Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

Posts in "Tossup"

June 18, 2013

Republican Announces Begich Challenge #AKSEN

Republican Announces Begich Challenge #AKSEN

Begich has a new GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell formally announced Tuesday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich next year.

His candidacy, which has been expected for some time, gives Republicans a top-tier opponent in one of the party’s best pickup opportunities in the country.

“I’ve met with community and business leaders, elected officials, and my party’s grassroots volunteers from all across Alaska,” Treadwell said in a statement. “In Washington, D.C., I’ve met with members of the U.S. Senate and respected national organizations and groups that share my core conservative values. I’ve talked and prayed with my family. Their responses have been positive and encouraging.” Full story

June 5, 2013

Conservative Group Launches Second Attack Against Pryor #ARSEN

Senate Conservatives Action will launch Wednesday the second in a series of three TV ads in Arkansas against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.

The latest ad, “Deciding Vote,” features a North Little Rock business owner directly criticizing Pryor for his vote to support the health care law. It’s a line of attack Pryor will likely see for the next 17 months and one Republicans believe can move votes in this GOP-trending southern state. Full story

May 31, 2013

Hagan Gets First Major GOP Challenger #NCSEN

North Carolina state Speaker Thom Tillis announced Friday he will challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

The Republican has long been expected to take on the first-term senator, who is among the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election next year. He’s the first major challenger to Hagan, though other Republicans are eyeing the race.

“Friends, I have decided to run for the US Senate against Kay Hagan in 2014,” Tillis wrote in a morning tweet. “I hope to earn your support.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Tillis said defeating Hagan would help Republicans win the Senate majority and “turn the country in the right direction.” He plans to officially enter the race next week. Full story

First Senate Democrat Airs 2014 Ad (Video) #ARSEN

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., doesn’t have an opponent yet, but he’s being forced to play defense anyway.

Hit from both sides on the air this week, Pryor launched the first television ad of his re-election campaign on Friday. The ad, coming about 17 months before the general election, is backed by a “significant statewide buy,” according to a Democratic spokesman.

Full story

May 29, 2013

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Pryor is running advertisements for his re-election bid. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., will launch a television ad campaign on Friday — 17 months before this cycle’s most vulnerable incumbent faces voters in the general election.

“It’s an ad in response to the attacks we’re getting on both sides,” Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. “These outside groups are trying to affect the election. So we’ve produced an ad.”

Pryor has been hit on the air by the conservative groups Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund for his ties to President Barack Obama. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, just launched a $350,000 ad buy hitting Pryor for his vote against expanded background checks.

(See also in Roll Call: Pryor Can’t Escape 2010 Comparison) Full story

March 26, 2013

South Dakota: Johnson Makes Retirement From Senate Official

South Dakota: Johnson Makes Retirement From Senate Official

Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014, vacating what was already one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable seats.

Johnson announced his retirement Tuesday at his alma mater, the University of South Dakota, in his hometown of Vermillion.

“I will be 68 years old at the end of this term, and it is time for me to say goodbye,” Johnson said at a press conference. He thanked Democrats, Republicans and independents for supporting him in 12 straight general elections since 1978.

Senate Republicans already indicated they will target the seat, which is one of the party’s top pickup opportunities. The GOP already boasts a top-tier candidate in the race, former two-term Gov. Mike Rounds.

However, the GOP primary field could grow as other Republicans, including Rep. Kristi Noem, continue to consider the race. And the Senate Conservatives Fund announced Tuesday that it is seeking an alternative to Rounds, the first outside group to indicate it intends to play in the primary. Full story

March 1, 2013

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Bennet endorsed Romanoff, who is running for the 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., on Friday endorsed his one-time primary opponent, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, in his campaign for Colorado’s 6th District.

“Andrew Romanoff has a long record of fighting for Coloradans and a commitment to empowering our next generation with greater opportunity,” Bennet, who is now the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

In 2010, Romanoff displeased many party officials when he challenged Bennet, then an appointed senator.  The primary quickly turned bitter, lasted late into the summer and even pitted former President Bill Clinton against national Democrats. Bennet defeated Romanoff by fewer than 10 points and went on to win a full senate term in November.

What a difference three years makes. Now Democratic Party leaders, including Bennet, are lining up behind Romanoff for what’s expected to be one of the most competitive House races.

Full story

February 27, 2013

North Carolina: Hagan Challenger Kicks Off Campaign

North Carolina: Hagan Challenger Kicks Off Campaign

Hagan has a new challenger in her 2014 re-election bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Greg Brannon, an obstetrician and tea party supporter in North Carolina, kicked off his Senate campaign Wednesday with a two-day tour of the state.

