Review Category : Poltics

Poll: In Wis. Gubernatorial Race, Walker Pulling Away from Burke

Darren Hauck/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gained a little ground over the past two weeks on Democratic challenger Mary Burke, putting the potential 2016 presidential candidate on track to win his third bid for governor in just four years.

While a poll conducted earlier this month showed the race at a dead heat, new data released Wednesday by the Marquette Law School now shows Walker with 50 percent of likely voters compared to only 43 percent for Burke.

Among registered voters, however, the survey still shows a tight race with Walker winning 46 percent of the vote and Burke garnering 45 percent — essentially a statistical tie within the poll’s margin of error.

Walker will continue his bus tour campaign through the Green Bay area Thursday, while Burke plans to make a campaign swing through southeastern Wisconsin.

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Five Days to Elections, Conservative Super PAC Makes Final Push with New Ads

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — There are five more days until Election Day, and as candidates make their last push to gain the support of voters, political groups are running more adds in key districts.

The American Future Fund is out with three new ads in Georgia’s 12th district and Michigan’s 6th district. The conservative super PAC is also running ads for the Oregon Senate race, where Sen. Jeff Merkley is battling it out against his GOP challenger Monica Wehby.

Ads directing voter attention to the contest between Merkley and Wehby are peculiar because the race — rated “likely Democrat by ABC News — is no longer on the radars of most as the top and tight 11 races become more apparent. AFF, however, is pouring $200,000 into the spot going after Merkley.

The ad, titled “Stopwatch,” attacks him for not doing enough in Washington with a narrator asking the viewer, “Can you think of one thing he’s accomplished?” It doesn’t mention Wehby, but says at the end “Jeff Merkley’s time is up.”

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Five Days to Elections, Conservative Super PAC Makes Final Push with New Ads

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — There are five more days until Election Day, and as candidates make their last push to gain the support of voters, political groups are running more adds in key districts.

The American Future Fund is out with three new ads in Georgia’s 12th district and Michigan’s 6th district. The conservative super PAC is also running ads for the Oregon Senate race, where Sen. Jeff Merkley is battling it out against his GOP challenger Monica Wehby.

Ads directing voter attention to the contest between Merkley and Wehby are peculiar because the race — rated “likely Democrat by ABC News — is no longer on the radars of most as the top and tight 11 races become more apparent. AFF, however, is pouring $200,000 into the spot going after Merkley.

The ad, titled “Stopwatch,” attacks him for not doing enough in Washington with a narrator asking the viewer, “Can you think of one thing he’s accomplished?” It doesn’t mention Wehby, but says at the end “Jeff Merkley’s time is up.”

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Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino Dies at 71

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino died Thursday at the age of 71, ABC News has confirmed.

He passed away surrounded by his wife Angela and other family and friends.

Menino, the city’s longest-serving mayor, left office earlier this year to the applause of city hall employees after two decades leading Boston.

He was diagnosed with cancer shortly after leaving office and had recently suspended his treatments.

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Check Out the Most Expensive House and Senate Races

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Elections are getting more expensive by the year.

The 2014 congressional elections, though seemingly less intense and animated than their recent wave-election predecessors in 2006 and 2010, are on pace to cost more than any midterm elections ever.

The 2014 House and Senate races will cost at least $3.67 billion, more than the $2.9 billion spent on House and Senate races in 2006 and slightly edging the $3.6 billion spent in 2010, but ranking just below the $3.7 billion spent on congressional races in the presidential-election year of 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates.

The real number will likely be higher. Because of gaps in disclosure requirements, nonprofit groups like the conservative, Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity were able to spend money on “issue ads,” which didn’t directly tell voters to support or oppose a candidate, for most of the year without reporting them to federal campaign-finance regulators.

The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that “well over” $100 million in 2014 will have gone undisclosed, not counting toward that $3.67 billion total.

