Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who briefly led the Republican presidential race before his campaign began an extended public implosion, told his supporters in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he does not see a “path forward” and will not attend Thursday’s debate in Detroit.
Carson, however, did not formally suspend his campaign. Instead, he said in the statement that he has decided to make a speech about his political future on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, just outside Washington.
“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” the statement said. “However, this grassroots movement on behalf of ‘We the People’ will continue. Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for President, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations.”
The announcement will serve as an acknowledgment that Carson’s candidacy is all but over following a disappointing showing in the 11 states that held contests on Tuesday.
The decision follows months of candidate stumbles, staff infighting and strategy shifts derailing what had once appeared to be an unstoppable journey to conservative superstardom. It also marks the coming departure of the only high profile African American candidate in the 2016 presidential race.
Carson, 64, burst onto the political scene in early 2013 when, addressing the typically nonpartisan National Prayer Breakfast, he spoke about the dangers of political correctness, put forward the idea of a flat tax and criticized President Obama’s health-care law. What stood out was that he did so right beside a steely-faced Obama.
That week, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled “Ben Carson for President.” By August of that year, there was a “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.” Before he launched his presidential bid last May, the group had raised close to $16 million, gotten a half-million signatures encouraging Carson to run and had 30,000 active volunteers across the country, according to organizers.
The media whirlwind was hardly his first brush with fame. Before he took the conservative world by storm, Carson was famous for an up-from-his-bootstraps life story, from impoverished childhood to a high-profile neurosurgery career. He was, at 33, the youngest major division director in Johns Hopkins Hospital history, and he was the first pediatric neurosurgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. He wrote a best-selling book, “Gifted Hands,” about his life, which later became a television movie.
The same bluntness that catapulted him into contention in a year that favored plain-spoken insurgents and outsider candidates earned him criticism as well. He found himself in political hot water for calling the Affordable Care Act the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” saying that the United States now is “very much like Nazi Germany” and predicting that allowing same-sex marriage could lead to legalized bestiality.
Even his political team admitted from the start that perhaps he needed to work on his messaging. “If I could create the Webster’s dictionary of words Dr. Carson could use in the campaign, there would be some words I’d leave out,” his former campaign chairman, Terry Giles, told The Washington Post before Carson officially jumped into the race in May. Later, when Donald Trump grabbed headlines, the usually mild-mannered Carson was urged to dial it up and take the mogul on more aggressively.
Carson resisted that advice as well. Until the end, he sought to offer himself to Republicans as a calm and steady hand, untouched by Washington.
“Many people told me that this business is corrupt, that it’s evil, that it’s how it’ll always be,” Carson said in a phone interview Monday. “But I don’t believe that we have to accept that. We should rail against that, fight against it, and get something that’s decent and inspirational.”
His performance may have played a role in his political undoing. Even as his “politically incorrect” style played well in places with staunchly conservative bases, his apparent unfamiliarity with many policy fundamentals, particularly on national security issues, made some voters wary.
His support dropped precipitously in the weeks after two high-profile terrorist attacks, bringing him from second place just behind Trump to fourth or fifth place in most national polls.
“Unfortunately, Paris happened. San Bernardino happened,” he told The Post earlier this year. “Somehow the narrative has been projected that if you’re soft-spoken and mild-mannered, there is no way you can deal with terrorism, with national security, that you’re not a strong person.”
It wasn’t just Carson’s often unfiltered and unseasoned approach that cost him; his advisers’ did as well, as internal feuds played out publicly, and candidate and campaign deficits were spotlighted in unusually detailed media admissions by some staffers and advisers.
Disagreements within the campaign’s highest ranks broke out into the open on numerous occasions, highlighting a persistent and sharp division between Armstrong Williams – Carson’s longtime business manager, who was not formally part of the campaign – and Barry Bennett, the Republican operative who led it.
As Carson fell from top-tier status, he publicly blamed campaign aides for his drop in the polls – calling some of them overpaid and ineffective – and vowed a staff shake-up in an interview arranged by Williams without Bennett’s knowledge. Carson backtracked hours later, but within days, several of his most experienced campaign hands, including Bennett, had resigned.
A new campaign chairman was named: retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert F. Dees – previously a Carson policy adviser who, like the candidate himself, had never before been involved in a political campaign.
The departure of a string of senior aides didn’t end the behind-the-scenes drama. Within weeks, reporters were sent a list of the only staffers they were to contact for campaign comment and for candidate interview requests – a list that pointedly did not include Williams.
The Carson campaign war chest, which had been flush with cash after solid fundraising quarters earlier in the race, began shrinking dramatically amid questions about how the money was being spent. Carson made further sweeping changes last month, cutting staff salaries and shrinking his traveling entourage.
“We had to get a much better check on the finances. I was appalled when I did a deep dive and saw what was going on. We saw that and stopped it,” Carson said in the Monday interview.
The mild-mannered candidate soon lashed out at individuals he accused of sabotaging his presidential bid, including rival Ted Cruz of Texas, whose campaign falsely circulated the idea that Carson was going to quit the race on the night of the Iowa caucuses.
He followed up a distant fourth-place showing in Iowa with last-place showings in New Hampshire and in South Carolina, a state he had once said would be a special focus. He polled poorly again in the 11 GOP primaries and caucuses Tuesday night.
When asked Monday whether he would ever reenter politics if he left the race, Carson chuckled at the prospect.
“I’m certainly not looking for something to do,” he said, adding that his plan after leaving medicine in 2013 was to retire to Palm Beach, Fla., with his wife.
“I’m not going to disappear,” he said. “But yes, if I didn’t think the country needed what we’re doing, I’d be there.”
After a sixth place finish in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday, Chris Christie is calling it quits.
