Garcetti Leads L.A. Mayor Poll; VA GOPers Tap Conservative Slate; '08 Clinton Staffers Sit Out '16

National Journal

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  • WH counsel Kathryn Ruemmler "learned weeks ago" that an IRS audit "likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups," prompting "a debate over whether" Pres. Obama "should have been notified at that time" (Wall Street Journal).
  • L.A. Mayor '13: A new USC Sol Price School of Public Policy/Los Angeles Times poll of LVs, conducted 5/14-16 by Benenson Strategy Group (D)/M4 Strategies (R), shows Councilor Eric Garcetti (D) leading Cont. Wendy Greuel, 48-41%. In the previous poll, conducted 4/15-17, Garcetti led Greuel, 50-40% (release). Garcetti and Greuel "sped around the city Sunday trying to avoid another distinction: drawing the lowest turnout for an open mayoral seat in modern history" (Los Angeles Times).
  • MA SEN Special: Both Rep. Edward Markey (D) and ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R) "said Sunday they would participate" in a WBZ-TV/Boston Globe debate on June 5, "as each campaign lobbed accusations of debate-ducking at the other" (Boston Globe).
  • VA GOV '13: GOPers "shook up" the race on Saturday, choosing minister E.W. Jackson to run for LG alongside GOV nominee Ken Cuccinelli (Washington Post). Meanwhile, a new Cuccinelli TV ad "doesn’t talk about his plan to fix the economy or lower taxes, but rather it seeks to paint him as a compassionate individual who will never leave your side" (CNN).
  • MS SEN: Sen. Thad Cochran (R) is "still weighing" whether to run for reelection, "but he wants to have a decision made within one year before" the June '14 primary (Biloxi Sun Herald).
  • NE SEN: Gov. Dave Heineman (R) "sounded very much like a candidate when he spoke to a private gathering hosted by business lobbyists in Lincoln" last week (Lincoln Journal-Star).
  • OK SEN: Speaking Friday at the Tulsa GOP Club, Sen. James Inhofe (R) "said emphatically that he is not a declared candidate" for reelection, but "he also was open about raising money for his campaign" (Tulsa World).
  • MN-06: The FBI "is investigating complaints of alleged campaign finance violations" in Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R) WH '12 camp (
  • NJ-05: Ex-Rep. Andy Maguire (D), who served from '74-'80, "is preparing for a comeback effort" against Rep. Scott Garrett (R) (Bloomberg).
  • UT-04: '12 nominee Mia Love (R) officially declared her candidacy at Saturday's state GOP convo (Deseret News).
  • NY GOV: According to a new Siena College poll of RVs, conducted 5/13-16, 55% would vote to reelect Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), while 36% would "prefer someone else." In the previous poll, conducted 4/14-18, 53% would have reelected Cuomo, and 39% preferred someone else (release).
  • UT: The state GOP "again rejected a series of reforms to the party's nominating process" that would likely have made primaries more prevalent, "in a move that could trigger a threatened ballot initiative to overhaul the system for picking candidates" (Salt Lake Tribune).
  • DC Mayor '14: In formally declaring his candidacy on Saturday on H St. NE, Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) became "the most viable white mayoral candidate in two decades" (Washington Post).
  • WH '16: Four key staffers for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) WH '08 camp -- comm. dir. Howard Wolfson, policy dir. Neera Tanden, chief strategist Mark Penn and mgr. Patti Solis Doyle -- have said they wouldn't return to Clinton's camp if she pursued a WH '16 bid, though they expressed "their requisite hope that Clinton will run and win" (Washington Post).


  • According to a new CNN/ORC Int'l poll of nat'l adults, conducted 5/17-18, 53% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as POTUS, while 45% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 4/5-7, 51% approved of Obama, and 47% disapproved (release).


