Tag Archive: DSCC

Who will run DSCC?

We learn in the last few hours that  the Dems’ Senate leadership team is shaking out, and it’s a mixed bag under Chuck Schumer. A big group of 10 senators, that includes Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. My friend Chad Lupkes, a…
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Menendez Talks to POLITICO

Senator Bob Menendez sat down for an interview with POLITICO recently, and here’s that video. Menendez ran the Senate’s 2010 campaign strategy, a year we lost 6 seats. Part of what he talks about here is the rise of corporate spending on the right, post Citizens United, particularly the fueling of tea party candidates by the Koch brothers. Overall, Menendez says he tracked $70 million in corporate spending against Senate Democrats. He calls it “a corruption of our election system,” that absent a constitutional solution, should require greater disclosure and transparency in spending.

Menendez also has strong advice for 2012 candidates, to seize the debate over gas prices, the budget and federal spending, offering a well-framed debate that resonates with most Americans simplistic cries of things like “Drill, baby, drill.” That’s a particularly attractive piece of advice as we approach the 1-year anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and the massive oil spill that dirtied the Gulf of Mexico. Menendez is against allowing an expansion of offshore drilling – both our senators are – and has an idea how Democrats can respond legislatively to the BP oil spill disaster. “Use it or lose it,” Menendez says: legislation that would essentially penalize companies that do not produce on drilling leases they have already been granted.

Murray succeeds Menendez at DSCC. His re-election’s now on her watch.

For a while there, it was beginning to look like DSCC had bed bugs. Bob Menendez, facing his own 2012 re-election (not to mention a Tea Party who wants his hide) is ready to step down from his 2-year stint as the Dems’ campaign chief for the Senate.

Harry Reid offered the job to Washington State’s Patty Murray (who turned it down). So did Virginia’s Mark Warner, and Colorado’s Michael Bennet.  NY’s Chuck Schumer (who ran DSCC from 2005-09) took himself out of the running. But Murray changed her mind; it was announced today she’ll chair DSCC. Big job. This cycle, 21 Dem incumbents are up, and both independents who caucus with the Dems, Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman (one worth saving, one not). Only 9 Republicans are up for re-election.

One of Murray’s top priorities will be making sure her predecessor Bob Menendez makes it through his “first” re-election to the Senate. Menendez was appointed by Gov. Corzine to fill his own Senate seat when Corzine became governor. He took office in January, 2006, and defeated Tom Kean, Jr. later that same year to keep his seat. But this is the first time Menendez has a longer Senate record to run against. As the man who presided over Dems keeping control of the Senate, he’s got a big, red GOP target on his back. Then there’s the Tea Party people, enraged by a Latino with power, and vowing to take their (ridiculous) constitution-bending case to recall him all the way to the Supreme Court. Unlikely, that they’ll get there. Unknown, the effect of 2 years of their ignorant, racially-motivated bashing.  

Between then and now, a year of redistricting and legislative races. A year of most Democrats focusing more on the state’s troubles and its overblown helium balloon of a governor.  Menendez will ramp up same time Obama will; in the Garden State, their fortunes loosely tied. It’s early yet, but Menendez may have some work to do.

Patty Murray clocks in at 91% on Progressive Punch’s scorecard for Senators, just one slot off the top 25 (Score! Menendez rates higher). She’s been a key party player for a while, as Senate Conference secretary, the #4 position in Democratic leadership.

And, if it isn’t fresh in your mind, Murray just came off her own re-election nail-biter, victorious only after a 3-day vote count. Menendez helped her get re-elected. We’ll see in two years if her efforts for him pay off.  

Menendez appears on Meet the Press

Senator Menendez appeared this morning on Meet the Press with David Gregory in his role as DSCC chairman. They were joined by his counterpart at the RSCC and the heads of the RCCC and DCCC to talk about the upcoming 2010 election.

You can see the segments of the show here:

‘Change is in the air,’ says Rep. Sessions

What was the impact of Gibbs’ House remark?

Obama ‘absolutely’ an asset, says Van Hollen

What will GOP agenda be if it regains power?

Cornyn: ‘Slanderous’ to accuse Tea party of racism

Will Dems hold House? Lawmakers’ predictions

RNC, DNC chairs make ’74 midterm predictions

Following his appearance, this is what the Senator had to say via tweet:

On Meet the Press, my Republican colleagues couldn’t name a single difference than what they did under the Bush economic agenda. More debtless than a minute ago via UberTwitter

Menendez on Alvin Greene: If the allegations are true, I’d like to see another Democrat replace him

As head of the DSCC, Senator Menendez has weighed in over the controversy surrounding Alvin Greene in South Carolina, the candidate who won the US Senate Primary to face Jim DeMint in the General:

“This is clearly not in our whole universe of the electoral map, where we have focused our attention before Alvin Greene,” he said. “We have other great races to pursue, and you know, obviously we attribute our resources, and our time and attention, to where we best think we can achieve both pickups, and of course, re-elect our incumbents.”

