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October 10, 2015

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May 9, 2014

Campaign Spot-Light: The Only Job Worse Than Being an Incumbent, Cheap Dads and Alligator Wrestling (Video)

Welcome to the second edition of Roll Call’s feature that highlights the most interesting political ads of the week.

Here is what cut through the clutter:

What’s Worse Than Being an Incumbent? Bein’ a Trial Law-yur

The first half of the montage features ads attacking tea party challengers as “trial lawyers.” Incumbents and friendly super PACs are making the calculation that labeling a tea party insurgent as a “trial lawyer” is a more lethal attack line than “Washington insider.”

Full story

May 8, 2014

Sid Dinsdale Fires Back in TV Ad (Video)

The latest tea party target is wasting no time in responding to recent attacks.

Nebraska Republican Senate hopeful Sid Dinsdale is firing back at outside groups hitting him on the airwaves in the final days before the primary. According to his campaign, Dinsdale will be on the air tonight with a response TV ad. The campaign declined to provide specifics on the buy.

“Desperate Washington special interests are spending dark money falsely attacking Sid Dinsdale and his family, telling you who to vote for,” the ad’s narrator says. “Nebraskans are self-reliant people who don’t need to be told what to do from special interests.”

Full story

Outside Groups Target Dinsdale Ahead of Nebraska Primary

Five days before the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, outside groups are beginning to train their sights on self-funding banker Sid Dinsdale, who has run third in the polls.

Dinsdale faces Midland University President Ben Sasse and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn in the May 13 primary in this safe Republican seat; the winner of the GOP primary will likely be the next senator from Nebraska.

A TV ad released Thursday by the Club for Growth, which is backing Sasse, attacks Dinsdale for being too liberal, saying he donated money to Democrats and said the Affordable Care Act had some “good aspects.”

“That’s really liberal,” the narrator says. “That’s the real Sid Dinsdale.” Full story

Simpson Gets More Air Support in Competitive Primary

Simpson faces a competitive May 20 primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting members of Congress targeted by the tea party is launching its second TV ad in Idaho on Thursday.

Defending Main Street PAC, led by former Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Ohio, has now spent around $500,000 to help Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, who is facing a significant primary challenge.

In the group’s latest ad, a narrator labels Simpson a “conservative fighting for Idaho” and says he “supports tax cuts that lower energy costs and reduce our dependence on oil from hostile nations, while protecting and creating jobs at the Idaho National Labratory.” Full story

May 7, 2014

New Senate TV Ad Pokes Fun At Crying Babies

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., has debuted a new ad making fun of a spot from his Senate primary foe, businessman David Perdue, that portrays members of Congress as a pack of crying babies.

In Perdue’s ad, four crying babies wear shirts bearing the names of his four major opponents in the Senate race.

Gingrey, an OB-GYN, begins his own ad with a clip of Perdue’s ad, showing a baby meant to represent Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and a baby meant to represent Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of State.

In the spot, Gingrey dismisses the spot as too “clever” by half.

“You deserve better than politics as usual,” he says, speaking to the camera. “Having delivered over 5,200 babies, I understand, when it’s time, it’s time. And the time to stop Obama is now.” Full story

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

DNC Chairwoman: Benghazi Committee ‘Political Ploy’

Wasserman Schultz is a Democrat from Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Wednesday accused House Republicans of creating a select investigative committee on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, solely to motivate their base to turn out in the November midterm elections.

“Let’s call this what it is — it is nothing more than a political ploy because continuing to focus obsessively on repealing the Affordable Care Act has lost its luster, even among their own party members,” the Florida lawmaker said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Full story

91-Year-Old Congressman’s Birthday Gift? A New Ad From His Challenger

Former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe didn’t overlook that his GOP primary rival, Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas, had a birthday last week.

“At 91, Ralph Hall has served admirably,” Ratcliffe said in his first television ad in the runoff for the GOP nomination in Texas’ 4th District. “But after four decades in Washington, the problems are getting worse, not better.”

“It’s time for leaders to focus on the next generation, not the next election.”

May 6, 2014

Thom Tillis Wins GOP Nomination Outright in North Carolina Senate Race

Tillis is the GOP's nominee in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis scored a major victory on Tuesday night, when he won the GOP primary outright to become his party’s nominee to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

Tillis garnered 46 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race for him around 9:20 p.m. He defeated Greg Brannon, an obstetrician aligned with the tea party who had support from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who finished with 27 percent of the vote, and Mark Harris, a pastor, who had focused his appeal on social conservatism and was backed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had 17 percent of the vote.

The Republican needed at least 40 percent of the vote to avoid a late-summer runoff against one of his opponents.

Hagan is considered one of the cycle’s most vulnerable incumbents and a top target for Republicans in their quest to take back the Senate. Full story

John Boehner, David Joyce Clobber Tea Party Challengers (Updated)

Boehner is from Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:32 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio beat three GOP primary opponents on Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in the district he has represented for 12 terms.

Boehner defeated teacher J.D. Winteregg, his most formidable primary opponent in the 8th District race, 74 percent to 15 percent, with just early votes reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Computer consultant Eric Gurr and tea party activist Matthew Ashworth, the two other Republicans in the primary, received 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Full story

Results From Primaries in North Carolina, Ohio

Have a look through our live coverage of the May 6 primaries:


Republican Dance Studio Owner Mulls House Bid in Louisiana

Cassidy is running for Senate in Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican state Rep. Lenar Whitney, an account executive and dance studio owner, is mulling a bid for Louisiana’s 6th District, according to multiple GOP operatives.

Whitney did not immediately return request for comment on her plans. But if she enters the contest, she becomes the ninth Republican in the open-seat race to replace Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Full story

Super PAC Uses Candidate’s Kids to Attack His Campaign

A Super PAC released a new advertisement attacking Republican Ben Sasse for trying to “hide behind” his children, one week before the Senate GOP primary in Nebraska.

The 15-second ad, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, which says it is paid for by the Freedom Pioneers Action Network, takes footage from an ad run by Sasse, in which his two daughters talk about how conservative their father is and how much he dislikes Obamacare.

“Fact: Ben Sasse said Obamacare ‘is an important first step,’ ” says a female narrator, pointing to a quote that has been repeatedly leveled against Sasse, which he says was taken entirely out of context. Full story

Candidate’s Wife Stars in New TV Ad in Montana Race

Former Montana Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton went on the air with a new advertisement that follows a recent trend in campaign television spots: Having a family member make the case.

Stapleton’s wife, Terry, touts his biography in the positive spot.

Full story

McConnell Touts Jobs Record in Latest TV Ad

McConnell is favored to win the May 20 GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a second television ad in as many weeks ahead of his GOP primary in Kentucky.

The latest statewide TV ad works to stem any damage caused by McConnell’s recent comment to the Beattyville Enterprise that bringing jobs to Kentucky his not his job. Titled “Hero,” the ad lays out specific instances where McConnell “helped save” Kentucky jobs.

Full story

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