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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

The co-founder of a pro-Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) super PAC responded to Liz Cheney's decision to drop out of the Republican primary by saying her bid was a "fool's errand" all along.

Wyoming's Own super PAC issued the statement via co-founder Bill Cubin who also said they would be dissolving the group, which he started with Wyoming's Dick Bratton, after Cheney announced that she would drop out of the Senate race, citing family health reasons for ending her candidacy.

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The Ready for Hillary super PAC has rented out the email list of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

On Sunday the super PAC used the email list to send out a fundraising email encouraging supporters to buy Ready for Hillary bumper stickers. The super PAC aims to lay the groundwork for Clinton if she decides to run for president.

"One of the best ways to spark these conversations about Hillary potentially running in 2016 is by showing your support right now," the email, authored by retired General Wes Clark (D) said. "Have you picked up your free Ready for Hillary bumper sticker yet?"

The return address for the email was info@hillaryclinton.com.

Although defeated political campaigns often rent their email lists, super PACS are not allowed to directly coordinate with campaigns, defeated or current. That includes renting out email lists of former campaigns. Ready for Hillary was able to rent out the email list because Clinton is not currently a declared candidate (although she is widely believed to be strongly considering running for president in 2016).

Clinton's presidential campaign filed a termination report with the Federal Elections Commission in 2013 after she finished paying her debts from the 2008 presidential campaign, according to Time magazine. See the email below:

Democrat Michelle Nunn reported raising a hefty $1.6 million in the final fundraising quarter of 2013.

That haul means, in total, the Georgia Democratic Senate candidate has raised $3.3 million in the five months since she announced her candidacy to succeed outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Nunn's campaign said that 78 percent of her fourth-quarter donors gave less than $100.

Nunn's fundraising numbers serve as the latest indicator that the Georgia 2014 Senate race is likely to get very messy. On the Republican side a handful of candidates are duking it out for the nomination including Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, and Phil Gingrey. There is no clear frontrunner on the right. Nunn is the expected Democratic nominee.

"I'm so grateful for, and honored by, the strong support this start-up enterprise has received since we launched our campaign in July," Nunn said in a statement. "This campaign is about doing things differently, and the broad and diverse group of people joining our effort proves it. Thousands of grassroots supporters, many Georgians who have never supported a candidate before, and a number of Republicans are joining our campaign to replace the political bickering and gridlock in Washington with pragmatism and problem-solving."

It's already a bad year for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) according to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes (D), who is running against the top Senate Republican.

A spokeswoman noted that in the first three days of 2014, McConnell was passed up for an endorsement by a local GOP county chairman and news broke that the Senate Conservatives Fund spent about $1 million to boost Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin.

Read the Grimes campaign statement, per spokeswoman Charly Norton, below:

Less than 72 hours into the New Year, Mitch McConnell’s campaign has already managed to stumble out of the gate. McConnell lost significant ground with Kentucky Republicans, as the Daviess County GOP Chair refused to back the 30-year incumbent over Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin. In yet another sign of Senator Gridlock’s horrible start to 2014, the Senate Conservatives Fund announced spending $1 million to date to unseat McConnell. Senator Gridlock’s failure to connect with Kentuckians underscores the Commonwealth’s overwhelming desire for a new senator in the New Year.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) stressed Friday that he did not endorse Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for reelection in a recently aired conservative ad.

"To be clear, I haven't endorsed Lindsey Graham for Senate," Huckabee said in a statement on his HuckPac.com.

Huckabee's statement came a few days after a conservative outside group, the South Carolina Conservative Action Alliance, aired an ad featuring the former Arkansas governor praising Graham's stance on Israel. The ad was interpreted in some circles as an endorsement from Huckabee. Graham is up for re-election this year but has attracted a handful of primary challengers. The ad was taped in 2013 but did not air until Wednesday during the Capitol One Bowl in South Carolina.

"Last year, I voiced an ad thanking him for support of Israel," Huckabee continued in the statement. "It was not an endorsement for his reelection. In fact, I don't plan to endorse anyone in SC Senate race in the primary but I will certainly help in the general election if asked."

