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June 13, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

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Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a former Republican congressman briefly joins the Libertarian Party and runs for vice president; the Democratic Party names its National Convention Platform Drafting Committee amid controversy; and Wikinews interviews a candidate who had a surprisingly strong performance in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

Summary

On the campaign trail in early May, the Republican Party primary race grew more contentious as it reached its final stages. On the same day as the May 3 Indiana primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who held a sizable delegate lead over his two remaining primary challengers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, cited the National Enquirer to accuse Cruz’s father of involvement in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz, whom Trump branded as “Lyin’ Ted,” attacked Trump as a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” Trump won Indiana by a large margin, prompting the second place Cruz to end his campaign. Thereafter, both the media and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus christened Trump as the presumptive nominee, even though he had yet to secure the requisite number of National Convention delegates. The next day, Kasich finally suspended his candidacy. As Trump pivoted into general election mode, he faced a vocal Stop Trump movement within the party and a significant polling deficit against the Democrats. A national CNN/ORC poll showed Trump trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by double digits. Nevertheless, unlike the GOP, the outcome of the Democratic primary race remained undecided. Although Clinton maintained a significant delegate lead, a CNN poll showed her ahead of sole rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, by only eight points. In fact, Sanders won the Indiana Democratic primary, making nine victories out of the latest fourteen contests to that point.

Donald Trump with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo.
Image: Donald J. Trump on Twitter.

Commencing his general election campaign, Trump announced he would participate in fundraising after self-funding his primary campaign. He named former presidential rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head a group to search for a running mate. And, in a show of pro-Hispanic sentiment, he tweeted a photo of himself with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. Still, the Republican Party remained divided. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he would not commit to endorsing Trump. He called for Trump “to set aside bullying, […] belittlement, and appeal to higher aspirations.” Ryan’s comments drew criticism from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among others. However, former candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, all said they could not support Trump’s candidacy. 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol both called for an independent presidential candidate to run as an alternative to Trump. Ryan called this “a disaster,” and sought unity by inviting Trump to a Republican congressional leadership meeting and offering to step down as chair of the GOP National Convention if Trump so desired. Despite the internal strife, Trump continued his focus on the general election, branding Clinton as “crooked Hillary,” and attacking her for “want[ing] to abolish the Second Amendment.” He also pivoted on policies, advocating for a rise in the federal minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy. The campaign announced that five or six names were on the vice presidential shortlist including former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Quinnipiac polls showed Trump leading or close behind Clinton in head-to-head match ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Clinton won the caucus in Guam and the campaign shifted to West Virginia and Nebraska. On the eve of the May 10 primaries, Cruz, still on the ballot in Nebraska, announced he might restart his campaign if he won the state. Instead, Trump won Nebraska by a wide margin and won West Virginia by an even wider margin. On the Democratic side, Sanders won West Virginia as voters turned on Clinton after she expressed unencouraging views about the coal industry. ABC News exit polling there revealed nearly half of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump if Clinton won the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden, who had been expected to mount a 2016 campaign until he ruled it out in late 2015, admitted in an interview with ABC that he had planned to run for president in 2016 but the plans derailed upon the death of his son Beau. He revealed Senator Elizabeth Warren as his preferred running mate and endorsed her for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada cautioned Democrats against nominating a sitting Senator like Warren to avoid decreasing the number of Democrats in the Senate. Trump launched an assault on Warren, referring to her as “goofy” and Pocahontas for a previous claim of Amerindian ancestry. On May 12, Trump had his much anticipated meeting with Ryan. Afterwards, the two issued a joint statement calling the meeting “a very positive step toward unification.” Ryan still withheld his endorsement though Trump asked Ryan to remain as chair of the National Convention. Polls from mid-May showed Trump edging closer to Clinton in national head-to-head match ups, as Trump faced a barrage of controversies. Both Clinton and Romney called on Trump to release his tax records. He said he might release them, but maintained it was “none of [the public’s] business.” Media reports also scrutinized Trump for allegedly acting as his own publicist in the early 1990’s. He denied the allegations outright. Next, The New York Times published an exposé about Trump’s treatment of women throughout the years. The validity of the story came into question when the lead interviewee claimed The Times had taken her account out of context. On May 17, Trump easily won the Oregon primary. The next day, for the first time in months, a Fox News poll showed him with a national lead over Clinton. That same day, he released a list of eleven judges whom he would consider nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court. He later received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. In the Democratic race, Sanders won the Oregon primary and narrowly lost to Clinton in Kentucky. He was also able to add five of his supporters to the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, ensuring greater influence over the party platform. Clinton rejected a debate with him and announced there would be no further primary debates. Trump offered to debate Sanders, which Sanders accepted, though Trump later backed out. Clinton went on the offensive against Trump for his past business bankruptcies, saying he “could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies.” She won the Washington primary on May 24. However, the next day, an Inspector General report said she did not comply with State Department policy when she sent official e-mails on a private server while Secretary of State.

