Archive: March 06, 2014
The New York Times
reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is starting a digital campaign that will use Internet ads and videos to tie Republican Senate candidates to the policies and actions of the Koch brothers."
Its slogan: "The GOP is addicted to Koch."
"Up first on the list is Alaska, where Democrats will try to link Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell, the Republican Senate candidates, to an oil refinery in the state owned by Koch Cos. Public Sector. The refinery is set to cease gasoline and jet fuel production, which would lead to the layoffs of roughly 80 refinery workers."
A new Rasmussen Reports survey
in Texas finds Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor, 53% to 41%.
"If not, I'll go work at Wal-Mart. I've got to have a job."
-- 90-year old Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), quoted by Fox News
, when asked if he'll win his runoff.
A new Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll
in New Hampshire finds former Sen. Scott Brown's (R) prospects for a political comeback "have taken a sudden nosedive."
Brown is now trailing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) by a 52% to 39% margin in a general election matchup.
: "Increasingly anxious about the prospect of a difficult election year, Democratic candidates are already starting to take refuge in one of the party's most tried and true issues: Social Security."
"The attacks are the first glimpses of an issue the party will push to the forefront of the 2014 elections, according to Democratic strategists. With candidates battered by Obamacare's deepening unpopularity, Social Security represents one of their surest bets of putting Republicans on the defensive in a year where the GOP otherwise plans to play a lot of offense."
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll
in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) job performance rating "has dropped to its lowest level since he took office in January 2011, tumbling by 10 percentage points since November."
However, in a re-election match up against Rob Astorino -- who formally announced his challenge this week -- Cuomo leads 68% to 25%.
A new We Ask America poll
in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) way ahead in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination with 40%, followed by Kirk Dillard (R) at 14%, Bill Brady (R) at 12% and Dan Rutherford (R) at 8%.
"In his first two months in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has found himself repeatedly at odds with New York's governor, Andrew M. Cuomo. And at every turn, Governor Cuomo has not only stymied the mayor, but also seized the moment for his own gain," the New York Times
"In each case, as he batted away some of the mayor's grandest plans, the governor, who is up for re-election this year, has used their divergent views to burnish his own political brand, as a moderate Democrat and tax cutter. And he has offered what amounts to a master class in political gamesmanship, turning the mayor's arguments upside down and boxing him out of the headlines."
Archive: March 05, 2014
Former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) "is ready for a comeback, and he's using a familiar set of Republican ideas - shrink government, repeal Obamacare - to make his case. But, as a politician who's been out of government for a dozen years, he's also presenting himself as a political outsider who can take on Washington," the Concord Monitor
Said Smith: "Washington is broken, out of control, and I'm prepared - that's why I'm here - to make whatever personal sacrifices it may take to wrest it from the insiders, from the establishment of both political parties, to put it back into the hands of the people."
"Smith left elected office in 2003 on rocky footing with many state Republicans. In 2000, he ran for president under three different banners and at one point denounced the Republican Party for its lack of principle on the Senate floor... He moved to Florida but kept his home in Tuftonboro. Down south, he filed to run for Senate in 2004 and 2010, but said yesterday that neither of those were serious runs. Smith endorsed Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, a move he's since apologized for and called a mistake."
A new Roanoke College poll
in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D) way ahead of former RNC chair Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 56% to 29%.
A new Survey USA poll
in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) lead over his two closest potential Republican challengers is eight points.
He leads Julianne Ortman (R) and Chris Dahlberg (R) by identical 49% to 41% margins, while Mike McFadden (R), the leading fundraiser among GOP candidates, trails Franken by 50% to 40%.
Establishment Republican leaders on "defeated challenges from the right in a statewide primary election as conservatives inspired by Senator Ted Cruz largely failed to topple mainstream incumbents, and a race for lieutenant governor headed for a runoff," the New York Times
"Two Republican leaders in Congress -- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) -- and a number of other Republicans in the House overcame opponents backed by Tea Party activists. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will face a conservative state senator, Dan Patrick, in a runoff on May 27, a sign that Mr. Dewhurst's loss to Mr. Cruz in the 2012 Senate primary runoff continued to hurt his popularity."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) locked in a tight re-election race with challenger Tom Foley (R), 43% to 42%.
Archive: March 04, 2014
The Daily Beast
says Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) -- who lost his GOP Senate primary in Texas -- "practically bilked his donors by running the most unserious campaign in recent American history."
"American politics has been rife with liars, crooks, and con artists ever since our country's founding. But they invariably put in at least some effort to convince voters of their virtue and donors to cut a check. Stockman is different. He has failed to give Texans even the modicum of respect required to actively scam them. Stockman just may be the lamest, laziest grifter in the history of the United States and his departure from public life can only improve the political discourse in our country."
: "If you're an election nerd, you'll need to pace yourself: Tuesday's primary is the first of three elections that will select the state's next set of officeholders. Expect an unusually top-heavy Republican primary runoff in May, and a November general election that will answer a perennial question in Texas politics: Are there enough Democrats out there to elect anyone to high office?"The Week
: Tea Party faces Texas test.First Read
has six things to watch in today's voting.
: "At this point, eight months before the Nov. 4 election, it's hard to see a lot of good news for congressional Democrats. No matter how you look at it, the House seems out of reach. Today, Republicans appear a bit more likely to gain than to lose seats; it would take a cataclysmic event for Democrats to score the net gain of the 17 seats they need to take the majority. What's changed is that Democrats' chances of holding onto their majority in the Senate is looking increasingly tenuous. There are now at least 10, and potentially as many as 13, Democratic-held seats in jeopardy. By contrast, only two GOP seats are in any meaningful danger, and that number hasn't changed in six months. Things are starting to look grisly for Senate Democrats."
"They keep running these negative ads and crushing my integrity and distorting my votes and the like -- almost antagonizing me, challenging me to get in. Had they left me alone, I may feel a bit different. But they didn't."
-- Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), quoted by Politico
, saying Democratic attacks make him more likely to run for Senate in New Hampshire.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll
finds Republicans "in a stronger position than Democrats in the states with Senate races this fall and more than holding their own in the battle for control of the House. In the 34 states with Senate races, 50% of voters say they favor Republicans and 42% favor Democrats."
"That is the case despite the Republican Party's poor image nationally and its deficit on some important issues. About two in three Americans say the GOP is out of touch 'with the concerns of most people in the United States today.'"
The poll also shows "broad dissatisfaction with Washington politicians. Just 22% say they are inclined to reelect their representatives in Congress. Almost seven in 10 Americans (68%) say they are inclined to look around for someone new this fall."
Archive: March 03, 2014
A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll
in New Jersey finds Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) with solid approval ratings while the field of potential Republican opponents is largely unknown.
Key findings: "Currently, 47% of New Jersey voters approve of the job Booker is doing as U.S. Senator compared to just 20% who disapprove. Another 32% have no opinion."
In a possible general match up, Booker leads Murray Sabrin (R), 58% to 25%.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the country's oldest U.S. House member at 90 years old, put out an advertisement
that describes the politicals battles that caused the wrinkles on his face.
He closes: "And by gosh, I've got room for a few more wrinkles."
Former Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) told the Biloxi Sun Herald
that it was "the dysfunction of Washington that drove him to seek a return to the job he held for two decades. This time, though, he'll be running as a Republican."
Said Taylor: "Like everybody else in South Mississippi, I look 1,100 miles up toward Washington and wonder what in the heck are these guys doing? None of them are cooperating. We have serious needs. They have voted to make our flood insurance more expensive, they have voted to cut the military. They furloughed federal employees while they continued to get paid. This is a democratic republic, it's all about majorities, it's all about working together to find common goals."
Former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO) is expected to enter the race for Colorado governor early next week, the Denver Post
Beauprez, who lost the 2006 governor's race to Bill Ritter (D), could not be reached for comment Friday. His personal website now reads "coming soon" and "2014."
The New York Daily News
reports that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) "this weekend informed those close to him that he will run for governor, sources said. He is expected to make a formal public announcement sometime this week."
Archive: February 28, 2014
"Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan's car was stolen after her husband, Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell (D), left the keys inside," the AP
"Pell was running late for an event when he dropped the keys to the Toyota Prius between the seats of the car, which was parked in front of the couple's East Side Providence home. Pell could not easily reach the keys. He closed the car door and left with Kwan for the event."
Former Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS) "will be announcing he's running for the Senate, according to two sources familiar with his decision, giving Democrats a chance to capitalize on the Republican division within the state," National Journal
"Childers, a Blue Dog Democrat, held a solidly-Republican House seat from 2008 to 2010, proving his ability to win over conservative voters despite his Democratic affiliation. Democrats are hoping that conservative state senator Chris McDaniel topples longtime Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a June primary - a development they believe will make the race highly competitive."
A new Rasmussen Reports survey
in South Dakota finds former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) has a commanding lead over Rick Weiland (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 51% to 31%.
Archive: February 27, 2014
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced that he has taken out the papers to run for re-election, the Sacramento Bee
Said Brown: "If you had asked me 40 years ago--when I first ran for governor--what I would be doing in 2014, I could never have guessed. Nor could anyone else. Yet, by the grace of God and habits of perseverance instilled in me by my family, the Dominican nuns and the Jesuits, I am here and ready to go."
Adriano Espaillat (D) kicked off his rematch campaign against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) this afternoon, "vowing to unify the district as he attempts to defeat the state's longest-serving congressman once again," the New York Observer
"Espaillat came just over a 1,000 votes of beating Rangel two years ago in a vicious primary battle that oftentimes seemed to devolve into a war between the black and Hispanic alliances in the quickly-changing 13th Congressional District, which spans from Harlem though Washington Heights to the Bronx."
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) announced he will not seek a 12th term in Congress, Roll Call
"Pastor's district, located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, is not likely to switch party control. President Obama carried the district by a 45-point margin in 2012, making it one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the country."
For the full retirement list, plus those running for other offices, see Roll Call's Casualty List
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) didn't rule out involvement in GOP primaries this year against incumbent Republican senators, The Hill
Said Cruz: "What I have said is that I'm likely going to stay out of incumbent Republican primaries. I haven't put that in concrete."
"It's not like we're talking about Arlen Specter here. Sen. McConnell has a longstanding conservative record and for an opponent to beat him, they'll have to prove somehow that he's not a conservative."
-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the Washington Post
notes that what Cory Gardner (R) running for Senate
in Colorado does is put more seats in the 2014 playing field for Republicans.
"The GOP no longer has to run the table of red states (Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, North Carolina) and hope that Democrats aren't able to pull off an upset in Georgia or Kentucky. Now the GOP has more margin for error by trying to pick off a race in Michigan or Colorado. And everyone is waiting to see if former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) runs for the Senate in New Hampshire, creating another potential pick-up opportunity for GOP. Back in the 2012 presidential race, we constantly pointed out how many more different paths to 270 electoral votes Barack Obama had than Mitt Romney did, which is why we and others always called him the favorite. Well, Senate Republicans have a similar advantage right now -- they have more paths to netting six pickups than Democrats do in blocking that gain."
"Think about this math: The GOP can lose both Georgia and Kentucky and still find eight Dem-held seats to net the six they need to win the majority."
A new NBC-Marist Poll
shows Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) "leading in the race for this spring's mayoral Democratic primary, and that a majority of D.C. residents think the city is headed in the right direction. But the poll also shows that the race remains volatile and that Gray, the incumbent, does not have an easy path to victory."
Gray grabs 28% of lilkely voters in the poll, followed by Muriel Bowser at 20%, Jack Evans at 13% and Tommy Wells at 12%.
updates his generic ballot and finds the battle for control of the Senate is a toss up.
"Because there is a Democrat in the White House and Democrats have 21 seats at stake compared with only 15 seats for Republicans, the GOP is almost guaranteed to make gains in the 2014 Senate elections. Based on the generic ballot forecasting model, Democrats will need a cushion of at least five points on the generic ballot question in early September in order to have a better than 50/50 chance of keeping control of the Senate. The good news for Democrats is that any Republican majority in the 114th Senate is almost certain to be very narrow, and the Senate seats that are up for grabs in 2016 would give them an excellent chance of regaining control of the Senate in that year."
Archive: February 26, 2014
A new New York Times/CBS News poll
finds Republicans "are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year's midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents, even though the party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions."
The generic ballot shows Republicans with a 42% to 39% lead.
Key finding: "There is a sense of foreboding in the public as well, with 63 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, and 57 percent indicating that they disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy. In addition, eight in 10 Americans are dissatisfied or angry with the way things are going in Washington."
Ken Buck (R) said he will drop his bid for U.S. Senate and instead pursue the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Cory Gardner (R), who is now running
for U.S. Senate, the Greely Tribune
Said Buck: "I have talked with Cory Gardner and feel that he would be a strong candidate for the United States Senate to beat Mark Udall. I made the decision to step down and endorse Cory for that job. I was running against Mark Udall because I think this country needed to change directions, and I still think the country needs to change directions, and I think Cory gives us the best chance to get that done."
"The political arm of Planned Parenthood is preparing to launch its largest campaign offensive ever, targeting more than a dozen states and some of the cycle's top Senate and gubernatorial races to raise the alarm about the stakes of the 2014 midterms elections for women's health care and abortion rights," Politico
"The cost of the midterm campaign is expected to cross the $18 million mark, including $2.4 million the group spent in 2013 for Virginia's off-year governor's race... That investment would make the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes - the national federation's political entities - some of the heaviest outside spenders on the Democratic side, and certainly among the top independent expenditure campaigns focused on reaching women."
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is planning to drop his re-election bid and run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen, Mark Udall (D-CO), the Denver Post
"Gardner is expected to make an announcement in a few days, according to two Republicans who spoke on background."
"Gardner is considered a rising star nationally in the Republican Party, and his likely accession into top leadership positions in the GOP-controlled House is one reason he earlier turned down efforts to convince him to jump into the race."
"I think what people - not just Kentucky, but the nation - are seeing is that Mitch McConnell, kind of like heating a biscuit twice, never tastes good the second time, no matter how much jam or jelly you put on it."
-- Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Allison Lundergran Grimes (D), quoted by the Washington Post
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) "is being hyped as a leading Republican presidential contender, but there is a more pressing concern for the first-term governor. Walker's 2014 reelection is no guarantee, and faces a serious challenge from one of the Democrats' stronger gubernatorial recruits this year," National Journal
"A Walker defeat wouldn't be the first time a presidential contender lost an election right before their big opportunity. Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia spent 2005 and part of 2006 getting eyed as presidential material--before his "macaca" moment and a Democratic wave turfed him out of elected office. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was on some GOP presidential short lists in 2009, but he chose to run for Senate instead of reelection and ended up getting chased out of the Republican Party by Marco Rubio."
A new Winthrop Poll
in South Carolina finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) "holds a commanding lead in the GOP primary to keep his seat in June, though he fell short of capturing 50% support to avoid a runoff."
Graham received 45% of likely Republican primary voters, followed by Lee Bright (R) at just 9%.
: "If Debbie Dingell (D) wins the campaign she's formally launching
on Friday -- a solid if not quite certain bet -- she'll make history in more than the obvious way. She would be keeping one House seat in the same family well into a ninth decade, but would also become the first person to ever come to Congress as the successor to a living spouse."
: "Over the last 90+ years, nearly 50 women have won elections or been appointed to seats in the upper or lower legislative chambers that were once held by their husbands. The only women to immediately follow their husbands into office and take over their seats were widows -- either by winning election to the U.S. House or receiving an appointment to the U.S. Senate after vacancies were created by the death of their spouses."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Pennsylvania finds that voters say by a 55% to 34% margin that Gov. Tom Corbett (R) doesn't deserve re-election.
In possible match ups, Tom Wolf (D) tops Corbett by 52% to 33%, while Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) leads Corbett 44% to 38%.
Said pollster Tim Malloy: "Tom Wolf springs out of the pack to seize the lead from other Democrats snapping at the heels of Tom Corbett. We have eight months and change and we don't know what kind of damage Democrats will inflict on each other in a primary campaign, but Wolf is the man of the hour."
A new Franklin & Marshall College Poll
shows Wolf topping Schwartz 36% to 9%.
"Republicans are banking on businessmen to help them retake the Senate in 2014," The Hill
"A half-dozen top GOP candidates boast records as wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs. If voters decide they're successful job creators on Election Day, Republicans could be on their way to the six seats they need to win the upper chamber."
"But if Democrats can successfully tar the candidates as out-of-touch millionaires, as they've done in a number of past campaigns, their profiles could cost the GOP dearly."
Archive: February 25, 2014
"I welcome President Clinton back to Kentucky. Every time he's come its been really good for me."
-- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by Roll Call
: "It's no secret that Republicans are pinning their midterm election hopes on ObamaCare."
"So it should be no surprise that the GOP has tried to cast virtually all news about the health care law as proof that ObamaCare will kill jobs and send insurance costs soaring. The only problem with that strategy is that the underlying arguments are often disingenuous."
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), "who has been under fire from conservatives over the federal health care law, refused on Monday to answer questions about what she knew about the laws limits," the Raleigh News and Observer
"Like President Obama, Hagan said the Affordable Care Act would allow North Carolinians to keep their existing insurance plans if they liked them. The pledge proved false - and earned Obama PolitiFact's Lie of the Year honors. But the details about what Hagan knew about the law's limits and when she learned it remains unclear. Asked about it again Monday at a press conference in Raleigh, after she made her re-election bid official at the State Board of Elections, Hagan avoided the question."
: "I have no idea how Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan's news conference could've been worse except had she lit a baby bunny on fire while stomping on the American flag."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) leading all of his possible Republican opponents by an average of seven points.
Key finding: "At least part of Braley's leads at this point is a product of name recognition: 56% of voters know enough about him to have formed an opinion, where none of the Republican hopefuls have more than 25% familiarity."
Bill Clinton "plans to address some 1,200 people at a sold-out fundraiser in Kentucky today on behalf of Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan-Grimes, bringing his political clout to one of the most closely watched and contentious Senate contests of this election cycle," ABC News
: "Clinton is the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry a swath of Southern states crucial to the 2014 midterms, including his native Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana. The former president remains in heavy demand as a fundraiser and adviser as his wife plans an upcoming book tour and considers how she may help Democrats this year."
A new Honolulu Civil Beat Poll
shows Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) deadlocked in their Democratic U.S. Senate primary at 40% to 40%, with another 20% not sure who they'll vote for.
Said pollster Matt Fitch: "They are in a holding pattern. I think for many people this may be one of the more high-profile Senate primaries, and it is unusual because there is not a massive ideological division between the two candidates. They are two popular choices."
"After a series of defeats on Capitol Hill, the Republican Party's tea-party wing has shifted its attention to congressional primaries, setting up a major test of how much the movement's clout has been weakened," the Wall Street Journal
"Primary elections, which start March 4, will help determine the balance of power between the Republican Party's business-friendly, establishment wing and the tea-party activists who first roared onto the scene five years ago by opposing President Barack Obama's proposed health-care overhaul."
A new Honolulu Civil Beat Poll
suggests that David Ige (D) has a shot at unseating Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) with both men tied at 37% each among likely Democratic primary voters. Another 26% are still undecided.
Said pollster Matt Fitch: "What you are seeing is rather a public way of expressing discontent with the governor rather than a serious strength on Ige's part. There are a couple of reasons. One, Ige's support actually outstrips those people who say they have a favorable impression of him. People don't really know him."
Archive: February 24, 2014
Texas U.S. Senate candidate Chris Mapp (R) told the Dallas Morning News
that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land and referred to such people as "wetbacks."
Mapp later defended his remarks to the San Antonio Express-News
saying that use of the racial slur is as "normal as breathing air in South Texas."
He also called President Obama a "socialist son of a bitch."
The Dallas Morning News
reports Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), running in a GOP primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), "hasn't voted in a Republican primary in Texas since 2004.... That would mean Stockman didn't even vote for himself in the 2012 primary. That's not something you see every day in politics."
A new Rasmussen survey
in West Virginia finds Shelley Moore Capito (R) way ahead of Natalie Tennant (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 35%.
: "Indeed, call this week the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Midterm Olympics! Consider: Texans are currently voting for next week's primaries in the Lone Star State; Floridians are already casting absentee ballots in the March 11 special congressional election there; Illinois holds its primary the week after that (March 18); and former President Bill Clinton campaigns tomorrow for Alison Grimes in Kentucky's competitive Senate race. Oh, and the shadow of the 2016 presidential race -- at least on the GOP side -- creeps into the picture with the upcoming CPAC political conference in DC area taking place March 6-8."
"Folks, campaign season is now in full gear. And that's with even a Congress that's back at work (after its Presidents Day recess) and a President Obama back in D.C. (after his brief trip to Mexico last week), because both entities also are essentially in campaign mode for the next eight months, as we wrote last week. Congressional Republicans and the White House are punting anything political tough for their own political bases (immigration and Social Security) in order to avoid problems in this campaign year."
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) will announce that he will not seek re-election, the Detroit Free Press
Said Dingell: "I'm not going to be carried out feet first."
Kansas U.S. Senate challenger Milton Wolf (R) "sought forgiveness Sunday from anyone offended by his posting to Facebook of gory medical images
of dead and injured people, and attacked primary rival Republican Sen. Pat Roberts for allegedly engaging in character assassination," the Topeka Capital Journal
: "By the way, as anyone familiar with politics knows, these stories don't
arise by accident. It's a reminder that establishment Republicans are
starting to take Wolf seriously, especially in light of the embarrassing
residency issue for Roberts."
