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Afternoon Fix: Jon Huntsman gets Mike Huckabee backer

at 05:17 PM ET, 05/16/2011

A South Carolina supporter of Huckabee is now behind Jon Huntsman, Rahm Emanuel is now mayor of Chicago, John Gregg is now exploring a gubernatorial campaign and James Bopp is now forming a super PAC.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Rahm Emanuel has been sworn in as mayor of Chicago at Millenium Park. “We simply can’t afford the size of city government that we had in the past,” he told a crowd of thousands in his inaugural speech. “So when I ask for new policies, I guarantee, the one answer I will not tolerate is: ‘We’ve never done it that way before.’ Chicago is the city of ‘yes we can’ not ‘No we can’t.’”

* Tea Party Express has backed Republican Jane Corwin in the New York 26th district special election over Jack Davis, an iconoclastic millionaire running on the ‘Tea Party’ line. Democrat Kathy Hochul is in striking distance of Corwin in this Republican-leaning district in part thanks to Davis’ candidacy. “Jack Davis is no more ‘Tea Party’ than Barack Obama,” said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the powerful group. The Rothenberg Political Report has changed its rating of the race from “Lean Republican” to “Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic.”

* Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor. He will likely face Republican Rep. Mike Pence in the general election. In his announcement, Gregg condemned “divisive politics.” Republican Governors Association Executive Director Phil Cox responded in a statement: “In nearly a decade since Gregg left office, cashed in and became a lobbyist, Indiana has made tremendous strides and now has one of the most fiscally-responsible state budgets in the country.”

* According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Chris Christie got a “hearty chorus of ‘boos’” when he took the stage to deliver a commencement speech at Seton Hall University. In his speech, the Republican New Jersey governor talked about a recent New York Times magazine piece labeling him “The Disrupter.” He told the graduates, "Be a disrupter in the way that your heart and your mind tells you to be a disrupter.” Christie is a a 1987 graduate of Seton Hall Law School. When he spoke at the law school graduation last year, he got a standing ovation.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 South Carolina campaign chairman is now backing former Utah governor Jon Huntsman. "As more South Carolinians get to know Governor Huntsman, I believe they will come to the same conclusion I have — that he is the right leader for our party and our country in this important election.” said Mike Campbell, the son of former South Carolina governor Carroll Campbell.

* Two fundraisers for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) are coming up: a women’s cocktail reception on May 24 at the home of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and pollster Stanley Greenberg, and a defense industry breakfast on May 25 at Sonoma hosted by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

* Joe Pounder is leaving his job as communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to serve as research director and deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee. Pounder worked for Rubio’s 2010 campaign. In the 2008 presidential election, he did rapid response for both former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (in the primary) and Sen. John McCain (in the general election). “Joe is an intelligent and gifted political operative who will be a key component of our effort to make Barack Obama a one-term president,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement.

* Republican National Committee member James Bopp has formed a new fundraising group for the 2012 elections called Republican Super PAC (RSPAC). Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere and RNC committeeman Solomon Yue are co-founders. RSPAC will be introduced to party officials at an RNC meeting in Dallas this Wednesday. The idea is for candidates to steer unlimited contributions they cannot accept under campaign finance law to the PAC, which will designate money to spend in certain races.

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