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Initial Ratings in from WI-06

With the retirement of Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), naturally comes the horse race aspects of the new reality.  Long has the race been marked either “Safe Republican” or “Solid Republican” when Petri was there.  That is no longer the case, but it hardly the “great opportunity” many out-of-state liberals believe it to be.

Here’s Cook:

Moving the race from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican.”  All-in-all, a drop of one level, but about a 75 percent chance the GOP is hanging on to the seat.

Here’s Sabato:

As mentioned, Rep. Petri’s (R, WI-6) retirement opens up his marginally competitive district, but this is probably not the right year for Democrats to flip it. Obama won about 46% in this district in 2012 (after very narrowly winning it in 2008), and there are only five currently Democratic House districts where Obama did worse. So this doesn’t really fit the profile of a district the Democrats could win in 2014. Petri’s district is very similar to that of another retiring Republican, the aforementioned Rep. Camp (R, MI-4). In fact, Obama’s 2012 performance in the districts was almost identical: He got 45.5% in Camp’s district and 45.8% in Petri’s. So it’s reasonable to make the same ratings change we did when Camp retired: WI-6 goes from Safe Republican to LIKELY REPUBLICAN.

And finally, Rothenberg:

After explaining who the likely candidates are on both sides of the aisle, they come to this conclusion.

For now, we’re maintaining our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race as Currently Safe for Republicans.

Naturally, this could all change.  Liberals seem to be hoping and praying that Glenn Grothman wins the GOP Primary, seeing his tendency to make gaffes their only chance of getting a win here.  As I’ve said before, I don’t believe Glenn will win this primary.

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Rangel Didn’t Pay Rent in Harlem Office, Got Taxpayers to Bailout Back Rent

Can someone please explain to me how Chuck Rangel keeps getting re-elected to Congress?  This is downright embarrassing Harlem.

New York City’s longest-serving congressman won’t pay his rent.

State taxpayers were stiffed out of at least $87,000 when Rep. Charles Rangel stopped paying for the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, records ­obtained by The Post show.

His staffers’ excuse? They lost the lease, according to state Office of General Services correspondence.

“I finally heard back from Congressman Rangel’s office and it seems we haven’t gotten the signed lease back because they lost it!” OGS real-estate specialist Sydney Allen wrote in a July 30, 2013, e-mail to a colleague that was ­obtained by The Post.

Rangel paid $7,253 in monthly rent on the 125th Street office he has rented since 2000, expense reports from 2012 show. But the payments stopped for all of 2013.

Incredibly, instead of demanding payment of the back rent and late fees from its deadbeat legislative tenant, the state cut him a huge rent break.

The state says it allowed Rangel in March 2013 to enter into a new sweetheart deal in which he could postpone paying six months of rent. That “abatement” money has still not been paid, nor has the other six months of missed rent from 2013, a OGS official said.

The state comptroller approved a $101,000 lease between Rangel and OGS on Dec. 26, 2013, retroactively covering the period back to April 2013 and future months through December 2014, records show. The 21-month deal resulted in a deeply reduced rent of $4,809 a month.

When The Post last week inquired about the year of missing rent, Rangel’s office and OGS blamed federal sequestration, not the lost lease referenced in agency correspondence.

Insert your “The Rent is Too Damn High” joke here.


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Florida Liberals Also Behave Badly

It’s never good when a wife has to get a restraining order against her husband.

It’s news when the husband is a congressman.

A judge has granted a temporary protective injunction against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson after his wife filed paperwork accusing the Orlando congressman of shoving and injuring her during an incident this past weekend.

Lolita Grayson’s petition for the injunction, dated Monday, says her husband pushed her against a door, causing her to fall to the ground, during a confrontation Saturday at their home on Oak Park Road near Windermere.

In a statement, Alan Grayson’s press secretary, Lauren Doney, wrote that the allegations “are absolutely false, completely unfounded, and clearly designed to vilify and harm Congressman Grayson.”

“Congressman Grayson firmly denies Ms. Grayson’s frivolous accusations,” the statement said.

The incident comes just less than two months after Lolita Grayson filed a divorce petition stating that their marriage of nearly 24 years was “irretrievably broken.”

Asked about the incident, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Angelo Nieves said in a written response that the agency “is currently conducting a Domestic Violence investigation which is open and active at this point.”

A heavily redacted Sheriff’s Office document released Tuesday identified Lolita Grayson as the victim in the incident and listed the offense under investigation as domestic-violence battery.

Grayson was not arrested in the incident and is not currently facing any criminal charges.

Lolita Grayson is also reported to be petitioning for joint, but primary, custody of the couple’s children.

Grayson is something of an icon to the hardcore liberal elite and online Left.  He also is facing a tough re-election fight (as he did — and lost — in 2010) after reclaiming his House seat in 2012.

He seems to only be able to win it on the years of presidential-level turnout.

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H-1B Visa Reform Would Have At Least Made Sense

Let me preface this post by saying: “I’m not for amnesty, just sanity.”

While largely dead for the rest of the 2013-14 congressional calendar, there were some things I personally would have liked to have seen touched in an immigration package or separate bill.  (You know, that piecemeal approach talked about, but apparently not going to be tried.)

At the top of that list is “H-1B Visa Reform.”

“H-1B” is, like most visas issued by the State Department, one of a variety of work visas granted to immigrants who are temporary workers inside the United States.  H-1B’s are a specialty type of visa which only are available to the following qualifications:

  1. You must be a foreign national.
  2. You must have already earned a college degree.
  3. Said degree must be in a career related to what are called “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields.

The visas last for three years and can be renewed for another three for a total of six years; and with their employers sponsorship, they can gain citize That stay can be up to ten years, only if you are working for a defense contractor.  They are highly-coveted by technology firms in Silicon Valley such as Google, IBM, Facebook and Oracle.

Annually, 65,000 new H-1Bs are issued, with an additional 20,000 to eligible immigrants already in the country who getting their college degrees. Estimations are that since the program began around 2,000, over 850,000 H-1Bs have been issued.

So why reform them and what to do?  The common answer — accepted on both sides — has been to lift the annual quota.  Why? Because the world is a competitive workplace, and despite constant interest in computer sciences and IT, America isn’t generating enough of them fast enough.  Also, other nations also have substantial technology sectors themselves and will grab up these wouldbe employees.

In the most recent podcast episode for the center-right website Ricochet, renowned political analyst Michael Barone told a story of how a Canadian diplomat prayed that America didn’t change its immigration policy towards high-skilled workers (the ones sought through the H-1B program) because then all these folks could come to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.  British Columbia is well-known to be the high-tech hub matching its neighbors south of the border in Washington State and Silicon Valley.

It is this exact thing which makes the immigration debate as a whole so frustrating.  While we’re fighting over what is clearly a horrific Senate bill, both sides need to take a moment, figure out where there is actual consensus on immigration — like visa reform, which has nothing to do with amnesty much if at all — and craft a bill.

Anyone who still demands a full, “comprehensive approach” (Chuck Schumer, I’m looking at you.) should be barred from the room.  Hammer out something that works, not just for those getting the H-1Bs’, but for the U.S. economy as well.

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