TIME republicans

Women Find GOP ‘Intolerant,’ Report Says

The Republican Party's elephant symbol is seen on display on October 24, 2000 at the Republican campaign headquarters in El Paso, Texas.
The Republican Party's elephant symbol is seen on display on October 24, 2000 at the Republican campaign headquarters in El Paso, Texas. Joe Raedle—getty Images

A gender gap persists

Female voters have sharply negative views of the Republican Party, according to a new report of internal polling done by major GOP groups, the latest sign of the gender gap facing the party as it tries to recapture the White House in 2016.

Politico, which obtained a copy of the Republican polling, reports it found that many women consider the GOP “intolerant” and “stuck in the past.” The Republican groups that commissioned the polling, the Karl Rove-led Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network, hosted eight focus groups over the summer and survey about 800 registered women voters. Pollsters found that 49% of women have an unfavorable view of Republicans, while just 39% feel the same about Democrats, Politico reports. The establishment-friendly GOP groups are warning that Republican elected officials “fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live” They’re advising officials to champion equal pay policies, and suggesting Republicans change the way they handle the issue of abortion: “Deal honestly with any disagreement on abortion, then move to other issues,” the report says.

Republicans are expected to easily keep their majority in the House and may even recapture the majority in the Senate during the coming midterm elections. But the gender gap will be more troublesome in the 2016 presidential election, especially if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

[Politico]

TIME Congress

WATCH: John Boehner Has Found His Kindred Spirit … in a Monkey

'That's what I do all day!'

+ READ ARTICLE

The second most photographed object in John Boehner’s office — after the House Speaker himself — is a wind-up monkey that sits on his desk, crashes cymbals on command and, according to his staffers, speaks volumes about his work.

Boehner’s staff gave the gift as a “token of appreciation” and a subtle reminder to their boss to avoid comparing himself to a wind-up toy, as he did in 2011 when he was discussing the strains of his hectic work schedule. The monkey has since appeared in at least 29 photos with the speaker and various visitors.

On Tuesday, his staffers featured it in a YouTube video in which Boehner points at the toy monkey in action and says, “That’s what I do all day,” to a group of young girls getting a crash course in politics. “They wind me up about every 15 minutes,” he adds.

TIME 2014 Election

The 6 Feistiest Ads From the Battle To Be Arizona’s Next Governor

Senate Judiciary Cmte Holds Hearing On Americans' Access To Voting Booths
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about voter rights at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill December 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

One Republican ad for governor in Arizona includes screaming sheep

The Arizona gubernatorial primary election is just four days away, and for months now, Arizonans have been hearing the six Republican candidates on the ballot fight over who can do one thing best: stop illegal immigration.

Arizona has long been at the center of the national immigration policy debate, especially this year as record numbers of unaccompanied minors crossed the Mexico-United States border. Current Republican governor Jan Brewer—who championed the state’s controversial SB1070, or “show-me-your-papers,” law—is term-limited, and the race to take up her mantle has been feisty. Candidates’ soundbites at a gubernatorial debate in late July included Ken Bennett, Arizona’s current secretary of state, saying, “a good neighbor doesn’t hop your fence, break into your garage, and live out of your freezer;” former California Congressman Frank Riggs adding that he would have credibility with Congress because he knows where the men’s room is at the Capitol; and Scott Smith, former mayor of Mesa, Arizona, comparing his competitors’ promises to carnival games.