Following a victory in the Washington Republican primary, Trump traveled to New Mexico, where the sitting Republican governor Susana Martinez snubbed his event. Trump attacked Martinez during the rally, later asking, “If I have a Republican that’s not on my side, why should I be particularly nice to that person?” Shortly thereafter, during a speech in California, he renewed attacks against Romney, Cruz, Kristol, and Jeb Bush. Former rival Marco Rubio announced he would release the delegates he won during the primary to support Trump and said he would be willing to go on the campaign trail for Trump, if asked. Rubio also apologized to Trump for derogatory comments he made earlier in the campaign. Trump mathematically secured the Republican nomination, when an uncommitted slate of delegates in North Dakota committed to supporting him. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party commenced its National Convention and nominated for president, on the second ballot, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Also on the second ballot, for vice president, the party nominated Johnson’s pre-selected running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who had just left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian. Trump called Johnson a “fringe candidate.” Johnson was not the last such candidate introduced in late May. Seemingly ending his search for an alternative to Trump, Kristol tweeted that he had found an “impressive” independent candidate. Bloomberg reported the candidate was little-known writer David A. French of the National Review. On the final day of May, Trump held a press conference in which he revealed the veterans charities he donated to after raising $5.6 million during a fundraiser he held in January in lieu of attending a debate. Trump excoriated the national press for its coverage of his campaign and referred to one reporter as “sleaze.” With the June 7 California primary ahead, Clinton received the endorsement of California Governor Jerry Brown. The latest polls showed her with a two point advantage over Sanders in the state. In the Real Clear Politics average, she led Trump in the general election nationally by 1.5%.

Ex GOP congressman joins LP, seeks VP, then leaves

As soon as Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Libertarian Party (LP) membership applications doubled. Longtime Republican consultant Mary Matalin, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, and former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, were among those who left the GOP in May to find a new home in the LP. While Matalin enthusiastically backed Libertarian presidential runner-up Austin Petersen, and Weld won the party’s vice presidential nomination; Bentivolio, who had endorsed Dr. Ben Carson for president before joining the party, had a much different experience.

Congressman Bentivolio
Image: United States Congress.

“It was suggested by a few supporters I run [for vice president] as a libertarian,” says Bentivolio, a teacher and veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, who earned the moniker “the accidental Congressman” after his surprising 2012 election, “I briefly entertained the idea of running and spent time investigating the party.”

Bentivolio, 64, unexpectedly won the Republican nomination to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District in 2012, after the sitting Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter, a 2012 presidential candidate, was unable to run for re-election after his petitions to qualify for the primary ballot were deemed fraudulent. Upon his victory in the general election, Bentivolio went to Washington, joining the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He took an active role in introducing and sponsoring successful legislation, becoming, according to an historian of the House, one of the most effective freshmen Congressmen of recent times. GovTrack listed him as the most transparent Republican freshman in the 113th United States Congress. Nevertheless, during his single term, he frequently bucked the party leadership, voting against a resolution to the 2013 government shutdown, calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama, and agreeing to seek congressional hearings over chemtrails. In 2014, Bentivolio lost his seat to attorney Dave Trott, a primary opponent with a fundraising edge and the backing of the Republican establishment. After leaving Congress, Bentivolio suffered financial difficulties and had to file for bankruptcy in 2015, partly the result of his expensive primary campaign against Trott.

When Bentivolio joined the LP in May, he filed a Form 2 with the Federal Election Commission to run for vice president. Libertarian national chairman Nicholas Sarwark encouraged Bentivolio to run for his old congressional seat in addition to vice president. This was not well received by the local Libertarian Party, which feared such a run would violate Michigan’s sore-loser law; the same law that prevented Gary Johnson from appearing on the ballot in 2012. As a consequence, the local party nominated another candidate to run for the seat.

