TPM News

Disgraced ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced today to 18 months to five years in prison for violating his probation by not disclosing assets as required under a plea deal.

Judge David Groner slammed Kilpatrick in court today, saying that "your testimony in this court amounted to perjury" and that "the initial 120 days incarceration did nothing to rehabilitate you."

"Probation is no longer an option," Groner said. "That ship has sailed."

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The new survey of South Carolina by Public Policy Polling (D) says that state Rep. Nikki Haley had a huge lead over the weekend, when the poll was conducted -- just before allegations surfaced of a possible extra-marital affair.

The numbers: Haley 39%, state Attorney General Gresham Barrett 18%, Congressman Gresham Barrett 16%, and Lt. Gov. Andrew Bauer 13%. The survey of likely GOP primary voters has a ±3.9% margin of error. The TPM Poll Average gives Haley 27%, McMaster 19.3%, Barrett 15.7%, and Bauer 14.0%. Keep in mind that this poll was taken before the story came out regarding the alleged affair. As such, it provides a baseline measurement of where Haley was at the beginning of this development, but not any picture of how it might affect her now, going into the June 8 primary.

"Nikki Haley was clearly headed for a first place finish before yesterday," writes PPP president Dean Debnam. "Given the magnitude of her current lead the fallout from allegations of an extramarital affair would have to be huge for her not to at least make the runoff."

North Carolina Republicans are circulating court documents that suggest a far-right Tea-Party-backed congressional candidate claimed to be the Messiah, tried to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland, and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.

Tim D'Annunzio also has written that he wants to abolish several key government departments, including the IRS. But there's more going on here than just another wacky conservative politician. The effort by GOP leaders to stop D'Annunzio at all costs offers an intriguing test case of their ability to keep control of the party in the face of challenges from the Tea Party wing. Or as D'Annunzio himself has put it: "The power brokers in Raleigh and in Washington are willing to go to any length and use any unscrupulous tactic to try to destroy somebody. They think that they're losing their control over the Republican party."

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Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) officially announced this morning that he was ending his campaign for Senate, after he lost the state party's endorsement to former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon at the state GOP convention this past weekend.

"This is not an easy decision," Simmons said at a press conference. "This is not a happy decision. But I believe it's the right decision."

Officially, Simmons is not dropping out -- he is releasing his campaign staff and ending his campaign activities, but his name will remain on the ballot in the Republican primary. This is a common practice for candidates who effectively drop out of a race, but maintain a minimal campaign as a legal entity in order to raise money to cover debts.

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In the two months since Gov. Charlie Crist began building up to and ultimately did switch from Republican to independent, he appears to have overtaken Rep. Kendrick Meek as the de-facto Democratic candidate in the race against Republican Marco Rubio, according to the polls.

Instead of becoming the alternative to the two Republicans in the race, Meek seems to have suffered the most from Crist's entrance in the race as an independent. Crist's presence has siphoned off votes from Meek, poll show, and threatens to leave the Democrats' own presumptive nominee with too little oxygen. Meek's hopes of being the clear alternative to Rubio are fading.

When asked for comment about their decline in support, Meek campaign communications director Adam Sharon predicted that Crist's surge among Democratic-leaning voters would not last, declaring that "his conservative record cannot escape him."

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The website of the prominent South Carolina blogger who claims he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with gubernatorial front-runner Nikki Haley is claiming in a new post that there are five years worth of emails, voicemails, and text messages between the two -- though the site, FITSNews, isn't saying much about what the correspondence reveals.

The blogger, Will Folks, claimed Monday he had the relationship with Haley several years ago, while she was married. Haley, a Republican state representative who has garnered national support for her campaign, promptly and "categorically" denied Folks' claim.

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In a major breakthrough just in time to energize the Democratic voter base for the fall, the White House has given its blessing to a compromise repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military. The measure, which could face a vote this week, would allow the Pentagon to move forward with its review of the best way to end the Clinton-era policy.

The change would come in the form of an amendment to the defense spending measure, a process which the White House's Office of Management and Budget said late last night it will support. The Pentagon also backs using this method while it completes the review, OMB Director Peter Orszag said in a letter to Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is working on the issue on the Senate side. Orszag said the amendment would allow for "comprehensive review, enable the Department of Defense to assess the results of the review, and ensure that the implementation of the repeal is consistent with standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention." Democrats on the Hill accepted the compromise last night.

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