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October 21, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

October 10, 2014

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Roberts, left, debates Orman during a luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The power in the Senate could increasingly flow not to Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell, but to a few independents who could hold the keys to the majority — and they know it.

The two unexpected GOP trouble spots in the Midwest feature independent candidates who are making noise about not joining either side in a divided Senate. In Kansas it’s Greg Orman, who is challenging long-time GOP incumbent Pat Roberts. Republicans are extremely dubious of Orman, pointing to campaign dollars he’s given to top Democrats, although Orman is fond of pointing to contributions to Republicans as well.

“I think what I’ve said and what I’ve been clear about since the beginning, is if one party or the other is in the majority I will seek to caucus with the party that is in the majority. But that if I get elected, and neither party is in the majority, then what I’m going to do is sit down with both sides, propose a pro-problem solving agenda and ask both sides, whether or not they’re willing to support that agenda. And we’re going to be likely to support the agenda, and the party that’s most likely to embrace a pro-problem-solving agenda,” Orman told reporters gathered after Wednesday’s debate. Full story

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz-Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Cruz, left, campaigned for Roberts, right, in Wichita. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., threatened Friday to hold a Ted Cruz-style filibuster on the Senate floor to prevent President Barack Obama from bringing the prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay into the United States.

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo Obama is reportedly considering shutting down Guantanamo Bay by executive order, which could potentially mean transferring the prisoners held there on terrorism charges to prisons in the continental U.S. Roberts, whose state is the home of the Leavenworth penitentiary, said he would not abide that.

“I stopped him once from trying to send a Gitmo terrorist to Leavenworth,” Roberts told supporters on a rainy morning at his campaign headquarters here. “I shall do it again. I shall do it again, and if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate.”

Speaking to reporters after, Roberts said he was proposing a potential filibuster in the model of Cruz’s 21-plus hours on the Senate floor last year protesting funding Obamacare. Full story

Gallup: Georgia Runoff ‘Likely’

Gallup: Georgia Runoff Likely

Nunn (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gallup said Friday runoffs are “likely” in Georgia’s Senate and gubernatorial races, citing the high rate of independents in that state.

A Senate runoff in Georgia would be held Jan. 6 — potentially leaving control of the Senate in limbo into the next session of Congress.

Gallup didn’t post direct poll results in the hotly contested race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue, but the polling showed Georgia has trended slightly less conservative in recent years. Full story

October 9, 2014

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Roberts, center, got some help Thursday from colleagues Cruz, left, and Coburn, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WICHITA, Kan. — Pat Roberts has served Kansas in the Senate for nearly 18 years, but freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had all the political clout at a Roberts campaign event Thursday.

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts The conservative icon and potential presidential candidate’s support could be crucial for Roberts, who faces a challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman in a suddenly competitive race that has implications for the Senate majority.

Here to kick off his statewide bus tour, Roberts took the stage with Cruz, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp — three allies on hand to provide support and additional enthusiasm. Roberts got solid applause, but the crowd erupted when Cruz, who had the final speaking slot, was introduced — yelling and cheering, longer and louder than for any other speaker.

“I’m here in Kansas because I know Pat. The two years I’ve served in the Senate, over and over again on fight after fight for conservative principles, Pat Roberts has shown up and reported for duty,” Cruz told the crowd. “A year ago last week, when I was standing on the Senate floor filibustering on Obamacare, Pat Roberts was one of a handful of senators who came down and stood by my side and said, ‘Obamacare is a disaster, and we’ve got to stop it.’”

Full story

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Franken is running for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken led by 7 points in an internal poll conducted on behalf of the state Republican Party.

The Democrat, who is favored to be re-elected to a second term, led Republican finance executive Mike McFadden 46 percent to 39 percent.

It was a more favorable result for McFadden than the state party’s previous internal poll in August, which showed Franken up 49 percent to 38 percent.

“Bottom line — the race is still advantage Franken, but the Senator’s margin has closed over the past few weeks,” Public Opinion Strategies pollster Robert Blizzard wrote in a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Outsourcing

DSCC Ad Hits Scott Brown on Outsourcing

Brown is running for the Senate in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a new TV ad Thursday slamming former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., over his connections to outsourcing.

The spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, states that Brown, who is challenging New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, received a “sweetheart deal” from a company that outsources jobs after leaving the Senate in 2013 and connects it to his voting record.

