Politics

N2K: The House’s Upper Hand Over the Senate

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March 16, 2011, 3:41 p.m.

Gov. Butch Ot­ter (R) raised $752K in the 3rdQ, while act­iv­ist/ex-Har­vard prof. Keith Allred (D) raised $372.5K. Ot­ter has $211K CoH to Allred’s $102K CoH.

“Ot­ter’s cam­paign said he has an­oth­er” $67.2K “in con­tri­bu­tions already com­mit­ted, but not yet paid.” Ot­ter, in a state­ment: “This has been an in­cred­ible quarter for my cam­paign. We not only raised a sig­ni­fic­ant amount of money, but the mo­mentum go­ing for­ward is ex­tremely high.”

“Allred had ac­tu­ally out­raised Ot­ter” in “the pre­vi­ous two re­port­ing peri­ods, but Ot­ter turned that around in the most re­cent peri­od.”

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!

Ot­ter “re­por­ted a slew of con­tri­bu­tions from big busi­ness in­terests” and “from a long list of in­di­vidu­als.” Allred’s sup­port “came mostly from in­di­vidu­als across the state, but he also drew big money from labor uni­ons.” Allred spokes­per­son Shea An­der­sen: “We are very proud that more than 90 per­cent of our donors are every­day Idaho­ans. That’s a re­cord we’re proud of” (Rus­sell, Spokane Spokes­man-Re­view, 10/13).

John Breglio, theat­er law­yer and pro­du­cer of the 2006 Broad­way re­viv­al of A Chor­us Line, was quoted on ib­lo­g­broad­way.com say­ing: “I would nev­er open any show without go­ing out of town first; it would be vir­tu­ally sui­cid­al. Go­ing out of town for at least four weeks is the bare, bare, bare min­im­um. If you can’t af­ford to do it, then don’t do the show.”

The prac­tice of tak­ing shows on a shake­down cruise to New Haven or Bal­timore, or up to 12 cit­ies, in some cases, be­fore open­ing on Broad­way, is a long-stand­ing one for good reas­on. Work­ing the kinks out be­fore the New York crit­ics can get their teeth in­to a show is hardly nov­el, nor is get­ting in­to a pres­id­en­tial race early — long be­fore the de­bates, the na­tion­al tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances, and the mi­cro­scop­ic scru­tiny of every word or ac­tion, past or present, that comes once the cam­paign be­gins in earn­est. A faux pas or less than polit­ic­ally ad­vant­age­ous ex­plan­a­tion of a po­s­i­tion can be quietly cor­rec­ted early on; later on, such can be fatal or, at the very least, very dam­aging.

From Na­tion­al Journ­al: PIC­TURES: Green Loan Be­ne­fi­ciar­ies Bach­mann Speaks on Bor­der Agent Con­tro­versy Is Christie’s Al­pha-Male Style What the GOP Wants? Emails Show Obama Was Warned About Solyn­dra Cook: Christie Must be Ready to Scramble

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie will an­nounce that he will not seek the 2012 Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion or, put an­oth­er way, he will not sur­render to the siren song, the whis­per­ings of people with a lot less at stake.

If Christie had run, he would im­me­di­ately have faced in­tense pres­sure to raise money, touch base with thou­sands of crit­ic­al state and GOP donor pooh-bahs, and cram on is­sues he nev­er had to con­tem­plate dur­ing his four years as a Mor­ris County, N.J., free­hold­er, six years as a U.S. at­tor­ney, or 20 months as gov­ernor. And — oh, yes — he would still have been the CEO of a ma­jor state. It cer­tainly must have been se­duct­ive hav­ing all of these people beg­ging him to run, but ask Texas Gov. Rick Perry or Rep. Michele Bach­mann, R-Minn., where those sup­port­ers went once the ma­nure star­ted hit­ting the fan.  

