#IL13: “You” - Ann Callis for Congress
#TXLtGov: Man who believes God speaks to us through "Duck Dynasty" is about to be Texas' second-in-command
As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He’s even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.
A former sportscaster who once defended a football player who’d thrown a reporter through a door (Patrick believed it wasn’t the journalist’s job to do “negative reporting”), Patrick became a conservative talk radio host in the early 1990s—Houston’s answer to Rush Limbaugh. In 2006, he parlayed his radio fame into a state Senate seat—and kept the talk show going. In office, he proposed paying women $500 to turn over newborn babies to the state (to reduce abortions), led the charge against creeping liberalism in state textbooks, and pushed wave after wave of new abortion restrictions. For his efforts, Texas Monthly named Patrick one of the worst legislators of 2013.
With a victory on November 4, Patrick, who is leading Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the polls, would find himself next in line for the governor’s mansion of the nation’s second-largest state. (Rick Perry, the current Republican governor, was previously lieutenant governor.) But even if Patrick advances no further, he’d be in a position to shape public policy—Texas’ lieutenant governor is sometimes called the “most powerful office in Texas" because of the influence it has on both the legislative and executive branches.
Here are a few of Patrick’s greatest hits:
On Islam: Patrick walked out of the Senate chamber in 2007 rather than listen to a Muslim deliver the opening prayer. “I think that it’s important that we are tolerant as a people of all faiths, but that doesn’t mean we have to endorse all faiths, and that was my decision,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I surely believe that everyone should have the right to speak, but I didn’t want my attendance on the floor to appear that I was endorsing that.”
Five years later, he did it again. “We are a nation that allows a Muslim to come in with a Koran but does not allow a Christian to take a Bible to school,” Patrick explained, after walking out on another prayer, delivered this time by Imam Yusuf Kavacki. “We are a Judeo-Christian nation, primarily a Christian nation.”
On the border: "While ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans, my opponent falsely attacks me to hide her failed record on illegal immigration," he says in his first general-election campaign. Patrick’s website, meanwhile, warns that Pakistanis are crossing the border as well, presumably to do bad things to Americans. “This is an Urdu dictionary found by border volunteers that was dropped by a human smuggler,” Patrick writes beneath a photo of an Urdu-English dictionary. “It is concerning that Mexican coyotes are learning Urdu in order to smuggle illegal immigrants?” [sic]
On migrants: ”They are bringing Third World diseases with them,” he said in 2006, warning that immigrants could bring leprosy and polio to Texas. (This was news to Texas public health officials.) Patrick hired an undocumented worker when he ran a Houston sports bar, and when the worker revealed last spring that he had talked candidly with Patrick about his situation, the candidate insisted: “The worker says I was personally very kind to him and goes on to allege other preposterous events that are not true and for which he offers no evidence.”
On his first book, actually titled The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read: "As the author, I am obviously biased," Patrick wrote in an Amazon review of his own book. But “since God inspired me to write this book,” he added, “He automatically gets 5 stars and the CREDIT!’”
On squashing Wendy Davis’ filibuster: Patrick told Mike Huckabee he had a Christian obligation to ignore Senate rules if the lives of fetuses were at risk. ”I spoke to my colleagues and said, ‘When Jesus criticized the Pharisees, he criticized them because their laws and their rules were more important than actually taking care of people,’” he said. “And in my view, stopping a debate to save thousands of lives, well, saving the thousands of lives is more important than our tradition of, well, you should never stop someone. I said, ‘Well, are we gonna become the modern-day Pharisees as Republicans of the Senate and just let her talk this bill to death and thousands that could have been saved a horrendous death and also improving health care?’”
On critics of his 2011 bill, which passed, mandating women see a sonogram before getting an abortion: "If those aborted souls were in the gallery right now, what would you say to them?"
On Connie Chung’s TV show, Eye to Eye: Patrick quipped in 1992 that the Asian American journalist’s show should be called “Slanted Eye to Eye." Although Patrick’s remarks sparked a local media firestorm, he did not change his ways. In 1999, a Houston Press profile noted that “Patrick lapsed into a faux-Chinese accent when he thought he heard a network correspondent call Clinton, in the midst of the Chinese-espionage scandal, ‘President Crinton,’” and later joked that Clinton should get surgery to “make his eyes slanted.”
On MTV: Patrick issued a call to arms against the cable channel in 2004, in an online bulletin:
STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK AGAINST MTV…LET’S TURN OFF MTV IN HOUSTON….JUST TAKE YOUR REMOTE AND GO TO DELETE CHANNELS….DELETE MTV AND CHANGE THE PASSWORD SO YOUR KIDS CAN’T WATCH….STAND UP TO YOUR KIDS…THEY WON’T BE HAPPY,BUT YOU MUST HOLD FIRM…. DO YOU WANT YOUR SONS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR DAUGHTERS EXPOSED TO THIS CONSTANT BARRAGE OF ATTACKS ON YOUR VALUES……..THEN SCROLL BELOW AND CONTACT THE NFL AND CBS….ALSO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR AND DEMAND THAT THE FCC GET TOUGH WITH THOSE WHO WANT TO COME INTO YOUR HOME AND DESTROY YOUR FAMILY VALUES
On creationism: "Our students…must really be confused," Patrick said at a GOP primary debate last spring. "They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can’t talk about God. I’m sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God."
On the separation of church and state: "There is no such thing as separation of church and state."
On Duck Dynasty: Patrick tried to raise money off of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality in GQ,boasting that the bearded reality star was channeling another bearded visionary.”This is an exciting time for Christians,” he wrote on Facebook. “God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, Phil Robertson, about God’s Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching.”
On his inspiration for this painting of Christ’s face on the Statue of Liberty:
In teaching myself how to watercolor I was trying different styles. After a beach scene, I decided to try a Peter Max type of painting of the Statue of Liberty. I could not get the fact right and used water to remove the paint on her face. When it dried and I tried to clean it up suddently [sic] the face of Jesus appeared so clearly. It struck me that Jesus face on the Statue of Liberty sends an incredible message that the real light that our country has sent in the past, and needs to send once again today, is we are a nation that stands on His Word This was only my 4th try at a painting I had no idea of how to paint the face of Jesus, nor was I trying to do so.
On film: ”A very popular movie starring Mel Gibson, Signs, has a theme dealing with the concept of coincidence,” Patrick wrote in his book. “If you haven’t seen it, it’s a terrific flick (albeit a little scary). I recommend it.”
