Yesterday I pointed out that the production of fossil fuels on federal lands is down from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011 (October 1, 2009, to September 30, 2010, compared to October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011).
This is significant because the administration is . . . well, lying. Not long ago, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “The fact of the matter is we are producing more from public lands — both oil and gas, both onshore as well as offshore, than any time in recent memory.”
Not only is Salazar wrong, he’s wrong for every type of fossil fuel produced on federal lands.
Crude-oil production? Down from 739 million barrels to 646 million barrels in FY 2011.
Natural-gas production? Down from 5,415 billion cubic feet (Bcf) to 4,859 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in FY 2011.
Natural-gas plant liquids? Down from 115 million barrels to 111 million barrels in FY 2011
Coal production? Down from 478 million short tons to 470 million short tons in FY 2011.
Taken altogether, the total amount of fossil fuels produced from federal land hit 18.6 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), lower than every year since 2003.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) recently asked Bureau of Land Management director Bob Abbey about the discrepancy between administration claims and the most recent figures from the Energy Information Agency.
“The oil production from onshore federal minerals was down last year from previous years,” Abbey said. He pointed out that oil producers decide where to produce and develop and emphasized that there are many approved permits that are not being utilized right now.
Miller Will Not Oppose Certification of U.S. Senate Race
Federal Case to Move Forward
Fairbanks, Alaska. December 26, 2010 — Joe Miller, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, will not oppose state certification of the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. For the sake of the integrity of the election, Miller will go forward with the federal suit, which was filed last month, but required a final determination by the Alaska state court to proceed further. He will be filing a motion in federal court to stay the post certification election contest timeline until after the federal case has concluded.
“After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward. The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month.” Miller added, “This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue.”
In its court filings, the Miller legal team pointed out several issues that require further review including: whether the U.S. Constitution’s Election Clause was violated by ignoring the legislature’s mandatory provisions for write-in candidates; whether the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause was violated by the different vote counting standards that were applied, dependent on the candidate in question; and other issues such as at least hundreds of felons voting and at least hundreds of ballots being filled out by a handful of people.
Miller stated, “We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future. Election integrity is vital.”
Periodically on the NR cruise, guests would ask me for the latest on the various unresolved races. I had to tell them I had no real updates; I had been on a boat with them, with spotty Internet access.
While I was gone, here’s what we know is resolved:
Barring some astonishingly unexpected turn of events, Lisa Murkowski will be sworn in for another term as senator from Alaska.
Republican Renee Ellmers defeated incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. In the end, Etheridge choked.
Republican Joe Walsh defeated incumbent Melissa Bean in Illinois’s 8th district. He’s an eagle, that guy.
And now the not quite resolved:
In New York’s 25th district, there’s promising news for Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle: “Republican Ann Marie Buerkle increased her lead over U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei by a seemingly insurmountable 567 votes on Sunday when Wayne County completed its unofficial tally of absentee votes.”
In Texas, the recounting hasn’t added up to much change in the totals: “A ballot recount in South Texas demanded by U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz is nearly complete, but he’s still trailing Republican challenger Blake Farenthold. Only about 15,000 absentee and early ballots have yet to be re-tabulated in Cameron County, which includes Brownsville, in the 27th Congressional District race. Farenthold’s spokesman said officials expect to finish on Monday. All the other votes have been recounted, and Ortiz trails by about 800 votes, roughly the same tally on Election Day. The recount so far has resulted in each candidate gaining or losing only a few votes.”
In New York’s 1st district, Democrat Tim Bishop appears to have taken the lead through a count of absentee ballots: “After four days of absentee ballot counting in the race for the First Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop, D – Southampton, took the lead from Randy Altschuler, the Republican challenger and businessman from St. James. According to spokesman Jon Schneider, Bishop leads by 15 votes. Altschuler started the absentee ballot count, which began on Tuesday, with a 383-vote lead.”
