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July 28, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

May 30, 2014

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

Hagan is seeking re-election in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm has reserved $5.5 million in airtime for Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., according to a source with knowledge of the reservation.

Hagan’s re-election bid is one of the most competitive and expensive races in the country. She faces North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The DSCC has reserved airtime in at least four other states with competitive Senate races: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire and Arkansas.  This marks the DSCC’s first airtime reservation in the Tar Heel State.

 In North Carolina, the DSCC reserved airtime starting Sept. 16 and running through Election Day. The amount of money spent will increase each week, from $376,000 the week of Sept. 16, to $1.2 million in the final week before the election.

Full story

The Chris McDaniel Bus Sputters and Rallies

The Chris McDaniel Bus Sputters and Rallies

McDaniel speaks with an employee of Truhitt Service Center in Union, Miss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Chris McDaniel Bus Sputters and RalliesPHILADELPHIA, Miss. — The Chris McDaniel campaign bus is sputtering.

That’s what a reporter was told Thursday as it became clear the Mississippi state senator challenging Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in the primary next week would be a no-show for both of his first two campaign events.

McDaniel, endorsed by former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., on Thursday, marks the tea party’s best hope for a major splash in the 2014 elections. But the recent arrest of at least two McDaniel supporters allegedly involved in the photographing of Cochran’s bedridden wife in her nursing home has thrown the entire race into flux.

Amid the flurry of talk across the state, McDaniel is pushing forward with a 25-town statewide tour to detail his “Five Promises to Mississippi” platform. But like his Senate campaign, the McDaniel bus must navigate a bumpy route to its final destination.

Full story

May 28, 2014

Ad Deluge Intensifies in Final Week Before Iowa Senate Primary

Former energy executive Mark Jacobs has debuted two more ads in the final days before the GOP’s primary for Senate in Iowa.

Jacobs, a multimillionaire, has used his personal wealth to boost his campaign coffers, allowing him to spend more than his opponents. He faces State Sen. Joni Ernst, who is widely regarded as the front-runner, along with radio host Sam Clovis and former District Attorney Matt Whitaker.

Jacobs’ first new ad touts his position as an “outsider,” not a “Washington politician,” who has “real world, common-sense experience.”

The second trumpets his support for a balanced budget amendment, and attacks congress for “not doing the job they were elected to do.” Full story

May 27, 2014

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Braley is running for Senate in Iowa. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 3:31 p.m. | Rep. Bruce Braley is up with a new ad for his Senate bid touting his career as a lawyer — a résumé that’s caused the Democrat some grief in his bid for the competitive, open seat in Iowa.

In his 30-second spot, the congressman casts his oft-maligned profession as one of fighting for people and helping them solve their problems.

“Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people,” Braley says in the ad, which shows footage of him talking to a variety of people in Iowa.

“You have to get to know people to be an effective voice for what they care about,” he says. “I’ve spent my lifetime trying to be the voice for someone who has a problem that they can’t solve by themselves.” Full story

May 22, 2014

Another McDaniel Supporter Arrested in Connection to Photographs of Cochran’s Wife (Video)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel weighed in Thursday on the illegal photographing of Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife, now that multiple McDaniel supporters have been arrested in connection to the incident.

Mark Mayfield, the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, was arrested Thursday along with Richard Sager, The Clarion-Ledger reported. Last week, blogger Clayton Kelly was arrested after allegedly posting online images of Rose Cochran, who suffers from dementia, that were taken at the nursing home where she lives.

The connections to the McDaniel campaign has raised some issues for the challenger since Kelly’s arrest was first reported over the weekend. The Clarion-Ledger has a photograph of McDaniel with a group of volunteers, including Mayfield, and Kelly had written about his support for McDaniel on his blog.

Still, McDaniel continues to deny any connection to the alleged crimes.

