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Posts in "DSCC"

February 21, 2013

Shop Talk: DSCC Picks Caprara as Political Director

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee officials plan to name Anne Caprara as their political director for the 2014 cycle Thursday.

“Anne is a rising star in the Democratic Party and I’m pleased that she is returning as a member of our team for the 2014 cycle,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said in a statement. “We know the challenges that we face this time around and it’s not going to be easy — but battle tested talent like Anne who knows what it takes to build strong campaigns will be one of the reasons we hold the Senate.”

Caprara served as the committee’s deputy political director during the 2012 cycle. She has also been a top aide to former Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, and has worked for EMILY’s List, an advocacy group promoting female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Check out more of the committee’s hires for the 2014 cycle here.

February 20, 2013

DSCC Raised $4.2M in January

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.2 million in January, a strong kickoff to what appears to be a challenging election cycle.

After picking up two seats in November, Democrats entered the 2014 election cycle with a 55-45 Senate majority and $3 million in the bank as of Jan. 30. Despite the added cushion, the party faces a lopsided landscape that put its control of the chamber in jeopardy next year, if Republicans can capitalize. Democrats are defending 21 seats, compared with 14 for the GOP.

The committee released its fundraising figures Wednesday, when monthly reports were due to the Federal Election Commission. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is still revving up for the cycle under new leadership, had not yet announced its monthly fundraising.

The DSCC did not release the amount of debt it has left over from last cycle, and neither committee’s report was available by press time. As of Dec. 31, the DSCC carried $16 million in debt and the NRSC owed $10 million.

February 7, 2013

Obama to Fundraise for House, Senate Committees

Updated: 1:09 p.m. | President Barack Obama will hold at least 14 fundraisers this year to support Democratic efforts to take control of the House and keep the majority in the Senate.

They include five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, along with separate and joint appearances for the committees in Washington, D.C.

As the country’s best fundraiser, Obama’s appearances will boost both committees as they stockpile resources this year for competitive races in 2014.

House Democrats must win a net of 17 seats to take the majority. Senate Republicans need to net six seats to take back control of that chamber.

The news of the Obama-led fundraisers is a particular boon for the DCCC, which will be primarily on offense this cycle. Obama-Biden 2012 Campaign Manager Jim Messina told DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York the good news earlier this week.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is also expected to do fundraising events for the DCCC.

The New York Times first reported the Obama fundraisers, which were confirmed to CQ Roll Call by a Democratic official.

January 26, 2013

Iowa: Harkin Retirement Sets Off Open-Seat Scramble in 2014

Iowa: Harkin Retirement Sets Off Open Seat Scramble in 2014

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 11:40 a.m. | Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced on Saturday that he will not seek a sixth term in the chamber. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

“After 40 years, I just feel it’s somebody else’s turn,” Harkin said in a lengthy statement. “I don’t by any means plan to retire completely from public life at the end of this Congress. But I am going to make way for someone new in this Senate seat. I think that is right not just for me, but for Iowa, as well.”

Harkin, who is 73 years old, serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as well as the Appropriations subcommittee that handles the budgets for many of the same agencies. He passed up a chance to become chairman of the full Appropriations Committee after the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, late last year.

Harkin’s retirement sets off what is expected to be a highly competitive open-seat race in the swing state — one that is likely to feature two or more House members. Rep. Bruce Braley, who was exploring a run for governor, now tops the list of possible Democratic Senate candidates. Meanwhile, Republicans await word from two House members, Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham, on whether they will pursue the open seat. Full story

January 23, 2013

Campaign Committee Scorecard: Outlook for 2014

Campaign Committee Scorecard: Outlook for 2014

From left, DCCC Chairman Israel, NRCC Chairman Walden, DSCC Chairman Bennet and NRSC Chairman Moran

Congressional campaign committees have seen their financial influence wane in the past two cycles with the advent of super PACs. But make no mistake, these entities remain a powerful force in determining the playing field for the midterm elections.

While outside groups have replicated pieces of the campaign committees’ role — from recruitment to opposition research to candidate development — the campaign committees remain the top political clearinghouses for each party. Their involvement can still make or break a race.

In Roll Call’s new scorecard, we rate the challenges ahead for each committee this cycle, as well as how well-equipped each is to handle them.

