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April 19, 2014

Posts in "Leadership"

December 28, 2012

Massachusetts: National Democrats Coalesce Behind Markey

National Democrats moved swiftly on Friday to close ranks behind Rep. Edward J. Markey as their candidate to run to succeed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry upon his confirmation as the next secretary of State.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado released a statement endorsing Markey shortly after Kerry did the same on Friday afternoon.

“Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around,” Bennet said. “He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate.” Full story

November 16, 2012

NRCC Took Out $12 Million Loan in October

House Republicans borrowed $12 million in the waning weeks before Election Day, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction.

The National Republican Congressional Committee secured the loan in late October to help fund the final push of TV ads and boost its candidates to victory.

It’s common for the campaign committees to go into debt in a campaign year. But the NRCC’s loan is significantly smaller than the $17 million the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee borrowed in October, according to reports.

There’s some risk to taking out large sums because the committees must pay them back during the next cycle. It often takes parties months, sometimes even more than a year, to get rid of this debt. Full story

November 15, 2012

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

Tennessee: GOP Leaders Silent as Drip of DesJarlais Headlines Continues

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were largely silent as new revelations stemming from Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ messy decade-old divorce came to light Thursday.

The office of Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to comment on a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that said the Tennessee lawmaker and doctor had “sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn.” The paper also reported that records showed DesJarlais “supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage.”

The revelations came from DesJarlais’ 2001 sworn testimony from his divorce trial. A staunch social conservative, the freshman Congressman has run for office as an anti-abortion candidate.

At votes Thursday afternoon, DesJarlais was seen having an intense conversation with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on the House floor. Jordan is the outgoing chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Full story

November 14, 2012

Republicans Pick Walden as New NRCC Chairman

Republicans Pick Walden as New NRCC Chairman

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions is passing the baton to Rep. Greg Walden, his deputy. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans tapped Oregon Rep. Greg Walden as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2014 cycle. Walden, who ran unopposed, succeeds Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who oversaw two successful cycles, in which Republicans won and held the chamber.

Walden, Sessions’ longtime deputy, was magnanimous in his victory.

“Under Chairman Sessions’ leadership at the NRCC, House Republicans have won the two biggest majorities since World War II. I have big, Texas-sized boots to fill,” he said in a statement. “But as Pete’s deputy for the last four years, I’ve helped implement a shared vision for the NRCC and now seek to build on that foundation.” Full story

Kentucky: EMILY’s List President Hopeful About Judd Run

The head of EMILY’s List said Wednesday that she is encouraged that Ashley Judd hasn’t closed the door to a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., next year, but said she’s far from certain the actress will run.

“We’ve had some initial conversations with Ashley Judd,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in an interview. EMILY’s List is an advocacy group promoting female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Schriock noted that Judd attended this year’s Democratic National Convention and spoke on a panel sponsored by EMILY’s List and Marie Claire.

“She was on our panel in Charlotte,” she said. “She did a fantastic job, a fantastic job. She wowed the crowd. The crowd literally started saying, ‘Run Ashley, run!’ in that meeting. She has such great desire for public service and she wants to find the best way to do that.”

When asked whether she thought Judd would ultimately run, Schriock said “I don’t know.”

Massachusetts: Another Bay State Special?

Massachusetts: Another Bay State Special?

Brown may get another chance to run for Senate if Obama appoints Kerry to his cabinet. (Tom Willaims/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman will be vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Kentucky: Actress Ashley Judd Stokes Mitch McConnell Challenge Talk

Kentucky: Actress Ashley Judd Stokes Mitch McConnell Challenge Talk

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

John Thune Seeks Re-Election as Conference Chairman

John Thune Seeks Re Election as Conference Chairman

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.”

Full story

November 6, 2012

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

House Democrats Lower Expectations, Offer ‘Tea Party’ Narrative

House Democrats Lower Expectations, Offer Tea Party Narrative

Rep. Steve Israel (left) was charged with overseeing Democratic efforts to win back House seats this cycle and make Rep. Nancy Pelosi Speaker again. But heading into Election Day, the party is expected to net only a handful of seats. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

After ‘Brutal’ Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

After Brutal Races, Steve Stivers Sits Pretty in Redrawn Ohio District

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

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

Political Stars Light Up Massachusetts Campaign Trail

Political Stars Light Up Massachusetts Campaign Trail

Photo by Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call

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

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

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