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Posts in "Leadership"
November 14, 2012
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has long been floated as a potential pick for President Barack Obama’s second secretary of State. The Washington Post recently floated him as in the running for secretary of Defense as well.
Obama would, of course, risk losing one of Massachusetts’ Democratic-held Senate seats in a special election if Kerry joined his cabinet. Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday that he would support the nomination of Kerry to a cabinet post and that he was not too concerned about the risk of another special election in Massachusetts.
“I’ll do everything I can to help him if he’s chosen, and we feel very comfortable if in fact something does happen — we feel comfortable in Massachusetts. I think that I’ve already told you how I feel about Scott Brown,” Reid said, in reference to comments made earlier in the news conference about the outgoing GOP senator from Massachusetts.
Updated 3:37 p.m.| Senate Republicans named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Wednesday.
The duo will support the NRSC’s newly elected chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who ran unopposed for the gig. Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots.
Senate Republicans also voted this morning to elevate Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to be minority whip and re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as minority leader. This is the fourth leadership election in which McConnell has been unopposed for the post.
Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida both spoke on McConnell’s behalf in the meeting before the election was held, according to their respective staffs. “Mitch unifies all of us, regardless of philosophy or what part of the country we come from. He’s the smartest political mind around and a great listener,” Rubio said in his speech. “Above all else, what Mitch cares about is whether we succeed as a conference and as a country, and that’s why I’m proud to nominate him for another term as leader.”
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota was re-elected as Republican Conference chairman. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was re-elected as Republican Conference vice chairman and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was re-elected as Republican policy committee chairman. None of the leadership posts was contested. Full story
November 13, 2012
As the political world began to transition from 2012 to 2014 last week, some of the most tantalizing buzz centered around actress Ashley Judd and the possibility that she might seek the Democratic nomination to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward,” she said in a statement Nov. 9, according to The Associated Press.
Recent comments from Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., also gave the story legs. Full story
November 8, 2012
After considering other posts within the Senate Republican leadership, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) today said he would run for re-election as Republican Conference chairman.
“America continues to face enormous challenges and the consequences have never been greater,” Thune said in a release. “Our country is at a crossroads and communicating our positive Republican vision to grow the economy, create jobs, and restore our nation’s fiscal health couldn’t be more important. Senate Republicans have solutions and we will work hard to aggressively take our message directly to the American people.”
November 6, 2012
Speaker John Boehner will address the crowd at the Republican National Committee party in Washington, D.C., tonight according to a late news release from his office.
The Ohio Republican’s comments will come around 9:50 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, after remarks from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).
Although many elections results should be in by that time, it is unlikely the presidential race will be decided by that hour. As a result, it remains unclear what tack Boehner will take in his speech. In recent interviews from the campaign trail, Boehner has been saying he wants to delay until the new year several issues that Congress could consider during the lame-duck session and that he sees raising tax rates on the highest earners — a stated priority of the Obama administration — as a nonstarter.
November 5, 2012
For two years, Democratic leaders have focused on winning the 25 seats necessary for their party to take back the House. But with analysts predicting disappointing results for the number of seats they will pick up in Tuesday’s elections, aides and party operatives are privately lowering expectations about the net gain.
In internal conversations with Democratic lawmakers, leaders are “definitely lowering the expectations,” a senior Democratic House aide said.
The party is expected to net a single-digit number of seats, far from the 25 they need to reclaim control of the chamber.
Democratic aides speaking on background said the elections results will likely be a bitter disappointment, if not a surprise for some. Most Members and professional operatives realized long ago that winning back the House was not in the cards, and one source described complaints that top officials, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), were being unrealistically rosy in their public statements about the state of the races. Full story
November 3, 2012
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi raised an eye-popping $12.9 million in October for House Democrats, a spokesman said.
The California Democrat held 65 fundraising and campaign events in eight states and Washington, D.C. Over the current election cycle, Pelosi has raised $85.1 million.
Pelosi is a powerhouse fundraiser without peer among Congressional Democrats. She has kept up a frenetic campaigning pace even as Democrats, some openly, have speculated she may leave after the elections, especially as the party is not expected to come close to taking back control of the House.
Those who know Pelosi well say she is unlikely to opt for a quick exit, however, preferring to promote a successor she prefers over her second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Pelosi’s spokesman has called that scenario “ridiculous.”
October 21, 2012
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It’s less than three weeks before Election Day, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R) appears relaxed for the first time in six years.
