Campaign committees

Campaign committees

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."


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.


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.


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.


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."