Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

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

October 7, 2014

Poll Shows McAllister Race Is Wide Open

Poll Shows McAllister Race Is Wide Open

McAllister faces five other candidates in the race for his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A poll released Monday showed no clear front-runner in the race for embattled Rep. Vance McAllister’s seat in Louisiana.

The Republican was among the top three candidates in the automated poll, conducted by a GOP firm, which surveyed 504 likely voters in the 5th District.

Earlier this year, McAllister was caught on camera kissing a married staffer — several months after he won a special election for the seat. But given the crowded field, it is very unlikely any of the six candidates will garner 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, which means the race will continue to a runoff between the top two vote-recipients in December.  Full story

October 2, 2014

Why Vote Counting in Alaska Takes a Long Time

Why Vote Counting in Alaska Takes a Long Time

Begich is facing a competitive re-election challenge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An Alaska Senate race has the potential to once again remain undecided well after the election, and this time the wait could keep control of the Senate up in the air until at least mid-November.

December and January runoffs are possible in two other states with Senate races, so it could be even longer before either party can claim a majority of seats in the chamber in the next Congress. Senate Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control.

But the reason for the holdup in Alaska is, like the state itself, unique. In the Last Frontier State, the regular delay in races being called is largely a product of two confluent circumstances: close contests and an increased emphasis by campaigns on absentee voting, a get-out-the-vote method pushed to help compensate for the state’s travel and voting complications.

The need to encourage absentees is a reality in one of the most topographically challenging states for campaigns in the country. Prop planes are often required for candidates to reach the state’s vast rural areas and even for timely travel between cities close in proximity but separated by mountains or water. And state officials running the election face similar logistical hurdles: All ballots are eventually transported by air to Juneau, a capital only accessible by boat or plane.

Full story

September 30, 2014

GOP Outside Group Targets Tim Bishop on TV

GOP Outside Group Targets Tim Bishop on TV

Bishop is being targeted on the air by a Republican group. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican-aligned outside group is airing a TV ad slamming New York Rep. Timothy H. Bishop on his support for the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrat is locked in a challenging re-election campaign against Republican Lee Zeldin.

This is American Action Network’s first independent expenditure TV ad of the general election. It’s running on cable and online, and is part of AAN’s $1.2 million IE campaign in New York’s Long Island-based 1st District.

“Tim Bishop thinks Obamacare is a damn good idea?” says a man named John from Setauket, N.Y. “We think it’s a damn bad idea.” Full story

September 29, 2014

Collin Peterson Campaign Responds to GOP Poll

Collin Peterson Campaign Responds to GOP Poll

Peterson's race is rated Leans Democratic. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In response to a poll released last week by Republicans showing a tight race, Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson’s campaign on Monday released a poll of its own from early September that had found the incumbent with a wider lead.

The three-week-old survey, shared first with CQ Roll Call, showed the Democratic incumbent up 53 percent to 29 percent over state Sen. Torrey Westrom. Westrom’s poll, conducted Sept. 21-23 by the Tarrance Group, found Peterson with a 5-point lead.

The Peterson poll also showed the incumbent with a 58 percent favorable rating, with just 19 percent viewing him unfavorably. That survey of 405 likely voters was conducted by Global Strategy Group from Sept. 4-7 with a 4.9-point margin of error. Full story

Club for Growth Ad Attacks Vance McAllister

Club for Growth Ad Attacks Vance McAllister

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The political action arm of the conservative Club for Growth is launching a TV ad Tuesday attacking embattled incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

The 30-second spot, which is backed by a “six-figure buy,” starts out with media coverage of the married congressman being caught on camera kissing a staffer, but quickly pivots to his voting record. The “Kissing Congressman” has been attempting to move past the scandal, including debuting an ad that features McAllister with his wife. Full story

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