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April 17, 2013
Most of the Senate retirement announcements have come and gone, as Senate campaign officials tend to push members to step aside early in the cycle. However, House members generally don’t reveal their intentions until about a year before the elections.
For now, a dose of weak fundraising showings from the first three months of the midterm cycle offer clues as to which members could be considering the end of their congressional tenures. Whether they actually plan to retire likely won’t be known for some time, but the lack of motivation in fundraising will continue to feed speculation about some members’ political futures. Full story
Running a congressional campaign can be expensive. But it’s rare for House members to spend almost as much as they raised in the first quarter of a two-year election cycle.
Still, a few incumbents achieved this feat during the first three months of this year, according to a CQ Roll Call review of their fundraising reports.
Here’s a selection of “big spender” House members in the first quarter: Full story
Updated 12:05 p.m. | Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is set to appear in court this week, facing accusations that he trespassed on his ex-wife’s property in early February, according to The Associated Press.
The news comes as he enters the final weeks as the GOP nominee in a special election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Continued drama in one of the messiest divorces in modern politics will add another layer of complication in his attempt at a political comeback.
But Sanford will have an outlet to make his case — television.
Democratic sources who track media buying tell CQ Roll Call that the Sanford campaign and the South Carolina Republican Party have 1,000 points (a major television buy worth $90,000 to $100,000) reserved in the Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., media markets. It is set to begin Wednesday and last through April 22. Full story
President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to trim Social Security benefits has intensified liberal angst over his controversial nonprofit advocacy group, Organizing for Action.
OFA’s announcement last week that it had collected just $4.9 million, the vast majority of it from small donors giving $250 or less, may help assuage critics who have cast the group as an unrestricted money magnet. But Obama’s budget proposal to give Social Security recipients smaller cost-of-living increases “puts OFA on a collision course with many of its own grass-roots volunteers,” CQ Weekly reports this week.
“I think this fight over the budget is going to be a real truth-telling moment about Organizing for Action and what it’s going to be,” said Becky Bond, political director of the liberal activist group Credo, which with several progressive groups delivered 2.3 million signatures rejecting the plan to the White House last week. “The people who volunteered to re-elect President Obama overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security.”
The key question for OFA will be whether it becomes a volunteer-driven, bottom-up organization, or a top-down mouthpiece for White House policy. If Obama continues to push for entitlements changes, many Democrats’ disenchantment with OFA will inevitably grow.
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April 16, 2013
Updated 4:00 p.m. | There were some dynamo fundraising reports filed by Monday’s deadline. And then there were some duds.
The first quarter of an election cycle is traditionally an opportunity for candidates to flex their fundraising muscles, but it also offers a glimpse at which incumbents may be vulnerable or even considering retirement.
Now that the first reports of the 2014 midterm cycle are in, here’s a quick look at some of the House and Senate candidates who performed well in the first three months of fundraising and those who may have to hustle more going forward: Full story
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., reported the strongest first-quarter fundraising numbers of all of the federal candidates eyeing retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat.
First-quarter fundraising reports for members of Congress were due on Monday. Peters raked in more than his potential GOP Senate rivals — Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash — combined. However, Rogers maintains a large cash-on-hand advantage. Full story
A top GOP recruit to challenge Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska is worried the turmoil roiling the state Republican Party is putting him and other potential candidates at a distinct disadvantage.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is actively exploring a bid for Senate, said the state party is way behind its Democratic counterparts when it comes to opposition research and rapid response — two of its key responsibilities with no challenger currently in the race.
“The Republican Party at this point is not yet doing what it should be doing — no matter who the Republican candidate is going to be — to be prepared for a campaign battle,” Treadwell said in a phone interview. Full story
Hilltop Public Solutions will name Craig Hughes, a top Colorado Democratic consultant, as its newest partner Tuesday.
Hughes, who served as Sen. Michael Bennet’s 2010 campaign manager in Colorado, is part of Hilltop’s expansion into the Western states. The firm recently hired operatives from Montana and Oregon. Full story
April 15, 2013
Congressional candidates work hard for the money, and it shows in the first-quarter fundraising reports filed on Monday.
This quarter, seven figures marked the high bar for Senate campaign fundraising bragging rights — a large sum for hauls from this early in the cycle.
To be sure, the political fundraising market is different in every state (for example, it’s easier for incumbents to raise money in New Jersey than Alaska). But across the map, senators seeking re-election in 2014 — most of whom of are Democrats — raised big bucks.
Here’s a roundup of Monday’s fundraising announcements and filings: Full story
Updated 4:40 p.m. | Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch have suspended all campaign activity following the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
In a single-sentence statement, the Markey campaign stated it had suspended “campaign activities including canvassing, phone banking, fundraising and television advertisements.”
The Lynch campaign released a statement on the news, then confirmed to CQ Roll Call that it, too, has halted campaign activities.
Capitol Police will assist the FBI in investigating a secretly recorded campaign strategy session between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his aides.
“The FBI is the lead investigative agency. We are providing them with assistance in the case,” Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus told CQ Roll Call on Monday afternoon. Full story
So much for that blood feud congressional race in California’s Inland Empire.
Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., has announced he will run in a different district next year, challenging one of his party’s top targets — Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller. Full story
Rep. David Joyce raised a strong $234,200 during the first quarter of this year, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.
Joyce, perhaps Ohio’s most vulnerable House Republican, ended last month with $463,000 in the bank.
Sen. Marco Rubio raised $2.28 million during the first quarter across three affiliated political committees, CQ Roll Call has learned.
Adopting a fundraising strategy usually employed by national party committees and major presidential nominees, the Florida Republican set up a joint fundraising committee with his personal campaign account and his political action committee, Reclaim America.
Collectively, Rubio’s three committees ended March with $2.32 million in cash on hand after spending $1.2 million, including $700,000 on a brand new, national direct mail program that helped the senator attract 15,000 new donors. Half of the senator’s first quarter contributions came from small donors. Full story
April 14, 2013
Joe Miller, the tea-party-backed Alaska Republican who lost a 2010 Senate race, announced on Sunday that he is launching an exploratory committee as he considers another Senate campaign.
The announcement comes just two days after first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich announced raising almost $1 million in the first fundraising quarter of the cycle. It also comes after a tumultuous week at the state Republican Party, which ousted yet another chairman.