Conservative groups criticize Shelley Moore Capito as she announces Senate campaign

November 26, 2012

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EARLIER ON THE FIX: 

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: 

* The special primary election to replace former Illinois Democratic congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will take place Feb. 26, with the general election to follow March 19, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) announced Monday. Jackson resigned from Congress last week amid a federal investigation and health issues. Former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D), who lost to Jackson in a primary earlier this year, will run for the seat. In addition, a host of other Democratic names have been mentioned as possibilities in the heavily Democratic district. 

* The same day Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced her 2014 Senate bid, she took criticism from two leading conservative groups. The anti-tax Club for Growth criticized Capito as a supporter of big government, while the Senate Conservatives Fund called her spending record "too liberal." Neither group, however, named a candidate they favored over Capito. Meanwhile, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) remained mum about whether he would run for reelection in 2014. 

* Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) could face a primary challenge from former Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel in 2014. Handel became a national figure this year when she served as vice president of public policy at the Susan B. Komen Foundation and supported the group's decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. The group reversed course and Handel resigned. Chambliss is among the handful of congressional Republicans who have said they are willing to buck Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge to solve the nation's fiscal woes. Though Chambliss did say Monday that he is "not in favor of tax increases."
 

* While he said he is not "warming" to tax hikes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) on Monday appeared to distance himself from Norquist's pledge, saying, "When I go to my constituents, it’s not about that pledge." 

* Norquist dismissed the notion expressed by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) that his pledge is outdated. “Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge that he signed and others have, is for while you’re in Congress,” Norquist said. “It’s not for a two-year period.”

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS: 

* President Obama spoke to House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) for the first time in more than a week Saturday, as staff-level discussions on striking a deal to rein in the nation's debt have appeared to slow.

* Fifty-two percent of Americans said they approve of the job Obama is doing, compared to 43 percent who said they disapprove, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. Obama's numbers are largely in line with a poll taken just before Election Day, in which his approval rating was 51 percent, with 45 percent saying they disapproved of the job he was doing. Meanwhile, 56 percent said the country will be better off four years from now, while 40 percent said it will be worse off. 

* The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that it has formally opened an investigation into Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), but will defer to the ongoing Department of Justice probe of his fundraising.

* Former Florida governor Charlie Crist (I) and former state party chairman Jim Greer said that a state law aimed at curbing early voting was designed by Republicans to inhibit Democratic voters. Crist left the Republican Party in 2010 after losing a Senate primary to now-Sen. Marco Rubio (R). Greer is under indictment, accused of stealing from the state GOP. A spokesman for the state GOP questioned Crist and Greer’s credibility.  Two Republican consultants also said the party was trying to decrease early Democratic turnout after 2008. 

THE FIX MIX: 

'Tis the season for Gangnam Style. 

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · November 26, 2012