Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Conservative ‘issues’ groups plan final cash blitz before Election Day

    rubio cristWith just eight days until Election Day, outside conservative groups (which some critics call the shadow GOP) are planning a final multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at helping Republicans win control of the House and Senate.

    Already, two of the leading outside GOP groups—American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS—have together spent a combined average of $1 million a day so far this month. On Sunday, American Crossroads filed notice that it had spent another $500,000 in ads and direct mail, including $400,000 alone for ads targeting independent candidate Charlie Crist in Florida's Senate race.  That spending is notable in part because leaders of the Senate GOP two weeks ago shifted money they had planned to spend on Republican Marco Rubio's behalf to other key Senate races.

    That strategic move is testimony to how crucial the new infusions of outside campaign cash are to candidates and national parties. Among other things, the contributions from independent "issues" groups gives GOP candidates the flexibility to spend their cash on other priorities, such as get-out-the-vote efforts, without losing ground against Democratic opponents.  Indeed,  outside cash is the sole reason certain contests are competitive, as the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reports Monday morning.

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  • Connecticut GOP files FEC complaint against Blumenthal

    connecticutThe Connecticut Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal's campaign of illegally coordinating with Planned Parenthood to smear GOP rival Linda McMahon.

    On Friday, Politico's Ben Smith reported on an email he obtained that showed a Blumenthal staffer passing on a request from Planned Parenthood for "worst of WWE + women photos."

    "(Democratic consultant Andrew) Grossman is looking for mysoginistic photos of women in the WWE. Planned Parenthood wants to hit LM hard on it," Blumenthal press aide Marcy Stech wrote to seven other campaign aides and staffers at the state Democratic Party, according to the email obtained by Smith. "What do we got?"

    The email seems to imply coordination between the Blumenthal campaign and Planned Parenthood, which is strictly prohibited under campaign rules.

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  • Brown doubles his lead over Whitman in California

    w and bMeg Whitman's enormous campaign spending in California isn't giving her any advantage in the state's closely watched gubernatorial race.

    A new USC/Los Angeles Times poll of likely voters finds Democrat Jerry Brown has opened up a 13 point lead on his GOP rival just over a week before Election Day. According to the poll, 52 percent of likely voters prefer Brown, compared to 39 percent for Whitman. By comparison, Brown held an 8 point lead over Whitman as recently as last week.

    Whitman, who has spent a record-breaking $141.5 million of her own cash on the race, has dropped in the polls largely because she's losing serious ground among Latinos, women and independents. According to the USC/LAT poll, Brown has nearly doubled his advantage among Latino voters in the last month and now leads Whitman by 34 points. He has a 21 point lead among female voters and a 37 point lead among self-described "non-partisan" voters.

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  • Steele defends RNC tenure, insisting he’s not ‘irrelevant’

    michael steeleRepublican National Committee chairman Michael Steele pushed back against critics of his party tenure Sunday, telling NBC's Meet the Press that he is not "irrelevant."

    Steele was responding to a highly-critical Wall Street Journal column last week written by conservative pundit Fred Barnes, which attacked the GOP chairman for his paltry fundraising and propensity for verbal gaffes. Barnes, echoing other GOP critics in the party, trashed Steele for being "nowhere to be seen" ahead of Election Day.

    "No, I am not irrelevant," Steele told NBC, in his first Sunday morning talk show appearance in months. He defended the party's fund-raising under his watch, insisting the RNC has "smashed the records in fund-raising for a party out of power."

    While he acknowledged the RNC has less cash to spend on the final push toward Election Day than the Democratic National Committee, Steele insisted it was because the party had spent money early. "We didn't stockpile the money, (like) the old RNCs would do so that they could have a good cash-on-hand at the end of the month," insisted Steele, who declined to say if he'll seek a second term as GOP chairman. "We wanted the money to go to the states. That's where it is, and come Nov. 2, you're going to see the effect of that planning."

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  • Sestak and Toomey in a dead heat in Pennsylvania

    sestak toomey

    Are Democrats regaining their mojo in Pennsylvania?

    After months of dismal poll numbers, in part due to President Obama's declining popularity in the state, Democrat Joe Sestak has suddenly surged in the state's closely watched Senate race, eliminating GOP rival Pat Toomey's once-sizable lead.

    Three separate polls this week have found Sestak and Toomey in a dead heat. A Morning Call daily tracking survey found the two tied, with 43 percent apiece. A Public Policy Polling survey found Sestak up by 1 point, leading Toomey 46 to 45 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll released just yesterday found Toomey leading by 2 points, 48 percent to Sestak's 46 percent. All results were well within the polls' margins of error.

