Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ABC News Cites 14 Midterm Races That Matter

The political pundits are already deciding which of the races for 435 House slots, 36 Senate seats, and 36 governor's mansions are worthy of national media attention. ABC News Political Director Rick Klein has weighed in early with the top 14 races he thinks are worth following so far. Here are just the top six races chosen: Kentucky's Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell battling both a tea-party challenger and re-energized Democratic foes; Arkansas' incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor defending a vulnerable position against well-heeled GOP opponent Rep. Tom Cotton; Georgia's retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss leaving the field open to far-right primary contenders and hopeful Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn; incumbent Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu fighting to keep her Southern seat as a must-win for Democrats; Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a tea-party power, facing the evolving Republican-turned-Independent-turned Democrat Charlie Crist; Texas Gov. Rick Perry retiring in the biggest red state to leave the gubernatorial contest open for new Democratic star Wendy Davis vs. Republican Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott. For more detail on these and other races, including the Wisconsin governor race and House matches in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, California, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, see the article at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/abc-news-14-14-2014-midterm-election-races/story?id=21659968

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oregon in the Spotlight With Hot Ballot Measures

Oregon is in the national spotlight with a bevy of political hot buttons vying for attention on its 2014 ballot, including legal weed, gay marriage, immigration, and labeling of genetically modified foods, just for starters. Although Oregonians have until July to collect signatures for initiatives in the 2014 election, several high-profile measures have already made the ballot. For example, an immigration-related measure will be there, seeking a public vote on a law, passed in the last session of the state legislature, to give "driver privilege cards" to those who don’t have the documents required to get a driver’s license. The driver’s card would be restricted from use for identification or voting. Gay marriage is on the ballot, too, as Oregon joins at least eight other states with 2014 gay marriage initiatives. The Oregon measure would repeal a state constitutional amendment, passed in 2004, which banned same-sex marriage. The initiative, called the Oregon Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative, would also protect religious institutions from being forced to perform same-sex weddings. Meanwhile, proponents of legal recreational marijuana are busy collecting signatures to make sure, although they hope the Oregon Legislature will send a legal weed measure to the ballot, that their issue goes before the voters in 2014. If legal weed proponents prevail, Oregon would follow the lead of Washington and Colorado, the first two states to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. Other measures seeking a spot on the ballot include required labeling of "genetically modified foods," a "right-to-work" push to allow public workers to opt out of unions and dues, and an end to state-controlled liquor sales. For more detail, go to http://watchdog.org/121127/oregon-2014-ballot/

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obama Revives Internal White House Political Office

With Democratic control of the Senate crucial to President Obama's hopes of getting second-term priorities through Congress, President Obama has brought back an internal White House political office to help boost Congressional Democrats in midterm elections. Obama named David Simas, a top adviser previously grappling with the health care rollout, to oversee the new Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. In an unusual move, Obama had closed the internal White House political office in 2011, sparking Congressional Democrats to grumble about lack of support. But the new office will be slimmed down from the 15-member operation that existed before 2011, with about a third of the staff. Simas will advise President Obama on the political climate, handle requests for campaign appearances, coordinate strategy with the Democratic National Committee and other national and local party operations, and will tell administration officials what they can do legally when they get involved in political activity, according to the White House. See the news report at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/24/obama-white-house-david-simas-_n_4661699.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

USPS Changes Impact Political Direct Mail in 2014

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has implemented changes affecting political direct mail, beginning in January 2014. First, Full-Service Intelligent Mail is now required for automation pricing (discounted postage rates) for First-Class and Standard letters and flat mail, as well as for Periodicals and Bound Printed Matter. Full-Service will require Intelligent Mail Barcodes, previously optional, on each mail piece, tray and container. It will also require that documents be submitted to the USPS electronically (eDoc) to identify the submitting party, identify the mail owner, and determine who gets reports. Second, the USPS will be reducing the number of mail processing facilities from 417 to 250, with consolidation expected to be complete by the end of 2014. This will likely affect mail delivery times, though the USPS has not provided estimates of the impact. However, since political direct mail now may be processed further from its final delivery location, look for some increased shipping costs and additional days of transport time to reach mailboxes. For more detail, see the article at http://thecampaignworkshop.com/political-direct-mail-usps-changes-2014/