March 08, 2014
Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab
, on the secret science behind modern campaign strategy:
Mark McKinnon, co-founder of No Labels
, on how to break the partisan gridlock:
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A new Chicago Tribune/WGN poll
in Illinois shows the Republican governor's race is tightening, with Bruce Rauner (R) leading with 36%, followed by Kirk Dillard (R) at 23%, Bill Brady (R) at 18% and Dan Rutherford (R) at 9%.
: "Ana Alliegro, the gal pal of former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), was arrested and informally extradited Friday from Nicaragua to Miami, where a federal grand jury charged her in a four-count indictment for her alleged role in a campaign-finance scheme tied to the one-time congressman."
"Alliegro had fled to Nicaragua in 2012 as the FBI began investigating her and Rivera in a scheme to steer and conceal $82,000 in illegal campaign contributions to a no-name congressional candidate, who appeared to be doing Rivera's political dirty work. That candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, subsequently pleaded guilty to breaking federal campaign-finance laws and lying about it."
"For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation's president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House," the Los Angeles Times
"Now, a swelling chorus of critics is mounting a fresh challenge to Iowa's privileged role, targeting especially the August straw poll held the year before the election, which traditionally established the Republican Party front-runner. Increasingly, critics say, the informal balloting has proved a meaningless and costly diversion of time and money. Some GOP strategists are urging candidates to think hard before coming to Iowa at all."
The Wall Street Journal
reports there are "a large group of House and Senate candidates this year whose family names are familiar to voters. As the sons and daughters of former politicians, they are banking that their famous names will boost their recognition among voters and, in many cases, reinforce the message that they are allied more with their home states than with their political parties."
New York Times
: "A heightened political awareness, and a healthy self-regard that they could do a better job, are drawing a surprisingly large number to the power of elective office... With a few exceptions, these physician legislators and candidates -- there are three dozen of them -- are much alike: deeply conservative, mostly male, and practicing in the specialty fields in which costs and pay have soared in recent years."
March 07, 2014
"Senate Republicans aren't just widening their path to the majority with each new seat added to the competitive map, they're also increasing the odds Democrats will have to spend money in states beyond the top battlegrounds," Roll Call
"Faced with such a lopsided map this cycle, Senate Democrats were undoubtedly budgeting to spend in at least 10 states... But as Republicans continue to fill their candidate roster in potentially competitive races -- most recently adding Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado -- it means more money Democrats may have to spend on seats not among their most vulnerable."
A new Robert Morris University poll
in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way head in the Democratic race for governor with 51%, followed by Allyson Schwartz (D) at 17%, Bob McCord (D) at 13% and Kathleen McGinty (D) at 9%.
Meanwhile, just 21% of likely voters suggest they plan to vote for Gov. Tom Corbett (R) while 40% suggested they would vote for the Democratic candidate. Another 12% would vote for another candidate and 27% are undecided.
"Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative businessman who became a political fixture after funding former Sen. Rick Santorum's presidential campaign in 2012, says he wants the Pennsylvania Republican to run again," Huffington Post
Said Friess: "Anything he does, I'm for. He is the most wonderful human being on the face of the earth."
Failed U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) called for the imprisonment -- "not just symbolic firings" -- of former staffers involved in New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie's (R) Bridgegate scandal, Huffington Post
American Bridge, the Democratic tracking and opposition research outfit, plans to devote "up to three dozen trackers with video cameras" to Las Vegas if the Republican party chooses it as the site for their convention, Politico
Said a source: "American Bridge's plans would scatter trackers with video cameras from one end of the Strip to the other and would include a rapid response war room in the city to turn the footage into instant products -- even potentially television ads -- exposing whatever activities and hypocricies they catch on film."
"They have been near delusional in thinking the Cold War was over. Maybe the President thinks the Cold War is over, but Vladimir Putin doesn't and that's what this is all about."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by TPM
, on President Obama's foreign policy.
: "The poll shows that the health-care law is still unpopular (34% say they support it, versus 45% who oppose it), and Republicans have the advantage in the political environment (42% prefer a GOP-controlled Congress, 41% want a Democratic-controlled one). But the poll also finds that most of the law's provisions (insurers can't reject people because of pre-existing conditions, parents can keep their children on their plans through ages 26) are very popular, although the BIG exception here is the law's mandates. Indeed, after respondents hear these details of the law, it becomes more popular (39% support it, 41% oppose)."