“The district delegates [five in total] voted for another as the House candidate”, recounts Bentivolio, “[the candidate’s] wife was the deciding vote.”

Afterwards, Bentivolio expressed doubt about the party platform, saying it amounted to “judicial supremacy,” which he rejects, referencing the 1857 Dred Scott case, which affirmed the rights of slaveholders. He added, “I am 100% pro-life and an abolitionist and many in the Libertarian Party are pro-choice and support slavery in their immigration policy.” He cited these as his reasons for ending his vice presidential campaign.

After Gary Johnson and William Weld won the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, Bentivolio offered his perspective on Johnson and Weld. Though he considered Johnson, “a nice guy and honest,” he felt Johnson “thinks government has all the answers.” In contrast, Bentivolio said he personally believes “government is the problem” and only supports “a government within the strict limitations clearly expressed in the Constitution.” He described Weld, a Council on Foreign Relations member who proposed strict gun control measures as governor, as someone who “supports big government.”

Bentivolio has left the LP and now is an independent. He remains undecided on whether to support Donald Trump for president. To help him decide, he is currently researching claims of a woman named “Katie Johnson” who filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of rape. Trump’s attorneys dismiss the suit as a hoax.

DNC aims for unity with Platform Drafting Committee picks; controversy ensues

Every four years, the Democratic Party holds its National Convention, nominating a presidential ticket and conducting official business. One important item is the drafting of a party platform to express the party’s principles and vision for the future. A special committee is formed to draft the document. In May, fifteen individuals were named to the committee. Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz selected four of the members while the two presidential candidates picked the remaining eleven in proportion to the votes each candidate received in the primaries. Hillary Clinton, the party’s presidential front-runner, selected six. Bernie Sanders chose five, though the DNC rejected one of his original picks, a union leader, leading to charges of anti-union bias in the DNC. Still, upon the release of the names, The Nation magazine argued Sanders’ input provided the committee with a “progressive majority.” Wikinews was able to reach out to one of Sanders’ picks to see what he planned for the platform.

McKibben in 2008.
Image: Hotshot977.

For the committee, Wasserman Schultz tapped Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is to serve as the head; Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only returning member from 2012; former Congressman Howard Berman; and Bonnie Schaefer, former Chief Executive Officer of Claire’s. Clinton selected Ambassador Wendy Sherman; Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress; Ohio Representative Alicia Reece; Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Congressman Luis Gutiérrez; and union leader Paul Booth. Sanders picked Dr. Cornel West; Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress; James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute; Deborah Parker, a Native American activist; and Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist.

Sanders speaks at a May 18 rally in Vallejo, California.
Image: Shelly Prevost.

McKibben, a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College who co-founded the climate change awareness organization 350.org, tells Wikinews that his Vermont roots may explain why Sanders selected him for the committee. However, McKibben has worked with Sanders previously on climate and energy issues, and The Boston Globe has described him as “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

“I’d like to see [the platform] reflect the fact that since the last election the planet’s climate has deteriorated dramatically, with record temperatures, melting ice, and dying coral”, says McKibben, “So that means we need to move more aggressively, both to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and to boost renewable energy.”

McKibben is not the only member who prioritizes environmental issues. Browner, who headed the EPA during the entire presidency of Bill Clinton, has worked under President Obama as the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. While the environment is given a strong emphasis, Sanders has raised the point that labor representation on the committee is lacking.

In 2012, union leaders Donna Harris-Aikens of the National Education Association and Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO were on the committee. This year, the only union leader is Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Sanders attempted to include National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, but Wasserman Schultz vetoed the pick. Sanders, in a press conference, accused the DNC of “not want[ing] representatives of labor unions on the platform drafting committee.” The DNC rejected the charge.

“We worked carefully with both campaigns to ensure overall balance and representation,” says DNC spokeswoman April Mellody, “[we] have 100% confidence that the views of our allies in the Labor community will be well represented in our Party’s platform as they have always been.”

Amid the division, McKibben expresses hope that though the platform is often “forgotten not long after it’s written,” perhaps the 2016 platform “will play a role in uniting the party.”