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll
finds Sen. John Cornyn (R) way ahead in the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate with 62%, followed by Rep. Steve Stockman (R) at 16% and six other candidates in single digits.
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll
finds Greg Abbott (R) has an 11-point advantage over Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor, 47% to 36%.
"My guess is that he would say to Alison Grimes, 'You know, I'll be for you or against you, whichever will help you the most.'"
-- Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), quoted by the Washington Post
, on whether President Obama will campaign in Kentucky.
Archive: February 23, 2014
looks at former Sen. Scott Brown's (R-MA) flirtations with making a comeback in New Hampshire.
"Half a dozen people who have spoken with Brown recently about his future say he is genuinely conflicted about whether to run. Several of them said Brown thinks he has until April to make up his mind, or possibly even closer to the June 13 filing deadline. But another person familiar with his thinking cautioned an announcement might come as early as the first week of March."
Kansas U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf (R) "posted a collection of gruesome X-ray images of gunshot fatalities and medical injuries to his Facebook page and participated in online commentary layered with macabre jokes and descriptions of carnage," the Topeka Capital Journal
Wolf said in an interview "the medical images were legally uploaded to public social media sites and other online venues for educational purposes. They also served, he said, to demonstrate evil lurking in the world. However, Wolf and others viewing these Facebook postings relentlessly poked fun at the dead or wounded."
Wolf declined "to clearly answer questions about whether he continued to place images of deceased people on the Internet. He asked to keep copies of the Facebook posts shown to him, but when denied, he walked away."
Archive: February 21, 2014
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading possible challenger Scott Brown (R) by nine points, 47% to 38%.
has confirmed that former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "has been making calls this week to prominent New Hampshire Republicans."
"The two top New Hampshire GOP legislative leaders... told us this afternoon they were called by Brown this week. Neither would disclose details their private conversation, but we understand from others who were called that they were essentially courtesy, due diligence types of calls from Brown. And the takeaway was that Brown is serious about a potential run, but there remains no definitive word on when he will make a final decision."
: "Both Democrats and Republicans have cleared the decks of anything that could divide their parties before the 2014 midterms. Republicans have essentially taken immigration off the table, as well as the threat of default or a government shutdown. Meanwhile, the White House has now removed chained CPI from its budget and slowed its push for fast-track authority. So both sides are deploying a do-no-harm strategy -- all with less than nine months before Election Day 2014. It's just the latest reminder that Washington is not going to get anything major done this year. It's not even March 1, and both parties are waving the policy white flags."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Kansas finds Gov. Sam Brownback (R) trailing challenger Paul Davis (D) in his re-election race by two points, 42% to 40%.
Key finding: "Only 33% of voters in the state approve of the job Brownback is doing, compared to 51% who disapprove."
California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari (R) dropped a four-letter word on radio and was scolded by the producer, the Sacramento Bee
Kashkari described himself as "the guy you send in when, pardon me, the shit is hitting the fan."
Said producer Julie Kingsley: "We don't cuss on the air... I wouldn't expect it from a gubernatorial candidate. You should know better than that."
President Obama warned that Democrats often don;t do well in the midterm elections because state-level races aren't as "sexy" as national presidential elections, The Hill
Said Obama: "We know how to win national elections. But all too often it's during these midterms where we end up getting ourselves into trouble because, I guess we don't think it's sexy enough."
Archive: February 20, 2014
A Hicks Evaluation Group/Apache Political Communications poll
in Georgia finds a very close Republican Senate primary race.
David Perdue (R) leads with 13%, followed by Rep. Jack Kingston (R) and Paul Broun (R) at 11%, while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) and Karen Handel (R) are at 10%.
"The Constitution mandates that the minimum age to serve in the U.S. House is 25. That won't be a problem for Joe Newman," USA Today
"Newman, 101, is seeking the House seat held by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) as a write-in candidate."
: "Across the Democratic firmament, a sense of urgency is taking hold. At the White House, top officials are stepping up their efforts to coordinate strategy with Senate leaders. Democrats are particularly alarmed that Americans for Prosperity, a super PAC funded by the industrialist Koch brothers, has been pummeling vulnerable Democrats with $30 million in attack ads, most of them regarding the health-care law."
"But for the GOP, there's also a cautionary tale: In 2010 and 2012, gaffe-prone candidates lost winnable Senate races by alienating mainstream voters. Again this year, hard-fought primaries could yield weak nominees in Alaska, Georgia, Iowa or North Carolina..."Sean Trende
: How likely are Democrats to lose the Senate?
"If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!"
-- Sarah Palin, in a Facebook post
, endorsing Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R).
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that he did not want "to throw any of his colleagues under the bus by forcing a 60-vote threshold on a bill to increase the debt ceiling earlier this month," The Hill
Said Cruz: "I'll tell you my response. My response is I don't want to throw any Republicans under the bus. I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents."
He blamed "trickery" taking place during negotiations for Congress's low approval rating: "And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why Congress has a 13-percent approval rating."
"For all their internal divisions and long-term worries as a party, political scientists and historical trends give Republicans a clear edge in the upcoming 2014 congressional elections," TPM
"Forget Obamacare, forget the government shutdown and forget the skirmish over the minimum wage. While these issues are atop the political conversation, mid-term elections are better understood by fundamentals like the economy and presidential popularity, voter turnout tendencies and the specific dynamics at play in the House and Senate."
"In short, the deck is stacked against Democrats on Nov. 4, barring a drastic shift in the political landscape between now and then."
Archive: February 19, 2014
Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D), who spent 8 years in federal prison for racketeering, is running for Congress to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), Bloomberg
Said Edwards: "I'm just figuring out all the legalities and how to set up a super PAC, and then I'm going."
He added: "I'm the only hope the Democrats have here."
"He has all the intellectual horsepower of yogurt. But I admire his political skills. If Rick Scott could work a room like Charlie Crist, he'd be up by 25 points."
-- GOP strategist Rick Wilson, quoted by the Washington Post
, on former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D).
A new Impact Measurement Group poll
in Arkansas finds Rep. Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) in their U.S. Senate race, 46% to 42%.
This is a small shift for Cotton compared to an Oct. 24 poll that had Cotton leading 43% to 41%.
"You know, I haven't seen him since he filed for office. It does strike me as a unique strategy."
-- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), quoted by Slate
, on his Republican primary challenger, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX).
: "It should come to no one's surprise that the Conservative Media Complex's intent here is to knock Hillary Clinton, as well as feed the Clinton-fatigue narrative, with the assumption that she runs in 2016. But this 'Kill Bill' effort could have a short-term effect in 2014, too: hurt the red-state Democrats who are begging Bill Clinton to campaign for them. After all, aided by that ex-president halo, Bill is the one Democrat who can go almost anywhere (think Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina) and be an asset. In fact, a top Democratic strategist tells us that Clinton's favorable numbers are above 60% in all of the states having Senate contests in 2014."
"So what does reviving Monica Lewinsky/Paula Jones/Kathleen Willey do? It reminds conservatives why they didn't like Clinton in the first place. Dredging up Bill Clinton's past has never hurt Hillary Clinton; if anything, it has galvanized support for her. But it doesn't help Bill. Remember who the swing vote is many of these Senate races: older white women."
A new Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser poll
finds Duke Aiona (R) leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in a possible match up for governor, 48% to 40%.
Something to watch: "A wildcard is Mufi Hannemann. The poll asked if Hannemann runs for Governor as Independent, are you likely to consider voting for him? 39% answered yes, 57% said no. Hannemann sees the results as a viable indication he could win a three-way race."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) holds a narrow lead over Ed FitzGerald (D) in the race for governor, 43% to 38%.
Said pollster Peter Brown: "The race to become Ohio's next governor is a five-point game, little changed from the seven-point spread in Quinnipiac University's last survey in November. Also unchanged, however, is how relatively few Ohioans - less than three in ten - know enough about Democratic favorite Ed Fitzgerald to have an opinion about him. That is a double-edged sword for the challenger: It indicates he has not made much headway in the past three months, but it provides him an opportunity to make up ground among the vast number of voters who are unfamiliar with him."
A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll
finds Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) with a 55% to 34% approval rating, matching a high-water mark reached last summer.
Archive: February 18, 2014
A jury on found North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon (R) "misled two investors in a startup tech company he helped launch," the Raleigh News & Observer
"The verdict against him came after eight hours of deliberation in a case spanned two weeks and will likely pose political problems for the Republican contender."
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) told WLOX
he wasn't trying to embrace the Tea Party even though he has a primary challenger in Chris McDaniel (R) who associates himself with the movement.
Said Cochram: "The Tea Party is something I don't really know a lot about. It's a free country. We have open opportunities for people to participate in the election process."
McDaniel responded: "It's a shame because the Tea Party is a mass movement of people that really care about this country."
The New York Times
notes that "with Republicans giving up on the debt issue, and conservative advocacy groups overwhelming some candidates with television ads in crucial states, Democrats are growing nervous about the conditions in which this year's elections will be fought."
Said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): "We're faced with a grim reality that more money is being spent earlier in some of these hot races than we've ever seen. We're spending some, but we can't keep up with them."
"Look at what we wound up with: Some bimbo who decided not to run again."
-- Former Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), quoted by The Hill
, on the decision
by Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA) not to run again after she ousted Baca in 2012.
Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford (R) -- who is under fire for sexual harassment allegations
-- has sent notice to television media outlets that he is pulling his campaign ads, CBS Chicago
"The statewide cancellation is effective immediately. However, campaign officials will decide to resume advertising later in the month, sources said."
Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA) is not running for re-election, the Highland News
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced that he will not be seeking re-election, the Newark Star Ledger
"Holt, who lost the U.S. Senate primary in the special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg last year, said he would not be stepping away entirely from public life, but made no mention of his future plans."
Texas U.S. Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall (R) has a new ad
out criticizing Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) for siding with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Says Stovall: "And you certainly don't do all this to please some guy who looks and fights like a turtle."
: "After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year."
"Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law -- bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress."
A new Human Events/Gravis poll
in Texas finds Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) leading primary challenger Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), 43% to 28%, with 29% undecided.
Said pollster Doug Kaplan: "These are dangerous numbers for Cornyn, because they show that despite his power in the Senate and his familiarity with the voters, he has not yet made the sale."
Archive: February 17, 2014
"A record seven African-American candidates are running for statewide office in 2014. Some could be eliminated in June's primary elections, but it appears at least three black candidates will make it to November's general election," The State
"South Carolina also is assured to elect its first African-American candidate in a statewide race since Reconstruction in one U.S. Senate race, where all three of the announced candidates are black."
Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) "is fighting back against the 'war on women' narrative that helped doom his Senate campaign in 2010. And the opening salvo in the battle to reclaim his name is coming in the form of a two-minute video entitled, Stephanie's Story
," the Daily Caller
"Aside from displaying a kinder, gentler Ken Buck, the video speaks to his interest in making policy... Buck promises this video is merely be the first in a series of maybe ten, or so, he will release."
New York Times
: "As Democrats approach the 2014 midterm elections, they are grappling with an awkward reality: Their president's health care law -- passed almost entirely by Democrats -- remains a political liability in many states, threatening their ability to hold on to seats in the Senate and the House."
"As a result, party leaders have decided on an aggressive new strategy to address the widespread unease with the health care law, urging Democratic candidates to talk openly about the law's problems while also offering their own prescriptions to fix them."
Archive: February 16, 2014
A new Hawaii poll
finds Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) has pulled ahead of Sen. Brian Schatz (D) in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, 48% to 40%, with 11% undecided.
A new Baltimore Sun poll
in Maryland finds Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) has staked out a sizable lead in the Democratic contest for governor over Douglas Gansler (D), 35% to 14%, with Heather Mizeur (D) at 10%.
Hopwever, the primary race is far from decided as 40% of likely Democratic voters have yet to pick a candidate.
In the Republican primary, Larry Hogan (R) leads a crowded field with 13%.
A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll
finds Gov. Mark Dayton (D) heads into re-election with the highest job approval rating of his term: 58% of Minnesotans think Dayton is doing a good job as governor, with 29% saying they disapprove.
"Those numbers come after the governor orchestrated an income tax increase on the wealthy and after the troubled rollout of the state's health care exchange that opponents hoped would diminish his popularity."
Archive: February 15, 2014
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) gave a rare national interview with CNN, The Hill
"Franken is one of a few lawmakers on Capitol Hill who evades reporters. The others include Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and David Vitter (R-LA)."
goes on "the fake campaign trail" with Donald Trump.
"The notion that he is simply too big -- too presidential -- for a measly job in the Albany Statehouse has temporarily quelled his insecurity. But after this morning, Trump can no longer escape the fact that his political 'career' -- a long con that the blustery billionaire has perpetrated on the country for 25 years by repeatedly pretending to consider various runs for office, only to bail out after generating hundreds of headlines -- finally appears to be on the brink of collapse."
"The reason: Nobody seems to believe him anymore."
A Trump aide told The Wrap
that the interview was "dishonest and unfair" and that Trump was "totally unfazed by this article."
"After weeks of buzz that he'd be the firecracker to reconfigure the U.S. Senate race in Iowa, religious conservative Bob Vander Plaats has decided not to run, citing a focus on his message of national spiritual revival," the Des Moines Register
"His decision -- sure to disappoint both the far right and far left -- has been awaited for months as Republicans try mightily to find a candidate with the best chances of taking away a powerful seat that has been in Democratic hands for nearly 30 years."
Archive: February 14, 2014
: "There are 17 House Republicans who represent congressional seats Obama won in 2012 -- so Democrats would need to win ALL of them to win back control of Congress, or a mixture of them and seats that Mitt Romney narrowly carried. Yes, Dems have pick-up opportunities in some open seats (CA-31, FL-13, IA-3, VA-10). And there are Republican incumbents who will have to play defense (Michael Grimm in NY, Jeff Denham in CA, Scott Rigell in VA). But Democrats have almost no margin of error. And we haven't even mentioned the pick-up opportunities Republicans have, which exist thanks mostly to retirements in Utah and North Carolina."
Meanwhile, National Journal
looks at how tough it is to be in minority in the House.
A new Wenzel Strategies (R) poll
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) barely ahead of challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 43% to 42%.
In the GOP primary, McConnell crushes challenger Matt Bevin (R), 59% to 17%.
A new EPIC-MRA poll
in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 47% to 39%.
In the U.S. Senate race, Terri Lynn Land (R) edges Gary Peters (D), 41% to 38%.
llinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) "ordered a taxpayer-funded investigation, vowing it would clear him of sexual harassment charges. Now, in a monumental about-face, Rutherford won't release the results," the Chicago Sun Times
"The office's decision could mean the issue will continue to dog Rutherford for the remainder of his bid for the GOP gubernatorial primary nod."
"Now that President Barack Obama has run his last race, veterans of all levels of his political team have found new green pastures in Texas, working as strategists, fund-raisers, pollsters and data wizards for Wendy Davis and the long-term effort to make the state competitive," the Dallas Morning News
"The Davis campaign for governor and Battleground Texas, a group of former Obama political organizers assisting her, have spent more than $1.5 million on operatives and vendors who were part of Obama's national re-election effort... More than half the expenditures listed on the Wendy Davis for Governor report alone have gone to members of the president's 2012 political team. The services include such areas as fundraising, Web advertising, legal services and campaign buttons."
Archive: February 13, 2014
Two years ago, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "took to the Senate floor to deride President Obama for a speech that called for developing biofuel from algae -- dismissing it as nothing more than a pipe dream," the Louisville Courier-Journal
Said McConnell: "I think the American people realize that a president who's out there talking about algae when they're having to choose between whether to buy groceries or to fill up the tank is the one who's out of touch."
"But a few years earlier, McConnell himself worked to obtain a $30 million grant for a company that wanted to build a plant in Springfield, Ky., to turn algae, switchgrass, corn cobs and other such materials into ethanol -- a plant that ultimately was never built and a grant that was never spent."
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, announced that he won't seek reelection in 2014, the Washington Post
"Hastings joined Congress after winning in the GOP wave election in 1994... His seat is considered likely to remain in GOP hands. It went 60-38 for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election."
Hastings is the 18th member of Congress to announce retirement this term, according to Roll Call
The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), has launched the harshest attack yet
on its top target, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Washington Examiner
: "Democrats would need a very substantial lead on the pre-election generic ballot surveys, something in the vicinity of 12 to 14 points, to have a good chance of gaining the 17 House seats needed to regain control of the chamber. At this point, that appears highly unlikely -- no nonpartisan poll in the past year has shown a double-digit Democratic lead on the generic ballot. Moreover, no party holding the White House has gained anywhere near 17 seats in a midterm election in the past century. It seems highly unlikely that 2014 will see such a result."
"On the other hand, it also appears highly unlikely that Republicans will be able to significantly increase the size of their House majority in November. Right now, the most likely outcome of the House elections would appear to be a near standoff."Washington Post
: "Despite the turmoil that has hamstrung the House Republican majority for much of the past three years, Democrats acknowledge that their chances of retaking control of the chamber this year are slim to nonexistent. In fact, their most viable plan at this point may be to root for continued unrest in the GOP."
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), who months ago said he would not seek re-election in Arkansas' 2nd District, announced he is running for Lt. Governor in Arkansas, Roll Call
A new Tampa Bay Times poll
in Florida finds Alex Sink (D) leading David Jolly (R) in the FL-13 special congressional election, 42% to 35%.
Interesting: "The poll also reveals how the Affordable Care Act has become a virtual litmus test for voters. Of those who support Sink, 81 percent also support Obamacare. Of those who support Jolly, 84 percent also oppose Obamacare."
"Amid a buzz of anticipation, Donald Trump once again flirted with a run for governor on Wednesday night, but stopped short of committing his money, time and oversize personality to stopping the re-election hopes of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo," the New York Times
"Instead, Mr. Trump said he would run only if the Republican Party unified behind him -- 'The last thing you need is a primary' -- and asked him to take the nomination."
Said Trump: "If that were the case I would run. And I believe I would win."
However, a new Quinnipiac poll
shows Cuomo crushing Trump in a match up, 63% to 26%.
: "Federal elections are enormous money pits, with campaigns and outside groups spending millions of dollars to influence the outcome. This year will be no exception. In fact, it could obliterate the record for midterm election spending, with looser finance rules, close contests, and a Tea Party insurrection all driving up the total amount of money spent on winning congressional seats."
notes that when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) forced a cloture vote on a bill to lift the debt ceiling, he forced two senators facing Tea Party primary challengers -- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) -- into a tough vote.
"The snap reaction from many political journalists was that the vote could endanger both lawmakers' jobs."
Archive: February 12, 2014
A new Harper Polling survey
in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D) leading challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 38%.
Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) announced he will not seek re-election, Roll Call
"Miller, first elected in 1998, entered this cycle as the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election. He represents a southern California district President Barack Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote in 2012."
"In perhaps the top pickup opportunity for Democrats this cycle, the candidates already seeking the seat include Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes and former Rep. Joe Baca."
Wendy Davis (D) told the Dallas Morning News
that "she would have supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, if the law adequately deferred to a woman and her doctor."
Davis came to prominence filibustering an abortion ban "drawing nationwide attention as a special session ended with a raucous crowd disrupting the Senate's consideration of the bill. Eventually, lawmakers approved the law in another session."
finds that super PACs -- which may accept unlimited size donations -- already have $63 million in cash ready to spend in the 2014 midterm elections.
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) "routinely roomed overnight in hotels and a Chicago apartment with a low-level treasurer's office employee whom he has given a 50 percent pay hike, raising questions about the workplace judgment of the Republican candidate for governor," the Chicago Tribune
Said Rutherford: "We double-bunk in the campaign. We always double-bunk when we can. Totally as a cost-saving measure."
Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) campaign put out a polling memo
claiming a three-to-one edge over his closest opponent in the Republican primary, the Tennessean
Alexander leads Joe Carr (R) 62% to 17% among likely Republican primary voters. Other GOP candidates trailed farther behind with Brenda Lenard drawing 2% and Danny Paige, 1 %. Eighteen percent were undecided.
A new WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll
in Rhode Island finds Angel Taveras (D) and Gina Raimondo (D) locked in a tight battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, with Taveras holding a slight lead, 31% to 27%, and political newcomer Clay Pell (D) at 15%.
However, an even larger share of primary voters - 25% - haven't decided whom they'll support in the September 9 primary.
A new Hays Research poll
in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) leading Dan Sullivan (R) for U.S. Senate, 45% to 33%, with Joe Miller (I) at just 10%.
"Democrats and Republicans are clearing the decks of dangerous political issues that could sink their chances in the midterm elections," The Hill
"This unusually cautious approach comes nine months before Election Day and illustrates how both parties are reluctant to tackle anything that doesn't poll well. With the battle for control of the Senate projected to be extremely close, neither side wants to drift into a sudden political storm."
Archive: February 11, 2014
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) accused a group that supports Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) of lying about him, by asserting that he had been "jailed more than once" and was "charged with a felony," the Dallas Morning News
"That is strange, because Stockman has admitted to these facts, several times."
