Roll Call’s initial Senate ratings outlook projects a potentially bullish cycle for Republicans, with an opportunity to recapture the majority for the first time in eight years.
But that’s exactly how things looked two years before the 2012 elections, when Democrats surprised many with victories in Missouri and North Dakota on their way to picking up two seats. So the challenge for the GOP and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas is to capitalize on their opportunities.
That and how voters feel about President Barack Obama in 2014 could determine how the parties fare at the ballot box less than two years from now. Democrats won their current majority in 2006, in the second midterm election under President George W. Bush.
Republicans are hoping Obama’s second midterm is similarly kind to them, if not equal to the president’s 2010 midterm shellacking, when the GOP won seven seats (and control of the House) despite beginning the cycle as the underdog.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., announced Tuesday that he will not seek a return to the governorship next year, setting up a likely bid for re-election in 2014.
“Over the last year, a lot of Virginians – Democrats, Republicans, and independents – have approached me and asked that I consider running for Governor a second time,” Warner said in a statement. “I loved being governor, but I have a different job now — and it’s here in the United States Senate.”
It’s well-known that Warner enjoyed his time as governor from 2002 to 2006, and rumors of a potential return to Richmond have wafted through the Old Dominion political scene for the past year. As the most popular politician in the state, Warner would have been the heavy favorite in the gubernatorial race, and he is currently favored to win his first bid for re-election to the Senate. Full story
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:
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.
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.
DOSWELL, Va. — Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate candidate George Allen rallied the GOP faithful today to begin a final joint push across this crucial battleground state.
In the second event of a three-stop tour, several hundred supporters donning stickers for Romney, Allen and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crowded into the expansive Farm Bureau Center outside Richmond to hear the nominees for president and Senate. Full story
ASHLAND, Va. — Former Gov. Tim Kaine spent an hour today in a Democratic town within a heavily Republican county in an effort to encourage his supporters to persuade the remaining undecided voters to vote for him and to increase turnout among Democrats.
Standing on a stage where live bluegrass bands often play, Kaine, who is running against former Gov. George Allen (R) for the state’s open Senate seat, said that 3 percent of voters are probably still undecided. He said “person-to-person contact” is vital at this point in the campaign. Kaine said that more than $20 million in outside money has been spent against him by rich individuals from out of state who can write checks with a lot of zeros, and said he wants to “show there aren’t enough zeros in the world” to beat a grass-roots campaign run by Virginians.
Truman Parmele, the owner of the coffee shop and music venue, said bands play there five nights a week, performing any kind of music but hip-hop. Parmele, 67, said he’s independent, formerly in the Air Force and moderate on social issues. He told Roll Call that Obamacare scares him, and he asked Kaine whether he would support a flat tax. Parmele said Kaine is “very personable” and said he will probably support him.
The Republican-affiliated sister groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS will begin a massive $10.5 million Senate ad blitz today and Wednesday, blanketing competitive Senate races, including those in Maine, Montana and New Mexico, with hard-hitting attack ads.
A new poll from the Washington Post found that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine led by 7 points in the open-seat Senate race.
The Democrat and fellow former Gov. George Allen (R) are battling in one of the most competitive contests of the cycle in a state that could go either way in the presidential race. And after a year of running even, polling results over the past six months have been as mixed as they once were steady.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has the edge over fellow former Gov. George Allen (R) in their highly competitive race for the state’s open Senate seat, according to a poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Kaine led 48 percent to 44 percent in the poll, which was conducted Oct. 15-18 among 802 likely voters and had a 3.5-point margin of error.
The race has been close throughout, though polling margins over the past month have been erratic. Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee kicked off its independent expenditure spending in Virginia today by launching a television ad that criticizes former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for supporting increased federal spending.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdZ9mZp0xzg Full story
Set to face each other in their fourth debate tonight, former Govs. George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) each released television ads today that push the central messages of their respective Senate campaigns. Full story
Updated 11:35 a.m. | Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) continued his fundraising dominance in the third quarter, raising a personal-best $4.5 million for his Senate bid.
According to a campaign release, Kaine has now raised “nearly $15 million total from more than 40,000 individual donors, including 10,000 new donors in the last six weeks.” His strong fundraising allowed the campaign to but an additional $3 million in television time for the final five weeks of the campaign, increasing his total fall buy to about $7.5 million. He still had $1 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Full story
A new independent poll found former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) ahead of former Gov. George Allen (R) by 5 points in the race for the open Senate seat.
Kaine led 49 percent to 44 percent in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday. Seven percent were undecided.
It is the latest in a string of polls that show Kaine pulling out to a significant lead against Allen in what’s been a margin-of-error race for the past year and a half. The poll was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1 among 969 likely voters. It had a 3.1-point margin of error.
All over the country, biographical television spots are giving way to negative attack ads.
The Susan B. Anthony List announced Thursday the initiation of a $150,000 TV ad campaign against President Barack Obama in Ohio. It intends to include in that campaign an ad it previously aired in Missouri, which featured an abortion survivor.
But the ad that caught our attention was a negative spot from Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.).
Here are some of our other favorite ads from today:
Meanwhile, supporters of House Democrats are going negative on West. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, announced it was increasing its investment in the district to more than $1.5 million. This comes after the news that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was canceling a week of airtime starting Oct. 9.
A “great wall” of ads continues to slam voters in competitive districts, especially on the topic of China.
But the biggest news today in political ads is that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is no longer keeping her powder dry in the Missouri Senate race. She went right for the jugular with a new statewide television ad almost as soon as it was certain Rep. Todd Akin (R) was her general election opponent. On the House front, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled a week of airtime in Florida’s 18th district, where Rep. Allen West (R) is seeking re-election. Officials said they were shifting resources to other races because House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has reserved ad time in West’s district. House Majority PAC is also shifting resources, as the House battleground map continues to come into sharper focus.
Here are the other best TV ads and trends we saw today:
Parents of the Deceased
Two Senate campaigns put up ads offering testimonials from the parents of someone who is deceased. In each, the parent vouched for the character of the candidate.
A father of a deceased young man described the work Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) did to increase bus safety. The ad is on Ohio airwaves, which includes some of the most saturated markets in the country.
A mother described former Sen. George Allen’s (R) sympathetic reaction to the death of her son, who died was serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq. Ad spending is saturating Virginia airwaves, and this new ad is part of ongoing statewide ad buys.
China, China, China
At least there is one thing the two parties can agree on — that China is an issue to use against the other side. It is a way to attack one’s opponent on the outsourcing and deficit fronts. China was similarly prominent in 2010 general election ads. China has been raised as an issue in the presidential campaign as well.