The biggest divide within the Republican party is as much over style as substance ““ whether conservatives should be more confrontational or seek to achieve their goals more quietly and strategically. It’s more of a cultural divide as it as an ideological one.
— That divide is playing itself out in an Alabama Republican runoff for the Mobile-based seat of former GOP Rep. Jo Bonner. Republicans, conservative and establishment alike, have rallied behind Bradley Byrne, who is as credentialed as they come. He’s a former gubernatorial frontrunner, state community college chancellor, and attorney. His opponent, Dean Young, eked out a second-place finish in the primary, thanks to a socially-conservative message targeted to evangelical Christians.
— Just check out this Guardian (UK) Q&A with the two candidates. Byrne’s political idol is Winston Churchill. Young’s is Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court Justice who fought to keep a monument of the 10 Commandments on government property. Young said he’s not a “big world traveler” when asked what county he admired. Byrne said President Obama‘s birthplace was Hawaii; Young called it the “$64,000 question.”
— And Young, despite being outspent and outendorsed, is running neck-and-neck with the prohibitive favorite. (One GOP robo-poll showed him with a within-the-margin lead.) Despite only having one campaign staffer, his comparisons to Ted Cruz and outspoken social conservatism are drawing grassroots conservatives to his side in a low-turnout election.
Remember: Bonner’s old district isn’t a tea-party hotbed; it’s the business epicenter of the state. The Cook Political Report wrote: “A Young victory would send shock waves throughout the House GOP.” As if the party needed any more reminders.
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.