Robert Novak

The rationale for Keating's presidential ambitions is the absence of a clear and viable right-of-center presidential candidate now that Sen. George Allen has been eliminated by his defeat for re-election in Virginia. Keating is a conservative and a prominent Catholic layman who at one time was a prospect to be George W. Bush's running mate in 2000.


In an election marked by widespread Republican defeats, the group that supports female Democratic candidates who are pro-choice on abortion picked up just two of 19 Republican House seats it had targeted for defeat.

In those 19 districts, EMILY's List spent $1.5 million in independent expenditures and made $921,000 in direct contributions. It funneled a total of $241,357 to Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth in Illinois and $159,000 to State Atty. Gen Patricia Madrid in New Mexico. Duckworth and Madrid, both narrow losers, were among the highest profile Democratic challengers this year.

In Democratic House primaries, EMILY's List lost four out of six competitive races.


While the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) will have an increased percentage in the GOP's depleted House ranks, it is being divided in a battle for its leadership between reformers and appropriators.

Third-term Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a reformer opposing earmarks, was in line to be the next RSC chairman. But he is being challenged by Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, a sixth-termer who sits on the Appropriations Committee.

Tiahrt's candidacy riles reformers who want to make the RSC the base for controlling spending and the growth of government. In the wake of the election, the RSC's share of all House Republicans has climbed from 43 percent to as high as 54 percent. Hensarling's backers complain that Tiahrt'sush challenge dilutes the impact of conservatives.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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