- McDonnell Apologizes for Taking Gifts and Money
- Rubio Hints at Government Shutdown Over Immigration
- Close Three-Way Senate Race in Kansas
- Police Union Won't Back Democratic Convention in Brooklyn
- Is Obamacare Helping Some GOP Governors?
February 27, 2013
Iowa Rep. Tom Latham announced Wednesday that he will not run for the Republican nomination for Senate, clearing a major primary hurdle for Rep. Steve King, who is seriously considering a bid.
“I cannot in good conscience launch a two-year statewide campaign that will detract from the commitment I made to the people who elected me, at a time when our nation desperately needs less campaigning and more leadership,” Latham said in a statement.
Greg Brannon, an obstetrician and tea party supporter in North Carolina, kicked off his Senate campaign Wednesday with a two-day tour of the state.
Brannon is the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is running her first re-election campaign since knocking out then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.
A second Republican challenger to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will officially announce his candidacy Thursday.
State Rep. Champ Edmunds will formally enter the race to challenge the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee at a press conference at Bitterroot Motors in Missoula at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to a release.
Edmunds, a Missoula banker and former Navy submariner, joins former state Sen. Corey Stapleton in what’s expected to be a crowded GOP primary for the chance to take on Baucus, who is seeking a seventh term. Full story
Congressional Republicans already peering over their shoulder for potential intraparty challengers won’t be sleeping any easier with the Club for Growth’s new website, PrimaryMyCongressman.com.
Club for Growth Action, the super PAC arm of the anti-tax group, announced Wednesday the goal of the new website “is to raise awareness of Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats,” according to a release.
The group is seeking GOP primary challengers for these nine members and offers visitors an opportunity to recommend potential candidates: Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma, Steven M. Palazzo of Mississippi, Martha Roby of Alabama, Aaron Schock of Illinois and Mike Simpson of Idaho. Full story
President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, announced Wednesday the launch of his new political firm, The Messina Group.
The new firm “will employ innovative strategies and techniques developed and utilized during the 2012 election, including the advances in technology and data-analytics that were integral to the campaign’s success,” according to a news release.
The three principles — Messina, Ty Matsdorf and Tara Corrigan — are veterans of Obama presidential campaigns:
- Prior to the most recent campaign, Messina was White House deputy chief of staff and held a leading role on the 2008 campaign. He is a former Capitol Hill staffer, serving as a top aide for both Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. He also worked for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.
- Matsdorf most recently was the war room director for American Bridge, an opposition research super PAC, and worked for Obama’s Nevada campaign. Earlier in his career, Matsdorf was a communications director for Baucus.
- Corrigan was part of Obama’s 2007 effort to win Iowa. She worked on both campaigns, as well as in the political affairs department in the White House.
February 26, 2013
Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly won the Democratic nomination in the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Tuesday and is now poised to succeed him in Congress.
Kelly had 55 percent, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson had 21 percent and Alderman Anthony Beale had 11 percent, with 63 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
Kelly’s win also marks a victory for New York City Michael Bloomberg, whose super PAC spent more than $2 million in the race. Bloomberg supports gun control, which became a central issue in the race for the district on Chicago’s south side. The area has endured a spike in gun violence in the past few years.
This was Bloomberg’s first foray into congressional races since the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last year. He spent millions of dollars knocking Halvorson, who received support from the National Rifle Association in her previous races, and boosting Kelly. Full story
The Republican National Committee named Mike Shields, a longtime House GOP operative, as its new chief of staff on Tuesday.
“Mike brings a wealth of political experience with him to the RNC, having worked on the Hill and in the field, for national committees and at the state level,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Last cycle, Shields served as political director of the National Republican Congressional Committee — an entity housed in the same building as the RNC. In 2010, Shields ran the NRCC’s independent expenditure arm.
Shields was also one of the final contenders to be National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director.
The RNC’s current chief of staff, Jeff Larson, will continue as a senior adviser to the committee, according to a press release.
Politico first reported the Shields news.
UPDATED 4:30 p.m. | The campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky slammed tweets from a liberal group criticizing his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
On Feb. 14, Progress Kentucky tweeted: “This woman has the ear of @McConnellPress–she’s his #wife. May explain why your job moved to #China!”
The tweet linked to a fringe website alleging that Chao wanted to undermine American workers.
Another tweet said: “China Premier grateful to McConnell father-in-law/@KYGOP contributor-4 his role in developing China industry.” That linked to a press release from China State Shipbuilding Corporation.
The news was first reported by Louisville NPR affiliate WFPL.
McConnell Campaign Manager Jesse Benton criticized the Progress Kentucky tweets in a Tuesday statement.
“Secretary Chao and her family are shining examples of the American Dream: salt-of-the-earth folks who escaped oppression, came here with nothing, joined our great melting pot, worked exceptionally hard to build a thriving business, and then dedicated so much of their lives to giving back,” he said. “It is unconscionable that anyone would use blatant race-baiting for political gain. Progress Kentucky should be ashamed of themselves.”
Progress Kentucky Executive Director Shawn Reilly denied charges of race-baiting and said Benton’s statement is “an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Mitch McConnell has engaged in the selling of the American middle class overseas for decades.”