The Republican nominee will face Democratic challenger Fred DuVal, former president of the Arizona Board of Regents, who has been endorsed by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. Republican campaign advertisements, predictably, have centered on who would best protect the border. Here’s a roundup of the topline:

Scott Smith, former mayor of Mesa, Arizona, has Brewer’s endorsement. His spot features screaming sheep:

Ken Bennett, the Arizona secretary of state who asked Hawaii officials to verify President Barack Obama’s birthplace in 2012 before putting him on the state’s presidential ballot, says he’s a nice guy, and a tough one:

Doug Ducey, Arizona state treasurer and former Cold Stone Creamery CEO, snagged endorsements from Senator Ted Cruz and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Christine Jones, attorney and former GoDaddy executive, got a boost this week from GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons, who contributed $1 million to a PAC backing her campaign:

Frank Riggs, former U.S. Representative, does pullups while discussing border security:

Andrew Thomas, former Maricopa county attorney, adds that he has “stood up to the gay lobby:”

TIME 2016 Election

A Bachelor Is Iowa’s Newest Political Celebrity

Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette"
Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette" Craig Sjodin—ABC

"Pretty much every female in her twenties is familiar with him"

The rumored next star of the reality show The Bachelor is quickly becoming Iowa’s most visible political celebrity. [Update: ABC has announced Soules will be the next Bachelor.]

Chris Soules, a scruffy farmer from Arlington, was judging the Iowa Farm Bureau’s cookout contest at the Iowa State Fair when Texas Gov. Rick Perry blazed through on Tuesday. Perry, who was in the midst of a four-day swing to support Iowa Republicans up for election this fall while laying the groundwork for a repeat presidential bid, greeted Soules with a handshake as he toured the contest and the pair chatted briefly out of earshot before posing for a photo.

“Enjoyed meeting Chris from the bachelor at the Iowa State Fair today,” Perry’s account tweeted. Soules retweeted him.

But Perry was hardly the first Republican 2016 hopeful to meet Soules, who has been ubiquitous at the State Fair and around Des Moines in recent days. Earlier this month, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio met the reality television star at the annual party hosted by Iowa GOP bigwig Bruce Rastetter. “Rubio Gains Notice, But ‘Batchelorette‘ Hunk Steals Show,” blared the Des Moines Register in a headline on Sunday.

Soules’ political affiliation is not publicly known, but attendees at the Rastetter event said he volunteered that he was a Republican. Soules would hardly be the first celebrity endorser should he announce a preference in the GOP’s presidential sweepstakes. Rick Santorum traveled the country in 2011 trailed by a bus carrying the Duggar family of the TLC show 19 Kids & Counting.

“Pretty much every female in her twenties is familiar with him,” one Republican operative said. “And probably a bunch in their 30s and 40s who might not admit it so freely. So it wouldn’t hurt a candidate to be seen rubbing elbows with that guy, especially for a party that struggles with a gender gap.”

Soules, 32, rocketed to the national scene as a finalist on Andi Dorfman’s season of ABC’s The Bachelorette this summer. Dorfman praised his charm, down-home family, and Iowa digs, but sent him packing without giving him an invitation for a “Fantasy Suite” date. Multiple reports have recently indicated he’ll star in the next season of The Bachelor. Soules did not respond to a request for comment.

-Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dias

TIME Election 2014

Republican Group Rolls Out Fake News Websites

The NRCC has released a line of websites to attack Democrats with the look and feel of local news sites

The National Republican Congressional Committee is getting into the local news business — at least until the midterm elections are over.

The NRCC has released a line of websites to attack Democratic candidates that have the look and feel of local news websites. The sites have names like “Central Valley Update” and “Augusta Update.” A box at the bottom of the page indicates the website is paid for by the NRCC. Some two dozen of the sites are now live.

“This is a new and effective way to disseminate information to voters who are interested in learning the truth about these Democratic candidates,” NRCC spokesperson Andrea Bozek said of the new line of sites. “While Democrats would rather hide their candidates and their reckless agenda, we believe voters deserve to know the facts.” Bozek added that the websites are not illegal.

The group drew criticism earlier this year over websites, including fundraising portals that confused some voters, which spoofed the websites of Democratic candidates.

The new websites are being paid for and coordinated by the NRCC’s independent expenditure arm, which can raise unlimited sums of money but is not permitted to coordinate with candidates’ campaigns.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s Democratic counterpart, called the websites deceptive.

“House Republicans’ campaign strategy to overcome their own historic unpopularity is to resort to deception—again,” DCCC spokesperson Josh Schwerin told TIME.

