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October 31, 2014

Posts in "N.C. Senate"

October 30, 2014

North Carolina Campaigns Prepare for Potential Recount

North Carolina Campaigns Prepare for Potential Recount

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The competitive North Carolina Senate race will cost more than $100 million by Election Day, and that price tag could climb further as both parties prepare to spend even more if the race becomes too close to call.

The campaigns for both Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis confirmed to CQ Roll Call they are making preparations in case of a recount in one of the country’s most competitive races. Recent polls show a tied race, and this week the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call moved the race to Tossup this week from Tilts Democratic.

“It’d be kind of silly for us not to [prepare],” said Todd Poole, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Full story

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What’s more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.

Joni Ernst, the Republican running for the open seat in Iowa, has had almost every presidential hopeful campaign for her.

Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee in North Carolina, has had visits from even more of them. North Carolina’s legislature voted last year to move the primary to the Tuesday after South Carolina’s contest, placing it in the early group of presidential primary states.

Check out the chart for a full look at who appeared where:
Full story

October 28, 2014

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with a new ad Tuesday attacking Republican Thom Tillis on education.

Polls show a tied race between Tillis and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. Republicans need to gain six seats to take control of the Senate, and the party has targeted the Tar Heel State as one of them.

The DSCC’s ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, echoes arguments Hagan and Democrats have made throughout the campaign. It attacks Tillis for his tenure as speaker of the state House, during which time he was responsible for the budget for public education in the state.

Full story

October 24, 2014

Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

(Screenshot)

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.

Full story

October 20, 2014

New DSCC Ad Hits Thom Tillis on Women’s Health

New DSCC Ad Hits Thom Tillis on Womens Health

Kay Hagan is up for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new ad in North Carolina attacking Republican Thom Tillis on women’s health issues.

Tillis faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. The race had been trending narrowly in Hagan’s favor, but last week the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced the party would invest an additional $6 million for the final few weeks. Republicans need to gain six seats to take control of the Senate, and they want this to be one of them.

The new ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, slams Tillis for acting to “defund Planned Parenthood,” and for previously saying that businesses should be able to deny coverage of contraceptives to their employees. Full story

October 15, 2014

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

The winner of the race between Roberts, left, and Orman, right, will play a major role in deciding the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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 13, 2014

North Carolina: The GOP’s Expensive Gamble

North Carolina: The GOPs Expensive Gamble

Tillis is the GOP's nominee in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has plans to pour another $6 million into the North Carolina race — already the most expensive this cycle, and a contest that hasn’t shaped up the way the GOP had hoped.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate, and a year ago, that math almost always included a victory in the Tar Heel State by defeating Sen. Kay Hagan. But less than a month before Election Day, the North Carolina race still eludes the GOP’s grasp — and has put a massive dent in the party’s wallet.

On Monday, the NRSC confirmed to CQ Roll Call it had reserved another $6 million in television ad time in the state to help Tillis. Until now, the party had not reserved airtime for the final two weeks of the race, even as the NRSC announced increased investments in other states, signaling it was still weighing whether to send in the cavalry.

Full story

October 9, 2014

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

The 5 Big Questions on Senate Race Spending

Republicans are closely keeping tabs on Tillis, right, and the North Carolina Senate race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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 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

October 7, 2014

New Crossroads Ad Uses Hagan’s Own Words Against Her

New Crossroads Ad Uses Hagans Own Words Against Her

Hagan, above, faces Tillis on Nov. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Crossroads GPS will air a new ad Wednesday, turning an attack Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., used in her 2008 election campaign against her.

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, uses footage of Hagan attacking now-former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

“Voting 92 percent of the time with the president, whether you support him or not, doesn’t work here in North Carolina,” Hagan says in the old footage.

“So Sen. Hagan, why do you vote with Obama 95 percent of the time?” asks a male narrator. Full story

October 3, 2014

Tillis Ad Hits Hagan on ‘President’s Weakness’ on ISIS

Tillis Ad Hits Hagan on Presidents Weakness on ISIS

Tillis is using Obama's ISIS strategy to go after Hagan in the North Carolina Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Thom Tillis is up with a new ad Friday that ties Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan to “the president’s weakness” on national security and the Islamic State, also called ISIS.

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features Nancy Anderson, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and Air Force reserve nurse. Her husband is a retired Air Force major and her two sons serve in the Marines.

“Going to war is hard, but not as hard as sending your kids off to war,” Anderson says, speaking direct to camera in front of a black background as somber music plays.

Full story

October 1, 2014

Hagan Attacks Tillis on Education — Again

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., is up with a new ad hitting her Republican opponent Thom Tillis on education.

“Speaker Thom Tillis cut $500 million from our schools, increasing class sizes, leaving students without textbooks,” a male narrator says in the ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call. “And Tillis opposed a bill to make college loans more affordable.”

Full story

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

DSCC Ad Ties Thom Tillis to Ryan Budget

DSCC Ad Ties Thom Tillis to Ryan Budget

Tillis, right, at an event Wednesday with ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new TV ad Friday in North Carolina that attacks Republican Thom Tillis on Medicare and continues to push the theme that he cares more about the wealthy.

The spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, ties the state House speaker to Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, which would have cut spending on Medicare and used a voucher-like system. Tillis expressed support for certain aspects of the Wisconsin Republican’s plan.

In the ad, an older woman named Marie Grauerholz, says that would be a problem for her.

“I’m not a millionaire and I don’t own a private jet,” she says. “I depend on Medicare. I think the fact that Thom Tillis wants to cut Medicare just shows that he doesn’t know what people in North Carolina are like and what the average person needs.” Full story

September 25, 2014

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate Race

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate Race

Hagan speaks with Victor Crosby, 95, on Wednesday during an event with volunteers and supporters at a campaign office in Statesville, N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

STATESVILLE, N.C. — The biggest issue in the North Carolina Senate race? It’s not health care, Syrian airstrikes or even the economy.

It’s education.

The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate RaceOften relegated to state and local elections, education has taken a leading role in the race between Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and her GOP opponent, state Speaker Thom Tillis. And in a state steeped in a rich tradition of public schooling, the focus on education is mostly working in Hagan’s favor in this high-stakes race.

At her field office Wednesday evening, Hagan readily brings it up to supporters.

“In the state house, [Tillis] did the tax cuts, then he cut, cut, cut. What did he cut? He cut a half a billion dollars from our education system,” Hagan said. “You know in North Carolina, education has always been a sacred bipartisan priority.” Full story

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