The committee is set to convene at the 2016 Democratic National Convention July 25–28 in Philadelphia.

DNC Platform Drafting Committee


Interview with overachieving West Virginia Democratic protest candidate

In the May 10 West Virginia Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton 51.4 percent to 35.8 percent. Of the remaining 13 percent, nearly nine went to little-known protest candidate Paul T. Farrell Jr., a Huntington, West Virginia attorney who entered the race to challenge President Obama’s energy policies. Wikinews reached out to Farrell to ask a few questions about the campaign.

Results by county for Paul T. Farrell Jr.

██  5%

██ 5–10%

██ 10–15%

██ 15–20%

██  20%

Image: MB298.

During the campaign, Farrell did not hold any fundraisers and his only spending was the $2,500 filing fee to appear on the ballot. He believes Obama’s policies, which Clinton supports, have hurt the coal industry, a major sector of West Virginia’s economy. Many West Virginians, even Democrats, share this view. While mining still makes up 17 percent of West Virginia’s gross domestic product (compared to 3 percent nationally), since 2009, coal production has declined around 45 percent in the south part of the state. 332 mines have closed and almost 10,000 jobs or 35 percent of those in the industry, have been lost. West Virginia’s unemployment is the worst in the nation. According to ABC News exit polls from the primary, only 26 percent of West Virginia Democrats want to continue Obama’s policies.

Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 577,000 to 378,000 in West Virginia, Republican presidential candidates have won the state in every election since 2000. ABC exit polls indicate a third of Democrats plan to vote in November for Trump, who has campaigned in favor of the coal industry. Trump is popular in West Virginia, having won 77 percent in the state’s GOP primary. He holds a 27 point lead over Clinton in the latest Public Policy Polling head-to-head match up.

West Virginia Democrats have a history of going against the national party establishment. Notably, prison inmate Keith Russell Judd won 41 percent in the 2012 primary against Obama, who was seeking re-election. Judd was on the ballot again in 2016, but received only 1.8 percent of the vote. Judd’s 2012 performance was one of the reasons Farrell cited for entered the race. In addition, he told the Charleston Gazette–Mail back in January that the candidates running did not share “West Virginia values.” He had hoped to secure some national convention delegates but just fell short. He was able to come in second place in the coal-rich Mingo County, where he outpaced Clinton 23.7 percent to 21.4 percent.

With Wikinews, Farrell discusses, his specific problem with Obama’s energy policy, what he is looking for in a presidential candidate, and his views on Trump.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How were you able to get over 8% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic Primary?

Farrell: The 2016 Democratic nominees for President of the United States support President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan executive order which we disparagingly refer to as the “war on coal.” West Virginia voters take exception to abruptly bankrupting our economy without a comprehensive plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost all 55 counties in West Virginia. Voters did not cast a ballot for me; they cast a ballot for the candidate with “WV” listed after his name in protest to Mrs. Clinton’s energy policy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan on supporting the Democratic presidential nominee come November?

Farrell: No. I will support the candidate that adopts a platform that rebuilds our economy which President Obama dismantled and pledges to pass legislation during his/her first “100 days.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?

Farrell: Mrs. Clinton made the campaign promise to put “coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Mr. Trump says he will fight for West Virginia. Even if Mr. Trump is full of shit, I choose to fight rather than surrender. Most of the southern coal fields of West Virginia stand with me.



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June 4, 2012

U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter aborts write-in campaign

U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter aborts write-in campaign

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Monday, June 4, 2012

U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, Michigan decided Saturday not to wage a write-in campaign to seek the Republican Party nomination for his seat, despite a contrary announcement last week. McCotter admitted that he could not oversee such a campaign while simultaneously serving in Congress and assisting with a state investigation into his failed ballot petition.

Official congressional photo of Thaddeus McCotter.
Image: United States Congress.

McCotter, who has represented Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, made history when he became the first sitting congressman in modern times to be denied a spot on his party’s district primary ballot. This occurred after his campaign submitted a petition that fell short of the required 1,000 valid signatures.

Though the submission listed 2,000 signatures, the Michigan Secretary of State deemed only 244 to be valid. The Detroit Newss review of the submission noted duplicate signatures, evidence of photocopying, and signatures seemingly cut and pasted from previous sources. McCotter speculated, “somebody either panicked or it was sabotage…My gut tells me that we got lied to by someone we trusted.”

