WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election in 2010.
The Republican said at a press conference at the state house in Montpelier that he will not seek a fifth two-year term, or run for any other public office in the next election.
"I am not running for president," Douglas said, to laughs. He joked that his wife "has a divorce lawyer on speed dial if I ever utter that crazy idea. I am not running for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House or any other statewide office in 2010."
"...As any farmer knows after many years working sunup to sundown, seven days a week, there comes a time to turn over the reins to fresh arms. For me, that time is approaching."
Three potential Democratic challengers, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, state Sen. Douglas Racine and state Sen. Susan Bartlett, had already announced their intent to run for governor before Douglas made his announcement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – For almost 50 years, Sen. Ted Kennedy pushed unsuccessfully for legislation that would reform the health-care system and ensure coverage for every American.
Ironically, his death might bring about a change of tactics that would help reach the goal he was unable to achieve in life, one veteran political
"Kennedy's departure may in fact increase the chances that we get a more sweeping health-care bill," American Enterprise Institute analyst Norman Ornstein recently told CNN.
As Congress prepares to reconvene and resume the fight over President Barack Obama's top domestic priority, Democratic leaders are expressing concern over the consequences of Kennedy's passing.
Who might follow in Kennedy's footsteps on health care? CNN Radio reports
(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, taking the offensive for one of the first times since admitting an extramarital affair in June, staged a press conference Thursday across the street from the office of a state senator who is investigating his travel expenses and accused his critic of "selective outrage."
Sanford said state Sen. David Thomas, a fellow Republican, is using the travel probe to raise his profile in advance of a 2010 congressional run and claimed he isn't running "a serious investigation."
"If there was a serious investigation going on, what he would have discovered was that over the last 25 years, there have been a full 230 business class tickets purchased by the Department of Commerce or by difference state entities," Sanford said.
Thomas - who chairs the senate subcommittee charged with investigating constitutional and administrative questions related to the governor's office - has been looking into Sanford's travel records since June, when the governor admitted he left the state to visit his mistress in Argentina.
He has accused Sanford of violating South Carolina law by booking first-class and business class seats on overseas trips and said the governor needs to be impeached. Thomas said state regulations require that officials purchase the cheapest available seats.
But Sanford sought to cast doubt on the senator's motivations.
"This idea of running for Congress and building up a name ID in this fashion is no way to run for Congress," he said. Thomas is mounting a primary challenge against Rep. Bob Inglis in South Carolina's 4th Congressional District.
The governor accused Thomas of hypocrisy, claiming that members of the senator's own subcommittee have flown business class on the taxpayer dime.
"There is something wrong with selective outrage," Sanford said of the investigation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Filling Edward "Ted" Kennedy's shoes in the Senate will be nearly impossible as Congress tackles health care reform legislation - an issue close to Kennedy's heart.
Kennedy, who passed away Tuesday, was a fixture in the Senate for nearly 50 years. Deemed the "Lion of the Senate," his larger-than-life presence not only resonated in the halls of Congress and in Massachusetts, but around the world.
That clout and popularity extended across party lines during negotiations on major issues. A self-described liberal, he was known for having a knack for bridging the divide between left and right.
"He was a rare politician who knew when to cut a deal. He knew when to compromise. He knew how to work with George Bush," said Gloria Borger, CNN senior political analyst.
"He understood the power of personal relationships," she said.
But deals are few in the 111th Congress, which has seen strict party-line votes this year on major domestic legislation, including the economic stimulus plan and the 2010 budget.
With Kennedy's death, a power vacuum has developed in the Senate.
"I think one of the things that the Senate now lacks is just that power ... somebody that people would coalesce around," said Candy Crowley, CNN senior political correspondent. "I just don't see anyone there right now that can step up to that plate."
(CNN) – A close family associate confirms to CNN the storied Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port could be given into a non-profit organization to be made into a museum/educational center project.
The associate said the plans are not final but that the senator for some time had talked to family members and close associates about how to preserve the compound and its history. The discussions involve a possible museum to highlight the history of the place so central to the Kennedy family and other facilities, under the auspices of a non profit.
(CNN) – In a highly-expected move, Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon said Thursday that he will enter the race to take on Republican Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana Senate race next year.
"Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter, because Louisiana deserves better," said the three-term congressman in a video message sent to supporters.
Vitter has been focusing his fire on Melancon for months, including a Web ad earlier this summer that took a swipe at the congressman for fundraising in the Northeast, and attempted to tie him to President Obama.
"It didn't take long for President Obama and his liberal friends to throw their support behind David's opponent, Charlie Melancon," said the incumbent in a fundraising appeal to his own supporters, slamming Melancon for "(flying) up to Martha's Vinyard to collect campaign cash from Obama's wealthiest supporters at cocktail parties in Massachusetts."
(CNN) - It was a surprising, little-known Washington pairing: Liberal icon Ted Kennedy and conservative stalwart Ronald Reagan were actually quite close, former first lady Nancy Reagan told CNN Monday.
"Most people didn't realize the friendship, or didn't accept it, or didn't know about the friendship," Mrs. Reagan told CNN's Larry King. "You know, Ronny was so identified with the Republican Party. And Teddy obviously with the Democrat Party. But that doesn't make any difference, Larry, really. It shouldn't make any difference. I'm afraid it does now, but it shouldn't."
Mrs. Reagan also said the two men were happy to lend a hand to each other, either privately or publicly. In 1985 then-President Reagan even spoke at a fundraising event for the John. F. Kennedy Memorial Library in McLean, Virginia after Ted Kennedy asked him to.
"Teddy had asked Ronny to speak…he did, very happily," Mrs. Reagan said.
Mrs. Reagan also said the two men were drawn to each other's firm commitments to their own beliefs.
"They both had very definite opinions about things. It was a wonderful, wonderful friendship," she said.
Follow Alex Mooney on Twitter @awmooneyCNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trailing in the polls, Democrat Creigh Deeds is hoping a little Bush-bashing will help him gain ground against Republican Bob McDonnell in the Virginia governor's race.
Just hours after the Republican Governors Association released an ad criticizing the former state senator's record on government spending, the Deeds camp struck back Wednesday night with a new attack ad of their own.
The spot featured a man and a woman chatting about the economy. "How's your summer?" a woman asks. A man responds: "Ugh. Just trying to get by."
"George Bush, what a disaster for our economy," says the woman.
"What I can't figure is why this Bob McDonnell wants to do it just like Bush," the man says, pointing out that McDonnell recent remark that "the Bush economy was 'a revival.'"
At a debate in July, McDonnell said the Bush economic policies enacted after September 11, 2001 are "the reason that we've had this economic revival in America"
Listen: Deeds camp bashes Bush in new radio ad
(CNN) – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, told CNN Tuesday he supports the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's wish to appoint an interim senator to serve during the five months before a special election is slated to be held.
Calling the proposal "eminently reasonable," Patrick told CNN's Larry King. "Massachusetts needs two voices in the United States Senate, especially at a time of momentous change like this."
Under current Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days - about five months - after a Senate seat becomes vacant. The winner of that election serves the remainder of a senator's unexpired term.
Last week, Kennedy - who died Tuesday at age 77 after serving nearly five decades in the Senate - urged that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election can be held.
Patrick also said he has no interest in running for the post itself.
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