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October 1, 2014

Posts in "Minn. 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 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 14, 2014

Harry Reid to Fundraise for Two Democrats in Lake Tahoe

Harry Reid to Fundraise for Two Democrats in Lake Tahoe

Harry Reid of Nevada is the Senate Majority Leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold a retreat in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, this weekend with donors to boost two Democratic Senate campaigns: Rep. Gary Peters’ bid in Michigan and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election in Minnesota.

According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Lake Tahoe Retreat runs from Aug. 15 through 17 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village. The required contribution to attend is $10,000 with checks made payable to Searchlight Lake Tahoe Victory Fund, Reid’s joint fundraising committee. Full story

July 7, 2014

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Franken is seeking re-election in Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Al Franken knows the story — just not from this side.

In 2008, a first-time candidate dogged by his career history faced a formidable incumbent dragged down by an unpopular second-term president. The result: now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, in a shockingly close race that only ended after a months-long contentious recount and legal battle.

Now Coleman’s hand-picked candidate wants to return the favor in 2014. Franken will face a wealthy investment banker and first-time candidate, Mike McFadden, in November — and this time, he’s the senator battling an unpopular president’s drag on the ballot.

Full story

March 7, 2014

A Campaign’s Favorite Spokesperson: the Daughter

A candidate recently aimed to make a positive impression on voters by starring his female offspring in a TV ad.

It happens nearly every cycle — and it did again last week, with a new Senate campaign spot from Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont.

His two daughters, Annie and Caroline, told voters all about the positive points of his biography, highlighting the fact that he is a “fifth-generation Montanan.”

Full story

November 25, 2013

Franken Challenger Says Minnesota GOP ‘Starting to Unify’ (Video)

The candidate: Republican state Sen. Julianne Ortman
The member: First-term Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
The state:
Franken won by the smallest margin of any Senate race in 2008. He defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, following a recount.
The candidate’s team:
Campaign manager Andy Parrish and media consultant Ed Brookover.

Full story

October 10, 2013

Wednesday Fundraising Roundup

Fundraising may not exactly be en vogue during the government shutdown, but releasing and filing last quarter’s numbers is.

Here is the latest in House and Senate third-quarter fundraising:

Senate:

  • #GASEN: Republican businessman David Perdue invested $1 million in his Senate campaign. He will report $1.8 million raised and $1.3 million in cash on hand.
  • #MNSEN: Republican finance executive Mike McFadden, challenger to Sen. Al Franken, will report $700,000 raised and $1.2 million in cash on hand.
  • #IASEN: Republican Joni Ernst raised $252,000, according to The Des Moines Register.

House:

Full story

Franken Challenger Posts $700K Fundraising Quarter

A Republican challenger to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced Thursday that he raised $700,000 in the third quarter.

Mike McFadden, a finance executive, is one of a handful of Republicans vying to take on the first-term Democrat. After two quarters of fundraising, McFadden has now brought in nearly $1.5 million and had $1.2 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Those solid numbers likely keep him ahead of the GOP pack but still behind the incumbent. Franken, who has not yet released his third-quarter fundraising total, has so far this year been on a fundraising tear. He raised nearly $2 million last quarter and had $3 million in cash on hand by the end of June. Full story

July 15, 2013

The Senate Majority Fight in Post-Schweitzer World

Senate Democrats’ inability so far to lure top-tier talent to run for their three most vulnerable open seats shifts the spotlight to recruits in its two most promising pickup opportunities — a relative term in this lopsided landscape.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s decision this weekend to eschew a Senate race came as an unexpected boon for the GOP’s hopes of netting the six seats necessary to win the Senate majority next year. Pulling off that feat would be an accomplishment for Republicans, even if they are waging war in friendly GOP territory.

But there is a realistic scenario that could force Democrats to rely on two first-time federal candidates in states where the party has enjoyed little success in recent years. If Montana moves off the competitive playing field and Republicans are also favored to pick up the open seats in West Virginia and South Dakota, the GOP would need to pick up just three more seats from their most promising targets in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Full story

July 12, 2013

Most Eye-Popping Fundraising Hauls of the Second Quarter … So Far

After the drip-drip of campaign fundraising leaks over the past two weeks, it’s now clear that the amount of money it took to look impressive is staggering.

Challengers and incumbents raised the bar so high that to be considered a standout this time around, a candidate had to have raised $2 million for a Senate campaign or more than half a million for the House.

A number of nervous senators raised more than a million dollars in the second quarter, but it was the $2 million mark that made us look twice at recent reports.