After running in the battleground state’s most competitive House district for two cycles, Stivers will coast to re-election in November — thanks to redistricting.
“They were brutal,” Stivers said of his 2008 and 2010 races, while lining up to drive with his toddler, Sarah, in the Pumpkin Show Parade here. After the GOP-led redraw, “we’re not on anybody’s target list,” Stivers added.
That’s a first. Full story
October 20, 2012
MELROSE, Mass. — Top Senate surrogates descended on Massachusetts this weekend to stump for their party’s candidates and gin up excitement in the competitive Senate race and rough and tumble Congressional contest here.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) this morning stood shoulder to shoulder with Sen. Scott Brown (R) on a stage surrounded by hundreds of sign-waving supporters.
After Brown gave a fiery version of his stump speech, McCain took the microphone. “I’ve been traveling the country for various candidates,” said McCain, who received a hero’s welcome of loud and sustained applause. “This man is the one I want most in the United States Senate working side by side.”
Later, McCain smiled and shook hands on stage with Congressional candidate Richard Tisei, who had spoken earlier. Full story
October 16, 2012
Speaker John Boehner will be in Iowa campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, and he also plans to fundraise for two House challengers while he’s in the state.
Ben Lange and John Archer, who are running against Democratic incumbents in Iowa’s 1st and 2nd districts, respectively, will get a boost from the Speaker.
The Ohio Republican will start the day with a fundraising luncheon in Davenport for Archer, a lawyer who is running against Rep. Dave Loebsack (D). The event will be held at the Davenport Country Club, and donations range from $250 to $1,000 a person, according to the Quad-City Times. Full story
October 11, 2012
Markwayne Mullin, the GOP candidate running to fill the open seat in Oklahoma’s 2nd district, will deliver the weekly Republican address Saturday.
The businessman and rancher was formally tapped today by Speaker John Boehner (Ohio). He’s the second Congressional hopeful Boehner has selected to give the weekly address this cycle — the other in late September was Vernon Parker, the candidate in Arizona’s 9th district.
“Small businesses continue to struggle in this weak economy, and all the taxing, spending and red tape coming from the Obama administration is only making things worse,” Boehner said in a statement. “Markwayne Mullin has run a business and created jobs, and he understands the need to shut down the jobs-destroying red tape factory in Washington, D.C.”
“If elected,” Boehner continued, “I know he’ll be a strong voice in the House for a smaller, more accountable and less costly government.” Full story
September 13, 2012
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today announced he has hired Jesse Benton to manage his 2014 campaign.
Benton, who has deep ties to the tea party movement in Kentucky and around the country, led Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) White House bid and managed now-Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) general election campaign in 2010.
If McConnell accrues any political vulnerability on his right flank in Kentucky — and Bluegrass State GOP political operatives believe he doesn’t have much right now — having Benton as his top campaign aide is likely to help significantly reduce the threat of a serious primary challenge. But the move does more than just help in the primary. Full story
September 6, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— President Barack Obama has had harsh words for Congress, and no doubt there are more ahead as the campaign unfurls. So House Democrats have a simple message this week: Don’t blame us.
House Democratic leaders have been trumpeting their accomplishments in an effort to inoculate themselves from attacks on Congress and to set themselves apart from the dismal public perception of the institution as a whole.
In fact, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said, there is a distinction to be made.
“I don’t think the president is running against Congress,” he said. “The president is running against a Republican do-nothing Congress that tried to stop and thwart everything that he tried to do.”
September 5, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats still have a shot at winning back power of the House, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told Roll Call on Wednesday in an interview.
“The House is still up for grabs,” said Van Hollen, the former two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2008 and 2010 cycles).
Democrats need to net 25 seats in November to reclaim the gavel, and their “drive for 25″ slogan has been a rallying cry heard this week at almost every Democratic convention event involving House Members.
But despite Democrats’ optimism, most political handicappers have begun to rule out a change of power.
“No. 1, we will win seats,” Van Hollen said. “Two, the momentum is with us. I think the selection of Paul Ryan on the ticket has actually sharpened the issues in a lot of these races and helped Democratic challengers.”
September 4, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In one of the toughest speeches of the Democratic National Convention’s first night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans and again implied that their party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, skipped out on paying taxes.
The Nevada Democrat accused the GOP as a whole of being under the thumb of Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist and called the tea party a group of “extremists and ideologues.”
He went on to describe Romney as a “beneficiary” of a “rigged game.” Full story