The New Jersey governor made the decision after conferring with major donors. He concluded that he did not have the financial support to continue his campaign, reports CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, citing a senior campaign source.
Christie spent significant campaign resources on the New Hampshire primary, wooing voters and banking on the state’s famous friendliness to governors running for the GOP nomination. Last week, Christie received plaudits for his debate takedown of rival Marco Rubio in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he slammed the Florida senator for his automaton-like answers to moderators’ questions.
But on Tuesday night, Christie finished with just single-digit support, behind Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Rubio. After a poor showing in Iowa, Christie is the only candidate left running who has so far accumulated zero delegates.
Christie addressed his backers at a primary night event in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Thanking volunteers and supporters, Christie said he did “not regret one minute” of the time spent in the early-voting state.
“I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win. And what that means is you never know and it’s both the magic and the mystery of politics – that you never quite know when which is going to happen, even when you think you do,” he said. “We leave New Hampshire tonight without an ounce of regret, not for the time we’ve spent, and for the thousands of people tonight in New Hampshire who will have voted for us. We thank each and every one of them.”
Of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Christie said he “deserves congratulations” for winning the support of Granite State voters.
Trump, for his part, told “CBS This Morning” that Christie had called to congratulate him, and said in an interview on Fox News, “Frankly, Chris is somebody that maybe wouldn’t have to get out. I think somebody like Jeb Bush has far less talent than Chris, and he’s still in so you know, it’s one of those things.”
The New Jersey Republican announced Tuesday that he would be heading back to his home state, instead of continuing on to campaign in South Carolina, the last primary state before March’s Super Tuesday contests.
Carly Fiorina is dropping out of the presidential race.
After a weak showing in New Hampshire last night, Fiorina becomes the second candidate, after Chris Christie, to bow out today.
Here’s the full statement she posted to Facebook:
This campaign was always about citizenship – taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well connected. Election after election, the same empty promises are made and the same poll-tested stump speeches are given, but nothing changes. I’ve said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I’m not going to start now. While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.
Our Republican Party must fight alongside these Americans as well. We must end crony capitalism by fighting the policies that allow it to flourish. We must fix our festering problems by holding our bloated, inept government bureaucracy accountable. Republicans must stand for conservative principles that lift people up and recognize all Americans have the right to fulfill their God-given potential.
To young girls and women across the country, I say: do not let others define you. Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you’re a woman. That is not feminism. Feminism doesn’t shut down conversations or threaten women. It is not about ideology. It is not a weapon to wield against your political opponent. A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses and uses all her God-given gifts. And always remember that a leader is not born, but made. Choose leadership.
As I have said to the many wonderful Americans I have met throughout this campaign, a leader is a servant whose highest calling is to unlock potential in others. I will continue to serve in order to restore citizen government to this great nation so that together we may fulfill our potential.
Following Ted Cruz ‘s Monday victory in Iowa, Ben Carson’s campaign claimed the Texas senator leaked information that the former neurosurgeon was suspending his campaign just before the votes were cast.
According to Time, several members of Carson’s staff have brought forward evidence “alleging misconduct by the Cruz campaign.”
Carson’s Iowa director Ryan Rhodes reportedly received text messages from Mike Huckabee supporters claiming “the Cruz speakers at our caucus announced Carson was suspending his campaign for a while after caucus. They did this before the vote. Same thing happened at another caucus. Sounds like slimy Cruzing to me.”
Additionally, a precinct chair in Muscatine sent Carson’s team an email claiming that a Cruz supporter told the precinct “Ben Carson was taking a break after Iowa, and then stated, ‘so you might want to rethink wasting your vote on him.’”
“That is really quite a dirty trick,” Carson told reporters late Monday night. “That’s the very kind of thing that irritated me enough to get into this quagmire.”
Furthermore, campaign manager Ed Brookover called Cruz’s alleged actions “the lowest of low in American politics,” while Carson’s Iowa co-chair state representative Rob Taylor noted that, “this is horseshit.”
The Cruz campaign has denied any wrongdoing.
Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is rejecting Ben Carson’s assertion that it torpedoed his chances in Iowa’s Republican caucuses Monday night.
“On the Ben Carson allegation, it’s just false,” said Rick Tyler, the Cruz campaign’s communications director, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words,” he continued. “That’s not a dirty trick.”
“He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple of days and then he was going to go to D.C. for the prayer breakfast,” Tyler added. “And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire.
“That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa saying he’s not going to come to New Hampshire. That’s a news item.”
Carson criticized his Republican presidential rivals, without naming names, for “dirty tricks” in Iowa.
The retired neurosurgeon lashed out following tweets from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who also serves as co-chairman of Cruz’s national campaign. King said departing Iowa is “the equivalent” of suspending an Oval Office bid after Carson returned home to Florida that evening.
Tyler also argued that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump made several decisions that blunted his own Iowa momentum.
“It hurt him,” he said of Trump’s decision to skip the last Republican presidential debate before the Iowa contest. “I don’t think it hurt him badly, but it definitely hurt him.”
Tyler then charged that Sarah Palin’s endorsement of the outspoken billionaire last month did not boost his standing with voters.
“[It gave him] no real bump,” he said of the backing from the former Republican vice presidential nominee.
Cruz celebrated his win in Iowa as a “victory for the grass roots” late Monday after conquering the first-in-the-nation caucuses there.
The high mucky-muck of the Republican establishment crowd, otherwise known as Dubya’s younger, less interesting brother.
Not since the failed candidacy of Howard Dean has an early front-runner in a Presidential race taken such a sustained beating in the polls. The once great, white hope of the Republican elitist class is now a single-digit joke whose big-money backers are starting to regret they ever laid eyes on this no-trick pony.
