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October 2, 2014

Posts in "Colo. Senate"

October 1, 2014

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the structure of the competitive Senate map has finally solidified, plenty of uncertainties remain as the two parties enter the final month of the midterm elections.

The most glaring question mark and startling development over the past several weeks is in Kansas, where Republican Sen. Pat Roberts now ranks fourth on Roll Call’s monthly list of the most vulnerable senators (read the September edition here). This is a state that last elected a Democratic senator in 1932, but ballot maneuverings and Roberts’ own missteps have placed him in the company of the cycle’s most endangered incumbents.

The GOP needs six seats to win the majority, and the party can get halfway there by picking up open seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, where retirements hindered Democrats’ ability to hold their ground. Democrats have better odds in the other open seats, with Iowa still hosting one of the most competitive races in the country and Democrats continuing to hold the edge in Michigan.

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., remains a top target for Republicans. But Democrats are pummeling Republican nominee Thom Tillis on the air, and Hagan is the only red-state Democrat whose positioning has clearly improved in recent months.

The competitiveness of the Senate race in Kansas took most people by surprise, including, it seems, Roberts. The senator entered the general election with a limited political apparatus and less motivation to campaign following his contested primary. That all changed last month, when the Democratic nominee withdrew from the race and Republican efforts to reverse the move failed.

That left independent Greg Orman, who is still an unknown quantity. As Orman introduces himself to the electorate, Republicans’ opposition research on him is still just starting to trickle out. Roberts has brought in a new campaign team, a steady stream of GOP heavyweights is filing through the state to help him out, and at least one outside group has started spending for him on the airwaves.

In a state as Republican as Kansas, that could be enough to save the day. But for now, Roberts is firmly among the 10 Most Vulnerable Senators, ranked below in order of vulnerability:  Full story

September 23, 2014

National Education Association Dives Into Colorado Race (Video)

National Education Association Dives Into Colorado Race (Video)

Udall is the Democratic senator from Colorado. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The National Education Association aired a new Spanish-language ad Tuesday targeting the Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner.

Gardner faces Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in a competitive race and potential pick-up opportunity for Senate Republicans. The GOP needs to win a net of six seats to take control of the Senate.

The NEA ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features five people speaking directly to camera in Spanish about their dreams for their children to get a good education.

The ad buy is $200,000 and will run for two weeks, according to the NEA, in the Denver and Colorado Springs media markets. Full story

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Peters is a freshman in California's 52nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Readers will have one more opportunity this week to pick the House and Senate races Roll Call will cover from the ground in the final weeks of the midterms.

Last week, thousands of votes were cast to send reporters @cahnemily and @alexis_levinson on the road in our first #RCReadersChoice survey. Two House races and two Senate races lead their packs, and now readers have until Thursday at 5 p.m. for the runoff contest.

On the Senate side, readers can select between Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is unexpectedly fighting for his re-election, and Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is attempting to fend off a strong challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. In the first round of voting, Kansas was the clear front-runner, and Colorado beat out the North Carolina Senate race by just two votes to make the final round.

The finalist House races are California’s 52nd District, located in San Diego, and Nebraska’s 2nd District, located in Omaha. Both incumbents in these races — Democrat Scott Peters in California and Republican Lee Terry in Nebraska — are on Roll Call’s list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members.

Have an opinion on which race we should cover? Tweet your thoughts @RollCall with #RCReadersChoice. Otherwise, vote below:

Full story

September 22, 2014

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

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

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will air a new ad Monday in Colorado attacking GOP Rep. Cory Gardner on birth control.

The 30-second spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, criticizes Gardner for sponsoring a bill in congress called the “Life at Conception Act,” while saying he believes birth control pills should be available over the counter.

Gardner is challenging Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Republicans need to win six seats to retake control of the Senate, and with a number of Democratic incumbents up for re-election in more Republican-leaning states, Democrats can ill-afford to lose a purple state like Colorado.

