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Posts in "Presidential 2012"
November 2, 2012
Campaign donors from Washington, D.C., have given more money to super PACs in this election cycle than donors from any other city in the United States, according to an analysis released today by MapLight, a nonpartisan group that follows political money.
Inside-the-Beltway donors gave $71.6 million, or 14 percent, of the more than $510 million that super PACs collected through Sept. 30 of this election cycle, MapLight found.
The MapLight ranking belies Washington’s traditional reputation as a relatively marginal center for campaign fundraising. Both GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have spent more time courting donors in places such as New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles than they have in the nation’s capital.
Unrestricted super PACs, however, appear to be raising large sums from D.C. donors, underscoring how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling has changed traditional fundraising patterns.
The second-ranking city in terms of super PAC donations was Las Vegas; donors there gave $48.7 million to super PACs, or 9.5 percent of the total. Next came New York City, with donors giving $40.8 million, or just less than 8 percent of the total.
The remaining top-donating cities, in descending order, were Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Little Jackson Hole, Wyo., Detroit and San Francisco. All told, 57 percent of all super PAC donations came from the top 10 cities, MapLight found.
Job growth in October strongly beat expectations Friday, even as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in the final report before next week’s elections.
The government reported 171,000 net new jobs last month and revised upward the previous two months by 84,000. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point, as discouraged workers started to return to the labor force.
The report contained ammunition for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney but mostly comes as a relief for a White House with the rate staying below 8 percent for a second straight month and allowing the president to point to strengthening job creation in the final days of the too-close-to call race. Full story
November 1, 2012
DOSWELL, Va. — Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate candidate George Allen rallied the GOP faithful today to begin a final joint push across this crucial battleground state.
In the second event of a three-stop tour, several hundred supporters donning stickers for Romney, Allen and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crowded into the expansive Farm Bureau Center outside Richmond to hear the nominees for president and Senate. Full story
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election today, highlighting the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, as well as other issues, including health care, abortion and gay rights.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Bloomberg said in a column on his eponymous news service.
Bloomberg pointed to the hurricane as a sign that the world should act on the climate change issue.
“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” he said.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s operation isn’t the only campaign sensing a last-minute opportunity in Minnesota.
House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, started airing spots in the Gopher State’s 2nd district this week to boost former state Rep. Mike Obermueller’s (D) bid to unseat Rep. John Kline (R).
It’s a district both party committees bypassed in their fall ad buys, spending big in the highly competitive 8th district instead. Roll Call rates the 2nd district as a Likely Republican seat.
HMP’s $65,000 buy in the Twin Cities market will air this spot on stem cell research:
The super PAC is also expanding existing buys for similar stem cell spots in other races: $150,000 in Minnesota’s 8th district, $150,000 in Colorado’s 6th district and $200,000 in California’s 7th district.
Hurricane Sandy is causing logistical problems for elections in places far away from the storm’s path of destruction.
Electric utilities from across the country have sent employees to the East Coast to assist local crews in the massive power restoration efforts. With little chance those employees return home by Election Day, some of their employers have worked to secure absentee ballots in their home states.
For instance, Florida Power & Light Co. has sent about 860 workers north to help in the efforts in communities from Virginia to New Jersey. FPL spokesman Mark Bubriski said the company has been working to ensure the voting rights of a diverse workforce.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today he will head to Ohio for the final four days before the elections as part of the labor group’s get-out-the-vote strategy on behalf of President Barack Obama and downballot Democrats nationwide.
“We’re facing a dramatic choice of visions and paths forward,” Trumka said today during a conference call with reporters.
He said working-class Americans are rejecting the agenda of the Republican ticket, led by Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).
The AFL-CIO has mobilized 128,000 volunteers who plan to knock on 5.5 million voters’ doors in battleground states such as Ohio, he said.
“We’ll make 5.2 million phone calls,” Trumka added. “We’ll be talking to voters at their homes, on their phones, at their worksites.”
He said union volunteers and organizers are also making a difference for Democratic Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), among others.
