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Rogers goes from staff to candidate to staff

Hayden Rogers, last year's Democratic candidate in the 11th Congressional District, has a job as chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Roll Call reports.

Rogers was chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler and ran for his former boss's seat after Shuler decided not to stand for reelection.

Rogers told Roll Call he was "thrilled with the opportunity" to work for Manchin.

Lameduck Shuler missing alot of House votes

Congressman Heath Shuler is one of the lame ducks who has been missing a lot of votes since the November elections, according to Politico, the online newsletter.

Shuler, a Democrat from Waynesville, who has announced he will become a lobbyist for Duke Energy, has missed half of the 16 House votes taken, according to Politico.

Rep. Mike Pence, who was elected governor of Indiana, has missed all the votes. Rep. Ed Towns of New York has missed all but one of his 16 votes. Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, who lost his Senate race has missed nine votes, as has his wife, Re. Mary Bono Mack of California, who lost her House seat.

Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who lost his Senate race, has missed 12 or 16 votes.

Shuler 'wasn't interested' in lobbying in July

The Nation has pointed out that Rep. Heath Shuler, a soon-to-be Duke Energy lobbyist, had as recently as July claimed he had no intention of entering the profession after his term expired – and that the moderate Democrat is still helping lead House negotations in deciding how to navigate the so-called fiscal cliff.

Shuler announced Monday he will assume the title of federal government affairs the day after his term ends.

But when he was pressed by The Nation's Lee Fang and blogger Zaid Jilani in Washington while walking from his car and apparently talking on the phone to his wife, the following interaction was caught on video:

Shuler to lobby for Duke Energy after term

The day after Rep. Heath Shuler's third term expires on Jan. 3, 2013, the outgoing congressman will start lobbying for Duke Energy.

The company announced Monday that Shuler will hold the title of senior vice president of federal affairs.

Candidate's poem about pot and cocaine

Cecil Bothwell, an Asheville City Council member who wants to run for Congress, performs a poem about cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol called  "The Use, the User, and the Used."

Bothwell's  congressional campaign website says he's "often described as a renaissance man," and is the author of books, songs and poems. The drug poem has a definite beat, but not a strong enough hook for a campaign theme. 

Bothwell wants the seat in the 11th Congressional District, now held by U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, who is not runing for reelection.

 

 

Hat Tip: Politico

Four N.C. Democrats targeted in GOP robo calls

The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee began sending recorded telephone messages Wednesday into the districts of four North Carolina Democratic congressmen, criticizing them for their votes on the payroll tax cut.

The robo calls went into the districts of four Democrats targeted for defeat next year, Brad Miller of Raleigh, Mike McIntyre of Lumberton, Larry Kissell of Troy, and Heath Shuler of Bryson City.

“If you're as fed up with Congress as everyone else is, wait til you hear what your Congressman Mike McIntyre did,” said one recording. “Not only did McIntyrle vote last week to pave the way for a tax increase for you and every other American middle class family, but he is now stubbornly standing by his position that could raise your taxes by over thousand dollars starting January 1.”

Andrew Whalen, spokesman for the Blue Dog Democrat PAC, noted that the four Democrats are being attacked for voting the same way as the Senate Republicans.

“The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin bombarding homes with robo-calls, just days before Christmas and on the second day of Hanukkah, peddling their dishonest spin about why millions of America's working families are facing a tax increase beginning January 1st,”  Whalen wrote in a memo reporters.

“Blue Dogs stand with the overwhelming bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate ready to protect working families from a tax increase. House Republicans, their Tea Party freshmen, and commitment to ideology rather than American families are to blame for this looming tax increase.”

Whalen said the calls are also going into districts of Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Jim Costa of California and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday began running robo calls in the district of Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn.

Blue Dog Democrats targeted by robo calls

The Blue Dog Democrats, including North Carolina's Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre, say they are about to be hit by recorded messages criticizing them for their recent tax votes.

“The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin bombarding homes with robo-calls, just days before Christmas and on the second day of Hanukkah, peddling their dishonest spin about why millions of America's working families are facing a tax increase beginning January 1st,” said  a memo distributed to reporters by Andrew Whalen of the Blue Dog PAC.

Whalen writes that “Blue Dogs stand with the overwhelming bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate ready to protect working families from a tax increase. House Republicans, their Tea Party freshmen, and commitment to ideology rather than American families are to blame for this looming tax increase.”

Whalen said the calls are also going into districts of Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Jim Costa of California and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Shuler and McIntyre are high on the Republican list for defeat in the 2012.

Supercommittee failure sparks a predictable blame game in Washington

As the bipartisan supercommittee declared its impasse, the blame game in Washington began. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee blamed Democrats for the failure and press releases that smeared any congressman with a "D" behind their name, including U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a moderate North Carolina lawmaker.

N.C. Congressman Patrick McHenry, a Republican, similiarly pointed the finger at the Democratic White House. "The lack of leadership from the president to push for a reasonable agreement is very disappointing," he said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC, took the high road, blaming both parties for not working together.  "We should be ashamed. This was a critical moment for our country’s future -- instead it has become a huge lost opportunity," she said in a statement.

N.C. congressmen take prominent role in deficit deal

In today's Charlotte Observer, Jim Morrill takes a look at two N.C. congressmen and their different approaches to the deficit impasse:

"When hope still ran strong for a colossal deficit deal, two N.C. congressmen from neighboring districts emerged as leaders of efforts that squeezed negotiators - from opposite sides.

Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of Haywood County helped pull together a bipartisan group of 102 House members asking the supercommittee to keep all options on the table, including new revenue.

And Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville led 72 House Republicans in urging the panel not to raise taxes.

The issue thrust North Carolina's youngest House members into the spotlight, though they've approached it different ways."

Read the full story here.

Blue Dog Democrats are a fading breed

WASHINGTON -- Republicans have listed North Carolina's Blue Dog Democrats as an endangered species, but U.S. Reps. Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre say they have some bite left in them.

Under the GOP redistricting plan approved earlier this month by the U.S. Justice Department, the two moderate Democrats are on the shortlists of most vulnerable members of Congress in the 2012 elections. The Republicans, who refer to the pair as "Obama's lapdogs," are investing heavily in the races and see North Carolina as ground zero in their efforts to increase their House majority.

Rep. Larry Kissell, who represents Charlotte and Concord, is not an official Blue Dog, but is often associated with the group and votes along the same lines on fiscal issues.

A loss by any of the three would be further deterioration of the conservative Southern wing of the national Democratic Party, as the moderates in each party are being driven toward extinction. The once powerful coalition is down to 26 members and stands to be cut in half again in 2012. So far, four members have announced they will not run for office again. Read Franco Ordonez's full analysis.

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