TIME 2016 Election

The Starting Gun Has Sounded in Iowa on 2016 Presidential Race

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during The Family Leadership Summit on August 9, 2014, in Ames, Iowa.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during The Family Leadership Summit on August 9, 2014, in Ames, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall—AP

Seven big name Republicans have visited the state already this month

Don’t let anyone tell you the 2016 presidential campaign has yet to begin. Seven likely Republican candidates have visited Iowa in the last 11 days. “Part of my role as the state party chair is to make sure that there is a welcome mat out there for every single person that wants to come into this state,” said Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufman Sunday, as he introduced Perry at a fundraiser for a state senate candidate in Grand Mound.

The welcome mat already is in danger of getting worn down.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appeared at influential GOP donor Bruce Rastetter’s annual party in rural Iowa, with Rubio, the only speaker, wowing the audience, according to attendees. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul then arrived, embarking on a 3-day, 724-mile tour across the state to stump for candidates like Iowa Rep. Steve King. And Saturday, Cruz returned, joining four more would-be candidates, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Perry, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at the Iowa Family Leader Summit, an annual cattle-call for the state’s social conservative grassroots. Perry used the event to embark on a 500-mile, four day tour on behalf of local candidates, meeting with influential state politicos.

On stage, in fundraisers and at the state fair, the candidates are road-testing their messages, “I wondered long and hard which is it, is this the most ideologically extreme or the most incompetent [administration],” Jindal said Saturday, mixing jokes with a speech heavy on his efforts to bring about education reform in his state. “The best answer I could come up with was Secretary Clinton’s statement, ‘What difference does it make?'”

Cruz spoke at the Des Moines Register soapbox at the state fair Saturday, and blasted Obama’s economic record. “We are trapped in the great stagnation,” he said, comparing Obama to former President Jimmy Carter. At the Family Leader summit, he listed off conservative victories since he took office, including efforts to block gun control. Santorum, meanwhile, repeated his call for the GOP to focus less on business owners and more on the workers they employ. Perry is due to face the notoriously heckle-prone audience on Tuesday.

Politicos in the state say Paul, Perry, Jindal, Santorum, and New Jersey Gov. Christie, who was in Iowa boosting Gov. Terry Branstad’s re-election just last month, have done the most to assist local politicians this fall—a key way to build support for the caucuses.

With the likely candidacy of Hillary Clinton, Democratic contenders have had much lower visibility, attending the occasional fundraiser for a candidate or the state party, but eschewing outright campaigning. Yet rumors abound that Clinton or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will attend retiring-Sen. Tom Harkin’s final annual steak fry before his retirement next year. Their attendance at the Sept. 14 event, which was Obama’s first Iowa event in 2006, may be disrupted by the upcoming arrival of the Clinton’s first grandchild.

Cruz is already scheduled to be back in Iowa next month for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual fall conference, while Perry, Christie, and Jindal all plan to be back in the state before the midterm election.

But that doesn’t mean they’re the biggest celebrities in town. A write-up of Rubio’s appearance at the Rastetter event in the Des Moines Register also noted the attendance of Chris Soules, the Iowa farmer who appeared on the latest season of ABC’s Bachelorette. The headline: “Rubio gains notice, but ‘Bachelorette’ hunk steals show.”

TIME republicans

Paul Ryan Says GOP Must Become ‘Proposition Party’

"We cannot define ourselves by what we are against"

Rep. Paul Ryan said Friday that Republicans must do more than criticize President Barack Obama to succeed politically, saying they must become the “proposition party” to become an alternative to Democrats.

Speaking to top GOP officials at the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee, the 2012 vice presidential nominee said the party needs to put forward ideas for what it stands for. “We cannot define ourselves by what we are against,” said Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee. Last month Ryan released a new anti-poverty plan, calling for reforms to the nation’s welfare, education, and criminal justice systems.