So where’s all this money going? Here are the most expensive House and Senate races, as compiled by the center. As campaigns and outside groups hurriedly file disclosure reports between now and Election Day, these figures will change, so check this page for a running list.

MOST EXPENSIVE SENATE RACES

  1. North Carolina – Tillis (R) vs. Hagan (D) – $113M
  2. Colorado – Gardner (R) vs. Udall (D) – $94M
  3. Iowa – Ernst (R) vs. Braley (D) – $82M
  4. Kentucky – McConnell (R) vs. Grimes (D) – $78M
  5. Georgia – Perdue (R) vs. Nunn (D) – $65M
  6. Arkansas – Cotton (R) vs. Pryor (D) – $58M
  7. Alaska – Sullivan (R) vs. Begich (D) – $58M
  8. New Hampshire – Brown (R) vs. Shaheen (D) – $47M
  9. Michigan – Land (R) vs. Peters (D) – $47M
  10. Louisiana – Cassidy (R) vs. Landrieu (D) – $42M

Source: OpenSecrets.org/Center for Responsive Politics

MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSE RACES

  1. CA07 – Ose (R) vs. Bera (D) – $21M
  2. OH08 – Boehner (R) vs. Poetter (D) – $17M
  3. CO06 – Coffman (R) vs. Romanoff (D) – $17M
  4. AZ01 – Tobin (R) vs. Kirkpatrick – $17M
  5. AZ02 – McSally (R) vs. Barber (D) – $16M
  6. L10 – Dold (R) vs. Schneider (D) – $16M
  7. MN08 – Mills (R) vs. Nolan (D) – $15M
  8. NY01 – Zeldin (R) vs. Bishop (D) – $15M
  9. FL13 (March special election) – Jolly (R) vs. Sink (D) – $14M
  10. FL02 – MacArthur (R) vs. Belgard (D) – $14M

Source: OpenSecrets.org/Center for Responsive Politics

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Obama’s Former ‘Field General’ Sees Even Odds to Hold Senate

ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) — With just days to go before midterm elections, President Obama’s former 2012 battleground states director Mitch Stewart says he believes Democrats have a 50-50 shot at holding onto control of the Senate.

“I tend to be an optimist under these circumstances,” Stewart, the co-founder of 270 Strategies consulting group, told ABC News/Yahoo! News. “I know the models that Nate Silver and others have that…lay out a 63 to 64 percent chance that Republicans will get a majority in the Senate. I think the rosiest scenario is you’re looking at a 50-50 proposition.”

While the polls favor Republicans’ odds for victory in Tuesday’s elections, Stewart expressed confidence that the Democrats still have the edge when it comes to field strategy — and are capable of reproducing some of the ground game magic that helped propel Obama to presidential victory in two elections.

For one, Stewart said Democrats have made the necessary investment in field organizers.

“They have this project that they invested I think $40 million to try to get 4,000 field staff, and you’re seeing some of the fruits of that labor right now,” he said.

One of the ways he expects the results of that investment to manifest is an increase in early voting — something the Democrats have made a strategic focus this year.

“In Alaska, for example, you had 82 vote locations in 2012; in 2014 they have over 200,” Stewart said. “It’s small, tactical decisions like that in a close race that can make the difference between winning and losing.”

He said the Iowa Senate race, where Democratic candidate Bruce Braley is facing off against Republican Joni Ernst, is one where the impact of increased early voting may tip the scale of the election.

“If 40 percent of the electorate votes early, and Braley has a 10 point lead, that means that his opponent is going to have to win Election Day probably by 7 points,” he said.

Advanced as the Democrats’ ground game may be, Stewart acknowledged that the party still has a ways to go to overcome the problem of midterm drop-off voters, who tend to vote only in presidential election years.

He pinpointed the non-white electorate as a particularly crucial piece of the puzzle.

“One of the really interesting things of 2008 was [that] 26 percent of the electorate was non-white,” Stewart said. “So a lot of projections then coming after 2010, which was then an older, whiter electorate, was that in 2012 it would be some sort of mix between 2008 and 2010.”

