U.S. Congress

Meet the candidates: Congressional primaries postponed in Louisiana; Guam election set for Saturday

(For a full list of candidates, see the Guam and Louisiana portals.)

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

While the New Orleans Saints will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome this weekend, a different contest has been delayed: the Louisiana congressional primary election. State officials decided to postpone the election — originally scheduled for Saturday — due to the mass evacuation for Hurricane Gustav earlier this week, and the resulting damage. The election will go on in Guam, however, where two Democrats are vying for the territory’s delegate seat.

Following advice from Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal bumped the primaries back to Oct. 4. The move also affects the general election date: under Louisiana’s open system, unless one candidate fetches more than 50-percent of the vote, a runoff is held between the top two finishers. Any necessary runoffs would be held on Nov. 4 (the date of the presidential election), while the general election for congressional seats would be pushed back to Dec. 6.

Regardless of when the election will be held, at least two Louisiana congressional districts will have competitive primaries. In the 2nd district, at least seven candidates are challenging indicted Rep. William Jefferson for the Democratic nomination and in the 4th, ten candidates are trying to capture their respective party nominations for the open seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim McCrery (R).

The postponement still has to be approved by the Dept. of Justice, which Dardenne said he expects next week, but either way polls will not be open on Saturday.

Meet the candidates: Winners of the congressional primaries in Arizona

(For a full list of candidates, see the Arizona portal.)

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

There were no surprises in Arizona on Tuesday, with the front-runners obtaining victories in the state’s congressional primary elections. Half of Arizona’s eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are considered competitive, and the goal for Republicans is to prevent Democrats from flipping any of the four GOP-held seats. The best chance for Democrats is likely in the 1st congressional district, where indicted Rep. Rick Renzi (R) is not seeking re-election.

For CD-01, the November ballot will feature former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who easily won her party’s nomination, and Sydney Hay, a lobbyist for Arizona’s mining industry. Kirkpatrick has an advantage with fundraising, but Hay has accused the Democrat of having no legislative accomplishments and of being "wrong" on the issues.

In other races, former Maricopa County treasurer David Schweikert secured the GOP nomination in the race of Republican candidates looking to unseat Democratic Rep. Harry Mitchell in the 5th district. Meanwhile, in the 6th CD, Rebecca Schneider won the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Flake in the general election.

Meet the Candidates: Winners of Alaska's Congressional Primaries

The Alaskan primary has gone well beyond down to the wire, as Rep. Don Young (R) waits to hear whether the absentee and "question ballots" counted on September 5th will maintain his 152 vote lead (out of 93,544 cast) over Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. The winner will face former State Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, who won the Democratic nomination.

Ted Stevens, meanwhile, easily batted away his Republican challengers and will face Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich on the Democratic side, as well as Libertarian David Haase, Veterans Party of Alaska candidate Ted Gianoutsos and Alaska Independence candidate Bob Bird.

Know something about any of these candidates? Join the other citizens, activists and candidates contributing information to their Congresspedia profiles. You can get started at the Alaska portal or contact one of the staff editors for help.

Meet the candidates: Congressional primaries in Arizona today

(For a full list of candidates, see the Arizona portal.)

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

Arizonans head to the polls today for a number of local and federal primary races, while Sen. John McCain is in St. Paul preparing to receive the GOP nomination for president during the Republican National Convention. And though he’s in the national spotlight, Arizona Republicans are hoping he can help out in done-ballot races come November. With one open seat (due to the retirement of Republican Rep. Rick Renzi) and several other contested races, Arizona will factor heavily in the battle for control of Congress this year.

Open seats usually attract a large number of candidates, and Renzi’s seat in the 1st congressional district is no exception. Congresspedia’s citizen-journalists have identified four Democrats and five Republicans vying for the general election ballot. For the GOP, Barry Hall, Tom Hansen, Sydney Hay, Preston Korn and Sandra Livingstone are in the running. Hay has name recognition from the 2000 primary and a fundraising advantage, but Livingstone drew the support (and endorsements) of some prominent Republicans in the district. The winner will likely face Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, a former state lawmaker, in the November general election.

There are two other contested primaries in Arizona today, in the 5th and 6th districts.

Members of Congress using Twitter: 30+ and still counting

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

Congresspedia was launched as a project that would enable Americans to participate in government, by researching and writing about their elected representatives and the lawmaking process. Bridging the divide between lawmakers and their constituents, through the use of technology, has been a central goal.

There are, of course, other resources where this connection is happening, and one that caught our attention lately is Twitter. The popular microblogging site allows users to post short, 140-character status updates, messages and announcements. Those following a user can receive an instant notification when that person "tweets."

