POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/20

House Democrats Widen Their Cash Lead

The Hotline notes that the DCCC once again outraised the NRCC last month.

“Last month, the DCCC raised $9.77M and spent just $3.55M. The DCCC had $26M in the bank at the end of March. The NRCC, on the other hand, raised $8M in March, one of their best months to date. Still, the party ended with month with $10M in the bank.”

Ayotte Holds Lead in New Hampshire

A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire finds Kelly Ayotte (R) has a solid early lead over Paul Hodes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 40%.

“There’s a long way to go until this fall but for now this race looks like it will be the first real bright spot for Republicans in the state since 2002.”

Tight Race in Special Election to Replace Murtha

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district finds Tim Burns (R) leads Mark Critz (D) in the special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) in the House of Representatives, 44% to 41%.

An American Action Network (R) survey shows Critz leading Burns, 40% to 39%.

DeMint Bucks His Party

Chris Cillizza notes that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) announced his support for state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R) in Indiana’s U.S. Senate race over party favorite Dan Coats (R) in the GOP primary.

DeMint has also endorsed Ken Buck (R) in the Colorado Senate race over establishment favorite Jane Norton (R) and he’s supporting Chuck DeVore (R) for Senate in California over Carly Fiorina (R).

Implications beyond 2010: “Those choices have led to considerable unhappiness toward DeMint within some GOP circles as well as some speculation that he building out a conservative stable of candidates advance of a 2012 run.”

Emanuel Predicts Big Battle Over Supreme Court Pick

The other news from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s fascinating interview with Charlie Rose last night — other than he wants to be Chicago’s mayor — was his prediction that there will be a big battle over President Obama’s upcoming Supreme Court nomination.

Said Emanuel: “I think that there’ll be a huge, huge battle… I think the President will obviously appoint a person that he thinks is appropriate and right for the Supreme Court, as he laid out the kind of criteria in the Justice Stevens model. I think if people took a fresh look at that, I don’t think it has to be that type of battle. But we may be at a system and a time in which we have that type of battle.”

First Read is a bit skeptical noting “we haven’t had a real SCOTUS battle since Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the current vacancy is swapping one liberal (John Paul Stevens) for probably another liberal (whomever Obama picks).”

Crist Will Stay in the Race

The National Review Online has an exclusive interview with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), in which he says that “damn right, I’m staying in this race” and that he would definitely not run as a Democrat in the Senate race.

However, he admits he is still undecided about whether he will continue in the Republican primary noting, “I’ve got a big decision to make.”

That decision, of course, is about running as an independent instead. The filing deadline for that decision is April 30.

First Read: “If Crist is going to run as an independent, he needs to start making the case beyond just political expediency. He has a window for the next two weeks where everyone in Florida will hang on to his every word. How he uses these next two weeks will tell us whether he has the chops to pull this off come the fall — and perhaps beyond.”

Stewart, Colbert to Stay Through 2012 Election

Comedy Central has moved to lock up its two big stars, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, according to the New York Times.

“The network has signed the two hosts – who both attract more young viewers than even the late-night shows on the broadcast networks – to new contracts that will keep them in the 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. weeknight slots through the next presidential election in 2012”

Battle for NY-23 May Become Three Way Race Again

Five months after Doug Hoffman split the Republican Party by launching a third-party bid for Congress in New York’s 23rd congressional district, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports “the odds are suddenly improving” for a repeat three-way race this fall.

The scenario began to play out last week as the early momentum shifted to investment banker Matt Doheny (R) as he battles Hoffman for the GOP nomination for the right to challenge Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY).

Banking Reform Sells Better as “Wall Street Reform”

A new Gallup poll finds Americans are evenly divided on the merits of giving the federal government new powers to regulate large banks and major financial institutions.

However, they offer greater support when the issue is more specifically framed as regulating “Wall Street banks.”

Greg Sargent notes the White House’s latest talking points circulating on Capitol Hill use the term “Wall Street Reform.”

Emanuel Sets Sights on Next Job

Confirming rumors, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said that he wants to be the mayor of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Said Emanuel: “I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection. But if Mayor Daley doesn’t, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago. That’s always been an aspiration of mine even when I was in the House of Representatives.”

Emanuel has long been rumored to want the job of Speaker of the House, but he said in the interview that hope was “over.”

Gingrich Raises Big Money

Politico: “Newt Gingrich, who has toyed with a possible 2012 White House bid, raised nearly $2.7 million in the first three months of the year for his political committee — almost as much as the groups headed by his prospective rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, brought in combined.”

Of course, Gingrich has a major fundraising advantage as his group is a so-called 527 group and can accept unlimited contributions from people and corporations unlike the PACs used by the others.

Goldman Sachs Taps Ex-Obama Counsel

Goldman Sachs “is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side” — President Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig, according to Politico.

“The beleaguered Wall Street bank hired Craig — now in private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — in recent weeks to help in navigate the halls of power in Washington.”

McCain Makes Another Election Year Switch

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “has endorsed a tough Arizona anti-immigration bill that will let police arrest people who aren’t carrying identification, the latest move in McCain’s rightward shift in advance of a tough Republican Senate primary this summer,” Politico reports.

“It’s a dramatic switch for a senator who supported comprehensive immigration reform with Democratic lion Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) just four years ago.”

Crist Opens Door to Independent Run

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) told ABC News that he has not yet made up his mind on running for U.S. Senate as an independent.

Said Crist: “I can tell you I’m getting a lot of advice in that direction. I’m a listener and so I’m certainly listening to it.”

Crist has until the end of the month to make a decision.

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