 

January 14, 2013

West Virginia: Democrats Game Out Senate Primary

West Virginia: Democrats Game Out Senate Primary

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the days after Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement, Democrats have been gaming out how a primary to replace him might play out.

The list of names circulating is so long it is mind-numbing. On Friday, both CQ Roll Call and The Charleston Gazette threw a number of new contenders into the mix. The Charleston paper wrote that former Gov. Gaston Caperton is “at the top of the list” of Democratic contenders. Whether he runs will influence the rest of the field, according to the paper.

But some Democrats have wondered whether he has been out of politics for too long — he left office in the late 1990s.

Because this is the first real open-seat Senate race in West Virginia since 1984, it should be expected that so many names have surfaced. But just because names are floating around does not mean they will make it to the ballot, especially when it comes to Democratic Senate primaries. Last cycle, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made its candidate preferences known in several states and there were very few, if any, competitive Democratic Senate primaries.

So far, Mountain State operatives say the DSCC has not sent any signals.

Full story

Iowa: Braley’s Gubernatorial Aspirations and Tea Leaves for Harkin’s Re-Election Decision

Iowa: Braleys Gubernatorial Aspirations and Tea Leaves for Harkins Re Election Decision

Iowa Democrats are publicly pushing for Braley to run for governor in the state's largest newspaper. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has stepped up his interest in running for governor of Iowa in 2014, according to a weekend report in the Des Moines Register.

The four-term lawmaker has long eyed statewide office, but it has been unclear whether Braley would try to run for governor or Senate in 2014. Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, a Republican, has not announced yet whether he will seek another term.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin has not said definitively whether he will run for re-election in 2014. But Braley’s focus on the gubernatorial race comes at a confluence of events that could indicate Harkin is leaning toward running for another term:

  • Instead of keeping their powder dry this early in the cycle, Iowa Democrats are publicly pushing Braley to run for governor in the state’s largest newspaper. 
  • Last week, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, told a local newspaper, “I have seen no indication that [Harkin] is not going to run.” In recent years, Grassley and Harkin have not campaigned against each other — although neither has had a competitive re-election race for at least a decade.
  • Harkin keeps bringing in big bucks for his campaign. He will host a fundraiser next month at a Lady Gaga concert. Politicians deplore fundraising, so members looking at retirement generally avoid raising money because they don’t need it anymore. Of course, it’s possible Harkin is a Lady Gaga fan.
  • Either way, money talks — and Harkin reported $2.7 million in the bank at the end of September. That’s the second-highest cash on hand of any Democrat up for re-election in 2014. That kind of figure often — but not always — indicates a senator is gearing up for a big campaign.

So does all this point to Harkin running for a sixth term? Who knows — but it seems Braley and other Iowa Democrats might think so.

January 11, 2013

West Virginia: Democrats Begin Positioning to Run for Rockefeller’s Seat

West Virginia: Democrats Begin Positioning to Run for Rockefellers Seat

Rahall is among the Democrats expected to consider running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:15 p.m. | Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s retirement announcement Friday formally kicked off a scramble among West Virginia Democrats, some of whom have been pining to run for an open Senate seat for decades.

Rockefeller thanked his staff and emphasized the progress that has been made on health care in his remarks in Charleston. But West Virginia politicos were absorbed with the future. At least some Democrats said they are relieved that Rockefeller is not running for a sixth term because of his alliance with President Barack Obama, who is very unpopular in the state. Full story

January 10, 2013

DSCC Announces New Hires, Returning Staff for 2014

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced several new additions to its staff for the 2014 midterm election cycle, as well as a few returning aides from 2012, to help the party hold its majority in the Senate.

Matt Canter, who served as communications director last cycle, was promoted to deputy executive director. Working under Executive Director Guy Cecil for a second straight cycle, Canter will serve as the top communications adviser and help manage message operations for all Democratic Senate campaigns. Full story

Report: Obama Campaign Restructure to Assist Policy Push in Second Term

Report: Obama Campaign Restructure to Assist Policy Push in Second Term

A crowd celebrates in front of the White House to celebrate President Barack Obama's re-election on Election Night. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign is set to be reconfigured into an operation that will assist the White House’s policy goals in a second term, CNN reported on Thursday.

