Tag Archives: midterm election

Rep. Collins arrested by FBI; says he’ll seek re-election

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is well within his rights to run for re-election while the federal government prosecutes him on a charge of insider trading.

The New York Republican, though, might be handing local and national Democrats a gift they never thought they’d get.

The FBI took Collins into custody on a charge that he gave insider trading information on stocks. The lawmaker then held a press event in which he declared the charge is “without merit.”

He then said he is going to run for re-election.

Good luck with that one, sir.

Collins has the distinction of being the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. He was No. 1. The leader of the congressional “pack.”

He’s not the first lawmaker to seek re-election while under investigation. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez did so, too. The Democrat wasn’t exactly cleared; the jury that heard his corruption case got hung up and couldn’t deliver a verdict, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

Collins’s decision to stay on the ballot does carry huge risk, not just for him, but others within the GOP. He well might have given Democrats all across the land a huge cache of ammo to use against Republican opponents.

Beware the blue wave. There might be swells building at this moment.

Troubles dog lawmaker and … Trump

Chris Collins isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill back-bench member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He’s a Republican from upstate New York. He now is in a good bit of legal trouble, taken been into custody by the FBI on an insider trading charge. He has pleaded not guilty. Yes, Rep. Collins is entitled to mount a vigorous defense.

However, he also is known for something else: Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

Right there is what makes this case a good bit larger than it otherwise might be.

Collins has been accused of calling members of his family to deliver some insider information on the purchase of drug-company stocks. It’s a serious charge to be sure. Rep. Collins also allegedly was brazen and blatant in his flouting of the law. He allegedly boasted about it.

Then we have the political backdrop of the upcoming midterm election. Democrats think they have momentum on their side in their attempt to flip Congress back to Democratic control.

This burgeoning difficulty regarding Rep. Collins, the pledge to “drain the swamp” and the assertions that this guy thinks he’s above the law doesn’t bode well for Republicans.

Then we have the president …

‘Lyin Ted’ wants ‘Amoral’ Donald to stump for him? Wow!

Oh, man, I want the president of the United States to accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s request to campaign for him in Texas.

You see, this is a potential “opposition research” gold mine for Democrats seeking to shoot down the Cruz Missile’s attempt at re-election to a second term in the Senate. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke — who’s in a neck-and-neck race with Cruz — ought to welcome it, too.

You’ve got Donald Trump’s infamous nickname for Cruz, who he labeled as “Lyin’ Ted” while competing against him for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign.

Then he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, on Twitter and sought to compare her unflatteringly with Melania Trump, the future president’s model-wife.

Let us not forget how the GOP nominee then sought to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, might have been somehow complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination because he supposedly was seen sharing a meal with Lee Harvey Oswald.

All of this enraged Sen. Cruz. As it should have.

He launched into a scathing attack on Trump, calling him out for the way he treated his family; he called Trump “amoral” and a “pathological liar.” He said Trump has no moral grounding.

Has any of that changed in Sen. Cruz’s mind? He says it has. The public domain, however, is still loaded with those angry words of two years ago, which in reality he cannot take back.

And does Trump think differently now of the man he once called “Lyin’ Ted”? Hmm. I am betting … no!

By all means, Mr. President, come to Texas. Campaign for Cruz. If you come anywhere near where I live in the D/FW Metroplex, I’ll be there with bells on to listen to your off-the-rails campaign-rally speech.

I’ll be sure to have my notebook and pen in hand.

Why not ‘celebrate’ Election Day?

This isn’t an original thought but I am going to pitch it here with vigor. Election Day should be an event Americans should commemorate, indeed even celebrate.

Thus, I am leaning heavily toward proposing a national holiday for the day we go to the polls to elect the leader of our government. I make this pitch partly out of frustration as well.

I spent a lot of years as a journalist trying to boost voter turnout on Election Day. It was an exercise in futility. I ran out of ways to say the same thing. We cheered when turnout at the national level exceeded, say, 55 percent when we chose our president. I consider that to be a disgraceful turnout. Fifty-five percent turnout among all Americans who are eligible to vote? That means more than 40 percent of those Americans don’t bother to cast their ballot.

Here’s my thought: Make Election Day every two years a national holiday. I include the midterm congressional election as deserving of this extra attention.

Why don’t people vote? I guess it’s for a variety of reasons. Frustration with the choices. A feeling that their vote doesn’t matter. Not enough time.

Ah, about that last item. The time element can be fixed by declaring a national holiday. Give working Americans the day off from work, the way we do for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.

We can remove one key barrier from Americans who might want to vote, but who say they don’t have the time, that their bosses won’t allow them to take a few moments to go cast their ballots.

I understand fully that we cannot give everyone a day off from work on Election Day. Medical personnel, police officers, firefighters, public utility workers all need to be on the job.

I much prefer the national holiday idea to other efforts to boost turnout, such as mail-in voting. I have noted many times already that I like the ritual associated with going to the polls, of waiting in line, of kibitzing with fellow voters. Mail-only voting has boosted turnout in many states — such as my home state of Oregon. I stand by my preference, though, to cast my ballot in a polling place.

I live in state, Texas, with a shamefully pitiful voting turnout. We tend to vote on everything here, so there might be some voter fatigue that suppresses turnout. I don’t know how to deal with that.

However, I want there to be a national push — for the midterm election and for the presidential election — to give this process the level of veneration it deserves.

Declaring Election Day to be a national holiday might do the trick.

Where does ideology fit in this office?

I get a kick out of looking at political campaign signs … and Lord knows we’ve got a lot of them sprouting up all over Amarillo, Texas, as our state’s primary election is less than a month away.

One such sign caught my eye this morning and it brings to mind a question I’ve pondered for nearly as long as I’ve lived in Texas; that’s nearly 34 years.

Susan Allen is running for Randall County clerk. The current county clerk, Renee Calhoun, isn’t seeking re-election. I don’t know Allen, but I am struck by a message on her sign, which reads “A Conservative Choice.”

Hmmm. So, the long-pondered question is this: Why do we elect some of these statutory offices on partisan ballots?

Moreover, when does political ideology matter when we’re pondering for whom to vote for an office such as county clerk?

I’m not sure how a “conservative” county clerk is more desirable than a “liberal” one. How does one apply the duties of county clerk to fit a political ideology? Now that I think about it, I can come up with only one possible avenue: whether the county clerk would issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as required by federal law. It is my fervent hope that I might be reading too much into that explosive issue and how it might determine whether voters will make a “conservative choice” in selecting their next county clerk.

The county clerk is responsible for maintaining records for county courts at law. The clerk also manages voter registration and serves as the chief elections officer for a given county. Where does it really matter whether the county clerk adheres to a conservative or liberal political philosophy?

I’ve wondered before — on the record — about the partisan or ideological requirements for a number of such offices. They include tax assessor-collector, treasurer, district clerk (which administers records for state district courts) and, yes, even for sheriff and district attorney.

Does it really matter if a county’s top cop and top prosecutor belong to a particular political party? For that matter, how does a Republican tax collector-assessor do his or her job any differently from a Democrat? Same for treasurer.

Perhaps you’ve known that I also dislike the idea of electing judges on partisan ballots. I won’t go there — this time!

I’m sure Susan Allen and all the other county clerk candidates are fine people. They all are more than likely technically qualified to do the job required of them under the state laws they take an oath to follow to the letter.

Ideology should be a non-starter. I damn sure hope that’s the case in Randall County.