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Democrats Land Top MS SEN Recruit; New FL-13 Radio Ad Hits David Jolly; RGA Airs Ads in S.C., Wis. Democrats Land Top MS SEN Recruit; New FL-13 Radio Ad Hits David Jolly...

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Democrats Land Top MS SEN Recruit; New FL-13 Radio Ad Hits David Jolly; RGA Airs Ads in S.C., Wis.

Wake-Up Call! is Hotline's daily morning briefing on campaigns and elections. Click here to subscribe.


  • "As Russia dispatched more forces and tightened its grip on the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday, President Obama embarked on a strategy intended to isolate Moscow and prevent it from seizing more Ukrainian territory even as he was pressured at home to respond more forcefully. Working the telephone from the Oval Office ... Obama rallied allies, agreed to send Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev and approved a series of diplomatic and economic moves intended to 'make it hurt,' as one administration official put it. But the president found himself besieged by advice to take more assertive action." (New York Times)
  • In MS SEN, former Rep. Travis Childers (D) announced on Friday he will run, "giving Democrats a chance to capitalize on the Republican division within the state." (Hotline reporting)
  • Also in MS SEN, Mississippi Conservatives (R), "a super PAC boosting" Sen. Thad Cochran (R) "will air a pair of television and radio ads throughout the state, criticizing" state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) "for saying that a vote on Hurricane Katrina relief would not be 'an easy vote to cast.' ... The ads are backed by a $100,000 buy" and "will air on broadcast, cable and radio stations over the next few weeks in the Biloxi and Hattiesburg markets -- two of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina in the state." (Roll Call)
  • In the FL-13 Special, Friends of Democracy launched a new radio ad criticizing former lobbyist David Jolly (R) for lobbying on Social Security on behalf of special interests that want to privatize the program, and says former state CFO Alex Sink (D) will protect Social Security. The ad began airing on March 1 and will continue to through Election Day on March 11. (release)
  • Also in FL-13, "the candidates ... met Friday for their final scheduled debate, handling questions on Social Security, Obamacare, Cuba and war. On Social Security, an issue that is playing a key role in the contest ... Sink said that she considers the program to be strong and that its trustees have said it will be solvent for 20 years. She pledged to be a 'strong advocate' for the program, and said she would oppose privatizing it. ... Jolly said Social Security's trustees have made it clear the program has long-term financial challenges that must be addressed." (Tampa Bay Times)
  • In CO GOV, former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) "is preparing to enter the ... race" on Monday. "Beauprez, who's been hinting at a run for weeks and hoping to reach a deal for" former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) "to leave the race, has been telling supporters this week that he's jumping in regardless." (KDVR-TV)
  • In SC GOV, the RGA launched a new TV ad attacking state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) for supporting Obamacare and expanding Medicaid in the state. (release)
  • In NY GOV, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "will start airing a statewide television ad this week to push his reforms to the Common Core curriculum so students won't unfairly be hurt by test scores under the new, higher standards. ... A Cuomo spokesman said the ad will be paid for by Cuomo's campaign." (Newsday)
  • In WI GOV, the RGA launched its second TV ad tying former Trek executive Mary Burke (D) to the "debt, mismanagement, [and] waste" of former Gov. Jim Doyle's (D) administration, where she served as Commerce secretary. (release)
  • In FL-19, "a new super PAC," the Liberty and Leadership Fund "has emerged in the race" and is "spending $60,000" on a TV ad attacking businessman Curt Clawson (R). (Tampa Bay Times)
  • In IL-13, University of Illinois professor George Gollin (D) "will spend $48,000 on broadcast in the district on a new ad that will air between March 4 and March 10." (Roll Call)
  • In MN-07, "sources close to" Rep. Collin Peterson (D) "say he will definitely run for re-election in 2014. After months of speculation that he would retire, and pressure from Republican groups, Peterson decided that to run for at least one more term because of the Republican spending so early in the race." (The Morning Take)
  • In MS-04, former ten-term Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor filed on Friday to run against Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) as a Republican. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
  • In NY-11, former city councilman Domenic Recchia (D) "launched his ... bid against" Rep. Michael Grimm (R) on Saturday. (New York Observer)
  • In TX-33, Obama endorsed Rep. Marc Veasey (D) "for re-election Friday, a potential boost for the freshman lawmaker as he faces a wealthy primary opponent." (Dallas Morning News)


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day


• Last week, Republican establishment groups were crowing over diminishing primary threats against several GOP senators. But the electability threat still looms just as large as before. If Chris McDaniel topples Thad Cochran, he wouldn't be a shoo-in anymore -- with former Democratic Rep. Travis Childers in the race. And politically-volatile candidates in Georgia (Broun/Gingrey), North Carolina (Brannon/Harris) and Iowa could still affect the GOP's prospects in several crucial Senate seats. -- Josh Kraushaar

• The biggest super PACs, those that play in congressional elections nationwide and raise the most money, command most of the attention outside spending groups get. But the emergence of a second super PAC in the FL-19 special should serve as a reminder of how impactful these groups can be at a lower, more local level. Donors and strategists are still waking up to how far this money can go in lower-profile races like House primaries. -- Scott Bland

