After days of teasing his future plans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election next year.
At a press conference before a crowd of supporters, Perry listed off a number of accomplishments, from balancing the state budget to the economic boom in Texas, which has seen some 1.75 million jobs created in the last five years. He also played up his social conservative credentials, specifically his pro-life stance. Texas has been the center of the national debate over abortion in recent weeks.
“I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead. But the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” Perry told a large crowd of supporters gathered at a Caterpillar plant in San Antonio. “Today, I’m announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas. I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity and innovation. I will actively lead this great state. I’ll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path.”
“Any future considerations I will announce in due time, and I will arrive at that decision appropriately,” he added. “But my focus will remain on Texas.”
Perry has served as governor since December 2000, succeeding George W. Bush, who left office after defeating then-Vice President Al Gore. Perry was elected to a full term in 2002 with 58.1% of the vote. He won re-election in 2006, taking 39%, a plurality, in a five-way race. In 2010, he faced stiff primary competition, from then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina, but managed to win with 51.1% of the vote and subsequently win an unprecendented third term that fall.
After being criticized by many Republicans for his “bromance” with President Barack Obama, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has taken a shift to the right by vetoing legislation that would expand Medicaid in his state:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that attempted to make the state’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility permanent under the healthcare law known as Obamacare, his office said on Friday.
Christie’s office announced he vetoed eight bills that “would add potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local budgets.” He also signed a $32.9 billion budget and three other bills, his office said in a statement.
Among the bills he vetoed was one dealing with Medicaid expansion under the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law known as Obamacare.
This is actually a reversal on his part. Back in February, Christie announced that he would expand Medicaid through ObamaCare, calling it the “smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.” Christie also slammed Obama on Friday, saying that the President “can’t figure out how to lead.”
If Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) thought she was going to coast to the GOP’s Senate nomination in West Virginia, she may have another thing coming.
“Pat McGeehan has shown leadership skills badly needed in the Senate,” said RLC National Chair Matt Nye in a press release from the group. “Receiving the Republican Liberty Caucus endorsement is a testament to his commitment to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise.”
“At the Republican Liberty Caucus we believe that less government means more liberty. We advocate the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free enterprise,” added Nye. “We work in the Republican Party because we believe it is the best vehicle for bringing about the political changes we want and we believe that Pat McGeehan will become part of the growing number of Liberty Republicans advancing those goals in Washington.”
The Times Free Press, a Tennessee-based newspaper, asked author Victoria Jackson, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and myself about Sarah Palin’s return to Fox News and whether or not she does more harm than good to the Republican Party.
Here’s my response:
Sarah Palin is still an influential figure in the conservative movement. She has significant influence among the grassroots and can help fiscal conservatives in the mold of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul win primaries against establishment candidates. That sort of clout is hard to dismiss or downplay.
Recent comments made by Palin about the need for Republicans to listen to libertarians were encouraging. She sees an ally in the fight against a government that is a threat to our liberties and the need for Republicans to take a libertarian direction. That’s somewhat inside baseball, but important in the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
Palin’s influence is in the primaries, which is important. But when voters step into the ballot box on Nov. 4, 2014, they’re going to care little about her or what she’s said. What will matter to them are the effects of the policies that have been pursued and enacted by the Obama Administration.
What do you think about Palin’s return to Fox News and her impact on the Republican Party? Let us know on United Liberty’s Facebook page.
Based on the polls and his approval ratings, it looks like Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) will coast to re-election later this year. His handling of the storm that ravaged New Jersey last year and his willingness to put politics aside during President Barack Obama’s visit to the region in its aftermath endeared him to many voters.
However, Christie’s willingness to appear alongside Obama in the state after the storm also upset many Republicans. They felt that he’d abandon Mitt Romney, though Christie and his supporters explain that he was looking after his state. For his part, Romney has said that Christie didn’t cost him the election.
But if Christie wants to be a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, he sure is going about it in a weird way.
During a visit on Tuesday to New Jersey, Christie and Obama rekindled their “bromance,” which is what many pundits are calling it. The two played a football toss game on a boardwalk near the Jersey shore. Christie won Obama a stuffed bear decked out in Chicago Bears’ swag (pictured above), which is the President’s favorite football team.
You can check out the video below:
There is little chance that Republicans will lose the House next year. There doesn’t seem to be much worry there. In fact, many Republican strategists believe that they may even pick up a few seats.
