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Former Gov. Mark Sanford walked the line between contrition and a commitment to his GOP campaign for the 1st District in a live appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday.
“The reality of our lives is, if we live long enough, we’re gonna fail at something,” said Sanford, referring to his sudden disappearance as governor in 2009 and extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman. “And I absolutely failed in my personal life and my marriage. But one place I didn’t ever fail was with the taxpayer. If you were to look at my 20 years in politics, what you would see is a fairly remarkable consistency in trying to watch out for the taxpayer.”
NBC host Savannah Guthrie questioned Sanford, who hewed to his two-pronged message: he had experienced a personal failure but had a political record of successful fiscal conservatism. He’s repeated this message throughout his comeback campaign to Congress in the 1st District, much of which he once represented in the House in the 1990s.
Sanford released his first ad of the race on Monday, in which he made reference to his “mistakes.”
“I failed mightily,” said Sanford, sitting in Rockefeller Plaza. “The saying is, ‘the higher you rise, the bigger you fall.’ I failed. But, in some ways, what I’ve come to learn is that, ultimately, our brokenness as human beings is ultimately our connection.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than the National Republican Congressional Committee by almost $2 million in January.
The DCCC raised $6.1 million to the NRCC’s $4.4 million in the first month of 2013.
The House Democrats’ campaign arm ended the month with $4.6 million in cash on hand but had $12.6 million in debt at the end of last month.
The NRCC had $2.8 million in the bank but posted less debt — $11 million — at the same time.
A DCCC aide said it was the best January fundraising in the committee’s history.
In 2014, House Democrats must net 17 seats to win control of their chamber.
Updated 4:46 p.m. | Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman will take “a few days” to consider a run to succeed fellow Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Heineman would be the heavy front-runner if he decided to enter the race to succeed Johanns, who surprised politicos in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska when he announced his retirement plans on Monday.
“As far as Senate, it’s a little different situation this time [than in 2011],” Heineman told the newspaper. One major difference? He is term-limited at the end of his current term that ends in 2014.
He added that he has never “indicated that being in the Senate is my dream job.”
Given the governor’s previous reluctance to run, other potential candidates aren’t waiting for Heineman’s decision to announce they are weighing the race.
“I will consider a run for the United States Senate,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry said in a statement on Monday. “I will listen to Nebraskans, explore the questions of how I might most effectively serve, and weigh the demands of such an endeavor with my family.” Full story
Updated 1:08 p.m. | Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, who was a safe bet to win a second term in 2014, announced Monday that he would forgo re-election.
“With everything in life, there is a time and a season. At the end of this term, we will have been in public service over 32 years,” Johanns wrote in an email to constituents co-signed with his wife, Stephanie. “Between the two of us, we have been on the ballot for primary and general elections 16 times and we have served in eight offices. It is time to close this chapter of our lives.”
Republicans are heavily favored to hold the open seat in the conservative state.
Nebraska GOP Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited from seeking re-election in 2014 and is considered a likely candidate in the race to replace Johanns. The governor has the right of first refusal, and if he runs he would be the “400-pound gorilla” in the race, according to state GOP strategist Sam Fischer. Most other Republicans would likely defer to him.
“My guess is that he’s not going to be in a rush” to make a decision, Fischer said of Heineman.
If Heineman doesn’t run, the GOP faces the prospect of a crowded and bruising primary. “There’s no shortage of people,” Fischer said of a field of prospective GOP candidates. Full story
Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman running for his old House seat, released his first television spot on Monday.
In it, the Republican best known nationally for disappearing from the state for days in 2009 and then admitting to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina, talks about fiscal responsibility and refers to his “mistakes.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dshklvQKxYE Full story
The National Republican Congressional Committee will attack Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., in its first television advertisement of the 2014 cycle.
The committee put $20,000 behind the spot, which will air on a WMUR affiliate beginning Monday.
The spot criticizes Shea-Porter’s opposition to the GOP-backed “no budget, no pay” bill, playing on her state’s motto, “Live Free or Die.”
Last November, Shea-Porter defeated then-Rep. Frank Guinta, the Republican who ousted her from Congress in 2010. She is expected to be a top target for Republicans in 2014.
Shea-Porter explained her vote to WMUR, which reported the ad buy on Friday.
“The wealthy people in the House and Senate can go without the pay, but others will be hurt along with their families for something that wasn’t their decision,” Shea-Porter told the affiliate.
New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia, a Democrat, will run for Congress, taking on GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm in the Staten Island-anchored 11th District.
Grimm, the only House Republican to represent New York City, is a top target for Democrats in New York and Washington, D.C. He faced wave after wave of bad press about alleged ethical improprieties in 2012, but he was never charged with a crime.
Grimm, in his second term, faced a weak Democratic opponent and won re-election in 2012.
