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Posts in "Race Ratings"
February 8, 2013
BALTIMORE — Rep. Steve King hinted Friday that a run for the Iowa Senate may be imminent, but said he does not want to announce in the wake of GOP strategist Karl Rove’s attacks on him.
Since American Crossroads President Steven Law attacked him in The New York Times last weekend, King, a Republican, said he continues to consider a run to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
“It’s under deliberation of course, and it’s something that I had been looking at before Tom Harkin announced his retirement and now that that has happened, of course it accelerated the decision making process,” King said as he was leaving a Heritage Foundation-sponsored retreat for conservative Republicans in Baltimore.
“I don’t want to step into this thing and make an announcement in the face of the issue that Karl Rove has raised,” he continued. “We’ve got to decide first who’s going to nominate people for public office in America: Somebody outside the state with a big checkbook, or the people of Iowa.”
February 7, 2013
Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly will air her first television spot, marking the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.
Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable television in the 2nd District, according to a Kelly spokesman. The spot highlights Kelly’s support for gun control, a pivotal issue on Chicago’s South Side.
“In the legislature, she worked with Barack Obama to crack down on illegal gun sales,” a male narrator says. “In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips.”
Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, told supporters Thursday he is running for Senate.
The four-term congressman’s entrance into the race gives Democrats a top-tier candidate to hold the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.
“It’s a big responsibility to represent the people of Iowa in the United States Senate, especially after Tom Harkin has shown us how for the last 30 years,” Braley said in the email. “But, if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go.”
February 6, 2013
Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton announced Wednesday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, giving the six-term incumbent his first major Republican opponent.
“I want to make life better for Montanans, for all of us — our kids, our grandkids,” Stapleton said in a video posted to his campaign website. “That’s why I’m running for the United States Senate.”
Stapleton, a financial adviser, finished second last year in the seven-candidate Republican primary for governor. In 2012, Republicans lost both the governor’s race and the party’s challenge to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, disappointments for the GOP in a state the party carried handily at the presidential level.
Baucus, 71, is one of six Democrats in the Senate seeking re-election in a state the president lost. Still, Tester held off a strong challenge from then-Rep. Denny Rehberg last year, and Baucus was sitting on a $3.6 million war chest as he began the 2014 cycle.
Stapleton is a Naval Academy graduate and served two terms in the state Senate, including stints as minority leader and chairman of the Legislative Campaign Committee.
Roll Call rates this races as Leans Democratic.
Joshua Miller contributed to this report.
February 4, 2013
Democratic Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $300,000 in the fourth quarter, giving him almost $1 million in cash on hand to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign cycle.
Begich is one of six Senate Democrats seeking re-election in a state the president lost last year, making him one of his party’s most vulnerable members of the cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
Several Republicans are taking serious looks at challenging him in 2014. Potential GOP opponents include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who said in December that he formed an exploratory committee for the race, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller.
February 1, 2013
Former state Sen. Richard Tisei and state Rep. Dan Winslow, both Republicans, floated the possibility that they might run for Senate in Massachusetts on the heels of former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s announcement that he will not run in the special election to succeed Secretary of State John Kerry.
Without Brown, the Republican bench in Massachusetts is thin, with no obvious candidate for a statewide bid.
“I will reflect this weekend about my own family’s needs and whether there is room in the national Republican Party for a member who is both fiscally prudent and socially tolerant,” Winslow, an attorney and former chief counsel to Brown and ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, said in a statement.
Tisei, who lost a hard-fought race against Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney in November, said he was evaluating the race.
“[I]n the coming days, I will be talking with family, friends, and supporters to consider the best role that I can play in helping to bring new, alternative leadership to Washington,” he said in a statement.
Democratic Reps. Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey are battling for the Democratic nomination. The general election will be held June 25. CQ Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate special election as Likely Democratic.
January 30, 2013
And then there were 21 … candidates to succeed former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.
This afternoon, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris dropped out of the 2nd District special election and backed fellow Democrat, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly.
“I believe we need to fight for more educational opportunity, better jobs and to get guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs that are preying on our neighborhoods,” Harris said in a statement from the Kelly campaign. “I believe Robin Kelly is the right candidate to pick up that cause to fight for the people of Chicago and the Southland.”
While the Democratic field remains large and varied, Kelly’s supporters argue this helps her because it puts more of Harris’ geographic base — including the key Thornton Township — in play.
The top tier of candidates includes Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson and Kelly. The Feb. 26 Democratic primary winner is expected to come to Congress given the district’s heavy Democratic composition.
