Review Category : Poltics

Meet the GOP Senate Candidate Even Republicans Love to Hate

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(LANSING, Mich.) — Republican Senate candidates have been holding the firewall in the most high-profile races around the country: Joni Ernst in Iowa, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, Cory Gardner in Colorado. But one Republican Senate candidate in Michigan is doing exactly the opposite — getting disowned by her own party.

If the Democrats hold the Senate, Republicans might be tempted to lay part of the blame at the feet of the floundering Terri Lynn Land for failing to win a vulnerable seat that could have secured a Senate majority.

The critics of Land’s campaign have turned harsher recently, accusing Land of ignoring the normally requisite advance notice given before public appearances, and of ducking the press any time she feels threatened by its line of questioning, among other problems.

The Land campaign does not advertise her campaign events on its website ahead of time.

Even more damning is that critics, including some Republicans, have declared her campaign dead.

After U.S. News called her campaign “invisible” last month, commentators have taken it one step further: just this past weekend, conservative radio host Frank Beckmann published an “autopsy” of Land’s campaign in the Detroit News — three weeks before Election Day.

Earlier this month, the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled almost a million dollars from Land’s campaign.

Bill Ballenger, a former Republican state representative and senator and the editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, told ABC News that no one in Michigan had guessed Land was going to be “as inept and inarticulate as she’s proven to be.”

“You’re just assuming that everybody thought a year ago: it’s just a matter of getting a strong candidate to run, and that the Republicans could pick up this seat,” he added. “But everyone backed away, and they’re left with Terri Land.”

“I think Terri’s a strong candidate, and it’s important to understand she’s won statewide twice, and those were years when Democrats were doing better,” Land campaign spokesman Joe Kildea said. “We have a wonderful working relationship with the Michigan Republican Party.”

The fuel in the fire has been Land’s media record. MLive.com reporter Tim Skubick published an article Sunday recounting a sequence of press evasions during a period of only minutes last May on Mackinac Island in Michigan, where Land eventually ran from the press after being approached by a group of local reporters, telling them, “I can’t do this.”

Land’s aides have defended her against a whole range of accusations, saying she’s given appropriate notice of her public appearances, and that criticisms by the press haven’t come from local reporters familiar with Land’s record on the trail.

The Land campaign recently sent out a fundraising email that bragged, “Terri’s performance was so strong that the Peters campaign canceled debate negotiations immediately after she went off the air. That’s right – they heard Terri deliver her message on putting Michigan First for an hour on air, and turned tail and ran from the debate.”

“It was a big public performance, something we could link to,” Kildea told ABC News. “We are definitely very proud of her performance and stand by that.”

Ballenger was less impressed.

“We’re living in this surreal world where the Land campaign with a straight face could actually put out a press release saying, ‘She delivered such a strong performance, that now Peters is cowered into horror,’” he noted. “It’s laughable, but this is what’s going on.”

In an email to ABC News, Kildea sent a list of Land’s recent press activity meant to prove her accessibility, which included a call to a local radio show in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and several appearances on conservative radio channels and in conservative digital publications.

“Terri Lynn Land is traveling around Michigan, talking to voters and the press about her plan to put Michigan First by fixing our roads, securing the border, and creating good-paying jobs,” said Land campaign spokeswoman Heather Swift in a statement to ABC News. “Meanwhile, Gary Peters has been focused on appealing to Washington and Tom Steyer, the radical California billionaire, with policies like opposing the Keystone Pipeline and supporting cap-and-trade.”

Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 2005-2009 and a member of conservative politics in Michigan, was cautious in defending Land’s campaign.

“Strategically every campaign is going to do what’s best for their effort,” he told ABC News. “I think the campaign is very much aware that they’re going to win or lose this thing based on it being a wave election. What you want to do is minimize any chance of errors, [which means] not putting herself in situations to allow Democrats to define her or take advantage of any unintended circumstances.”

