Bush Goes After Christie Donors

Jeb Bush “is quietly waging a behind-the-scenes offensive to pick off disillusioned home-state supporters of Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor whose presidential prospects have dimmed in recent months,” Politico reports.

“Bush’s effort to undermine Christie’s network of donors, power-brokers, and political players is conducted mainly through emails and phone conversations — and he tracks the progress closely.”

How Christie Aides Plotted to Make Traffic Problems

The New York Times has an interesting look at how three allies of Gov. Chris Christie (R) sought to punish a mayor for not endorsing the governor in his re-election campaign.

“The fine-grained intricacies laid out in the legal papers show the three plotting like petulant and juvenile pranksters, using government resources, time and personnel to punish a public official whose sole offense was failing to endorse their political patron. The three were in constant contact, brazenly using government emails, their tone sometimes almost giddy. They even gave the increasingly desperate mayor of Fort Lee their own version of the silent treatment.”

“The charges reveal the step-by-step, carefully coordinated attention paid by the three associates of the governor to create the perfect traffic jam, a veritable town-size parking lot, one that in the end may have stymied Mr. Christie’s presidential ambitions.”

Clinton Seeks to Push Harder on Fundraising

“There is a growing realization inside Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters and among the wider circle of Democratic operatives that coming up with the requisite $1 billion to $2.5 billion in campaign and super PAC cash for the 2016 campaign will be a lot tougher than anticipated — and demands a more aggressive approach to out-of-the-gate fundraising,” Politico reports.

“The pace of donations to Clinton’s three-week-old campaign is surpassing forecasts — but the candidate herself wants to accelerate the timetable and just added several new New York City fundraisers to her May schedule.”

New York Senate Leader Will Be Arrested

New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos (R) and his son “are expected to be arrested on federal corruption charges next week, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” the New York Times reports.

“The expected arrests, coming roughly three months after federal bribery and kickback charges led Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D) to step down as speaker, would signal an extension of the investigation into allegations of political corruption in Albany, and would almost certainly further upend the legislative session.”

Sanders Pulls In $1.5 Million from 35K Donors

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that his presidential campaign “has raised more than $1.5 million online in the 24 hours since he announced his candidacy,” the Washington Post reports.

“It is a surprisingly heavy haul for a candidate whom some in the Democratic chattering class have cast off as a gadfly and viewed as unable to wrest the nomination from the overwhelming favorite, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The donations came from a broad base of supporters — some 35,000 donors who gave an average of $43.54 a piece, according to the Sanders campaign.”

Why Chris Christie Isn’t Going to be President

Harry Enten: “As the chart indicates — at this point in the race — most eventual nominees are either well-known and well-liked, or not well-known. There’s no precedent for a nominee who’s this well-known and this disliked. Christie’s net favorable rating stands at just +3 percentage points, according to an average of live-interview polls conducted in 2015, despite 76 percent of Republicans being able to form an opinion of him. Jeb Bush is not in great shape either, but he’s less than two standard deviations away from our expectation. Christie is slightly more than four standard deviations.”

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Big Doubts About Clinton’s Honesty

“Americans appear to be suspicious of Hillary Clinton’s honesty, and even many Democrats are only lukewarm about her presidential candidacy,” according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

“Is she strong and decisive? Yes, say a majority of people. But inspiring and likable? Only a minority think so.”

“Clinton’s struggles to explain her email practices while in government, along with questions about the Clinton Foundation and Republican criticism of her openness, wealth and trustworthiness seem to have struck a nerve in the public’s perception of the dominant Democratic figure in the 2016 campaign. In the survey, 61% said ‘honest’ describes her only slightly well or not at all. Nearly four in 10 Democrats, and more than six in 10 independents agreed that “honest” was not the best word for her.”

Quote of the Day

“I don’t usually go to weddings of people that I don’t know, OK? I don’t go to ‘em. But if somebody that I like is getting married in the traditional sense or in the non-traditional sense, I’m not hung up about it and I’ll be celebrating with them at that point.”

— Gov. John Kasich (R), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, declining to shed light on why he felt comfortable attending a gay wedding but was opposed to gay marriage.

Not Much Room to Clinton’s Left

Nate Cohn: “The presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont and self-described socialist who will most likely champion the liberal cause, won’t change that fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised to win the Democratic nomination without a serious contest.”

“This is mainly because of Mr. Sanders’s own weaknesses as a candidate and Mrs. Clinton’s strengths. But there is another, strangely simple reason Mrs. Clinton will have an easy road to the nomination: The left wing of the Democratic Party just isn’t big enough to support a challenge to the left of a mainstream liberal Democrat like Mrs. Clinton.”

Evidence Shows Christie Knew of Bridge Lane Closures

After David Wildstein pled guilty to blocking traffic on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution, his lawyer said outside the courtroom that his client was still being questioned by government investigators and was “prepared to testify,” the New York Times reports.

He repeated that Gov. Chris Christie (R) “knew of the lane closures as they occurred” and that “evidence exists” that proves it.

However, Politico reports the U.S. attorney for New Jersey did not implicate Christie directly in the alleged crime, adding that “based on the evidence that is currently available to us, we are not going to charge anybody else in this scheme.”

Search Advertising May Soon Dominate Campaigns

Google highlights Gov. Scott Walkers’ re-election campaign’s use of advertising tied to search terms in an interesting new case study.

Wall Street Journal: “Among the findings: Mr. Walker’s re-election team raised more money from ads pegged to Google searches than it spent to buy space above those search results, an unusually high return-on-investment for political campaigns; his team also worked with the company to reach more than 5 million targeted voters in key ZIP codes through YouTube ads in the weeks leading up to Election Day.”

“Some people are ditching their TVs entirely in favor of the Internet. The shift means political candidates will have to employ a more sophisticated media mix to reach the highest-value voters – like loyal Republicans in a GOP primary or the ever-dwindling sliver of truly undecided swing voters in the general election. The most nimble campaigns will use these new technologies to their advantage by adjusting their message — and the delivery mechanism for that message — throughout the race.”

Flirting with a Presidential Campaign

Washington Post:”This is the flirting season in American politics: Right now, more than 20 politicians are officially ‘considering’ or ‘exploring’ a run for president. The key to understanding this strange every-four-years ritual is to understand that there are actually two kinds of flirting.”

“For the big-name candidates, the presidential flirt is a useful, temporary, legal dodge. They will run. They are basically running already. But they don’t want to admit it yet, because that would bring on tighter fundraising rules.”

“For the others — particularly the eight or so who had fallen out of the political spotlight — the flirt can be an end in itself. It allows them to experience some of the most pleasant parts of a campaign: audiences, media attention, a chance to raise money. And then it lets them escape before they have to face the less-pleasant parts. Like getting crushed.”

How Bernie Helps Hillary

First Read: “Bernie Sanders’ official entrance into the 2016 presidential race is most likely a good outcome for Hillary Clinton. Why? He will elevate many of the issues that Clinton and the entire Democratic Party want to discuss during the primary season (income inequality, curtailing the role of big money in presidential politics, climate change). And he’ll do so as someone who isn’t interested in scoring political points — especially in the form of negative attacks — against Hillary. Hillary’s Harlem (err Brooklyn) Globetrotters now has its Washington (err Vermont) Generals. The question we have is whether it’s enough competition to up Hillary’s game.”