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April 19, 2014

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July 22, 2013

Senate Republicans Dial for Dollars En Masse

Senate Republicans Dial for Dollars En Masse

Senators dialed for dollars during a NRSC fundraising drive last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-six senators raced in and out of the Ronald Reagan Republican Center last week with varying enthusiasm for a most-often-dreaded, but necessary, activity: fundraising.

Inside the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s marathon call day, even the GOP’s weakest fundraisers were on hand to dial for dollars to help the party gain the net six seats necessary to win the majority.

“I’m not real good at it, asking people to give money,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who had one of the lowest fundraising hauls in the second quarter. “But I do, because it’s just part of it. People are nice when you talk to them. They understand the process.”

South Dakota Sen. John Thune made it look easy. He strolled in just after a vote, took a seat toward the back and placed a plastic cup of lemonade and bag of Nutter Butter cookies on the table. With the phone to his ear, he leaned back in his chair and said, “Hey, Al, how’s it going?” Al did much of the talking.

More than half of the caucus stopped in July 18 to fundraise for the NRSC, and CQ Roll Call was given exclusive access to the marathon call session.

The effort to get more senators personally involved was intended, in part, to help reverse a trend. Recently, Democrats have been far more generous in committee donations out of their personal campaign accounts.

In the 2012 cycle, 20 of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s top 25 largest contributors were senators’ campaigns, and they gave a total of $8.6 million, according to figures compiled by Political MoneyLine. By comparison, nine of the NRSC’s top 25 contributors were senators’ campaigns and collectively gave just more than $1 million. Many of the GOP’s top donations came from joint fundraising committees.

Full story

July 19, 2013

Senate Democrats Beat GOP in June Fundraising

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $1.5 million more than its GOP counterpart in June, bringing in a total of $3 million more during the second quarter, according to figures released by the parties on Friday.

The DSCC raked in some $5.3 million last month, but the committee did not release its cash-on-hand or debt figures. As of May 31, the DSCC had $9.6 million in the bank and was carrying $12.5 million in debt, according to its June report to the Federal Election Commission. Full story

July 15, 2013

The Senate Majority Fight in Post-Schweitzer World

Senate Democrats’ inability so far to lure top-tier talent to run for their three most vulnerable open seats shifts the spotlight to recruits in its two most promising pickup opportunities — a relative term in this lopsided landscape.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s decision this weekend to eschew a Senate race came as an unexpected boon for the GOP’s hopes of netting the six seats necessary to win the Senate majority next year. Pulling off that feat would be an accomplishment for Republicans, even if they are waging war in friendly GOP territory.

But there is a realistic scenario that could force Democrats to rely on two first-time federal candidates in states where the party has enjoyed little success in recent years. If Montana moves off the competitive playing field and Republicans are also favored to pick up the open seats in West Virginia and South Dakota, the GOP would need to pick up just three more seats from their most promising targets in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Full story

July 12, 2013

Senate Democrats Hire More Campaign Staff | Shop Talk

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Friday two staff changes for the 2014 cycle.

Ben Nathanson will be the DSCC’s new policy director, and the committee promoted Matthew Kehres to digital director. More about their new gigs: Full story

July 11, 2013

Schweitzer Expected to Run, but When? #MTSEN

Schweitzer Expected to Run, but When? #MTSEN

Schweitzer is considering a bid for Senate. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer is widely expected to run for Montana’s open Senate seat — the only question is when.

State legislators and operatives had heard he was preparing to announce his bid on Tuesday, but that day came and went without a peep from the populist Democrat.

Another likely option? The state party is holding a convention in Lewiston on Friday and Saturday, offering Schweitzer a room already packed with party faithful. At least one local Democratic official speculated he could make an announcement then.

“I think that there’s probably a 99.9 percent likelihood that he will [run],” said state Senate Minority Whip Robyn Driscoll, a Democrat supportive of Schweitzer. “Rumors have been floating around for a few weeks about when the announcement would be made. … We are having our Democratic convention this weekend, and so I’ll be looking for an announcement maybe then.”

Attempts to reach Schweitzer and his team about the delay were unsuccessful, and Schweitzer — who is known for personally calling reporters — did not return a call to his cellphone.

Full story

June 24, 2013

Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State off GOP’s Map

Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State off GOPs Map

Markey, above, holds a sizable lead over his opponent in recent polls on the Bay State's Senate special election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Republicans lose on Tuesday for the second time in the past seven months, the Bay State’s short run as a stomping ground for competitive Senate races will come to an abrupt halt.

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s surprise win started it all in 2010, but GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez appears unlikely to pull off an encore performance in the special election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry. In recent days, polls showed Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey with a sizable lead over Gomez in the state’s third Senate race in as many years.

A Gomez loss, especially by a double-digit margin, would offer GOP donors, operatives and prospective statewide candidates for federal office even less incentive to expend the time and resources needed to win Massachusetts in 2014. The defeat would also further highlight the GOP’s recent disappearing act among New England’s congressional delegations. Full story

June 20, 2013

Senate Democrats Raised $4.9M in May (Updated)

Updated 4:00 p.m. | The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced raising $4.9 million last month and ending May with “nearly $10 million” on hand.

