House DFL unveils team of candidates, officially launches campaign to retain a ‘middle class majority’ the Minnesota House

Speaker Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy joined a group of House DFL representatives and candidates at a press conference June 2 to kick-off the campaign to retain and grow the House DFL majority in the November election. Both Thissen and Murphy said they are eager to take their story to Minnesotans about the productive 2013-14 legislative sessions, the progress Minnesota is making, and the work still left to be done to build on that progress.

 

“Minnesotans will have a clear choice in this election between a legislature that stood with working families to move our state forward – by balancing our budget responsibly in order to invest in education, jobs and tax relief – or a Republican legislature that will bring back Washington D.C.-style gridlock that places the interests of the wealthy few ahead of hardworking Minnesotans,” said Speaker Paul Thissen. “We can’t wait to take that story and that choice to Minnesota voters. We are confident that Minnesotans will want to see our state keep moving forward instead of returning to the gridlock of the past.”

In November of 2012, Minnesotans rejected that approach and elected DFL majorities in the House and the Senate. Working with Governor Dayton, this DFL-led legislature turned a Republican deficit into a DFL surplus, helped create more than 50,000 jobs, made historic investments in education – including free all-day kindergarten – and closed corporate tax loopholes for big corporations while lowering property taxes for middle-class families and seniors the first time in more than a decade.

 

House DFLers said that although much progress has been made that they will continue to tackle the big challenges that are facing Minnesota families in the future, including:

  • Preparing every child for success by the time they reach the first grade, with universal early childhood education.
  • Tackling the escalating debt that is pricing our kids out of a college education and out of future.
  • Continuing Minnesota’s nation-leading work to level the playing field for women and families in our economy by adopting earned sick leave and eliminating childcare waiting lists.
  • Making sure no corner of our state is left behind economically with additional new investments in broadband access and training for high-skilled workers.
  • Building a transportation system that meets the demands of the 21st century.

DFL State Convention highlights progress, unity in building a Better Minnesota

The Minnesota DFL Party’s State Convention in Duluth was a celebration of the progress Gov. Mark Dayton and DFLers have made in Minnesota in the past two years.

“From an historic investment in education to tax fairness for the middle class to raising the wage for Minnesota’s lowest-paid workers, the progress DFLers made in the past two years fueled the energy and excitement felt in Duluth,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “Delegates left the State Convention united and ready to talk to voters about how DFL leaders are building a Better Minnesota.”

After a weekend of talking about DFL accomplishments to build a Better Minnesota, Tina Smith, the DFL endorsed candidate for Lieutenant Governor, summed up the 2014 election best when she said, “THIS is progress worth fighting for.” Those accomplishments include:

  • Added more than 133,000 jobs: Under Gov. Dayton’s leadership, Minnesota has fully recovered all jobs lost during the Great Recession. More people are working in Minnesota than any other time in history.
  • Provided income tax relief for 1 million Minnesotans.
  • Paid back the $2.8 billion Republicans borrowed from schools to “balance” the state budget.
  • First property tax decrease in 12 years: Thanks to action by Gov. Dayton and DFL leaders, statewide property taxes for homeowners are decreasing by $161 million or 4.9 percent.
  • Made all-day kindergarten a reality for every Minnesota child – saving families $2,500 each year.
  • In 2013 Gov. Dayton signed a bill that freezes undergraduate tuition at public MN colleges for two years. He also made the largest investment in direct financial aid for college students in 25 years which will help over 100,000 MN students afford the dream of higher education.
  • Raised the wage for Minnesota’s lowest-paid workers. More than 300,000 workers, and more than 130,000 of their children, will benefit from an increase to the minimum wage.
  • Made the tax system more fair by increasing income taxes on the top 2 percent of wage earners (those making an average of $617,000 a year).
  • Passed the Women’s Economic Security Act to level the playing field for women in the workforce.
  • After becoming the first state to vote down a discriminatory marriage-restriction amendment, Gov. Dayton and DFL leaders made marriage equality a reality for all Minnesotans.

As the campaign season kicks off, Martin said DFLers across the state will reach out to their friends and neighbors about the importance of the November election and reelecting DFL leaders.