The Texas Tribune
broke the story and has Stockman's mugshot from 1977.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Louisiana finds that the U.S. Senate race has tightened with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) ahead of Bill Cassidy (R) by just one point, 45%t o 44%.
A new Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll
in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) has jumped out to a big lead in the Republican race for governor after spending millions of dollars on television ads to introduce himself to Illinois voters.
The survey showed Rauner at 40%, followed by Bill Brady (R) at 20%, Dan Rutherford (R) at 13% and Kirk Dillard (R) at 11%.
"Probably not. I mean, I try to be really candid and honest on this show. The President's numbers are not strong in my state or in Arkansas or Louisiana or North Carolina. He did not win those states when he ran for re-election in 2012."
-- Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), quoted by TPM
, on whether she would campaign with President Obama if she were up for re-elections his year.
Archive: February 10, 2014
"Uhh, because he asked me. He asked me when there was nobody else in the race. And I said yes."
-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in an interview with Glenn Beck
, on why he endorsed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for re-election.
"Michelle Kwan is fitting in some time for political campaigning while she covers the Sochi Games," the AP
"The two-time Olympic figure skating medalist is asking notable names to pose for a photo holding a pin supporting her husband for governor of Rhode Island. Clay Pell, a Democrat, announced his candidacy Jan. 27."
: "Emboldened by the president's weak poll numbers, the botched Obamacare rollout and a still-sputtering economy, GOP donors and operatives are increasingly bullish about their prospects in the midterm election -- most of all capturing the Senate. Seats that a year ago looked like sure bets for Democrats now have the makings of real races -- in states such as Michigan, Virginia, and, if former Republican Sen. Scott Brown runs, New Hampshire."
"Worries last fall that the party would pay a heavy price at the ballot box for forcing the government to shut down have faded as quickly as attention has shifted to frustration with the health care law."
New York Times
: "The Republican Party establishment, chastened by the realization that a string of unpredictable and unseasoned candidates cost them seats in Congress two elections in a row, is trying to head off potential political hazards wherever it can this year."
But David Freedlander
thinks the GOP punting on immigration reform may help keep the Senate in Democratic hands.
: "Although John Walsh will become the newest senator on Tuesday, the historical record and the political temperature in Montana suggest he'll have no better chance of winning this fall's Senate race than he did before."
"The conventional wisdom is that Gov. Steve Bullock has done his hand-picked lieutenant governor and fellow Democrat a phenomenal favor by sending him to Washington now. The post offers guaranteed visibility that will enhance his name recognition, the benefits of being on the inside that will boost his fundraising and the powers of the job that will allow him to deliver in ways that will prove the power of incumbency impossible to beat. In fact, that's hardly been the rule in the past, and it hardly looks to be reliably the case this year."
isn't convinced former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is looking to make a comeback in New Hampshire.
"If you spend any time around Brown these days, you don't come away with a sense that he has much appetite for undertaking a third tough Senate race in four years -- or for returning to a polarized capital he describes as broken."
Said Brown: "I'm really, quite honestly, a little unorganized... To just jump in and say I'm going to run for the United States Senate against a popular incumbent, it takes a little bit more than just winging it."
: "New Hampshire Republicans seem anxiety-ridden over whether Brown will run; most sources approached for this story tabbed the chances of that at 50-50. If the well-known and potentially well-financed Brown opts out, many Republicans believe their chance to capture Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's seat will drop significantly."
Archive: February 09, 2014
A new SurveyUSA poll
in San Diego, with half or more of voters having already returned a ballot, finds the mayoral race a dead heat with Kevin Faulconer (R) at 47% and David Alvarez (D) at 46%.
Archive: February 08, 2014
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) "went to Congress in 1981 and became a fixture: a member of the elite Alfalfa Club and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which made him a regular on the Sunday talk shows. His wife became a real estate broker in Alexandria, Va., the suburb where the couple live, boasting of her 'extensive knowledge' of the area," the New York Times
"Mr. Roberts is now desperate to re-establish ties to Kansas and to adjust his politics to fit the rise of the right in the state. But his efforts underscore the awkward reality of Republicans who, after coming of age in an era of comity and esteem for long-term service, are trying to remake themselves to be warriors for a Tea Party age."
Archive: February 07, 2014
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) appointed Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) to be the next senator from Montana, Roll Call
Walsh will replace Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who is leaving the Senate early after being confirmed as ambassador to China.
"Walsh was already running for the seat, but he'll now run as the incumbent senator. That change could provide some inherent advantages in his quest to hold one of the party's most vulnerable seats."
: "Despite telling reporters that she raised $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, Liz Cheney's Wyoming Senate campaign actually pulled in far less than that total and spent more than she raised during that time. The daughter of former President Dick Cheney dropped out of the race just days after the end of the fundraising period."
"Cheney raised just under $720,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, but her campaign spent more than $900,000, FEC reports show. That profilgate spending was more than any other non-incumbent Senate candidate spent in the fourth quarter, and it explains why she ended the quarter with $183,000 less in the bank that she began it."
"A convicted Ponzi schemer's court claims that Charlie Crist engaged in a contributions-for-favors 'quid pro quo' has come at a damaging time for the former governor who wants his old job back," the Miami Herald
"Crist's campaign and defenders vociferously denied Scott Rothstein's testimony Wednesday and Thursday as the desperate act of a fraudster seeking to shave time off a 50-year prison sentence for the $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme he masterminded. But Rothstein's veracity aside, the political damage is tolling on Crist, who's also in the midst of a national book tour
Archive: February 06, 2014
A new Herald-Leader/WKYT Bluegrass Poll
in Kentucky finds Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) holds a slim 4-point advantage over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 46% to 42%.
McConnell's approval rating is an abysmal 32% to 60%.
In the GOP primary, McConnell leads businessman Matt Bevin (R) 55% to 29%.
The Monkey Cage
finds Republicans with a 54% chance of retaking control of the U.S. Senate in this year's midterm elections.
"Our initial Senate forecast
for 2014 suggested that Republicans had a solid chance of taking back the Senate. Now we want to show how they can do it. Our model suggests, in fact, if Republicans win the Senate elections in only four states -- Alaska, Louisiana, Iowa, and Montana -- then they are very likely to take control of the chamber."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee "is preparing its largest and most data-driven ground game yet, relying on an aggressive combination of voter registration, get out of the vote, and persuasion efforts," the New York Times
"They hope to make the 2014 midterm election more closely resemble a presidential election year, when more traditional Democratic constituencies -- single women, minorities and young voters -- turn out to vote in higher numbers, said Guy Cecil, the committee's executive director."
For more in this, listen to our discussion
with Teddy Goff, the mastermind behind the Obama campaign's digital efforts.
: "There have been a fair share of congressional carpetbaggers in history, but Allan Levene may be the first to assemble an entire set of matched luggage. And he's using it to run this year for no fewer than four open House seats in four different states."
: "Three sets of numbers have emerged in recent weeks that bode ill for Democratic hopes to keep the U.S. Senate. The first came from new Federal Election Commission filings and news reports on campaign fundraising for the fourth quarter of 2013, and cash-on-hand on Dec. 31."
"The second troubling number for Democrats is Gallup's presidential job-approval rating, which was 42% the week ending last Sunday... Then there is the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly's summary of last year's legislative voting patterns."
Archive: February 05, 2014
President Obama told senators that he would not be offended if they asked him to stay away from their re-election races this year, the Washington Post
Said one senator: "The president said that he is thoroughly committed to helping Democrats in tough races. He said he knew he is not popular in some of the states so he would not be offended if he were not invited to visit them this year. But he said he could be helpful in some parts of some states."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Colorado finds Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) holds a comfortable lead over his Republican challengers and gets good marks for trust, leadership and understanding their needs.
Said pollster Tim Malloy: "Those are three really important issues. The governor's pretty popular."
Hickenlooper leads Tom Tancredo (R), 48% to 39%, tops Scott Gessler (R) 46% to 40%, beats Greg Brophy (R) 47% to 37% and is ahead of Mike Kopp (R) 47% to 38%.
The poll also shows 52% of Coloradans approve of the job Hickenlooper is doing.
A new University of Florida poll
finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 47% to 40%.
The poll also shows that 95% of likely voters had either "a great deal of interest" (66%) or "a fair amount of interest" (29%) in the race.
"Let the Dems have their fun. No biggie."
-- Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), quoted by WMUR
, after being criticized for appearing shirtless
on the front page of New Hampshire's largest newspaper.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has selected his longtime chief of staff Tina Smith to be his running mate as he begins his campaign for a second term, the Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In selecting Smith, Dayton has chosen a powerful deal-maker who has led the administration through some of it is most complex, high profile and politically dicey development projects of this term."
A new survey from The Polling Company
finds Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) leading the Republican race for U.S. Senate in Georgia with 19%, followed by Karen Handel (R) at 14%, Rep. Paul Broun (R) at 13%, Rep. Jack Kingston (R) at 11% and David Perdue (R) at 8%.
"The close poll shows a wide-open field -- and potential for concern for establishment Republicans. Both Broun and Gingrey have a history of gaffes and are considered seriously flawed general election candidates."
Activist Sandra Fluke (D) has decided against running for retiring Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) congressional seat, instead planning a bid for the state Senate, the Los Angeles Times
Said Fluke: "While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) "continues to lead his potential Republican opponents for reelection by small margins, and that third party candidates could play a spoiler role in helping him win this fall."
A new Gravis Marketing poll
in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) by three points, 47% to 44%.
Archive: February 04, 2014
Every vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2014 voted with President Obama at least 90% of the time in 2013, according to Roll Call
Multipe sources tell WHNT
that former Rep. Parker Griffith "is on the verge of announcing his candidacy for governor of Alabama, and as a member of the party he famously abandoned just four years ago."
"The Alabama Democratic Party recently voted to reinstate Griffith, clearing the way for a gubernatorial run that we're told will likely be announced before Friday's qualifying deadline."
Archive: February 03, 2014
"Republicans are defending a series of websites they established that appear to support Democratic candidates for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the GOP," NBC News
"The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said its websites were not confusing, and accused Democrats of crying foul because their candidates were struggling."The Week
: Republicans resort to trickery to outfox Democrats
A new Rasmussen survey
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) deadlocked with Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 42%.
A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll
in Illinois finds Gov. Pat Quinn (D) trailing all four of his potential Republican challengers.
Bill Brady (R) leads Quinn 48% to 39%, Kirk Dillard (R) and Dan Rutherford (R) are ahead 46% to 37% and Bruce Rauner (R) leads 47% to 39%.
"No way it happens. I just don't see it going anywhere. I think 2014 is a slam dunk to us otherwise and this would really piss off the base."
-- A House Republican aide, quoted by TPM
, on the prospects for immigration refrorm.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) apparently isn't worried about a potential challenge from American Idol
runner up Clay Aiken, the Raleigh News & Observer
Said Ellmers: "Apparently his performing career isn't going so well and he's bored... As we know he doesn't always fare all that well. He was runner up."
"GOP governor candidate denies unknown allegations"
-- Chicago Tribune
, February 3, 2014
: "I'll concede here at the beginning that I've never worked on a political campaign. Nor do I have any experience in media relations, publicity, political communication or whatever else flacks do. I don't know the nuances of trying to defuse controversy with a speech. But I have covered many political campaigns in Texas the past decade, so I know what it looks like when a campaign handles the press well."
"And the Wendy Davis operation is about the worst at media relations that I've ever seen. Her team's mismanagement of the press is damaging her candidacy."
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who is mulling a Senate bid from New Hampshire, makes the front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader
with a shirtless photo of him taking part in the "Penquin Plunge" to benefit the Special Olympics.
"The formidable campaign apparatus that has sprung up to support a possible 2016 presidential bid by Hillary Clinton is rattling some Democrats, sparking concerns that it could suppress competition for the party nomination and siphon money from candidates running in the midterm elections this fall," the Wall Street Journal
"With Democrats fighting to keep control of the Senate in the midterms, the emergence of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA could eat into donations that the party's candidates need to win in November, some Democrats warn. A number of Democratic groups are soliciting donors for money, including super PACS devoted to House and Senate races along with traditional party fundraising committees."
A new Harper Polling survey
in Oklahoma finds a possible tight GOP Senate primary race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) with J.C. Watts (R) edging James Lankford (R), 40% to 37%, with James Weger (R) way back at 8%.
"The top Democratic candidates in the 52 most competitive House races reported raising $42.3 million in 2013, topping the $34.8 million for the top GOP candidates in those races," the Wall Street Journal
"Democratic candidates also begin the year with more money in the bank. Democrats in the most competitive races reported they had a total of $30.9 million to spend on their campaigns at the end of 2013. That was $6.3 million more than the top Republicans in those races."
Archive: January 31, 2014
New York Times
: "Both Senator and Mayor Landrieu face re-election this year in campaigns that are complicated by the currents of race and history that run through this state, but also by national factors, chief among which is President Obama."
"The confluence of the campaigns has created an existential moment for a Democratic dynasty that has become the reigning political family in a state that has been home to the Longs, the Morials and the Boggses. There has been an infusion of money from the conservative Koch brothers, complaints of White House interference and accusations that national Republicans with an eye on winning control of the Senate are meddling in the mayor's race to tarnish the Landrieu name among the family's crucial power base of black voters."
More than $4 million in outside money has flooded Florida's special congressional election, the AP
"The flurry of spending illustrates the outsized role outside groups are expected to play in the midterm elections. Disclosure of the new spending comes a day before federal candidates have to report how much money they raised and spent on their own last year in the run-up to November's elections. That's when voters will determine the balance of power in the House and Senate. Thirty-six governors' offices also are up for grabs."
Archive: January 30, 2014
"Bill Maher makes little effort to hide his own contempt for many politicians, most of them Republicans. Now, he wants to take it to the next level: finding one he might be able to help oust from office," the New York Times
"On his weekly HBO talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher
, on Friday night, Mr. Maher and his staff plan to ask viewers to make a case for their individual representatives in the House to be selected as the worst in the country."
"After some culling and analysis, one member of Congress will be selected, and the show will follow up through November with examples of what it considers terrible work by that representative. Mr. Maher will make occasional visits to that member's district to perform stand-up and generally stir up hostile feelings toward the show's target."
Attorney and women's rights activist Sandra Fluke, who came to prominence after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, told KPCC
that she's considering running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).
Said Fluke: "I'm flattered that I'm being discussed as a potential candidate. A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running."
she might retire, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced she would run for re-election, Roll Call
Said Pelosi: "I'm running. I've already started
the paperwork process. My work is not finished."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), "whose legislative record has made him one of the country's most influential liberal lawmakers for four decades, announced Thursday that he will retire from his Westside seat, the latest in a wave of departures that is remaking the state's long-stable congressional delegation," the Los Angeles Times
: "Waxman is now the 17th member of the House and 7th Democrat to announce retirement this cycle. He and fellow California Democratic Rep. George Miller, who is also retiring this year, were the last remaining of the Watergate class of 1974 serving their 20th terms in the House."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) by eight points in the governor's race, 46% to 38%.
Said pollster Peter Brown: "The best number in this poll for Crist -- and the biggest problem for Scott -- is that a majority of Florida voters say the current governor does not deserve a second term in Tallahassee. Voters also give Crist a higher job approval for when he ran the state than any approval rating Scott has received in his three years on the job."
: "With Democrats' grasp on the Senate increasingly tenuous -- and the House all but beyond reach -- some top party donors and strategists are moving to do something in the midterm election as painful as it is coldblooded: Admit the House can't be won and go all in to save the Senate."
"The triage idea is taking hold in phone conversations among donors and in strategy sessions between party operatives. Even some of the people who have invested the most to get House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi back into the speaker's chair are moving in that direction."
Archive: January 29, 2014
Tampa Bay Times
: "This is not officially confirmed yet, but we hear that Charlie Crist is poised to hire veteran political operative Omar Khan as campaign manager for his Democratic campaign for Florida governor, Who?, some of you may ask."
"Khan is not an A-list campaign campaign manager that one might expect for a marquee race like Florida's gubernatorial campaign. Not sure he's ever run a campaign, for that matter."
: "Republicans need to capture six seats to win control of the Senate, and Democrats have to defend five deep-red states--Arkansas, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia--where Obama's approval rating was at or below 35 percent in 2013... In the past 10 years, just nine senators of the president's party have won elections in states where presidential approval slips below the national average, according to a review of exit polls and election results since 2004."
"Not a single Republican victory is assured in 2014, and Democrats have solid candidates defending most of their seats. But recent history underscores how difficult it will be to defend so many Senate seats that lean so strongly against the leader of their party."
"Are you better off than you were 29 years ago?"
-- Rep John Yarmuth (D-KY), quoted by Greg Sargent
, making the case against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) leading all four potential GOP rivals for U.S. Senate.
Nunn edges Rep. Paul Broun (R), 42% to 41%, tops Rep. Jack Kingston (R), 44% to 42%, beats Karen Handel (R), 44% to 40%, and leads Rep. Phil Gingrey (R), 45% to 41%.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just head of challenger Alison Lundergran Grimes (D), 45% to 44%.
McConnell's approval rate is just 37%, with 51% of voters disapproving.
Donald Trump said he is "ready, willing and able" to run for New York governor but will not do so if anybody else -- such as Westchester Country executive Rob Astorino (R) -- enters the GOP race, the New York Daily News
Said Trump: "I really want unity. I want to go in there right from the beginning and I want to go in swinging right from the beginning. I don't want to be knocking Rob or knocking anybody else to win a primary."
notes "there's one candidate who isn't generating much buzz and whose résumé compares favorably with any of the top-tier candidates. He's a battleground-state governor who's looking in strong position to win a second term. He defeated one of the more popular Democratic governors in the country, who happened to be a major Clinton ally. He's from the Midwest, likely to be the critical region in the 2016 presidential election. He entered office as a prominent fiscal conservative but compromised on Medicaid expansion. And most important, Republican officials familiar with his thinking say he's seriously considering a presidential campaign."
"Enter Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the swing-state executive who's currently polling at microscopic levels nationally but who could have an outsized impact on the 2016 race."
Archive: January 28, 2014
Clay Pell (D), the 32-year-old grandson of a six-term U.S. senator -- and husband of former Olympic figure-skater Michelle Kwan -- is running for governor of Rhode Island, the Providence Journal
"A newcomer to Rhode Island politics, Pell faces two of the rising stars in the state Democratic Party in the September 2014 primary: Gen. Treas. Gina Raimondo, 42, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, 43. Both have political resumes and million-dollar campaign funds."
A Fox News poll
gave Republicans a two-point lead in the generic congressional ballot but a new NBC/WSJ poll
has Democrats ahead by two points, 45% to 43%.
Former Sen. John Warner (R-VA) endorsed his Democratic successor and onetime rival Mark Warner (D) in his race against Ed Gillespie (R), Politico
A new SurveyUSA poll
in San Diego finds Kevin Faulconer (R) leading David Alvarez (D) by just five points in the race for mayor, 49% to 44%.
"But among Independents and among moderates, Alvarez still trails. A Democrat rarely wins an election, even a bi-partisan election, without the support of moderates, and today Alvarez trails by 12 there. Among Independents, Alvarez has made no inroads against Faulconer."
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) "showed he can raise money. Now he's showing how he will spend it, putting out a press release this afternoon advertising a $1.289 million television ad buy for the run-up to the May 20 primary," the Atlanta Journal Constitution
"The Senate-seeking Congressman from Savannah is not going on the air right away, but is locking down rates well in advance -- before other campaigns and Super PACs drive up the prices."
Archive: January 27, 2014
A new Fox News poll
finds Republican candidates hold a slim two-percentage point advantage when voters are asked about their preference for Congress, 43% to 41%.
A new Marquette Law School Poll
in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading Democratic candidate Mary Burke (D), 47% to 41%. The poll also finds that most voters think the state is headed in the right direction and believe the state budget to be in better shape than a few years ago.
New York Times
: "With the 2014 political landscape becoming more defined, it is increasingly likely that the midterm elections in November will maintain divided government in the capital for the final two years of President Obama's second term, with the chief unknown being exactly how divided it will be."
"A review of competitive congressional contests suggests that, at the moment, Republicans will hold on to the House, though Democrats could defy midterm history and gain a few seats. Senate Democrats, at the same time, are defending unfavorable terrain and will almost certainly see their majority narrowed. They are at risk of losing it altogether, an outcome that would leave Capitol Hill entirely in Republican control for the conclusion of Mr. Obama's presidency."
Archive: January 25, 2014
With $3.3 million in the bank, Michelle Nunn (D) is her party's "best hope in an open race to replace Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican, who is retiring," the New York Times
"Her campaign will test whether the rapidly changing demographics of Georgia -- where state elections data show that the white vote dropped to 61 percent of the total in 2012 from 75 percent in 2000 -- have shifted enough to return a Democrat to Washington. And it will reveal how much legacy still matters in politics."
Archive: January 24, 2014
sees 10 competitive rematches taking place for congressional seats this year.
"Several incumbents will be facing the person they unseated or a challenger who tried, but failed, in previous cycles to defeat them. In some instances, a displaced former lawmaker is vying again for their old seat, but in other situations the same challenger is showing up to challenge the incumbent."
: "It may not be readily apparent if you follow the Florida media that constantly notes Charlie Crist's campaign for governor or the Washington pundits who describe Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott as THE race to watch in 2014. But here's the reality: There is no real Crist campaign for governor."
