Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

Posts in "Leans Democratic"

October 17, 2012

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo) Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (above) has watched his lead over former coal company owner Tom Smith shrink in recent months. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June.

SHELOCTA, Pa. — Atop hundreds of acres of lush farmland, a bold white sign directs visitors to the “Smith Complex” — the hilltop home of wealthy former coal company owner Tom Smith.

The rise of Smith’s campaign against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is, indeed, complex.

While some of his fellow Republican Senate nominees sunk in September, Smith shrank Casey’s lead down to low single digits. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June. Full story

October 15, 2012

Connecticut: SEIU Gives Elizabeth Esty Post-Primary Support

The Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council endorsed Democrat Elizabeth Esty on Monday in the 5th district.

“We endorse Elizabeth Esty for Congress because our members are confident she will stand up and fight the radical right wing tea party agenda,” said Paul Filson, director of the SEIU’s state branch. “We know she will champion rights for workers and their families. She will fight to protect the promise of Social Security and Medicare. She will push for common sense investments in education, services and vital infrastructure improvements for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional district.”

While at first glance it would seem unremarkable that a union endorsed a Democrat, the unions strongly backed state Speaker Christopher Donovan in the Democratic primary.

According to an August Hartford Courant article, Esty “hasn’t always agreed with labor’s agenda,” and a decision to sit out this race would “undercut the Democratic Party.”

Esty is in a tough general election battle with state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a moderate Republican.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

Raul Ruiz, Democratic candidate for California's 36th district, speaks during his campaign rally in Palm Desert on Saturday. Ruiz is running to unseat GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two internal Democratic polls released today offered the party good news in both defensive and offensive territory in California.

In the Palm Springs-based 36th district, the campaign of physician Raul Ruiz (D) released a poll that found him ahead of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), 46 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The poll also offered this encouraging sign: President Barack Obama led Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 5 points. Full story

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanian’s Financial Woes

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanians Financial Woes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the finances of GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian (above), who is running in Nevada's 4th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:12 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) continued in his chosen role of Democratic attack dog today, this time entering the fray in a House campaign in Nevada and criticizing GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian’s finances.

Following a failed real estate deal, Tarkanian and his family are facing a $17 million judgement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Tarkanian has said his family is the victim of fraud in the California project. Reid, however, has other ideas. He called the real estate deal a “ridiculous loan.”

“His judgment was so bad that he gambled and lost his family’s entire nest egg because he failed to do his homework,” Reid said on a conference call today.

Full story

Michigan: Facing Stiff Challenge, Strong 3rd Quarter for Benishek Coffers

Michigan: Facing Stiff Challenge, Strong 3rd Quarter for Benishek Coffers

Rep. Dan Benishek reported raising $510,000 in the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is losing his grasp on Michigan’s 1st district, his campaign coffers don’t show it.

His campaign announced its best fundraising quarter ever today, raising a total of $510,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to close the period with more than $570,000 in cash on hand.

His opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), reported raising just $400,000. But heading into the final weeks of the campaign, he is sitting on $600,000.

Recent polls suggest McDowell has gained ground on Benishek, a tea-party-backed physician who rode the 2010 Republican wave to Congress and is one of his party’s most vulnerable lawmakers. The Detroit Free Press endorsed McDowell on Sunday.

Full story

October 11, 2012

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Rep. Dan Benishek increasingly looks like he won't return for the 113th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One year ago it would have been hard to picture both the Arizona and Connecticut open-seat Senate races as Tossups with less than a month to go before Election Day. But funny things can happen to the Senate battleground map based on candidates and the campaigns they run — just ask Republicans this cycle about Missouri.

The open-seat Senate races in the Nutmeg State and the Grand Canyon State are thousands of miles apart, yet share some distinct similarities. Both feature House Members who began the race as the heavy frontrunner and challengers who have surged based on the strength of their campaigns. Those challengers will still have to overcome a heavy partisan disadvantage at the presidential level, but that prospect seems to be increasingly possible. Therefore, we are moving both races into the tossup column, even though in both races, the party that currently holds the seat still has a very small advantage. Full story

October 4, 2012

Race Rating Changes: House Map Jells; Senate Still Fluid

Race Rating Changes: House Map Jells; Senate Still Fluid

Vulnerable Rep. Bill Owens has improved prospects for re-election, as his race moves from a Tossup rating to Leans Democratic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What a difference two years makes. At this point in 2010, as the GOP wave began to build, political handicappers and political operatives alike were trying to keep up with the number of newly competitive races moving onto the rapidly expanding House battleground. The same was true at this time in 2006 and 2008, when we were attempting to size up the coming Democratic waves.

Fast-forward two years, and a month before Election Day we are taking House races off the board, as it becomes clear to both parties that contests they hoped to put in play just haven’t materialized this cycle. We expect there may be a few less competitive races that begin to move in the competitive direction, but that hasn’t happened to a large extent at this point.

There is other significant movement in a handful of House races that we now rate as more likely than not to switch hands. GOP Reps. David Rivera (Fla.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) are in races that look to be increasingly uphill. Both face rematches from 2010 (although Rivera’s troubles have much more to do with his own ethics problems than the strength of his Democratic challenger).

