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December 21, 2014

Posts in "DSCC"

December 10, 2014

Exclusive: DSCC Chairman Makes Recruitment Pitch for 2016

Exclusive: DSCC Chairman Makes Recruitment Pitch for 2016

Tester talks in his Capitol office Tuesday about his role as DSCC chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Montana Sen. Jon Tester sees a world of opportunity when he looks at the 2016 Senate map — and a mountain of work to capitalize on it.

Democrats are entering an election cycle in the minority for the first time in a decade, yet the field of competitive states provides avenues back to Senate control, particularly with presidential-year turnout that historically favors the party.

In Tester’s first extensive newspaper interview since becoming chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the farmer from Big Sandy, Mont., emphasized the need to motivate voters to turn out and the challenge of recruiting strong candidates in an atmosphere of unlimited outside spending.

“We’ve got to get a good, clear message that focuses on the middle class, we’ve got to have some deliverables that we can talk about, and we’ve got to have good candidates, maybe most importantly of all,” Tester told CQ Roll Call Tuesday from his hideaway office in the Capitol basement. Full story

December 8, 2014

What’s Next for Michelle Nunn?

Whats Next for Michelle Nunn?

What's the next move for Michelle Nunn? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Michelle Nunn strolled through the Capitol basement last week alongside outgoing Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet — just a month after her loss in the Georgia Senate race.

Nunn, the former CEO of the Points of Light Foundation and daughter of a revered former senator, was the party’s top recruit in 2014. Despite an 8-point loss to Sen.-elect David Perdue, the first-time candidate had brought in more than $14 million by the end of the campaign and her retail skills were polished enough to impress operatives in both parties.

Her overall performance was strong enough to keep her at the top of the list of potential candidates for any statewide race in Georgia in the next few years, according to multiple Democrats in the state. Her level of interest in a future bid remains unknown, but Bennet told CQ Roll Call not to read too much into Nunn’s visit to Capitol Hill last week, including speculation she’s considering a next-cycle challenge to Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

“We had talked after the campaign was over about her just coming for a visit, and that’s what it was, just a friendly visit,” Bennet said. “I can tell you what we didn’t talk about: The subject of 2016 did not come up in the conversation at all.” Full story

November 21, 2014

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

Tester was appointed DSCC chairman Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Friday its top staffing decisions for the 2016 cycle.

Many of the key staffers have previously worked for incoming DSCC Chairman Jon Tester of Montana, who is tasked with helping win back a Democratic majority. The party would need to net five seats to ensure a majority if Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu loses the runoff next month in Louisiana.

“This is an experienced team with a long history of winning incredibly tough races,” Tester said in a statement.

November 14, 2014

Harry Reid Considers Three Names for Campaign Manager

Harry Reid Considers Three Names for Campaign Manager

Reid is considering at least three to serve as campaign manager. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering at least three Democratic operatives to manage his re-election campaign in Nevada in 2016, according to a national Democratic source familiar with the discussions.

Preston Elliott, Sarah Benzing and Anne Caprara are all under discussion as top choices to lead a potential Reid bid for a sixth term, the source said.

Reid will be a top target of national Republicans, who have few offensive opportunities on a map far more favorable to Democrats than 2014. In winning back the majority, Republicans picked up eight seats this month and could add a ninth in the Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana.

Widely considered three of the party’s most talented political hands, the candidates for campaign manager could also have other options for 2016. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 3:31 p.m.
DSCC

November 13, 2014

Jon Tester Named DSCC Chairman

Jon Tester Named DSCC Chairman

Tester will chair the DSCC for the 2016 cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana Sen. Jon Tester was appointed chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2016 cycle.

Senate Democrats are coming off a brutal cycle, in which Republicans won back the majority for the first time since 2006 and could have a nine-seat net gain. But the Senate should be in play next cycle, with a far more favorable map for Democrats than in 2014.