Land could eke out a victory simply on accident, according to Anuzis, who thinks Michigan voters satisfied with Republican Governor Rick Snyder could vote on a straight Republican ticket, checking off Land’s box as a mere formality, not because they consciously support her. Still, Anuzis thinks Land’s candidacy is a monumental missed opportunity, describing the frustration among Michigan Republicans over not fielding a more seasoned politician.

“I think there’s no secret that people would have preferred [Representative] Dave Camp or [Representative] Mike Rogers,” he added. “Most people would argue that if one of them were there, the race would be over. … This is a seat we could have had.”

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Lawmakers Seek US Ban on Travelers From Ebola-Stricken Region

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — A growing chorus of lawmakers is calling on President Obama to impose travel restrictions on passengers coming to the U.S. from West African countries stricken by Ebola.

On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner became the highest-ranking Republican lawmaker to ask the president to consider a travel ban.

“A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow,” Boehner wrote in a statement Wednesday evening. “The administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home.”

Boehner also pledged to call the House back into session “if it becomes clear legislation is needed to ensure the threat is countered aggressively and effectively.”

“We will continue to press the administration for better information about what steps will be taken to protect the American people, including our troops, from this deadly virus,” he continued. “And we will work with the administration on appropriate policy options that will help stop the spread of this horrific disease both here in the United States and around the globe.”

Boehner joins lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in calling for a travel ban.

“Banning flights from the afflicted countries is a prudent, common-sense step until the epidemic is brought under control,” Cruz wrote in an op-ed Wednesday.

The travel ban is also being floated on the campaign trail by Republican Senate candidates, including Joni Ernst in Iowa and David Perdue in Georgia.

While most of the calls for a travel ban are coming from the Republican side, a small group of Democrats, including Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have called for the restrictions.

The White House has said it is not currently considering placing restrictions on travelers from West African countries.

“That’s something that is not on the table at this point,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “Shutting down travel to that area of the world would prevent the expeditious flow of personnel and equipment into the region, and the only way for us to stop this outbreak and to eliminate any risk from Ebola to the American public is to stop this outbreak at the source.”

“We are mobilizing significant resources to make sure that supplies and personnel can get to the affected region and start meeting the needs of the affected region so that we can stop the outbreak there. And that’s why, right now, the travel ban is not on the table,” he added.

After a two-hour emergency meeting with his team at the White House Wednesday, President Obama said the U.S., with the help of the international community, must focus on containing the “raging epidemic” in West Africa in order to prevent Ebola from spreading back home.

“I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak of the disease here in the United States. But it becomes more difficult to do so if this epidemic of Ebola rages out of control in West Africa. If it does, then it will spread globally in an age of, you know, frequent travel and, you know, the kind of constant interactions that people have across borders,” Obama said. “It is very important for us to understand that the investment we make in helping Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea deal with this problem is an investment in our own public health.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will interrupt the campaign season Thursday to hold a hearing featuring Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

So far, at least one member of Congress, Rep. Tom Marino, is calling for Frieden’s resignation.

“This Ebola situation is beginning to spiral beyond control,” Marino, R-Pa., warned Wednesday. “The reports my colleagues and I have received are utterly unacceptable and the information provided to the public has been cryptic and in some cases misleading. This has provided a false sense of security to many of our citizens. That is exactly the opposite of the CDC director’s primary responsibilities – to communicate clearly and honestly. I have no ill will towards him personally but he should resign his position effective immediately.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, wrote a letter signed by five other Republican congressman and addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday. “[W]e urge you to consider temporarily suspending visas of individuals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone until the outbreak is under control. Such a measure would ensure healthcare workers and supplies are able to be transported to impacted areas of West Africa, while also ensuring the public health and safety of the American public,” the letter read.

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Kentucky Senate Race: DSCC Not Running Ads, Grimes Ad Criticized

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign may have shattered fundraising records, raising nearly $4.9 million in the last quarter, but it got some tough news from national Democrats on Tuesday.

An official with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee confirmed to ABC News that the campaign has spent more than $2 million in the hotly contested Kentucky Senate race, but they currently have no ads on the air.

