GOP prospects to keep House dimming

By ED HOWELL
Posted 8/2/18

Let's clean out the notebook ... • The well-respected Cook Political Report and other reports are beginning to tell a prospect I think is beginning to sink in with shock. Frankly, it is one I …

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GOP prospects to keep House dimming

Posted

Let's clean out the notebook ... 

• The well-respected Cook Political Report and other reports are beginning to tell a prospect I think is beginning to sink in with shock. Frankly, it is one I just didn't think would happen, but it seems like one that is growing. 

Politico reported Tuesday in its daily email that the "general consensus among Republican operatives and and aides seems to have shifted, and most people we talk to say that the GOP will lose the House, if the election were held today." It hastened to note that the election is three months away, but it might — might — could happen. Reports indicate business interests normally aligned with Republicans are upset over Trump's stand on trade, and some are even considering donations to Democrats, although even Democrats are not holding their breath. 

Cook Political Report's Dan Wasserman, known to be an expert on House elections, says the Democrats can be bullish as Republicans are defending 42 open or vacant seats, a record since at least 1930. The party needs 23 to keep control, and 21 are districts where Hillary Clinton won in 2016 or where Trump had less than 55 percent. 

Frankly, I think it is safe to say we could have some close calls on Election Night. (I will also hasten to say Cook apparently feels Robert Aderholt's seat is safe, given that seat is not discussed in the "in contention" categories.) It is not a cinch either way (nothing is in politics), but the bet was certain earlier this year (including with me) the GOP would keep the House. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan is bailing along with many others, leaving open seats to defend. There is increasing gloom that Trump will force a government shutdown over the wall and immigration, which nervous congressman don't want to deal with.

I will note that late word, and as an example from the other chamber, has come that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas is seeing his lead shrink for his race in the Quinnipiac poll; it's now 49-43 percent compared to 50-39 in May. That doesn't mean he won't win, but I'm telling you, the fall campaign could be every man for themselves in many spots across the nation. Maybe not in Alabama, but Georgia and Tennessee could have some interesting races as well. Stay tuned. 

Oh, and there is even some talk that if the Democrats win the House, for the first time in the nation's history, a number of African-American House members might have a real chance to be the speaker of the House. Given the changing demographics, I would not be surprised we might be at that milestone, or if an Hispanic were to be elected. 

• While we're at it, the reports are that the Bob Woodward book on Trump will be a dandy. There were no rules set in place about talking to Woodward, and while the White House gave no official help, it looks like no one wanted to be the odd person out and not give their side to the famed reporter. The word in media reports is that he practically got to talk to everyone inside — and that everyone talked. As such, we understand it could be brutal. 

• Carbon Hill postponed its July 26 meeting to Monday, and on Monday not one councilman showed up, although Mayor Mark Chambers, the clerk and the fire chief were present. I can tell you in discussion with the mayor while we waited that no one has turned in an application for the vacant District 6 council seat, so that is still wide open to fill. Chambers also went down to South Alabama last week anticipating to pick up state surplus ceiling tiles for the Blue Gym, and was surprised some other municipalities came out of the woodwork to pick up it up first. The turnout for the swimming pool's free day last Saturday was great. Also, the Chevron truck stop owned by Donnie Naramore and Maeburn Naramore should be open very soon, although it was delayed by some unexpected construction issues. They recently had a preview of the restaurant area of the truck stop for city officials, and the food quite good, officials said. 

• We had a meeting that was held by the Walker County Commission this week on an emergency meeting to deal with the budget, and we were emailed with two hours notice. Most time, if a meeting is called, a day or more notice is given. 

But we didn't make Monday's meeting for the reason. Like many of you, we have work schedules that are juggled. I had to go to Carbon Hill that night for the council meeting (that, it turns out, didn't occur), so I came in later in the morning. When I checked my email, late that morning, the meeting was long over after the 8:30 a.m. email. 

For that matter, I had talked with someone else about doing a photo, and, while I was out Tuesday doing an interview, the person showed up unexpectedly and someone else had to take the photo, meaning some teamwork had to take place on that one. 

We would like to beg your understanding that, unlike newspaper movies, we are not at our desk every moment of every shift, waiting for a call — or Superman — to let us know what is happening minute-by-minute. We have vacations, comp days, sick days and emergencies like you have that may put us out-of-pocket. (I personally don't have work email that goes to my phone, and I think that goes for most or everyone in the newsroom.) We need either more lead time or more urgent communication.  

If you have someone you are dealing with already, please let that reporter know in advance. If it is very short notice, like a few hours, please try to get with us by phone or text. Considering we don't hand out company phones — and privacy for personal cell phones can be a priority in the current climate, although mine is on my business card — you may also call our office number at 250-221-2840 and tell the staff to call or text us on our cell numbers and let us know of something that will happen in a few hours. That said, if possible, we really would like a day's notice. 

• I am proud of the fact I've made progress with a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet since June, losing 18 pounds, from 236 pounds to 218 pounds. That and the 3 miles of walking at the gym many days has led to going down a belt notch already. Frankly, I do feel better, as the blood pressure was beginning to get dicey. 

However, I do seemed to have slowed down now on my weight loss, so I may be stalling out (although I hope that is temporary). Worse, I didn't sleep well last night at this writing. A hamburger steak (for protein) didn't work Wednesday, so now I am sipping my third Coca-Cola in like 1 1/2 months. (But the publisher just bought a new water cooler we are all trying out, so we may all be bringing mugs, tumblers and water bottles to work.) 

I will tell you that instead of my great fortune being made on a diet book, I will tell you how I did lose the weight: Triple Zero yogurt and sometimes Raisin Bran with skim milk or an apple for breakfast; 600 calories for lunch with usually grilled fish or chicken and sides like broccoli, green beans or cut corn, or maybe just a salad; apples for snacks; tuna fish sandwiches (no mayonnaise but a full small can of tuna, for protein) for supper with pretzels, an apple and sugar-free Jell-O cups. And water for all meals and snacks. It hasn't been that hard, really. For lunch I've even gone to KFC and had the grilled chicken, green beans, corn, a biscuit and water, and that was fine. And walking on a gym treadmill at 2.9 mph for an hour certainly helps to sweat off up to 350 calories a day.