The radio host, turned minister, turned Governor, turned Presidential candidate, turned TV host, turned Presidential candidate again.
Why this man hasn’t started his own televangelist network by now is beyond me. He is clearly better suited to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on cable channel 287 than run for political office. At least as a TV pastor he’d be competitive in his chosen field of endeavor, instead of pointlessly clinging to his status as a second-tier political hack.
The Senator from Kentucky and middle child of former Congressman, libertarian Presidential candidate and prattling lunatic, Ron Paul.
Let’s face it, the only reason most people even know about this freshman lawmaker is because his father made a name for himself promoting pretty much the same policies that Rand has since adopted. Apparently, the nut doesn’t fall far from the nut-tree when it comes to blaming America for the rise of Muslim terrorism since the 1970s, and while the good doctor in question doesn’t seem nearly as crazy as his old man did when he ran for President, the things he says have just enough batshit mixed in with them to remind most of us why we’re not libertarians.
The morbidly obese Governor of New Jersey, former Obama rump-swab and RINO squish, otherwise known as El Jefe Grande.
He’s big, he’s fat and he’s loud. Okay, so he’d make a great Ralph Kramden if CBS ever decides to bring back ‘The Honeymooners’, but beyond that, he’s a waste of space… WAY too much space. Did I mention he’s really fat?
The former corporate CEO, failed Senatorial candidate and fake conservative, whose only claim to fame is that she managed to turn a largely destructive business career into a multi-million dollar personal fortune.
What can I say about this woman that Donald Trump hasn’t already said in far more entertaining and sexist terms before? Hmmm… well, for starters she’s the single most left-leaning candidate on the GOP debate stage, despite her well-rehearsed assertions to the contrary. In essence, she’s a would-be Susan Collins pretending to be the next Sarah Palin, only she doesn’t have the credibility or the gams of Mama Grizzly.
The extremely annoying Governor of Ohio, former Congressman, former TV host and snarky know-it-all, otherwise known as the guy who just won’t shut the fuck up already.
To say this man is irksome would be an insult to irks everywhere. I’d add more, but I’m too irritated by the very thought of this idiot to continue insulting him right now.
The former Congressman, former Senator and former Presidential candidate from Pennsylvania who can’t seem to understand why a sweater vest is not a viable substitute for charisma.
Ya know, there was a time when I honestly believed that Mr. Santorum would evolve into a credible, top-shelf candidate for President one day. That was over a decade ago, and now I’m convinced that – like stupid – you just can’t fix boring. The upside is that Mr. Rogers’ old job is still wide open.
The former Mayor of Peekskill, New York, former State Assemblyman, former State Senator and former Governor, who, despite being in politics since 1981 has yet to garner the name recognition of your average, small-town Comptroller.
Just the fact that this assclown has bothered to stay in the game longer than superior candidates like Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal makes me want to smack him over the head with a plastic snow shovel. Cripes, George, you’re not even gaining traction at the kiddie-table debates anymore. If you look in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Lindsey Graham right next to the word ‘pathetic’. Why? Because you’ve yet to rise to the level of pathetic. You are a catastrophic loser, George, yet you need not lament your absolute failure. After all, very few people have even noticed so far.
NOTE: It has just come to my attention that Lonesome George dropped out of the race last week. Gee, how could I have possibly missed that? (sarcasm off)
From July 8, 2015:
Amid Monday’s resignation of University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe, students formed a human blockade to keep out reporters.
Students protesting on the Columbia, Missouri, campus embraced efforts to establish a “safe space,” free of the media attempting to exercise its First Amendment right to cover a public event.
In addition to the “safe space” sign to warn reporters from doing their jobs, students also linked arms to form a human blockade against the press:
The move by students to keep out members of the press came as a shock to many, but left many others confused.
…I’m sick today, but I don’t think that’s why this has me confused https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:53 AM – 9 Nov 2015
A good way to (1) deter media from quoting one idiot to mischaracterize group; (2) completely undermining that goal. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:05 PM – 9 Nov 2015
Should make for interesting discussions at the esteemed Missouri j-school. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:04 PM – 9 Nov 2015
If you were wondering where Occupy went, we found it. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:58 AM – 9 Nov 2015
“Safe space.” https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:16 PM – 9 Nov 2015
This is insane. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:19 PM – 9 Nov 2015
This is a big, big problem. Hey @newseum, what do you have to say about this? #Missouri #FreeSpeech https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:58 AM – 9 Nov 2015
12:06 PM – 9 Nov 2015
“But please, press, next time we need a message to gain traction, come back!” https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:51 AM – 9 Nov 2015
What utter crap. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:50 AM – 9 Nov 2015
At the home of one of finest journalism schools in the world, folks. What are we doing wrong? https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:09 PM – 9 Nov 2015
It’s disappointing to see this response from college students, especially ones at a school with a highly regarded journalism program.
America has always prized the freedom of the press to report the news in the fairest way possible, and when students prevent that from occurring, they threaten the democratic process.
In the wake of a supposed racial controversy, the President of the University of Missouri has resigned.
The entire controversy began when a student, Jonathan Butler, began a hunger strike over alleged racial incidents. This weekend, Missouri football players decided to kind of sorta join the strike a bit. This morning, cowed faculty meekly walked out. Now the President has resigned.
The Daily Caller lays out Butler’s beef:
In a letter to school officials posted on his Facebook page, Butler indicated that he began his hunger strike because someone in a pickup truck allegedly shouted a racist insult at a black student government member, because state law prevents Planned Parenthood from performing on-campus abortions and because someone drew a swastika with human feces in a dormitory bathroom.
Some observers have suggested that the bathroom swastika may be a hoax. Why, law professor blogger Ann Althouse has asked, for example, would any dedicated racial supremacist create a swastika out of human feces?
