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April 17, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

February 11, 2014

Lindsey Graham Launches First Campaign Ads

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is facing a few Republican primary challengers, released his first TV and radio ads of the year on Tuesday.

The ads work to burnish Graham’s conservative credentials with four months left until the June 10 primary. The ads are backed by a six-figure buy and will run statewide for more than a week, according to a release.

The TV ad notes Graham “opposed Obamacare from Day One,” “led the fight on Benghazi,” and is “a conservative leader who gets things done.” Full story

February 10, 2014

Vote on Pryor Bill Just the Start of Senate’s 2014 Political Madness (Updated)

Vote on Pryor Bill Just the Start of Senates 2014 Political Madness (Updated)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 6:28 p.m. | It’s officially open political vote season on the Senate floor, and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is the latest vulnerable 2014 incumbent to benefit from Majority Leader Harry Reid’s power of the calendar.

The Senate voted Monday evening on legislation championed by Pryor — and co-sponsored by five Democrats who also are in-cycle — to repeal $6 billion in cost-of-living adjustments to military pensions agreed to in the 2013 bipartisan budget agreement. The legislation, which is not offset by spending cuts elsewhere, is unlikely to garner any Republican support in its current form, even though GOP senators moved to open debate Monday. Republicans likely would object to spending increases and to date have not offered Democrats alternatives they would accept. But Reid circumvented a committee markup to bring the bill straight to the floor so Democrats could record an up-or-down vote. The result? Just one of many votes Democratic leaders hope to hold in the months to come to benefit their most embattled members.

Full story

February 7, 2014

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Walsh, far right, visited the Capitol in November along with West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Win or lose in November, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh will be the next senator from Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock appointed his former running mate to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate early after being confirmed Thursday as ambassador to China.

Walsh was already running for the seat, but he’ll now run as the incumbent senator. That change could provide some inherent advantages in his quest to hold one of the party’s most vulnerable seats.

“I wanted to appoint someone who I truly believed would wake up each and every day wanting to put Montana and Montanans first,” Bullock said in a Friday news conference to announce the appointment. Full story

February 6, 2014

Montana Gov. Going ‘Through a Process’ to Replace Max Baucus (Updated) (Video)

Montana Gov. Going Through a Process to Replace Max Baucus (Updated) (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The Senate’s confirmation Thursday of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China immediately sets off the need for an appointment to replace him.

The onus falls on Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who must choose someone to fill out the remaining year of Baucus’ term. The governor has scheduled a press conference for Friday at noon ET.

Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who was elected on the same ticket as Bullock in 2012, is already running for Senate. While he’s the odds-on favorite to be appointed, his selection to replace Baucus is no sure thing.

An ally of the administration confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Bullock “has gone through a process, been very hands on, but kept it really close to him and top aides — he’s watched failed appointments in the past and he’s not the kind of guy to make stupid errors.

“He’s a lawyer and he’s thorough,” the source continued. “I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Bullock picks someone close to him — his lieutenant governor or someone from the cabinet — but I would be surprised if he does it without having spent a great amount of time weighing pros and cons.” Full story

February 5, 2014

Pryor Launches TV Ads Aimed at Cotton Record

Pryor Launches TV Ads Aimed at Cotton Record

Sen. Mark Pryor launched two TV ads Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign launched two TV ads Wednesday going directly after his Republican opponent’s legislative record on Medicare.

The Democrat’s ads, airing statewide behind a “substantial” six-figure buy, feature one woman in each looking at their computers and highlighting what they had read about Rep. Tom Cotton.

The ads fit into the theme Democrats have pushed from the outset of the campaign — that Cotton has been “reckless and irresponsible” during his first term in the House. That messaging continued last week when Cotton voted against the farm bill conference report. Full story

February 4, 2014

Super PAC TV Ad Touts Dan Sullivan in Alaska

An Alaska-based super PAC formed to support the Senate campaign of Republican Dan Sullivan launched a TV ad Tuesday that paints him in the mold of Ronald Reagan and longtime Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is vying for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in 2008. Begich is a top target of national Republicans, who are hoping to net six seats this fall to regain control of the Senate.

The ad, from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, is backed by a $41,000 buy and will air statewide this month, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call. It starts off with the voices of Reagan and Stevens before cutting to a clip from Sullivan’s campaign announcement press conference in October. Full story

January 31, 2014

Obama’s Cousin Hopes to Stop President From ‘Destroying America’ (Video)

The candidate: Physician Milton Wolf
The member: Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
The state: Roberts ran unopposed in his 2008 primary and won the general with 60 percent. Kansas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
The candidate’s team: Jason Miller of Jamestown Associates is the general and media consultant.

Milton Wolf, a physician challenging Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in a Republican primary, may be a distant relative of Barack Obama, but he is no fan of the second-term president.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call this week, Wolf said Obama’s policies “are destroying America” and called him “maybe the worst president of our history.”

