- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
- Political Ads Flood the Airwaves
- Bonus Quote of the Day
- Rubio Changes Tune on Immigration
Posts in "On the Trail"
April 22, 2013
Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch resumed their Senate special-election campaigns on Monday. It’s been one week since the two Bay State Democrats suspended political activities after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Though we are still saddened by last week's events, we must move forward.Today we will be respectfully restarting the campaign. #masen— Stephen F. Lynch (@lynchforsenate) April 22, 2013
Markey’s spokesman confirmed via email that he will start campaigning again, although neither candidate is running television ads yet:
November 1, 2012
DOSWELL, Va. — Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate candidate George Allen rallied the GOP faithful today to begin a final joint push across this crucial battleground state.
In the second event of a three-stop tour, several hundred supporters donning stickers for Romney, Allen and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crowded into the expansive Farm Bureau Center outside Richmond to hear the nominees for president and Senate. Full story
October 31, 2012
PALATINE, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R) and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) have polar opposite personalities and politics. But they have one unusual similarity in this House race: They are both battling their national profiles to win this northwestern suburban Chicago House seat.
An unlikely victor last cycle, Walsh embodies the feisty tea party spirit of 2010 but made headlines on cable news for his rookie gaffes. Duckworth, a double amputee, is a Democratic darling who missed an opportunity to win a 2006 Congressional race at the height of the country’s anti-war frustration.
This cycle’s contest would have been a clash of two political movements if all signs didn’t point to a Democratic victory. But Duckworth picked up a few campaign tricks in the past six years, becoming a better candidate since she lost to now-Rep. Peter Roskam (R) by 2 points. Her fan base extends downstate to Democrats in Springfield, who redrew the 8th district to be more favorable to the party and to include her Hoffman Estates home. Full story
LEMONT, Ill. — Rep. Judy Biggert built a reputation as a genteel Republican willing to work across the aisle during her 14 years in Congress.
But politics has changed, and Biggert has not.
“The last time I went to the Civility Caucus, there were three people there: the two co-chairs and me,” Biggert recalled to a roundtable of local business leaders last week.
Today, one of those co-chairmen is the head of the organization that has already spent $1.35 million to defeat her next week: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.).
Biggert has never faced a race like this — and it shows. Now there’s a good chance her hesitance to embrace the aggressive tactics of today’s politics could cost her in her race against former Rep. Bill Foster (D). Full story
October 30, 2012
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Robert Dold boasts the dubious distinction of representing the most Democratic district of any Republican Member of the House.
If he’s lucky, Dold will keep that title next year in this redrawn district north of Chicago.
“Where is Zion?” asked his daughter Harper, 10, studying an atlas from the front seat of Dold’s blue, decorated campaign bus early Saturday afternoon. “Is this the right map?”
That’s probably the same question Dold asked himself 16 months ago, when Democrats redrew the Congressional map in Illinois. Democrats unsuccessfully dumped millions into the 10th district during the past three cycles, so Dold began his first term as a top target, even before the redrawn map made his road to a second term more challenging. Full story
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Democratic hopes of winning the House majority have been quashed, but in this northern Chicago suburb’s crowded village hall on a Saturday morning, one can see the glimmer of what might have been.
At this single location, early voters wait an hour to cast ballots in one of three redrawn Congressional districts. The hall serves as a symbol of the extent to which Democrats redrew the lines of the state’s map to their advantage.
Throughout the cycle, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) repeated these words: “The road to the majority runs through Illinois.” But less than week before Election Day, it’s clear that Democrats won’t net the 25 seats needed to regain the Speaker’s gavel, and it’s equally clear they won’t make as many gains in Illinois as they had hoped. Full story
October 25, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS — By now, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock should know when to hold his tongue.
But the Republican Senate nominee, who’s been in Indiana politics for more than two decades, has a habit of speaking freely, frequently.
Many Hoosiers agree with his ideology, but Mourdock’s errors are political. As a result, less than two weeks before Election Day, Mourdock’s greatest hurdle to winning a Senate seat is himself.
“Richard doesn’t really believe in a filter,” said one Hoosier Republican and Mourdock ally, who declined to criticize the nominee on the record. “He is who he is and refuses to compromise for expediency.”
On Tuesday evening, Mourdock described pregnancy that results from rape as “something that God intended to happen” in response to an open-ended question on abortion. He delivered a tearful apology the next day to those who misunderstood his comments, which he described as not “articulate.”
The comments sent the Indiana race into turmoil two weeks before Election Day, just as Mourdock regained his footing against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) following a rocky September for Republicans nationwide.
October 23, 2012
MARIETTA, Ohio — Many Ohio voters describe Josh Mandel as a “young” 35. His hairless chin and wiry frame means even his supporters underestimate his age by a decade.
“He looks 25,” said John Walsh, 72, a retired businessman loafing at the Skyline Café on a Friday afternoon.
