House races

House races

Retired USS Cole commander running for Congress

The commander of the USS Cole during the 2000 terrorist attack on the destroyer is running for Congress in Nevada.

Retired Navy Commander Kirk Lippold announced his run for the GOP nomination in the state's 2nd House district Thursday. The seat is open as current Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is running for Senate.

"I’m not a career politician and I don’t intend to be one," the first-time candidate said in a statement. "But there are times when the call to serve cannot be ignored. This is one of those times."

Lippold, a 26-year Navy veteran, wants to focus on reducing the national deficit. "I will fight every day to shrink the role of government, get Nevadans back to work, and pay down the national debt," he said.

Lippold was in charge of the USS Cole when it was attacked by al Qaeda terrorists while in port in Yemen. Seventeen sailors died in the incident.

Also on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) issued a statement saying he won't decide on a run for the seat until after the current session of the Nevada Legislature concludes in June. 

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House Republicans tout 'best March ever' for fundraising

The National Republican Congressional Committee had its "best March ever" but fell short of the Democrats' first quarter total.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $19.6 million during the first three months of 2011, while the NRCC pulled in $18.1 million during the same period.

Democrats had trumpeted how they raised more than $1.2 million online in the month of March, when the party asked for campaign cash to help avert a potential for shutdown of the federal government. But the DCCC's grassroots' contributions were dwarfed by the $10.2 million the Republicans took in last month.

It was the "best month ever in a non-election year," according to an NRCC spokeswoman.

The NRCC is reporting $9.05 million cash on hand and $8 million in debt. The DCCC has $4.6 million in the bank and the same amount of debt as their GOP counterpart.

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Dem leader: Obama’s approach to GOP ‘frustrating to Democrats? You betcha’

The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that some members are frustrated President Obama continues to reach out to Republicans.

The president pointed to several past instances of bipartisan cooperation during his remarks about the budget on Wednesday.

"Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously and still found a way to balance the budget," Obama said in his speech at The George Washington University. 

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said Obama's speech created a contrast between the Democratic and GOP approaches to balancing the budget. But, he added, "in our caucus, we want to get more offensive."

"Let's be honest, it's annoying to people, especially when you're a Democrat, about this constant reaching out to the other side, but at the end of the day, what he's saying is that ... it's gotta be done," Larson told reporters off the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

Obama has asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to tap four members from their caucuses to participate in negotiations to reduce the deficit that he said would be led by Vice President Joe Biden. The negotiations will begin in early May, the White House said, with the goal of wrapping up by the end of June.

Larson said some in the caucus are troubled by that approach.

Obama "continues to believe that this is attainable by us sitting down and reasoning together," the Connecticut Democrat said. "And he's bound and determined to see that happen, I think that's how he's defined, in part, his leadership and his presidency.

"Now, is that frustrating to Democrats? You betcha," he said. "But it's part of the process that we're dealing with here."

--Sam Youngman and Erik Wasson contributed to this report.

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Democrats launch new outside group to focus on House races

In the continuing effort to keep pace with outside spending from groups friendly to conservatives, three Democratic operatives have formed a new independent expenditure group to focus on House races in the 2012 cycle.

Dubbed the House Majority PAC, the group can accept unlimited contributions and engage in direct advocacy, but must report the names of its donors to the Federal Election Commission.   

Three veterans of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are engaged in the effort. Alixandria Lapp, who served as the DCCC's campaign director during the 2006 cycle and later as chief of staff for Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), will serve as House Majority PAC's executive director.

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EMILY's List targets an additional four GOP lawmakers

EMILY's List expanded its list of "on notice" Republicans on Wednesday, adding four more Republicans to its targets for 2012.

The pro-abortion-rights group, which supports female Democratic candidates, launched the second wave of its 2012 campaign, expanding its watch list for next fall's election to include nine GOP lawmakers.

EMILY's List said it had put Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Adam Kinzinger (D-Ill.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) "on notice," and launched some paid Web advertisements to put heat on those lawmakers.

"There is significant buyer’s remorse surrounding these freshman Republicans,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “They told voters they would make job creation their No. 1 priority. Instead, they’ve relentlessly pursued an agenda that strips women of their rights and freedoms, and takes away their opportunities to keep themselves healthy and raise healthy families."

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Carnahan laps Clay in fundraising for potential Mo. intraparty race

Facing a potential matchup against a fellow Democratic incumbent, Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan raised more than $300,000 last quarter. A spokeswoman for Carnahan called it the "strongest first quarter of a new cycle in his career."

Under the state's Democratic and Republican redistricting proposals, the city of St. Louis becomes engulfed in the 1st district, pitting Carnahan and Rep. Lacy Clay against each other. Both Democrats have criticized the proposal.

Still, Carnahan is raising money with an eye toward a tough reelection bid. He pulled in $333,461 in the last three months and now has $285,99 cash on hand.

Clay raised only $16,726 during the same period and reported having $221,593 in the bank as of March 31.

Carnahan, who released a Web video thanking supporters for their contributions, has said he's committed to running again, regardless of what redistricting brings.

"There's a lot of speculation out there," the four-term Democrat told The Ballot Box in March. "I'm 100 percent focused on running for Congress in 2012."

--Updated at 7:47 p.m.

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