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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

Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has endorsed the tea party challenger to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX).

On Monday the elder Cruz endorsed Dallas tea party leader Katrina Pierson.

"She's a strict constitutionalist," Cruz said of Pierson at a fundraiser according to the Dallas Morning News. "She's a strong conservative and she wants to do what's right."

Pierson supported Sen. Ted Cruz when challenged Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) in the 2012 Texas Senate Republican primary.

Sessions supporters bristled at the endorsement noting that although Pierson got a nod from Cruz's father, who is popular in tea party circles, it still wasn't an endorsement from the senator himself.

"He's speaking for himself, former Dallas County Republican Party chairman Jonathan Neerman said according to the Morning News. "Ted Cruz has not endorsed in this race."

Pierson herself has suggested that Sen. Cruz might eventually endorse her (although Cruz has indicated that he plans to stay out of Republican primaries).

(Photo credit: Youtube)

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) seems to want to forget about his old campaign committee.

On Dec. 30 Stockman, who is challenging Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), registered a new campaign committee, Steve Stockman for Senate, according to the Center for Public Integrity. The thing is, Stockman already has a campaign committee —Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman, which is currently carrying $163,000 in debt, according to federal records.

What's more, since 2012, Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman amended its financial disclosures to the FEC 35 times in order to "correct various errors or irregularities" the Center for Public Integrity. Those changes include trying to explain campaign donations that aren't legal.

The amendments to the financial disclosures come a few months after the Houston Chronicle reported that two congressional aides to Stockman improperly contributed money to Stockman's congressional campaign.

Stockman has struggled to wage an even decently organized campaign. In December TPM reported on the Stockman campaign headquarters, which had been recently shut down by local Texas officials for fire code violations.

The Georgia Republican Party has scheduled seven —seven!— Senate debates for the nomination to succeed outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). The dates and locations, released Monday, are below:

January 18, 2014 – Adel, Georgia

February 1, 2014 – Kennesaw, Georgia

February 22, 2014 – Gainesville, Georgia

March 8, 2014 – Macon, Georgia

March 29, 2014 – Savannah, Georgia

April 19, 2014 – Augusta, Georgia

May 10, 2014 – Columbus, Georgia

The announcement came a day after Democrat Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee in the race, announced raising $1.6 million in the last quarter of 2013.

A handful of candidates are competing for the GOP nomination in the Georgia Senate race. So far there has been no clear frontrunner.

Shutterstock/ Hailin Chen

The campaign arm for House Democrats hailed Rep. Jim Gerlach's (R-PA) decision to not seek another term as the latest sign that moderate Republicans are "jumping ship" within the Republican Party.

Gerlach announced Monday that he would not run for another term.

"John Boehner and the Tea Party put up the ‘No Moderates Allowed’ sign on their caucus and now the few remaining moderates are jumping ship from a Congress that is so broken that its leaders have already admitted they will do nothing this year to help hardworking families," Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said in a statement on Monday.

Israel went on to list a trio of other House Republicans who recently announced that they would not run for reelection.

"Jim Gerlach marks the twelfth Republican to retire or resign, joining others like Tom Latham, Jon Runyan and Frank Wolf who have decided to retire rather than continue to defend this indefensible Republican Congress’s reckless dysfunction that is hurting the middle class and failing to create jobs," Israel said.

Israel argued that Gerlach's announcement leaves Democrats with a big opportunity to pick up a swing district. Gerlach's sixth congressional district went for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election and President Barack Obama in 2008.

"As these Republicans jump ship, Democrats’ battlefield for 2014 continues to expand," Israel said. "Republicans now have to defend this competitive district because the Democratic candidate will be committed to strengthening the middle class, focusing on job creation and taking commonsense steps like increasing the minimum wage, while the Republican candidate will be beholden to the same type of Republicans who now run this dysfunctional Republican Congress."

A conservative super PAC that attacked Republican Liz Cheney throughout her Senate campaign said in a post-mortem memo that her biggest vulnerability was her position on same-sex marriage.

The American Principles Fund released the memo early afternoon. The super PAC, which is run by Sarah Huckabee, the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), has accused Cheney of being inconsistent on same-sex marriage. Throughout her campaign Cheney battled with her sister, Mary, on same-sex marriage. Mary, who is openly lesbian, is married to her long-term partner and has two children.

