Entries in 2012 Elections (6)


Newt Gingrich to Fundraise for Todd Akin

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS) -- Newt Gingrich will be in St. Louis on Monday, fundraising for Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a source close to the former House speaker confirmed.

“If the Akin campaign can use his appearance to reach out through online fundraising, this can help,” the source said. “There will be no establishment $2,500 checks for Akin…If he is going to build it, it will be one dollar at a time — and time he is running out of.”

Nearly every prominent Republican, including Mitt Romney, distanced themselves from Akin when he made comments last month that he believes it is rare for a woman to conceive after a “legitimate rape.” Akin later apologized. Notably, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gingrich have defended the shunned congressman.

“I think Todd Akin was the choice of the people in Missouri, and Todd Akin has publicly apologized,” Gingrich said. “I just think people ought to be a little cautious about saying the voters of Missouri don’t count.”

Gingrich could also have a monetary benefit behind defending Akin. Akin’s senate campaign is one of the many purchasers of Gingrich’s large email list, one way Gingrich is paying down the debt from his failed presidential campaign.

Akin will face Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats List Their Top House Candidates

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats had a rough time in the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives, and this year they have almost nowhere to go but up.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) unveiled its list of “Red to Blue” candidates -- its top tier of House challengers who, it believes, are poised to win mostly Republican districts in November, bringing Democrats back toward relevance in the House of Representatives after a two-year stint of drastic minority.

Here they are:

-- Julia Brownley, California’s open 26th District.
-- Alan Lowenthal, California’s new 47th District.
-- Scott Peters, challenging GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray in California’s 52nd District.
-- Bill Enyart, vying to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello in Illinois’s 12th District.
-- David Gill, Illinois’s open 13th District.
-- Mike Obermueller, challenging GOP Rep. John Kilne in Minnesota’s Second District.
-- Hayden Rogers, vying to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler in North Carolina’s 11th District.
-- Michelle Lujan Grisham, vying to replace Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich in New Mexico’s First District. Heinrich is running for Senate.
-- Former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, challenging GOP Rep. Frank Guinta in New Hampshire’s First District.
-- Mark Murphy, challenging GOP Rep. Michael Grimm in New York’s 11th District.
-- Sean Patrick Maloney, challenging Rep. Nan Hayworth in New York’s 18th District.
-- Pete Gallego, challenging GOP Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco in Texas’s 23rd District.
-- Suzan DelBene, vying for Washington’s open First District.

“These top-tier Democratic candidates are focused on solving problems, creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and protecting seniors.  Their Republican opponents are forced to defend their relentless protections of millionaires over Medicare and the middle class,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said on releasing the list.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


2012 Could Be Key for Female Senate Dems

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- 2010 was not a great year for women in Congress.  Although the midterm elections in that cycle saw a historic victory for the GOP, their 60-seat victory led to the first decrease in female representation in Congress in 30 years.

In 2012, however, things could look much different for women.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C., in December, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared that 2012 would be a “historic year” for women in the United States Senate.

On Thursday, Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, a political action committee (PAC) that supports pro-choice, female Democratic candidates for office, echoed Murray’s message.

“2012 is a historic year for EMILY’s List,” Schriock told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing in Washington, D.C.

2012 already marks a historic year for women.  There are seven female senators who are up for re-election in this cycle -- the greatest number ever in the Senate.  Six of those senators are Democrats, while one -- Olympia Snowe of Maine -- is a Republican.

On the challenger side of Senate races, there are five Democratic women candidates currently endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  EMILY’s List is also currently endorsing five female challengers in Senate races, in addition to the six incumbent Democratic senators.

There are four female Republican candidates running in Senate races in addition to Snowe.

Nineteen Senate seats held by Democrats were contested going into the 2010 midterms.  Democrats lost six of those seats, narrowing their majority from a filibuster-proof 60 seats to 53 seats vs. the Republicans’ 47 seats.

This cycle, Democrats will have less wiggle room because of their smaller majority.  Raising the stakes even more is the fact that a greater number of their seats will be in contention.  Twenty-three Senate seats currently occupied by Democrats will be up for re-election in 2012.  A little more than a quarter of those seats are represented by women.

The stakes are high for Republicans, as well.  They need at least four seats in order to win the majority in the Senate.  However, they do have a mathematical advantage: Only 10 Republican senators are up for re-election in this cycle.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democratic Pollster: 'Both Parties Are in Trouble'

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It has been well established that the 2012 primary cycle has been unusual, and has left many political operatives scratching their heads. Friday, prominent Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg indicated that he thinks the general election will not be any different.

