Only 4 anti-Obamacare House Dems left for fall elections

FULL STORY FROM POLITICO

Thirty-four House Democrats bucked their party to vote against Obamacare when it passed in 2010. Today, only four of those lawmakers are still in office and running for reelection this fall.

The dramatic downsize underscores not only how consequential the health care law vote was but how quickly moderate Democrats have been eliminated on Capitol Hill. Even those who opposed the law had trouble surviving the highly partisan atmosphere it helped to create.

With the divide only more pronounced in 2014, the final four are trying to avoid a similar fate. Obamacare remains a volatile issue, and all still tout their “no” vote. Yet their vulnerability also reflects a more daunting and long-lasting problem for lawmakers who would occupy the middle ground.

 

Lawmakers scrutinize militarizing local police

FULL STORY FROM POLITICO

The practice of transferring military equipment to local police departments is coming under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers incensed over images emanating from Ferguson, Missouri.

The use of military-style weaponry in the St. Louis suburb, deployed in the wake of demonstrations over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparked stern condemnations from lawmakers in both parties this week. Now lawmakers say they are going to do something about it.

On Friday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the Senate will “review” the Defense Department program that allows military weaponry to trickle down to police departments small and large across the country. Congress’s “1033” program allows the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement, such as the armored vehicles seen on the streets of Ferguson as well as machine guns, magazines and grenade launchers.

POLITICO: The People’s Senate at 100

By LARRY J. SABATO

Americans love anniversaries. We commemorate the good ones—the Declaration of Independence and our triumphs in the 20th century’s two world wars, for example—and the bad ones, such as Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination and Sept. 11.

Yet there’s one anniversary that has recently been roundly ignored: the centennial of popular elections for the U.S. Senate. One of the great innovations of the Progressive movement, the 17th Amendment took the election of U.S. senators away from state legislatures in 1913, where it had resided since the Constitution became effective in 1789, and put power in the hands of the people—or rather, at the time, a slice of the people (mainly, white men age 21 and over).

The amendment, after ratification on April 8, 1913, went into countrywide effect with the midterm election of 1914, though the first Senate contest to take place under the new rules was a special election in Maryland in November 1913. (For you trivia buffs out there, the winner was Democrat Blair Lee.) Prior to the 17th Amendment, some states, such as Oregon, had actually begun to use some form of popular election—for instance, some mandated that their legislatures ratify the Senate choice made by voters at the polls—but only after 1914 did all states employ popular elections for senators. Of course, it took three election cycles—all the way to 1918—to make popular election universal, as only one-third of the Senate is elected in any given year.

Three New Congressional Members Join Main Street

Reps. Ellmers (R-NC), Benishek (R-MI) and Heck (R-NV) Join the Partnership

(Washington, DC) – This week, the Main Street Partnership – the largest organization of elected common-sense conservatives and centrists in the country – announced that Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) had joined the organization.

“We are honored to have these three incredibly distinguished public servants join Main Street,” said Sarah Chamberlain, COO and CFO of the organization. “At a time when opinion polls show how much faith Americans have lost in our institutions in Washington we need more leaders like this distinguished trio.”

“Main Street is dedicated to promoting and building a pragmatic, thoughtful, fiscally conservative, and inclusive ‘Governing Majority,’ where political debate is encouraged to promote solutions to improve the lives of all Americans,” continued Chamberlain.

“We look forward to continuing to fight for common-sense conservative solutions to the challenges we face as a country and look forward to continuing to grow this organization,” concluded Chamberlain.

# # #

The Main Street Partnership is dedicated to promoting and building a pragmatic, thoughtful, fiscally conservative, and inclusive “Governing Majority,” where political debate is encouraged to promote solutions to improve the lives of all Americans. Embracing the full spectrum of center-right ideologies and values in order to build coalitions, the Main Street Partnership is the largest organization of elected leaders who are in the mold of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. For more information on the Main Street Partnership, visit our website at http://republicanmainstreet.org.

LaTourette in POLITICO: “The grifting wing vs. the governing wing”

While the Tea Party is busy lining its pockets, the rest of the Republicans are actually trying to get things done.