“Based upon all of the allegations — if the allegations are true, I’d like to see another Democrat replace him unquestionably,” he added. “But if you ask me, ‘Is it where we are going to spend a lot of time and attention of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee?’ — you know, I don’t have unlimited resources.”

Keith Olbermann last night called it the “Immaculate Election.” You can see the full interview with the Senator below:

South Carolina Democrats rejected a protest of last weeks vote, though allegations and questions still abound. The Senator certainly has his hands full this cycle in a very tough climate. As you can see, the last thing he wants to do is get involved spending time and resources on this fight in South Carolina.

Menendez appears on Meet the Press to talk 2010 and immigration

Rand Paul was supposed to be a guest on Meet the Press today with Joe Sestak, John Cornyn and Bob Menendez. Paul bailed after the really really bad week he had, but Menendez appeared and here’s the show where they talked about the races in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Connecticut among other topics. Toward the end of the segment, they also got into the immigration debate and the Arizona law:

Menendez: DSCC will stick with Blumenthal

Following the emergence of a video where Connecticut Senate candidate and Attorney General Blumenthal claimed Vietnam service he did not have, Senator Menendez says that the party will not be jumping ship in light of the revelations:

“I think that, first of all, Attorney General Blumenthal has been an incredible advocate for veterans,” Menendez told reporters. “I believe he’s having an event today where veterans are standing with him and saying, you know, ‘Dick Blumenthal has stood by our side.'”

Menendez continued: “He’s corrected the record in the past, and I think, you know, his actions as it relates to standing up for veterans over a long period of time speaks volumes [about] both where his heart and his actions are. And so I’m sure those veterans who will be standing up for him today will make the case for him, and I’m sure he will continue to stay in the Senate race, and we will continue to support him.”

He can spin it however he wants and say the NY Times wasn’t fair in their story, but this is going to be tough to overcome and the video will surely end up in negative ads on rotation. Parsing Menendez’s words, if Blumenthal were to say drop out of the race, then the DSCC wouldn’t have to abandon their support. No matter who the Democrat is on the ballot, the Senator said this will be a race focused on the contrast with the opponent:

“The reality is that we have not gotten to a full vetting of, you know, the Republican candidate,” Menendez said. “There’s plenty to talk about in that respect. I think [Blumenthal’s] record of standing up for Connecticut citizens, standing up for them as a consumer advocate, standing up for the veterans in that state, standing up against big companies that have tried to rip off the citizens of Connecticut … when the other side of the equation is viewed, I think voters will have a clear choice.”

The Democrats have until May 25 to replace Blumenthal if it appears he is too damaged. This is clearly a self inflicted wound and it remains to be seen whether Blumenthal can recover. Democrats thought they dodged a bullet when Dodd, whose numbers were suffering, chose not to seek re-election. Now it looks like the next one in line could be damaged goods as well. It’s not like the issue will go away in the race as one of the Republicans running in the primary Rob Simmons is a Vietnam Veteran himself. He has already called on Blumenthal to apologize “to those whose heroism he has undeservedly capitalized on for his personal political purposes” and that’s only the beginning. What do you think should happen?

Menendez: Republicans will have no credibility

While Republicans try to say there is no downside to the tactics they utilized in the healthcare debate, Senator Menendez and the Democrats believe that when people see the talk doesn’t measure up, there will be consequences:

“When this bill goes into effect, and none of the things Republicans warned about begin to happen – none of the death panels, none of the government takeover, none of the socialism – Republicans will have no credibility,” Mr. Menendez said.

They may not have any credibility, but that doesn’t seem like it will stop them from jumping up and down like their hair is on fire trying to repeal the bill. Even if they could actually pass legislation to repeal healthcare, wouldn’t the President just veto it? And what kind of message and strategy is running on bringing back pre-existing conditions?

Republican Senate Candidates playing with the Poison of Birtherism

Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic has a major story on Republican Senate candidates and Birtherism:

Et tu, Rob Portman? Ye of sensibility and rectitude? Ye of maturity and political resolve?  Despite inquires from the Cincinnati Enquirer and Plain Dealer, Portman’s campaign won’t directly answer the question of whether the candidate believes that President Obama is a citizen. (Obama is.) So now, we’re up to five Republican Senate candidates — major ones, not including J.D. Hayworth in Arizona for the moment — who have flirted with Birtherism.

Several of these candidates have later corrected their initial hesitation, but it is precisely that initial hesitation that contains so much information about what Republican candidates fear right now. No doubt that Portman and Marco Rubio know that Birtherism is bullshit. The gap between their private beliefs and how they articulate them publicly is fairly wide. I’m not a fan of stories that begin with X “refuses to denounce” Y — I usually skip them. I make an exception here because the accusation is so reckless, so tied to race and culture, and so stupid that those who try to Wink at the Birthers are adding potency to a poison that everyone is forced to gulp.

Poison. You don’t normally see our mainstream media using terms like this. It is dangerous poison.

Good for Senator Menendez for insisting on asking this question. It tells you all you need to know about today’s Republicans.