And at least two liberal groups are calling on the Grimes campaign to pull an ad off the air that accuses Grimes’ Republican opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of supporting “amnesty.” They are calling the ad both “offensive” and “dehumanizing.”

When asked if it planned on taking down the ad, the campaign did not say yes or no, instead releasing a statement from their campaign manager saying Grimes “favors comprehensive immigration reform” and saying McConnell’s “hypocrisy on this issue is breathtaking.”

When asked again by ABC News if it planned to pull the ad, the campaign sent a release detailing their fundraising numbers.

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Iowa Senate Race Getting Closer, Poll Shows

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Iowa Senate race is still as tight as can be, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning, with 47 percent for Republican Joni Ernst and 45 percent for Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.

Quinnipiac says the margin has tightened since its last poll because independent voters have likely shifted to the Democratic column. The university’s poll from Sept. 17 had Ernst up six points.

Independent voters are now supporting Braley 48 to 43 percent, “a shift from Ernst’s 50-43 percent lead among these key voters last month,” the poll says.

An important and positive sign for Braley: he leads 51 to 37 percent among those who have already voted.

As for that all important “mind is made up” question, 89 percent of likely voters say their mind is made up, while 10 percent may change their mind.

With favorability, 47 to 41 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst, while Braley is underwater with a 42 to 44 percent favorable opinion.

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Dem Campaign Chief Bracing for Electoral Wave: ‘Is It a Concern? Yes’

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) — Less than three weeks from Election Day, the top House Democratic campaign official, Rep. Steve Israel, says there’s “concern” that a Republican electoral wave could be coming this fall.

With a new ABC News/Washington Post poll showing President Obama’s approval rating at a career low of 40 percent and House Republicans holding a seven-point edge over Democrats on the generic ballot, Israel characterized the electoral landscape as “tough and unpredictable.”

“Am I fearful? No. Is it a concern? Yes,” Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said of the prospects of a GOP wave during a briefing for reporters on Capitol Hill. “We assumed going into this midterm election that the generics would be very tight and planned accordingly. Whether a wave erupts remains to be seen.”

Nevertheless, Israel pointed to internal polling showing 32 competitive House races, with Democrats playing offense on 18 seats but also scrambling to defend 14 vulnerable incumbents.

“We anticipated the worst from Day One,” Israel, D-N.Y., said. “The first thing I see every morning when my eyes flutter open is 29, which is the average loss [of House seats] to the president’s party in a second midterm, so we knew that the exposure could be 29.”

Still, Israel refused to predict how many seats his party could lose and emphasized he expects Democrats, who have outraised Republicans, to keep the matchups competitive up until Election Day on Nov. 4.

“We never assumed the best. We prepared for the worst,” Israel acknowledged. “Irrespective of what is happening in the world and irrespective of where the president’s numbers may be, every single one of our incumbents is either ahead, or up by the margin of error, or tied. That’s because we have three words: prepare, prepare, prepare.”

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Sen. Pat Roberts Has a Change of Heart

iStock/Thinkstock – US Senate(WASHINGTON) — It’s been one of his biggest criticisms from disillusioned supporters — that the Pat Roberts of today is different from the Pat Roberts who first ran for U.S. Senate back in 1996.

But video from a 1996 debate flagged by a C-SPAN staffer on Tuesday is now coming back to haunt the three-term incumbent seeking reelection.

In the video, Roberts, R-Kan., said: “I plan only to serve two terms in the U.S. Senate.”

It’s a statement that his Independent opponent Greg Orman has explicitly pledged to, looking to appeal to the growing number of critics in Kansas who claim Roberts has become too cozy in his Virginia digs.

In a statement provided to ABC News, Roberts explained his change of heart, saying, “I did plan to only serve two terms, but I’m a Marine. 9/11 changed everything in my mind. I felt like I had to serve.”

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Sen. Pat Roberts Has a Change of Heart

iStock/Thinkstock – US Senate(WASHINGTON) — It’s been one of his biggest criticisms from disillusioned supporters — that the Pat Roberts of today is different from the Pat Roberts who first ran for U.S. Senate back in 1996.