“Turnout will be the key to our success this election,” Martin said. “When DFLers vote, DFLers win.”

Congressman Paulsen Has Long Record of Voting Against VA Backlog Fixes

As House Republicans shamelessly try to score political points over the crisis in veterans care, Congressman  Erik Paulsen’s votes tell the true story of his record: when he had a chance to fix this problem, he voted against the fixes.

“It’s a shame that when Congressman Paulsen had a chance to do something to help shorten the wait time at the VA he voted no,” said Josh Schwerin of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “Congressman Paulsen voted against a commonsense solution to this problem and our heroes deserve better.”

BACKGROUND:

Voted to Block the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act. In 2013, Paulsen voted against considering the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act, which would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay provisional benefits for certain non-adjudicated claims.  The previous question was approved 224-195. A vote against the motion would have allowed for consideration of the veterans bill. [H Res 232, Vote #180, 5/23/13; Congressional Record, H2925, 5/23/13]

Voted Against Increasing Funds to Reduce the Backlog in Veterans Disability Claims.  In 2013, Paulsen voted against a motion that would help reduce the backlog of disability claims for veterans. The motion would have added $9.2 million in funding to hire an additional 94 claims processors to help reduce the veterans disability claims backlog. [CQ Floor Votes, 6/04/13; HR 2216, Vote #192, 6/04/13]

Voted Against Protecting Veterans Benefits During a Government Shutdown. In September 2013, Paulsen voted against ensuring veterans benefits would not be delayed during a government shutdown. He later voted against guaranteeing the processing of veterans benefits during a government shutdown. [HJ Res 59, Vote #477, 9/20/13; HR 3102, Vote #475, 9/19/13; CQ Floor Votes, 9/20/13, 9/19/13]

Voted For Extreme Plan That Would “Likely Result” In a Government Shutdown. In 2013, Paulsen voted for an extreme House Republican continuing resolution that the Associated Press reported would “likely result” in the shutdown of the federal government. The bill passed 230-189. [HJ Res 59, Vote #478, 9/20/13; Associated Press, 8/23/13]

Shutdown Delayed Training for Service Members Transitioning to Civilian Life.  In November 2013, the OMB reported that the shutdown “delayed workshops for 1,400 military service members to help them transition to civilian life and employment.” [OMB, November 2013]

Shutdown Delayed Military Death Benefits.  “But until the lapse in federal funding ends, the families of deceased military personnel cannot expect to receive the “death gratuity” of $100,000 the Defense Department deposits in their bank account within 24 to 36 hours, defense officials said […]Grieving families also cannot expect the military to cover the usual costs of travel to meet their loved ones returning home in American flag-draped coffins through Dover Air Force Base, or pay for funerals and burials, according to the Defense Department.” [Washington Post, 10/09/13]

Shutdown Forced VA to Close Regional Offices, Suspend Services and Programs. “All public access to the VA’s 56 regional offices was suspended Tuesday because of a lack of funds, the VA said […]The VA is also suspending services such as educational and vocational counseling and outreach programs, including those conducted at military facilities.” [Washington Post, 10/09/13]

Shutdown “Harmed Efforts to Reduce the Disability Claims Backlog” for Veterans. “Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki is warning that the government shutdown has harmed efforts to reduce the disability claims backlog […]Since the VA ceased paying overtime for claims processors Oct. 1, the backlog of disability and pensions claims increased by about 200 and now stands at approximately 418,700. In contrast, the backlog decreased approximately 18,000 from Sept. 23 to Sept. 30.” [Washington Post, 10/09/13]

Voted to Make it More Difficult for Veterans to Get Benefits.  In 2011, Paulsen voted for an amendment that would make it harder for low-income veterans and Social Security recipients to retain counsel in a civil action against the United States, like when fighting for benefits. The Lummis amendment imposed a seven-month moratorium on all legal fees paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act, a Reagan-era law designed to help people afford an attorney while suing the government.  “We’re in the middle of two wars right now and to make it harder for a veteran — fighting for his benefits — to have an attorney is a horrible thing. That’s not what this country is about,” Robert Chishold, a prominent veterans’ law attorney said. [Politico, 2/23/11; HR 1, Vote #85, 2/17/11]

