Republicans are Jolly, while Democrats are seeing their hopes Sink. Ask not what Brown can do for you, ask what Brown can do to turn blue into red. Yes, it’s puns for everyone when it’s Barack-etology week. And with voters voting and Clintons talking and a president refiling his pen, the pace is quickening.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the stories your ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:
Scott Brown’s move toward a Senate race in New Hampshire is further lifting Republican hopes of a takeover. All the momentum is in the GOP’s direction, and Brown’s decision to cross state borders to seek a return to the Senate gives Republicans a top recruit in a state that seems always to be catching political waves – albeit while matching him up against a still-popular incumbent Democrat. Brown is appearing at a Republican gathering in New Hampshire this Friday and Saturday, but he won’t be the only headline of this weekend. A Republican presidential straw poll to be conducted at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference includes 19 names – including that of congressman-turned-cable-host Joe Scarborough.
President Obama’s home state features one of the most competitive governor’s races in the country, and Tuesday’s Illinois primary will set that stage. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn – the least popular governor in the country, by some polls – will find out which Republican he’ll face this year. The likeliest candidate to emerge out of a jumbled primary is Bruce Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist whom Democrats hope to turn into the Mitt of the Midway. (Rauner helped their case recently by coming out in favor of lowering the state’s minimum wage, only to quickly backtrack.) A handful of competitive Republican primaries for House seats could also shape the congressional landscape, including one featuring Erika Howard, a black conservative attorney who also happened to be Miss America 2003.
The president is starting to show what he had in mind when he promised to wield his pen and his phone more extensively in the second year of his second term. An announcement on overtime regulations was followed by a potentially bigger one on immigration enforcement, as the White House continues its plan of rolling out new executive actions at the rate of one or two a week. The action on immigration could have the biggest impact: Republicans view a let-up on border enforcement as another reason not to trust the president when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. The move appears to reflect an administration calculation that the chances of passing a comprehensive bill are diminishing anyway.
Next Friday marks the start of the three-day annual Clinton Global Initiative University, held this year in Arizona. Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton will headline the meeting of more than 1,000 student leaders, along with John and Cindy McCain, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, and ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. The focus, according to organizers, will be issues of importance to millenials, including human rights and women’s economic empowerment. Look for Chelsea to assume a larger role in that and other areas, as she builds out a growing public profile. It might be noted that she has the potential to speak to a generation Hillary Clinton will need to appeal to should she run for president; most undergraduates these days weren’t born when Bill Clinton first became president.
Tuesday marks a year since the Republican Party issued its heralded “Growth and Opportunity Project,” better known – to everyone other than the Republican National Committee – as the GOP autopsy. Issued after the wipeout that was the 2012 elections, some key goals – most notably, the call for finishing work on immigration reform – are clearly no closer to being realized. But in other areas, such as revamped data and digital operations, and attempts to revamp the primary calendar, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has made significant progress. This past week’s Republican win in an open House race in Florida has the party confident that it’s beginning to make up ground.