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July 8, 2015

December 11, 2012

South Carolina: Haley Considers Politics of Appointment

Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s 2014 re-election bid is expected to weigh heavily on whom she appoints to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican insiders told Roll Call Tuesday afternoon.

Haley is a rising star in national Republican circles and a tea party favorite. But at home, the first-term governor has struggled politically, fighting with Republicans in the Legislature and others in the party while enjoying lackluster support from independent voters. Haley appears safe from a primary challenge, but some polls have suggested that she could be vulnerable in the general election, despite the state’s strong conservative bent.

The Senate appointment could help Haley address some of these challenges, GOP operatives based in South Carolina and others with strong ties to the state said she is likely to take full advantage of the opportunity as she considers from a narrowed pool of five potential candidates. CNN first reported who was on the short list Tuesday, and each candidate carries strengths and weaknesses.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: Gowdy has tea party and conservative bona fides. He is not perceived to be personally close to Haley. Per one knowledgeable South Carolina-based GOP operative, Gowdy is the “unlikely choice for Haley, but for a future U.S. Senate race, a very good candidate.” Another source added that the Gowdy mention on the list might have as much to do with poking Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., as pushing Gowdy. Haley and Mulvaney have an adversarial relationship.

Full story

South Carolina: Haley Narrows Senate Appointment Pool to 5 Candidates

Updated: 1:27 p.m. | South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley has narrowed the candidate list to replace resigning Republican Sen. Jim DeMint to five candidates, according to CNN.

Speculation has centered on Rep. Tim Scott, but there are some other interesting names on her shortlist. Besides Scott, four more South Carolina Republicans are in the mix: Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, and state Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine B. Templeton.

As CNN notes, one notable name omitted from the list is freshman Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney.

“As has always been our policy, we do not comment on any aspect of an appointment process until the appointment is finalized,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey wrote in an email.

Haley announced on Monday she would not be appointing a caretaker for the job. Her pick is expected to be made as early as this week.

GOP Outside Group Makes Issue Ad Buy on Fiscal Cliff

The GOP-aligned American Action Network has launched an online advertising campaign urging Beltway policy insiders to support congressional Republicans during the fiscal cliff debate.

The online digital campaign includes Web videos and search, mobile and display ads. The money behind the buy is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The group’s newest Web video features economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who is associated with AAN’s sister organization, American Action Forum.

Holtz-Eakin is a former Congressional Budget Office director and was a top domestic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Updated 11:29 a.m. | Crossroads GPS is making an effort on this front as well, with a $240,000 local radio ad buy targeting five Democratic senators who are in races Roll Call rates as Tossups.

Those radio spots are airing in Alaska, targeting Sen. Mark Begich; Louisiana, targeting Sen. Mary L. Landrieu; North Carolina, targeting Sen. Kay Hagan; South Dakota, targeting Sen. Tim Johnson and West Virginia, targeting Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

December 10, 2012

RNC Announces Postelection Self-Examination

The political autopsies of 2012 are continuing more than a month after Republicans fell short in the race for the White House and lost ground in both the House and Senate.

The newest postmortem announcement came from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. In a statement Monday, he announced a new “initiative to grow the Republican Party and improve future Republican campaigns.” It’s called the Growth and Opportunity project.

There will be five chairmen of the effort. They are:

  • Henry Barbour, a national committeeman from Mississippi
  • Sally Bradshaw, a veteran senior strategist in Florida and national politics
  • Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary
  • Zori Fonalledas, a national committeewoman from Puerto Rico
  • Glenn McCall, a national committeeman from South Carolina Full story

South Carolina: Haley Rejects Placeholder, Putting Focus Squarely on Scott

Haley could make her Senate pick known this week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina has rejected the possibility that she will appoint a temporary caretaker to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning effective in January.

“I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” she wrote in a statement Monday. “I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.” Full story

NRCC Names Ryan Chairman of Annual Fundraising Dinner

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Monday that Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin will chair its annual fundraising dinner in March.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and the House Budget Committee chairman, will headline the dinner, which brought in more than $12 million this year. It’s the largest annual fundraiser for House Republicans.

Co-chairing the event will be GOP Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, as well as Rep.-elect Roger Williams of Texas, a former top fundraiser for President George W. Bush.

“This powerhouse team, lead by Paul Ryan, will provide the leadership needed to make this annual fundraising dinner a huge success,” incoming NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a statement. “I’m proud to have Diane, Mike and Roger as co-chairs on the very important mission to secure funds to grow the Republican majority in 2014.”

December 8, 2012

Louisiana: Charles Boustany Jr. Cruises to Runoff Win Over Jeff Landry

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:30 p.m. | Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. defeated freshman Rep. Jeff Landry in Saturday’s GOP member-vs.-member runoff in the bayou forced by redistricting. The four-term lawmaker’s victory marks the last House race of 2012 to be decided.

Boustany had 61 percent to Landry’s 39 percent, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

A GOP-controlled redistricting process placed both members into the same southern Louisiana 3rd District. But Boustany always had the edge: The new district was composed of about three-quarters of his old turf. That meant Landry had to both introduce himself to the majority of voters and convince them that he was a better choice than Boustany. Full story

December 7, 2012

Haley Will Not Run for Senate in 2014

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley will not be a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat this cycle. “The governor will not run for the Senate in 2014,” spokesman Rob Godfrey told CQ Roll Call. “She absolutely loves the job she has.”

Sen. Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he would resign his seat in January, leaving Haley to pick a replacement to will serve through the 113th Congress. A special election will be held in November 2014 to fill the remainder of DeMint’s term, which ends in January 2017.

