POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/4

GOP Establishment Seeks to Take Back Control

New York Times: “The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.”

“The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.”

Perry Fights Letting Gays in Boy Scouts

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), an Eagle Scout, “said emphatically Saturday that the Boy Scouts of America should not soften its strict policy barring gay members, and dismissed the idea of bending the organization to the whims of ‘popular culture,'” the New York Timesreports.

Perry’s 2008 book, On My Honor, “detailed his deep love for the organization and explained why it should continue to embrace traditional conservative values — including excluding openly gay members and leaders.”

Reid Sticks with Menendez

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told ABC News that he stands by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) when asked about recent allegations involving a political donor and prostitutes.

Said Reid: “He was a leader in the House. He’s been a leader in the Senate. He’s chairman of that committee. He’ll do a wonderful job. And he’s also an integral part of what we do with immigration reform. So, I have the utmost confidence in him. I have confidence he did nothing wrong. But that’s what investigations are all about.”

Idea of Outside Advocacy Group is Not New

President Obama’s “decision to transform his campaign into the freestanding lobbying group Organizing for Action is groundbreaking in many ways — but the idea of creating an outside organization to put pressure on Capitol Hill dates back at least to Ronald Reagan,”Politico reports.

“President Bill Clinton even tried to create one 20 years ago. In 1993, seeking to to marshal grassroots support for his health-care reform effort, his team’s first impulse was to set up a standalone entity that could anonymously raise and spend large sums of money on polling, petition drives, phone banks and TV commercials.”

“But while campaign finance laws have changed over the years, some of the same problems — in both the law and public perception — that hounded previous White House-connected outside influence efforts could lay ahead for Obama. And, so far, neither the White House nor OFA is saying much about how they plan to avoid them.”

Does Cory Booker Have a Glass Jaw?

Politico says that “since he started exploring a run for U.S. Senate in December, in the face of tougher media scrutiny that was bound to follow, Booker is showing the unmistakable symptoms of glass jaw syndrome.”

“He’s learning the hard way that a Senate race fought in multiple major media markets is different than a citywide one on his own turf. His sensitivity to perceived slights in news coverage is raising questions about how easily the high-flying mayor can make the transition from the mostly adoring national media coverage he’s received over the years and the friendly confines of his 1.3 million Twitter followers.”

Johanns Will Back Hagel

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) told the Lincoln Journal-Star that he will vote to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) for secretary of defense.

“In the wake of Hagel’s contentious confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, the green light from Nebraska’s senior Republican senator could be timely and pivotal in helping pave the way for additional Republican support in the Senate.”

Romanoff Will Run for Congress

Andrew Romanoff (D), the former Speaker of the Colorado House, will make a run for the state’s 6th congressional district seat currently held by Rep. Mike Coffman (R), the Denver Post reports.

“Coffman, a three-term incumbent, resides in a district that is among the most competitive in the nation, as it’s divided almost evenly among Democrats, Republicans and unaffilated voters.”

Roll Call: “Romanoff’s entrance into the race will no doubt please the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is well-known and has significant fundraising ability.”

Nebraska Lt. Gov. Resigns After Phone Calls Discovered

Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy (R) resigned his post abruptly after questions were raised by the Omaha World-Herald about improper cell phone calls to four women, other than his wife, during the past four years.

An investigation “discovered that Sheehy made thousands of late-night telephone calls to the women on his state-issued cell phone, many of them long conversations held in the wee hours of the night.”

Sheehy had been considered the frontrunner in the 2014 gubernatorial race and had already been endorsed by Gov. Dave Heineman (R).

McCarthy Seen as Top Choice for EPA

President Obama is leaning toward choosing Gina McCarthy, a top official in charge of air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency, to run the EPA in his second term, Reutersreports.

Support for Texas Secession Rises After Obama Win

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that 20% of Texans — including 35% of Republicans — would support their state seceding from the Union in the wake of President Obama’s re-election, up from 14% in September 2011.

America Slightly More Liberal in 2012

“America has become a slightly more liberal and a slightly less conservative nation than it was in 2011 — based on residents’ self-reports of their ideology — but conservatives still outnumber both moderates and liberals,” according to a new Gallup analysis. In all, more Americans identified as conservative than liberal in 2012, 38% to 23%, compared with 40% to 21% in 2011, a four-point swing in favor of liberals. The percentage of self-identified moderates remained unchanged, at 36%.

Meanwhile Alabama was the most conservative state in 2012, with 51% of residents identifying that way, followed by North Dakota and Wyoming with 49% each and Mississippi and Utah with 48% each. The District of Columbia was the most liberal, with 41% of residents identifying that way, followed by Massachusetts in a distant second with 31%, Oregon and Vermont with 29% each and a bunch of states clustered around 28% each.

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