- 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
February 26, 2013
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
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia announced Monday he has tapped Hayden Rogers to be his new chief of staff. Rogers was a candidate for Congress in 2012 and previously served as chief of staff to former Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C..
Rogers, an affable, garrulous 42-year-old, hewed an independent profile on the campaign trail, running for North Carolina’s 11th District. He appears to be a good fit for Manchin, one of the Democratic senators most comfortable bucking his party.
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity,” Rogers said in short interview with CQ Roll Call. He called Manchin “pragmatic, practical in his thinking” and someone who is good at “building consensus to get things done.”
Manchin praised Rogers in a statement.
“Hayden brings to our office a unique range of talents and a commonsense, solutions-driven approach that I truly admire,” he said. “He embodies the values important to West Virginians and has the knowledge, experience and expertise to lead our team effectively.”
Rogers, a graduate of Princeton University, officially started his new position last week.
Advocates of campaign finance restrictions breathed a small sigh of relief Monday when the Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates and political parties in a case known as U.S. v. Danielczyk.
The high court made news last week when it agreed to consider a separate challenge to the aggregate limit on how much an individual may donate to political parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle. The court’s decision to take up that case, known as McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, had triggered speculation that direct campaign contribution restrictions may be in danger, too.
But the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the Danielczyk case, first reported by SCOTUSBlog, cheered defenders of political money regulations, who’ve been playing defense since the court’s landmark 2010 ruling to throw out long-standing limits on independent corporate and union spending.
The Campaign Legal Center applauded the decision not to take up U.S. v. Danielczyk, which turned on criminal allegations that donors had directed illegal corporate contributions to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The decision “does nothing to mitigate the court’s disturbing decision last week to revisit the aggregate contributions passed in the wake of the Watergate scandals,” which, if reversed, would enable individuals to make aggregate donations into the millions, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel Tara Malloy said in a statement. “But at least today the court has decided to stay its deregulatory hand.”
Marcy Stech is leaving Priorities USA Action, the top-grossing Democratic super PAC in the 2012 election cycle, to be national press secretary at EMILY’s List.
Stech joins EMILY’s List on the heels of a banner year for the organization that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights. EMILY’s List helped elect 19 new women to the House and nine female Senate candidates, including six incumbents and three newcomers.
Stech signs on as national press secretary and succeeds Jess McIntosh, who moved up to replace Jen Bluestein as communications director. Bluestein is serving as a senior adviser to Americans for Responsible Solutions, the new gun safety super PAC run by ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly.
Stech has “an incredible wealth of experience fighting for progressive causes,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement.
Stech’s former posts include working on the 2010 campaign of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and in the public affairs division of the strategic communications firm The Glover Park Group. Priorities USA Action raised $79 million in the previous cycle to help re-elect President Barack Obama.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal third-party group, launched its second gun control advertisement aimed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Monday.
The spot opens with Gary Nutt of Cub Run, Ky., holding a rifle and walking down a road.
“I am a Vietnam vet and a hunter,” he says. “I only shot my rifle one time this last season. One shot, one deer. But I’d be a pretty bad hunter if I needed an assault rifle to shoot that buck.”
Nutt goes on to say that he supports an assault weapons ban. “The NRA and the gun manufacturers have given a ton of money to Sen. Mitch McConnell,” Nutt says. “And now he’s blocking reform. Senator, whose side are you on?”
February 24, 2013
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will head west this week to hear from minority voters and technology experts as a part of his committee’s efforts to rebuild and modernize the GOP.
Priebus’ four-day swing is scheduled to take him to Denver on Monday for a listening session with Hispanic voters and GOP activists, then to Los Angeles on Tuesday for listening sessions with Hispanic and Asian voters.
On Wednesday, Priebus will be in San Francisco for meetings with technology experts; a visit to Facebook is included on the chairman’s itinerary. Priebus will then travel to Seattle for a meeting focused on early voting, an aspect of voter turnout where Republicans continue to trail the Democrats significantly.
Priebus’ trip is part of the Growth and Opportunity Project, the RNC’s autopsy of what went wrong in the 2012 presidential election and how the GOP can improve its prospects going forward. The report, due to be publicized sometime in March, is focused on how Republicans can do better with minority voters and develop a technologically superior get-out-the-vote operation.
February 22, 2013
Arkansas state Sen. Bruce Maloch, a Democrat, is eyeing Arkansas’ 4th District — but only under one condition.
“If the seat is open, I’d definitely be interested in looking at it,” Maloch said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call on Thursday night. But if it’s not, he added, he’s “probably not interested in pursuing it.”
Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., represents the 4th District. Maloch, like many Razorback State politicos, has heard increasing speculation that Cotton might run against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in 2014.
Cotton’s chief of staff, Doug Coutts, did not immediately return a phone call late Thursday. Coutts had no comment on the Senate bid speculation last month.
February 21, 2013
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told some elementary school students Thursday that he does not plan to seek the presidency.
“Do I plan on running for president?” Thune said. “I don’t. I enjoy the job I have. And being the president is a very, very hard job.”
Thune made the comment during questioning from a room full of second-graders at Mark Twain Elementary in Sioux Falls in Thune’s home state of South Dakota. They were videotaped by KELO-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Thune previously passed on a 2012 run for the White House.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised just $1.5 million in January, according to its most recent fundraising report.
That’s significantly less than the $4.2 million the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought in last month.
The DSCC reported it had $3 million in the bank at the end of January, while the NRSC reported slightly more — $3.3 million — cash on hand at the same time.
But while the NRSC reported $10 million in debt, the DSCC had much more — $15.7 million — in arrears, according to its fundraising report.
The NRSC did not hire senior staff until Jan. 30, part of reason behind the committee’s meager fundraising.