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December 23, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

November 12, 2014

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

Perdue, center, speaks with reporters as he and his fellow newly elected GOP senators walk from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to Minority Whip John Cornyn's office in the Capitol Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The morning after he won Georgia’s open Senate seat, Republican David Perdue was asked on “Fox & Friends” how he avoided a runoff when every available poll had shown a tight race.

It was the question of the day in the Democrats’ best pickup opportunity — where millions of dollars poured in from both sides during the final month of the contest, yet the Republican emerged with an unexpectedly large 8-point victory.

His answer indicated the Perdue campaign may have been the only ones not in the dark.

“Our pollster, Chris Perkins, had it pegged all along,” the former corporate CEO and first-time candidate responded. Full story

November 11, 2014

How Elise Stefanik Became the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

How Elise Stefanik Became the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

Stefanik leaves the Capitol Hill Club with aide Anthony Pileggi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik’s path to victory in New York reflected the trajectory of the midterms nationally, as Republicans invaded Democratic territory to make double-digit gains in the House.

But in so many other ways, Stefanik’s dominant win was of her own making.

Stefanik defeated a wealthy Democrat, Aaron Woolf, by more than 20 points in a district the president carried just a couple years ago. At 30 years old, she’s the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and New York Republicans now tout her as the future of their party.

But that’s nowhere close to where Stefanik started the cycle in the upstate wilderness. Full story

November 4, 2014

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won’t be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states. That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.

Still, with runoffs likely in two competitive states, potentially razor-thin margins in a few races and vote-counting complications in Alaska, there are several hurdles to one party having clear control of the Senate by the time the sun rises Wednesday on the East Coast. Full story

November 3, 2014

The Other House Race in Louisiana

The Other House Race in Louisiana

Graves is one of the top GOP candidates in the crowded race in Louisiana's 6th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Though the fate of the “kissing congressman” in Louisiana is garnering some attention outside of the Pelican State, a crowded race to the south with its own colorful characters is wide open — at least on the Republican side.

Ten candidates are vying to replace Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who vacated his seat to challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu. Among them are state lawmakers, a tree farmer and an ex-governor/ex-congressman/felon. Since the Republican candidates are ideologically similar, there is no clear GOP frontrunner heading into Election Day.

“I think you’ve seen that all of the candidates are campaigning as conservatives so it would be difficult to contrast any of the Republican candidates’ policy stances,” Jason Dore, executive director for the Louisiana Republican Party, told CQ Roll Call. Full story

October 27, 2014

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat

Edwards, right, motivates campaign volunteers for Foust, left, in Manassas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MANASSAS, Va. — Democrat John Foust’s campaign boasts it has made 960,000 phone calls, knocked on 120,000 doors and registered 1,500 new voters in the quest for Virginia’s open 10th District.

But on a crisp Saturday afternoon in Manassass, just 10 days before Election Day, Foust asked his volunteers for a few more hours of help — and he brought in Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., for some last-minute motivation.

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat“John has done everything right,” Edwards told the crowd of about 40 volunteers packed into a Democratic Party of Virginia’s campaign office, which was covered in signs for Foust and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is also on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“He has raised the money, he has got the message and right now he’s got the momentum because you’re knocking on doors, and so I just want to thank you,” added Edwards, who made the short trip to Foust’s district with her arm in a sling after dislocating her shoulder the day before.

Foust, a tall, mustachioed and soft-spoken supervisor in Fairfax County, needs the last-minute help.

Full story

October 24, 2014

DCCC Polls Hawaii House Race

DCCC Polls Hawaii House Race

Djou served in Congress for several months in 2010. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Democratic poll shows the party’s nominee in an open House contest in Hawaii with a 7-point lead over the Republican.

State Rep. Mark Takai, a Democrat, led former Republican Rep. Charles Djou, 49 percent to 42 percent, according to the survey, which was conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Public polling has shown a closer race, either a dead heat or with Djou slightly leading Takai. Both are seeking to succeed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat who lost the primary for Senate earlier this year.