“Indeed we are cousins, but I am quick to remind that you cannot choose your family,”  Wolf said. “What you can do is choose to rise up and stop your family from destroying America.” Full story

January 27, 2014

John Warner Endorses Mark Warner (Updated)

John Warner Endorses Mark Warner (Updated)

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:45 p.m. | Former Virginia Sen. John Warner is crossing party lines to support Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s re-election campaign this year.

Warner, a former five-term Republican senator, told the Associated Press on Monday he is backing his successor in the Senate over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

Speaking later with CQ Roll Call, John Warner said he encouraged Mark Warner to seek re-election, citing the state’s need for seniority in the Senate.

“I’m not jumping my traces,” John Warner said. “I’m just exercising what I think is a responsible judgment, because Mark Warner is gaining seniority and stature, and has a proven ability to cross the aisle and make things happen.”

The two Warners faced off in a 1996 Senate race, with the incumbent holding on by a 5-point margin. After the loss, Mark Warner went on to win a term as governor in 2001, before running again for the Senate seat of the retiring John Warner.

This is the second time this cycle the former Republican senator has backed a Democratic Senate candidate. Warner contributed to the campaign of Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, who is running for an open seat in Georgia. Full story

January 22, 2014

McConnell Releases First Two TV Ads of 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released his first two TV ads of the election year on Wednesday — positive spots emphasizing that he has utilized his position on Capitol Hill to help Kentuckians in need.

Facing a competitive re-election, the Kentucky Republican’s new ads tout his efforts on behalf of workers who got cancer after being exposed to high levels of radiation at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in southwestern Kentucky. One of the workers, Robert Pierce, who suffered from throat cancer, is featured in both ads and can only speak in a whisper.

“These days I don’t I have much of a voice, but I and so many Kentuckians have been helped by someone with a strong voice, Mitch McConnell,” he says. McConnell ran an ad highlighting this same theme at the start of the 2008 election year.

The ads are backed by a “significant, six-figure buy” and will air statewide. McConnell is defending his seat against fellow Republican Matt Bevin in the primary and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Full story

January 16, 2014

Gillespie Announces Virginia Senate Campaign

Gillespie Announces Virginia Senate Campaign

Gillespie is running for Senate in Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced Thursday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

Despite Warner’s inherent advantages in this swing state, Gillespie’s entrance gives Republicans a competent opponent who will be able to raise money and make the race at least one to keep an eye on this year. In a video statement, Gillespie wasted no time in criticizing the incumbent over his fiscal record in the Senate and support for Obamacare. Full story

Shaheen Reports $1.1 Million Raised Last Quarter

Shaheen Reports $1.1 Million Raised Last Quarter

Shaheen will seek re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., raised $1.1 million in the final quarter of 2013 and will report $3.4 million in the bank to kick off her re-election year.

Full story

January 13, 2014

First Potential Miller Successor Announces Candidacy

California state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier quickly launched his campaign Monday to replace retiring Rep. George Miller.

The 20-term incumbent announced earlier in the day that he would not seek another term, opening a safe Democratic seat that could attract a number of ambitious contenders.

“I plan to hit the ground running hard in this campaign,” DeSaulnier said in a statement. “I am ready to run and ready to serve the people of the 11th District.” Full story

January 9, 2014

Alaska Super PAC Hits Begich in 3 Radio Ads

An Alaska-based super PAC supporting one of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich’s Republican challengers is launching its first three ads of the campaign on Friday.

The radio ads are an opening salvo for the group, Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, which backs former Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. The group spent about about $12,000 to air the ads over the next five days in Anchorage and Matanuska Valley.

While the buy size isn’t significantly large, the messaging offers a strong hint of the TV ads that are likely forthcoming. Each of the three 60-second ads mentions Begich’s support of Obamacare. One also notes the incumbent’s support of Obama’s appointees, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and questions where he stands on an oil tax rewrite referendum in the state this year. Full story

Lamar Alexander Launches First TV Ad

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., launched the first TV ad of his re-election campaign on Thursday, reminding voters of his conservative principles and years of fighting on behalf of the state.

As he seeks a third term and fends of a GOP primary challenge, the Alexander campaign is pushing out the ad statewide. The 60-second spot will hit the airwaves on Monday and run for four weeks, according to an Alexander consultant, who would not reveal the exact buy size.

“To that land where politics too often doesn’t work, Tennessee sends Lamar Alexander,” the ad’s announcer says to kick off the ad. “Conservative, honest, smart. Lamar Alexander is Tennessee.”

Full story

January 8, 2014

Jack Kingston Raised $880K in 4th Quarter

Jack Kingston Raised $880K in 4th Quarter

(Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston will file yet another strong fundraising period when fourth-quarter reports are due at the end of the month.

Kingston, one of the three Republican congressmen running for the state’s open Senate seat, pulled in $880,000 from September through December, according to figures first obtained by CQ Roll Call. He ended the year with $3.4 million on hand after raising a total of $4.2 million for the cycle.

It’s the best quarter of the cycle for Kingston, who brought in just more than $800,000 in the third quarter. None of the other Republicans in the deep primary field have released their fourth-quarter fundraising numbers. Full story

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