Tag Archives: Iowa

Outside Spending Floods Judicial Elections at Record Levels

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. ...

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Special-interest groups and political parties spent an unprecedented $24.1 million on television ads and election materials in state court races in 2011-2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Justice at Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

The report, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12: How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts, provides a comprehensive look at 2011-2012 state Supreme Court elections. In the first election cycle since Citizens United, independent spending helped fuel the costliest election cycle for TV spending in judicial election history and posed new threats to fair and impartial justice.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Non-candidate groups (including political parties) pumped in 43% of all funds spent on state high court elections, compared to 22% in the last presidential election cycle. Super PACs and other outside groups funneled big spending into some state judicial elections for the first time.
  • 35% of all funds spent on state high court races came from ten deep-pocketed special interest groups and political parties, compared to 21%, coming from the top ten “super spenders” in 2007-08.
  • A record $33.7 million was spent on Supreme Court campaign TV ads, far exceeding the previous record of $26.6 million in 2007-08. Negative TV ads aired in at least ten states.
  • National politics invaded judicial races in 2011-12. In Iowa, TV ads referenced marriage equality; in Florida, the federal Affordable Care Act; and in Wisconsin, collective bargaining rights.

The report also found legislative attacks on merit-based systems for judge selection, including anti-retention campaigns in Florida and Iowa. Florida experienced record spending by all sides when three state Supreme Court justices stood for retention. On Election Day 2012, however, voters retained the three Florida justices and a challenged justice in Iowa. Voters also rejected ballot measures in three states to give politicians more power over the courts.

The report warns of future attacks on reforms designed to protect fair courts and harmful spending trends. According to the report, “Perhaps most disturbing of all, … is that while independent spending on state court races ballooned in 2011–12, it still has room to grow. …[F]uture years may see an even greater expansion in independent spending by interest groups and parties in judicial elections.”

The New Politics of Judicial Elections reports, produced biennially, have monitored election spending and other threats to the impartiality of state courts since 2000.

Read the New Politics report here.

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Santorum Says “the Middle Class” is Marxist; Doesn’t Know What Marxism Is

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have bad news for the 88% or so of Americans who think they’re middle class: Rick Santorum thinks you’re Marxists.

The former Senator and noted neologism stopped by a gathering in Lynn County, Iowa to warn Republicans there of the dangers of talking about the middle class. (Note: I had a tough time getting the video to embed, so click to view it.)

“Since when in America do we have classes?” he demanded. “That’s Marxism talk!”

“There’s no class in America!” he bellowed.

Santorum does not believe in classes. He wants a classless society. You know, like that guy.

Oh, what was his name?

Oh yeah. Karl Marx.

So we need to stop all being Marxists by being Marxists. Got it. Perfect. Piece of cake.

You know, I think this might be one of those times when “Marxist” might not mean what Santorum thinks it means. It’s almost like the Republican economic position is all made up of talking points and very, very little knowledge.

Via Death and Taxes.


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Pop Five: Memorable Moments from the South Carolina Republican Debate

English: Former U.S. Representative and Speake...

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5. Newt Gingrich’s pitch to parents.

GINGRICH: Why is President Obama for young people being allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26? Because he can’t get any jobs for them to go out and buy their own insurance. I mean I have — I have an offer — I have an offer to the parents of America: Elect us, and your kids will be able to move out because they’ll have work.

4. Mitt Romney’s 25 more votes from Iowa.

Moderator John KING on the question “If there’s one thing, just one thing in this campaign you could do over, what would it be?”: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Well, I would have worked to get twenty-five more votes in Iowa, that’s for sure.

3. Mr. Gingrich’s grandiose ideas.

GINGRICH: I think grandiose thoughts. This is a grandiose country of big people doing big things, and we need leadership prepared to take on big projects.

2. Mr. Romney’s tax return (non) answer.

KING: Back in 1967, your father set a groundbreaking — what was then a groundbreaking standard in American politics. He released his tax return. He released them for not one year, but for twelve years, and when he did that, he said this: “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.” When you release yours? Will you follow your father’s example?

ROMNEY: Maybe. You know, I don’t know how many years I’ll release. I’ll take a look at what the — what our documents are and I’ll release multiple years. I don’t know how many years, and — but I’ll be happy to do that. Let me tell you, I know there are some who are very anxious to see if they can’t make it more difficult for a campaign to be successful. I know the Democrats want to go after the fact that I’ve been successful. I — I’m not going to apologize for being successful.

1. Mr. Gingrich’s media critique opener.

KING, on Mr. Gingrich’s ex-wife Marianne’s interview with ABC: Would you like to take some time to respond to that?

GINGRICH: No, but I will. I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a Presidential debate on a topic like that.

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Santorum Officially Declared Winner in Iowa

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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The Iowa Republican Party officially declared Rick Santorum the winner of the Iowa caucuses late Friday.

Initial returns gave Mitt Romney a eight-vote margin of victory over Mr. Santorum, giving the former Massachusetts governor a boost heading into the New Hampshire primary.

However, a recount later gave Santorum a thirty-four-vote advantage over Romney in Iowa. The news comes as voters head to the polls Saturday for the South Carolina primary.

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Mitt “I Won by 8” Romney Says Rick Santorum’s 34-Vote Lead Is a “Tie”

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said today that a new tally from the Iowa caucus resulted in a “virtual tie” between him and Rick Santorum.

His statement came after the Des Moines Register reported that Mr. Santorum wound up with a thirty-four-vote advantage over Romney, though the paper said results had “too many holes” in the certified totals to know the victor for certain.

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Huntsman Throws Support to Romney

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Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman today announced he is suspending his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination and will endorse front-runner Mitt Romney.

While Mr. Huntsman hasn’t had much support in conservative South Carolina, which holds its primary Saturday, his decision to pull out could give a cushion of votes for Mr. Romney, who is facing competition there from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Romney, bolstered by a huge war chest and a wave of momentum after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, is hoping for a knockout blow if he finishes first in the Palmetto State. South Carolina has picked the winner of every GOP Presidential nomination since 1980.

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Schultz: Romney is a “Job Cremator”

English: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman...

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In an interview with Talking Points Memo, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz pushed back against any pronouncements of Romney’s inevitable nomination.

“I would not put the cart before the horse and define him as an unambiguous frontrunner,” chair Schultz said in an interview in Manchester. “He’s coming off what at some point probably wont even be defined as a win in Iowa where fewer voters came out for him than came out in 2008.” She added that anything less than 50% in New Hampshire should be interpreted as a sign of weakness given his close ties to the state.

As polls show Mr. Romney threatening to secure the nomination, Democrats are unveiling campaigns to redefine his business experience. Party officials have held events in Iowa and New Hampshire with Randy Johnson, a worker who was laid off from his job at American Pad and Paper under Bain Capital’s management in the 1990s. Bain’s layoffs under Mr. Romney will be a critical part of their election strategy should he win the nomination. Mr. Romney says his opponents are cherry-picking his failures and ignoring success stories, but his campaign has been unable to substantiate its claims that he created jobs. Critics note that even Bain’s failures created a profit for Romney and his investors through consulting fees and dividends.

Mitt Romney, I think, is more of a job cremator than a job creator,” Schultz said. She added: “He was a corporate buyout specialist at Bain Capital. He dismantled companies. He cut jobs. He forced companies into bankruptcy and he outsourced jobs and sent jobs overseas. That’s not a record to write home about, that’s not a record to be proud of, and it’s something voters need to know.”

Via TPM.

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