2016 GOP race explodes with flurry of campaign activity

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 GOP race explodes with flurry of campaign activity.

FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2014 file photo, Sen. The past week alone has featured an explosion of high-level campaign moves as Republican candidates gathered staff, kowtowed before donors and prepared to make direct pitches to voters for support.Charles Koch on Saturday signaled to hundreds of donors, operatives and conservative leaders gathered in the California desert that the political operation he and his brother David created was just getting started. “Americans have taken an important step in slowing down the march toward collectivism,” Charles Koch said in his speech, seemingly in reference to the Republican takeover of the Senate during the 2014 midterm elections.Three of the Republicans considering runs for the White House in 2016 are set to participate in a forum on Sunday in Palm Springs sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit affiliated with conservative philanthropists and donors Charles and David Koch. On Sunday night, the group will share with news organizations a live Web stream of one of its final panels set to be held in the weekend at a luxurious Palm Springs resort.

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ran the Senate just as he promised, enabling him to crow: “We just cast our 15th roll call vote on an amendment on this bill, which is more votes — more roll call votes on amendments than the entire United States Senate [did] in all of 2014.” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida will participate in the hourlong panel discussion, on domestic policy issues, to be moderated by ABC’s Jonathan Karl. Much of our efforts to date have been largely defensive to slow down a government that continues to swell and become more intrusive – causing our culture to deteriorate.” Koch’s remarks were released by Freedom Partners, the tax-exempt business league that functions as the hub of a sprawling network financed by the Kochs and other major donors on the right.

The organization is primarily made up of nonprofits, such as Americans for Prosperity, that do not reveal information about their financing or their spending. Steve King’s “Iowa Freedom Summit.” The Republican National Committee recently announced nine sanctioned presidential debates between August 2015 through March 1, 2016 — a truncated schedule compared to 2012 that could presage more informal candidate forums moving forward in the cycle. It’s also the first that will be made available to the news media: The group plans to email to reporters a link to a live-stream video of the event Sunday evening.

This weekend’s gathering, one of two donor conclaves that the network holds annually, is being held at an exclusive desert resort perched on a rocky hillside near Palm Springs, with stunning views of the palm tree-speckled desert floor. Visitors who attempted to enter the grounds of the resort Saturday were told politely by security officials that the venue was closed for a private event. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James on Monday night during pregame warmups wore an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt, referring to Eric Garner, who died after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. Scott Walker, another potential 2016 candidate, will also attend the meeting, along with about 450 members of the business community and philanthropists, according to a statement from Freedom Partners.

Over the past two days, Rubio met with his main group of 300 supporters on Miami’s South Beach, and he intended to skip the Senate’s schedule for the upcoming week for fundraisers on the West Coast, Texas and Illinois. Last June, someone recorded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then running for re-election, saying the day the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law was signed was “the worst day of my life.” Another audio clip, in which Iowa Republican Joni Ernst praised the Koch network, was used in an attack ad in her Senate bid, which she won. It is a gamble to be sure, but if he runs and loses there are worse things than going back into the private sector or running for something else down the road.

The gathering remains closed to the public and media, but Freedom Partners will provide a live video stream of Sunday night’s forum to news organizations. The shirt, one of several featuring the slogan that have been seen around the league in recent days after a grand jury declined to indict the officer last week, is just one in a long history of political statements made by athletes on the playing field. Expect to get a good sense of candidates’ emerging stump speeches as they work to distinguish themselves in front of conservative activists ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses next year. In the summer, a series of internal documents and audio recordings leaked out that revealed details about the group’s June 2014 conference in Dana Point, Calif. At the same time, he is trying to keep longtime donors and establishment-minded supporters from shifting loyalties toward another Floridian, former Gov.

Jeb Bush, or the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who is also moving toward a third White House bid. “Jeb Bush is going to be a very credible candidate. In the excerpts of his speech released Saturday, Charles Koch described what he said is the group’s vision of society, one that “maximizes peace, civility and well-being.” “A society that is free in which people succeed by helping others improve their lives,” he added. “A society with a culture of integrity, responsibility, hard work, tolerance and treating others with dignity and respect. David and Charles Koch, who back Freedom Partners along with a number of other groups that spend heavily on elections, were a target of Democrats’ frustration in the 2014 election cycle. He will get a chance to shine again in a panel discussion at a closed-door Koch brothers-related event, matching up against two less credible presidential contenders, Sens.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) frequently took to the Senate floor to criticize the Kochs as running a “campaign of distortion,” calling them “un-American.” A primary reason for the anger directed toward the brothers is that most of the groups they support are so-called 501(c) nonprofits that are not required to disclose their donors. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who both have boilerplate anti-government stances and lack a pro-working and pro-middle class agenda of the type Rubio does. It ensures free speech and free markets so everyone has the right to express their views and the opportunity to benefit by benefiting others.” “Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment,” he said. “It requires making it a central part of our lives. They’re scripting it very carefully.” “The Koch brothers are too influential in politics,” he said. “With all their oil and gas interests, it’s a very anti-environmentalist stance.

Courting the Kochs — and donors — amounts to a public signal that Rubio is in the game, no matter that Bush, his early political mentor, may be, too. It remains to be seen whether he pulls the trigger and runs for president, but he managed to keep himself in the limelight, avoid the obsequious trek to King’s event and maintain his stature on foreign policy. The moves puts him closer toward a run despite speculation that Bush’s entrance in the race might split his base of Florida supporters and make a campaign difficult. A report on Friday by the Center for Public Integrity found that many of Romney’s bundlers, who raised millions for the candidate in 2012, are still undecided on whether to stick with Mitt for another run. McConnell also said a GOP-controlled Senate wouldn’t focus on “gosh darn proposals” like raising the federal minimum wage — comments his opponent at the time seized on in her campaign attacks.

Meanwhile Bush is planning a 60-event fundraising tour, per The Wall Street Journal, with the goal of producing “shock and awe” numbers to scare potential opponents out of the race. Amid the rise of opposition research groups, there have also been several other instances of recordings from private meetings being leaked to the press. Santorum also met recently with Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative who almost single-handedly kept his campaign afloat in 2012 by funding an outside super PAC allied with his candidacy.

In the years since the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, which opened PACs up to unlimited donations, the political environment has become such that all it takes is one friendly billionaire to justify a run.

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