This week, American Action Network, a GOP group, went up with $300,000 on Honolulu broadcast attacking Takai’s past comments on taxes. They hope Djou will upset the Aloha State’s 1st District, which voted for President Barack Obama by a 41-percent margin in 2012.

On Friday, the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call to moved the race rating to Leans Democratic.

Full story

October 23, 2014

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Mooney is the Republican running in West Virginia's 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:37 p.m. | National Democrats and Republicans will make major television buys in an off-the-radar House race in West Virginia, according to party sources tracking ad buys.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee intends to purchase $600,000 in airtime in West Virginia’s 2nd District, an open-seat race to succeed Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. The National Republican Congressional Committee will also make a $250,000 buy in Charleston through Election Day. Full story

5 Sleeper House Races

5 Sleeper House Races

Keating is a Massachusetts Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the midst of wall-to-wall political coverage before Election Day, this handful of House races have managed to mostly fly under the radar.

These are sleeper races, from Arkansas to West Virginia, where the district’s partisan breakdown does not reflect the competitive nature of the race.

As little as two weeks ago, some of these contests were completely overlooked by national political operatives. But new polling suggests these races — like many more competitive contests — are closing, creating eleventh-hour opportunities for the parties.

To be sure, these seats won’t necessarily flip party control on Nov. 4. But thanks to recent events, they should make any election night watch list.

In alphabetical order, here are five sleeper House races of 2014:

Arkansas’ 2nd District Full story

October 20, 2014

Michelle Nunn’s Big Challenge: Breaking 50 Percent

Michelle Nunns Big Challenge: Breaking 50 Percent

Nunn is introduced by state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims at an April campaign event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The competitive open-seat Senate race in Georgia has become an unwanted liability for Republicans’ chances of winning a majority, but Democrat Michelle Nunn still has a perilous path to win a majority of the vote on Nov. 4.

National Republicans, who just spent $1.4 million more to support their nominee, say David Perdue is still ahead. But his comments about his “outsourcing” past have undoubtedly breathed new life into the Nunn campaign — and given national Democrats their best offensive opportunity.

Still, with a third-party candidate expected to take a chunk of votes, an unfavorable national climate and a small margin for error in this Republican-leaning state, Nunn has several hurdles standing in the way of her best chance for victory — winning a majority of the vote on Election Day. Perdue would be favored in a Jan. 6 runoff because turning out the vote then would be an even heavier lift for Democrats.

“The numbers are strong,” said state Rep. Stacey Abrams, who recently led a statewide voter registration drive aimed at young minorities. “It’s certainly all about turnout, which is a generic trope, but real. If we can turn out the voters, she can win in November. But we have to be prepared for any eventuality, and I think the campaign is prepared for that.” Full story

For House GOP, a Wave … Or a Trickle?

For House GOP, a Wave ... Or a Trickle?

Kirkpatrick is one of the most endangered Democrats this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are on track to make gains this cycle, but two weeks before Election Day, it’s still unclear whether the party will procure a wave of double-digit gains in their quest to extend the majority.

Members of Congress and operatives alike note this is a toxic time for Democrats on the ballot that should result in huge losses for the president’s party. But a race-by-race evaluation of the House map shows Republicans are more likely in a position to pick up a net of around six seats this cycle.

“After two successful cycles for House Republicans, the playing field confines the upper limits of pickups that can be had,” said Brock McCleary, a Republican pollster.

Public surveys show President Barack Obama’s unpopularity, as events in the Middle East and Ebola on the home front drag down Democrats coast to coast. House Democrats are defending more seats than Republicans this cycle.

But this midterm is shaping up to be one of the most perplexing in recent memory. Both parties are on offense, and both parties are on defense. In private polling, dozens of races are too close to call. Given the unpredictability, it’s also possible the next 14 days could exacerbate Democratic losses.

