Senate Election 2014

This Republican Senate candidate wants to raise your taxes

David Perdue

David Perdue is poised to make the runoff in the Georgia Republican Senate primary, according to recent polls. He’s managed to put his name on the map through his personal largess, dropping nearly $2 million of his own money into his campaign, and quickly become the darling of the state party establishment. He’s saturated the media market, running four television ads to raise his name identification, and, as noted, that strategy has paid off.

But Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, has come under scrutiny in recent days. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Perdue, cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA), has never voted in a general primary in Georgia. Whether Perdue’s camp wants to acknowledge it or not, that’s a red flag, but it’s not the only one that has been raised in the past week.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue, in an interview with another local paper, floated the idea of “revenue increases” (hint: that’s a code word for tax hikes) to address the United States’ economic woes.

“Is it better to try to get out of the ditch by curbing the growth of spending or increasing revenue?” a Macon Telegraph editorial board member asked Perdue.

“Both,” Perdue replied.

“And that’s a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course,” the editorial board member noted.

Republicans win a special election — and complete control of the 2014 narrative

Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid

While we should be cautious to read too much into a special election, there’s no denying that the Republican victory last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District (FL-13) is bad news for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, regardless of how they try to deflect it.

The spin from Democrats is that FL-13 had long-been held by Republicans and the district has a Republican tilt, albeit very slight, at R+2. This is true. But talking points miss some very important points.

First, this is a district twice won by President Barack Obama, so it’s more friendly to Democrats than they want to admit. Secondly, Democrats had the money advantage. Alex Sink, who lost last night, overwhelmingly outraised and outspent her Republican opponent, former lobbyist David Jolly, and outside groups backing the Democrat slightly outspent those backing the Republican candidate.

Third, Jolly was a lobbyist, and that point was frequently brought up by Sink and outside groups backing her campaign. Despite being pegged in populist rhetoric as a Washington insider, Jolly managed to win.

LOLbamacare: Administration extends health plan fix for two years

Nearly an hour after the House of Representatives passed a measure to ostensibly delay enforcement of the individual mandate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would extend the “administrative fix” for canceled health plans through 2016 as well as extended the open enrollment period for 2015:

The Obama administration announced Wednesday it will let people with health insurance plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act standard to keep them into 2017 if their states permit.

The administration also extended Obamacare’s open enrollment for next year by one month—it now will run from Nov. 15, 2014, until Feb. 15, 2015—and gave insurers more financial help in dealing with costs from new ACA enrollees.

The announced rule changes also simplified the paperwork that larger employers will have to file when the rule obliging them to offer affordable health insurance to workers begins in 2015.
[…]
Under the new rule, people who maintain those plans, and who renew them as late as Oct. 1, 2016, will be able to keep them until as late as 2017. The administration said the rule will apply to anyone currently in a non-compliant small-group plan, as well as an individual plan, and said it would be up to individual states to allow the extension, and to what extent.

Mitch McConnell and the “Republican brand”

TL;DR: Mitch McConnell feels threatened by principled conservatives and feels that they’re ruining the “Republican brand” by challenging him and other establishment Republicans. But really, the “Republican brand” is in shambles, and it’s time to re-define that brand to return to small-government principles.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t a happy camper these days. He’s locked in both a contentious primary and general election fight, losing rule battles against his Democratic counterpart, and has to contend with some members of his own party who are constantly willing to stand on principle, rather than the party line.

“The ‘Republican brand’ was severely damaged several years ago. That was largely due to dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush, an unpopular war, and corruption in Congress.”

The rise of the Tea Party movement and conservative organizations have created havoc for McConnell and Republican leadership in the chamber, who enjoyed mostly distant rumblings from the political right in the past. But over the last few months, there has been a tiff between the Kentucky Republican and the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) that has now boiled over into the public.

Gun Control Push Could Hurt Senate Democrats in 2014

guns

Tom Knighton already touched on the new Washington Post/Pew Research poll showing that not even a majority of Americans express disappointment or anger for the Senate failing to enact the Manchin-Toomey amendment. In fact, the only group that is disappointed in failing to expand background checks is Democrats. A plurality of independents — 48%, to be exact — and 51% of Republicans describe themselves as “very happy” or “relieved” that the measure failed to pass.

As Chris Cillizza concludes, President Barack Obama “wound up losing the message fight over the gun legislation.” Of course, this is what happens when you waste political capital, as President Obama and the White House did, on an issue that only 4% of Americans really care about.