Citing a source familiar with the campaign, CNN reported that the operation could be converted to a 501(c)(4) or a super PAC. The restructured organization will be led by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and other top operatives from the campaign, including Stephanie Cutter and Jennifer O’Malley Dillon. Full story

December 28, 2012

Massachusetts: National Democrats Coalesce Behind Markey

National Democrats moved swiftly on Friday to close ranks behind Rep. Edward J. Markey as their candidate to run to succeed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry upon his confirmation as the next secretary of State.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado released a statement endorsing Markey shortly after Kerry did the same on Friday afternoon.

“Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around,” Bennet said. “He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate.” Full story

December 12, 2012

DSCC Chairman Bennet Named to Finance Committee

DSCC Chairman Bennet Named to Finance Committee

Sen. Michael Bennet will serve on the Finance Committee in the 113th Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has landed a coveted seat on the Senate Finance Committee after agreeing to serve as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Denver Post is reporting.

Finance is one of the top committees a member can serve on. The panel has jurisdiction over most legislation that runs through the Senate, making it a plum spot from which to fundraise, including from the banking and financial industries. Those connections could serve Bennet well as he raises money for the DSCC in advance of the 2014 elections.

Leadership on both sides of the aisle often use top committee assignments such as Finance as an incentive for reluctant would-be chairmen to agree to run their party’s campaign committee. One recent example is Sen. Patty Murray, D- Wash., who was named to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in late 2010, soon after committing to run the DSCC.

December 4, 2012

Colorado: State Party Chairmen React to Bennet DSCC Announcement

Colorado: State Party Chairmen React to Bennet DSCC Announcement

Sen. Michael Bennet is the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats reacted favorably Tuesday to news that Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado will lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2014 cycle. But Republicans were quick to criticize the DSCC’s new chairman.

“Unfortunately, Sen. Bennet’s decision to head the DSCC proves that his priorities now lie outside of Colorado and with the special interests of Washington, D.C.,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call wrote in a statement. “Sen. Bennet’s new role as head of the DSCC misplaces his priorities and obligations to the people of Colorado,” he added. Call also noted that Bennet’s 2010 campaign was focused on distancing himself from the image of a Washington insider.

Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio issued a crowing statement on Bennet’s new job.

“As Tea Party groups prepare to take over Senate seats in 2014, the American people will discover what Coloradans already know — voices for mainstream values can win out over shrill partisanship,” Palacio wrote. Like Call’s statement, the Palacio comment returns to  2010 campaign themes — in Bennet’s race, the Democrats used terms such as “extreme” in television advertisements to successfully tie his opponent to the tea party.

Sen. Bennet Named DSCC Chairman

Sen. Bennet Named DSCC Chairman

Bennet will be the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update, 1:30 p.m. | Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2014 cycle, as Democrats look to hold their newly expanded majority.

“Michael is one of the brightest rising stars in the Democratic Party, and he is exactly the right person to lead our efforts over the next two years,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement Tuesday. “Not only does Michael know how to win tough races, he has the trust and loyalty of the entire Democratic caucus behind him.”

Bennet, who turned down the job two years ago, was the top choice, and Reid was expected to inform Senate Democrats of the decision Tuesday during the party’s weekly lunch. Full story

November 7, 2012

Montana: Jon Tester Hangs On, Democrats Expand Majority

Montana: Jon Tester Hangs On, Democrats Expand Majority

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:23 a.m. | The Associated Press this morning declared Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) the winner of his re-election race against Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).

The win means Democrats are guaranteed to have a larger majority in the Senate next year, with at least 54 seats. The open-seat race in North Dakota has still not been called, but Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is currently leading by nearly 3,000 votes over Republican Rep. Rick Berg. If Heitkamp wins, Democrats would have their majority expanded by two seats.

“Jon Tester knows his state like the back of his hand, and he is exactly the type of quality leader we need in the US Senate,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “Montanans saw right through the millions in attack ads from Karl Rove and others.”

With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Tester led Rehberg by about 18,000 votes. Montanans also had a third choice in the race. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox took more than 6 percent of the vote, much of that likely from voters who otherwise would have supported Rehberg.

Update:

“Senator Tester and I share an abiding love for Montana and America, a value which transcends political party or disagreements on matters of policy,” Rehberg said in a statement. “I congratulate Jon on his victory in this hard-fought campaign.”

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