Daily Archives: 02/01/2012
Politico is Reporting: Word started leaking out in Las Vegas earlier that Donald Trump’s “major announcement” is to back Newt Gingrich, and sources are confirming it to POLITICO.
The announcement is expected to come at an 11:30 a.m. press conference tomorrow that The Donald is holding.
The move is a bit unexpected, since Trump had talked even within the last few days about how he may be compelled to run a third-party campaign of his own if he didn’t see a Republican candidate who he thought could beat President Obama.
Gingrich is the longer-shot choice in a field in which Mitt Romney has re-established himself as the frontrunner after a commanding win in Florida.
Trump was courted repeatedly by several of the GOP hopefuls. Gingrich, when he was soaring in his first rise before the Iowa caucuses, made a trek to Trump’s Fifth Avenue office in Manhattan to ask for his support.
Read Full Story: Politico
Jeffries for Congress today announced that Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries has raised $105,487.43 from 219 contributions for the last quarter of 2011, bringing his total contributions to over $275,000 with more than $235,000 on hand. Jeffries has already raised more money than any candidate ever challenging the incumbent, who has faced almost a dozen contested primaries since first being elected in 1982.
“I am grateful for the unprecedented financial support that this campaign has already received,” said Assemblyman Jeffries. “Clearly, with the stakes in Washington as high as they are, our growing group of supporters has seen my record of accomplishment in changing the culture of Albany. They agree that we need someone who can help end the dysfunction in Washington and give the people of the 10th Congressional District and beyond the representation we deserve.”
As reported in his quarterly Federal Elections Commission filing, of the total Jeffries raised in the quarter, 48% were contributions of $200 or less; $200 was also the median contribution. Jeffries has received only three donations this quarter (a total of $1,700) from PACs – two that support drug policy reform (NORML and Drug Policy Reform Fund) and one from organized labor (Steamfitters Local 638).
Last week, Jeffries also announced that he had received the early endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, New York State’s largest grocery workers union.
Hakeem Jeffries has represented Brooklyn’s 57th district in the New York State Assembly since 2007. During his time in the legislature, Assemblyman Jeffries has emerged as a champion for working families. He has successfully advanced a progressive agenda that has made a real impact throughout Brooklyn, including legislation to strengthen tenant regulations, protect the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, reform state government in Albany, and facilitate the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals. For more information on Hakeem’s candidacy, visit www.JeffriesforCongress.com.
The 10th Congressional District includes the neighborhoods of downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, East New York, Mill Basin and Canarsie.
Capital Tonight Reports: Apparently, the anti-Lew Fidler ad that appeared today in a number of downstate Orthodox Jewish newspapers is just the tip of the iceberg for Nachman Caller, a wealthy real estate attorney who has been trying to break into politics for some time now.
The ad, first reported this morning by City & State blogger Chris Bragg, doesn’t mention the Democratic NYC Councilman by name. But it does urge Orthodox Jewish voters to repeat the “Kiddush Hashem” (sanctification of G-d’s name) of electing someone like Republican Rep. Bob Turner who shares “Torah values” and opposes “same-gender marriage.”
What Caller is essentially saying here is that it’s a miztvah to reject a fellow Jew who “tramples” on conservative Orthodox beliefs, and that G-d cares who represents Jews in government. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you’re on board with that one.
A source who spoke to Caller said there’s more where this came from. He’s apparently willing to spend some $50,000 of his own money to defeat Fidler and help his GOP opponent, David Storobin. That could entail buying as many as 10 newspaper ads between now and the March 20th special election for former Sen. Carl Kruger’s seat, or possibly spreading that amount between ads and mailers.
This source also said Caller will definitely be running for Senate himself if Fidler wins. He would be running in the so-called “Super-Jewish” district proposed by the Senate Republicans, assuming their redistricting plan withstands the Democrats’ court challenge.
According to this source, Fidler has a pretty good shot at winning the special election in the current 27th SD. But high percentage of Orthodox Jewish voters in the new district, as conceived by the GOP, would be an uphill battle for him.
Meanwhile, Hamodia, an influential Orthodox Jewish publication, printed a front-page opinion piece warning Fidler he’s treading on “thin ice” by throwing around words like “Nazi” and “white supremacist” in connection with the writings of his opponent, Storobin, whom the paper describes as a “regular shul-goer.”
Storobin’s campaign fought back today by releasing a photo montage of “family members who died fighting the Nazis in World War II and who were murdered by Soviet persecutors for being Jewish.”