“We also continue to monitor reports of voter suppression,” Trumka said. “We’re going to have over 2,000 people available as poll monitors that will be connected to a number of lawyers around the country. We’ll be able to have a rapid response team that will respond immediately to that.”
Trumka said he visited an early voting site in Las Vegas last week where Republican volunteers were also on the ground. He said Ohio would be a major focus of such poll watching and predicted that Obama would ultimately win the state by 3 points or 4 points.
Michael Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director, said working families, particularly those in unions, have “decisively chosen Barack Obama’s path.”
Trumka said a Romney campaign ad claiming that Jeep has planned layoffs — a claim that parent Chrysler Corp. has called erroneous — “is backfiring on him” particularly in Ohio. “It shows how desperate he is,” Trumka said.
Trumka said the labor movement has much at stake on Nov. 6. If Romney wins, he said, “I think it would be devastating for America, including the trade union movement.” He added that a Romney administration would be “geared toward corporate America and away from workers.”
No matter what happens this cycle, the union leaders said they would maintain a full-time staff in Ohio and other states so they can grow the program into future elections.
October 31, 2012
President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.
Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.
“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”
Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling. Full story
October 29, 2012
Here’s what cut through the clutter today:
The newest in a series of ads from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) featuring Missouri voters attacking Rep. Todd Akin (R) over the issue that gave McCaskill a chance to hold her seat.
A woman opens the ad saying, “Todd Akin is scary,” with a second criticizing his comments about “legitimate rape.” The ad also replays August video of Akin making those comments on a St. Louis TV station. Following that statement, Akin lost support of most national Republicans and conservative activists, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Updated 12:50 p.m. | Not many events could keep a president from campaigning for re-election one week before Election Day, but the hurricane threatening the Eastern Seaboard and nearing landfall is exactly that kind of disaster.
President Barack Obama is off the campaign trail and will be at least through Tuesday because he needs to monitor storm response to Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday night, the president left Washington, D.C., for Florida to attend a campaign rally, but by 7 a.m today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the president would skip the rally and return to the capitol this morning. The White House and the Obama campaign also announced this morning that a scheduled campaign trip to Green Bay, Wis., on Tuesday was canceled.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney went to Ohio, a battleground state away from the storm, instead of Virginia as previously planned. But by late morning, Romney’s campaign had decided to cancel all campaign events through Tuesday.
October 26, 2012
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) laced into President Barack Obama in an open letter today, blasting him and his campaign for producing an advertisement that uses a double entendre-laden theme to encourage first-time voting.
The ad was a testimonial from actress Lena Dunham of HBO’s “Girls” fame. In the spot, she quite obviously compares losing one’s virginity to voting for the first time.
“What could you possibly have been thinking?” Blackburn writes in her letter. “The ad you have launched featuring a young actress equating voting for you to a sexual act is offensive to me, to millions of women and to the stature of the office you hold. As a father of two beautiful girls, how could you possibly have allowed this to be aired?”
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), the Republican vice presidential nominee, was scheduled this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. to hold a conference call with top GOP House candidates to give them an update on the state of the presidential race.
The call includes candidates in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns and Vanguard programs, the committee’s recruitment and candidate support initiatives for top candidates.
The race between Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama remains very close less than two weeks before Election Day. Republicans are almost certain to retain control of the House, and Democrats have the edge in their effort to hold the Senate majority.
Updated 6:03 p.m. | Hurricane Sandy looks to pose a serious threat to life and property in the eastern United States, but the storm’s timing means it is also likely to have an effect on the last week of the 2012 campaigns.
Prolonged power outages could cause some changes in the way that people cast their ballots come Election Day.
“No matter what happens, we will proceed with the election. If polling places need to be moved or consolidated there are legal ways to do that and we will be in constant touch with local election officials to coordinate that,” Av Harris, a spokesman for the Connecticut Secretary of the State, said in an email.
Harris said that in Connecticut, the office has good coordination with the local power company.
