- - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Pro-Romney fundraising group raises $12 million

An independent fundraising group supporting former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential bid has raised $12 million so far this year.

Restore Our Future announced its latest fundraising figures Tuesday. The group, founded by several strategists who worked for Mr. Romney during his 2008 campaign, is expected to be one of many groups helping Republicans try to defeat President Obama next year.

In a statement, treasurer Charles Spies said the group’s fundraising success was evidence that voters think Mr. Romney can boost the sagging economy.

Mr. Romney’s campaign fundraising is expected to outpace others in the GOP field. Advisers say the campaign raised between $15 million and $20 million in the quarter that ended June 30.

WHITE HOUSE

‘Commy’ message makes way onto Obama 2012 website

A message inviting supporters of President Obama to nonexistent events hosted by “Commy Obama” made its way onto the president’s campaign website, but was removed Tuesday, the campaign said.

The material was posted on a section of the site where users can generate their own content, and made its way past monitors.

“The site was not hacked. These are user-generated sites for supporters - we monitor them for inappropriate content, but aren’t able to catch everything right away,” said Ben LaBolt, spokesman for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

The fake material invited users to events scheduled for noon in Washington, the Washington Examiner reported. It said the 430-word message listed “Rules of Politics,” including “Politicians and other public servants lie.”

The report came a day after hackers took control of a FoxNews.com Twitter account Monday and sent six false tweets saying Mr. Obama had been fatally shot, prompting an investigation by the Secret Service.

WISCONSIN

Democrat Baldwin says run for U.S. Senate ‘likely’

MADISON, Wis.| Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is moving closer to announcing a bid for the U.S. Senate, telling a Madison newspaper in a story published Tuesday that she is “likely to run” for the seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl.

Mrs. Baldwin told the Capital Times that she is still gathering more information about a Senate run, but is likely to enter the race.

A number of Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest in running for the seat since Mr. Kohl announced in May that he would not seek a fifth term. Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, frequently mentioned as a possible candidate, has said he will make his intentions clear by Labor Day.

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson said he will announce his decision after recall elections this summer targeting state senators. The last of those elections is Aug. 16.

IOWA

Pawlenty names Huckabee daughter as top Iowa aide

DES MOINES | Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is naming the daughter of 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee to help lift his own effort ahead of a key test of strength in Iowa.

Mr. Pawlenty’s campaign says Sarah Huckabee Sanders begins today as the former Minnesota governor’s senior adviser for the state’s Republican straw poll.

The Aug. 13 event at Iowa State University is seen as a test of strength for Republican presidential candidates ahead of the leadoff caucuses, set for early February.

Mr. Pawlenty has spent a year and a half meeting Iowa Republicans and building a circle of top Iowa consultants, but registered only 6 percent in a recent Iowa poll.

Mrs. Sanders was Mr. Huckabee’s 2008 national political director. Mr. Huckabee finished second in the August 2007 straw poll and surged to win the caucuses.

RHODE ISLAND

State move delays primary until April

PROVIDENCE | Rhode Island has moved its presidential primary from March to April in an attempt to attract more candidates to the Ocean State.

State lawmakers voted for the change to match primary dates in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Lawmakers say presidential candidates are more likely to visit Rhode Island in the lead up to the primary if the state holds its primary on the same day as those nearby states.

Rhode Island’s new primary date is April 24. Before the change, the primary had been scheduled for March 6.

CALIFORNIA

Bill targets ‘excessive’ health insurance rate hikes

SACRAMENTO | A bill that would allow California state officials to reject health-insurance rate increases is under intense lobbying pressure as it faces a key committee vote this week.

Groups representing insurers, doctors and hospitals are trying to weaken or kill the bill, which has national implications. California represents about 15 percent of the national market for those with individual health coverage.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says the legislation would let regulators block excessive rate hikes, protecting the public from insurance costs that are rising much faster than inflation.

Opponents say AB52 would add bureaucracy and limit access to care but will not fix the underlying problem of rising medical costs driving up insurance rates.

A state Senate committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.