When Republican-controlled legislatures around the country have passed laws curtailing early voting, they have invariably insisted that these laws have nothing to do with politics.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, however, has no problem with admitting the reason she wants to do away with early voting: giving people more time to cast their ballots might help Democrats.
Writing today in WorldNetDaily, Schlafly insists — without any evidence — that early voting is rife with fraud and enables Democratic campaign workers to “harass and nag low-information voters until they turned in their ballots.”
She blames early voting in states like Ohio for President Obama’s reelection victory, and worries that early voting may help Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections as people who have already voted “may wish to change their vote” because of “the Ebola scandal.”
Last year, Schlafly offered a similar defense of a voter suppression law in North Carolina.Because of the Ebola scandal, some may wish to change their vote, but that is impossible for those who have already voted. Some early voters may die before Election Day, and early voting allows the votes of those dead people to be included. If there is any dispute over whether their votes were valid or fraudulent, they are no longer with us to defend themselves.
Typically, there are no poll watchers during early voting, so the integrity of the casting of the ballots cannot be monitored. Many of the early votes are cast in a coercive environment, such as a union boss driving employees to the polls and watching over the process so there is no guarantee that their votes will be private.
Democrats promote early voting for the same reason they oppose voter ID: because they view early voting as helping their side. In the absurdly long 35-day period of early voting in Ohio in 2012, Democrats racked up perhaps a million-vote advantage over Republicans before Election Day was ever reached.
Republicans have been slow to realize how early voting helps the Democrats. Most top Republican political operatives firmly believed, right up to the morning of the 2012 election, that Mitt Romney was going to win.
In his expert analysis of why Republicans lost the 2012 election, scholar and WND writer Jerome Corsi quoted Mitt Romney’s chief campaign strategist, Stuart Stevens, on the last plane flight of the 2012 campaign, confidently assuring all that Romney would win the presidency because “a positive campaign message trumps a good ground game every time.”
Romney lacked a message, too, but he was mainly defeated by the Democrats’ superb ground game, which exploited early voting in key states such as Florida and Ohio. By continuously updating their computer-based information about who had not yet voted, Democrats could harass and nag low-information voters until they turned in their ballots.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
The conservative provocateur allegedly posed as a mustachioed “civics professor.”
James O’Keefe, the conservative provocateur, has been on the prowl in Colorado, the setting of a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, as well as a nip-and-tuck governor’s contest. Last week, O’Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O’Keefe or his colleagues.
More stories from the MoJo archive on James O’Keefe:
Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O’Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others. Recently, the 30-year-old O’Keefe has targeted the Senate campaigns of Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by filming undercover videos of staffers or the candidate.
Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his 20s showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as “Nick Davis,” and he said he was a University of Colorado-Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.
On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself “Bonnie” approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer’s boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no.
That same day, the guy identifying himself as “Nick Davis” returned to the Democratic office in Boulder. He was accompanied by a man wearing heavy makeup and a mustache, according to the Democratic staffer who had met Davis three days earlier. Davis introduced his friend as a “civics professor” at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the faculty adviser to Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis and the professor, who said his name was “John Miller,” picked up Udall campaign literature and canvassing information.
On Monday, O’Keefe tweeted a photo of himself with a mustache and said he’d recently posed as a “45yo” for one of his “election investigations.”
Only time for 2-3 more election investigations. I went in Disguised as 45yo, this time people may lose their jobs pic.twitter.com/ihuTjpierm— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII)October 20, 2014
The repeated questions about submitting other people’s ballots led Democratic staffers to suspect they were being targeted. Later, the staffers viewed photos of O’Keefe—including one taken in Colorado showing O’Keefe sans mustache and sporting a Udall campaign sticker and a Women for Udall button—and they concluded that O’Keefe and the college professor were the same person. They also said the image O’Keefe tweeted of himself with a mustache matched the man who visited the Boulder office on Friday.
O’Keefe and two male colleagues also targeted a progressive nonprofit named New Era Colorado, according to New Era executive director Steve Fenberg. On Saturday, Fenberg says, O’Keefe and his friends contacted New Era’s Fort Collins office to set up an in-person meeting and identified themselves as activists affiliated with Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. The three men arrived carrying Udall campaign literature, Fenberg notes, but a New Era organizer met them outside the office’s front door and refused to let them enter with the Udall materials. Outside groups such as New Era cannot coordinate with political campaigns, and Fenberg says he believes O’Keefe and his collaborators “were trying to establish evidence we were working together.”James O’Keefe and one of his collaborators
When New Era’s staffers began taking pictures of O’Keefe (including the photo embedded at left), Fenberg says, O’Keefe and a colleague went to their car and returned with a large video camera and a microphone. “If you want to take photos of us, we’ll take photos of you,” O’Keefe said, according to Fenberg, and the New Era staffers closed the door while O’Keefe and his friend tried to push it open and stick their microphone inside. Fenberg says New Era filed a police report about the incident.
Rocky Mountain Vote Pride doesn’t seem to have much of a footprint. There is a website andFacebook page for the organization, both created in July, but they provide no information about who’s behind the group. Searches for Rocky Mountain Vote Pride in the University of Colorado-Boulder student newspaper, the Denver Post, and the Boulder Daily Camera turned up no results. A search of Nexis archives for the past two years yielded zero mentions.
Chris Harris, the communications director for the Udall campaign, accused O’Keefe of “using sleazy, deceptive tactics to undermine the public’s trust in democracy.”
O’Keefe is best known for his undercover videos attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Those videos, hyped by Fox News and the conservative blogosphere, led the GOP-led House of Representatives to hold more than a dozen votes to defund ACORN, and the group disbanded soon after. In 2010, the FBI arrested O’Keefe and three others for phone tampering at a New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and three years of probation and fined $1,500.
This fall, O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas, launched a political offshoot with its sights set on high-profile campaigns and organizations. Project Veritas went undercover to try to get campaign staffers for Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes to contradict the candidate’s pro-coal message. In Arkansas, O’Keefe’s group secretly filmed Sen. Mark Pryor speaking to a local LGBT group in an attempt to expose him as privately supporting marriage equality, which he has publicly opposed. Project Veritas also sought to bait workers for Battleground Texas, the group formed by Obama campaign alums to register and organize Democratic voters, into taking improper actions, but a Texas special prosecutor dismissed the group’s video as “little more than a canard and political disinformation.”
