Newt Gingrich

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South Carolina: Could Open Primaries Close the Door on Graham in 2014? | State of Elections

A recent case out of South Carolina is drawing attention to the potential impact of open primaries on election results. South Carolina law does not require voters to formally register with a particular political party in order to cast a vote in a primary. A system in which voters can select the primary they wish to vote in regardless of party affiliation is called an open primary system.  Open primary systems sometimes draw criticism because they can allow voters to engage in so-called crossover voting.  Crossover voting occurs when members of one political party deliberately vote for a candidate they perceive to be weaker in an opposing party’s primary in order to give their candidate an advantage. It is important to note that voters in an open primary system do have to select only one primary in which to vote, so crossover voting naturally removes a voter’s opportunity to cast a ballot for the actual candidate of her choice in her own party’s primary.  Exit polls provide evidence that voters have crossed party lines during primaries in South Carolina. For example, despite South Carolina’s traditionally conservative electorate, nearly 30% of the voters in the Republican presidential primary in 2012 were either Democrats or Independents.  Further, nearly a quarter of the independents chose Ron Paul as their candidate of choice, rather than the eventual winner in the primary, Newt Gingrich.

Full Article: Could Open Primaries Close the Door on Graham in 2014? : State of Elections.

Editorials: An upside-down campaign finance system | Jennifer Rubin/Washington Post

The Supreme Court argument in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission on aggregate limits on campaign donations was odd, to say the least. Justices who were inclined to uphold the limit seemed to agree that the limits on what an individual can give to all candidates and the national and state parties collectively is there to prevent a few billionaires from controlling elections. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, asked, “Is there any information on what percentage of all contributors are able to contribute over the aggregate?” Justice Elena Kagan later echoed this concern: “Now, having written a check for $3.5 million to a single party’s candidates, are you suggesting that that party and the members of that party are not going to owe me anything, that I won’t get any special treatment?” The solicitor general asserted the same: “Aggregate limits combat corruption both by blocking circumvention of individual contribution limits and, equally fundamentally, by serving as a bulwark against a campaign finance system dominated by massive individual contributions in which the dangers of quid pro quo corruption would be obvious and inherent and the corrosive appearance of corruption would be overwhelming.”

Full Article: An upside-down campaign finance system.

Virginia: Man pleads guilty to voter fraud in Gingrich case | Washington Times

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to forging thousands of signatures in trying to get former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on the ballot in the state’s 2012 presidential primary, an NBC affiliate in Charlottesville reported. In December 2011, Adam Ward, 28, collected more than 11,000 signatures, according to prosecutors, but investigators could not verify more than 4,000 of them, WVIR reported. Mr. Ward has pleaded guilty to 36 counts of voter fraud and perjury.

Full Article: Virginia man pleads guilty to voter fraud in Gingrich case - Washington Times.

National: Citizens Dis-United: Justices May Take Another Look at Campaign Finance Case | ABA Journal

After Newt Gingrich became the victim of attack ads paid for by Mitt Romney’s $30 million “super PAC,” Gingrich struck back with his own. His Winning Our Future political action committee hauled in at least $10 million from a loyal casino multimillionaire. And, while observing the damage done by Republican super PACs, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign decided to use administration and campaign aides to raise his campaign’s own funds. These multimillion-dollar PACs were made possible byCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, aka the McCain-Feingold Act, which placed limits on corporate campaign spending. Super PACs can accept unlimited corporate contributions and make unlimited expenditures for—or against—federal candidates like Gingrich and Obama. But while super PACs are enlivening the 2012 campaign, the Supreme Court may not yet be done with Citizens United. In late February it stayed a surprising Montana Supreme Court ruling that stunned election experts by ignoring Citizens United altogether and upholding the state’s ban on independent corporate spending in state elections.

Full Article: Citizens Dis-United: Justices May Take Another Look at Campaign Finance Case - Magazine - ABA Journal.