The chairman of the SCCAA, David Wilkins, said that the ad was never meant to serve as a vessel for an endorsement by Huckabee.

"That was not the intention. We agree with Governor Huckabee that this was not an endorsement," Wilkins said in an email to TPM.

In the ad Huckabee described Graham as a "leader in South Carolina who knows what it takes to win."

"He demands answers on Benghazi, backs our allies in Israel, and he fights for a strong national defense," Huckabee said in the ad. "Call Lindsey Graham and thank him for being a conservative champion for peace through strength."

Watch the ad below:

A conservative candidate running against Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Republican primary argued that his decision to fight his domestic violence conviction in court showed his integrity.

The candidate, Erick Bennett, a consultant in Portland who worked on the anti-marriage equality push in 2012, made the argument Monday at a press conference. He discussed his Senate campaign, his time serving for Maine Gov. Paul LePage's (R) campaign in 2010 and his domestic violence conviction.

"The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact of how much guts and integrity I have," Bennett said. "I've noticed some people questioning that."

In 2003 Bennett was convicted of attacking his then-wife. A district court convicted him of Class D Assault. Bennett fought the conviction but in 2004 a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the lower court "sufficient evidence does exist in the record to support his conviction," according to the Bangor Daily News. At the press conference Bennett stressed his innocence.

Bennett went on to say that that his time in jail demonstrates how much character he has.

"If I go to D.C., I'm going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people's rights, as well as their pocketbooks," Bennett continued, according to the Daily News.

(Photo credit: Facebook)

(H/t: Slate)

There's something puzzling about the first campaign ad by House Speaker Thom Tillis' (R-NC), who is challenging Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC).

The ad features Tillis bashing Obamacare while simultaneously wearing a pin of an autism advocacy group that highlighted the benefits of the new law, like prohibiting coverage denial for a pre-existing condition, which autism has sometimes been classified as.

"Obamacare is a disaster but the president won't admit it," Tillis said in the ad, which he released Thursday, while wearing a puzzle piece-shaped pin that is a symbol for Autism Speaks, which supports autism research and awareness.

"The debt's out of control and neither party has stopped it," Tillis continued. "Kay Hagan enabled President Obama's worst ideas. She refused to clean up his mess. So you and I have to clean up hers."

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The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) has already invested nearly $1 million of its $2 million haul in Matt Bevin, the Republican challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate primary.

The group announced Friday that it had reached its goal of raising $2 million to boost its preferred Senate candidates. Of that $2 million, $985,994 went to Bevin. Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-KY) got the most money next with $515, 993. McDaniel is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

SCF has continuously attacked McConnell during even the earliest days of the 2014 election cycle. McConnell hasn't taken those attacks lying down. In November the top Senate Republican said SCF gives conservatism "a bad name."

Here's the breakdown of how much each SCF endorsed candidate got:

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) has a message for the GOP: the party can retake the Senate but only if there are no "foolish" moments.

In an interview with The Hill, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) ally and often proxy for the Speaker of the House predicted that Senate Republicans could pick up the six seats needed to retake control of the Senate. He cautioned though that Republicans have to "make sure that we don't do something foolish" that could endanger their chances.

The comment by Cole likely alludes to former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) whose bid against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) largely collapsed after he said the female body has ways of shutting down a pregnancy if it is the result of "legitimate rape."

In the early days of the 2014 midterm election cycle the GOP has already taken steps to prevent a repeat of a Todd Akin moment. The National Republican Congressional Committee held meetings with aides to incumbent House Republicans to teach them about "messaging against women opponents."

Democrat Alex Sink has far out-fundraised her Republican opponents in the special election for the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young's (R-FL) congressional seat.

Sink, the former Florida gubernatorial candidate, raised $1.1 million so far in the special election. Of that haul she has $1 million cash on hand, more than the Republicans also running in the seat, according to The Washington Post on Thursday.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-FL) announced raising just $170,000 with $18,000 cash on hand. Republican David Jolly said he raised $338,000 with $142,000 cash on hand.

In 2010 Sink narrowly lost the governor's race to now-Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

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