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November 23, 2014

Posts in "Maine Senate"

October 8, 2014

Why Senate Attendance Attacks Are Usually Bogus (Video)

Why Senate Attendance Attacks Are Usually Bogus (Video)

Hagan serves on the Armed Services Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The worst-kept secret on Capitol Hill? Senators miss committee hearings and meetings. All the time.

Unless the senator wields the gavel, he or she may only show up for five minutes, or when it is their turn to ask questions. The results include guffaw-inducing scenes where even senior lawmakers enter the wrong hearing room, misidentify a witness and question the wrong person on the other side of the dais.

But out on the campaign trail, a less-than-stellar attendance record has become the political ammo in a number of Senate races, with criticism of incumbent lawmakers flying in Alaska, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado and Iowa.

This cycle, much of the fodder has come from committee attendance records, at least compared to floor votes. It might look bad back home, but consistent committee attendance defies a reality on Capitol Hill. Full story

June 30, 2014

Environmental Group Backs Republican in 2014

Environmental Group Backs Republican in 2014

Susan Collins is a Republican from Maine. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, an environmental organization, has thrown its support behind a Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is seeking re-election in 2014.

The Collins race is uncompetitive at this point in the cycle. But she is the first Republican to pick up the group’s nod this cycle. Full story

May 16, 2014

Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

King is backing Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine’s Angus King, one of two independents serving in the Senate, is endorsing two colleagues on Friday: New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Republican Susan Collins.

Collins, who lost to King in the 1994 gubernatorial race, is a solid favorite for re-election, despite the fact President Barack Obama carried Maine by double digits in both 2008 and 2012.

“I think she’s one of the Senate’s MVP’s — smart, tough, and always willing to listen,” King said in a statement shared with CQ Roll Call. “In my book, she’s a model senator and I’m delighted to support her re-election.”

Despite Collins’ advantage, the endorsement, which was first reported by the Associated Press, is nonetheless noteworthy because King caucuses with Senate Democrats. Collins is being challenged by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who released a statement Friday noting that King gave her a heads-up about his endorsement.

Full story

June 28, 2013

Tea Party Fund Targets Graham, Alexander, Collins for Immigration Votes

The leader of the Senate Conservatives Fund emailed supporters on Friday promising to back primary challenges against three Republican incumbents who voted for the Senate immigration bill that passed the chamber Thursday.

“There are three incumbents up next year who supported the amnesty bill,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote, calling out Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander or Tennessee, and Susan Collins of Maine. “If strong, conservative challengers emerge in these races, we will support them.”

Senate Conservatives Fund is a tea-party aligned group that was founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint. The South Carolina Republican is no longer with the group. Graham, a member of the bipartisan “gang of eight” that drafted the underlying immigration overhaul, indicated in a Thursday Senate floor speech that he knew his position on immigration might create primary problems for him.

“I have never been more proud to be involved in an issue than I have trying to fix illegal immigration because it is a national security threat, it is an economic threat, and it is a cultural threat,” Graham said.

“As to my politics, I am doing great among Hispanics in South Carolina. The bad news is that there are not very many who vote in the Republican primary,” he added. Full story

February 20, 2013

NRA Targets Democratic Senators Up in 2014 With Local Newspaper Ads

NRA Targets Democratic Senators Up in 2014 With Local Newspaper Ads

The National Rifle Association will target several senators up for re-election in 2014, including Pryor. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Rifle Association will launch a print advertising campaign targeting mostly Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, according to sources close to the group.

On Thursday, full-page ads are scheduled to run in local newspapers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina and West Virginia. They will be supplemented by digital advertising in these states and 10 others, including Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

Additionally, the group has scheduled full-page ads to run Feb. 25 in regional editions of USA Today, reaching parts of 15 states.

The campaign is estimated to cost north of $375,000, sources said. Full story

January 17, 2013

Maine: Collins Looks Safe, From Both Left and Right

Maine: Collins Looks Safe, From Both Left and Right

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine looks well positioned for re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a Republican in a state that’s not. She’s moderate and bipartisan in a party that’s not.

Yet it would be tough for her to be any safer, politically, as she looks toward re-election in 2014.

“She may be the strongest Republican incumbent in the country,” GOP consultant Erik Potholm, who hails from Maine, wrote in an email. “She has sky high approval numbers and has become a political rock star in Maine.”

“In the past she has easily crushed top tier Dem challengers like [former Rep.] Tom Allen and [now-Rep.] Chellie Pingree,” he added. “I doubt any credible Dems will take her on this cycle. They would be crazy to do so.”

“I think she’s fine,” said Maine political consultant Dennis Bailey, who is a registered Democrat. “I don’t see any vulnerability.”

Full story

November 28, 2012

Inside the 2014 Senate Races

Inside the 2014 Senate Races
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.

