Campaign committees

Campaign committees

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.

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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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RNC Chairman Michael Steele: 'I've made mistakes'

Michael Steele said Friday that he has made mistakes as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

During an appearance on Sean Hannity's show on the Fox News Channel, Steele said, "I'm trying to do the best I can as national chairman. I've made mistakes..."

{mosads}Steele also defended himself, saying, "I've got three victories under my belt: New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia," referencing the two 2009 governor races and Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) win in January.

He added, "Look, this is the bottom line: I stay focused very much on winning in November. I'm going to work very hard to make sure more Republicans, more good, fiscal conservatives get into the Senate, into Congress, into the governorships, into the state legislatures this November."

Steele has been made a series of gaffes since taking over at the RNC. He has also attracted criticism from GOP officials on how the RNC has spent some of its money in the 2010 cycle.

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Jindal makes light of RNC scandal

NEW ORLEANS -- Apparently it’s now OK for Republicans to joke about the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) recent scandal.
 
Speaking to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal became the first speaker to mention the RNC’s $2,000 expenditure at a risqué nightclub.
 
"A word of warning to RNC staffers: You may want to avoid Bourbon Street,” Jindal said. “Just some advice.”

Jindal, making one of his first big national appearances since a widely panned response to President Obama in February 2009, also said he has no presidential aspirations.

He began the speech by answering the question he knew he would get asked.

"I am not running for President of the United States of America," he said. "I've got the job I want."

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N.C. GOP chairman first to call for Steele's resignation

North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer on Thursday became the first Republican National Committee (RNC) member to call for Chairman Michael Steele's resignation since the commitee was revelead to have spent $2,000 at a risque nightclub.

In a letter to Steele obtained by the Raleigh News and Observer, Fetzer said Steele needs to stop being a distraction.

"More than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be a force for reform, transparency, and ethics in government," Fetzer wrote. "If we are going to be an effective agent for reform in America, we must first reform our party."

Fetzer also said some of the criticism Steel has received was not earned. But he said it was a matter of doing what's best for the party.

The two men appeared at a rally together last month.

"I believe that the best service you can render to your party at this critical juncture is to graciously step aside and allow the party to move on from this current quagmire," Fetzer wrote.

North Carolina Republican National Committeewoman Ada Fisher previously called for Steele's resignation, before the recent controversy.

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DNC tops RNC in fundraising as healthcare debate reaps dollars for both sides

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) outraised the Republican National Committee (RNC) $13 million to $11.4 million in March.

The RNC noted that its total was a midterm-year record for March. The committee, which has been plagued by a high burn rate, banked less than $2 million of what it raised and upped its cash on hand to $11.3 million.

A cash-on-hand number from the DNC wasn't immediately available, but it had $10.7 million on hand at the end of February.

It appears both parties got a significant boost from the health care debate.

"Since the last days of fund raising were done around passage of healthcare reform, it's clear supporters of reform were more generous than opponents,' DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.

The DNC's total is especially encouraging for its supporters; the RNC's numbers came largely before the recent scandal over a reimbursed expense at a bondage-themed nightclub in Los Angeles.

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