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Posts in "Conn. Senate"

November 6, 2012

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy Defeats Linda McMahon

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy Defeats Linda McMahon

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) defeated former WWE CEO Linda McMahon for Connecticut’s open-seat race tonight, according to the Associated Press.

The race was of great concern to national Democrats early in the fall, but all along they insisted that when the party competed with McMahon’s personal spending on the TV airwaves, Murphy would get breathing room.

McMahon went to extraordinary efforts to tie herself to President Barack Obama, but that effort proved unsuccessful. This was her second run for the Senate. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) defeated her in 2010. For the two runs, McMahon ultimately spent nearly $100 million from her personal fortune.

 

 

Daily Ad Track

On Friday, we noted the 10 toughest ads of the cycle. For our last Daily Ad Track here on Election Day, we take a look at the best ads of the cycle. Some are negative, some are positive, some are defensive. But all cut through the clutter this year:

10. New Hampshire 1

Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Women’s testimonials have cluttered television screens, but there was something about a montage of tough guys with facial hair talking about “women’s medical issues” that made us stop.

November 5, 2012

Candidates Make Last-Minute Loans to Campaigns

A slew of Congressional candidates dipped into their own wallets over the past week to fund one final push in their campaigns.

Here’s Roll Call’s running tally, according to local reports and online filings with the Federal Election Commission:

Senate races:

  • Last week, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) guaranteed a $500,000 loan for his campaign against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D). An Allen aide described it as a bridge loan to ensure available funds while the campaign processed credit card donations. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
  • Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) made a last-minute, $250,000 loan to aid her bid against Sen. Dean Heller (R). Roll Call rates this as a Tossup.
  • Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) continued to fund much of her campaign against Rep. Christopher Murphy (D). As of Oct. 17, she had contributed $40 million of her own funds to her race. Roll Call rates this as Leans Democratic.

House races:

November 4, 2012

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)

Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.

First, the Senate math:

Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.

Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story

October 26, 2012

The Sandy Effect on the Elections

The Sandy Effect on the Elections

(NOAA/Getty Images)

Updated 6:03 p.m. | Hurricane Sandy looks to pose a serious threat to life and property in the eastern United States, but the storm’s timing means it is also likely to have an effect on the last week of the 2012 campaigns.

Prolonged power outages could cause some changes in the way that people cast their ballots come Election Day.

“No matter what happens, we will proceed with the election. If polling places need to be moved or consolidated there are legal ways to do that and we will be in constant touch with local election officials to coordinate that,” Av Harris, a spokesman for the Connecticut Secretary of the State, said in an email.

Harris said that in Connecticut, the office has good coordination with the local power company.

“Worst case scenario if there is no power and power cannot be restored, the optical scan machines can run on battery power or else under a truly worst case scenario where the battery power for the optical scanners was depleted, we could have voters fill out paper ballots, drop them in the secure boxes, and election officials can count them all by hand,” Harris said. “Not an ideal situation by far, but we can do it if we need to.”

Sandy is still days away from landfall, but the storm is already having direct effects on the presidential race.

The Obama campaign has canceled a planned appearance by Vice President Joseph Biden in Virginia Beach on Saturday. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is scratching a Sunday appearance at the Farm Bureau Live amphitheater in Virginia Beach, Va. But the Associated Press is reporting that a Romney event scheduled for Sunday in Prince William County is still on. President Barack Obama is scheduled to appear at a campaign event Monday with President Bill Clinton in Prince William County, Va.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) are among those who have already declared states of emergency as Sandy approaches.

“Due to the track of this storm, and the fact that it will be a hurricane transitioning into a more nor’easter like system, we could see severe weather lasting for 48 hours or more in the state. In that scenario, saturated soil coupled with high winds could lead to major tree damage and extensive power outages,” McDonnell said. “Now is the time for all Virginians to prepare for those possible power outages and disruptions to public services.”

Virginia is the closest presidential battleground state likely to be affected by Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, but the storm appears poised to wreak havoc along the eastern seaboard north into New England. New Hampshire is another presidential battleground state, and there are several Northeastern states with close House and Senate races that will face storm impact.

Utility companies up and down the East Coast have announced they are bringing in extra crews from out of the area to prepare for what they expect may be a lengthy effort to restore power to customers after the storm rips through with tropical-storm-force winds. Some of the power companies, including Connecticut Light & Power, have faced ridicule from lawmakers for their past efforts to get power back.

