- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
March 18, 2013
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found record high support — 58 percent — for gay marriage.
In a new survey released Monday, only 36 percent of those polled thought marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be illegal and 6 percent had no opinion.
Gay marriage has been one of the country’s fastest-shifting political issues of the decade. Just three years ago, the same poll found 47 percent of respondents favored legal gay marriage and 50 percent were against it.
The new numbers were released on the heels of two top officials — a Democrat and Republican — announcing that their views have evolved on the matter. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that he now supports the right of gay people to get married. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced via video that she has evolved to support same-sex marriage. Clinton is a possible 2016 presidential frontrunner.
Julianna Smoot, the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, has joined Majority PAC’s board of directors.
“We have a small, effective team to which she brings critical expertise and networks as we prepare for this election cycle and make sure we have every resource needed to keep a Democratic senate majority,” super PAC co-chair Susan McCue said in a press release Monday.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $500,000 in its recent campaign attacking House Republicans — and possible Senate candidates — for supporting Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s budget blueprint, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.
“Through targeted online ads, grassroots petitioning, and direct appeals, online and grassroots donors have gone above and beyond what they’ve ever done this early in the cycle since Republicans said they would reintroduce a more draconian version of the Ryan plan,” DSCC Digital Director Jason Rosenbaum said in an emailed statement.
The DSCC took a page from House Democrats’ playbook last week when they attacked specific House Republicans for supporting Ryan’s budget. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has leveled these kinds of attack lines for years on television, and it’s not clear they proved effective on Election Day.
However, attacking the Ryan budget continues to be lucrative among the Democratic Party’s base — especially in online fundraising.
The vast majority — 85 percent — of the DSCC’s recent fundraising campaign against the Ryan budget came in online, while the committee raised the rest via phones, according to a DSCC aide. Mostly low-dollar contributions made up the haul taken in March 7-15.
The Republican National Committee rolled out a massive post-2012-elections report Monday that focused on crafting what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called a “fresh beginning” for a party that was on the losing end of a number of electoral contests last cycle.
“We know we have problems,” Priebus said to a packed ballroom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them.”
The report’s recommendations were mostly broad in nature — better messaging, more openness to those with differing views, earlier outreach and engagement to minority groups, a stronger data infrastructure and a more robust get-out-the-vote operation.
Many of the recommendations focused on national campaigns, for example condensing the presidential primary calendar and controlling the debate schedule. But there were specific recommendations that are likely to have a more immediate effect on 2014:
March 17, 2013
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced a $10 million outreach initiative Sunday to better convey the party’s message to voters, particularly minorities.
Priebus said the GOP’s “unprecedented” self-evaluation has shown that it has a “quality of context” problem with relating to voters, largely because of “parachuting” into communities months before an election rather than building grass-roots support.
If Republicans have a level of familiarity with a community, he said, it is easier to maintain party support in situations where a candidate’s blunder – like Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments — could torpedo the chances for victory come Election Day.
March 16, 2013
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, edging out fellow Sen. Marco Rubio. He follows in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was a perennial CPAC straw poll winner.
Paul took 25 percent with Rubio garnering 23 percent at the annual event that took place at National Harbor, Md., this year. This comes about a week after Paul’s Senate floor filibuster that created the Twitter hashtag “StandWithRand.” The motto translated at CPAC – some of the biggest souvenir hits were Mad Men logo “Stand With Rand” stickers and t-shirts that featured Paul’s silhouette.
Other top finishers followed in this order:
- Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. got 8 percent
- Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. got 7 percent
- Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. got 6 percent
- Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis. got 5 percent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — After a 1-point loss in Utah last year, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is actively laying the groundwork for a second challenge to the sole Democrat in the state’s delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson.
In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.
“We are looking at it very seriously,” Love said. “We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.”
March 15, 2013
Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has lost the office suite his staff tried so hard to keep to Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican’s office confirmed Friday.
As CQ Roll Call reported earlier this week, Heller’s staff had been using stalling tactics to prevent more senior member offices from viewing the space, which includes an unusually large personal office. Several complaints had been lodged with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the aggressive behavior of Heller staffers through the course of the months-long lottery process.
Heller had inherited his space from former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., but at the beginning of each Congress, junior member offices are available for more senior members. Moran is 74th in overall Senate seniority; while Heller is only 85th.
Though other offices encountered unhelpful staffers and apparent ruses for why the office suite couldn’t be seen in its entirety, Moran’s staff reported a pleasant experience when they visited this week.
“We’ve selected Sen. Heller’s office. His staff was great to work with and showed Sen. Moran and our staff their suite multiple times,” Moran spokeswoman Garrette Silverman said via email.
Each office in the lottery has a 24-hour window to decide whether to move. In a particularly fractious exchange with the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Heller staffers cracked jokes about a potential primary challenger in the event Chambliss, who has since announced his retirement, took the Russell suite.
The episode caused some heartburn for Heller, with Nevada Democrats seizing on the issue as a scandal for the freshman senator’s office.