Neither New Era nor the Udall campaign was aware of any other contacts by staff with O’Keefe or his colleagues, and it was not clear whether other organizations in Colorado might have been contacted. Stephen Gordon, a spokesman for Project Veritas, declined to comment. “We’re not making any comment on potential operations in Colorado at this moment,” he said. “But watch for our upcoming videos.”
Source: Andy Kroll for Mother Jones
When Illinois voters cast ballots for the November election, they will have a rare opportunity to weigh in on nearly half a dozen hot-button issues.
In a practice more common in California and some other states, Illinoisans will wade through five ballot questions — ranging from constitutional amendments on voter and victim rights to advisory referendums on birth control, the minimum wage and a so-called “millionaires’ tax.” The most Illinois voters have seen before is three, at least since 1970, according to available state records.
Lawmakers say the non-binding questions are aimed at taking the public’s temperature so they know how to proceed in Springfield. But at least some of the measures also have a political purpose, as part of a coordinated campaign by Democrats to boost turnout for the midterm election.
The list of questions could’ve been longer, but attempts fell short to include questions about term limits — an effort backed by Republicans — and altering Illinois’ political redistricting process.
The initiatives haven’t had as visible a promotion as the contested races, and some political experts believe voters may just skip them.
"These are not part of Illinois political culture," said David Yepsen, director of Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. "Voters aren’t used to it."
Here’s a look at the measures:
Democratic lawmakers pushed an advisory ballot measure in the final days of the spring legislative session that asks if insurance companies should cover birth control.
While Illinois has had such a law since 2003, supporters say widespread voter approval will ensure future protections. As evidence, they cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision saying employers with religious objections could opt out of a federal rule requiring that insurers cover contraceptives.
Republicans say the last-minute ballot measure is an obvious ploy to boost Democratic votes, especially since it’s already law.
Two Chicago-based political action committees have taken to social media to garner support, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. A second committee, Save Birth Control in Illinois, says it’s trying to lay groundwork for legislation requiring employers to provide notice to employees about exclusions in health insurance plans’ contraceptive coverage.
This measure, sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, proposes charging Illinoisans who make over $1 million a 3 percent income tax surcharge to raise funds for education.
An attempt to pass the tax as legislation stalled. Democratic leaders then posed the idea as a nonbinding ballot question to gauge public support.
The Internal Revenue Service says Illinois had over 14,500 tax returns in 2011 from households where adjusted gross income was at least $1 million. Madigan has said the tax would raise $1 billion annually.
Republicans say the measure is purely political. Republican Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist challenging Gov. Pat Quinn, earned $61 million in 2013.
This non-binding ballot question asks voters if Illinois should increase its minimum wage to $10 from $8.25 by 2015, parallel to a Democratic effort to push the issue in campaigns nationwide.
Sponsors say they’re hoping to use the results to renew a legislative push for approval.
It’s been a major issue in the governor’s race. Quinn has vowed to raise it, despite previous attempts falling short. Rauner at one point said he wanted to cut the state’s minimum wage, but has changed his stance, now saying he’d favor raising it with other reforms.
Business groups oppose an increase, saying it’ll kill jobs.
Voters will be asked to change the state constitution to prevent people from being denied the right to register or vote based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, among other things.
The measure had bipartisan support, including among top Democrats and Republicans.
It’s aimed at ensuring Illinois doesn’t adopt voter identification laws like those passed in several states since the beginning of 2013. Republicans said they pushed those laws to prevent voter fraud. Democrats say fears of fraud are overblown and the laws are attempts to suppress votes favorable to them.
CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS
This question asks if crime victims should have more rights protected by the constitution during court proceedings and criminal trials. The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would ensure they have information about hearings and plea negotiations, access to restitution and protections against alleged perpetrators.
The proposal is patterned after “Marsy’s Law,” which California voters approved in 2008 after the murder of a college student.
Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved putting the measure on the ballot. But among opponents was House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who argued that such standards could slow trials and should be dealt with through laws, not the constitution.
Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan backs it, saying crime victims are “owed a voice.”
Vote YES to all five, especially the millionaires’ tax, birth control, and minimum wage, because it pisses the hell out of the Illinois Family Institute!
h/t: Chicago Sun-Times
The conventional wisdom is that so-called establishment Republican candidates by and large triumphed over Tea Party radicals this election cycle. But the truth is that those victories were the result of a party establishment that itself has moved far to the right. Even where Tea Party candidates have failed, the Tea Party movement has increasingly remade the “establishment” GOP in its own image.
It is now core doctrine in the GOP to deny the science behind climate change, endorse sweeping abortion bans and engage in anti-government rhetoric reminiscent of the John Birch Society.
As Tea Party icon Michele Bachmann put it last week, while she may be retiring from Congress, she leaves with the knowledge that “even the establishment moved toward embracing the Tea Party’s messaging.”
Here, we look at five Republican congressional candidates who could be heading to the Capitol next year. Some have been labeled “establishment,” some “Tea Party,” but all are emblematic of the party’s strong turn to the right.
1. Joni Ernst
One Iowa conservative pundit has described state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, as “the choice of the Republican establishment” who has “been backed by national Republican establishment figures like Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Marco Rubio.”
But in today’s Republican Party, even an “establishment” candidate like Ernst can be just as extreme as a Tea Party insurgent.
Ernst subscribes to the radical, neo-Confederate idea that states can “nullify” federal laws that they deem to be unconstitutional — and even went so far as to suggest that local law enforcement officers can arrest government officials for simply administering federal laws.
In response to a 2012 candidate survey for a group affiliated with former congressman Ron Paul, Ernst pledged to “support legislation to nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme known as ObamaCare.” In a speech to a Religious Right group the next year, she criticized Congress for passing “laws that the states are considering nullifying.”
As a state senator, Ernst backed resolutions calling on Iowa to defy federal environmental regulations and gun laws. Ernst’s campaign denies that she has ever supported nullification, despite her own statements and positions in favor of the radical ideology.
Not only does Ernst think states should simply be able to void laws they don’t like, but she also wants to abolish the federal minimum wage and eliminate federal agencies such as the Department of Education, the EPA and the IRS. She also came out in favor of a plan, known as the “Fair Tax,” that would scrap the income tax and replace it with a federal sales tax of 23 percent on nearly all goods.