• The RGA is on offense in Wisconsin to help out Gov. Scott Walker, who is also a potential presidential contender. The group went up with their second TV ad Monday attacking Democrat Mary Burke, even though Burke has yet to do or say much in response to recent revelations from Walker's John Doe investigation. Combined with the group's first TV ad to boost Nikki Haley in the important presidential primary state of South Carolina, it's clear some of this year's gubernatorial contests are acting as presidential proxy wars ahead of 2016. -- Karyn Bruggeman



  • "The Republican donors who have financed the party's vast outside-spending machine are turning against the consultants and political strategists they once lavished with hundreds of millions of dollars. In recent months, they have begun holding back checks from Republican 'super PACs' like American Crossroads, unsatisfied with the groups' explanations for their failure to unseat ... Obama or win back the Senate. Others, less willing than in the past to defer to the party elders and former congressional staff members who control the biggest groups, are demanding a bigger voice in creating strategy in exchange for their continued support." (New York Times)
  • "Tuesday's primaries will pit the tea party's ardor for change against the staying power of two GOP leaders in Congress," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). "Both are deeply conservative. Both face challengers who complain that when it comes to fighting Democrats, the incumbents are more bluster than action. Both are counting on voters to shun poorly organized, underfunded rivals, despite qualms they may have over federal spending, Obamacare’s survival, and the fact that they aren’t as feisty as" Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), "the benchmark for tea party activists." (Dallas Morning News)
  • "In the highest-profile races of Tuesday's Texas primaries, a large number of candidates will be happy to come in second. Several statewide contests are expected to end in runoffs, drawing out the races for an additional 12 weeks. For some candidates, that has made for a more nuanced approach to campaign strategy, particularly in the four-way Republican primary for lieutenant governor, where opponents have acknowledged that the incumbent," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), "is likely to draw the most votes." (Texas Tribune)
  • "In the fall of 1993, as then-first lady Hillary Clinton was pushing her health care reform package, she warned Democratic lawmakers that the individual mandate was a political loser, according to new documents released Friday. The documents, made public for the first time by her husband's presidential library and the National Archives and Records Administration, shed light on how Clinton approached the difficult task of overhauling the nation's health care system, and where she differed from the approach ... Obama would take on the same issue years later." (National Journal)
  • "After nearly 20 months of buildup, the misdemeanor trial of Kerry Kennedy," the daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, "ended on Friday in a breakneck blur, as jurors took one hour to find her not guilty of driving under the influence of a drug." (New York Times)
  • Organizing for Action "has fired one of its fundraisers," Samantha Maltzman, "and returned a $100,000 check she collected from" New Jersey Dr. Joseph Piacentile, "who is seeking a presidential pardon for Medicare fraud. ... Maltzman had collected the check as part of an effort to raise money from big donors for an OFA dinner with" Obama on Tuesday. She also took steps that could have kept the doctor's cash secret, returning the check and asking Piacentile to write a new one to another political nonprofit," America Votes, "that she described as 'one of our partner organizations.'" (NBC News)
  • "The problem with anything, a certain amount is okay. But there is a tendency to go to extremes. And all of a sudden, if there's advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together." -- California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), when asked on "Meet the Press" if legalizing marijuana was a good idea for his state (NBC News)
  • VA SEN candidate/former RNC chair Ed Gillespie (R) "will receive a major fundraising boost next month from" 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R), "who will host dual events on Gillespie's behalf in New York City." (Washington Examiner)
  • Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) "sought to quell a leadership crisis by announcing Saturday that he and fellow Republicans ... intend to strip" Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer (R) "of his leadership post after he was accused of sexually harassing at least two women while in Washington, D.C., for a recent fundraiser. ... The announcement came after Kramer abruptly checked himself into a treatment facility for unspecified reasons." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • "A U.S. senator and a governor are different. They're different in their function. A governor has to get things done. We have to work with members of both political parties. United States senators talk a lot." -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), when asked how he was different from Cruz (AP)
  • "Count Stephen Colbert among those concerned about a proposed Internal Revenue Service regulation that would curb the political activities of social welfare nonprofit groups. In a comment filed Thursday to the IRS, the Comedy Central host" wrote "that the suggested new rules 'raise serious constitutional and legal issues' for the group 'and other entities like it, which seek to make America a better place.'" (Washington Post)


Putin Has a Cold War #ThrowbackThursday Moment




  • The annual Pennsylvania Society dinner began in 1899 and is held in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria for Pennsylvania businessmen living in New York to discuss current affairs on neutral ground.
  • The winner is Joe Luchok, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "The shortest presidential inaugural speech was 135 words and the longest was 8,445 words. Which two presidents gave them?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) went golfing with business magnate Donald Trump on Saturday." (The Hill)


"Rand Paul Questions Trump's Republican Credentials" (New York Times, April 28, 2011)

Adam Wollner, Editor

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