- Shaheen Barely Leads in New Hampshire
- Extra Bonus Quote of the Day
- Florida Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional
- Minnesota GOP Bans Its Own Candidate
- Rand Paul on a Mission in Guatemala
January 25, 2013
Updated 12:05 p.m. | Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, 69, announced Friday that he will not seek a third term in 2014.
In a statement, Chambliss denied that his decision had anything to do with the likelihood that he would draw a challenger from the right in 2014. Instead, he insisted that the partisan gridlock in Congress, particularly surrounding fiscal issues, was the reason for his retirement. Chambliss has been a key member of the bipartisan “gang of six,” which sought to forge a bipartisan solution to the nation’s debt and deficit problems.
“Lest anyone think this decision is about a primary challenge, I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election,” Chambliss said.
He continued, “This is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health. The debt ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst and, sadly, I don’t see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.”
January 24, 2013
Two months after he was ousted from Congress by a fellow Democrat, former California Rep. Joe Baca said he wants back in.
Baca told the Riverside Press-Enterprise he plans to challenge Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, who defeated him 56 percent to 44 percent in the redrawn 35th District east of Los Angeles.
“If you get knocked down, you’ve got to stand up,” Baca told the newspaper Thursday.
Baca was undone in part by the state’s new top-two primary system, which allowed Negrete McLeod to advance to the general despite finishing second in the first round of balloting June 5. But the seven-term congressman was also hit by a late multimillion dollar ad campaign by Independence USA PAC, a super PAC formed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent.
“Hopefully, this time I run against [Negrete McLeod] and not against the mayor of New York,” Baca told the newspaper.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Improving candidate recruitment at all levels is a key focus of a Republican National Committee project to overhaul GOP operations and position the party to better compete in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
The five-member task force appointed to examine the Republican Party’s weaknesses and chart a path forward said recommendations on attracting appealing, demographically diverse candidates to run for office at all levels will likely be included in its report, due in March. Task force members said the GOP must engage in a concerted, prolonged effort to recruit talented politicians — particularly women and ethnic minorities — if the party hopes to keep pace with the Democrats.
“This is not a difficult equation to complete,” Sally Bradshaw, a Republican consultant and task force member from Florida, told reporters during a news conference to update the group’s progress. Full story
Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine — both former governors of the commonwealth — are disappointed with a couple of bills moving forward in the state Senate, including a proposal that would allocate the state’s presidential electoral votes by congressional district.
That bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bill Carrico, would give presidential nominees an electoral vote for each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts they carry, plus two at-large votes to the nominee that wins a majority of the districts. If the bill had been law last year, President Barack Obama would have won just four of the state’s 13 electoral votes, despite winning the state by some 150,000 votes.
“The vote is sacred,” Kaine said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “No legislative chamber should use this kind of partisan stunt to gain a temporary advantage at the expense of the electorate. It’s dirty tricks like this that will keep the Virginia legislature a staple on late night TV.” Full story
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reince Priebus, running unchallenged for re-election as Republican National Committee chairman, has secured the support of Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and Silver State RNC committeeman James Smack, sources said Thursday afternoon.
In fact, McDonald and Smack are set to serve as two of the six nominators (two each from three different states) that Priebus needs to secure on a position on the ballot.
Although Priebus’ re-election is not in doubt, their decision to back the incumbent chairman could prove significant for the RNC moving forward. Both supported former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s failed 2012 bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and last year’s takeover of the Nevada GOP by Paul supporters caused top Silver State Republicans, the RNC and White House nominee Mitt Romney to build a shadow party to handle the basic political activities usually overseen by the state party.
Dysfunctional state parties in key states, such as Nevada, are believed to be among the factors that put Romney and other Republican candidates at a disadvantage against President Barack Obama and downticket Democrats last cycle.
RNC members are in Charlotte for the party’s annual winter meeting as the GOP attempts to chart a path forward in the aftermath of the November elections, in which Obama was handily re-elected and Democrats netted two Senate seats. Among the lingering issues from the 2012 cycle was a small division that opened up between the Republican establishment and Paul supporters, who remain active in various state parties.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is about to do fellow Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Esty a big favor. He is nominating her 2012 Republican rival, former state Sen. Andrew Roraback, to a state judgeship, according to local reports.
Connecticut political operatives are abuzz with the news. Democrats are elated, while Republicans are concerned. All wonder if the move neutralizes Roraback’s ability to challenge Esty next year. The 5th District saw one of the closest House races in the country and is a place where Republicans had been looking to go on offense — with Roraback as their standard-bearer. A local newspaper recently named Roraback its 2012 Person of the Year.
Roraback is a long-time officeholder and a passionate moderate. In November, reflecting on a dreadful year for Republicans in New England, he was on the fence about another run against Esty.
“I view my race not as a reason for pessimism,” he told CQ Roll Call at the time. “I think my race was a reason for optimism for our party because it shows that victory is within reach for Republicans in New England.”
Republican Elizabeth Moffly, one of a number of candidates running for the open seat in South Carolina’s 1st District, loaned her campaign $200,000 Wednesday, a source close to the campaign told CQ Roll Call.
Moffly, a Charleston County schoolboard trustee and owner of some local businesses, is currently the only woman in a crowded GOP field for the seat vacated by now-Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican.
The loan, while not a huge amount of money for the race, at least gives Moffly the potential to become competitive.
