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N2K: Is the Tea Party Maturing?

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March 30, 2011, 2:05 a.m.

The 3 GOV can­did­ates held their “longest de­bate yet” 10/12. The de­bate was held by MN Pub­lic Ra­dio.

Want More On This Race? Check out the Hot­line Dash­board for a com­pre­hens­ive run­down of this race, in­clud­ing stor­ies, polls, ads, FEC num­bers, and more!

Ex-PR ex­ec. Tom Horner (IP) “labeled as ‘false­hood’ a re­cent” TV ad “that claims a win by either him or” state Rep. Tom Em­mer (R) “would guar­an­tee a con­tinu­ation of the policies of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).”

Dur­ing the de­bate “the can­did­ates were con­fron­ted with” an MN GOP ad “in which the state GOP out­lines low points of” ex-Sen. Mark Dayton’s (D) Sen­ate ca­reer, “la­beling him as ‘er­rat­ic.’ … Spe­cific­ally, the ad fo­cuses on Dayton’s de­cision to close his Cap­it­ol of­fice” in ‘04 “after an in­tel­li­gence brief­ing be­cause of what he con­sidered an im­min­ent ter­ror­ist threat.”

Dayton: “I stand by the de­cision I made. That de­cision shows I’m will­ing to make tough de­cisions.”

Em­mer “poin­ted out that he had noth­ing dir­ectly to do with air­ing the ad.”

Em­mer: “I don’t have any con­trol over what the Re­pub­lic­an Party does. … (At­tack ads) drive me crazy. I’m not go­ing to judge what oth­er people do.”

Horner: “I wouldn’t have run it … I don’t think the tone was ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Horner “took aim at both Dayton’s and Em­mer’s back­grounds,” Em­mer “tried to claim out­sider status” and Dayton “pro­moted him­self as the most ex­per­i­enced.”

The MN Broad­casters As­soc. at the Univ. of MN 10/15 pm (Stassen-Ber­ger, Min­neapol­is Star-Tribune, 10/12).

Dur­ing the de­bate, the can­did­ates also “waded in­to” the is­sue of MN’s “massive budget de­fi­cit and what the next” gov. “will need to do to tackle it.”

Em­mer “de­fen­ded his as­ser­tion that the state is ac­tu­ally run­ning a sur­plus — not a de­fi­cit, say­ing that” the $31B “budget is pro­jec­ted to grow by more than” 7% “dur­ing the next two-year budget cycle.”

“Both Horner and Dayton … de­rided Em­mer’s math (and) Horner de­fen­ded his pro­posed tax in­creases” (von Stern­berg, Min­neapol­is Star-Tribune, 10/12).

“On in­stalling elec­tron­ic gambling games in the state’s bars, Horner, Em­mer and Dayton said they don’t par­tic­u­larly love the idea, but only Dayton said flatly he’d op­pose the idea” (von Stern­berg, Min­neapol­is Star-Tribune, 10/12).

I Like My Tea De­cent­ral­ized

MN’s Tea Party move­ment “finds it­self split by dis­putes and short of the cash that could make its act­iv­ists play­ers in the” Nov. elec­tions.

Un­like nat’l Tea Party orgs., MN’s “act­iv­ists are deeply con­flic­ted about ties to the GOP. Loc­al lead­ers say they care less about be­ing play­ers in the big races than pre­serving the de­cent­ral­ized, grass­roots eth­ic they see as their greatest as­set.”

“The up­shot is a fledgling move­ment already di­vided in two as it vies for money and the al­le­gi­ance of dozens of smal­ler groups across the state, with both fac­tions ac­cus­ing each oth­er of try­ing to head what is sup­posed to be a head­less or­gan­iz­a­tion.”

“Lack of or­gan­iz­a­tion has also made them cash-poor.” One lead­er said the largest check they had re­ceived was for $500 (Diaz, Min­neapol­is Star-Tribune, 10/12).

Every dec­ade, the Dar­wini­an pro­cess known as re­dis­trict­ing des­cends on Cap­it­ol Hill, along with the grim real­ity that both parties must face: Sev­er­al mem­bers are go­ing to be star­ing down someone in their own party in a kind of sur­viv­al of the fit­test, and of­ten it’s not pretty.

In the grand scheme of House con­trol, sev­er­al of the mem­ber-mem­ber match­ups won’t cause a seat to flip to an­oth­er party, and in such races both cam­paign com­mit­tees stay neut­ral. But that doesn’t mean Hill col­leagues will be, and that cer­tainly doesn’t guar­an­tee each mem­ber will play nice. As sev­er­al of these re­dis­trict­ing battles are com­ing in­to fo­cus, here are the top five that have the po­ten­tial to enter scorched-earth ter­rit­ory.

Illinois’s 14th Dis­trict: Rep. Joe Walsh (R) vs. Rep. Randy Hult­gren (R)

No GOP fresh­men in the Illinois del­eg­a­tion were quick to cozy up to one of their four oth­er fel­low first-term mem­bers, es­pe­cially with Demo­crats draw­ing the lines in the Land of Lin­coln. Both Walsh and Hult­gren were drawn in­to the 14th Dis­trict — and the an­ti­tax Club for Growth is­sued a pree­mpt­ive state­ment say­ing they’d back Walsh in the new dis­trict, even be­fore his de­cision to run.

