Hotline Sort: The Freshman GOP Defectors
Welcome back to Hotline Sort. The NRCC outraises the DCCC in April, Crossroads GPS is engaged in ruby-red Nebraska, and Mitt Romney goes up with his first general election ad, telling voters what he'd do as president. Meanwhile, Stephen Breyer is one unlucky Supreme Court justice. Here's today's Sort:
10. Talk about bad luck: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's house was broken into this month - the second time he's been the victim of a home-invasion crime. Back in February, he was robbed when a man carrying a machete entered his Caribbean vacation home.
9. A growing number of Republican freshman are declaring their independence from Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, Politico reports, saying they don't plan on signing the group's anti-tax pledge. The mavericks include many members facing competitive re-election campaigns, including Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va. and Reid Ribble, R-Wis. Even outspoken conservative Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. spoke out against the group's pledge, saying: "I don't care if he has my name on his website, it's meaningless. I think my voting record speaks for itself."
8. For the first time since October 2011, the National Republican Congressional Committee outraised its Democratic counterpart over a monthly period. In April, the NRCC brought in $6.9 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's $6.48 million. The Republican House campaign committee has an overall cash-on-hand edge, ending April with $31.3 million in the bank compared to the DCCC's $25 million.
7. Republicans are betting energy issues will be potent in the special election for the seat of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. The Republican nominee, Jesse Kelly, is up with a new ad attacking Democrat Ron Barber for supporting cap-and-trade policies.
6. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has found a cause that he'll likely be touting in his re-election bid this year: Assessing higher capital gains taxes against wealthy Americans who become citizens of other countries. Casey took up legislation with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in light of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renouncing his U.S. citizenship, and moving to Singapore. Co-sponsoring the legislation is a savvy way to bolster his connection with working-class voters - a key demographic in the Senate race.
5. Crossroads GPS is going up with an ad in the Nebraska Senate race against former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, and one word is prominent throughout the 30-second spot: bailout.
"Bob Kerrey supported the Wall Street bailout, while serving on the board of a company that tried to exploit it. Kerrey's company tried a bureaucratic ploy to get bailout funds, but the ploy failed... from Bailout Bob Kerrey, it's Wall Street ways, not Nebraska values." Kerrey is running against Republican state Sen. Deb Fischer, who won a surprising upset in this week's GOP primary.
The GOP playbook against Kerrey, running in a deeply-conservative state, is to hit him for spending much of the last decade in New York City as head of the New School. This spot adds an ideological element to that equation.
Politico, which first reported the ad, noted that it cost $260,000 to air statewide, and will be seen on broadcast and cable in the Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff, North Platte, Denver and Sioux City markets.