“Rather than a conversation centered on widely-popular measures supported by members of both parties,” he explained, “the debate — at least as people perceived it — became a wider referendum on the proper place for guns in society.”

2014 Senate Races and the Term Limits Issue

 

We’re barely through with the 2012 elections, but the 2014 Senate races are heating up quite nicely. This is fun, right? You can see a map here of the 2014 and which way each state leans. I’m keeping a close eye on two of those races specifically: Georgia and South Carolina.

Georgia interests me because it’s my home state but also because it’s the reelection campaign of the man whose liberal idiocy prompted my entrance into political activism. Saxby Chambliss is certain to face a primary opponent, and I’m certain to support that opponent. The only question to be answered is who will decide to run against him. I wrote about this race and Chambliss’ potential opponents recently.

South Carolina also has my eye for two reasons. First, I grew up there, and the vast majority of my family lives there. Second, it’s an opportunity for the state to rid themselves of the biggest imbecile in the Senate. Lindsey Graham is also nearly certain to find a primary opponent, and that opponent is also likely to win my favor (especially if that opponent is Tom Davis).

The problem with these races – and really a lot of the races in the coming Senate election – is that the incumbent has had (at least) six years to build up campaign funds and become part of a system designed to keep him elected. Lindsey Graham has a war chest of over $4 million. That’s enough money to scare off a lot of quality candidates that would give him a run for his job.

FreedomWorks hosts grassroots activists for 2012 election debrief

Matt Kibbe praises activistsWith the dust finally clearing from the 2012 election, FreedomWorks, an organization that organizes and trains the grassroots, hosted over 100 activists from 19 states for a debrief on this year’s campaigns — finding out what tactics and strategies did and didn’t work.

This weekend also provided these Freedom Movement activists, all of which were flown into Washington, DC for the meeting at FreedomWorks’ headquarters, an opportunity to plan for 2014, as well as to receive some training in new techniques to help get their message out to new voters and to get an idea of what is going on in the negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” and the status of ObamaCare’s state healthcare exchanges.

This morning, FreedomWorks hosted a press conference that give activists an opportunity to be heard by the media. Before turning over the press conference to activists, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, explained that “[t]here’s more energy in this movement today than there was on November 6th,” adding that the the activists that showed up this weekend are focused on 2014 and ideas.

Kibbe also noted that the debate and negotiations on the “fiscal cliff” were somewhat peculiar. “I don’t know about you, but I feel like we went over the fiscal cliff a long time ago,” explained Kibbe.

The Case Against Saxby Chambliss

Taxby

Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.

Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”

“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.

Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.

Bruce Braley was so busy running for reelection that he didn’t bother to show up for VA oversight meetings

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) has apparently forgotten that his constituents elected to him to, you know, actually show up and do his job. The Iowa Democrat, who’s running for U.S. Senate, has been missing-in-action from his committee duties, according to a report from The DesMoines Register:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.

Republicans argue that Braley, who missed 15 of the 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee meetings in 2011 and 2012, has shown a lack of commitment to conditions within the health care system for veterans.
[…]
Veterans affairs have been in public floodlight because of news reports about sometimes-fatal delays for veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals, and fraudulent record-keeping meant to cover up the delays. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs, of which Braley was a member for two years, is responsible for oversight over the operations at the VA.

Vulnerable Democratic senator dismisses complaints of lost health insurance coverage under Obamacare as “anecdotal”

President Barack Obama made it pretty clear when he was trying to sell his healthcare reform proposal that Americans would be able to keep their coverage: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

But that has proved to be untrue for many Americans. PolitiFact handed President Obama the dishonor of “Lie of the Year” for 2013, noting that “the promise was impossible to keep” due to the narrowly written “grandfathered plan” regulations. And by the end of the year, nearly 5 million Americans received notices in the mail telling them that their health plans had been canceled because of Obamacare.

Caught in the crossfire were vulnerable Democratic senators who repeated President Obama’s misleading — to put it nicely — talking points. Among them was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who promised on at least two occasions that Arkansans would be able to keep their coverage under Obamacare.

But when presented with the concerns of his constituents over the weekend during an appearance on local television, Pryor pushed back. “Let’s look at those stories and get inside of those stories,” he said. “A lot of this is anecdotal.”

 


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