Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hurricane Duke?

Over at TalkingPointsMemo, Josh Marshall has been tracking the ever expanding controversy around Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Right now, the various strands involve bribery, politically-rigged, no-bid Pentagon contracts, coerced political contributions, the revolving-door between government officials and defense contractors, Kathleen Harris, and the Bush administration's intelligence failures in Iraq. Add to this the irresistible visuals of a mansion and a yacht, and you might just have a perfect storm of controversy brewing against the Republicans going into the 2006 elections.


Matthew Søberg Shugart said...

Regarding the possibility of this scandal being a perfect storm heading into the 2006 election, I suspect it will all come to a head too early, as local Republican leaders gently suggest that Duke should spend more time with his family.

The local paper covering his district--The North [San Diego] County Times--reports that numerous Republicans are poised to run if he resigns, or maybe even challenge him in the primary next June. There have even been some local rumors that he will be gone in time for a special election in November, timed with Arnold's plebiscitarian festival.

In other words, Duke is unlikely to be on the ballot come November, 2006, thereby preventing 2004 Democratic candidate Francine Busby, who is already running again, from a shot at seizing this district from the Republicans.

I would add that, second only to having him twist and remain a target in November, 2006, the best thing that could happen is an exit in time for a November, 2005, special election. Such an election, under California's crazy election laws, would be by plurality (i.e. no primary, no runoff). Busby, were she the only known Democrat, could squeak by if the Republicans had two or more known candidates.

This all makes me wish I had not left Duke's district for that of The Viper.

Matthew Shugart said...

This is an old thread, but given that just a few days ago, another commenter offered us some handy legal links, let me jump right back in, on topic.

I was mistaken back in July about the special-election rules for legislative races in California. Unlike the rules used in a recall election, when there is a by-election, it is a "runoff primary" in which a majority is required among all votes cast in a first round. If there is no majority, then there is a "runoff" among the top vote-getters in each registered party.

I just posted yesterday an update on the CA-50 race and national Democrats' dilemma regarding it.