Full story

November 7, 2012

Angus King: Still Independent

Angus King: Still Independent

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The morning after winning the open-seat Senate race in Maine, Angus King (I) still wouldn’t say which party he will caucus with, though he acknowledged he will probably pick a side.

“Next week is an orientation session. I’m going to be going down, probably this weekend, to Washington and talking to the leadership” on both sides, King told MSNBC. ”My goal is to be as independent as I possibly can, but I also want to be effective.”

Speaking by telephone from Maine, the popular former governor said he received a courtesy call from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) but has not yet heard from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Reid’s quick outreach is no surprise — national Democrats largely avoided the Maine Senate seat while Republicans were actively engaged because both sides have assumed King would caucus with the Democrats. Nonetheless, King said he would speak with both parties before making a decision.

Full story

November 6, 2012

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Popular former Maine Gov. Angus King (I) tonight comfortably won the Pine Tree State’s open Senate seat, currently held by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring.

The Associated Press called the race. King beat Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill (D).

King hasn’t said with which party he will caucus, but he is widely expected to cast his vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent a not insignificant amount of money against King, lobbing potent attack ads his way. National GOP third-party groups also tried to knock King down and boost Summers.

Full story

November 4, 2012

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)

Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.

First, the Senate math:

Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.

Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story

October 30, 2012

American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS Make Gargantuan Final Senate Ad Push

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.

With control of the Senate in the balance, the deep-pocketed groups are making a concerted final push to help put GOP candidates over the line.

The ads that begin today are in the following Senate races:

Full story

October 26, 2012

Maine: NRSC Pulls Out, Outside Groups Stay In

Maine: NRSC Pulls Out, Outside Groups Stay In

It's looking more and more likely that Independent Angus King will win the Maine Senate seat. (Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With fewer than two weeks before Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has stopped running ads in Maine against front-running Independent Angus King, sources confirm.

Outside groups, including Crossroads GPS, are still engaged in the ad war in the Senate contest, however. Most operatives say the race is slipping out of reach for Republican Charlie Summers, but that’s not the only motivation for the NRSC, which also pays attention to where outside groups are committed to spending, allowing the party committee to allocate resources elsewhere.

Crossroads GPS went up with a $330,000 one-week buy against King beginning Tuesday in the only truly three-way race in the country.

Outside involvement on the part of the NRSC and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has been tricky throughout the race, given that King has not declared which party he will caucus with if elected. The NRSC decided to go up with negative ads, while the DSCC never officially endorsed Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill.

Though the NRSC pulling out of the state is not a death knell for Summer’s bid, it certainly is a sign that the group believes its money is better spent elsewhere, especially with so many close races across the country and control of the Senate up for grabs.

The news of the NRSC backing out of Maine media was first reported by Politico.

 

October 21, 2012

Maine: Negative Ads Dominate Senate Race

In Maine Senate’s race, unlike other contests across the country, most of the intrigue likely lies not in who will win, but what the winner will do once elected.

Former Gov. Angus King’s (I) lead has narrowed in recent polls and Roll Call rates the race as Leans Independent. But the flood of outside money that has been pouring into the state — and the negative ads that come along with it — could affect King’s thinking, if elected, on which party he might caucus with. King has not formally stated if he will join Democrats or the GOP if he wins the seat being vacated by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce have sunk millions combined into Maine, almost exclusively on anti-King ads. Of course, the purpose of the spots are to give GOP candidate Charlie Summers a chance at winning and have made a dent in King’s high popularity in the state. But the side effect of such a campaign is that it might make it more difficult for King to choose to caucus with Republicans and is indicative of the assumption by national Republicans that King will choose the Democrats. Full story

October 5, 2012

Maine: Americans Elect, DSCC Spending Heavily on Senate Race

Maine: Americans Elect, DSCC Spending Heavily on Senate Race

Outside groups have bought TV time in Maine to help boost former Gov. Angus King. (Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Christmas has come early for TV stations in Maine. Two outside groups have put in big money to help independent Senate candidate Angus King, the frontrunner in the race who has seen his lead slipping in recent weeks.

Americans Elect, the third-party group that tried and failed to get an independent, nonpartisan presidential candidate on the ballot this year, bought a substantial chunk of television time in support of King. Their ad began airing today and a source familiar with TV buys in the state said it was backed by about $500,000 through Oct. 25.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also reserved $1.7 million in television time from Oct. 9 through Nov. 5, the source said. That reservation is presumably to knock Republican nominee Charlie Summers, the Maine secretary of state. The DSCC first bought time in the state last month. Full story

October 1, 2012

Maine: Angus King Goes Up With Ad Attacking Charlie Summers

Independent Senate candidate Angus King has made a $105,000 ad buy in Maine painting Republican opponent Charlie Summers as too conservative for the state.

The 32-second contrast spot features King — Maine’s governor from 1995 to 2003 — looking straight into the camera and questioning whether Summers’ positions on the deficit and global warming are in line with the voters in the state, where he’s running to replace retiring moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R).

Full story

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