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April 21, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

March 31, 2014

Obama Endorses in Competitive Hawaii Senate Primary

Obama Endorses in Competitive Hawaii Senate Primary

Schatz faces a primary in August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz in Hawaii — a move that could help the appointed senator in a competitive Democratic primary in the Aloha State later this year.

“I have worked with Senator Schatz on the issues that matter to Hawaii. Brian’s deep commitment to the people of Hawaii and his effective leadership are why I believe it is important to return him to the Senate,” Obama said in a Monday news release. “Senator Schatz is protecting Hawaii’s values and fighting every day on behalf of middle-class families.” Full story

March 30, 2014

The 7 Stock Photos in Mike Rounds’ South Dakota Ad — Including One From Paris

The 7 Stock Photos in Mike Rounds South Dakota Ad — Including One From Paris

A screengrab from the Rounds ad, which featured stock photos.

Updated 6:00 p.m. | In a 60-second, introductory Senate campaign ad released last week, former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds touts his state’s economy and quality of life — but it’s unclear if any of the people featured in the Republican’s ad are actually from the Mount Rushmore State.

“We’ve done it right around here, and Washington can learn a lot from the people of South Dakota,” Rounds says in the spot.

But each of the photos in the ad are available for purchase on stock photo sites like Getty and Shutterstock. That includes, in order of appearance, the roofer, the father and son fishing, the three people at the meeting, the playful family, the guy checking the boxes, the woman at the meeting, and the father and son washing their car.

At least one was definitely not photographed in South Dakota. The “woman at the meeting” photo was taken at the Getty Images office in Paris, the England-based photographer who shot it confirmed in an email to CQ-Roll Call.

Full story

March 28, 2014

Democratic Super PAC Targets Michigan, Arkansas Senate Races

Senate Majority PAC, a outside group committed to electing Democrats to the Senate, released two new ads on Friday targeting races in Arkansas and Michigan. The spots are part of a multi-state campaign to counter massive advertisement spending from Americans for Prosperity, a group supported by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The spots argue that GOP Senate candidates, Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, advance corporate interests over the economic well-being of two different demographic groups.

In Arkansas, the super PAC is targeting senior voters to boost vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s chances of keeping his seat. The Senate Race in Arkansas is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

“Corporate special interests are spending millions to smear Mark Pryor and elect Tom Cotton,” the narrator said. The ad goes on to accuse Cotton of wanting to give “billions in profits to insurance companies while costing seniors $6,000 more a year.”

Full story

Bruce Braley’s Farmer Insult Hits Airwaves in New TV Ad

Energy Executive Mark Jacobs, an emerging candidate in a crowded GOP field for Iowa’s open Senate seat, debuted a new ad Friday attacking the de facto Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, for recent comments he made about Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Charles E. Grassley.

The 30-second spot features Braley’s comments, which were taped at a fundraiser earlier this year in Texas. At that event, Braley said if Republicans win the Senate, “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law,” would take the gavel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The ad will air on cable in eastern Iowa, according to Jacobs’ campaign.

Full story

March 27, 2014

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses in Oklahoma Senate Race

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses in Oklahoma Senate Race

Lankford is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, one of a handful of Republicans running in Oklahoma’s open-seat Senate race, received the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund Thursday, a group that spends heavily to boost tea-party-aligned candidates into office.

“T.W. Shannon is a constitutional conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending and debt that are bankrupting our country,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a news release. “We’re supporting T.W. Shannon because he’s a principled conservative, he has strong grassroots support in Oklahoma, and he can win if Americans come together to support his campaign.”

Shannon will face off with GOP Rep. James Lankford and handful of other Oklahoma Republicans in a special-election primary on June 24. The seat is open because GOP Sen. Tom Coburn will resign at the end of the 113th Congress.

Conservative groups had initially sought to recruit Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., to face off against Lankford in the contest. However when Bridenstine declined to run, it was unclear whether groups such as the SCF and Club for Growth would play in the Sooner State Senate contest.

The Republican who wins the primary will likely be the next senator from Oklahoma, as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the state with 67 percent in 2012. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote in the June 24 primary, the top two contenders head to a runoff on Aug. 26.

Oklahoma’s Senate race is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Gary Peters Debuts Bio Spot During Sweet 16 Games

Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., locked in an increasingly competitive race for Senate, will debut his first television spot this week during two Wolverine State college basketball games.

Peters’ first spot will air Friday as fans settle in to watch the games featuring Michigan State University and the University of Michigan — two teams that have made it to the Sweet 16 round of the March Madness college tournament. (The Spartans play No. 1 ranked Virginia, while the Wolverines face off against surprise challenger Tennessee.)

Peters will most likely face former Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land this November. Public polling shows the race for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat to be close, but Peters has held a lead of a few digits.

The Democrat’s campaign will air two spots — a 30-second ad and a 60-second version — over a seven-week period as part of a seven-figure buy, according to the Peters campaign. Full story

March 26, 2014

Braley’s Opponent? Two Seem Most Likely From Crowded Field

Braleys Opponent? Two Seem Most Likely From Crowded Field

Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Rep. Bruce Braley doesn't know yet which Republican candidate he'll be facing in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Residing outside of the competitive Senate landscape’s top tier most of this election cycle, Iowa Republicans believe they are finally gaining some momentum for the state’s open seat, particularly by avoiding a nominating convention.

