July, 2013

Palin Fundraising Slows Considerably

Sarah Palin’s political action committee “brought in just over $460,000 during the first half of 2013, well short of its fundraising totals for the same period in previous years,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Palin’s SarahPAC ended June with about $1.1 million in cash available.

However, National Journal reports that of the $496,505.68 spent by SarahPAC in the first six months of the year, just $5,000 actually went to political candidates.

Cuccinelli Will Not Return Gifts

Ken Cuccinelli (R) says he’s glad Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) “is returning all the gifts he received from a major political donor. But he has no plans to repay the more than $18,000 in gifts he received from the same benefactor,” NBC Washington reports.

Cuccinelli said that Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams “didn’t give him the kind of gifts that can be returned. Among the gifts from Williams listed in Cuccinelli’s financial disclosure statements are a $1,500 catered Thanksgiving dinner, private jet trips and vacation lodging.”

Said Cuccinelli: “There are some bells you can’t unring.”

Obama Gets Testy with Freshman Democrat

During a Q&A session with Democrats on Capitol Hill, President Obama offered what Democratic sources said was a testy response to a question about a federal loan guarantee program, with one source in the room telling CNN it “rude and dismissive.”

Freshman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) began his question “by recognizing it was an issue that may be better discussed on the staff level, rather than with the president.”

Responded Obama: “You’re right. You should have talked to staff about this.”

Obama “then said in a testy way to Maloney that at least now he can go back and tell his constituents he stood up to the president for them.”

Ryan Wants Immigration Vote Despite Hastert Rule

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) made a little-noticed pronouncement at a town hall meeting last week “that could have major implications for the prospects of immigration reform passing the House of Representatives,” reports Think Progress.

He said he wanted a vote on the legislation regardless of the “Hastert rule” which says that the GOP leadership should only bring bills up for a vote which are supported by the majority of Republicans.

Said Ryan: “We don’t know if we have a majority until we vote on it.”

Cruz Taunts Fellow Republicans

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his senior aides “are unleashing a barrage of attacks on their fellow Republicans for refusing to support their plan to choke off Obamacare as a condition for funding the government,” Politico reports.

“The results have sparked something of a GOP civil war over an issue that, ironically, the GOP is united behind — repealing Obamacare. Cruz’s strategy is a departure from the usually clubby chamber, as he’s grown increasingly alienated from his caucus.”

Republicans Agree on Problems But Not Direction for Party

A new Pew Research poll finds 67% of Republican voters believe that their party must address major problems to be more competitive in the future. And 59% say improved messaging alone will not be enough – the GOP also needs to reconsider some of its positions.

Yet while Republicans may agree on the scope of the problem, there is little consensus over the party’s future course on either policy or strategy.

Key finding: 35% say the party has compromised too much with Democrats, 27% say not enough, while 32% say party leaders have handled this about right.

Felon Voting Restrictions Have Bigger Impact Than Voter ID

Harry Enten: “Over 20% of the black population [in Florida] are disenfranchised because of felon and ex-felon voting restrictions. That includes about half a million blacks… Over 15% of the black populations are disenfranchised because of ex-felon [i.e. those who have “paid their debt to society”] voting restrictions. In terms of electoral results, President Obama would have added 2.6pt to his 0.9pt Florida margin had felons and ex-felons been allowed to vote. Even if we just count ex-felons, it would have been 2.2pt. Al Gore would have easily won the state given this data…”

“Thus, laws prohibiting felons and ex-felons have a major impact on elections and may determine a winner in the near future. I don’t expect people to take up the banner of felon and ex-felon voting rights. They’re not are as sexy as a topic as voter identification for obvious reasons. But if you’re looking for voting restrictions that afflict minorities in the south and can have major electoral implications, then felon and ex-felon voting laws have a far greater impact than voter identification laws.”

Pryor Gets Tough Challenger

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) will announce his candidacy next week to challenge Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), “arguably Democrats’ most vulnerable senator of the cycle,” Roll Call reports.

The Cook Political Report moves the race to “toss up.”

Politico: “Arkansas is one of a handful of Republican-leaning
states represented by Democrats — Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska
are the others — that are critical to the GOP’s chances of flipping the
Senate next year. The party needs to net six seats to capture the
chamber. But Democrats say history is in their favor, noting that only
three of their incumbents have lost in the past decade.”

House Will Spend Week Trying to Embarrass Obama

Washington Post: “With three days left on the calendar before lawmakers leave Washington for a five-week summer break, there is still no agreement on a farm bill, no plan on how to fund the government after September and little progress on immigration reform.”

“But House Republicans will spend much of this week voting on a collection of legislative proposals aimed mostly at embarrassing the Obama administration and scoring some political points.”