On Sunday, the Nov. 6 elections will be just 100 days away.
But that milestone has become something of a misnomer in an era when two states conduct elections strictly through the mail, voters increasingly vote absentee and many states allow early in-person voting that continues to grow in popularity.
As a country, we’ll collectively be glued to our television screens (or mobile devices) on the evening of Election Day to find out who won the White House and the battle for Congress. But to a significant degree, the outcome could be decided long before then, particularly in a few of the states that really matter.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) began airing a new ad today, featuring former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a Democrat.
“Scott Brown is a person that I have great admiration for,” Flynn says to the camera, sitting in his living room. “I’ve found him to be a regular guy: honest, hardworking. He’s also an independent voice,” he adds, as b-roll of the Senator appears on screen.
“I’m a Democrat, but I’m tired of all the polarization, the pettiness, the bickering,” says Flynn, who served as mayor of the Bay State’s capital from 1984 to 1993. “Scott Brown is a person that you can work with. I mean, I’ve been involved in politics for almost 50 years. That’s the name of the game, electing people you can trust. I think that person really is Scott Brown.”
A source familiar with the buy said the ad was backed by $426,000 on broadcast and cable television statewide, today through Aug. 5. There was also a $25,000 buy on WJAR, the NBC affiliate in Providence, R.I., which reaches a chunk of southeastern Massachusetts, from Aug. 6 through Aug. 12.
Brown is locked in tight race with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and consumer advocate. In a state that will vote for President Barack Obama, Brown has worked to position himself as a solutions-oriented, independent Senator. Ads like this one would appear to help burnish his bipartisan credentials, especially with an important swing block of blue-collar voters.
Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate race as a Tossup.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hit the airwaves in Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin with television ads targeting Democratic Senate candidates.
The chamber is also targeting independent Senate candidate former Gov. Angus King in Maine. The ads criticize the candidates on a range of issues, including support for the Affordable Care Act, proposals to increase taxes and votes on energy issues.
“With so much at stake in this election, the Chamber will continue to execute the largest voter education campaign in our history,” chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We will support candidates who will fight for free enterprise and oppose those who consistently support more government and stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”
Independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the chamber spent more than $5.3 million on ad buys and production costs for the series of spots. The group typically spends heavily to defeat Democratic candidates.
The chamber vowed to continue its efforts into the coming months in a press release. Full story
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing an ad this week against Maine Senate frontrunner Angus King (I), knocking him for his financial management of the Pine Tree State during his eight-year tenure as governor.
The Chamber backs Republican Charlie Summers, who faces an uphill battle for the open seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). The effectiveness of the ad in knocking down King — widely liked in Maine — will probably go a long way to determining whether national Republicans make a push for the seat at all this fall.
A new Democratic poll shows Rep. Mazie Hirono (above) leading former Gov. Linda Lingle in a general election matchup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Update 11:00 a.m.| A Democratic poll released this morning found Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) well ahead of former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in a test of Hawaii’s likely general election Senate matchup.
Hirono led Lingle by 19 points in the poll, conducted by the Mellman Group on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It was released today, the same day that Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case will meet for their final debate before the Aug. 11 Democratic primary and as Hirono highlights her ability to work across the aisle on behalf of Hawaii’s interests. Full story
Rock musician Ted Nugent and country music star Rodney Atkins are scheduled to travel to Wisconsin to headline events for GOP Senate primary candidates.
Nugent is set to perform Thursday for former Gov. Tommy Thompson; Atkins is scheduled to perform for businessman Eric Hovde on Aug. 1. The campaigns hope to translate the musicians’ star power into enthusiasm as the campaign for the primary nomination enters its final weeks.
“This is a rally, a serious rally, for my friend and the great American blood brother for freedom, U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson,” Nugent says in a voice recording sent to Thompson supporters. “If you want upgraded quality of life for the American dream, vote U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson.”
The Atkins event was described by the Hovde campaign as the kickoff to its get-out-the-vote effort. Full story
Democrats are not waiting for the general election to officially start in the two most competitive states yet to hold a Republican Senate primary.
Democratic outside groups are playing an active role in defining the GOP candidates in Missouri and Wisconsin, and if they’re lucky, perhaps even helping push their preferred general election opponent ahead. Republicans are targeting both Democratic-held seats in their quest for the Senate majority. Full story
Top conservative surrogates are headed to Texas to campaign for Senate candidate Ted Cruz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The campaign of former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz announced this afternoon that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) are scheduled to headline a rally for his campaign Friday evening.
The get-out-the-vote rally will kick off the final weekend of campaigning before Tuesday’s runoff and will be held in the Woodlands, which is an exurban city in the Houston area.
Several local and national tea party leaders are also scheduled to be in attendance, including Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express.
Cruz faces Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the runoff for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R). Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.
Rep. Jeff Flake's GOP primary opponent for the Arizona Senate seat said Flake's backing from Sen. John McCain will have no effect on the race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Businessman Wil Cardon on Tuesday politely dismissed the ability of Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain to influence voters in his Senate GOP primary battle with Rep. Jeff Flake.
Kyl and McCain endorsed Flake earlier this month, a move Cardon described as expected.
“I have respect for the service of Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, but they’re part of the old guard,” he said.
Kyl, whose retirement created this open-seat race, is appearing in a television ad alongside Flake. The spot began airing this week. McCain has called the Cardon campaign “disturbing” and said he worried that Cardon’s attacks “might make it harder in the general election for us to elect Jeff Flake to the United States Senate.”
Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.
Congressional candidates and outside groups in Wisconsin have picked up the pace of TV and radio attack ads as the state’s primaries loom three weeks away.
Roll Call counted 10 attack ads released in the past 11 days, including three spots released today.
Most of the ads focus on the race for the state’s open Senate seat. Ads from both sides of the aisle have targeted the GOP primary’s perceived frontrunners, former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde.
The Club for Growth and former Rep. Mark Neumann, who is also competing in the GOP primary, have been especially critical. Majority PAC, which supports Democrats running for the Senate, and EMILY’s List targeted Hovde and Thompson in hopes of aiding presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Full story
Members of Congress from Hawaii and Alaska have a history of bipartisan cooperation, and that was on full display today in the Hawaii Senate race.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) appeared in a 90-second web ad alongside Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to endorse her for Hawaii’s open Senate seat. Hirono is facing former Rep. Ed Case in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary, the winner of which will take on former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in the general election.