Butler admits in the letter that none of the incidents he cites are Wolfe’s fault. Nevertheless, Butler has concluded, “as a collection of incidents at the university, they are his responsibility to address.”
This summer, prior to Butler’s decision to go on a hunger strike because of racism allegations, the graduate student’s substantially different agenda focused on a change in University of Missouri policy which ended subsidized health insurance for graduate students. To Butler’s chagrin, school officials also stopped offering certain grad student tuition waivers and tore down some graduate student housing.
At RedState, Leon Wolf takes the protesting football players to pieces in a blistering list of why they are complete posers. You should read all four points, but the conclusion is perfect.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a courageous strike against racism. It’s a lazy strike against practicing for a bad football team. The fact that the media isn’t reporting it this way is evidence of the media’s own laziness.
Nevertheless, under the pressure, the President has stepped down.
The Legion of Black Collegians and others (including football players) associated with the boycott at Missouri stemming from racial tension on Saturday published a list of demands they want met before things return to somewhat normalcy.
Here’s the list in its entirety:
1. We demand that University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a hand-written apology to Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exits, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands. We want Tim Wolfe to admits his gross negligence, allowing his driver to hit one of the demonstrators, consenting to the physical violence of bystanders, and lastly refusing to intervene when Columbia Police Department used excessive force with demonstrators.
2. We demand the immediate removal of Tim Wolfe as UM system president. After his removal, a new amendment to thd UM system policies must be established to have all future UM system president and Chancellor positions be selected by a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds.
3. We demand that the University of Missouri meets the Legion of Black Collegians’ demands that were presented in the 1969 for the betterment of the black community.
4. We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.
5. We demand that by the academic year 2017-18, the University of Missouri increases the percentage of black faculty and staff members campus-wide by 10 percent.
6. We demand that the University of Missouri composes a strategic 10-year plan on May, 1 2016 that will increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training, and promote a more safe and inclusive campus.
7. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding and resources for the University of Missouri Counseling Center for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals, particularly those of color, boosting mental health outreach and programming across campus, increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility of the counseling center, and reducing lengthy wait times for prospective clients.
8. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding, resources and personnel for the social justice centers on campus for the purpose of hiring additional professionals, particularly those of color, boosting outreach and programming across campus and increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility.
Click HERE to purchase Dr. Carson’s book ‘A More Perfect Union: What We The People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties’.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was considered the front-runner to replace John Boehner, stunned his Republican colleagues Thursday by abruptly withdrawing from the race, throwing the leadership battle into chaos.
McCarthy’s decision, announced moments before Republicans were set to nominate their candidate, will postpone the vote for speaker. McCarthy had been running against Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla., before he dropped out, and it’s unclear whether other candidates will now step forward.
While McCarthy, R-Calif., faced vocal opposition from some conservative members and groups, he was thought to have more than enough support to win the party’s nomination in the vote initially set for Thursday. Fox News is told McCarthy, in revealing his choice, simply told colleagues it was not his time.
His withdrawal rattled fellow lawmakers, particularly allies in leadership. But addressing reporters afterward, McCarthy said he thinks the party needs a “fresh face.”
“If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to be 100 percent united.”
He said he will stay on as majority leader.
Chaffetz, speaking shortly afterward, said McCarthy’s withdrawal was “absolutely stunning.” Chaffetz said he would remain in the race. “I really do believe it is time for a fresh start,” he said.
Practically speaking, Republicans’ overriding interest is to find a candidate who can muster an absolute majority on the House floor in a full chamber vote, originally set for Oct. 29. While McCarthy was likely to easily win the nomination, it was unclear whether he could muster a majority – of roughly 218 members – once lawmakers from both parties vote for speaker.
McCarthy gave no indication of dropping out earlier in the day. “It’s going to go great,” McCarthy said Thursday morning. But he later suggested he was concerned he’d only be able to win narrowly in a floor vote later this month.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said McCarthy actually felt he couldn’t reach 218. Still, he said McCarthy’s backing will be the “most important endorsement” for whoever seeks the post.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, swiftly put out a statement saying he would not run, while saying he’s “disappointed” McCarthy dropped out.
Conservative groups, meanwhile, cheered the decision. FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said in a statement that McCarthy “dropped out of the Speaker race because of the House Freedom Caucus and grassroots pressure… This is a huge win for conservatives who want to see real change in Washington, not the same go along get along ways of Washington.”
He was referring in part to a decision Wednesday by the conservative House Freedom Caucus – with its 30-40 members – to back Webster as a bloc.
The speaker’s race already has seen several curveballs since Boehner suddenly announced his retirement at the end of the month and McCarthy swiftly positioned himself as the presumptive next in line.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy, McCarthy was seen to stumble in a Fox News interview where he appeared to link Hillary Clinton’s dropping poll numbers to the congressional Benghazi committee. His comments fueled Democratic charges that the committee is merely political, which GOP leaders deny.
Amid the backlash over McCarthy’s Benghazi remarks, Chaffetz entered the leadership race over the weekend.
Republicans have nearly 250 members in the House and on paper have the numbers to win against the Democrats’ nominee, likely Nancy Pelosi. But if the winning Republican nomineecomes out with a tally short of 218, he or she will have to spend the next several weeks trying to rally support to get to that number.
In a curious development, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., also sent a letter to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., urging a full vetting of all leadership candidates to avoid a repeat of 1998, when the conference selected then-Rep. Bob Livingston in November to succeed outgoing House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It then emerged Livingston had been conducting an affair. Jones asked that any candidate who has committed “misdeeds” withdraw.