“By being the proposition and the alternative party we have to show everyone in America how we can reconnect and reclaim the idea that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the nation is poised to “take-off” and that “the challenge is we’re going to have to win elections to do that,” adding that the GOP needs to continue outreach to non-traditional Republican voters.

“We’re going to have to have another 1980-type election [to set the country on track],” Ryan said.

Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney “were shadowboxing against big government in theory” in 2012, but now that the health care reform and financial reform laws are in effect, the GOP has an easier case to make.

Ryan said chaos around the world, including the situation in Iraq, “is in many ways a direct result of our standing the world because we have the wrong leadership.” Asked whether he supports the military action authorized by Obama in Iraq on Thursday, Ryan told a reporter “Yeah, nah, call my office. I don’t want to give you a flippant, walking-through-the-halls thing. It’s something I’d rather think through. But I think that we should do whatever is necessary to protect our national security interests.”

TIME republicans

Sen. Lamar Alexander Fends Off Tea Party in Tenn.

Lamar Alexander
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., takes part in a discussion at the National Governors Association convention in Nashville, Tenn. on July 12, 2014. Mark Humphrey—AP Photo

In another blow to the national tea party movement, Republican Lamar Alexander defeated tea-party endorsed State Sen. Joe Carr in a Tennessee primary race on Thursday

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Republican Lamar Alexander became the latest U.S. senator to fend off a tea party challenge in a primary race Thursday, defeating a state senator who had used a familiar tactic in trying to cast him as an out of touch insider.

Alexander’s win dealt another blow to national tea party momentum after the stunning primary win over Republican Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia in June.

In Tennessee, State Sen. Joe Carr had high-profile endorsements from tea party-allied figures, but he could not overcome Alexander’s fundraising advantage and 40 years in Tennessee politics. He had about 38 percent of the vote with 24 percent of precincts reporting, compared with about 52 percent for Alexander.

In heavily Republican Tennessee, Alexander is strongly favored to win re-election in November. He maintained a moderate tone in his victory speech, touting his ability to craft compromises.

“If we want to change Obamacare, we’re going to have to pass something. If we want to fix the debt, we’re going to have to pass something,” Alexander said. “And to do that we’re going to have to work with other people to get it done.”

So far this year, the argument that sitting senators have lost their connection with voters hasn’t been a winner. Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Pat Roberts of Kansas have all held off tea party-backed challenges.

Republican Kathy Leake, a 65-year old nurse in the Memphis suburb of Bartlett, said she would not shy away from voting for a qualified tea party candidate but had nothing against Alexander.

“I didn’t see any of the others that had anything else to offer any better than he was … I’m just sticking with him,” she said.

Alexander sought to avoid any chance Carr or Flinn could cast him as an insider by locking down key endorsements and spending the final few weeks of the campaign on a 35-stop bus tour around the state stressing his ability to get results in a divided Senate.

The senator’s stance resonated with voter Larry Harrison, a clinical services director in Nashville who considers himself an independent.

“Carr goes way too conservative for me,” said Harrison, who cited Alexander’s experience and temperament in supporting the incumbent.

“I think he’s got a mSen. Lamar Alexander fends off tea party in Tenn.ore moderate view, and I’m a more moderate person myself,” he said.

Alexander, 74, has served two terms as the state’s governor and two terms in the Senate.

Also on the Tennessee ballot Thursday is embattled Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a physician from the small south Tennessee town of Jasper who won re-election in 2012 despite revelations that he once urged a patient he was dating to seek an abortion.

After the election, court officials released transcripts of divorce proceedings that included DesJarlais admitting under oath that he had eight affairs, encouraged a lover to get an abortion and used a gun to intimidate his first wife during an argument.

Last year, DesJarlais was reprimanded and fined by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in May for having sex with patients. But the congressman has since doubled down on his tea party credentials and has dismissed the details about his personal life as “old news.” He faces state Sen. Jim Tracy, who has far outraised the incumbent.

In the state’s majority black 9th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, a white and Jewish Memphis native, defeated attorney Ricky Wilkins. Wilkins, who is African-American, had sought to highlight ethnic and racial differences between Cohen and his constituents in the district, which Cohen has represented since 2006.

TIME 2014 Election

Republican California Dreaming: Candidate For Governor Neel Kashkari Charts New Course for GOP

California Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari Interview
California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari pauses during a Bloomberg West Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Kashkari, former head of the U.S. Treasury's bank bailout program, discussed his decision to run for governor in California. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

TIME sat down with the candidate to talk about his stint as a homeless man and how the GOP is going to stop their decline in California

Neel Kashkari is not yet a name most Republicans would recognize, and he holds policy positions many Republicans abhor. But the former banker who spearheaded the 2009 bank bailout may also be the Republican Party’s best hope for salvaging its brand in the nation’s most populous state.

In June, Kashkari came in second in the California governor primary with 19% of the vote. That makes him the single man standing between Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who won 54%, and what is assumed to be Brown’s impending, unprecedented fourth term. Kashkari, however, says he refuses to let Brown coast to victory again. “He thinks he’s entitled to the governorship because his daddy was governor,” Kashkari told TIME, when asked about Brown. “It’s like a coronation. So, okay, this is a democracy. I’m gonna make him answer.”

A native Ohio son of two immigrant parents, Kashkari is not a typical Republican, which may prove to be his most threatening feature in the increasingly blue Golden State. He’s a fiscal conservative, and a former Goldman Sachs financier, who supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage. He voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but has also been endorsed by Mitt Romney, whom he strongly supported in 2012. The 41-year-old has never held an elected office, unless you count being elected to lead the finance club at Wharton Business School (which he, half-jokingly, says was a very stiff competition). With coffers dwarfed by Brown’s $22 million war chest, and $2 million of his own money already sunk into the race, Kashkari has been finding creative ways to win the spotlight.

In July, he spent a full week living homeless on the streets of Fresno, playing out an experiment wherein he tried his best to find work and failed, sleeping in parking garages and eating at homeless shelters. It was an attempt to point out that things could be better in California, and he made a video to prove it.

This week TIME sat down with the candidate. Here is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.

The California GOP seems to be on the decline. There are fewer than ever registered Republican voters. A Republican hasn’t won a statewide office in eight years. The legislature is controlled by Democrats. Where did the party go wrong?

I can’t point to any one thing and say this is where they went wrong, or where we went wrong. I think it’s been a gradual decline. But that’s part of my mission. California is obviously a unique state, right? And probably the most diverse in the whole country. And I don’t think our party has done a good job reflecting that diversity, which is why I feel I have such a great opportunity to show the state, and show the country, that there’s a Republican party, a Republican candidate, that can reflect that diversity and reach out into the diverse communities and unite everyone.

So there’s embracing more diverse groups. Is that just one prong in a larger reinvention that needs to happen for the California GOP?

I don’t think it’s reinvention. One of the things that the Republican party has done a lousy job of nationally is explaining how our economic ideas help regular families. That’s part of why I did what I did a couple weeks ago in Fresno … We’re down to 28% registered Republicans. That data is right there. We’re not going to win another election if we just win the 28% of registered Republicans. So we have to grow our party. And what I’ve been doing for the last year and a half is reaching out into Latino communities, African-American communities, Asian communities and learning, What do you want? And you know what they want? A good education for their kids and good jobs.

Do Republicans at large need to be embracing the LGBT community more?

Absolutely. A few weeks ago, I marched in a gay pride parade, and the LGBT press said it was the first time a Republican gubernatorial candidate had done that. And my reaction was, Well, why wouldn’t I? They’re an important part of California, and I want to help them achieve their dreams. And you know what their dreams are? They want good jobs and they want good education for their kids, the same as everybody else. I’m working extra hard to reach out into every community, especially ones that have historically come to believe that Republicans don’t care about them.

Do you support same-sex marriage or believe, from a libertarian perspective, that it simply should not be banned by the government?

To me it’s the same thing. I support same-sex marriage. And I think the government shouldn’t be getting into any of our business. People should be free to live the lives that they want to lead, as long as they’re not hurting anybody else. I was asked about reparative therapy recently, which I think is absurd. The idea that you’re going to convert a gay person to a straight person. You’re as likely to convert me to being gay … People should be allowed to marry whomever they want.

There’s been a lot of controversy about the law banning reparative therapy in California. There’s also been controversy over a new law that allows K-12 transgender students to access sports teams and bathrooms that align with their gender identity. What’s your take on that?

My issue with that law is not the substance. My issue is the way it was done. There was never a discussion statewide. Parents were, frankly, not consulted. And all of a sudden this is passed, seemingly in the middle of the night. This is a real issue, and kids need to be protected from bullying … [But] we’re 46th out of 50 for education. This is the biggest issue that the governor and the legislature is focused on in education? We’ve got this Vergara case that just happened in June, finding that the civil rights of minority kids are being violated. To me, it’s a question of priorities. Let’s go fix our schools so that every kid—gay, straight, transgender—every kid gets a good education.

In the California GOP platform, unnecessary spending on social programs is derided. Are you prepared, when you’re addressing these issues of homelessness, poverty, lack of jobs, to spend money on social programs?

We’re spending a lot on social programs today. Those, in my view, are meant to be a bridge, a bridge to a job. But when you just push social programs, social programs, social programs, and there’s no destination at the end of the bridge—it’s a bridge to nowhere—you accomplish nothing. And that’s my big beef with both the policies that the Democrats and Jerry Brown have pursued and, frankly, President Obama has pursued nationally. Unemployment benefit extensions, more food stamps, more welfare. But to what? To what end?

Where does inequality rank in terms of California’s problems?

It’s an output. Income inequality and poverty are products of a failure in our policies, education policies and economic growth policies. If we get a lousy education, stuck in a failing school, we get left behind when the economy grows. And income inequality just expands. More people get left behind in failing schools. And that’s why this Vergara case is landmark. Because finally a judge has said education is a civil right, and we need to look at it through the lens of civil rights.

In a way these are issues that have been around since Proposition 187, and before. What are your thoughts about what happened then and how it relates to now?

To me, that’s old news. I always go into every community with the same message. I want your kids to get a good education. I want you to get a good job. And people say to me, Well, what about immigration? I say, Look, I’m the son of immigrants. I believe immigrants add tremendous value to our country. We’re a nation of immigrants, and we need to embrace immigration. But we also need to update our laws to provide the workers our economy needs. In Silicon Valley, they need engineers. Farmers need farm workers. Let’s prioritize those workers that we need. And then we need to enforce the law. There’s no point to having any laws that are utterly unenforced, whether it’s gun laws or immigration laws.

To drill down on one specific point, what kind of public services should undocumented immigrants have access to?

I don’t have a laundry list in my head of ‘These are what’s appropriate, and these are not.’ I don’t think that people are coming to this country or coming to this state in pursuit of such services. I think they’re coming here in pursuit of jobs. And the more we can grow the economy, the better off everyone is going to be.

It’s easy to draw a comparison with some former GOP candidates, like Meg Whitman, who came into the race with a fortune of their own. Is there a disconnect between talking about poverty so much and coming from a background that was relatively privileged?

Compare my background to Jerry Brown’s. My parents were immigrants. I grew up middle class, mowing lawns and bagging groceries. Jerry Brown grew up in the governor’s mansion. He’s worth way more money that I am. I said, Okay Governor, you want to talk about who’s rich? Let’s release your taxes. You want to do one year? I’ll do one. You want to do five, I’ll do five. You want to do 10, I’ll do 10. Do you know what he’s said since then? Nothing. So if I’m not allowed to talk about poverty, and he’s not talking about poverty by choice, who’s going to talk about it?

What do you think about the sort of anti-politician stance Brown’s been taking in recent months?

I think it’s the height of arrogance. He thinks he’s entitled to the governorship because his daddy was governor. It’s like a coronation. So, okay, this is a democracy. I’m gonna make him answer.

Have you interacted with Brown or met him?

No.

In other interviews, you’ve acknowledged that in some ways the state is better off since he took office. Unemployment is down, though still not ideal. Exports are up. The economy is growing. How bad are things in California now compared to when he took office?

Look at how bad things are now in an absolute sense. I went to Fresno for seven days looking for a job. I did not see a single ‘Help Wanted’ sign. But virtually all the fast food restaurants now accept food stamps. It’s in the windows. If you want to just hang out in the Bay Area, you’re right, things are great. But if we travel around the rest of the state and see where most of California lives, a lot of people are struggling.

Your stint of homelessness has gotten you a lot of national media attention. What was that like on the ground?

It was literally seven days, six nights, of walking miles and miles and miles each day, going into diners, hardware stores, auto dealerships, saying, ‘Hey, I just got into town. I’m looking for work. I’ll wash cars, wash dishes, pack boxes, anything.’ And the closest I got to a job was with one woman, who runs a Mexican restaurant, who said she was looking for a cook. And I said, ‘Great, I’ll be your cook.’ And she said I needed at least a year’s worth of cooking experience for Mexican food. I didn’t know what I’d find. I didn’t know if after two days or a day, maybe I’d get a job and then I’d spend four or five days living as a working poor. Or I didn’t know if after one or two days this might be so hard, I run out of money, I run out of food, that I have to pull the plug. But after three or four days, when I was running out of money, it was other homeless people who said, ‘Oh, you can go to this homeless shelter.’ So that’s what I ended up turning to for food.

What has Jerry Brown failed to do to address homelessness and poverty that you would do?

Here’s a Democratic governor with a Democratic super-majority in the state senate and the state assembly. And he’s making incremental changes. He’s tinkering around the edges. He should be Nixon going to China. He should be the guy saying, ‘You know what, as governor, I’m going to go fight for the civil rights of poor kids. And I don’t care if my union bosses are mad at me for it.’ That’s what a bold leader would do. Is he doing it? No. He doesn’t want to upset the apple cart. The thing that angers me the most is if anybody in California has the power to make big changes, it’s Jerry Brown. He’s not lifting a finger … In the face of record poverty, schools that are near the worst, and unemployment that’s near the worst, he does what’s politically expedient for him. That’s a hell of a record.

Now that you’re a few months out of the primary and 20 points or so behind Brown, and he has a huge war chest, what do you think your chances are of winning?

I was at 2% in March. And all the press said I was done. It was over. And we won the primary with 19% on June 4. And we’re now at 33%. So we’ve come a hell of a long way in just a few months. So Jerry doesn’t want to debate. We’re having the debate now without him. Jerry’s gonna hide under his desk. Let him keep hiding.

Have you heard back about debates?

We’ve received four or five different debate requests from media outlets around the state, and we’ve accepted all of them. And he’s hiding. Look, if my legacy were 24% poverty [a number that comes from an alternative analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data], I wouldn’t want to debate either. He thinks he can just cruise, not have to talk about poverty, not have to talk about education, not have to talk about jobs, and get away with it. Because it’s the coronation of Jerry.

In a lot of ways the bailout can be considered a success. A lot of people, of course, hated it, seeing it as the regular guys bailing out the rich guys. Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently with the bailout or that the government should have done differently?

We hated that we had to do it. We wanted to let all the banks fail. Because they deserved to fail. So for a year, they had been calling us, saying they’re in trouble. And we said, Flush the toilet. You made a lousy investment. You own it. Nobody owes you anything. But when we faced the Great Depression scenario, that’s when ultimately we said we didn’t have a choice. We’re gonna step in. There are lots of little things I wish we could do differently with the benefit of hindsight. But in the big picture, the collective actions that we took were the right things to do.

So you’ve obviously been getting creative with your tactics of late, crashing a Jerry Brown event and living on the streets of Fresno. What else do you have up your sleeve?

