Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Crist learns the downside of a third-party bid in Florida

    CristFlorida Gov. Charlie Crist has talked up his independent run for Senate as a "freeing" experience, telling voters that since he left the GOP this spring,  he's no longer a slave to either political party. But with less than two months before Election Day, Crist is starting to experience the downsides of running a third-party bid in one of the most closely watched races in the country.

    For one, Crist will no longer be near the top of the ballot when voters head to the polls 47 days from now. As the St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith reports, Crist will be listed ninth out of a field of 10 candidates on the Senate ballot this year. Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, his top rivals, will be near the top of the ballot. "It's an issue, obviously," a disappointed Crist said yesterday.

    Another downside: Crist doesn't have any political party or like-minded outside group willing to spend cash on his behalf. That means Crist is all on his own when it comes to advocating his candidacy and defending himself against attacks — an expensive, multi-front challenge in Crist's case. Not only are Rubio and Meek focusing more on Crist than they are on each other, but the Florida governor is also under fire from independent groups working to elect Republicans, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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  • Bruni walks back claim Michelle Obama thinks life as first lady is ‘hell’


    What does Michelle Obama think about being first lady?

    In a new biography, France's first lady, Carla Bruni, reportedly claims Obama told her that life in the White House is "hell."

    "Don't ask! It's hell. I can't stand it!" Bruni says Obama replied when she asked her about life as the wife of the president. The conversation allegedly took place in March, when Bruni visited the White House with her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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  • Meg Whitman is now the biggest self-funding candidate in history


    It's official: Meg Whitman is the biggest self-funding candidate paying her way through a single race in political history.

    As the Los Angeles Times' Anthony York notes, the California GOP gubernatorial nominee contributed another $15 million to her  campaign on Tuesday. That means that Whitman, who came by most of her wealth during her tenure as CEO of eBay,  has spent $119 million of her own cash on the race --  almost $10 million more than previous record-holder Michael Bloomberg, who ran up his $110 million tally during his successful 2009 re-election campaign.

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  • From ‘Real World’ to Congress: MTV alums win 2010 primaries

    seanduffyIs 2010 the year of the MTV candidate?

    Three candidates who have previously appeared on MTV reality shows have run for Congress this election cycle, with two of the candidates winning their primaries on Tuesday.

    In Wisconsin, former "Real World: Boston" star Sean Duffy won the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District. Duffy, a former local prosecutor, is vying to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Obey and has been branded by House Republicans in Washington as a rising star. (Duffy's wife, Rachel Campos, was a star of "Real World: San Francisco." They met while starring on the "Real World" spinoff "Road Rules: All Stars.")

    In Delaware, tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell defeated Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. While O'Donnell was a political unknown until about two weeks ago, she's no stranger to the cameras. In 1996, she appeared in an episode of MTV's docu-series "Sex in the '90s," pushing abstinence and arguing that masturbation is a sin.

    You can watch the O'Donnell footage after the jump, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:

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  • Tea party victory endangers GOP’s goal of retaking the Senate


    With polls showing significant GOP momentum this fall, Republicans in recent weeks began to believe they had a real chance of retaking control of the Senate in November. But a major primary upset at the hands of a tea party insurgent on Tuesday may have put the Senate GOP's dreams of a majority at serious risk.

    In the biggest electoral surprise of the night, conservative activist Christine O'Donnell defeated longtime GOP Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary. Castle, a moderate who once served as the state's governor, had been so favored to win in November that his decision to run had reportedly influenced Democrat Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, to abandon plans to seek his father's old seat.

    [Photos: See Christine O'Donnell on the campaign trail]

    But with O'Donnell's come-from-nowhere win Tuesday night, top Republicans in Washington now see virtually no chance the GOP will be able to pick up the Delaware seat this fall. As a result, they admit their already slim chance of winning back Republican control of the Senate is likely dead.

    "It's hard to see a path for us," one senior Republican official, who declined to be named while discussing party strategy, told The Upshot. "Never say never, but it has become much harder for us after tonight."