What has evaded them over the last two cycles is control of the Senate. Some bad candidates and poorly run races prevented them from gaining seats that they would have otherwise won. And while it’s far from a sure thing, Republicans have a an opening for 2014 that could lead them to a majority in the Senate, according to Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report:
Democrats are defending seven states that President Obama lost in 2012 and Republicans need a net gain of six to reclaim the majority. That also means in the very unlikely event that Democrats somehow knock off Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only Republican senator up for re-election in an Obama state, the GOP could be in the majority without her by sweeping the Romney states currently held by a Democrat.
Republicans do have to worry about nominating candidates who are less popular than Romney and, in some states, deal with Democratic incumbents who are more popular than President Obama.
But Republicans have considerable room for error.
President Obama lost six of the seven states with a Democratic senator by an average of 19 percentage points. Some of the states were uglier than others for the President, including West Virginia (Obama minus 27 percent), Arkansas (minus 24 percent), South Dakota (minus 18 percent), Louisiana (minus 17 percent), and Alaska and Montana, which he lost both by just under 14 percent.
While they may not exactly be flocking to Republicans, young voters, perhaps better known as “millennials,” are beginning to express signs of dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
In a column last week, Charlie Cook, one of the best political analysts in the business, noted the results of a recent survey of these voters which shows significant disapproval ratings for President Obama on hot-button issues and a healthy skepticism of government:
President Obama carried the 18-to-29-year-old voting bloc by 34 points in 2008 and by 23 points last year. But a new national survey of millennial voters conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics suggests this emerging generation might not be as locked into the Democratic camp as conventional wisdom suggests, and that young voters exhibit some of the same stark partisan divides as older Americans.
Forget what you think you know about the Republican leadership in the United States Senate. Sure, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the Minority Leader of the Senate Republican Conference, but the real leadership lies with at least three members.
Writing at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney notes that Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, each of whom were elected with Tea Party support, are setting the tone for the caucus on pressing legislative matters:
There are two power centers in the Senate Republican Conference. One is the official leadership under Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The second is the Tea Party Troika of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul.
It’s not that there are two Republican parties. Nor is there a chasm running along ideological lines. The new dynamic is this: The official leadership has even less power than Senate leadership typically has, and the Tea Party Troika, mastering what’s called the “inside-outside game,” has more power to swing their colleagues than backbenchers normally have.
Carney cites the gun control issue as an example of the clout these three carry. Paul, Cruz, and Lee were able to turn a letter sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expressing their opposition to new gun control measures into something that gained the support of a majorty of the Republican caucus. The new gun control measures, which Cruz said were all but a done deal at one point, were eventually defeated.
Carney also notes that outside groups have been a key to their success in stopping bad legislation or raising awareness to their causes:
With less than a week to go until voters in South Carolina’s First Congressional District head to the polls, Mark Sanford is getting some much needed last-minute help. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has gained notoriety and popularity among Republicans, and FreedomWorks PAC, a grassroots organization known for backing fiscally conservative candidates in primary races, both endorsed Sanford on Tuesday.
“More than anything, Washington needs strong and consistent voices for fiscal responsibility and liberty,” said Paul in the press release sent out by Sanford’s campaign. “Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities.
“What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt,” he added. “I am pleased to endorse Mark and stand with him in this race.”
Paul is following in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who endorsed Sanford on Thursday.
FreedomWorks PAC noted only endorsed Sanford, but is also planning a voter outreach effort in the district this weekend.
There is still a long way to go before the 2016 presidential election, but Public Policy Polling has a new survey of New Hampshire that gives Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) some very early bragging rights. According to the survey, the Paul leads Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and the rest of the field in what has been a tone-setting state:
PPP’s new poll of New Hampshire Republicans about 2016 finds momentum on Rand Paul’s side. He leads the potential field with 28% to 25% for Marco Rubio, 14% for Chris Christie, 7% for Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, 4% for Rick Santorum, 3% for Susana Martinez, and 1% each for Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.
Paul has seen a huge increase in his support from when PPP last looked at New Hampshire in November, from 4% then to his current 28% standing. Also on the rise is Rubio who’s gone up 11 points from 14% to 25%. On the down swing are Christie who’s dropped 7 points from 21% and the lead then to 14% and 3rd place now, Bush who’s dropped 4 points from 11% to 7%, and Ryan who’s dropped 3 points from 10% to 7%.
Public Policy Polling notes that Paul’s advantage is coming from independent voters, which shows some appeal to voters outside the party, though he trails Rubio with registered Republicans. However, the bad news is that both Paul and Rubio trail Hillary Clinton, who is strongly favored by Democrats in New Hampshire, by 52/41 and 52/38, respectively.