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April 19, 2015

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October 15, 2014

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

The winner of the race between Roberts, left, and Orman, right, will play a major role in deciding the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate.

Republican groups are barraging Kansas with resources and advertising to save a three-term incumbent being challenged by an independent in a solidly GOP state. Democrats, lacking much hope for months of holding an open seat in South Dakota, are all of a sudden dropping $1 million in advertising there — and being matched by Republicans — in a last-second Hail Mary that could possibly save its majority.

Just three weeks remain until Election Day, yet control of the Senate remains a dogfight and more than a handful of seats could conceivably go either way. The GOP has at least 10 states to find a path to six Senate seats and the majority, but — while public polling in most states appears to be moving in its direction — at this point the party has only locked up two Democrat-held seats in a favorable national climate.

Making matters more convoluted are the unknowns surrounding independent candidates Greg Orman in Kansas and Larry Pressler in South Dakota, who have yet to say which caucus they would join.

With so many variables and competitive races, plus potential and competitive runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, the outcome of the midterm elections is anyone’s guess.

But as the votes start rolling in, there’s a chance the result will be one of the following three scenarios: Full story

October 14, 2014

NRSC Airs First South Dakota Ad (Video)

NRSC Airs First South Dakota Ad (Video)

The race for Johnson's seat is heating up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched its first TV ad today in the newest hot race on the competitive Senate playing field, one day after national Democrats released an ad of their own.

The spot, part of the committee’s recently-announced $1 million ad buy in the state, takes aim at Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler — the two greatest challengers to Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds.

“In the race for U.S. Senate, Rick Weiland and Larry Pressler have a lot in common,” the ad’s announcer says, noting they both support the president’s health care law, “strict new gun laws” and higher energy costs. Full story

October 13, 2014

DSCC Raised $16 Million in September

DSCC Raised $16 Million in September

Michael Bennet" src="http://atr.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/bennet_236_0326141-445x296.jpg" alt="2014 senate races" width="445" height="296" />

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Monday that it raised $16 million in September, leaving it with $14.2 million in cash on hand for the final month before Election Day.

That monthly haul brought the DSCC’s total raised this cycle to $127.1 million. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced last week raising more than $97 million cycle-to-date after bringing in $15.5 million in September.

With about three weeks to go, both committees are spending heavily in an ever-shifting slate of competitive states. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate. Full story

October 10, 2014

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

Roberts, left, greets Moran, the NRSC chairman, at an event in their home state of Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated, 9:04 a.m. | TOPEKA, Kan. — With less than four weeks until Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure arm is shifting resources to increase its investment in six states, including South Dakota and Georgia.

The NRSC has moved $1 million to South Dakota, plus another $1.45 million to Georgia.

In South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a $1 million television ad buy this week, on the heels of tightening poll numbers that showed its candidate, Rick Weiland, gaining ground. In Georgia, a new poll suggests a runoff is likely.

Full story

October 9, 2014

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

Republicans are closely keeping tabs on Tillis, right, and the North Carolina Senate race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s decision Wednesday to drop $1 million into South Dakota, a race previously written off as a Republican win, was just the latest shakeup of the Senate landscape this week.

On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee cut its financial investment in Michigan, where an open seat and a favorable national environment had created an opportunity for the party.

With the Senate majority at stake, the national campaign committees and their outside-group allies are constantly re-evaluating races and analyzing where their resources are most needed and best put to use. It’s all part of a real-life game of Tetris, as the groups meticulously watch each other’s moves and look to fit their ads and messaging into a larger picture.

Many of the moves by the NRSC, the DSCC and other outside groups likely will fly under the radar over the next 26 days — though with potential runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, Senate ads actually could be airing on TV into early next year. But others, including spending by the campaigns themselves, will offer definitive signs of a race’s potential competitiveness, as in South Dakota and Michigan.

With less than four weeks to go, here are some big questions about the Senate playing field and where the millions more in spending to come will land: Full story

September 29, 2014

Democrats Dominate Michigan Senate Race Spending (Charts)

Democrats Dominate Michigan Senate Race Spending (Charts)

(Courtesy Echelon Insights)

Outside groups are driving the spending on broadcast television ads in the final months of the Michigan Senate race and Democrats are dominating the spending battle, according to a breakdown compiled by Republican firm Echelon Insights for Terri Lynn Land’s campaign.

Land is running against Democratic Rep. Gary Peters in the open seat contest.

In the past month, 54.89 percent of ad spending in the race has come from outside groups, a higher percentage than any other Senate race in the country, according to the data, provided to CQ Roll Call.

Full story

September 25, 2014

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate Race

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate Race

Hagan speaks with Victor Crosby, 95, on Wednesday during an event with volunteers and supporters at a campaign office in Statesville, N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

STATESVILLE, N.C. — The biggest issue in the North Carolina Senate race? It’s not health care, Syrian airstrikes or even the economy.

It’s education.

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate RaceOften relegated to state and local elections, education has taken a leading role in the race between Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and her GOP opponent, state Speaker Thom Tillis. And in a state steeped in a rich tradition of public schooling, the focus on education is mostly working in Hagan’s favor in this high-stakes race.

At her field office Wednesday evening, Hagan readily brings it up to supporters.

“In the state house, [Tillis] did the tax cuts, then he cut, cut, cut. What did he cut? He cut a half a billion dollars from our education system,” Hagan said. “You know in North Carolina, education has always been a sacred bipartisan priority.” Full story

September 19, 2014

Top Campaign Aides Reveal Picks for #RCReadersChoice

If the campaign committees had their way, Roll Call reporters would be heading to disparate locations during the final stretch of the midterms.