Asked by FoxNews.com to elaborate, Jones said he doesn’t “know anything” specific about any of the candidates, but, “We need to be able to say without reservation that ‘I have nothing in my background that six months from now could be exposed to the detriment of the House of Representatives.'” He said he wants to make sure the candidates have “no skeletons.”
Walker’s campaign called a 6 p.m. news conference in Madison for an undisclosed topic.
The most recent poll after the last Republican debate had Walker down to 0 percent.
The New York Times was the first to report Walker was quitting the race. A Walker campaign representative did not return a request for comment from TheBlaze.
Walker has touted himself as the battle-tested conservative governor in a blue state who won three times in four years. He once led in Iowa and had polled well nationally, but neither of his debate performances were particularly strong.
Walker is the second candidate to drop out, leaving the still-crowded GOP presidential field with 15 candidates.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first to depart, but his exit was less surprising, as he never caught fire – in contrast to Walker, who until recently was polling in the top three.
Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010, promising to reign in the state’s pension system. He gained national fame in battling state-employee unions. The unions pushed a recall election in 2012, which Walker won, then went on to get re-elected handily in 2014.
Almost 50 percent of Florida voters say that former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio should end their respective bids for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a new poll.
A survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds that 47 percent of voters in the Sunshine State say Bush should drop out, while 40 percent say he should stick with it.
Forty-eight percent also say Rubio should drop out, while 42 percent say the senator, who has opted to run for president instead of seeking a second term in the Senate, should not drop out of the race.
A similar survey from the polling outfit released last week found that 78 percent of Republicans in South Carolina thought Sen. Lindsey Graham should end his 2016 GOP bid.
Bush and Rubio are thought to be top contenders for the GOP nomination, but are polling in single digits nationally behind billionaire businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
In the latest poll of Florida, which holds its primaries in mid-March, Trump is supported by 28 percent of GOP primary voters, followed by Carson (17 percent), Bush (13 percent) and Rubio (10 percent).
On the Democratic side, the latest PPP poll finds continued support for front-runner Hillary Clinton, who takes 55 percent support in the state despite struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Clinton is followed in Florida by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Vt.) at 18 percent and Vice President Joe Biden, who is still considering jumping into the presidential race, at 17 percent.
Trump and Clinton’s front-runner statuses were also seen in a Gravis Marketing poll also released on Monday.
The PPP survey of 814 Florida voters was conducted Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 via phone and the Internet with a margin of error of 3.4 points, while the margin of error for the 377 GOP and 368 Democratic primary voters is 5.1 points.
With favorables improving, unfavorables decreasing and two-thirds of the electorate now believing Trump can win the nomination, the latest YouGov National Poll shows Donald Trump dominating the rest of the field.
This is the eighth consecutive regional and national poll with Jeb Bush in single digits; a devastating reality for the RNC/GOPe machine.
The debate this week will be their final opportunity to save Jeb – the pressure is astronomical, and you can guarantee Fiorina and Rubio will be called upon to deliver the goods and take out Trump.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t even need the debate. Full poll results here.
In years past, if you were a Republican seeking the GOP presidential nomination, the state of North Carolina wasn’t too high on your list of states to target. The Tar Heel primary has traditionally been held in May, at which point there already was (usually) a presumptive nominee. And, at least until 2008, the state was regarded as safely red for the general election.
This year, however, the low priority of North Carolina for challengers for the Republican nomination looks to be changing, as state legislators are putting the finishing touches on a plan to push the state’s presidential primary to March 15th:
North Carolina could become a key state by setting its primary date to March 15. Legislation – known as House Bill 373, or the 2016 Presidential Primary bill – would do just that. Last week, the state Senate passed the bill and sent it back to the House for concurrence.
Picking that date would allow North Carolina to be a winner-take-all state under new RNC selection rules:
In 2014, the RNC approved selection rules that govern how each state’s delegates are portioned out from the primaries. Under one of the changes, states holding their primaries between March 1 and March 14 will have their delegates doled out proportionately with election results, a change that will likely stymie a movement candidate.
States that have primaries on or after March 15 will be winner-take-all states.
Which in turn makes North Carolina’s primary a big deal, especially to candidates like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:
March is full of big primary states packed with delegates, but three of the biggest have hometown candidates that could take those states off the map: Ohio’s governor John Kasich just joined the race, Florida has Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and Texas has Rick Perry and Ted Cruz all claiming support back home.
That leaves North Carolina as the biggest primary prize in March: 72 delegates will be at stake in a winner-take-all contest
With this in mind, it isn’t a surprise to read reports of ‘behind the scenes’ attempts at maneuvering the state’s presidential primary by supporters from both the Walker and Paul camps:
Supporters of Scott Walker and Rand Paul have been jockeying behind the scenes for months to establish a North Carolina primary date that favors their preferred candidate. While Paul supporters weren’t banking on the Kentucky senator winning the state, they had hoped to make the state’s primary proportional, giving him a chance to nab some of its delegates.
Could Walker’s message resonate in North Carolina? To a certain extent it already has, considering he’s already gained supporters in the Tar Heel state thanks to victories against Democrats in Wisconsin on hot-button battles. The North Carolina Republican party has fought similar fights on issues like voter ID and unions:
North Carolina might seem an unusual cultural fit for the Wisconsin governor as he plots his nomination strategy, but Republicans in the state say his appeal is rooted in his tough-minded approach to the slashing the state budget in Madison.
The high-profile battles over union benefits and voter ID laws during Walker’s first term beginning in 2010 mirrored similar fights in North Carolina, and won Walker fans down south.
The most recent polling numbers show high-profile businessman/investor/TV personality Donald Trump currently leading in the state, but also have Walker within reach. It’s early on, though – still plenty of time between now and March 15, 2016 for all candidates to visit the state to try and make their mark.