Her anti-government paranoia even extends to taking on a non-binding United Nations sustainable development agreement, Agenda 21, which she warned will pave the way for the UN to remove Americans from rural lands and force them into cities. She has even disagreed with the official investigations finding that Iraq did not have WMDs at the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion.
But Ernst does support government intervention when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, sponsoring the Iowa personhood amendment, which would ban abortion in all cases along with common forms of birth control. “I think the provider should be punished, if there were a personhood amendment,” Ernst said, but has since insisted that she thinks the amendment would be purely symbolic.
As Ernst’s candidacy shows, the line dividing “establishment Republicans” from fringe right-wing zealots has become so blurred that it has effectively vanished.
2. Thom Tillis
Like Ernst, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is widely considered the choice of the “establishment” and “mainstream” wing of the GOP, while his extremist record shows just how far to the right even the party’s “mainstream” has moved.
In 2007, Tillis blasted government policies that “have redistributed trillions of dollars of wealth,” calling them “reparations” for slavery. The same year, he opposed a resolution apologizing for an 1898 massacre of African Americans in a North Carolina city, explaining that the amendment didn’t sufficiently honor white Republicans.
Tillis supported the repeal of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act — which allowed death-row inmates to appeal their sentences based on evidence of racial bias — and backed heavily restrictive voting laws designed to weaken the black vote. In a 2012 interview, he lamented that Democrats were gaining ground in North Carolina thanks to growing Latino and African American populations while the “traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable.”
Tillis has said he would support a Personhood Amendment banning abortion in all cases and prohibiting common forms of birth control, and believes that states have the right to ban contraceptives. In his role as state House speaker, Tillis led attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and to add abortion rights restrictions to a motorcycle safety bill. A Tillis-backed “targeted regulations of abortion providers” (TRAP) bill last year threatened to close all but one of the state’s 16 abortion clinics.
Following a federal court ruling striking down North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage, Tillis attempted to preserve the ban by teaming up with the founder of one of the country’s leading anti-gay groups. At a 2011 town hall meeting, he suggested that marriage equalitywould lead to “Big Government.” Tillis is also a climate change denialist and suggested that liberals plotted to use climate science “as a Trojan horse for their energy policy.”
Tillis wants to abolish the federal minimum wage, supported the GOP-led federal government shutdown (before reversing himself) and cut jobless benefits so severely that it made North Carolina ineligible to receive federal compensation.
While cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from education spending and blocking the expansion of Medicaid under the guise of fiscal stewardship, Tillis shepherded through a massive tax break to benefit top earners and corporations while effectively raising taxes on the lower 80 percent of taxpayers.
At an event in 2011, he suggested that the government cut public spending by finding “a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance” — specifically by setting disabled people against “these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government.”
He has now pivoted his campaign to focus on addressing the menacing specter of people infected with Ebola coming to Mexico to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S.
3. Jody Hice
Jody Hice entered politics as a Religious Right activist and a conservative talk radio show host, making him part of two worlds that are at the core of the conservative movement. Now, as the frontrunner in an open Georgia House seat, currently held by outgoing far-right Rep. Paul Broun, Hice is set to bring his right-wing agenda to Congress.
Hice made his first foray into politics by trying to convince local governments to erect monuments of the Ten Commandments in public places, which were deemed unconstitutional by, in Hice’s words, “judicial terrorists .” A Christian Nationalist, Hice thinks the founding fathers would support his congressional campaign and has posted on his Facebook page numerous fake quotes from our nation’s founders about the dangers of “Big Government” and the need to mix religion and government.
Hice outlines his political beliefs and fears in his book, “It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America,” in which he claims that abortion rights make the U.S. worse than Nazi Germany; endorses the fringe “nullification” theory; argues that Islam “does not deserve First Amendment protection”; and spells out his worries about gay people trying to “sodomize” children and persecute Christians, fearing that children will be “preyed upon” by gay “recruitment” efforts until they embrace “destructive,” “militant homosexuality.”
In one episode of his radio program, Hice suggested that gay people seek therapy, lamenting that “we are enslaving and entrapping potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals in a lifestyle that frankly they are not.” During another radio commentary, Hice denied that legal discrimination towards gays and lesbains exists, before comparing homosexuality to incest. If anything, according to Hice, it is the Christian community that faces government discrimination as a result of a Satanic plot to “chip away” at “our Christian rights.”
When armed militia groups gathered at the Bundy ranch in Nevada to back a rancher and race-theorist who refused to pay grazing fees for using federal property, Hice praised the groups that were threatening violence against law enforcement officers. He has argued that individuals have the right to have “any, any, any, any weapon that our government and law enforcement possesses,” including “bazookas and missiles,” in order to give citizens a fighting chance in a potential war against the government.
This summer, as thousands of Central American children fleeing violence in their home countries reached the U.S., causing a humanitarian crisis, Hice suggested armed militia groups organize at the southern border.
The GOP nominee blamed mass shootings such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech and in Aurora, Colorado, on abortion rights, the separation of church and state, and the teaching of evolution, and said that the Sandy Hook school shooting was the result of “kicking God out of the public square” with the end of school-organized prayer.
Hice also believes that we are now living in the End Times, worrying that “we have little time” left on earth and citing the appearance of blood moons as proof of imminent cataclysmic, “world-changing events.”
While Hice is worried about the destructive consequences of blood moons, he dismissed climate change as a “propaganda” tool of the “Radical Environmental Movement” to make people of believe in an “impending environmental disaster due to ‘Global Warming.’”
His theological views also make him skeptical of women running for public office, saying a woman should only do so if she remains “within the authority of her husband.”
4. Glenn Grothman
Not one to hold back, Grothman has lambasted union activists protesting a law targeting labor rights as “slobs” and proposed doing away with the weekend and paid sick leave. So fearful of “Big Government” is Grothman that he also tried to put an end to municipal water disinfection programs.
Grothman opposes abortion rights without exceptions in cases of rape, incest and a woman’s health, even working to make it a felony offense for a doctor to perform an abortion that could save a woman’s life. Grothman successfully passed laws requiring doctors to read scripts meant to discourage women from terminating their pregnancies, which he said was necessary because oftentimes “women are looking for someone to talk them out of it.” He also sponsored a 24-hour waiting period for abortions that only exempts survivors of “forcible rape” who file a police report.
