Democratic Rep. Bill Owens announced Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection in 2014, the latest in a string of recent retirements by House moderates. His decision will will leave Democrats defending a vulnerable House seat in upstate New York this fall.Owens, who is serving just his second full term after coming to Congress via a special election in 2009, said in a statement: “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection for the 21st Congressional District this November…. It is time for me to undertake new endeavors and spend more time with my family.”
But the “related news” section of Owens’s website, below his retirement announcement, might be more telling. The next news release listed is titled, “Owens Frustrated With Stalled Farm Bill Negotiations.” A handful of other moderates from both parties have also announced retirements in the past few months, with many citing congressional gridlock as part of their impetus for getting out of the legislating game. According to National Journal‘s 2012 vote ratings, Owens was the 10th-most conservative Democrat from that year still in the House. Two other conservative Democrats (Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina) have already announced their retirements, making their seats likely Republican pickups in the 2014 elections.
Owens was also facing a tough reelection in a battleground district, with Republicans touting former Bush official Elise Stefanik as one of their stronger recruits this cycle. President Obama carried the 21st District with 52 percent of the area’s votes in both 2008 and 2012, but it was a longtime Republican seat, represented by current Secretary of the Army John McHugh, before Owens captured it in 2009. Both that year and in 2010, Owens won despite getting only 48 percent of the vote, thanks to third-party candidacies splitting the vote.
A slate of moderate Republicans, including Reps. Jon Runyan of New Jersey, Tom Latham of Iowa, Frank Wolf of Virginia, and Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, will also retire in 2014, sparking competitive election races.
What We're Following See More »
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”
"Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican party will coordinate more closely going forward, with the GOP's top communicator and chief strategist Sean Spicer increasingly working out of Trump campaign headquarters, the campaign confirmed Sunday."
In a statement released Friday morning, the Trump campaign announced that Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chairman. The move comes after fresh questions had been raised about Manafort's work in Russia and Ukraine, and Trump brought in Stephen Bannon "as a de facto demotion for Manafort."