“Gardner is sponsoring a bill to make most common forms of birth control illegal,” a male narrator says in the ad. “Gardner’s bill also makes all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.” Full story

September 10, 2014

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

Marijuana in Terrapin Care Station, a marijuana dispensary, in Boulder, Colo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BOULDER, Colo. — Long a flashpoint in the culture wars, marijuana’s growing legitimacy hasn’t yet turned it into a political weapon, even in the marquee races in the first state to legalize the drug.

In Colorado, the issue has barely gotten a mention as Rep. Cory Gardner takes on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman faces a challenge from Andrew Romanoff in one of the country’s hottest House races.

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

For now, the lawmakers still seem to find pot too hot to handle as a political weapon. Republicans in the state have shifted how they talk about the matter, but Democrats aren’t trying to capitalize on what could potentially become a new wedge issue in their favor this cycle — and in elections to come.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have legalized medical marijuana. Only Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, but more are expected to vote on whether to change their laws, including Oregon and Alaska in November, as polls have shown surging support for legalization.

Udall, whose race could decide control of the Senate, said marijuana is now simply a business interest in Colorado.

“We are all together in urging the attorney general to let this experiment unfold,” Udall said in Greenwood Village, Colo., after an event with Denver business interests.

But he hasn’t attacked Gardner’s hard-line record on marijuana, something advocates for legalization call a missed opportunity.

“It seems that many elected officials … still haven’t come to terms with the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue that’s supported by a growing majority of the public,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, a legalization advocacy group. Full story

September 1, 2014

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Roll Call ranks Landrieu as the most vulnerable senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is a new chart-topper in Roll Call’s latest monthly ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators.

Montana’s appointed Sen. John Walsh was by far the most endangered incumbent in the chamber at the time of the previous installment in early August, but his decision last month to not seek a full term opened the top slot to a couple other worthy contenders.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is still in a perilous political position, but Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu has leapfrogged him on the list to become the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbent. Full story

August 4, 2014

Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

In 2014 Senate races, Pryor is one of the most vulnerable Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three months before Election Day, it’s clear some senators may not return to Congress after the midterms — and that’s mostly good news for Republicans.

The GOP’s path to the Senate majority includes a mix of open seats and targeted Democratic incumbents. The two most vulnerable seats are in South Dakota and West Virginia, where Democratic senators are retiring. Republicans also have opportunities in open seats in Iowa and, to a lesser degree, Michigan.

But even if they are victorious in those states, the GOP must defeat at least two incumbents to reach the net six seats needed for control.

Luckily for Republicans, Democrats make up the vast majority of endangered senators seeking re-election. The GOP has a lengthy catalog of states where it has an opportunity to win, though there is a wide gap betweenthe  No. 1 and No. 10 most vulnerable senators — who are ordered by most likely to lose.

Roll Call’s “10 Most Vulnerable Senators” list will be updated monthly ahead of the Nov. 4 elections. For now, here is where the incumbents stand: Full story

July 15, 2014

Democrats Try to Turn Cory Gardner Into Todd Akin (Video)

Democrats Try to Turn Cory Gardner Into Todd Akin (Video)

Udall is a co-sponsor on the Senate bill in response to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats want to make Rep. Cory Gardner the next Todd Akin — but it’s not so easy.

The Colorado Republican is challenging Sen. Mark Udall and putting a pivotal race in play for his party, which must net six seats to win control of the Senate. In response, Democrats have focused their attacks on Gardner on women’s health issues — a topic that has proved to be a land mine for some Republican hopefuls in past races.

On Wednesday, the Senate is expected to have a procedural vote on a measure that would effectively nullify the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, which allowed some employers to not offer birth control coverage in health insurance plans. The vote will likely fail, but it’s given Udall a prime opportunity to serve as one of his party’s top voices on the issue in Washington and home in Colorado.

Full story

June 5, 2014

Cory Gardner Makes Major TV Buy in Colorado Senate Race

Cory Gardner Makes Major TV Buy in Colorado Senate Race

In Colorado, Gardner is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., will go on the airwaves starting Tuesday, with a major television buy for his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

In full, his TV reservations are worth $900,000, according to a Gardner campaign source. Of that sum, about $400,000 will be on broadcast, while $500,000 will be cable. The buy lasts from June 10 through the end of the month.