The Republican lawmaker worries that “gals” are running — and ruining — America by leading a “war on men.” He has said the U.S. “is in the process of committing suicide today” as a result of single mothers collecting public benefits and pushed a bill to declare single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect,” calling single parenthood a “choice” and the result of a culture that “encourages a single motherhood lifestyle.”
“I think a lot of women are adopting the single motherhood lifestyle because the government creates a situation in which it is almost preferred,” he said in a 2012 interview with Alan Colmes, adding that he believes women aren’t telling the truth about having unintended pregnancies: “I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.”
In a similar vein, he defended Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to rescind a pay equity law because, according to Grothman, pay disparities are due to the fact that “money is more important for men.”
Grothman is a sponsor of the Wisconsin Personhood resolution [PDF], which would ban abortion in all cases and many forms of birth control, and his campaign has touted the support of personhood activists.
He once described Planned Parenthood as “probably the most racist organization” in the country, adding that he believes the group targets Asian Americans for abortion. In 2007, he voted against a bill that made sure hospitals provide information about emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors.
He opposes laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and once tried to strip a sex education bill of a nondiscrimination provision that he suspected was part of a plot to make kids gay. Grothman also demanded that his state refuse to follow a court order to recognize same-sex marriages, which he feared would “legitimiz[e] illegal and immoral marriages.”
Not content with just opposing gay rights in the U.S., Grothman also defended a Ugandan law that makes homosexuality a crime punishable by sentences including life in prison. He even suggested that “unbelievable” American criticism of Uganda’s law would prompt God to punish the United States.
Although Grothman fears that America might incur God’s wrath for standing up to state-sanctioned violence against gays and lesbians, he is less concerned about climate change, which he says “doesn’t exist.” Grothman told one interviewer: “This environmental stuff, this is the idea that is driven by this global warming thing. Global warming is not man-made and there is barely any global warming at all, there’s been no global warming for the last twelve or thirteen years. I see a shortage of Republicans stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘look, this global warming stuff is not going on.”
5. Zach Dasher
Taking advantage of his family’s new-found reality TV fame, “Duck Dynasty” cousin Zach Dasher is running for U.S. Congress in Louisiana in an election where the top two candidates advance to a runoff vote if no candidate takes over 50 percent of the vote.
Dasher cited the success of “Duck Dynasty” as one of the reasons he entered the race: “Five years ago, I didn’t see an opportunity or window of opportunity to get into this type of venture. But here recently, obviously with the family name and being able to get my message out there, I saw an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
Of his uncle Phil Robertson, who came under fire for making statements in a magazine interview defending Jim Crow and demonizing gays and lesbians, Dasher gushed: “The support of the family means a lot to me. We share a very similar background and philosophy, and our spiritual beliefs are the same as well. They’re going to be a big part of the campaign. I’m going to have Phil as my PR director, since he’s so good with the media.”
Robertson also appears in commercials promoting Dasher’s candidacy, and Dasher has said he agreed with Robertson’s remarks about the gay community. Dasher’s wife wrote in a blog post that just as people should break out of addictions to alcohol and heroin, gay people can “overcome” and “come out of” homosexuality and find “healing.”
One of Dasher’s opponents, Rep. Vince McAllister, is a freshman Republican congressman who said he would retire after he was caught on video kissing a staffer who was not his wife, then changed his mind. Dasher says he is running as an even more conservative candidate than the GOP incumbent, and has received backing from Tea Party and pro-corporate groups such as the Club for Growth and Citizens United.
“My platform begins with God. That’s really what this whole thing is about. In Washington, when we look at what’s going on, we see an erosion away from that platform,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We see the ruling classes kick God out and in His place they place themselves. That scares me because we didn’t send these folks to Washington, D.C. to determine our rights, we sent them there to defend our rights.”
Dasher fears that the federal government “believes that they’re God” and is intent on “gain[ing] control over every aspect of our lives” as part of a plan to create a “culture of dependency.” In a personal podcast, Dasher said the “swift drift away from God will usher in tyranny and death,” warning: “Tyranny will get its foothold — if it already doesn’t have it — and in the end, there will be mass carnage and mass death. It’s inevitable.”
Dasher blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on atheists, whom he also accused of “brainwashing a generation ” through rap music and ushering in “moral decay” and the erosion of liberty. He said that schools should “arm the teachers,” arguing that laws targeting gun violence actually leave people as “unarmed sitting ducks, waiting for someone to come in and shoot their schools up.” Dasher recently claimed that the Second Amendment was established to allow people to defend themselves against “a tyrannical government,” warning that government officials intend to repeal the amendment in order to eliminate all other freedoms.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
#ILGov: IEA’s Real Rauner Sing-Along
It’s paramount that people vote in Pat Quinn this fall!
#WI04 GOP Congressional Candidate: Supreme Court Is Conspiring To Prevent Scott Walker From Becoming President
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN—Republican Dan Sebring, who is running to represent Wisconsin’s 4th District in the House of Representatives, told ThinkProgress he suspects a political motive behind the Supreme Court’s recent ruling putting the state’s voter ID law on hold.
“The United States Supreme Court said we can’t implement it for this election,” he said at a Milwaukee County Republicans party this week. “My personal feeling is that this is a play to steer the outcome of the gubernatorial election so that Scott Walker wouldn’t have a chance of getting on the ticket in 2016 for the White House. I think that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Last week, the Supreme Court halted the state’s voter ID law without providing a clear explanation for its decision. However, a short dissenting opinion by Justice Samuel Alito suggested that the majority was relying on a 2006 decision which found that altering election law close to an election could “result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.” Federal trial judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law in April before a federal appeals court reinstated the measure in September.
But many at the event expressed concern that Republicans would lose without a voter ID law. Conservative talk radio host Vicki McKenna, who served as the evening’s emcee, even connected voter fraud to President Obama’s upcoming trip to Milwaukee.
“Mary Burke can turn out the base Democrats in a state that has same-day voter registration and does not protect the integrity of the election with voter ID,” she warned. “When Barack Obama comes to the state of Wisconsin, 20,000 people will cast their vote absentee at the rally. That’s why she’s bringing Barack Obama to Wisconsin.” In Wisconsin, however, “voters do not need a reason or excuse, such as being out of town on Election Day, to vote absentee” and filling out ballots at a rally would not be in violation of any law.