Al­though few would ar­gue with the pro­pos­i­tion that a Re­pub­lic­an who can win in Demo­crat­ic-tilt­ing New Jer­sey likely makes a very for­mid­able gen­er­al-elec­tion can­did­ate, the ques­tion is wheth­er the po­s­i­tions taken to win a mod­er­ate state make a bid for the GOP nom­in­a­tion par­tic­u­larly chal­len­ging (see Rom­ney, Wil­lard Mitt). While run­ning for gov­ernor, The New Jer­sey Star-Ledger re­por­ted on Feb. 4, 2009: “In an in­ter­view, Christie today out­lined his own po­s­i­tions on so­cial is­sues, say­ing he evolved from pro-choice to pro-life with the birth of his chil­dren but would not use the gov­ernor’s of­fice to “˜force that down people’s throats.’ However, he said he fa­vors re­stric­tions on abor­tion rights such as ban­ning par­tial-birth abor­tions and re­quir­ing par­ent­al no­ti­fic­a­tion and a 24-hour wait­ing peri­od.”  

This is not a po­s­i­tion that would have hurt Christie in a gen­er­al elec­tion, but ex­plain­ing it to Tony Per­kins of the Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil and oth­er lead­ers in the so­cial-con­ser­vat­ive and evan­gel­ic­al move­ment might not have been a lot of fun. It cre­ates the need to per­form an awk­ward min­uet; just ask Rom­ney.

Christie also needed to con­sider what ef­fect es­sen­tially be­com­ing an ab­sent­ee gov­ernor in a Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing state would have had on his 2013 reelec­tion chances. His ap­prov­al num­bers are OK now, but that hasn’t al­ways been the case — and might not have been after a pun­ish­ing, po­ten­tially un­suc­cess­ful bid for the GOP nom­in­a­tion. Then what?

At this point, with states jock­ey­ing for cal­en­dar po­s­i­tion­ing, it looks like the Iowa caucuses will be either Jan. 2 or 3 — only 10 weeks from now; and New Hamp­shire will be Jan. 10. This for­ward push, in­stig­ated by Flor­ida, put even more pres­sure on Christie to make a quick de­cision. Flor­ida, not con­tent with just host­ing the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion and be­ing a key gen­er­al-elec­tion battle­ground state, felt the need to break RNC rules and el­bow to the front of the cal­en­dar, set­ting off a scramble. A key Re­pub­lic­an na­tion­al com­mit­tee mem­ber swears that if the con­ven­tion could be moved from Tampa, it would be, but that the state will pay dearly for its de­cision to flaunt na­tion­al rules.

But there was one more con­sid­er­a­tion. Let’s as­sume for a mo­ment that Christie had run, won the nom­in­a­tion and the pres­id­ency. Then what? So many Re­pub­lic­ans are prac­tic­ally hoarse from scream­ing that Barack Obama was un­pre­pared for the job, fresh out of the Illinois Sen­ate with just a two-year cameo in the U.S. Sen­ate be­fore em­bark­ing on his pres­id­en­tial bid; how was Christie more qual­i­fied? Christie gets points for hold­ing an ex­ec­ut­ive po­s­i­tion, but with less than two years un­der his belt, he is far short of the gubernat­ori­al ex­per­i­ence of, say, Pres­id­ents Re­agan or George W. Bush; or the Wash­ing­ton, fed­er­al, and for­eign policy ex­pos­ure of Sen. John Mc­Cain and then-Sen. Bob Dole or Pres­id­ents George H.W. Bush, Ford, and Nix­on. Just be­cause you can win, it doesn’t mean you are ready to serve; a lot of Re­pub­lic­ans might say that was the case with Obama.

There were some pretty com­pel­ling reas­ons for Christie to en­joy the plaudits, cap­it­al­ize on the en­hanced na­tion­al and in­tra­party stature, and pre­pare for a time when the ar­gu­ments against his abil­ity to serve ef­fect­ively will be much less com­pel­ling.

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