Yesterday, we brought you our quarterly House fundraising roundup, in which we gathered up fundraising numbers for some 370-odd candidates in all the key congressional races around the country. Today we're crunching some of those numbers to take a look at which challengers outraised incumbents, and which have more cash-on-hand than the members of Congress they're trying to unseat. First up, the challengers who beat their opponents in the second quarter of the year (all numbers in thousands). You can click column headers to sort:
As you can see, the list of high-performing challengers is mostly populated by Democrats, but that makes sense, since there are more vulnerable Republicans up for re-election this year than the reverse. Next up is the even more elite crew of challengers who have banked more cash than the incumbents they're facing ("CoH" = cash-on-hand):
Finally, we've conducted similar analyses for the nine remaining incumbent-vs.-incumbent matchups, seven of which are primaries and two of which are general-election fights between one Democrat and one Republican. Head below the fold for our charts.
Jackie Gill was a full-time temporary professor at Tarrant County College who was told that she would be hired permanently if she successfully completed her one-year contract. Despite receiving high praise from colleagues, superiors, parents, and teachers, she was subjected to a lecture about how “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals.” Gill had also been accused of “flirting” with female students by a high school student in one of her classes who cheated by stealing an exam, but there was always another professor in the room who could easily debunk the claim. Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf for workplace discrimination, which she has now settled with TCC.
Though TCC assumes no liability in the settlement, they will pay Gill more than $160,000 and provide her with a positive letter of recommendation. In March of last year ? when her suit was already underway ? the university also passed an anti-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation, though it claimed the change was unrelated to the legal proceedings.
Gill is relieved the case is over:
GILL: It was important for me to bring this challenge, but I’m also happy it’s settled. I’m also pleased to know that there is now a written policy in place at TCC that hopefully will not allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else. [...] It’s been extremely difficult. There’s certainly been more than one occasion when I’ve cried. I think they fully expected me to just walk away. You can’t do that because then nothing ever changes.
Since leaving TCC, she has sought work at middle and high schools, and has also applied for numerous positions back at TCC. Despite the suit, she said she would like to be hired back.
To hear conservatives tell it, the 2009 Recovery Act (known as the stimulus) was a failure. However, that is not the view of independent analysts, who credit the stimulus with saving or creating millions of jobs.
– ARRA grants helped to stabilize school districts? budgets at a time of shortfalls in state and local funding. In roughly 52% of school districts with funding decreases for 2009-10, State Fiscal Stabilization Fund grants compensated for a majority of the decrease; in another 45% of these districts, SFSF money compensated for at least a portion of the decrease.
– ARRA saved educators? jobs and reduced funding shortfalls in K-12 education. In 2010, approximately 69% of districts reported that they used SFSF funds to save or create jobs for teachers and other school personnel. In 2011, 31 of 35 states surveyed reported that ARRA and Education Jobs funds saved teaching jobs, and 27 reported that these funds saved other district and school-level jobs. In addition, the majority of districts receiving ARRA supplemental funds for the Title I and IDEA programs reported using at least some of those funds to save or create jobs.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped the economy from bleeding education jobs anyway. Last year alone, local governments cut 130,000 teaching jobs. In the last three years, government have shed more than 300,000 teaching jobs, as this chart shows:
And, as recent research confirmed, public sector job cuts ripple through the economy, taking private sector jobs along with them.
A ThinkProgress study of the the Drudge Report reveals the popular internet aggregator has linked 184 times to InfoWars and World Net Daily, two sites that promote the internet’s worst conspiracy theories, since June 2011. By directing millions of visitors to these websites, Drudge is providing critical financial and reputational support to publications that argue 9/11 was an inside job, FEMA is building concentration camps and President Obama was not born in the United States.
Despite his support for paranoid conspiracy theorists, Drudge has received frequent praise from the media and political right. Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time Magazine and MSNBC, has called Drudge “the Walter Cronkite of his era,” advising “you can’t refresh Drudge too often.” Politico co-founder John Harris recently called Drudge Report’s influence on the political debate “a real achievement.” During this year’s campaign, Mitt Romney singled out Drudge as one of his favorite websites, and posted an online video of himself reading the Drudge Report on his iPad.