Brannon is the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is running her first re-election campaign since knocking out then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

Hagan is one of the most vulnerable incumbents this cycle, running in a state that President Barack Obama lost in 2012.  CQ Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup. Full story

February 25, 2013

West Virginia: McKinley Opts Not to Run Against Capito

West Virginia: McKinley Opts Not to Run Against Capito

McKinley will not run for Senate in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. David B. McKinley finally declared what most West Virginia Republicans anticipated — that he would not run against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the state’s GOP Senate nomination.

“We were tempted by the devil,” McKinley told the Charleston Daily Mail editorial board Feb. 22. “I finally said no, this is Shelley. I went to Shelley and said, ‘Have I been tempted? Yeah. But I’m going to back you.’”

Only days before, former Democratic Sen. Carte P. Goodwin told West Virginia Metro-News that he, too, would sit out the Senate race.

Capito is the only organized Republican contender at this time. Democrats considering runs include businessman Ralph Baxter, state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, Rep. Nick J. Rahall II and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

CQ Roll Call rates the open-seat race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller as a Tossup.

February 4, 2013

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Begich has almost $1 million in cash on hand for the start of the campaign cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $300,000 in the fourth quarter, giving him almost $1 million in cash on hand to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign cycle.

Begich is one of six Senate Democrats seeking re-election in a state the president lost last year, making him one of his party’s most vulnerable members of the cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Several Republicans are taking serious looks at challenging him in 2014. Potential GOP opponents include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who said in December that he formed an exploratory committee for the race, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller.

Full story

January 15, 2013

West Virginia: Caperton Says He Is Not Interested in Senate Seat

Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton indicated Monday that he would not run for Senate next year in an interview with the local radio outlet MetroNews.

“I think I had a great eight years as governor, and I think that’s probably where my political career began and will probably end,” the 72-year-old Democrat said. Caperton served as governor from 1989 to 1997.

The list of candidates interested has been steadily expanding since Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement on Jan. 11. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced her campaign for the seat in late November.

Among the well-known Democrats mulling the race are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis and former state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Callaghan.

January 11, 2013

West Virginia: Rockefeller to Retire in 2014

West Virginia: Rockefeller to Retire in 2014

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:37 a.m. | West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will retire at the end of his term in 2014. The 75-year-old senator made the announcement Friday morning in Charleston.

“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family,” Rockefeller said, according to a statement released by his office.

The five-term senator’s retirement immediately puts his seat in jeopardy. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy for the seat in November.

Among the Democrats mentioned as possible candidates are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis. Full story

December 11, 2012

GOP Outside Group Makes Issue Ad Buy on Fiscal Cliff

The GOP-aligned American Action Network has launched an online advertising campaign urging Beltway policy insiders to support congressional Republicans during the fiscal cliff debate.

The online digital campaign includes Web videos and search, mobile and display ads. The money behind the buy is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The group’s newest Web video features economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who is associated with AAN’s sister organization, American Action Forum.

Holtz-Eakin is a former Congressional Budget Office director and was a top domestic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Updated 11:29 a.m. | Crossroads GPS is making an effort on this front as well, with a $240,000 local radio ad buy targeting five Democratic senators who are in races Roll Call rates as Tossups.

Those radio spots are airing in target=”_blank”>Alaska, targeting Sen. Mark Begich; target=”_blank”>Louisiana, targeting Sen. Mary L. Landrieu; target=”_blank”>North Carolina, targeting Sen. Kay Hagan; target=”_blank”>South Dakota, targeting Sen. Tim Johnson and West Virginia, targeting Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

December 3, 2012

Alaska: Treadwell One Step Closer to Senate Bid

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said at a GOP luncheon in Fairbanks on Friday that he is forming a Senate exploratory committee as he considers whether to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in 2014, The Associated Press reported.

CQ Roll Call previously reported that Treadwell had begun making calls to line up support for a likely Senate bid. He’s one of many Republicans looking to challenge Begich in the solidly Republican state, and the field is only beginning to take shape.

Begich was first elected in 2008, defeating Republican incumbent Ted Stevens one week after Stevens was found guilty of corruption charges in federal court. That ruling was thrown out five months later. Begich, then the mayor of Anchorage, won by less than 4,000 votes.

Treadwell, who in 2001 was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Arctic Research Commission, was elected lieutenant governor in 2010.

November 29, 2012

South Dakota: Club for Growth ‘Not Focused’ on Rounds

The conservative Club for Growth is taking a hands-off approach to former Gov. Michael Rounds’ Senate bid — at least for now.

“We are not focused on South Dakota’s Senate race at this time, and we do not feel the need to comment on every candidate that announces for office,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the group, in response to an email inquiry from Roll Call. “We will continue to watch every race and go through our normal evaluation process.”

That’s good news for Rounds, a Republican who announced his bid against Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Thursday morning. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Full story

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