Queens Democrat Grace Meng became the first Asian-American from New York to be elected to Congress when she defeated Republican Councilman Dan Halloran on Tuesday, but after her victory, she focused on her status as a female elected official rather than her background. In a speech before a room full of supporters and local officials at the Sheraton LaGuardia East last night, Ms. Meng emphasized the importance of electing women to government office and voiced her support for the middle class rather than trumpeting her win as a watershed moment for Asian-Americans.
“Tonight is historic in that we’ve taken one small step in getting more women elected to government,” Ms. Meng said as she addressed the room. ”More women in government means practical attention on how families educate their children, how they pay their bills, how they worship, how they participate in their community, and how they plan for the future.“
Drugs & Marriage
President Barack Obama was clearly the biggest winner last night with his victory over Mitt Romney, but there were two other notable victories in this election. Same-sex marriage and openly gay candidates won in multiple states as did initiatives to allow for medical and recreational marijuana.
The campaign of Republican congressional candidate Christopher Wight believes there was a conspiracy behind the endorsement of his Democratic rival, Carolyn Maloney, in the local Our Town newspaper (also known as the N.Y. Press). Nick Mackey, a spokesman for Mr. Wight, sent out a statement entitled ”’Our Town’ Newspaper Sells Endorsement to Maloney” this weekend detailing the campaign’s belief the paper traded its endorsement for ad sales.
“Kate Walsh of the New York Press (Our Town newspaper) sales department recently informed Christopher Wight’s campaign that Carolyn Maloney had spent over $10,000 on ad buys in their newspapers during this election cycle and encouraged Mr. Wight to do the same,” Mr. Mackey wrote. “In addition, Ms. Walsh coordinated the October 26, 2012 endorsement interview between Mr. Wight and newspaper’s editors. During several conversations with campaign staff to arrange the endorsement interview, Ms. Walsh strongly encouraged the campaign to purchase ad space in the online and print editions of the newspaper.”
Our Town is published by Manhattan Media LLC and the company’s CEO, Tom Allon is running as a Republican in next year’s mayoral election. Mr. Allon referred questions about this story to the company’s chairman, Richard Burns, who vehemently denied his paper engages in “pay for play” and said it would be “irresponsible” to “run a story based on a press release of a disgruntled political operative casting libelous aspersions.”
Mo' Money Mo' Problems
Based on a Politicker investigation, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate is asking the Federal Election Commission to open an investigation into Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign committee. Last Thursday, we published a report detailing how Paul Ryan, who is simultaneously running for re-election in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District and on the GOP presidential ticket with Mitt Romney, may have improperly used funds from his congressional campaign for about $60,000 in expenses at the Republican National Convention. Mr. Tate’s letter to the FEC said this story shows Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign committee “co-mingled expenditures between the Committee and the Romney Committee” in violation of federal regulations. Politicker has obtained a copy of Mr. Tate’s letter, which he is sending this week.
“As disclosed in an article published on October 25, 2012 in Politicker.com, a political website operated by The New York Observer, the Committee reported ‘$59,603.41 that was specifically identified as [Republican National] convention-related expenses between July 26 and October 17.’ A copy of the article is attached to this letter,” Mr. Tate wrote. ”A spokesperson for the Committee is quoted as stating that the bulk of such expenses were for the purchase of twenty hotel rooms for use at the Republican National Convention, although the Committee had only five staff members.”
A Politicker examination of federal campaign finance disclosure reports submitted by Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign has uncovered indications Mr. Ryan may have improperly used funds raised for his re-election effort in Wisconsin for presidential campaign activities at the Republican National Convention in August. Mr. Ryan is simultaneously running for re-election in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District and on the GOP presidential ticket with Mitt Romney. At the RNC in Tampa, Mr. Ryan’s House campaign spent about $60,000. However, these convention expenses seem to go far beyond the scope of the activities and staff he had at the RNC for his bid to reclaim his House seat.
One prominent election law expert told us this is a “highly problematic” potential violation of Federal Election Commission regulations regarding candidates running for multiple federal offices. A spokesperson for Mr. Ryan’s opponent in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District described it as a possibly “troubling” element of “Paul Ryan’s overarching pattern of dishonesty in this race.” When we reached out to Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign manager, we received a shifting series of explanations including at least one statement that was clearly untrue.
Ring Ding Dong
Mia Love has had a little help from the Romney family in her quest to become the Congresswoman from Utah’s Fourth District–and she wants to make sure voters know it. Ms. Love’s latest commercial, which was released online this morning, features audio from a robocall Mitt Romney made on her behalf.
“Mitt Romney is calling,” text says on the screen says as a ringing phone is displayed. Mr. Romney’s voice is heard once a hand picks up the phone.
John Featherman, the underdog Republican nominee running against Rep. Bob Brady in Pennsylvania’s first congressional district has released a new ad online calling his rival “a dog” and accusing him of backing allies indulging in scandalous behavior including spending taxpayer dollars at strip clubs. The ad, which is entitled “My Dog, Bob Brady,” begins with a scene at the Philadelphia “foreign student program” where a woman with an unspecified foreign accent asks another woman for help coming up with an “American name” for her new Yorkshire Terrier. The other woman suggests the dog owner name her Yorkie “Bob Brady” because he’s “one of the worst congressmen ever” and “a dog.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is currently facing a close re-election fight against Jim Graves, a Democratic hotel magnate with an estimated worth of $22 million and $111 million to bolster his campaign war chest. This morning, her campaign manager, Chase Kroll, launched an effort to raise a $500,000 “‘Shield Our Values’ money-bomb” to help Ms. Bachmann with “the fight of her life.”
“The press has reported on it, our opponent has relished in it and, unfortunately, it’s a reality our campaign just has to deal with: Michele Bachmann is in one of her toughest campaigns ever,” Mr. Kroll wrote in his email to supporters. “With a ruthlessly liberal millionaire opponent who isn’t afraid to spend his substantial wealth on lies and false attacks, Michele is facing the fight of her life. Between her opponent, national Democrats, and liberal SuperPACs, she’s surrounded on all sides. Only one thing can help her fight back: your financial support.”
In a new ad for his re-election campaign, Wisconsin Congressman and former Real World star Sean Duffy touts a major endorsement–his own mother will be voting for him. While most political candidates are expected to have the support of their immediate family members, in the ad, Mr. Duffy’s mother, Carol, explains she’s “a lifelong Democrat” and her Republican son “really had to earn” her vote.
“I’m voting for Sean Duffy. People might expect a mom to vote for her own son, but Sean really had to earn my vote. We don’t always agree, but I know Sean will fight to protect Medicare and that’s what matters most,” Carol says in the commercial.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Florida Congressman Allen West told us an article by Miami Herald gossip columnist Jose Lambiet claiming Mr. West, while serving in Iraq as an Army Lieutenant Colonel in 2003, sent his wife a letter asking her whether she was “committed to being my porn star” was a “garbage story.”
“He hasn’t produced a letter, so, as of now, there’s no letter,” Mr. West’s spokeswoman Michele Hickford said of the lurid tale.
However, Mr. Lambiet, who wrote that he decided to “withhold publication” of the full letter “because of its nature” said he emailed Mr. West’s campaign prior to publishing the story and received no response.
Mr. Lambiet declined to show the letter to Politicker, but he provided us with a screenshot of an email he said he sent to another West campaign spokesperson, Tim Edson last Thursday before the story was published. The email included a PDF file Mr. Lambiet identified as the letter in question.