“What’s normal anymore?” Greenberg asked reporters. “I think we have to assume this election will not be governed by normal rules.”

Greenberg is the chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling and strategy firm which has represented a variety of prominent Democratic candidates and organizations, including President Bill Clinton.

At a pen and pad briefing in Washington, D.C., Greenberg expressed confidence in President Obama’s prospects for re-election, as well as the likelihood of Democrats doing well in House and Senate elections.

However, he believes that “both parties are in trouble” in this cycle. He argues that it’s “apples and oranges” for Democrats and Republicans.

Findings by the firm indicate that Democrats face declining support from young voters -- a voting block that turned out in huge numbers for Obama in 2008.  The same research suggests that Republicans are facing a decrease in support from senior citizens.

In both cases, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner’s findings demonstrate that these two voting blocks are moving more towards the undecided column.

“There’s enormous uncertainty,” explained Greenberg.

Greenberg argues that voters will likely be swayed by functionality; instead of voting based on party affiliation, voters will be moved to vote against candidates perceived as being dysfunctional.

Greenberg cited a number of additional variables which he thinks will have an impact on the outcome of the race. He believes endorsements from popular governors, particularly in swing states, will play an important role in the general election, as will turnout from individuals identifying with the tea party movement and occupy movement, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Top Senate Democrat: 2012 Is Going to Be a Historic Year

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A top Senate Democrat proclaimed that “2012 is going to be a historic year” for women in the United States Senate and predicted scoring 11 victories for female candidates.

Sen. Patty Murray, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, was upbeat about Democrats’ chances to gain back some ground they lost to Republicans in 2012 -- in spite of the reality of the tanking approval ratings for President Obama, and the fact that Democrats are defending far more seats than Republicans.

There are six female Democratic incumbent Senators facing re-election this year -- the greatest number of women candidates up for re-election ever in the Senate.  These Senators include Diane Feinstein in California, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Kirsten Gillibrand in New York and Maria Cantwell in Washington.

Additionally, there are five female Democratic challengers running for Senate seats in five states: Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Rep. Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Rep. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

Murray expressed her strong confidence in all of these individuals at a briefing Tuesday, saying, “I have found great candidates in our women this year.”

So far in this cycle there has been a sense of optimism from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about the Democrats' chances of taking back control of the House of Representatives. The reason for said optimism: the anti-incumbent, anti-majority sentiment that is so prominent among voters currently.

With Democrats falling into that majority category where Senate races are concerned, Murray was asked if she was concerned about said sentiment. She said she was not, explaining her belief that, "every one of these races is a competitive race in its own state where people compare candidates.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee fired back, asserting that this election will indeed be a reflection on the direction of the Senate under Democratic leadership.

“Democrats lost seven Senate seats last cycle, and independent voters by wide margins, because their message and their candidates were to the far left of most voters in their states,” NRSC communications director Brian Walsh said in a statement. “So whether it’s in Wisconsin, Nevada, North Dakota, or elsewhere, it’s remarkable to watch history already begin to repeat itself. This election will be a referendum on the Democrats’ economy and every single Senate Democrat candidate is going to have a very tough time defending their record of 9% unemployment, a $15 trillion debt, and job-killing tax hikes on America’s small businesses.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Discloses Nearly $230,000 Owed for Travel

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an amended report submitted to the Federal Election Commission Friday, Rick Perry disclosed that his campaign owes almost $230,000 in new travel-related debts as a result of failing to follow campaign finance rules when paying for chartered planes.

According to the amended FEC report, the Perry campaign owes a total of $227,676.07 to eight different companies for travel-related expenses. The largest debts are owed to companies and individuals with strong Texas ties to Perry. Javaid Anwar, the head of Midland Energy in Texas, is owed $66,362.50. Perry owes $454,365.16 to Friedkin Aviation, owned by Dan Friedkin, whom Perry appointed as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Brian Pardo, a Texas businessman and Perry donor, is owed $22,931.15.

The story was first reported by The New York Times.

Perry’s amended report was prompted by a New York Times piece last month that revealed the Perry campaign underpaid Pardo for the use of his private planes during the last fundraising quarter.  The campaign paid only for the seats used by the campaign, not the equivalent of the full cost of a chartered flight as required by campaign finance regulations.

Upon publication of the story, the campaign told the Times it would reimburse the individuals and companies for the full price of the flight.

Perry faced additional plane problems last month when the Wall Street Journal learned the Texas governor used the same plane that was used in a drug smuggling ring, though the campaign was unaware of the plane’s previous flights.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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