Milwaukee County Elections Commissioner Rick Baas added that the event’s attendees should all remain on the lookout for what he called a “really weird” phenomenon. “If people start to get mail at their homes around election time addressed to people who don’t live in that house, what you need to do is collect that mail and get it to me, so I can see if that person is registered to vote at your address,” he said. “Then we’ve got a case, a case Democrats say we don’t have.”
Research has shown that voter fraud is rare. A study of votes cast in Wisconsin during the 2004 election found just seven cases of fraud, none of which could have been prevented by a voter ID law. Such a measure could however disproportionately disenfranchise African Americans, low income citizens and other groups who tend to vote for Democrats. In his opinion striking down the law, Judge Lynn Adelman noted that the state failed to identify a single instance of known voter impersonation in Wisconsin’s recent past. Nine percent of registered voters, about 300,000 people, also lack the ID required under the law.
#ILGov: Bruce Rauner's bullying tactics on display by interfering with Sun-Times reporter McKinney's job
A Chicago Sun-Times reporter hired former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to investigate whether the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner tried to interfere with his employment after the newspaper ran a story unfavorable to the politician.
Mr. Collins said in an interview with Crain’s that the Rauner campaign attempted to retaliate against Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney after the paper ran the story about Mr. Rauner allegedly verbally threatening a top executive of a company controlled by Mr. Rauner’s onetime investment firm. Mr. Rauner denied that report through a spokesman.
Mr. Collins, who represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of former Republican Gov. George Ryan, declined to comment on exactly what the retaliation against Mr. McKinney may have entailed.
Mr. McKinney declined to comment and the Sun-Times didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Rauner and a spokesman for his campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, either.
The Rauner campaign attempted to have the Sun-Times take action against Mr. McKinney because of what it alleged were conflicts of interest stemming from Mr. McKinney’s marriage to Democratic media consultant Ann Liston, Mr. Collins said.
Mr. McKinney and Ms. Liston were married in April, but Mr. Collins said the couple made arrangements earlier in the year at each of their jobs to create barriers within their work so that their relationship wouldn’t present conflicts of interest for Mr. McKinney, who is the paper’s bureau chief in Springfield.
“Dave McKinney has a body of work as a dogged, but fair and impartial reporter and what happened recently was an attempt to unfairly besmirch Dave’s reputation and he has asked me to evaluate whether there was an improper interference with Dave’s employment relationship with the Sun-Times,” Mr. Collins said in an interview.
Mr. Collins, who is an attorney in Chicago at the law firm of Perkins Coie, declined to comment on any “legal strategy” for his client.
Mr. McKinney’s Oct. 6 story, which he co-wrote with Sun-Times and NBC5 News reporter Carol Marin and Sun-Times reporter Don Moseley, said Mr. Rauner threatened Christine Kirk, who served as CEO of a Tempe, Arizona-based business-outsourcing company called LeapSource that was owned by Mr. Rauner’s former firm, GTCR LLC. The threat was disclosed as part of litigation in which Ms. Kirk sued Mr. Rauner and GTCR, but agreed to a settlement in 2008. The ‘R’ in GTCR stands for Rauner and Mr. Rauner led that firm until 2012.
The Quinn campaign has been using the story in its advertising.
Just hours before the Sun-Times story went to press, the Rauner campaign attempted to quash the piece by bringing up Ms. Liston’s political work with Sun-Times management even though Mr. McKinney has been covering the campaign for months, according to Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins didn’t have details on who in the Rauner campaign contacted the Sun-Times and who at the newspaper was contacted.
Mr. McKinney has also written stories that were critical of incumbent Democratic candidate Gov. Pat Quinn, specifically his involvement with the troubled state-funded Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.
In recent days, Mr. McKinney was inexplicably absent from his statehouse beat for five days despite one of the hottest gubernatorial races in recent memory.
SUN-TIMES EDITOR’S TAKE
When asked last week whether the newspaper company had taken action against Mr. McKinney, Chicago Sun-Times Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said it had not, and he reiterated that response in a statement emailed to Crain’s on Oct. 18.
"Dave McKinney remains on his beat as Springfield Bureau Chief and continues to be one of our best political reporters on our talented team," said Mr. Kirk, a former Crain’s editor.
"Mr. Rauner’s campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf did level allegations with me that proved inaccurate and spurious," Mr. Kirk wrote. "Out of an abundance of caution, we did review this matter and we are convinced Dave’s wife Ann Liston receives no financial benefit from any Illinois political campaign because of the extraordinary steps they’ve taken to establish business safeguards. Dave’s body of work during this campaign, including the ground-breaking stories on the investigation involving Gov. Pat Quinn and the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, demonstrates the hard-nosed reporting he has done on both campaigns. Both Dave and Ann are conscientious, ethical and among the best at their professions."
Mr. Abbott, you are a hate filled idiot who is about as useful as a milk bucket under a bull. The only thing that will reduce the number of babies born out of wedlock is comprehensive sex education in our schools. Clearly whatever you were taught is for shit if you think there is any correlation between same sex marriage and unplanned pregnancies. And for the record, if you have an issue with gay marriage, don’t get married to a gay person. And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis. She knows where babies come from. I mean it. Really.
And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis.
#NE02: What The Republican Party’s New, Unspeakably Willie Horton-esque Racist Attack Ad Is Really About [TW: Racism, Race-Baiting, Right Wing Extremism]
The National Republican Congressional Committee wants you to believe that Nebraska state Sen. Brad Ashford, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), unleashed a very scary looking black man on the people of Nebraska to commit multiple murders. That’s the message conveyed by an ad they posted on their YouTube page on Friday, which focuses on a series of high profile murders committed by a man who had recently been released from prison on unrelated charges:
The reality, however, is far more nuanced than the narrative presented by this ad. And the events that led up to these murders have very little to do with Ashford.
Nikko Jenkins is a severely mentally ill man who was previously incarcerated on robbery and assault charges. A prison psychiatrist diagnosed him with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, and labeled him “one of the most dangerous people I have ever evaluated.” While he was incarcerated, Jenkins repeatedly told prison officials that he “planned a violent, murderous rampage upon his release.” Less than a month after he was released from prison in 2013, Jenkins carried out his threats, killing four people in Omaha.
Jenkins believes that he was ordered to kill by Apophis, an evil, ancient Egyptian serpent god. A report by the Nebraska State Ombudsman’s Office criticized state prison officials for not attempting to have Jenkins committed due to his mental illness once it became clear that it was not safe to release him from prison.
