TPM News

John Haggerty, a New York Republican political operative who was indicted Monday for allegedly stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign, was hired recently by gubernatorial candidate and TPM favorite Carl Paladino.

Paladino is the Tea Party candidate whose campaign took a beating after revelations that he regularly sent racist and sexually explicit emails to friends. It took so much of a beating, in fact, that delegates at the recent NY GOP convention voted that he not be allowed to speak.

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Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), who left the Republican Party a month and a half ago to run for Senate as an independent, is becoming one of the most vocal opponents of offshore drilling since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was destroyed in April, which led to an oil spill that has been characterized as one of the biggest environmental disasters in American history.

Most recently, he appeared on Face The Nation and spoke up for a temporary ban on offshore drilling. "I dare say that, you know, we need this moratorium. Look, if this spew in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico doesn't tell us that we need to be more cautious and more careful about doing this in the future, I don't know what else would," said Crist.

"I mean, you know, we don't have these rigs off the Florida coast. We are suffering from the one off the Louisiana coast and it troubles me greatly that that's occurring. That's why I think this is the greatest wake-up call ever that we need to go to alternative fuel. We need to have cre-- cleaner fuel for our people. That'll create greater independence and stop sending so much money over to the Middle East," Crist continued.

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State Sen. Robert Hurt (R-VA) probably thought he'd put his Republican problems behind him when he overwhelmingly captured the party nomination to challenge Rep. Tom Perriello last week. Not so much, as a former GOP rival Jim McKelvey and the local tea party are refusing to endorse Hurt's candidacy.

We've been writing for months about Virginia's 5th district, likely to be ground zero for Republicans who are attempting to win back control of the U.S. House this fall. Hurt was considered the most electable and best-known in the district, which spans central and Southside Virginia. But he was bruised in the primary by a host of Republican opponents who labeled him a moderate tax-raiser who was too close to the Washington establishment. Nothing's really changed.

According to the Lynchburg News and Advance, the Lynchburg Tea Party said in a statement they "cannot and will not endorse a candidate that does not align with our core principles," an argument that stems mostly from Hurt's vote in favor of a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004 to balance the state budget. The much smaller Danville Tea Party has reportedly said they are likely to endorse Hurt in the spirit of unity.

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Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum -- locked in an increasingly tough Republican gubernatorial primary with former hospital CEO Rick Scott -- could be about to find his campaign in some legal trouble, according to the St. Petersburg Times. That's not be the best situation for the state's top law-enforcement officer to find himself in while be battles for position on the campaign trail.

From the Times' report, based on "documents obtained" by the paper:

McCollum is using his name to solicit contributions for the Florida First Initiative, which is airing attack ads against rival Rick Scott...despite his campaign's suggestion that they are not affiliated.

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The Alabama Republican gubernatorial primary is headed into its next phase -- a recount before a runoff.

The first-round June 1 primary saw Bradley Byrne, the former chancellor of the state's two-year colleges, come in first place with 28% of the vote -- far short of the 50% needed to avoid a July 13 runoff. In the second position, however, it was a near tie, with state Rep. Robert Bentley and businessman Tim James at 25% each -- and Bentley edging out James by 167 votes in the final certified count.

A recount requested by James will begin tomorrow, with James having sent counties checks to cover expenses that could add up to as much as $200,000. It should be noted that recounts rarely produce enough swing to change a result -- but if James's efforts pay off here, and he overtakes Bentley, the state would be a in real mess here, having already certified Byrne and Bentley as the two candidates for the runoff next month.

We've been keeping a close eye on the accusations and rumors coming out of South Carolina in recent days following a very strange Democratic primary. It's far from clear whether any of the mysterious candidates who performed better than expected for being little known were "plants" or part of any larger plot.

Today House Majority Whip James Clyburn accused all three candidates he's already suggested were "plants" of hiring Stonewall Strategies, a firm run by former aide to Rep. Joe Wilson. On MSNBC today charged that Democratic candidates Gregory Brown, Ben Frasier in SC-01 and Alvin Greene in the Senate race had employed Stonewall. Preston Grisham, who runs Stonewall, flatly denied the charge in an interview.

Clyburn (D-SC) has spent the last several days suggesting that something was amiss during Tuesday's primary, during which Frasier and Greene prevailed despite a lack of campaigning and no recognition from the state Democratic party.

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said today that President Obama "favors the black person" by default in an argument.

Media Matters reports that King made the remarks this morning in an appearance on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show, during a discussion of the Obama administration's criticism of the new Arizona anti-illegal immigration law:

King: When you look at this administration, I'm offended by Eric Holder and the President also, their posture. It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race. And I don't know what the basis of that is but I'm not a coward when it comes to that and I'm happy to talk about these things and I think we should. But the President has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race - on the side that favors the black person.

In an interview from three weeks before the Nevada Republican primary, Sharron Angle made it clear that getting rid of Medicare and Social Security is a non-negotiable issue for her.

Greg Sargent reports that in a radio interview with a local Nevada NPR affiliate on May 19, Angle talked about how the VA and Medicare were not covering medications for her father -- and she suggested that they shouldn't, "not if you're working towards a privatized system."

Going on in the interview, Angle talks about how as a Senator she would work with other legislators to formulate a proper solution for her idea, haggling over the details and implementation of privatization without giving up on the main idea itself: "The idea of privatizing and getting out of Medicare and Social Security is not up for grabs."

Rep. Henry Waxman, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter with Rep. Bart Stupak to BP CEO Tony Hayward today, ahead of Hayward's testimony before the committee. The letter outlines the questions raised by the committee's investigation into the spill, and asserts that BP's "carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf."

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