Afterwards, McCotter wrote an op-ed for The Detroit News announcing the formation of a write-in campaign and taking responsibility for the failed petition, arguing “you clean up your own mess.” Now, citing other responsibilities, he countered his previous point in that “one can’t clean up a mess multitasking.” He now wishes to identify “the person or persons who concocted the fraudulent petitions that have cost me so dearly.” The decision effectively ends his career in Congress for now.

The development comes as former State Senator Loren Bennett announced Friday that he would mount a write-in campaign for the seat’s Republican nomination. He challenges teacher Kerry Bentivolio, who will be the only candidate listed on the August 7 primary ballot. Others are expected to announce write-in campaigns before the filing deadline on July 27.

Though the district is considered safe for Republicans, the turn of events may work to the benefit of Democrats. Canton Township trustee Syed Taj and LaRouche movement activist William Roberts are the only candidates listed for the district’s Democratic primary.

McCotter, who briefly sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, won re-election in 2010, 58 percent to 39 percent over his Democratic challenger.



Related news

  • “U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter denied ballot in re-election primary race; announces write-in campaign” — Wikinews, May 30, 2012

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September 23, 2011

Congressman Thad McCotter ends bid for U.S. president

Congressman Thad McCotter ends bid for U.S. president

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Friday, September 23, 2011

McCotter plays guitar at his presidential announcement in July.
Image: Emily Bell.

McCotter speaking at the Ames Straw Poll in August.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan notified the The Detroit News yesterday that he would end his long-shot campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He threw his support behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

McCotter, who has represented Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, had announced his candidacy in early July. He reportedly paid $18,000 for campaign space at the Ames Straw Poll in August, but garnered only 35 votes and finished in last place at the event.

His campaign was unable to gain traction among the GOP base. He was excluded from all GOP presidential debates, a fact he emphasized when arguing that his campaign’s fate “was sort of death by media.” Elaborating this point, he remarked “if they keep you out of the debates, you are out of the conversation and you can’t run.”

McCotter decided to back Romney for president, believing he is the “most electable” GOP candidate because of his business background. Though he feels the current frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry, “may be a vice presidential nominee”, he thinks the nation is not ready for another Texas governor to be president in the aftermath of the George W. Bush presidency.

Bill Ballenger of Inside Michigan Politics applauded McCotter’s decision, remarking “He really had no business running for president. If he wants to have any political future, endorsing Mitt Romney now is the smart thing to do.”

His neighbor, former Michigan attorney general Mike Cox, commented “He tried it out, obviously it wasn’t working. And he’s doing the rational thing and dropping out.”

McCotter now plans to refocus his efforts on his re-election campaign for Congress. He is expected to face a primary challenge from State Senator Mike Kowall.



Related news

  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011
  • “Congressman Thad McCotter to run for U.S. President” — Wikinews, July 2, 2011

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August 15, 2011

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Presidential candidates at the Ames Straw Poll. From left: Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota narrowly defeated fellow Representative Ron Paul of Texas to win the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll on Saturday. The poll, held every four years in Ames, Iowa is used as a gauge of Republican candidate viability several months ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses. This year, nine candidates were listed on the ballot.

Bachmann, the first woman to ever win the poll, waged a high visibility campaign that benefited from persistent media coverage to win 4,823 of the 16,892 votes cast. Following the victory, she remarked to her supporters that “You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.”

Paul, who tripled his support from the 2007 poll with 4,671 votes, took advantage of an enthusiastic grassroots following. His campaign manager commented that the result proves he “is moving into the first tier” of candidates.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, whose traditional ground-campaign approach did not work as effectively as expected, came in a disappointing third place with 2,293 votes. Politico felt the showing “may spell the end of his campaign”, but Pawlenty argued that the campaign is “just beginning.” He later withdrew from the race.

The fourth place finish of former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was seen as a “moral victory” for the candidate since he did not receive as much media coverage as the others, and did not spend as much cash. He vowed to remain in the race, stating “We have a caucus strategy, not a straw poll strategy…I don’t think there is any question that what we did here today shows that we are building a base of support in Iowa.”

