April 3, 2013 •
The league and its clubs contributed over $24 million last election cycle
It has been a long cold winter for most of the country and though it may be hard to see, sunshine and warm weather are fast approaching. While cold temperatures and snow are making summer seem far in the distance, Major League Baseball’s opening week is upon us and that means summer is close. With America’s pastime finally here, the Sunlight Foundation did a report on how much Major League Baseball and its clubs contributed to campaigns and PACs throughout the last election cycle.
According to the report, MLB organizations contributed more than $24 million last election cycle. The Chicago Cubs can’t win on the field (they have not been to a World Series since 1945 and have not won since 1908), but they certainly won the political spending war. The Cubs spent $13.9 million, more than $12 million more than any other team. Most of that money, more than $12 million, went to a PAC started by the Ricketts family (the team’s ownership group) established to fight wasteful spending in Washington and the defeat of President Obama. However, not all of the family veered to the right with their spending. Laura Ricketts spend more than $500,000 on Democratic candidates and PACs.
The Cubs rival, and President Obama’s favorite team, the Chicago White Sox were one of the few teams who favored the Democrats in their spending. The White Sox gave several donations to Obama, amounting to $60,000 and only $7,000 to Obama’s opponent in the presidential election, Mitt Romney.
Not all teams spend heavily though. The Toronto Blue Jays did not contribute a single penny, as federal laws do not allow foreign contributions to campaigns. The Oakland Athletics only gave a $5,000 contribution to the league’s PAC and gave nothing to either the Republican or Democratic parties. The New York Yankees, owners of the league’s highest payroll at nearly $229 million, only spent $43,000 off the field in political donations.
In addition to the individual teams contributing, Major League Baseball operates its own PAC, called the MLB Commissioner’s Office PAC. The league collects donations from each team and contributes fairly evenly to both the Democrats and Republicans. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team to eschew a donation to the league’s PAC.
Most of the donations coming from baseball were made by team executives and owners. However, a few current and former players decided to contribute. Players to contribute to the Republicans included White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, New York Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner, and San Diego Padres closer Huston Street. Los Angeles Dodgers outfield Tony Gwynn Jr. was the only current player to contribute to the Democrats, but he was joined by Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Lou Brock.
For a complete look at how each team contributed, check out the Sunlight Foundation’s report. And just remember, no matter how miserable the weather may be today, baseball is here and summer is right around the corner.
September 27, 2012 •
New Polling and Electoral Math Show Uphill Climb for Governor Mitt Romney
The 2012 electoral map continues to take shape and with 40 days until the election, both campaigns are working hard in swing states to gain as much ground as possible. A slew of polls have come out over the past couple of days that have painted a decidedly grim picture for Governor Romney’s chances of winning in November.
A Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times poll of three swing states (Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania) shows President Obama has crossed the 50 percent threshold in all three states. Obama leads Romney 53 percent to 44 percent in Florida, 53 percent to 43 percent in Ohio, and 54 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania. Similarly, a Washington Post poll shows the President breaking the 50 percent mark leading the race in Florida 51 percent to 47 percent and Ohio 52 percent to 44 percent. (The Washington Post and ABC News have also moved the state of Ohio from toss-up to leans Obama)
Much has been made over the past week about the larger sample size of democrats in a number of polls which could potentially affect results. (See: here, here, and here) A look at independents responses in these polls shows a much tighter race for the coveted votes of those not identifying with any particular base. Rasmussen, Gallup, Survey USA, and Pew polls all show Gov. Romney with either a slight advantage or tie with President Obama among independents.
While polling numbers are a gauge of where the race currently stands, only one number matters on election day; 270. With current polling showing Ohio in President Obama’s column, the Washington Post and ABC News project the President has 255 electoral votes either safely on his side, or leaning his way; while Gov. Romney has only 196. If the President were to win either Florida, or a combination of two or more of the remaining swing states, he would reach the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. No republican has ever won the presidency without also winning the state of Ohio, and if Gov. Romney were to lose there, he would likely have to sweep all remaining swing states to have a chance.
