure arm comes amid rising doubts about Strickland’s viability against Portman. 
Strickland campaign spokesman David Bergstein said the delay represented a shift in tactics, not a vote of no confidence from party honchos in Washington. 
“The DSCC is spending the same amount of money they were slated to spend, it’s just being used to help fund our existing ad instead of through an independent expenditure,” Bergstein said.

If it's truly a move to backload ad spending to hit Portman in late September and October, that's one thing.  But it also gives the DSCC time to reduce that spending, too.  That's where I think we're headed, as Strickland isn't doing himself any favors lately, as Portman has been hitting him hard on Strickland's time as governor preceding John Kasich.

We'll see if Strickland can get his act together or not. Doing things like saying how awesome Gov. Kasich is for not backing Trump for example isn't going to get too many additional votes for him, but that's Strickland's way.  He's a nice guy, and totally unsuited to the Year of Trump.  If Democrats do get control of the Senate back, I just don't see that path going through Ted Strickland and Ohio right now.

State (Elections) Of Chaos

This Michael Isikoff story on Yahoo! News about foreign hackers hitting state election databases  demonstrates we may have an extremely serious problem on our hands in 2016.

The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials. 
The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections. 
Those concerns prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on Aug. 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure, including providing federal cyber security experts to scan for vulnerabilities, according to a “readout” of the call released by the department. 

Johnson emphasized in the call that Homeland Security was not aware of “specific or credible cybersecurity threats” to the election, officials said. But three days after that call, the FBI Cyber Division issued a potentially more disturbing warning, entitled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” The alert, labeled as restricted for “NEED TO KNOW recipients,” disclosed that the bureau was investigating cyberintrusions against two state election websites this summer, including one that resulted in the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data. “It was an eye opener,” one senior law enforcement official said of the bureau’s discovery of the intrusions. “We believe it’s kind of serious, and we’re investigating.” 
The bulletin does not identify the states in question, but sources familiar with the document say it refers to the targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In the Illinois case, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for ten days in late July, after the hackers managed to download personal data on up to 200,000 state voters, Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the Illinois Board of Elections, said in an interview. The Arizona attack was more limited, involving malicious software that was introduced into its voter registration system but no successful exfiltration of data, a state official said.

So yes, this is kind of a big deal.  My first question is "which foreign power is behind this" and the obvious answer is Donald Trump's friends in Moscow, although that may not be the correct answer. But the thought that foreign hackers are mucking around in state voting databases should be disturbing to everyone.  The potential for dirty tricks here could be devastating, especially in a contested state like Arizona or majorly populated one like Illinois.

We'll see how the FBI handles this.

Maine Turning The LePage

In a radio interview this morning, embattled GOP Gov. Paul LePage admitted that he may not finish out his term after his most recent racist tirades.

Gov. Paul LePage raised the possibility Tuesday that he may not finish his second term, amid mounting pressure from Democrats and members of his own party to amend for his recent actions. 
“I’m looking at all options,” the Republican governor said while appearing on WVOM, a Bangor talk radio station. “I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it.” 
He later said, “If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on.” 
LePage also apologized repeatedly to Rep. Drew Gattine and his family for leaving a threatening voicemail last week. 
He said he plans to invite the Westbrook representative to a face-to-face meeting to talk further. 
“When I was called a racist I just lost it, and there’s no excuse,” the governor said. “It’s unacceptable. It’s totally my fault.”

I'm not sure if this means LePage is expecting this to be enough and for him to get off the hook, or if he really means any of this.  Given his propensity and repeated racist remarks over the years, I can't imagine his sincerity level is very high at all.

Still, we'll see if this leads Maine Democrats to dig in and call for LePage to do the right thing and step down.  Here's hoping.


Related Posts with Thumbnails