Also interesting: "Only 28% of respondents believe the law should be totally eliminated; 54% say it should be fixed; and 17% say the law should be kept in place as is. If you wanted to know why many Republicans are beginning to back away from repeal, here's your answer."
: "Maureen McDonnell comes across as insecure and sometimes erratic in hundreds of pages of e-mail exchanges among staff members at the governor's mansion and two management consultants at Virginia Commonwealth University. The consultants were brought in to bring order to the seemingly dysfunctional workplace that was Virginia's executive mansion."
: "But if you want to see signs that the Tea Party is winning right now -- and that McConnell and other Senate Republicans facing primary challenges possibly will have to fight for their political lives -- just look what has transpired over the past week. While Cornyn won his primary and avoided a run-off, 41% of Texas Republicans still voted for someone else, including Rep. Steve Stockman, who ran a non-existent campaign (can you run a NON-campaign?)."
"In other words, more than 4 in 10 GOP voters broke against the No. 2 Senate Republican, even though he hasn't committed any ideological offenses... if you thought Sen. Lindsey Graham was going to coast in his June 10 GOP primary, you need to think again. If 41% of Texas Republicans voted against Cornyn when he was facing a clown-car of candidates, how many South Carolina Republicans will vote against Graham, who has voted for President Obama's Supreme Court picks and been a key author of comprehensive immigration reform?"
: The Tea Party is very much alive.
goes inside the Democratic war room as they keep tabs on happenings at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
"The room is filled with rows of desks equipped with double-monitor computer screens, which a group of about 40 Democratic operatives are using to monitor and fact-check speeches at CPAC as they happen, issue rapid responses, and monitor the media and social networking sites... American Bridge also has 'trackers,' who are essentially Democratic spies on the ground at CPAC, recording events and monitoring the events both on and off the official stage of the conference."
"We don't get to govern if we don't win. And it's not only bad when we don't get to govern because we don't get to mold, change our society, what's worse is they do. And they're doing it to us right now."
-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by the Newark Star Ledger
, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
: "The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry-- and optimistic about the future."
Most interesting: 50% of Millennials now describe themselves as political independents and 29% say they are not affiliated with any religion.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) told the San Diego Union-Tribune
that he apologized to Rep. Eliah Cummings (D-MD) for cutting off his microphone
at the end of a hearing this week.
Issa's remarks came after a House condemnation resolution pressed by Democrats earlier in the day failed to pass.
"Alarmed by the rise of noninterventionist voices in his party, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is aiming to revive his political prospects in an unlikely way: trying to become the leading voice for a muscular brand of foreign policy," the New York Times
"The road to presidential success in Iowa and New Hampshire may not run through the Crimean Peninsula or the streets of Caracas, but in recent weeks Mr. Rubio has used Russia's incursion into Ukraine and the violent clashes in Venezuela to remind Republicans of their orthodoxy -- projecting strength abroad -- and of why he was such a favorite in the party before seeing his popularity slip over his backing of an immigration overhaul."
: "It's clear Rubio isn't standing still. As many in the media have started to document, the peripatetic freshman has been busy building a robust domestic and foreign policy portfolio and remains a top guest at GOP fundraising events. "
Wall Street Journal
: "Before New Hampshire voters begin relishing their role as early vetters of 2016 presidential candidates, they may be hosting a marquee Senate race in 2014. But for now, that political show is missing a leading man."
"No top-tier Republican candidate has yet stepped forward to run against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and a new poll out Thursday shows her with a double-digit lead even over the man GOP leaders most want to run."
Alaska state Sen. Fred Dyson (R) said that he doesn't think access to contraception is a problem in Alaska and opposed expanding access to family planning services, the Anchorage Daily News
Dyson said that sexual activity is largely "recreation" and the public shouldn't be required to finance "other people's recreation."
March 06, 2014
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told The Nation
that he's "prepared to run for president" in 2016.
Said Sanders: "I don't believe that I am the only person out there who can fight this fight, but I am certainly prepared to look seriously at that race."
He added: "The same old same old Robert Rubin type of economics, or centrist politics, or continued dependence on big money, or unfettered free trade, that is not what this country needs ideologically. That is not the type of policy that we need. And it is certainly not going to be the politics that galvanizes the tens of millions of people today who are thoroughly alienated and disgusted with the status quo."
Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire
"I want gay married couples to be able to protect their marijuana plants with guns."
-- Canadian candidate for parliament Tim Moen, quoted by Gawker