Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) - The political fate of three-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett will be decided Saturday when 3,500 delegates cast ballots at the party convention.
Bennett faces the real possibility of failing even to make it to a primary, depending on the results of the state's GOP convention Saturday.
" 'Shocked' is not the right word. I'm adjusting," Bennett said. "The anger against Washington is very, very palpable - very, very strong. And since I am in Washington, I become the focus of that anger."
The 76-year-old incumbent is facing off against seven challengers, all of whom are more conservative.
One of the key men leading the effort to oust Bennett is political newcomer David Kirkham, who last year founded the state's Tea Party chapter. He wants to punish the senator for his vote to authorize the 2008 financial bailout.
(CNN) - The Republican National Committee has fired Finance Director Rob Bickhart in the wake of a two embarrassing scandals that originated in the committee's fundraising department.
Deputy Finance Director Debbie LeHardy has also been removed from her post.
RNC Chief of Staff Michael Leavitt informed the RNC's 168 members of the decision in an e-mail Friday.
"As you may of heard, the Chairman has asked for the resignation of Rob Bickhart and Debbie LeHardy from their positions in the Finance department," Leavitt wrote. "While we appreciate their service to the RNC and wish them well in future endeavors, the Chairman felt it was important to restructure the department in order to continue to improve on our strong fundraising numbers."
Bickhart, a veteran GOP hand on Capitol Hill, was reportedly behind a powerpoint presentation to Republican donors in February that promised a 2010 fundraising campaign based on "fear" of President Obama and socialism. The presentation also derided GOP donors as "ego-driven" and easily swayed by "tchochkes." Steele was forced to publicly denounce the document when it was made public in March.
Washington (CNN) - A Michigan gubernatorial candidate released a new ad Friday that focuses almost exclusively on his credentials as a nerd.
Republican Rick Snyder's 30-second spot, titled "Businessman," shows the candidate standing in front of a series of charts and graphs while speaking in manner that brings to mind actor Ben Stein's famous monotone delivery in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Snyder quickly fades into the background and his daughter picks up the slack, telling viewers that her father has the credentials to tackle Michigan's economic woes.
"My dad is such a nerd. I'd like to have a cool boyfriend, but dad says if I got one he'd just end up working for a nerd," Snyder's daughter says. "Dad's a businessman, not a politician. He's the only businessman running so he's the only one that even knows what he's doing."
Washington (CNN) - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is rejecting a request from a top Senate Democrat to hold the state's controversial immigration bill for one year to give Congress time to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
In a letter dated Thursday and obtained by CNN, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, made the request to Brewer, a Republican.
Schumer, the Democrats' point man for immigration reform in the Senate, called Arizona's concerns about illegal immigration "legitimate security interests" and said he appreciates that Brewer "felt duty-bound to take action to address the security concerns in your state."
"But I simply do not believe the remedy Arizona has enacted will succeed in resolving the problem it is designed to address," Schumer wrote. He called the law, "wrong-hearted" and "likely unconstitutional." He also asked Brewer to call on Arizona's two GOP senators - John McCain and Jon Kyl - to "immediately begin discussions with me to enact" immigration reform.
On Friday, Brewer's office informed CNN of the governor's response.
Washington (CNN) – The liberal advocacy organization, MoveOn.org, is targeting the Supreme Court in a new newspaper ad, just as the White House prepares itself for a nomination process sure to bring increased attention to the usually reserved body.
The ad is set to run in The Washington Post next week and questions whether the Court is "corporate America's newest subsidiary."
The upper half of the ad features a court robe emblazoned with the logos of major corporations Aetna, Bank of America, Exxon, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Wellpoint, General Electric, Citi and BP.
In the text portion of the ad, MoveOn hammers the court over a campaign finance ruling earlier this year that overturned a longstanding ban on corporations and unions using their treasury funds to run presidential and congressional election ads.
Washington (CNN) - Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman announced Friday that they will unveil long-planned climate change legislation Wednesday, but they'll move forward without support from a key Republican they've worked with for months.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, indicated that he's not on board with Kerry and Lieberman's bill. Graham said he believes that the legislation, which includes an expansion of offshore drilling, won't garner enough votes because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"When it comes to getting 60 votes for legislation that includes additional oil and gas drilling with revenue sharing, the climb has gotten steeper because of the oil spill," the GOP senator said in a news release.
"I believe there could be more than 60 votes for this bipartisan concept in the future," Graham added. "But there are not nearly 60 votes today and I do not see them materializing until we deal with the uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the oil spill."
Sources familiar with the senators' plans say Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Lieberman, I-Connecticut, intend to keep proposals to expand oil drilling, but they understand that safety regulations and standards will and should be scrutinized and added to their legislation in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Washington (CNN) - Frustrated Democrats went to the Senate floor Friday to seek Republican approval for a long list of administration nominees currently blocked by controversial secret holds placed by GOP senators.
But a Republican senator objected to each of them as they came up.
"Most of the people on the list, we don't know why they're sitting there. We don't even know who's making them sit there," complained Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, who is spearheading Democratic efforts to banish secret holds. "Enter stage left, the anonymous hold. Or as I like to call it, nobody can blame me cause they don't know who I am."
McCaskill said the delay in approving these nominees is particularly agonizing because most of them passed out of committee with little or no opposition.
"If there is a legitimate complaint or grievance against any nominee, I think any senator has a right to be heard and appeal to the body for a vote," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the number two Democrat, said Thursday. "But secret holds, I think, have become a reprehensible part of the process here and need to end."
Washington (CNN) – There's more evidence that American voters are in a mood for change in this midterm election year. CNN Radio's Dick Uliano chats with CNN's Political Editor Mark Preston about a veteran Senate Republican who's facing an uphill climb for re-election and a veteran House Democrat who's chosen to step aside.
To subscribe to the Political Notebook podcast in iTunes click here.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai plan to hold a news conference at the White House after they meet there Wednesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.
Washington (CNN) – Iowa voters hold Sen. Chuck Grassley in high regard, but the veteran Republican potentially faces a tough re-election in what is shaping up to be a difficult year for incumbents.
Grassley has a favorable rating of 58 percent, according to a new Research 2000 poll conducted for KCCI. But Grassley, first elected to the Senate in 1980, has dropped 21 points over the past few months in a hypothetical match-up against Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin. The KCCI poll shows that Grassley leads Conlin 49 percent to 40 percent. The telephone survey of 600 likely voters was conducted between May 3-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
In past elections, the five-term senator has enjoyed healthy margins of victory. In 2004, Grassley topped his Democratic opponent 70 percent to 28 percent.