BY: Washington Examiner staff reports
July 25, 2014 | 10:00 am
It's not every day that a House Republican charges that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is "in the pocket of Communist China."
But Michigan freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who is widely considered one of this year's most vulnerable incumbents, did just that when he announced he would return the Spirit of Enterprise Award he received from the group.
“It is with great pride that I reject their award, and call on them to stand on the side of America, instead of on the side of China and corporate interests seeking to exploit people for profit,” Bentivolio said in a press release.
"The U.S. Chamber is in the pocket of Communist China and big companies seeking cheap labor in the United States," Bentivolio's chief of staff, Rob Wasinger, said in the release. “We think it is morally repugnant for the Chamber to pursue, as a matter of public policy, initiatives which exploit the poor and oppressed, just so they can keep labor costs down for their Fortune 500 member companies.”
Wasinger told the Washington Examiner that the Chamber's stance on immigration reform is part of the reason for the timing of the award's return. Bentivolio received it in March with 205 other House members.
The Chamber has endorsed Bentivolio's primary challenger, lawyer Dave Trott. Typically, the Chamber invests in defending established incumbents from Tea Party primary challengers.
GA. BUSINESSMAN PULLS OFF RUNOFF SURPRISE
It's a tough election cycle to run as a member of Congress.
Republican businessman David Perdue eked out a narrow victory in Georgia over his runoff rival, Rep. Jack Kingston, with dissatisfaction with Washington likely hurting the incumbent.
Kingston was backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more than $2.3 million. The Chamber's endorsement was the source of some drama: Perdue walked out on an interview with the pro-business group when they requested he vote with them 100 percent of the time and he "lost [his] temper," Perdue told supporters. But the former CEO of Dollar General was able to effectively tout his own business experience.
Perdue is expected to face stiff competition in the general election from Democrat Michelle Nunn, who has positioned herself as a moderate, often spurning the "Democrat" label and playing up her work for former President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light Foundation.
Name recognition likely won't present a problem for either candidate: Perdue is a cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue; Nunn's father is former Sen. Sam Nunn.
BEN CARSON ACTIVISTS TURN TO GOD FOR HELP
The activists working to get Ben Carson to run for president are gunning for a little divine intervention.
The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee announced the formation of a prayer team that will hold weekly conference calls to ask for God's blessing on their efforts to get the retired neurosurgeon to run in 2016.
“The first thing we list on our website that you can do to encourage Dr. Carson to run for president is to pray,” reads the prayer team's sign-up page. “He said last year that he would only run for president if God grabbed him by the collar and made him run. Our hope is that our prayers will move the hand of God.”
Though the committee just announced the advent of its prayer team, it’s not that new.
Heather Ferguson, a minister with Treasures of Glory Ministries from San Diego who organizes the prayer team, said they have been holding hourlong calls praying for Carson every Monday night. She said she also sends out weekly emails with prayer requests.
Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, said such efforts have influenced Carson's thinking.
“They’re good people who are desperate for leadership and they think that Dr. Carson has the right prescription for America,” he said. “He’s not close to making a decision about running for president, but he’s thinking about it. I will admit that he’s definitely thinking about it.”
Carson took second at the Republican Leadership Conference's straw poll in May and second at the Texas Republican convention's straw poll in June. This month, he won the Western Conservative Summit straw poll in Colorado.