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

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) beat even among tea partiers.

Texas's Ellis County Tea Party posted the results of a new straw poll on Sunday which found Cornyn leading Stockman, 18.3 percent to 0.0 percent.

The whole premise of the Stockman candidacy is that he's more conservative than Cornyn and that the incumbent Texas senator -- even going so far as to call Cornyn a "liberal." So far, though, Stockman has struggled to gain much of any ground in the Republican primary against Cornyn. A private Republican poll of the GOP primary found Cornyn leading Stockman by a very comfortable 44 percentage points.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) put out his first feelers for a new roommate after Rep. George Miller (D-CA) announced his retirement plans on Monday.

Schumer, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Miller are housemates in a Capitol Hill rowhouse nicknamed the "Animal House" which has been profiled numerous times and has become the subject of the Amazon original series "Alpha House."

Former Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) also lived in the house before his retirement in 2010. Reporting on the shared living space have often highlighted its dirty conditions and compared it to a frat house.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), a close ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has decided to retire at the end of the year.

"I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish on behalf of children, working people and the environment, in my district and for our country, especially passage of national health care reform," Miller, the ranking member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in a statement on Monday. "Now, I look forward to one last year in Congress fighting the good fight and then working in new venues on the issues that have inspired me. What a wonderful experience this has been."

Miller notified Pelosi on Wednesday and notified his staff on Monday, according to Politico, which first reported Miller's retirement and likened him to the House's version of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

Miller's decision means he will end a roughly 40-year stint in Congress. His retirement also means Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) will become the ranking member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Here's Miller's full statement:

This is a great institution and I cannot thank my family and my constituents enough for having given me the honor and privilege of representing my district in Congress these past 40 years. I have tried to repay them for their confidence by working hard every day to make our country a better place. I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish on behalf of children, working people and the environment, in my district and for our country, especially passage of national health care reform. Now, I look forward to one last year in Congress fighting the good fight and then working in new venues on the issues that have inspired me. What a wonderful experience this has been.

Pelosi, in a separate statement also praised Miller's time in office. Read her statement below:

“For 40 years in the House, George Miller has been the model of the serious, substantive and successful legislator. In the majority, as chairman of three committees, and in the minority as well, he has written some of the most creative legislation of our time – on health care, education, child policy and labor rights, and also on the environment, energy and national parks. George always incorporated the most current research of our best thinkers into innovative bills, and he passed most of them with bipartisan support.

“I especially value his long service to the Democratic Leadership as co-chairman of our Steering and Policy Committee, working with our Caucus to address jobs, economic innovation, child health and nutrition and a host of other national priorities. His foresight in the area of budget policy led him to originate the Pay-As-You-Go deficit reduction strategy that helped us balance the budget in an intelligent way.

“Now the Dean of California’s congressional delegation, George has always drawn a special inspiration from the creativity and innovativeness that is so crucial to our home state. He has worked closely with state leaders in so many fields to modernize education, reform natural resource policies, and serve the needs of children and those with special needs. And of course, he has always worked to reform water policy and enhance his beloved Delta.

“Capitol Hill and California are filled with Democrats and Republicans alike who have enjoyed working with George Miller and who deeply respect him because his dedication to the issues and his excitement for the legislative process are infectious and undiluted by the years he has served or the challenges he had faced. For me, as Speaker and Democratic Leader, George’s patriotism, wisdom and guidance have been especially valued, and he has been a close friend since my first days in the House.

“My sadness at his departure from Congress in 2015 is mitigated only by my certainty that he will utilize his exemplary knowledge and skills in a new venue where he will surely again be a successful leader for our state and our nation. I congratulate him on 40 years of inspired and inspirational leadership, I look forward to working closely with him during his last year of service in the House, and I wish him and Cynthia, and his beautiful family, many years of enjoyment and happiness together.”

This post was updated.

Texas Tea Party candidate Katrina Pierson has gotten a non-endorsement endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Cruz described Pierson, who is challenging Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), as "utterly fearless" according to The Dallas Morning News.

"Katrina Pierson is an utterly fearless principled conservative," Cruz said Saturday at the North Texas Freedom and Liberty Rally in Allen, Texas.

