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Off to the races: Abortion protests in N.C., Texas

Charlie Cook says 2016 conversations at this point aren’t much more than cocktail-party fodder, but that it’s all about what Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden decide to do. “Far more immediately important (and less hypothetical) is what will happen in next year’s midterm elections.

Charlie Cook says 2016 conversations at this point aren’t much more than cocktail-party fodder, but that it’s all about what Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden decide to do. “Far more immediately important (and less hypothetical) is what will happen in next year’s midterm elections. Even though those elections are just over 16 months away, we still don’t know whether Republicans will be playing defense as they were last year, when they had profound problems with minority, young, women, and self-described moderate voters. And, conversely, we don’t know if Democrats, as the party in the White House, will be on defense, as is usually the case during second terms and in so-called six-year-itch elections, halfway through a party’s second term in office. The potential for the Affordable Care Act to become radioactive again, as it was in 2009 and 2010, makes this scenario sound less theoretical and more plausible.”

The SEIU will air Spanish-language pro-immigration reform radio ads. It will target 10 House Republicans with a total buy of $200,000 -- Representatives Jeff Denham (CA-10), David Valadao (CA-21), Gary Miller (CA-31), Howard McKeon (CA-25), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Daniel Webster (FL-10), Joe Heck (NV-03), Mark Amodei (NV-02) and Randy Weber (TX-14).

The Democratic Super PAC American Bridge has launched, a rapid-response website defending Democrats ahead of the 2016 election. From the group’s forthcoming press release: “Democratic leaders like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and others are already being subjected to coordinated attacks from Republican figures and organizations. In May, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads released an attack ad against Secretary Clinton, politicizing the tragedy in Benghazi. In June, another Republican Super PAC, America Rising, launched a ‘Stop Hillary 2016’ campaign. And House Republican leaders are using taxpayer dollars to fund partisan witch hunts with a clear eye towards 2016. Correct the Record will employ a dedicated war room staff charged with providing rapid response to false attacks from Republicans, utilizing traditional and new media tactics to promote the truth, and disseminating its fact-based content to the media, allied progressive organizations, and directly to voters.”

What gains you access to politicians and power? Money and… cybersquatting?

IOWA:The Des Moines Register: Gov. Terry Branstad’s campaign committee on Monday announced it has hired four campaign staffers to strategize for his re-election in 2014.

NEW JERSEY: Cory Booker continues to be the overwhelming favorite in the special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. In a new Quinnipiac poll, he gets 52% in the Democratic primary, while Rep. Frank Pallone gets just 10% and Rush Holt grabs 8%. Booker also leads Republican frontrunner Steve Lonegan 53%-30%.

NORTH CAROLINA: “The North Carolina Senate gave its final approval Wednesday to legislation adding new restrictions for abortions in North Carolina, even as hundreds of angry protesters descended on the legislature to express their displeasure,” the AP writes. “The Senate voted 29-12 for the measure that would direct state health regulators to change abortion clinic rules so they're similar to those for ambulatory surgery centers. More than 500 opponents of the legislation - mostly women and many wearing pink - organized quickly to gather at the Legislative Building after Senate GOP leaders late Tuesday added several abortion-related provisions to an unrelated bill and won quick approval in a committee and in an initial Senate vote.”

Reuters from Raleigh: “North Carolina's ‘Moral Monday’ protesters, now in their tenth week, objected to a bill that could limit abortion access -- the latest move to counter a conservative shift by the state's first Republican-led government in more than a century. The rally at the state capitol in Raleigh on Monday night was one of the largest since the protests began this spring, drawing about 2,000 people, including 64 protesters who refused to leave the legislative chambers and were arrested.”

The Raleigh News & Observer: “Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday voiced reservations about the abortion bill before the legislature – just days after his administration shuttered its second abortion clinic in a three-month period for safety reasons. At a news conference to talk about his first six months in office, McCrory said the abortion question was far more complicated than partisans on either side have portrayed it, and that the bill that passed the Senate last week would require more study.”

Said McCrory: “There is a fine line between safety measures and restrictions. But those two lines should not be confused. I am very concerned about the responsibility to ensure that the health of women is protected.” The R&O observes: “But McCrory left in doubt whether he would support the bill, perhaps leaving himself room for negotiations.”

PENNSYLVANIA: MSNBC’s Michael LaRosa takes a deep dive into next year’s gubernatorial contest, noting that incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett is perhaps the nation’s most endangered sitting governor. And he looks at the crowded Democratic field -- led by Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord.

TEXAS: The Dallas Morning-News: “Let the Texas-size political shake-up begin. With Rick Perry stepping aside after more than a decade as governor, a host of statewide candidates can finally try to move up. And the governor freed himself to focus on another possible run for president.”

Tom DeFrank: “Rick Perry is stepping down as the longest-serving governor in Texas history to clear the decks for a 2016 presidential campaign, according to several well-placed Republican sources. They said Perry is stepping down to make sure his declining popularity among Texas Republicans won't complicate his Oval Office ambitions. Several Texas Republican sources told National Journal that despite Perry's insistence Monday that he hasn't decided on another presidential race, the governor has been passing the word for months he'll definitely run again in 2016.”

Mark Z. Barabak: “Although leaving office in January 2015 could diminish his fundraising capacity, it would also allow Perry more preparation time than he took in the lead-up to his gaffe-filled 2012 campaign, the only election loss of his more than three-decade-long political career.”

Rand Paul delivered a little chin music to Perry if he decides to run in 2016. “If Governor Perry decides to run for president, I think there would be three good reasons why he could be president: Texas is a big successful state, he’s a long term governor and… I can’t remember the other one,” he said on FOX.

The Houston Chronicle: “About 2,000 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to speak out for and against abortion rights before lawmakers return to a special session Tuesday to work on measures to restrict the procedure.”