The 3 GOV candidates held their “longest debate yet” 10/12. The debate was held by MN Public Radio.
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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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"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.