TPM News

The Republican field in Florida to take on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson just got shaken up, with state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a frontrunner in the race, suddenly dropping out after previously strong (but diminishing) fundraising.

The St. Petersburg Times reports: "In an increasingly crowded race to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, Haridopolos' campaign showed signs of stalling. Just last week came news that political adviser Pat Bainter was leaving the campaign along with de facto campaign manager and spokesman, Tim Baker."

Haridopolos previously led in the money race, taking in $2.5 million in the first quarter. However, his fundraising in the second quarter dropped sharply to $900,000, followed by former Sen. George LeMieux (who was appointed by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009, and did not seek a full term, before Crist became an independent) at $900,000, followed by former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner at $560,000.

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is contemplating her next move in response to a game-changing Ethics Committee leak of hundreds of documents detailing the alleged internal mishandling of her case.

Waters is expected to demand copies of the documents from the panel as early as today, a spokesman told TPM Monday morning after a report in Politico quoted internal Ethics Committee e-mails and memos that paint a picture of a committee consumed by partisan dysfunction and accusations of professional misconduct surrounding her case.

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Could Texas Gov. Rick Perry be the shot of Texas-style Christianity the lackluster 2012 field needs? Sounds like we'll soon find out.

"I'm not ready to tell you that I'm ready to announce that I'm in," Perry told the Des Moines Register over the weekend. "But I'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do. This is what America needs."

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The Conservative anonymous-money giant Crossroads GPS is spending $1.4 million on ads targeting Democrats on spending, part of a $20 million summer ad blitz.

The TV spots are running in 10 districts and vary slightly from lawmaker to lawmaker, although they mostly focus on the 2009 stimulus bill and past debt limit votes. Notably, the ads do not stake out a specific position on the current debt limit fight, which is proving increasingly divisive for the party as Republicans in the House and Senate struggle to find a unified voice.

CBS News released a poll Monday morning outlining Americans' response to the ongoing negotiations on raising the debt ceiling, and one thing is clear: everyone involved is taking a hit.

71% of respondents disapproved of Republicans' handling of the debt talks, with only 21% approving. But beyond the lack of general buy-in to their legislative tactics, CBS reports that they even face a challenge in convincing their own base.

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Freshman Minnesota Congressman Chip Cravaack, a Republican who defeated long-time Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar in a massive upset during the 2010 Republican wave, will now be traveling frequently to New Hampshire. But it's not because he's running for president -- in fact, his family is moving there.

As the Star Tribune reports, Cravaack's wife Traci works as an executive at a medical company, and her job has involved frequent travel to Boston. She has just gotten a promotion and will now be moving to New England.

For his part, Cravaack is leaving their old house, but also buying another home in the district and thus maintaining residency in Minnesota as required by the Constitution. He will maintain his in-district work schedule in Minnesota, but also plans to travel to New Hampshire in order to his family on his Sundays off.

Tim Pawlenty is dropping big money in Iowa, confirming that the caucus is still his top priority despite a weak start in the polls and recent quotes downplaying the state's importance.

The ex-Minnesota governor recently booked $200,000 in TV ad time, according to the AP, and is on pace to spend $430,000 by mid-August. The Ames Straw Poll, a traditional test of candidates' organizational strength, is August 13. Pawlenty has spent the most on ads so far as the race's money leader, Mitt Romney, has sat out the air wars.

In addition to the new TV buy, recent FEC filings show Pawlenty spent the most on Iowa vendors of any candidate: about $200,000.

The big challenge for Pawlenty in the short term is stealing some of Minnesota rival Michele Bachmann's thunder, who is currently leading multiple polls in the state.

LiveWire