Senate Election 2014

Democrats worried about gun control issue in 2014

Harry Reid

Even though President Obama is pushing Congress to take up his gun control policies, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is up for re-election in 2016, doesn’t want to take the lead on the issue, according to the Washington Post:

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement Wednesday that he  hopes to move forward on gun control legislation “early this year” and that “all options should be on the table moving forward.” But Reid sounded more skeptical over the weekend, telling a Nevada television station that Obama’s most ambitious request – a new federal ban on assault weapons – likely couldn’t be passed by the House and Senate in the current political environment.

Senate Democratic aides said that unlike debates in recent years on health-care reform and fiscal policy, Reid is likely to step back on the gun issue, allowing longtime gun control advocates, including Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), to steer legislation to consideration by the full Senate.

The Post notes that Reid benefited from the NRA staying out of this 2010 bid for re-election, though they didn’t endorse him either, and that there is concern that Obama’s push for gun control “could be a significant factor in at least 10 of the 23 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs” in 2014.

Electable fiscal conservative needed in West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito

Republicans got a gift on Friday when Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who has been in Washington since 1985, announced that he would not seek another term in 2014:

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the five-term Democrat from West Virginia, opening up a potential seat for Republicans to grab in the next round of Congressional contests.

“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

“Championing those most in need has been my life’s calling, and I will never stop fighting to make a difference for the people who mean so much to me,” he continued.

First elected in 1984, Rockefeller is the chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and also holds a seat on the select intelligence, taxation, and veterans’ affairs panels.

Republicans haven’t had a lot of luck in federal elections West Virginia, presidential races notwithstanding. Democrats have held both of the Senate seats since 1959, though Republican candidates haven’t been that great. While Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who has already declared her candidacy, hopes to turn the tide, she may face stiff primary competition and opposition from grassroots organizations.

For example, the Club for Growth slammed Capito in November after she announced her candidacy, noting that she “has a long record of support of bailouts, pork, and bigger government.”

Chambliss Watch: GA Gov declines to endorse, Price says 2014 is too far away

Tom Price

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has had a rough last couple of weeks. His willingness to break his no-tax pledge to Georgians has set off grassroots fiscal conservatives. Chambliss now finds himself in a vulnerable position, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, and potentially facing a primary challenge.

The blowback has been substantial. According to Daniel Malloy at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) declined endorse Chambliss in a recent interview, claiming that it was “too early to pick winners and losers”:

Malloy: “There is a lot of talk going around the state about Saxby Chambliss getting a Republican primary challenge. Would you support him if he does?”

Deal: “It’s way too early to be picking winners and losers and people that you’re going to support and not support. He’s a friend of mine. I served with him in the U.S. House and he will continue to be a friend of mine.”

During a recent interview with CNN, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who is emerging as the favorite among grassroots activists, declined to say whether or not he’ll run against Chambliss:

Poll: Saxby Chambliss is vulnerable

Taxby

Sen. Taxby Shambliss Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), one of a handful of Republicans who are thought to be facing a tough primary challenge in 2014 due to their willingness to break their no-tax pledge, may want to take a look at a new survey from Public Policy Polling.

While Chambliss leads most of his potential challengers, there is a number here that would scare any incumbent hoping to get past controversy (emphasis mine):

According to a survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policing Polling (PPP) released Tuesday, just 38 percent of Republican primary voters want Chambliss to win the GOP nomination. Chambliss is up for reelection in 2014.

The biggest challenge to Chambliss, the poll found, would be one by Cain, who has said he would not run for Chambliss’s seat. PPP found Cain leading Chambliss 50 to 36 percent in a head-to-head match-up.

The poll also found Chambliss leads other contenders regularly mentioned as possible challengers. He leads Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 57 to 14 percent in a head-to-head match-up. Against Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Chambliss is also the front-runner, leading 52 to 34 percent. Lastly, Chambliss leads former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel 52 to 23 percent.

According to Public Policy Polling, 43% of Republicans wants someone “more conservative.” Another red-flag for Chambliss is the fact that his approval rating is below 50%.

Could Mark Sanford make a comeback?

Mark Sanford

With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) under fire from conservatives for his desire to raise taxes as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, there is speculation that former Gov. Mark Sanford, who made news in 2009 due to an affair, could try to make a political comeback:

For starters he’s done the one thing political observers insisted was absolutely necessary in the event he wanted to attempt a political comeback – legitimize his love affair with Argentinean hottie Maria Belen Chapur.  Sanford proposed to Chapur last week in Buenos Aires … and she accepted.  The result?  What was once viewed by some as a tawdry affair now looks more like thehappy ending to a romance novel.

What else is Sanford doing?  Working the press … like Newsday contributor Lane Filler, who encountered Sanford in a very interesting location at the 2012 Republican National Convention this week.

