Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

Posts in "Tossup"

July 25, 2014

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Doheny endorsed his former primary opponent. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Republican Matt Doheny endorsed Elise Stefanik at a press conference Friday, more than a month after losing to her in a House race primary.

Stefanik, who was recently added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program, faces Democrat Aaron Woolf for the 21st District seat being vacated by Democrat Bill Owens. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Report/Roll Call. Full story

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Dan Sullivan is getting some outside help. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan is launching a radio ad Friday taking aim at his two leading Senate race opponents.

The 60-second ad from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, backed by an $80,000 buy and running statewide, mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Sullivan’s top opponent in the Aug. 19 primary, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

The ad lands on the airwaves on the heels of an accompanying TV ad from the group. Both label Sullivan a true Alaskan — one of the leading attacks against the native Ohioan — and state he is the only Republican who can defeat Begich. Full story

July 11, 2014

Pryor Starts Reserving Fall Airtime in Pivotal Senate Race

Pryor Starts Reserving Fall Airtime in Pivotal Senate Race

Pryor is ramping up his air war. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor has been buying up fall airtime for a race critical to nearly every hypothetical Republican path to the Senate majority.

The two-term Democrat, who faces the fight of his political life against GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, has so far reserved several hundred thousand dollars worth of TV time for the closing six weeks of the race, according to a media-buying source. The Pryor campaign would not comment on its media strategy, but that’s just an opening salvo in a state already seeing a plethora of spending from outside groups and both campaigns.

Amid a vigorous on-air back-and-forth over tornado disaster relief and religion in the past week, the contours of Pryor’s path to re-election remain unchanged. The Arkansas Democrat is banking that voters’ familiarity with him — and their disbelief that Cotton is on their side — will outweigh the antipathy toward Washington and President Barack Obama.

“Mark’s been around a really long time and his family has been around a long time,” said Sheila Bronfman, a Democratic consultant in Arkansas and longtime ally of the Clintons. “People like him and they trust him. They trust where he comes from and how he was raised, and I just think that’s making a big difference here.”

Full story

July 8, 2014

New Ads Invade Arkansas Airwaves

New Ads Invade Arkansas Airwaves

Pryor faces Cotton in Arkansas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Three new campaign ads hit the Arkansas airwaves Tuesday, with less than four months to go in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton are fighting for a seat crucial to the GOP’s hopes of winning the Senate majority. They took aim at each other in their respective ads, while GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS tied Pryor to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama and Washington.

Arkansas ranks fourth in independent-expenditure spending, behind Kentucky and North Carolina — which feature competitive general-election races — and Mississippi, which just concluded an extended GOP primary. Full story

June 19, 2014

Senate Majority Might Not Be Decided Until December

Senate Majority Might Not Be Decided Until December

The Senate majority could be decided late in Louisiana if Landrieu's race goes to runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For all the money spent on the November elections, control of the Senate might not be decided until a Saturday three weeks before Christmas.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., hopes to win re-election outright on Nov. 4 in a jungle primary against a handful of challengers. But winning a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate field would be a significant feat, and the campaigns of both Landrieu and her leading Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, are undoubtedly preparing for an extended, one-on-one race.

If a Dec. 6 runoff coincides with a 50-49 Republican advantage in the Senate, consultants in and out of the state warn of an unprecedented onslaught of spending from party committees and outside groups in a race that could become more about the national parties than the two candidates on the ballot.

“Mary kind of becomes a pawn in a much, much bigger game,” said Dane Strother, a Democratic media consultant and Baton Rouge native who’s worked on previous Landrieu campaigns. “The entire force of national politics will land on Louisiana. They’ll buy every radio ad, every TV ad, inundate with direct mail. It will be a war.” Full story

June 16, 2014

Crossroads Upends New York’s 21st District Primary

Crossroads Upends New Yorks 21st District Primary

Crossroads is spending heavily in New York's 21st District primary against Matt Doheny, above. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In New York’s sprawling 21st District, a recent influx of more than $1 million from outside groups has catapulted a 29-year-old first-time candidate ahead of the two-time nominee in the Republican primary for this coveted seat.

American Crossroads alone has already made more than $750,000 in independent expenditures to boost former White House aide Elise Stefanik’s bid — the group’s only spending in a House primary so far in 2014.

The June 24 Republican primary pits Stefanik against Matt Doheny, a deep-pocketed businessman and repeat candidate.

