- Citizens United Case Helped Elect More Republicans
- House Republicans Don't Expect Government Shutdown
- Christie Makes Mexico Trip as Foreign Policy Test
- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
Posts in "Race Ratings"
August 11, 2014
TALLULAH, La. — Vance McAllister’s political career flatlined earlier this year, a victim of self-inflicted wounds from an embarrassing infidelity scandal.
But less than three months before the midterm elections, the Louisiana Republican has suddenly, improbably, become the man to beat this November.
McAllister, who was holding a series of businesslike, low-drama town hall meetings in small communities in the east end of his mostly rural district last week, told CQ Roll Call that both he and his constituents have moved on from the ”Kissing Congressman” scandal that erupted in April, after a video surfaced showing him embracing a married staffer.
“It’s really only the Washington media that’s keeping that going,” he said in an interview outside the community meeting room in the small farm town of Winnsboro, population 4,910.
And, at least among the business leaders, city council members, farmers and veterans who attended the question-and-answer sessions in Winnsboro and nearby Tallulah, McAllister seemed to have a point.
The congressman was asked about the border crisis, the Keystone XL pipeline, national security issues and the problems with Department of Veterans Affairs — but not a single question arose about the video.
August 10, 2014
The Democratic primary between Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was too close to call early Sunday morning, and the race may not be decided for days.
Voting in two precincts on the Big Island, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Iselle, was postponed because of storm damage, KITV reported. Those Democrats will vote absentee and essentially decide the contest, though Hanabusa has some ground to make up.
Both campaigns told Civil Beat they will be heading to the Big Island before the crucial final ballots are cast.
With all but those two precincts reporting, Schatz led Hanabusa 49.4 percent to 48.6 percent — separated by just less than 1,800 votes out of some 214,000 cast. After Schatz was appointed to the seat in December 2012 following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the winner will likely prevail in November and serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term, and then undoubtedly run for a full term in 2016.
The race kicked off amid an inescapable feeling of bitterness among Inouye and Hanabusa allies, perturbed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s selection of Schatz to serve in the Senate instead of Inouye’s preferred successor, Hanabusa. It had nearly as rocky a finish, as the islands avoided a one-two punch of hurricanes that threatened to disrupt the election to a greater degree than it did.
August 8, 2014
TUCSON, Ariz. — Rep. Ron Barber guides his Ford through the flat, four-lane paved streets, ticking off landmarks on the corners of his desert city surrounded by jagged mountains.
That’s Rincon High School, where he enrolled as a sophomore in 1959. There’s the middle school his grandson attends. As he makes a left turn, Barber points to St. Cyril of Alexandria Church, where he married his wife, Nancy, 47 years ago.
On the opposite corner of the church is another Barber landmark, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office, where he worked as her district director for several years. One memory sticks out: On the night of the Affordable Care Act vote, he put out a press release and left around midnight. A couple of hours later, someone shattered the office door and window. He said they later discovered bullets inside.
It’s not the most notorious time Barber risked gunfire — not even close. At the main gate of the University of Arizona campus, the former state bureaucrat gestures up the road toward the trauma center where he was treated after a gunman killed six and injured a dozen more, including Barber and Giffords, in January 2011. Full story
July 31, 2014
The careers of Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Gov. Neil Abercrombie have been linked for several years, but the Schatz campaign has worked for the past 18 months to ensure their political fates are not.
With the Aloha State Democratic primaries just a week away, it’s increasingly possible Schatz, the former lieutenant governor appointed by Abercrombie in December 2012, could win the Senate nomination, even as the governor loses his own re-nomination.
Schatz faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Aug. 9 contest, which both campaigns say is close.
Schatz hasn’t overtly run away from Abercrombie, whom he supports, but his campaign has focused squarely on the influence and accomplishments the freshman senator garnered in less than two years on Capitol Hill. The intent is to differentiate him from Hanabusa, with the added benefit of building a profile unique from his association with the unpopular governor. Full story
July 30, 2014
Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor led his Republican challenger by 2 points in a recent Democratic poll, which is the third survey on the race released in the last two days.
The polling memo, obtained by CQ Roll Call, stated Pryor led by a 48-46 percent margin, with 6 percent undecided — a lead within the 4-point margin of error. The survey included a sample of 600 likely voters and was conducted July 20-24 by Democratic firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, which counts as a client the Arkansas gubernatorial campaign of former Rep. Mike Ross.
