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Posts in "Outside Groups"
August 12, 2014
The flood gates opened Tuesday when the House campaign committees began the barrage of fall television advertisements.
Exactly a year ago, CQ Roll Call predicted the House’s fall campaign ad wars would begin as early as mid-August, creeping back a few weeks from the traditional start around Labor Day. Now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and several top tier House candidates rolled out their first television spots of the cycle.
To be sure, some House candidates and outside groups have already been airing general election spots. But these new television ads mark the committee’s first major independent expenditures of the season — and the start of the campaign airwaves war that will only intensify through November.
August 4, 2014
Former Rep. Hansen Clarke’s hopes of returning to Congress in a definitive Tuesday primary might be just that for the Michigan Democrat — hopes.
He’s attempting to leverage his name recognition as a former one-term member, but Clarke’s top two Democratic rivals, state Rep. Rudy Hobbs and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, have major political heft behind their campaigns. Several of Clarke’s former colleagues have lined up behind his opponents, and others expressed doubt about his prospects of coming back to Congress.
“I wanted Hansen to come back, but Hansen didn’t get any labor endorsements,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., who is neutral in the race, in between votes last week. “I think that that’s almost fatal.” Full story
July 31, 2014
The Club for Growth’s independent expenditure arm has started airing television spots again on behalf of Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., according to Federal Election Commission records.
The move could be indicative that Amash is in some political jeopardy just days ahead of the August 5 primary.
Amash is fending off a primary challenge from former East Grand Rapids School Trustee Brian Ellis, a self-funding candidate with endorsements from a slew of business-friendly groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The club is one of several tea party groups and members of Congress who are circling their wagons around the libertarian-minded Amash.
July 25, 2014
The League of Conservation Voters is spending $380,000 on a TV ad campaign over the next two weeks to boost Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.
Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of Daniel K. Inouye in December 2012, faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the competitive nomination fight. They’re running to serve the remaining two years of Inouye’s term.
LCV’s first ad, which begins running Saturday, focuses on the threat of climate change to Hawaii and states Schatz is “holding corporate polluters who cause it accountable.” It also highlights the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s recent endorsement of him. Full story
July 22, 2014
Freedom Partners, a group affiliated with the Koch Brothers, has purchased at least $2.8 million in airtime in North Carolina to boost the GOP’s bid to pick up the state’s Senate seat, two sources told CQ Roll Call.
The airtime will benefit state Speaker Thom Tillis, who faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a competitive race that could determine which party holds the Senate next year. Full story
July 21, 2014
With the Georgia Republican Senate runoff ending Tuesday, an outside group focused on eradicating wasteful government spending launched a TV ad against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.
The group, Ending Spending Action Fund, spent more than $200,000 to produce and place the ad, according to an independent expenditure report filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission. It also spent more than $28,000 on opposition research.
The 30-second ad, which is running statewide and kicked off over the weekend, was timed to run just as either Rep. Jack Kingston or former corporate CEO David Perdue wins the Republican nomination and the general election officially begins. The seat in this Republican-leaning state is one of Democrats’ only pickup opportunities. Full story
July 17, 2014
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed GOP Rep. Justin Amash’s primary challenger in Michigan’s 3rd District.
The group’s support could translate into television airtime for Brian Ellis, a former East Grand Rapids School Trustee, before the Aug. 5 primary. The primary has become one of this cycle’s top battles inside the GOP, with the party’s libertarian wing backing Amash and national business interests boosting Ellis.
“The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Brian Ellis’ congressional campaign to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and National Political Director Rob Engstrom said in a Thursday statement.
July 16, 2014
House Democrats don’t have much in their favor in the upcoming elections — except their bank accounts.
There’s a sour national political environment, a history of the president’s party losing seats in midterms and an unfavorable congressional map drawn mostly by Republicans. But less than four months before Election Day, it’s clear that House Democrats have a major financial advantage among their candidates and committees that is already translating to television airtime for the fall.
On average, Democrats in competitive House races have more than one-third more in the bank than their Republican opponents, according to a CQ Roll Call tabulation of the most recent fundraising reports due Tuesday to the Federal Election Commission. Across 59 House races considered remotely competitive by CQ Roll Call, Democratic candidates and incumbents had, on average, $955,000 in the bank, while Republicans had an average of $667,000 in the bank.
