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

If pro-gun activists are successful Tuesday in recalling Colorado's Senate president and another Democratic senator, it could have an unintended consequence for the right: the state's Senate leadership may move to the left.

Senate President John Morse (D) and Sen. Angela Giron (D) are both up for recall after helping to narrowly pass a bill that expanded background checks on gun purchases and limited the size of ammunition magazines.

The recalls have largely been framed as a test for which side has the upper hand nationally on gun control. Outside groups, that either support or oppose tighter gun restrictions have poured millions of dollars into Colorado to try to tilt the fates of the two state politicians. That includes the nation's most prominent gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, which has spent a six-figure sum in the state, according to the Denver Post.

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Republican Matt Bevin, the primary challenger running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) in the 2014 Senate race, is urging him to announce his position on whether to take military action in Syria. 

"It's too late for Mitch McConnell to lead on the issue of Syria, but he needs to let Kentucky and the rest of America know where he stands," Bevin said in a statement on Monday. "We deserve better than a senator who ducks important debates like amnesty, defunding Obamacare, and now strikes in Syria. Like a true career politician, he waits to see the poll numbers so he can weigh how it will affect his own re-election instead of making decisions based on principles."

Bevin opposes taking military action. 

McConnell has withheld publicly taking a stance on Syria, making him the only top congressional leader who has not yet said whether the United States should conduct a missile strike. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all support President Barack Obama's call to take military action in Syria in response to reported use of chemical weapons there.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a new ad attacking Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY) as a lockstep supporter of Obamacare in the upcoming 2014 election. While the ad's attacks are directed at Grimes, the aim is clearly meant to also insulate McConnell from recent conservative charges that he is an insufficient opponent of Obamacare.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes supports Obamacare," the voiceover in the ad says. "Mitch McConnell has been the number one opponent of Obamacare from the start. McConnell supports bills to defund and repeal Obamacare."

The ad then goes on to quote McConnell saying "Obamcare should be repealed root and branch."

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The New Mexico Supreme Court said it will hold a hearing on whether same-sex marriage should be legal throughout the entire state next month.

The state's highest court will hold the hearing on Oct. 23, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The decision, handed down on Friday, comes after all 33 New Mexico county clerks took legal action to push the Supreme Court to weigh in on the legality of gay marriage.

All five of the Supreme Court judges concurred that there should be a review of the state's marriage laws, according to Reuters

Since August, a few clerks have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples under the state's ambiguous language on marriage. Some clerks have issued the marriage licenses only after a judge ordered them to. The decision to issue marriage licenses has prompted calls for the New Mexico Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all. The high court has previously refused requests to take up same-sex marriage lawsuits.

Seven New Mexico counties have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples over the last few weeks. An eighth county, Grant County, is expected to begin issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples this week.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, supports a resolution that would authorize force in Syria in response to a reported chemical weapons attack last month.

Read Schumer's statement below:

The Syrian situation poses two conflicting goals: to allow the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government to go unanswered would encourage the Assad regime, and other rogue governments, to use them again, but the last thing America needs or wants is a protracted conflict in the Middle East when our primary focus must be on jobs, the economy and the middle class. The Foreign Relations Committee resolution is clear, limited and specific. It prohibits any boots on the ground and puts strict time limits on American involvement in Syria while still allowing an appropriate response to the use of weapons of mass destruction, and I will support it.

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announced that her father, Jerry Russell, passed away early Thursday morning. He was 77.

"It is with great sadness that I share that Jerry Russell, my dearly loved father, died early yesterday morning surrounded in love and prayer by our extended family and so many who share our love for Dad," Davis said in a statement on Friday. "My family would like to welcome members of the theatre, Fort Worth, and greater community to join us for a tribute in Jerry’s honor on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center located at 1300 Gendy Street in Fort Worth."

Russell had been in critical care in Fort Worth for complications that form undergoing abdominal surgery. Russell was a well-known director and actor in North Texas for his work at the Stage West nonprofit theatre company.

"In his honor the family has established the Jerry Russell Endowment Fund at Stage West to ensure that the quality programs Jerry set out to produce when founding Stage West over 33 years ago will continue long after his death," Davis continued in the statement. "In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Jerry Russell Endowment Fund at Stage West."

Davis, who has been mulling whether to run for governor or run for reelection, postponed announcing her plans in August because of Russell's declining health.

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), shrugged off Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) support for his opponent.

Paul endorsed McConnell in March. 

"Politics make for strange bedfellows. I think Rand aspires to potentially other things on the political spectrum," Bevin said in an interview with ABC's Jeff Zeleny posted Friday. "There is nobody in Kentucky that is fooled by this Mitch-Rand love narrative. The people who have ultimately coalesced behind Rand Paul are people who have from the beginning been with me in large measure and are continuing to come to my side of the equation."

Those people, Bevin continued, are looking for an alternative to McConnell.

In August, a recording of McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, quoted him saying that he was "sorta holding my nose for two years," with McConnell "cause what we're doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in '16." Benton ran Paul's campaign for Senate in 2010.

After the recording surfaced, Benton stressed his support had nothing to do with possibly helping Paul down the road.

"I believe in Senator McConnell and am 100 percent committed to his re-election," Benton said in a statement.

The Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa have sued Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) over a rule that aims to remove names from voter rolls if a federal immigration database suggests they are not authorized to vote.

The ACLU and the LULAC filed a legal motion in Iowa's Polk County on Wednesday asking the judge to issue a ruling in the lawsuit, originally filed last year, and permanently block Schultz's rule. Schultz was given tentative permission to use the rule Aug. 14. If the judge approves the request, the activists will have successfully stopped the proposed voter roll purge.

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Add Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin to the list of politicians criticizing a National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman for calling Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes an "empty dress."

"I find it offensive – highly offensive," Bevin, who is mounting a primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Kentucky's Courier-Journal and USA Today in an interview published Thursday.

"I am married and I have six daughters," Bevin said, before adding that the comments were "insulting and rude."

The remark was published in an article in The Hill on Wednesday. Democrats were quick to try and tie the comments to McConnell even though the NRSC spokesman, Brad Dayspring, does not report directly to McConnell. Bevin also linked the comments to McConnell. He said that "the NRSC and McConnell [campaign] are one in the same."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will dine with five former Senate majority leaders Friday night, Reid's office announced Thursday.

Reid will meet with former Majority Leaders Bill Frist (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Trent Lott (R-MS), Bob Dole (R-KS) and George Mitchell (D-ME) in the Lyndon Baines Johnson room at the U.S. Capitol. 

According to the Office of the Senate Historian the dinner is the biggest gathering of Senate majority leaders in history.

"I am honored to be able to host this group representing two decades of bipartisan leadership in the Senate," Reid said in a statement.