- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
Posts in "Safe Republican"
March 18, 2014
The special-election primary to replace resigning Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is tightening after an advertising blitz benefiting Republican state Speaker T.W. Shannon.
A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, an outside group backing Shannon, found the state speaker cutting into the early GOP primary lead of Rep. James Lankford. Lankford, who is the favorite to fill the remaining two years of Coburn’s term, led with 37 percent, followed by Shannon with 28 percent and former state Sen. Randy Brogdon with 7 percent.
A half dozen candidates are running to replace Coburn, a favorite among conservatives, who is stepping down at the end of the year. The special is following the state’s regular election schedule: If no candidate receives a majority of support in the June 24 primary, the top two finishers will face off in an Aug. 26 runoff and the winner will move on to November. Full story
March 4, 2014
Utah Sen. Mike Lee is backing Ben Sasse for Senate in Nebraska, adding another congressional endorsement for the Midland University president in his competitive GOP primary.
Sasse is building a “diverse, conservative coalition,” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday. Along with Lee, Sasse has the support of House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, as well as outside groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth. Full story
February 26, 2014
South Carolina Republican primary voters don’t think the country is on the right track, but they’re not yet blaming Sen. Lindsey Graham.
The two-term incumbent, who faces a handful of GOP primary challengers, led a Winthrop University poll released Wednesday with 45 percent of the vote. Graham needs more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 10 primary to escape a runoff, but none of Graham’s challengers made it out of single-digit support, while 35 percent remained undecided.
Graham kicked off his TV advertising campaign two weeks ago, highlighting his efforts to fight the Obama administration on health care and Benghazi.
That plays well in a state where just 3 percent of GOP primary voters said they think the country is on the right track and 90 percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. Full story
February 11, 2014
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
January 31, 2014
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 9, 2014
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.”
January 6, 2014
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
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
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
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:
December 9, 2013
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
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
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
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.”
October 10, 2013
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