2014 Campaign

How Trump Nearly Ran for Governor

“An examination by the New York Times of contemporaneous documents and emails, as well as interviews with people who met with Mr. Trump during that period, found how he carefully weighed a run, measuring whether the governor’s office was a necessary steppingstone to his long-held goal: the White House. His calculations at the time run contrary to the seat-of-the-pants image he projects on the campaign trail, and offer a look at a formative stage of his presidential ambitions.”

“He discussed with state Republican leaders the idea of using the governorship as a platform to run for president, a situation in which he would serve for a year or so and be succeeded by his lieutenant governor.”

How the Koch Network Made Joni Ernst

Politico: “Until now, little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst. The Koch network has focused primarily on policy fights, mostly leaving the spadework of recruiting and nurturing candidates to the party.”

“But the network’s financial support for Ernst ― detailed here for the first time ― offers the first signs of a move into GOP primaries. The Kochs and their allies are investing in a pipeline to identify, cultivate and finance business-oriented candidates from the local school board all the way to the White House, and Koch operatives are already looking for opportunities to challenge GOP incumbents deemed insufficiently hard-line in their opposition to government spending and corporate subsidies.”

Three Takeaways on the DNC’s Autopsy Report

First Read: “One, the chief shortcoming the DNC highlighted was message… Two, this nine-page ‘preliminary’ report pales in comparison to the big report the RNC did after its losses in 2012. And three, the DNC omitted what is perhaps the organization’s biggest shortcoming in the Obama Era: Obama’s OFA (in many ways) has become a separate party organization that has diverted resources and attention away from the DNC. That’s a real problem as the party moves away from the Obama years. “

Quote of the Day

“At some point you have to start asking whether Matt Bevin should be medicated. The guy has no grasp on reality whatsoever and his delusions of grandeur are simply breathtaking.”

— GOP strategist Josh Holmes, quoted by the Lexington Herald Leader, on Matt Bevin’s (R) claim he would have won last year’s Senate election “more handily” than Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Outside Spending Did Not Sway 2014 Elections

Alan Abramowitz: “Republicans made major gains in the 2014 Senate elections but the findings reported here indicate that outside spending by conservative groups had little or nothing to do with those gains. The main reason why Republicans did very well in 2014 was that Democrats were defending far more seats than Republicans and many of those seats were in states that normally favor Republicans based on recent presidential voting patterns. Democrats lost all seven of their seats in states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 even though Democratic candidates enjoyed an advantage in outside spending in several of those races.”

Democrats Stole the GOP Honeymoon

First Read: “Strikingly, however, Congress and Republicans haven’t seen their numbers go up. Just 16% approve of Congress’ job (unchanged since December), and only 23% approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing. Maybe more significantly, only 35% believe divided government — with Democrats controlling the White House and Republicans in charge of both chambers of Congress — works well for the country. That’s a reverse from previous NBC/WSJ polls (in 1996, 1997 and 1999), which found majorities in praise of divided government.”

“And then there are the parties’ fav/unfav numbers. The public gives the GOP a 25%-46% rating, down from 30%-45% a month ago. By comparison, Democrats are at 35%-38%, when they were at 37%-39% in December. Bottom line: You can hardly tell from our NBC/WSJ poll that the Republican Party was the big winner from the midterm elections just two months ago. Somehow, Obama and the Democrats stole the Republicans’ post-election honeymoon. Or the Republicans somehow lost it.”

Democrats Won Big Money Race Last Year

“Democrats spent much of the 2014 campaign castigating Republican big money, but, it turns out, their side actually finished ahead among the biggest donors of 2014 – at least among those whose contributions were disclosed. The 100 biggest donors of 2014 gave nearly $174 million to Democrats, compared to more than $140 million to Republicans,” Politico reports.

Shumlin Finally Re-Elected Vermont Governor

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) has been re-elected by the state Legislature, 110-69, over challenger Scott Milne (R), the Burlington Free Press reports.

“Lawmakers were required to vote to select the governor after no candidate in the November general election received more than 50 percent of the popular vote. Shumlin, the incumbent, received a plurality but not enough for the outright win.”

Quote of the Day

“It was the White House switchboard. I was a little embarrassed that I’d been rejecting the president’s calls.”

— Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), in an interview on WHO Radio, explaining how she ignored phone calls from an unknown number after she had won the U.S. Senate race.