She launched her campaign last week and joins a long list of GOP hopefuls including former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; state Rep. Chip Limehouse; Teddy Turner, the son of TV mogul Ted Turner; state Sen. Larry Grooms and former state Sen. John Kuhn, among others.
Although the district is comfortably Republican, there are two Democrats running, one of whom is the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.
Filing for the race closes on Jan. 28 at noon.
The primary will be held on March 19. An April 2 runoff is expected because no candidate is likely to get more than 50 percent of the vote in such a crowded field. The special election will be held May 7.
January 23, 2013
Members of the Republican National Committee descended upon Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to kick off the committee’s three-day winter meeting.
The headline of the RNC’s post-election meeting is always the race for chairman, but this year Reince Priebus, who was first elected in 2011, appears headed to a comfortable re-election. Despite a convincing victory in November for President Barack Obama, Priebus is credited with getting the RNC out of debt, and he has claimed an overwhelming majority of support among the RNC’s 168 voting members.
Beyond Friday’s officer elections, the gathering in Charlotte — where Democrats held their national convention in September — also features training sessions and business meetings, including debates over rules changes. The theme this year is to renew, grow and win, and the strategy sessions will focus on the tools needed to appeal to a wider range of voters and ultimately win more elections.
Congressional campaign committees have seen their financial influence wane in the past two cycles with the advent of super PACs. But make no mistake, these entities remain a powerful force in determining the playing field for the midterm elections.
While outside groups have replicated pieces of the campaign committees’ role — from recruitment to opposition research to candidate development — the campaign committees remain the top political clearinghouses for each party. Their involvement can still make or break a race.
In Roll Call’s new scorecard, we rate the challenges ahead for each committee this cycle, as well as how well-equipped each is to handle them.
Former Democratic Rep. Michael E. McMahon is considering a comeback bid in New York’s Staten Island-based 11th District.
“Certainly taking a look at it,” he told CQ Roll Call Wednesday evening. McMahon said he expects to make a final decision on the race soon.
“Look,” he said, “the election is in two years, fundraising has to begin yesterday, so it’s a short time frame.”
McMahon was unseated by Republican Michael G. Grimm in 2010, losing by about 3 points.
Democratic National Committee members re-elected Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as their chairman Tuesday, a committee spokesman confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
President Barack Obama indicated last month that he wanted Wasserman Schultz to continue in her role as head of the committee. DNC members confirmed his pick at their meeting Tuesday.
However, there were other major personnel changes at the DNC meeting:
The network also reported additional departures: Vice Chairmen Linda Chavez Thompson and Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., plus National Finance Chair Jane Stetson.
New Jersey Democrats are ready for Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg to step aside in favor of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, according to a Qunnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning.
The survey showed that in a Democratic primary, Booker got 51 percent of the support, while 30 percent backed Lautenberg.
The poll’s key finding is that while Democrats might approve of Launtenberg’s job performance, they are ready for him to retire. Lautenberg’s job approval was at 50 percent, but 45 percent said he does not deserve to be re-elected, compared to 36 percent who said he does.
Another 71 percent of those surveyed said that his age, 90 years old at his next swearing-in, makes his job “too difficult.”
January 22, 2013
Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito begins the race to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in an extremely strong position, according to an automated poll conducted by the new GOP polling firm Harper Polling.
The poll tested both parties’ primary fields and theoretical general-election matchups. What is clear from this early read is that Capito is well-known and, at least for now, is well-liked.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Nick J. Rahall II led the field of potential candidates and appears to be the strongest general-election nominee against Capito. In a general-election test, 50 percent of respondents said they would support Capito, while 32 percent said they backed Rahall. Eighteen percent were undecided.
The numbers slide for Democrats when Capito is matched up against former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin and state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, neither of whom is very well-known statewide. Capito took 53 percent to Goodwin’s 19 percent. Twenty-eight percent were undecided in that matchup. Against Davis, Capito took 51 percent and Davis had 24 percent. Twenty-five percent were undecided in that pairing. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, another possible Democratic contender, was not included in the survey. Tennant ran for governor in 2011, but she placed a disappointing third in the Democratic primary.
Thinking about running for Congress? For hopeful Democrats, there was no better place to be this weekend than hobnobbing with the party elite and donors at inaugural festivities.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee leveraged the weekend to tout a trio of potential recruits for House races in 2014. A Democratic source said the following three recruitment prospects attended the committee’s inaugural luncheon at the Italian Embassy on Jan. 21:
- Former Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff. He’s already indicated that he’s interested in challenging Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., in the 6th District. Coffman tops the DCCC’s target list for 2014 after he won re-election by a 2-point margin in November.
- Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray-Kohn. She has said she’s “seriously thinking” about challenging Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in the 3rd District. The daughter of a former Nevada congressman, Bilbray-Kohn served as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s, D-Nev., top finance aide in 2010. Democrats view Heck as vulnerable after he won re-election with 50 percent of the vote, and the president won the district. Full story
Teddy Turner, a Republican running for South Carolina’s open 1st District, began airing ads on television and radio over the weekend, getting an early start in introducing himself to the primary electorate.
He’s one of the top-tier GOP candidates in what is expected to be a crowded field that includes former Palmetto State Gov. Mark Sanford and various state legislators.
In the spot, Turner, the son of media mogul and outspoken liberal Ted Turner, tells viewers his biography and — not surprisingly in a Republican-heavy district — emphasizes his conservative beliefs. A narrator talks about how his time as cameraman in the Soviet Union shaped his conservative vision.