“In the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that move American jobs overseas, just like the one he works for,” the announcer says. Full story

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

Pat Roberts Had Three Big Points in Kansas Debate

Pat Roberts Had Three Big Points in Kansas Debate

Roberts, left, and Orman, right, talk after the debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Embattled Sen. Pat Roberts doesn’t need voters to like him. On Wednesday, the three-term incumbent made the message he wants voters to take with them to the ballot box next month clear.

Pat Roberts Had Three Big Points in Kansas Debate Roberts is being challenged by independent Greg Orman, and most recent polls show the three-term senator behind.

“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas to [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and [President Barack] Obama,” Roberts said in his opening statement at the Wednesday debate.

“A vote for Pat Roberts,” he said later, “is a vote for a Republican majority.”

Roberts has struggled mightily in his re-election campaign. He trailed Orman by 5 points or 10 points in previous public polling, although a new CNN poll showed him up 49 percent to 48 percent. Whether that’s an outlier or a sign of a rejuvenated campaign remains unclear. Full story

Democrat Responds to DSCC’s South Dakota Gamble

Democrat Responds to DSCCs South Dakota Gamble

Reid is the Senate majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will run $1 million in advertising in the South Dakota Senate race — a welcome, but not surprising development for the campaign of Democrat Rick Weiland.

A Weiland campaign senior adviser and veteran Democratic operative said he expected the move, given Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s interest in remaining in charge. Steve Jarding, a South Dakota native who helped elect future Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in 1986 and worked for four years at the DSCC, told CQ Roll Call moments after Bloomberg Politics broke the story on Wednesday that he had a feeling the national party would eventually invest there.

The DSCC did so, despite the race being seen for months as a likely Republican win and the well-known feud between Daschle and Reid, who had tried to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

“I think he’s coming in because this race is getting too close,” Jarding said he’s told people for months. “The reason I believe he’ll come in when the race gets close is, being majority leader means way, way, way, way, way more to Harry Reid than does fighting with Tom Daschle. If this is the 51st seat, Reid will be here.” Full story

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

Democratic Poll Finds Mark Pryor With Small Lead

Democratic Poll Finds Mark Pryor With Small Lead

Pryor is facing a competitive re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll conducted for the Arkansas Democratic Party found Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger still locked in a tight race.

In the survey, obtained by CQ Roll Call, Pryor led Rep. Tom Cotton, 45 percent to 42 percent, with Libertarian and Green Party candidates taking a combined 5 percent and 9 percent undecided.

Democratic polls have consistently shown Pryor with small leads in recent months, which is counter to most public and GOP polling that has come out. But a USA Today/Suffolk poll taken in mid-September found Pryor up 2 points. Full story

Tom Cotton Pushes for Leadership in New TV Ad

Tom Cotton Pushes for Leadership in New TV Ad

Cotton released a new ad Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton is launching a positive TV ad Wednesday, with just less than four weeks to go in one of Republicans’ top Senate pickup opportunities.

The statewide spot, part of the Cotton campaign’s $2.4 million TV buy for the final month of the race, features a portion of his August 2013 announcement speech in which the congressman argues for the state’s need for leadership in the Senate.

“I will do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. And I will never forget how I was raised or where I come from,” Cotton says in the ad. 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

6 Gubernatorial Races With Potential Congressional Consequences

6 Gubernatorial Races With Potential Congressional Consequences

Barber is running as a Democrat in Arizona, where there is a competitive gubernatorial race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lines separating gubernatorial and congressional candidates on the ballot could blur in several states this cycle, as the top of the ticket proves to be a driving force downballot in a half-dozen states.

Typically, competitive gubernatorial races impact one key factor for victory: turnout. As a result, state parties ramp up their efforts to turn out their base, which could also boost candidates all over the ballot, including congressional races.

Gubernatorial races have less of an impact on Senate contests, where candidates are similarly well known by voters. But they often can make a difference in a close House race.

In alphabetical order, here are six states where the impact of a gubernatorial race could drip down the ballot:  Full story

October 3, 2014

Grimes Campaign Used Vehicles Owned By Family Business

Grimes Campaign Used Vehicles Owned By Family Business

(Photo via CQ Roll Call tipster)

A tour bus that roiled Kentucky’s Senate race in August may have been parked after suggestions of impropriety, but smaller vehicles owned by companies associated with Alison Lundergan Grimes’ father have remained on the road for campaign purposes.

Vehicles registered to entities owned by Jerry Lundergan, the former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman, have been spotted at campaign events. The vans sport familiar Grimes logos and signage, like this Black Chevrolet Suburban spotted in a recent parade in Greensburg, Ky.

Full story

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