As for the House, it was only last cycle when $200,000 to $400,000 marks were above-average for candidates in competitive races. That is no longer the case. At least 10 incumbents or challengers raised between $400,000 and $500,000 this quarter.

Here are some of the numbers raised our eyebrows over the past two weeks:

Full story

July 11, 2013

Thursday Fundraising Roundup: Senators Raise the Bar

Several Senate candidates posted seven-figure hauls on Thursday as second-quarter fundraising announcements trickled in ahead of the July 15 reporting deadline.

Here’s today’s fundraising roundup:

Senate

  • #NJSEN: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, raised $4.6 million and will report $4.5 million in cash on hand for his special-election bid.
  • #NHSEN: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen raised $1.2 million and will report $2.15 million in the bank.
  • #SCSEN: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham reported more than $1.4 million raised in the first quarter. That’s the most the senator has ever brought in during a single quarter, according to his campaign. He will report $6.25 million in cash on hand. Full story

July 5, 2013

Second-Quarter Fundraising Roundup

Second quarter fundraising hauls trickled in all week and offer insight into the health of a handful of House and Senate campaigns.

The fundraising deadline was June 30. The reporting deadline is July 15. Here is what we know so far:

Senate

  • #TNSEN: Lamar Alexander raised around $2 million.
  • #IASEN: Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley raised $1.5 million and has $2 million in cash on hand, according to the The Des Moines Register.
  • #VASEN: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner raised $1.4 million and has $5.3 million in cash on hand, according to a press release.
  • #MNSEN: Republican finance executive Mike McFadden raised $700,000 in his first quarter, according to a press release. Of that, $10,400 came from individual contributions from him and his wife.
  • #COSEN: Sen. Mark Udall raised $1.3 million and has $3.4 million in cash on hand, according to the The Denver Post.
See the House numbers after the jump.

May 30, 2013

Al Franken Vs. the Unknown #MNSEN

Al Franken Vs. the Unknown #MNSEN

Franken is running for re-election and so far the GOP bench to challenge him is thin. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first Minnesota Republican to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken piqued both curiosity and optimism within the state’s GOP circles. Finance executive Mike McFadden, who heads a Minneapolis management firm, is a largely unknown quantity in state politics, aside from a few donations.

Some Republicans think that may be one of McFadden’s best assets in this Democratic-leaning state, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. They’re also realistic about his chances against someone who is now a formidable incumbent.

“He’s a very personable guy. That’s obviously a good asset,” said one Republican strategist who’s worked on statewide campaigns. “But when you’re going from basically high school ball to the major leagues — that’s a big jump.”

Those who have actually met McFadden were impressed and they are genuinely optimistic about this being a competitive race, especially with a midterm electorate that tends to be more favorable for Republicans than in presidential years.

Full story

May 13, 2013

Paulsen Rules Out Challenge to Franken #MNSEN

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., on Monday ruled out running for governor or Senate for 2014, leaving Democratic Sen. Al Franken still without a challenger.

“After thinking carefully about how I can best help my fellow Minnesotans, I have decided to not seek election for a different office in 2014,” Paulsen said in a statement. “The warm encouragement from many people to run for U.S. senator or the governorship was deeply humbling. However, it is clear to me that the House is currently where I can best represent the people of my district and state.”

Paulsen had indicated some interest in the race earlier this year but was never considered likely to run. He joins fellow GOP Rep. John Kline in opting not to take on Franken in his first bid for re-election.

Mike McFadden, the head of a finance management firm, is considering challenging Franken. The senator had $2 million in cash on hand as of the end of March.

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 3:56 p.m.
Minn. Senate

March 27, 2013

Shop Talk: Franken Hires Manager; Draft Hillary PAC Gets Digital Director

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s re-election campaign and the Ready for Hillary super PAC made public Wednesday new hires to their organizations.

Franken’s team announced that Matt Burgess has been hired to manage the Democrat’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Burgess is a longtime Democratic operative, with former stints at EMILY’s List and the Service Employees International Union, among others.

The super PAC devoted to drafting Hillary Rodham Clinton into the 2016 presidential race, Ready for Hillary PAC, announced Wednesday that it has hired Nickie Titus to be its digital director.

Titus spent the 2012 cycle on now-Sen. Tim Kaine’s, D-Va., campaign. She previously worked for the new media firm Blue State Digital and, like Burgess, she came up through the ranks at EMILY’s List.

CQ Roll Call recently took a look at who else is behind the Draft Hillary effort.

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