Vocabulary.com defines a grifter as: A grifter is a con artist—someone who swindles people out of money through fraud. If there’s one type of person you don’t want to trust, it’s a grifter: Someone who cheats someone out of money.

Historically, grifters have taken many shapes. They were the snake-oil salesmen who rolled into town promising a magical, cure-all elixir at a price. The grifter was long gone by the time people discovered the magical elixir was no more magical than water. They were the sideshow con men offering fantastic prizes in games that were rigged so that no one could actually win them. They were the Ponzi scheme operators who got rich promising fantastically high investment returns but returning nothing for those sorry investors at the bottom of the pyramid.

Over the last few years we have seen the rise of a new grifter—the political grifter. And the most important battle being waged today isn’t the one about which party controls the House or the Senate, it’s about who controls the Republican Party: the grifting wing or the governing wing.

Today’s political grifters are a lot like the grifters of old—lining their pockets with the hard-earned money of working men and women be promising things in return that they know they can’t deliver.

Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington. My former House colleague Chris Chocola is pocketing a half-million dollars a year heading the Club for Growth; same for Matt Kibbe heading up FreedomWorks (and I don’t think Kibbe’s salary includes the infamous craft beer bar that FreedomWorks donors ended up paying for). The Tea Party Patriots pay their head, Jenny Beth Martin, almost as much. These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can “fix it.” Of course, in the ultimate con, the always extreme and often amateurish candidates these groups back either end up losing to Democrats or they come to Washington and actually make the process even more dysfunctional.

Full Story: POLITICO

Main Street Week in Review: August 1, 2014

Border Crisis Update

What was once considered must pass legislation – to deal with the crisis on the border with Mexico – is now in disarray in both chambers.  In the House, Republican leaders are hoping to take a second whack at passing an emergency border-funding package, after they suddenly backed off a planned vote Thursday afternoon amid discontent within their own ranks.

The legislation had been unlikely to advance in the Senate, and already had been ticketed for a presidential veto. But the decision to pull the $659 million measure represented a major embarrassment for Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team—especially for Rep. Steve Scalise. He does not officially become majority whip until Friday, but he and his new whip team had made this the first bill in which they had become actively engaged in vote-gathering.

After telling members the chamber was finished for the week, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy reversed course and said on the floor that it was still “possible” that there would be votes on the measures. House Republicans had a closed-door meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday and plan to have another gathering Friday at 9 a.m. to figure out the next steps and discuss legislative changes made by the leadership to lure conservatives.

The decision to pull the bill from consideration came despite a carrot extended to reluctant conservatives to back the spending bill in exchange for a second vote later Thursday on a GOP measure to rein in President Obama’s discretionary authority to defer deportations.

That is something that hard-liners, including Sen. Ted Cruz, have been insisting should be part of any border-crisis legislation, even though it is not directly related to the crisis.

But conservatives Thursday objected that language in the second bill, to freeze any expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, wasn’t tough enough.

To address the concerns, leaders are considering going back to an original version of the DACA bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. And Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said he and others are putting together their own proposed changes.

That bill as it stood Thursday would prohibit the administration, and any federal agency, from issuing any “guidance, memorandums, regulations, policies, or other similar instruments” to “newly authorize deferred action” for undocumented immigrants, or authorize them to work in the country.

If nothing else, the House passage of its own crisis funding bill was seen as giving House Republicans room to claim over the next weeks that they at least did something before their break to address the surge of tens of thousands of undocumented minors from Central America pouring into the U.S.—even if what was accomplished was a one-chamber bill.

But the measure is a far cry from the $3.7 billion request Obama gave to Congress earlier this month.

In the Senate, things are equally dysfunctional.  A $2.7 billion dollar bill to deal with the border crisis went down on a 50-44 procedural vote that required 60 votes to carry. The failure and the Senate’s impending departure for August recess, which leaves no time for Congress to resolve legislative differences, make it appear certain that President Obama will not see a dime of the supplemental funding for what both sides agree is a crisis of significant proportions.

Democrats cast the bill’s failure as an urgent mistake, and they predicted that without the supplemental funding the administration would have to move money from other government accounts to cover the cost of managing the border crisis.