That said, with supporters of Walker and the Trump camp now both trading barbs with each other, it may be time for GOP voters in North Carolina to fasten their seat belts – and grab the popcorn.
The following quotes were taken from the above-embedded speech by Senator Rand Paul in which he declared his candidacy for President of the United States. After each one, I have posted a response in the hopes that every Paulbot in America will take a few moments out of his or her busy day to write me some hate-mail.
RP: “We’ve come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.”
What political interests aren’t “special”? Which ones should we get rid of, and how? If I’m not mistaken, people have a constitutional right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Should we now amend the ‘Bill of Rights’ with respect to this issue?
RP: “If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat-light, what’s the point?”
There’s no more point in doing that than there is in nominating a Libertarian who calls himself a Republican in order to get GOP backing for an election.
RP: “Washington is horribly broken. I fear it can’t be fixed from within.”
If that’s true, then why are you running for president? After all, if change can only be made from without, why attempt to become the biggest insider there is?
RP: “Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything. Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.”
How are you going to convince Congressmen to do something that they could have done at any time in the past, but have consistently refused to do? Are you calling for a ‘Convention of the States’ for such a purpose? And if you could get Congress and/or the states to adopt a balanced budget amendment, would there be exceptions to it, such as during times of war?
RP: “We limit the president to two terms. It’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”
How do you propose we convince members of Congress to pass a law that makes them leave office and actually work for a living? Again, are you suggesting we implement a ‘Convention of the States’? If so, I’d support that. If not, then this proposition is as shallow as a mud puddle.
RP: “I want to reform Washington. I want common-sense rules that will break the logjam in Congress. That’s why I’ve introduced a ‘Read The Bills’ act.”
Is there currently something preventing Congressmen from reading the bills they vote on? Even if you could force them to read their bills, where is the guarantee that they’d understand them, or that doing so would cause them to vote differently than they otherwise would?
RP: “Work is not punishment, work is the reward.”
No, work is just another word for effort, and effort is not a reward, it is the means by which one reaps a reward. For instance, the satisfaction derived from accomplishing a goal is a reward for effort, as is the money exchanged for it in a free market. Rewards are the results of work, not the work itself.
RP: “My plan involves economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, west Louisville, eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there.”
How? Are you proposing that we create special tax rates for people in failing cities by modifying our already monstrously complex tax code? If not, then what do you suggest? And who gets to determine which areas of the country are worthy of such distinct consideration, and which aren’t?
RP: “Conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution. Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.”
What if we have no choice but to go to war with a country filled with radical Islamists? Do we just leave it in ruins afterward, creating a power vacuum for any lunatic to fill? Contrary to popular belief, America has never lost a war. However, in modern times it has often lost the ensuant peace. (e.g. Vietnam, Iraq)
RP: “We brought Iran to the table through sanctions that I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I’ve co-sponsored legislation that ensures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress. Not only is that good policy, it’s the law.”
If it’s already the law, why are you co-sponsoring a bill of identical effect? Wouldn’t your time in Congress be better spent supporting legislation that isn’t redundant?
RP: “Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home.”
That may be an effective bumper-sticker line for a presidential campaign, but if my memory hasn’t completely failed me, back in 2009, Congress passed an $831B “stimulus” bill called the ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ for just such domestic purposes. And yet, our infrastructure is in worse shape now than it’s ever been. So tell me, how is not spending a few million dollars in Iraq or Afghanistan going to help us build bridges in America, when the billions we’ve supposedly allocated for that purpose aren’t actually being used to build bridges?
RP: “It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting ‘death to America’ in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid. I say, it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America.”
What if the penny you mentioned is one of many being used to stop Muslim extremists from overrunning U.S.-friendly governments – like the one headed by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s? Should we provide “aid” money to a bad government that’s at least willing to play ball with us on the international stage, or would you rather let it be replaced by a worse one that will cost us far more in treasure and blood down the road?
RP: “I say that your phone records are yours.”
Not if the records in question belong to your service provider. Which records are you referring to, exactly?
RP: “The president created this vast dragnet by executive order, and as president, on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”
To which executive order do you refer? For that matter, which president? And how are you going to end said surveillance… by executive order? Tell me, is the NSA’s collection of metadata identical to the general warrants of search and seizure rejected by our founding fathers? I don’t believe so.
As Charles Krauthammer wrote in 2013: Thirty-five years ago in United States v. Choate, the courts ruled that the Postal Service may record “mail cover,” i.e., what’s written on the outside of an envelope – the addresses of sender and receiver. The National Security Agency’s recording of U.S. phone data does basically that with the telephone. It records who is calling whom – the outside of the envelope, as it were. The content of the conversation, however, is like the letter inside the envelope. It may not be opened without a court order. The constitutional basis for this is simple: The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for what’s written on an envelope. It’s dropped in a public mailbox, read by workers at the collection center and read once again by the letter carrier. It’s already openly been shared, much as your phone records are shared with, recorded by, and (e-)mailed back to you by a third party, namely the phone company. Indeed, in 1979 the Supreme Court (Smith v. Maryland) made the point directly regarding the telephone: The expectation of privacy applies to the content of a call, not its record. There is therefore nothing constitutionally offensive about the newly revealed NSA data-mining program that seeks to identify terrorist networks through telephone-log pattern recognition.
RP: “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally, and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.”
The enforcement of most violent-crime laws leads to a disproportionate incarceration rate among “people of color”. Should we suddenly decriminalize armed robbery and murder because a higher percentage – per capita – of non-whites are convicted of those crimes than whites?
Dear Rand Paul supporters,
I get why you like the good doctor. He seems like a man of integrity who keeps to his word and champions the cause of liberty in a way that few of his contemporaries do.
Good for him.
