North Carolina: Clay Aiken looks to have won Dem primary for Congress

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken looks to have won his primary tonight in North Carolina.

Although the race is tight, North Carolina state law requires a 40% + one vote finish in order to avoid a runoff.

No media outlet has declared a winner at this point, but if the count holds, Aiken appears to have cleared the bar for this race.

Keith Crisco outspent Aiken through his own wealth by a ratio of 3 to 1.

Congressional hopeful Clay Aiken stops by The Colbert Report

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is currently running for Congress in North Carolina’s 2nd District.

He stopped by to “chat” with Stephen Colbert last night, although Colbert says he was “unwarmed” by Aiken’s thoughts and platform regarding the campaign.

Unable to get Clay to sing the national anthem, Colbert announces the headline “Clay Aiken refuses to sing national anthem” all in good fun. Colbert closed the segment telling the audience to “vote for Clay, if you must!”

Rep. Vance McAllister under pressure from Gov. Jindal to resign amid videotape scandal

First term “Christian Values” congressman Vance McAllister is getting more pressure to step down from his congressional seat after video was made public of his “make-out session” with a now-fired staffer.

From CBS News:

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., called the congressman’s behavior an embarrassment. “Congressman McAllister says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress,” Jindal said.

Meanwhile, state GOP chairman Roger Villere issued a blistering statement calling on McAllister to resign, but so far, the 40-year-old freshman congressman was rejecting the calls for him to immediately give up his seat.

“Mr. McAllister’s extreme hypocrisy is an example of why ordinary people are fed up with politics. A breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation,” Villere said.

“He has embarrassed our party, our state and the institution of Congress,” the chairman continued.

McAllister made his “Christian values” a central component of his campaign.

Interesting to note that GOP chairman Villere never asked for Sen. David Vitter to resign when it was discovered he had been patronizing prostitutes in 2007.

File Under Politically Tone-Deaf – Congressman Says Members of Congress Are Underpaid

Virginia congressman Jim Moran, recently complained to Roll Call that members of Congress are under paid and can’t lively “decently” in Washington DC:

“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran said. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

Although congressional salaries have been frozen for three years, this lament will probably fall on deaf ears as members of Congress have a starting pay of $174,000 a year. 

Couple that figure with the fact that Congress currently has historically low public approval, and you really don’t have a recipe for a raise.

Moran doesn’t have much to fear in terms of public retribution though.  He recently announced he will retire from Congress at the end of the year.

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa cuts off fellow congressman’s mic and ends committee meeting.

This is one of the more dramatic things I’ve seen in Congress in a long while.

Vis Think Progress:

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sought to silence the ranking Democrat on the Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), during a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status.

On Wednesday, after former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination, Issa quickly moved to adjourn the session, saying he could “see no point in going further.” But as Cummings began to ask a procedural question about the issue, the Chairman tried to cut his mic, leaving Cummings to shout from his seat.

Watch below.

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken announces run for Congress

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken has announced he is going to run for Congress in North Carolina. The seat Aiken would run for is currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers.

From The News Observer:

Aiken’s decision to enter the race has already reshaped the field. Houston Barnes, a young attorney who lives in Durham, plans to announce Wednesday he is withdrawing from the race and supporting Aiken. That leaves former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville as Aiken’s primary opponents.

You can watch his official announcement below:

Congressman Radel charged with cocaine possession

Freshman US House Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) has been charged with cocaine possession:

Radel, 37, was charged with misdemeanor possession of cocaine in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Radel faces a maximum of 180 days in jail, as well as a possible fine up to $1,000.

The Florida Republican is a former journalist, TV anchor and radio talk-show host. He never held elective office before winning his House seat last November.

Rep. Joe Barton – Wind is a finite resource

Graphic via Teabonics

This “quote” has been widely attributed to Congressman Joe Barton of Texas: “Wind is a finite resource and harnessing it would slow down the winds which would cause the temperature to go up.”

This appears, however, be an amalgamation cobbled together from a Time Magazine report:

At a 2009 hearing, Barton implied that wind is a “finite resource” and that harnessing it would “slow the winds down” which would “cause the temperature to go up.”

According to Washington Monthly, this was the full quote:

“Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.”

Depending on how you parse the language, you may (or may not) read into Barton’s statement that he was implying that building an army of wind turbines might slow down wind enough to actually affect the planet’s temperature.

Barton is the House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2006 and Chairman of the House-Senate energy conference committee.

Congressional gym deemed “essential” by Boehner during government shutdown

Even the right-wing site Drudge Report is mad at this one.

We may have to cut nutritional support for poor kids, but I guess House Speaker Boehner felt Rep. Paul Ryan needed his workout, so the Congressional gym is deemed “essential” to stay open during the government shutdown….

A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.

According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.

(via Think Progress)