The bill went down for a number of reasons, including Republican frustration that Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked amendments, but also because the GOP wanted to see significant policy changes in the law, including rolling back the president’s 2012 order to defer legal action against immigrant children, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The failure of the Senate bill means that the Senate will adjourn for the August recess without addressing the border crisis.

House Votes to Move Forward With Lawsuit Against the President

On Wednesday night, the GOP led House voted to proceed with a lawsuit to sue President Obama over executive actions related to the Affordable Care Act. The vote was split along party lines, with nearly all Republicans voting in favor of pursuing the lawsuit and all Democrats opposed.

This vote marks the first time either the House or Senate as an institution has brought a lawsuit against a president over enforcement of the law.

Now, it’s up to Speaker John Boehner and the House counsel for a “designation” of the action, meaning work will then begin with lawyers to finalize the language and legal direction of the lawsuit, deciding which arguments will have the best chances of success in court.

From there, a federal judge has to decide whether the House has legal standing in its case. For the House to be able to act as a plaintiff in the case, it has to prove that it has in some way been harmed by the defendant—in this case, the president. Constitutional experts—several of whom have been called this month to testify at a hearing for each side—gave their own conflicting views of whether Boehner’s planned litigation could pass basic legal muster.

Republicans have so far declined Democrats’ demands to speculate on the potential monetary costs of the suit.

The suit itself is based on the Obama administration’s decision to delay the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Although it may seem bizarre for John Boehner to push a lawsuit because of a delay in Obamacare, House Republicans are using this as an example of executive overreach. As they see it, Obama overstepped his authority by delaying the mandate without turning to Congress, and as such is not faithfully executing the law.

House and Senate Pass VA Reform Bill

Before leaving for the August recess, the House and Senate finally agreed to compromise legislation aimed at reforming the Veterans Affairs Department in the wake of the VA healthcare scandal.

The compromise legislation is a $17 billion bill that provides funds for veterans’ temporary access to private medical care, to allow the VA to hire more doctors and nurses and to open more outpatient clinics.  The bill will also give the VA additional authority to fire employees who are poor-performing.

The measure passed in the House by a margin of 420-5 and in the Senate by a margin of 91-3.

U.S. and EU Level New Sanctions Against Russia

This week, tensions between Russia and the west over the conflict in the Ukraine escalated as the U.S. and the European Union (EU) leveled new sanctions against Russia.  These new sanctions bar Russian state banks from raising money in Western capital markets and restrict the sales of arms and of equipment for the critical oil industry to Russia.  G7 leaders issued a joint statement on Wednesday warning Russia that it would face added economic sanctions if Moscow does not change course on its Ukraine policy.

In addition to the new sanctions, the European Commission announced the addition of 8 Russians and 3 Russian companies who will have their assets frozen as part of the sanctions against the country.

The companies named include Russian National Commercial Bank, which was the first Russian bank to go into Crimea after the region’s annexation by Russia. The other two firms are anti-aircraft weapons maker Almaz-Antey and airline Dobrolyot.

Leaders of the G7 – the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain – also issued a statement warning that Russia could face additional sanctions if they did not change de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and respect the country’s territorial sovereignty.

Highway Trust Fund Patch Headed to President’s Desk

A patch to the soon to be broke Highway Trust Fund is finally headed to President Obama’s desk, but not before a week of legislative maneuvering.  First the Senate acted this week.  By a vote of 71 to 26, the Senate voted for the Wyden-Hatch amendment that substitutes the pay-fors, swapping some of the money raised through pension smoothing for tax compliance instead.  The Senate also voted 66 to 31 to adopt the Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment to only patch the Trust Fund up until December.  This would set up another bite at the apple for proponents of a long-term fix in a potential lame duck session after the mid-term elections.

The House, on Thursday afternoon, voted to reject the Senate’s version of the Highway Trust Fund patch.  By a vote of 272-150, the House voted to send its $10.8 billion dollar patch, which extends the Trust Fund through May of next year, back to the Senate.

Late Thursday night, before the Senate recessed for August, the upper chamber finally gave-in in the legislative tug-of-war between the two Houses, and by a vote of 81-13 accepted the House-passed version of the Highway Trust Fund patch.

