Senator Mary Landrieu (D. LA) is using the Export-Import Bank against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R. LA):Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? In all likelihood, most voters in Louisiana and Virginia aren't either.
And yet Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is talking about the bank on the campaign trail, portraying it as a job creator that must be protected against tea party ideologues.
"We've got to do more so support our export capabilities. We've got to make sure we keep Virginia competitive in the global economy," Warner told all of a dozen unionized port workers in Norfolk at an event Monday. "This port is essential to not just to Virginia's economy, but since we are shipping a variety of goods, coal, other things from all around the mid-Atlantic, this is essential to our nation's economy as well."
It's the most unlikely of campaign issues. Even some lawmakers say they never heard of the Export-Import Bank before becoming members of Congress. But with Republicans needing a net gain of six seats to win control the Senate, matters even as arcane as the "Ex-Im" can't be ignored.
The Ex-Im Bank provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to foreign buyers of U.S. products. Congress must renew its charter before October to keep it functioning, and questions about that future are splitting Republican lawmakers.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and most governors want to keep the bank, opposing several conservative groups — including Club for Growth and Heritage Action — that are influential in GOP primaries and anti-establishment Republican circles.
GOP lawmakers took note when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., suffered a stunning primary loss to a tea party-backed professor who strongly criticized the Ex-Im. Cantor's successor on the GOP leadership team — Kevin McCarthy of California — promptly opposed the bank's reauthorization. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a longtime supporter of the bank, moved to a neutral position. - Huffington Post, 7/29/14
We'll see if it pays off. By the way, you don't have to worry about Warner in his re-election bid against Ed Gillespie (R. VA):The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies. Landrieu said it promotes trade, creates jobs and helps small businesses.
Her re-election campaign has been hammering her Republican opponent in the Nov. 4 election, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, to state a position on whether to renew the bank's charter, which expires in September.
"Congress must reauthorize the Bank as soon as possible so that it can continue to help Louisiana businesses continue to export goods and services to world markets and import jobs," Landrieu said.
Cassidy is hedging on the issue, raising questions about the worth of the Export-Import Bank without saying outright that he opposes its charter renewal. He said the bank costs taxpayers $200 million a year and largely benefits big, already profitable corporations.
"The Inspector General said that the bank has not been careful in making sure that the jobs it helps to generate are created in the United States and not overseas. All of this calls into question whether the Export-Import Bank is worth the cost to taxpayers. Very serious reforms are required before considering re-authorization," Cassidy said in a statement. - Shreveport Times, 7/28/14
But if you want to donate and get involved with Landrieu's campaign, you can do so here:Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner holds a comfortable 25-point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie (47%-22%), according to the Roanoke College Poll. Libertarian Robert Sarvis polled at 5 percent. In the generic Congressional ballot, Democrats hold an insignificant lead over Republicans (38%-36%). In an early look at possible 2016 Presidential match-ups, Hillary Clinton holds significant and very similar leads over Republicans Chris Christie (44%-34%), Rand Paul (47%-37%), and Paul Ryan (47%-38%). The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 566 registered voters in Virginia between July 14 and July 19 and has a margin of error of +4.2 percent.
Mark Warner's favorable ratings (56%) topped the list of elected officials followed by Senator Tim Kaine (42%), and President Obama (40%). Not surprisingly, Robert Sarvis is largely unknown, with 81 percent not knowing enough about him to have an opinion (although that number was just over 50% prior to the gubernatorial election last year). More surprising is that Ed Gillespie's numbers (75% don't know enough about him to have an opinion) have not moved since January.
Virginians are more pessimistic regarding the state of the country than at any point since 2012. Only 21 percent think the country is headed in the right direction, while 68 percent said it is on the wrong track.
Warner leads Gillespie and Sarvis among liberals (78%-1%-5%) and moderates (56%-9%-5%) as well as Democrats (82%-0%-3%) and Independents (39%-21%-6%). He trails among conservatives (20%-50%-5%) and Republicans (12%-57%-4%), but his showing in those groups is respectable. Warner's favorable rating is 65 percent among moderates and 55 percent among Independents, and he even does relatively well among conservatives (37%) and Republicans (35%).
Gillespie is still unfamiliar to both conservatives (19% favorable; 67% don't know enough to have an opinion) and Republicans (18% favorable; 67% don't know) to say nothing of moderates (3%-79%) and Independents (8%-77%). He can take some solace in knowing that Independents report they tend to narrowly lean toward Republicans (38%) over Democrats (36%) in elections. - Roanoke College News, 7/22/14