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The Campaign Trail
Super PAC Running Pro-Thom Tillis Ads Has Bang-Up Month In Fundraising PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:21

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a stretch of anemic fundraising, the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads super PAC raised more cash in March than it did during the previous 14 months combined, according to summaries of campaign filings released Monday.

The GOP establishment's favorite super PAC raised almost $5.2 million last month and had more than $6.3 million in the bank as of March 31, according to the report summary. That cash will be used as the outside group tries to help Republicans pick up the six seats they need to win control of the Senate. American Crossroads has been running ads supporting establishment GOP candidates in Alaska and North Carolina and is expected to support former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in his bid to unseat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.
"There's been a noticeable rise in enthusiasm among our donors," American Crossroads chief Steven Law said, crediting candidates challenging Democratic incumbents.
"These numbers put us in a solid position to continue impacting key Senate races where we can help elect Republicans who will clean up the mess that President Obama and Harry Reid are making in Washington," Law said in a statement.
The uptick in donations could signal establishment-minded Republicans are returning to Crossroads after a disappointing 2012 and a very quiet 2013. Crossroads spent heavily on races in 2012 and came up short; 11 of the 13 Senate races where Crossroads spent money were won by Democrats, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney failed to defeat President Barack Obama.
In all, American Crossroads spent more than $116 million between Jan 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012. The group accepts unlimited donations.
Fundraising slowed in 2013, as is often the case in non-election years. Donors gave American Crossroads almost $1.9 million during the first six months of 2013, and just $1.7 million in the six months that followed.
This year, the group raised less than $52,000 in January and $257,000 in February.
But as donors are eyeing a map that gives Republicans a shot at returning to majority status for the first time since 2006, they are opening up their wallets.
Part of it could be GOP donors are remembering missteps that cost them seats in 2012. Ultra-conservative candidates won the Republican nominations in Missouri and Indiana, and Democrats went on to win Senate seats in those two states after the GOP candidates made comments about rape and abortion that Democrats harshly criticized and few Republicans defended.
This time, Crossroads has stepped in with ads to help favored, establishment-minded candidates prevail in primaries.
For instance, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice narrates one American Crossroads ad in support of Alaska contender Dan Sullivan, a former State Department and National Security Council official running for the Senate.
In North Carolina, the super PAC is running ads to help state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is facing a raft of more socially conservative candidates who have pulled in allies from other outside groups.
In all, the super PAC spent $600,000 in March when it started to expand its map as more primaries were getting underway and November inches closer.
At the height of its spending during the final days of the 2012 campaign, American Crossroads spent $42 million between Oct. 18, 2012, and Nov. 26, 2012.
American Crossroads got its start under veteran GOP strategists Rove and Ed Gillespie, who is now running for Senate in Virginia. Its leaders now include Law, a former executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Carl Forti, a former adviser to Mitt Romney and Capitol Hill Republicans.
The group recently hired former National Republican Congressional Committee top spokesman Paul Lindsay to run its communications shop. Former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan and former RNC co-chair Jo Ann Davidson also are advisers.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:23
N.C. Democratic Political Strategist Thomas Mills: Democrats Own ObamaCare, Time To Defend It PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:14