    [Related: See O'Donnell, conservative fire back at Rove]

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  • Despite ethics charges, Rangel easily wins primary and likely a new term


    Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel easily won his primary Tuesday night, facing voters for the first time since he was charged with 13 ethics violations in the House. The 20-term New York Democrat easily beat his closest rival, state Rep. Adam Clayton Powell IV, by more than 20 points, according to a preliminary vote count.

    That means Rangel is pretty much a shoo-in for re-election. While the veteran Democrat had been set to face an ethics trial next month, House lawmakers are likely to postpone that hearing until after the election. Earlier Tuesday, Rangel hinted to reporters that he might be willing to agree to a settlement of those charges, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    (Photo by Lauren Victoria Burke/AP)

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  • O’Donnell defeats Castle in Delaware

    odonnellIn one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 elections so far, tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell has defeated longtime GOP Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware's GOP Senate primary.

    O'Donnell, relatively unknown until the last two weeks, easily defeated Castle, a moderate who had been heavily favored to win the seat in November. The upset is a major disappointment for the national GOP, who had believed a Castle win in November might help the Republicans reclaim control of the Senate.

    But many Republicans are openly skeptical that O'Donnell can win the general election in November against Democrat Chris Coons. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, told CNN he has "doubts" that O'Donnell can win and has declined to say whether the party will spend money in the race.

    (Photo by Rob Carr/AP)

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  • Blumenthal narrowly leads McMahon in Connecticut

    mcmahonWith just 49 days to go before Election Day, Linda McMahon has cut Richard Blumenthal's lead in Connecticut's Senate race to just 6 points. That's a nearly 20-point change since May, when McMahon narrowly won the endorsement of the state GOP. As recently as late July, Blumenthal was up 17 points in the race — a lead that has narrowed steadily as the former World Wrestling Entertainment chief has continued to spend millions of dollars of her own cash on the race.

    According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Blumenthal leads McMahon, 51 percent to 45 percent, with just 3 percent undecided. Among independents, a bloc likely to decide the race, Blumenthal leads McMahon by just 1 point, 47 percent to 46 percent.

    Democrats will no doubt point to McMahon's massive spending as the reason the race is suddenly so close. Given the vast financial disparity between the two — McMahon has spent at least $22 million, compared with Blumenthal's $1.3 million — that's certainly a big factor.

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  • Republican casts Pelosi as Wicked Witch in Oz-inspired ad

    pelosiHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have the safest Democratic seat in the country, representing most of the notoriously liberal city of San Francisco. But every two years, there's at least one Republican who tries to challenge her influence.

    This year, that challenge falls to John Dennis, a self-described entrepreneur from San Francisco. Polling in the race is virtually nonexistent, but it's safe to say Dennis has a tough fight on his hands, as Pelosi has handily won re-election in recent years with at least 80 percent of the vote.

    Still, like other underdog candidates we've seen so far this election cycle, Dennis is hoping to get some buzz via an outlandish attack ad. His recently released spot features  an over-the-top "Wizard of Oz" theme, casting Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West. And of course Dennis is shown subduing her by, yes, melting her with a bucket of water.

    You can watch the spot after the jump:

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  • Splitting with Boehner, McConnell pushes to renew all Bush tax cuts

    mcconnell boehnerJohn Boehner's apparent new conciliatory mood notwithstanding, not all Republicans on Capitol Hill are as willing to compromise on the so-called Bush tax cuts.  A day after the House GOP leader hinted he'd vote to extend tax cuts without a provision for the wealthiest Americans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation Monday to continue all of the Bush-era tax cuts indefinitely.

    McConnell's strategy is based, in part, on the simple headcount in his Senate caucus. Few Senate Republicans are willing to consider passing just tax relief for the middle class — a compromise that President Obama has pushed over the last week. McConnell and his counterparts are looking to continue the tax cuts permanently, arguing Americans cannot afford to pay higher taxes at a time of economic peril. By introducing the bill, McConnell is trying to put pressure on Senate Democrats, some of whom have been openly concerned about the idea of raising taxes, even on the wealthy.

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