Here’s why most political operatives estimate Republican will have a net gain in the mid-single digits:

Full story

NRCC Cuts TV Buy in Maine

NRCC Cuts TV Buy in Maine

Cain is the Democratic nominee in Maine's 2nd District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is cutting the last two weeks of its television reservations in Maine’s 2nd District, according to a committee spokeswoman.

The NRCC originally reserved $1.6 million for the open-seat race to succeed Rep. Michael H. Michaud, a Democrat who is running for governor. The committee spent $965,000 of that reservation, but will now shift the remaining funds to offensive seats elsewhere.

“We have put Democrats on defense in Maine, and we are increasing our buys in several offensive seats,” NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told Roll Call on Monday.

The committee will now add six-figure sums to four other offensive opportunity races: Full story

October 17, 2014

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Ernst, right, is running for Senate as a Republican in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A competitive Senate contest in the Hawkeye State is creating a ripple effect down ballot, causing headaches for national Democrats as Election Day nears.

Recent polls show state Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, with a small lead over Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat. But the Republican’s advantage has percolated to three of Iowa’s four House contests, keeping one competitive district in contention for Republicans, plus putting two Democratic seats in play.

In particular, Ernst’s performance is buoying former Capitol Hill aide David Young, the Republican nominee in the competitive 3rd District, which is currently rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Privately, Iowa Republican operatives said Young is running a lackluster campaign against former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat.

In the end, Ernst might be the one to pull him over the edge.

“I do think it looks to be like a pretty good year for Republicans in Iowa,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative. “It’s kind of a nail biter, but both Young and Ernst should be able to pull this out if we keep the momentum.”

Full story

October 13, 2014

House Majority Pac Shifts Ad Time in New Jersey Race

House Majority Pac Shifts Ad Time in New Jersey Race

MacArthur is a Republican running for the House in the Garden State's 3rd District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC that boosts House Democrats, recently delayed a week’s worth of advertising in New Jersey’s 3rd District in the final stretch of the campaign.

Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur are running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jon Runyan in one of a few races left on the map where Democrats remain on offense. The district, which is reached via the pricey Philadelphia media market, is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

House Majority PAC moved a massive broadcast television reservation for the week of Oct. 14, pushing it back and splitting it in half over broadcast airwaves for the two final weeks of the midterms, according to the super PAC’s Executive Director Ali Lapp. She told CQ Roll Call it is undetermined if the group will follow through with its Philadelphia ad reservation through Election Day.

Full story

October 9, 2014

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Young hopes to keep Iowa's 3rd District in the Republican column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Former state Sen. Staci Appel has opened up a significant single-digit lead over her Republican opponent in a competitive open-seat race in Iowa, according to a tracking poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Appel led former Capitol Hill aide David Young, 49 percent to 42 percent, according to the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll. Nine percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll showed Appel increasing her lead from the DCCC’s last poll on Sept. 15, when Appel led Young 47 percent to 44 percent. 

Full story

October 8, 2014

Democrat Responds to DSCC’s South Dakota Gamble

Democrat Responds to DSCCs South Dakota Gamble

Reid is the Senate majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will run $1 million in advertising in the South Dakota Senate race — a welcome, but not surprising development for the campaign of Democrat Rick Weiland.

A Weiland campaign senior adviser and veteran Democratic operative said he expected the move, given Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s interest in remaining in charge. Steve Jarding, a South Dakota native who helped elect future Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in 1986 and worked for four years at the DSCC, told CQ Roll Call moments after Bloomberg Politics broke the story on Wednesday that he had a feeling the national party would eventually invest there.

The DSCC did so, despite the race being seen for months as a likely Republican win and the well-known feud between Daschle and Reid, who had tried to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

“I think he’s coming in because this race is getting too close,” Jarding said he’s told people for months. “The reason I believe he’ll come in when the race gets close is, being majority leader means way, way, way, way, way more to Harry Reid than does fighting with Tom Daschle. If this is the 51st seat, Reid will be here.” Full story

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