Welcome back to Hotline Sort. All eyes will be on presidential fundraising numbers as the second quarter closes tonight. Meanwhile, the DCCC launches automated calls against 14 of the most vulnerable Republicans. And Colbert makes a return trip to the FEC. Here's today's rundown:
9. A federal judge ruled Wednesday that medical authorities working for the federal Bureau of Prisons were legally justified in forcibly giving anti-psychotic drugs to Jared Loughner, accused of the Tuscon shooting that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
During a 90-minute hearing Wednesday, new details emerged about Loughner's mental state: Loughner is still thought to be a danger to himself and others, and he refuses to accept that Giffords was not killed.
8. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching new automated phone calls today in 14 targeted districts, hitting House Republicans on privatizing Social Security.
The calls begin today in the following districts: Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz., Daniel Webster, R-Fla., Allen West, R-Fla., Tom Latham, R-Iowa, Joe Walsh, R-Ill., Tim Johnson, R-Ill., Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., Jon Runyan, R-N.J., Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Pat Meehan, R-Pa., and Reid Ribble, R-Wis.
Money quote from the ads: "Republican leaders' scheme to gamble the Social Security that seniors worked a lifetime to earn on Wall Street is way too dangerous. One bad market could wipe out years of savings, putting generations of retirees at risk."
7. The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching its online component of the Patriot Program, geared towards helping vulnerable incumbents, with the website ElectGOPPatriots.org.
According to the NRCC: "As a tool for staying on offense, the site will help Patriots (the first 10 and additional rounds to be announced) build winning campaigns through fundraising, social media networking for grassroots organization, and proactive communication."
6. Legislative leaders in Oregon agreed Tuesday on a congressional redistricting map after both Democrats and Republicans made concessions, the Oregonian reports
Under the plan, the new congressional lines don't differ greatly from the current districts. But Republicans compromised on their view that the heavily Democratic Multnomah County should be contained in one congressional district, and Democrats agreed to make the districts held by Reps. David Wu
, D-Ore., and Kurt Schrader
, D-Ore., more competitive.
5. The final FEC reports before the July 12 special election in California's 36th District are due today, and Democrat Janice Hahn
will report raising nearly $677,000 from April 28th until June 22nd. She has spent over $587,000, and will end the pre-runoff period with $326,000 in the bank.
The increasingly rancorous runoff between Hahn and wealthy businessman Craig Huey
- punctuated by a controversial outside ad
that aired earlier this month - is believed to have tightened, despite the district's strong Democratic registration advantage, and Hahn has aggressively worked to paint Huey as "too extreme" for the district in ads that have compared him to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
4. Businessman John Crowley will resume his role
as Amicus Therapeutics Inc. chair August 15, and won't launch a bid
for the seat held by Sen. Bob Menendez
Crowley's compelling story would have made him a possible contender in a Democratic-leaning state: he founded Amicus after two of his three kids were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, and his life story was the inspiration for the movie "Extraordinary Measures."
3. The Colbert Report comes to DC: The normally sleepy Federal Election Commission today will consider
whether comedian Stephen Colbert
can use a media giant's resources to promote his own independent expenditure-only political action committee. With Colbert slated to attend, the hearing has quickly turned into a DC media circus.
If the FEC grants Colbert a press exemption, the decision could have a big effect on media involvement in federal elections, potentially opening the door for media outlets that employ politicians as commentators to aid favored candidates through undisclosed contributions -- figures including Fox News' Karl Rove
and Mike Huckabee
Tune in to Hotline On Call
for more later on the hearing later today.
2. Battleground Virginia: The Old Dominion Senate race is a dead heat, and voters are split on re-electing President Obama, according to a new poll that shows that the commonwealth is shaping up to be a key political battleground
According to the poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, former Gov. Tim Kaine
has a scant, statistically insignificant one-point advantage over former Sen. George Allen
, R-Va., 43 percent to 42 percent. More than one in ten voters is undecided. Men choose Allen, 47 percent to 40 percent, and women tilt towards Kaine, 45 percent to 37 percent.
Virginia voters are also split evenly on re-electing Obama: 47 percent think he deserves to be re-elected, while 47 percent do not. The percentages of voters who approve and disapprove of Obama's job performance are equal: 48 percent. And Obama is in a dead heat against a generic Republican challenger, leading 43 percent to 41 percent.
1. The second-quarter fundraising deadline is midnight tonight, and here's a preview
of what we'll be watching in the presidential contenders' numbers.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports
that supporters of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
said they have raised between $25 million and $35 million in support of his candidacy, a total that would put him far ahead of his Republican rivals.
And the Republican field is making pitches for contributions down to the wire
-- Jessica Taylor contributed to this report.