I can’t tell you. [Laughs.] The issues I’ve been talking about since the first day of this campaign are poverty, lack of jobs, failing schools, income inequality, canceling the high speed train because it’s a big waste of money, and investing in water instead. Those are the issues we’re going to keep talking about because those are the most important issues facing the state. We’re going to come up with every creative way we can. … And I’m going to make Jerry Brown answer for his silence.

TIME republicans

Mississippi GOP Won’t Hear Challenge to Cochran

Mississippi Senate McDaniel
Supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, Miss., who sought to unseat the incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary, wave their signs and flags during a news conference by his attorneys and advisers in Jackson, Miss., on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rogelio V. Solis—AP

The Mississippi Republican Party rejects Chris McDaniel's request to overturn his GOP runoff loss to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, adding that he should file his complaint at court

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Mississippi’s Republican Party on Wednesday refused to hear challenger Chris McDaniel’s effort to overturn his June 24 GOP runoff loss to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. The party said McDaniel would do better taking his challenge to court.

In a letter to McDaniel’s lawyer, state Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef wrote that a court is needed to “protect the rights of the voters as well as both candidates.”

Nosef wrote that under state Republican Party bylaws, seven days’ notice has to be given before the executive committee can meet. If the notice went out Wednesday, he wrote, the committee couldn’t convene until Aug. 13, only one day before the deadline for McDaniel to file his complaint with a court.

Nosef wrote that the committee would have to determine procedures, decide whether McDaniel had challenged in time, order investigations by county committees, hear “potentially dozens of witnesses,” examine evidence and vote in one day.

“Obviously it is not possible for our committee of 52 volunteers to attempt to engage in such an exercise in a prudent manner in one day,” Nosef wrote. “In fact, given the extraordinary relief requests of overturning a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes, the only way to ensure the integrity of the election process and provide a prudent review of this matter is in a court of law.”

McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville whose campaign was backed by the tea party, asked the party on Monday to declare him its nominee, saying Cochran’s 7,667-vote victory in the runoff was due to Democratic voters who illegally cast runoff ballots for the six-term incumbent.

“Chris McDaniel is very disappointed he will not have the opportunity to present his election challenge before the state Executive Committee, especially in light of the fact that we delivered a physical copy of the challenge to all fifty-two members of the committee,” McDaniel lawyer Mitch Tyner said in a statement. “The party was the perfect venue in which to hear the challenge since it was responsible for the election, but we will move forward with a judicial review as provided for under Mississippi code.”

Tyner and a spokesman for McDaniel didn’t respond to emails and telephone calls seeking further comment on McDaniel’s next move.

Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell continued to downplay McDaniel’s challenge.

“We were surprised by this decision, but whether Chris McDaniel’s ridiculous challenge is heard by the State Executive Committee or a court, we are confident it will be rejected,” Russell wrote in an email.

Nosef did not answer his cellphone or immediately respond to a text message requesting comment.

Referring the issue to court also allows members of the GOP’s executive committee, many of whom have ties to Cochran, to avoid ruling on McDaniel’s challenge. McDaniel supporters have criticized Nosef and even called for his resignation, saying he has favored Cochran despite his claim of neutrality.

McDaniel could file suit in any county where he feels illegal voting occurred. The state Supreme Court will then appoint a special judge to hear the challenge.

There’s no deadline to challenge in Mississippi, but state law urges judges to decide primary challenges before general election ballots are printed. State law says sample ballots must be given to local election officials by Sept. 10, which is 55 days before the Nov. 4 general election. That squeezes the timeline for a lawsuit and a new primary runoff. State law says a court could order a new primary even after the general election. The Nov. 4 ballot will also include Democratic former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara.

Any court challenge could lead to a lengthy trial, because McDaniel’s claims cite multiple counties. While Mississippi courts have ordered some new local elections, no court has overturned or ordered a new statewide election in at least the past six decades, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press.

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