- Ford Denies Smoking Crack
- Very Close Race for Senate Nomination in Georgia
- Welcoming 100 Sandy Hook Moms
- Bonus Quote of the Day
- Gingrich Warns Republicans About Overreach
May 21, 2013
What do the president’s half sister, actor Kal Penn and Star Trek legend slash Facebook celebrity George Takei have in common?
All of them have endorsed Rep. Michael M. Honda, who on Tuesday announced support from six Asian-American and Pacific Islander leaders.
Note: Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg. This new feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses have been edited and condensed.
Have a question for a candidate? We’ll announce their visits via Twitter, and you can tweet your inquiry to @RollCall or email email@example.com.
The candidate: Hotel magnate Jim Graves, a Democrat
The member: Four-term Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann
The district: Republican-leaning Minneapolis exurbs, which have experienced significant population growth from young, conservative families. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the 6th District’s vote 56 percent to 41 percent.
The candidate’s team: Aaron Wells (campaign manager), Julie Pearl (press); the rest of the team has yet to be announced.
Q. You came so close to defeating Bachmann last cycle, losing by just over 4,000 votes. What mistakes did you make?
Graves: The biggest mistake was that we got into the game too late. We had a very abbreviated campaign. When we announced, we had nobody on the team, so we had to create a team and had to create a field operation and we had to do all those things in a very abbreviated time frame up against a very well-funded candidate. Full story
Former National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh has joined Singer Bonjean Strategies, the public affairs firm announced on Tuesday.
“Phil and Ron are two of the most respected communications strategists in the country today, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining their growing public affairs practice,” Walsh said in a press release. “Singer Bonjean brings a campaign approach to helping clients navigate the ever-changing environment in Washington, and I look forward to adding my experience to this effort.” Full story
Missouri Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith picked up the endorsement of the Tea Party Express on Tuesday, less than three weeks before the special election in the Show Me State’s 8th District.
“Jason is a promising young conservative who will bring fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C.,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a news release. “Tea Partiers across the country applaud his commitment to repealing Obamacare and reining in the federal government’s out-of-control spending.”
Strategy Group for Media CEO Rex Elsass will announce on Tuesday that he has hired Rick Tyler as his company’s new president.
May 20, 2013
Here’s what you may have missed “At the Races” on Monday …
- #IRS – CQ Roll Call’s Eliza Newlin Carney examines what the IRS mess means for campaign finance laws.
- #GASEN – Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., will soon announce her decision on a Senate bid.
- #NC12 – A Democratic fundraiser is mulling a bid for Rep. Melvin Watt’s seat. Watt was recently nominated to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
- #VASEN – The Virginia GOP changed how it will nominate Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s 2014 challenger.
- #UT04 – Sarasota Springs Mayor Mia Love announced she will challenge Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson to a rematch in 2014.
What we’re mulling on Monday …
To many on Capitol Hill, the burgeoning scandal dogging the IRS looks like a simple case of partisan political targeting by an overbearing federal agency.
But the IRS controversy has laid bare a far more serious and far-reaching problem: the agency’s utter failure to keep pace with drastically changing campaign finance laws. For decades, the IRS has taken heat for its muddy rules governing politically active tax-exempt groups, a recent CQ Weekly story notes. Among other problems, the recent inspector general’s report found:
- IRS employees did not understand and bickered over the agency’s own rules, repeatedly changing course over how to screen groups seeking tax-exempt status.
- The IRS went so far as to reject the IG’s recommendation that the tax agency clear up guidelines for how to handle such groups. The IRS instead recommended more staff training, an alternative the IG in turn rejected.
- Though lawmakers and watchdogs urged the IRS to curb deep-pocketed nonprofits spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2012 campaign, the IRS ignored the top-spending players and instead went after shoestring groups.
The fallout has exposed an agency that lacks the tools, the will or even the rules to regulate increasingly wealthy and influential tax-exempt groups unfettered by the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling to deregulate political spending. Full story
After appearing at a weekend fundraiser for Senate Democrats, party leaders expect Michelle Nunn to make a final decision on the Georgia Senate race within weeks.
“The national party is working with Michelle, and I think we will probably have an announcement relatively soon on whether she’s in or not,” Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon said Monday. “We just want to get somebody out there early enough before the election that we can actually get behind them and start putting a structure together.”
The philanthropist and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., appeared at a Sunday fundraiser in Atlanta for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. President Barack Obama was the featured guest at the event, with DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet and Executive Director Guy Cecil also in attendance.
A DSCC spokesman declined to comment on whether Nunn was preparing to announce a bid. Full story
Scott Dworkin, a Democratic fundraiser, is considering a run for North Carolina’s 12th District, he confirmed to CQ Roll Call Monday morning.
Virginia Republicans voted on May 17 to hold a nominating convention next year — rather than a primary — to select a challenger to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
The move, which came at the state party’s annual convention in Richmond, could affect the GOP field that vies for the nomination. Conventions, where only party activists vote, often nominate more conservative candidates than the broader GOP primary electorate. Full story
May 19, 2013
Sarasota Springs Mayor Mia Love officially announced this weekend that she will challenge Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, again for the 4th District.
The Republican’s announcement sets up a rematch of one of last cycle’s most-targeted races. Matheson defeated Love by one of the slimmest vote margins of any House race in 2012.
National Republicans hailed Love’s candidacy and gave her a top speaking slot at the national convention. If she wins, she will be the GOP’s first black woman in Congress.
May 17, 2013
The two Senate campaign committees turned in nearly even monthly fundraising hauls in April, marking the first month this cycle the National Republican Senatorial Committee finished ahead.
The NRSC raised $3.56 million last month and ended April with nearly $7.1 million on hand. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.54 million and had slightly more than $8.6 million on hand as of April 30. Full story
Women on the Hill are making their presence known beyond the member ranks — a group of female Senate chiefs of staff have organized a Monday evening fundraiser in support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
CQ Roll Call reporter Meredith Shiner has the scoop over at our new Senate blog, World’s Greatest Deliberative Body:
Eleven female chiefs of staff to Democratic senators are scheduled to hold a fundraiser Monday night for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to an invitation for the event obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The fundraiser, billed as the “Women on The Hill Dinner,” is yet another sign that it’s not just the number of female senators that is rising, but also key staffers who are building a power base within the party.
See the invitation and more at #WGDB.
House Democrats raised $300,000 more than their Republican counterparts in the month of April.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $5.4 million, according to a committee aide. House Democrats have $10.4 million in the bank and $4.1 million in debt.
The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $5.1 million. The committee has $8.7 million in cash on hand and has $6.3 million in debt.
Former Ambassador Jim Cain is seriously considering seeking the Republican Senate nomination in North Carolina next year.
“The race is indeed something that I am considering,” Cain told CQ Roll Call in an email from China. “Many friends and supporters around the state are encouraging me to challenge Senator [Kay] Hagan.”
Cain is a former Republican National committeeman and served as ambassador to Denmark during President George W. Bush’s second term. An attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend, Cain previously served as president and chief operating officer of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes. His candidacy would likely draw significant support from the Raleigh business community.
Despite the state’s GOP lean, Republicans know they will have a tough fight against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Still, several Republicans are considering taking her on. Full story