What We Learned: The Clubbing Scene
What we at The Hotline learned this week:
-- Let no one dispute that the Club for Growth is a big player. Of the two dozen Republicans who handed John Boehner the biggest defeat of his young speakership, nearly half of them were endorsed in the last several election cycles. The Club endorsed 29 Senate and House candidates last election cycle, and 20 of them were elected. All told, it spent $8.5 million in campaigns last cycle, with another $5.97 million bundled to its favored candidates -- record highs for the group in any election year. Keep an eye on how they react to an eventual deal next week if it doesn't look as good as the revised bill that passed Friday.
-- To paraphrase Ben Franklin, everything between New York City and Washington is a valley of humility between two mountains of conceit. But this week, we learned just how little anyone on those two mountains understand each other. The debt ceiling deal still depends on a lot of things going right, and a ton of bipartisan agreement where there's been none lately. Still, we avoided any kind of massive stock sell off because Wall Street simply didn't believe a deal wouldn't happen. Wall Street doesn't get how D.C. works -- or doesn't work -- these days.
-- The 2011 gubernatorial races are a classic half-full/half-empty mixed-bag for both parties. On one hand, Republicans can crow that Democrats are barely contesting Louisiana and Mississippi, whereas the GOP is fielding credible (if underdog) challengers in Kentucky and West Virginia. On the other hand, all four of these states are strongly Republican at the presidential level, so Democrats can reasonably claim it's a good year if they simply maintain the two seats they currently hold.
-- The buzz in Massachusetts this week has revolved around Consumer Financial Protection Bureau special adviser Elizabeth Warren, who is returning to Harvard next week where speculation about her potential Senate candidacy will ramp up even more. Meanwhile, Bay State Democrats have been attacking Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., on both social and economic issues. They criticized Brown for not appearing in the "It Gets Better," video aimed at LGBT youth; and Democrats have also hit him for not coming out with a position on the debt ceiling deals.
-- In the wake of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos' exit from the Sunshine State's Senate race, it's looks increasingly like the Republican field is not completely set. Environmental consultant Nick Loeb indicated he's taking a closer look at the race, and former state House Speaker Allen Bense didn't rule out a run either. Speculation is also mounting that Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., will jump in. Meanwhile, Haridopolos made it clear he's unhappy with the field -- and with former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner in particular -- saying he hoped former Gov. Jeb Bush or Reps. Connie Mack, R-Fla., Allen West, R-Fla., or Jeff Miller, R-Fla., would get in.
-- While former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory hasn't yet declared himself a candidate for governor of North Carolina, this week felt like the a full-fledged faceoff between the Republican and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. McCrory hit Perdue over high unemployment and for her veto of a voter ID bill, and the two both reported raising over a million dollars ($1.3 million for Perdue and just over $1 million for McCrory).