“We still have a very long road to travel, but we are off to a strong start,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said.

Full story

June 18, 2013

Retiring Baucus Donates $100K to DSCC

Retiring Baucus Donates $100K to DSCC

Baucus will retire next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., cut a $100,000 check on Tuesday to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a source familiar with his campaign.

Baucus had nearly $4.9 million in his campaign account as of March 30, three weeks before announcing he would not seek a seventh term. He donated $470,000 to the DSCC last cycle, according to Center for Responsive Politics, not counting the money he raised on the committee’s behalf. Full story

June 14, 2013

Super PAC Ads Hit Back at Markey #MASEN

The first Republican-aligned super PAC to hit the TV airwaves in the Massachusetts Senate special election released its two advertisements Thursday evening.

The Americans for Progressive Action ads are part of a reported $700,000 media buy on behalf of Republican Gabriel Gomez, who is being thoroughly outspent by Rep. Edward J. Markey and his Democratic allies.

The ads are similar, mention both candidates and attempt to contrast the two opponents. But their themes are quite different — one hits Markey for allegedly distorting facts about Gomez, while the other is critical of Markey’s vote to give the Internal Revenue Service a role in implementing the health care overhaul.

Watch “Truth and Honor” here:

 

Watch “Enforce” here: Full story

June 7, 2013

Democratic Ads Tie Gomez to National GOP #MASEN

In the party’s first major television foray into the competitive June 25 Massachusetts Senate special election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC released ads Friday in an effort to define Gabriel Gomez as an ordinary Republican.

That’s the ultimate goal for the party in this Democratic-leaning state. And the two ads released Friday by the national Democratic groups specifically target seniors — potential high-propensity voters even in odd-timed elections. Neither ad mentions Rep. Edward J. Markey, the Democratic nominee, preferring instead to accuse Gomez of supporting cutting Medicare and raising the retirement age.

According to a Republican source tracking ad buys, the DSCC has purchased $751,000 in TV time through June 25 and Senate Majority PAC $448,000 through June 17. Full story

June 3, 2013

Top Democratic Senate Prospect Won’t Run #WVSEN

Top Democratic Senate Prospect Wont Run #WVSEN

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which must now look for a new Senate prospect in West Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney Nick Preservati will not run for Senate in West Virginia, forcing Democrats to continue their search for a strong recruit in the 2014 battleground state.

Democrats have been hunting for a candidate in the Mountain State since Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced his retirement earlier this year. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rate this race Lean Republican.

Last year, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, announced her campaign for Rockefeller’s seat. She remains the top Republican in the race.

Hoppy Kercheval of WV MetroNews broke the news on Preservati declining to run: Full story

May 31, 2013

First Senate Democrat Airs 2014 Ad (Video) #ARSEN

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., doesn’t have an opponent yet, but he’s being forced to play defense anyway.

Hit from both sides on the air this week, Pryor launched the first television ad of his re-election campaign on Friday. The ad, coming about 17 months before the general election, is backed by a “significant statewide buy,” according to a Democratic spokesman.

Full story

May 20, 2013

Michelle Nunn Senate Announcement Coming Soon

After appearing at a weekend fundraiser for Senate Democrats, party leaders expect Michelle Nunn to make a final decision on the Georgia Senate race within weeks.

“The national party is working with Michelle, and I think we will probably have an announcement relatively soon on whether she’s in or not,” Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon said Monday. “We just want to get somebody out there early enough before the election that we can actually get behind them and start putting a structure together.”

The philanthropist and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., appeared at a Sunday fundraiser in Atlanta for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. President Barack Obama was the featured guest at the event, with DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet and Executive Director Guy Cecil also in attendance.

A DSCC spokesman declined to comment on whether Nunn was preparing to announce a bid. Full story

May 17, 2013

NRSC Wins April Fundraising by a Nose

The two Senate campaign committees turned in nearly even monthly fundraising hauls in April, marking the first month this cycle the National Republican Senatorial Committee finished ahead.

The NRSC raised $3.56 million last month and ended April with nearly $7.1 million on hand. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.54 million and had slightly more than $8.6 million on hand as of April 30. Full story

Female Hill Staffers Fundraise for Senate Democrats

Women on the Hill are making their presence known beyond the member ranks — a group of female Senate chiefs of staff have organized a Monday evening fundraiser in support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

CQ Roll Call reporter Meredith Shiner has the scoop over at our new Senate blog, World’s Greatest Deliberative Body:

From #WGDB:

Eleven female chiefs of staff to Democratic senators are scheduled to hold a fundraiser Monday night for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to an invitation for the event obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The fundraiser, billed as the “Women on The Hill Dinner,” is yet another sign that it’s not just the number of female senators that is rising, but also key staffers who are building a power base within the party.

See the invitation and more at #WGDB.

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