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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Afternoon Fix: Mitch Daniels ducks labor fight

By Chris Cillizza

Mitch Daniels doesn't want a fight with organized labor, Brad Ellsworth doesn't want to run in 2012, Ensign is holding a fundraiser at the NRSC and Wu admits to sending "unprofessional" emails.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is holding a fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters on Thursday, March 3. Suggested contributions range from $500 to $2,500. Ensign himself used to be chairman of the committee, but national Republicans have done little to help the senator since he admitted to having an affair with a former aide. His fundraising has been anemic and he faces a looming Senate ethics investigation. Committee officials note the building is open to any Republican senator and that the event is not being hosted by the NRSC.


* Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) admitted sending "unprofessional" emails to his staff, including a photo of himself in a tiger costume. He says he sought professional help and is still fit to serve in Congress. At least six staffers have left Wu's office following a string of bizarre behavior. Wu said he's being treated now with medication and counseling after an "intervention" staged by his staffers.

* Mitch Daniels is calling on state legislators to drop a "right to work" bill that has Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state, and he won't send the police after the other party. "For reasons I've explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised," he said in a statement. The conciliatory move is not likely to endear him to Republican primary voters.

* Carl Paladino has endorsed Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in the NY-26 race, saying she "will be another member in our movement to take our country back." Corwin also got the backing of two local tea party activists. Some Tea Party activists are opposing Corwin, saying the process by which local GOP chairs picked their candidate was too secretive.

* Eight-term Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) will not challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year, she announced today. "I decided the best possible way to serve Southern Missouri - as well as the entire state - is from my current post," she said in a statement. So far there are two GOP candidates in the race: Former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and former congressional candidate Ed Martin. The party hasn't lined up behind either.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is calling on Nevada's legislature to ban brothels in the state. "If we want to attract businesses to Nevada that puts people back to work, the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution," Mr. Reid said.


* Corwin will make a major announcement tomorrow about the NY-26 race. She's expected to officially kick off her candidacy; the various GOP country chairs voted unanimously for her on Monday.

* Former Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) will not run for anything in 2012, he said Monday. Ellsworth, who made an unsuccessful bid for former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh's seat last year, had been mentioned frequently as a potential gubernatorial candidate.

* Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) announced today that Seth Leibsohn will serve as a senior policy adviser for his political action committee, America's Foundation. Leibsohn is is the former producer and co-host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America; he also worked at the think tank Empower America, which merged with Citizens for a Sound Economy to form FreedomWorks.

* Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn will be on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday morning to discuss the 2012 landscape in Iowa, the Iowa GOP straw poll and the 2012 caucuses.


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With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | February 22, 2011; 5:47 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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