POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/1

Spinning in NY-20

CQ Politics has a nice piece on both parties claiming the edge in New York’s 20th congressional district as they await the counting of absentee ballots.

Obama Gives Queen an iPod

BBC: “President Obama has given the Queen an iPod during their private meeting at Buckingham Palace. It contains footage of her state visit to the US in May 2007. The Queen has given the president a silver framed photograph of herself and her husband. The official picture is what she gives all visiting dignitaries.”

Democratic Model Projects Murphy Win in NY-20

Democratic projections obtained by The Fix show Scott Murphy (D) beating Jim Tedisco (R) in New York’s 20th district by 210 votes after all outstanding absentee and military ballots are counted.

“The projections — based off of the county performances by Murphy and state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R) on election night — show the Democrat gaining 115 votes in Warren County, 96 votes in Columbia County and 70 votes in Washington County as well as scoring smaller gains in several other counties. Tedisco’s only major gain, according to the model, will be in Saratoga County where he will net an additional 116 votes.”

However, an email from the NRCC disputes the projections noting New York has registration by party. “This allows us to see which absentee ballots are being returned by both parties. There is currently a Republican advantage among the absentee and military ballots that exceed the current Murphy lead. This is not a ‘model,’ but raw data.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean we know how they voted yet.

Bunning Admits Fundraising is “Lousy”

As the first quarter fundraising period ended, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) said told theLouisville Courier-Journal that his own efforts to raise money for his re-election campaign have been “lousy” so far.

Said Bunning: “If at first you don’t succeed, you try, try, try again. We’re working hard at it. Surprisingly we’ve had pretty good success the last month.”

Fiorina Considering Senate Bid

In the “strongest signal yet of her political ambitions,” Carly Fiorina (R) said that she is “seriously considering” challenging Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in next year’s California Senate race, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

A Field Poll conducted in late February showed Boxer with a large lead, 55% to 25%, over Fiorina in a potential matchup.

What’s Next in NY-20?

Mark Murray reports counties will begin recanvassing the vote on Friday, although some counties will begin that as early as today.

The next step is counting absentee and military overseas ballots. Reports suggest as many as 10,000 absentee ballots were requested. These need to be postmarked by Election Day and received by April 7. Military ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by April 13.

The bottom line is that it’s highly unlikely a winner will emerge until April 13.

Related: Politicker has an interesting history of how similarly tight House races were ultimately resolved.

Just $32 Billion Left in Bank Bailout Funds

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told ABC News last weekend that there was about $135 billion left in the TARP fund, the government’s financial rescue package that started out as $700 billion.

But the GAO now reports that figure is closer to $32 billion.

Republicans Still Wrangling Over Alternative Budget

“Republican leaders in the Senate are clashing with John McCain, their party’s 2008 presidential nominee. He wants to offer an alternative to the Democratic budget and they don’t,” CQ Politics reports.

“The behind-the-scenes battle is part of a larger split in the Republican Party. Some in the GOP believe their best strategy is to resist President Obama’s agenda and take carefully chosen shots through amendments they all agree on; others want the party to do more to demonstrate how a Republican imprint would be different.

Meanwhile, First Read notes that a week after House Republicans “held a press conference to unveil a budget alternative that had no hard numbers in it, they take another crack at it when Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, formally unveils the alternative at 10:30 am ET.”

Is Obama’s Grassroots Effort Working?

Though Organizing for America says they’ll deliver more than 600,000 signed petitions in support of President Obama’s budget today, Congress Daily suggests it’s hardly moving the needle.

“With President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget hitting the House and Senate floors this week, groups for and against the spending plan have issued strong appeals for citizens to pick up their phones and let their voices be heard on Capitol Hill. But, even in the offices of targeted Democrats whose budget votes may be up for grabs, the phones are not ringing off the hook.”

Dodd Spent War Chest on Presidential Run

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has yet another problem as he faces a tough re-election bid, according to Bloomberg.

“The Democrat has less than half the campaign cash he had at a comparable point in his last re-election bid, when he faced far fewer hurdles. Last year, he emptied an account built up largely through financial-company employees’ donations to pay for a presidential run; now, he has to replenish his coffers even as the firms his panel regulates struggle with losses and back away from their one-time champion turned critic.”

Dodd began the year with $670,654 on hand; by contrast, he had about $1.6 million at the same point in his last Senate race.

Meanwhile, CQ Politics reports another Republican has jumped into the race to unseat him.

Steele Urges Republicans To Be Like Him

According to the Baltimore Sun, RNC Chairman Michael Steele “lashed out” at GOP infighting at a fundraising dinner “and urged the party faithful — some of whom have criticized his erratic statements — to be more like him: “unconventional, unpredictable … to do from time to time the unexpected.” 

Steele “jokingly acknowledged the rough road he has traveled since taking over the national party this year” and “expressed frustration with the public airing of party doubts about his leadership that have dogged his first months as chairman.”

Americans Overwhelmingly Support Executive Pay Caps

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters say by 81% to 16% margin that the government should limit executive compensation at companies receiving federal help, and say 47% to 44% that boards of directors and top managers at these companies should be forced to resign.

Support for income limits is strong among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters and in all income groups, but the call for forced resignations drops as income rises.

Charges to be Dropped Against Stevens

NPR has learned that the Justice Department will drop all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

“According to Justice Department officials, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to drop the case against Stevens rather than continue to defend the conviction in the face of persistent problems stemming from the actions of prosecutors.”

No Winner, But Republicans Still Lose

“There’s no winner yet in the Upstate New York special election and it might be mid-April before the race is settled,” Politico reports. “But a few things are clearer after Tuesday’s contest, none of it welcome news to the Republican Party.”

“The first election to take place during the Obama administration was a push, with neither side winning big or losing big. But that in itself ranks as a defeat of sorts for the GOP, which invested heavily in the race.”

Palin Bails Out of GOP Dinner

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is out, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in as keynote speaker at a Republican dinner this spring, the AP reports.

Palin had been slated to address the annual Senate-House Dinner on June 8, which is sponsored by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees.

When Palin was first announced as the dinner’s speaker her staff in Alaska denied she had accepted the invitation.

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