Ballot Box

Reports say Christie reconsidering a run, but others deny

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be reconsidering his unyielding vow that a 2012 run for president isn't in the cards, according to multiple reports.

After Republican donors pleaded with Christie to reverse his decision, Christie told donors he would reconsider and give them a decision within days, Newsmax reported.

A source told The New York Post that Christie was under "huge pressure from high-ranking Republicans and fund-raisers” and that he would "decide this week.”

But the Post also said three sources close to Christie had flat-out denied those reports and said nothing has changed.

The brash-talking governor has been an omnipresent, looming spirit in the background - and sometimes the foreground - of the GOP presidential race from the very beginning. Republicans have traveled to New Jersey from throughout the United States to urge him to run, and the declared candidates have eagerly sought out his ear.

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Perry derides Romney as 'slick', tries to bounce back from shaky debate

Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying to parlay a shaky debate performance into a new attack on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, deriding his opponent as "slick" and lacking authenticity.

"What Americans are looking for isn't the slickest candidate," Perry said Saturday, according to CNN. "They are looking for an authentic principled leader. You've seen what happens when our country chooses leaders who emphasize words over deeds."

Although not mentioning Romney by name, Perry aimed to recast his debate prowess as symptomatic of a willingness to say whatever was necessary to win the election - a charge he attempted to make in the debate.

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FEC fines Michael Steele $54,000 over his 2006 Senate bid

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steeles failed 2006 campaign for Senate has been fined $54,000 for taking too much money from Steeles sister, the Federal Elections Committee announced.

In addition to Steeles civil penalty, his sister Monica Turner has agreed to pay her own civil penalty of $5,500 for excessive in-kind and cash contributions to the campaign. The FEC faulted Steele for accepting some of those prohibited contributions knowingly and willfully and also found that Steeles former treasurer, Belinda Cook, used funds improperly.

The complaint alleges Turner held two 2006 fundraisers at her Bethesda, Md., home for her brother, bringing in more than $100,000 in donations. Turner spent more than $35,000 to cover some of the fundraisers’ costs and in other contributions to the campaign, but that money wasn’t disclosed in Steeles FEC filings. The complaint also maintains that federal and state campaign funds were intermingled in a way that violated FEC regulations.

The $54,000 the campaign must pay the FEC adds to the $51,493 in other debt the defunct campaign still owes, according to FEC data. The campaign had just $42 cash on hand as of the end of June.

Steele, who previously served as Marylands lieutenant governor, lost his 2006 Senate bid to then-Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), but in 2009 won the chairmanship of the RNC, where his tenure was marked by a series of embarrassing gaffes and the rapid accumulation of debt.

Reince Priebus took over as RNC chairman in January. Steele is now a commentator and political analyst for MSNBC.

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Rick Santorum fights backlash on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ comment in GOP debate

Some prominent gay-rights groups are criticizing the crowd at Thursday's Republican presidential debate for booing an openly gay soldier and questioning why no candidate spoke up to silence the jeers.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund (SLDN), a leading advocacy group for homosexual military personnel, criticized the contenders for not speaking up.

“No service member defending our freedoms in Iraq should be booed for expressing his or her views as an individual," SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said in the statement. "I regret that this brave patriot was not defended last night in Orlando and that no candidate spoke up to say ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal has been settled by Congress and our nation’s senior military leaders — and is supported by more than [80] percent of the American people."

Another group representing gay conservatives called on former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) to walk back comments he made on reinstating the policy banning gays from serving openly in the military.

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