POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/23

Runoff Results

In South Carolina, Nikki Haley (R) defeated Rep. Gresham Barrett (R) for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. She is now considered the front-runner in the general election race against Vincent Sheheen (D). The Columbia State has details on Haley’s “rough-and-tumble” victory.

Interesting side note: Haley’s victory brought together the recently disappeared Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and his ex-wife, Jenny, at her victory celebration.

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) lost badly to Trey Gowdy (R) in South Carolina’s 4th congressional district making him the fifth congressional incumbent to lose his primary this year, Roll Call reports.

Tim Scott’s (R) victory in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district makes him a favorite to become the first black Republican to serve in Congress since 2002, as CQ Politics notes.

In North Carolina, Elaine Marshall (D) defeated Cal Cunningham (D) for the right to challenge Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for the U.S. Senate.

Though Burr is the favorite in the general election, Tom Jensen says Marshall was the strongest Democrat on the ballot and has a chance to win.

In Utah, Mike Lee (R) edged out Tim Bridgewater (R), clinching the Republican U.S. Senate nomination and most likely a seat as the state’s next U.S. Senator.

New Yorkers Say Government is Broken

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds that 83% of voters say the state government is dysfunctional, the highest number ever measured.

By a 51% to 36% margin, voters says that all state senators, even their own local senator, should be voted out of office this November. By a similar margin, they say all State Assembly members, even their own representative, should go, too.

Exchange of the Day

If you missed the Democratic U.S. Senate debate between Rep.  Kendrick Meek (D) and Jeff Greene (D) in Florida yesterday, the St. Petersburg Times has all you need to know.

Meek: “How dare you attack the character of my mother.”

Greene: “I’m not attacking your mother. I’m attacking you.”

Judge Who Nixed Drilling Ban Has Oil Investments

“The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry,” the AP reports.

Vitter Adviser on Women’s Issues Attacked Girlfriend

A longtime aide to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), “who has been assigned by the senator to oversee women’s issues, pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges stemming from a knife-wielding altercation with an ex-girlfriend,” ABC News reports.

The aide “has had repeated brushes with the law dating back to the 1990s” and court records also show “he remains wanted on an open warrant in Baton Rouge stemming from an unresolved misdemeanor DWI charge.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve compromised the mission.”

— Gen. Stanley McChrystal, quoted by ABC News, in phone calls to top Obama administration officials. He has reportedly already offered his resignation to President Obama who he meets with later today.

Staffers Say Ensign Knew He Was Breaking Rule

In depositions to the Senate Ethics Committee, The Hill reports staffers for Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) said the senator and his senior aides “knew a one-year lobbying ban was being broken when they helped a former staffer set up a short-lived career on K Street.”

“The information was provided as part of a probe the panel is conducting into payments Ensign’s parents made to Cynthia and Douglas Hampton. Ensign washaving an affair with Cynthia, who is married to Douglas.”

Rand Paul’s Long History of Controversial Views

Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) “has a long history of making unconventional comments about social programs, housing discrimination, military spending and limiting the role of government,” the Louisville Courier-Journalconcludes after a review of his public appearances since 1998.

“Paul has condemned Medicare as ‘socialism;’ denounced seat-belt and anti-smoking laws as ‘Nanny-state’ paternalism; called for voluntary, rather than mandatory, accommodation of people with disabilities; and suggested using satellites to monitor America’s borders for illegal immigrants. Zealously advocating for free-market economics, he also has criticized private health insurance, saying it keeps patents from negotiating lower prices with their doctors.”

Abramoff Finds Work

Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff — just released from prison — is now working for a Maryland pizza restaurant, the Baltimore Jewish Times reports.

McChrystal Submits Resignation

Gen. Stanley McChrystal has already offered his resignation prior to his scheduled meeting with President Obama tomorrow, Time magazine’s Joe Klein tells CNN.

The big question now is whether President Obama will accept it.

Judge Finally Confirmed Despite “Secret Holds”

“It seemed the most unremarkable of votes. By a tally of 90 to 0, the U.S. Senate recently approved President Obama’s nomination of a Missouri magistrate judge, Audrey Fleissig, to the federal district bench,” the Boston Globe reports.

“To win approval, however, Fleissig had to overcome months of delays secretly engineered by Republicans. Even Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who recommended Fleissig, says she has no idea which of her GOP colleagues held up the vote. Now the fallout over the four-month wait for Fleissig’s approval — and other nominees’ similar long waits, all of which create extended vacancies — has spawned action. McCaskill has persuaded at least 65 senators to sign a petition calling for the end of a practice that allows any single senator to hold up bills or nominations anonymously.”

Americans Support New Energy Policy

A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds Americans overwhelmingly “think the nation needs a fundamental overhaul of its energy policies, and most expect alternative forms to replace oil as a major source within 25 years. Yet a majority are unwilling to pay higher gasoline prices to help develop new fuel sources.”

Signs Points to McChrystal Ouster

Mike Allen: “Public and private signs from the administration point to President Barack Obama firing — or accepting the resignation of — Gen. Stanley McChrystal following careless, smart-aleck comments he and his staff made to Rolling Stone.”

Rove Group Falls Far Short of Goal

A new 527 group conceived by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie “and launched this year with predictions that it would raise $52 million to support Republican candidates has thus far failed to live up to the fundraising hype,” Politico reports.

In fact, the group, raised only $200 last month “bringing its total raised since launching in March to a little more than $1.25 million.”

Are Runoffs Necessary?

Felicia Sonmez notes the dismal turnout projections for today’s runoff elections and raises a very good question: Have runoffs outlived their usefulness?

“The argument for runoffs is relatively straightforward: they require candidates to win the support of a majority of voters, ensuring that a party’s eventual nominee reflects the choice of most voters. Proponents of runoffs also argue that by setting a high threshold, runoffs also prevent extremist candidates with small but loyal voting bases from winning.”

“Runoff opponents note that in addition to being expensive, low-turnout affairs, they force candidates to expend time and resources on an extended intra-party fight instead of turning their attention to the general election. At the heart of the runoff debate is the issue of race — and whether runoffs either did (or still do) make it more difficult for black candidates to win.”

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