Jan 26, 2010
House Republicansí Bad Week
That’s right; last week was a bad week for House Republican candidates and Republican Members in local papers across the country.
While House Republican Leaders were breathlessly measuring the drapes on their dream offices after Massachusetts, Republican candidates and Republican Members were facing tough stories in their hometown papers on everything from using four donkeys to avoid paying taxes . . . double dipping on tax payer paid per diems . . . voter suppression . . . and fundraising and ethics problems.
As the NRCC spins themselves into a frenzy this cycle, it’s important to remember that more House Republicans have retired than House Democrats. (14 Republicans, 12 Democrats). And the NRCC’s record on competitive Special Elections is 0-5. Even with the wind to their backs this cycle, the NRCC lost a Republican district that Democrats had not held for more than 120 years.
Here is a sample of last week’s local coverage of Republicans’ problems:
Jon Runyan (NJ-03) – Farmland tax break an issue for Jon Runyan
“Former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan is getting a break on his property taxes for his lavish Mount Laurel homestead - thanks in part to his four donkeys. Runyan, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House, paid $57,000 in taxes last year on five of his acres, which contain his home. But on most of his property - 20 acres - he paid $468 in taxes, according to township records.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/22/10]
Richard Hanna (NY-24) –Hanna touts leadership role in right wing extremist group
‘The fact that Hanna is touting his leadership role in a group that prides its commitment to unfair trade policies that send American jobs overseas is downright shameful,’ said Shripal Shah, speaking for the Democratic committee.” [Post-Standard, 1/21/10]
Dave Argall (PA-17) – Pay-raise activists keep after Argall
“Just weeks into the Republican state senator’s campaign against Democratic incumbent Tim Holden, a small but active group of citizen-reformers have made it clear they will hinder Argall’s candidacy until November because he helped engineer the pay hike. At the time, Argall was a member of House Republican leadership. The latest example came Tuesday, when Eric Epstein, founder of the government-reform group RockTheCapital, issued a press release saying Argall received $10,200 in “per-diem” payments from March to September of last year.” [PoliticsPA, 1/20/10]
Ethan Hastert (IL - 14) -Hastert campaign refuses to report campaign contribution
“Call it a simple favor for a friend. Call it an in-kind contribution. Whatever it's labeled, it won't be found on Ethan Hastert's campaign contribution filings, though Federal Election Commission rules raise questions about whether it should have been reported.” [Daily Herald, 1/21/10]
Patrick Tiberi (OH-12) - Ohio Republicans, including Congressman Tiberi, hypocritical alternative to health insurance reform.
Independent analyses by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and health-care analysts show that plans championed by GOP lawmakers such as Ohio's Steve Austria of Beavercreek, Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township and Jim Jordan of Urbana would extend health insurance to only a fraction of the 46 million people in the United States without it.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 01/18/10]
Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) – Mary Bono Mack faces tough challenger
“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week released its 2010 Races to Watch list and the valley's own 45th congressional race made the top 26… The list should come as no surprise to those who have been following the race: The DCCC has taken a strong interest in Pougnet's campaign for months and usually target Bono Mack in their ad campaigns.” [Desert Sun, 1/18/10]
Ken Calvert and Mary Bono Mack (CA-44/45) – Democrats hope Republican infighting helps stem November losses
“Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and Ken Calvert, R-Corona, are widely expected to win their party’s nomination. But Democrats, who have targeted Bono Mack and Calvert hope the primary challenges will weaken them financially and politically in advance of a tougher November general election. Both of their districts went for President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the 2008 presidential election, and Calvert only narrowly held onto his seat.” [Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/13/10]
Vaughn Ward (ID-01) – Vaughn Ward’s disappointing fundraising
“Vaughn Ward, the GOP establishment favorite to take on Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), raised $100,000. It’s a decent sum, but it includes a fundraiser that featured House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).” [The Hill, 1/17/09]
Joe Heck (NV-03) – Democrats beat up on Heck
“Democrats are beating up on former state Sen. Joe Heck for holding a government job and receiving government contracts despite his campaign slams on government work.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/25/10]
Tim Griffin (AK-02) – Griffin’s voter suppression past exposed
“It's egregious baloney, but you have to give Griffin credit for the Republican genius knack at sleazeball. He blames his voter caging activites on ACORN. BUT, ACORN's Neil Sealy has a pithy response for Griffin's easy sliming of ACORN: …This is why Griffin caged voters. This is why Republicans have tried to demonize ACORN. They don't like to see poor black people vote.” [Arkansas Times, 01/21/10]
Parker Griffith (AL-05) - Parker Griffith Betrays North Alabama.
“With his unexpected leap from the Democratic to the Republican Party, U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith gave away Huntsville's front row seats on powerful House committees that oversee both highway dollars and the NASA budget, leaving people here wondering what that switch means for North Alabama. […] In an election questionnaire for a labor union in 2008, Griffith also supported a repeal of tax cuts the Republicans passed under President George W. Bush. He supported other initiatives backed by Democrats, such as voting for Pelosi as speaker and supporting the Cash for Clunkers program. [Huntsville Times, 01/25/10]
Laurence Verga (VA-05) - Verga skipped many an election
“One of the candidates in the GOP primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Ivy, opted not to vote in 21 out of the last 27 elections. Laurence Verga — a real estate investor from Ivy and one of seven Republicans seeking the party’s nomination against Perriello — skipped the presidential elections of 1992, 1996 and 2000, as well as many other high-profile votes going back to the early ’90s.” [Daily Progress.com, 01/25/10]
Robert Hurt (VA-05) - Fundraising and Ethics problems in House race
“Hurt thinks it would be legal because the contributions would be for a federal office he is seeking and not for re-election to the Senate seat from which he conducts state business. Really? Wouldn’t he be in a position to be influenced by special interest money even though that money would be going toward a federal campaign? Of course he would. The same elements of potential conflicts would be at play regardless of what office he is seeking.” [Lynchburg News in Advance, 01/14/10]
Eric Cantor (VA -07) - Minority Whip takes heat for meddling in GOP Primary
“Though Cantor hails from Richmond and represents the congressional district abutting Perriello's, several of the Republican primary candidates said in interviews with CNN this week that they view the five-term congressman as a Washington insider meddling in local politics. [CNN Political Ticker, 01/15/10]