Surprisingly, Texas governor Rick Perry, who entered the race on the same day as the poll, was not on the ballot but was still able to garner 718 write-in votes. That put him ahead of the Republican frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who was on the ballot but did not actively pursue the victory. He won the 2007 poll, but came in second to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses.

Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, who paid $18,000 for campaign space, came in last place with 35 votes.

Results table

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann with her husband

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

Thaddeus McCotter

Candidate Votes Percentage
Michele Bachmann 4,823 28.55%
Ron Paul 4,671 27.65%
Tim Pawlenty 2,293 13.57%
Rick Santorum 1,657 9.81%
Herman Cain 1,456 8.62%
Rick Perry (write-in) 718 3.62%
Mitt Romney 567 3.36%
Newt Gingrich 385 2.28%
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 69 0.41%
Thaddeus McCotter 35 0.21%



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August 9, 2011

U.S. Presidential candidate Fred Karger denied place at Fox News debate

U.S. Presidential candidate Fred Karger denied place at Fox News debate

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fred Karger in 2010.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, was denied a place at Thursday’s Fox News-sponsored Republican Party debate in Iowa. Karger insists that he meets the requirement of polling an average of one percent in at least five recent national polls, but Fox News refutes his claim.

Karger, who previously served as an adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, announced his candidacy earlier this year. He brands himself as “a different kind of Republican” that wants to open the party to outsiders like himself. However, his polling numbers have remained low.

For inclusion in the debate, Karger cites an August 4 Harris poll that shows him with two percent support, an April 28 Fox News poll and Zogby polls from May 23 and July 25 that show one percent support, combined with a June 29 McClathy-Marist poll that includes Karger with less than one percent support for an overall average of one percent in five polls. Fox News’ vice president of news Michael Clemente disputes this finding and remarked to the Des Moines Register that the April 28 poll cited was no longer considered recent and that the polls used were not sufficient to fulfill the requirements.

In response, Karger tweeted “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more…We will not be treated differently any more.” He claims that Fox News did not specify which polls could not be included in the criteria. He opened a website titled “Let Fred In!” and supporters have started a petition to Fox News. The filing deadline for the debate is scheduled to end today at 4 p.m. CDT. If Karger is not included, he plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

The debate, which will be held two days before the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll, is expected to include Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich. Like Karger, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter was not invited to the debate, despite securing a spot on the straw poll ballot.



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July 2, 2011

Congressman Thad McCotter to run for U.S. President

Congressman Thad McCotter to run for U.S. President

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
Image: United States Congress.

Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan confirmed Friday, after weeks of hinting, that he will run for President of the United States. McCotter, who has represented Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, has launched a campaign website and plans to publicly announce his intentions Saturday.

McCotter broke the news during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM radio station. He has publicly considered running since May when Fox NewsRed Eye host Greg Gutfeld asked him if he would enter the race. Last week, McCotter reportedly paid $18,000 to appear in Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll in August.

The run follows the release of McCotter’s book Seize Freedom!, whose title serves as his campaign slogan and is featured on his website below the warning: “Your American Dream is endangered”. McCotter has outlined five “core” principles for his campaign:

  • “Our liberty is from God not the government”
  • “Our sovereignty is in our souls not the soil”
  • “Our security is from strength not surrender”
  • “Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector”
  • “Our truths are self-evident not relative”

Although McCotter previously stated that “if I run, I would be in to win”, he received only two votes in a Republican Leadership Conference straw poll two weeks ago, and lacks the name recognition of his fellow challengers for the nomination. Charlie Cook of the The Cook Political Report rated it “virtually impossible” for McCotter to be nominated.

Other candidates for the Republican nomination include fellow Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas as well as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and businessman Herman Cain.

An adviser said McCotter is dissatisfied with the current candidates and “has something to say and has some ideas and some policies to put out there that nobody else is discussing right now…his presence in the race is going to force these issues and force this discussion that the country has to have right now.”

According to The Detroit News, next month, as he campaigns for the presidency, McCotter plans to propose a social security reform bill.



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February 2, 2006

United States Department of Justice workers among government Wikipedia vandals

United States Department of Justice workers among government Wikipedia vandals

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

In response to recent accusations that United States government employees have engaged in Wikipedia vandalism and other forms of perceived negative editing of articles, Wikipedia editors have set up a webpage listing all Wikipedia edits made through IP addresses that are allocated to the United States House of Representatives and other United States government agencies. The House IP address was briefly banned from editing Wikipedia articles in the wake of the initial controversy, but the ban was lifted on January 30 after Wikipedia administrators decided that there have been a number of valuable contributions made through the House and Senate IP addresses in addition to the controversial edits.

