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November 1, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

October 31, 2014

How Mary Landrieu and Kissing Congressman’s Fates Are Tied

How Mary Landrieu and Kissing Congressmans Fates Are Tied

Landrieu campaigns at an event for Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vulnerable Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, also known as the “Kissing Congressman,” have something in common on Election Day.

Though on opposite sites of the aisle, the two Pelican State incumbents are fighting for their political lives Tuesday. They also have a common goal in attracting moderate voters — and the same adversary in the Louisiana Republican Party.

“Certainly they both need the support of moderates to win,” said Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Doré in a phone interview Wednesday. Full story

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the polls close Tuesday, it’s likely at least a handful of House and Senate races will be too close to call.

What would happen next for these tight contests? In most cases, once all the votes are collected and counted, it’s a pesky procedure that keeps candidates and canvassers up at night for days or weeks: the recount.

Recount laws vary by state, so we’ve rounded up what triggers one and any notable fine print in states with anticipated close contests.

ALASKA

Sen. Mark Begich (D) vs. Dan Sullivan (R)
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican

Trigger: Only an exact tie triggers a recount in the El Dorado of the North. But if the race does not end in a tie, a losing candidate or 10 qualified voters can still request a recount.

Fine Print: In a statewide election, the recount requestor must deposit $15,000 with the recount application, unless the margin is less than 0.5 percent, at which point the state covers the cost. The deposit is refunded if the recount changes the election results.

Full story

October 29, 2014

Ted Cruz Endorses ‘Duck Dynasty’ Kin Over Vance McAllister

Ted Cruz Endorses Duck Dynasty Kin Over Vance McAllister

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed fellow Republican Zach Dasher, who is challenging embattled Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

In a 55-second video posted Wednesday on YouTube, Cruz voices his support for Dasher, urging Louisianans to vote for the Republican next week. Dasher, a businessman, is related to the Robertson family, who star in A&E’s popular reality show, “Duck Dynasty.”

“Zach Dasher is a conservative with a backbone to stand up to career politicians in both parties to help lead the fight to repeal Obamacare, to stop amnesty, defend our conservative values and turn our country around,” Cruz says.

A number of Republicans jumped into the 5th District race after McAllister, who is married, was caught on camera kissing a married staffer earlier this year and announced he would not seek re-election. Two months later, McAllister, who had won a special election in November, decided to run for a full term despite the scandal. Full story

October 27, 2014

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Launches Ads in Louisiana Race

Duck Dynasty Star Launches Ads in Louisiana Race

Willie Robertson, center, of Duck Dynasty attended the State of the Union earlier this year as a guest of McAllister. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wielding a bible and an AR-15 rifle, the patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” clan has once again waded into political waters.

Phil Robertson, the head of the family at the center of A&E’s reality show, “Duck Dynasty,” which is filmed in Louisiana’s 5th District, appeared in two new television ads released Monday to support his nephew Zach Dasher, a businessman hoping to oust embattled incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

In one ad dubbed “Believe,” Robertson tells voters, while holding a bible in one hand and a rifle in the other, “Bibles and guns brought us here and bibles and guns will keep us here. Zach Dasher believes in both.” Full story

Louisiana Senate Runoff Questions Remain After LSU Win

Louisiana Senate Runoff Questions Remain After LSU Win

Landrieu campaigns Sept. 20 on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Louisiana State University’s two conference losses earlier this year had briefly quieted anxious chatter in Bayou State political circles, the school’s Oct. 25 victory over Ole Miss has both college football fans and Senate campaigns in the state keeping a close eye on the rest of the season.

The Southeastern Conference is holding its championship game Dec. 6, the same day Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy — both LSU graduates — would face off in a runoff if neither takes a majority of the vote on Election Day.

