Tag: mark kelly
GOP  Names Failed Candidate Masters To Election Autopsy Panel

GOP Names Failed Candidate Masters To Election Autopsy Panel

After Republicans failed to take a majority in the Senate and underperformed expectations in the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections this month, the Republican National Committee is launching a "Republican Party Advisory Council" to figure out why its promised "red wave" never materialized.

Politico reported on Tuesday that the panel will include candidates who were successful in November, such as Sen.-elect Katie Britt of Alabama, and Reps.-elect Monica De La Cruz of Texas and John James of Michigan.

However, the panel will also include Blake Masters, who lost his challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona.

Masters was the worst-performing statewide Republican candidate in Arizona, winning only 46.5 percent of the vote. That's two percent less than the vote total received by Mark Finchem, an election-denying Republican who was present at the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and who lost a run for secretary of state against Democrat Adrian Fontes.

Masters, who embraced former President Donald Trump, made bigoted remarks, and pushed right-wing policies, was unpopular with independent voters.

According to the New York Times, Steven Law — the head of the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC that has close ties to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — told major Republican donor Peter Thiel that Masters had giv the worst performance before focus groups that he had ever observed. Focus groups are often used to gauge voter sentiments ahead of an election.

Election experts said Masters is a prime example of a bad candidate losing a race that should have been winnable for the GOP in the 2022 midterms.

"The problem in Arizona was Blake Masters himself," the Cook Political Report's Jessica Taylor tweeted.

Some Republicans were not happy that Masters was included on the new GOP advisory panel.

"The fact that Blake Masters is a part of the panel running this autopsy and not a subject of it seems highly problematic," Amanda Carpenter, a Republican who has become a prominent anti-Trump commentator, tweeted.

"What on earth is a candidate who underperformed most of the Rs in his state, a state where Rs lost almost every statewide race, advising his party on its path forward," GOP columnist Noah Rothman tweeted. "What would he have to offer on that score?"

David Bergstein, the communications director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Masters' role on the panel was "excellent news for Democrats."

"Put Blake Masters in charge of every GOP Senate campaign, I say," Bergstein tweeted.

According to Politico, Masters wants Republicans to change their strategies going forward.

"Our party needs to modernize. We're fighting against Big Tech, the media, and now, the Democrats' GOTV early voting machine," Masters toldPolitico. "I look forward to working with Ronna [McDaniel, chair of the RNC] to make sure the party effectively supports our candidates and wins big in 2024."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona Re-Elects Kelly In Key Hold For Senate Democrats, Nevada Still Counting

Arizona Re-Elects Kelly In Key Hold For Senate Democrats, Nevada Still Counting

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly has defeated Republican Blake Masters in Arizona’s Senate race. Arizona has been one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds this year, after both Kelly and President Joe Biden won narrowly in 2020. That marked the first time the state had two Democratic senators since 1953 and just the second time a Democrat had won the state’s presidential election since 1948. With Democrats having held the Senate by the narrowest possible margin for the past two years, this is a critically important win.

Kelly was elected just two years ago in a special election following the 2018 death of Sen. John McCain. Now he will have a full six-year term.

[Editor: Ballots are still being counted in Nevada, where incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto appears to be erasing a small lead for Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Her victory would ensure a Democratic Senate majority even before the outcome of a runoff election in Georgia between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.]

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Wrong Turn: A Gas Tax Holiday Would Frustrate Biden's Critical Goals

Wrong Turn: A Gas Tax Holiday Would Frustrate Biden's Critical Goals

In politics, there are proposals that are so sensible they are bound to become law. There are ideas so awful that they are quickly discarded and forgotten. Then there are the ones that have no chance of being enacted but keep coming back.

They are the zombies of public policy: not exactly alive, but never quite dead. A prime example is the gas tax holiday. Several Democratic senators have signed on to a bill to suspend the 18.4-cents-per gallon federal levy to reduce the cost of fuel and combat inflation.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), argues that lifting the gas tax would be "something that directly helps people right now when they need it." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says, "It's one of the many things that we're looking at in terms of reducing costs." The White House declines to rule it out.