January 29, 2013
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC has started airing TV ads in Illinois’ 2nd district special election targeting the front-runner’s support for the Second Amendment.
But the super PAC’s ad buy marks a shift in the race for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat on Chicago’s south side. It’s possible none of the candidates, including Halvorson, will raise enough money to air campaign ads in the Windy City’s pricey market. So far, the better-funded campaigns have relied on direct mail to reach voters.
The Club for Growth has championed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as one of its most ardent House conservatives.
So what does the deep-pocketed and influential group think about King running for Senate in 2014? Not much, yet.
“In general, we don’t take stands on potential Senate races,” spokesman Barney Keller said Tuesday. “When there’s a field, we’ll take a look at the race.”
January 28, 2013
Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson received the backing of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Monday in the special election for the 2nd District.
Preckwinkle is one of Chicagoland’s top elected officials, and her support will help Hutchinson in the crowded Democratic primary, scheduled for Feb. 26.
“A wildly popular figure such as President Preckwinkle gives Hutchinson an important boost,” said Tom Bowen, a media strategist and former political adviser to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s resignation prompted the special election in this heavily Democratic,black-majority district on the South Side. The Democratic field is large and varied: Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, former Rep. Mel Reynolds and Hutchinson.
Sen. Tom Harkin’s retirement makes the Iowa Senate seat more competitive by virtue of the six-term Democrat’s departure. Couple that with the Hawkeye State’s competitive nature, and this race could be one of the most targeted of the 2014 cycle.
Accordingly, CQ Roll Call now characterizes the Iowa Senate race as Leans Democratic, after previously rating the contest as Likely Democratic.
Harkin was favored for re-election, thanks in part to the $2.7 million he had in the bank. Today, the seat is in play — although it does not yet join the most competitive echelon of 2014 Senate races.
For this race to become a top target in 2014, the GOP must circumvent a divisive primary.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will kick off his re-election bid with $3.6 million in the bank, according to a copy of his fundraising report obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The Senate Finance Committee chairman raised $610,000 during the final three months of last year. His year-end report, which will be filed on the Jan. 31 deadline, showed he spent $121,500 during the same period.
Baucus’ big number comes as welcome news for Democrats, who face a difficult map in 2014. The six-term senator represents one of seven seats up this cycle in a state that the president lost.
January 15, 2013
Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton indicated Monday that he would not run for Senate next year in an interview with the local radio outlet MetroNews.
“I think I had a great eight years as governor, and I think that’s probably where my political career began and will probably end,” the 72-year-old Democrat said. Caperton served as governor from 1989 to 1997.
The list of candidates interested has been steadily expanding since Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement on Jan. 11. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced her campaign for the seat in late November.
Among the well-known Democrats mulling the race are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis and former state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Callaghan.
January 14, 2013
Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has stepped up his interest in running for governor of Iowa in 2014, according to a weekend report in the Des Moines Register.
The four-term lawmaker has long eyed statewide office, but it has been unclear whether Braley would try to run for governor or Senate in 2014. Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, a Republican, has not announced yet whether he will seek another term.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin has not said definitively whether he will run for re-election in 2014. But Braley’s focus on the gubernatorial race comes at a confluence of events that could indicate Harkin is leaning toward running for another term:
- Instead of keeping their powder dry this early in the cycle, Iowa Democrats are publicly pushing Braley to run for governor in the state’s largest newspaper.
- Last week, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, told a local newspaper, “I have seen no indication that [Harkin] is not going to run.” In recent years, Grassley and Harkin have not campaigned against each other — although neither has had a competitive re-election race for at least a decade.
- Harkin keeps bringing in big bucks for his campaign. He will host a fundraiser next month at a Lady Gaga concert. Politicians deplore fundraising, so members looking at retirement generally avoid raising money because they don’t need it anymore. Of course, it’s possible Harkin is a Lady Gaga fan.
- Either way, money talks — and Harkin reported $2.7 million in the bank at the end of September. That’s the second-highest cash on hand of any Democrat up for re-election in 2014. That kind of figure often — but not always — indicates a senator is gearing up for a big campaign.
So does all this point to Harkin running for a sixth term? Who knows — but it seems Braley and other Iowa Democrats might think so.
January 11, 2013
Updated 11:37 a.m. | West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will retire at the end of his term in 2014. The 75-year-old senator made the announcement Friday morning in Charleston.
“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family,” Rockefeller said, according to a statement released by his office.
The five-term senator’s retirement immediately puts his seat in jeopardy. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy for the seat in November.
Among the Democrats mentioned as possible candidates are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis. Full story