The issue for the campaigns: The game is in Atlanta, and if LSU qualified, tens of thousands of voters would be out of state on that day to cheer on the Tigers. Motivating turnout on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas is never easy, but the exodus of a portion of the voting base — or simply not paying as much attention to politics — would add an unpredictable wrinkle. 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

Mark Begich Targeted on Arctic Oil Drilling in New GOP TV Ad (Video)

Mark Begich Targeted on Arctic Oil Drilling in New GOP TV Ad (Video)

Begich is being targeted on ANWR in a new TV ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Republican-aligned outside group is hitting Alaska Sen. Mark Begich for failing to persuade his party to support opening drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Utilizing a theme of broken campaign promises from 2008, when Begich defeated Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the new TV ad from American Crossroads hammers the Democrat for both the percentage of votes on which he agreed with the president last year and the fact that Congress has not approved ANWR oil exploration.

“We’ve had six years of Begich’s broken politics,” the ad’s announcer says. “Alaska needs a change.” Full story

October 16, 2014

How ‘Dr. Dan’ Cured His Campaign Woes

How Dr. Dan Cured His Campaign Woes

Republicans say Benishek is one of the "most improved" candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once a top target for Democrats, Rep. Dan Benishek, a former surgeon turned tea party candidate, has turned a corner in his campaign for a second term, and national Republicans have labeled him one of their “most improved” members of the cycle.

What happened? A combination of staff changes, leveraging his slot on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and a favorable cycle for Republicans gave Benishek a clear advantage in the 1st District.

“It looked as if Michigan’s 1st District was going to be one of maybe the top two or three House races here in Michigan,” said Dennis Darnoi, a Michigan Republican consultant. “It hasn’t really reached the competitive level that, I think, was expected.” 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

Democrats Hit Alaska Republican on ‘Women’s Privacy’ (Video)

Democrats Hit Alaska Republican on Womens Privacy (Video)

The DSCC is targeting Sullivan in a new ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a TV ad Tuesday hitting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan on women’s rights issues.

The spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is part of the DSCC’s more than $4 million reservation in the state from Labor Day through the election on behalf of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Alaska is one of the several states President Barack Obama lost in 2012 in which Republicans are now vying to pick up a Senate seat. The GOP needs a net gain of six seats to win the majority. Full story

October 9, 2014

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Franken is running for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken led by 7 points in an internal poll conducted on behalf of the state Republican Party.

The Democrat, who is favored to be re-elected to a second term, led Republican finance executive Mike McFadden 46 percent to 39 percent.

It was a more favorable result for McFadden than the state party’s previous internal poll in August, which showed Franken up 49 percent to 38 percent.

“Bottom line — the race is still advantage Franken, but the Senator’s margin has closed over the past few weeks,” Public Opinion Strategies pollster Robert Blizzard wrote in a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Outsourcing

DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Outsourcing

Brown is running for the Senate in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a new TV ad Thursday slamming former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., over his connections to outsourcing.

The spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, states that Brown, who is challenging New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, received a “sweetheart deal” from a company that outsources jobs after leaving the Senate in 2013 and connects it to his voting record.

“In the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that move American jobs overseas, just like the one he works for,” the announcer says. 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

Democratic Poll Finds Mark Pryor With Small Lead

Democratic Poll Finds Mark Pryor With Small Lead

Pryor is facing a competitive re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll conducted for the Arkansas Democratic Party found Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger still locked in a tight race.

In the survey, obtained by CQ Roll Call, Pryor led Rep. Tom Cotton, 45 percent to 42 percent, with Libertarian and Green Party candidates taking a combined 5 percent and 9 percent undecided.

Democratic polls have consistently shown Pryor with small leads in recent months, which is counter to most public and GOP polling that has come out. But a USA Today/Suffolk poll taken in mid-September found Pryor up 2 points. Full story

Tom Cotton Pushes for Leadership in New TV Ad

Tom Cotton Pushes for Leadership in New TV Ad

Cotton released a new ad Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton is launching a positive TV ad Wednesday, with just less than four weeks to go in one of Republicans’ top Senate pickup opportunities.

The statewide spot, part of the Cotton campaign’s $2.4 million TV buy for the final month of the race, features a portion of his August 2013 announcement speech in which the congressman argues for the state’s need for leadership in the Senate.

“I will do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. And I will never forget how I was raised or where I come from,” Cotton says in the ad. Full story

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