Voted Against Protecting Mortgage Relief for Veterans and Active Duty Service Members. In 2011, Paulsen voted against a motion that would protect mortgage assistance under the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program for active duty service members and their families, veterans, and Gold Star eligible families. The underling bill would terminate the Home Affordable Modification Program. [CQ Floor Votes, 3/11/11; HR 839, Vote #197, 3/29/11]

Voted Against Increasing Housing Assistance for Veterans. In June 2012, Paulsen voted against increasing funding for veterans rental voucher’s by $75 million.  [CQ Floor Votes, 6/29/12; HR 5972, Vote #449, 6/29/12]

Voted to Slash Homeless Veterans’ Assistance. In 2011, Paulsen voted for a spending bill that would have eliminated $75 million slated to house homeless Veterans. According to CNN, the cuts would have hurt some 11,000 homeless veterans who qualified for housing in 2011 but had not received vouchers. [HR 1, Vote # 147, 2/19/11; National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 4/12/11; CNN, 3/1/11]

Voted Against Increasing Funds for Veterans Medical and Prosthetic Research.  In March 2012, Paulsen voted against a motion that would increase funding for veterans medical and prosthetic research by $28.3 million. [CQ Floor Votes, 5/31/12; HR 5854, Vote #304, 5/31/12]

Voted Against Increasing Funds for Veterans Medical Services for Mental Health.  In June 2011, Paulsen voted against a motion that would increase funding for veterans medical services for post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention by $20 million. [CQ Floor Votes, 6/14/11; Watertown Daily Times, 6/14/11; HR 2055, Vote #417, 6/14/11]

 

UNITY: Dahlberg, Ortman agree McFadden not who he says he is

If Dahlberg and Ortman decide to show, Republican “unity” in Senate race nothing more than a fake show

Minnesota Republicans gathering for the “Unity Press Conference” this morning are certainly united on one thing: investment banker Mike McFadden is not who he says he is.

Over the last year, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg and State Sen. Julianne Ortman have made it clear to voters they aren’t buying what McFadden’s selling.

Dahlberg has accused McFadden of being “unwilling or unable to answer even the simplest questions,” “not respecting” the voters of this state, and waiting to give answers based on “which way the political wind is blowing.” And Ortman doesn’t know if she “can trust” McFadden, doesn’t think he can “connect well with Minnesota voters,” and doesn’t believe he “can win.”

Bottom Line: Despite any fake show of unity Republicans may try to put on this morning, Dahlberg and Ortman’s detailed history of statements tell a much different story.

Chris Dahlberg warns Minnesotans McFadden is nothing more than a politician

  • Dahlberg: McFadden’s “evasiveness is insulting” to Minnesotans and “not acceptable”. At a press conference on April 24, Dahlberg said: “Part of running for office is letting Minnesotans know where you stand on the issues, every single one of them so voters can make an informed decision.  Running for office is also part of demonstrating how you’ll perform under pressure, even if the pressure is as mild as giving a straight answer to a simple question.  But Mr. McFadden’s favorite answer to direct questions seems to be, ‘you’re asking the wrong question.’  How is a legitimate question about how you’ll represent Minnesota, Minnesotans, wrong?  His evasiveness is insulting and it’s not acceptable. “[Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]
  • Dahlberg: McFadden “has consistently been unwilling or unable to answer even the simplest questions.” Dahlberg told Minnesotans: “[McFadden] has consistently been unwilling or unable to answer even the simplest questions about where he stands on issues and he apparently thinks Minnesota won’t notice, but we do.” [Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]
  • Dahlberg: McFadden “not respecting anyone.” At a press conference, Dahlberg said: “[McFadden] must believe by doing nothing he won’t slip up or offend anyone.  Well that might be true, but he’s not informing or respecting anyone either.” [Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]
  • Dahlberg says he’s “stunned” by McFadden’s “disregard for the intelligence of the people of this state.” In April, Dahlberg said: “As I’ve listened to the comments of Mike McFadden during his campaign, I’ve been stunned by the disregard for the intelligence of the people of this state.” [Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]
  • Dahlberg: McFadden’s money will allow him to flood the airwaves and say “well, nothing.” Dahlberg told reporters in April: “Now Mr. McFadden has raised a lot of money from Washington powerbrokers. That’s going to allow him the opportunity to flood the airwaves with ads that say, well, nothing. “[Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]
  • Dahlberg: McFadden waits to give answers based on “which way the political wind is blowing.” Dahlberg further reiterated McFadden’s unwillingness to be honest with Minnesotans: “I’m always going to strive to give Minnesotans clear, direct answers and not after weeks or after I’ve checked which way the political wind is blowing.” [Dahlberg Press Conference 4/24/14]

