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Maine’s Angus King, one of two independents serving in the Senate, is endorsing two colleagues on Friday: New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Republican Susan Collins.
Collins, who lost to King in the 1994 gubernatorial race, is a solid favorite for re-election, despite the fact President Barack Obama carried Maine by double digits in both 2008 and 2012.
“I think she’s one of the Senate’s MVP’s — smart, tough, and always willing to listen,” King said in a statement shared with CQ Roll Call. “In my book, she’s a model senator and I’m delighted to support her re-election.”
Despite Collins’ advantage, the endorsement, which was first reported by the Associated Press, is nonetheless noteworthy because King caucuses with Senate Democrats. Collins is being challenged by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who released a statement Friday noting that King gave her a heads-up about his endorsement.
Retiring North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. as his successor, touting the candidate’s experience and conservative credentials.
“It’s clear to me that Phil Berger is the right conservative for the job,” Coble, 83, said in a statement. “He has the experience, knowledge and determination to hit the ground running in Washington.” Full story
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed attorney David Trott in his Republican primary challenge to freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan’s 11th District.
Bentivolio is one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle. Many on Capitol Hill refer to him as an “accidental congressman” because he came to Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s 2012 ballot implosion.
“On behalf of the U.S. Chamber, I am proud to support Dave Trott for Congress,” said Rob Engstrom, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and national political director. “Dave has a strong record of creating jobs and promoting the principles of free enterprise and leadership in the private sector.”
House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan will endorse former state Sen. Tony Strickland in a competitive open-seat House race in California, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.
Strickland is one of eight candidates running in the June 3 top-two primary for the 25th District seat, and the endorsement from the Wisconsin Republican and former vice presidential nominee could help provide some separation from the pack.
“Tony Strickland has a long record of fighting for taxpayers in Sacramento, and that’s why we need him in Washington,” Ryan said in a statement. “I support Tony because I know that if he’s elected to Congress, he will help me balance the budget, pay down our debt, and create new jobs.”
In North Carolina, state Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon, and Pastor Mark Harris are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a marquee race that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.
Further down the ballot, an American Idol runner-up hopes he’ll have better luck in a Tar Heel State House race and longtime Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., will try to avoid becoming the first incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Ohio, a spirited challenger — perhaps best known for parodying a Cialis commercial in his bid — will attempt to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner.
In North Carolina, the contests could drag out for months. Primaries for Senate, the 6th and 12th Districts might continue to a runoff on July 15 if no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote.
Here are six things to watch in those races and others on Tuesday: Full story
Less than 24 hours before polls open in North Carolina on Tuesday, high-profile reinforcements are sending support in the state’s competitive primary for Senate.
On Monday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney endorsed the primary’s front-runner, North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis.
Tillis must receive more than 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff this summer, and national Republicans are helping him get his best shot at ousting the incumbent, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in November. If there’s a runoff, Tillis will have to spend two months battling the second place finisher in the primary — either Dr. Greg Brannon or Mark Harris, a pastor — instead of being able to focus on Hagan.
“Tomorrow is the first step in regaining a majority in the US Senate,” Romney wrote in an email blasted out by the Tillis campaign. “I hope Thom and I can count on your vote tomorrow in this critical primary!” Full story
A trio of Republican presidential prospects is facing off in North Carolina by throwing their weight behind the top three contenders in the state’s high-stakes GOP primary for Senate.
Most recently, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed the frontrunner, state Speaker Thom Tillis, on Thursday.
“I am confident that the road to a majority runs through Thom Tillis in North Carolina,” Bush wrote in an email to Tillis supporters.
A candidate must get 40 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary to avoid a July runoff in the Tar Heel State. The winner will face Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle. Full story
Other Republicans backed by Romney this cycle include Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, who is facing a competitive GOP primary next month, state Del. Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s open 10th District, and state Sen. Joni Ernst for Iowa’s open Senate seat, among others.
