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Posts by Justin Worland
August 1, 2012
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) expressed confidence in her party’s ability to hold the majority this fall, but also bemoaned the influence of outside of money in Senate campaigns.
“Despite the difficult and very tough map and despite the fact that everybody wrote off our chances when I took on this task almost two years ago, we are doing really great and I feel confident going into the election,” Murray told reporters this morning. “The only thing that stands between me and a long good night of sleep is the outside money that is coming from Karl Rove and the right-wing billionaires that are funding these races and campaigns across the country.”
July 27, 2012
Wisconsin Assemblyman Mark Pocan (D) changed tactics in his race to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in Wisconsin’s second district, launching a new television ad that defends his record and seeks to discredit criticism leveled by his primary opponent.
State Assemblywoman Kelda Helen Roys (D) wasted little time before responding. Her campaign called the spot as a “false, negative attack ad” that went against Pocan’s promise to run a clean campaign. Pocan had previously devoted his television advertising time to highlighting his accomplishments.
“He’s been telling voters that he was going to run a clean campaign and he caved,” said Roys campaign manager Rick Coelho. “It fits in with our core message that he caves when the going gets tough.”
The Pocan campaign said that it stands by the ad and responded to the Roys campaign in a statement to Roll Call.
“Our ad speaks for itself. Mark is running a positive campaign about providing real results to Wisconsinites,” said campaign manager Dan McNally in the statement. “We hope it sets the record straight after Rep. Roys’ attacks on his strong record as an effective progressive.”
July 26, 2012
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hit the airwaves in Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin with television ads targeting Democratic Senate candidates.
The chamber is also targeting independent Senate candidate former Gov. Angus King in Maine. The ads criticize the candidates on a range of issues, including support for the Affordable Care Act, proposals to increase taxes and votes on energy issues.
“With so much at stake in this election, the Chamber will continue to execute the largest voter education campaign in our history,” chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We will support candidates who will fight for free enterprise and oppose those who consistently support more government and stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”
Independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the chamber spent more than $5.3 million on ad buys and production costs for the series of spots. The group typically spends heavily to defeat Democratic candidates.
The chamber vowed to continue its efforts into the coming months in a press release. Full story
July 25, 2012
Rock musician Ted Nugent and country music star Rodney Atkins are scheduled to travel to Wisconsin to headline events for GOP Senate primary candidates.
Nugent is set to perform Thursday for former Gov. Tommy Thompson; Atkins is scheduled to perform for businessman Eric Hovde on Aug. 1. The campaigns hope to translate the musicians’ star power into enthusiasm as the campaign for the primary nomination enters its final weeks.
“This is a rally, a serious rally, for my friend and the great American blood brother for freedom, U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson,” Nugent says in a voice recording sent to Thompson supporters. “If you want upgraded quality of life for the American dream, vote U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson.”
The Atkins event was described by the Hovde campaign as the kickoff to its get-out-the-vote effort. Full story
July 24, 2012
Congressional candidates and outside groups in Wisconsin have picked up the pace of TV and radio attack ads as the state’s primaries loom three weeks away.
Roll Call counted 10 attack ads released in the past 11 days, including three spots released today.
Most of the ads focus on the race for the state’s open Senate seat. Ads from both sides of the aisle have targeted the GOP primary’s perceived frontrunners, former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde.
The Club for Growth and former Rep. Mark Neumann, who is also competing in the GOP primary, have been especially critical. Majority PAC, which supports Democrats running for the Senate, and EMILY’s List targeted Hovde and Thompson in hopes of aiding presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Full story
July 16, 2012
Updated 3:30 p.m. | Former Gov. Tommy Thompson outraised his competitors for the Republican nomination for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat with an $834,000 haul. Former Rep. Mark Neumann raised $733,000 and businessman Eric Hovde took in $237,000.