Finally, the outlook for California’s Republicans appears to be some tough math: “U.S. Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno had a 2,742 vote edge over Republican Andy Vidak, a political novice from Hanford, in the 20th Congressional District. Costa had 51.6 percent of the vote to Vidak’s 48.4 percent in the district that includes all of Kings County and parts of Kern and Fresno counties, according to the secretary of state’s office. . . . Kings County had finished its count, Fresno County tallied about 99 percent of its ballots as of Friday, and Kern County planned to release the count from about 4,500 remaining ballots on Monday.”
“To the north, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton was leading by 1,783 votes over Republican David Harmer, an attorney from San Ramon. His lead in the 11th Congressional District was less than 1 percent of all votes cast.”
And we may get a chance to kick around Phil Hare again: “Defeated less than three weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., said Friday he’s thinking about running again in 2012. He said he probably wouldn’t make a decision for at least another couple of months.”
As Yogi Berra said, “it ain’t over until it’s over,” but this looks like an ominous development for Joe Miller:
The Division of Elections reports that it went through the write-in ballots for nearly 20 percent of the precincts in Alaska today.
More than 89 percent of the write-ins were unchallenged for Murkowski.
There were another 8.5 percent of the ballots that were challenged by Miller campaign observers but Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai ruled they should be counted for Murkowski. Those challenges could end up being decided in court.
Miller campaign observers successfully challenged only 1.44 percent of the 19,203 ballots that were counted throughout the day.
There ended up being 164 write-in votes for people other than Murkowski.
Two people wrote in Joe Miller.
As I understand it, a person who writes in Joe Miller will have their vote counted as a vote for Joe Miller; under Alaska law, writing in a name that is listed on the ballot is a valid vote.
I touched base with the Joe Miller folks, to see how they’re enduring their bout in electoral limbo up in Alaska.
They’re confident that the absentees will help Miller close the gap, and the number of invalid write-ins will erode any lead for incumbent Lisa Murkowski. They shared a chart laying out their path to victory:
Am I going to write about the guy claiming a one-night stand with Christine O’Donnell? Nope.
The Story You Will Be Reading Here
Guess how many official write-in candidates are in Alaska’s Senate race? At least 22.
ADDENDA: You may or may not have heard about the found footage from a 1923 Charlie Chaplin film, where some viewers claim they see a woman talking on a cellular phone in the background. One popular, if not terribly plausible theory: This is visual evidence of time travel. The somewhat more plausible theory is that this woman is using a kind of hearing aid found at the time. Of course, her manner of carrying the device — which we never get a good look at — and talking certainly does mimic today’s cell-phone users.
This is a pretty funny ad, telling the fairy tale of King Frank and Princess Lisa of Alaska:
I’m not quite panicked about that CNN poll showing Murkowski barely behind, at least not yet. Although the poll did the right thing, telling respondents that Murkowski is a write-in candidate, I think it’s easier to tell a pollster you’ll write in a name than to actually do it. Rasmussen had Murkowski behind by a healthy margin, 42 percent to 27 percent. As long as Joe Miller hustles, he should be in okay shape.
But getting this Shrek-like ad on the air wouldn’t hurt, either.
Republican Joe Miller attracts 42% of the vote in the first Rasmussen Reports poll of the Alaska Senate race since GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski announced her write-in campaign to try to keep her job.
The telephone survey of Likely Voters in Alaska shows Murkowski picking up 27% of the vote and Democrat Scott McAdams earning 25%. One percent (1%) say they’d prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
Between Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, Mike Castle refusing to endorse O’Donnell — a forgivable sentiment the day after a bitter defeat, less so as time goes by — and the rumor that Murkowski is running, the RINO-hunters have a point that the moderates never seem to be willing to compromise or put the party’s interest first.
The NRSC will help elect a lot of winning GOP candidates this year, but between Specter, Crist, and Murkowski, they have had an embarrassing cycle . . .
Joe Miller held a nearly 2,350-vote lead with 51 percent of precincts reporting as he looked to pull off one of the biggest political upsets of the year. Miller had 51.8 percent of the vote, compared with 48.1 percent for Murkowski.
As I mentioned on Bennett this morning, if this holds up, it is probably the biggest political upset of the cycle.