But video from a 1996 debate flagged by a C-SPAN staffer on Tuesday is now coming back to haunt the three-term incumbent seeking reelection.

In the video, Roberts, R-Kan., said: “I plan only to serve two terms in the U.S. Senate.”

It’s a statement that his Independent opponent Greg Orman has explicitly pledged to, looking to appeal to the growing number of critics in Kansas who claim Roberts has become too cozy in his Virginia digs.

In a statement provided to ABC News, Roberts explained his change of heart, saying, “I did plan to only serve two terms, but I’m a Marine. 9/11 changed everything in my mind. I felt like I had to serve.”

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Obama to Convene Emergency Ebola Meeting at the White House

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Obama has postponed a campaign trip to New Jersey and Connecticut to hold an emergency meeting on the Ebola outbreak Wednesday afternoon at the White House, the administration announced.

Obama plans to convene members of the key cabinet agencies coordinating the federal government response, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense, the White House said in a statement.

The president is expected to deliver remarks at the conclusion of the meeting.

The meeting comes after a second health care worker at a Dallas hospital was diagnosed with the virus after treating an infected patient from West Africa who later died.

Obama was to attend a Democratic fundraiser in New Jersey Wednesday, then continue to Bridgeport, Connecticut, for his first public campaign rally of the season — an appearance with Gov. Dan Malloy.

At a meeting with military leaders on Tuesday, Obama said his administration was “surging resources into Dallas” to examine how nurse Nina Pham contracted Ebola and ensure “all lessons learned” will be applied across the country.

“Obviously, one case is too many. We need to eliminate those risks for” nurses on the front lines, he said.

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Obama to Hit the Stump for Democratic Governor Hopefuls

Pete Souza – The White House(WASHINGTON) — Vulnerable Democrats running for Congress this year seem to want President Obama to steer clear of their campaigns, and a new ABC News/Washington Post poll provided fresh evidence of why: Only 40 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling his job, the lowest such rating of his presidency.

But now, eight Democrats are reaching out a hand to the president, inviting him to rally with voters in their states ahead of Election Day.

On Wednesday, Obama had been planning to hold his first public campaign event of the season for Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, though the White House later announced the trip had been postponed as Obama reacted to the Ebola outbreak from Washington.

Two additional Obama trips, to Maryland and Illinois, are planned for Sunday, the White House said.

All of the rallies Obama plans to attend are in reliably blue states that he carried in 2012 and for Democratic gubernatorial candidates who have an edge, though several of their races are tight.

The president is planning to stump for only one Democratic candidate for Senate — Gary Peters of Michigan — in a race less-than-critical to maintaining his party’s majority in the Senate.

Here’s a look at the eight Democrats not afraid to appear with Obama:

1. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

Malloy is an unpopular first-term governor locked in a tight race with GOP businessman and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley. But he hasn’t been bashful about advocating some of the same domestic priorities an equally unpopular President Obama shares: tighter gun control laws, a higher minimum wage, and full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

2. Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

Brown appears to hold a healthy lead over his Republican challenger in deep-blue Maryland, but a visit by Obama could help boost turnout among the Democratic base. The Democrat’s campaign is hoping the president will help energize African-American voters and other key demographic groups that voted for him in 2012.

3. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have done more campaigning for Quinn than any other candidate in 2014, perhaps in part because of the home-state connection. Obama held a private fundraiser for Quinn in Chicago two weeks ago then heaped praise on him during an economic speech at Northwestern University.

4. Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke

Burke is a former CEO of Trek Bicycle Corp. trying to unseat high-profile Republican Gov. Scott Walker. It’s one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the country. First lady Michelle Obama has done eight rallies this year. Two were in Wisconsin for Burke.

5. Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf

Wolf is a businessman who turned his family company into the nation’s self-declared largest supplier of kitchen cabinets and specialty building materials. He also served in the administration of former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. Now, Wolf, a first-time candidate, holds a slight edge in public polls over GOP Gov. Tom Corbett, who’s seeking a second term.