Now, Heller’s staff will have to tour other offices to find a new space before the lottery process ends in May. But they’ll have to wait their turn. Ten senators are ahead of them in the lottery.
The Conservative Political Action Conference is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year in a new location: across the D.C. line (but still within the Beltway) at National Harbor, Md. Although it’s a new location, the event remains a central focus this week for the Washington press corps, including team coverage from CQ Roll Call.
The event wraps up Saturday with straw poll results announced around 5 p.m.
Here are some of the highlights of CQ Roll Call’s coverage of the three-day conservative cattle call:
- David M. Drucker is regularly posting on his new “GOPPERS: Inside the Mind of the House GOP” blog, including this scoop on the Republican National Committee revamping its get-out-the-vote program.
- Roll Call’s gossip blog, Heard on the Hill, is also a source of ongoing coverage. HOH features some very choice on-the-ground photos.
- And don’t forget to monitor CQ Roll Call reporters’ Twitter accounts: David M. Drucker, Kyle Trygstad, Jonathan Strong and Heard on the Hill’s Warren Rojas and Neda Semnani
Below are some of the best shots captured Thursday and Friday by our award-winning photographers:
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a popular local GOP official, will not take on Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in 2014.
“I’m not going to run for the U.S. Senate,” he told LaPolitics.com Friday.
George C. Kennedy, Dardenne’s longtime strategist, confirmed the news.
Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. Her state has increasingly voted for Republicans in recent years, including for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Dardenne first publicly floated the idea of Senate run in an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this month.
Other potential Republican candidates for Senate include Reps. John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, as well as former Rep. Jeff Landry.
Updated 4:26 p.m. | A trio of top-ranking Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials huddled with New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Thursday to plan a challenge to Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.
According to a senior national Democratic strategist, Recchia met in Washington with two fellow New Yorkers, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, as well as DCCC Recruitment Chairwoman Donna Edwards.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Two weeks after giving his first television interview since losing the presidential election, Mitt Romney returned to the spotlight again Friday to deliver his first major public speech.
Over the course of the 2012 campaign, Romney seemed more able to win over the heads — not hearts — of conservatives, yet he received a boisterous response from a crowd of a few thousand conservative activists in this hotel ballroom.
Romney urged attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference “to learn from our mistakes and my mistakes” to help win back the White House and Senate.
“As someone who just lost the last election, I’m probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one,” Romney said before offering advice anyway.
The former Massachusetts governor urged the Republican Party, which has undergone some soul-searching since its November losses, to look to the party’s 30 sitting governors for lessons on how to win elections and govern successfully. Romney name-checked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to CPAC after receiving heat from conservatives recently.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum offered a steadfast defense of his position when questioned about Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s decision to support gay marriage.
In a room filled with social conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the failed 2012 presidential candidate said, “Just because someone changes their mind doesn’t change things.” He added that, in law, “bad facts make bad laws” and that some Republicans are confronting “very difficult facts” in their lives.
Santorum said the importance of traditional marriage is in using the institution to promote the “best platform to raise our children.”
If marriage were just about “two adults who love each other,” “then let anybody get married,” or “three or four people,” for that matter, Santorum said to loud applause.
Additionally, gay marriage opponent Maggie Gallagher responded to Portman’s stance in a release, “While I understand Sen. Portman’s love for his son, we can love each other without abandoning core principles like marriage and life. If Republican elites continue the process of attempting to get rid of social issues, we are going to go back to being the party of Gerald Ford, a permanent minority that can occasionally elect a President.”
Portman announced Friday that he had decided to support laws that would allow gays to marry after finding out two years ago that his son is gay.
Sen. Rob Portman, a possible 2016 presidential contender, announced Friday that he now supports gay marriage rights – a “change of heart” he arrived at after his son Will confided that he was gay.
The Ohio Republican, who was vetted as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, revealed his position change in an interview with CNN and a newspaper opinion piece.
“My son came to Jane — my wife — and I, told us that he was gay and that it was not a choice,” Portman said in the interview, adding that the news led to a very personal process for the senator that included discussions with clergy. “During my career in the House and also the last couple years here in the Senate, you know, I’ve taken a position against gay marriage,” he said.
Portman also wrote an opinion piece in Friday’s Columbus Dispatch to expand on how his position has evolved, saying that he heard from his son two years ago. He acknowledged that younger people overwhelmingly support gay marriage. “In some respects, the issue has become more generational than partisan,” Portman wrote. Full story
March 14, 2013
University of Pennsylvania medical professor Dr. Valeria A. Arkoosh filed a statement of candidacy to run in what will most likely be an open race for Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz’s 13th District seat.
Schwartz has all but announced her campaign to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, in 2014. Last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee replaced her as committee’s national finance chair.
Arkoosh was not immediately available for comment. But PoliticsPA, a Keystone State political blog, noted Arkoosh is a Schwartz ally and her husband is the congresswoman’s campaign treasurer.
Schwartz’s suburban Philadelphia district will likely attract several Democratic candidates once it officially becomes an open seat. Schwartz won re-election in 2012 by more than 37 points. Her successor would likely be determined in the Democratic primary.