Julianne Ortman tells Minnesotans she doesn’t know if she ‘can trust’ McFadden

  • Ortman: “I don’t believe [McFadden] can win.” During an interview on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, Ortman said, “I’m concerned, of course, about Mike McFadden. He had announced for this race before I did, long before I did. And I decided to step in because I don’t believe he can win.” [NARN, 11/18/13]
  • Ortman: McFadden won’t “connect” with Minnesotans and is “more concerned about what’s happening in Washington than he is with talking to Minnesota voters…”: During an interview on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, Ortman said: “I don’t believe that he will connect well with Minnesota voters, and the fact that he’s more concerned about what’s happening in Washington than he is with talking to Minnesota voters is just a good example of that.” [NARN, 11/18/13]
  • Ortman questions whether voters “can trust” McFadden. During an interview on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, Ortman said: “I’ll leave that to others to sort out whether or not they can trust [McFadden], since he’s never had really any public experience and seems to be unwilling to talk about many of his positions.” [NARN, 11/18/13]
  • Ortman said McFadden was not giving “very clear answers” to voters’ questions about his positions. According to MPR: “His clearer positions may not satisfy his critics. That includes state Sen. Julianne Ortman, R- Chanhassen, one of the GOP candidates also seeking to unseat Franken. ‘I think it’s a fair thing for Minnesotans to ask important questions about where he stands on the issues, and from what I’m hearing they’re not getting very clear answers,’ Ortman said before McFadden remade his website.” [Minnesota Public Radio, 2/20/14]
  • Ortman: McFadden has “no record of service to the state or party” and is “too busy to care about our elections until his own name is on the ballot and paid for with a checkbook.” In an article detailing how investment banker Mike McFadden hadn’t voted in a Republican primary election for at least the last 20 years, Ortman said, “He’s got no record of service to the state or party. He’s too busy to care about our elections until his own name is on the ballot and paid for with a checkbook. It’s an ultimate disrespect to the voters of the state. The Minnesota Senate seat belongs to the people of the state and not Washington special interests and power brokers.” [Huffington Post, 5/23/14]

Statement from DFL Chairman Ken Martin about Sen. Scott Newman

“A day before the Republican State Convention, the Party finally has a candidate to run against Minnesota’s effective and proven Attorney General, Lori Swanson.

“As a legislator, Newman has not served on commerce committees that deal with issues similar to those handled by the Attorney General’s Office. He’s voted consistently with his Party and has supported constitutional amendments denying people the right to marry or to vote without identification; eliminating middle-class jobs; and deep cuts to the state’s public higher education system. Also as a legislator, Newman has a history of filing complaints against the Secretary of State and a former commissioner of the Department of Finance.

“Newman has shown to be a guard dog for the Republican Party; it’s hard to see how he would transform into a watchdog for all Minnesotans.”

And they’re off!

As the Republican gubernatorial candidates fight to stand out in a crowded field, it’s safe to say that it’s become a full blown race to the right.

Between jockeying on tired issues like Voter ID and Right to Work, calling for disinvestment in the basic infrastructure of Minnesota cities and promising to repeal pay increases for more than 300,000 working Minnesotans, they are showing their true colors.

Check out the latest video from the Minnesota DFL to learn more about this mad dash that’s sure to be a photo finish.

McFadden avoids being forthright on climate change, Norquist tax pledge

It’s no secret that investment banker Mike McFadden has spent the last year going out of his way to avoid answering questions — whether that’s skipping debates, running away from voters or just simply refusing to answer questions.