“We’re closely monitoring weather forecasts and preparing for high winds and heavy rain that can devastate the electric system and cause power outages,” said Bill Quinlan, a senior vice president with CL & P. “The past year has been all about improving storm response, and we stand ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible. While we hope for the best, we all need to prepare for the worst.”

The National Weather Service guidance is warning of a storm with the potential for a historic impact.

“The deterministic guidance … show pressure solutions well beyond what has ever been observed near the New Jersey/New York coast (even exceeding the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane) early in the medium range period,” the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said today. That hurricane is a reminder of the history that the northeastern United States has with hurricanes.

It would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, to have active Congressional campaigns, even in states with Tossup Senate races such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, during massive power outages. Nor, of course, would people without electricity see all the campaign ads being run by campaigns, political action committees and other outside groups.

October 25, 2012

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Connecticut Senate

If this cycle has proved anything, it’s that the best way to knock around one’s opponent without seeming outright sinister is to hire an actor and portray the opposition as an idiot. This new spot from former WWE CEO Linda McMahon takes the concept to a whole new level with its portrayal of Democratic rival Rep. Christopher Murphy.

Buzzfeed described it as “strange and amazing.” For us, it brought to mind one of the greatest movie endings ever:

Full story

October 24, 2012

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Wisconsin Senate 

It took Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R) less than 24 hours to fire back against an ad from former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign accusations that she has not honored 9/11 victims.

Full story

October 22, 2012

Daily Ad Track

What a difference a debate can make.

About a month ago, the biggest trend among Democrats was to tie Republicans to presidential nominee Mitt Romney in an effort to sink GOP Congressional candidates. Two weeks out from Election Day — guess what? Republican are employing that strategy in reverse as they seek to ride Romney’s coattails in certain states and House districts.

Here’s what cut through the ad clutter today:

Indiana Senate

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock earned a lot of attention this morning when he released an ad with Romney making a personal appeal on camera for Mourdock’s election to the Senate. The Mourdock campaign was not able to immediately return a request for buy information on the ad.

Full story

October 17, 2012

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy, Linda McMahon Still in Statistical Tie

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy, Linda McMahon Still in Statistical Tie

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll showed Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) had a narrow, within-the-margin-of-error lead over former WWE CEO Linda McMahon in the open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Murphy got 46 percent, while McMahon had 44 percent. Eight percent of respondents said they remained undecided. The poll was conducted by Siena Research Institute.

One eyebrow-raising point of the poll’s implementation is that it took place over 10 days — far longer than most conventional polls. That 10-day window is a highly fluid point in the race  — including two debates and massive television advertising saturation.

Full story

October 12, 2012

Connecticut: DSCC Makes Another Buy

Connecticut: DSCC Makes Another Buy

Rep. Christopher Murphy talks with a school group on the West Front of the Capitol. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is making an additional $650,000 purchase of Connecticut advertising time in support of Rep. Christopher Murphy’s (D) open-seat Senate race against former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R).

The new buy lasts from Oct. 16 through Oct. 22 and will be on broadcast and cable. This builds on the DSCC’s independent expenditure arm’s previous $2.1 million investment in this race, according to a source who tracks Connecticut Senate media buys. Also per this source, the Democratic group Majority PAC has spent $1.1 million.

The ad spending in this race is unlike any other Senate race in the country. Because McMahon is able to self-fund her television advertising to levels that include saturating the expensive New York City media market that covers a significant portion of the Nutmeg State, national Republicans are on the offense here without having to invest a dime.

Democrats have yet to match McMahon on New York broadcast television, although they have been on the air on New York cable. This is among the reasons McMahon has made this contest competitive despite the Democratic lean of the state.

October 11, 2012

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Rep. Dan Benishek increasingly looks like he won't return for the 113th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One year ago it would have been hard to picture both the Arizona and Connecticut open-seat Senate races as Tossups with less than a month to go before Election Day. But funny things can happen to the Senate battleground map based on candidates and the campaigns they run — just ask Republicans this cycle about Missouri.