Palmetto State GOP operatives had floated the idea the first-term chief executive might run for the seat after appointing a placeholder candidate who would not run in the special.

The conventional wisdom among GOP operatives in the state remains that the top contender for the seat is conservative freshman Rep. Tim Scott.

Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz made waves Friday morning by picking up a new finance director with statewide experience. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Democratic lawmaker’s hire of Aubrey Montgomery fuels speculation she’s looking at running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

Schwartz has long been discussed as a potential statewide candidate, although sources say she’s eyeing a challenge to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016. She’s ascended the House leadership ladder, taking a prominent role as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s recruitment chairwoman last cycle.

But the Congresswoman’s top aide did nothing to tamp down the gubernatorial speculation when asked about Schwartz’s political future.

Full story

South Carolina: Haley to Move ‘Quickly’ on Appointing DeMint Replacement

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley will “quickly” appoint someone to fill the seat of resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, she said Friday morning.

“Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness,” Haley said in a statement. “I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.”

The first-term governor knocked down the possibility that she might appoint herself and said she would appoint a conservative. Full story

NRSC Funneled Money to Missouri GOP That Supported Akin

Updated 11:55 a.m. | In the last days of the 2012 campaign, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent $760,000 to the Missouri Republican Party, which appears to have used the money to run TV ads for Rep. Todd Akin’s ill-fated Senate campaign.

By not transferring the money until the first two days of November, people could only speculate as to the source of the cash infusion until after casting their ballots. Democrats would no doubt have targeted Republicans in other battleground states with ads and statements that the GOP was effectively backing Akin, despite indications to the contrary by the group’s chairman, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Democrats were quick to pounce on the news Friday morning after a report by the Springfield News-Leader outlining the apparent connection between the $760,000 transfer and an ad buy by the Missouri GOP for practically the same amount in support of Akin.

Full story

December 6, 2012

In Private Meeting, RNC, GOP Digital Strategists Look to Improve

Several dozen Republican digital strategists met at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday to hear what worked and what didn’t from the digital heads of the Mitt Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

According to three sources in the room, the two-hour meeting was a review of the key metrics from the campaign and a discussion about how the party can improve its digital strategies and prepare for 2016. It is widely acknowledged that President Barack Obama’s re-election victory was built in part on a vastly superior digital effort.

The “entire GOP digital world” was there, one source said, plus representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter. The meeting was led by Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt, RNC Digital Director Tyler Brown and RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 5:41 p.m.

South Carolina: Who Will Haley Appoint to the Senate?

Scott is among the contenders in the mix to be appointed to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The political question of the hour has become: Who will South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley appoint to fill the open Senate seat held by resigning Sen. Jim DeMint?

There is a bevy of ambitious Republicans in the state, but a few names float to the top of the list. Conservative freshman Rep. Tim Scott, a favorite of the grass roots, is seen as a top contender. A number of GOP insiders in the state also mentioned Henry McMaster, the former state attorney general who ran against Haley in the 2010 gubernatorial primary but gave his strong support to her in the GOP runoff, campaigning for her around the state. Full story

DeMint Resigning to Head Heritage Foundation

UPDATED 10:53 a.m. | Sen. Jim DeMint will resign from the Senate early next month to take the helm of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday morning.

The South Carolina Republican, who was first elected to the Senate in 2004, has been a driving force among the conservative Republican Party base and the tea party movement. And he has often been a thorn in the side of Senate GOP leadership by supporting conservative primary candidates in 2010 and 2012 who later had trouble winning general elections.

“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight,” DeMint said in a statement. “I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”

The move came as a surprise on Capitol Hill, where the senator was in line to take over as ranking member of the Commerce, Committee next year, with aides already raising questions about how well he would work with Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

South Carolina law allows the governor, Republican Nikki R. Haley, to make an appointment to fill DeMint’s unexpired term, in a state that would be safe Republican territory either way.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal announcing the move, DeMint, who had already said he would not seek another Senate term, indicated he still had work to do politically, but thought that the timing was right.

“This really gets my blood going again thinking about the possibilities. This is the time to elevate the conservative cause,” he said.

Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy. His passion for rigorous research, his dedication to the principles of our nation’s founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action make him an ideal choice to lead Heritage to even greater success,” Heritage Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders told employees this morning, according to the organization.

Fellow conservative GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania was among the first offer words of encouragement.

“Jim is not just a colleague; he is a friend and a mentor, and his departure will be a tremendous loss for the U.S. Senate and for the conservative movement. In eight years, he has personally led the effort to change the composition of the Senate for the better, and provided consistent and principled leadership in the fight for liberty and limited government. He will be missed,” the former Club for Growth president said in a statement. “I’m confident he will continue to play an important role in the ongoing public debate about the future of this country, and I wish him the best in his new position.”

December 5, 2012

Illinois: Special Election Candidate Charged With Trying to Bring Gun on Plane

State Sen. Donne Trotter, a Democratic candidate in the 2nd District special election, has been charged with trying to bring a weapon onto a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Trotter must appear in bond court Thursday morning to answer the Class 4 felony charge that carries from one to three years in prison, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

A Transportation Security Administration agent found an unloaded gun with bullets in Trotter’s garment bag Wednesday morning while he was attempting to travel to Washington, D.C., according to local reports. He allegedly told the agent that he forgot to remove the weapon after his shift at a security job.

A favorite of local Democrats, Trotter was seen as having the inside track to win his party’s endorsement for the Feb. 26 primary. He’s a longtime state lawmaker, serving for more than 20 years.

Full story

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