Campaign committees

Campaign committees

Dems, GOPers take 2010 campaign fights to iPhone, iPad

Democratic and Republican strategists are poised to take their campaign battles to the iPhone and iPad ahead of this year's tough midterm elections.

As smartphone popularity continues to grow exponentially -- with 2009 marking the first time consumers used phones for data more than calls -- strategists seem to agree the newest trench in political warfare is none other than the mobile device.

{mosads}The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was the first party organization out of the gate with an iPhone app, released last Friday. The tool allows users to follow GOP Senate races with the help of a feed aggregates Republican campaign news across the NRSC's Twitter, Facebook and blog pages.

The app also includes Senate race descriptions, video archives and ways for users to receive more campaign information and share it with friends.

"So many more people are using mobile, using iPhones and other smart phones, and now the iPhone will be going to Verizon -- [the audience for the NRSC app is] that sort of market of folks who are dropping their landlines and using their mobile phones for connecting more and more," Katie Harbath, Chief Digital Strategist at NRSC, told TechPresident last week. (It is not clear, however, if and when the iPhone might migrate to Verizon.)

However, the Democratic National Committee soon plans to one-up the NRSC: A spokeswoman told Hillicon Valley on Monday that the DNC is planning its own campaign app, available on both the iPhone and iPad.

That tool, due out this summer, will offer Democratic voters "news updates and access to the latest election information along with a variety of other features," said the DNC's Brandi Hoffine.

“The Obama campaign and its successor Organizing for America has prided itself on being on the cutting edge technologically with respect to engaging and involving Americans in politics and in helping pass the president’s agenda for change across all types of mediums and platforms," she said. 

(Cross-posted from Hillicon Valley)

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Van Hollen: Obama picks his spots when campaigning

The chairman of the House Democrats' campaign committee said Friday that President Barack Obama listens to individual lawmakers when deciding whether or not to campaign for them.

Van Hollen's comments come as it appears President Barack Obama will not make a stop for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), whom he endorsed over Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) in the party's Senate primary. Specter and Sestak are running neck-and-neck, according to several polls.

{mosads}"I think the president realizes there are some districts where he is strong and some districts where he is not as strong, so he will take the lead from members of Congress," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on MSNBC.

Many Democrats from traditionally Republican districts are considered vulnerable to losing their reelection bids, and Van Hollen's comments suggested they would be better served by eschewing an appearance with Obama.

Obama has made some high-profile campaign stops for several candidates who did not win reelection in close races, such as Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost to Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), who lost to Gov. Chris Christie (R).

With regards to Specter, Vice President Joe Biden suggested that Obama's schedule wouldn't allow for a campaign stop.

But the Maryland Democrat, who helms the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that Obama is a great help to Democrats everywhere, even if he doesn't stump for all of them.

"I think Barack Obama helps everybody by making the points he made last night in terms of drawing the contrast [between Democrats and Republicans]," he said.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

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RNC confirms '12 convo in Tampa

The Republican National Committee will have its 2012 convention in Florida's Tampa Bay Area.

"The Tampa area boasts state-of-the-art facilities, exciting and vibrant downtowns, and a clear enthusiasm from the community to host our convention," RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.

"We are very excited to accept Tampa's bid for the 2012 Republican National Convention," Holly Hughes, chair of the site selection committee, said Wednesday. "We are looking forward to a successful convention in Florida."


The RNC’s site selection committee also reviewed bids from Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

Selecting Phoenix could have been a political liability after Arizona passed its new anti-illegal immigration statute. And Utah is solidly Republican. In 2008, the RNC held its convention in Minneapolis.

The Arizona Republican Party denied the state's new immigration law had anything to do with Phoenix getting passed over.

"While many will point to Arizona's new immigration law as one of the reasons that Phoenix was not chosen, nothing could be further from the truth," Arizona GOP chairman Randy Pullen said in a statement. "Members of the RNC overwhelmingly support the immigration bill signed into law by Governor Brewer, and Republicans from coast-to-coast stand with Arizonans as we fight to secure our border."

Updated at 4:51 p.m.

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NRSC hires Mike DuHaime to lead IE arm

Strategist Mike DuHaime has been hired by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to direct it’s independent expenditures arm during the 2010 cycle.

