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October 23, 2014

Posts in "N.C. Senate"

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

September 24, 2014

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Bush campaigned for Tillis in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday getting the country back on track requires Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s ouster from the top spot “at minimum.”

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Speaking at a warehouse event for Thom Tillis, the GOP’s nominee for Senate, Bush pinned the country’s hopes for an economic recovery on Republicans taking control of the Senate.

“Most of the big things that need to be fixed are in Washington, D.C., and if we get them right — which will require Harry Reid’s departure from the Senate, or, at minimum, being minority leader — people’s fears about the future will be lifted, their belief in their children’s opportunities will come back naturally,” Bush said.

Tillis is challenging Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races. Republicans need to gain six seats in November to take control of the Senate, and North Carolina, a state that typically favors the GOP, is seen as a prime pick-up opportunity.

Full story

September 18, 2014

African-American Voters Targeted in New North Carolina Ad (Video)

African American Voters Targeted in New North Carolina Ad (Video)

Hagan is a Democrat from North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kay Hagan’s campaign and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are launching a coordinated radio buy Thursday targeting African-American voters.

The ad continues the barrage of Democratic attacks on Republican Thom Tillis for cuts made to the education budget by the Legislature, where he is speaker. It also takes a swipe at Republicans for passing a law requiring identification to allow people to vote, something Democrats argue suppresses minority voters.

The one minute-long ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features a conversation between two women. Full story

September 15, 2014

Kay Hagan Holds Small Lead in New Poll

Kay Hagan Holds Small Lead in New Poll

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

A new poll showed Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, holding a small lead over Republican Thom Tillis in the contested North Carolina Senate race.

The Elon University poll found Hagan ahead of Tillis, 44 percent to 40 percent, among likely voters. The margin of error for the poll is 3.91 points.

Republicans must pick up a net of six seats to gain control of the Senate, and the Tar Heel Senate race is one of their top targets in the midterms. Hagan has held a narrow edge in most polls over the past two months.

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat seeking re-election this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

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