Lately, more and more members of Congress have started using the service. Some have adopted it for campaign purposes (see Sen. Barack Obama) while others are using Twitter to inform their constituents about developments in Congress. For example, Rep. John Culberson was one of the first members to "tweet" from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Meet the Candidates: Winners of Florida's Congressional Primaries

Each of the 24 Florida congressional incumbents won their parties' nominations in last Tuesday's primary election; in the 25th district there is one open seat due to the retirement of Rep. Dave Weldon (R). According to The Hill, the only one that came close to losing was Rep. Ric Keller (R), who barely beat talk show host Todd Long in the 8th district. The other close primaries were the 3-way battles to challenge incumbents: lawyer Tom Rooney won the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney in the 16th district and lawyer and former Federal Trade Commission official Bill Mitchell won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis in the 9th district.

Now that the primaries are over, CQ Politics says the incumbents in danger in November are Democrats Tim Mahoney and Ron Klein and Republicans Tom Feeney, Vern Buchanan, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ric Keller.

As part of Congresspedia's Wiki the Vote project, citizen journalists from around the country (and even some candidates!) have been logging information about the candidates' positions, biographies and records. A full list of the candidates and their professions are below, but you can also find them at their respective state portals via the Wiki the Vote project homepage. We need your help to find out more about these candidates, so if you know something about them please add it to their profile. (You can always contact one of the staff editors for help.)

Meet the Candidates: Congressional primaries in Florida and Alaska Tuesday

In Alaska (see all candidates), two members of Congress, both Republicans and both under federal investigation, face formidable primary challenges Tuesday. Down in Florida there are primary candidates running in each of Florida's 25 congressional districts (see all candidates).

Alaska Rep. Don Young is facing two Republican challengers: State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, who is backed by the much of the state party's establishment. On the Democratic side, former State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson, who nearly beat Young in 2006, are running.

It's a little unclear, but Young may be under a Department of Justice investigation for a $10 million earmark benefitting one of his campaign contributors in Florida that was mysteriously inserted into a bill after it was passed. However, Young is definitely under federal investigation for his connections to the same oil company bribery scandal that ensnared Sen. Ted Stevens (R) in corruption charges earlier this month.

Stevens is facing his own tough primary challenge from a raft of Republican candidates including Dave Cuddy, Jerry Heikes, Rick Sikma, Ray Metcalfe and Vic Vickers. On the Democratic side, running are Nels Anderson, Rocky Caldero, Frank Vondersaar and Mark Begich, the front runner. And we'd be remiss to leave out Libertarian David Hase, Veterans Party of Alaska candidate Ted Gianoutsos and Alaska Independence candidate Bob Bird.

Turnout appears light in Florida, which is still enduring Hurricane Fay-caused blackouts and has no statewide races on the ballot.

Meet the Candidates: Winners of the Congressional Primaries in Washington and Wyoming

(For a full list of candidates, see the Washington and Wyoming portals.)

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

Washington’s controversial new primary system was put to the test yesterday, as voters across the state could vote for candidates from any political party. The top two finishers will advance to the general election, and in every congressional district voters chose one Republican and one Democrat. Those results set up a rematch for one of the most closely watched races in the country. Wyoming voters, meanwhile, used traditional primary elections to try to define the November ballot for two Senate races and the state’s only House seat. However, one race was almost too close to call.

In Washington’s 8th congressional district, Rep. Dave Reichert (R) will once again face Darcy Burner on November 4, following their close election battle in 2006. Under the state’s new primary system, the top-two finishers are placed on the general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. About 93 percent of district 8 voters picked either Reichert or Burner, with three other candidates receiving the remaining votes. Reichert pulled in 45 percent to Burner’s 42, and the slim margin ensures the race will continue to be a battle through November.

Wyoming’s voters had three federal races on the ballot Tuesday: both Sens. Mike Enzi (R) and John Barrasso (R) are up for election, and the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Barbara Cubin is being contested as well. Enzi will face Democrat Chris Rothfuss come November, while Gary Trauner will take another shot at the House seat he narrowly lost to Cubin in 2006; he faces former state treasurer Cynthia Lummis (R) this year.

Click through the jump for complete primary results.

Former IndyMac Employees Go Swift Boating

Former employees of the failed California IndyMac Bank have hired the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's former public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts (CRC), in an attempt to hold Senator Charles Schumer responsible for the bank's collapse.

Meet the Candidates: Congressional primaries in Washington and Wyoming Tuesday

By Congresspedia asst. editor Avelino Maestas

(For all candidate profiles, see the Wyoming and Washington portals.)

It is anything but business-as-usual for voters in both states holding their congressional primaries on Tuesday. In Wyoming, every seat in the congressional delegation is up for election this year and in Washington state, voters will try out a controversial new primary election system that has already garnered protests from the state's political parties and a Supreme Court ruling.

Washington’s new “top-two” system, designed by Secretary of State Sam Reed, removes the party apparatus from primary elections. Under the new rules, the two candidates who receive the most votes in a given race will move on to the November election, regardless of party affiliation.

Leaders of the state Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties all objected to the change, arguing it dilutes voters’ choices. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled there was no proof the system confuses voters, since there is no precedent for that type of election.

For more on the Washington and Wyoming races, and our Wiki the Vote project, click through.

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