The open-seat Senate races in the Nutmeg State and the Grand Canyon State are thousands of miles apart, yet share some distinct similarities. Both feature House Members who began the race as the heavy frontrunner and challengers who have surged based on the strength of their campaigns. Those challengers will still have to overcome a heavy partisan disadvantage at the presidential level, but that prospect seems to be increasingly possible. Therefore, we are moving both races into the tossup column, even though in both races, the party that currently holds the seat still has a very small advantage. Full story

October 1, 2012

John McCain Hits the Campaign Trail for Fellow Republicans

John McCain Hits the Campaign Trail for Fellow Republicans

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is a busy week on the campaign trail for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Except this time around, he is hitting the trail in support of others in his party.

On Monday, he endorsed former WWE CEO Linda McMahon in Danbury, Conn., for her Senate bid to replace McCain’s friend, retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I), according to the Hartford Courant. McMahon faces Rep. Christopher Murphy in a race that Roll Call rates as Leans Democratic.

Today and Wednesday, McCain will campaign across Florida on behalf of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. That tour will include mostly veterans events in Pensacola, Niceville, Panama City and Tallahassee.

September 25, 2012

Daily Ad Track

The rate of new political television advertisements has accelerated. And, more and more, campaigns are trading accusations about the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the ads.

Some of what was unveiled today:

Connecticut Senate

On Monday afternoon, Democratic nominee Rep. Christopher Murphy’s campaign went up with an ad that hammered GOP nominee and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon on women’s issues.

The ad shows a stream of women giving testimonials about how McMahon has demeaned women during her tenure at the professional wrestling company. The clips go on to explain how McMahon will side with “extreme” Republicans on medical coverage of mammograms and contraception.

Less than 22 hours later, McMahon was up with a strikingly direct response ad. What it lacks in gimmicks, graphics and humor, it delivers with simplicity. Buy information was not immediately obtainable, but sources say the Murphy and McMahon buys are serious.

“Murphy calls me anti-woman,” McMahon says. “But Chris, take a look, I am a woman. A pro-choice woman. My company offered excellent benefits that included mammograms and access to birth control.”

Full story

September 20, 2012

Senate Democrats Optimistic About Keeping Majority

Senate Democrats Optimistic About Keeping Majority

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democratic leaders today expressed optimism about their prospects of holding on to control of the chamber in November.

The grandest pronouncement came from Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

“For this entire Congress, Republicans thought if they blocked anything helping the economy and deprived the president of any accomplishments, it would deliver them a huge political victory in November. Then they could deal with all of the nation’s challenges entirely on their own terms,” Schumer said. “The strategy is backfiring on them.”

A day after the Democratic Conference met with Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina, Schumer argued that recently revealed comments by GOP nominee Mitt Romney about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes are having downballot effects that bolster Democratic chances of at least holding the Senate by a thread.

“Their presidential nominee just offended half the country,” Schumer said of Romney. “His flailing campaign is now having a drag effect for Republican Senate candidates across the country, and this has them a little cranky.”

Schumer then pointed to the coordinated speeches this morning by about 30 Republicans on the Senate floor, criticizing Obama and Senate Democrats on a slew of issues including the economy and gasoline prices.

“We have recruited amazing people to run in these Senate races,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Murray name-checked as strong Senate candidates Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. While North Dakota is a Republican majority state, Heitkamp is running to succeed a Democratic Senator, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad.

“I have been so impressed with the people who have stood up to say yes, I do want to serve my country at a difficult time and run in what is an easy thing to do for the United States Senate,” Murray said.

Candidate recruitment has helped the Democrats in some states, along with perceived weakness on the Republican side in some races, but the inverse is sometimes true as well.

For instance, Democrats have a real race on their hands in Connecticut between Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) and Republican Linda McMahon to fill the seat being vacated by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Nonetheless, “This is not where Republicans thought they’d be with 50 days left before election,” Schumer said.

September 19, 2012

Connecticut: Newest Poll Shows Race Statistically Tied

A new poll from the University of Connecticut and the Hartford Courant show the Connecticut Senate race in a statistical tie.

Thirty-seven percent of those who responded said they backed Rep. Christopher Murphy (D), while 33 percent supported former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R).

There is still a great deal of room for either candidate to grow — 29 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The poll was conducted among 500 likely voters Sept. 11-16 and had a margin of error of 4.4 points — slightly more than the margin that separated the two candidates.

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