Full story

May 21, 2014

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Harkin's seat is an attractive pickup opportunity for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With less than two weeks until Iowa’s congressional primaries, it’s still unclear whether a Republican Senate candidate can clear the 35 percent vote threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

In an attractive pickup opportunity for national Republicans, there are four major candidates seeking the nomination for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The leading contenders are state Sen. Joni Ernst, who has the tacit support of the governor and earned national attention with an ad about castrating hogs, and Mark Jacobs, a self-funding former energy executive. Radio host Sam Clovis and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker round out the top four.

A recent poll found Ernst with 31 percent support — in the lead and within striking distance of the nomination. But Jacobs, who outspent Ernst by more than 5 to 1 through March, has dominated his opponents on the airwaves, and a potential late surge by Clovis could spread the vote around and force the nomination process to a convention, where anything can happen.

“I think either Ernst or Jacobs will get to 35 percent,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and editor-in-chief of The Iowa Republican politics blog. But, he continued, “Clovis has plenty of room to grow” and can improve his standing if he is more “aggressive in drawing distinctions between himself and the other candidates” and seizing the “social conservative mantle.” Full story

Monica Wehby Wins GOP Senate Primary in Oregon

Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby clinched the Republican Senate nomination in Oregon on Tuesday, beating out state Rep. Jason Conger.

Wehby will now face Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley — who handily won his primary — in an uphill race for Republicans. She led Conger 55 percent to 32 percent when the Associated Press called the race with 52 percent of precincts reporting.

Merkley is running his first Senate re-election race after unseating Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in 2008.

The blue-state seat has not been a top target for national Republicans, who must pick up a net six seats to regain the Senate majority. But Wehby’s resume as a physician and strong first TV ad have Republicans optimistic they can expand the playing field into Oregon. Full story

May 20, 2014

McConnell Wins Primary, Will Face Grimes (Updated)

McConnell Wins Primary, Will Face Grimes (Updated)

McConnell won his primary handily on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:21 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated his tea party-backed primary rival Tuesday, putting the Republican lawmaker one step closer to winning a sixth term in Kentucky.

McConnell led with 62 percent to 33 percent for Louisville businessman Matt Bevin when The Associated Press called the race with just 7 percent of precincts reporting.

The primary served as the formal kickoff to what’s expected to be a highly competitive general-election race with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of State, who also won her primary by a wide margin. In one of Democrats’ two pickup opportunities in 2014, recent polls have found the race neck-and-neck. Full story

GOP Super PAC Ad Ties Grimes to Hollywood, Obama

A super PAC supporting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is launching a TV ad on Wednesday against likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

With the state’s primaries Tuesday set to cement the general-election matchup between McConnell and Grimes, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership is immediately releasing a TV ad tying Grimes to liberals, Hollywood and President Barack Obama.

The new ad is the latest attempt by the group to define Grimes at the outset of the race. It’s already spent well more than $1 million on TV and radio ads before this latest ad, which the group announced is backed by a $575,000 expenditure and airing statewide on broadcast and cable through June 2. Full story

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Outside groups are spending heavily in North Carolina as Tillis challenges a Democratic incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican-aligned outside group Crossroads GPS has launched an ad in North Carolina attacking Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on the president’s health care law.

The group said it put $3,550,000 behind the ad, which will run on North Carolina TV for four weeks. It’s the latest evidence that the race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis will likely be the most expensive of the cycle.

The ad, which began running Tuesday, attacks Hagan for saying people would be able to keep their insurance and doctor once the Affordable Care Act took effect — which turned out to not always be true.

Full story

McConnell, Grimes Race Has Already Begun as Primary Concludes

McConnell, Grimes Race Has Already Begun as Primary Concludes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might be the headliner of the “Super Tuesday” primaries, but the Kentucky Republican’s general election has already started.

Tuesday features intriguing Republican and Democratic primaries at the House and Senate levels across six states, including a still-unpredictable Georgia GOP Senate race and an open-seat Democratic House contest in Philadelphia. In Kentucky, McConnell was once considered vulnerable to a conservative challenger, but he’s likely to easily defeat Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, a tea-party-backed, partially self-financing contender.