No one likes paying taxes or feeling gouged at the pump, which explains the appeal to politicians. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake regards it as "a great populist issue because people are always mad at gas prices and gas taxes."

Democrats would do well to recall the example of Barack Obama. During his 2008 presidential campaign, he had to contend with two rivals, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain, who proposed the same thing. Obama had the backbone to deride it as "a gimmick that would save you (the cost of) half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say they did something." He found an unlikely ally in George W. Bush.

It's a lousy idea, for reasons that should be most obvious to Democrats. They united to help pass Joe Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which will be financed partly with revenue from the federal gas tax. As the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget notes, a gas tax holiday would deprive the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for roads, bridges and mass transit, of $20 billion a year.

If that weren't bad enough, the trust fund has been spending more than it takes in, putting it on schedule to go broke by 2027. Suspending the gas tax would move that date up by a year.

It would also contradict another core Democratic goal: reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. High gas prices, as it happens, are a good way to encourage conservation, enhance the appeal of electric vehicles and curb greenhouse gas emissions. Larry Summers, who was director of Obama's National Economic Council, said last summer, "There's no more important price to increase in the American economy than the price of carbon-based fuels.

"Summers was rebuking Biden for urging oil-producing nations to boost output to lower prices — even though the more oil they produce and the world consumes, the faster the planet will heat up. "On the surface, it seems like an irony," Biden acknowledged. Actually, a better term would be "self-contradiction."

That wasn't Biden's only divergence from sensible methods of combating climate change. In November, he released 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The White House explanation: "Oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic." Never mind the obvious way to balance demand and supply: letting prices rise.

Contrast these efforts with what Biden said in canceling the Keystone pipeline from Canada: "The United States and the world face a climate crisis. That crisis must be met with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the need to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory."

Not that Republicans are any more honest or consistent. As prices were rising in 1996, presidential nominee Bob Dole advocated not merely suspending but abolishing the federal gasoline tax. He and GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it was "the least we can do for hard-working Americans whose pocketbooks are taking a major hit." McCain said similar things in 2008.

Both parties are prone to irresponsible pandering, and each has found occasions to target the gas tax for political exploitation. But it's never energized public support, most likely because most people don't see 18.4 cents per gallon as that big a deal.

The consolation is that each time the idea emerges, cooler and smarter heads make sure it goes nowhere. It will probably go nowhere this time. But only after we've had our intelligence insulted.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Arizona GOP Candidate Posts Video Threatening To Shoot Democrats

Arizona GOP Candidate Posts Video Threatening To Shoot Democrats

In a new campaign ad, Arizona Republican Senate candidate Jim Lamon — appearing as an Old West-style sheriff — shoots at an actor playing his political opponent, incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

The ad comes 11 years after Kelly's wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), was shot in the head and almost killed during a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

Lamon is a former business executive seeking the Republican Senate nomination in Arizona. In the ad, which is slated to air during the Super Bowl, Lamon appears to face off in a showdown against actors playing Kelly, President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.After the Old West townspeople in the ad complain about "inflation," "open borders," and "gas prices," Lamon unholsters his gun and fires at the three Democratic officials, knocking their weapons out of their hands and sending them running away.

The spot also features cameo appearances by two right-wing Arizona law enforcement officials: Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb and National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.

In 2011, a gunman shot Giffords and 18 other people at a "Congress On Your Corner" event in Tucson. Six people died in the mass shooting, which nearly killed Giffords and left her unable to complete her term in Congress.

This isn't the first time an Arizona Republican has shared his violent fantasies about enacting revenge on his political opponents.

Last November, staffers for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) posted an "anime"-style video showing him decapitating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking Biden with swords.

After Gosar refused to apologize for the video, House Democrats censured him and stripped him of his committee assignments. Just two House Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL), joined all 221 House Democrats in voting to censure Gosar.

Kelly was elected in 2020 after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) died, and is now running for a full term this November.

Lamon, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump's former acting director of national intelligence Ric Grenell and Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA), is one of more than a dozen Arizona Republicans running in the August 2 Senate primary.

The Cook Political Report has rated the race a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent