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Off to the races: Immigration, Keystone divide party bases

“Republicans may need immigration reform to avoid extinction in the long run, but there's a growing fear within the party that bringing it up now -- as House GOP leaders have laid the groundwork to do by releasing a pro-reform blueprint -- would depress conservative voter turnout and damage their standing in the 2014 elections,” Talking Points Memo writes.

Said on House GOP aide: “No way it happens. I just don't see it going anywhere. I think 2014 is a slam dunk to us otherwise and this would really piss off the base."

The Hill: “Environmental groups are warning President Obama that his liberal base might stay home on Election Day if he approves the Keystone XL oil pipeline.”

“Every vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2014 voted with President Barack Obama at least 90 percent of the time in 2013, according to CQ Roll Call’s latest vote studies, released Monday.”

But David Hawkings notes, “The atmospherics offered plenty of clues, but the numbers don’t lie: The House was an even more polarized and partisan place last year than it was when the tea party class of Republicans took over the place two years before. And that’s in part because those lawmakers have grown even more antagonistic to President Barack Obama’s agenda — and even more willing to toe the party line. That is among the central takeaways from CQ Roll Call’s analysis of 2013 congressional voting patterns, the latest installment in an annual study that began six decades ago.”

“It won’t be easy, quick, or simple, but Mitch McConnell can likely force a vote one way or another on President Obama’s climate-change rules,” National Journal writes. “The Senate minority leader last month invoked a rarely used legislative tool—the Congressional Review Act—to try to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule clamping down on carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants.”

Hillary Clinton’s teaming up with Univision on her “Too Small to Fail” initiative.

Stu Rothenberg with some long-view perspective: “Not a single Democratic seat up next cycle is in a state that was carried by Mitt Romney in 2012. In fact, only two of the states, Colorado and Nevada, could even be characterized as competitive. By contrast, seven Republican senators up in 2016 sit in states Obama carried in 2012 — Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and an eighth sits in a state Obama carried in 2008, but narrowly lost in 2012 (North Carolina). It’s too soon to know if Democrats can win any or all of those states, and with the notable exception of Illinois, they are competitive states, not reliable Democratic bastions. That makes them different from the current cycle, when many of the Democratic Senate seats up are in substantially red states.”

ARKANSAS: The Farm Bill could be a factor in the Arkansas Senate race, NBC’s Tom Curry writes: “The farm bill is an issue in the tossup Senate race in Arkansas, the nation’s leading rice-producing state. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat seeking his third term, attacked his Republican opponent Rep. Tom Cotton, the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to vote against the bill last week. … Cotton said the bill costs too much and ‘fails to make real reforms – lacking even common-sense work requirements that would provide job training to able-bodied adults receiving food stamps.’”

CALIFORNIA: The San Diego-area CA-52 is now a “Pure Toss Up” instead of Democrat Favored, per Rothenberg.

GEORGIA: The Hill reports that a GOP poll shows Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) leading a seven-candidate field for Georgia Senate. Gingrey gets 19% followed by Karen Handel 14%, Rep. Paul Broun 13%, Jack Kingston 11%, David Perdue 8%. The poll is sponsored by Citizens United, which is backing Broun. It was conducted by KellyAnne Conway’s firm inc./Woman Trend.

KANSAS: What’s the matter with Kansas? Nathan Gonzales changes the governor’s race from Safe Republican to Republican Favored, as Democrats have a credible candidate and Gov. Sam Brownback’s approval ratings are struggling.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Scott Brown went shirtless, and it was on the front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader in an event to benefit the Special Olympics.

NEW JERSEY: Former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly is refusing to go along with a subpoena from the state committee investigating the bridge scandal, citing the Fifth Amendment. The Record: “She joins Christie’s campaign manager as the second person to put up a roadblock to an ongoing legislative probe.”