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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

Amid recent allegations of tea partiers caught rubbing elbows with white supremacists and cock fighters, mainstream Republicans are having a hard time containing their exuberance over the struggling tea party challenger campaigns.

After TPM reported on Thursday that state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS) backed out of headlining a gun rights rally thanks to attention on a vendor with questionable views on racial segregation, CNN Crossfire co-host S.E. Cupp tweeted McDaniel was an "ass" for agreeing to attend in the first place.

"When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas," Republican strategist John Feehery told TPM in an email. "This is the problem with the tea party and their candidates. They lack judgement and that lack of judgement makes them poor general election candidates."

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were puzzled at how tea party favorite and Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin could attend a cockfighting rally and not know it was, you know, a cockfighting rally.

"What? Wait, so he went to the rally?" Brzezinski asked on Thursday.

"I don't know how you accidentally stumble into a cockfighting rally," Scarborough said.

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The North Carolina Senate race is about as close as it could get, according to a new poll.

The SurveyUSA poll released on Thursday found Sen. Kay Hagan (D) essentially neck-and-neck each of her possible Republican contenders in a general election fight. Against House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC), the establishment candidate who has been seen as the frontrunner in the race, Hagan gets 45 percent support while Tillis gets 46 percent. Against tea partier Greg Brannon, Hagan trails by two points with 45 percent support to Brannon's 47 percent.

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State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS), the tea party candidate in the Mississippi Senate race, was listed as the keynote speaker at a gun rights event along with a Confederate memorabilia store owner who has advocated for racial segregation -- and backed out of it when it was highlighted by a state political blog.

As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday McDaniel had been listed as the keynote speaker at the Combined Firearm Freedom Day/Tea Party Music Fest in Guntown, Mississippi on May 17. McDaniel was listed as the primary headliner of the event alongside a number of tea party groups, McDaniel's campaign manager, who is also a state senator, and a seller of American Revolution relics and Confederate memorabilia called Pace Confederate Depot.

The online store's owner, Brian Pace, founded the Council of White Patriot Voters in 2011 and is quoted in a local news report as saying "whenever we had racial segregation things were much better off."

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The Democratic candidate in the South Dakota Senate race said Wednesday's Supreme Court decision striking down key campaign contribution limits was the worst decision by the high court since the Dred Scott case in 1857.

"Today's decision of the United States Supreme Court to strike down any real limit on the purchase of our democracy by big money may be the worst decision made by any Supreme Court since the Dred Scott case reaffirmed slavery in 1857," Democrat Rick Weiland said in a statement on Wednesday, after the court handed down the decision.

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Republican Matt Bevin, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) tea party primary challenger, spoke at a cockfighting rally which he said he thought was an event advocating more general states rights.

On Bevin's campaign itinerary he listed a Saturday morning event at The Arena in Corbin, Kentucky as a "states rights rally." But according to organizers, the event was very clearly a pro-cockfighting event.

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is marking Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling cutting down the limits on how much money and how many political candidates donors can give money to as a victory.

"It's not like people are going to be able to write out million-dollar checks to the Republican Party or to an individual candidate," Priebus said Wednesday, a few hours after the ruling, in an interview with MSNBC. "All we're saying is the idea that you have aggregate limits -- in other words, you can't give the full amount to ten candidates running for office around the country, or you can't give the full amount to the Congressional committee, the Senate committee in the RNC, doesn't make any sense."

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Updated: April 2, 2014, 12:47 PM

In the Supreme Court's new ruling striking down limits on the total amount someone can contribute to political committees or political candidates, the justices made a counterintuitive argument: organizations that make campaign contributions more transparent actually eliminate the need for the laws the Supreme Court just eroded.

The ruling specifically cited the existence of work from the Center for Responsive Politic's OpenSecrets.org and the National Institute on Money in State Politics' FollowTheMoney.org.

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Attorney General Greg Abbott, state Sen. Wendy Davis's (D) Republican opponent in the Texas gubernatorial race, cited controversial conservative scholar Charles Murray in a explaining his plans on pre-kindergarten education this week.

Abbott cited the scholar in an education plan his campaign unveiled this week on how he would reform pre-Kindergarten through third grade education in Texas. The citation comes in the second paragraph of the introduction of the education proposal.

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A South Carolina lawmaker wants to make sure if his state has an official fossil, God gets credit for creating it.

The lawmaker, state Sen. Kevin Bryant (R), is pushing an amendment that would add language designating a mammoth fossil as the state fossil that reads "as created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field."

"I just had a notion that we ought to consider acknowledging the creator as we acknowledge one of his creations," Bryant said according to Reuters.

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