Full story

June 1, 2014

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

McDaniel is challenging Cochran in the June primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a relatively unsurprising series of primaries this month, June brings another collection of intraparty contests. More than half of the states will have selected their nominees by the end of the month.

Republicans will pick nominees in key Senate races in Mississippi, Iowa and South Dakota. Down the ballot, House primaries in several open seats will likely determine the future members of Congress from both parties.

Here is Roll Call’s comprehensive look at watch to watch in June. Bookmark this page, and check out our primary map for results from past primaries.

June 3
With primaries in eight states, this date marks the busiest night of the cycle.

Alabama: In the 6th District, seven Republicans are running in an open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus. This district is located in and around Birmingham. State Rep. Paul DeMarco is the front-runner, followed by Club for Growth-backed surgeon Chad Mathis and businessman Will Brooke. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will continue to a July 15 runoff. Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Safe Republican)

California: In this House race battleground, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Republicans will also pick a gubernatorial nominee who could have an impact down the ballot in November. Polls close at 11 p.m. EST. Here are the primaries to watch in the Golden State:

Full story

May 22, 2014

Tom Steyer’s 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he’s earmarked for the midterm elections.

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year’s elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.

The group has now targeted the competitive Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire, and the Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine gubernatorial contests. It will back the Democratic candidate in each case. Full story

April 24, 2014

Poll: Colorado Senate Race Virtually Tied

Poll: Colorado Senate Race Virtually Tied

Gardner is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed a virtually tied race for Senate in Colorado.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall led his GOP challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, by a single point  — 45 percent to 44 percent — in the survey. That split was within the poll’s margin of error of 2.7 points.

This survey was the first independent, live-interview poll conducted in the race since Gardner announced his candidacy in March. Until then, Udall had not attracted any top-tier opposition, but Gardner’s entrance into the race immediately made the contest more competitive.

Full story

February 27, 2014

Udall Campaign Hits Gardner for ‘Shady Scheme’

Udall Campaign Hits Gardner for Shady Scheme

Udall is seeking re-election in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Now faced with a top-tier Republican challenger, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign on Thursday painted the GOP’s swap of candidates between races as a partisan backroom deal unfit for the state’s independent nature.

GOP Rep. Cory Gardner dropped his House bid Wednesday in favor of the Senate race, which immediately put Udall’s seat in more danger. Meanwhile, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2010 and a long-shot to defeat Udall, dropped out of the Senate race to run for Gardner’s seat.

“It’s no surprise that a Washington ideologue like Congressman Cory Gardner worked with party bosses to cook up the ‘Centennial State Swap,’ the shady scheme hatched behind closed doors that enabled him to swoop into the Senate race,” Udall spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement. “Rather than bring Colorado’s independence to Congress, Gardner is bringing Washington-style backroom deals to Colorado.”

Full story

Tea Party Group Doubles Down on Colorado Senate Race

The Tea Party Express reiterated its endorsement of state Sen. Owen Hill in the wake of a major shake-up in the race for Senate in Colorado.

In a surprising move, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., opted Wednesday to run against Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck subsequently dropped out of the Senate race to run for Gardner’s 4th District instead. Likewise, state Rep. Amy Stephens reportedly dropped out of the Senate race as well.

But not Hill.

The Tea Party Express backed Buck’s bid for Senate in 2010, but endorsed Hill this cycle. In fact, the Tea Party Express blasted Buck in a Wednesday evening solicitation for donations:  Full story

February 26, 2014

Ken Buck Drops Senate Bid to Run for Cory Gardner’s Seat

With Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner vacating his 4th District seat to run for Senate, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck is dropping his Senate bid to vie for Gardner’s open seat.

The maneuver partially clears the primary field for Gardner, while giving Buck a better shot at coming to Congress. Buck won the GOP Senate nomination in 2010 before losing to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

“Ken has decided to step aside because Cory is in a potentially stronger position to pick up the seat,” Buck consultant Walt Klein told CQ Roll Call.

But, he added, “there’s no deal” between the two men to swap places on the ballot. Full story

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