Fidler’s campaign seemed to back away from the whole mess, saying through a spokeswoman: “With a long record of experience and results to run on, Councilman Fidler wants this campaign to be about what the community needs, not Mr. Storobin’s peculiar internet relationships.”
Read Full Article: Capital Tonight
Honolulu Civil Beat Reports: GOP U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle collected more than $260,000 from 75 political action committees in three months of fundraising, according to her federal campaign finance report posted online Tuesday.
Only one of those PACs — Alexander & Baldwin Federal PAC — is based in Honolulu. It gave her $2,500, but it also gave $3,000 to Democratic Senate rival Mazie Hirono, and $2,500 each to congressional candidates Mufi Hannemann and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, both Democrats.
The others PACs contributing to Lingle are headquartered all over the country, many in the heart of the Beltway — Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia.
The PAC money represents about 15 percent of the nearly $1.8 million Lingle reported raising through Dec. 31. Most of her money — about $1.5 million — came from individuals who are listed in hundreds of pages of her 464-page filing. (If you’re looking for the PACs, go to page 377.)
Civil Beat is closely tracking political money this year, especially in light of the Citizens United case that allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to independently support or oppose canddiates and ballot measures. Donations directly to candidates still are limited under federal law.
The Hawaii Senate race is expected to draw lots of money this year, to both the Republican Lingle and the Democrat that goes on to the general election, likely either current Rep. Hirono or former congressman Ed Case. Republicans are hoping to take advantage of Lingle, the former governor’s, popularity to wrest the Hawaii Senate seat away from Democrats now that longtime Sen. Daniel Akaka is retiring.
Underscoring the GOP national leadership’s interest in Hawaii, many top Republicans have contributed to Lingle’s campaign.
The Freedom Project, chaired by House Speaker John Boehner, gave Lingle $10,000. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s PAC gave Lingle $10,000. Former Sen. Trent Lott’s New Republican Majority Fund chipped in $2,500.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave $10,000 to her through his Bluegrass Committee. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the former GOP presidential nominee, kicked in $5,000 through his Country First PAC. They are among about 20 Republican senators who altogether contributed more than $80,000 to Lingle in this reporting period.
Lingle, who is Jewish, drew $5,000 from the Republican Jewish Coalition PAC and another $5,000 from the National Action Committee PAC, based in Hollywood, Florida, which bills itself as the nation’s largest pro-Israel political action committee. NORPACof Englewood, New Jersey says it is a nonpartisan PAC that promotes relations with Israel; it gave Lingle $3,000.Republican Majority for Choice PAC, based in Washington, D.C., contributed $2,500.
Read Full Article at: Honolulu Civil Beat Reports
Politico Reports: Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber,” defended Wednesday his decision to draw a $5,000-a-month salary from his campaign funds as he runs for Congress.
The plumber, brought into the public eye for his confrontation of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, argued that the pay was necessary for him to continue in the race.
“Per the FEC, it’s legal. People have done it for a really long time. I’m taking less than I ever made as a plumber, so that I can run,” Wurzelbacher told POLITICO. “The working class is not represented in Congress, by no means, so therefore, I want to step up and represent them. In doing so, I’m taking on a 30-year incumbent, so this is a full-time job.”
The story that he was drawing a salary from his campaign funds was first reported by The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday. FEC reports further show that Wurzelbacher has raised just over $54,000 as of Dec. 31, 2011, and has $17,486 cash on hand. He announced he was running in late Oct. 2011.
Wurzelbacher says that he has knocked on over 5,000 doors and called nearly 2,000 people as part of his campaign already.
“It’s an 18-hour-a-day job to do this,” he said. “My donors are aware of this… I have not sold my patriotism. If you have an opportunity to do good, it becomes a responsibility. And that’s the reason I’m doing this. It’s my responsibility to my fellow citizens to represent their point of view.”
“With the death threats I’ve received over the past three and a half years, obviously that brings concern,” Wurzelbacher said. “But I also bear arms.”
Wurzelbacher said he’s had about 30 or 40 death threats directed at him, the most recent just a few months ago.
Wurzelbacher is running as a Republican in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, a seat that is also being contested by Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) because of redistricting.
Read Full Report: Politico
Watertown Daily Times reports: Doug Hoffman, who twice ran unsuccessfully on the Conservative Party line for Congress and became something of a tea party hero in the process, told me today that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s endorsement of Dede Scozzafava shouldn’t count against Mr. Gingrich.
