Company men: The U.S. Chamber flexes its new political muscle

The plot to save Thad Cochran was hatched at Off The Record, the subterranean bar inside the Hay-Adams hotel in downtown Washington. In mid-June, just days before the Mississippi Senate runoff election, Tom Donohue, the hard-nosed CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was commiserating over drinks with Scott Reed, his senior political strategist, and Chip Pickering, a former Mississippi congressman-turned-telecom lobbyist. The trio were smarting. After racking up an enviable 10-0 winning streak in midterm races, Mississippi voters dealt the powerful business lobby a major blow: Cochran, a Senate stalwart supported by the Chamber and its allies in the...

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Tea party candidate targets Lamar Alexander in Tennessee

Will he lose like Cantor or survive like Cochran? LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. - The crowd of well-wishers swarms around Sen. Lamar Alexander as soon as he walks through the door. “I haven’t seen you in a hundred years!” he says, pumping the hand of a grey-haired man in a navy suit. For the next half-hour, the senator works the room like the seasoned politician he is. There’s lots of handshaking, lots of small talk, lots of patiently posing for cellphone photos and, no doubt, lots of thinking in the room about what a difficult year this has been for entrenched incumbents...

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Mitch McConnell's Aid to Mississippi Republican Incumbent Angers Kentucky Tea Party Activists

After serving on the Daviess County Republican Party's leadership team for almost three years, Owensboro native Barbara Knott had enough. She resigned on July 10 and the reason was simple; Knott cannot support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this fall. "I have resigned from the executive committee of the Republican Party because I will not support Mitch McConnell," Knott, chair of the Owensboro Tea Party, said in a telephone interview. "I have a big 4x8 sign in my front yard that says ‘Retire Mitch.’ It’s going to stay there through the election. I will not vote for that man." Knott...

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IRS agrees to monitor churches for electioneering

The Internal Revenue Service said it will monitor churches and other houses of worship for electioneering in a settlement reached with an atheist group. The settlement was reached Friday (July 18) in federal court in Madison, Wis., where the initial lawsuit was filed in 2012 by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist advocacy group that claims 20,000 members nationwide. The suit alleged the IRS routinely ignored complaints by the FFRF and others about churches promoting political candidates, issues or proposed legislation. As part of their tax-exempt status, churches and other religious groups are prohibited from engaging in partisan...

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Chuck Schumer: End partisan primaries

Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for abolishing partisan primaries, saying the current system engenders unhealthy political polarization. “The partisan primary system, which favors more ideologically pure candidates, has contributed to the election of more extreme officeholders and increased political polarization,” the New York Democrat wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Monday evening. “It has become a menace to governing.” Schumer said that partisan primaries embolden “the 10 percent at each of the two extremes of the political spectrum” and pointed to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprise loss to Dave Brat, a political novice who ran to the...

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Bill’s secret mistress, the ‘Energizer’

Bill Clinton reportedly has a buxom blond mistress who visits so often when Hillary Clinton isn’t home in Chappaqua that the former president’s Secret Service detail have given her an unofficial code name: Energizer. This is according to Ronald Kessler in “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents,” due Aug. 5 from Crown Forum. Kessler is no stranger to the controversies surrounding the Secret Service. He broke the story that Secret Service agents protecting President Obama in Cartagena, Colombia, hired prostitutes, and put the president in jeopardy.

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Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Georgia Republicans will pick their nominee for Senate in a runoff Tuesday, ending Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn’s nine-week wait for an opponent in the open-seat contest. The Senate contest has reverberated around the Peach State, creating three open-seat House races with GOP runoffs that will also be decided Tuesday. In the statewide race, many Republicans said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., has a small edge over former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue. Both of whom have spent millions on the anticipated low-turnout contest, and polls close at 7 p.m. In May, Perdue came in first in a seven-candidate Republican...

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Letter: Elect anyone but Pat Roberts for U.S. Senate

I believe government at the national level is not going to get any better until the congressional good old boys’ club is shut down and closed for good. The antique fossils in both chambers are not the solution to today’s problems. They are a big part of the problem. I ask you to vote for anyone running for the U.S. Senate other than Sen. Pat Roberts. Forty-seven years in office have kept him overpaid and underworked. DALE CRAFTS, Topeka

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Sen. Alexander Outpaces Tea Party, But Remains In Its Cross Hairs

Tennessee's Lamar Alexander is one of a number of incumbent Republican senators caught in the cross hairs of Tea Party groups, taking on several challengers in next month's GOP primary. But while Tea Party groups may be optimistic about the race, challengers like Joe Carr face an uphill battle to unseat the two-term senator. Carr's campaign office is just across the street from Murfreesboro's antebellum courthouse. An American flag hangs out front, and in the window a big campaign sign calls on Tennessee Republicans to vote for "Carr, not Lamar." Carr, a 56-year-old state representative, says there are a lot...

