You know things are getting wacky when U.S. Senate races in Illinois and Missouri are both considered toss-ups.
For Missouri, that distinction is not surprising. Close statewide contests are always very close - and very expensive - affairs. But Illinois' Republican Party is weak, mainly a result of former Gov. George Ryan's fall from grace. Democrats hold every statewide office in the Land of Lincoln.
But as of this moment, it's not entirely out of the question that Republicans could win the special election for the seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
Burris' chances at winning a statewide Senate election were always rather questionable. Beyond the controversy over his appointment to the seat, Burris seemed to have lost a lot of luster as a statewide candidate when he placed third in a 2002 gubernatorial primary. Being out of the political arena for more than six years probably hurt his ability to raise money required to mount a U.S. Senate campaign.
Now, this new controversy isn't likely to help.
If Burris is the nominee, he could face a tough challenge from a candidate such as U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk. If he faces a primary from other Democrats, it could waste resources that could be used in the general election cycle. That's a possible scenario in Missouri, where U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford, and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman could face off against each other.
All of this potential electoral mayhem probably prompted Charlie Cook to slate the Illinois seat as a toss-up. Still, the Rothenberg Reports lists Burris as "safe."
So could our neighbors to east experience a competitive statewide election? It's early. But it's not out of the question.
A group called Americans United for Change is taking aim at Sen. Kit Bond regarding the federal stimulus bill, the National Journal reports.
The group - a mishmash of left-of-center activist groups and labor unions - is targeting a number of Republican U.S. Senators. Sens. Dick Lugar, R-Indiana, Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, and Mel Martinez, R-Florida.
Today marked the first time articles I wrote for the Columbia Business Times were released to an unsuspecting public.
I penned two politically-related stories for the publication. The first analyzed the impact of Sen. Kit Bond's retirement on the University of Missouri. The other gauged reaction to an economic development plan proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
The first article can be found here. The second is here.
I also wrote a profile of David Kurtz, the managing editor of Talking Points Memo. The amount of hits that site gets each month makes the now-deceased CDT Politics Blog look like a Xanga page.
It seems like January is the month for political voids to open in Missouri.
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, opened a sizable one on Thursday when he announced that he would not seek re-election in 2010. The move ends the career of one of the state's longest-serving political leaders and likely opens a wide-open race for a successor.
Bond made the announcement public from the dais of the Missouri House of Representative. It was the same perch that Bond used when addressing the General Assembly during his two terms as governor.
"This is not an easy decision," Bond said. "As a sixth-generation Missourian, I love our state. Through 40 years in public life I have met many wonderful people. I have visited every county int he state at least once during every term. The people I have met along the way are the reason I ran for public office and the reason I am still here and the reason I find it so rewarding."