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

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) said on Wednesday that will not seek reelection in 2014, according to the Associated Press. 

Chafee faced a tough reelection fight in 2014 and has suffered from low approval ratings.

Chafee, who was previously a Republican senator, switched parties in May. He was an Independent before becoming a Democrat and campaigned for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Democrats quickly shot back after National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director Brad Dayspring referred to Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes as an "empty dress" who "babbles incoherently."

The comments by Dayspring were reported in an article in The Hill about the Senate race between Grimes and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"This despicably offensive quote by a Republican operative who reports to Mitch McConnell is consistent with McConnell's long history of leading the war on women," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Deputy Press Secretary Regan Page said in a statement on Wednesday. "After all, just last week McConnell tried to take credit for passage of the Violence Against Women Act despite the fact that he's repeatedly voted against it, and touted the endorsement of Todd Akin's biggest fan Mike Huckabee. McConnell should call on this staffer to apologize."

Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton tied the comments to McConnell.

"This degrading and offensive comment from McConnell's campaign team is appalling and he should condemn it immediately," Norton said in a separate statement. "It shows his team's true feelings towards women and continues his disgraceful pattern of not standing up for the women of Kentucky. From misleading Kentuckians on his votes against the Violence Against Women Act, to voting against equal pay for equal work, Senator McConnell has failed to lead on issues important to women and their families."

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis's (D) meteoric rise to national prominence has left her in a unique position. Not only is she considered a strong candidate to run for governor but she's also considered to be a rising star that Democrats hope could help turn the state blue. The Texas Tribune recently reported that other Democrats are taking a "wait and see" approach on whether the national attention and money a Davis gubernatorial campaign would bring to those who are eyeing seats.

But the story of the next great Democrat to bring change is nothing new for the state of Texas. In fact, a long time ago -- in what now seems like a Texas that's far far away -- there were other Democrats who, like Davis, observers believed would herald in a new era of Democratic dominance. Below is a list of these Democrats who, at one time or another, were seen as the beginning of a new Democratic era in the Lone Star state.

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New Mexico's Grant County will soon become the seventh county in recent weeks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Grant County Clerk Robert Zamarripa said his office will begin issuing licenses to same sex couples on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The clerk said he will comply with a district judge's order issued following a lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple.   

Zamarripa's decision came the same week that Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover refused to follow a court order to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Stover must appear in court to argue why she should not have to issue the marriage licenses.

A number of New Mexico clerks recently took legal action to push the New Mexico Supreme Court to rule on whether all clerks in the state have to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

The National Rifle Association has spent an additional $250,000 in support of recall efforts against two Colorado state Democrats, campaign spending reports revealed.

The latest spending is a roughly $141,000 increase from the NRA's previous spending on the recall efforts, according to The Denver Post.

Colorado senate President John Morse (D) and state Sen. Angela Morse (D) face a recall election next week after supporting legislation that tightened the state's gun laws.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (I) Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other pro-gun control groups have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to counter the NRA's spending.

The recall election for Morse and Giron is Sept. 10.

Los Alamos County clerk Sharon Stover has decided to challenge a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Stover's decision on Tuesday means she will have to appear in court to argue why she should not have to offer the marriage licenses. A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Stover had previously said she would decide on Tuesday afternoon whether to issue the licenses or challenge the matter in court.

Stover's decision makes her county the first one to be challenge the series of state court orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Six other counties have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in recent weeks. Some of those counties only began offering licenses after clerks were ordered to do so by state courts.

Correction: This post originally described Stover as having disobeyed the court order. In fact, the judge had directed the clerk to either issue licenses or appear at a court hearing to make the legal arguments for why licenses should not be issued. Stover decided to argue the case in court.

Minneapolis, Minn. Mayor R.T. Rybak (D) has a message for gay couples in nearby states: while you wait for your legislature to pass a new gay marriage law, you can come get married in Minnesota.

"We're talking to same-sex couples in neighboring states where it's on the docket," Rybak spokesman John Stiles said according to NBC 5 in Chicago. "Our message is that they should adopt it. Until then, we're here to seal your business."

On Thursday Rybak will officially announce his advertising campaign (which includes print and digital ads touting that gay marriage is legal in Minnesota) in Chicago's Boystown Center.

A month earlier Rybak drew national attention for officiating 46 weddings on the first day Minnesota's same-sex marriage law was in effect.

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio (R) announced on Tuesday that he not run for mayor of San Diego and instead continue his campaign for Congress.

"Today, I reaffirm my commitment to be San Diego's voice in the U.S. congress," DeMaio said at a press conference.

DeMaio's announcement means he sticking with his challange against Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic congressmen in the country. He had previously been believed to be planning to run for mayor after San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) left the office. 

DeMaio previously challenged Filner but lost in a runoff in November.

President Barack Obama has some work to do to recover from his past mistakes on Syria, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said in a short statement on Tuesday, offering no indication whether he would support military intervention in the country.

"The President has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria," Ryan said. "He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America's security. I want to hear his case to Congress and to the American people."

Ryan's statement comes as Obama meets with top lawmakers to rally support for taking military action in Syria in response to chemical weapons use there. On Tuesday Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders as well as the chairs of relevant committees to discuss action in Syria.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) are in what may be the most heated spat between one governor trying to poach companies from the other governor's state.

In the last week of August, Perry aired radio ads and made an appearance in Missouri, apparently to capitalize on Nixon's decision to veto a bill halving the state's corporate tax rate lowering its income tax.

"Vetoing a tax cut is the same thing as raising your taxes. But there is a state where businesses flourish and jobs are created: Texas," Perry said in one of the ads.

Perry's reported $200,000 advertising campaign, which includes both TV and radio ads, argues that Texas is straight-up better than Missouri thanks to its lack of income tax and pro-small business policies.

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