Off to the races: 'Bachmannistan'

Tweet of the day, from Iowa GOP chairman AJ Spiker: “My daughter is 10 and America has been at war since before she was born, now drums beating for more war n Syria. I am praying for Peace!” (H/T: NBC’s Mike O’Brien, aka, @mpoindc.

Spiker was state vice chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. His tweet reflects the divide within the GOP over national security, a key leg of the three-legged Republican stool, as libertarians have gotten a bigger voice within the party. But it wasn’t just libertarians in the 2012 election, who seemed, shall we say, a bit dovish. Haley Barbour, who never mounted a campaign but thought about it, came out against continued action in Afghanistan as did Jon Huntsman, who did run. Because the war was unpopular in polling, even with Republicans, it never became a major issue in the primary.

NBC’s Jamie Novogrod: Prime fairground plots at the 2011 Ames Straw Poll were auctioned to presidential campaigns by Iowa’s own Republican Party, and at costs upward of $30,000, according to a new e-book detailing Michele Bachmann's failed 2012 presidential run. Its authors -- two insiders of Bachmann world -- appear as skeptical of Iowa's caucus system as they were disillusioned by their candidate, who won the August straw poll only to finish last among competitors in the caucuses less than six months later. An auction for lots on the fairgrounds, they say, occurred about seven weeks earlier at state party headquarters – inside a Des Moines building that had once been a funeral home. 

“The auction meeting took place in what used to be the main viewing room of the former funeral parlor. The party offices themselves were downstairs in what used to be embalming rooms," they write. "It’s a wonder republicans win anything anywhere.”

The e-book, “Bachmannistan: Behind the Lines,” was published on Amazon Monday night -- co-authored by John Gilmore and Peter Waldron. Gilmore is a Minnesota lawyer who represents Andy Parrish, a former Bachmann congressional chief of staff and senior campaign official. Waldron ran evangelical outreach for Bachmann’s presidential effort but later became a vocal critic of the campaign. Gilmore told NBC News Monday an “auction ethos” had infected the caucuses.

"If we have something like the straw poll where everything is for sale, it shouldn’t be surprising that sitting senators themselves are on the auction block," Gilmore told NBC News in a telephone interview. Gilmore added, “Some would say we’re held hostage to these corn and pig farmers in Iowa, God bless them. I’m not really sure why that has to continue to be the case given the hash that they’ve made of it.”

ARIZONA: National Review: "Senate Conservatives Fund released a radio ad yesterday blasting GOP Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona for not announcing support for the strategy of defunding Obamacare in the upcoming continuing resolution for the 2014 fiscal year....Flake was endorsed by the Fund in his 2012 senate bid." Flake shrugged off the ad in a tweet: "Oh, whatever." Remember, Flake isn’t up for re-election until 2018…

CALIFORNIA: The San Diego Union Tribune has more on the likely timeline for a special election to replace Bob Filner, which "would be held Nov. 19 under a proposal the City Council will consider at a Wednesday hearing. The election must be held within 90 days of Filner's resignation, which is scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. Friday....The council will vote on the special election date at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Several candidates are expected to run although the only high-profile contender to make it official so far is former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who finished third in last year's mayoral primary. If no one wins a majority of the vote, a runoff election would be held between the top two candidates within 49 days, according to the city charter."

KENTUCKY:  Louisville Courier Journal: "Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky still isn’t disclosing his political plans for 2016 — a run for the White House or a bid for a second term in the Senate? But one thing is clear: His fundraising campaign operation is on overdrive. The freshman Republican senator’s two main committees — Rand Paul for U.S. Senate 2016, and Reinventing a New Direction political action committee (RAND PAC) — raised $1.9 million during the first six months of this year, Federal Election Commission records show."

NEW JERSEY: The Washington Post takes a look at what a Sen. Cory Booker would look like. "Booker is no stranger to Washington. His parents met here. He was born here. He spent his Christmas breaks from Oxford here. Now a political sensation and media darling with nearly 1.5 million Twitter followers, the 44-year-old seems to have been engineered in a political lab to walk the halls of Congress....He is prepping for the eventual move to the capital with a nightly audio book appointment with 'This Town,' the bestseller by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich that paints an unflattering portrait of official Washington."

NEW YORK: New York Times: "William C. Thompson Jr. is the sole African-American among the leading candidates for mayor of New York City, and he has long counted on the support of black voters to propel him to victory in a crowded Democratic field. But two weeks from the hotly contested primary election, Mr. Thompson’s campaign is confronting an unexpected challenge: Bill de Blasio, a white candidate, has threatened Mr. Thompson’s support among blacks with his fierce denunciation of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics.”

SOUTH CAROLINA: The State: "In front of a tennis court-sized U.S. flag with Tom Petty’s 'American Girl' blaring on speakers, Gov. Nikki Haley strode onto the stage Monday outside the Bi-Lo Center to announce her 2014 re-election bid. Accompanied by three other Republican governors and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston, Haley touted her record of job creation, union fighting, moving welfare recipients to jobs and passing lawsuit reform before hundreds of supporters and a few dozen protesters." Haley: "If you think what we did in the first 2 1/2 years was great, wait until you see what we do next." 

Greenville News: "They came to offer support to Nikki Haley in her bid for a second term as governor of South Carolina -- but unless she’s running against Barack Obama, Govs. Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Rick Perry sounded like they may have had a larger goal in mind as well on Monday. The three 'conservative rock stars as they were introduced by state Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore....drew as much applause as Haley did as she made her announcement that she plans to run for re-election."

VIRGINIA: Richmond Times Dispatch: "Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has picked up the endorsement of the political arm of the Virginia Association of Realtors, a trade association representing roughly 29,000 Realtors. The group is backing a Democrat for governor after throwing its support behind Republican nominees in the past two governor’s races."

Washington Post: "Supporters of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell launched a Web site with a testimonial from Virginia’s longest-serving legislator on Monday in a bid to raise money for the governor’s mounting legal bills. Retiring Del. Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford) e-mailed a letter that was tantamount to a political fundraising pitch on behalf of the term-limited Republican’s legal defense fund. The e-mail directed recipients to a newly created Web site for the 'Restoration Fund.'"