“I am proud to support Andy Tobin for Congress,” Romney said in a statement. “Andy is a proven conservative whose leadership in Arizona has been crucial to cutting state government spending, lowering taxes and fighting to stop ObamaCare.” Full story
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has endorsed businessman Curt Clawson with days to go in the Republican primary race to replace former Florida Rep. Trey Radel.
Clawson’s announcement of the endorsement offered no statement from the retiring congresswoman, but the candidate heaped praise on Bachmann, the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
“Congresswoman Bachmann was tea party before there was a tea party, and after this year she will be missed in Congress,” Clawson said. “With a victory next Tuesday, we can continue the work she has started to protect our Constitution and restore fiscal integrity to Washington.”
Clawson faces a competitive primary on Tuesday. His chief rivals are state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.
Bachmann joins several national Republicans who backed candidates in the race for Florida’s 19th District. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also endorsed Clawson. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and two members of Congress recently backed Benacquisto.
The winner of the primary is likely to win the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, endorsed former state Speaker T.W. Shannon in Oklahoma’s Senate special election, marking the latest tea party leader to back his candidacy in the Sooner State.
Shannon will face GOP Rep. James Lankford, as well as a handful of other lesser-known Republicans, in a June 24 special election primary. There is a special election because Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has announced he will vacate his Senate seat at the end of this Congress, two years before his term expires in 2016.
“T.W. Shannon is a strong Constitutional conservative who will fight for individual liberty and help turn our country around,” Cruz said in a Wednesday news release. “T.W. embodies the American dream. I’m proud to offer T.W. my enthusiastic endorsement because not only will he vote the right way, but he’ll stand up and fight with us in the Senate to stop President Obama’s assault on our liberties and defend America’s founding principles.”
“I will give Tom every measure that I possibly can. Whether it’s fundraising, whether it’s personal help, whatever I can do I’m there more than 100 percent to ensure that Tom Emmer is the next member of the United States Congress,” Bachmann said at a news conference Tuesday, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Over the weekend, Emmer received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota in the Gopher State’s 6th District. He defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie to earn the state party’s seal of approval.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed Republican businessman Curt Clawson in the upcoming special election for a House seat in Florida.
Clawson, who has loaned his campaign more than $2.6 million and released a TV ad Monday, is running in the highly competitive April 22 primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. His chief rivals are state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.
“Washington is desperate for outside leadership, Curt Clawson is an outsider who will bring refreshing ideas to the halls of Congress,” Paul said in a statement. “I urge the voters of Florida’s 19th Congressional District to send Curt to Washington.” Full story
The two women leading the effort to support female candidates in Republican primaries endorsed Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto in the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.
Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri and Diane Black of Tennessee both used the word “trust” in their statements about Benacquisto, who faces businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 special primary.
“The people of the 19th District have lost faith in their elected officials. And the only candidate that can restore the sacred foundation of trust and integrity is Lizbeth Benacquisto,” Wagner said. “I am proud to endorse Lizbeth because she is the only conservative in this race that will get the job done.” Full story
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., endorsed attorney and Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity President Elan Carr on Monday in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.
“We need leaders like Elan who place service to others above all else,” Cantor said in a statement released by the Carr campaign. “Elan understands the importance of maintaining a strong and agile military and he understands that we need to come together to get America working again. I am proud to support Elan’s campaign this year.”
Carr is one of just a few Republicans vying for the solidly Democratic district based in some of the wealthier parts of Los Angeles. Cantor’s endorsement could help Carr coalesce the Republican vote in an effort to advance beyond the June 3 top-two primary, which features a crowded Democratic field. Full story
Retiring Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has endorsed former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop for the GOP nomination to succeed him in Congress.
“Mike Bishop is the right conservative for the 8th District,” Rogers said in a Monday news release. “Bishop will stand up to liberal policies of the Obama administration, just like he stood up and fought for us against the liberal policies of the Granholm administration.”