WASHINGTON (AP) — With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.
President Barack Obama recently announced that first-year sign-ups for subsidized private health insurance topped 7 million, exceeding expectations. And the Congressional Budget Office — the government's fiscal scorekeeper — said it expects only a minimal increase in customers' costs for 2015. Over the next decade, the CBO said the new law will cost taxpayers $100 billion less than previously estimated.
Republicans already were pushing their luck by vowing to "repeal and replace" the health care law without having a viable replacement in mind, said Thomas Mills, a Democratic consultant and blogger in North Carolina. Now, he said, Democrats have even more reasons to rise from their defensive crouch on this topic.
"Democrats need to start making the case for Obamacare," Mills said. "They all voted for it, they all own it, so they can't get away from it. So they'd better start defending it."
Even some professionals who have criticized the health care law say the political climate has changed.
"I think Democrats have the ability to steal the health care issue back from Republicans," health care industry consultant said Bob Laszewski said. "The Democratic Party can become the party of fixing Obamacare."
In truth, some Democratic lawmakers often talk of "fixing" the 2010 health care law. But it's usually in response to critics or in a manner meant to show their willingness to challenge Obama.
For instance, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who faces a tough re-election bid, used her first TV ad of the campaign to highlight her demand that Obama let people keep insurance policies they like.
But Landrieu and other hard-pressed Democrats have not gone as far as a pro-Democratic group in Alaska that is unabashedly highlighting the health law's strongest points.
The independent group Put Alaska First is airing a TV ad that praises Democratic Sen. Mark Begich for helping people obtain insurance even if they have "pre-existing conditions," such as cancer. The ad doesn't mention Obama or his health care law by name, but it focuses on one of the law's most popular features.
Other Democrats should consider such tactics, political consultant David DiMartino said.
"There is still time to tell the story of Obamacare to voters," he said. Democratic candidates don't want to be defined entirely by the health law, he said, "but now they can point to its successes to fend off the inevitable distortions."
GOP strategists don't agree. The recent upbeat reports might help Democrats temporarily, but "the negative opinion of Americans toward Obamacare is baked in," Texas-based Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said. "If Obamacare was truly trending positively," he said, "Sebelius would have stayed, and Democrats in tough races would be picking a fight on Obamacare, instead of mostly hiding from it."
Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary closely associated with the health care law, is stepping down. Democrats say it's a sign that the biggest problems are past, but Senate Republicans vow to use her successor's confirmation hearings as another forum for criticizing the law.
Democrats hardest hit by anti-Obamacare ads — including Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — continue to defend the health law when asked, but they generally focus on other topics, campaign aides say.
Polls don't suggest public sentiment is shifting toward Democrats, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. But with at least 7.5 million people enrolled despite last fall's disastrous rollout of insurance markets, Blendon said, Democrats have some strong new material to use.
"Each of the Democratic candidates is going to have to make a calculation on whether or not they can motivate Democrats," Blendon said. "For Democrats to get an advantage out of the law, they have to convince people they have something to lose if the Senate changes hands."
Republicans need to gain six seats to control the 100-member Senate.
New political problems might arise for the health care law before the Nov. 4 election. For instance, the individual requirement to carry health insurance remains generally unpopular, and now penalties may apply to millions of people who remain uninsured.
So far, Republicans have had an edge in public opinion, particularly when those with strong sentiments about the law are considered. A recent AP-GfK poll found that strong opponents outnumber strong supporters, 31 percent to 13 percent. And motivated voters often make the difference in low-turnout nonpresidential elections. But the poll also found that most Americans expect the health law to be changed, not repealed.
That puts Republicans in a tricky situation: GOP primary voters demand repeal, but general election voters in November are looking for fixes.
"It's not a cheap and easy political target anymore," Laszewski said. "Republicans are going to have to tell us what they would do different."
Democrats deride GOP proposals to "replace" the 2010 health care law, saying they collapse under close scrutiny. Since they generally contemplate a smaller federal government role, many of the GOP ideas are likely to leave more people uninsured. Some approaches do not completely prohibit insurers from turning away people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who advises many top Republicans, said the emerging GOP plans aren't tied to the ups and downs of Obama's law but look ahead to the 2016 presidential election, when the party will need alternatives.
Ultimately, he said, "there can't be a Republican 'replace.' ... There needs to be a bipartisan reform." That doesn't seem likely, but Holtz-Eakin said it was the only kind of change that will prove durable.
Democrats can cheer the latest statistics, "but they are not out of the woods yet," he said. "They have waived and deferred a million things they knew were unpopular, and those are still out there."
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:15
Roll Call: House Democrats Rake In Campaign Cash PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:49

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - With just more than six months to go in Election 2014, coffers to elect House Democrats are full. Roll Call reports the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has more than $40 million on hand after taking in more than $10 million in March.

Republicans haven't yet reported March figures.
The deadline to report is April 20.
Democrats are in the minority in the U.S. House. Political strategists predict Republicans will lose a few seats but not enough to relinquish control to Democrats.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:52
Sen. Hagan Uses "Equal pay for equal work" Message In Fundraising E-Mail PDF Print E-mail
The Campaign Trail
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:54

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is continuing a national Democratic Party message to ask for donations to her campaign. In an email dated April 8, Hagan discussed women in the workplace.

Hagan is in a tough re-election fight, according to multiple polls. Eight Republicans are seeking their party's nomination to challenge Hagan for the seat she's held since 2008. Both Democrats and Republicans see the Hagan seat as key to the Democrats holding control of the U.S. Senate. 
The Hagan e-mail reads:
Subject: Petition: Support equal pay for equal work
Dear Friend,
Women are an integral part of our nation's economy. They work every bit as hard as their male counterparts, and in 40% of all American households, they are either the sole or primary financial breadwinner. This isn't just a women's issue -- this is an economic issue that matters to children and families, too.
So why is it that in 2014 women still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes? It's simply ridiculous. Today is Equal Pay day, a day to recognize this discrimination and re-dedicate ourselves to doing something about it.
This month, I'm joining with a group of my colleagues to urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act -- a piece of legislation that would help women fight back against wage discrimination in the workplace. Click here to add your voice and sign the petition.
Our country has come a long way since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. But, clearly, there is still room for improvement.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would give women the tools needed to fight wage discrimination. It would strengthen existing laws to make sure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
Join me and my colleagues -- urge Congress to act on paycheck fairness and end wage discrimination.
Thank you."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:54

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