The nev­er cable-shy Walsh’s line of at­tack against the more sub­dued Hult­gren is pre­dict­able — the tea party rising star will at­tack the long­time state le­gis­lat­or as a ca­reer politi­cian while tout­ing his own far right vot­ing re­cord. But Hult­gren will have an equal and more sa­li­ent at­tack, too: Walsh has been em­broiled in an on­go­ing child-sup­port dis­pute with his ex-wife that’s made the front pages sev­er­al times.

Ari­zona’s 6th Dis­trict: Rep. Ben Quayle (R) vs. Rep. Dave Sch­weikert (R)

Ari­zona did gain a seat in re­ap­por­tion­ment, but the first draft from the state’s in­de­pend­ent re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion seems poised to match up both fresh­man Re­pub­lic­ans in the Scott­s­dale-based seat with neither ap­pear­ing ready to con­cede the safe GOP dis­trict.

As soon as maps were re­leased, Sch­weikert was quick to lay claim to the 6th Dis­trict. Sources close to Quayle have noted that the former vice pres­id­ent’s son — who won a nar­row and dirty GOP primary in 2010 — lives just out­side this dis­trict and could be re­drawn in­to it if minor changes are made.

Sch­weikert had the cash edge in the race at the end of the third quarter — rais­ing $233,000 with Quayle’s $170,000 — and he also has $524,000 in the bank, com­pared with Quayle’s $481,000. But the former vice pres­id­ent’s son raked in con­tri­bu­tions from GOP lead­er­ship, get­ting dona­tions from the polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tees of both House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Cantor and Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy.

Still, the map hasn’t been passed yet, and Ari­zona Re­pub­lic­ans along with GOP Gov. Jan Brew­er are mak­ing waves. But if the map, or even a sim­il­ar one, be­comes law, ex­pect this one to get nasty.

Illinois’s 2nd Dis­trict: Rep. Jesse Jack­son Jr. (D) vs. former Rep. Debbie Halvor­son (D)

While this isn’t tech­nic­ally a con­test between two sit­ting mem­bers, the bad blood between Halvor­son, who served one term in the House un­til los­ing last year to Re­pub­lic­an Adam Kin­zinger, and Jack­son goes back over a dec­ade, thanks to dis­agree­ments over build­ing a third Chica­go—area air­port in Petone — which was out­side Jack­son’s cur­rent dis­trict and in­side Halvor­son’s.

The one­time state Sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er made her bid of­fi­cial earli­er this month — and caught an early break when the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee re­opened its in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to Jack­son’s pos­sible in­volve­ment in im­pro­pri­et­ies sur­round­ing the ap­point­ment to fill Pres­id­ent Obama’s old Sen­ate seat, bring­ing his eth­ics prob­lems back front and cen­ter.

Halvor­son — who’s run­ning a very grass­roots cam­paign and even serving as her own press sec­ret­ary — has made Jack­son’s past prob­lems the corner­stone of her cam­paign.

Cali­for­nia’s new 30th Dis­trict: Rep. Howard Ber­man (D) vs. Rep. Brad Sher­man (D)

It’s not just the amus­ing rhym­ing nature of this in­ev­it­able race that makes this match­up one to watch. After Cali­for­nia’s in­de­pend­ent com­mis­sion drew the two in­to the same space, neither man was go­ing to back down from this solidly Demo­crat­ic seat, al­though both began say­ing pub­licly and privately the oth­er should be the one to stand aside. Their snip­ing in the press has con­tin­ued to es­cal­ate, and Sher­man re­leased an in­tern­al poll in Au­gust show­ing him with a 25-point lead.

Both have be­gun to roll out their lists of en­dorse­ments: Ber­man has the back­ing of Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Di­anne Fein­stein, and Rep. Henry Wax­man, while Sher­man touted former Pres­id­ent Clin­ton and sev­er­al loc­al elec­ted lead­ers.

While Sher­man still has a massive $3.7 mil­lion war chest, his fun­drais­ing bot­tomed out this last quarter, pulling in only $174,000, while Ber­man brought in over $819,000 — in­clud­ing cash from Hol­ly­wood A-listers like Tom Hanks, Aaron Sor­kin, Steven Spiel­berg, and Judd Ap­atow. That brought his cash on hand to $2.2 mil­lion.

Cali­for­nia’s new 44th Dis­trict: Rep. Janice Hahn (D) vs. Rep. Laura Richard­son (D)

Hahn is one of the new­est mem­bers, win­ning a Ju­ly spe­cial elec­tion to suc­ceed former Rep. Jane Har­man, but she likely has the edge over Richard­son. Hahn has quickly amassed top en­dorse­ments from Rep. Grace Na­pol­it­ano and Los Angeles May­or Ant­o­nio Vil­larai­gosa — crit­ic­al in the heav­ily His­pan­ic dis­trict.

Richard­son’s been the sub­ject of eth­ics ques­tions re­cently: She’s ac­cused of for­cing her staff to work for and con­trib­ute to her cam­paign. She’s denied the al­leg­a­tions, but her fun­drais­ing dropped off in the third quarter, bring­ing in only $72,000 with just $116,000 in the bank. Hahn, after her spe­cial elec­tion, raised $139,000. A third Demo­crat, As­sembly­man Is­ad­ore Hall, out­raised them both with $158,000.

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