Early on in the race, Doheny’s familiarity with local voters and track record of self-funding his campaigns gave him an advantage. But two outside groups have flooded the district’s airwaves in a way that sources say has thrown the momentum to Stefanik.  Full story

June 6, 2014

Alaska Republican Sees Advantage as First-Time Candidate (Video)

Alaska Republican Sees Advantage as First Time Candidate (Video)

Sullivan visited Roll Call in Washington, D.C., June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Dan Sullivan, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve; formerly commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, state attorney general and George W. Bush appointee.
The member: Sullivan is running in the Republican primary to challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
The state: Begich, just the seventh senator in Alaska history, in 2008 became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alaska since 1974. In 2012, President Barack Obama improved his performance from 2008, but still took just 41 percent. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Democrat by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Hans Kaiser of Moore Information (polling); FP1 Strategies (media); Arena Communications (direct mail); Michael Dubke of the Black Rock Group (general consultant); Ben Sparks (campaign manager).

Full story

May 30, 2014

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

Hagan is seeking re-election in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm has reserved $5.5 million in airtime for Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., according to a source with knowledge of the reservation.

Hagan’s re-election bid is one of the most competitive and expensive races in the country. She faces North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The DSCC has reserved airtime in at least four other states with competitive Senate races: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire and Arkansas.  This marks the DSCC’s first airtime reservation in the Tar Heel State.

 In North Carolina, the DSCC reserved airtime starting Sept. 16 and running through Election Day. The amount of money spent will increase each week, from $376,000 the week of Sept. 16, to $1.2 million in the final week before the election.

Full story

May 20, 2014

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Outside groups are spending heavily in North Carolina as Tillis challenges a Democratic incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican-aligned outside group Crossroads GPS has launched an ad in North Carolina attacking Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on the president’s health care law.

The group said it put $3,550,000 behind the ad, which will run on North Carolina TV for four weeks. It’s the latest evidence that the race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis will likely be the most expensive of the cycle.

The ad, which began running Tuesday, attacks Hagan for saying people would be able to keep their insurance and doctor once the Affordable Care Act took effect — which turned out to not always be true.

Full story

May 13, 2014

Begich Could Benefit From a Ballot Initiative Bounce

Begich Could Benefit From a Ballot Initiative Bounce

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

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is all of a sudden the likely beneficiary of a legislative blunder that may send more voters to the polls this fall.

Begich’s midterm electorate is expected to expand as a result of the Republican-controlled state Legislature’s failure to gavel out by its April 20 deadline, an error — or conscious decision, depending on whom you ask — that has been the talk of Alaska political circles for the past few weeks. It automatically shifted to the general election three ballot initiatives on marijuana, the minimum wage and the environment — issues that could draw to the polls voters more likely to also support the Democratic incumbent.

Winning re-election in Alaska, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1, is more than a base-turnout game for Begich. It will also require the first-term senator to persuade enough independents and Republicans to support him over his GOP opposition.

Begich was elected in 2008, just days after Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted in federal court on corruption charges, helping boost the then-Anchorage mayor to a winning margin of less than 4,000 votes. Democrats in the state see the ballot initiative moves as similarly beneficial.

“No Democrat in Alaska wins by much statewide,” said state Senate Minority Leader Hollis French, a Democrat running for lieutenant governor. “You need some miracle to win, and this might be just enough of that final boost to carry over the line.” Full story

May 12, 2014

Sullivan Touts Military Service in Latest TV Ad

Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan released his latest TV ad on Monday, a 30-second spot highlighting his military service and pushing the message that the state “needs a fighter again.”

The 30-second spot, running on broadcast stations, never mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. But the incumbent’s photo is briefly plastered on screen alongside President Barack Obama.

“As a Marine, I learned that talk is cheap and results are what matter. But that’s not how they operate in Washington,” Sullivan says as the two Democrats’ photos appear. Full story

May 7, 2014

Before Hagan, Tillis First Must Weather General Assembly Session

Before Hagan, Tillis First Must Weather General Assembly Session

Tillis is challenging Hagan in a top Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thom Tillis triumphed Tuesday in a crowded Republican primary field for the right to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in November, but it’s not full steam ahead just yet.

Before the North Carolina state speaker can fully focus his sights on Hagan in one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities, Tillis must first survive the legislative session, where policymaking can produce potential pitfalls for any candidate for higher office.

Tillis has said he will not relinquish his position to pursue his Senate campaign, so the speaker will preside when the General Assembly comes back into session on May 14. It will be a short session — it should last just a few weeks, or as long as it takes to tweak the budget passed last year and deal with a couple of financial issues. But Democrats will undoubtedly target Tillis for anything that comes out of it and his focus won’t be solely on winning the Senate seat.

The General Assembly “needs to get in and get out,” North Carolina Republican operative Dallas Woodhouse said.

“Every day they are there is a day that [Tillis] is not on the campaign trail, is a day that it is hard for him to raise money,” Woodhouse continued. “So every day that they are there is a lost day for Tillis.” Full story

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

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