At a news conference following an extended Democratic meeting in the Capitol, Tester said his role will be “going out and finding candidates that can lead, that can win, that can advocate for the middle class in their elections.” Tester said he will continue to focus on his job as senator and still has a farm to keep up back home.Jon Tester Named DSCC Chairman Full story

November 6, 2014

Senate Democrats Saw GOP Wave Before Election Night

Senate Democrats Saw GOP Wave Before Election Night

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at his re-election victory party Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The executive directors of the Democratic and Republican Senate campaign arms broke down the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections Thursday at the Election Impact Conference hosted by CQ Roll Call, giving a candid assessment of the factors that led to Republicans taking control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

Guy Cecil, who ran the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the past two cycles, said top-level Democrats knew about a week before Election Day the tide had moved against them and said they were bracing for losses across the board as results came in Tuesday night.

“We had hopes we could stem the tide, but it became clear to us that it would be difficult to do,” Cecil told the audience.

Full story

Script Will Be Flipped in 2016 Senate Majority Battle

Script Will Be Flipped in 2016 Senate Majority Battle

Johnson is one of several Republicans running in competitive states in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After securing control of the Senate Tuesday, Republicans are already staring down a daunting map for 2016.

The majority of the Senate battleground in the next election cycle will be fought on Republican turf, with the GOP defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10. There is more trouble for the party beneath those raw numbers; only two Democratic seats are in competitive states, while more than half a dozen Republican incumbents face re-election in states President Barack Obama carried at least once.

Republicans appear to have put themselves in as strong a position as possible, coming out of the midterms with potentially a 54-seat majority. But the next electoral fight for the Senate fundamentally looks nothing like 2014: Democrats are on offense, the playing field is packed with pricey media markets and every race is positioned down-ballot from a presidential contest.

“I think attention will turn to it as soon as the dust settles from this cycle,” Republican pollster Dan Judy said of 2016. “The environment will certainly be tougher for us with a lot of competitive seats to defend in swing states, but I’m hopeful that a Republican majority for two years will allow us to advance a constructive agenda that our incumbents can run on in 2016.”

Full story

November 5, 2014

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

Collins served as executive director of the NRSC during the 2014 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the tail end of an hour-long press briefing at the National Republican Senatorial Committee less than three weeks before the elections, Executive Director Rob Collins threw out a prediction: The GOP would win the majority on election night.

Republicans were favored to pick up at least a handful of seats, but with a couple possible runoffs and some tight races, forecasting clear control of the chamber by the end of Election Day was a ballsy declaration.

In his office a little while later, Collins laughed as he noticed his quote popping up in stories online. He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t think it was possible, but Collins went out on a limb mainly because he didn’t want his customary level-headed analysis of the Senate playing field misinterpreted as pessimism about his party’s chances.

“I think people like that I don’t bullshit them,” Collins said. But, he added, “I felt like, boy, I better end this on a note of confidence, or they’ll say, ‘Collins was a little iffy on that whole thing.’ So yeah, we’ll win on election night — it’s totally possible.” Full story

November 4, 2014

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won’t be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states. That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.

Still, with runoffs likely in two competitive states, potentially razor-thin margins in a few races and vote-counting complications in Alaska, there are several hurdles to one party having clear control of the Senate by the time the sun rises Wednesday on the East Coast. Full story

November 2, 2014

Roll Call Event With Top Senate Campaign Aides Thursday

Roll Call Event With Top Senate Campaign Aides Thursday

Collins is the executive director of the NRSC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The cycle’s top campaign operatives will delve inside the races that decided the Senate majority in a special post-election briefing at CQ Roll Call’s Election Impact Conference.

Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, will discuss the top Senate contests of 2014 — their first joint appearance after Election Day.

The duo will be interviewed by Roll Call’s Editor-in-Chief, Christina Bellantoni, at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill. It’s part of our larger look into what the election’s results signal for the 114th Congress (Register here!).