    That's a major switch from polling as recently as last week, in which Toomey held anywhere from a 5 to 10 point lead over Sestak in the race. According to Quinnipiac, Sestak is enjoying a sudden surge a little over a week before Election Day because Democrats "have begun to come home."

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  • John Mellencamp, Obama supporter, defends Sarah Palin

    obama mellencampSarah Palin has an unlikely new defender: John Mellencamp.

    The legendary rocker and founder of Farm Aid has been a staple of Democratic politics over the years, campaigning alongside everyone from John Edwards and John Kerry to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

    But Mellencamp tells the AP's John Carucci that although he doesn't agree with Palin's political positions, he admires the mark she's made on the country since the '08 election. And he doesn't think she's as far out there as her opponents might suggest.

    People underestimate Palin's intellect "just because she says things and winks," Mellencamp tells AP. But Palin, he says, "knows exactly what she's doing."

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  • Corporate donors fund chamber’s 2010 political push

    moneyThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce won't bow to Democrats' requests to reveal donors behind its $75 million midterm-election push. But based on information gleaned from corporate filings and "obscure places," the New York Times offers what it calls a "glimpse" into the money that funds some of the chamber's enormous lobbying and political advocacy efforts.

    While the chamber has billed its membership as a mix of major corporations and tens of thousands of small businesses around the country, the Times finds nearly half of the $140 million the group has raised in 2008 came from just 45 companies. That includes one still-unknown entity that contributed $15 million, according to the chamber's tax returns, and 21 unidentified companies that contributed $1 million apiece.

    Among the donors the Times could identify: Dow Chemical, which contributed $1.7 million to the chamber, and Prudential Financial, which kicked in $2 million in 2009 to support the chamber's lobbying efforts against Wall Street reform. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco and the insurance giant Aegon collectively contributed $8 million to a chamber-related foundation that has been critical of financial regulation. More recently, News Corp., parent company of Fox News, contributed $1 million to the chamber's efforts.

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  • DCCC files FEC complaint against McCain

    mccainDid John McCain violate the campaign finance law that bears his name?

    That's what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is alleging. In a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission, House Democrats accuse McCain of violating campaign finance laws that limit contributions and restrict coordination between campaigns.

    Earlier this week, McCain's campaign began airing ads in Arizona featuring McCain and fellow Sen. Jon Kyl urging voters to support GOP candidates in the state. One spot endorses Ruth McClung, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva in Arizona's 7th District. The other promotes Jesse Kelly, who is running against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

    The DCCC says the McCain ads amount to an "in-kind contribution" to the two GOP campaigns -- and as such, they exceed limits set by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. But the McCain campaign says the ads qualify as "independent expenditures," which are unlimited so long as McCain did not coordinate his actions with either the Kelly or McClung campaign.

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  • Crist is running low on cash in Florida’s Senate race

    crist ball

    Charlie Crist is going to need more than a Hail Mary pass to catch up to Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race.

    As reported by the St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith, the Florida governor has blown his once-sizable financial advantage in the race, spending $7.4 million in the last two months. He entered October with just $1.4 million in the bank, according to a newly filed campaign finance report. By comparison, Rubio reported $5.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Democrat Kendrick Meek, who runs a distant third in the race, began October with $415,000.

    This is beyond bad news for Crist, who led the race most of the summer but has seen his lead evaporate big time in the last six weeks. A CNN/Time Magazine poll out Wednesday found Rubio with a 14-point lead in the race, 46 percent to Crist's 32 percent (and Meek's 20 percent).

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  • More drama over cash flow for Steele and the RNC

    steeleThe Republican National Committee entered October with just $3.4 million cash in the bank, nearly $10 million less than the Democratic National Committee.

    According to a newly filed Federal Election Commission report, the RNC raised just $9.8 million in September, another disappointing month for the committee, which has struggled for months to raise funds under embattled Chairman Michael Steele. By comparison, the DNC raised nearly $17 million last month, a new party record, and ended September with just over $13 million in the bank.

    To make up the gap, the RNC took out a $2.5 million loan last month—part of a larger $15 million credit line that GOP officials approved in August. All told, the RNC ended the month with nearly $4.6 million in debts.

    In a statement Thursday, RNC spokesman Doug Heye defended the fundraising take, saying it was a decent total for a party that does not have control of either the White House or Congress. He also added that the RNC has raised $4.3 million since Oct. 1. By comparison, the DNC says it has raised $11 million.

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