Recchia lives in Brooklyn, which could make winning over voters on Staten Island — which makes up the majority of the district — more difficult.
And he might face a primary: Former Rep. Michael E. McMahon, a Democrat, told CQ Roll Call last month that he was also considering a bid against Grimm. Grimm unseated McMahon in 2010.
Updated 10:09 a.m. | State Sen. Toi Hutchinson will drop out of the the 2nd District special election Sunday and back her fellow Democrat, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, according to local news reports.
Hutchinson’s departure comes less than 48 hours after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC unleashed a television ad criticizing her position on gun control.
Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC spot also endorsed Kelly — part of the $2 million his group plans to spend on this race. Local Democrats view Kelly as the front-runner in this race, and Hutchinson’s withdrawal only helps to cement her former foe’s top status.
In the first several weeks of the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Hutchinson ran an able campaign. She had good fundraising and a noteworthy campaign team.
But Hutchinson faltered when gun control came to dominate this race. In previous runs, Hutchinson boasted support from Second Amendment rights groups like the National Rifle Association.
Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., indicated Thursday he is interested in running for Senate.
“There’s no point in being coy,” he told PolitickerNJ. “I’ve made no secret in previous years that I would consider the Senate at the right time. But an expression of interest should not be taken as a campaign announcement.”
Georgia Republican Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price lead the field of potential contenders for the GOP nomination in the open Senate race.
In a new survey conducted by Harper Polling, a GOP firm, 19 percent of Republicans polled said Broun would be their pick for the nominee to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, 18 percent picked Gingrey and 17 percent said they would vote for Price.
Rep. Jack Kingston took 13 percent, and two other candidates, Ross Tolleson and Kelly Loeffler, got negligible support in the survey.
John Stone, a top House Republican aide, will mount a bid against Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., in 2014.
“Get ready, Mr. Barrow,” Stone confirmed in an interview today with CQ Roll Call.
A number of candidates have been eying the race against Barrow, a longtime Republican target who represents a district that voted for Mitt Romney in November. But Stone appears to be the first to decide on a run.
Stone lost the seat to Barrow by more than 30 points in 2008. Stone, now chief of staff to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said he will resign his Capitol Hill position this summer to make a second run against the five-term congressman.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, will not seek the Democratic nomination for Senate, a Democratic source confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
His decision means Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, cleared a major hurdle for his party’s nod.
Days after Braley entered the Senate race last week, a Des Moines Register poll showed Vilsack in a strong position to run for the seat, boasting plenty of residual good will from his time as governor.
But on Friday, longtime Vilsack aide Matt Paul told the Register that Vilsack “will not seek the open seat.”
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced his retirement last month, creating the first open-seat race for Senate in Iowa in decades.
Several Republicans are also eyeing the race, including Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham.
CQ Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.
Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., will join Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the favorite to win the Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District special election, in Charleston on Saturday.
The 11-term congressman “will be making an important announcement” alongside Colbert Busch, according to a press release from the campaign.
Clyburn will likely endorse Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. Clyburn would be endorsing her over Ben Frasier, a perennial candidate, who is black. The primary will be held March 19.
His backing comes on the heels of endorsements from the AFL-CIO labor union and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. Wealthy businessman Martin Skelly also dropped out of the special election this week and endorsed Colbert Busch.
The candidate’s comedian brother will be helping her out later this month as well by hosting fundraisers on two straight days in New York City and Charleston.
Asked how many times he had run for Congress before, Frasier did not know but estimated “about nine or 10 times.”
“And I’m ready for nine or 10 more,” he told CQ Roll Call in a short telephone interview.
The GOP-friendly district includes almost all of the South Carolina coast. The seat is open following Republican Tim Scott’s appointment to the Senate.
There are 16 Republicans running in the GOP primary. If no candidate tops 50 percent, which is likely, a runoff will be held April 2.
Updated 4:16 p.m. | Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., will not seek re-election, setting up a lively Democratic primary for his seat in 2014.
CQ Roll Call confirmed Lautenberg’s decision, which he explained to The Newark Star-Ledger in a report published Thursday.
“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told the paper. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
Garden State operatives expect more than one Democrat will seek the seat. Last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced he had formed an exploratory committee to look at a bid. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. is also eyeing the seat, along with possibly other state politicians.
Meanwhile, television personality Geraldo Rivera has work to do if he wants to be a viable contender, according to a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll.
In the poll released Thursday, 40 percent of Democrats backed Booker, while 25 percent said they would support Lautenberg. Notably, only 15 percent of surveyed Democrats said they wanted Lautenberg to return to the Senate.
Lautenberg has not yet said definitively whether he will seek re-election in 2014. Regardless of his plans, CQ Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic.
Only 26 percent of respondents said they were likely to vote for Rivera. The television personality indicated his interest in the Garden State Senate race last month.