Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus raised $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will kick off his re-election bid with $3.6 million in the bank, according to a copy of his fundraising report obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The Senate Finance Committee chairman raised $610,000 during the final three months of last year. His year-end report, which will be filed on the Jan. 31 deadline, showed he spent $121,500 during the same period.
Baucus’ big number comes as welcome news for Democrats, who face a difficult map in 2014. The six-term senator represents one of seven seats up this cycle in a state that the president lost.
Former Rep. Denny Rehberg (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Former Rep. Denny Rehberg told the Billings Gazette last week that he will not run for office again.
After six terms in the House, the Montana Republican lost his challenge to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in November. It was Rehberg’s second Senate defeat, after challenging Democratic Sen. Max Baucus in 1996.
“I made the determination before [the 2012 race] that it would be up or out,” Rehberg said in an interview with the newspaper. “As it turned out, it was out.”
Baucus is up for re-election again this cycle and is definitely running. Tester survived by 4 points in the 2012 election, despite a 13-point victory in the state by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
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.
Updated 11:23 a.m. | The Associated Press this morning declared Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) the winner of his re-election race against Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).
The win means Democrats are guaranteed to have a larger majority in the Senate next year, with at least 54 seats. The open-seat race in North Dakota has still not been called, but Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is currently leading by nearly 3,000 votes over Republican Rep. Rick Berg. If Heitkamp wins, Democrats would have their majority expanded by two seats.
“Jon Tester knows his state like the back of his hand, and he is exactly the type of quality leader we need in the US Senate,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “Montanans saw right through the millions in attack ads from Karl Rove and others.”
With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Tester led Rehberg by about 18,000 votes. Montanans also had a third choice in the race. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox took more than 6 percent of the vote, much of that likely from voters who otherwise would have supported Rehberg.
“Senator Tester and I share an abiding love for Montana and America, a value which transcends political party or disagreements on matters of policy,” Rehberg said in a statement. “I congratulate Jon on his victory in this hard-fought campaign.”
Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) led by 4 points in his bid for re-election with two-thirds of precincts fully reporting early Wednesday morning, but enough votes remained outstanding that the race was too close to call.
Tester led with 49 percent, while his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, had 45 percent. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox appeared to be giving Tester a significant boost by taking more than 6 percent of the vote. Full story
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.
Sen. Jon Tester (above) is in a tossup race with Rep. Denny Rehberg. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Montana Senate race is expected to be among the closest in the country, and both parties are looking for any edge possible.
Democrats hope to gain some traction with the release of an investigative report into the 2009 boat crash that injured Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), who is now challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D).
A district judge on Wednesday issued an order for the records to be released as early as today, as soon as the court’s clerk redacts the personal information of others involved in the crash. Former state Sen. Greg Barkus was convicted of criminal endangerment for driving the boat after a night of drinking, which ended with a crash on the shores of Flathead Lake that left all five on board injured. Full story
Another day, another bunch of negative ads. Here is what cut through the clutter today.
This ad from a group called “America Shining” uses old B-movie footage against Rep. Ed Royce (R) and in support of Navy veteran Jay Chen (D). It may look like it was made by a film student, but it’ll catch your eye. We were unable to track down contact info for the group behind the ad. But the latest Federal Election Commission postings show that the organization has purchased about $5,000 of television time. This Orange County district is solid GOP territory, and as part of the Los Angeles media market, it’s expensive to advertise in.
Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) new TV ad, running statewide behind a $125,000 buy, features a retired firefighter disparaging Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) for suing the city of Billings over a fire on his property. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hit Rehberg on the same topic in its own ad released today.
Sen. Jon Tester’s longtime family friend happens to be Jeff Ament, bassist for Pearl Jam, who played their lone nonfestival show of the year Sunday in Missoula to benefit the Democrat’s re-election campaign.
According to the Missoulian newspaper, Tester and Ament rallied hundreds on the University of Montana campus in the afternoon before attending a pre-show fundraising reception. The band also performed on Tester’s behalf in 2005 during his successful challenge to Republican incumbent Conrad Burns.
The Tester campaign released a picture of the Senator with the band and a succinct statement from the Senator: “Rock on. And go vote.”
The Pearl Jam show came two days after GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg’s campaign released a blistering television ad against Tester. The ad paints a picture of Tester not living up to the promises he made during the 2006 campaign, specifically tying Tester to forthcoming environmental regulations that forced the mothballing of a coal-fired power plant in Billings.
Meanwhile, the League of Conservation Voters on Friday released a Global Strategy Group poll that found Tester ahead with 44 percent, Rehberg with 42 percent and Libertarian Dan Cox with 7 percent. The poll was conducted Sept. 23-25 of 606 likely voters with a 4-point margin of error.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The juggernaut GOP-affiliated group Crossroads GPS began airing a new ad here in Florida today knocking two-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D) for his vote in favor of Obama’s signature health care law.
“Florida seniors are facing a health care crisis: only 14 physicians to every 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries,” a female narrator says. “But in Washington, Bill Nelson’s been voting for the new health care law, which cuts Medicare spending by $700 billion; puts unelected bureaucrats between Florida’s 3 million Medicare recipients and the care they need, hurting Florida seniors.”
“Tell Senator Nelson, it’s time to repeal,” she says.
The ad is backed by a $2.4 million buy on broadcast and cable TV in Florida. It’s part of the group’s wider push of spots, launched today against Democratic Senate candidates, that also includes ads in Montana, New Mexico and Ohio.
See the Montana ad, hitting Sen. Jon Tester (D) here:
See the New Mexico ad, dinging Rep. Martin Heinrich, the Democratic nominee for Senate, here:
See the Ohio ad knocking Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) here:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today launched its second TV ad in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) is fending off a challenge from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in what is expected to be one of the closest races in the country. Full story
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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hit the airwaves in Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin with television ads targeting Democratic Senate candidates.
The chamber is also targeting independent Senate candidate former Gov. Angus King in Maine. The ads criticize the candidates on a range of issues, including support for the Affordable Care Act, proposals to increase taxes and votes on energy issues.
“With so much at stake in this election, the Chamber will continue to execute the largest voter education campaign in our history,” chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “We will support candidates who will fight for free enterprise and oppose those who consistently support more government and stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”
Independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that the chamber spent more than $5.3 million on ad buys and production costs for the series of spots. The group typically spends heavily to defeat Democratic candidates.
The chamber vowed to continue its efforts into the coming months in a press release. Full story
The Senate campaign of Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) is running another ad responding to a spot launched a couple of weeks ago by Sen. Jon Tester (D) that charged the Congressman with voting against cancer funding.
“Newspapers across Montana say Jon Tester’s attack on Denny Rehberg is not true,” the ad’s announcer says.
This is Rehberg’s second ad in two weeks since Tester launched an ad on July 11 that featured a cancer survivor and charged that Rehberg supported a 2011 appropriations bill that reduced funding for breast cancer screenings. Rehberg responded last week with an ad featuring his mother, a cancer survivor.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart by $3.5 million in June, according to statements from the committees.
The DSCC raised $8 million last month, ending June with $31.4 million in cash on hand. The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $4.5 million and had $24.3 million in cash on hand. The committees’ monthly reports were due to the Federal Election Commission today. Full story