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Posts in "Senate 2014"
August 14, 2014
Updated: 8:18 p.m. | A state judge denied Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s request to postpone voting in Hawaii’s Democratic Senate primary, where voters in a couple precincts are scheduled to cast ballots Friday.
Hanabusa filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking that special extended voting hours in two precincts on the Big Island be pushed back further. The make-up date was scheduled by the state Office of Elections after a hurricane shut down the precincts’ polling places Aug. 9, when the rest of the state voted.
Currently the primary race is too close to call, with Hanabusa trailing Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes. The remaining precincts will decide the outcome.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold a retreat in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, this weekend with donors to boost two Democratic Senate campaigns: Rep. Gary Peters’ bid in Michigan and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election in Minnesota.
According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Lake Tahoe Retreat runs from Aug. 15 through 17 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village. The required contribution to attend is $10,000 with checks made payable to Searchlight Lake Tahoe Victory Fund, Reid’s joint fundraising committee. Full story
August 13, 2014
With the Democratic Senate primary in Hawaii too close to call and several thousand votes on the line, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, has sued the state’s Office of Elections to postpone Friday’s special election date.
Hanabusa currently trails Sen. Brian Schatz, also a Democrat, by 1,635 votes.
Hanabusa filed the lawsuit with the third circuit court Wednesday, roughly 36 hours before the Friday special election. The two precincts include an estimated 8,000 voters. Full story
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., — Back in their home states for the August recess, the Senate’s two top Democrats said Wednesday they are optimistic about the prospects of maintaining control of the chamber in November.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a union audience in Nevada that he believed Democrats would keep the Senate if the elections were held today, while also pushing steelworkers to work to get out the vote. And in Springfield, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin spoke to a gaggle of reporters outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and other statewide elected officials spoke to mark Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair.
The Senate leaders discussed the state of play with each other as recently as Tuesday, Durbin said.
Democrats face a challenging map and are likely to lose at least three open seats, but they are optimistic about their most-endangered incumbents and not allowing Republicans to pick up an additional three.
“Right now we have 55 seats. We lose six and we lose the majority,” Durbin said. “There are two or three that are tough, tough states, but the rest of them we feel pretty good about.” Full story
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a hard-hitting ad Wednesday against the Republican challenger to Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., the first spot of a $9.1 million investment in the state through Election Day.
The spot attacks state Speaker Thom Tillis on education, saying the budget passed by the state Legislature last year had negative impacts. Hagan has leveled similar attacks against Tillis, tying him to laws that emerged from last year’s legislative session.
“House speaker Thom Tillis drew a bull’s-eye on public schools, cutting nearly $500 million,” a female narrator says. At the same time, the narrator says, he gave “tax breaks to yacht and jet owners.” Full story
DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.
But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.
Since the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.
On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story
August 12, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa – Joni Ernst is a hugger.
At the Iowa State Fair, the GOP’s nominee to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is hugging people she knows, people she’s meeting for the first time, and people who are excited to see her. On Friday, Ernst stops to hug and chat up someone else while Iowa’s three most senior Republican state officials — Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey — wait for her at a podium 10 feet away.
“Joni, we love you, honey! Keep up the good work!” shouts a man as she walks the fair with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.
Six months ago, Ernst was a second-tier candidate with little money in a four-way Republican primary. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley had cleared the field, raised money, and seemed likely to keep the seat in his party’s hands.
Then, Ernst made a splashy ad about castrating hogs and a video emerged of Braley derisively referring to Grassley as just “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Suddenly, Ernst was a contender, and Braley was back on his heels, trying to apologize to the state’s beloved senior senator.
Ernst rode that momentum to a resounding primary victory two months later, and since then, the race has been counted among the most competitive of the cycle. Ernst could well be Iowa’s first female senator if the Hawkeye State voters prefer her farm girl charm over Braley’s record in Congress.
It’s why walking the fair with Braley and Ernst is like experiencing night and day.
August 11, 2014
The press secretary to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is heading to the South to help Republicans retain one of their two most endangered Senate seats.
