Archive for January, 2012

SC poll shows uphill climb for Perry

It’s not looking good for Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations. A new American Research Group, Inc. poll shows Perry with only nine percent support among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to lead there, just slightly ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 29 percent to 25 percent. That is within the four-point margin of error. Rep. Ron Paul is polling in third according to this survey, receiving 20 percent support. Gov. Perry is ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Perry is second among evangelical Christian voters, behind Gingrich by a large margin. Forty percent of evangelicals say they would vote for Gingrich, while 15 percent say they would vote for Perry. Romney is in third among that group with 13 percent.

In first full day as candidate Craig James ad hits TV

After jumping in to the crowded field running for U.S. Senate on Thursday, the first TV ad from Craig James is hitting cable TV.

"America is great, because Americans are good," James says in the 30 second ad. He says he is running because "we need more freedom, not more government."

You can see the ad here:

New York Times: Perry has zero percent chance of winning South Carolina

The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog is not giving Gov. Perry any hope of winning the South Carolina Primary. That primary is likely do or die for Perry’s presidential aspirations.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver writes that the blog’s projections "are formulated from an average of recent surveys, with adjustments made to account for a polling firm’s accuracy, freshness of a poll and each candidate’s momentum."

Mitt Romney is in the lead. The projection gives him a 43 percent chance of winning. Newt Gingrich receives a 41 percent chance of winning. Texas Congressman Ron Paul has an 8 percent chance of winning in South Carolina according to the blog’s projection.

CNN bends debate rules to let Perry in South Carolina debate

Update: YNN has confirmed Perry will be at the CNN debate on January 19 in South Carolina.

CNN only allows candidates who finished in the top four slots in either the Iowa Caucuses or the New Hampshire Primary to participate in the network’s upcoming debate in South Carolina. Or, a candidate must "receive an average of at least 7.00 percent" in at least three South Carolina or national polls released between January 1 and January 18. Now, it appears CNN is bending its rules and allowing Gov. Perry to debate on Thursday, January 19.

Talking Points Memo’s Eric Kleefeld is reporting that CNN invited Perry despite his low poll numbers.

CNN’s candidate criteria was posted 8 days ago. The 90-minute debate will air on CNN at 7 p.m. CT.

Guest Post: New Hampshire wrap, South Carolina preview

The big news in New Hampshire was that there was no big news in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire surprise is that there were no surprises. Everybody did what they were expected to do in the state.

The "Not Romney" crowd was hoping Romney would come in significantly below the 40 percent he expected. He didn’t.

The "Stop Paul" establishment Republicans were hoping for an upset in which Huntsman, who bet it all in New Hampshire, would pass up Ron Paul in a late surge and come in second. Huntsman didn’t — while there was, indeed, a mini-surge for Huntsman, there was also a surge for Paul.

All-in-all, the entire New Hampshire exercise was a big snore. That’s very good news for Mitt Romney, and very bad news for the conservatives trying to stop him. There is plenty of evidence of growing dread among the ultra-conservative leadership of the Republican Party that Romney cannot be stopped, and even more evidence that increasingly, most Republican primary voters are just fine with a Romney nomination.

In other words, the Tea Party may end up being reduced to a Tea Happy Hour, in which the kegs floated early and everybody went home well before curfew.

One microscopically-interesting factoid in the results is the growing worry among establishment Republicans that Ron Paul and his supporters will be freshly-energized by Paul’s distant second place finish, which will only serve to push back the inevitable future date in the primary calendar by which Ron Paul goes away.

Also interesting is that nobody quit after last night’s results. Jon Huntsman should have, but didn’t. Last week after the Iowa Caucuses, Rick Perry shouldn’t have, but sort of did (but he took it back early the next morning while jogging…apparently all manner of interesting crap happens to Rick Perry while jogging).

Here’s the run-down:

Romney: got everything he needed in New Hampshire; it’s hard to argue with a clear win in which he got almost twice the votes of the second place finisher. Exit polling indicates he enjoyed significant support from all segments of the Republican establishment, including those which the more conservative candidates have been betting would never go for Romney.

Paul: got what he deserved, plus more, a likely recipient of all the support he would normally get, plus protest votes from among others who would otherwise have supported one of the collapsed not-Romneys. He has a lot to crow about as he leaves New Hampshire, but has nowhere to go after this. He’ll never have so few votes in a future state to be anything less than a hot bridesmaid, and he’ll never have so many votes in a future state to be even the frumpiest of brides.

Huntsman: bet it all in New Hampshire for over a year, and all he has to show is a distant third place finish and a lousy t-shirt. While he enjoyed more support than other candidates, he’s the biggest loser, if only because all his money and organization was in New Hampshire.