"Sure, he announced a couple days ago that Barack Obama campaign manager Jim Messina is on board, and Obama's digital director, Teddy Goff, has signed on too. Obamaworld has opened up a bunch of Democratic fundraising doors from Hollywood and beyond."
"But it's been nearly three months since Crist officially announced his candidacy and at least 10 since everyone knew he was preparing to do just that. Where the rubber meets the road: there is for all purposes no Charlie Crist campaign except for a fundraising operation that so far appears fine but hardly daunting."
Pop singer Clay Aiken (D) is assembling a political team for a run at the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, sources told WRAL News
: "But his candidacy is being met with skepticism by some Tar Heel State Democrats, who are holding out hope of making it a race in this Republican-leaning district."
Archive: January 23, 2014
A new Christopher Newport University poll
in Virginia shows Sen. Mark Warner (D) leading challenger Ed Gillespie (R) by 20 points, 50% to 30%.
The poll also gives Warner a 63% job approval rating.
Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball
says Republicans have roughly a 50-50 shot to gain the six seats they need to win control of the U.S. Senate in this year's midterm elections.
"We now favor Republicans in four Democratic-held seats: Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, as well as -- in a ratings change -- Arkansas, where Sen. Mark Pryor (D) appears to be at least a slight underdog to Rep. Tom Cotton (R) in a reddening state. Assuming Republicans can win those, they have roughly even odds to win in three other states where there are Democratic incumbents: Alaska, which we've long classified as a Toss-up, and Louisiana and North Carolina, which we're switching back to Toss-ups after having them in that category for much of last year. It's possible that the race for the Senate will come down to these three Toss-ups, with the party that wins at least two of the three controlling the Senate. And that doesn't even mention the lower-tier races in lighter shades of Red and Blue that adorn the map below, most of which are currently held by Democrats."
A Political Wire
reader sends an interesting simulation
based on Cook Political Report
ratings that shows Republicans with a 47% chance to take control.
Archive: January 22, 2014
A new WBUR poll
in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) has the early advantage in the governor's race and leads Charlie Baker (R) by double-digits, 39% to 29%.
Said pollster Steve Koczela: "She is doing very well among, particularly, women over the age of 50. They really are responding to what she has to say and have a very positive view of her so far."
However, Baker "leads among women -- and leads overall -- in head-to-head matchups with four other Democrats vying for the governor's chair."
Illinois congressional candidate Susanne Atanus (R) told the Chicago Daily Herald
that she "believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions."
Said Atanus: "I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first. God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
: "The Tea Party Texas congressman challenging incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn in March's primary is the new invisible man of American politics. The Texas congressman hasn't shown up on Capitol Hill for a vote since January 9. Instead, he has made only sporadic public appearances, surfacing once in North Dallas on January 14 and then a few days later in Cairo. In between, Stockman missed key votes in Washington, including the omnibus budget. His spokeman, Donny Ferguson, has not responded to inquiries on the Congressman's whereabouts."
"The GOP has made opposition to Obamacare a central pillar of its 2014 campaign strategy. And even though the health care law has begun to turn around, that may not be such a bad idea given lingering public skepticism over the law," The Week
"However, there is one crucial piece of Obamacare that may well become a big winner for Democrats by the end of the year: The dramatic expansion of Medicaid. Unlike the overall law, the expansion of Medicaid is actually quite popular with voters of all political stripes."
notes how red state Democrats are handling the law: "They are not embracing Obamcare. But they oppose repeal, and they are standing behind the general goal of expanding coverage to those who can't afford it."
Neel Kashkari (R), who led the bank bailout during the Bush administration, announced his bid to unseat California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the Sacramento Bee
"His platform could appeal to many moderate Republicans, but Kashkari's ability to raise sufficient money to broadcast it statewide is uncertain. Not only is Brown collecting millions of dollars from labor unions and other liberal allies, but his relatively moderate fiscal and environmental polices have endeared him to business interests on which GOP candidates could once rely. With the third-term governor heavily favored to win re-election, potential donors - many of them with business before the state - may not risk upsetting Brown by giving to any Republican in the race."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Florida shows a tight gubernatorial race between Charlie Crist (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R), 43% to 41%.
"John Podesta's fingerprints are all over the White House agenda just three weeks into his tenure," The Hill
"The White House has focused on income inequality and executive action since President Obama's new adviser came on at the beginning of the year -- demonstrating a singlemindedness often missing during a rocky 2013."
"Both issues were championed by Podesta as effective ways to score victories over congressional Republicans and motivate the Democratic base ahead of the midterm elections, where the Democratic majority in the Senate is in peril."
notes the White House "is trying to dial down the partisan rhetoric on immigration -- and it's asking its allies to do the same."
Archive: January 21, 2014
A new Roanoke College poll
in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) solidly ahead of challenger Ed Gillespie (R), 50% to 21%.
Said pollster Harry Wilson: "Given that 75% don't know enough about Gillespie to have an either favorable or unfavorable opinion of him, it is no surprise he trails Mark Warner so decisively. There is plenty of time for that to change as the state gets to know him. In politics, 10 months is an eternity."
: "Something funny seems to be going on in a Michigan congressional race. Either a Democratic candidate with national-party backing, challenging Republican incumbent Dan Benishek, has an impersonator with access to his cell phone, or his campaign is pressuring a local paper to edit his quotes."
notes that in 2012 "eight out of nine toss-up Senate races were won by the candidate with the more engaged Facebook fan base. And in the 2012 House elections, 20 of the 33 most competitive races across the country were won by the candidate with a measurable Facebook fan engagement advantage."
"The correlation between growing fan base, higher fan engagement and victory on Election Day led us to ask this question: Are Facebook metrics a crystal ball that can be used to predict election outcomes?"
"So far, we have trained our forecasting model on four key Senate elections in North Carolina, Alaska, Kentucky and Michigan. In those races, our two-party contest Facebook model shows Republicans potentially picking up one seat."
: "Obama's campaign manager is signing on to help former Republican Charlie Crist return to the Florida governor's office as a Democrat. Jim Messina is joining Crist's campaign as a senior strategic adviser, providing big-picture advice as the race gets under way."
President Obama's "sagging approval ratings and the rocky health-law rollout are expanding the map of competitive Senate races this year, giving Republicans new hope of capturing seats in states that the president carried in 2012," the Wall Street Journal
"The GOP already had a strong opportunity to pick up a net six seats to win a Senate majority. Democrats have to defend many more seats than Republicans, including in seven states that Mr. Obama lost in 2012. Now, polls show tighter-than-expected races for Democratic-held seats in Colorado, Iowa and Michigan, while a formidable Republican is challenging the Democratic incumbent in Virginia and another is weighing a bid in New Hampshire. In 2012, Mr. Obama won all five of those states."
Wendy Davis (D), "the Texas state senator who has shaped her campaign for governor largely around her story of rising from a teenage single mother to a Harvard law graduate, released a chronology of her life on Monday after a Dallas newspaper said that she had blurred some details
about her past," the New York Times
: "The up-from-nowhere narrative, which emerged during an 11-hour filibuster she staged in June to oppose abortion restrictions, has been a central part of her candidacy and appeal, helping to boost her national profile and fundraising efforts. But the Dallas Morning News
reveals a more complicated narrative."
Archive: January 20, 2014
: "Thanks to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., the state capitols are increasingly becoming the places to get things done. Furthermore, governors have tremendous power to set priorities and carry out federal mandates like health care reform. And for political watchers, there is this simple fact: The results of these races will be seen as a harbinger of what's to come in the next presidential election."
"Remember all politics is local. Talk about local issues, talk about your identification with the district, don't get tied to the Obama administration."
-- Former Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX), quoted by ABC News
, giving advice to Democrats running in 2014.
A new Siena poll
in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) remains popular, with two-thirds saying they viewed him favorably and a solid majority -- 57% -- said they were ready to re-elect him.
"Mr. Cuomo also had a much better reputation among voters than two of his possible Republican opponents. The poll found that Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, is largely unknown by state voters and would be handily defeated in a head-to-head matchup with Mr. Cuomo. And Donald Trump, the real estate developer and reality television star, is very well known -- but largely disliked; the poll found 57% had an unfavorable impression of him. Mr. Cuomo would best Mr. Trump with 70% of the vote, the poll said."
Archive: January 19, 2014
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) "has decided to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and may announce his intentions as early as Monday," the Oklahoman
Dallas Morning News
: "Wendy Davis has made her personal story of struggle and success a centerpiece of her campaign to become the first Democrat elected governor of Texas in almost a quarter-century. While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography -- a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement -- that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising."
"The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis' life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred."
Archive: January 18, 2014
"Ricocheting across the state in recent days, Gov. Jerry Brown laid out a case for his reelection in a tour that had all the hallmarks of a campaign rollout," the Los Angeles Times
"He hit media markets home to the bulk of California's population, highlighted the state's improved finances and took hours of questions from reporters. He continued to be coy about his reelection intentions, saying politics did not interest him -- a man who has spent 29 years of his life as an elected official and ran for president three times."
"News that Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn will retire at the end of 2014, triggering a special election for his deep-red Senate seat in November, creates an unexpected opportunity for the deep bench of Oklahoma GOP pols to seek a higher office," Politico
"That means the Republican primary to replace Coburn could be a free-for-all."
has local reaction to Coburn's decision.
Archive: January 17, 2014
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will resign after the current session of Congress, foregoing the final two years of his term, The Oklahoman
: "Coburn had already pledged not to seek another term in the Senate come 2016, but his announcement Thursday will open the seat ahead of schedule. Coburn is waging a fourth battle with cancer, and people in the state have been aware that Coburn might give up the seat ahead of schedule. Oklahoma will need to hold a special election to fill the seat."
Archive: January 16, 2014
A new St. Pete Polls survey
finds David Jolly (R) leading Alex Sink (D) in the special election in Florida's 13 congressional district, 47% to 43%.
"Fueling Jolly's lead over Sink are his favorability numbers. Voters in this Pinellas seat hold a 46% to 35% favorable rating of Jolly, while Sink is a mixed bag at 48% to 43% favorable."Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball
changed its race rating to "Leans Democratic."
Archive: January 15, 2014
A new Human Events-Gravis Marketing poll
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leading challenger Allison Lundergran Grimes (D) by five points, 42% to 37%.
McConnell also leads GOP primary challenger Matt Bevin (R) by double-digits, 53% to 31%.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) will retire and not seek re-election, The Hill
"Democrats are hopeful they can compete for McKeon's slightly Republican-leaning now that he's retiring. McKeon's Southern California district leans slightly Republican, and President Obama won 48 percent of the vote there in 2012. Lee Rogers (D), who held McKeon to under 55 percent of the vote in 2012, is running again and had $180,000 in the bank as of the end of September."Topic A: Defense
: Retirement sets up battle for House Armed Services chairmanship.
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has a new website
and it sure looks like he's running for something.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) leading Brown in a U.S. Senate match up, 46% to 43%.
Dick Black (R), running in the GOP primary to replace longtime Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), opposed making spousal rape a crime, Mother Jones
He cited the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife "when they're living together, sleeping in the same bed, she's in a nightie, and so forth."
says President Obama "has a plan to save the Senate's tenuous Democratic majority: Sell a populist message, try to make Obamacare work better and raise lots of cash."
"And unlike previous years when Senate Democrats were mostly left to fight on their own, the White House is wasting no time coordinating its political and policy agenda with congressional leaders and vulnerable lawmakers."
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) will not seek another term in Congress, The Hill
"The 12-term congressman represents the heavily Democratic Washington, D.C., suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria, and his seat is sure to remain in Democratic hands."
"It's just two weeks into 2014, but House Republicans are already convinced that the key to winning November's elections is to talk about President Obama as much as possible," Politico
"In public and private discussions, Obama remains the single-minded obsession of all top House Republicans. They can't get through a sentence without mentioning Obama or Obamacare. When top Republican leaders gathered last weekend at a boutique inn outside Washington for their annual planning retreat, the bulk of the conversation centered on Obamacare and presenting alternatives to what they consider Democrats' failed economic policies."
"Democrats are increasingly anxious about an onslaught of television ads hitting vulnerable Senate and House candidates for their support of the new health law, since many lack the resources to fight back in the early stages of the midterm campaign," the New York Times
"The unusually aggressive early run of television ads, which has been supplemented by other conservative initiatives, has gone largely unanswered, and strategists in both parties agree it is taking a toll on its targets."
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is skipping President Obama's visit to her home state, the Los Angeles Times
"The notable absence at Obama's first trip outside the Beltway in this election year highlights a perennial quandary for embattled candidates and less-than-popular presidents. With a battle for control of the Senate looming and the president's approval rating deflated, Democrats and the White House will spend much of this year grappling with whether their most vulnerable candidates will be helped or harmed by a visit from Obama and how to keep those candidates some distance -- but not too far -- from the president."
Archive: January 14, 2014
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) "is expected to kick off a historic, juggernaut campaign for re-election that many political analysts suspect will be a cakewalk, even though a majority of Iowans think the Republican has been in office long enough," the Des Moines Register
"Iowa Democrats' inability to produce a big-name challenger, and Branstad's high popularity and job approval ratings, mean the governor's in a strong position, strategists say."
David Jolly (R) has defeated two GOP rivals to win his party's nomination in the race to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young in Florida's 13th District, Roll Call
"Jolly will face former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the March 11 general election in this St. Petersburg-based district. This special election marks the first truly competitive special election of the cycle, and many political insiders view it as a bellwether for the cycle."
Jay Stamper (D), the lone Democratic candidate in South Carolina's U.S. Senate race is a felon, the Columbia State
"Grudging and reluctant support has come from some corners of Stampers' own party after revelations he pleaded guilty to three felony charges associated with the illegal sale of securities in 2006. Stamper was ordered to repay millions of dollars and said at Monday's meeting that $600,000 of that came from his own pocket. Stamper called the incident "a business mistake I made several years ago,' and said securities laws are very complicated, and he acted on advice from two teams of lawyers."
lists his "dangerous dozen," the open House seats most-likely to switch party control in this year's elections.
Archive: January 13, 2014
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) is stepping down at the end of this year after four decades in Congress, Politico
"Miller's decision is a personal loss for Pelosi and is sure to be seen as a blow to Democrats. But Miller said his retirement has everything to do with having reached the 40-year mark in Congress and is no reflection on his party's chances of regaining power in the House in November."Roll Call
: "California's 11th District is safe Democratic territory. President Barack Obama won here by a 38-point margin in 2012."
The Washington Post
compiles a list of people whom Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is a "great admirer."
Donald Trump told Fox News
there's a 50-50 chance he'll run for governor of New York.
Said Trump: "A group of people, a great group, a big group of people, over 50 just came in to my office and I was very honored by it. As you know, the state of New York is doing very, very poorly. Tremendous unemployment. Tremendous. And the highest taxes in the United States. So, they are talking to me. And I have given them certain ideas and certain parameters. And we will see what happens. But certainly it's something I'm considering and I will make a decision pretty much by the end of the month or early February."
"I'm not even sure if she still lives in the state."
-- Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), in a Huffington Post
interview, saying he has "no worry or fear" of Sarah Palin challenging him in the U.S. Senate race, adding, "I'm not sure she even knows what's going on."
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) "is facing heat back at home for using taxpayer dollars to pay for staff lunches while criticizing school-lunch programs for poor students," The Hill
"Kingston, who's running for the Senate, stirred controversy
in December for suggesting there 'should be no such thing as a free lunch' for poor children who receive federally-funded lunches at school, suggesting they 'sweep the floor in the cafeteria' in exchange for the food."
has found that Kingston's staff "spent $4,200 of taxpayer money on free lunches in the last three years and $4,300 from outside groups, not counting expenses incurred on international trips."
: "It's been framed as the clearest barometer of the public's mood heading into this year's midterms: a special election battle for a 50-50 congressional district in the famously 50-50 state of Florida. But upon closer inspection, the race for Florida's 13th Congressional District, occupied by Republican Bill Young for more than four decades until his death in October, is not quite the bellwether it's being portrayed as."
"More than a dozen operatives and officials from both parties interviewed by Politico
were almost unanimous that Democrat Alex Sink, her party's 2010 nominee for Florida governor, has emerged as the unambiguous favorite in the race. The primary, in which Sink has run unopposed as a group of Republicans have slugged it out, is on Tuesday. The general election is on March 11."
Archive: January 12, 2014
A new U-T San Diego/10News poll
in San Diego finds Kevin Faulconer (R) has opened a commanding lead over David Alvarez (D) in the mayor's race, 53% to 37%, with 10% still undecided.
Early voting begins Monday for the February 11 runoff.
Although we had a poll
yesterday showing a much tighter race for Georgia governor, a new Insider Advantage survey
finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) comfortably ahead of challenger Jason Carter (D), 44% to 22%.
Archive: January 11, 2014
A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll
in Georgia finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leading Jason Carter (D) in the race for governor by nine points, 47% to 38%.
Archive: January 10, 2014
Two new polls show David Jolly (R) leading his GOP rivals in Tuesday's primary to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R).
A Gravis Marketing survey
finds Jolly with a 6-point lead over Kathleen Peters (R), 34% to 28%.
A St. Pete Polls survey
finds Jolly with an 11-point lead over Peters, 39% to 28%.
Chicago Sun Times
: "First, Bruce Rauner (R) seemed to say he favored cutting the state's $8.25-an-hour minimum wage. Then, he retreated from those 'flippant' remarks made in December and said this week he favors increasing pay for Illinois' poorest workers to as much as $10 an hour."
"On Thursday came yet another twist in the Republican gubernatorial candidate's confusing and evolving stance on a vital issue affecting 1.1 million Illinois workers: a September video
in which Rauner said he 'adamantly, adamantly' opposes raising the minimum wage."
Archive: January 09, 2014
Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) "has told senior members of his party that he will challenge Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia and announce his candidacy as early as next week, giving Republicans a top-tier candidate in what has become one of the nation's most competitive swing states," the New York Times
"The bid by Mr. Gillespie, a longtime party operative turned lobbyist with ties to both Republican grass-roots and establishment wings, also underlines the intent of more mainstream Virginia Republicans to take back control of the party after a Tea Party-backed candidate lost the governorship."
: "Another midterm election beckons, and over the next 10 months we'll see headlines about a thousand supposedly critical developments--the "game changers" and the "tipping points." But we all know there aren't a thousand powerful drivers of the vote. I'd argue that three factors are paramount: the president, the economy and the election playing field. And, at least preliminarily, those three factors seem to be pointing toward Republican gains in both houses in the 2014 midterms."
Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign released a brutal video attack
on primary challenger Matt Bevin (R).
: "Congress is about to get more polarized in the Senate with all the retirements of moderates and look at the House, a place most would think couldn't get MORE ideologically divided. Just in the last month, on the Republican side, there have been the retirements of Virginia's Frank Wolf, Iowa's Tom Latham, and Pennsylvania's Jim Gerlach. On the Democratic side, out are North Carolina's Mike McIntyre (announced yesterday) and Utah's Jim Matheson. If you toss in Arkansas' Tim Griffin and New Jersey's Jon Runyan, and the pool of congressional members willing to vote with the other side is shrinking. Whatever's left of the middle or the pragmatic caucus is disappearing. And there wasn't much of a middle to begin with. Every one of these retiring members is going to be replaced by someone more partisan. It doesn't matter which party wins control overall, the two parties, ideologically, will be farther apart and that guarantees even more gridlock."
"Prominent Republicans are working to recast the party's message about tackling poverty and boosting the middle class amid concerns that a relentless focus on the troubles of Obamacare will not be enough to guarantee electoral success," the Los Angeles Times
"The move seeks to address widespread public anxiety about the uneven economic recovery, a topic that Democrats have largely had to themselves in recent months. But even as party strategists push for a higher-profile approach, conservative lawmakers face a difficult challenge in crafting a message that appeals to middle-income and working-class voters while maintaining support among the party base."
"It's the latest acknowledgment that Republicans' traditional emphasis on fiscal austerity and smaller government -- while popular among grass-roots conservatives and gospel to much of their House majority -- has been difficult to sell among the broader electorate."
Archive: January 08, 2014
: "Two longtime House Democrats -- Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Carolyn McCarthy of New York -- will not seek re-election in 2014, according to a Democratic aides."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will step up its election-year efforts to challenge Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries and back candidates who favor trade, energy development and immigration reform, Bloomberg
reports that more than half of the National Republican Campaign Committee's "Young Gun" candidates "are locked in primaries... And about half of the most vulnerable House Democrats running for re-election in 2014 are facing Republican challengers locked in a GOP primary."
However, the Cook Political Report
's David Wasserman believes that these Republican primaries could ultimately influence just a handful of general-election contests: "It will only be a problem for Republicans if problematic candidates emerge -- and so far there are only a few primaries brewing where there is a 'problem' on the horizon."
looks at the drama unfolding in Florida's 13th congressional district special election:
"The GOP race to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) has become a political soap opera that could jeopardize Republicans' hold on the seat. It has all the makings of a daytime drama: a widow disavowing her son due to opposing primary allegiances and a secret family kept hidden for decades only to surface a week before the contentious primary. And with an important swing district at stake, it's the messy, public family feud that's another added worry for the party ahead of Tuesday's Republican primary, for which GOP leaders, and the Young family, are far from unified."