“I saw him coming down the escalator at the press center of the Republican National Convention in Tampa,” Filler writes of his “surprise encounter” with Sanford.

Hmmmm …

So if Sanford has no political future (and ostensibly knows it) then what exactly was he doing lurking around the press corps at the GOP convention?

Erickson passes on Senate bid

Erick Erickson

Though he was flirting with a primary challenge against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Erick Erickson, editor of RedState and talk show host on Atlanta-based WSB Radio, announced on Friday that he has decided not to run:

Were I to run for the Senate, it would be a terribly nasty campaign. It’d actually be really awesome, but it’d be really nasty. I have a seven year old, a soon to be four year old, and a wife who does not like being anywhere near a stage. I’m not putting my family through that when the best outcome would mean a sizable pay cut and being away from my kids and wife all the time huddled in a pit of vipers often surrounded by too many who viewed me as a useful instrument to their own advancement.

I appreciate all the support. I really do. In the past week I’ve learned who real friends are and are not. It has been eye opening. I had been all along very, very dismissive of running. But given the efforts of several and the financial pledges of support, I figured I should actually take the time to seriously and prayerfully consider it out of respect for those who asked and offered to help.

You can’t blame Erickson for deciding not run. Chambliss has a history of dirty campaigning. In his successful bid for the United States Senate in 2002, Chambliss ran run an ad using the image of Osama bin Laden against his opponent, then-Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), who opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. So there is little doubt that the race would get nasty, especially if Chambliss really feels that his political life is threatened.

Erick Erickson for United States Senate?

Erick Erickson

Over the past couple of days, we’ve pointed out the problems with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). After making a pledge to the people of Georgia not to raise their taxes, Chambliss seems willing to do just that.

That fact has led to cries for a primary challenge and speculation of potential challengers, including Reps. Tom Price and Paul Broun, as well as former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. But there is another name that is being pushed — Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com and a talk show host for Atlanta-based WSB Radio.

My friend Charlie Harper noted at Peach Pundit, Georgia’s most read political blog, that Erickson told his audience last night that he is in “prayerful consideration” of challenging Chambliss as those trying to draft him in the race:

I managed to catch the first hour of Erick Erickson’s show [on Tuesday night].  He led off the show by stating that he has been approached by serious people asking him to consider a primary challenge to Senator Saxby Chambliss.  He says he hadn’t really been considering it, but will get with his wife and give it “prayerful consideration.”

I’ve traded a couple of texts with him and would say this isn’t a publicity stunt.  Nor has he decided he’s running and is being coy about it.  It’s something he needs to think about. So he will.

Saxby 2014? Just Say No!

It’s only been a few weeks since Election Day, and already the 2014 election cycle is heating up. It doesn’t take long before the attention turns to the next election, and this year is no different. Here in Georgia, speculations are circling about who will challenge Saxby Chambliss.

My entry into the political world started in 2008 when Chambliss was running for reelection. I was (and still am) shocked and appalled that a professing conservative had the audacity to support the bank bailouts. I launched a web site at FireSaxby.com and quickly got national attention when the Associated Press interviewed me for an article about Chambliss’ race.

I’m excited about the coming election season. It’s a great opportunity for the conservative base in Georgia to reject liberal tendencies of Senator Chambliss. He really is one of the most despicable men in Washington. The good news is that there are some good possibilities for candidates to run against Saxby.

Herman Cain – I’m not a fan of Herman Cain at all, but he’s already got statewide recognition, which will be necessary to beat Saxby. On top of that, people generally like him. He’s not much of an upgrade over Chambliss though, given his past support of TARP and bailouts, but he’s not Saxby Chambliss, so that works in his favor.

Will Graham be the next Specter?

After Sen. Lindsey Graham’s vote for Elena Kagan in the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, there is speculation that he may see a primary challenge in 2014:

Graham’s apostasy on Kagan comes after other high profile breaks with conservatives in his state (and nationally) over climate change and immigration reform and will likely make him a central target of those tea party Republicans who helped oust Utah Sen. Bob Bennett in his bid for renomination earlier this year.

“It’s no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘who’ and ‘how many’,” said one South Carolina Republican operative about a Graham primary challenge. The source added that Graham’s approach on high profile issues of late is “putting Lindsey’s friends and supporters in a really tough place.”

[…]

[T]here is public chatter in Republican circles about who might take on Graham. Here’s a look at the top names — culled from conversations with GOP strategists in the state:

* Katon Dawson: The former chairman of the state Republican party would have the financial network and connections in the state to make a serious run at Graham. And, he may be looking for a next act after losing out on the Republican National Committee chairmanship in 2009.

* Jeff Duncan: Duncan, a state representative, is the odds-on favorite to replace Rep. Gresham Barrett in the 3rd district this fall. (Graham held that same Upstate seat before being elected to the Senate in 2002.) That would provide a real geographic base from which to run in four years time.


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