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

Kentucky Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has an unlikely but potentially potent weapon in her Senate campaign to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Kentucky's successful online health insurance marketplace.

While the federal government's Healthcare.gov website has been plagued with problems providing ammo to Republicans, Kentucky's online health insurance website, called Kynect, has been hailed as the model for how state marketplaces should work. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) himself has said the marketplace's success has exceeded "far beyond our wildest dreams."

But Grimes has been hesitant to be as vocal as Beshear about Kynect or the broader health care reforms. So far, she has followed the playbook of most red state Democratic candidates.

"She has called for an extension of the grandfathering period to allow the people of called for an extension of the grandfathering period to allow the people of Kentucky to keep their current plans, as well as an extension of the enrollment period and mandate delay for all Americans until the federal website is fixed," Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in an email to TPM.

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Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) has just a single-digit lead over possible Republican challengers in the 2014 Senate race, according to a new poll. 

 The Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found that Udall leads  Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, a who previously ran unsuccessfully for Sen.  Michael Bennett's (D-CO) seat in 2010 45 percent to 42 percent. Buck has compared being gay to being an alcoholic and also argued that voters should support him over his primary opponent because unlike her he doesn't "wear high heels."

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An Americans for Prosperity attack ad directed at Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) over Obamacare purports to feature a voter for Alaska, but the woman is actually an actress who lives in the state of Maryland, according to The New York Times.

In the ad, a woman criticizes Begich, who is up for re-election in 2014, and President Barack Obama for the "promises they made to pass Obamacare."

"They knew the real truth,"  the woman said in the ad. "Some are even losing their jobs. For too many of us costs are going way up. Senator Begich didn't listen. How can I ever trust him again? It just isn't fair. Alaska deserves better."

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The Club for Growth is hitting both Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Idaho's largest business lobby over a push to expand Medicaid in the state. 

The Club for Growth, which backed tea partier Bryan Smith in the race for Simpson's House seat, sent out an email Wednesday to supporters noting that "the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which has already announced the creation of a Super-PAC to support Mike Simpson’s re-election, has also endorsed ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion in Idaho."

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported raising $7 million in the month of October, setting a new off-year record. 

The fundraising haul came during a month in which the federal government underwent a 16-day government shutdown. 

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Updated: November 19, 2013, 7:07 PM EST

On Tuesday news broke that Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) faces charges for cocaine possession. If the charges hold up, he'll join an elite and ever-growing group of congressmen who have gotten caught dabbling in illegal substances. Here's a list of seven high-profile cases of lawmakers who got themselves into trouble for narcotics possession or driving while intoxicated.

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Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) blamed Republican Senate candidate Liz Cheney's desire to win the Wyoming Senate race for the increasingly visible feuding between Cheney and her sister Mary over same-sex marriage.

"You're not even destroying friendships —you're destroying family relationships because of this race," Simpson said in an interview with NBCNews.com. "It's hard for all of us who know the Cheneys to see the things she's doing to win this race. It's almost like she'll do anything to win this race, because I cannot ever believe that there would be a breach between she and Mary."

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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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