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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 executive director of the Democratic Governor's Association defended his group's decision to not spend more money in support of New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono's (D) gubernatorial candidacy against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

The comments, by executive director Colm O'Comartun, came a day after Christie won reelection and were in response to Buono accusing "Democratic political bosses" of making deal with Christie to help him get reelected. Buono did not identify who the bosses are by name.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a memo Wednesday morning arguing that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's (R) loss in the Virginia governor's race was a referendum on House Republicans' conservative agenda.

The memo argued that the hard right policies Cuccinelli pushed on the campaign trail —and that House Republicans support— are weighing down the Republican party. According to the memo:

When Ken Cuccinelli lost in the swing state of Virginia last night, House Republicans lost a lot of sleep. At the same time, Chris Christie’s victory gave them no comfort, as Christie used House Republicans as a foil, excoriating Speaker Boehner for their reckless shutdown and Hurricane Sandy aid delays. Taken together, the signs point to Congressional Republicans and their agenda being the common weight around the party’s ankles – and there’s no question that Congressional Republicans are part of the Cuccinelli wing of the party.

In the swing state of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli ran on a radical platform of restricting women’s rights, catering to the Tea Party or forcing the wrong budget priorities on voters. If that agenda sounds eerily familiar to Congress-watchers, it’s because House Republicans have echoed the Cuccinelli plan for years, whether it was opposing the Violence Against Women Act, pushing the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan economic plan or opposing bipartisan immigration reform. (See the attached addendum for just how closely House Republicans’ agenda mirrors Cuccinelli’s agenda.)

One year before the 2014 midterm elections, Americans have now seen the most tangible proof that swing voters will reject the Congressional Republican agenda of recklessness and dysfunction that hurts families’ wallets. As House Republicans spend the next 12 months ignoring Tuesday’s results and following Ted Cruz into the brink, Americans will continue to give them record-low approval numbers for their out-of-touch recklessness.

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Former State Sen. Bradley Byrne (R) beat conservative activist Dean Young in the runoff for the special election for Alabama's first congressional district on Tuesday night.

Polls fluctuated before the race was finally called for Byrne. With 91 percent of precincts reporting Byrne had 53 percent of the vote while Young had 47 percent, according to the Associated Press. Byrne's win will be seen as a victory for the Republican business groups that backed him and a loss for the tea party groups that supported Young.

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Updated: 10:51 p.m. ET

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) lost the Virginia governor's race Tuesday evening.

"Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare," Cuccinelli said in his concession speech in Richmond. "We said this race was a referendum on Obamacare, and although I lost tonight, you sent a message to the president of the United States that you believe that Obamacare is a failure and that you want to be in charge of your health care, not the government."

But in the end, Cuccinelli's hard-right conservatism -- which he flaunted throughout the campaign -- seems to have been his undoing.

Cuccinelli's loss may come as a lesson that simply firing up the base is not a surefire way to get elected.

Republicans in the state who watched the Virginia gubernatorial race closely say that the problem wasn't that Terry McAuliffe (D) was a perfect candidate -- far from it, he'd faced ethical questions for years before running in Virginia -- or that Cuccinelli failed to properly articulate his conservatism. Quite the opposite actually. Rather it was that Cuccinelli was too good at making his staunch conservative views clear which gave McAuliffe an opening and alienated crucial voting groups.

"He's been effectively characterized as some sort of right-wing fundamentalist pastor who if you don't agree with his reading of the Bible you go to hell," said Michael W. Thompson, who has been active in the Virginia Republican Party and serves as the current president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

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Democrat Terry McAuliffe eked out a narrow victory in the Virginia governor's race on Tuesday night, defeating Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Libertarian candidate Rob Sarvis.

McAuliffe's victory speech focused on bipartisanship. He thanked the Republicans who backed him in the race and said the victory was hard fought.

"This election was never a choice between Democrats and Republicans," McAuliffe said. "It was an election over whether Virginia would continue the mainstream bipartisan tradition that served us so well."

McAuliffe's win ends months of him leading Cuccinelli in most polls. It also marks a victory for a number of outside groups that poured millions in the race in support of McAuliffe and against Cuccinelli like Independence USA PAC and Planned Parenthood.

Democrats see the victory as proof that hitting conservative candidates on their tea party leanings can win elections.

"The Republican brand has become the tea party brand. They are inseparable now," Democratic National Committee Communications Director Mo Elleithee told TPM. "Kind of take a step back from just Virginia. Joe Lhota up in New York, where they haven't elected a Democrat in 20 years, spent the entire general election trying to distance himself from the Republican Party brand, even though he previously called himself a Goldwater Conservative, tried to distance himself from the Republican brand. That didn't work. Polling is showing that for the first time the tea party and the Republican Party are polling at the same abysmal level."

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A man said he'd legislate as a "Ted Cruz congressman" in the Alabama special election primary to fill a vacant congressional seat. But a super PAC that actually championed Ted Cruz when he first ran for office is backing the other candidate in the race.

The super PAC, Ending Spending PAC, is backing former state Sen. Bradley Byrne (R) over conservative activist Dean Young (R). During Cruz's Senate run Ending Spending PAC spent $157,157 on ads in support of the then-Texas solicitor general. But in the Alabama special election Ending Spending PAC, which was founded by the family that started TD Ameritrade, is spending about $100,000 on advertising in support of Byrne, who is generally considered the business-backed candidate in the race. Young is considered the more tea party oriented candidate. Young has also said he would style himself after Cruz is he was elected to Congress. 

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Vice President Joe Biden described Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's (R) policy stances as "from another era." 

Biden made the comments about Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe's Republican opponent in the Virginia gubernatorial race, during a get-out-the-vote kickoff event in Virginia on Monday. 

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The Republican Governors Association marked former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's entrance into the Florida gubernatorial race on the Democratic ticket with a statement bashing him as an opportunist who gave up being a Republican when things got tough.

"Charlie Crist was a failure as Governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself," Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal (LA) said in a statement on Monday. "Under Crist, Florida lost over 800,000 jobs, saw their unemployment rate surge from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, and experienced a budgetary crisis that left the state sinking faster and faster.

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