Two heavyweights (no pun intended for Gov. Christie) in Republican politics – and both potential 2016 GOP presidential rivals - will be in Palm Beach next week for separate fundraisers before heading to Coral Gables for a weekend with top Republican National Committee donors.
They are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Christie is up for reelection this year, and seems to be cruising towards a victory. He’ll attend a $3,800-a-head cocktail reception on March 7 at the home of Jana and John Scarpa.
Rubio is raising money for his Rubio Victory Committee with a $1,000 cocktail reception at the home of Jim and Dot Patterson and a $10,000-a-person dinner at the home of Pepe Fanjul, according to Michele Dargan in The Palm Beach Daily News.
On March 9 and 10, Rubio and Christie will be at The Biltmore in Coral Gables for an RNC event that also features former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. and tea party superstar Ted Cruz.
The U.S. House just passed the fiscal cliff deal, 257-167.
Florida Republicans voting yes: Mario Diaz-Balart, Bill Young, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ander Crenshaw, Vern Buchanan.
Every Florida Democrat voted yes.
Rep. Dennis Ross: “This proposal does nothing to address our biggest problem, which is the out-of-control spending that runs rampant in Washington. I am hopeful that in the coming months of the 113th Congress, we can do what is right by Floridians and reform both our tax code and the way that Washington spends the hard-earned money of Florida taxpayers.”
Rep. Dan Webster: “This is not the solution America needs. This is simply Washington doing what Washington does best—maintaining the status quo. Passage of this bill does not solve the true fiscal cliff that we face. Americans need and deserve a bolder plan that addresses the real drivers of our debt, which are crippling the next generation. Forcing higher taxes on Americans, while not seriously tackling Washington’s runaway spending, will not turn our economy around, create jobs or solve our debt crisis. It also does not represent the balanced approach promised by President Obama to the American people.”
Rep. Bill Posey: “Washington has an incurable addiction to borrowing and spending. Slipping another $330 billion in deficit spending into a last minute take it or leave it proposition is unacceptable and it sells future generations of Americans short. None of us would steal from our children and grandchildren, and we should stop letting the federal government do it as well.
Rep. Steve Southerland: “I recognize the importance of continuing sorely needed tax relief. That’s why I voted months ago to avert the fiscal cliff and extend all the tax relief measures for hardworking families. Unfortunately, President Obama and Senator Reid didn’t share our sense of urgency, paving the way for a dead-of-night compromise that yields just $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in tax hikes.”
Rep. Connie Mack: ”Only the President and Democrats in Washington think it’s a good idea to waste taxpayers money, create huge deficits and debt and then try to solve this problem by confiscating more money from the American people with the promise to only waste more money.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: ”As Americans throughout the country were ringing in the New Year, their taxes went up, including those on the middle class, married couples, families with kids and Floridians who benefit from the sales tax deduction. The American people cannot afford, nor do they deserve, this massive New Year’s tax hangover. While this bill has its flaws, it immediately and permanently cuts taxes on 98 percent of the American people and 97 percent of small businesses.”
Interesting angle: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 contender, voted no; Rep. Paul Ryan voted yes.
It was a narrow victory last night for the Miami Dade Chairman’s race by Nelson Diaz over Emiliano Antunez, a candidate that identified as a Ron Paul Supporter. The final vote was reportedly 56-54. In August, the Ron Paul faction got a lot of their supporters on the ballots for the August primary REC elections, and won between 48-51 of the 128 seats.
Our sources at the Republican Party of Florida tell us that David Rivera, who lost his Congressional race and was a former Miami-Dade GOP Chair, was interested in making a political comeback, and his pal State Committeewoman Liliana Ros was involved in a scheme to deny seating many of the Ron Paul faction in an effort to smooth the way for Rivera. Apparently, this scheme never materialized.
We at FCN know that State Representatives and State Senators can also vote in REC elections, and judging by the vote totals, and that all but one of the state representatives, and two of the three state senators representing Miami-Dade County were present, it looks like Nelson Diaz owes his victory to these legislators. If they weren’t present it doesn’t look like Diaz would have had the votes. Continue reading →
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is leaving Congress in January to lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
DeMint, a staunch conservative who often clashes with party leadership, was reelected to a second term in 2010. He will depart before the new Congress is sworn in next month.
“I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas,” DeMint said in a statement. “My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career.”
The senator, a vocal advocate for term limits, had already pledged not to seek a third term.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will appoint DeMint’s successor, who will serve until a 2014 special election. That means two Senate races in the Palmetto State that year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) — targeted by many of the conservatives who love DeMint — is up for reelection. DeMint’s surprising move appears to be a break for Graham, who may see potential primary rivals flock to the open seat instead of challenging him.
Before entering politics, DeMint worked in market research, and he told the Journal that he’s excited about taking Heritage Foundation research and working to “translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work.”
Heritage Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders, in a statement, praised DeMint’s “passion for rigorous research, his dedication to the principles of our nation’s founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action.”
DeMint will take over from Ed Fuelner, who helped found the Heritage Foundation in 1973 and has been its president since 1977.
In 2010, Fuelner earned a total compensation (including bonuses and incentives) of $1,098,612. His base salary was $477,097. The annual salary for a senator: $174,000. (DeMint happens to be one of the poorest members of the Senate. According to the Post’s Capitol Assets investigation, his estimated wealth in 2010 was $40,501.)
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the Board’s selection,” said Feulner in a statement. “Jim DeMint understands that conservative principles and values advance the interests of all Americans — regardless of age, gender, wealth or race.”
The current president will stay on as chancellor of the foundation and chairman of Heritage’s Asian Studies Center.
DeMint phoned McConnell this morning to tell him the news, according to leadership aides.
In a statement, McConnell thanked DeMint “for his uncompromising service to South Carolina and our country in the United States Senate.
“Jim helped provide a powerful voice for conservative ideals in a town where those principles are too often hidden beneath business as usual,” McConnell added. “There is no question in my mind that he raised the profile of important issues like spending and debt and helped galvanize the American people against a big government agenda.”
In his new role, DeMint will serve as the boss of McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, the former labor secretary who is a Heritage distinguished fellow.
McConnell’s deputy, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) appeared caught off-guard by the announcement. “I just heard about it,” he told reporters outside his office.
DeMint’s political allies were quick to congratulate the senator.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said it was “disappointing” to lose a fellow conservative in Congress, but “South Carolina’s loss is the country’s gain.”
“Senator DeMint has done more to advance the cause of freedom and liberty in Congress than anyone else since his election,” said Chris Chocola, president of the anti-tax Club for Growth, in a statement. “We wish him nothing but the best in his new role at Heritage.”
DeMint has helped elect a number of like-minded colleagues in recent years through the now-independent Senate Conservatives Fund — including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Aaron Blake and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.