Ford O'Connell On Fox 5 DC

Is it time for a Secret Service overhaul? Democratic political analyst Peter Fenn and Republican political strategist Ford O'connell join us with more.

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O'Connell: Kansas Independent Candidate A 'Plant For Harry Reid'

Political commentators Ellis Henican and Ford O’Connell appeared on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday to discuss the midterm elections.

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Chris Christie Ramps Up 2016 Push

With a bridge scandal potentially behind him, Chris Christie is taking a now-clear road to help fellow Republicans — and himself — on the campaign trail. 

As head of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Christie is ramping up his support for Republican governors nationwide, trying to regain ground ahead of the 2016 race for the White House. 

Between his dual role as head of GOP governors and the state of New Jersey, Christie has not been an infrequent traveler. But with just over a month until Election Day, he is hitting a new gear, hoping to put miles between him and the bridge scandal that derailed his political hopes at the beginning of the year.

The frequent travel isn’t just limited to governor’s races — it allows Christie to stump for top GOP Senate candidates and also gives him ample opportunity to regain a position as a GOP presidential front-runner. And it shows that Republicans in close races are not shying away from him as a surrogate and fundraiser.

He’s shedding pounds and racking up frequent flier miles,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “His focus has been on running for the nomination.”

Read more from Peter Schroeder at The Hill

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Is Kansas Mitch McConnell's Waterloo?

One need not hold a lot of sympathy for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to admit the man cannot catch a break.

Just when McConnell appeared to be putting some distance between himself and Alison Lundergan Grimes in his own race in Kentucky, his bigger dream — to finally become majority leader of the U.S. Senate — is in peril because Kansas, which hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1932, may be poised to do so again.

Technically, Greg Orman, the wealthy businessman who may unseat 34-year congressional veteran Pat Roberts (R), is an independent. But he has run for the Senate as a Democrat before, donated to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and got Democratic nominee Chad Taylor to not only withdraw, but also fight to have his name removed from the ballot to help Orman.

Orman says he would caucus with whichever party is "clearly in control" of the Senate, but the Democrats did not withdraw their candidate and decline to nominate another for someone they weren't confident would caucus with their side. There are no coincidences in politics.

There is a path to 51 seats and the majority leader gavel for McConnell without Roberts winning a fourth term, but it is not an easy one.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Eric Holder’s Flubs Set Stage For Confirmation Clash

The rocky tenure of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, which led to frequent clashes with Republicans and even a House vote to hold the Justice Department chief in contempt of Congress, is likely to mean a contentious confirmation battle regardless of the nominee President Obama names as Holder’s successor.

“Not even Obama himself irritates Republicans as much as Eric Holder,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

A series of scandals from the DOJ’s handling of the IRS Tea Party-targeting audit scandal to the controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation that led to the House contempt charge caused frequent clashes between Holder and GOP lawmakers. Holder’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act provision that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage led House Republicans to fight challenges to the law all the way to the Supreme Court, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Read more from Kimberly Atkins at The Boston Herald

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GOP Hopefuls Make Case To Social Conservatives

A crop of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates will make their case for the conservative crown this weekend at the Values Voter Summit.

Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.), and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, all thought to be planning runs for the White House, are slated to speak at the conference. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), two other possible GOP White House contenders, are also slated to speak, as is 2008 vice presidential GOP nominee Sarah Palin. 

Several other possible Republican 2016 candidates are notably absent from the speaking roster. 

Even if social conservatives might have lost some clout nationally, they’ll play a major role in early presidential contests, such as in Iowa. 

“Most of the speakers are folks who want to corner off sections of the Republican base for 2016,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “They need to corner off a secure base of voters in initial caucus and primary states, like Iowa and New Hampshire. And value voters have the most strength in Iowa.”

Read more from Kevin Cirilli at The Hill

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As ISIS Roars, The GOP Resurrects ‘The Politics Of Fear’

With the midterms a mere six weeks away and Islamic extremists back in the headlines, Republican candidates are taking a page out of the GOP’s early 2000s playbook by portraying their Democratic opponents as being soft on terror.

The strategy was a clear winner for the GOP in the years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. George W. Bush and his neocon advisers spun America’s very-real and very-warranted fears into political gold, expanding their congressional majority and sealing another presidential term in no small part by using the Ground Zero nightmare as a political weapon.

Of course, things are different today as the U.S. continues airstrikes against the terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There has been no attack on the homeland – ISIS is terrorizing innocents across the Middle East. So whether the GOP’s fear mongering ads work this time around is yet to be seen. But candidates are certainly willing to try.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell disagreed, saying the ads are “effective at this point.”

“They’re rallying the Republican base, which is concerned the president isn’t going far enough … national security has always been a GOP priority,” said O’Connell.

According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released last week, 57% of Americans don’t think Obama is being tough enough in dealing with ISIS. While 50% of Democrats think Obama’s approach is about right, the majority of Republicans –83% – believe the president should more aggressively go after ISIS.

Read more from Aliyah Frumin at

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Can Sarah Palin Save Pat Roberts In Tight Kansas Senate Race?

Sarah Palin has come to the rescue. The Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee – and big-time political lightning rod – took the stage Thursday in Kansas on behalf of the state’s endangered Republican senator, Pat Roberts.

Three-term Senator Roberts is widely seen as the most vulnerable Republican senator in the November midterms. A loss would seriously harm the Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate.

Enter Ms. Palin. The former Alaska governor’s public favorability has declined since she shot to fame six years ago – but no matter. Among all the big-name Republicans rushing to Kansas to save Roberts, she like no other can reach the very voters who need to rally to Roberts’s side: tea party conservatives.  

“The primary badly damaged Roberts,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Palin actually may have the most important job of all the surrogates.”

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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Wisconsin’s Dilettante

In the absence of a major Republican wave this year, a closer race was to be expected. The Marquette poll shows that just 5 percent of voters say they’re undecided. Like Governor Rick Scott in Florida, who is also locked in a tight race with an unattractive opponent, Walker is a known quantity and most voters have an opinion about him.

“The pool of undecided voters is just so small, I can’t even tell you if there’s any other state even comparable,” says one GOP strategist working on the race. “From now until the end, the race will stay tight.”

Walker rose to national prominence when he succeeded in getting legislation passed to curb the collective-bargaining rights of the state’s public-sector unions, and he caught the attention of top-dollar Republican donors when he beat back a union-led effort to recall his election. As throngs of left-wing protesters rushed the state capitol, he looked like the adult in the room, and he won the recall election by a greater margin than he was elected with in 2010.

Despite that accomplishment, he now faces the prospect of defeat, and the premature end to a presumptive presidential campaign.

“He’s in a dogfight, he has to win, period, and clearly the more he wins by the more his name is going to be touted after the midterm elections as somebody who is a viable candidate nationally,” says GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. A source close to top Republican donors says the governor is “raising money like crazy,” describing the effort as “all hands on deck.”

Read more from Eliana Johnson at National Review Online

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GOP Strategist O'Connell: Democrats 'Scared' By ISIS Campaign

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" that "a lot of vulnerable Democrats are really scared" by President Barack Obama's campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). 

Josh Orton, senior adviser of Progressives United, countered that many Democrats were in support of the strategy. O'Connell and Orton debated on Wednesday the ramifications of the ISIS campaign and what it could mean for Democrats as they head into the fall elections.

Watch the video and read more from Wanda Carruthers at

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