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SHOT UP: Udall Losing In NYT Predictive Model For First Time

For the first time this entire election cycle The New York Times Senate forecast at The Upshot predicts Udall has a greater chance of losing reelection than winning (53%-47%). This is a huge deal, as The Upshot tries to go beyond just the polls and factor in other intangibles about a race, such as, incumbency, fundraising, a state’s past election history among others, who the liberals at the NYT want to win. All those factors in The Upshot model lean heavily Udall’s way. Yet, despite this inherent, built-in advantage, Udall can’t overcome one thing: the people of Colorado feel he...

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Goodbye to the Republican Wave? [Promised Republican momentum has yet to materialize]

Republicans entered this election cycle with high hopes. President Obama’s approval ratings had sunk into the low 40s, and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act had been an unmitigated disaster. In an off-year election, Democrats weren’t expected to fully mobilize the young and diverse coalition that has given them an advantage in presidential elections. Off-years are also when a president’s party typically suffers significant losses. This year seemed poised to turn into another so-called wave election, like in 2006 or 2010, when a rising tide of dissatisfaction with the incumbent party swept the opposition into power. Given a favorable...

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Graham joins Cruz in blaming Obama for immigration woes, but calls on GOP House ‘to lead’

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday blamed the border crisis on President Obama, but also argued his Republican Party is doomed in the 2016 presidential race unless the GOP House next year helps fix the country’s broken immigration policies. “I blame Obama for this moment,” Graham told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” If Congress doesn’t pass immigration-reform legislation in 2015 “our chances in 2016 are very low. The House should lead.” Graham also said that 2008 immigration laws must be changed before he supports Obama’s recent request to Congress for an additional $3.7 billion to help with the crisis at...

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Colorado Senate Race Slips Further Away from Udall

The Colorado Senate race is unrecognizable from the one described in a May, 2013, National Journal article entitled, “Colorado’s Forgotten Senate Race.” PPD’s election projection model has warranted two rating changes since the entrance of Rep. Cory Gardner in February, both of which clearly show this race slipping away from incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall. In February, after Ken Buck made the decision to drop out of the race to make way for Gardner, a far more electable rising star in the GOP, we changed our Colorado Senate race rating from “Likely Democrat” to “Leans Democrat.” Now, after adjusting the...

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Something BIG Is Happening In Kansas (Wolf surging against Roberts)

A new poll shows conservative Dr. Milton Wolf (R-KS) surging in the Republican primary against incumbent Senator Pat Roberts. The survey shows Roberts with only a 42-30 lead over Wolf, which is a stunning 21-point drop since the last poll taken three weeks ago! Dr. Milton Wolf's message of limited government, personal freedom, economic liberty, and respect for the Constitution is resonating with voters. He can win this race if the grassroots rise up and work together to inform Kansas Republicans of the choice they have on August 5th. SCA TV Ad - "Rarely"That's why we launched a massive TV...

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Roberts won't debate Wolf before Kansas primary

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts won't debate tea party challenger Milton Wolf ahead of the state's Aug. 5 Republican primary. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Roberts executive campaign manager Leroy Towns said Friday that Wolf has failed to outline positions beyond what Towns called vague rhetoric and false attacks on the senator. Wolf campaign spokesman Ben Hartman said it's unbecoming for Roberts to duck debates and noted that Roberts previously had promised publicly to have them. The 78-year-old Roberts is seeking his fourth, six-year term in the Senate. Wolf is a 43-year-old radiologist making his first run for...

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Milton Wolf walks the tea party talk in Kansas Senate race

OSAGE CITY, Kan. — Milton Wolf reminds voters, without fail, that he’s new to politics. Yet he performs as if born to the trade. Ready with a smile. Just-right firmness on the handshake teamed always with just-folks patter. Good looks eclipsed only by those of the wife and kids. And above all, the Senate hopeful remains ever eager to share his conviction that the nation’s founders got it right and those guys in Washington today consistently get things wrong. He thinks they’ve been getting it wrong for about a century. As for long-serving fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, well,...

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Surprise, Surprise: Israelis Have More Confidence In Obama Than Ever Before

Pew Research poll also shows Israel as staunchly pro-U.S. and most supportive of drones and surveillance in the fight against terrorists. The fact that Isrealis are one of the most staunchly pro-American people in thw world is not new. But that their confidence in Barack Obama's ability to handle world affairs climbed dramatically to reach an all-time high? ...