The bill now moves to President Obama’s desk where he is expected to sign it.

POLITICAL BITS

House

  • Michigan 3rd Congressional District:  Club for Growth Action reported spending a combined $138,000 on pro-Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and anti-Brian Ellis (R-MI) TV advertising ahead of the GOP primary.
  • Tennessee 4th Congressional District:  state Sen. Jim Tracy (R-TN) is airing a TV ad attacking Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) over a 2012 abortion scandal, saying it makes him “ineffective in Washington.”

Senate

  • Alaska:  Republican Dan Sullivan (R-AK) reportedly led Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), 45-40, according to a month-old survey from GOP pollster Basswood Research.
  • Arkansas:  Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) edged rival Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) by two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, in a survey by Democratic pollster Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.
  • Georgia:  In a huge unforced error, Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn (D-GA) accidentally posted a copy of her campaign plan online.  The plan said she “can come across as a ‘lightweight,’ ‘too liberal,’ not a ‘real Georgian.’ While she served as CEO for the Points of Light Foundation, the organization gave grants to ‘inmates’ and ‘terrorists.’ And her Senate campaign must feature images of her and her family ‘in rural settings with rural-oriented imagery’ because the Atlanta-based candidate will struggle to connect with rural voters.”
  • Kansas:  Physician Milton Wolf (R-KS) tried again Wednesday to debate Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) in advance of Tuesday’s primary election, this time confronting the three-term incumbent on a public sidewalk. But Roberts again declined the challenge.
  • Tennessee:  Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) internal polling continues to show him leading primary challenger Joe Carr (R-TN) by a wide margin, 53 percent to 24 percent.
  • West Virginia:  Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is running a 30-second tv ad attacking Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D-WV) for supporting Obama.

Governor

  • Illinois:  A new poll from the Democratic firm Harstad Strategic Research shows Republican Bruce Rauner (R-IL) narrowly ahead of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL), 46 percent to 42 percent among likely voters.
  • Ohio:  Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) leads Ed FitzGerald (D-OH) by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

A LOOK AHEAD – The House and Senate are Not in Session Next Week

Senate advances border bill

Full story: POLITICO

The Senate on Wednesday narrowly advanced an emergency funding measure to respond to the influx of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southern border that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

And that wasn’t even the hard part.

Despite the 63-33 vote, the $2.7 billion measure still faces significant barriers before it can win final passage in the Senate – let alone be reconciled with a drastically different bill that is emerging in the GOP-led House.

GOP senators who don’t support the Senate Democrats’ package – which also includes funding for wildfire aid and for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system – lent their votes for the procedural vote in hopes of amending the measure more to their liking.

“The folks in my state, particularly in the region of south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, are watching and waiting and hoping that Washington will act to resolve this ongoing crisis,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican who has pushed his own legislative fix to the crisis. “But we can’t act unless the majority leader allows us to act.”

Veterans Affairs Bill Nears Completion

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jeff Miller have reached a $15 billion agreement to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a draft of the agreement.

The legislation, which is set to be unveiled Monday afternoon, will give the VA secretary broad new authority to fire or demote senior officials accused of mismanagement and will create a system where veterans can seek private care if VA doctors are unable to treat the patients within 14 days.

The deal will allocate $5 billion to hire new doctors and nurses and removes bureaucratic barriers that slowed hiring so the VA can more quickly fill medical vacancies

The legislation must be approved by the House and Senate and time is running short before Congress goes on a five-week recess Friday. Last week, Miller said his goal is to send a bill to President Barack Obama for his signature before the August recess. If the Senate is able to clear procedural hurdles in time, aides are eyeing Thursday as a potential day to vote on the agreement.

