Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow morning, according to three sources briefed on the decision.
Berry will become the sixth Democrat in a competitive seat to leave in the last two months but the first to announce his retirement since the party’s special election loss in Massachusetts last Tuesday.
Speculation was rampant after his comments a couple of days ago; note that politicians routinely deny that they’re going to retire until they actually do. Presumably, there’s always the hope of a convenient asteroid strike or something as a game-changer. It’s a shame, in its way: we were all going to really enjoy watching Berry lose that race. As the video at the link shows, the man was seriously off of his game. When you can’t even remember your own farm subsidy shenanigans…
PS: It looks more or less like Rick Crawford for AR-01, on the GOP side. Check him out.
It’s sad when a sitting US Congressman loses his ability to remember the basic details of the shenanigans he went through to bring in the cash. Via Boot Berry, this classic moment of what we call a Kinsley gaffe:
To those without video: it’s of Berry first confidently denying that he personally gets farm subsidies (in 2007), then (yesterday) momentarily forgetting that he denies personally getting farm subsidies, cheerfully admitting that he personally gets farm subsidies, then visibly stopping and going to himself Wait a second. I’m supposed to pretend that I don’t personally get farm subsidies. It’s the stop-and-wait-and-visible-oops moment that makes this video: by all means, watch it.
And then check out his opponent Rick Crawford. Because if Berry can’t even keep up on this, him returning to private life seems best for all concerned.
There’s no unifying theme to these choices: they’re merely five candidates for the House of Representatives that the GOP has recruited, supported, or at least working with. There are more – there are, in fact, a good deal more – but these will do for a start. And so, in no particular order:
Charles Djou (HI-01). City Councilman, Army Reservist. Candidate for this D+11 seat. Neil Abercrombie is not seeking re-election, as he is planning to run for Governor of Hawaii: the lack of an incumbent and the general reaction to Djou has this race on a lot of dark horse lists. Everything needs to work out just right, which is pretty much what we said about Cao down in Louisiana. Besides, you make ’em fight everywhere. Donate here.
Martha Roby (AL-02). City Councilwoman with a track record of winning minority votes. Candidate for this R+16 seat. Bobby Bright is a freshman hanging onto his fingernails, as witnessed by the fact that he was given permission to vote against both the stimulus AND cap and trade. Martha’s running as a clear conservative, and it’s increasingly looking like she’ll be running in a clear field. Donate here.
Van Tran (CA-47). State Assemblyman, political refugee. Candidate for this D+4 seat. Loretta Sanchez looks untouchable… on paper; but the district went for Bush in 2004, Sanchez has tax and appropriation votes (she’s one of the PMA Porkers) to answer for, and – most importantly – both the GOP and Tran are eager to have a race here. The Democrats really don’t want to have to fight for this seat. Donate here.
Rick Crawford (AR-01). Businessman, military veteran. Candidate for this R+8 seat. He’s up against Marion Berry, who did not have any opposition last election cycle; Berry also seems to be the type who likes to have creative income disclosures, which I believe that Crawford and the NRCC will be happy to bring up. As I’ve noted before, Crawford’s pro Tea-Party; and he’s got solid connections with the community. Donate here.
…and that should get you started. As I’ve said, these aren’t the only five candidates that the GOP is running; merely five more or less representative ones. And note that the Republican party is not playing the 2010 elections not to lose; it’s making aggressive moves, and in places where it perhaps was too quick to concede in 2006 and 2008.
Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) appears to have understated by hundreds of thousands of dollars the value of his Capitol Hill rowhouse on his annual financial disclosure forms.
In May, Berry filed a financial disclosure form reporting the value of the house at between $250,000 and $500,000, the same value that he has listed on his disclosure forms each year.
But according to District of Columbia tax records, the current assessed value of the house is $947,080, and the proposed 2010 assessment value is $864,970, reflecting the drop in Capitol Hill property values.
Starting with the background: AR-01 is one of those districts that is… interesting. It is currently rated as R +8 in the Cook Political Report, but is held by a soi-disant ‘Blue Dog Democrat’: in this case, Marion Berry. Berry has been in that seat since 1997: he won the 2006 election with 69% of the vote; and he was unopposed in 2008.
However, he will not be unopposed this term. Rick Crawford is going to be challenging him; it’s reported that the NRCC is looking at him as part of their planned campaign against selected ‘Blue Dogs’ that did not get challenged in the last election cycle. Rick is a business owner (AG Watch, a radio agricultural network) and military veteran (Army, bomb disposal) with strong roots in the area; he’s pro-life, pro-Tea Party, ready to run on an agricultural platform and is just as exceptionally happy to see the back of Arlen Specter as most of the people reading this, particularly after what Specter did to Kemp’s memory.
The NRCC is taking a challenge to this district seriously, and it’s no surprise why: while Barry has been comfortably winning elections lately – and didn’t have a challenger last cycle – the district itself has shifted on the national level (Gore in ’00, Bush in ’04, McCain in ’08). Plus there’s the entire agricultural subsidy thing, which Berry is notorious for (and, apparently, has set up an arrangement to allow himself to continue to benefit from personally). Then there’s the ongoing neutering of the Blue Dogs in general; as this NRCC radio ad (H/T: ARRA News Service) points out, Barry’s voting for what Pelosi’s proposing.
As noted above, Rick’s website is here, this is his current donation link, and here’s his Facebook page. We will no doubt see more campaign-related items as time goes on.