“I’ve said it consistently since that race, that Newt wasn’t given the full information and once he understood what the race was all about, he personally called me and apologized,” Mr. Hoffman said. “I think that’s water over the dam. That certainly shouldn’t be held against him.”
As a refresher, in 2009, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was the Republican Party’s choice in the special election to replace outgoing Republican Rep. John McHugh.
The district was historically Republican. The rise of the tea party and Mr. Hoffman’s insurgent candidacy on the Conservative Line — and some pretty brutal campaigning — led Ms. Scozzafava to drop out of the race and endorse a Democrat, Bill Owens.
The battle lines were thus drawn between the establishment and the new tea party. Former Gov. George Pataki, for example, was a Hoffman backer. But Mr. Gingrich went the establishment route by giving Ms. Scozzafava the nod.
That endorsement became toxic, particularly after Ms. Scozzafava’s exit from the race, which helped Mr. Owens bring the seat into the blue column for the first time in more than a century, defying tea party trends.
Mr. Gingrich has had to sustain conservative attacks for the endorsement since, and even put up a section on his website to rebut the accusations that he’s disloyal to tea party factions because of his support for Ms. Scozzafava.
Read More: Watertown Daily Times
Commentary Magazine Reports: Exit polls in Florida are showing that Jews only made up one percent of the electorate in today’s Republican primary. Since that is down from three percent in the 2008 GOP primary, Nate Silver of the New York Times concludes that this may show a lack of enthusiasm for the Republican field among Jews. That might mean, he writes, there may be reason for Democrats to think Jewish resentment of President Obama’s attitude toward Israel may not be carrying over into the 2012 election. But Democrats would be foolish to seize on such flimsy evidence for proof they are not in trouble with Jewish voters.
It is true that a drop in GOP Jewish registration shows none of the candidates generated enough Jewish buzz to get more voters to switch party affiliation as in 2008. But the comparison is unfair, because the man who drove that mini-surge in Jewish Republican voters was Rudy Giuliani. Though he flopped in the Florida primary four years ago, the former mayor of New York was a big favorite of the Jewish and pro-Israel community. None of this year’s Republican crop can claim that kind of loyalty from Jews, but the ultimate winner of the GOP nomination will have one thing going for him: he’ll be running against an incumbent president who is rightly viewed by many Jews as having distanced himself from Israel.
Florida is a state where Jewish swing voters could affect the outcome in November. That’s why Obama is trying so hard to make Jews forget his record of non-stop quarrels with Israel’s government in the last three years. Any Republican, especially a relative moderate like Mitt Romney, will be well-placed to take advantage of this Democratic problem.
Daniel Treiman Reports in Capital J Blog: Freshman Republican Rep. Allen West, and, was one of the top 2012 election targets of Democrats, who are hoping to take back his South Florida district and take out an outspoken Tea Party favorite.
But it turns out West is a moving target.
West announced yesterday that he is abandoning Florida’s 22nd district to run in another, more Republican district. A prominent Jewish Republican will reportedly try to take West’s place in the district.
Adam Hasner, a former majority leader of Florida’s House of Representatives, was running for the Republican nomination for Senate, but he had been trailing badly in the polls ever since Rep. Connie Mack IV jumped in the GOP race. Now reports say he will be running in the 22nd.
Even with the high-profile and polarizing West out of the picture, the race to win Florida’s 22nd could be a hard fought.
Two Democrats had been vying to replace West: Lois Frankel, the Jewish former mayor of West Palm Beach, and construction company exec Patrick Murphy (who until last year was a registered Republican), both of whom have been raising real money.
West beat Democratic incumbent Ron Klein in the 2010 Republican surge in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which hugs the coast in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Florida’s proposed redistricting map (drawn by the Republican state legislature, whose artistic license was limited somewhat by the state’s new redistricting reforms) has made it lean more Democratic.
On West’s decision to switch districts, CBS News reports:
West will run in the new 18th district in South Florida, which is mostly comprised of the current 16th district. Republican Rep. Tom Rooney currently represents the 16th district, but he announced earlier Tuesday that he would seek re-election in the open 17th district rather than the new 18th district.
“I have always believed the state of Florida would be best served by having both Congressman Tom Rooney and myself in the House of Representatives working to solve our nation’s most pressing problems,” West said in a statement. “It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida’s 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district. I welcome the challenges and excitement that lie ahead.”
A Miami Herald blogger labeled the shifting around of Republican candidates a “musical-chairs game” and cautions that things could change if Democrats successfully sue to redraw the redistricting maps.