Top Campaign Aides Reveal Picks for #RCReadersChoice

As part of our survey to determine our final campaign stops of the midterms, Roll Call asked top communications aides at each of the four congressional campaign committees for their picks for our next road trip. Not a single one of them chose the same race.

Voting for this round ends Friday at 5 p.m., and two finalists in each category will be announced next week. Until then, here are picks from each communications guru at the House and Senate campaign:

Justin Barasky, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“There are so many great options where Democratic candidates are clearly contrasting their fight for the middle class with the Republicans allegiance to the Koch brothers, but I would vote for North Carolina where Speaker Tillis’ devastating education cuts are ending his chances.

Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

“Kansas is lovely this time of year. It’s about time reporters asked the Obama supporting, Reid donating, felon-friendly Democrat Greg Orman a few questions. The first couple should be centered on Orman’s shady business deals with convicted insider trader Rajat Gupta. ” Full story

September 17, 2014

Cotton’s Softer Side Displayed in Senate Race (Video)

Cottons Softer Side Displayed in Senate Race (Video)

Cotton is challenging Pryor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton’s campaign kicked off the final sprint to November with advertising designed to soften the image of one of the GOP’s most-touted Senate recruits.

The freshman congressman, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, boasts multiple Harvard degrees, military service and broad support across the GOP spectrum. His political advantages also include a state trending Republican and a midterm cycle featuring a second-term Democratic president with a 31 percent approval rating in Arkansas, according to a recent NBC News/Marist poll.

But Cotton is running against a two-term senator with a respected brand name, which has given Pryor an advantage some of his fellow red-state Democratic colleagues don’t share. Cotton, who was a first-time candidate in 2012 and has represented just a quarter of the state for less than two years, had the added challenge of boosting his relatively low name ID while refining his skills on the stump. Full story

September 16, 2014

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

A new report says congressional candidates aren't raising as much money as a whole this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Residents of states with competitive House and Senate races may not believe it, but congressional candidate spending has decreased in 2014, according to a review by the Federal Election Commission released Tuesday.

Congressional candidates raised more than $1.1 billion combined in the first 18 months of the midterm elections. Of those funds, candidates spent $767 million as of June 30, which marked the end of the second quarter of the year.

Both of those figures are down from 2012, when candidates had raised $1.2 billion at the same point in the cycle. In fact, this cycle’s total is the lowest amount raised in this period since 2008.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 5:49 p.m.
DCCC, DSCC, FEC, NRCC, NRSC

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

Braley is the target of another NRSC ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a TV ad in Iowa Tuesday that criticizes Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for his attendance record on the House floor and a committee he served.

The NRSC Independent Expenditure Committee ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is at least the second one to slam Braley for missing a significant number of committee hearings.

This one hits the congressman for his time on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, as well as for missing more votes than any other Iowa member. A previous spot from GOP-aligned Freedom Partners hit Braley for skipping Veterans’ Affairs hearings. Full story

DSCC Topped NRSC in August Fundraising

DSCC Topped NRSC in August Fundraising

Senate Democratic leaders hope to hold the majority in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Tuesday it raised $7.7 million in August, topping its Republican counterpart and bringing its total raised for the cycle to more than $111 million.

With spending on independent-expenditure advertising and a field operation picking up, the DSCC ended last month with more than $25 million in cash on hand. Full story

September 15, 2014

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat seeking re-election this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As national analysts say the odds are increasingly against them, Democratic senators and senior operatives remain optimistic the party’s most vulnerable incumbents can survive stiff re-election challenges, even in red states where the president’s popularity is sunk.

With his national approval ratings mired in the low 40s seven weeks out from the Nov. 4 elections, Senate Democrats are well aware of the anchor President Barack Obama is proving to be in the midterms. It’s clear party strategists have had to tailor their red-state strategies around that reality on a map already tilted against them, with three principles at the crux of Democrats’ path to defend seats in GOP-leaning and solidly Republican states where the majority will be won or lost.

As Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil outlined in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call, it’s imperative for Democrats in these states to remind voters why they supported the incumbent in the first place, to over-perform generic Democratic numbers and continue to fund persuasion efforts — along with getting out the vote — through Election Day.

“The president’s ratings are a factor in our elections, but they are not the only factor in our elections,” Cecil said, noting the tens of millions of dollars being spent on advertising and the DSCC’s field campaign efforts. Full story

September 8, 2014

NRSC Signs Ron Bonjean for IE Communications

NRSC Signs Ron Bonjean for IE Communications

Bonjean with then-Speaker Dennis Hastert in 2006. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has signed up veteran GOP consultant Ron Bonjean for its independent expenditure unit.

Bonjean, a partner at Singer Bonjean Strategies and a former senior Capitol Hill aide, will handle communications for the side of the committee that manages consulting teams and tens of millions in media spending. He joined late last week, with two months to go in the midterm cycle, as Republicans push to pick up at least six Senate seats.

“It’s an honor to be part of a great team that is working overtime to achieve a Senate Republican majority,” Bonjean said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 1:57 p.m.
NRSC

August 28, 2014

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Hagan is tied to the president in a new GOP ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is going up with a new ad Tuesday to combat Democratic ads attacking him for cuts to education.

The state House speaker faces Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in one of the most competitive races and likely the most expensive. The ad is the first of a $1.4 million coordinated buy with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Democrats have reserved $9.1 million in air time through the election. The party’s first two ads focused on cuts to education made by the legislature under Tillis’ leadership.

Tillis rebuts those claims in the new ad, in which he illustrates on a classroom whiteboard how often Hagan votes with President Barack Obama. Full story

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