McConnell is up for re-election in 2014, and Democrats are recruiting actress Ashley Judd to challenge him.
For her part, Judd tweeted Tuesday: “Whatever the intention, whatever the venue, whomever the person, attacks or comments on anyone’s ethnicity are wrong & patently unacceptable.”
CQ Roll Call rates the Kentucky Senate race as Likely Republican.
The influential Club for Growth released a scorecard Tuesday showing how faithfully every member of Congress hewed to the group’s fiscally conservative views during votes in 2012.
The club uses the scores as part of the process to judge whether they will endorse a candidate — a move that sometimes results in millions of independent expenditures on the candidate’s behalf.
But the 2012 scores — from one to 100 percent with 100 percent being the most “pro-growth” — are particularly illuminating in states like Georgia, where a number of Republican House members are angling for potential Senate bids:
- Rep. Paul Broun, the only officially declared candidate for the open Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., scored 100 percent in 2012. He has a lifetime score of 99 percent.
- Rep. Phil Gingrey, a likely candidate, got 89 percent in 2012 and has a lifetime score of 85 percent.
- Rep. Jack Kingston, another likely candidate, got 85 percent in 2012 and has a lifetime score of 82 percent.
- Rep. Tom Price, a potential candidate, scored 86 percent last year and has a lifetime score of 94 percent. Price said he won’t make a decision about a campaign until May.
- Rep. Tom Graves, who may also run for Senate, scored 93 percent, in 2012. He has a lifetime score of 96 percent.
Congressional candidate Teddy Turner launched a potent new ad Tuesday, looking to differentiate himself from a crowded field of Republicans with South Carolina’s 1st District special election primary just weeks away.
“We’ve come a long way. I know I’ve spent too much, but what’s a few trillion? It was all for you,” a Lothario-looking politician in a candle-lit room says in the spot. “But I’ve changed. I’ll keep my promises this time. It’ll be different. I’m sorry for all the mistakes I’ve made. Sugar, just give me one more chance.”
A female narrator then chimes in as video of framed photos of a number of the other GOP candidates, including former Gov. Mark Sanford, comes on the screen. “Break up with career politicians!” she says. “The right guy: Teddy Turner. Conservative Republican. Economics teacher. Not a politician.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Tuesday its new regional chairmen for the 2014 cycle. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Reps. Chellie Pingree of Maine and Lois Frankel of Florida as leaders of the committee’s “Women LEAD” campaign, aimed at recruiting and supporting female candidates.
The NRCC regional chairmen are:
- Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, who will serve as the Southern regional chairwoman
- Montana Rep. Steve Daines, who will serve as the central west regional chairman
- Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who will serve as the Midwest regional chairman
- California Rep. Devin Nunes, who will serve as the western regional chairman
- New York Rep. Tom Reed, who will serve as the northeast regional chairman Full story
Speaker John A. Boehner will attend a Wednesday fundraiser for freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in Washington, D.C., CQ Roll Call has learned.
With his compelling biography, conservative credentials and fundraising prowess, Cotton is one of the highest-profile members of the freshman class.
“Cotton brings energy and enthusiasm to the House Republican Conference, and he’s definitely someone with leadership potential,” emailed a GOP aide, who confirmed the Boehner event was taking place.
The fundraiser with the Speaker will take place at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday evening.
Republicans on the other side of the Capitol complex have been giving Cotton attention too. Despite only having taken the oath of office last month, Republicans are recruiting him to run against Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in 2014. Full story
February 25, 2013
Republican state Auditor Mike Foley announced last week that he is considering a number of options for his political future.
He is currently mulling runs for the Senate, governor’s office, the House or another term as state auditor.
“All those options are being discussed and prayed about and thought about,” he told Nebraska Radio Network.
A House seat would open up if Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry decides to run for the Senate. Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost Senate bids in 2012; Republican Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; businessman Pete Ricketts; and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.
This is an open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns; CQ Roll Call rates it as Safe Republican.
Rep. David B. McKinley finally declared what most West Virginia Republicans anticipated — that he would not run against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the state’s GOP Senate nomination.
“We were tempted by the devil,” McKinley told the Charleston Daily Mail editorial board Feb. 22. “I finally said no, this is Shelley. I went to Shelley and said, ‘Have I been tempted? Yeah. But I’m going to back you.’”
Only days before, former Democratic Sen. Carte P. Goodwin told West Virginia Metro-News that he, too, would sit out the Senate race.
Capito is the only organized Republican contender at this time. Democrats considering runs include businessman Ralph Baxter, state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, Rep. Nick J. Rahall II and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
CQ Roll Call rates the open-seat race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller as a Tossup.
Chicago-area voters head to the primary polls Tuesday to select former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s successor.
Among the Democrats in the race, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly is the candidate most political observers expect to win, but special elections are unpredictable. There are narrower paths to victory for former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and Alderman Anthony Beale.
Adding to the uncertainty in the 2nd District special election is a crowded lower tier of candidates. The winner of the Democratic primary is all but certain to win the general election in this heavily Democratic district. Full story