But those projections proved to be wrong. “What we had in 2012 though was 28 percent of the electorate was non-white,” he explained.

And if that trend of a growing non-white electorate continues, as Stewart expects it will, he said the voting population in 2016 could be as high as 31 percent non-white.

“Eventually the midterms will catch up; but at least for the foreseeable future, you are going to have a bipolar electorate between presidential and midterm elections,” Stewart said.

Another liability for Democrats this midterm cycle: a largely unpopular president at the head of the party. Obama has been largely unwelcome on the campaign trail, sticking to only state-wide races in deeply Democratic states.

Stewart, ever-loyal to his former boss, brushed off the Obama liability problem as one any president midway through their second term faces.

“If you look at any presidential 8 years, two four-year terms, [and] you look at that last go-around — whether it was Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush — there’s a challenge,” he said. “I think this is nothing new to sort of what has happened to two four-year term presidents.”

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Obama Calls for ‘Dignity and Respect’ for ‘Heroes’ Returning from Front Lines of Ebola Fight

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of controversy regarding multiple states enacting mandatory quarantines for medical personnel returning from West Africa, President Obama on Wednesday demanded that the “heroes” fighting Ebola on the front lines receive “dignity and respect.”

“We need to call them what they are: American heroes,” Obama said. “They deserve our gratitude. And they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” He stood by his previous statements that the best way to fight the Ebola situation is to do so at the source, in West Africa.

“When I hear people talking about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction…hiding under the covers…it makes me a little frustrated,” the commander-in-chief admitted.

“All of them have signed up to leave their homes and their loved ones to head straight into the heart of the Ebola epidemic,” Obama said, adding that “they make huge sacrifices to protect this country that we love and when they come home, they deserve to be treated properly…they deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are.”

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Hagel Orders 21-Day Quarantine for All Military Personnel Returning from West Africa

US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday agreed to a 21-day quarantine for all military personnel returning from Ebola response efforts in West Africa.

A similar quarantine mandate had been implemented by Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno. Hagel requested an implementation plan for the quarantine for all members of the U.S military fighting Ebola at the source, even those who don’t come in direct contact with Ebola patients, be presented to him within 15 days.

That plan will be reviewed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 45 days to determine whether the monitoring should continue.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the Department of Defense has “the largest and youngest population of Americans responding to Ebola in West Africa and, although our mission does not involve direct patient care, our service members are performing duties in an environment where there is an ongoing epidemic.”

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Some Federal Protective Service Guards Lack Proper Training

Fuse/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Government Accounting Office says that some of the Federal Protective Service guards being called upon to provide extra security at federal buildings around the country after last week’s shooting in Ottawa do not have the “active shooter” training necessary for the job.

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday that it would increase FPS guards at federal buildings in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the country. According to a GAO report from May, 38 percent of FPS guards lack even basic X-ray and magnetometer training — important methods of screening. An additional 23 percent of guards didn’t have required training and/or certification on file — including CPR certifications and firearms qualifications.

The report also indicated that FPS “has limited knowledge of the risks facing about 9,600 federal facilities around the country.”

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White House Still Impacted by ‘Inconveniences’ Following Breach of Computer System

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — One day after a senior administration official confirmed to ABC that hackers had breached an unclassified computer system at the White House, the system remains on the fritz.

Administration officials tell ABC News that the defensive measures taken to protect and repair the unclassified network have caused some outages and connectivity issues. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest termed those issues as “inconveniences” which haven’t “affected the ability of White House staffers…to carry out the important work that’s done here.”

Earnest also said Wednesday that the White House’s classified systems were not affected by the breach.

“There are many people around the world who would love to gain greater insight into the activities of the U.S. government by collecting information from the White House network,” Earnest pointed out Wednesday.

Still, he opted not to share any further details, saying that “it would be unwise for me to discuss exactly what we know…by publicly revealing what we know it might affect our ability to know more.”

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