Read More: Capital J (JTA)
City Councilman Charles Barron dusted off the campaign account from his last congressional challenge in 2006, and filed a year-end report last night for his current campaign against longtime incumbent Ed Towns.
Barron, who announced his second campaign for Brooklyn’s tenth congressional district in late November, reported raising $17,615 from five donors.
Barron contributed $8,625, and his wife, Assemblywoman Inez Barron, gave $4,100.
As expected, Barron’s fund-raising puts him at a distant third among the three candidates. Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries reported $235,000 in cash on hand yesterday, and Towns reported having $162,000.
The Tenth District also covers the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn which is heavily populated by Ultra Orthodox Jewish residents.
Vosizneias Reports: One day after Democrat state senate candidate Lew Fidler doubled down on his false and malicious claim that his Republican opponent David Storobin has “ties to skinheads and neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist groups” (direct quote), Storobin fired back releasing a series of family photos showing relatives who were killed by Nazis and Soviet religious persecutors.
“Mr. Fidler, these are my true ‘ties,’” charged Storobin, invoking Fidler’s own words. “These are my family members who died fighting the Nazis in World War II and who were murdered by Soviet persecutors for being Jewish. These are the blood ties I share with so many other Jewish people in our community whose families were also persecuted and killed. This is what is real, Mr. Fidler. Not your false and outrageous claims that I have ties to neo-Nazis and skinheads.”
Storobin continued, “Once again, Mr. Fidler, I demand that you retract your offensive statements and apologize to my family and the broader community for using the memory of murdered Jews to spread an untrue attack rumor for your own political gain.”
Storobin, who’s vying for disgraced Carl Kruger’s vacant state senate seat in Brooklyn, is a devout Jew whose family escaped the former Soviet Union from religious persecution and whose extended family were victims of the Holocaust.
Despite Storobin’s well documented faith and support for the zionist movement, Fidler has been falsely attacking him for alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups. Those claims are baseless and were made in an effort to try and undermine Storobin’s candidacy and score political points with the Brooklyn Jewish community.
Read More at: Vosizneias.com
CNN Reports: Aboard his campaign charter plane Wednesday, Mitt Romney sought to clarify a remark he made earlier in the day on CNN about not being “concerned about the very poor” saying his words were being taken out of context.
Talking to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Romney – perhaps ineloquently – explained his campaign’s focus on the middle class, stating that there are programs to help the poor and the rich are doing well on their own.
“I’m not concerned about the very poor,” Romney said. “There’s a safety net there, and if it needs repair I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the heart of America, the 95% of Americans who are right now struggling.”
Responding to reporters’ questions during the press availability on his plane, Romney made sure to put the quote in the correct context.
“No, no, no, no,” Romney said. “You’ve got to take the whole sentence, all right, as opposed to saying, and then change it just a little bit, because then it sounds very different. I’ve said throughout the campaign my focus, my concern, my energy is gonna be devoted to helping middle income people, all right? We have a safety net for the poor in, and if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that. And if there are people that are falling through the cracks I want to fix that.”
Romney explained further, saying his campaign has always been about helping the middle class.
“Wealthy people are doing fine,” Romney said. “But my focus in the campaign is on middle income people. Of course I’m concerned about all Americans – poor, wealthy, middle class, but the focus of my effort will be on middle income families who I think have been most hurt by the Obama economy.”
Romney conceded there were holes in the safety net for poor Americans, and acknowledged it was the government’s responsibility to help find the systems’ deficiencies.
“I’m sure there are places where people fall between the cracks,” Romney said. “And finding those places is one of the things that is the responsibility of government. We do have a very ample safety net in America, with Medicaid, housing vouchers, food stamps, earned income tax credit. We have a number of ways of helping the poor. And yet my focus and the area that I think is the greatest challenge that the country faces right now is not, is not to focus our effort on how we help the poor as much as to focus our effort on how to help the middle class in America, and get more people in the middle class and get people out of being poor and becoming middle income.”
REad More: CNN
John McCormack writes in The Weekly Standard: Fresh off his big win in Florida Tuesday night, Mitt Romney made the most stunningly stupid remark of his campaign.
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney said in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
“There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd,’” O’Brien replied.