“Worst case scenario if there is no power and power cannot be restored, the optical scan machines can run on battery power or else under a truly worst case scenario where the battery power for the optical scanners was depleted, we could have voters fill out paper ballots, drop them in the secure boxes, and election officials can count them all by hand,” Harris said. “Not an ideal situation by far, but we can do it if we need to.”
Sandy is still days away from landfall, but the storm is already having direct effects on the presidential race.
The Obama campaign has canceled a planned appearance by Vice President Joseph Biden in Virginia Beach on Saturday. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is scratching a Sunday appearance at the Farm Bureau Live amphitheater in Virginia Beach, Va. But the Associated Press is reporting that a Romney event scheduled for Sunday in Prince William County is still on. President Barack Obama is scheduled to appear at a campaign event Monday with President Bill Clinton in Prince William County, Va.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) are among those who have already declared states of emergency as Sandy approaches.
“Due to the track of this storm, and the fact that it will be a hurricane transitioning into a more nor’easter like system, we could see severe weather lasting for 48 hours or more in the state. In that scenario, saturated soil coupled with high winds could lead to major tree damage and extensive power outages,” McDonnell said. “Now is the time for all Virginians to prepare for those possible power outages and disruptions to public services.”
Virginia is the closest presidential battleground state likely to be affected by Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, but the storm appears poised to wreak havoc along the eastern seaboard north into New England. New Hampshire is another presidential battleground state, and there are several Northeastern states with close House and Senate races that will face storm impact.
Utility companies up and down the East Coast have announced they are bringing in extra crews from out of the area to prepare for what they expect may be a lengthy effort to restore power to customers after the storm rips through with tropical-storm-force winds. Some of the power companies, including Connecticut Light & Power, have faced ridicule from lawmakers for their past efforts to get power back.
“We’re closely monitoring weather forecasts and preparing for high winds and heavy rain that can devastate the electric system and cause power outages,” said Bill Quinlan, a senior vice president with CL & P. “The past year has been all about improving storm response, and we stand ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible. While we hope for the best, we all need to prepare for the worst.”
The National Weather Service guidance is warning of a storm with the potential for a historic impact.
“The deterministic guidance … show pressure solutions well beyond what has ever been observed near the New Jersey/New York coast (even exceeding the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane) early in the medium range period,” the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said today. That hurricane is a reminder of the history that the northeastern United States has with hurricanes.
It would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, to have active Congressional campaigns, even in states with Tossup Senate races such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, during massive power outages. Nor, of course, would people without electricity see all the campaign ads being run by campaigns, political action committees and other outside groups.
October 25, 2012
The political world has spent the last 40 hours or so issuing condemnations or statements of support for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), who made a controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”
Mourdock and national Republicans have his bid against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) riding on how the story plays out. Democrats have resoundingly criticized Mourdock, and Republicans are split in their statements.
Democrats sent a flurry of press releases when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) considered withdrawing his support for Mourdock in a pre-taped CNN appearance on Wednesday night. McCain said his support for Mourdock was contingent on whether he “owned up” to the comments and that Mourdock needed to ask for forgiveness.
But this morning, a McCain spokesman explained that Mourdock still has the lawmaker’s support. Full story
October 23, 2012
A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on television in Maine, the Portland Press-Herald reported. According to CNN, the pro-Romney group, Restore Our Future, has already reserved air time in the state.
Restore Our Future has identified Maine’s more rural 2nd district as a target for possible ad spending if funds become available, according to a recent email to the super PAC’s donors that was obtained by Time’s Mark Halperin. In Maine, (and Nebraska,) electoral votes are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, but rather to the victor in each Congressional district.
“As the Romney-Ryan momentum grows, and more states become within reach, the needs list grows,” the email said, demonstrating that campaigns and outside groups are leaving no stone unturned in the search for electoral votes.
A Press-Herald poll released at the beginning of this month showed that while President Barack Obama had an insurmountable lead in Maine’s coastal 1st district, the story could be quite different in the 2nd district, which encompasses much of the state’s more rural, inland territory. There, Obama had a 5 point lead over Romney, the survey revealed, suggesting to Republicans that they have a chance to pick off an electoral vote in the state.