For McConnell, Tuesday night will serve as a test-run for the general against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and the formal kickoff to the more challenging leg of his already lengthy re-election campaign.

“Our goal was to come out of the primary stronger than we went in, and by any objective measure the McConnell campaign has exceeded that goal,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. Full story

May 16, 2014

Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

King is backing Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine’s Angus King, one of two independents serving in the Senate, is endorsing two colleagues on Friday: New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Republican Susan Collins.

Collins, who lost to King in the 1994 gubernatorial race, is a solid favorite for re-election, despite the fact President Barack Obama carried Maine by double digits in both 2008 and 2012.

“I think she’s one of the Senate’s MVP’s — smart, tough, and always willing to listen,” King said in a statement shared with CQ Roll Call. “In my book, she’s a model senator and I’m delighted to support her re-election.”

Despite Collins’ advantage, the endorsement, which was first reported by the Associated Press, is nonetheless noteworthy because King caucuses with Senate Democrats. Collins is being challenged by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who released a statement Friday noting that King gave her a heads-up about his endorsement.

Full story

May 13, 2014

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Sasse prevailed over two Republican rivals in the Nebraska Senate primary race Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Sasse pulled off a victory in Nebraska Tuesday night, winning the Republican Senate primary to become the nominee and likely the next senator from the Cornhusker State.

Sasse, president of Midland University and a former Bush administration official, bested former state Treasurer Shane Osborn and banker Sid Dinsdale to win the nomination for this open seat. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is retiring.

Sasse had 44 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race just before 10 p.m. Dinsdale was in second at 26 percent, followed by Osborn with 23 percent.

Sasse benefited from massive spending by outside groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. Those groups did a lot of the dirty work, running a barrage of negative ads bashing first Osborn and, later, Dinsdale, while Sasse’s own campaign only ran positive spots about the candidate.

With Sasse’s nomination, the tea party will claim its first big win of the cycle. Tea-party-aligned groups like the Madison Project — along with the club and SCF — backed him, along with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who traveled to Nebraska to rally for Sasse alongside former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

There is no serious Democratic contender. The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Begich Could Benefit From a Ballot Initiative Bounce

Begich Could Benefit From a Ballot Initiative Bounce

Begich is seeking re-election in Alaska. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is all of a sudden the likely beneficiary of a legislative blunder that may send more voters to the polls this fall.

Begich’s midterm electorate is expected to expand as a result of the Republican-controlled state Legislature’s failure to gavel out by its April 20 deadline, an error — or conscious decision, depending on whom you ask — that has been the talk of Alaska political circles for the past few weeks. It automatically shifted to the general election three ballot initiatives on marijuana, the minimum wage and the environment — issues that could draw to the polls voters more likely to also support the Democratic incumbent.

Winning re-election in Alaska, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1, is more than a base-turnout game for Begich. It will also require the first-term senator to persuade enough independents and Republicans to support him over his GOP opposition.

Begich was elected in 2008, just days after Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted in federal court on corruption charges, helping boost the then-Anchorage mayor to a winning margin of less than 4,000 votes. Democrats in the state see the ballot initiative moves as similarly beneficial.

“No Democrat in Alaska wins by much statewide,” said state Senate Minority Leader Hollis French, a Democrat running for lieutenant governor. “You need some miracle to win, and this might be just enough of that final boost to carry over the line.” Full story

May 12, 2014

Sullivan Touts Military Service in Latest TV Ad

Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan released his latest TV ad on Monday, a 30-second spot highlighting his military service and pushing the message that the state “needs a fighter again.”

The 30-second spot, running on broadcast stations, never mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. But the incumbent’s photo is briefly plastered on screen alongside President Barack Obama.

“As a Marine, I learned that talk is cheap and results are what matter. But that’s not how they operate in Washington,” Sullivan says as the two Democrats’ photos appear. Full story

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