National: Citizens Dis-United: Justices May Take Another Look at Campaign Finance Case | ABA Journal

After Newt Gingrich became the victim of attack ads paid for by Mitt Romney’s $30 million “super PAC,” Gingrich struck back with his own. His Winning Our Future political action committee hauled in at least $10 million from a loyal casino multimillionaire. And, while observing the damage done by Republican super PACs, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign decided to use administration and campaign aides to raise his campaign’s own funds. These multimillion-dollar PACs were made possible byCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, aka the McCain-Feingold Act, which placed limits on corporate campaign spending. Super PACs can accept unlimited corporate contributions and make unlimited expenditures for—or against—federal candidates like Gingrich and Obama. But while super PACs are enlivening the 2012 campaign, the Supreme Court may not yet be done with Citizens United. In late February it stayed a surprising Montana Supreme Court ruling that stunned election experts by ignoring Citizens United altogether and upholding the state’s ban on independent corporate spending in state elections.

Full Article: Citizens Dis-United: Justices May Take Another Look at Campaign Finance Case - Magazine - ABA Journal.

National: The big money men buy a voice in American politics | The Age

THE video begins like this: wispy clouds drift over the great American outdoors. Cranes build an office block. Trucks roar down the highway. “Capitalism made America great,” says a gravelly voice. “The free market. Hard work. The building blocks of the American dream.” A family walks through a wheat field, where the Stars and Stripes waves briskly. “But in the wrong hands, those dreams can turn into nightmares.”  And storm clouds gather over the wheat field. The attack ad goes on to paint Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a corporate raider of the worst ilk, making his millions through stripping assets and staff from honest American businesses. It was exquisitely timed to upset Romney, as rival Republican Newt Gingrich accelerated his run towards his South Carolina primary win on January 21. But Gingrich’s name was not mentioned, nor did he endorse the ad (or later accept responsibility for its errors and exaggerations). It was paid for by a group called Winning Our Future. 

Full Article: The big money men buy a voice in American politics.

Voting Blogs: Campaign Spending Shows Political Ties, Self-Dealing | ProPublica

For an example of the fluidity of campaign finance rules, as well as the tangled web of connections between candidates and super PACs, look no further than the digital consulting firm Targeted Victory. So far, the firm’s hauled in $4.1 million working for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and American Crossroads, the super PAC launched by GOP strategist Karl Rove. Just down the hall, its neighbors in Arlington, Va., include an office housing four other companies working for Romney, American Crossroads or the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. With the rise of super PACs, the jet-fueled political action committees that can take unlimited contributions, many campaign finance watchdogs have focused on the hundreds of millions of dollars being raised this presidential election cycle. But after the most recent campaign filings came in last week, ProPublica decided to track the other side of the equation: Where the money goes. Our analysis found that more than $306 million has been spent so far by major super PACs and the five leading presidential candidates. 

Full Article: Campaign Spending Shows Political Ties, Self-Dealing - ProPublica.

National: Big-bucks donations to super PACs keep the GOP race going | USAToday.com

More than two-thirds of the money to super PACs aligned with presidential candidates came from megadonors who each contributed $500,000 or more, demonstrating how a handful of wealthy interests have helped turn the GOP presidential primary into the longest-running nomination fight in a generation. No group relied more heavily on a few super donors than the political committee backing former House speaker Newt Gingrich: 96% of contributions to the pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future came from this elite group, a USA TODAY analysis shows. More than $16 million flowed from a single source: Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson and his relatives. Restore Our Future, a super PAC aiding former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, relied on nearly 52% of its contributions from corporations or individuals who gave $500,000 or more, the lowest share of super donors among the candidate-aligned super PACs analyzed by USA TODAY.

Full Article: Big-bucks donations to super PACs keep the GOP race going – USATODAY.com.