Archive: January 07, 2014
The New York Times
notes that while Liz Cheney cited "serious health issues" in her family as
the reason for dropping her Senate race, her problems were much larger.
"She ran in a state that she had not lived in for
decades rather than in her longtime home state, Virginia, she targeted a
genial and well-liked incumbent with no glaring ideological
vulnerabilities, and she carried the banner of a hawkish foreign policy
at a moment when a more restrained approach to national security is
ascendant in the Republican Party. Further, she prompted an ugly and
public split with her lesbian sister, Mary, by declaring her opposition
to same-sex marriage -- and was nevertheless attacked with television ads
by a third-party conservative group over gay rights. Most of all,
though, Ms. Cheney miscalculated the degree to which her father's
popularity among conservatives was transferable to her own race."
: "On Tuesday morning, Senate Republicans are expected to block an emergency measure to extend unemployment insurance. Soon after, President Obama will stand before a handful of the 1.3 million Americans who have begun to lose their benefits and try to shame Republicans for failing to help the nation's neediest."
"A similar political dynamic is likely to play out in the weeks and months to come as both parties battle to address mounting concerns over economic fairness and the growing gap between the rich and the poor."
Archive: January 06, 2014
"We have tremendous respect for Liz's decision. She and her entire family are in our thoughts and prayers."
-- Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), quoted by the Casper Star Tribune
, on Liz Cheney dropping her Senate primary challenge due to "serious health issues
" in her family.
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) announced he will not seek re-election in 2014, marking yet another
moderate House Republican to leave Congress, Roll Call
Gerlach's departure gives Democrats a decent opportunity to pick up the seat as Mitt Romney carried the district with just 51% in 2012.
: "Gerlach was a Democratic target in 2012, but redistricting made his seat even safer for the Republican, but from the 2002 until the 2010 election, Gerlach's district was one of the nation's most competitive."
: "The end of Cheney-for-Senate marks an early stumble in a year that may be defined by political dynasties -- some with more than legacy-defining stakes on the line. Aside from the abandoned bid by this daughter of the former vice president, two grandsons of former presidents (H.W. Bush and Carter) are seeking their first statewide offices this year, and there's even a Clinton-in-law who wants her old House seat back. The candidates are using the famous names in different ways and to varied effect. But the Cheney campaign's failure to connect with Wyoming Republicans -- the family health issues she's citing aside -- stands as a lesson that no name is big enough to carry an election without an argument and strong rationale for a candidacy. It's also a reminder that national names aren't necessary bigger than those of obscure lawmakers, even in the state a family has called home."
Liz Cheney (R) will drop her U.S. Senate primary challenge against Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), sources are telling news outlets including the Casper Star-Tribune
Cheney made the decision after "a recent incident involving a close member of Cheney's immediate family prompted her to reconsider the race, among other factors," Politico
Said Cheney: "Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority."
"Congress comes back to session this week with leaders of both parties planning a war of words in 2014 -- dueling agendas that promise little substantive legislation but lots of messages aimed at establishing clear contrasts for voters heading toward the midterm election," the Los Angeles Times
"After they dispatch a few must-pass fiscal measures early in the year, legislators seem unlikely to put together major accomplishments. Rather, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate will essentially become something like sound stages for the advertising wars that will unfold in the handful of states and districts that could decide partisan control of the next Congress."
"The agendas reflect a basic reality of the modern Congress -- much of what lawmakers do does not include actually making laws."Wall Street Journal
: "Members of Congress returning to work this week are plunging immediately into policy battles that will shape their campaigns for the November elections."
"As House Republicans return to Washington for the new year, their leaders must decide how ambitious the party will be in the 10 months before their majority faces voters in November," The Hill
"The smart money is on a cautious election-year strategy, favoring targeted, politically safe legislation over more contentious drives to reform the tax code, overhaul immigration policy and advance a long-awaited conservative alternative to the new healthcare law."
: "Republican campaign strategists view the troubled Obamacare as unqualified electoral gold."
: "As Democrats look this cycle to hold their Senate majority and pick up seats in the House, the party is staring down an unpredictable political atmosphere with a president whose job approval starts 2014 underwater. But even as Republicans tether Democrats to Obama on policy, the president remains a vital fundraising asset for the party's effort to hold its ground in the midterm elections."
"Billionaires, super PACs and nonprofits are gearing up for another round of intraparty fighting that will shape the direction of their respective parties for years to come," Politico
"On the Republican side, the business wing of the GOP establishment has declared war on elements of the party's base -- convinced that the religious right's focus on social issues is costing swing votes and that tea partiers are playing a dangerous game of chicken with the U.S. economy. Those conservative activists, on the other hand, are determined to rid their party of the moderates and compromisers who they say are empowering President Barack Obama and standing in the way of meaningful conservative reform."
"Democrats -- less prone recently to pitched battles about the direction of the party in the age of Obama -- are also showing early signs of a growing split over the future of the party."
Archive: January 04, 2014
Actor Steven Seagal told KNXV-TV
that he is considering a run for Arizona governor.
"According to Seagal, the number one problem facing the U.S. is its open borders. He also came to the defense of Sheriff Arpaio, as well the prospect of extending amnesty to undocumented immigrants living in the U.S."
: "The question for Republicans in 2014 is whether they want to have a Duck Dynasty
election or an Obamacare election."
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) "might be the closest thing in this election year to a middle finger running for the U.S. Senate by itself," the Washington Post
"This man is running for the Senate in a state with 26 million people. By conventional measures, he is not doing it well. One recent poll had him down by 44 points... But Stockman seems to be betting -- again -- on his talents for nation-scale insult comedy, for grabbing free publicity with over-the-top attacks on the hard right's enemies."
Archive: January 03, 2014
: "It's too early to confidently predict which party will hold the U.S. Senate after the November election. But it's a safe bet the next Senate will more closely reflect the nation's entrenched red-blue presidential divide. And that's a recipe for even more polarization and gridlock."
"This year's races will likely provide more evidence of voters' growing inclination to support Senate candidates from the same party as that of their presidential choice. This has made it much tougher than a generation ago for either party to elect senators from states that typically back the other side in presidential elections."
"The tightening correlation between presidential and Senate voting represents a back-to-the-future trend in national politics. Through the first half of the 20th century, party-line voting was common. After Franklin Roosevelt's first two victories in 1932 and 1936, for instance, Democrats held 89 percent of the Senate seats in the 40 states that supported him both times."
Archive: January 02, 2014
Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D), who spent eight years in federal prison after being convicted of racketeering and extortion, is considering a bid for Congress in Louisiana's 6th district, the Hay Ride
Edwards, 86, is mulling a bid for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) because he believes the field is weak.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) told potential donors that he would do a push up for every dollar donated to his campaign in the last two days of 2013, the Denver Post
Said Coffman: "This coming election is going to be the toughest of my career and I need your help to get fit for the fight."
"Climate change and energy will be a major policy battleground in the 2014 midterms, advocates on both sides of the issue promise," The Hill
"Energy and environmental issues are expected to take a front seat in dozens of races across the country, from coal country in West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) faces a tough reelection race just as she prepares to take up the chairmanship of the Senate Energy Committee."
New York Times
: "Behind the scenes, Secretary of State John Kerry has initiated a push to focus on global warming."
"I think there's an increased level of people wanting an alternative to the Republican-Democrat thing."
-- Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD), quoted by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader
, announcing he'll run for Senate as an independent.
"After a highly contentious, hugely unproductive session, members of the most unpopular Congress in history will face voters this year and, very likely, win reelection in overwhelming numbers," notes the Los Angeles Times
"It is a paradox of these discontented times... Public opinion surveys show contempt for Congress reaching unprecedented levels. But as much as they dislike their own representatives, Democrats and Republicans hold members of the opposite party in even lower regard."
"That selective outrage works against the sort of throw-the-bums-out election that would produce wholesale, across-the-board upheaval in the House."
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) "had a deathbed wish: that Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) would appoint his protegee, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), to replace him in the Senate. But Abercrombie upended this island state's political order by tapping the younger Brian Schatz, then the lieutenant governor," the Washington Post
"Now, a year after Inouye's death, the former senator's ghost lingers large over a bitter feud that is dividing Democrats along ethnic and generational lines here in President Obama's birthplace. With the outspoken support of Inouye's widow, Hanabusa is giving up her House seat to challenge Schatz in the 2014 primary."
Archive: December 31, 2013
"It's going to be a rough one, but, you know, it's like shooting crap. Either you win or you lose; you just can't stay even with the first shot."
-- Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), quoted by Politico
, on his re-election bid in 2014.
As Montana governor, Brian Schweitzer (D) said "he threw away the 2010 U.S. Army inspector general's report concluding that Adj. Gen. and now Lt. Gov. John Walsh had improperly used his position in the Montana National Guard for personal gain," the Helena Independent Record
Said Schweitzer: "I treated it with the respect it deserved. I put it in the round file."
Walsh is one of three Democrats running for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the disclosure of the investigative report is being used by his opponents.
Archive: December 30, 2013
Todd Portune (D) told WCPO
that he will challenge Ed Fitzgerald (D) in a Democratic party primary for governor of Ohio in May.
"Fitzgerald's campaign to challenge Republican incumbent John Kasich hit a rough spot late in 2013 when his running mate for lieutenant governor, State Senator Eric Kearney withdrew from the race under pressure surrounding poor vetting. Even with that bump in Fitzgerald's road, he has somewhat of a head start against Portune. Fitzgerald officially kicked off his campaign for the state office on Aug. 24."
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) "filed a statement of candidacy this week for his re-election campaign," the Sacramento Bee
"But instead of listing the 39th congressional district he has represented since winning re-election in 2012, he listed the 40th congressional district, the number of the district he represented during the 2000's."
"As to how to stay involved, I'll be very blunt. I knew exactly what I needed to say after 2010 to rebuild a career in Democratic politics. I also knew exactly what I needed to say to become a Republican superstar in 2013. But in neither case was I willing to say and spout the things that would make smart party politics."
-- Former Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), quoted by the Birmingham News
, on why he hasn't yet launched a political comeback as a Republican.
"Democratic Party leaders, bruised by months of attacks on the new health care program, have found an issue they believe can lift their fortunes both locally and nationally in 2014: an increase in the minimum wage," the New York Times
"The effort to take advantage of growing populism among voters in both parties is being coordinated by officials from the White House, labor unions and liberal advocacy groups."
"In a series of strategy meetings and conference calls among them in recent weeks, they have focused on two levels: an effort to raise the federal minimum wage, which will be pushed by President Obama and congressional leaders, and a campaign to place state-level minimum wage proposals on the ballot in states with hotly contested congressional races."Wonk Wire
: "The minimum wage will rise in 13 states this week, and as many as 11
states and Washington, D.C., are expected to consider increases in 2014."
"Republicans count enough competitive races to challenge Democrats for control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, if only they can figure out what to do with the tea party," the AP
"The looming question is whether Republicans undercut their solid shot with tea party-style candidates who fizzled out in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada in 2010 and Indiana and Missouri in 2012."
"Georgia is keeping some Republicans awake at night. Eight candidates, including three House members, are pursuing the open seat of retiring two-term Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a state that dramatically went Republican in 1994 and rarely has looked back. Georgia hasn't elected a non-incumbent Democrat since 1998. A loss of the GOP seat would complicate any Republican math for a majority."
Archive: December 29, 2013
"Although Democrats have owned West Virginia's two Senate seats since the Eisenhower administration, Republicans are eyeing this state as one of their best bets as they seek to win a Senate majority next year," the New York Times
"An accelerating rightward tilt here was reflected recently in an awkward two-step by the Democratic nominee for an open seat, Natalie Tennant, as she distanced herself from the White House after a fund-raising trip to New York."
Archive: December 27, 2013
: "If Ted Cruz seems like a one-of-a-kind, give it time. A slew of young, hard-charging, Tea Party-endorsed Senate wannabes is looking to knock off the Republican establishment again in 2014. Some have better chances than others, but all have the unmistakable Cruzian commitment to refusing to toe the Republican Party line and make headlines while doing it. If you haven't heard of them yet, you will."
Archive: December 26, 2013
A new CNN/ORC poll
finds Democrats "have lost their advantange and Republicans now have a slight edge in the battle for control of Congress."
"Two months ago, Democrats held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates... But the Democratic lead evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats."
Archive: December 24, 2013
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), "who said last week he won't run for his House seat next year and is eyeing a potential bid for Utah governor or the Senate in 2016, knows it would be the challenge of his career, but he's not afraid," the Salt Lake Tribune
Said Matheson: "I'm a competitive guy and I'm proud of my success in elections. I don't have a problem facing competition."
No Democrat has won statewide office in Utah in 17 years.
A new Harper Polling survey
in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) with a 23 point lead over primary challenger Chris McDaniel (R), 54% to 31%.
"However, the survey also reveals peril for Cochran if the race becomes defined as a contest between the establishment Republican Party candidate and the tea party candidate."
Key findings: 59% of the electorate supports a tea party candidate to a non-tea party candidate and 66% approve of the Republican-led shutdown of the federal government in October.
Archive: December 23, 2013
New Public Policy Polling surveys
in 4 key swing Congressional districts (CA-31, CO-6, IL-13 and MI-1), as well as Speaker John Boehner's home district, "find overwhelming bipartisan opposition to cutting off extended unemployment benefits at the end of this year. Voters say they would be inclined to punish their already vulnerable representatives at the polls next year if they vote to cut off benefits."
Key finding: "Anywhere from 63-68% of voters in the five districts support continuing unemployment benefits with only 28-34% OK with cutting them...This is a rare issue in this polarized political climate where we find agreement across party lines."
President Obama's decision to tap Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) as ambassador to China "is a political boon for Democrats trying to protect their vulnerable majority, but especially for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)," Roll Call
"In the game of gavel dominoes that would be set off by Baucus vacating his chairmanship of the Finance Committee, Landrieu would likely ascend to the top of the Energy Committee, which could serve as a valuable tool in her tough 2014 re-election bid."
Archive: December 22, 2013
: "The two major parties here don't agree on many things. One of them is that it is only a matter of time before Georgia goes from being a Republican stronghold to a state that is up for grabs. In next year's elections, Democrats will be looking to speed that process along with a couple of candidates who bring fresh faces and familiar names."
"They are Senate contender Michelle Nunn, an executive who is also the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn, and gubernatorial hopeful Jason Carter, a third-term state senator who is a grandson of former president Jimmy Carter."
Archive: December 20, 2013
says his forecast shows Democrats have just a 1% chance to win control of the House of Representatives next year.
"This is a testament to the fact that current conditions in the country, and the presence of so many Republican incumbents, make it hard for the Democrats to pick up many seats. In order for that forecast to change measurably in the Democrats' favor, the economy needs to grow more rapidly or President Obama needs to become more popular, or both. A few more Republican retirements and strong Democratic challengers wouldn't hurt, either."
Sides discussed his forecast with us on the Political Wire podcast
Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina said that he is not considering an appointment in the U.S. Senate to replace departing Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), The Hill
"The Montanan was said by sources to be influential in Obama's decision to nominate Baucus as envoy to China. Speculation on Gov. Steve Bullock's appointment centered on Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is running to succeed Baucus."Wall Street Journal
: Do appointees often win Senate races?
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) told WMUR
that his move to New Hampshire was "strictly personal" and said he had "nothing to announce with regard to my future political plans."
Said Brown: "Once we get settled, we will do what many other people have done upon moving into New Hampshire. We will register to vote, get new licenses and enjoy the fact that there is no income or sales tax in New Hampshire."
Despite a poll yesterday showing Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a dead heat
with primary challenger Chris McDaniel (R), a new Harper Polling survey
shows Cochran comfortably ahead, 54% to 31%.
Archive: December 19, 2013
A new Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll
in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is in a dead heat with primary challenger Christopher McDaniel (R), 40% to 40%, with 20% still undecided.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) thinks the healthcare law will ultimately help Senate Democrats in 2014 even though some incumbents fear a backlash at the polls, The Hill
Said Reid: "I think for sure it will be a net positive."
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Pennsylvania finds Gov. Tom Corbett (R) with a negative 36% to 53% approval rating, his worst net score ever.
By a 56% to 36% margin they say that he does not deserve reelection and he trails seven possible Democratic challengers.
Archive: December 18, 2013
"Liz Cheney's husband has been registered to vote in both Virginia and Wyoming for the past nine months, even though he signed a document in Wyoming saying he was not registered elsewhere," Politico
"Honestly, it's baffling what he's doing. I don't know what his end game
is. I think if he wants to run for the U.S. Senate he should get in the
race. New Hampshire voters are not interested in begging candidates to run for office."
-- GOP strategist Dave Carney, quoted by the Boston Globe
, on former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) toying with the idea of running for U.S. Senate from New Hampshire.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll
findsz that 72% of those who disapprove of the job President Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans are doing say they'd vote for the GOP candidate for U.S. House in their district if the election were held today, while just 14% say they'd vote for the Democrat.
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Iowa finds Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) would defeat each of the six possible Republicans running for this open-seat race. His closest competitor was former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker (R), whom Braley beat 43% to 40%.
: "Which Republican advances from a potential nominating convention may have the biggest effect on which party wins the seat."
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) "will run for a 23rd term representing his Harlem district and plans an announcement as early as Thursday," the New York Daily News
Said a source: "He's decided. He's running."
Archive: December 17, 2013
Charlie Crist (D) leads Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) by 4 points in his own internal poll, 49% to 45%, Politico
"The Florida governor's race will perhaps be the most expensive campaign of 2014 and, coming in such a key presidential battleground, might be the hottest race of the midterms."
: "The first Senate primary contest will be March 4 in Texas. Rep.
Steve Stockman's last-minute challenge to GOP Sen. John Cornyn got
plenty of media attention. But unless Stockman can find a pot of gold
(worth at least $10 million or so) at the end of a rainbow, Cornyn will
cruise to victory. ... The next incumbent senator facing a primary is
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky on May 20. Gauging Matt
Bevin's credibility and McConnell's vulnerability in a primary is not
easy. But up to this point, most observers believe McConnell will
survive. ... So right out of the gate, it's very possible that two of the
highest ranking Republicans in the Senate -- McConnell and Cornyn -- win
their primaries and hand the anti-establishment crowd two high-profile
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) clinging to a one point lead over challenger Alison Lundergran Grimes (D), 43% to 42%.
Key finding: McConnell's approval rating is a dismal 31% to 61%.
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Arkansas finds Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) in a dead heat with Rep. Tom Cotton (R), 44% to 44%.
A new Des Moines Register poll
finds Iowans "see their state headed in the right direction and widely approve of Republican Terry Branstad's job as governor."
Key finding: 55% of Iowans say the state is headed in the right direction, against 33% who say it's on the wrong track.
In addition, 58% also approve of Branstad's job as
governor while just 33% disapprove of his performance.
A new Quinnipiac poll
finds Branstad's approval at 58% to 32% and by 50% to 41% think he should be reelected.
Archive: December 16, 2013
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "plans to move to New Hampshire, the latest sign that he's considering a U.S. Senate bid there, which would complicate Democrats' effort to hold their majority in the chamber," Bloomberg
"Brown, 54, has found a buyer for his Wrentham home and is set to close on that deal this week, Andrew I. Glincher, managing partner and chief executive officer at Brown's employer Nixon Peabody LLP, said in an interview. Brown will continue to work out of the law firm's Boston office because he isn't licensed to practice law in New Hampshire."
Donald Trump said he will decided soon about whether to challenge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in 2014, the Washington Post
Said Trump: "I'll make a decision ... some time pretty soon... Let's see what happens. You know, I had something else in mind. This was not actually something I wanted to do. I love the state; I love the country. But they feel very strongly about it. So at some point I'll make a decision."
Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) campaign website "issues" page appears to have been copied directly from Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn's (D) website "ideas" page BuzzFeed
The same company, Trilogy, designed both websites.
Hillary Clinton "looms large as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, but she could be a major factor in the 2014 elections too," USA Today
"Ready for Hillary, the group organizing supporters nationwide for a potential Clinton presidential campaign, says it will ask its members to support candidates endorsed by Clinton in the 2014 midterm elections, and to push her policy agenda over the next two years."
The New York Times
reports at least nine Tea Party Republicans, "a mix of former incumbents and previous challengers" are running for Congress again -- "but with a difference."
"This time they have shelved their incendiary remarks about President Obama and the national debt in favor of a narrower focus on the Affordable Care Act, which they hope will attract moderate voters from both parties, even in heavily Democratic districts, who are disenchanted with its rollout. The campaigns, if successful, could be an indication of change in some corners of the Republican Party as many former firebrands mellow their messages [and] try to capitalize on the center. At the very least, their campaigns show that some people who ran vociferously against Washington appear eager to get back there."
Archive: December 15, 2013
A new Wilson Perkins Allen poll
in Texas finds Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) crushing GOP primary challenger Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), 50% to 6%.
Archive: December 13, 2013
wisdom holds that if people see the economy improving, they will be
less likely to 'throw the bums out' in the next year's elections. But
the key is public perception of the economy, not month-to-month shifts
in numbers... My hunch is that those analysts predicting that the new
economic numbers will prompt a change in the political dynamics of 2014
are getting a bit ahead of their skis."