Other notes from the trail:
- Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) is being accused by Justin Sternad for secretly running Sternad’s unsuccessful campaign during the democratic primary election for the seat currently held by Rivera. Among the accusations are claims that Rivera steered unreported money to Sternad to run against Joe Garcia who previously lost to Rivera in the general election.
- According to a new Washington Post poll, Senator Sherrod Brown (D) maintains a comfortable lead over State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) for the Ohio Senate seat currently held by Brown. Brown leads among registered voters 51 percent to 39 percent and 53 percent to 41 percent among likely voters.
- Rep. Todd Akin will definitely appear on the ballot for the Missouri Senate seat after the passing of a September 25 deadline to withdraw from the race. Akin has struggled to raise money since his controversial remarks about “legitimate rape”; however, in recent days a number of conservatives have come to his aid including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and possibly South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
June 25, 2012 •
Who will win the Romney Veep-stakes?
With the Republican convention less than 2 months away, speculation about Governor Romney’s choice for Vice President continues to grow. A report was released earlier last week that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, thought to be a frontrunner, was not being vetted as a candidate for the ticket. However, Gov. Romney’s campaign quickly rebuffed those rumors, and Gov. Romney himself announced that Rubio was being fully vetted. Other candidates have either withdrawn or effectively removed themselves from consideration, including Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who this week announced he was accepting the position as President of Purdue University at the completion of his tenure as governor.
While Rubio is still in the running, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty appears to be the latest frontrunner for the job. Pawlenty staged an unsuccessful run at the presidential nomination and has since been an aggressive Romney surrogate on the trail. Other names on the shortlist include Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has long held a position at the top of the list, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who submitted his questionnaire to the campaign Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Dakota Senator John Thune.
Other campaign notes:
- This week, the Supreme Court will announce its decision concerning the Affordable Care Act. The court’s ruling will have a definitive impact on the Presidential race with both sides using the decision to encourage their base and shore up support for November. Court announcements will be made at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday and can be found on SCOTUSblog.
- Former Florida Senator George Lemieux (R) has ended his campaign for Florida’s senate seat effectively clearing the way for Rep. Connie Mack (R). Lemieux was appointed to the Senate in 2008 by Gov. Charlie Crist after then Senator Mel Martinez resigned prior to the end of his term. Lemieux’s seat was then won by Marco Rubio in 2011. Lemieux cited dwindling resources and money as his reason for leaving the race. Lemieux and Mack have waged an often times contentious campaign during the primary.
- Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) received an endorsement last week from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The endorsement is welcome support as Velasquez, a 20 year house veteran, faces a tough race against City councilman Eric Dilon in the newly drawn 7th district.
- Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will likely weather the storm created by his failure to obtain 60% of the vote at Utah’s state convention in April. Hatch faces Dan Liljenquist in the state’s primary on Tuesday. A new poll by Key Research shows Hatch has a comfortable 16 point margin over Liljenquist.
June 18, 2012 •
Taking a look at the week in politics and campaigning.
President Obama and his campaign are looking to bounce back after a rough first week of June. According to numbers released by both campaigns, Governor Mitt Romney outraised President Obama in May bringing in $76.8 million compared to the president’s $60 million. This marks the first time Gov. Romney has topped the president during this campaign. President Obama’s totals include a $15 million fundraiser at the home of Actor George Clooney, while Gov. Romney’s totals include $75,000 donations made by both he and his wife.
Additionally, the President spent the week dealing with a May jobs report that didn’t meet projections as the unemployment rate rose to 8.2% and saw only 69,000 new jobs created. However, the campaign can find some comfort in that it is still early in the election cycle, and there is plenty of time for growth between now and November.
Super PAC’s continue to play a major role in the campaign as more and more money is being spent on advertising in key battleground states, like Ohio, where both the president and Gov. Romney gave speeches on Thursday. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has reportedly pledged $10 million to Restore our Future, a pro-Romney Super PAC while the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has teamed with Priorities USA, a pro-Obama Super Pac, to run a $4 million ad campaign.
Other Campaign notes:
- A judge has signed off on the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the remaining five charges against former Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards. The jury in the North Carolina trial found Edwards not guilty on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions but were deadlocked on the remaining five.