I’ll moderate a discussion later that morning a panel of reporters and pollsters who will take a deep dive into the election results, including Nathan L. Gonzales, deputy editor, Rothenberg Political Report and Roll Call Contributor; Perry Bacon, NBC News Senior Political Reporter; Mark Blumenthal, Huffington Post Senior Polling Editor; and Abby Livingston of our Roll Call Politics team.

The Election Impact Conference also features: Full story

November 1, 2014

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Pryor, right, canvasses Saturday with an aide in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburbs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Roll Call’s final ranking of the most vulnerable senators doesn’t vary much from previous versions — the result of an unfavorable national climate for Democrats that has failed to improve.

On the eve of the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are staring down a hole dug by President Barack Obama’s disapproval ratings and an unforgiving map packed with red states. Retirements by a quartet of senators in Republican-leaning or swing states didn’t help, but the seats of at least four incumbents seeking re-election aren’t on much stronger ground.

It’s the reality of what could end up being a dreadful cycle for Democrats. Still, party strategists remain cautiously optimistic they can hold on to a few endangered seats, possibly even pick up a GOP open seat in Georgia and save the majority. Republicans need a net gain of six seats. Full story

October 31, 2014

Senate Democrats’ Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime

Senate Democrats Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime

Elias speaks with Roll Call at Perkins Coie's D.C. office Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate chamber erupted in applause after the swearing-in of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Majority Leader Harry Reid eventually looked up and directed his appreciation toward the newest senator’s attorneys.

On that day, more than five years ago, standing alongside his two Franken campaign co-counsels was Marc Elias, the Democrats’ go-to attorney. He’d spent the previous eight months in Minneapolis in a seemingly unending recount and trial that ultimately resulted in a 60th Senate seat for the party.

This cycle, as Franken is favored for re-election and Democrats fight to hold their majority, Elias sat down with CQ Roll Call to chat about Senate races, where exactly he’ll be watching election returns on Nov. 4, which states he’s keeping an eye on for potential recounts and his role in one of the longest recounts in Senate history.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)

“It was a very emotional thing,” Elias said of standing in the chamber on July 7, 2009. “Not just because of the fact that Franken was getting sworn-in, but I remember Leader Reid looking up at us, Sen. [John] Kerry and all these other members that I’d been involved with in representing, and it was really a great moment.”

Full story

October 28, 2014

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with a new ad Tuesday attacking Republican Thom Tillis on education.

Polls show a tied race between Tillis and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. Republicans need to gain six seats to take control of the Senate, and the party has targeted the Tar Heel State as one of them.

The DSCC’s ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, echoes arguments Hagan and Democrats have made throughout the campaign. It attacks Tillis for his tenure as speaker of the state House, during which time he was responsible for the budget for public education in the state.

Full story

October 27, 2014

New DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Medicare

New DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Medicare

Scott Brown speaks in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is releasing a new ad Monday in New Hampshire targeting former Sen. Scott P. Brown on Medicare.

Brown faces Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in a race rated Tilts Democrat by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The DSCC’s ad, provided first to Roll Call, hits Brown for his vote in 2011 for a budget that would have made cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Full story

Senators Line Up to Be DSCC Chairman in 2016

Senators Line Up to Be DSCC Chairman in 2016

Tester, right, is interested in leading the DSCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had limited options over the past two cycles as he recruited a chairman to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But 2016 is likely to be different.

After two straight cycles of defending twice as many seats as Republicans, the tables will soon turn as the Republican class of 2010 faces re-election. The next cycle will also feature presidential turnout, which could benefit Democrats as they either cling to a small majority or, more likely, push to regain control — depending on what happens over the next few months.

Beyond the benefit of a more favorable map than in 2012 and 2014, with fewer incumbents up in 2016 Reid will simply have a larger pool of applicants to choose from. And there should be several willing candidates among the numerous names currently being mentioned. Full story

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