A new USA Today/Pew Research poll
"finds that 55% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters expect the GOP to do better than it has in recent elections, 33% think it will do about the same, while just 5% say it will do worse. Democrats and Democratic leaners are less confident: 43% say the party will do better than in recent elections, 43% about the same and 9% worse."
A new Pan Atlantic SMS Group poll
in Maine finds Rep. Mike Michaud (D) has a very slim lead over Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the race for governor, 37% to 36%, while independent Eliot Cutler trails with 18%.
Archive: December 12, 2013
"You still have more freedoms than most here in New Hampshire. I love riding my motorcycle without my helmet. I will tell you that."
-- Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), quoted by Politico
The latest Democracy Corps survey
"belies the conventional wisdom that Republicans have enjoyed a major rebound over the last few months. On the contrary, our survey of the 50 most competitive Republican House seats and the 30 most competitive Democratic seats shows that there has been no movement. Furthermore, the second tier of less vulnerable Republican target districts has actually destabilized -- meaning that there may be more Republican seats up for grabs than many believe right now."
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) "is stepping down as the head of Wall Street's biggest lobbying group," Bloomberg
"Gregg, 66, was named chief executive officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in May. He retired from the Senate in 2011. A New Hampshire Republican, he also served two terms as the state's governor. The people briefed asked not to be identified because Gregg's plans haven't been announced."
Archive: December 11, 2013
"Republicans are so nervous about Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm's re-election chances that they've quietly reached out to former GOP Congressman Vito Fossella -- who quit five years ago after confessing to having a secret second family -- to make a comeback for his old seat," the New York Post
"Grimm is currently the subject of an ongoing Justice Department probe that centers on whether his campaign solicited illegal donations from foreigners during his 2010 campaign."
reports Grimm bashed the report and other "baseless rumors."
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) "is up with her first ad
, and it's about the health-care law. It stresses her work -- and sometimes tough talk to the president -- to fix the law to make sure Obama's promise that people who like their insurance can keep it," NBC News
"The ad, to air in key markets around the state, highlights the hurdle the law presents for Democratic incumbents running in red states."
"Republican primary challengers are lining up to take on sitting
senators next year in eight of the 12 races involving sitting GOP
senators, gunning for party leaders like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky,
veterans like Thad Cochran in Mississippi and Pat Roberts in Kansas and
deal-makers like Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Texas Sen. John
Cornyn became the latest target."
Archive: December 10, 2013
A new Public Policy Polling survey
finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in a toss up with all of her potential Republican opponents.
She leads Thom Tillis (R) 44% to 42%, is tied with both Heather Grant (R) and Mark Harris (R) at 43%, and trails both Greg Brannon (R) and Bill Flynn (R) 45% to 43%.
looks at Rep. Steve Stockman's surprise announcement last night that he'll challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in a Republican Senate primary next year.
"One can't help but wonder if this primary challenge is more about Stockman trying to list build for his various political businesses than it is about winning. In a lot of ways, Stockman reminds us of JD Hayworth, who challenged John McCain in 2010 -- he's someone who can get 35%-40% of the vote, but probably can't take down Cornyn. But what Stockman DOES do, which is what Matt Bevin does to Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, is freeze the Senate GOP leadership from doing anything that remotely looks like compromising with the Democrats. McConnell and Cornyn are essentially non-players in the Senate until they get past these challenges."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 40%, with 16% still undecided.
In the U.S. Senate race, Terri Lynn Land (R) leads Gary Peter (D), 42% to 40%.
Archive: December 09, 2013
A new Inc./WomanTrend poll
in Arkansas finds Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) by seven points, 48% to 41%.
Key finding: 62% of those polled have an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) told WND
that he will run against against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the state's Republcian primary race.
Stockman blamed the incumbent GOP senator for undermining Sen. Ted Cruz's "fight to stop Obamacare."
Said Stockman: "We are extremely disappointed in the way he treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined Ted Cruz's fight to stop Obamacare. And now, it looks like Cruz was right and Cornyn was wrong. He sided with the president, essentially, in making sure Obamacare became law while Cruz did everything possible to stop it."
looks at seven races to watch for how Obamacare could impact the 2014 midterm elections.
"In 2010, Republicans rode a wave of frustration over the economy and
health-care overhaul, recapturing control of the House of
Representatives. This time around, they're focused on keeping that
majority and looking toward gains in the Senate - and they'll rely on
the bungled HealthCare.gov rollout to fuel voter support."
calls an improving economy the sleeper issue for 2014.
"Consider that stronger attitudes about the economy and nation's direction could raise the president's job-approval rating five, six, or seven points. Democrats' chances next year are much better if Obama's approval is in the high 40s than the low 40s."
"Then there are the vulnerable GOP governors in states like Florida (where the unemployment rate is 6.5%), Maine (6.7%), Ohio (7.5%), Pennsylvania (7.5%), and Wisconsin (6.5%). The unemployment rate dropping another full point in these states would represent quite the talking point for these governors. Ditto vulnerable Democratic governors in Colorado (6.8%), Connecticut (7.9%), and Illinois (8.9%)."
Former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) is not ruling out a third-party run for governor next year, the Columbia State
Said Bauer: "I'm hearing more and more people say they are fed up with the two-party system. And they have asked me about running."
When asked if a third-party run would end up siphoning enough votes away from Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to give the race to Vincent Sheheen (D), Bauer shot back: "You don't think a third-party candidate (can) win?"
: "Bauer is a VERY flawed candidate, but we're believers that his message ("people are fed up with the two-party system) is a potentially powerful one for folks in 2014. Just something to keep an eye on..."
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), "to the surprise of almost no one, apparently plans to announce a bid for re-election Monday morning at a Portland elementary school," the Oregonian
Kitzhaber "served two terms starting in the mid-1990s and won a historic third term in 2010. He has been giving signs in recent weeks that he plans to run again, identifying tax reform as his next big initiative."
"Kitzhaber's entry into the race would essentially clear the primary field of Democrats who might have gubernatorial ambitions, and would make him the immediate front-runner against any Republican in the general election."
: "Democrats increasingly view championing the pay of hourly workers as a can't-lose issue that revs up their base of liberal, black, and Hispanic voters. Perhaps more importantly, it also resonates with the white, blue-collar workers who overwhelmingly side with Republicans."
"Since minority participation tapers off in mid-term elections, assailing Republican opposition to hiking the minimum wage could be a more potent Democratic wedge than immigration reform, particularly in red states with competitive U.S. Senate campaigns, such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Louisiana."
A new U-T San Diego/10News poll
in San Diego finds the two-month sprint to become San Diego's next mayor begins in a statistical dead heat with Kevin Faulconer (R) just edging David Alvarez (D), 47% to 46%, among likely voters.
Republicans "are so giddy about the prospect of winning" Sen. Mary Landrieu's (R-LA) seat "that their main problem is too many of them are trying to do so," the New York Times
"As Democrats look across the rest of the South, the outlook does not get much better. Ms. Landrieu, along with Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, is pretty much all that is left of Southern Democrats in the Senate."
"All three are up for re-election next year. And the outcome of their races could determine whether the Southern Democrat, once a formidable species in the Senate, is headed for extinction."
Archive: December 07, 2013
Former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie told Politico
that is considering a run against Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) next year.
Said Gillespie: "It's a very winnable race."
"Gillespie, who has never sought public office, floated the trial balloon at The Homestead resort, where about 500 activists and party leaders are gathered for a three-day annual meeting... Virginia's Senate race is currently not seen as competitive, but Gillespie's entry would all-but-guarantee a real battle and could put the state on the map in 2014."
Archive: December 06, 2013
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has decided to seek re-election and is expected to
announce that decision shortly, Roll Call
The incumbent will likely
face a competitive primary election against state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R).
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was in New Hampshire last night but kept dodging the question of whether he would run for Senate from that state, the Londonberry Patch
Said Brown: "I don't think anything's off the table at this point. I'm in no hurry, there's no timetable."
Meanwhile, a video
caught Brown showing he wasn't even sure what state he was in.Politico
: "Scott Brown: Where am I?"
Archive: December 05, 2013
A new Field Poll
finds California Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) public approval rating "has surged to a new high, and he is the overwhelming early favorite to win re-election next year."
Key finding: 58% approve of the job Brown is doing, up seven points from July.
Brown leads his closest Republican challengers, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R), by more than 40 points.
Said pollster Mark DiCamillio: "It's overwhelming. Voters may be satisfied enough with Jerry Brown that they never seriously entertain any of the challengers. At least that's what it's looking like at this stage."
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) "is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party's gay congressional candidates," Politico
"Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn't back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described... by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks."
"The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure there are no Todd Akin-style gaffes next year, so it's meeting with top aides of sitting Republicans to teach them what to say -- or not to say -- on the trail, especially when their boss is running against a woman," Politico
"Speaker John Boehner is serious, too. His own top aides met recently with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents."
Archive: December 04, 2013
: "Prognostications about the upcoming midterm election are coming fast and furious. The bullishness about the Democrats' prospects, so frequently expressed (and exaggerated) during the government shutdown, is gone. Current forecasts typically range from 'a midterm headache for Democrats' to 'a midterm nightmare' for Democrats and possibly even another Republican wave. But at this moment, what's most likely is something less dramatic, at least as far as the House of Representatives is concerned. An early version of this blog's forecasting model suggests that there will be only a small shift in House seats in 2014 -- one more likely to advantage Republicans than Democrats, but one that will fall far short of a wave."
For another perspective on 2014, listen to our recent conversation with Larry Sabato:
Subscribe via iTunes
to get episodes automatically downloaded.
Sources close to former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) tell the Washington Examiner
that the odds of him running for U.S. Senate in neighboring Massachusetts "have risen to 50-50."
Said one: "He's certainly leaving the option open, whereas he's closed the door on other races. The only door he's leaving open is New Hampshire Senate."
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) "is out with a new TV ad
offering a Biblical solution to the already heated 2014 Senate race in Arkansas," KATV
"Pryor's campaign said the ad will begin airing on Wednesday. In the 30 second ad, Pryor speaks directly to the camera about his faith in the Bible. The ad is a substantial purchase for the campaign and will run statewide."
Says Pryor: "I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God, and I believe in His word. The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers. Only God does. And neither political party is always right. This is my compass. My North Star. It gives me comfort and guidance to do what's best for Arkansas."
Tampa Bay Times
"In a bad sign for Charlie Crist's fledgling gubernatorial bid, his
hotshot new campaign manager has left the team. Bill Hyers, fresh off
his big New York City win managing the campaign of Mayor-elect Bill de
Blasio, was slated any day now to start working full time for the former
Florida governor and had already been introduced to donors."
"House Democrats are stockpiling cash, and some GOP strategists have expressed concern that Democrats could use their financial advantage to expand the playing field." Nathan Gonzales
"Through October, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $65 million and had $25 million in the bank for the 2014 cycle. The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $52 million during that same period and had $18 million in the bank. If Democrats continue to outpace Republicans in fundraising, that $7 million cash discrepancy could grow between now and next November."
"I'm David, and he's Goliath. That's just the reality of it. However, the path to victory just gets wider and wider."
-- Matt Bevin (R), quoted by the Wall Street Journal
, on his longshot bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
"Supporters of Liz Cheney, whose campaign for a Senate seat in Wyoming got off to a rocky start, have created a super PAC to bolster her 'name awareness and approval rating,'" the New York Times
"The group is hosting a high-dollar fund-raiser this week in Washington featuring her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, at a Georgetown restaurant, according to an emailed invitation."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney "reluctantly commented on the rift between his two daughters Liz and Mary Cheney, saying that he was surprised that Mary, who is lesbian, and her wife attacked Liz
on Facebook," ABC News
Said Cheney: "We were surprised that there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook, and wished it hadn't happened. It's always been dealt with within the context of the family and frankly that's our preference."
Archive: December 03, 2013
: "It's widely accepted as an article of faith that Obamacare will be uniformly bad politics for Dems in 2014. After all, the rollout is a disaster and majorities disapprove of the law, so how could it possibly be any other way, right?"
"Here's something that counter-programs that narrative a bit: Democrats are currently using a major pillar of the health law -- the Medicaid expansion -- as a weapon against Republican Governors in multiple 2014 races. Many of these Governors opted out of the expansion or have advanced their own replacement solutions, and many are facing serious challenges."
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) tells the AP
that he's weighing whether he'll run for Louisiana governor, with plans to decide by January.
"The Republican senator said he expects to have a decision after the holidays... If Vitter decides to make a bid for the position, he'd be a formidable candidate. His Louisiana approval ratings are high. Other possible GOP contenders have been waiting for Vitter's decision to determine if they'll run."
: "There is a natural human tendency to believe that any major development,
no matter how long before an election, will be the last important
influence on said election. This theory is fine in the last days before
an election, but with almost a year to go, it is pretty unlikely that
the national political situation will suddenly become static for well
over 300 days."
: "Today, there's a very frustrated American public that's disillusioned with the president, angry at an ineffective Congress, turned off by a seemingly intolerant Republican Party that's unwilling to govern, and fed up with a Democratic Party that's had difficulty governing. There's a crisis in confidence and competence that's hurting everyone, and that requires some serious soul-searching by Washington's politicians and both major parties. Yes, perhaps President Obama's low approval ratings enable the GOP to win back the Senate. And yes, perhaps the public's dissatisfaction with the GOP -- as well as the country's changing demographics -- make Democrats the front-runners to hold the White House in 2016."
"But something larger is going on here, which could upend everything and produce unintended consequences. If there were serious independent candidates running for the House and Senate in 2014, they would get serious looks; interestingly, though, very few legitimate indie candidates have popped up yet. But don't be surprised if by the spring of 2014, there are a slew of semi-serious indie candidates in enough places to wreak some havoc."
Wall Street Journal
: "The ability of Democrats to keep control of the Senate in 2014 will depend largely on elections in southern states... Three of the four most vulnerable Senate Democrats in the 2014 election are from the South."
"Republicans believe Arkansas is their best shot at knocking off an incumbent, making Mr. Pryor a prime target in the battle for control of the chamber. The GOP needs to add six seats to win a majority in the Senate, an achievable but far-from-certain goal. It is hard to see how they could hit that mark if they can't win here."First Read
: "To win back the Senate in 2014, Republicans need to net six seats. And
here's their path: win six of seven states, all of which Mitt Romney
carried in 2012 -- Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina,
South Dakota, and West Virginia."
: "Democrats have had a nice run recently of interesting House recruits and new takeover opportunities resulting from open GOP seats. And yet, it probably won't matter."
"If history is any guide -- and it usually is -- the president's recent problems have already overshadowed that good news for House Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, all but erasing any chances that the party can win back the House next year."
Archive: December 02, 2013
Ending weeks of speculation, Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray (D) announced that he would run for a second term, the Washington Post
"Gray's decision to run for reelection reshapes the District's political landscape for the April 2014 Democratic primary. Three council members -- Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) -- had announced their plans as far back as March."
: "It could be election fatigue, or maybe everyone is waiting for Governor Christie to anoint someone. But no New Jersey Republican has jumped into the race for U.S. Senate next year, despite all the talk in October about how Democrat Cory Booker will be vulnerable because he "only" won by 11 percentage points, instead of the 20 points some polls showed."
: "So what are we fighting about? How smoothly the law operates, and how many customers it manages to enroll by the end of Obama's term, are open questions. Likewise up for debate is whether Obama's approval ratings will recover. But these are not fundamentally questions about the life or death of Obamacare. They're about how much political pain Democrats in Congress must endure. We're not fighting over health care policy. We're fighting about the midterm elections."
Democratic Party is hoping 2014 will be a Year of the Woman--again. As
party operatives prepare for the 2014 midterm elections, Democratic
women are being cast in starring roles, on the ballot and at the ballot
box, as the party tries to take back politically important governor's
mansions and keep its fragile majority in the Senate."
"In 2012, Democrats snagged Senate seats from Republicans in states
where the GOP should have prevailed with relative ease. In 2014,
Republicans want to show they can play that game, too. The GOP could
conceivably capture the Senate by winning in seven states currently
represented by Democrats but that Mitt Romney carried. But running the
table in those states is a very tall task, party strategists freely
acknowledge, so they're working to expand the map of competitive races
to states like Iowa, Michigan, Colorado and several others."
Archive: December 01, 2013
Former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) said he has changed his mind and will try to defeat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for his old seat next year, WMUR
Smith said that he "had made a decision not to run largely to get out of the way for other candidates, but as weeks came and went no major candidates got into the race, and he kept getting encouragement to run."
Said Smith: "I have a decision to run again for the Senate. This is nothing personally against Jeanne Shaheen, who I like as a person, but I couldn't disagree more with her politics."
Just before Thanksgiving, former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) dropped the "MA" from his Twitter handle and he is now @SenScottBrown, WMUR
The move prompts more speculation Brown is preparing for a U.S. Senate run for New Hampshire.
Archive: November 27, 2013
: "In seven of eight Senate races the incumbent senator facing a serious or
semi-serious primary challenger is a Republican. That's in contrast to
incumbent Democrats. In the eight races just one includes an incumbent
Democrat with a primary challenger."
: "President Obama's poll numbers are at record lows. The health care law that serves as the cornerstone of his domestic policy legacy is even more unpopular. And there are few chances to change the conversation among a skeptical public that isn't happy with Washington."
"Sound familiar? It should: The national political climate today is starting to resemble 2010, when Republicans won control of the House of Representatives by riding a wave of voter anger."
: "Combined with a favorable map, Republican momentum has put control of the Senate firmly in play. In fact, the 7 seats most likely to switch parties in our latest Hotline Senate Rankings are only Democratic-held. If Republicans flip 6 of the 7 -- without losing any of their own vulnerable seats -- they would control the Senate in 2015."
"Overall, 13 of the 15 most vulnerable seats are held by Democrats. Just two GOP-held seats are even somewhat in danger of flipping parties: Georgia, where Republicans could nominate a controversial candidate like Rep. Paul Broun, and Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't popular and faces well-funded primary and general-election challengers."
Archive: November 26, 2013
Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) has a new TV ad "showing off his modest watch, a symbol of his down-to-earth frugality," the Chicago Tribune
Says his official bio
: "Bruce has never let his success change him. He still drives a 20-year-old camper van, wears an $18 watch, and stays in the cheapest hotel room he can find when he's on the road."
But he doesn't mention his real estate portfolio which includes nine homes in Illinois, Florida, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and "a penthouse in a landmark co-op building along New York's Central Park, which property records show Rauner bought in 2005 for $10 million."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Illinois finds Gov. Pat Quinn (D) "continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country, but the Democratic lean of the state is enough to still make him neck and neck in hypothetical contests with the Republicans vying to take him on next fall."
Key findings: "Only 34% of voters approve of the job Quinn is doing to 60% who disapprove... In match ups with his potential GOP foes Quinn leads Bruce Rauner (R) 41% to 38%, trails Dan Rutherford (R) 41% to 39%, and ties both Bill Brady (R) and Kirk Dillard (R) at 41% and 39% respectively."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Pennsylvania finds Gov. Tom Corbett's (R) political situation has gone from bad to worse in the last eight months.
Key findings: "Corbett is now the most unpopular Governor anywhere in the country that we've polled, with only 24% of voters approving of him to 65% who disapprove. It's gotten to the point where Corbett's numbers are even upside down with Republicans, only 37% of whom approve of him with 51% disapproving."
More bad news: "Corbett already trailed his potential Democratic opponents by 7 to 11 points in March but those deficits have increased to 12-20 points now."
A new CNN/ORC International survey
finds Republicans with a two-point edge in the generic congressional ballot, 49% to 47% -- a big reversal from just last month when Democrats led by eight points.
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) begins his re-election year with a seven point lead over a largely
unknown possible Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald (D), 44% to 37%.
Archive: November 25, 2013
A Smart Politics
review "of gubernatorial elections since the end of World War II finds that ex-governors have won back their old seats 57% of the time out of nearly seven-dozen such contests conducted during this 68-year period... However, a deeper dig into the data finds the odds of success fall off a bit when these ex-governors square up against an incumbent -- like Crist would face in Rick Scott."
"During these governor-on-governor battles, ex-governors have knocked incumbents out of office just 12 times out of 29 contests since 1945, or 41% of the time."
Liz Cheney (R) touts her family and Wyoming connections in a new ad
for her U.S. Senate campaign.
: "The ad comes as the rest of her family is in the spotlight for their very public feud over Cheney's opposition to gay marriage, and as the candidate continues to be dogged by questions about her authenticity and ties to the state."
The New York Post
reports that a battle between Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Gov. Chris Christie (R) "may start sooner than expected -- in the race for New York governor next year and not, as has been widely speculated, in the 2016 presidential contest."
Christie reportedly told Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) last week that "he's ready to back him to the hilt" if Astorino challenges Cuomo in next year's gubernatorial election.
quotes Cuomo: "I can tell you this: I spoke to Gov. Christie this morning who told me the exact opposite. And I'll leave it at that."
the Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist paid dearly for
putting his arms around President Obama at a town hall touting the
Democrats' economic-stimulus plan in February 2009. The governor's chief
rival for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, replayed footage of the embrace
over and over, savaging Crist's conservative credentials. Now running
as a Democrat for his old job, Crist may find that his continued embrace
of an increasingly unpopular president--and his controversial health
care law--could thwart him once again."