But exactly one year after formally entering the U.S. Senate race and just days before the Minnesota Republican Party State Convention, Minnesotans are still waiting for McFadden to be honest about where he stands on the issues.

Mike McFadden refused to tell Minnesotans whether he’d sign Grover Norquist’s radical tax pledge.

McFadden refused to be honest with Minnesotans and answer “yes or no” when asked if he would sign Grover Norquist’s radical tax pledge. After refusing to answer the question during a radio interview on WCCO, the host said, “I think in this one, people do want a specific answer.” McFadden again refused to answer the question.

After McFadden refused to answer the question, State Sen. Julianne Ortman, another Republican running for the U.S. Senate and a signer of Norquist’s pledge, released a radio ad questioning why every U.S. Senate candidate hasn’t signed the pledge:

ORTMAN: “I was proud to sign the Taxpayers Protection Pledge, a promise never to vote to raise your taxes. It seems like common sense to sign this pledge, so why hasn’t every Senate candidate pledged to protect Minnesotans from Washington’s excessive spending?”

Mike McFadden won’t tell Minnesotans whether he believes in man-made climate change.

McFadden is the only Republican in the U.S. Senate race who has not told Minnesotans whether or not he believes in man-made climate change. At a Republican debate in Rochester, which McFadden refused to attend, every candidate in the race said they did not believe in man-made climate change.

MODERATOR: Do you believe in man-made climate change?

PHILLIP C. PARRISH:  (laughs) growing up on a farm…

MODERATOR: it’s a yes/no

PARRISH: Oh. No.

JULIANNE ORTMAN: Nope.

MODERATOR: Oh, that was quick.

CHRIS DAHLBERG: No.

MONTI MORENO: No

JIM ABELER:  Actually cows make a lot of Methane.

MODERATOR: [laughs] I’ll take that as a no.

Bonus Question #1: Does Mike McFadden agree with extreme conservative State Sen. Julianne Ortman that we should abolish the U.S. Department of Education?

At a South West Metro Tea Party meeting last week, Ortman said she wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Watch Ortman’s extreme comments here.

Bonus Question #2: Does Mike McFadden agree with extreme conservative State Sen. Julianne Ortman that we should defund all family planning programs in Minnesota?

In 2011, Ortman voted for a Health and Human Services budget that defunded all family planning programs in the state, mirroring a push at the federal level to defund Planned Parenthood.

GOP doesn’t let the facts get in the way of their rhetoric

State

After the two most productive years at the State Capitol in a generation, GOP leaders hit the road to tell Minnesotans the sky is falling.

It’s important for voters to take a look at the comments made by House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) and separate rhetoric from reality.

Economy

Rep. Daudt’s rhetoric: “I think we’re starting to see that the policies that Democrats have put in place have not really served Minnesota’s economy well and hasn’t served Minnesota families very well.”

Reality:

  • There are more people working Minnesota then at any other time in history.
  • 33,000 jobs will be created under the $1 billion investment in roads, college classrooms, water systems, and other community assets.
  • For the first time in a decade, Minnesota’s minimum wage will increase. An estimated 325,000 hard-workings Minnesotans will see their pay increase to $9.50 an hour by 2016. The minimum wage will be indexed to inflation starting in 2018 to keep up with the cost of living.
    • Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 would help working people support their families and local businesses by boosting our economy by $472 million in increased consumer spending.
    • Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 would mean more economic security for 137,000 children whose parents are low-wage earners. An additional $1,000 of average annual family income throughout early childhood can result in higher reading and math scores for children in low-income families.
  • The Women’s Economic Security Act enacts new protections for pregnant women in the workplace; expands family and sick leave for working families; and expands economic opportunity for women in high-wage, high-demand jobs.
    • When women are successful, families are successful.
  • Minnesota companies announced plans in the first quarter of 2014 for 31 expansion projects that will create nearly 1,800 jobs in Minnesota.
  • In 2013, a study by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis found Minnesota was 5th in growth of gross domestic product.
  • In 2013, Forbes Magazine’s list of “best states for business” ranked Minnesota number eight. Minnesota jumped 12 spots in just one year.

