Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts in "Tossup"

April 22, 2014

Senator Rides Snowmachine Across Arctic in Latest Ad

Senator Rides Snowmachine Across Arctic in Latest Ad

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

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich hops back on a snowmachine in his latest TV ad, cruising across a frozen Arctic Ocean to highlight his efforts over the last five years to win approval for oil drilling.

It’s the fourth ad from the first-term Democrat, who’s stressing his Alaska roots and priorities as he runs in one of the most competitive races of the cycle. The spot is airing in Anchorage and Fairbanks on both broadcast and cable stations, according to the campaign.

“I’m Mark Begich — I fought for five years to get the permits so we could drill under this ice,” Begich says in the ad. “And we won. I approved this message because sooner or later, Washington’ll figure out that I don’t take no for an answer.” Full story

April 7, 2014

Kay Hagan Raised $2.8 Million for Re-Election in 2014

Kay Hagan Raised $2.8 Million for Re Election in 2014

Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter — an impressive sum for the top target of outside spending in the 2014 midterms.

The first-term Democrat ended March with $8.3 million in cash on hand, according to the Hagan campaign. That’s far more than any of her potential Republican opponents are likely to report, though she’s already the target of millions of dollars worth of ads from Americans for Prosperity.

“Kay’s strong fundraising total for the first quarter shows the excitement and momentum behind her campaign,” Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said. “These funds will ensure the campaign can reach voters in every corner of the state to talk about Kay’s record of putting North Carolina first.” Full story

March 20, 2014

Mark Begich Debuts TV Ad Starring Late Father in Alaska

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is launching a 60-second biographical TV ad on Thursday, highlighting his long ties to the state as Republicans attempt to tether him to Washington in his re-election race.

The first-term Democrat faces a highly competitive campaign that’s already seen attack ads fired from both sides. The new spot, his second one so far, was designed to cut through the negative ad barrage and emphasize Begich’s work for Alaska interests.

Full story

March 12, 2014

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Chocola is the president of the Club for Growth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Wednesday that it is supporting Dan Sullivan in the Republican Senate primary in Alaska.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, is one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a top target of national Republicans.

In recent cycles, the club sometimes backed primary challengers to GOP incumbents and upstarts whom national Republicans do not always view as the best candidate for the race. But that’s not the case here.

Full story

March 7, 2014

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Paul will make time for a fundraiser for a Senate hopeful while at CPAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is headlining a fundraiser Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference for a tea-party-backed Senate candidate in North Carolina.

Greg Brannon, a physician, is one of a handful of Republicans hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is a top GOP target in her bid for a second term. Brannon has collected the endorsements of Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, though state Speaker Thom Tillis is the GOP front-runner.

Paul will follow up his mid-afternoon address at CPAC by appearing with Brannon at a McCormick & Schmick’s near where the conference is being held. Tickets to the event cost up to $500, according to the online invitation. Full story

February 26, 2014

Manchin Heading to Alaska for Begich Fundraiser

Manchin Heading to Alaska for Begich Fundraiser

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will travel to Anchorage this weekend to campaign for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska., according to multiple sources in both camps familiar with the trip.

Manchin will appear at two fundraisers at the home of former Democratic Gov. Bill Sheffield, each with a different suggested contribution level. Sources would not confirm the specific, suggested dollar amounts. The events are co-hosted by Sheffield and Wally Hickel Jr., son of former Gov. Wally Hickel.

Manchin, who has a penchant for state fairs, also will appear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2014 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (aka “Fur Rondy”), the annual 10-day festival kicking off the famous Iditarod race.

“Senator Manchin will be in Alaska to support Senator Begich because he believes he is the independent-minded Senator who always fights for Alaska and will help move our country forward,” a Manchin campaign spokesman said in an email.

Full story

February 20, 2014

Olympic Snowboarder Makes Senate Endorsement

Olympic Snowboarder Makes Senate Endorsement

Stassel, left, has endorsed Treadwell for Senate in Alaska. (Joe Scarnici via Getty Images)

In what’s likely the first congressional endorsement by an Olympian in 2014, snowboarder Ryan Stassel has left the winter games in Russia and returned home to Anchorage, where he will formally endorse Alaska Senate candidate Mead Treadwell.

In a statement released Thursday by the Republican’s campaign, the 21-year-old Stassel said he worked as a fisherman to support his dream of making the 2014 Winter Olympics and sees in Treadwell the same dedication it takes to become an Olympian. He also trumpeted the campaign’s argument that Treadwell, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, is the true Alaskan in the Republican primary. Full story

February 12, 2014

Conservative Group Ups Spending to $2.6M Against Landrieu

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, launched yet another stinging TV ad Wednesday against Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

It’s the group’s latest ad targeting the Louisiana Democrat on President Barack Obama’s health care law. The group spent $750,000 on its latest three-week flight and has now spent $2.6 million in the state so far this cycle, according to AFP spokesman Levi Russell.

“Dear Miss Davis, we can no longer offer you the same policy,” one announcer says in a series of supposed notices sent by insurance companies. “Your doctor is no longer in the network, due to the Affordable Care Act.”

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 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

January 3, 2014

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Florida’s 13th District

 

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Floridas 13th District

Jolly, left, and Peters, right, are Republicans. (CQ Roll Call composite)

The competitive composition of Florida’s 13th District makes this race fascinating, but it’s also the first big contest on the calendar for 2014. This special election will serve as a test balloon for the parties to check their messaging with a split electorate months ahead of Election Day.

Longtime Rep. C.W. Bill Young’s death has spurred the first competitive race for the western Florida district in a few decades. Young carried the district easily, but President Barack Obama narrowly won the seat with 50 percent in 2012.

Full story

December 30, 2013

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Arkansas Senate

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Arkansas Senate

Pryor is a top Senate GOP target in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a year with a few contenders, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor is widely considered the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election. For Republicans, his seat is a must-win for the party to recapture the Senate majority.

With the president’s job approval rating dropping and southern Democrats disappearing from the congressional ranks, Pryor’s successful bid for a third term would be the ultimate proof that Senate elections are truly a choice between the two candidates on the ballot and the quality of the campaigns.

First elected in 2002, Pryor remains as the last Democrat from a congressional delegation filled with them just a few years ago. With the unpopularity of the president in Arkansas and Pryor’s vote in favor of the president’s health care overhaul law, Republicans believe they have a good shot at a clean sweep in the state’s federal races next November thanks to freshman Rep. Tom Cotton’s candidacy. Full story

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