Online Gambling Foe Jon Kyl Election Day Woes

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jon Kyl

Arizona Republican and the number two GOP leader, Senator Jon Kyl, may have trouble come Election Day.  The good news for Kyl is that the Election Day in question won't be until 2012.  The bad news for Kyl:  There is plenty of time to mount a campaign against the Senator from Arizona and get him out of public office once that Presidential election year does finally arrive.

Senator Kyl has been a long time fixture in Arizona politics and a workhorse in the Senate.  He is also among the most outspoken politicians against online gambling and has been since 1998.  Every year accept for one, Kyl drew up bills that would make online gambling illegal.  He failed each and every time until that dreadful late night in October 2006 when he and Majority Leader Bill Frist managed to ram through the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) as part of an unrelated port security bill.  The legislation passed by an overwhelming majority, not because it had anything to do with Internet gambling prohibition, but rather port security had been overwhelmingly embraced by both parties. 

This is the same Jon Kyl who once appeared in the U.S. national news near the end of his 2006 campaign claiming some bloggers were attempting to influence search engine results for searches on Kyl's name, using Google bombs.

Now one of the most enduring politicians finds himself being shunned by voters back at home thanks mostly to his partisan bickering, especially when it comes to health care reform.

From the Arizona Republic:

(As) top Democrats and Republicans have learned over the years, voters back home don't always appreciate the partisan demands of their high-profile jobs. And although the constant media exposure seems like a perk, it can have the negative consequence of making the lawmakers the public faces of congressional bickering and dysfunction.

That picture is hard to escape. After all, the leaders must articulate and drum up support for their agenda while appeasing their party's base of activists and fundraisers. At the same time, they have to convince the public that the other side is wrong.

The potential perils are the same regardless of party: recent polls suggest Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., up for re-election in 2010, is trailing two possible Republican challengers. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the No. 2 GOP leader, faces the same challenge. Kyl must balance his role as a leading critic of President Barack Obama's health-care and economic policies and other priorities with Kyl's duties to Arizona, a once-reliable red state that political experts view as increasingly purple because of changing demographics.

In 2006, the online gambling industry mounted a campaign to educate Arizona voters regarding Senator Kyl's "nanny state" tactics.  To some degree they succeeded.  The Arizona Star helped spread the word a bit.  And in the end, the race was much closer than had been anticipated.  The problem was more a "weak" Democratic than anything else as Kyl watched many of his Republican colleagues fall like dominoes and lose the Senate majority.

The concern about Kyl now is whether he will somehow manage to negatively impact fellow Senator John McCain's election campaign just over a year away.  McCain has already announced his intentions to run.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher



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