Gingrich: Wait, am I going out of order? Apparently not — while the election returns are still trickling in, it appears Gingrich squeaked in ahead of Santorum. A tiny moral victory for Gingrich, who needs moral victories. One thing Gingrich doesn’t need is money — a casino-owning angel has dumped a pile of it into Gingrich’s super PAC, and the lion’s share will be spent in South Carolina viciously attacking Romney for being predatory. Setting aside the irony of a casino owner accusing somebody of being predatory, Gingrich hopes the attacks chip away at Romney’s support, but even if it works, it’s less clear if it will be to Gingrich’s benefit. The Newtster, however, remains one of the two not-Romneys still relevant. The other, of course, is…

Santorum: the most interesting not-Romney at the moment. Santorum got about half of his 15 minutes of fame in Iowa, and I expect him to play out his second half in South Carolina. He was never really expected to do well in New Hampshire, because Republicans there are shockingly sane, which ain’t Santorum’s crowd. He didn’t modify his message to accommodate the New Hampshire country club crowd, because it would have alienated his natural constituencies in upcoming South Carolina — a smart move on his part. Look for Santorum to quickly regain footing in South Carolina and perhaps emerge as the only viable not-Romney left in the field.

Perry: I don’t mean this ugly or anything, but honestly, who cares? Few outside the Texas media are even following Perry’s campaign any longer, except for a few stray embeds hoping for gaffe entertainment. He chose not to compete in New Hampshire, and as a result, he got fewer votes than most reporters and many observers have twitter followers. Skipping New Hampshire was the best strategy available to him, which mostly means that there aren’t any decent strategies left available to him. Unless Romney makes a fatal mistake (unlikely, since Romney has been running for President since the Earth cooled), Perry will drop out after South Carolina when the money runs out.

You can find more of Harold’s writing on his blog, Letters from Texas.

Medal of Honor recipients featured in new Perry ad

A new 60-second Perry campaign ad in South Carolina calls him a man of honor. The ad features retired members of the U.S. military who have won medals, including Dakota Meyer. Meyer, who lived in Austin for a few years, received the Medal of Honor earlier this year.

"Any veteran that I knew needed help, Governor Perry always told me whatever he could do to take care of them he would do it," Meyer says in the ad.

The ad is airing on cable and broadcast in South Carolina.

You can watch the entire ad here:

Paul looks to South Carolina after 2nd place finish in New Hampshire

Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished second in the New Hampshire Primary, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and ahead of former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both said their campaigns would continue after New Hampshire despite finishing below the top three.

The entire field looked like this:

• Romney: 40%
• Paul: 23%
• Huntsman: 17%
• Gingrich: 10%
• Santorum: 9%
• Perry: 1%

Paul said even though he came in second place, New Hampshire was a victory for his campaign.

"There was another victory tonight. [Mitt Romney] had a victory, but we have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight," Paul told supporters. "There is no doubt that this whole effort that we are involved in will not go unnoticed let me tell you. The intellectual revolution that is going on now to restore liberty in this country is well on its way and there is no way they are going to stop the momentum that we have started."

YNN Political Reporter Alana Rocha has been following the Paul campaign and was in the room for his post-primary speech. She said Paul supporters are fired up.

Paul is now looking toward South Carolina. He has said he will not campaign in Florida, instead moving on to the February caucus states after Jan. 21. An email sent out from the Paul campaign right after his second place finish was announced asks for campaign contributions for the “South Carolina Money Bomb.”

You can watch all of Congressman Paul’s speech in the video below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Perry not fazed by last place in New Hampshire

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement after finishing with only 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire Tuesday.

"Tonight’s results in New Hampshire show the race for ‘conservative alternative’ to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we’ve been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina.

"South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it’s friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation’s best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism."

Perry applauds court ruling allowing sonogram law enforcement

The state has been given the go-ahead to enforce the controversial sonogram bill passed last legislative session, for now. The law requires doctors to perform a sonogram before performing an abortion. They are also required to describe the images and fetal heartbeat to the patient.

A group of doctors and abortion providers sued to have the law overturned, claiming it violated their first Amendment rights. In response, Austin federal district court judge Sam Sparks granted a preliminary injunction.

The state appealed, and today, a three judge panel at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction, saying the law does not violate free speech. In part, the ruling states, "the possibility that such information ‘might cause the woman to choose childbirth over abortion’ does not render the provisions unconstitutional."

The case is likely not over though. The plaintiffs can still appeal to the full court of appeals panel.

The legislation was one of Gov. Perry’s emergency items last session. He issued this statement following today’s court ruling:

“Today’s ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life. Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy, and this important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision. We will continue to fight any attempt to limit our state’s laws that value and protect the unborn.”

You can read the court’s full decision here:

SCOTUS hearing brings little clarity to redistricting fight

YNN’s Erin Billups filed the above video report.

Texas’ primary date is still very much in question and it could be delayed delayed even farther, as the Supreme Court tries to sort out the state’s redistricting dilemma.

Monday, the court heard arguments for and against interim maps drawn by three federal judges in San Antonio. The issue is whether the three judge panel had the right to issue interim redistricting maps while the pre-clearance of Texas’s maps are still pending in a Washington, D.C. court.

The hearing last about one hour, and it was clear the bench is still divided on the issue. The justices spent much of the day questioning if legal wrangling over the disputed maps would be resolved in time to hold a primary election in April. The justices seemed interested in moving back the April 3 primary date to sometime in June.

You can read the 78 page transcript of the days proceedings here: