In Tennessee, the new session of the State Senate gives the Republicans a one seat majority; The Speaker of the Senate is also the Lt. Governor. Before the election, the Speaker and Lt. Governor had been John S. Wilder, the oldest (at 83), and longest serving (over 30 years) Lt. Governor in the nation. Because he was a Democrat, the Republican leader, State Senator Ron Ramsey of Blountville announced he would challenge Wilder for the office. Perhaps Ramsey shouldn't have counted his chickens before they hatched? John Wilder is one of Tennessee's most beloved officials, and apparently Ramsey didn't know that; Three Republicans switched sides to vote for Wilder, giving him another two year term.
Of course, Ron Ramsey is never deterred, as he will probably be running for the U.S. Congress in 2006 when incumbent Bill Jenkins (R) is expected to retire. The first district, which stretched from Knoxville up to Bristol is one of the most reliably Republican in the nation (the only Presidential election in which it didn't go for the GOP nominee was in 1948, casting its votes for Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond). Ramsey can expect to be working in Washington assuming the Democrats can't draft somebody like Al Gore to run (too bad he doesn't live in the district...)
In the 2005 Virginia Gubernatorial Race, Republican candidate and State Attorney General Jerry Kilgore of Gate City is running only 3 percent ahead of Democratic nominee and Lt. Governor Tim Kaine of Richmond. In a fairly reliable Republican state, perhaps the 2001 election of Democrat Mark Warner as Governor, and now a liberal such as Kaine within the margin of error should signal a state-wide tilt toward the left.
Now some SWAC stuff...
109th Congress--Senate Freshmen:
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
Some Important Committee Chairmen:
Foreign Relations: Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Judiciary: Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Appropriations: Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Commerce: Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Armed Services: John Warner (R-VA)
Veterans Affairs: Larry Craig (R-ID)
Homeland Security: Susan Collins (R-ME)
Small Business: Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Budget: Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Finance: Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Environment: James Inhofe (R-OK)
Indian Affairs: John McCain (R-AZ)
Health: Michael Enzi (R-WY)
That'll be all for now.