The downside to many of his policy viewpoints, however, is that he really hasn’t thought them through. They won’t work – despite his noble intentions – because ideology must be tempered with pragmatism, or else it is counterproductive.
Edward L. Daley
The Associated Press called the Alaska Senate race early Wednesday for Dan Sullivan, the Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
The decision came in the early morning hours on the East Coast, after election workers counted about 20,000 absentee ballots. An unknown number of ballots remain, but Sullivan’s lead of some 8,100 votes was little changed after that significant chunk of votes was counted, the AP stated.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve my fellow Alaskans in the United States Senate,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Our campaign was about opportunity — because I truly believe that there is nothing that is wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with Alaska.”
The AP reported that Begich is not conceding, as thousands of ballots are uncounted.
The victory means Republicans have picked up eight Senate seats. A win in Louisiana, which will hold a runoff on Dec. 6, would give Republicans 54 seats in the new Congress.
The Obama administration quietly has been forcing new gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity, a policy change that critics say provides little law enforcement value while creating the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling.
With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 – the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm – to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.
The amendment is causing a headache for gun retailers, as each box needs to be checked off or else it’s an ATF violation – severe enough for the government to shut a business down. Many times people skip over the Hispanic/Latino box and only check their race, or vice versa – both of which are federal errors that can be held against the dealer.
Requiring the race and ethnic information of gun buyers is not required by federal law and provides little law enforcement value, legal experts say. And gun industry officials worry about how the information is being used and whether it constitutes an unnecessary intrusion on privacy.
“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”
ATF said the change came about because it needed to update its forms to comply with an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reporting standard put into effect during the Clinton administration. The ATF declined to comment on why race and ethnicity information are needed in the first place or what they are used for. On its prior 4473 forms, the bureau had been collecting race data.
“OMB’s race and ethnicity standards require agencies to ask both race and ethnicity in a specific manner (as done on [Form 4473]), and agencies may not ask for one without asking for the other,” wrote Elizabeth Gosselin, a spokeswoman for the ATF, in an emailed response to The Washington Times. She did not say why the agency suddenly made the change in response to a rule that was more than a decade old.
For ATF to ask for a purchaser’s race and ethnicity is not specifically authorized under federal statute, and since a government-issued photo ID – like a driver’s license – and a background check are already required by law to purchase a gun, the ethnicity/race boxes aren’t there for identification reasons, Mr. Nappen said.
“There is nothing [in ATF or OMB’s website links addressing the change in policy] that supports the requirement that ATF collect race-based information. The OMB guidance merely describes what categories of race should look like if information is collected,” Laura Murphy, the American Civil Liberties Union director for legislative affairs in Washington, said in an emailed statement.
In addition, Mrs. Murphy notes, the OMB guidance was supposed to be implemented by 2003; there’s no information given why ATF decided to make this change almost a decade later, she said.
“If there is a civil rights enforcement reason for the ATF to collect this data, I have not heard that explanation from ATF or any other federal agency,” said Mrs. Murphy.
Both the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza – the nation’s largest national Hispanic civil rights group – declined comment.
Access to the form
The 4473 form is supposed to be kept in a gun retailer’s possession at all times — allowing ATF agents to inspect the form only during the course of a criminal investigation or during a random audit of the dealer. The form is to be kept out of the hands of the government, hence the distinction between “sales/transaction form” and “registration form.” But that isn’t always the case, gun rights advocates say.
“We’ve been contacted by several dealers saying ATF is or has been making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms, and it’s just not legal,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a gun advocacy group. “If this is what they’re doing somewhat out in the open, what’s going on behind closed doors? Are these names and demographic information getting phoned [in and] punched into a government computer? Do they ever come out?”
During the time ATF revised its 4473 form to include Hispanic or Latino as an ethnicity, the Obama administration was building gun control cases by saying U.S. firearms dealers were supplying Mexican gangs with weapons and that violence related to the sales was seeping across the border.
In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico City and gave a speech against American gun stores and owners – blaming them for the drug cartels’ violence. Mrs. Clinton subsequently told CBS News that “90 percent” of the “guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and military” actually “come from America.”
About a week later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made the same points at a gun trafficking conference outside of Mexico City. In April, the president himself flew down to Mexico to inform President Felipe Calderon that Mr. Holder was going to review U.S. law enforcement operations, according to a 2011 report by the American Thinker.
This political worldview may have fueled decision-making at ATF, Mr. Nappen suggests. Around the same time that ATF started specifying “Latino/Hispanic” on their U.S. purchasing forms, they also required border firearms dealers in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico to start reporting multiple rifle sales.
In 2012, when ATF made the Form 4473 modification, they insisted their new reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales in those border states had led to “follow-up investigations involving transactions that might indicate firearms trafficking activities.”
“Was it coincidental [that] about the time the form changed the requirements came in that border states had to report multiple rifle sales, and there was a push in the antigun movement to claim American guns were arming Mexican cartels south of the border?” asked Mr. Nappen.
Although gun advocates speculate on the reasoning behind changing the form, on one thing they are clear: Requiring ethnicity and race to purchase a gun is a clear government overstep, violating Second Amendment rights.
“It’s an overreach, not authorized by Congress, taken upon [by ATF] unilaterally,” said Mr. Pratt. “The president has said his biggest frustration has been not getting gun control enacted – but we can see he’s been very active with his phone and his pen. And this certainly – either intentionally or unintentionally – feeds that notion.”
Police in Cleveland, Ohio are investigating what they suspect may be a hate crime after a 13 year-old girl attacked a 10 year-old.
The teenage attacker is black; the 10 year-old is white.
A YouTube video shows the camera was rolling before the attack, suggesting that it might have been planned. The attacker is seen looking back at the camera before springing towards the 10 year-old, who was riding by on a scooter.
