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August 29, 2015

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August 24, 2012

Arizona: Jeff Flake Endorses Kirk Adams

Rep. Jeff Flake (R) has endorsed former Arizona state Speaker Kirk Adams over former Rep. Matt Salmon in the GOP primary to succeed Flake in Congress.

“With the primary election just days away, I’m being asked a lot about who I prefer for Congressional District Five,” Flake said in a statement. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Matt Salmon, so my decision is not a matter of voting against someone, but rather for someone. That someone is Kirk Adams.

“I’ve known Kirk for years, and have watched his steady, thoughtful leadership as speaker of the Arizona House. I’m confident that, if elected, Kirk will provide the same conservative leadership in Washington,” he added.

Full story

August 23, 2012

Michigan: House Democrats Air Second Spot Against Dan Benishek

House Democrats will start airing their second spot today targeting freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) in the competitive 1st district race.

Democrats shifted their line of attack in this advertisement, targeting Benishek for voting “to give Members of Congress taxpayer-funded health care. For life,” an announcer says.

Benishek faces a rematch with former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) in one of the highest-profile races in the country. Roll Call rates the contest as a Tossup.

Like every House Republican, Benishek voted in July to repeal the health care overhaul law. Part of that law requires Members of Congress to receive health care from public insurance exchanges instead of the current federal employee program.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will spend $51,000 to air the spot in the Marquette market, according to a source with knowledge of the buy. House Democrats already aired a spot targeting Benishek on Medicare in the nearby Traverse City market last week — their first independent expenditure of the fall campaign advertisement season.

August 22, 2012

Race Rating Change: North Dakota Moves in Dems’ Direction

Updated 11:30 p.m. | This week proves what a difference a strong candidate can make, even in partisan states.

In the wake of the implosion of Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.), Republicans quietly bemoaned their policy of remaining neutral in Senate primaries. But in North Dakota, where Republicans had an uncompetitive primary, it’s become clear that the GOP nominee is not as strong a recruit as he initially appeared to be.

At the start of the cycle, Republicans believed this seat would be an easy pickup. But former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) proved a strong candidate, and she’s run a nearly flawless campaign against the GOP nominee, Rep. Rick Berg.

Accordingly, Roll Call is belatedly changing its North Dakota race rating to Tossup. For months, we rated this race as Leans Republican, citing the GOP’s past political performance in the state. But over the summer, Democrats ran a stronger campaign here — and polling shows it’s working for Heitkamp. Full story

Michigan: Kerry Bentivolio’s Teaching Troubles

Kerry Bentivolio, the GOP nominee in Michigan’s 11th district, had trouble as a high school teacher, according to a new Detroit Free Press report.

Fowlerville High School officials reportedly reprimanded Bentivolio for telling students they were “just a paycheck to me,” threatening to make them cry and pounding on their desks.

Bentivolio faces internist Syed Taj (D) this November in the suburban district west of Detroit. Republicans viewed the district as a safe bet until recently, when a strange series of events made this the most unpredictable House race of the cycle. Roll Call rates the contest as Leans Republican. Full story

Montana: DSCC Launches Second Ad Against Denny Rehberg

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today launched its second TV ad in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) is fending off a challenge from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in what is expected to be one of the closest races in the country. Full story

August 21, 2012

Georgia: Doug Collins Wins House Race, Likely Headed to Congress

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:32 p.m. | State Rep. Doug Collins won the GOP runoff today in Georgia’s 9th district and is almost certain to be coming to Congress from the ultra-Republican seat in the northeast portion of the state. Close with Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and backed by the Atlanta Republican establishment, Collins easily won the runoff, besting conservative talk radio host Martha Zoller by almost 10 points.

With 98.1 percent of precincts reporting, Collins had 54.6 percent to Zoller’s 45. 4 percent, the Associated Press reported.

With support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and former GOP presidential contender Herman Cain, Zoller cast herself as the insurgent tea party candidate against Collins, who has establishment roots. Full story

Todd Akin Staying Put, as Top Missouri Republicans Tell Him to Exit

(Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Associated Press)

Updated 2 p.m. | Rep. Todd Akin said he is staying in the Missouri Senate race despite the national firestorm sparked by his controversial comments about rape and calls from the Republican Party establishment in his own state for him to step aside.

“We are going to continue with this race,” the GOP Congressman told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a radio interview this afternoon.