In Senate race moves, we are moving two Democratic-held seats virtually off the board. Republicans always knew that Hawaii was going to be a tough race considering the overwhelming Democratic tilt of the state. But former Gov. Linda Lingle was the best possible candidate they could have gotten. However, it’s clear that the race really never got off the ground. Lingle would have had to run a flawless campaign AND Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) needed to stumble. Neither happened, and the race is now off the board. Full story

September 28, 2012

New Mexico: Could Third-Party Candidate Play Senate Spoiler?

New Mexico: Could Third Party Candidate Play Senate Spoiler?

In a new poll, former Rep. Heather Wilson was in a virtual tie with Rep. Martin Heinrich.(Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:45 p.m. | A new poll conducted for former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) shows the New Mexico Senate race could be more competitive than currently believed — if a third-party candidate does well on the November ballot.

In the survey, Wilson was in a virtual tie with Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), who took 43 percent to Wilson’s 42 percent. But Independent American Party candidate Jon Barrie took 9 percent, and 6 percent of respondents were undecided. The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Glen Bolger, was in the field Tuesday through Thursday and sampled 500 likely voters. The margin of error was 4.38 points.

Full story

September 26, 2012

Missouri: NRSC Expresses Hope Todd Akin Will Defeat Claire McCaskill

Missouri: NRSC Expresses Hope Todd Akin Will Defeat Claire McCaskill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans continued to circle the wagons behind Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday, but it remained unclear if they would reverse course and put money behind his candidacy.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee was the latest to issue a statement today, following an endorsement by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) this morning and a statement of support late Tuesday from Missouri’s other Senator, Republican Roy Blunt.

“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Senator Claire McCaskill,” NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer said.

Full story

Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has decided to wade into the Missouri Senate race in support of GOP Rep. Todd Akin.

DeMint is joining former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a fellow social conservative who sought the Republican presidential nomination this year, in endorsing Akin’s controversial candidacy.

In a statement released through Santorum’s Patriot Voices PAC, DeMint and Santorum made a fundraising appeal for the beleaguered Republican Senate candidate. Full story

September 25, 2012

Missouri: Roy Blunt Backs Todd Akin as Deadline for Withdrawal Passes

Missouri: Roy Blunt Backs Todd Akin as Deadline for Withdrawal Passes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after the deadline passed for Republican Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Show-Me State’s current GOP Senator announced that he would back Akin’s candidacy.

“From Governor Romney to the county courthouse, I’ll be working for the Republican ticket in Missouri, and that includes Todd Akin,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement issued late Tuesday. Blunt said that despite some policy disagreements, “he and I agree the Senate majority must change.”

Akin faced a concerted push from Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to drop out of the Senate race after winning the nomination because of concerns that he would have no chance to prevail in November, in what could be a critical contest for GOP efforts to retake the Senate. Full story

Missouri Senate Race Moves to Leans Democratic as Todd Akin Stays Put

Missouri Senate Race Moves to Leans Democratic as Todd Akin Stays Put

Rep. Todd Akin confirmed once and for all today that he will be the GOP Senate nominee in Missouri. (Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

Rep. Todd Akin reaffirmed for the final time today that he will be the irrevocable Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, despite the best efforts of national Republicans to get him to step aside after he made now-infamous comments about “legitimate rape.”

At a press conference in St. Louis, where he didn’t take any questions, Akin pledged to push forward in the face of today’s 5 p.m. CDT deadline to remove himself from the ballot.

National Republicans have refused to support Akin ever since he made the widely publicized comments about rape in August, with both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee saying they will stay out of the race as long as he stays in.

Akin faces Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who began the cycle as one of the most vulnerable Senators up for re-election. With it now clear that Akin will be on the ballot in November, Roll Call is changing its race rating for the Missouri Senate race from Tossup to Leans Democratic. Full story

September 17, 2012

Connecticut: WWE Scrubs YouTube of ‘Edgier’ Wrestling Footage

Connecticut Republican Senate nominee Linda McMahon’s former professional wrestling company, WWE, is seeking to remove what it considers “dated and edgier” footage from YouTube, according to an Associated Press report.

“To better reflect our current family-friendly brand of entertainment, WWE is removing some dated and edgier footage from digital platforms,” the company said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced. This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual property for fair use.”

Full story

September 11, 2012

Connecticut: DSCC on Air; Linda McMahon Gets Independent Line

Connecticut: DSCC on Air; Linda McMahon Gets Independent Line

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has committed to a six-figure television ad buy to support Rep. Christopher Murphy’s campaign to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I).

Murphy is running against former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R), who according to the Hartford Courant has qualified for the Independent line and, consequently, will appear twice on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Sources who track Connecticut television advertising say the DSCC has purchased $320,000 in broadcast and cable television spending that begins today and will last until Sept. 18.

McMahon has spent heavily on her campaign so far this cycle.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

September 5, 2012

California: Internal Poll Has Alan Lowenthal Up 20

California: Internal Poll Has Alan Lowenthal Up 20

(Douglas Graham CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

A poll conducted for the campaign of California state Sen. Alan Lowenthal found the Democrat ahead of his Republican opponent by 20 points in the race for the newly drawn 47th district. Full story

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