Spotlight

Republican Red Flags in Early States

ANKENY, IA - JANUARY 03: A sign is posted on the door of the Ankeny 9 Republican caucus on January 3, 2012 in Ankeny, Iowa. Iowans are preparing to caucus to vote for their favorite Republican candidate for president.
National Journal
Julie Sobel and Kevin Brennan
See more stories about...
Julie Sobel Kevin Brennan
Oct. 9, 2013, 7:40 a.m.

Iowa and New Hamp­shire are the open­ing battle­grounds of pres­id­en­tial nom­in­at­ing con­tests. This year, they have something else in com­mon: dys­func­tion sur­round­ing the state-level Re­pub­lic­an Party.

— In Iowa, the state party is led by Ron Paul aco­lytes, who have clashed with the more-prag­mat­ic wing of the party, headed by Gov. Terry Bran­stad. Two county GOP chairs have called for party chair A.J. Spiker‘s resig­na­tion, as has long­time Bran­stad ally Dav­id Kochel. Bran­stad him­self has swat­ted at the state GOP re­peatedly, and some Re­pub­lic­ans are plan­ning an ef­fort to in­stall new party lead­ers next year. In New Hamp­shire, GOP chair­wo­man Jen­nifer Horn is already los­ing her ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, who star­ted six months ago.

— At the same time, Re­pub­lic­ans have struggled to land qual­ity can­did­ates in win­nable races in both states. In Iowa, where Pres­id­ent Obama‘s ap­prov­al rat­ing is weak, the GOP has a crowded but un­re­mark­able group of can­did­ates. There’s a grow­ing like­li­hood the nom­in­ee will be de­term­ined by a con­ven­tion of act­iv­ists. In New Hamp­shire, no Re­pub­lic­an has stepped for­ward to chal­lenge Gov. Mag­gie Has­san, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen‘s little-known chal­lenger doesn’t seem ready for prime­time. A long line of qual­i­fied Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates have passed on both Gran­ite State races.

— Prob­lems with­in a state party can cause ma­jor head­aches dur­ing pres­id­en­tial races, as Re­pub­lic­ans learned in Nevada in 2012. Linger­ing prob­lems with­in these state parties means the tra­di­tion­al power­brokers will have less in­flu­ence over the nom­in­at­ing fights, boost­ing the odds for a grass­roots-powered un­der­dog, like Rand Paul.

Over the next few years, pres­id­en­tial con­tenders will find reas­ons to vis­it Iowa and New Hamp­shire. At the same time, their aides will keep a wary eye on the drama with­in the state parties.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
After Wikileaks Hack, DNC Staffers Stared Using ‘Snowden-Approved’ App
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.

Source:
WARRING FACTIONS?
Freedom Caucus Members May Bolt the RSC
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.

Source:
SOME THERAPIES ALREADY IN TRIALS
FDA Approves Emergency Zika Test
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.

Source:
MONEY HAS BEEN PAID BACK
Medicare Advantage Plans Overcharged Government
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.

Source:
DESPITE CONSERVATIVE OBJECTIONS
Omnibus Spending Bill Likely Getting a Lame-Duck Vote
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.

Source:
×