A narrator behind the camera is then heard calling for an end to the beating, saying “Alright,” and then the name of the attacking girl.
Witnesses to the beating said that the 13 year-old called her younger victim a “cracker,” according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Other neighbors corroborated that the girl has hurled the slur at her children as well, according to a 19 Action News telecast.
“The little girl next door taunts my daughters too,” said a neighbor of the 13 year-old attacker. “She tells them she doesn’t like them because they’re white.”
“Nobody was waiting,” a woman at the attacker’s home told 19 Action News. “I don’t have to talk to you. It’ll all come out in court.”
Republican Scott Wagner pulled off a stunning victory in Tuesday’s special election and made history in the process by becoming the first person ever to win a state Senate seat as a write-in candidate.
Taking advantage of a low voter turnout and a well-financed campaign that got his name in front of voters along highways, at major intersections, on TV and in mailboxes, Wagner waltzed past his party-endorsed opponents – Republican Ron Miller and Democrat Linda Small – to clinch a victory.
He will serve as the state senator representing the 28th District through Nov. 30, allowing Republicans to maintain their 27 to 23 majority in the chamber. The seat is up for election for a four-year term later this year.
York County’s unofficial vote totals show Wagner capturing 48 percent of the vote. Democrat Linda Small received 26 percent and GOP-endorsed candidate Ron Miller got 27 percent.
Turnout for this special election was dismal. Only 14 percent of the 163,617 registered voters in the senatorial district showed up at the polls to cast a ballot in the special election to identify a successor for longtime senator Mike Waugh, who resigned in January to become executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.
York County Director of Elections Nikki Suchanic ventured a guess that part of the reason for the low turnout was the change in the senatorial district boundaries that occurred since the last time that seat was up for election.
That left some people unaware they were eligible to vote, and others who turned out to vote but couldn’t because they no longer lived in the 28th District.
Regardless, the votes that were cast gave Wagner, 58, of Spring Garden Twp., a resounding victory in a race that got exceedingly nasty toward the end.
Ads that were run cast Wagner as a bully and his trash hauling company, York-based Penn Waste, an environmental violator. Wagner responded with his own negative attack ad against on Miller and in recent days, Small too.
The attacks against him angered Wagner. He was astonished that his business-friendly Republican Party would go after a job creator like himself.
Those ads were funded by the Senate Republicans, the ranks of whom Wagner will now join.
On Tuesday evening, Wagner shrugged off those barbs at his victory party in a room inside in an empty Santander Stadium. He said he plans to try to work with his Senate colleagues.
“You sit down at the table. You drink a cup of coffee or you have lunch in somebody’s office and you have to learn a little bit of their story, and they have to learn a little bit of my story,” Wagner said.
“But what I’m all about is more representative of what’s reality on the street,” he added. “I didn’t get where I am today by not sitting down” with people.
State GOP Chairman Rob Gleason issued a statement Tuesday evening congratulating Wagner on his victory and commending Miller for running a great race.
“Scott Wagner won a hard-fought race, and I am sure he will serve as a strong advocate for the people of the 28th District in the Senate,” Gleason said. As for Miller, he said, “I look forward to watching him continue to stand up for the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility in the state House.”
Wagner, who also owns a KBS Trucking in Thomasville, comes to the Senate planning to be a maverick by not accepting a taxpayer-funded pension or health insurance, limiting himself to two terms, limiting his contacts with special interests, and working to downsize state government.
He supports eliminating school property taxes and replacing that lost revenue by imposing sales tax on food and clothing. He supports job training for welfare recipients. He also supports legalizing medical marijuana.
Throughout his campaign, Wagner was critical of the Senate Republican leadership and state Republican Party for orchestrating the special election in such a way to hand the seat, vacated by Mike Waugh in January, to Miller, which GOP leaders denied.
Miller, 62, of Jacobus, called Wagner shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday to congratulate him on becoming his next senator.
At a gathering at York County GOP headquarters, Miller said he respected the will of the voters and planned on returning to Harrisburg on Wednesday to carry out his duties as the 93rd state House district representative for the remainder of this year. He is not seeking re-election to his House seat that he has held for 16 years.
Meanwhile, Small, 53, of New Freedom, won kudos from state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burns for running a spirited campaign that made her party proud. “The people of this commonwealth would have been well served with her leadership in Harrisburg,” Burns said.
Wagner said during a campaign stop last week that he plans to move right into campaign mode immediately after the special election to gear up for the May 20 primary when he will stand for election again against Miller and political newcomer Zachary Hearn, 37, of Windsor Twp., for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat. Small is unopposed in her bid for the Democratic nomination in the spring primary.
It would be immensely satisfying to watch Abbott crush Davis.
Via Texas Tribune:
After what are shaping up to be easy primary wins in March for the leading gubernatorial candidates, Republican Greg Abbott starts the general election race for governor with an 11-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
Meanwhile, several statewide races on the Republican primary ballot – for lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller – appear headed for May runoffs. None of the leaders in those races looks close to the 50 percent support they would need to win next month’s primary outright.
In the governor’s race, Abbott would beat Davis 47 percent to 36 percent in a general election held today, with 17 percent of registered voters saying they have not made up their minds about which candidate to support, according to the poll.
“We’ve been talking since the beginning of this race about whether anything would be different, and we’re not seeing anything that’s different,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “There was some talk about how Davis had done better in our last poll, and that was partially an artifact of her rise in the fall, and we’re seeing something of a reassertion of the normal pattern.”
In the October survey, Davis’ announcement and sudden political celebrity cut the Republican’s lead over her to 6 percentage points. Now, the distance between the two has widened a bit.