The NRCC’s ad, however, tells a very different story. In the GOP’s narrative, “Nikko Jenkins was released from prison early, after serving only half his sentence” thanks to a law that Ashford supports.
The law at issue is the state’s “good time” law, which has existed in various forms for nearly half a century. Under the good time law’s framework, prisoners earn “good time” for the time that they spend in prison, and this good time is counted against the time that they need to serve behind bars. Meanwhile, prisoners who commit various offenses can lose their good time — Jenkins for example, lost 18 months of good time for offenses that included an assault upon a prison guard. Thus, the law gives prison officials some flexibility to release inmates who behave well while incarcerated, while requiring other prisoners to serve more time.
Under a 1992 amendment to the good time law that overwhelmingly passed the state legislature, prisoners earn one day of good time for each day they spend in prison — that’s the likely basis for the GOP’s claim that Jenkins served “only half his sentence” (Ashford was a member of the state legislature when this amendment was enacted, but he was not present for the vote). In 2011, the state’s Republican Gov. Dave Heineman successfully lobbied the legislature to increase the amount of good time earned by inmates even further. This 2011 amendment was proposed by Heineman’s own Corrections Department. Ashford cosponsored this bill.
In the wake of the Jenkins incident, Heineman has reversed course, and he now wants to make it harder for inmates to earn good time. He’s also attacked the Ombudman’s report which suggested that the Corrections Department was at fault for freeing Jenkins. Ashford, by contrast, has defended the report — though he also endorsed Gov. Heineman’s decision to increase the amount of good time corrections officials can take away from inmates who commit serious offenses.
So the reality is that Nebraska has a longstanding framework of relatively long prison sentences that are moderated by the good time law. Ashford has only played a minor role in shaping this framework, and the 2011 amendment that Ashford co-sponsored enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the state’s GOP governor. There is now an important debate going on in Nebraska about whether the state’s good time law should be amended once again, as Heineman argues, or whether the errors which led to Jenkins being released are best addressed within the Corrections Department, as Ashford appears to believe.
But it is absurd to suggest, as the GOP ad does, that Ashford is responsible for Jenkins’ release and the tragedy that soon followed. If his support for the state’s good time law makes Ashford responsible for Jenkins’ crimes, then Heineman and numerous other state lawmakers share that blame.
A conservative group backed by several Fox News contributors has pulled ads featuring footage of murdered journalist James Foley after his family sharply criticized the campaign as “deplorable.”
Secure America Now (SAN) had been running advertisements attacking Democratic candidates with footage of Foley’s beheading at the hands of ISIS. Foley’s parents told New England Cable News (NECN) that the ads are “very sad” and “deplorable,” and called for them to be pulled with an apology.
The group announced on October 15 that it would launch advocacy campaigns featuring the Foley footage in ads against Democratic Senators Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Udall (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Congressman Gary Peters (MI). Secure America Now president Allen Roth said that “Pryor, Udall, Landrieu, Shaheen, and Peters have all ignored the crisis at our southern border. While evading efforts of those attempting to secure the border, they have silently supported President Obama’s rumored amnesty plans.” The group also posted on Facebook that day, “Watch the ad that’s got the left riled up. Help us get it out, SHARE this video now.”
Roth later told NECN, “It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. It was never our attention to upset Mr. Foley’s family and we apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.”
SAN used the Foley ad to fundraise. An October 15 email stated, “With your help, we can finally capture the attention of these ignorant few. Every dollar you donate will go directly to advocating for border security in the Senate race of your choice” and included links to donation pages featuring the now-removed ads.
The group’s advisory board includes Fox News host Mike Huckabee and Fox News contributors John Bolton and Pat Caddell. Despite claiming to be “non-partisan,” the group has previously been involved in projects pushing for President Obama’s impeachment and more investigations into the already thoroughly-investigated attacks in Benghazi.
Bolton previously defended the use of the Foley video in other campaign advertising. Commenting to The Hill in early October about a Republican House candidate’s ad, Bolton said that ”When you hear people say, ‘Oh you shouldn’t run ads on that issue,’ to me it demonstrates fear of the issue … if we don’t talk about it as adults we’re never going to understand the problem fully.”
NECN reported that Roth said “SAN board members are not involved in creating ads, nor do they see them before they go public. Roth says Bolton had nothing to do with this.” Regardless, Fox News contributors like Bolton are integral to establishing the group’s credentials, as the group touts their advisory board membership and testimonials.
#IASen: GOPer Joni Ernst dodges question on abortion for rape victims
Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst evaded a question during a Thursday night debate on whether she supports exceptions to an absolute abortion ban in cases of rape or incest, saying she “supports life” with a possible exception being when a mother’s life is at risk.
Early in the debate, the moderators asked Ernst — who supported the personhood amendment in 2013 to change the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception, thus giving legal rights to fetuses — to answer a series of questions on her support of the amendment. But when asked for specific exceptions she would support to an abortion ban, she didn’t mention cases of rape or incest.
“I support life so, going back to perhaps the life of the mother, I think that would be important,” she said.
Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst evaded a question during a Thursday night debate on whether she supports exceptions to an absolute abortion ban in cases of rape or incest, saying she “supports life” with a possible exception being when a mother’s life is at risk.
#GASen, #AKSen, #KSSen, #LASen: 5 Scenarios That Could Push The Fight For Senate Control Into Overtime
Sen. Mary Landrieu, right, D-La., greets Senate candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., before their debate in Shreveport, La., Oct. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
1. Likely runoff in Louisiana
Bill Cassidy (R) holds a steady lead over Sen. Mary Laudrieu (D), but neither candidate is expected to cross the 50 percent threshold required by Louisiana’s “jungle primary” rules to claim victory on election night. Tea party candidate Rob Maness and two other candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot are collectively pulling 18 percent, according to the TPM PollTracker average.
If neither candidate wins an outright majority on the main ballot, a runoff election between the top two will take place on Dec. 6.
Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Michelle Nunn, right, passes Republican candidate David Perdue following a debate, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Perry, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
2. Possible Georgia runoff
The rules in Georgia also require one Senate candidate to break 50 percent to win the race to succeed retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).
David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D) are in a statistical dead heat, and the presence of libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford on the main ballot — who is pulling between 3 and 4 percentage points — could force a runoff.
