April, 2015

Hogan Faces First Big Test in Response to Riots

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) “on Tuesday sought to take command of the simmering aftermath of Baltimore’s riots, planting himself in the city and vowing that National Guard troops and police would not tolerate any more chaos,” the Washington Post reports.

“Facing his first high-profile test as governor, Hogan, a white Republican, found himself navigating complex political terrain with Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African American Democrat presiding over a majority-black city.”

Clinton to Call for End to ‘Mass Incarceration’

Hillary Clinton will call for far-reaching reforms in the criminal justice system that would “end the era of mass incarceration,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The speech will mark the unveiling of Clinton’s first major policy proposal as a presidential hopeful, coming as candidates are under pressure to confront the unrest in Baltimore. The city erupted in rioting Monday night, following the funeral of Freddie Gray, an African American man who was mortally injured while in police custody.”

Politico: Hillary’s forgotten death penalty shift

Clinton Kicks Off Fundraising Blitz

Bloomberg: “The Democratic presidential contender’s first day of donor hobnobbing for her newly formed campaign included back-to-back-to-back stops at the homes of some of her most loyal supporters in Manhattan. Her haul, based on the number of attendees and price of admission: Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million.”

“A proven fundraiser, Clinton banked $229 million during her 2008 presidential campaign before conceding the nomination to Barack Obama. Yet aides and friends have been trying to tamp down expectations for her return to political fundraising, repeatedly emphasizing that she is only collecting money for the primary contest at this point.”

Sanders Will Run for President

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to run for president as a Democrat, becoming the only official party challenger so far to Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports.

“According to people familiar with the senator’s plans, he will release a statement on Thursday and make a more formal announcement of candidacy later next month in Vermont. That event will likely take place at City Hall in Burlington, where he was mayor.”

USA Today: “It also will be the first time that the fiercely independent politician has run as a Democrat. He has long criticized both parties for being too beholden to corporate interests. He does not accept campaign contributions from corporate political action committees.”

Anti-Gay Lawmaker Outed In Gay Chat Group

North Dakota state Rep. Randy Boehning (R) sent an explicit photo of himself to another man and claims “the exchange being made public is retaliation for a recent vote against expanding gay rights,” the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.

“The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis.”

But Boehning is glad he was outed: “The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted. I have to confront it at some point.”


Christie Says No Grudge Over Ally Who Defected

Gov. Chris Christie “says he was blindsided by longtime ally and friend Joe Kyrillos’s decision to back Jeb Bush over him in 2016, but that he doesn’t hold a grudge over the slight,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Said Christie: “This is politics. He made a business decision. That’s the only way I view it. I don’t view it as some personal shot at me. He’s made the decision that Jeb Bush is a better candidate for president. That’s okay. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like me.”

Former Romney Aides Split Over Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) “has hired consulting firm America Rising, led by Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager Matt Rhoades, to offer advice and research on potential 2016 opponents. That might result in a Romney confidant investigating the background of another Romney confidant,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“Alex Dunn, who worked on Romney’s campaigns and on his gubernatorial staff in Massachusetts, is considering a run against Lee, spurred on by Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance director, and Josh Romney, one of Mitt Romney’s five sons.”

How Well Do You Know the News?

Pew Research has a 12 question news quiz which compares your answers to those of the general public. Questions about politics proved particularly challenging.

The Fix: “The takeaway from all of this? Assuming — as lots and lots of people who either live in D.C. or follow politics closely do — that the average person is a deeply-informed consumer of political news is not even close to right. For most people, politics is something that almost never intersects with their daily lives and which they spend zero mind space on day in and day out.”

Is Jeb Bush Losing the Invisible Primary?

FiveThirtyEight: “But money is unlikely to be Bush’s problem in this campaign, and cash may be a less valuable resource than another sort of currency in which he is lacking: the support of influential Republicans, like current senators and governors, especially those who publicly endorse a candidate. Historically, these endorsements have been the best proxy for support in the ‘invisible primary’ and a leading indicator for which candidates may emerge victorious through the rough-and-tumble nomination race.”

“So far, Bush has won very few endorsements. No current Republican senators or governors have endorsed him, and only five members of the House of Representatives have done so, all from his home state of Florida.”

Justices Appear Deeply Divided on Gay Marriage

“A divided and cautious Supreme Court on Tuesday probed whether states barring same-sex marriage are violating a right for gay couples, hearing extended arguments on one of the most direct constitutional issues to cross its docket in recent memory,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Justices questioned whether they should require all 50 states to recognize same-sex unions or allow state political processes to decide on a piecemeal basis. Court watchers were focused intently on Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was seen going into the case as the most crucial vote to the outcome. ”

New York Times: “The justices appeared to clash over not only what is the right answer but also over how to reach it. The questioning illuminated their conflicting views on history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts in prodding social change.”

Florida Republicans Paralyzed by Infighting

Miami Herald: “They can’t agree on using federal money for people with no health care and as a result, budget negotiations are in disarray in a year with a $1 billion surplus. Unable to resolve their differences after months of refusing to compromise, Republican lawmakers will end the regular session next Friday without completing the one task they are required to do: passing a state budget.”

“The government of the nation’s third-largest state is controlled by one party, yet the standoff is Republican against Republican, in some cases involving members of the same family. House Republicans have been distracted by a leadership coup while Gov. Rick Scott is personally threatening to veto Republican senators’ bills and spending items unless they approve his tax cuts of $673 million.”