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November 28, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

November 24, 2014

Bill Cassidy Utilizes Weekly GOP Address, Again

Bill Cassidy Utilizes Weekly GOP Address, Again

Cassidy gave the weekly Republican address again last weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heading into a Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana against Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Rep. Bill Cassidy took a second crack at the Republican weekly address to make his case for election to the Senate.

Just as in his first address in June, the doctor by trade recalled interactions with patients as a prominent forum to hear constituent concerns on the direction of the country.

“When my patients tell me about their health concerns,” Cassidy said, “they also tell me they are worried about the economy, their jobs, the direction of our country.” Full story

November 20, 2014

Josh Holmes, the Mastermind of Team Mitch

Josh Holmes, the Mastermind of Team Mitch

Holmes, right, accompanied McConnell at an election eve campaign stop at an airport in Bowling Green, Ky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Much of the movie “Fargo” takes place in Minnesota, the home state of the aide in charge of the campaign that propelled Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell to the role of Senate majority leader in the next Congress.

It’s fitting that Josh Holmes, the senior adviser whom McConnell commended on stage at his election night gathering in Louisville, would hail from Minnesota, given that another former chief of staff, Billy Piper, once said McConnell was the wood chipper in the movie’s gruesome final scene.

Personality-wise, Holmes does not fit the billing for a Coen Brothers film. The hard-nosed operative behind one of the cycle’s best campaigns is classic “Minnesota nice,” said former Sen. Norm Coleman. Holmes was regional coordinator for the Minnesota Republican’s 2002 Senate campaign and then joined his office on Capitol Hill.

Full story

November 14, 2014

Mark Kirk: ‘No Frickin’ Way Am I Retiring’

Mark Kirk: No Frickin Way Am I Retiring

Kirk says he'll run for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., has a message for anyone who doubts his will or appetite for a second term.

“No frickin’ way am I retiring,” he told CQ Roll Call in an exclusive interview Thursday from his Capitol Hill office, following some speculation in local press over the senator’s future and his shifting political operation. ”With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving.”

In an extended interview, Kirk sought to dispel any notion he’s ready to leave the Senate — or that he lacks the stamina to seek re-election after suffering an ischemic stroke in January 2012. Kirk said he feels great, and any opponents who question his fitness to serve will regret it.

“That would not be taken well by the people of Illinois, who would not like that kind of attack,” Kirk said. “That would be an advantage to me if they did that.”

Full story

November 13, 2014

How Thom Tillis Defeated One of 2014′s Best Campaigns

How Thom Tillis Defeated One of 2014s Best Campaigns

Sen.-elect Thom Tillis is a North Carolina Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call).

It’s rare a losing campaign has no regrets. But to the last person, Democrats involved in Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election say they would not have done anything differently.

Hagan ran one of the best campaigns of the cycle, defying headwinds of an unpopular Democratic president in a state that elected Mitt Romney in 2012. But on Election Day, it was not enough, and she fell to Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis by 1.7 points.

“Except for if I could have run this race during a presidential year,” Hagan’s campaign manager, Preston Elliott, told CQ Roll Call. “Maybe I would have moved Election Day to August.” Full story

November 12, 2014

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

Perdue, center, speaks with reporters as he and his fellow newly elected GOP senators walk from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to Minority Whip John Cornyn's office in the Capitol Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The morning after he won Georgia’s open Senate seat, Republican David Perdue was asked on “Fox & Friends” how he avoided a runoff when every available poll had shown a tight race.

It was the question of the day in the Democrats’ best pickup opportunity — where millions of dollars poured in from both sides during the final month of the contest, yet the Republican emerged with an unexpectedly large 8-point victory.

His answer indicated the Perdue campaign may have been the only ones not in the dark.

“Our pollster, Chris Perkins, had it pegged all along,” the former corporate CEO and first-time candidate responded. Full story

Alaska Senate Race Called for Dan Sullivan

Alaska Senate Race Called for Dan Sullivan

The AP called the Alaska Senate race for Dan Sullivan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Associated Press called the Alaska Senate race early Wednesday for Dan Sullivan, the Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

The decision came in the early morning hours on the East Coast, after election workers counted about 20,000 absentee ballots. An unknown number of ballots remain, but Sullivan’s lead of some 8,100 votes was little changed after that significant chunk of votes was counted, the AP stated.

Full story

November 10, 2014

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

Ernst is the senator-elect from Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a national Republican wave crested on Election Day, there were several campaigns in both parties that stood out as outstanding operations.

The GOP expanded its House majority and obtained control of the Senate. As a result, more Republican campaigns emerged deserving of the spotlight. But there were also several Democratic operations worthy of recognition.

Roll Call has compiled a list of the cream of the crop of 2014. Many faced long odds, crowded primaries, an unpopular president and millions in targeted attack ads. But through all that and more, these campaigns ably managed the curves of the cycle — and all but one were victorious.

In alphabetical order by candidate, here are the best congressional campaigns of the midterms: Full story

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

McSally is a Republican from Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Nov. 11, 7:35 a.m. | A week after Election Day, six races remain too close to call as local officials continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots.