A potential runoff would occur on Jan. 6, three days after the new Congress is sworn in.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska speaks to reporters after a joint session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
3. Alaska’s vote count delay
The large and sparsely populated Alaska is notorious for failing to count votes in a timely manner. A close Senate election in 2008 wasn’t called for more than two weeks, and the 2010 race also took several weeks to conclude, in part due to a quirk involving Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) running as a write-in candidate.
Dan Sullivan (R) holds an edge against Sen. Mark Begich (D), but the race is close. That means the Alaska Senate contest could hang for days or weeks in the Last Frontier State.
Independent Kansas U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
4. Greg Orman’s decision
Greg Orman, the independent candidate in Kansas, is neck-and-neck with Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. He has not announced which party he’d caucus with if he wins. Many have presumed that Orman, a former Democrat himself, would caucus with Democrats.
But Orman take can his time to decide. And if Republicans end up with a 50-49 edge in the remaining races, his decision would determine whether or not the GOP can break Vice President Joe Biden’s tie-breaking vote.
President Bush, right, poses for a photo with former Vice President Al Gore and other 2007 Nobel Prize recipients, in Nov. 26, 2007. In 2000, the two faced off in the most high-profile recount in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert/FILE)
5. Potential recounts
There are hotly contested races in numerous states, each with their own set of recount laws, as tracked by the Minnesota-based Citizens For Election Integrity.
North Carolina lets a candidate for statewide office demand a recount if the difference in the election is 0.5 percent of the votes cast, or fewer than 10,000 votes — whichever is smaller.
Iowa offers options for candidates and voters to request recounts, but it is up to three-person boards in individual counties to decide whether and how votes ought to be recounted, based on factors like knowledge of error and misconduct.
Colorado lets candidates seek a recount if the difference between the apparent winner and runner-up divided by the total votes cast for the apparent winner is 0.5 percent or less. That’s an unusual way to tabulate the margin, and requires a very close election to trigger a recount.
Kentucky allows candidates to seek a recount if they received 25 percent of the votes cast for the candidate with the most votes. They must file within 10 days of a general election.
Kansas permits any candidate to file for a recount by the Monday after the election. It’s free for candidates who lose by 0.5 percent or less of the total votes cast, but those who lose by more than that are required to post a bond and pay the costs — which are refunded if the candidate is later declared the victor.
South Dakota triggers an automatic recount in the event of an absolute tie vote. Candidates may also ask for one if they lose by a margin of 2 percent or less of the overall vote cast for all candidates seeking the office.
Arkansas has a free-flowing recount law, permitting any candidate for office to ask for a recount in a precinct if he or she is “dissatisfied with the returns from any precinct.” The request has to be filed within two days of Election Day.
#LASen: Runoff likely between Landrieu (D) v. Cassidy (R), also Landrieu (D) v. Maness (R).
#GASen: Runoff appears more and more likely between Nunn (D) v. Perdue (R).
#AKSen: May not be decided until December between Begich (D) v. Sullivan (R).
#KSSen: Greg Orman (I) is favored to win, but deciding which party to caucus with is uncertain. I’d bet he’d caucus with the Democrats.
H/T: Sahil Kapur at TPM
National Review Editor Equates Akin's "Legitimate Rape" Stance With Grimes' Defense Of Secret Ballots
National Review editor Rich Lowry equated Kentucky senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ refusal to disclose which presidential candidate she voted for in 2012 with former Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s (MO) stunning claim that it is “really rare” for a woman to become pregnant as a result of “a legitimate rape.” Lowry suggested the two positions were politically equivalent “gaffes,” whitewashing the fact that Akin’s statement was not only absurdly disconnected from scientific reality — it also happened to reflect actual policy priorities of the Republican Party.
During an October 10 interview with the editorial board of The Louisville Courier-Journal, Grimes said she “respect[ed] the sanctity of the ballot box” when asked if she voted for President Obama in past elections. During an October 13 candidate debate, Grimes reiterated her stance on voter privacy:
GRIMES: This is a matter of principle. Our constitution grants, here in Kentucky, the constitutional right to privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot. You have that right, Senator McConnell has that right, every Kentuckian has that right.
GRIMES: I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side or for members of the media.
In an October 15 column published by Politico Magazine, Lowry exclaimed that “Alison Lundergan Grimes is the Todd Akin of 2014,” and argued that Grimes’ stated position defending the secret ballot was “a defining political gaffe” for this election. He likened her comments to then-Rep. Todd Akin’s infamous statements about rape and pregnancy, in which Akin stated that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare because, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Lowry argued that the two candidates represented similar levels of political ineptitude, writing that each was “telegenic, mockable and universally condemned.”
Grimes’ decision to stand on principle with regard to voter privacy has been labeled a “gaffe” by some, but, as MSNBC’s Steve Benen pointed out, it is “an issue the media has deemed extremely important, but which actually affects no one.”
By comparison, Akin’s alarming comments on rape and pregnancy were reflected to varying degrees in actual policy decisions favored by Republican elected officials and candidates. Akin would later attempt to clarify his remarks amid a “firestorm” of controversy, but maintained his opposition to legal abortion access for women — a constitutional right codified by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In 2012, many prominent Republican candidates and conservative media figures supported banning safe and legal abortion, making the issue a central part of campaign rhetoric.
In October 2012, Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock voiced his opposition to abortion"even when life begins in that terrible situation of rape," stating that "it is something that God intended to happen." Around the same time, Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois supported a ban on all abortion, including cases that would threaten the life of the mother. Walsh falsley claimed that “modern technology and science” had solved the problem of potentially life-threatening pregnancies. During a 2007 Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney said “we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period.” He went on to state that it would be “terrific” if Congress passed a bill outlawing abortion, which he would be “delighted” to sign. Romney dodged abortion questions throughout his 2012 campaign, but promised to eliminate federal funding for women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood and vowed to be “a pro-life president.”
Outlawing access to abortion remains a lightning rod for conservative media, with some right-wing outlets going so far as to tie debates about legal abortion to the crimes of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. Right-wing media figures like Karl Rove have pushed the myth that some forms of contraception are actually forms of abortion, while others such as Bill O’Reilly advanced extremist views on fetal “personhood” that would criminalize most abortions.
There is no appropriate comparison between Akin’s extreme rhetoric and false scientific claims, and Grimes’ personal defense of privacy at the ballot box.
If anything, the Todd Akin of 2014 is Joni Ernst, NOT ALG.
h/t: Craig Harrington at MMFA