Megan Whittemore told reporters in an email Monday that beginning later this week, she will be communications director for David Perdue’s campaign in Georgia.
Whittemore’s exit comes as Cantor is set to resign from Congress, effective Aug. 18. The Virginia Republican’s descent from leadership and early exit followed his stunning June 10 primary defeat — and Whittemore was one of several top Cantor staffers identified as likely attractive candidates for new jobs.
Liberal allies are rallying around Sen. Brian Schatz after damage from a hurricane extended voting for the deadlocked Democratic primary in Hawaii.
MoveOn.org sent a fundraising email late Sunday night with the subject line, “We’re going into overtime in Hawaii.” The email urged supporters to donate so the group could “finish the job in Hawaii” and ensure Schatz’s victory.
Schatz led his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, by just 1,635 votes as of Sunday evening. As many as 8,000 more votes could be cast in two precincts on the Big Island, where election officials postponed voting because of the storm damage.
August 10, 2014
The Democratic primary between Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was too close to call early Sunday morning, and the race may not be decided for days.
Voting in two precincts on the Big Island, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Iselle, was postponed because of storm damage, KITV reported. Those Democrats will vote absentee and essentially decide the contest, though Hanabusa has some ground to make up.
Both campaigns told Civil Beat they will be heading to the Big Island before the crucial final ballots are cast.
With all but those two precincts reporting, Schatz led Hanabusa 49.4 percent to 48.6 percent — separated by just less than 1,800 votes out of some 214,000 cast. After Schatz was appointed to the seat in December 2012 following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the winner will likely prevail in November and serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term, and then undoubtedly run for a full term in 2016.
The race kicked off amid an inescapable feeling of bitterness among Inouye and Hanabusa allies, perturbed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s selection of Schatz to serve in the Senate instead of Inouye’s preferred successor, Hanabusa. It had nearly as rocky a finish, as the islands avoided a one-two punch of hurricanes that threatened to disrupt the election to a greater degree than it did.
August 7, 2014
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander likely secured his Senate seat for another term Thursday, handily winning the GOP primary in a safe Republican state.
Alexander led state Rep. Joe Carr 52.4 percent to 37.4 percent, with 20 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race.
His victory means no Republican senators have lost a primary challenge, ending the tea party’s streak at two cycles. None of the remaining primaries feature a Republican senator .
The Hawaii primary is in a state of uncertainty, as Hurricane Iselle and a second storm barrel toward the islands and get-out-the-vote pushes are intermixed with information on where to find emergency assistance.
In preparation for their competitive Democratic Senate primary Saturday, Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have been forced to alter their plans and help their constituents prepare for what could be damaging storms. Hurricane Iselle was projected to hit the Big Island late Thursday, in what would be Hawaii’s first hurricane in 22 years.
“On the forecast track, the center of Iselle is expected to pass over the Big Island tonight, and pass just south of the smaller islands Friday,” the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Thursday.
Montana Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he won’t be coming back to the Senate next year, confirming what was already the most likely conclusion to his campaign.
Walsh announced he is ending his bid to retain the seat he was appointed to in February, a decision reached less than three months before the election and days before a critical state deadline to remove his name from the ballot.
Republicans were already highly likely to win this seat in November. Now Democrats hope Walsh’s exit is at least beneficial to their efforts in other races in the state. Full story
August 6, 2014
Tennessee Republicans head to the polls Thursday to decide the fate of Sen. Lamar Alexander, marking the last chance for tea-party-aligned conservatives to oust an incumbent senator in a primary.
Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land is launching a TV ad Wednesday accusing her Democratic opponent in the state’s open Senate race of trying to have it both ways on immigration.
The spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, shows back-to-back clips of Rep. Gary Peters talking about immigration. In the first, he says, “Certainly enforcement is very important.” In the second, he says, “Immigration reform is not about more enforcement.”
It comes one day after the Michigan primaries, marking the formal kickoff to a potentially competitive race in this Democratic-leaning state. Land and Peters ran uncontested for their respective nominations. Full story