The memo comes one day after the Pryor campaign released an internal poll (taken July 7-10) showing him ahead 45-39 percent and an independent poll from Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College (taken July 22-25) found Cotton up 44-42 percent. Full story
July 29, 2014
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran said Tuesday the GOP’s pickup opportunities have expanded to around a dozen states — twice as many as needed to take control of the Senate.
“I think we have a good map in the sense that we have good candidates and good states,” Moran told CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski. “The map has expanded over time. In my view, [it] started out with six or seven — now 10 or 12.” Full story
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
New York Republican Matt Doheny endorsed Elise Stefanik at a press conference Friday, more than a month after losing to her in a House race primary.
Stefanik, who was recently added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program, faces Democrat Aaron Woolf for the 21st District seat being vacated by Democrat Bill Owens. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Report/Roll Call. Full story
A super PAC supporting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan is launching a radio ad Friday taking aim at his two leading Senate race opponents.
The 60-second ad from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, backed by an $80,000 buy and running statewide, mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Sullivan’s top opponent in the Aug. 19 primary, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.
The ad lands on the airwaves on the heels of an accompanying TV ad from the group. Both label Sullivan a true Alaskan — one of the leading attacks against the native Ohioan — and state he is the only Republican who can defeat Begich. Full story
July 22, 2014
Businessman David Perdue’s outsider narrative and personal wealth propelled him to the Republican nomination Tuesday in the Georgia Senate race, defeating Rep. Jack Kingston.
Perdue led the 11-term congressman, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race.
After an extra nine weeks were tacked on to the initial May 20 primary, the race is finally progressing to the general election — where Democrat Michelle Nunn has quietly been compiling cash for what will be a pricey contest.
July 21, 2014
Minnesota Democrats have two problems: The 8th District has changed, and Rep. Rick Nolan doesn’t want to.
The Gopher State Democrat returned to Congress in 2012 after a three-decade hiatus. This November, Nolan faces first-time candidate and wealthy businessman Stewart Mills in a historically strong Democratic district that encompasses Minnesota’s Iron Range.
But the district has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and sources from both parties question Nolan’s willingness to adapt to the requirements of a high-stakes, 21st century re-election campaign. Democrats highlight Nolan’s strong retail campaign skills and say they admire his principles — but others say a modern re-election requires more than that.
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
Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign is benefiting from the help of countless friends on Capitol Hill, eschewing the relentless efforts of David Perdue to paint him as a big-spending insider.
The primary runoff campaign will end next week, amid a torrent of negative advertising and after a heated debate Sunday. The nine-week overtime race between Kingston and Perdue, a former Reebok and Dollar General CEO, concludes on July 22.
Perdue once again highlighted Kingston’s 22 years in Congress in the campaign-closing TV ad he released this week. But Kingston, a veteran congressional appropriator, is hardly running from his record or his connections.
“Rarely have I seen two candidates more comfortable with their respective positions,” said Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia. “Jack is more than comfortable being the insider, trying to make the case that with his experience he can make an immediate difference. And Perdue is comfortable being the outsider, saying D.C. is broken and it’s time to send someone new.” Full story
July 12, 2014
Senate Majority PAC launched a TV ad Saturday aimed at the Republican vying for Michigan’s open Senate seat.
The Democrat-aligned super PAC’s spot, backed by a nearly $650,000 buy and running for two weeks, features three state residents criticizing former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land on issues including tax breaks for the wealthy and women’s health, while labeling Land a “career politician.” Full story
July 11, 2014
Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor has been buying up fall airtime for a race critical to nearly every hypothetical Republican path to the Senate majority.
The two-term Democrat, who faces the fight of his political life against GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, has so far reserved several hundred thousand dollars worth of TV time for the closing six weeks of the race, according to a media-buying source. The Pryor campaign would not comment on its media strategy, but that’s just an opening salvo in a state already seeing a plethora of spending from outside groups and both campaigns.
Amid a vigorous on-air back-and-forth over tornado disaster relief and religion in the past week, the contours of Pryor’s path to re-election remain unchanged. The Arkansas Democrat is banking that voters’ familiarity with him — and their disbelief that Cotton is on their side — will outweigh the antipathy toward Washington and President Barack Obama.
“Mark’s been around a really long time and his family has been around a long time,” said Sheila Bronfman, a Democratic consultant in Arkansas and longtime ally of the Clintons. “People like him and they trust him. They trust where he comes from and how he was raised, and I just think that’s making a big difference here.”