- In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker survived his recall election in what many are calling a referendum on the president’s policies and likely putting Wisconsin in play in the general election.
- Democratic candidate Ron Barber, former district director for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, won the special election in Arizona’s 8th congressional district and will serve the remainder of Giffords term. Giffords resigned to focus on her recovery from a brain injury suffered during a shooting at an event in January 2011. Barber was Giffords choice to succeed her and will run for a full term in November in the newly drawn 2nd congressional district.
- Utah will hold the final Presidential primary contest on Tuesday, June 26. While Governor Romney has already secured the Republican nomination, Utah will likely be a boost for the campaign as Romney is expected to do well in the state with its large Mormon population.
May 17, 2012 •
GOP nominee soon to be official; April fundraising reports due this week.
As the national party conventions draw nearer, the race to obtain a majority of the 2286 delegates available to secure the GOP nomination appears to be well within the grasp of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Following Tuesday’s primary wins in Nebraska and Oregon, the Associated Press and NBC News project Gov. Romney now has 989 of the 1144 delegates needed to become the Republican nominee for President. While most of Gov. Romney’s competitors have suspended their campaigns, (Congressman Ron Paul remains in the race) the governor must still obtain the necessary delegates in order to be officially nominated at the GOP convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, August 27-30.
Romney can potentially pick up 81 proportionally allocated delegates in the next two primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky on May 22. If he then wins the “winner-take-all” Texas primary, and its 155 delegates, on May 29, Romney will assuredly lock up the nomination heading into the summer. The Washington Post has an excellent, interactive delegate tracker and primer to help make sense of the GOP primary process.
As the Republican nominee, donors are certain to coalesce around Romney which he will need in order to mount a formidable campaign. April fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission on May 20th.
President Obama’s campaign has already begun to leak numbers announcing that it raised $43.6 million total in April for the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other committees such as Organizing for America, a project of the DNC founded in January 2009. While the President’s numbers are lower than the $45 million raised in February and $53 million in March, President Obama still maintains a large overall fundraising advantage over Gov. Romney.
Gov. Romney’s campaign also leaked fundraising numbers today ahead of Friday’s deadline (campaigns are required to submit reports prior to the deadline if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday). The Romney campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and other committees, raised $40.1 million in April, just $3.5 million behind the President’s campaign.
If these fundraising numbers are any indication, we’ve only just begun.
March 9, 2012 •
Keeping a tally of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential campaign.
With all of the attention placed on the Republican primaries and caucuses – especially with Super Tuesday happening this week – our Highlighted Site of the Week is a trio of delegate tracker sites.
Politico has a great Delegate Tracker page that can help you make sense of where each of the candidates stands in gaining the biggest portion of the 2,286 delegates needed to win the nomination at the GOP National Convention.
I personally like the GOP Delegate Tracker on The Wall Street Journal’s Election 2012 site. It has a bar graph with the candidates, an interactive map of the states, and even an interactive timeline.
There is, of course, always The New York Times. They have their Republican Delegate Count page and their State-by-State Primary Results page. As part of the NYTimes Election 2012 online resources, you can easily navigate to reviews of the debates and summaries of campaign finance information for each candidate.
Video courtesy of The Associated Press.
Have a great weekend everyone!
March 6, 2012 •
Here is a look at Super Tuesday through the lens of Facebook and Twitter:
“Can social media predict election outcomes?” by Jon Swartz in USA Today.
“Twitter and The Countdown To Super Tuesday” by Shea Bennett on All Twitter.
“Romney to Win Republican Nomination, Facebook Says” by Kate Knibbs in Mobiledia.
“Facebook users not talking about Rick Santorum (infographic)” by Emil Protalinski on ZDNet.
“Will Romney’s Facebook fans help win Super Tuesday?” by Athima Chansanchai on MSNBC’s Digital Life.
“Santorum’s Facebook Fans Silent Before Super Tuesday” by Jennifer Moire on All Facebook.
August 8, 2011 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
From the States and Municipalities:
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Jim Sedor is editor of News You Can Use.
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