House races

House races

Palin backs challengers to Reps. Dingell and McIntyre

Sarah Palin announced Tuesday she's backing the GOP challengers to Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.).

Dingell, the dean of the House of Representatives, is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from cardiologist Rob Steele. Palin called the Republican "right on the issues."

"After 55 years, it's time for new leadership for Michigan," she said in a posting on her Facebook page.

Palin is also backing Republican Ilario Pantano, a former Marine with a controversial history, in North Carolina, and two other Republican House candidates. 

Pantano is an Iraq war veteran who was charged by the Marines in 2004 with two counts of premeditated murder for shooting two Iraqi civilians. The charges were dropped a year later and the case never went to trial.

Palin called him a "dedicated patriot."

"We can win this seat and send a decorated Marine to Congress who will be a strong voice for veterans and active-duty military," she wrote.


Mother of Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden dies

Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden's (D) mother, Catherine Holden, died Tuesday at her home in St. Clair, Pa., the Associated Press reported. She was 96.

Trish Reilly, Holden's chief of staff, said Catherine Holden died in the late morning after an illness.

The nine-term congressman stopped campaigning in order to be with his mother, who was receiving hospice care at her home.

Viewings are Friday evening and Saturday morning at St. Clair of Assisi Church in St. Clair. A funeral Mass is also Saturday, according to the AP.

Holden faces Republican state Sen. David Argall on Nov. 2.

 The Pennsylvania Democrat was reelected with 64 percent of the vote in 2008. 

This post was published at 8:47 a.m. and updated at 5:30 p.m.


Anti-Illegal immigration group revokes backing for two House Dems

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is revoking its support for two embattled House Democrats, one of whom touted his backing from the group during a debate earlier this month.  

ALIPAC had endorsed Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), but decided Tuesday to rescind and endorse both of their Republican challengers.

Marshall is facing a tough challenge from Republican Austin Scott this fall, while McIntyre is locked in a battle with Ilario Pantano. During a debate in mid-October, McIntyre touted his backing from ALIPAC as proof that he's tougher on illegal immigration than his GOP challenger. 

The PAC's president, William Gheen, said the move is meant to send a message to the Democratic leadership in Washington that the party is moving toward "amnesty for illegal immigrants" and is  "encouraging illegals to vote in the midterms."

While the organization still supports four other House Democrats — Reps. Gene Taylor (Miss.), John Barrow (Ga.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Gheen said due to the close nature of the contests in North Carolina's 7th district and Georgia's 8th district, the group decided to switch its backing to Republicans who he said are more in line with the organization's goals.

After the group endorsed Republican Jesse Kelly in his bid to oust Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee accused the PAC of having ties to "extreme groups" and assailed ALIPAC for espousing "extreme rhetoric." 

The PAC has vigorously denied those charges and, along with the Kelly campaign, accused the DCCC of simply trying to distract voters.



There's not much more Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) can do to distance himself from his party this fall.


Matt Damon endorses Working Families Party in N.Y.

Hollywood superstar Matt Damon released a video endorsement for the Working Families Party on Monday.

Damon, who celebrated his 40th birthday earlier this year, used the video to tell people that if they want to give him a present, they can vote along the Working Families Party line in New York.

Using signs, Damon emphasized that people who voted for President Obama and Democrats in 2008 have become disillusioned with them because of the high jobless rate, the divisive nature of the 111th Congress and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Now, I know you think Election Day is going to just suck this year," said Damon, but, he added, if voters cast their ballots along the Working Families Party line, they will "keep change alive."

"You can be a Democrat, an Independent, or a Republican [and] you just vote for whatever candidate you want, but vote on the Working Families Party line," said Damon. "The more of us that vote on this party line, the more all of these politicians will have to pay attention to working families."

Founded in New York, the Working Families Party has endorsed Republican and Democratic candidates in the past, while successfully pushing to increase the state's minimum wage and the weakening of the state's drug laws, seen by many as harsh.

The party is also opposed to the increased cost of public transportation, and "they're the ones who helped push Democrats to pass meaningful healthcare reform," Damon said.

This year the Working Families Party has endorsed mainly Democratic candidates, such as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who's vying for the state’s gubernatorial seat, and Sens. Charles Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) for reelection. It has also endorsed Democratic lawmakers from New York, including Reps. Scott Murphy, Jose Serrano, Yvette Clarke, Anthony Weiner, Charles Rangel, Paul Tonko and many others.

Damon, who was born and raised in Boston and is a Red Sox baseball fan, said that if more than 200,000 people vote along the Working Families Party line, he will shoot another video wearing a baseball hat with the insignia of longtime rival team the New York Yankees.