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Posts in "La. Senate"
October 24, 2014
Every week after President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, the Republicans get a chance to respond. Because they don’t, of course, have a singular figure who would naturally address the nation each week, the speakers vary. So far in 2014, 11 Republican candidates — four House hopefuls and seven vying for Senate seats — have had the honor to take to YouTube and spread their party’s message.
In the fall of an election year, the GOP weekly address is an opportunity for Republicans to showcase some of their hopefuls on the ballot to a broader audience than the candidates can normally reach themselves — because not everyone pays attention to every Senate race, or to New York congressional campaigns.
“The weekly address is a great opportunity to showcase our diverse and talented group of candidates to the country,” said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which coordinates the speeches. He said the party’s “tremendous slate” allows the GOP to contrast its record with the president’s.
There are some common themes mentioned time and time again: dissatisfaction with the president’s job approval, the desire to expand domestic energy production, repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting government regulation.
Saturday’s address, posted at 6 a.m., will feature Will Hurd, the GOP nominee for Texas’ 23rd House district.
Here is a summary of the others.
October 15, 2014
So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate.
Republican groups are barraging Kansas with resources and advertising to save a three-term incumbent being challenged by an independent in a solidly GOP state. Democrats, lacking much hope for months of holding an open seat in South Dakota, are all of a sudden dropping $1 million in advertising there — and being matched by Republicans — in a last-second Hail Mary that could possibly save its majority.
Just three weeks remain until Election Day, yet control of the Senate remains a dogfight and more than a handful of seats could conceivably go either way. The GOP has at least 10 states to find a path to six Senate seats and the majority, but — while public polling in most states appears to be moving in its direction — at this point the party has only locked up two Democrat-held seats in a favorable national climate.
Making matters more convoluted are the unknowns surrounding independent candidates Greg Orman in Kansas and Larry Pressler in South Dakota, who have yet to say which caucus they would join.
With so many variables and competitive races, plus potential and competitive runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, the outcome of the midterm elections is anyone’s guess.
But as the votes start rolling in, there’s a chance the result will be one of the following three scenarios: Full story
October 9, 2014
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s decision Wednesday to drop $1 million into South Dakota, a race previously written off as a Republican win, was just the latest shakeup of the Senate landscape this week.
On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee cut its financial investment in Michigan, where an open seat and a favorable national environment had created an opportunity for the party.
With the Senate majority at stake, the national campaign committees and their outside-group allies are constantly re-evaluating races and analyzing where their resources are most needed and best put to use. It’s all part of a real-life game of Tetris, as the groups meticulously watch each other’s moves and look to fit their ads and messaging into a larger picture.
Many of the moves by the NRSC, the DSCC and other outside groups likely will fly under the radar over the next 26 days — though with potential runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, Senate ads actually could be airing on TV into early next year. But others, including spending by the campaigns themselves, will offer definitive signs of a race’s potential competitiveness, as in South Dakota and Michigan.
With less than four weeks to go, here are some big questions about the Senate playing field and where the millions more in spending to come will land: Full story
October 1, 2014
While the structure of the competitive Senate map has finally solidified, plenty of uncertainties remain as the two parties enter the final month of the midterm elections.
The most glaring question mark and startling development over the past several weeks is in Kansas, where Republican Sen. Pat Roberts now ranks fourth on Roll Call’s monthly list of the most vulnerable senators (read the September edition here). This is a state that last elected a Democratic senator in 1932, but ballot maneuverings and Roberts’ own missteps have placed him in the company of the cycle’s most endangered incumbents.
The GOP needs six seats to win the majority, and the party can get halfway there by picking up open seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, where retirements hindered Democrats’ ability to hold their ground. Democrats have better odds in the other open seats, with Iowa still hosting one of the most competitive races in the country and Democrats continuing to hold the edge in Michigan.
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., remains a top target for Republicans. But Democrats are pummeling Republican nominee Thom Tillis on the air, and Hagan is the only red-state Democrat whose positioning has clearly improved in recent months.