Archive: November 24, 2013
Bill Hyers is "suddenly a blazing hot commodity after managing Bill de Blasio's New York mayoral victory. Almost without taking a breath, he has been snapped up to run the marquee 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign of Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist," the Washington Post
"He has millions of dollars in his campaign account, solid approval ratings and a small number of potential challengers who are virtually unknown, but Gov. Jerry Brown still won't say whether he'll run for reelection next year," the Los Angeles Times
"Although Brown stays mostly out of the spotlight, his aggressive fundraising -- and his preference for biding his time -- put the safe money on a run for an unprecedented fourth term as governor, a race he would enter as a strong front-runner. And experts say that despite an already respectable war chest, it behooves him to wait."
Archive: November 23, 2013
Liz Cheney (R) "is ending the roughest week of her political career by reserving nearly $40,000 more in TV time in Wyoming, a significant buy nine months before the Senate primary," Politico
"Using this map
, you can see every US media market with reference to political leanings, voter demographics, upcoming 2014 political races and what it will likely cost to place an ad in each market."
Archive: November 22, 2013
Minneapolis City Pages
published photos of Stewart Mills (R), who is seeking to unseat Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), which show him drinking from a beer bong and licking the mouth of a woman to whom he is not married.
His statement: "It's no secret that in the past I've let my hair down to have fun with family and friends. My wife and I have had many lighthearted moments in our lives but right now I am focused on my Congressional campaign and the disastrous effects of our overreaching government and sky high unemployment in the north eastern Minnesota."
Bill Bryk (D), "a 58-year-old attorney from Brooklyn who's never been west of Buffalo, N.Y., is challenging current U.S. Senator Mark Begich in Alaska's 2014 Democratic primary," the Anchorage Daily News
Said Bryk: "If the Democrats of Alaska are so wise as to nominate me at their primary then indeed I will be a resident of Alaska on Election Day. Until that time, though, it's not necessary."
"Bryk is something of a serial out-of-state candidate. He's run, unsuccessfully, for Congress in Indiana and for U.S. Senate seats in Wyoming and Idaho. There may even be another state in there somewhere."
The Obama administration "is planning to push back the period during which Americans sign up for coverage under the new health law in its second year of operation, a change that could reassure insurers while also avoiding the 2014 midterm elections," the Wall Street Journal
Such a shift "would ensure that Democrats facing tough re-election races next fall don't have to campaign at the same time as open enrollment is taking place, although some premium information would be already available during the campaign."
A new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll
in Louisiana finds Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) approval rating falling more than ten points to 47% in the last six months.
Said pollster Bernie Pinsonat: "Senator Landrieu's job performance has deteriorated since this spring. If (she) faced re-election in the next few months, her outlook for re-election would be highly unlikely."
That said, Landrieu still leads Bill Cassidy (R) by seven points, 41% to 34%. "But the data questioned whether she would be able to clinch the 50% necessary to win outright. With Tea Party-endorsed Republican Rob Maness receiving just under 10% in the poll, Cassidy could conceivably win in a runoff if he could claim all or most of Maness' support for himself."
Archive: November 21, 2013
Here's a must-read: How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014
by Colin Delany.
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) trailing former Gov. Charlie
Crist (I) by seven points in his re-election bid, 47% to 40%.
Key finding: Voters says Scott does not deserve to be reelected by 53% to 37%.
To avenge his defeat last year, former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) "has promised to put his financial means and political mettle toward ousting his successor," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Roll Call
"Their race proved to be one of the state's most bitter battles between two Democrats, thanks in part to California's new primary system."
Said Stark: "Hopefully Eric will lose, and I am doing everything I can to see that Ellen Corbett wins that primary election. ... I remember Eric, during the campaign against me, suggested that I was too old and inept to be of any value in the political process, so I am going to see if I can prove that to be wrong."
"I'm not supporting Liz's candidacy."
-- Mary Cheney, in emails to Politico
, on her sister's U.S. Senate campaign.
Archive: November 20, 2013
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) just ahead of Ken Buck (R) in a possible re-election match up, 45% to 42%.
Udall holds slim leads over five other possible GOP challengers as well.
Said pollster Tim Malloy: "Though running even or ahead of six possible Republican challengers, Sen. Mark Udall must be pulling for a quick fix of the Obamacare website and a change of heart by Coloradans who dislike the Affordable Care Act by a wide margin."
Archive: November 19, 2013
A new Quinnipiac poll
in Colorado finds that voters say that Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) does not deserve re-election by a 49% to 42% margin.
Nonetheless, Hickenlooper edges four possible GOP challengers: 46% to 41% over Tom Tancredo (R), 45% to 40% over Scott Gessler (R), 44% to 38% over Greg Brophy (R), and 44% to 40% over Mike Kopp (R)/
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Montana shows Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) with pretty substantial leads over both possible Democratic challengers.
Daines leads John Bohlinger (D), 51% to 36%, and tops John Walsh (D), 52% to 35%.
Key findings: "But the number that may be most important to the US Senate race at this point is 34. That's Barack Obama's approval rating in the state, with 63% of voters disapproving of him. Only 31% of voters in the state support the Affordable Care Act to 58% opposed, and just 14% think the rollout of the ACA has been a success to 82% who think it's been unsuccessful. 63% rate it as being 'very unsuccessful.' All of that is making it a tough start to the race for Democrats."
Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) weighs in about the war of words
between Wyoming U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney (R) and sister Mary over same sex marriage, First Read
Said Simpson: "You're not even destroying friendships -- you're destroying family relationships just because of this race. It's hard for all of us who know the Cheneys to see the things she's doing to win this race. It's almost like she'll do anything to win this race, because I cannot ever believe that there would be a breach between she and Mary."The Week
: Why the Cheney family feud may hurt the GOP.
: "Another day, another poll... As NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R) has emailed clients, history shows that it's difficult for presidents to recover from nosedives like this. And if that's true, Obama will be a liability in 2014, period."
"But it will be important to see where Obama's approval rating is come Spring 2014, assuming the health-care website gets fixed and the Affordable Care Act rollout becomes a distant memory. Barring something unforeseen, these next two months are perhaps the president's last shot at getting right before the midterms. He needs a working website and a State of the Union that somehow instills some hope that he's up to the job as a leader. How the public responds will tell us if Obama will be able to recover in time for the midterms."
"So when people ask, 'Why in the world is Elizabeth Cheney taking on
Mike Enzi?' maybe the answer ought to be, 'Why not?' With so many Senate
seats now in states where the opposition party has no plausible chance
of winning, it does inject a bit of competition where there is
effectively none and punishes complacency in a body where members in
one-party states could easily get that way. When there is so much
animosity toward Washington, it actually is surprising that there are
fewer incumbents facing primary challenges. Cheney's run appears to be a
campaign against Washington more than an ideological jihad. It would be
wrong to see this as a tea-party challenge; this is more of an
outsider--albeit from an insider family--running against a longtime
incumbent. These are so rare that they are newsworthy."
A new St. Pete Polls survey
in Florida's 13th congressional district finds Alex Sink (D) leading Kathleen Powers (R), 50% to 31%, and topping David Jolly (R), 49% to 35%.
Rep. Phil Gingrey's (R-GA) campaign for U.S. Senate took a blow as four top staffers resigned, the Atlanta Journal Constitution
"We understand this was, in part, the result of a leadership struggle within the campaign. The Gingrey campaign has been marred by gaffes from the candidate -- the latest when the congressman's complaints on the issue of health care coverage for congressional staffers, made during a private House GOP caucus meeting, were leaked."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in trouble if he decides to run for re-election.
Cochran leads Chris McDaniel (R) in a head-to-head Republican primary match up by just six points, 44% to 38%.
Key finding: When asked if they want to vote for Cochran or "someone more conservative," 55% of GOP primary voters chose the generic more conservative option.
Archive: November 18, 2013
The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll
finds the bottom has fallen out for everyone in the nation's political leadership.
"Just 38% of those polled said they approved of Obama's job performance, with 55% disapproving. That's the lowest approval, and highest disapproval, the Heartland Monitor poll has recorded for Obama in the 19 times it has measured his standing since April 2009."
"Americans are even more dubious about Congress. Just 9% of those polled (down from 21% last November) approved of its performance. Fully 84% disapproved. Almost nine-in-10 of those who disapproved of Obama's performance also gave Congress a thumbs-down; 56% of those who disapproved of Congress also flunked Obama."
: "Republicans are giddy about their chances to retake the Senate on the back of a disaster known as Obamacare. There's just one problem: The GOP doesn't have the right candidates to make it happen."
"Sure, in the high-profile races of 2014, Republicans have recruited competitive contenders to take on red-state Democrats. But in the second-tier contests, the ones that could suddenly become competitive if the national mood turns increasingly toxic for Democrats, the GOP's cast of hopefuls ranges from the unknown to the unelectable."
Former Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS) "says he is considering entering the Mississippi Senate race next year -- particularly if longtime Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) opts not to seek another term," the Washington Post
"Conservative and tea party groups have lined up behind GOP candidate and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who got into the race in advance of Cochran's announcement. The prospect of a hard-fought GOP primary has Democrats hoping to capitalize in a tough state."
"The biggest Republican-leaning money machines are spending dramatically less to help the party ahead of the 2014 congressional elections, a year after big-dollar conservative groups poured millions into unsuccessful campaigns against President Obama and Democratic candidates, and the GOP failed to retake the White House or the Senate," the AP
"Groups such as American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce no longer are willing to risk major investments on hard-line conservatives who embarrassed GOP leaders last fall and rattled the confidence of party donors. Many remain concerned after last month's government shutdown highlighted Republican divisions... Outside spending on television ads designed to benefit Republican Senate candidates is down almost 60% compared with two years ago."
A new Siena poll
in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) with the the lowest job performance rating he's had since becoming governor, 44% to 52%.
That said, Cuomo still has a 61% favorability rating and crushes potential challengers in hypothetical match up.s
Archive: November 17, 2013
"After Republican primaries produced that horror show of candidates in two consecutive elections, probably costing the party control of the Senate, GOP leaders vowed that 2014 must be different," Politico
"But as Barack Obama learned the hard way, promising change is one thing, producing it is another. And while the GOP has clearly made headway this year curbing intraparty, resource-draining firefights that yield outside-the-mainstream nominees, it's less apparent that the progress will be enough to net the six seats it takes to make Mitch McConnell majority leader."
Archive: November 16, 2013
: "Americans profess detestation of politics and its practitioners, but their behavior belies their rhetoric. Last month, a poll reported that 60 percent of Americans favor voting out of office all congressional incumbents, including their own representatives. But just 11 months before this poll revealed the electorate's (supposedly) extraordinary dyspepsia, voters reelected 90 percent of representatives and 91 percent of senators. Most Americans most of the time have better things to do than feel strongly (aggrieved or otherwise) about politics. They are not as angry about goings-on in Washington as they say they are, or imagine themselves to be, or think they ought to be when a pollster takes their emotional temperature."
Archive: November 15, 2013
"If you don't like your Democratic House member, you don't have to keep him or her."
-- Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), quoted by National Journal
A new DFM Research survey
finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) deadlocked in the U.S. Senate race, 41% to 40%.
Key findings: McConnell's favorable rating is 35%, his unfavorable rating is 55%.
Democrats close to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) are letting potential supporters know the three-term senator is "waiting in the wings" if Charlie Crist's (D) campaign for Florida governor stumbles, the News Service of Florida
"Nelson's chief of staff, Pete Mitchell, called some prominent Democrats recently and told them the 71-year-old Nelson, who has been coy about his interest in the governor's race, is considering a bid."
Texas Sen. John Cornyn launches his campaign for a third six-year term
on Friday with a rally in Austin, it will feature a cameo appearance by
Gov. Rick Perry -- but no sign of tea party-backed freshman Sen. Ted
: "One Democratic pollster recently (and aptly) summed up the sentiment: 'Voters want to punish Republicans but not reward Democrats.' This dynamic suggests we are in for either a highly muddled election outcome next year--hardly the stuff for a wave, because one party has to be rewarded and looked favorably upon to create a wave--or a highly volatile environment, what a meteorologist might describe as an 'unstable air mass.' The latter dynamic could translate into a lot of surprise election outcomes, but not necessarily in any uniform direction."Joshua Green
: "Americans are fast losing faith in the president, his party, and his
signature policy achievement. But while they're open to the idea of
handing power to the opposition, Republicans are busy demonstrating that
they have no idea how to govern."
Neel Kashkari (R), the former assistant Treasury secretary who oversaw the TARP bank bailout in the Bush administration, is mulling a bid against California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in what would be his first political campaign, the San Francisco Chronicle
"Kashkari -- who is pro-choice, favors same-sex marriage rights and voted for Barack Obama in 2008 -- is talking like a candidate on a mission to rebrand a California Republican Party that is tired of losing."
Archive: November 14, 2013
A new Fox News poll
shows Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot, 43 to 40%. In last month's poll, Democrats led, 45% to 37%.
"The improvement in the generic Republican candidate's position comes mostly from increased support among independents. Republicans still trail Democrats in congressional job ratings."
"A tea party group has launched a campaign to support primary
challenges against all 87 Republicans who voted for the deal in late
October to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling."
"If I win, I might demand a recount."
-- Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD), quoted by Roll Call
, on possibly running an unconventional idealistic campaign for his old seat.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is dating a 36-year-old Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, the New York Post
Booker remarked last summer that his "great dismay" was he has not "settled down with a life partner" but was amused at speculation he might be gay.
Archive: November 13, 2013
A new Quinnipiac poll
finds voters evenly divided on whether they would vote for a Democrat or a Republican in their Congressional district, 39% to 39%.
Democrats held a 9 point edge in early October.
Voters still disapprove of Republicans in Congress, 73% to 20%, more than they disapprove of Democrats, 62% to 30%.
In a candid moment, Sen. McConnell (R-KY) told reporters that Obamacare was all that he wanted to discuss at a press conference, WFPL
Said McConnell: "I'm probably not going to be answering questions about anything else, but I'm happy to respond to questions about Obamacare. As some of you have complained from time to time that I don't do a stake out after every event and I'm not going to do a stake out after every event because as you can imagine I prefer the news of that day to be what I'd like for it to be rather than what you all may be interested in pursuing."Wonk Wire
: Can Obamacare survive more bad news?
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Maine finds Mike Michaud (D) leading Paul LePage (R) in the race for governor, 38% to 36%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 15%.
In a two-way race, Michaud leads LePage 53% to 39%.
Archive: November 12, 2013
Rep. Phill Gingrey (R-GA) released a new ad
saying he would repeal Obamacare in his first term as a U.S. Senator or not run again.
Said Gingrey: "I'll help repeal Obamacare in my first term or go home because you deserve a senator who gets the job done or gets out of the way. Repeal or go home, that's my pledge to you."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in North Carolina finds the U.S. Senate race "has tightened up quite a bit in the last couple months, with early attacks ads on Kay Hagan and the unpopular rollout of Obamacare taking a toll on her poll numbers."
Hagan is now basically tied with her Republican challengers, leading Heather Grant (R) 43% to 40%, Thom Tillis (R) 44% to 42%, and Mark Harris (R) 43% to 41% while trailing Greg Brannon 44% to 43%.
Archive: November 11, 2013
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) "refuses to follow the political script. He scoffs at politicians who use teleprompters. He casts aside speeches his aides write. It's all part of the image McCrory wants to project as the outsider," the Raleigh News and Observer
"But McCrory's improvisational approach has risks. At least a dozen times in his first 10 months as governor, McCrory's remarks have sparked controversies. McCrory is prone to misspeaking. He generalizes in a way that can insult key constituencies. And he mispronounces the names of even his closest aides."
Some New Mexico Democrats "wonder whether the governor portrayed in the national media is the same Susana Martinez they know. At the least, they paint a picture less rosy than the ones published outside the state extolling her bipartisan success," the Santa Fe New Mexican
"There have been pieces of legislation that Martinez was able to pass with the cooperation of Democrats... But there also have been bruising legislative fights in which, Democrats say, Martinez has shown little if any willingness to compromise. And the harsh attack ads and mailers Martinez ran against some Democrats during the 2012 election still are fresh on the minds of lawmakers."
"More than half of those surveyed in a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll
say they approve of the job Brown is doing as governor -- the highest rating since he retook the governor's office in 2011. Yet only 32% say they are inclined to vote for Brown if he seeks an unprecedented fourth term as California's chief executive next year."
"Moreover, respondents give Brown little credit for what is widely considered as his signature achievement since returning to the governor's office in 2011 -- erasing a $26 billion state deficit. Only 38% say they approve of the way Brown has handled the issue; 47% disapprove."
Archive: November 10, 2013
"Business leaders are plotting to take down Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) as part of a broader effort to punish lawmakers over the government shutdown," The Hill
Prominent Michigan donors are requesting financial backing for Amash's primary challenger, Brian Ellis (R), arguing that Amash "and others have effectively nullified the Republican majority in the U.S. House."
Former Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) "wants to get back to Congress -- to take on his own party," The Hill
"Dold is attempting a comeback against former Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), who he lost to by less than 2,500 votes in a heavily Democratic suburban Chicago district last fall. The self-described moderate hoping to win his rematch by painting himself as the more bipartisan of the two -- and the one more willing to take on members of his conference."
Archive: November 09, 2013
"The signs are mounting. Scott Brown travels almost weekly to New Hampshire. Last month he formed a political action committee there to raise funds; this week he attacked the state's Democratic senator on his favorite target: national health care," the Boston Globe
"Now national Republicans are pushing the former Massachusetts senator to declare his candidacy for the US Senate from New Hampshire. And they insist, despite mixed signals from Brown, that he is seriously weighing such a run."
Archive: November 08, 2013
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) traveled with President Obama to New Orleans on Air Force One but she didn't attend his speech about boosting exports, the New Orleans Times Picayune
Landrieu in up for re-election next year.
notes how Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) once said he might "hack the Senate."
"But his first week in the Senate -- marked by deference to his colleagues, near-constant admissions that he has much to learn, and an obsessive focus on his home state -- looked nothing at all like the jolt to the Beltway he articulated earlier this year, before the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. And as Booker works to gain his footing in 'the world's greatest deliberative body,' it remains an open question whether he has the wherewithal to match his reformist rhetoric with action."
: "Tucked away in recent polls--which have documented the extraordinary anger directed at the Republican Party during the shutdown crisis--are measures of clear disappointment with the Democratic Party. The disappointment is substantial, and it raises big questions about the 2014 midterms."
"One clear troubling sign for the Democrats at this early stage is independent voters, who decide most elections. They are evenly divided, according to Pew's mid-October survey: 43% say that "if the elections for Congress were being held today," they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district, 43% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate."
"It is not too much of an oversimplification to say that Democrats are struggling because President Obama is struggling."
Archive: November 07, 2013
"We need to challenge the tea party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down."
-- Former Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger (D), quoted by the Helena Montana Record
, on why he's running for U.S. Senate.
"I am pro-life. I care about the life of every child: every child that goes
to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education,
every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the
Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children's future
and their ability to provide for that future. I care about life and I
have a record of fighting for people above all else."
-- Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D), quoted by the Dallas Morning News
, borrowing a phrase from anti-abortion
West Virginia state auditor Glen Gainer (D) will run for congress against Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) next year, WAJR
"The 21 year Auditor and popular Democratic politician has been looking at a possible run for Congress in 2014 since March. Gainer says he's gotten hundreds of phone calls, emails and texts and some days it's been overwhelming."
Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), "ending months of speculation about when and if he would jump into Montana's potentially pivotal U.S. Senate race, officially launched his campaign Wednesday, saying it's time for Republicans to take control of the Senate," the Billings Gazette
"With a year to go until the midterm elections, immigration reform advocates hoping to jump-start debate on Capitol Hill are planning to target a handful of Republican lawmakers most likely to suffer political consequences next year if Congress fails to act on immigration reform," the Washington Post
"The campaign will target Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Gary Miller (R-CA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Joe Heck (R-NV). They represent districts with sizable Latino voting populations where President Obama won or performed well last year. They also have publicly voiced support for revamping the nation's immigration laws."
Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter (D) will challenge Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
next year "in a move that catapults the gubernatorial contest into the
national spotlight and tests whether Georgia's changing
demographics can loosen the Republican Party's 12-year grip on the
state's highest office," the Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Carter's decision...is another step along the
trail forged by his famous grandfather Jimmy Carter, who was elected to
the state Senate and then the Governor's Mansion before winning the
Longtime Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) will announce his future political plans at a news conference Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., Roll Call
"Coble's office declined to give any more details on the announcement -- the 15-term Republican has long been the target of retirement speculation."
Archive: November 06, 2013
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Texas finds Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) "is in grave danger of losing a primary next year if a serious campaign is run against him."
Key findings: "Cornyn's approval with Republican primary voters is only 46%, with 33% of voters disapproving of him. And 49% say they would like their candidate next year to be someone more conservative, compared to only 33% who say they support Cornyn."
Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), a former star football player, will not seek re-election next year, the Newark Star-Ledger
"Runyan, a moderate Republican, wrested back control of the traditionally Republican 7th District House seat in South Jersey from Democrat John Adler, who held it for one term after the retirement of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton."