National: ‘Super PACs’ Supply Millions as G.O.P. Race Drains Field | NYTimes.com

The Republican presidential candidates are running low on campaign cash as expensive primaries in states like Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania loom, leaving them increasingly reliant on a small group of supporters funneling millions of dollars in unlimited contributions into “super PACs.” Mitt Romney raised $11.5 million in February but spent $12.4 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday. He began March with $7.3 million in cash, slightly less than in January. Rick Santorum raised more than $9 million in his best month yet, but spent $7.9 million; he ended with $2.6 million in cash, along with close to $1 million in debts, mostly associated with television and Internet advertising. Newt Gingrich raised $2.6 million, spent $2.9 million and had about $1.5 million in the bank, barely enough to keep his campaign going. He also began March with myriad debts totaling over $1.5 million for expenses like media placement, security services, salaries and airfare.

Full Article: Republican Presidential Candidates Run Low on Money - NYTimes.com.

Puerto Rico: Primary Could Pad Romney’s Delegate Lead or Spring Santorum Surprise | ABC News

If Mitt Romney proved anything last weekend with his victories in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands, it is that the Republican presidential nomination this year might not be won by high-profile triumphs in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, but rather by diligently and methodically amassing delegates in far-off contests. That makes Sunday’s primary in Puerto Rico more important than you might think. Twenty-three delegates will be up for grabs when voters in the island commonwealth head to the polls this weekend, nearly as many as there were in more publicized battles in Michigan – 30 – and Arizona – 29. It should come as no surprise, then, that Romney and rival Rick Santorum are set to campaign there only days before the primary. Newt Gingrich might soon follow.

Full Article: Puerto Rico Primary Could Pad Romney’s Delegate Lead or Spring Santorum Surprise - ABC News.

Alabama: Super-PAC Ads Dominate Republican Race in Alabama, Mississippi | Bloomberg

Television advertisements in Alabama and Mississippi promoting rival Republican presidential contenders have been paid for almost entirely by independent political action committees instead of the candidates’ campaigns. So-called Super-PACs supplied 91 percent of the 5,592 campaign ads that aired on broadcast television stations in the two states in the past month, according to data from New York- based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. Alabama and Mississippi hold primary elections today, and polls indicate a close race in each among former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Full Article: Super-PAC Ads Dominate Republican Race in Alabama, Mississippi - Bloomberg.

National: Super PAC challenge: Congress | Politico.com

The next frontier for super PACs: playing in Senate and House party leadership elections. The formula is simple. Raise $10 million from the jet set or grass-roots followers, spend it on 40 to 50 House districts or 15 Senate races and then call in favors when it’s time to count votes for speaker, floor leader or whip. The model has been built. The money’s out there. And there’s no shortage of ambition in Congress. The question is: Can anyone put it all together?

Full Article: Super PAC challenge: Congress - Jonathan Allen and Anna Palmer - POLITICO.com.

National: Super Tuesday brings super PAC spending milestone | iWatch News

Heading into Super Tuesday, spending by super PACs aligned with presidential candidates has surpassed spending by all super PACs in the 2010 mid-term election. To date, super PACs aligned with one of the 2012 White House hopefuls have spent more than $66 million, an iWatch News analysis of data filed with the Federal Election Commission has found. Notably, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC “Restore Our Future” accounts for almost 50 percent of this spending. The super PAC has spent more than $32 million so far this election, nearly all of it on ads bashing his opponents. That’s nearly twice as much as the $16 million spent by pro-Newt Gingrich “Winning Our Future.” And it’s roughly six times as much as the $5.3 million spent by the pro-Rick Santorum “Red, White and Blue Fund.”

Full Article: Super Tuesday brings super PAC spending milestone | iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity.

National: ‘Super PACs,’ Not Campaigns, Do Bulk of Ad Spending | NYTimes.com

The crucial role the “super PAC” now plays in modern presidential politics has been on vivid display in the week before the Super Tuesday primaries, as these outside groups have all outspent the campaigns and become their de facto advertising arms. The super PACs supporting Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have poured nearly $4 million into advertising in Ohio ahead of the primary next week, accounting for most of the spending on commercials there in what has become an overwhelmingly negative contest. Beyond Ohio the story is the same. The money spent by super PACs, another $8 million, continues to outpace what candidates themselves are willing and able to spend. Mr. Romney, whose campaign spent almost three times as much as it brought in during January, has chosen not to advertise in any Super Tuesday state but Ohio. He has committed about $1.2 million to advertising there, according to figures provided by media strategists.

