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July 23, 2014

Posts in "Safe Republican"

January 9, 2014

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 6, 2014

Why It Didn’t Work for Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney cited family health concerns as her reason for dropping out of the Wyoming Senate race, but her exit Monday came after months of struggling to gain traction in a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Michael B. Enzi.

Nearly six months after announcing her first bid for public office, the campaign of the former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney had grabbed more headlines for causing intrafamily drama than for offering a decisive argument for her candidacy.

Cheney would have had another eight months to argue her case, but among the many reasons her campaign hadn’t erupted with support already was the fact that Wyoming voters simply still like Enzi. Now it will never be known whether she could have overcome that.

“It was never about people not liking Liz or the Cheney family,” said Joe Milczewski, a former campaign manager for the other Wyoming senator, Republican John Barrasso. “But voters like Sen. Enzi, they’ve pulled the lever for him two or three times before, and nobody likes to have to pick between two friends.” Full story

December 18, 2013

Mia Love Is Clear Front-Runner for Matheson Seat

Mia Love Is Clear Front Runner for Matheson Seat

Love is running for Congress for a second time. (Chris Maddaloni CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

For an ambitious Republican, there is no more attractive House seat than that of retiring Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah — but the congressman’s former foe could be strong enough to hold off a run on the seat.

Matheson’s retirement announcement Tuesday turned a top GOP pickup opportunity into a seat for which national Democrats may not compete for the foreseeable future. No names of potential candidates emerged in the immediate aftermath, but anyone jumping in now would face a truncated timeline and a challenging race for the GOP nomination ahead.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who lost to Matheson by 768 votes in 2012, got a jump on the GOP competition by kicking off her campaign early this cycle. With the state’s top campaign operative on board and nearly $700,000 in the bank by the end of September, there is a sentiment in the state that her head start could be too much to overcome. Full story

December 17, 2013

Cochran Hires Campaign Manager for Tough Re-Election

Cochran Hires Campaign Manager for Tough Re Election

Cochran will seek re-election in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

After an endorsement from the biggest names in Mississippi Republican politics, Sen. Thad Cochran has chosen Kirk Sims as campaign manager for his competitive re-election next year.

Sims, currently Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s chief of staff, will lead Cochran’s bid for a seventh term, the Cochran campaign announced Tuesday.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Cochran received phone calls endorsing Sims from Sen. Roger Wicker (who is also Sims’ father-in-law), former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Sen. Trent Lott. Full story

December 10, 2013

6 Texas-Sized Primary Hurdles for Steve Stockman

6 Texas Sized Primary Hurdles for Steve Stockman

Stockman is challenging Cornyn in the Texas Republican Senate primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman’s last-minute challenge to Sen. John Cornyn sent shock waves through Republican politics Monday night. But the congressman’s bid to upset the two-term incumbent has some Texas-sized hurdles to overcome before it’s competitive — let alone successful.

Cornyn was minutes from avoiding a credible GOP primary challenger altogether before Stockman filed at the eleventh hour. Ideological outside groups in search of another Ted Cruz — who turned in one of the biggest upsets of 2012 in the GOP runoff for Texas Senate — had largely resigned themselves to the likelihood that toppling Cornyn was out of reach.

It’s not yet clear whether Stockman’s candidacy changes that. But, if nothing else, it ensures that Cornyn won’t take the March 4 primary lightly. While many Republican incumbents have faced legitimate primary challenges in the past few cycles, Stockman is not exactly striking fear in the hearts of establishment Republicans who stand firmly behind Cornyn.

Here are six reasons why:

Full story

December 9, 2013

McConnell, NRSC to Help Cochran Fundraise

McConnell, NRSC to Help Cochran Fundraise

Cochran will seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Sen. Thad Cochran’s decision last week to seek re-election, the six-term incumbent must now begin hiring a political team and getting serious about fundraising.

After avoiding a significant challenge for 30 years, the Mississippi Republican hasn’t needed a robust political operation. Now facing an outside-group-backed primary opponent in state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are assisting Cochran’s campaign kickoff.

“We are working closely with Senator Cochran in putting together his team and developing a plan,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said. “There’s a fundraiser this week headlined by Mitch McConnell at the NRSC.” Full story

December 6, 2013

Cochran Faces Toughest Test in 30 Years

Cochran Faces Toughest Test in 30 Years

Cochran will seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In one of the last red-state bastions of appreciation for appropriations, Sen. Thad Cochran’s decision to seek re-election sets up a unique test for hard-line conservative groups that have targeted incumbents over the past few cycles.

The six-term Republican and veteran appropriator is beloved in Mississippi for his efforts to direct federal funding to a state in need — especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — so labeling him the “king of pork” won’t necessarily be a winning argument, even in a low-turnout Republican primary.