“Earlier, you said he looked 19,” called out Steve Barros, the 55-year-old coffee shop owner, across the counter.
“It’s a good thing,” explained Walsh, a registered Republican. “You don’t have to be old to be smart.”
But the state treasurer’s youthful appearance hasn’t made it easier for him in his race against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). Image matters in politics, especially in a populous state such as Ohio, with 12 million residents. Most voters will never meet Mandel, but they will see his visage on television.
October 22, 2012
MARIETTA, Ohio — State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s internal polling shows a statistically tied race with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and the Republican says he has a path to victory even if Mitt Romney doesn’t win the crucial Buckeye State.
According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll taken Oct. 16-17, Mandel and Brown were virtually tied at 44 percent to 43 percent.
Most recent independent public polling shows Brown with a high single-digit lead, and Roll Call continues to rate this race as Leans Democratic. Republicans privately acknowledge Romney must win the Buckeye State for Mandel to succeed in toppling Brown.
But Mandel disputes that.
“While I believe he’s going to win and I’m doing everything I can to help him, we believe we have a path to victory, whether or not he wins,” Mandel said during an interview Friday on a downtown stoop in this river town bordering West Virginia. Full story
October 21, 2012
HOPKINTON, Mass. — Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) told the story here on Saturday of how he came to politics. It began with an undergraduate, floundering at Stetson University, who came upon a picture of fellow students meeting then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
As Cleland, a triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran who served in the Senate from 1997 to 2003, spoke about the spark of inspiration that photo lit in his mind, Kennedy’s grandson, Congressional candidate Joe Kennedy III, stood behind him.
Cleland, 70, on a tour of events in support of Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren, took a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of Kennedy, 32, introducing him. And then he gave the candidate, running for the open seat in the 4th district, his endorsement.
“Hearing Joe talk about public service, I wouldn’t be here at all without some of his forebearers,” he told a rapt audience. Full story
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — It’s less than three weeks before Election Day, and Rep. Steve Stivers (R) appears relaxed for the first time in six years.
After running in the battleground state’s most competitive House district for two cycles, Stivers will coast to re-election in November — thanks to redistricting.
“They were brutal,” Stivers said of his 2008 and 2010 races, while lining up to drive with his toddler, Sarah, in the Pumpkin Show Parade here. After the GOP-led redraw, “we’re not on anybody’s target list,” Stivers added.
That’s a first. Full story
October 20, 2012
MELROSE, Mass. — Top Senate surrogates descended on Massachusetts this weekend to stump for their party’s candidates and gin up excitement in the competitive Senate race and rough and tumble Congressional contest here.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) this morning stood shoulder to shoulder with Sen. Scott Brown (R) on a stage surrounded by hundreds of sign-waving supporters.
After Brown gave a fiery version of his stump speech, McCain took the microphone. “I’ve been traveling the country for various candidates,” said McCain, who received a hero’s welcome of loud and sustained applause. “This man is the one I want most in the United States Senate working side by side.”
Later, McCain smiled and shook hands on stage with Congressional candidate Richard Tisei, who had spoken earlier. Full story
October 17, 2012
CANTON, Ohio — The auto industry reigns in this northeastern corner of the Buckeye State, and three years after Congress passed Cash for Clunkers, the issue persists on the campaign trail.
So it’s serendipitous that a former car dealership owner, freshman Rep. Jim Renacci (R), faces the program’s chief sponsor, Rep. Betty Sutton (D), in the 16th district.
“As a car dealer, of course I saw car sales go up for the two months the programs was in place,” Renacci said in a Tuesday afternoon interview. “But for the next five months, I saw new car sales go down. That’s a problem. All we did was pull sales forward.”
The Cash for Clunkers program, passed in 2009 with bipartisan support from Ohio Members, gave drivers up to $4,500 to buy a new fuel-efficient car by trading in their used vehicle. Renacci shut the doors on his Chevrolet dealership in nearby Wadsworth during his 2010 bid for Congress. Full story
October 14, 2012
SAN DIEGO — Democrat Scott Peters on Saturday rallied more than 400 labor volunteers who were preparing to canvass for voters across the city to support his bid to oust Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) in California’s newly drawn 52nd district and to help Democrats running in other local races.
Before setting out on a chilly (for this city) morning, state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (I), who made national headlines earlier this year when he left the GOP during his run for mayor, introduced Peters to the large labor council gathering in a parking lot near Qualcomm Stadium, home of the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers.
With early voting under way in the Golden State, it was part of Peters’ initial push in this Tossup race — one that he participated in as he knocked on doors in the company of Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) to ask voters for their support. Full story
October 11, 2012
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — Rarely is politics described as a contact sport in the literal sense, but the exception happened today toward the end of a feisty debate between Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman at a community college in the San Fernando Valley.
Things escalated toward the end of the debate, during an argument over Berman’s leadership on the DREAM Act. The debate was held in front of a largely Hispanic crowd of more than 200 enthusiastic Pierce College students and members of the community, Full story