Full Article: ‘Super PACs,’ Not Campaigns, Do Bulk of Ad Spending - NYTimes.com.

National: Super PACs: Real life, or Comedy Central? | Kenneth P. Vogel/Politico.com

When it comes to super PACs, it’s getting hard to tell the difference between reality and a Comedy Central bit. Stephen Colbert made an ongoing gag last month out of lampooning the rules barring coordination between outside groups and campaigns. When he announced a plan to run for president, he made a big show of handing off his super PAC to his fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart. Stewart promised not to coordinate with Colbert — giving the camera a wink and a nod. But it was no joke last week when President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney cleared their top aides to raise cash for the super PACs supporting their campaign.

Full Article: Super PACs: Real life, or Comedy Central? - Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO.com.

Nevada: GOP dealing with ‘trouble box’ of questionable ballots | Las Vegas Sun

Republican Party officials are trying to figure out how to deal with a “trouble box” of ballots from the presidential caucus Sunday as the count in Nevada’s largest county stretches into its second day. Party officials have confirmed that ballots in multiple precincts exceeded the number of voters who signed in. The “trouble box” also includes ballots on which two candidates were marked and other irregularities. David Gallagher, executive director of the state party, could not confirm or even give a rough estimate of the number of ballots in question. “It’s a small number,” he said.

Full Article: Nevada GOP dealing with 'trouble box' of questionable ballots - Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 | 1:07 p.m. - Las Vegas Sun.

Nevada: Nevada GOP caucuses include unusual rules | San Francisco Chronicle

Today’s Republican caucuses in Nevada differ from primary elections by requiring voters to devote a block of time to make their preferences known in a process that takes more time than just filling out a ballot. There are also some unusual rules set this year by the GOP officials in the state, including:

Timing: Republican Party officials in each county decide when to hold caucus meetings. In Clark County, home to Las Vegas and 70 percent of state residents, the meetings are at 9 a.m. today – a time that is inconvenient for the city’s taxi drivers, waitresses and other service employees who work on weekends.

Editorials: Congress can fix the Super PAC problem | Salon.com

Election junkies circled January 31st on their calendars months ago — but not because of Florida’s primary today, no matter how important it is to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Tuesday’s real significance deals with Super PACs — it’s the day “independent” groups, dominating the 2012 election, must file their financial disclosures for the last six months. Candidate-specific Super PACS — which can take unlimited sums from individuals and corporations, and likewise spend without limits — are like nothing seen in any previous election.  They’ve eviscerated the post-Watergate contribution limits that Congress enacted to curb corruption, and they’ve hit the presidential campaign with the force of a freight train.

Full Article: Congress can fix the Super PAC problem - Salon.com.

National: Super PAC takeover? Not so fast, campaigns say | Politico.com

The big money outside groups best known for airing ruthless ads in the early state GOP primaries are elbowing their way onto the turf of presidential campaigns and parties — and some campaigns aren’t happy. In the last few weeks, super PACs and other outside groups supporting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and President Barack Obama launched activities in Florida, other key states, and nationally — including phone banking, field organizing, direct mail, polling, state-of-the-race memos and even surrogate operations — that were once left mostly to the campaigns and parties.

Full Article: Super PAC takeover? Not so fast, campaigns say - Kenneth P. Vogel and Dave Levinthal - POLITICO.com.

Virginia: Rick Perry abandons lawsuit against Virginia election law | Chron.com

Rick Perry — the states’ rights champion who claimed in court that the state of Virginia did not have the constitutional right to adopt its restrictive election laws — has quietly dropped a challenge to Virginia’s rules for ballot petitions. The state of Virginia barred Perry from the state’s March 6 presidential primary ballot after the Texas governor failed to garner the required number of legitimate signatures on his nominating petitions. Perry filed suit to win a place on the ballot — a subject that became moot when the Texan pulled the plug on his unsuccessful White House effort on Jan. 19.