The Magnolia State
Rick Santorum continued to poke holes in Mitt Romney’s aura of inevitability by following up his victory in the Alabama primary with a win in the Mississippi primary tonight. Though Mr. Romney still has a large lead in the overall delegate count, a win tonight would have gone a long way toward cementing his status as the clear frontrunner. Mr. Santorum’s wins in more conservative states are prolonging the race for the Republican nomination and fueling the perception Mr. Romney has issues connecting with important elements of the Republican base. Despite his losses in the South, Mr. Romney is expected to win tonight’s caucuses in American Samoa and Hawaii, though those results won’t be official until much later due to the time difference.
President Barack Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, released a statement in response to Mitt Romney’s statement today he’d “get rid of” Planned Parenthood as part of his efforts to reduce the debt. Ms. Cutter said Mr. Romney’s pro-life positions prove “American women cannot trust Mitt Romney to stand up for them.”
“Mitt Romney’s comments today that he would ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood show how low he is willing to go to pander to the most extreme elements of the Republican base,” Ms. Cutter said. “Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. Even more offensive is that he would justify on fiscal grounds the elimination of Planned Parenthood, which represents 0.01% of the federal budget, even as he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.”
The Yellowhammer State
Rick Santorum won the Alabama primary tonight. NBC News declared Mr. Santorum the winner a little less than one hour after polls closed. Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the nomination, still holds a strong delegate lead, but he has had trouble winning primaries in the Southern states.
Much Ado About Abortion
Mitt Romney said he’d “get rid” of Planned Parenthood during a campaign stop in Kirkwood, Missouri today. Mr. Romney made his remarks during an interview with local news station KSDK when he was suggesting programs he would cut as part of his plan to reduce the debt.
“The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities,” Mr. Romney said.
What You Should Know
State Senator Ruben Diaz sent out one of his regular “What You Should Know” press releases to address the arrest of his campaign aide Clement Gardner for allegedly embezzling $75,000 from a charity founded by Mr. Diaz. Mr. Gardner’s arrest came after an FBI investigation into the charity, the Christian Community Benevolent Association. Mr. Diaz vehemently denied being involved in any wrongdoing.
“I assure you that if I ever lose my salvation, it will not be for taking money because I am in the business of giving not in the business of taking,” he wrote.
The campaign of David Storobin, the Republican candidate in the special election to replace Carl Kruger in the State Senate, announced this evening they are pursuing a federal elections complaint against Russian-language media force Gregory Davidzon, a key supporter of Mr. Storobin’s Democratic opponent, Councilman Lew Fidler.
“Storobin’s campaign attempted to purchase $10,000 in radio advertising from Davidzon radio two weeks ago,” their press release read. “After several delay tactics, Mr. Davidzon himself refused to allow the advertising even though he is required to do so under federal law.”
Apparently in this U.S. Senate battle, all roads lead to Dov Hikind.
The influential Boro Park Assemblyman told The Politicker this afternoon that he received phone calls within minutes of each other from Congressman Bob Turner and U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as the two prepare for battle.
Mr. Hikind, a Democrat, provided crucial support in Jewish neighborhoods for Mr. Turner’s upset victory over David Weprin last year in the Congressional race to replace Anthony Weiner in the House of Representatives.
Clement Gardner, a campaign aide to State Senator Ruben Diaz, was charged today with embezzling $75,000 from a charity founded by the senator. In a press release announcing the indictment, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office is continuing its investigation into the charity and accused Mr. Gardner of using the Christian Community Benevolent Association, which operated senior centers and children’s services as “a personal piggy bank.”
“Today’s charges demonstrate our vigilance in ensuring that every taxpayer dollar is spent properly, and that corrupt individuals who betray the public trust to line their own pockets will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
much ado about rush
The Politicker already noted Democrats’ efforts to tie recently announced Senate candidate Bob Turner to his old television show featuring controversial talk show host Rush Limbaugh, but Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign made the argument even more transparent this evening by sending out a fundraising email blast to her supporters entitled, “Rush’s guy.”
“We’re are less than 72 hours away from the New York State Republican convention and just today, Rush Limbaugh’s former producer, Congressman Bob Turner, entered the race to take on Kirsten,” the email began.