It’s unlikely Democrats can net the 17 seats necessary to take control of the House this November, so party operatives are trying to mitigate any massive losses this year as part of a long-term, multi-cycle plot to win the majority. Meanwhile, Republicans aim to extend their majority to a modern-history record of 245 seats — and they believe the financial gap could leave a handful of seats on the table this year. Full story
July 1, 2014
A conservative outside group whose efforts Sen. Ted Cruz backed has called for defunding the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Cruz, an NRSC vice chairman and Texas Republican, has not rebuked the effort.
This weekend, Senate Conservatives Fund launched a campaign calling on conservatives to pledge not to give any money to the NRSC in the aftermath of last week’s runoff in the Mississippi Senate race. As is typical, the NRSC backed Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, while the SCF and other outside groups backed his failed challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
“The Senate Republican establishment betrayed the grassroots and recruited Democrats in Mississippi to defeat Chris McDaniel,” the SCF petition said. ”Fight back by pledging not to donate to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”
Politicians have always touted their support for military veterans back home. The willingness to expend federal dollars to provide the best care possible is popular across the partisan spectrum and is rarely cause for controversy.
But the issue has been turned on its head in recent months, with the fallout from the Veterans Affairs scandal prompting even the Obama administration to admit a “corrosive culture” at the VA affecting facilities across the country.
It’s also invited criticism of vulnerable House and Senate Democrats from Republican candidates and outside groups. For Republican challengers and operatives, the VA scandal offers a striking example of federal government mismanagement with a Democrat at the helm and provides another link between Democratic incumbents and President Barack Obama.
“Veterans’ issues tend to be bipartisan, non-controversial and not a big deal in most campaigns — which is why the VA scandal is a problem for Democrats this year,” Republican pollster Dan Judy said. “Democratic candidates in most of the competitive states already have the millstone of President Obama’s unpopularity around their necks, and the VA scandal is only making that weight heavier.”
June 25, 2014
The Club for Growth, a perpetual thorn in the side of many Republican operatives, took a hit Tuesday in Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran survived a primary challenge despite a significant investment from the anti-tax group.
The Club for Growth’s super PAC arm spent $2.4 million against Cochran, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a significant chunk of the $3.8 million it’s expended so far this cycle against Republicans.
What’s more, the defeat of state Sen. Chris McDaniel means the club has now failed to topple arguably its top two GOP incumbent targets of the midterm cycle — Cochran and Rep. Mike Simpson. The club spent nearly $500,000 for Bryan Smith, who lost his May 20 challenge to the Idaho Republican.
June 17, 2014
The Senate Conservatives Fund launched a new TV ad in Mississippi on Tuesday, becoming the latest outside group to spend significant money on the state’s Republican Senate primary runoff.
With a week to go in the three-week-long race, the SCF’s political action arm expended $210,000 for a spot arguing “it’s time for a conservative change” from six-term Sen. Thad Cochran to state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
The outside help comes as both candidates have pushed to raise money of their own for the extended contest. Cochran benefited from a 250-person fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee last week that provided an $820,000 financial surge. Full story
June 11, 2014
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is the new president for the Senate Conservatives Fund, the group announced Wednesday.
“Ken Cuccinelli is the perfect person to continue and expand on what Jim DeMint started with SCF,” said Matt Hoskins, the group’s executive director, in an email to members.
Long a thorn in the side of the Republican establishment, the SCF has been one of the most vocal groups in taking on GOP incumbents, though their record of success on that front has been mixed. Full story
June 9, 2014
FreedomWorks, a tea party-affiliated group that backed primary challengers to two GOP incumbents this cycle, is weighing whether to spend money to help the nominees they previously opposed.
The group, known for targeting Republican incumbents and establishment favorites with ground-game assistance for conservative candidates, is more closely tied with the tea party than the Republican Party.
But as FreedomWorks looks to the general election fights ahead, and with Republicans needing a six-seat net gain to win the Senate majority, the group is open to aiding candidates like North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — both of whom it actively worked against earlier this year.
“We’ve decided that Harry Reid’s not our friend,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in an interview Thursday. “Shockingly.” Full story
June 4, 2014
Updated 10:10 p.m. | State Sen. Joni Ernst posted a resounding victory Tuesday with 56 percent of the Republican primary vote, handily winning the GOP nod for Senate in Iowa.
Now Ernst must run up a different number: Her bottom line.
After a grueling and costly primary, Ernst — who already struggled with campaign fundraising — starts a general election campaign against a cash-flush Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley. Ernst’s primary bid was heavily boosted by third-party groups — support Republicans hope will resume as quickly as possible.
For example, less than 24 hours after the Republican’s win, Braley debuted a statewide television ad attacking her for being all talk about cutting spending without having the legislative record to back it up. Full story