The competitiveness of the Senate race in Kansas took most people by surprise, including, it seems, Roberts. The senator entered the general election with a limited political apparatus and less motivation to campaign following his contested primary. That all changed last month, when the Democratic nominee withdrew from the race and Republican efforts to reverse the move failed.
That left independent Greg Orman, who is still an unknown quantity. As Orman introduces himself to the electorate, Republicans’ opposition research on him is still just starting to trickle out. Roberts has brought in a new campaign team, a steady stream of GOP heavyweights is filing through the state to help him out, and at least one outside group has started spending for him on the airwaves.
In a state as Republican as Kansas, that could be enough to save the day. But for now, Roberts is firmly among the 10 Most Vulnerable Senators, ranked below in order of vulnerability: Full story
September 26, 2014
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is launching a new Senate ad Saturday featuring former supporters of Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.
The spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, showcases three women who say they’ve previously voted for the three-term incumbent and list Landrieu’s support for the Affordable Care Act as the main reason they now back her leading Republican challenger.
“We’re voting for Bill Cassidy,” one of the women says. “He stands up to Barack Obama,” says another. “And he’ll vote to repeal and replace Obamacare,” says the third.
The ad will run statewide and is initially backed by a $400,000 buy, according to a Cassidy campaign aide. Full story
NEW ORLEANS — At a Saturday morning community health fair in a Vietnamese enclave in the predominantly black eastern wing of this city, Cassidy wasn’t exactly in politically friendly territory.
But he was quickly met by a familiar face ready to show him around. Greeting Cassidy behind a mobile pregnancy care bus was former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, a fellow Republican who entered the House with Cassidy after the 2008 elections and served for a single term.
Cassidy, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, would work his way through a welcoming campus-wide, college football tailgate in Baton Rouge later that day. But first he was here in a church parking lot in Village de L’Est, a traditionally Vietnamese neighborhood with a growing Hispanic population, to try to pick up a few votes.
“Wherever I can meet the most voters works for me,” Cassidy said as Cao led him toward the crowd.
September 22, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. — In the shadow of the state Capitol on Monday, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu had a message for any Republican critics of her decision Saturday to help a Louisiana State University football fan perform a keg stand as she campaigned across campus.
“They need to get a sense of humor, and they need to get a life — it’s just the way we roll,” Landrieu said in response to a question at a news conference where she and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., exchanged endorsements.
Landrieu went on to note that the fan was a 28-year-old alumnus with a master’s degree in business. Full story
BATON ROUGE, La. — Six weeks from Election Day, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu gathered the troops on the Louisiana State University campus, where tens of thousands of football fans and prospective voters congregated for hours ahead of the Saturday night game.
The three-term Democrat faces arguably her most challenging race yet against, among others, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who worked the Tigers fans for votes a couple hours later. Landrieu’s best shot may be to break 50 percent in the November jungle primary, but that avenue to victory has shrunk since her last race in a state increasingly difficult for any Democrat to win.
For that reason, Landrieu attempted to reach every voter she could among the boisterous and boozy crowd before kickoff.
Nearly two dozen volunteers and staff formed a circle around Landrieu at a tailgate in the heart of campus, where her younger brother Martin offered food, water and beer to the campaigners — who all had been trying to keep up with the hyper-speed pace of the senator for more than a half hour already. Landrieu ordered the group to split in two, to remind voters about the Nov. 4 jungle primary, early voting dates and to hand out stickers.
“Not everybody is going to be a supporter,” Landrieu told them, “but just be nice, friendly. You’re very visible.”
Not long after, Landrieu went to new lengths for a vote. Egged on to perform a keg stand, she instead held the spigot for a 20-something supporter — one of many methods the LSU faithful would use to imbibe that Saturday afternoon. Full story
September 21, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. — There are some wild and crazy people in there.
That’s what a campaign staffer warned Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu as she eyed an opening to the Parade Grounds in the center of Louisiana State University, where football fans began setting up intricate tailgate parties campus-wide 24 hours before the Saturday night game.
Landrieu had already been working the campus with a fury for an hour, flanked by an army of volunteers in navy “I’m With Mary” t-shirts and handing out Landrieu for Senate stickers.