"Mike DuHaime has an enormous amount of campaign experience and political expertise, and he will serve as an invaluable resource directing this important component of the NRSC's operation during the 2010 midterms," Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said in a statement.

DuHaime recently had success as the chief architect of New Jersey Gov Chris Christie's (R) 2009 defeat of Jon Corzine. He's also held positions with the Republican National Committee and President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, among others.

The New Jersey native has also had his share of failures. He was Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign manager in 2008, when the former New York City mayor focused his resources on winning Florida's GOP primary. The strategy failed and Giuliani subsequently quit the race.

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DCCC adds two targets

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has added two new seats to its Red to Blue program for challengers and open-seat candidates.

In Florida's 25th district, former Miami-Dade County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia is going after the open seat left by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who is running for his retiring brother's seat in a neighboring district. And in Kansas's 3rd district, retiring Rep. Dennis Moore's (D-Kan.) wife, Stephene, is running for his seat.

The two additions bring to 15 the total number of districts the DCCC is targeting with the program. Of those 15, three are open seats currently held by Democrats.

"Stephene Moore and Joe Garcia have come out of the gate strong and built a lot of early excitement for their campaigns from voters across the political spectrum," said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.). "Red to Blue will give them the financial and structural edge they need to remain on the road to victory in November."

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Mook to lead House Democrats' campaign spending program

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is staffing up its independent expenditure (IE) program this cycle.

The committee will announce today that current political director Robby Mook will run the IE program, which is tasked with dispensing the committee’s money across the country.

Mook is currently in charge of independent expenditures in the Hawaii and Pennsylvania special elections. He ran Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) successful 2008 campaign.

A well-known and well-regarded former DCCC staffer, former executive director and former IE director John Lapp, will be a senior adviser to the IE program.

Incumbent Retention director Jennifer Pihlaja will take Mook’s spot as the committee’s new political director.

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Kaine says Tea Party will help Dems win seats

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine said Wednesday that the Tea Party movement will help Democrats win seats in 2010.

Kaine said Doug Hoffman’s performance in the New York special election, Marco Rubio’s ascendance in Florida and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s win over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) show how GOP nominees in 2010 will come from the right.

“What we see around the United States now is right-wing candidates knocking off moderate Republican officeholders and giving us an opportunity to win the races,” Kaine said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That is giving us an opportunity in Texas, it’s giving us an opportunity in Florida; we won that race in upstate New York because the Tea Party candidate chased out the institutional Republican candidate.”

One example not mentioned by Kaine was the Illinois primary. On that day, conservative Patrick Hughes was unable to take down Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), but conservative state Sen. Randy Hultgren defeated the more mainstream GOP candidate, Ethan Hastert, in a House primary.

Kaine noted that, when he was trying to reclaim the Virginia state Senate in 2007, a similar thing happened, with hard-right state Senate candidates beating more centrist lawmakers.

“Republican candidates on the right knocked off moderate Republican senators, and that opened up seats for us to win,” Kaine said.

Kaine is set to brief reporters on Democrats' 2010 midterm election strategy at a 12:30 p.m. lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Will national Dems get involved in North Carolina Senate primary?

Will former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) need some DSCC help to get across the finish line in his Senate primary?

His campaign just released its first-quarter fundraising totals, and Cunningham raised a less-than-stellar $345,000 for the period.

The good news is that he has done a pretty good job of banking the money he has raised, and he had nearly $480,000 in cash on hand at the end of March; that has allowed him to be the only candidate to go up on the air with ads. The bad news is that he's still fighting from behind against better-known Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and half a million dollars is unlikely to allow him to saturate the airwaves.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) recruited Cunningham into the race and, though it hasn't officially endorsed him, would clearly prefer that he face Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in November.

In order to get him to that spot, though, it might have to spend some money in the primary, which concludes May 4. The DSCC did something similar with now-Sen. Jeff Merkley (R-Ore.) in his 2008 primary, and Merkley wound up beating Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Merkley's and Cunningham's totals after the first quarter are remarkably similar. In 2008, Merkley had about $470,000 in the bank for his May primary, while Cunningham in 2010 has $480,000 in cash for his May primary.

Cunningham, of course, is running in a more expensive state. But Merkley's opponent was also raising better money than Cunningham's are. Marshall has proved no fundraising star, either, raising about $160,000 in the first quarter and having $180,000 cash on hand.

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