Akin’s decision comes as Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt issued a joint statement with former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Sens. Kit Bond, John Danforth and Jim Talent — all Republicans from Missouri — calling on Akin to drop out of the race. Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Cites Bipartisan Record in First TV Ad

Updated 2:30 p.m. | Tim Kaine launched the first television ad of his Senate campaign in Virginia today, a positive spot highlighting his record as governor.

The ad is part of the Democrat’s $4.5 million TV time buy placed between now and Election Day. It comes amid a flurry of outside spending — and direct attacks of his record — which his campaign said has already reached $8.5 million worth of advertising against Kaine.

Full story

Pennsylvania: Kathy Boockvar on the Air Against Mike Fitzpatrick

Attorney Kathy Boockvar (D) will start airing advertisements today in her bid to unseat Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R) in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The $38,000 buy will run an introductory, semi-biographical spot this week.

“It’s just common sense — work together, make smart decisions and improve our bottom line,” Boockvar says in the spot. “That’s what I’ve done at work, as a mediator and at home, as a wife and mother. And it’s what I’ll do in Washington.”

Fitzpatrick is seeking re-election in the competitive 8th district. The seat represents Democrats’ best shot to pick up a seat this November in Pennsylvania, although Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

The Congressman has a major financial advantage over Boockvar. He reported $1.2 million in the bank at the end of June, while the Democrat had $421,000 in the bank at the same time.

August 20, 2012

Missouri: Todd Akin Stands Up Piers Morgan

In the most recent chapter of the bizarre saga surrounding embattled Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate GOP nominee ducked out of a prime-time interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, leading the host to dub him “a gutless little twerp.”

Akin had been attempting a restorative media tour today, agreeing to be interviewed earlier by conservatives Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity. But facing pressure from top GOP leaders, as well as from some of the hosts themselves, the Missouri Republican — who said Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy — apparently got cold feet.

“Congressman, you have an open invitation to join me in that chair whenever you feel up to it because if you don’t keep your promise to be on the show, then you are what we would call in Britain, a gutless little twerp,” said Morgan, who showed an empty chair throughout his program. Full story

Indiana: Senate Majority PAC Boosts Joe Donnelly With $500K Buy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Democratic super PAC is set to swoop into Indiana on Tuesday to boost Rep. Joe Donnelly with a $500,000 ad buy for the increasingly competitive Senate race.

Majority PAC will air this spot targeting Donnelly’s Republican opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, on Social Security:

Full story

Missouri: What Happens if Todd Akin Drops Out

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

If Rep. Todd Akin (R) does drop his Missouri Senate bid within the next 24 hours, as the GOP establishment is pressuring him to do, at least his timing will be impeccable.

Missouri state law allows a nominated candidate to withdraw his or her bid for office by 5 p.m. on the 11th Tuesday before the election which, as it turns out, is tomorrow. If Akin does drop his bid before tomorrow’s deadline, the state’s GOP central committee would pick his replacement.

This statutory fact alone is why Republicans — from National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — are coalescing around a 24-hour ultimatum. Full story

Missouri: Pressure Builds for Todd Akin to Step Aside

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6 p.m. | Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin apologized for his controversial remarks about “legitimate rape” today, as top Republicans ramped up calls for him to step aside as the GOP nominee.

In the clearest sign yet that pressure is being exerted on Akin to leave the race, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) issued a statement saying the Congressman has 24 hours to make a decision on what’s “best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about” and to “carefully consider” his options. A GOP source also confirmed that the NRSC is prepared to pull its $5 million ad reservation if Akin does not drop out of the contest.

“Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,” Cornyn said. Full story

Republicans Pile On Criticism of Todd Akin’s Rape Comment

On day two of the media firestorm around Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) comments about rape, the Republican Senate nominee is discovering that his harshest critics are not Democrats, but members of his own party.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) was restrained in her criticism of her opponent this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The incident has breathed new life into her campaign for re-election.

Instead, it is Republicans in tough fall races who are piling on:

Full story

August 19, 2012

Missouri: Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment Ignites Firestorm

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, justified his opposition to all abortion, even in instances of rape, by saying that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy — comments that have set off a media firestorm in an already contentious race.

In an interview with a St. Louis television station posted today, Akin said that female bodies “[have] ways to try to shut that whole thing down” and that only rapists, and not unborn children, should be punished.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV, in an interview first reported nationally by Talking Points Memo. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Full story

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