On Nov. 4, Republicans took control of the Senate by picking up seven seats so far, while House Republicans have picked up a net of 12 seats to date.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. It could be another week before outstanding 50,000 outstanding ballots — and an unknown number of absentee ballots from rural Alaskan villages — are counted. Republicans are confident Sullivan will maintain his lead.

Republican retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally’s lead over Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., narrowed to 341 votes this weekend. After additional ballots were counted on Monday, McSally’s lead shrunk further to 179 votes. The margin currently falls within the range for an automatic recount.

Full story

November 7, 2014

Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, on the trail in Jonesboro, Ark., was a top Republican Senate recruit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sweeping Republican victories were thanks to two years of internal speculation and trying to beat the Democrats “at their own game,” a new GOP memo argues.

“This did not happen by accident,” read a joint memo from the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Democrats expected to win; they bragged that they would win. They would have won, had we not beat them at their own game.”

Full story

Ed Gillespie Concedes Virginia Senate Race to Mark Warner

Ed Gillespie Concedes Virginia Senate Race to Mark Warner

Gillespie conceded the Virginia Senate race Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Update 2:03 p.m. | Republican Ed Gillespie conceded the Virginia Senate race Friday, declining to contest Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s tight lead.

By Friday, Warner led by just 17,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. But with canvassing ongoing since Wednesday, media outlets had yet to call the race.

“If I believed there were any conceivable way we could find a viable path to win through a recount, I would fight,” Gillespie told supporters. Full story

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

Aguilar is a Democrat from California. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:39 p.m. | Democrats picked up their third House seat late Thursday, stemming the party’s losses to 13 seats — for now.

After more absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Democrat Pete Aguilar maintained a lead over Republican Paul Chabot, 51 percent to 49 percent, in California’s 31st District. Aguilar declared victory and Chabot conceded; the seat was open because Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller is retiring.

The Associated Press also called a House race in Maryland’s 6th District in favor of the Democrat. Freshman Rep. John Delaney defeated his Republican opponent, 50 percent to 48 percent, in an unexpectedly close contest.

In Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by a 16,000-vote margin.

Gillespie announced at a news conference Friday afternoon that he would not contest the results.

Elsewhere, several other races remain too close to call:

Full story

November 6, 2014

Senate Democrats Saw GOP Wave Before Election Night

Senate Democrats Saw GOP Wave Before Election Night

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at his re-election victory party Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The executive directors of the Democratic and Republican Senate campaign arms broke down the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections Thursday at the Election Impact Conference hosted by CQ Roll Call, giving a candid assessment of the factors that led to Republicans taking control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

Guy Cecil, who ran the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the past two cycles, said top-level Democrats knew about a week before Election Day the tide had moved against them and said they were bracing for losses across the board as results came in Tuesday night.

“We had hopes we could stem the tide, but it became clear to us that it would be difficult to do,” Cecil told the audience.

Full story

November 5, 2014

What Happened to 2014′s Most Vulnerable Senators?

What Happened to 2014s Most Vulnerable Senators?

Sen. Hagan was defeated Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Three members on Roll Call’s ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators will definitely not be returning to Congress next year, along with a slew of other incumbents.

The fate of two more senators is still unknown, but they also appear to be in trouble. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., faces a difficult December runoff. Votes are also still being counted in Alaska, where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, is trailing his Republican opponent by several points.

Find out who else fulfilled or defied their vulnerable ranking: Full story

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

Collins served as executive director of the NRSC during the 2014 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the tail end of an hour-long press briefing at the National Republican Senatorial Committee less than three weeks before the elections, Executive Director Rob Collins threw out a prediction: The GOP would win the majority on election night.

Republicans were favored to pick up at least a handful of seats, but with a couple possible runoffs and some tight races, forecasting clear control of the chamber by the end of Election Day was a ballsy declaration.

In his office a little while later, Collins laughed as he noticed his quote popping up in stories online. He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t think it was possible, but Collins went out on a limb mainly because he didn’t want his customary level-headed analysis of the Senate playing field misinterpreted as pessimism about his party’s chances.

“I think people like that I don’t bullshit them,” Collins said. But, he added, “I felt like, boy, I better end this on a note of confidence, or they’ll say, ‘Collins was a little iffy on that whole thing.’ So yeah, we’ll win on election night — it’s totally possible.” Full story

November 4, 2014

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

McConnell won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated Nov. 5, 7:23 a.m. | Republicans swept the Senate races Tuesday night, and come January, they will control the chamber for the first time in eight years.

Democratic incumbents fell right and left, even in seats that they had originally been favored to win. President Barack Obama’s poor approval rating — 42 percent in the last nationwide Gallup poll — dragged down candidates across the country in the face of a Republican wave.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who cruised to victory in his own re-election, is set to become the next majority leader, with a gain of at least seven seats — one more than the GOP needed.

As results were still pouring in, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran credited the GOP’s recruiting, encouraging and training its candidates.

“They are why we have the ability to deliver a majority, this evening, of Republicans to the United States Senate,” the Kansas Republican said. Full story

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