“Well, finish the sentence, Soledad,” Romney said. “I said I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them. We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor. And there’s no question, it’s not good being poor, and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans. You can choose where to focus, you can focus on the rich. That’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus. My focus in on middle income Americans. Retirees living on Social Security, people who can’t find work, folks that have kids that are getting ready to go to college. These are the people most badly hurt during the Obama years. We have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor. But the middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”
Boston Globe Reports: Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann today denied any plans to endorse frontrunner Mitt Romney when he visits Minnesota this afternoon, despite a Globe online post suggesting the possibility.
The Minnesota congresswoman noted she would be in Washington while Romney was appearing in Eagan, Minn. She also said that while she has had discussions with her formal rivals, she has no immediate plans to endorse any of them.
“Let me be absolutely clear – there are absolutely no negotiations between me and the Romney campaign regarding any pending endorsement of Governor Romney,” Bachmann said in statement that also labeled the story “completely false” and called on the Globe to retract it. “I continue to speak with all the candidates and plan on uniting behind the presumptive nominee.”
In a post early today, Boston.com noted that instead of heading directly for Nevada or Maine, the next two states to vote in the GOP contest, Romney was instead flying to Minnesota for what was billed as a “grassroots rally.”
The post said the camps of the two former rivals had been in conversation in recent days about securing the candidate’s endorsement by the Tea Party favorite and forceful public speaker.
Without identifying its source for the information, the post said that such an endorsement would add to the impression of Romney consolidating the GOP base after rebounding in the Florida primary from his loss South Carolina 10 days earlier.
Read More at; Boston Globe
Brooklyn, New York – Last night, Councilman Lew Fidler accepted the endorsement by “No Bad Apples” for his candidacy for the State Senate. Started by Senator Liz Krueger, No Bad Apples’ mission is to help elect “good apples” to the State Senate.
“This endorsement is especially meaningful to me. I’m honored to have the ‘Good Apple’ Stamp of Approval and to be endorsed by my friend Senator Liz Krueger,” said Councilman Fidler. “She and I have been partners in our commitment to cleaning up government, and I am so pleased to run on the same kind of platform that she did 10 years ago: reforming Albany.”
“I could practically hear a sigh of relief coming from Brooklyn when Lew Fidler decided to run for State Senate and I can understand why,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “As a Council member, Lew Fidler has a strong track record of service to his constituents. He speaks his mind and ensures his constituents and those around him always know where he stands — something voters in the 27th District have not seen in a state senator in quite some time. I would be honored to serve with Lew in the Senate and look forward to helping him win this election.”
No Bad Apples was formed by Senator Krueger to elect “good government” leaders to the Senate. This is the first endorsement by No Bad Apples. The endorsement follows Councilman Fidler’s endorsement by former Mayor Ed Koch for the Special Election for State Senate on March 20th.
City & State Reports: A potential candidate for Brooklyn’s “Super Jewish” state Senate seat is using an organization he runs to bash Democratic Senate candidate Lew Fidler’s position in favor of gay marriage.
The potential candidate, a wealthy Orthodox Jewish real estate attorney named Nachman Caller, is placing the below ad in several of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish newspapers this week, including the prominent daily Hamodia, according to a source close to Caller. Caller is doing so through an organization he chairs called Family First, though I couldn’t immediately track down any tax or incorporation records for the group.
Caller’s ad says the election last summer of Republican Rep. Bob Turner, who opposes same sex marriage, upheld “Torah values” – and calls for the Orthodox community to do the same in the same in the special election to replace convicted State Sen. Carl Kruger. The ad does not mention Fidler or his anti-gay marriage Republican opponent, David Storobin, by name, but it does prominently display Caller’s.
Once the general election for Kruger’s seat is finished on Mar. 20, the victor will have to run again in a primary and a general election in a district that will likely be drawn far more heavily Orthodox. Neither Fidler nor Storobin are Orthodox Jewish.
Read More at: City & State
JTA Reports: Jewish leaders delivered a letter to the White House urging action to allow food to reach hundreds of thousands of people facing starvation in Sudan’s border regions.
Ruth Messinger, the president of the American Jewish World Service, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, the president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, presented the letter Tuesday to Samantha Power, the top National Security Council official dealing with multilateral affairs, and Grant Harris, the top Africa official at the White House.
The letter was signed by 350 Jewish clergy and lay leaders as well as 15 interfaith leaders who often work with Jewish groups on humanitarian matters.
“The border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan have recently seen indiscriminate bombings, targeted killings and the displacement of over 400,000 people,” the letter said. “With an already fragile humanitarian situation, the disruption of the current planting season combined with the Sudanese government’s refusal to allow unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations is a recipe for massive suffering.”