Texas: Campaigns for the US House are hot and heavy

Texas: Campaigns for the US House are hot and heavy

By Hastings Wyman – The Lone Star State will hold its primaries on March 6, the first primaries in the nation in the current election cycle. Runoffs will be held on May 22 in those contests in which no candidate receives a majority of the votes. The 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th are all districts where a Republican incumbent is retiring. In these districts, the winner of the GOP primary is expected to prevail in November, so the Republican primaries are very competitive. In the 7th, where US Rep. John Culberson (R) is a major Democratic target, the big battle is between the top two well-funded contenders (D), Alex Triantaphyis and Eliabeth Fletcher. But two other Democrats have raised significant cash and can’t be counted out. A runoff is a probability. In the 18th District, where US Rep. Lamar Smith (R) is retiring, ten candidates have filed, seven Republicans and three Democrats. One insider calls it “chaos, impossible to predict.” On the GOP side, Bill Negley has raised the most money, but Chip Roy is a former chief of staff for Ted Cruz, who has campaigned with Roy. The San Antonio Express-News has endorsed Jenifer Sarver. Democrat Joe Kopser has raised more money than any Republican and is a safe bet to win his primary. Look for a major battle here in November. In the 23rd, where Democrats hope to topple incumbent William Hurd (R), there is a competitive primary (D) between two candidates. This district will also host a heated contest in the fall. In the 27th District, incumbent Blake Farenthold (R) is retiring under a sexual harassment...

Perdue pushes Savannah Harbor project

On Wednesday U.S. Senator David Perdue took part in a Senate Budget Committee hearing regarding government spending on infrastructure projects, including one close to the hearts of Georgians – the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The Senator asked Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about harbor projects that would “offer a higher rate of return than some of the infrastructure investments I think we’ve contemplated.” Mulvaney gave assurance that deep-water ports would be included in the Trump administration’s plan, saying that he would “absolutely anticipate that the deep-water ports will be part of the infrastructure bill.” “In fact,” he continued, the largest part of the infrastructure bill, 50 percent of the $200 billion, $100 billion, is in our mind set aside for programs that can contribute their own portion of the funding. As you know, the Port of Savannah is exactly that.” See the full exchange...
Money messages in Southern US House races

Money messages in Southern US House races

By Hastings Wyman In today’s volatile political environment, the amount of money that candidates for Congress have raised and have on hand is a major indicator of what could happen in November. In ten of Dixie’s districts, Democratic challengers already have war chests that suggest there will be competitive races in once safe Republican districts. In Virginia, three Republican US Representatives are facing well-funded Democratic challengers. US Rep. Tom Garrett (R) had $108,000 on hand in the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports; four of his Democratic foes have more on hand than Garrett, and the total cash on hand for these four is $1,105,000. In Virginia’s 7th District, US Rep. David Brat (R) has $470,000 on hand; his two major foes combined have $704,000. And US Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in Virginia’s 10th District has an impressive $1,195,000 on hand, but her eight Democratic opponents have a total of $2,937,000. Of course, much of this Democratic cash will be spent in contested primaries, but the large amounts of Democratic money in these districts is a sign that Ralph Northam’s (D) impressive victory in last year’s gubernatorial election could be replicated in several in several of the state’s congressional districts. Other Republican incumbents facing Democrats with large bank accounts include Florida’s Daniel Webster (R), with a mere $53,000 on hand to former US Rep. Alan Grayson’s $556,000. In Georgia, US Reps. Rob Woodall (R) and Barry Loudermilk (R) will also face well-funded Democratic challenges. There is one Democrat facing substantial GOP money, and that’s former Democratic National chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She has $390,000 on hand; Joe Kaufman (R),...
Senate committee approves Vogtle credits

Senate committee approves Vogtle credits

In recent months U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, has made it a key point of emphasis to attempt to secure advanced nuclear production tax credits in order to ensure construction of Plant Vogtle’s two new nuclear units. Last week that legislation was approved by the committee, and if passed into law as expected will not only ensure that the construction of the nation’s only new nuclear project continues, but will also create $1 billion in benefits for Georgia Power customers. The tax credits are an extension of those granted by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which allowed for qualifying nuclear units to receive a federal income tax credit of 1.8 cents for each kWh of electrical energy produced and sold once the units come online. The news is welcome relief for Georgians, many of whom were concerned about mounting costs following the bankruptcy of construction contractor Westinghouse last year – a devastating move which killed a similar project in South Carolina.  Approval from Georgia’s Public Service Commission ensured the construction would continue, though, and recently some of the financial burden has been lifted off of Georgia Power customers via payments received by Toshiba, Westinghouse’s parent company, and now the extension of these tax breaks. Said Paul Bowers, President and CEO of Georgia Power, “We are grateful to Senator Isakson for his leadership on this issue, and to Senator David Perdue and the entire Georgia delegation, for recognizing the importance of new nuclear generation and demonstrating renewed federal support for the Vogtle project.  At Georgia Power, we are focused on delivering value to our customers...
GOP rips Rand for shutdown

GOP rips Rand for shutdown

By Burgess Everett (Politico) – Rand Paul took a stand, consequences be damned. And Senate Republicans are livid about it. After driving the government into a brief shutdown over his demand for an amendment to cut government spending, the Kentucky Republican took friendly fire from a significant number of his Republican colleagues for delaying an inevitable passage vote in the Senate. They accused the senator of misusing the Senate’s time for no real reason other than to draw attention himself. “It’s a colossal waste of time,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). “He never gets a result.” Read...
In dueling Florida Senate polls, Nelson either leads or is tied with Scott

In dueling Florida Senate polls, Nelson either leads or is tied with Scott

By Marc Caputo (Politico) – MIAMI — Sen. Bill Nelson is either tied with Gov. Rick Scott or starting to pull ahead of the likely Republican challenger in what could be the nation’s most-expensive Senate race, according to a pair of dueling polls released today. In a Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey of 625 registered Florida voters, Nelson is basically tied with Scott, 45-44 percent. That result is essentially unchanged since the firm’s October poll, which found the two tied evenly at 44 percent each. A University of North Florida poll of 429 likely Florida voters, however, had better news for the incumbent. It showed Nelson leading Scott 48-42 percent. Nelson’s 6-point advantage has grown since UNF’s last survey, in October, when the Democrat had a marginal one-point lead over Scott, 37-36 percent. Read...