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Flashback: TN Sen. Lamar Alexander Joins Jeb Bush in Support of Common Core Standards

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will appear with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN) Wednesday at an education roundtable discussion sponsored by pro-Common Core Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tennessee Business Roundtable. A press release by the election campaign of Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr (R), who is challenging Alexander in his reelection bid, announced the fact that Alexander will join Bush and Haslam in support of the Common Core. The roundtable event comes in the midst of a fierce battle waged by Carr and other conservatives in the Tennessee state legislature...

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Flashback: Sen. Lamar Alexander: 'Let's Don't Talk About Common Core'

Under increasing pressure because of his support for the Common Core standards, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Saturday, “Let’s don’t talk about Common Core.” “Let’s talk about standards,” Alexander continued. “Education is not just a problem in West Tennessee. It’s a problem in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee.” As the Jackson Sun reported, Alexander said, “I’d like to see a discussion about standards with no national school board,” continuing to cite an issue called the “national school board” that has never been put forward on either the federal or state level. Alexander is being challenged by conservative state Rep. Joe...

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Early Voting Underway in Tennessee, Ending in Georgia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Early voting is getting underway for Tennessee's primary election that features tea party-style challenges to Lamar Alexander's bid for the Republican nomination to a third term in the U.S. Senate. Alexander is looking to avoid an upset from state Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro or Memphis physician and radio station owner George Flinn. Carr has sought to consolidate tea party support, while Flinn has given $1.8 million of his own money into his final push. The GOP primary in the 4th Congressional District pits embattled U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais against state Sen. Jim Tracy, who has...

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Steve Kraske: Sen. Pat Roberts won’t debate Milton Wolf (following the Thad Cochran model)

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas has made his decision on whether to debate his primary opponent, tea partier Milton Wolf. No thanks, the senator said this week. In making his decision, the Republican had to evaluate a host of political and civic obligation considerations. He sided with the political. Let’s consider this for a moment. After three terms in the Senate, eight terms in the House and 13 more years as a congressional aide, Roberts is sidestepping what to me is a fundamental obligation. At election time, we expect our candidates to stand side by side with their opponents and...

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Pat Roberts’ years in Washington are both advantage, vulnerability

Sen. Pat Roberts sits in a Lenexa fast-food restaurant, spooning ice cream from a cup. It’s already been a long day. That morning, the 78-year-old Republican braved the heat of the Lenexa July Fourth parade; after lunch, he would be shaking hands at the VFW hall down the street. Then on to Wamego for another parade. Then Hays. Then another town, another campaign appearance, another search for votes. It’s tough and familiar political terrain — Roberts has spent the better part of three decades running for office. If Kansas returns him to the Senate this year, he’ll rank among the...

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Tea party’s victory over Berger Jr. sets up interesting 6th District contest

Wow. There was a disbelieving sigh in some Republican corners in North Carolina with the news that Phil Berger Jr., chief prosecutor in Rockingham County and son of the powerful state Senate president pro tem, Sen. Phil Berger of Eden, had lost a Republican primary runoff for Congress. It was not supposed to happen. Berger Jr. not only raised more money than Baptist preacher Mark Walker, he also had the backing of Republican powers-that-be and, thanks to his father, name recognition in the 6th District. The district runs along the North Carolina-Virginia border from Mount Airy to near Henderson and...

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GOP split in Mississippi over tea party's McDaniel spreads to national party

The prolonged aftermath of the Mississippi runoff in which Thad Cochran edged Chris McDaniel has produced schisms within the Republican National Committee and even in another state’s GOP. Is Chris McDaniel a modern-day Don Quixote tilting at windmills or is he a brave warrior, fighting to the last, for a just cause? Either way, the tea party candidate’s protracted battle against six-term Sen. Thad Cochran (R) of Mississippi has deepened the split in an already divided Mississippi Republican Party – and is spreading further into the national GOP. More than three weeks after state Senator McDaniel lost his primary runoff...

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Cruz in Charge of the Conservative Movement

In what appears to be the ultimate modern demonstration of "drinking the Kool-Aid," Republicans across the spectrum seem to have entered a pact in sticking together to defend, and even celebrate, campaign tactics predicated on gross voter fraud and manipulation of minority voters. In fact, given recent campaign finance disclosures, it seems clear some Senate Republican leaders helped pay for the attacks on their own base in Mississippi. One senator, however, has broken the silence and is speaking out: Sen. Ted Cruz, who, ironically, holds an official position with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Cruz has described the Mississippi fiasco...

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