Despite Thompson’s apparent financial advantage, Neumann and Hovde have assets that are not clear from the total raised. Hovde is independently wealthy and has spent millions of his own money on his campaign. Neumann, who is set to up his investment on television advertising, has the backing of outsiders such as the Club for Growth, which has spent heavily to support him.
July 13, 2012
A busy week in Wisconsin’s GOP primary for the state’s open Senate seat concluded with new defensive ads from former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde. Thompson’s ad counters allegations that he supported President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law, while Hovde attacks former Rep. Mark Neumann, another GOP candidate, on fiscal issues.
The conservative Club for Growth unveiled an ad earlier today that attacked both Hovde and Thompson as part of a nearly $600,000 broadcast and cable buy in the Badger State. The group endorsed Neumann last September.
Thompson’s ad pushes back on claims that the former governor once supported the Affordable Care Act, an allegation that has been perpetuated by the Club for Growth and others. The ad, which a GOP operative said is part of a more than $125,000 buy, shows Thompson wearing a leather jacket while riding a motorcycle through a rural area.
The Club for Growth launched a large broadcast and cable ad buy today throughout Wisconsin targeting current GOP Senate primary frontrunners former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde.
By taking on both frontrunners, the club reaffirmed its support for former Rep. Mark Neumann, despite his low numbers in recent polls. Many observers have said that dividing support among Thompson’s various challengers would only elevate the former governor above the fray of other candidates.
July 12, 2012
The Club for Growth will go up with a sizable ad buy in the competitive Wisconsin Senate GOP primary Friday, according to sources with knowledge of the race.
The club endorsed former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) in September and has attacked former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who began the Senate race as the frontrunner due to his high name identification, from the right.
But businessman Eric Hovde has emerged as the primary conservative challenger to Thompson in recent weeks despite the club’s endorsement of Neumann. Recent polls have shown Hovde and Thompson breaking away from the rest of the GOP primary pack. Hovde, who has never before served in public office, has spent millions of his own money to introduce himself to Wisconsin voters.
It is unclear what the content of the Club for Growth ad is, and whether it targets Thompson or both Thompson and Hovde. It’s unlikely the spot is a positive ad highlighting Neumann’s record.
The primary is Aug. 14. The winner will face Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in what is expected to be a hard-fought general election this fall.
July 11, 2012
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde hold solid leads over their opponents in the race for the GOP nomination for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released today. The survey is the latest in a string of news suggesting that Hovde and Thompson are the race’s frontrunners.
The poll, which surveyed 432 likely GOP voters, shows Thompson leading Hovde with support from 35 percent of likely voters compared with Hovde’s 23 percent. Former Rep. Mark Neumann and state Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald remained in a distant third and fourth place, respectively. Twenty-five percent of of likely voters said they remained undecided. The GOP primary portion of the poll had a margin of error of 4.8 points.
The Marquette poll is the latest evidence that the primary has narrowed to two primary competitors. A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday showed Hovde leading the former governor by 2 points. An internal poll from the Hovde campaign released last week showed him trailing Thompson by 5 points.
The opposition also seems to expect to face either Thompson or Hovde in the general election. EMILY’s list released a television ad Tuesday that targets the pair and ignores the other GOP candidates. The ad buy has $400,000 behind it.
The general election portion of the poll, which surveyed 810 likely voters, showed presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin behind Thompson by 4 points and defeating all of her other potential opponents. That section had a margin of error of 3.5 points.
Roll Call rates the general election as a Tossup.
July 10, 2012
Wisconsin Democratic Assembly members Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys launched their first major TV ads this week in the race to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in the state’s 2nd district. The spots for both candidates are positive portrayals of themselves and both avoid taking on their opponent directly.
Pocan’s ad, which is part of a more than $55,000 broadcast and cable buy, portrays the him as someone whose political leadership has been influenced by his own experience with business.
“My parents taught me how to run a business and how to treat employees and customer fairly,” Pocan says in the ad. “I practice those lessons everyday in my own union print shop.”
