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
Former Gov. Tim Kaine’s Senate campaign purchased another $1 million in television airtime for the fall.
The addition brings the Democrat’s total spending for airtime in the campaign’s final months to $3.5 million. Politico first reported the move Monday.
The campaign of Kaine’s Republican opponent, George Allen, has reserved about $3 million of post-Labor Day TV airtime, according to a source close to the campaign. That figure is expected to jump to $3.4 million by the end of this week.
The blockbuster Senate race between the two former governors — Allen is also a former Senator — is likely to be one of the closest in the country, and Roll Call rates it as a Tossup.
The Virginia Democratic coordinated campaign, dubbed VA Victory 2012, announced this week an expansion of its organizing efforts in the battleground state.
The coordinated campaign announced nine new senior hires who will oversee a team of more than 30 organizers from around the state, as well as six new offices — including in Roanoke, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia — to go along with its three offices in Richmond, Alexandria and Virginia Beach.
State party Chairman Brian Moran announced the additions of Deputy Field Director Arthur Scott, Targeting and Data Director John Davis, and seven regional field directors, who all work under Keren Charles Dongo, the VA Victory 2012 director.
The commonwealth is home to tossup races at the presidential and Senate levels and at least one competitive House race.
Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine distributed a fundraising appeal Monday from former Gov. Linwood Holton (R).
As the subject line states, Kaine is Holton’s son-in-law. But Holton, who was governor in the early 1970s, says he is backing Kaine because “we need people who will roll up their sleeves and focus on getting things done instead of fighting over everything all the time.”
Kaine is running against fellow former Gov. George Allen (R) in a race Roll Call rates as a Tossup.
“Tim is a great leader and a great guy — and he also happens to be married to my daughter Anne!” Holton says in the email, which asks for a contribution of $5 or more before Saturday’s fundraising deadline.
Updated 12 p.m. | George Allen, the former Virginia governor and Senator running to reclaim his former seat on Capitol Hill, launched the first two TV ads of the highly competitive open-seat race.
Largely out of the spotlight since his upset re-election loss in 2006, the ads focus solely on Allen’s character as the campaign works to reacquaint voters with him. There is nothing in the ads about his past work; policy stances; his opponent, former Gov. Tim Kaine (D); or President Barack Obama, all of which Allen often mentions on the stump.