It may not be an official endorsement but it's likely as close as Pierson is going to get to one from Cruz given that he's said he does not plan to get involved in GOP primary elections. Cruz has used the "utterly fearless" phrase to praise Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a close ally in the Senate, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), and even in describing the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Pierson, it should be noted, has long tried to link herself closely to Cruz. A week earlier she was endorsed by Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz. In late 2013 Pierson told The Hill that come January Cruz "may want to be" one of the people who endorses her candidacy.

Photo from Katrina Pierson via Facebook.

The Republican staffer who was ousted from the Republican Study Committee for working with outside conservative groups has been named deputy chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The staffer, Paul Teller, served as executive director of the RSC until he was pushed out for working with outside groups who have aggressively attacked establishment Republicans and Republican congressional leaders.

"Paul will help manage day to day operations of the office, work with coalitions, and guide Sen. Cruz's policy priorities," Cruz Press Secretary Catherine Frazier told TPM in an email.

Those outside groups include tea party organizations like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project, and FreedomWorks.

"It is an honor and a privilege to work for Sen. Cruz," Teller said in a statement on Monday. "His leadership is truly motivating, and I can't wait to get started on our collaboration for liberty."

Cruz praised Teller as a tireless worker pushing for conservative principles.

"Paul's many years of experience working in Congress and his tireless work to advance conservative principles make him a tremendous addition to our team," Cruz said in a statement. "I look forward to working with him to keep making Texans' voices heard in Washington and to promote a positive policy agenda that will restore economic growth, rein in government overreaching, and protect Americans' personal liberties."

Teller starts January 16.

Photo from Paul Teller via Facebook.

This post was updated.

Tuesday night Florida voters will set the stage in the special election for the swing district previously held by the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL).

So far, experts estimate that it will be a good night for former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) and Lobbyist David Jolly (R), the favored candidates in Tuesday's Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively.

The months leading up to Tuesday's contests, after Young passed away, have been engulfed in drama -- including a push to acknowledge Young's children from his previous marriage at his funeral. Below is a guide to the contenders looking to win a special election that has been dubbed a bellwether race.

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Virginia seems to have a knack for attracting consummate insiders seeking political office. First there was Terry McAuliffe, who managed to wage a successful campaign and buck Virginia's trend of electing a governor opposite the president's party. Now Ed Gillespie is planning to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). Gillespie is part of a small pool of uber Washington, D.C. insiders-turned-candidates -- but he may be even more of an insider than McAuliffe.

After numerous unsubtle hints, Gillespie is expected to finally announce his candidacy sometime in the next few days -- and is required by Virginia law to file by Feb. 1. Republicans see Gillespie as the top-tier candidate they had been looking for to challenge Warner, who has already amassed a formidable $7.1 million war chest and polling has shown is in a comfortable position to cruise to reelection.

Read More →

Kansas Republican Senate candidate Milton Wolf is out with a new campaign ad this week in which he runs over Obamacare -- literally.

In the ad, Wolf, a tea party challenger running to unseat Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is taped driving his truck when the word Obamacare (with the 'O' replaced by the logo for President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) floats across the road. Wolf drives over it and there's an audible crunching sound. Text then reads "there's a better way."

The ad is 17 seconds long. It's unclear where, if at all, the ad will be broadcast.

Wolf, a distant cousin of Obama, has repeatedly highlighted his background as a physician that opposes Obamacare.

Wolf has also been endorsed by powerful conservative outside groups including the Senate Conservatives Fund, as first reported by TPM, and The Madison Project.

(Photo credit: Facebook)

Watch the ad below:

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is in serious talks to co-chair the Priorities USA super PAC with former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

According to Politico, Granholm is being "seriously considered" for the top job. She would be running the powerful superPAC alongside Jim Messina, who served as President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager.

Buzzfeed, meanwhile, reports Grahnolm has been "tapped" to lead the super PAC. Buzzfeed also reports that John Podesta, the former head of the Center for American Progress, was originally being eyed to co-chair the super PAC. Podesta, however, is headed to serve as a top adviser in the Obama administration.

Granholm has served as an informal adviser to the super PAC.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is scheduled to campaign for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) next Friday.

The appearance will come a week after new emails were publicized related to the the George Washington Bridge Scandal. Republicans in the state don't seem to be shunning the New Jersey governor.

"We always welcome Gov. Christie to Florida," Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford said according to National Journal. "An unfortunate situation has taken place and he's addressed it. He's not hiding from it. I think he handled it well?

Weatherford's comments came a day after Christie gave an almost two-hour long press conference in which he addressed the new revelations.