"Cheney's greatest vulnerability from day one was her position on marriage - after we introduced her position on marriage in a statewide television buy her internal numbers collapsed," Huckabee said in an email to TPM. "The message from Wyoming is clear - marriage matters and it's a winning issue. Abandoning traditional marriage can have serious political consequences, particularly in a Republican primary. Going forward APF will be involved mostly in general elections, helping Republicans defeat Democrats, but when there is a clear contrast in a Republican primary, like in WY, we aren't afraid to weigh in and make the contrast for candidates who stand for our values."

Read the memo below:

APF WY Post-mortem

The tensions between members of Liz Cheney's camp and supporters of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) seem to be disappearing quickly in the aftermath of Cheney's decision to end her primary challenge against the incumbent senator.

Cheney reached out to the daughter of former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) late Sunday night to tell the Simpson family she planned to end her candidacy, Simpson told TPM on Monday. Simpson had opposed Cheney's candidacy and gotten into verbal dustups with members of the Cheney family while Liz was campaigning. Simpson eventually got in touch with Cheney Monday morning.

"So, this morning Ann and I called Liz here in Wyoming, a 307 number," Simpson recounted. "We talked to her and she said I'm stepping out of the race. 'It's a mom thing' she said. 'We had a wonderful holiday and talked about things with the whole family.'"

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Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) released a conciliatory statement in response to Republican Liz Cheney's decision to drop out of the primary against the Wyoming senator.

"While it is not always easy, Diana and I have always believed in putting family first. We have tremendous respect for Liz’s decision. She and her entire family are in our thoughts and prayers," Enzi said in a statement on Monday.

The statement came less than 24 hours after Cheney announced that she was dropping out of the Senate race. Cheney, in her statement, cited recent health issues in her family as her reason for ending her candidacy for Enzi's seat.

"I remain as committed as always to the job the people of Wyoming have elected me to do. I look forward to continuing my campaign for re-election in the coming months," Enzi continued in the statement.

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) has decided not to seek re-election.

"Nearing the end of my sixth term in the House and following 12 years of public service in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, it is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family," Gerlach said in a statement according to PoliticsPA. "This is a tremendously difficult decision because I have had the opportunity to work with a multitude of dedicated public servants throughout the years. Together, we have worked to strengthen our communities and create opportunities for the hard-working families we have been privileged to represent."

Gerlach's decision gives Democrats a chance to pickup a House district in Pennsylvania. Gerlach's congressional district just barely went for Mitt Romney over President Obama in 2012 with the former Massachusetts governor garnering 51 percent of the vote and Obama getting 48 percent. In 2008, Obama won the district over McCain 53 percent to 46 percent.

Gerlach was first elected in 2002.

The National Republican Congressional Committee praised the six-term congressman's time in office, especially his founding of the House Land Conservation Caucus.

"In Congress, Jim has been a driving force behind numerous measures to reform the tax code, protect the promises made to seniors, and dismantle the disaster that is ObamaCare. As the founder of the House Land Conservation Caucus, Jim was a leading advocate for preserving our nation’s farmland in Congress," National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said in a statement. "I join with my colleagues in wishing Jim and his family well in this new chapter in their lives. Though we are losing a strong advocate for Pennsylvania, I have no doubt we will elect another Republican leader in November who will be the same thoughtful lawmaker that Jim is."

This post was updated.

Even though Democrat Alex Sink once called former Gov. Charlie Crist a disaster, the Republican-turned-Democrat still donated $1,000 to her House campaign, according to finance records reported on by the Tampa Bay Times.

Sink, who narrowly lost against current Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2010, is now running for the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young's (R-FL) House seat.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in June Sink, who was deciding whether to run for governor, described Crist as a "disaster." She also criticized Scott saying "this governor's incompetent."

A few days earlier Sink reported out-fundraising all her Republican opponents in the special election for Young's congressional seat.

The health issues that Republican Liz Cheney cited as her reason for dropping out of the Wyoming Senate race has to do with one of her daughters' diagnosis of diabetes, according to ABC News.

In her statement announcing her decision to drop out Cheney cited "serious health issues" that have recently come up in her family. According to Republicans close to the Cheney family, the issue is one of Cheney's daughters had been diagnosed with diabetes. The ABC News report did not specifically name which of Cheney's daughters has diabetes.

ABC News also reported that Cheney made her decision to drop out around the holidays but waited until only recently to inform her top campaign officials.

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