GOP primaries

GOP primaries

McConnell would yank Crist endorsement if he runs as independent

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that he would withdraw his support from Florida Gov. Charlie Crist if he decided to run as an independent in the face of a stiff Senate primary challenge from Marco Rubio.

McConnell, asked about his endorsement of Crist on "Fox News Sunday," noted that he'd lent his backing more than a year ago, and "a lot has happened" since then.

"My advice to him would be to compete as a Republican," McConnell said. "...I think if the governor decided to run as an independent he's not going to have any Republican support."

The senator wasn't taking back his support immediately, he said, but would if the circumstances change.

"I would be troubled if the governor decided to run as an independent," McConnell said. "He certainly would not have my support."


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Romney endorses Hoekstra in Michigan GOP governor primary

Mitt Romney is wading into the GOP governor's primary in Michigan, and he's backing Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.).

Hoekstra faces state Attorney General Mike Cox and businessman Rick Snyder in a pitched primary battle. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is term-limited, and Democrats are waging their own primary battle.

Romney's endorsement carries particular weight in Michigan, because his dad was a Republican governor there in the 1960s.

“Michigan is special for me because it’s the place where I grew up and where my father served three terms as Governor," Romney said in a statement. "For too long, Michigan has suffered with high unemployment and job loss. It is critical that we elect pro-growth conservative leaders who will keep taxes low, cut wasteful spending and create jobs. Pete Hoekstra has the capability and the right policies to get Michigan’s economy moving again."

Mike Huckabee has endorsed Cox.

Romney won Michigan in the 2008 presidential primaries, taking 39 percent of the vote. Huckabee finished third, behind Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with 16 percent.

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Republicans avoid primary in Rep. Moore's district

Republican state Sen. Nick Jordan has dropped out of the GOP primary in retiring Rep. Dennis Moore's (D-Kan.) district.

Jordan's exit leaves state Rep. Kevin Yoder as the only GOP candidate in the race who is raising big money. Yoder will be the favorite the win the GOP nomination in August.

Jordan, the 2008 nominee against Moore, said he worried that a crowded GOP primary would open the door to the likely Democratic nominee, Moore's wife Stephene.

"Yet with so many candidates in the Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives, I fear we could provide an opening for our liberal congressman’s liberal wife tco sneak into office in his place," Jordan said.

"With that in mind, Linda and I have decided to end our campaign at this time with deep gratitude for the prayers, support, and encouragement people have so graciously offered the last three years and throughout my public service."

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Former Sen. Coats's first quarter fundraising comes up short

Former Sen. Dan Coats's (R-Ind.) first quarter fundraising report won't do much to close the door on his upcoming primary.

Coats's campaign announced Thursday that it raised $379,000 in the first quarter. The total includes the time between when Coats announced, in early February, and March 31. But even considering the abbreviated period Coats had, his totals are unlikely to please Republicans in Washington.

There are no totals yet from former Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.) or state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R), but Coats's total is markedly low for a big-name candidate in his initial fundraising quarter. The three will do battle in a May 4 primary.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), the likely Democratic nominee, raised $625,000 in the first quarter.

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Sen. Bunning endorses Rand Paul over his own 'protege'

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) is leaving the Senate, but he's not going quietly.

Bunning on Wednesday announced that he will support Rand Paul in the GOP primary to take his seat. The move will be seen as a direct affront to the state's other senator, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the GOP candidate he is more closely tied to, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

“Kentucky needs a conservative who will say no to bailouts, stop the government takeover of our economy, end wasteful spending, and bring down our national debt," Bunning said. "And Kentucky’s families need a conservative who believes in traditional values and the rights of the unborn. In 2010, there is only one such conservative running for the United States Senate -- Dr. Rand Paul."

Paul has led in the polls and been step-for-step with Grayson on the fundraising front, but he has yet to draw much in the way of establishment support in the race.

Bunning publicly feuded with GOP leadership last year, as McConnell and others waged a campaign to get him to retire in the face of a difficult reelection bid.

The endorsement is also interesting because Grayson has been referred to as Bunning's political protege. And when Grayson got in the race before Bunning's retirement announcement, he said that he had Bunning's blessing to launch a campaign.

The primary is May 18.

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Rubio wants Palin's support in Florida's Republican Senate primary

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) Tuesday asked for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) endorsement, after the conservative icon praised him this weekend.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee has not officially endorsed Rubio, but at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend, Palin said "I love Marco Rubio!" adding "Marco, keep up the good work. Call me. Can I help ya?"

In an interview on Fox News Tuesday night, Rubio said "Yes. Well, we need to do that. I'd love to have her support. She's an important voice in the conservative movement in America."

Rubio is a favorite of the conservative movement. The one-time insurgent candidate has opened up a big lead over Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the state's Senate primary, which is August 24.

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Texas runoff decides GOP House candidates

National Republicans got their man in the race to face Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), with businessman Bill Flores winning a primary runoff over 2008 nominee Rob Curnock on Tuesday.

Flores led comfortably, 63-37 with 85 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Texas Secretary of State. The race has been called for Flores.

In the other race the GOP has its eyes on in the Lone Star State, attorney Quico Canseco defeated former CIA officer Will Hurd. Canseco, who lost the 2008 primary, led 56-44 with 76 percent of precincts reporting and will face Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas).

The Edwards seat represents the better pickup opportunity for the GOP, which has high hopes for Flores's candidacy and sees the heavily conservative district as a ripe pickup. Neither candidate in Rodriguez's district has put together big money for the GOP's effort to win back the seat, which it lost in 2006.

Updated at 10:03 p.m.

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Rubio's father falls ill

Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) on Tuesday announced he is rescheduling a pending campaign trip because his father has been diagnosed with another bout of lung cancer.

Rubio, who is running against Gov. Charlie Crist for the GOP nomination for the seat formerly held by retired Sen. Mel Martinez (R), issued this statement: "Unfortunately, my father, Mario Rubio, has been diagnosed with a recurrence of lung cancer. This will require me to return to South Florida. We are in the process of rescheduling some of the coming days’ events and look forward to continuing our conversation with voters in these communities in the near future."

Rubio's revised schedule includes three stops next Tuesday in The Villages, followed by stops in Belleview and St. Augustine on Wednesday. Subsequent stops are being rescheduled.

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