Full story from POLITICO

Main Street Week in Review: July 25, 2014

TOP ISSUES FROM THIS WEEK:

House Republicans Look to Move Immigration Crisis Response Bill

A House Republican working group, headed by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), laid out a series of recommendations for legislation to deal with the current crisis on our southern border. These recommendations include:

  • Deploy the National Guard to the border to assist Border Patrol agents. Granger did not say exactly what the number of troops might be.
  • Require the Homeland Security Department to craft and implement a plan to “gain operational control” of the southwest border.
  • Address border-security issues in Central America and Mexico.
  • Create repatriation centers to help families and unaccompanied minors once they return to their home country.
  • Implement aggressive messaging campaigns—which are already underway in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These are aimed at exposing the dangers of the journey to the U.S. and dispelling the myth that children will be permitted to enter the country.
  • Process family units within five to seven days. Children should have a fast-tracked immigration-court hearing within seven days after a child welfare official’s screening. More judge teams and temporary judges would be added.
  • Establish an independent commission to craft metrics to show if initiatives to secure the border are working.
  • Create tough penalties for smugglers and disassemble transnational criminal organizations.

The most contentious recommendation would be a change to the 2008 anti-trafficking law prohibiting Central American children from voluntary removal.

Before even thinking about the future of this approach in the Senate, House Republican leaders must get through their own caucus and the GOP outline may not have the full backing of House Republicans. The scope of conservative opposition to the Granger plan isn’t yet fully known, but it is rooted in a narrative that has dictated GOP hostility to everything immigration-related that has been discussed during this Congress.

Financially speaking, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said $1.5 billion was the best estimate for emergency supplemental funding in the House, although the GOP conference hasn’t come to a consensus on this number.

But outside the GOP Conference, there’s a major financial discrepancy between the administration, the Senate, and the House on the amount of funding that should be appropriated. The White House called for $3.7 billion. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) unveiled legislation Wednesday calling for more than $2 billion, including $1.2 billion—the largest allocation in the request—for Health and Human Services so the agency can in part provide shelter for the children, according to a summary of the legislation released by the committee.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has sent multiple desperate warnings to lawmakers that, come mid-August, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will run out of money.

Without emergency supplemental funding, ICE will lack the resources to expand detention and removal capabilities for adults with children. HHS will lack the resources to create stable, more cost-effective arrangements for kids crossing the border. And children will wait longer to see an immigration judge.

Affordable Care Act May Be Headed to the Supreme Court (Again)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) appears on a crash course for the Supreme Court, again, after a pair of conflicting court rulings. Two federal Appeals Courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday in lawsuits that challenge the subsidies that the ACA provides to help people cover the cost of their premiums. One Appeals Court said the subsidies should be available only in states that set up their own insurance exchanges and ruled that the IRS broke the law by providing them nationwide. Hours later, another Appellate Court said the IRS did nothing wrong and the subsidies are legal everywhere.

The Justice Department lost the first of Tuesday’s cases, Halbig v. Burwell, in which a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals limited Obamacare’s subsidies to state-run exchanges.

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will appeal the panel’s ruling to the full D.C. Circuit Court. The full D.C. Circuit is dominated by Democratic appointees, so the Justice Department has a good chance of winning this appeal.

The administration won the day’s second case, King v. Sebelius, which was decided by a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The challengers who lost in King could also seek a review before the full 4th Circuit, but they would probably lose. (That court is also mostly made up of Democrats.) So they’ll probably skip that step and appeal straight to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is more likely to take a case when there’s a split between circuit courts, the situation the two conflicting rulings created Tuesday. That’s why the challengers are likely to appeal directly to the high court—the landscape right now is favorable to them.

But if the Justice Department wins its appeal in the Halbig case—which, again, is likely—there will no longer be a split between Appeals Courts, and the case could become less attractive to the Supreme Court justices. So it’s in the challengers’ interests to move quickly, before the full D.C. Circuit Court rules.

House Republicans Rush to Finish Work Before Recess

House Republicans are rushing to finish a number of legislative initiatives before the month-long August recess begins

At the very top of House Republicans to do list is a short-term spending bill aimed at keeping the government open and avoiding another politically damaging shut down. The current funding expires on October 1st and House GOP leaders are hoping to pass a short-term bill that will keep the government funded and operating at current levels beyond Election Day in November.

To date, the House has passed seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills, while the Democratic-led Senate has passed none. And despite all of the talk about a return to “regular order” earlier this year, there is little expectation that the two chambers will complete passage of the bills on time.

