» That’s Rick Perry’s calculus: A total of five Republicans won’t appear (also including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman) on the ballot in Virginia’s presidential primary, having failed to collect the 10,000 signatures required by state law, but Rick Perry is the only one to react with a lawsuit (so far). He’s suing the Virginia Republican Party, and the state board of elections, claiming that the state’s signature requirements — in particular, the provision that bans out-of-state circulators from gathering signatures — are unconstitutionally restrictive. Of course, he’s seeking retroactive change in the law, one that would allow him to appear on Virginia’s March 6th ballot after all. We agree with Talking Points Memo that suing one’s own party, even at a statewide level, isn’t normally the best move for a presidential candidate, but then again, what does he have to lose?
The Salafis have been underestimated from day one, because it is hard to imagine how this guy with a long beard and some aggressive ideas can actually gain much support.Shadi Hamid, a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Doha, Qatar • Discussing the elections in Egypt. So far, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party has received 40 percent of the Egyptian Parliament’s votes. Meanwhile, the Al Nour party, formed by ultra-conservative Salafis, has secured 25 percent. The Islamist party began re-entering politics after Mubarak was ousted, and rallied around millions of Egyptians who were already organized politically. That’s at least double the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. While they may not have pulled ahead in this election, the Salafi sect has become a prominent political force nonetheless. (EDIT: Modified wording based on reader suggestion.) source (via • follow)
No one is going to get perfect in a general election candidate. That is why we think the Senate is a better place to focus.FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe • Effectively saying that Tea Party groups plan to focus on the presidential election, and instead put their energies towards helping the GOP win back the U.S. Senate, which the Democrats control with a slight majority. The race totals favor the GOP winning more seats — 23 of the 33 seats up for grabs next year are in Democratic power, and at least a few of those seats up for grabs because Senators are retiring — most notably those of Jim Webb and Kent Conrad. Do you guys think the GOP has a chance at getting the Senate back in 2012, especially considering increased Tea Party focus? source (via • follow)
» Big money for big trickery: As you may have heard, the Republican Party in Wisconsin is facing a grim reality — recall elections are looming, and there’s a pretty decent chance the outcomes will tilt legislative power towards the Democrats. The reason, broadly speaking, is the passion and anger towards the state GOP’s efforts to strip public union rights. As such, they’re is aiming to delay the elections to hope things have time to cool off. Their plan is unorthodox: running Republicans, as Democrats, against the Democratic opposition at the primary stage, thus forcing an extra election. Extra elections come with a cost to the state, though, and this is no different. Sort of hurts the whole cash-strapped, “gotta cut back, gotta strip these union rights” narrative, huh?
Hamas, Fatah sign reconciliation deal: The two Palestinian groups (Fatah, of which Palestinian Authority President Abbas is a member, holds power in the West Bank while Hamas, which won the last parliamentary election in 2006, holds power over the Gaza Strip) have struck a deal to form an interim government and set the stage for elections. The two sides truck the deal after secret meetings in Cairo, and comes as a huge geopolitical surprise. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern ultimatum in response: “The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.” source
» Total Recall: Democratic efforts to flip control of the Wisconsin State Senate just reached an important milestone, as organizers have now collected enough signatures to force three Republican senators into recall elections. If Democrats win all three elections, they’ll be rewarded with control of the Wisconsin State Senate. This is, of course, pending validation of the collected signatures; in all three cases, Democratic organizers submitted around 150% of the required number of signatures, so it’s unlikely that the petitions will be invalidated on those grounds. If Democrats are successful in recalling even one Wisconsin Republican, it’ll be an enormous victory for the pro-union movement, which launched the recall campaign last month in response to Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting “budget-repair” bill.
Oh yeah, that: With all the chaos in Libya and Japan, there hasn’t been much attention paid to what’s happened in Egypt in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak’s ousting. So, here’s the skinny: Over the weekend, the country voted on a referendum containing substantial changes to the country’s Constitution. Both of the country’s two major political parties, the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood, supported the changes, which passed with 77% of the vote. Now, it has to pass a parliamentary vote, which could come as early as September. But what was actually in it, and how is it playing out in Egypt?
This is Y.K. Museveni. I greet you. Vote for the old man with a hat.Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni • In a phone call to potential voters. With elections looming on Friday, the longtime President’s voice was racing across phone lines everywhere as robocalls, unheard of in African politics, went out to the Ugandan citizenry, referencing his iconic hat. A win Friday would mean his fourth term in office (with no limits), amidst concerns about repression of democratic opposition. Of additional note, as it’s probably what Uganda is most known for internationally right now, the American evangelical group “The Family,” heinously tied to Uganda’s anti-gay (seriously) legislation, is led by a man named Doug Coe. As reported by Jeff Sharlet, Coe has referred to President Museveni as the group’s “key man in Africa.” Take that for what you will. source (via • follow)