Drudge can provide 10% or more of total traffic to large media sites like NYPost.com, Boston.com and FoxNews.com, creating a powerful incentive for the mainstream media to overlook the unsavory side of his operation.
According to media sources regularly linked to by Drudge, a single link on the Drudge Report can easily drive 200,000 — and sometimes as many as 500,000 — pageviews to an article. Conservatively, Drudge drove over 30 million page views to World Net Daily and InfoWars in the last year. Since these sites derive their income from displaying advertisements and selling products to website visitors, Drudge is certainly an important, if not essential, source of income for conspiracy websites.
ThinkProgress conducted a detailed study of the Drudge Report over the last year. We found that, throughout the year, Drudge frequently and consistently linked to conspiracy sites:
The final count does not include Drudge’s 7 permanent links to WND columnists and 2 permanent links to Infowars. Here are brief summaries of just 5 of the stories Drudge linked to directly on conspiracy websites over the past year:
1. Obama secretly worked for the CIA in Pakistan. “Database reports from the National Student Clearinghouse have contradicted President Obama?s claim he attended Columbia University for two years…Swirling amid the black hole of information are a host of theories about Obama?s whereabouts ? particularly during the 1981-1982 school year ? including speculation he was working for the CIA in Pakistan.” [WND, 7/8/12]
2. Andrew Breitbart assassinated to prevent release of damaging information about Obama. “In a stunning coincidence, It appears Andrew Breitbart suffered his untimely death just hours before he was set to release damning video footage that could have sunk Barack Obama?s 2012 re-election campaign.” [InfoWars, 3/2/12; WND 3/1/12]
3. Conservative journalists will be ‘hunted down like dogs’ in an Obama second term. “World Net Daily editor and prominent Obama administration critic Joseph Farah revealed how his secluded property was buzzed by a spy drone ? part of what Farah fears is a ‘war’ being waged by the administration against its political adversaries…’ Look ? this is the first term ? if he?s re-elected it?s going to be war ? they will be at war ? we will be hunted down like dogs, keep that in mind, that?s what the stakes are,’ said Farah.” [InfoWars, 7/6/12]
4. Angelina Jolie should be arrested for war crimes. “The United Nations? history of war crimes and massacres is legendary, and just as Joseph Goebbels operated as a propaganda minister for the Nazis, Jolie, who is officially employed by the UN, is their mouthpiece.” [InfoWars, 3/11/12]
5. Bill Ayers family paid for Obama to attend school as a foriegn student. “Did former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers help finance Barack Obama?s Harvard education? Did Ayers? mother believe Obama was a foreign student?” [WND, 3/19/12]
The impact of Drudge’s support is reflected in public data from Quantcast measuring WND’s traffic. Typically, WND attracts around 100,000 people per day. Support from Drudge can spike traffic by a factor of 8 or more. WND’s heaviest traffic in 2012 came on March 1, when Drudge linked to three of their stories, including a screed entitled “Sheriff Joe’s posse: ‘Probable cause’ Obama certificate a fraud.”
Steven Perlberg and Angela Guo contributed reporting.
– Senate Democrats are digging in their heels on their promise not to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for the wealthy — but Republicans are also standing firm, poised to repeat their 2010 strategy of blocking tax cuts for the middle class if higher earners don?t also get a tax break.
– House GOPers haven’t given up on fighting against Obamacare, despite failing to repeal the law after over 30 attempts. Their new strategy: passing bill after bill to cut off funding for its major programs.
– The rising numbers of women competing in the Olympic games:
– Student debt has hit the middle aged, with new data from the New York Fed reporting that many debtors over 40 are still paying off the balance on their college loans while their home values and savings have both recently declined.
– The American Family Association’s Brian Fischer calls Obama a “street thug” who is destroying the country for the pleasure of it:
– And finally: The new Batman film comes out this week, and Rush Limbaugh wants you to know it’s all an anti-Romney conspiracy.
By Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts
On Fox Business Network this Tuesday evening, Neil Cavuto argued that we should respond to the deadly heat wave that is gripping the nation by drilling for more oil:
It is hot and I’m bothered. Nothing like a heat wave to burn my energy butt. This country is roasting, screaming for energy and we’re still blocking so much energy. We’ve got no drilling, just spending more green on green that invariably comes up red.
In fact, U.S. oil production is at its highest level in a decade!
“Climate science is in shambles,” claimed fellow FBN anchor David Asman, who has compared climate scientists to Hitler. “In fact, it’s been cool for the past couple of years.”
“The longer this [heat wave] drags on, the more the issue of climate change will be raised,” moaned Cavuto.
“A very very shaky science is being used to formulate public policy.” concluded Asnan. “Thank you, David ‘Brainiac’ Asman,” replied Cavuto, before turning to a “Fox Body Alert” on swimsuit model Kate Upton.
On Anderson Cooper’s CNN show last night, Ellison responded to Bachmann’s latest salvo, saying her accusations were “simply scare-mongering” and compared her quest to root out Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators to Sen. Joe McCarthy’s infamous witch-hunt for Communist agents. Ellison went on::
COOPER: You asked for a full accounting of the evidence these members of Congress were using to make their claims. You got a 16- page letter back. Does their evidence hold up?
ELLISON: No, it’s 16 pages worth of nothing. It’s 16 pages worth of repeated false allegations. Just regurgitated nonsense. And, you know, it doesn’t — 16 pages doesn’t take nothing and turn it into something. It’s still nothing…
COOPER: Have you seen any evidence of “deep penetration” — that was the words that Congressman Bachmann used — “deep penetration” by the Muslim Brotherhood into the security apparatus of the United States?
ELLISON: No, it’s not true. It doesn’t exist. It’s a phantom.
Watch the whole interview here:
Cooper also related a statement from Abedin’s office responding to Bachmann’s allegations:
They are nothing but vicious and disgusting lies that have no place in reasonable political discourse. And anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves.
Bachmann denied the clearly implied charge that Abedin worked on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. But in her first letter to the State Department, she named Abedin’s torturous and distant family connections to the group and said, “Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.” She added, in the next sentence, that the Obama adminisrtation has “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”
Responding to Ellison, Bachmann denied she was accusing Abedin directly and said her concern was simply about the security clearance process. She wrote that family members are already examined as “potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining security clearance, which undoubtably Ms. Abedin had to obtain to function in her position.” In other words, the process she’s concerned about is already in place, but not to her liking, leaving one with little else to assume but that she is indeed making sordid implications about Abedin. Ellison called this “the worst of guilt by association.”
Researchers in Canada found that high-profile prosecutions related to HIV nondisclosure can discourage some individuals from getting tested for HIV (17 percent) or discussing sexual practices with nurses and physicians (13.8 percent). This same group reported higher rates of unprotected penetrative anal intercourse and internal ejaculation with, on average, a higher number of different sexual partners. They also preferred anonymous HIV testing, which prevents public health officials from helping them contact past sexual partners if they test positive. Laws that prosecute individuals who don’t disclose their HIV status are supposed to help protect against the spread, but instead it may well be contributing to the virus’ spread by encouraging individuals to ignore their status so they have plausible deniability.
Our Guest Blogger is Billy Corriher, Associate Director of Research for Legal Progress.
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), two conservative scholars have come up with another legal argument for attacking healthcare reform. In a paper released Monday, Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon argue that an IRS regulation implementing the ACA?s tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies is ?illegal.?
The IRS rule provides credits and subsidies to those enrolled in new health insurance exchanges operated by the states or the federal government, but the scholars claim the ACA limits tax credits to those enrolled in state exchanges. Adler and Cannon argue that middle-class Americans enrolled in federal exchanges should not receive tax credits to help them afford health insurance.
If their argument was accepted by a court, governors would have the power to drastically undercut the ACA?s reforms. Some Republican governors have thus far refused to set up exchanges for their states. The federal government will step in to create exchanges in these states, but without subsidies and credits, the federal exchanges could be unworkable. The ACA?s preexisting condition rules and limits on setting premiums could lead to a rise in premiums, so the tax credits and subsidies are essential.
