Democratic candidates settle on what perks to kill

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Political Buzz,Magazine

A half-dozen Democratic candidates for the House have settled on very similar lists of perks they would end if elected.

Candidates from Arkansas to upstate New York have said they would do some of the following: stop lawmakers' paychecks at certain times, not take most taxpayer-funded trips overseas and even close a congressional gym.

The pledges differ slightly. For example, one candidate wants to halt congressional pay during a shutdown, another when lawmakers have missed a vote and a third when Congress hasn’t passed a budget.

But they are similar enough that Republicans say they look more like a campaign stunt engineered by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee than an actual platform.

“With nothing else to run on, Democratic candidates across the country are running these DCCC-approved ‘paint-by-numbers’ campaigns,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ian Prior in an email.

Other perks targeted for elimination include free airport parking, campaign-style mailers, and haircuts and doctors visits at the Capitol.

The candidates, who are all running for open seats or against vulnerable Republican incumbents, did not say where they got the ideas from or did not respond to requests for an interview.

But DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bittner argued they were common sense.

“It’s no surprise that Democrats want to rein in these perks and save taxpayer dollars while Republicans continue to help themselves and their special interest friends get ahead,” she said in an email.

 

RNC PICKS CLEVELAND FOR 2016 CONVENTION

Cleveland will host the Republican National Convention in 2016, the Republican National Committee announced.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus touted a Cleveland convention as "a great stepping stone to the White House in 2016."

"The team from Cleveland has gone above and beyond the call of duty and I think they’re representative of a city eager to show the country all the fantastic things they have to offer," Priebus said.

Cleveland bested Dallas in the final round, capping off a months-long process. The committee also considered Denver, Kansas City, Mo., Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix.

The party also decided to move up the convention to June 28 or July 18 in an effort to avoid a drawn-out, damaging party primary — as in 2012, when the GOP did not hold its convention until the end of August.

While the decision would abbreviate the primary season, the earlier date risks a too-soon peak in enthusiasm for the party's nominee. The conventions are marquee events of the election cycle, offering each party an opportunity to air what is essentially an uninterrupted, multi-day infomercial.

David Plouffe, who ran President Obama's campaign in 2008, predicted Republicans' decision on timing would prove "a huge strategic blunder."

 

SHAHEEN KEEPS PACE WITH BROWN IN N.H. FUNDRAISING

Republicans hoped that Scott Brown would be a fundraising powerhouse in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.

But in the first fundraising quarter since Brown announced his bid, his haul has been matched — if not exceeded — by Shaheen's.

From April through June, Shaheen brought in more than $2.8 million, bringing her total contributions to more than $10 million for the election cycle. Shaheen finished June with more than $5.1 million on hand.

Brown's campaign downplayed the numbers. “It’s clear that both campaigns are going to have the resources they need to get their messages out. That won’t be a problem for anyone in this election," said spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton. "Sen. Shaheen’s problem is her message."

Brown's campaign has not released a fundraising total for the quarter but estimates the haul at "north of $2 million."

In recent public surveys Brown has consistently trailed Shaheen by low double-digits.

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