National Journal Online

Dems Compare NRCC Chief To Tiger

Dems hoping to inoculate themselves from GOP slams on ethics are accusing NRCC chair Pete Sessions of his own ethical indiscretions.

"Pete Sessions talking about ethics in Congress is like Tiger Woods talking about fidelity," DCCC spokesperson Jesse Ferguson said Thursday.

Ferguson cited emails between Sessions and indicted financier Allen Stanford, who has been charged with swindling investors out of $7B. Sessions wrote a personal note to Stanford after federal agents charged him with a crime.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 5:07pm

GOP Insiders See More Midterm Opportunities

Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell is still likely to head the minority party in the next Congress, but he could have a lot of reinforcements, according to this week's National Journal Political Insiders Poll.

When asked how many Senate seats the Dems would gain or lose in the upcoming midterm elections, 98 Dem Insiders said on average that the loss would be 5 seats. GOP Insiders were even more bullish: the 97 respondents predicted the average loss would be 7 seats, which would bring the GOP total to 48, up from 41.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 5:00pm

Deal Not Done Yet

No, not a health care deal. We're talking about Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA), who earlier this month said he would resign his House seat in order to pursue his GA GOV bid.

But, with health care on the table and set for quick action once House Dem leaders round up the necessary votes, Deal says he will delay his departure until Mar. 31, 3 weeks after the original Mar. 8 date he set.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 4:45pm

FCC Buries Blooper Video Featuring Chairman's Gaffe

The Democratic-led FCC put the kibosh on its videotape of a news conference last Thursday in which Chairman Julius Genachowski committed a verbal gaffe. Reporters attending the briefing were told the session was being taped for the "FCC Live" section of the agency's website, where videos are posted of commission events. Journalists were instructed to identify themselves upon asking questions and speak only into a microphone.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 4:23pm

Freudenthal Won't Pursue Third Term In '10

WY Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) announced today that he will not seek re-election to a third term in office. Up against a term limit, Freudenthal was thought to be mulling over a challenge to the state's term limit laws, but today that possibility came to an end.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 3:48pm

NY-29 Race Hits Restart Button

Rep. Eric Massa's (D-NY) surprise decision to retire at the end of a single term has set both parties scrambling to come up with candidates for the seat, even though the GOP already has a top recruit running.

Sources describe a GOP field that has essentially reset after Massa's decision, leading to the possibility of a contested primary after the NRCC signaled its preference for Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R). Reed's fundraising -- he raised just $87K in the 4th quarter and spent $81K, reporting just $122K in the bank -- had begun to raise eyebrows.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 3:24pm

Conway Ad Barely Scratches Surface

KY AG Jack Conway (D) is using his first ad to hammer Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-KY) failed filibuster this week on a bill to extend unemployment benefits in the midst of a recession. But while his ad got him earned media, sources say it's not really reaching KY voters.

The ad features Conway touting his record as AG while slamming both his possible GOP rivals for backing Bunning's filibuster.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 2:45pm

Kerry Presses For Resolution Of ABC-Cablevision Dispute

Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., warned FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Wednesday that a dispute involving Disney-owned ABC programs carried on Cablevision could result in 3.1 million households losing access to the network before Sunday night's telecast of the widely viewed Academy Awards show. The contract dispute, which would affect viewers in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, is the latest in a series of battles over the retransmission of broadcast channels on cable.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 12:50pm

Mahoney Serious About Guinta Challenge

One of the NRCC's top recruits is about to draw a tough challenge from within the party's own power structure as NH RNC member Sean Mahoney gears up to jump into a competitive primary.

If and when he does, Mahoney will face off against ex-Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R), who has made it to the "Contender" tier of the party's Young Guns program. Businessman Bob Bestani (R) and defense contractor Rich Ashooh (R) are already in the race for the right to challenge Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 12:34pm

Stark Won't Take Ways And Means

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) won't take the helm of the House Ways and Means Committee after top Dems expressed worry he would become a lightening rod for controversy and GOP criticism.

Stark was in line to take the post from Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who stepped down yesterday amid ethics controversies. In his place, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), the third-ranking Dem on the panel, will take over.

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 11:32am