As it is, the Republican governors? intransigence amounts to nothing but grandstanding, but if this new argument prevails, the refusal to create state exchanges could leave citizens in those states without any affordable health insurance option. Some of the harshest critics of the ACA are Republican governors who preside over states with alarmingly high percentages of uninsured persons. As with the ACA?s Medicaid expansion, Republican governors seem to think they might score political points by passing up money from the federal government to help them expand health coverage.
If Republicans thwart the operation of health insurance exchanges, their constituents will pay the price. For example, 25 percent of citizens in Texas are uninsured, but Governor Rick Perry is leading the charge to resist Obamacare. If the argument from Adler and Cannon gains traction, Perry?s recalcitrance could mean that Texans, unlike citizens in states that set up exchanges, would not receive tax credits to help them pay for health insurance.
Adler and Cannon point out that the ACA only mentions state exchanges in the subsidies/credits provision of the bill. They argue this was an intentional choice — an attempt by the laws drafters to offer incentives for states to create their own exchanges — to provide subsidies/credits only for state and not federally managed exchanges. They acknowledge, however, that this argument would face high hurdles in a courtroom. It may be difficult to find a party with standing to bring a suit, and courts afford great deference to an agency?s interpretation of a statute that it implements.
The IRS said its rule is ?consistent with the language, purpose, and structure? of the ACA. The Obama administration agrees and notes that another provision of the bill requires both state and federal exchanges to report information on tax credits. When a statute is open to more than one interpretation, the Supreme Court instructs judges to defer to the agency?s interpretation, as long as it is plausible.
The omission of federal exchanges from the ACA?s credits/subsidies provision may have been an oversight. As Professor Abbe Gluck notes, ?This is a 2,000-page bill that was put together in extraordinarily messy circumstances.? The drafters of the ACA may have assumed that, given the generous financial incentives to do so, all states would set up their own exchanges. Those who drafted the bill could not have imagined the lengths to which Republicans would go to vilify healthcare reform. They did not foresee that states would drag their feet on exchanges, even though the ACA offers ?unlimited start-up funds.?
Loose translation of Mitt Romney's message to Republicans calling for him to release his tax returns: "Guys, trust me, if I release my returns it'll be even worse than it already is."
Oh, I think people in my party just say, "Look, this is a non-issue. Just release the returns and it will go away." My experience is that the Democratic Party these days has approached taxes in a very different way than in the past. Their opposition people look for anything they can find to distort, to twist, and to try and make negative.So:
The absurdity of Romney's position is pretty obvious.
First, if releasing his returns would be a bigger problem than not releasing them, that doesn't say anything about the nature of the Democratic Party?it says something about what's in his returns. Democrats are going to attack Romney no matter what?that's just politics. But releasing his returns will only be a problem if there's something problematic in his returns.
Second, even if Romney's argument were right, it is a terrible one for him to make. It's one thing for a campaign staff to be so blatant about political calculations, but it really doesn't look good for a presidential candidate to make it himself. Romney is basically saying that he's putting his political best interests ahead of doing what's right. He might as well say he's running for office, for Pete's sake.
The only plausible scenario that I can imagine where Romney isn't spiraling out of control on this is that he's planning on releasing his returns soon, and his whining about Democratic opposition researchers is merely an attempt to condition his base to ignore whatever comes out from the documents. Perhaps he's calculating that a document dump followed a day or two later by a bold vice presidential pick could get him off the hook. If so, maybe he's right. But there's really no evidence that he's planning such a move. The one thing that is clear, though, is that the current situation isn't tenable. Something is going to have to give.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he heard from a Romney campaign source recently that the presumptive GOP nominee would release more information in the coming days.That's pretty vague, and if he just releases an additional year or two, it won't settle anything. President Obama has released 12 years of his returns. Romney's father did the same. Now it's Mitt's turn.
?I stand behind him regardless of what he decides to do on that,? said Lee.