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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

It's no secret that Democrats running in some of the ten most contested Senate races in 2014 are cautious in how they talk about Obamacare to stay competitive, but the rocky rollout of Healthcare.gov may place those Senate seats in jeopardy.

Of the top ten most contested seats in 2014, nine of them are in states where people must sign up for Obamacare through Healthcare.gov thanks to those states' refusal to open up their own state healthcare marketplace. That means that voters in those states will be forced to use Healthcare.gov to sign up for health insurance, making it all the more important that the website is functioning in time for upcoming signup deadlines.

According to enrollment numbers released by the administration earlier this month, states that set up their own marketplaces accounted for the vast majority of signups. Of the more than 100,000 signups, over 80,000 came from states that created their own exchanges, suggesting that the poor website performance is affecting the ability to sign up for health insurance, potentially creating a political liability for Democrats running in those states.

In fact, Kentucky, the only state of the ten most contested Senate races in 2014 to build its own insurance marketplace, has signed up more people for health insurance through its website the the nine other states combined have through Healthcare.gov.

Here are how Democrats in the most high profile races are handling Obamacare these days:

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Four top staffers for Rep. Phil Gingrey's (R-GA) Senate campaign resigned on Monday.

The staffers included consultant Chip Lake, campaign manager John Porter, political adviser Justin Tomczak, and political director David Allen.

"We were just at a crossroads and I decided that it would be best if both parties moved in a different direction," Lake said in an email to TPM on Tuesday. "I have nothing but respect for Phil Gingrey and wish him nothing but the best moving forward."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the departures had to do with a "leadership struggle" on Gingrey's campaign. Lake refused to elaborate on the disagreements to TPM. The exodus of the staff seems to be, in part, the result of longstanding tensions between Gingrey and his family and members of the campaign staff over leadership and the campaign's directions.

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife weighed in on the feuding between Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney and Cheney's sister, Mary Cheney, over their disagreement on same-sex marriage.

The statement is the latest development in an ongoing and increasingly public feud among the Cheney family over same-sex marriage. Liz Cheney has repeatedly expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage despite the fact that Mary is a lesbian and in a committed relationship. Mary, in response, wrote on Facebook that her sister is dead wrong on the issue.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) former national finance chairman told a number of potential donors that the senator will not run for president in 2016, according to Buzzfeed.  

The former chairman, Paul Egerman, who helped Warren raise $42 million in 2012, has been contacted by potential donors over the last few weeks and said that, contrary to speculation in The New Republic and The Daily Beast that Warren would be a progressive candidate to challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a potential 2016 field.

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Mitt Romney endorsed Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) for re-election in the Republican primary for Idaho's 2nd Congressional District. 

Romney made the endorsement on Monday in a fundraising email. 

"Congressman Mike Simpson is a proven conservative and ‘Idaho tough,’” Romney wrote in the fundraising email according to Roll Call. “But some groups from outside Idaho have decided to attack Mike and distort his conservative record. He needs our help to fight back and set the record straight."

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported out-raising its Republican counterpart in October, a month in which the federal government underwent a 16-day shutdown. 

Senate Democrats' campaign arm reported raising $4.8 million, $1 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the DSCC reported Monday. The DSCC finished the month with $11.1 million cash on hand and $6.2 million in debt while the NRSC had $5 million cash on hand but no debt. 

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The Justice Department's Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California joined in on San Francisco's transformation into Gotham for a day, issuing a fake press release and indictment of supervillains "The Riddler" and "The Penguin" on Friday.

It's all part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation's project to turn the city into Gotham for 5-year-old Miles, whose leukemia is in remission. Miles spent the day as "Batkid" fighting crime and saving citizens. In the process, he also apprehended both the Penguin and the Riddler who, according to the North District's press release, "were formally arrested today and charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and kidnapping for their all too familiar villainous ways in Gotham City." 

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The Democratic Governor's Association isn't taking a side on Democratic South Carolina gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Vincent Sheheen's support for the state's same-sex marriage ban.

In an interview with The State newspaper DGA spokesman Danny Kanner was asked whether Sheheen's opposition to gay marriage would be a problem for the DGA, since Democrats have nationally embraced same-sex marriage and other protections for LGBT individuals.

"This is Vincent Sheheen's race and we support candidates who share the policy priorities and values of their state as that candidate best sees those carried out," Kanner told the newspaper in response. "That's his view. The DGA does not have a view on that issue. Our view is we need to elect more Democratic governors. And we believe Vincent Sheheen can win."

In a follow-up email to TPM, Kanner said, "The mission of the DGA is to elect more Democratic governors, not to dictate policy positions to candidates. We do not have litmus tests."

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) hit back at Daily Show host Jon Stewart for trashing Chicago-style pizza as inferior to New York-style pizza. 

Emanuel's office on Thursday ordered two deep dish style pizza with anchovies from New York's Pizzeria Uno to the Daily Show offices with a note that read "Jon, Deep Dish with Dead Fish. Love, Rahm," according to the Chicago Tribune

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