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

• The CO GOV race stirred to life last week as Tom Tancredo and Scott Gessler finally expressed interest in challenging Gov. John Hickenlooper. But when it comes to CO SEN, the silence is deafening. That could be because running against the popular Hickenlooper is seen as a no-lose proposition right now; it'd be difficult to fall below low GOP expectations in that race. Losing to Sen. Mark Udall would be a bigger blow to someone's career ambitions.

• It's little wonder that Clinton's former senior staff -- especially Penn and Solis Doyle -- has moved on. But the Clinton camp had a stable of younger strategists who have become the new A-list in recent years. Watch Terry McAuliffe manager Robbie Mook and DSCC executive director Guy Cecil, in particular.



  • ABC News WH corr. Jonathan Karl "addressed criticism of his reporting on the Benghazi talking points controversy, saying in a statement to CNN that he regrets the inaccuracy of his report" (CNN).
  • "I'm not saying impeachment is the end game, but it's a possibility, especially if they keep doing little to help us learn more" -- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), on Benghazi (National Review).
  • When DoJ "began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea" in '09, they "used security badge access records to track" Fox News' James Rosen's "comings and goings" from the State Dept., "traced the timing of his calls" with a State Dept. security adviser "suspected of sharing the classified report," and they "obtained a search warrant" for the Rosen's "personal e-mails" (Washington Post).
  • '12 WY SEN candidate Thomas Bleming (R), "a Vietnam veteran and self-described soldier of fortune from Lusk, is taking another shot" at the Senate against Sen. Michael Enzi (R) in '14, but Bleming "said he won't campaign with a gun in hand this time around" (Casper Star-Tribune).
  • "I'm running a Colin Powell military operation, which is assemble an overwhelming force, focus on a single target and have the stomach to see it all the way through to the end" -- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), on avoiding a primary challenge (Politico).
  • Granada, Nicaragua, neighbors of '12 FL-26 candidate Justin Lamar Sternad's (D) mgr Ana Alliegro "describe her as a night owl prone to cursing, buying Coca-Cola by the case and watching dirty movies so loudly the volume has kept them up at night." And "locals have spotted her around town" with embattled ex-Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), "whom townspeople readily identified in photographs shown by a Herald reporter: 'Ah, Don David!'" (Miami Herald).
  • AR Treas. Martha Shoffner (D) was arrested Friday "without incident at her home in Newport on at least one charge under the Hobbs Act, a charge often used by federal prosecutors in cases involving public officials, particularly public corruption cases dealing with extortion 'under color of official right'" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).
  • NY Assemb. Vito Lopez (D) will resign Monday morning after a report last week said Lopez "sexually harassed several staff members over several years" (New York Post). But "the scrutiny is not over" for State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), who "has acknowledged erring when he approved a confidential settlement" with two Lopez accusers (New York Times).
  • Ex-Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and his parents were fined a total of $54K for improper payments to ex-Ensign staffer Cindy Hampton and her husband, Doug Hampton (Ralston Reports).
  • We couldn't resist bringing back an old favorite, Hotline's Cell Phone Pic of the Day. Have any submissions? Send 'em over.
  • At Sunday's 13th annual Haitian-American Unity Parade in Mattapan, MA, Markey "was relaxed enough that he twice began dancing to Haitian music along the route" (Boston Globe).
  • CA GOP pollster Steve Kinney, whose clients included ex-CA Govs. George Deukmejian (R) and Pete Wilson (R), passed away Sunday at the age of 69, according to a statement from GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, where Kinney was a partner (release).


  • In 1970, appointed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) won election, though appointed Sens. Charles Goddell (R-NY) and Ralph Tyler Smith (R-IL) were defeated in their election bids.
  • The winner is John McElligott, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the last American League pitcher to hit two home runs in a game?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"I am just not going to defend my running mates' statements at every turn" -- Cuccinelli (Washington Post)


"Lionel Hutz, court-appointed attorney. I'll be defending you on the charge of... Murder One! Wow! Even if I lose, I'll be famous!" -- ("The Simpsons")

Reid Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Executive Editor