Roys released two ads that will play in rotation on broadcast and cable portraying her as willing to stand up to the establishment. The value of the Roys ad buy is roughly equal to the Pocan buy, according to a Wisconsin Democratic operative with knowledge of the campaigns. Full story
Rep. Jeff Flake launched a new television advertisement today accusing his Senate Republican primary opponent, businessman Wil Cardon, of employing illegal immigrants at his business.
The ad, part of a $200,000 statewide broadcast and cable television buy, follows similar allegations published in a report in the Arizona Republic last week. Immigration has been a prominent issue in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary, with Cardon frequently accusing Flake of supporting “amnesty.”
“Wil Cardon talks tough about illegal immigration,” the narrator says. “But federal agents say nearly two-thirds of Wil Cardon’s sandwich shop employees were illegal aliens.”
Women Vote!, the independent expenditure arm of EMILY’s List, released its first television ad in Wisconsin this cycle in support of Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) with a $400,000 broadcast television buy.
The ad, which will air in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Wausau, targets GOP Senate candidates businessman Eric Hovde and former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
“D.C. insiders like Tommy Thompson and Eric Hovde are not going to stick up for me,” the ad’s first subject says.
The ad continues by portraying the GOP candidates as out of touch with Wisconsin before praising Baldwin as someone who “won’t give the state away to special interests.”
The choice to take on both Thompson and Hovde underscores the changing dynamic in the GOP primary. The two candidates are quickly emerging as the race’s frontrunners. Full story
July 9, 2012
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that conservative independent outfits 60 Plus Association, American Crossroads, and Americans for Prosperity have violated federal election law by primarily working to influence federal elections while not disclosing their donors.
“Respondents are raising and spending millions of dollars to accomplish their major purpose of influencing federal elections, while hiding their funding sources. By operating in secret, they have violated and continue to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote in the complaint.
The six-member commission, composed of three Republicans and three Democrats, has been gridlocked along partisan lines for the past few years and in many cases has struggled to attain the majority necessary to reach a decision. Campaign finance experts said the FEC typically takes longer than a year to resolve such complaints, making it unlikely that the issue will be resolved before the November elections.
The DSCC complaint comes on the heels of a similar request filed with the FEC last month by Robert Bauer, general counsel to the Democratic National Committee and President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. That filing asked that the FEC require American Crossroads to disclose its donors.
The groups responded to the complaint, characterizing it as a baseless effort to attract publicity.
“This latest complaint is virtually identical to the complaint filed by the Obama campaign and DNC two weeks ago,” American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio wrote in a statement to Roll Call. “[I]t is baseless, completely redundant and serves no purpose other than to generate headlines, as it was distributed to the news media before its recipients. Crossroads takes compliance very seriously.
60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin argued that the complaint cannot be considered seriously because it only addresses conservative groups.
“The fact it includes only GOP leaning groups — and none of the coordinated campaign expenditures being made between and among the DNC, DSCC, and the Democrat’s House campaign committee — shows it’s naked politics pure and simple,” Martin said in a statement.
The DSCC maintained that it expects the FEC to consider the complaint seriously.
“These organizations are actually claiming that they are no more political than a church, a synagogue, or even the American Cancer Society. It is patently absurd and we certainly expect the FEC would take action,” Cecil said in a statement emailed to Roll Call. “Right wing billionaires and corporations are getting special treatment, while any other American must adhere to strict limits and disclosure requirements.”
July 5, 2012
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde are locked in a close two-way race for the GOP Senate nomination in Wisconsin, according to an internal poll conducted for the Hovde campaign by polling firm On Message Inc.
The poll showed Thompson and Hovde at the top of the primary field, receiving support from 34 percent and 29 percent of likely Republican voters, respectively. Former Rep. Mark Neumann received support from 16 percent of respondents while Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald did not crack the 10 percent mark. Full story