The release Tuesday of a video taken of Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s remarks at a Texas fundraiser was just the cherry on top of an already renewed sense of optimism among Republicans that the party will put up a competitive nominee. Several things still need to go the GOP’s way for success in November, but Republican insiders in the state see positive signs.

Along with President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in the Hawkeye State falling to 36 percent in a Des Moines Register poll taken last month, the crowded and unproven Republican primary field is beginning to shake out, and the party’s chances of nominating a candidate in the primary — and dodging a potentially debilitating convention — are improving.

“I think the notion of a convention choosing our Senate nominee gets more remote by the day,” said one veteran Iowa Republican operative without ties to any of the campaigns. Full story

March 25, 2014

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for ‘Farmer’ Slight

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for Farmer Slight

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, apologized for his critical comments of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, that were posted online Tuesday by a Republican research group.

Speaking at a fundraiser, Braley, who is running for the Hawkeye State’s open Senate seat, said the Senate could end up with “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” before identifying that person as Grassley.

“I apologize to Senator Grassley and anyone I may have offended,” Braley said in a statement released a couple of hours after the video posted. “I respect Senator Grassley and enjoy our working relationship even though we disagree on some issues.”

The Des Moines Register reported that the video was taken by a donor at a Jan. 23 fundraiser in Corpus Christi, Texas, before being released Tuesday by America Rising. Braley also told the assembled donors — presumably lawyers — that he is “someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way.”

A Grassley spokesperson responded in a statement pointing to Grassley’s years of service and accomplishments on the committee. Full story

The Many Reasons Mark Kirk Won’t Stump for Oberweis

The Many Reasons Mark Kirk Wont Stump for Oberweis

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk’s decision not to campaign this year against his in-state Democratic colleague should come as no surprise.

While Kirk has said he will support the Republican ticket in November and has committed to actively assisting the party’s gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Republican told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet that he won’t be stumping for Republican Senate nominee Jim Oberweis.

Kirk said he wants to protect his working relationship with Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin by “not launching into a partisan jihad.” But there are other equally compelling reasons not to hit the campaign trail against Durbin. Full story

Candidate Touts ‘Castrating Hogs’ Experience in TV Ad

Talk about cutting through the clutter — or at least cutting through something.

State Sen. Joni Ernst, one of five Republicans seeking Iowa’s open Senate seat, boasted her experience “castrating hogs”  will help her “cut pork” in Washington, D.C.

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I come to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” Ernst says in the 30-second spot released Tuesday. “Washington’s full of big spenders, let’s make ‘em squeal.”

Full story

March 24, 2014

Brian Schatz Launches First TV Ad in Hawaii Senate Primary

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz launched his first TV ad Monday in the state’s highly competitive Democratic primary for Senate.

The ad, running statewide on broadcast and cable stations, features Schatz’s family, including his wife Linda’s parents, and highlights the senator’s efforts on Social Security.

Full story

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Brown has formed an exploratory committee to run for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown has been touring New Hampshire relentlessly since announcing earlier this month he is moving toward a challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen — and his operation is now beginning to take shape.

A Republican source close to Brown said he will likely begin announcing full-time staff for his exploratory committee next week, with Andy Leach remaining senior adviser. A team of allies has helped Brown get a campaign off the ground, including Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Brown and Mitt Romney adviser who toured with Brown over the weekend.

Less than two weeks since entering the race, Brown is still ingratiating himself with the state he’s lived in since December. He’s fighting to prove his Granite State bonafides with an electorate largely aware of his representation of the Bay State in the Senate.

“Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state,” Brown told AP reporter Steve Peoples. Full story

March 21, 2014

Obama Warns Donors of Turnout Problems in Midterm Elections

Obama Warns Donors of Turnout Problems in Midterm Elections

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama warned Democratic donors Thursday night about dipping turnout in midterm elections, stressing the party’s need to push women and minorities to vote in the high-stakes congressional elections this November.

At a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Miami, Obama stressed the party gets “clobbered” without these key constituencies, according to a pool report of his remarks.

“During presidential elections, young people vote, women are more likely to vote, blacks, Hispanics more likely to vote. And suddenly a more representative cross-section of America gets out there and we do pretty well in presidential elections,” said Obama. “But in midterms we get clobbered – either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.”

Full story

March 20, 2014

Mark Begich Debuts TV Ad Starring Late Father in Alaska

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is launching a 60-second biographical TV ad on Thursday, highlighting his long ties to the state as Republicans attempt to tether him to Washington in his re-election race.

The first-term Democrat faces a highly competitive campaign that’s already seen attack ads fired from both sides. The new spot, his second one so far, was designed to cut through the negative ad barrage and emphasize Begich’s work for Alaska interests.

Full story

March 18, 2014

Outside Group’s Poll Shows Tightening Oklahoma Senate Primary

The special-election primary to replace resigning Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is tightening after an advertising blitz benefiting Republican state Speaker T.W. Shannon.

A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, an outside group backing Shannon, found the state speaker cutting into the early GOP primary lead of Rep. James Lankford. Lankford, who is the favorite to fill the remaining two years of Coburn’s term, led with 37 percent, followed by Shannon with 28 percent and former state Sen. Randy Brogdon with 7 percent.

A half dozen candidates are running to replace Coburn, a favorite among conservatives, who is stepping down at the end of the year. The special is following the state’s regular election schedule: If no candidate receives a majority of support in the June 24 primary, the top two finishers will face off in an Aug. 26 runoff and the winner will move on to November. Full story

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