Archive: November 05, 2013
"Amid the ongoing war within the GOP, the Senate Republicans' campaign arm is signaling a more aggressive approach in trying to get its favored candidates through contentious primaries in 2014," NBC News
"The approach is a switch from previous cycles, when the NRSC has stayed out of open contested primaries. A number of hard-line conservative candidates won primaries in 2010 and 2012 but went on to lose general elections. And this time, the GOP is facing several potentially messy primary fights -- and again staring down third-party groups that are working to elect more conservative or Tea Party-backed candidates instead."
: "The midterm elections are one year away, but it's already clear that days are numbered for some endangered House members. The reasons vary, from scandal to primary problems, strong opponents or the changing politics of individual districts."
Despite a poll yesterday showing
Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the Texas gubernatorial race by just 6 points, a new Public Policy Polling survey
finds Abbott ahead by 15 points, 50% to 35%.
"Over two decades in politics, Charlie Crist has developed a reputation as one of the most charming politicians in modern Florida history. But Monday, as the former Republican governor kicked off his Democratic campaign for governor, he left no doubt his challenge of Rick Scott will be anything but gentle," the Tampa Bay Times
Said Crist: "Governing for the people has been replaced with cronyism and government on the fringes. The voice of the people has been silenced by the financial bullies and the special interests."
Rev. Calvin O. Butts III (D) "has been holding behind-the-scenes meetings with clergy and Harlem leaders as he moves ahead with a congressional bid for the seat currently occupied by Charlie Rangel, who has not declared his intentions," the New York Daily News
Archive: November 04, 2013
looks at the "idea that Americans are independent, and that the anger directed at both parties right now will lead to an anti-incumbent wave for both Democrats and Republicans."
"I won't say that an anti-incumbent wave is impossible, but I will say that it's not likely... [Since 1954,] there are many years in which a large number of incumbents are defeated. What you don't see is the same number of years where incumbents of both parties are defeated. In fact, such years pretty much don't exist."
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll
in Texas finds Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor, 40% to 34%.
In a three-way race against Davis and Libertarian Kathie Glass, Abbott's lead shrinks to 5 points, 40% to 35%.
Rep. Mike Michaud (D), running for governor of Maine, writes in the Bangor Daily News
: "So I wasn't surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay."
"Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes, I am. But why should it matter?'"
Archive: November 03, 2013
"Texas tea party activists eager to send another firebrand in the mold of Ted Cruz to the Senate have launched a movement to draft evangelical historian David Barton to run against Sen. John Cornyn," Politico
"Political analysts doubt he could take down a candidate as well-funded, well-known and widely endorsed as Cornyn. But they're not willing to count out an insurgent from the right -- not after watching Cruz come from nowhere two years ago. Barton has deep political roots, having spent nearly a decade as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He is a skilled orator. And he's got the stagecraft down pat: He travels the country to deliver rousing tributes to patriotism, often in red, white and blue Western shirts."
Archive: November 01, 2013
Charlie Crist (D) is running for Florida governor as a Democrat, the Tampa Bay Times
"The worst-kept secret in politics was confirmed Friday afternoon when the Republican Party of Florida spotted Crist's official filing with the state Division of Elections."
Former Rep. Parker Griffith, "whose 2009 party switch rankled both Democratic and Republican voters, may be attempting a political comeback as an independent candidate," the Birmingham News
Archive: October 31, 2013
We interviewed Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report
for the latest episode in our new podcast.
You can listen with the player below or subscribe to our feed via RSS
and have the latest episode automatically delivered to your phone or other player when it's ready.
Thanks for listening!
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) with a 51% approval rating and leading each of his possible Republican opponents by anywhere from 10 to 13 points.
Franken tops Chris Dahlberg (R), 49% to 39%, beats Mike McFadden (R), 49% to 38%, is ahead of Jim Abeler (R),m 50% to 39%, and leads Monti Moreno (R), 49% to 36%.
: "Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won't engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund's hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races. At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman conservative told his colleagues that he would not intervene in their 2014 primary fights or fundraise for the controversial outside group. Cruz added that the SCF's decision to try to defeat sitting GOP senators in their primaries was its alone."
Why the turnaround? Kyle Klondik
notes that "in presidential nomination
contests, the elites -- elected officials and party leaders -- are
historically more important than the grassroots."
New York Times
: "Here and nationally, the Democratic Party is enjoying something of a boomlet in newly declared candidacies for the House. Since Oct. 1, five candidates have lined up to contest Republican-held seats, with at least four more in the wings, Democratic officials say. Almost all say they are driven to run -- ostensibly, at least -- by disgust over the shutdown, first espoused by Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and embraced by Tea Party Republicans in the House and, eventually, most others as well."
Archive: October 30, 2013
: "Seniors broke heavily for Republicans in 2010, and they are a disproportionate voice in off-year elections. In the Republican battleground, the vote is tied among seniors and the Democratic candidate has gained 5 points among this group since June. In the Democratic battleground, Democratic incumbents lead by 14 points (51% to 37%) among seniors. This trend has also emerged in the last three national Democracy Corps surveys - which is a sea change."
Both Wendy Davis (D) and Greg Abbot (R) will have to attest to their identities in order to vote in next year's gubernatorial race, the San Antonio Express-News
That's because both candidates have a different name on their drivers license than that on the voter rolls. Although Davis opposed the law, an amendment she sponsored is what actually allows both to vote since their recorded names only differ slightly.
Said a Davis spokesman: "If it weren't for Wendy Davis' leadership, Greg Abbott might have nearly disenfranchised himself."
A conservative super PAC started by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has already spent $332,000 on independent expenditure against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his 2014 re-election race, Political Moneyline
Amardeep Kaleka (D) is running for a congressional seat in Wisconsin but bases his campaign in Los Angeles, the Madison Capital Times
Explains Kaleka: "The way our business works, we've been in and out of California for four years now. We pay taxes in Wisconsin as well as here. Our home has always technically been (in Wisconsin)."
He adds: "I don't know if (where you live) corresponds to whether you're going to do a good job in Congress. I would rather elect somebody who has a lot of national leadership experience and international experience."
: "In 2010, Republicans made unpopular Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the face of their massive advertising campaign to take back the House of Representatives. Three years later, the Democratic leader has company in America's doghouse. Current Speaker John Boehner's poll numbers are as bad as Pelosi's were when the GOP turned her into a TV villain, possibly heralding another midterm election with the speaker splashed across the country's airwaves -- but this time with the roles in reverse."
A new Winthrop poll
in South Carolina shows Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has seen his approval rating drop from 72% in February to just 45% today among Republicans and those independents who lean toward the GOP.
Among all registered voters, his approval rating is just 37%.
A new Harper Polling survey
confirms Graham's 37% overall approval rating but finds he still holds a commanding lead in a GOP primary, with 51% of the vote, just above the threshold he'd need to avoid a runoff against the second-place finisher. His closest competition is Lee Bright (R), who pulls in just 15%.
A new Marquette Law School poll
in Wisconsin shows Gov. Scott Walker with small leads over three Democratic challengers.
Walker leads Mary Burke (D), 47% to 45%, tops Kathleen Vinehout (D), 47% to 44%, and beats Peter Barca (D), 48% to 42%.
A new Harper Polling survey
in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) well ahead of challenger Vincent Sheheen (D) in her re-election race, 48% to 39%.
Alex Sink (D) confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times
that she is jumping into the race to succeed late Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and will move into the district "imminently."
Said Sink: "Washington's broken. And I, like everybody else I know, is angry and mad about the logjam, about shutting down the government, about not understanding the impact it was going to have on small businesses and people. The people up there just don't seem to be able to work together."
"The offices of the governor and Pinellas elections supervisor are looking at scheduling the primary for Jan. 14 and the general election for March 11, though nothing has been finalized. The winner of that special election could face another election less than six months later -- an Aug. 26 primary, then a general election on Nov. 4, 2014."
Despite Dick Cheney's claim to the contrary, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) told Politico
he stood by his story that the two are "fishing buddies."
Said Enzi: "I anchored the One Fly Fishing Contest with him one time, and I was asked to speak at his induction in the fly fishing Hall of Fame. And we've talked about fishing when we've been together."
Cheney said over the weekend that Enzi's claim of them being fishing buddies "never happened
Archive: October 29, 2013
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "caused widespread whiplash last week when he unleashed a blistering attack on Matt Bevin, his Republican primary challenger, just days after the Kentucky senator had signaled he was looking past Bevin to likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes," the Lexington Herald Leader
"Instead, several allies of McConnell and other Senate Republicans say the senator is now planning a two-front war: one against Grimes and the other against the fundraising groups that are supporting Bevin. McConnell's real targets are the Senate Conservatives Fund, which announced its endorsement of Bevin on Oct. 18, Heritage Action for America, Madison Project, FreedomWorks and other outside groups."
"If McConnell can crush Bevin, the thinking goes, he can expose a lack of ideological consistency in the outside groups, allowing him to separate Tea Party voters from Tea Party fundraising groups."
says the 2014 midterm elections may the the GOP's last chance to take back control of the Senate for years.
"The reason next year is
so make-or-break for Senate Republicans is because in 2016, when all of
the seats they won in 2010 come up--they netted a six-seat net gain that
year--there will be 24 GOP seats up, compared with only 10 for
Democrats, leading to some serious Republican overexposure. Seven of the
24 GOP senators up are hailing from states that Obama carried in 2012.
After having had plentiful Democratic targets in 2012 and 2014, it will
be Republicans in 2016 who will have the most incumbents in the
: "The 2014 midterm just got a lot more interesting. The twin dramas of the government shutdown and botched rollout of Obamacare have snapped a sleepy 2014 election season out of its slumber, sharpening the battle lines for each party and setting the stage for a consequential midterm that few expected even two months ago."
Archive: October 28, 2013
Herbert Claiborne "Clay" Pell IV (D) confirmed that he's actively exploring whether to jump into the 2014 Democratic primary for governor of Rhode Island and expects to make a decision within weeks, WPRI
Pell is the grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and has never held elected office. He and his wife, the Olympic figure-skater Michelle Kwan, live in Providence.
ranks the states where Republicans may be most vulnerable in the 2014 midterm elections.
The most vulnerable states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Archive: October 27, 2013
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News
that Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) lied about their relationship when he said that the two had gone fishing.
Said Cheney: "Mike also said he and I are fishing buddies, which is simply not true. Never happened."
Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney, is challenging Enzi in the Wyoming Republican Senate primary.
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "has been a frequent visitor to New Hampshire in recent months, headlining Republican fundraisers and stoking speculation he might switch states and run against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014 - a possibility he's pointedly declined to rule out," the Concord Monitor
"The latest (possible) clue: On Oct. 11, Scott filed paperwork with the secretary of state's office registering The People's Seat PAC Inc. as a New Hampshire political committee."
Archive: October 26, 2013
"As he seeks a third term in the U.S. Senate, Lamar Alexander is doing something few other incumbent Republicans have tried recently: Instead of running scared of the tea party, he's running hard against it," the Washington Post
"Independent analysts and strategists in both parties think Alexander has a good chance of winning his primary against a low-profile state representative. He is far ahead in early polling, but Alexander's willingness to confront the tea party makes it one of the most important bellwether races in the country."
Archive: October 25, 2013
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) "was not telling the truth in his response to allegations that he did nothing to stop a teen drinking party that he attended this past summer, according to two women who attended the June bash in Delaware," WJLA
Said one woman: "Everybody was drunk. People were literally pouring beer from the top level onto the floor and it was just so blatantly obvious."
Said another: "He was there for the entire time I was there."
"Conservative Republicans in Iowa aren't the only ones happy to see Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) visiting the Hawkeye State
beginning today. So are Democrats -- who are eager to make him the face of Iowa Republicans in next year's midterm races," NBC News
The DNC highlighted the trip in a joint memo with local Democrats: "Up and down the ticket, the reckless and irresponsible political tactics of Ted Cruz are being admired and adopted by Iowa Republicans. Make no mistake: Ted Cruz is leading the Republican Party. Candidates want to be him. Incumbents are afraid of him. The Republican Party base is energized by him."
A new SurveyUSA poll
in Kansas finds Paul Davis (D) leading Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in the race for governor, 43% to 39%.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) has a new video
that sure sounds like he's gearing up for another race for governor.
"The Republican establishment can't stand her. The media mocks her. But Sarah Palin isn't going anywhere," CNN
"After laying low for much of this year, Palin is gingerly stepping back into the public arena with a national book tour, a trip to the always-important political state of Iowa, and an eye on making yet another series of splashy endorsements in a variety of competitive Republican primaries."
"Five years after rocketing from Alaska obscurity to worldwide fame, Palin wants to be a political player in 2014."
Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) announced it had received a $5,000 campaign contribution from former President George W. Bush, the Columbia State
"Graham raised $1.2 million from July to September and has nearly $7 million in cash to spend on his 2014 race. Graham's three announced challengers in June's GOP primary... have less than $500,000 to spend combined."
President Obama "is setting off on a national fundraising tear to collect money for the three Democratic Party committees, scrambling to pack in events that had been delayed by the government shutdown and a series of foreign policy crises earlier this year," the Washington Post
"Obama is cramming at least nine fundraisers into a one-month period to benefit the Democratic National Committee and the two congressional campaign committees."
Archive: October 24, 2013
Under scrutiny for his presence at a party where teens said there was underage drinking, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D) said that in retrospect, he should have done more to intervene, the Baltimore Sun
Said Gansler: "Perhaps I should have assumed there was drinking in the home, and I got that wrong."
But he said firmly he will remain a candidate in the Democratic race for governor: "We're in it. We're going to win it."
A new Fox News poll
finds Democrats leading Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by eight points, 45% to 37%.
Also interesting: 46% of voters think a random selection of everyday Americans could do a better job on the country's problems than Congress.
Archive: October 23, 2013
The New York Post
says Eliot Spitzer (D) "was overheard saying that his recent unsuccessful run for New York City Comptroller will make it easier for him to run for another office in the near future."
Said the source: "I have heard he may challenge state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman or state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,"
Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel (R), who is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a GOP primary, addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball last summer, Mother Jones
"The tea party-backed Mississippi Senate candidate addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball hosted by a group that promotes the work of present-day secessionists and contends the wrong side won the 'war of southern independence.'"
"After announcing his run last week, McDaniel quickly picked up endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a prominent backer of the tea party. Both groups are key players in the internal GOP battle between establishment-minded Republicans and tea party insurgents and are backing right-wing challenges to incumbent Republicans whom they deem insufficiently conservative."
A new University of Arkansas poll
finds Rep. Tom Cotton (R) edging Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the Arkansas U.S. Senate race, 37% to 36%.
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich has kicked up a political storm by circumventing
his legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Conservatives don't like Obamacare, the expansion, or the techniques by
which their determined Republican governor made it happen, and they're
already challenging him in court. Yet Kasich may have strengthened his
hand going into his 2014 reelection race. And should he decide to pursue
higher ambitions, a solid victory next year in his purple presidential
swing state could hasten forgiveness from GOP primary voters -- or a
nominee in search of a ticketmate -- in 2016."
A new Civil Beat poll
in Hawaii finds Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) barely ahead of Democratic primary challenger Colleen Hanbusa (D), 38% to 36%.
: "Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year -- whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents."
Archive: October 22, 2013
notes that Democrats hold an edge in the generic congressional ballot by 8 points, 48% to 40%.
"But given the challenges Democrats face and the heavily gerrymandered districts that work to protect incumbent members of Congress, it would take a political wave to unseat the House Republican majority. And at the moment, the Democratic advantage isn't large enough to suggest that a wave is building."
: "If there's anything I could get people to understand about the next election, it's this: Even a 2006 or 2010-esque tsunami might not give Democrats control of the House."
A new WMUR Granite State Poll
in New Hampshire shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) solidly ahead of former Rep. Charlie Bass (R), 51% to 34%, and former state Sen. Jim Rubens (R), 53% to 28%.
"About 47% of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don't work."
-- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), quoted by the Bangor Daily News
, echoing Mitt Romney's infamous comments made during the 2012 presidential campaign.
Archive: October 21, 2013
A new USA Today/Princeton Survey Research poll
finds that just 4% of those surveyed -- equal to the margin of error -- say Congress would be changed for the worse if nearly every member was replaced next year while 47% say it would work better.
Key takeaway: "Those findings are similar to the public's views in previous years when voter dismay cost one side or the other control of the House. In 1994, when Democrats lost their majority, 40% said Congress would be better off if most members were replaced. In 2006, when Republicans lost control, 42% held that view."
: "The single most important election in the country next year won't take place in Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina or Alaska. And it won't occur next November, when voters across the country pick the next Congress. It will take place in Kentucky on May 20."
"While the general election in the commonwealth -- and in other states -- could decide which party controls the Senate for President Barack Obama's final two years in office, the GOP primary will go a long way in determining whether the Republican Party continues its evolution toward uncompromising utopian purity and, eventually, possible irrelevance."
has my take on the newest member of the U.S. Senate.
Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt (D) will run for the seat currently held by Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is running for the U.S. Senate, the Arkansas Times
Former Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) is considering a run for the congressional seat he held for two decades, but if he runs it probably will be as a Republican, the Biloxi Sun Herald
Said Taylor: "I wrestle with it."
A Smart Politics
review finds it has been 129 years since the last time a Mississippi congressman came back to win a U.S. House contest after losing his seat at the ballot box.
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) announced that he will not seek a third term in the House, Roll Call
"Democrats have been looking to target Griffin in Arkansas' 2nd District. They argue that even though the district voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney with 55 percent in 2012, the right Democratic candidate could make the seat competitive."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that Republicans would be at risk of losing their majority in the House if the government were to shut down again in January, Roll Call
Said Reid: "I don't blame the American people for being upset. What we have here in America today is a crisis created for no reason, other than to satisfy the shrill right-wing Tea Party... All it did is hurt Republicans... I hope they've learned a lesson. The American people will not put up with that. And if this happens again, I don't think it will, but if it does, I think the House of Representatives will go Democratic."
Archive: October 19, 2013
A new Gonzales Research poll
in Maryland finds Anthony Brown (D) leading the Democratic race for governor with 41%, followed by Doug Gansler at 21% and Heather Mizuer at 5%.
Key findings: "Brown, who would be Maryland's first African-American governor, has the support of 56% of black voters, compared to 12% for Gansler. Among white voters, Brown and Gansler are in a virtual dead heat, with Brown receiving 29% and Gansler getting 28%."
Archive: October 18, 2013
Sarah Palin suggested she might get involved in Kentucky's Republican Senate race between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Matt Bevin (R), the Lexington Herald Leader
"Bevin said a number of national high-profile people had contacted him about helping his campaign, but he declined to say whether Palin was one of them."
Archive: October 17, 2013
: "The government shutdown and debt crisis has made 14 House seats more winnable for Democrats, according to new independent ratings released Thursday from The Cook Political Report
. There are now -- for the first time this cycle -- more Republican seats 'in play' than the 17 Democrats would need to win in order to take the majority in 2014."
Prime subscribers get the whole report
A trio of conservative groups -- The Club For Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project -- announced they will back Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) who announced a primary challenge against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), the Washington Post
: "The indispensable Cook Political Report
has only has 13 Democratic-held seats listed in the relatively competitive tossup or "lean" category. Of course, Democrats need to take 17 seats to win the House. The ratings reflect, among other things, a lack of strong challengers for the Democrats and lack of retirements by Republicans."
"The thing is that expert ratings (like most polling) are not all that predictive a year out from an election. At this point in the 2006 cycle, there were 17 Republican seats in the lean or tossup
categories. That's well short of the 30 seats that Democrats would ultimately take from Republicans."
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) now trails challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 45% to 43%.
Key finding: 48% of Kentucky voters say they're less likely to support McConnell for reelection next year because he supported the government shutdown, compared to only 34% who say they're now more likely to support him.
: "House campaigns reported their fundraising totals for July through September this week, revealing some surprising hauls from more than a handful of members and candidates."
Archive: October 16, 2013
A new Public Policy Polling survey
in South Dakota finds that the U.S. Senate race has tightened since the summer, with Mike Rounds (R) now winning by only 6 points over Rick Weiland (D), 40% to 34%, with Libertarian Kurt Evans at 11%.
DCCC chair Steve Israel (D-NY) told Greg Sargent
that a number of new recruits for House races would be announced in coming days, thanks to Republican party damage sustained in the budget standoff.
Said Israel: "Conservatively, you will see another three -- it could be as many as five. In a number of districts we had top-tier, all-star potential candidates who several months ago didn't see a path to victory. They reopened the doors. These are competitive districts. They tend to be moderate and have large concentrations of independent voters. Those voters are now seeing the Tea Party implement their agenda."
New polls from Public Policy Polling
in six key U.S. Senate races find voters "extremely unhappy about the government shutdown. As a result Republicans trail in 5 of the 6 key races and are tied in the 6th. Republicans need to win 6 seats to take control of the Senate."
: "Yes. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I hope the House flips to the Democrats in 2014, so we can be rid of these nuts. Let Ted Cruz sit in the Senate stewing in his precious bodily fluids, and let Washington get back to the business of governing."
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is likely to face a pirmary challenge from his right by state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), the Clarion Ledger
McDaniel announced that he's holding a special event at noon Thursday to "announce his decision regarding a possible run for higher office."