I’ve talked about how some of Sarah Palin’s endorsements have been longshots, and so we shouldn’t be surprised when a number of them fall short. Well, even if Miller ends up falling short by a small margin, she’s proven that her endorsement still carries enormous weight in her home state’s politics.
UPDATE: Robert Costa talked to Miller last night; his 2 a.m. (Eastern time) update can be seen here.
Tomorrow is primary day in four states, and runoff elections occur in a fifth.
Alaska: The Senate GOP primary featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Palin-backed Joe Miller is one of those races I’ve been meaning to take a look at, although it’s entirely possible — in fact, likely — that we’ll get the predictable win by the incumbent. There hasn’t been a ton of polling, and Alaska seems like one of the tougher states to poll; what little polling there is shows Murkowski ahead comfortably. It’s not unthinkable that Miller could get some traction, but it’s not yet clear that Alaska Republicans see Murkowski as an unacceptable squish on par with Arlen Specter or Charlie Crist. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 70. (The Power Line guys examined whether Murkowski rates as a “RINO” here.)
Arizona: Earlier this year, the John McCain-J. D. Hayworth fight in the Arizona Senate primary looked like one of this cycle’s clashes of the titans, but Hayworth hasn’t really been able to get within striking distance.
In Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, John Shadegg is retiring, and a crowd of Republicans (10!) seek to fill his shoes. The most famous name belongs to the son of a former vice president, with a rather odd commercial:
Somebody’s going to be sent to knock the hell out of Washington, but it’s probably going to be Pamela Gorman, Steven Moak, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, or former state senator Jim Waring. (If Gorman doesn’t win, the winner ought to hire her for security.)
In Arizona’s 8th, it’s a simpler but no less hard-fought GOP primary. Former state senator Jonathan Paton is the fund-raising leader and establishment choice, but Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly is coming on strong. A mid-July poll showed Paton with a one-percentage-point lead over incumbent Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
Florida: In the Sunshine State’s statewide races, we know four of the big six candidates. The Senate race will feature Republican Marco Rubio, independent Charlie Crist, and an underdog Democrat. Right now, that Democrat appears to be Kendrick Meek, who is coming back against Jeff Greene, who has spent a king’s ransom in his bid. (More on the impact of negative ads in that race here.)
In the governor’s race, the Democrat will be Alex Sink, the independent will be Lawton Chiles III, and the Republican will be either health-care executive and anti-Obamacare activist Rick Scott or state attorney general Bill McCollum. McCollum appears to be enjoying a surge, in the Mason-Dixon and the Quinnipiac poll.
There are a couple of interesting House primaries in Florida. In the 8th district, every Republican and their brother is itching to take on an infamous incumbent. The likely favorite is former state senator Daniel Webster (Republican–Winter Garden) but he’s facing a strong push from state representative Kurt Kelly (Republican–Ocala). The winner faces off against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (Troll–Daily Kos).
In the 24th district, incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas looked beatable even before her vote for health-care reform and more job losses on Florida’s Space Coast. If former Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain CEO Craig Miller wins the primary, I will require an immediate catered interview. A bit behind in fundraising are state representative Sandy Adams and Winter Park vice mayor Karen Diebel.
Oklahoma runoff: Republicans in two House districts will vote in runoffs. In the eastern 2nd district, Charles Thompson, Jr. received 34 percent in the July 27 primary; Daniel Edmonds received 28 percent. The winner takes on incumbent Democrat Dan Boren, a well-established conservative Democrat. However, in a year like this in a district that scores R+14, nothing is guaranteed.
In the Oklahoma City–based 5th district, the current congresswoman, Republican Mary Fallin, is running for governor; former state representative Kevin Calvey and James Lankford finished within two percentage points of each other in the primary’s first round and face off tomorrow for the GOP nomination. In this R+13 district, the winner will be heavily favored to win in November.
Vermont: There are five Democrats battling it out for their gubernatorial nomination; the GOP has avoided a primary and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie will be the nominee.
Sen. Pat Leahy is up for reelection; Len Britton faces the tough task of trying to knock off the longtime incumbent.