Marco Rubio

Rand Paul Leads Among Republicans in New Hampshire

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.

Rand Paul Says He’s Considering Presidential Bid in 2016

Rand Paul

This isn’t exactly a surprise since he’s made some high-profile speeches and interviews over the last several months and engaged in a well-covered 13-hour filibuster last month that was the talk of Washington, DC, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed what most of us already knew — that he is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016:

Tea Party favorite and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he is strongly considering a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, announcing plans to travel to at least three key primary states this summer.

“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Paul, heir to his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian voting and fundraising base, said that he is already planning to visit three early primary states this summer — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Paul said he “will continue to travel to the early primary states.”

Republicans Favor Rand Paul More Than Marco Rubio

Rand Paul speaks at Heritage

It’ll be nearly three years before Republicans begin to head to the polls to choose their presidential nominee, but they jockeying for position is well under way. Both Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), both of whom are thought to be among the Republicans who will seek the nomination, have been making high-profile speeches and legislative proposals over the first four months of the year.

But according to a new poll, voters have a more favorable opinion of Paul, who has carried the Tea Party banner in the Senate, than they do Rubio, who has been dubbed by Time as the “Republican savior”:

According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Paul, who was elected with strong tea party support in Kentucky, comes in at 53% among Republicans, and 32% among independents.

Rubio’s favorable rating among Republicans, meanwhile, is 48%. Among independents, the Florida senator is at 27%.

The numbers fall mostly in line with a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month, when 53% of Republicans had a positive opinion of Paul, though slightly more–54%–felt the same about Rubio at the time.

And while Rubio was a top surrogate for GOP nominee Mitt Romney and a contender to be his running mate, Paul still has higher ratings among Romney voters than Rubio, 62%-56%, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

Santorum Hints He Will Run Again in 2016

His Frothiness

Few expected Rick Santorum to do as well as he did in the 2012 Republican Primaries.  Due to a confluence of events and a fair amount of stubborness on his part, he was the only serious challenger remaining against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney at the end.  With the departure of candidates like Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann, Santorum became the last remaining “other than Mitt” in the race.

Apparently this bit of fortune has led Mr. Santorum, a true symbol of the worst side of conservatism if there ever were one, to think he has a shot in 2016.  According to the Washington Examiner:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who emerged as the conservative populist in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, is already running for the 2016 nomination for president.

Santorum, who has been making the rounds at conservative media outlets, this week stepped deeper into the presidential pool when he said that he isn’t “doing anything inconsistent” with a 2016 campaign.

Say what?  Now, I’m fully aware that there is still a sizable portion of the GOP that is perfectly fine with Santorum’s social views and willing to ignore his numerous sins against any notion of limited government.  But it’s hard to see how Santorum could be a major player again in 2016.  With the arrival of people like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, it’s hard to see where he fits in.  Both Rubio and Paul are social conservatives with unimpeachable pro-life bona-fides, and it’s clear that the tide has massively changed on the issue of same-sex marriage to the point where an anti-gay message in 2016 could prove even more anachronistic than it is today.

Lindsey Graham Won’t Join Filibuster Against New Gun Control Measure

Lindsey Graham

When Democrats bring their new anti-gun control measures to the Senate floor next month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will not be among the Republicans who are working to stop them.

During an interview yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union, Graham told Candy Crowley that he believed that any legislation including universal background checks wouldn’t pass the Senate, but he added that he would not join a filibuster against the measures:

Sen. Lindsey Graham does not support extending background checks to gun sales between two individuals, nor does he think such a bill would pass the Senate, but he said Sunday he will not hold the measure up with a filibuster

“The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. (Harry) Reid did not allow alternative amendments,” the South Carolina Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”

Rubio, Inhofe Join Pledge to Filibuster Gun Control Measures

Marco Rubio

When Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tries to bring President Barack Obama’s gun control legislation to the Senate floor next month, he’ll face opposition from a growing number of Republicans who believe the measures are a vehicle to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) have pledged to filibuster a procedural move by Reid to bring the gun control legislation up for debate. Though the White House has slammed the conservative senators, Paul said yesterday that they’re forging ahead with the filibuster — and it looks they’re going to get some help from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and James Inhofe, R-Okla., joined three other Republican senators threatening to filibuster any new restrictions on guns Thursday.

The two senators added their signatures to a letter previously signed by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, vowing to protect the Second Amendment.
In a statement released Thursday, Rubio said he will oppose any legislation that could be used as a vehicle to impose new restrictions on “responsible, law-abiding gun owners.”

The Hill Confirms GOP’s Image Problem

Republican Party

We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.

And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:

Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.

Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.

An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.

Kibbe, LaTourette Debate Direction of the GOP on “Fox News Sunday”

Matt Kibbe and Steve LaTourette

Yesterday, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, and former Rep. Steve LaTourette, President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday to discuss the direction of the Republican Party.

Kibbe and FreedomWorks have focused on supporting fiscal conservatives in primaries across the country, including backing primary challenges to more moderate members of Congress. FreedomWorks was essential to electing Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — all of which went up against establishment candidates or incumbents with questionable records. LaTourette and the Republican Main Street Partnership have tried to steer the Republican Party in a more centrist direction.

With the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held near Washington, DC this past weekend and other events — including the sequester and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster — dominating the new cycle recently, there was plenty to discuss. Additionally, Kibbe and LaTourette represent two different views on how the Republican Party should fuction.

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Results

According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.

CPAC Straw Poll 2013

CPAC 2013: Some of the Best Speeches from Yesterday

It took me until about 2:30pm yesterday to realize that the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC, was putting up video of speeches and panels on its YouTube channel. While I can’t go through and transcribe each one, I thought I’d post some of the best speeches from yesterday. And in case you missed it, you can read my write-up on Sen. Rand Paul’s speech here.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA):

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX):


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