September 15, 2014
As national analysts say the odds are increasingly against them, Democratic senators and senior operatives remain optimistic the party’s most vulnerable incumbents can survive stiff re-election challenges, even in red states where the president’s popularity is sunk.
With his national approval ratings mired in the low 40s seven weeks out from the Nov. 4 elections, Senate Democrats are well aware of the anchor President Barack Obama is proving to be in the midterms. It’s clear party strategists have had to tailor their red-state strategies around that reality on a map already tilted against them, with three principles at the crux of Democrats’ path to defend seats in GOP-leaning and solidly Republican states where the majority will be won or lost.
As Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil outlined in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call, it’s imperative for Democrats in these states to remind voters why they supported the incumbent in the first place, to over-perform generic Democratic numbers and continue to fund persuasion efforts — along with getting out the vote — through Election Day.
“The president’s ratings are a factor in our elections, but they are not the only factor in our elections,” Cecil said, noting the tens of millions of dollars being spent on advertising and the DSCC’s field campaign efforts. Full story
September 1, 2014
There is a new chart-topper in Roll Call’s latest monthly ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators.
Montana’s appointed Sen. John Walsh was by far the most endangered incumbent in the chamber at the time of the previous installment in early August, but his decision last month to not seek a full term opened the top slot to a couple other worthy contenders.
August 4, 2014
Three months before Election Day, it’s clear some senators may not return to Congress after the midterms — and that’s mostly good news for Republicans.
The GOP’s path to the Senate majority includes a mix of open seats and targeted Democratic incumbents. The two most vulnerable seats are in South Dakota and West Virginia, where Democratic senators are retiring. Republicans also have opportunities in open seats in Iowa and, to a lesser degree, Michigan.
But even if they are victorious in those states, the GOP must defeat at least two incumbents to reach the net six seats needed for control.
Luckily for Republicans, Democrats make up the vast majority of endangered senators seeking re-election. The GOP has a lengthy catalog of states where it has an opportunity to win, though there is a wide gap betweenthe No. 1 and No. 10 most vulnerable senators — who are ordered by most likely to lose.
Roll Call’s “10 Most Vulnerable Senators” list will be updated monthly ahead of the Nov. 4 elections. For now, here is where the incumbents stand: Full story
July 28, 2014
How does a female Democratic candidate in the South distance herself from President Barack Obama? Call on Dad.
Attorney Gwen Graham released a pair of ads Monday morning that did just that. Her father, former Sen. Bob Graham, made her case to voters.
Graham wasn’t the first. Two other candidates, nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, produced ads featuring their well-known politician fathers.
Here is a look at all three ads: Full story
July 14, 2014
State Rep. Paul Hollis, a Republican waging a bid in Louisiana’s competitive Senate contest, withdrew his candidacy Monday.
Hollis was running as a more conservative option to GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, as Republicans challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu. His exit provides one less hurdle for Cassidy to advance to a runoff with Landrieu, but Cassidy’s main intraparty adversary remains: Rob Maness, a Sarah Palin-backed retired Air Force colonel.
Candidates have until Aug. 22 to file the necessary paperwork for a bid. Fewer candidates in the race — no matter the party — should give Landrieu slightly better odds of avoiding a runoff. The top-two finishers in the November jungle primary advance to a December runoff unless a candidate receives a majority of the vote. Full story
June 19, 2014
For all the money spent on the November elections, control of the Senate might not be decided until a Saturday three weeks before Christmas.
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., hopes to win re-election outright on Nov. 4 in a jungle primary against a handful of challengers. But winning a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate field would be a significant feat, and the campaigns of both Landrieu and her leading Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, are undoubtedly preparing for an extended, one-on-one race.
If a Dec. 6 runoff coincides with a 50-49 Republican advantage in the Senate, consultants in and out of the state warn of an unprecedented onslaught of spending from party committees and outside groups in a race that could become more about the national parties than the two candidates on the ballot.
“Mary kind of becomes a pawn in a much, much bigger game,” said Dane Strother, a Democratic media consultant and Baton Rouge native who’s worked on previous Landrieu campaigns. “The entire force of national politics will land on Louisiana. They’ll buy every radio ad, every TV ad, inundate with direct mail. It will be a war.” Full story