On January 31 and February 1, however, the U.S. House of Representatives’ common IP address, 143.231.249.141, were banned again for three hours due to vandalism. Because the IP address is shared by House staff members, it is uncertain whether or not the same person(s) responsible for the previous vandalism are also responsible for the latest.

Examples of contributions submitted through the House IP address included removing, “In 2005, he has come under scrutiny for accepting campaign contributions from embattled former house leader Tom Delay,” from the article on Thad McCotter, removing election statistics from the article on Dan Lungren, and, in the article on Marilyn Musgrave, changing the paragraph

“As a state legislator, Musgrave spent much of her time on social issues, particularly authoring bills to deny marriage rights and parental rights for gay and lesbian families. One of her final, failed bills would have made it much more difficult for same-sex parents to see their children in the hospital during an emergency. Musgrave also cast the only vote against legislation to give battered spouses paid leave from work.”

to

“As a state legislator, Musgrave spent much of her time on social issues, particularly authoring bills to protect children and the traditional definition of marriage, as well as gun owner’s rights.”

After the block from Wikipedia expired, the House of Representatives user continued to edit the article on Chris Shays. Chris Shays had co-sponsored a bill with Marty Meehan, whose staffers had previously been found to have been negatively editing Wikipedia entries, The American Civil Liberties Union said of the bill “key elements of Shays-Meehan violate the First Amendment right to free speech because the legislation contains provisions that would violate the constitutionally-protected right of the people to express their opinions about issues through broadcast advertising if they mention the name of a candidate.” All mentions of the bill were removed from the article. Also removed was a paragraph about Chris Shays raising $70,000 with House Speaker Dennis Hastert at a country club event.

Again, the IP address was blocked for an eight-hour period.

Wikipedia edits in Congress are not coming from the House of Representatives alone. An edit from the Senate in July removed references to a plagiarism scandal with Senator Joe Biden, who has informally said he may seek a Democratic nomination for president in 2008. As of February 4, 2006, the edit has not fixed by Wikipedia users.

CIA, the Department of Justice, Marines, and Naval vandalism

IP addresses from the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Marines, and the Navy are listed on the site as having made several cases of vandalism. Some examples of vandalism from the Department of Justice IP ranges involve articles on TV and radio shows, a baseball player, or just complaining about their work. In addition to accusations of vandalism, there have also been accusations of government employees introducing perceived bias, political spinning, or misinformation into Wikipedia articles by adding or removing information.

These cases include articles on an Irish politician, and in the George W. Bush article, introducing accusations of Hugo Chavez being a dictator, and removing information covering the George W. Bush substance abuse controversy. In addition, a person using a Department of Justice IP address edited a page covering indicted former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The editor removed two paragraphs stating a judge ruled that Tom DeLay had broken state law by not disclosing over $600,000 of fundraising money, a quote from Tom DeLay in which he stated that it drives the Democrats crazy wondering why the Republican Party institutes pro-Israeli policy, and a subsection on controversies involving DeLay’s relatives. Edits to George W. Bush’s article were done within the span of an hour. Edits to Tom DeLay’s article were made within an hour as well, although followed by a shorter, minor second session of editing later that day.

An editor using a CIA IP address is accused of vandalizing an article on the current president of Iran. Editors using Marine and Navy IP addresses based in Pensacola, Florida are accused of vandalizing an article on a rock song and on former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and accused of adding racist comments to articles on an actor and Martin Luther King, Jr., and adding comments that are perceived to criticize the men and women in the Navy reserves.

The IP addresses of the Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Navy and Marines stationed in Pensacola, Florida were found using the American Registry for Internet Numbers at the official website. Neither the government nor the Wikimedia Foundation have released an official statement.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ IP address is not the first governmental address to have been blocked after accusations of disrupting Wikipedia. The IP address belonging to a subdivision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Alberta, Canada was blocked for three months since late 2005. An IP address belonging to the German Bundestag has been repeatedly blocked from the German Wikipedia after accusations of vandalism, including sexually explicit comments.

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