Tim Kaine (left) had his best fundraising quarter yet in the Virginia Senate race. He faces former Sen. George Allen next month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
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.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is making its first foray into the Virginia Senate race with an ad accusing Republican George Allen of supporting the privatization of Social Security.
The ad, launched today, is part of the committee’s $8 million reservation of TV time in the state on behalf of Democrat Tim Kaine. Kaine has also received significant support from the Democratic-aligned Majority PAC.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has not yet made any independent expenditures in the state but has reserved about $5.5 million of TV time. Republican-aligned groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have spent significant resources to help Allen.
Allen also released a TV ad today featuring a 60-second testimonial from the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq.
The Tossup race between the two former governors is likely to go down to the wire in one of the top presidential and Senate battleground states.
Former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine debates former Republican Sen. George Allen in their first televised debate for Virginia's Senate seat. The debate was hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC4 Washington at the Capital One Conference Center. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
McLEAN, Va. — Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen met today in their third debate of the long campaign for Virginia’s open Senate seat.
The two former governors touched on themes prevalent on the campaign trail — health care, defense sequester cuts, taxes and the economy — and drew a clear line in the sand for the independent Northern Virginia voters, who will play a determinate role in the outcome of the race.
“Folks, there’s a clear choice in this Senate election, in which approach is going to be best for jobs here in our country,” Allen said in his closing remarks.
The debate, hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC-4, came a day after two public polls showed Kaine for the first time pulling out to a significant lead over his Republican opponent. The two have been tied since Kaine entered the race about 17 months ago, and both Allen and Kaine downplayed the polling results to reporters after the event. Full story
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.
In today’s Ad Tracker, there are a couple of interesting television spots, including one that features President George W. Bush in a positive light, and one poll. Enjoy.
The Big Buy:
Rep. Jim Gerlach’s (R-Pa.) first spot of the cycle is an attack ad against his Democratic opponent, physician Manan Trivedi. Gerlach’s campaign told PoliticsPA that advertisement will only run on cable.
McMahon Alludes to the Other Chris’ Problems:
Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon has a smart new television ad in which she defends her ability to self-fund her Connecticut Senate bid by saying, “In the Senate, I will owe you, not the special interests who corrupt so many career politicians from Hartford to Washington.”
It is a subtle allusion to the political problems of state House Speaker Chris Donovan (D), not her opponent Rep. Christopher Murphy. Donovan had the inside track to succeeding Murphy in Congress until an alleged quid pro quo scandal involving tobacco interests deep sixed his campaign and he lost the Democratic nomination.
A difference in Chris-es, yes, but it plays into fears that some Democrats had over the summer — that even if Donovan did not get his party’s nomination, his woes could spread to other Democrats on the ballot.
Kaine Features Bush and Obama:
How many Democratic Senate candidates this cycle (or ever) have featured President George W. Bush in an ad in a positive way? Likewise, how many in swing states have featured President Barack Obama? It’s likely that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is the only one to have done both in a single ad.
“I don’t agree with any president all the time, but I know that when our nation succeeds, Virginia succeeds,” Kaine says into the camera. He’s running against George Allen (R), a former governor and Senator, for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).
The Big Number:
Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Enyart (D) led businessman Jason Plummer (R), 49 percent to 41 percent, in a new poll of the open Illinois 12th district from House Majority PAC and Service Employees International Union. Also in the 12th district, the poll showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 41 percent.
The Benenson Strategy Group memo surveyed 400 likely general election voters from Sept. 11-13. The full memo can be viewed here.
It’s worth noting that in early August, Plummer’s campaign released its own internal poll that showed the Republican with a double-digit lead.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who is running for an open Senate seat, issued a harsh rebuke of a Republican-aligned outside group that launched three ads against him Tuesday, the anniversary of 9/11.
A Crossroads GPS spokesman said in a release that the $1 million ad campaign highlights the areas in which Kaine is out of step with Virginia, including on issues such as education and the defense industry.
In response, the Kaine campaign released a statement regarding the timing of the latest round of ads, rather than its routine fact-check. Full story
TAMPA, Fla. — Look no further than the Virginia delegation’s placement on the floor of the Republican National Convention to understand how important the state is to the GOP’s hopes of winning the White House.
This week, the Old Dominion delegation has enjoyed a front-row view of the proceedings. And when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney formally accepts his party’s presidential nomination this evening, just to his left will be Virginia, the state that could ultimately decide whether he defeats President Barack Obama on Nov. 6. Full story
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The commonwealth of Virginia is riddled with battlefields from centuries of American conflict, a fact hammered home on the journey here from Washington, D.C., as it passes through the site of the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of the Wilderness, two turning points of the Civil War.
Updated 2:30 p.m. | Tim Kaine launched the first television ad of his Senate campaign in Virginia today, a positive spot highlighting his record as governor.
The ad is part of the Democrat’s $4.5 million TV time buy placed between now and Election Day. It comes amid a flurry of outside spending — and direct attacks of his record — which his campaign said has already reached $8.5 million worth of advertising against Kaine.
Sen. Scott Brown (above) called on Rep. Todd Akin to relinquish his Senate nomination after his controversial remarks about rape. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
On day two of the media firestorm around Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) comments about rape, the Republican Senate nominee is discovering that his harshest critics are not Democrats, but members of his own party.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) was restrained in her criticism of her opponent this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The incident has breathed new life into her campaign for re-election.
Instead, it is Republicans in tough fall races who are piling on:
The League of Conservation Voters and Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned independent expenditure committee, have teamed up for a $1.6 million ad campaign against Republican George Allen, who is seeking his former Senate seat in Virginia. Full story
Updated 9:42 a.m. | Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine just recorded his best fundraising quarter of the cycle, bringing in around $3 million from April through June, his Senate campaign announced this morning.
The ex-Democratic National Committee chairman is running in a blockbuster race against Republican George Allen, a former governor and Senator. Full story