In addition to a short-term spending bill, House Republican leadership is hoping to hold a vote on their plan for dealing with the current immigration crisis on our southern border. This week, the House formally rolled out the “Granger Plan” that includes $1.5 billion in supplemental spending – far short of the $3.7 billion the President requested.

The House also hopes that negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Veterans Affairs Department reform legislation can be completed and that a vote on the final bill can be held next week.

Finally, the House plans on voting to formally authorize House Speaker John Bohener’s (R-OH) lawsuit against President Obama regarding his use of executive power.

President Obama Signs Non-Discrimination Executive Order

On Monday, President Obama signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT individuals by companies that contract with the federal government.

The federal government already prohibits discrimination against gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in its own work force, but the President had been under pressure from LGBT rights activists to extend that protection to include companies that do work for the federal government. Mr. Obama’s executive order also explicitly included gender identity – in addition to sexual orientation – specifically guaranteeing that transgender employees would also be protected from job discrimination.

In light of the controversial Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case there has been a renewed debate over the question of whether religious groups should be exempt from certain legislation that may be considered counter to their religious beliefs. President Obama declined to include any religious exemption in his executive order, but advocates for religious groups have promised to bring the action to court.

Obama’s executive order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories protected among federal contractors that was first approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

Senate to Vote Next Week on Highway Patch

The Senate is poised to take up the issue of the patch to the Highway Trust Fund next week – possibly as early as Tuesday. The Senate is expected to vote on the House passed bill and the Wyden-Hatch bill (which largely mirrors the House passed bill), as well as the Boxer-Carper bill (which would only extend funding to December of this year), in addition, the Senate is likely to consider the Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) proposal to cut the gas tax to 3.7 cents per gallon coupled with giving states enhanced authority over transportation projects. Finally, the Senate is expected to also consider a proposal from Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would waive the environmental review process for projects that are replacing infrastructure damaged in disasters.

POLITICAL BITS

House

 

Georgia 1st Congressional District: State Senator Buddy Carter (R-GA) defeated surgeon Bob Johnson (R-GA) 54-46%.

Georgia 10th Congressional District: Baptist Preacher Jody Hice (R-GA) defeated businessman Mike Collins (R-GA) 54-46%.

Georgia 11th Congressional District: Former Rep. Bob Barr’s (R-GA) comeback bid fell far short on Tuesday when he was defeated by former State Senator Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) by a margin of 66% to 34%.

Senate

Georgia: In something of a surprise to poll watchers and pundits, businessman David Perdue (R-GA) defeated Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) in the Senate GOP runoff. Perdue beat Kingston 51-49% despite polls showing Kingston with a 5-8 point lead.

Georgia: This week, Hall of Fame great Hank Aaron endorsed Michelle Nunn (D-GA).

Virginia: A new Roanoke College poll shows Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) with a wide lead over former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (R-VA). Warner leads 47-22%.

Governor

Florida: A new Quinnipiac poll shows former Governor Charlie Crist (D-FL) leading Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) 45% to 40%.

Maine: Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) raised $355,000 in the 2nd quarter and ended with just over $1 million cash on hand. Governor Paul LePage (R-ME) raised $234,000 and has $917,000 cash on hand, while Eliot Cutler (I-ME) raised $181,000 from individual donors, loaned himself another $581,000 and has roughly $527,000 cash on hand.

South Carolina: A new Palmetto Politics polls shows Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) in a tight race with State Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-SC). Haley leads 46% to 42% when respondents are asked about all candidates on the ballot. However, in a head to head with Sheheen, Haley leads by a comfortable 53-40%.

The Hill: GOP plans Guard troops to border

House Republicans are considering a plan that would deploy the National Guard to the border, change trafficking laws and beef up judicial and law enforcement resources in response to the surge of child migrants into the United States.

A GOP working group on border issues briefed members Wednesday on their policy recommendations for the emergency funding bill, which lawmakers are scrambling to finish before they leave town for a five-week summer recess.

Republicans were adamant that policy changes must be part of the spending package, setting up a standoff with Democrats who have declared them a non-starter.

“What the president’s asking for is a blank check,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Without trying to fix the problem, I don’t know how we’re in the position to give the president any more money.”