Thursday, July 16, 2009

Campaigns Heat Up On and Off Capitol Hill

It’s Thursday, July 16, 2009. Here’s what we’re looking at:

Another interest groups runs a positive ad for an entrenched member of Congress. This time Health Care for America is asking constituents to thank Senators Chris Dodd and Harry Reid.

Meanwhile, interest group fights interest group (in fact, company fights company) in a tough public affairs campaign on the Hill. FedEx is attacking UPS for trying to get a federal bailout.

In fact, UPS isn’t trying to get a bailout at all – they’re supporting a bill that would (among other things) pave the way for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to organize with FedEx like they already do with UPS. As we said on Wednesday last week, there’s no “truth in advertising” law in politics.

Nonetheless, several conservative interest groups – including Americans for Tax Reform, Frontiers for Freedom, and Citizen Outreach – are asking FedEx to stop because the campaign is undermining their own anti-bailout efforts.

You may have seen in recent weeks that SarahPAC – Sarah Palin’s political action committee – is ramping up their fundraising efforts. Nate Silver at looks through their recent FEC reports and finds something interesting – the amount of money their raising isn’t significant, but the percent of small donations is much higher than most campaigns.

In Pennsylvania, at-risk incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) is taking a swing at his new primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak. From the Specter campaign:

Joe Sestak – AWOL

Dear Friend,

Q. In the 19-member Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, who’s missed the most votes this year?
A. Congressman Joe Sestak. Sestak has missed 78 votes in Congress so far this year, or nearly 15%, while campaigning for his theoretical Senate run.

Q. Who has the 13th worst attendance record this year in the entire Congress?
A. Joe Sestak. That’s right. Only twelve other Members of Congress have missed more votes than Sestak in 2009, including two members who are in rehab, one recovering from back surgery and several under government investigation.

Q. Is it true that 97% of all members of Congress have a better attendance record than Congressman Sestak.
A. Yes. Sestak ranks that low -- 97% of all members of Congress have a better attendance record than Congressman Sestak.

Q. What’s Senator Specter’s attendance?
A. Specter has been present for 98.7% of all votes in the Senate this year.

As we mentioned before, Specter is likely to face a tough primary – and that’s despite the fact that he went so far as to switch parties in order to avoid one!

Finally, Democrats picked up a seat in California this week, as Democrat Judy Chu won a special election against Republican Beatty Chu in Los Angeles to replace Obama’s Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, in the House of Representatives.

Evidently, voters didn’t feel there were too many Chus to choose from.

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