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September 17, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

September 9, 2014

4 Things to Watch in the Final Primaries of 2014

4 Things to Watch in the Final Primaries of 2014

Garcia is running the GOP primary in the 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The final primary night of the midterms takes place Tuesday, with consequential contests across New England and Delaware.

In New Hampshire, former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., faces a crowded GOP primary filled with hopes of challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November. Down the ballot in the Granite State, GOP primaries in House races will determine nominees in two key contests.

Across the border in Massachusetts, Rep. John F. Tierney faces the toughest primary of his 18-year congressional career. He could be the fourth incumbent to lose re-election in a primary in 2014 — and perhaps the only Democrat (to see which members lost their primaries this cycle, check out Roll Call’s Casualty List).

There are also primaries in Delaware and Rhode Island, although neither state features competitive congressional races.

Polls close in all four states at 8 p.m. You can follow live result updates on Roll Call’s “At the Races” politics blog.

Here’s what to watch:

Full story

September 8, 2014

GOP Chicken Charges Dropped in New Hampshire

GOP Chicken Charges Dropped in New Hampshire

Shaheen is seeking re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

New Hampshire’s most famous Republican chicken is free.

Charges have been dropped against 23-year old Michael Zona, the Granite State’s Republican party said Monday. Zona was arrested for disorderly conduct at a parade in Londonderry, N.H., after allegedly harassing two prominent state Democrats, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

In November, Shaheen will likely face former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., who is expected to win his Tuesday primary.

Republicans have used the chicken to criticize Shaheen for not holding open town hall meetings. But the arrest of the young man in the chicken costume served as a leading — and the most entertaining — local news story during a Roll Call on the Road visit to New Hampshire in August.

Full story

Democrat Leads in New Iowa Senate Race Poll

Democrat Leads in New Iowa Senate Race Poll

Braley is an Iowa Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll shows Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat, has opened up a lead over his Republican opponent Joni Ernst in the battle for Iowa’s open Senate seat.

The Loras College poll of likely voters found Braley at 45.3 percent and Ernst at 40.5 percent. Just over 14 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The race for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat is one of the most hotly contested in the country, and the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates it as a Tossup. Senate Republicans must pick up a net of six seats this November to win control of that chamber, and Iowa plays a prominent part in the GOP’s math to accomplish that.

Full story

How Major League Baseball Could Determine Control of Congress (Updated)

How Major League Baseball Could Determine Control of Congress (Updated)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, left, speaks with Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper at Nationals Park. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Sept. 9, 1:14 p.m. | For most of the country, this October’s television airwaves are filled with two things: baseball and politics — and the two rarely mix.

But the mid-autumn climax of Major League Baseball could impact the Senate playing field in key states where teams are primed to make the playoffs. Televised sports make for a desirable market for political advertisers because viewers are more likely to watch live and are less likely to fast-forward through commercials.

What’s more, the target audience watching these sports — mostly white and male —  comprise one of the most reliable voting blocs in a midterm. For Republicans, baseball viewing marks an opportunity to motivate their base. Democrats gear their in-game ads toward improving their numbers with this demographic.

From interviews with media buyers and political operatives, it’s clear there are several markets with top baseball teams and competitive congressional races that could collide between the playoffs in early October and Election Day.

Of course, things can change before then: Teams, just like campaigns, can flop. But based on MLB standings as of Tuesday, here are the prime markets to play ball and politics.  Full story

September 6, 2014

In First Debate, Pat Roberts Attacks Harry Reid

In First Debate, Pat Roberts Attacks Harry Reid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is in for a tough battle this fall. But in the Republican’s first public appearance with the candidate that has put his re-election in jeopardy, Roberts made clear he’s not only running against independent Greg Orman — he’s running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Roberts and Orman faced off in a debate at the Kansas State Fair Saturday, just three days after Democratic nominee Chad Taylor tried to drop out of the race, opening the door for Orman to have a real shot at ousting the senator.

Roberts, who had not seemed to be taking the campaign particularly seriously, turned it on Saturday and came out swinging. He cast Orman, who has not yet said which party he would caucus with if elected, as a vote for Reid as Senate Majority Leader.

“I am the only candidate on this stage that will vote to put Harry Reid out to pasture,” Roberts said. “My opponent wants you to believe he’s an independent. He is not. He is a liberal Democrat by philosophy. He has given thousands of dollars to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and, listen to this, listen to this, Harry Reid. Now Kansans know better.”

Roberts stuck to that message through the whole debate, bringing every single question back to Reid. So much so that Orman cracked, “It’s shocking that we didn’t hear the name Harry Reid in that,” when Roberts chose to mention Obama, instead, in an answer about the 2nd Amendment.

Full story

September 4, 2014

Election Official: Democrat Must Stay in Kansas Senate Race (Updated)

Election Official: Democrat Must Stay in Kansas Senate Race (Updated)

Roberts is a Kansas Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:03 p.m. | A top state election official announced Thursday that Chad Taylor, the Democratic nominee in the Kansas Senate race who dropped out of the race Wednesday, must appear on the November ballot.

Taylor’s exit could drastically change Sen. Pat Roberts’ re-election prospects, paving the way for independent Greg Orman to galvanize the state’s political center and left. In short, without a Democrat on the ballot, Roberts is the GOP’s most vulnerable senator this cycle.

But Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who backs Roberts, said at a Thursday news conference that Taylor did not provide evidence that he was incapable of “performing the duties of office” if he were elected, per state election rules. Full story

September 3, 2014

It’s a Race in Kansas: Democratic Candidate Drops Out

Its a Race in Kansas: Democratic Candidate Drops Out

Roberts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 8:36 a.m. | Sen. Pat Roberts’ Democratic challenger abruptly dropped out of the race in Kansas Wednesday night, opening up a potentially competitive contest between the Republican and independent candidate Greg Orman.

Chad Taylor, a county district attorney, asked for the Secretary of State to remove his name from the ballot and described his campaign as “terminated,” according to The Wichita Eagle. He told the Eagle he had deliberated and had talked with Democratic Party leadership at all levels.

The move dramatically shifts the dynamic of the Senate race. Kansas is a Republican leaning state, but polls have shown extremely tepid support for Roberts. The senator defeated a weak and underfunded tea party primary challenger last month by a mere seven percent, and Roberts got only 48 percent of the vote. Roberts also suffered from reports that he did not own a residence in Kansas, but rather lived in Washington, D.C., where he has worked for the past several decades as a congressional staffer, then a congressman, and now a senator.

Full story

Monica Wehby Launches Statewide TV Ad (Video)

Monica Wehby Launches Statewide TV Ad (Video)

Wehby is challenging Merkley. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oregon Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby is launching a statewide TV ad on Wednesday highlighting her support for small-business friendly policies.

“As a doctor I was taught to do no harm,” Wehby says direct-to-camera in the ad, which was provided first to CQ Roll Call. “But day after day, I see policies coming from Washington that are hurting Oregon’s small businesses and costing us jobs.”

Wehby is challenging Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in a race national Republicans are optimistic about in a favorable national climate. But it remains an uphill climb in the Democratic-leaning state. Full story

GOP Responds to Mark Pryor’s Health Care Ad

GOP Responds to Mark Pryors Health Care Ad

Pryor is targeted on health care in a new GOP ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Any questions about whether the Affordable Care Act would still play a central role in Republican messaging against Democratic incumbents this cycle have been answered — at least in Arkansas.

Crossroads GPS, the non-profit arm of GOP-aligned American Crossroads, is kicking off a post-Labor Day, two-month, $2.5 million media campaign in the Razorback State with an ad targeting Sen. Mark Pryor on his support for the president’s health care law.

Pryor is being challenged by Rep. Tom Cotton in a top pickup opportunity for Republicans.

The incumbent released an ad two weeks ago that got plenty of media buzz as he touted a couple benefits of the law. But he didn’t refer to the legislation by name, so this latest GOP ad aims to fill in that gap. Full story

September 1, 2014

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Roll Call ranks Landrieu as the most vulnerable senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is a new chart-topper in Roll Call’s latest monthly ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators.

Montana’s appointed Sen. John Walsh was by far the most endangered incumbent in the chamber at the time of the previous installment in early August, but his decision last month to not seek a full term opened the top slot to a couple other worthy contenders.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is still in a perilous political position, but Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu has leapfrogged him on the list to become the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbent. Full story

August 29, 2014

Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager Resigns

Mitch McConnells Campaign Manager Resigns

McConnell is the Senate Minority Leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jesse Benton, who had worked as the campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, said Friday he would resign.

The veteran operative with close ties to the Paul family released a lengthy statement making the announcement. The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported Benton’s resignation, which is effective Saturday.

The move comes just two days after a former Iowa state senator admitted to accepting $73,000 in concealed payments from former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In exchange for the money, that individual, Kent Sorenson, switched endorsements from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to Paul, a Texas Republican.

Full story

August 28, 2014

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Thom Tillis Rebuts Democratic Attacks in New Ad

Hagan is tied to the president in a new GOP ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is going up with a new ad Tuesday to combat Democratic ads attacking him for cuts to education.

The state House speaker faces Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in one of the most competitive races and likely the most expensive. The ad is the first of a $1.4 million coordinated buy with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Democrats have reserved $9.1 million in air time through the election. The party’s first two ads focused on cuts to education made by the legislature under Tillis’ leadership.

Tillis rebuts those claims in the new ad, in which he illustrates on a classroom whiteboard how often Hagan votes with President Barack Obama. Full story

National Democrats Hit Tom Cotton on Social Security

National Democrats Hit Tom Cotton on Social Security

The DSCC is helping Pryor with another ad in Arkansas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a new TV ad in Arkansas Thursday that continues a theme of portraying Republican Rep. Tom Cotton as someone voters can’t trust.

The DSCC’s latest spot is part of a total $3.6 million investment to support Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, whose brand has helped make him competitive for re-election in this Republican-leaning state and in a challenging national environment for his party.

The ad targets the freshman congressman on Social Security. It features Brett Smith of Helena, Ark., vocalizing his concern for his retirement.

“I can see my retirement from here, but every time I see Tom Cotton I feel it slipping away,” Smith says in the ad. Full story

August 26, 2014

Penultimate Primary Night: Live Coverage of Congressional Races

The penultimate primary night of the 2014 midterm elections season is upon us Tuesday as the Roll Call Politics Team tracks results in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida.

Starting at 7 p.m., follow along below for live results and analysis from congressional races.

Live Blog Live Coverage: Primaries in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida
 

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Ayotte speaks at a town hall rally last week for Brown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte stars in the latest ad from Republican Scott P. Brown, her former Senate colleague from Massachusetts who is trying to oust Granite State Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Ayotte, who introduced Brown and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., last week, speaks directly to the camera in the positive spot. Full story

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