“If you can’t identify a Bridge to Nowhere, which I think they’re going to be hard-pressed to do, then you better come with something better than that,” said Hayes Dent, a Mississippi-based lobbyist. Full story

November 11, 2013

Conservative Groups Divided in Nebraska Senate Race

Conservative Groups Divided in Nebraska Senate Race

Osborn got an endorsement today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a display of the unpredictability of the race, conservative groups are falling on opposite sides of the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska.

FreedomWorks, a tea-party-affiliated group that has backed candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that it has endorsed former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. Full story

October 21, 2013

Club for Growth Boosts Senate GOP Primary Challenger on TV

The Club for Growth will hit the Mississippi television airwaves Tuesday to boost a GOP primary challenger to Sen. Thad Cochran.

The conservative group’s ad — which comes from its political action arm — declines to mention Cochran, who has not yet announced whether he is seeking re-election. Instead, it introduces his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, to the state and sells him as “the new strong, conservative leader Mississippi needs in the U.S. Senate.”

Full story

October 10, 2013

Conservative Super PAC Ups Ad Buy Against Cheney

A conservative super PAC is increasing its TV ad buy against Liz Cheney, who is vying for the Republican Senate nomination in Wyoming.

American Principles Fund initially launched its ad on Monday for a one-week flight backed by $75,000. But the group announced Thursday that it has now invested $140,000 for a three-week run on statewide broadcast and cable. The ad hits Cheney on gay marriage.

Cheney is challenging Sen. Michael B. Enzi in the Republican primary. In a statement in August, Cheney said there was a push poll being conducted against her on this issue and that she is “not pro-gay marriage.”

The group is promising to invest further in this and other races around the country. Full story

October 7, 2013

John Cornyn Airs First Re-Election Campaign Spot

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn may not have a serious primary rival yet in his reliably Republican home state of Texas — but he’s running campaign ads as if he did.

On Monday Cornyn aired his first spot of the cycle, called “Conservative Like Texas.” His campaign made an initial buy of “several hundred thousand dollars,” according to a Cornyn source.

“Our John Cornyn, conservative like you, like Texas,” the narrator declares in the spot.

Full story

September 23, 2013

Lindsey Graham Challenger Dismisses Financial Disadvantage (Video)

The candidate: Republican Lee Bright, a South Carolina state senator
The member: Bright is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary.
The state: This is one of two Senate races in South Carolina next year. Appointed Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, is running unopposed in the special election to fill out the remaining term of Jim DeMint. Both races are rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Chris Sullivan (general consultant)

Full story

September 11, 2013

The Open-Seat Senate Race No One’s Talking About

The Open Seat Senate Race No Ones Talking About

Osborn is running for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The open Senate seat that no one is talking about could get a little more interesting this month.

The retirement of Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., next year has invited a crop of ambitious Republicans that includes rising stars and fresh faces in Nebraska’s political realm. Given the state’s Republican lean, Johanns’ replacement will most likely be decided among them in the May 13 GOP primary.

Already in the race are former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, Midland University President Ben Sasse and attorney Bart McLeay. Sid Dinsdale, head of one of the largest banks in the state and son of a well-known businessman, Roy Dinsdale, will reportedly announce his intentions as early as next week.

Dinsdale’s entrance would provide another wrinkle into what will be an intriguing intraparty slugfest by early next year. Unlike other primaries around the country, this one in the heavily Republican Cornhusker State is not expected to affect the competitiveness of the general election.

But a year after a surprise outcome in the GOP Senate primary produced now-Sen. Deb Fischer, this year’s lineup could be equally unpredictable. Full story

August 20, 2013

Lamar Alexander Challenger Swiftly Loses Consultant | #TNSEN

Republican strategist Chip Saltsman announced he has resigned from the campaign of Joe Carr — just hours after the candidate switched from a House race to challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in the primary.

“I signed up to help you run for Congress, not the Senate,” Saltsman wrote in his letter of resignation, which the operative released to the press Tuesday morning.

Carr, a state representative, initially launched a campaign to challenge embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 4th District GOP primary. However, that race was getting crowded, with state Sen. Jim Tracy also vying for the nomination and so far leading in the fundraising battle. Full story

August 5, 2013

Lindsey Graham’s Primary Strength in Numbers

Lindsey Grahams Primary Strength in Numbers

Graham got a new challenger on his right this weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It was inevitable that the field of primary challengers to Lindsey Graham would grow, but the sheer number of ambitious Republicans seeking to oust the South Carolina senator may end up being the undoing of them all.

With a new opponent entering the race over the weekend and another poised to join soon, the question is whether enough variables could fall into place to cause a different result this time.

It’s possible, according to several South Carolina GOP operatives who spoke with CQ Roll Call in recent days. But it would take an extraordinarily large amount of money, extensive support from outside groups and an unlikely coalescing of the anti-Graham vote. A top challenger would need all of those things, plus cash to spare for a runoff. Full story

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