Taxing, spending and priorities

Sen. Hann rhetoric: “We just ended two years now of complete DFL control of Minnesota government. We saw a lot of taxing and a lot of spending but we’re really concerned about the priorities they’ve set.”

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Reality on taxing:

  • The budget deficit left by Republicans was closed by increasing income taxes on the top 2 percent of Minnesotans, increasing taxes on cigarettes and three business-to-business taxes.
    • 98 percent of Minnesotans are not paying more in income taxes. This impacts people with an average salary of $617,000 a year. And it’s a tax fairness issue: Prior to this change, The wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans paid 20 percent less in taxes as a share of their income than the other 98 percent of Minnesotans.
    • A goal of increasing the cigarette tax is to deter young people from smoking and encourage long-time smokers to quit. The health care costs in Minnesota directly caused by smoking are $2.51 billion a year.
    • Thanks to the budget surplus, the three business-to-business taxes imposed in 2013 to help close the budget deficit were repealed in 2014.
  • Thanks to budget surplus, Gov. Dayton and legislators were able to provide tax cuts for more than 2 million Minnesotans. This includes: new tax credits and deductions for college students; the elimination of the marriage penalty; tax cuts for working families; and property tax relief for homeowners, renters and farmers.

Reality on spending:

  • The DFL made a major investment in early childhood education.
  • All children will have access to free all-day, every day kindergarten, which helps students get a good start their education and saves parents money.
  • A two-year tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), a savings to low- and middle-income students and their families.
  • Minnesota schools will receive an additional $23 million in state funding, or another $25 for every student in the state.
  • Thanks to the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, schools will have new tools to help prevent bullying and respect among students.
  • New investments in nutrition mean that no student will ever be denied a healthy lunch at school.
  • For the first time since 2001, more funding was put into the state’s budget reserve. By putting more $150 million in the reserve, Minnesota is better insulated from any potential future economic downturns.

For the first time in years, the state had a true budget surplus. With this $1.2 billion, Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators were able to make critical investments in heating assistance for low-income families during the brutal winter, provide additional school funding and pay cash for projects that will help grow communities’ economies and put Minnesotans to work.

Priorities

With Republicans criticizing middle-class tax cuts, the historic investment in education and creating jobs, DFLers are left to wonder what the Republicans’ priorities are. Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators have worked hard to build a Better Minnesota. We can thank DFLers for their work to improve the lives of all Minnesotans, and show the Republicans that this is the Minnesota we value, by turning out the vote by absentee ballot starting Sept. 19 or going to the polls Nov. 4.

NATIONAL   

Primary results

On Tuesday, May, 20, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania held their primaries ahead of the November general election. The elections showed that, even the candidates purportedly backed by the GOP establishment have been pulled so far to the right that it is a distinction without a difference. These extreme and out of touch Republican candidates will now face off against Democrats who are focused on commonsense solutions to grow the economy, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all.

The GOP’s coverage from the morning after Election Day included:

Daily Beast: Tea Party loses key Battles, but is winning the war: “Last night represented a big win for the Tea Party’s ultra-conservative ethos, and the extent to which Tea Party philosophy is now cemented into the GOP is now plain to see. … The election results showed the ultimate success of the Tea Party’s effort to change the very DNA of the GOP”

MSNBC: As dust settles, there’s ‘not that big a difference’ between GOP factions: Tea Partiers can take solace in knowing they’ve already moved the GOP so far to the right that the larger conservative mission has already succeeded.…The already conservative Republican Party has moved even further to the right, with the establishment candidates lining up quite nicely on the ideological scale with the more radical candidates of the very recent past.”

Salon: GOP establishment is officially dead: The real lesson of Tuesday night’s primaries: “No, the Republican establishment didn’t “win big” last night. The new reality is it doesn’t even exist anymore…All of the candidates have been on the far right, espousing essentially the same far-right views, while trying to best each other by pandering to cultural signals or attacking each other’s past indiscretions, real or imagined.”

TPM: Georgia isn’t out of the teapot just yet: “One of the two “Establishment” candidates, Jack Kingston, ran a savagely ideological campaign that was on nearly every issue indistinguishable from a Tea Party crusade.