December, 2015

Top Carson Staffers Quit Campaign

“Three of Ben Carson’s high-ranking advisers, including campaign manager Barry Bennett, quit following an internal power struggle, a sharp decline in the polls and a week of confusion about who would remain on the retired neurosurgeon’s presidential campaign team,” the Washington Post reports.

“Shake-ups are not that unusual after a campaign starts dropping in the polls. But this one comes a week after the campaign’s inner tensions erupted publicly.”

Cruz Says He’ll Have Nomination By March

“Ted Cruz took a victory lap Thursday following a strong fundraising report, repeatedly telling supporters on a phone call that he expects the race to be over by March — but only after getting through an increasingly nasty run-up to the Iowa caucuses,” Politico reports.

Said Cruz: “We’re winning right now, and as a result, I want to tell everyone to get ready,” he said on the call. “Strap on the full armor of God. Get ready for the attacks that are coming. We’ve already seen hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attacks directed at us. Well I went to tell you that come the month of January, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Iowa Emerges as Battleground for Establishment

Washington Post: “While New Hampshire remains the hub of activity for Christie and other establishment-favored Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, Iowa has suddenly emerged as a playground of opportunity, where an intense and stealthier battle among them is getting underway.”

None of the establishment candidates expects to win Iowa, but associates of Christie, Bush and Rubio see an opportunity for a victory of momentum — and positive media coverage — for whoever can capture the most mainstream Republican support. That faction, which the campaigns see as up for grabs, is estimated at anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of the electorate.

Trump Democrats

“Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the Republican coalition,” the New York Times reports.

“He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm.”

Rubio Helped Ex-Con Get Real Estate License

“When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier,” according to records obtained by the Washington Post.

“Rubio has avoided discussing Cicilia’s case in detail and has declined to answer questions about his relationship with his brother-in-law… Rubio also declined to say whether he or his family received financial assistance from Cicilia, who was convicted in a high-profile 1989 trial of distributing $15 million worth of cocaine. The federal government seized Cicilia’s home; the money has never been found.”

Cruz Has Monster Fundraising Quarter

Sen. Ted Cruz raised almost $20 million for his presidential campaign in the fourth quarter — a 66% increase over the previous three-month period, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The $20 million haul in the final three months of 2015 is up sharply from the $12.2 million raised in the third quarter, a bonanza that came as polls showed Mr. Cruz rising to a top-tier candidate from a back-of-the-pack contender in the crowded GOP candidate field.”

“By the end of the third quarter, Mr. Cruz already had more cash on hand than any other GOP candidate.”

Former Trump Adviser Doesn’t Think He’ll Win

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump political adviser to Donald Trump, told the Daily Beast that he doesn’t think the billionaire presidential candidate will win the GOP nomination.

Said Nunberg: “Based on public polling that I have seen and based on a downward trend, which includes a downward trend in New Hampshire, it includes Ted Cruz consolidating social conservatives in Iowa. I am concerned that Mr. Trump will not be able to get into the position to win South Carolina, which is his strongest state of support. He has to get there. Now that the race is tightening, it’s more difficult for him to get to South Carolina, which is the real firewall.”

Koch Brothers Machine Much Bigger Than GOP

“The political machine that Charles Koch launched a dozen years ago in a Chicago hotel conference room with 16 other rich conservatives has exploded in size and influence in the past few elections and now eclipses the official GOP in key areas,” Politico reports.

“Koch and his brother David Koch have quietly assembled, piece by piece, a privatized political and policy advocacy operation like no other in American history that today includes hundreds of donors and employs 1,200 full-time, year-round staffers in 107 offices nationwide. That’s about 3½ times as many employees as the Republican National Committee and its congressional campaign arms had on their main payrolls last month.”

Bush Cancels Iowa TV Ads

Jeb Bush’s campaign “is canceling its Iowa television advertising buy and shifting money to double staff on the ground in January, the final month before the high-stakes Iowa caucuses,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“The news will raise questions about whether the former Florida governor might pull out of Iowa given his fifth-place status here, with just 6 percent support of likely GOP caucusgoers.”

Trump Says Clinton is an ‘Abuser of Women’

Donald Trump called former President Bill Clinton “one of the great abusers of the world” and said women “don’t like Hillary Clinton,” The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “She’s hitting me really hard with the women card. She’s not going to win.”

He added that “nobody respects women more than Donald Trump.”