TPM News

The former hospital mogul behind early astroturfing efforts to oppose Democratic health care reform is hoping to become Florida's next governor.

Millionaire businessman Rick Scott, the founder of Conservatives For Patients' Rights, launched his bid today for the Republican gubernatorial nomination promising to "to lead the state in a new, conservative direction and into a prosperous future."

"The professional politicians have failed us at every level," Scott said in a statement today. "It's time to fight back and hold our government accountable. Together, we can turn Florida around!"

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Add Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the list of GOP Senators who think the constitutionality of health care reform should become an issue when President Obama picks a Supreme Court nominee.

"Sure you can ask about that," Graham told reporters off the Senate floor this afternoon, in response to a question from TPMDC. "Yeah, I think that'd be a good area to inquire in. But they're not going to be able to pre-judge a pending case."

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Republicans--including moderates--are solidifying opposition to Democratic efforts to impose stricter regulations on Wall Street. They aren't just attacking the Democrats' financial regulatory reform bill as a vehicle that will lead to more bailouts. They're also laying the blame for the lack of GOP support for reform directly at President Obama's feet. And all the while, Republican leaders are seeking donations from major financial institutions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.

"Right now the administration is saying 'no' to some common sense type of reforms that would strengthen financial services regulations and not affect small businesses in a negative way and allow for us to get a handle on the real problems in that industry," said Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), thought by many to be a potential swing vote on Wall Street reform. "Shame on the President."

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Tea Party leaders in Oklahoma have been talking to Republican state legislators about introducing legislation to create a new volunteer militia, designed to protect against what they see as the federal government's infringements on state sovereignty, reports the Associated Press.

"Is it scary? It sure is," Tea Party leader Al Gerhart told the AP. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"

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Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who's running against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat, reports that he's raised $1 million more than his Democratic opponent.

Giannoulias reported raising $1.2 million in the first quarter -- compared to Kirk's $2.2 million

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Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released the following statement today:

On Saturday evening, the President will travel to Krakow, Poland to attend the State Funeral of President Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria Kaczynska on Sunday, April 18th. The President will travel to Krakow to express the depth of our condolences to an important and trusted ally, and our support for the Polish people, on behalf of the American people.

The re-election campaign of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) this week pushed back against a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll which showed him lagging behind potential Republican challengers. The campaign argued that the poll is misleading because it doesn't have all nine options voters will see on the ballot, including third-party candidates and a "none of the above" option.

Reid's people further explained their argument against the poll, which showed Reid trailing one potential Republican challenger by eight points, to TPMDC today.

The campaign is expecting a lot of anti-incumbent votes this year, but they don't expect those votes to necessarily go the Republican challenger. Instead, because the polling numbers are bad for the Republicans as well, the Reid campaign expects more voters to check off the "none of the above" box.

And because those voters wouldn't have gone for Reid to begin with, that means fewer votes for the Republican candidate and, ultimately, a win for Reid.

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Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) reported raising $665,000 in the first quarter, and has now raised $2.9 million total for his Senate run.

The Democrat reports having $1.66 million on hand.

The New Hampshire Senate primary will be held Sept. 14.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who last week jokingly dismissed rumors that she was on the Supreme Court short list, today more seriously shot down the rumors.

Speaking to reporters today, Klobuchar noted that the Minnesota delegation is one of the youngest in the country.

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