6. Maine Rep. Mike Michaud

Michaud has served in the House for more than a decade, sitting on the Veterans Affairs, Small Business and Transportation committees. He’s now making a run to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Independent polls show Michaud holding a slight lead headed into the final weeks of the campaign.

7. Former Michigan Rep. Mark Schauer

Schauer served in the House from 2009 to 2011. Now, he’s making a play for governor with the help of high-powered Democrats. First lady Michelle Obama rallied for him last week, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stump with him later this week. President Obama will soon follow. Obama won the state by nine points over Mitt Romney in 2012.

8. Michigan Rep. Gary Peters

Peters is running for a U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin has held since 1979. All indications are that the two-term congressman will succeed in replacing Levin, who is retiring. But having Obama join on the stump in the home stretch, in a reliably blue state, may not hurt.

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Obama to Hit the Stump for Democratic Governor Hopefuls

Pete Souza – The White House(WASHINGTON) — Vulnerable Democrats running for Congress this year seem to want President Obama to steer clear of their campaigns, and a new ABC News/Washington Post poll provided fresh evidence of why: Only 40 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling his job, the lowest such rating of his presidency.

But now, eight Democrats are reaching out a hand to the president, inviting him to rally with voters in their states ahead of Election Day.

On Wednesday, Obama had been planning to hold his first public campaign event of the season for Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, though the White House later announced the trip had been postponed as Obama reacted to the Ebola outbreak from Washington.

Two additional Obama trips, to Maryland and Illinois, are planned for Sunday, the White House said.

All of the rallies Obama plans to attend are in reliably blue states that he carried in 2012 and for Democratic gubernatorial candidates who have an edge, though several of their races are tight.

The president is planning to stump for only one Democratic candidate for Senate — Gary Peters of Michigan — in a race less-than-critical to maintaining his party’s majority in the Senate.

Here’s a look at the eight Democrats not afraid to appear with Obama:

1. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

Malloy is an unpopular first-term governor locked in a tight race with GOP businessman and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley. But he hasn’t been bashful about advocating some of the same domestic priorities an equally unpopular President Obama shares: tighter gun control laws, a higher minimum wage, and full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

2. Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

Brown appears to hold a healthy lead over his Republican challenger in deep-blue Maryland, but a visit by Obama could help boost turnout among the Democratic base. The Democrat’s campaign is hoping the president will help energize African-American voters and other key demographic groups that voted for him in 2012.

3. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have done more campaigning for Quinn than any other candidate in 2014, perhaps in part because of the home-state connection. Obama held a private fundraiser for Quinn in Chicago two weeks ago then heaped praise on him during an economic speech at Northwestern University.

4. Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke

Burke is a former CEO of Trek Bicycle Corp. trying to unseat high-profile Republican Gov. Scott Walker. It’s one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the country. First lady Michelle Obama has done eight rallies this year. Two were in Wisconsin for Burke.

5. Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf

Wolf is a businessman who turned his family company into the nation’s self-declared largest supplier of kitchen cabinets and specialty building materials. He also served in the administration of former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. Now, Wolf, a first-time candidate, holds a slight edge in public polls over GOP Gov. Tom Corbett, who’s seeking a second term.

6. Maine Rep. Mike Michaud

Michaud has served in the House for more than a decade, sitting on the Veterans Affairs, Small Business and Transportation committees. He’s now making a run to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Independent polls show Michaud holding a slight lead headed into the final weeks of the campaign.

7. Former Michigan Rep. Mark Schauer

Schauer served in the House from 2009 to 2011. Now, he’s making a play for governor with the help of high-powered Democrats. First lady Michelle Obama rallied for him last week, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will stump with him later this week. President Obama will soon follow. Obama won the state by nine points over Mitt Romney in 2012.

8. Michigan Rep. Gary Peters

Peters is running for a U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin has held since 1979. All indications are that the two-term congressman will succeed in replacing Levin, who is retiring. But having Obama join on the stump in the home stretch, in a reliably blue state, may not hurt.

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