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August 2, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

July 11, 2014

Pryor Starts Reserving Fall Airtime in Pivotal Senate Race

Pryor Starts Reserving Fall Airtime in Pivotal Senate Race

Pryor is ramping up his air war. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor has been buying up fall airtime for a race critical to nearly every hypothetical Republican path to the Senate majority.

The two-term Democrat, who faces the fight of his political life against GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, has so far reserved several hundred thousand dollars worth of TV time for the closing six weeks of the race, according to a media-buying source. The Pryor campaign would not comment on its media strategy, but that’s just an opening salvo in a state already seeing a plethora of spending from outside groups and both campaigns.

Amid a vigorous on-air back-and-forth over tornado disaster relief and religion in the past week, the contours of Pryor’s path to re-election remain unchanged. The Arkansas Democrat is banking that voters’ familiarity with him — and their disbelief that Cotton is on their side — will outweigh the antipathy toward Washington and President Barack Obama.

“Mark’s been around a really long time and his family has been around a long time,” said Sheila Bronfman, a Democratic consultant in Arkansas and longtime ally of the Clintons. “People like him and they trust him. They trust where he comes from and how he was raised, and I just think that’s making a big difference here.”

Full story

July 9, 2014

Shelley Moore Capito Campaigns Amid Father’s Complicated Legacy

Shelley Moore Capito Campaigns Amid Fathers Complicated Legacy

Shelley Moore Capito at a Fourth of July event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Shelley Moore Capito Campaigns Amid Fathers Complicated Legacy RIPLEY, W.Va.— In Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s bid for Senate, Republicans and Democrats frequently cite one major political asset: Her middle name.

It comes from her father, the beloved former Gov. Arch A. Moore, Jr., who brought the Mountain State’s infrastructure and education system into the modern age during his two separate tenures in the 1970s and 1980s.

But Capito’s father also holds a complicated place in West Virginia history. In addition to introducing kindergarten to the state and overseeing a massive Interstate construction project, Moore spent over two years in federal prison.  Full story

July 8, 2014

New Ads Invade Arkansas Airwaves

New Ads Invade Arkansas Airwaves

Pryor faces Cotton in Arkansas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Three new campaign ads hit the Arkansas airwaves Tuesday, with less than four months to go in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton are fighting for a seat crucial to the GOP’s hopes of winning the Senate majority. They took aim at each other in their respective ads, while GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS tied Pryor to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama and Washington.

Arkansas ranks fourth in independent-expenditure spending, behind Kentucky and North Carolina — which feature competitive general-election races — and Mississippi, which just concluded an extended GOP primary. Full story

July 7, 2014

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

The McDaniel campaign is challenging the results of last month's runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s attorney confirmed Monday the campaign’s plans to challenge the results of last month’s Senate runoff, arguing the only solution is to hold a new election for the GOP nomination.

McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 24 GOP runoff by about 6,700 votes. Since then, McDaniel’s allies have contested the results and his team offered a cash prize for anyone who can provide evidence of voter fraud.

“The correct remedy is a new election,” said Mitch Tyner, lead counsel for the McDaniel campaign. He added campaign volunteers have reviewed runoff results in 82 counties and have found evidence of voter fraud.

Full story

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West Virginia

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West Virginia

Miss WV Roadkill waves at fans at the Fourth of July parade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West VirginiaRIPLEY, W.Va. — The country’s “largest small town Independence Day parade” had all the expected: beauty queens, sun-drenched crowds and political glad-handling.

The hardest thing to find on this route? A West Virginian who plans to vote the straight party line this fall.

“I vote for the person, not for the party,” Thomas Lee Stemple, a retired maintenance supervisor and registered Democrat, said a few hours before the parade.

Interviews with West Virginia voters over the holiday weekend showed many of them intend to split their ballots between parties this November. The parade’s two most prominent participants and Senate candidates — Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat — used the event to promote their personal brands to voters gathered on the streets of this town north of Charleston.

Capito was the first federal candidate featured in the parade of more than 150 floats.  Full story

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Franken is seeking re-election in Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Al Franken knows the story — just not from this side.

In 2008, a first-time candidate dogged by his career history faced a formidable incumbent dragged down by an unpopular second-term president. The result: now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, in a shockingly close race that only ended after a months-long contentious recount and legal battle.

Now Coleman’s hand-picked candidate wants to return the favor in 2014. Franken will face a wealthy investment banker and first-time candidate, Mike McFadden, in November — and this time, he’s the senator battling an unpopular president’s drag on the ballot.

Full story

July 3, 2014

Chris McDaniel Offers $15,000 Reward for Voter Fraud Evidence

Chris McDaniel Offers $15,000 Reward for Voter Fraud Evidence

Chris McDaniel is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

State Sen. Chris McDaniel has offered 15 rewards of $1,000 each to any person who can “provide evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud” in the Republican primary for Senate in Mississippi.

On Thursday, his campaign announced the “challenge” in the latest episode in a circus of a Senate race. Full story

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

Brown is running for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: July 3, 8:20 a.m. | Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown got Mitt Romney’s endorsement in New Hampshire Wednesday — but it might be a while until his comeback bid gets a lift from any of the Republicans seeking the GOP nod in 2016.

Typically, presidential hopefuls hustle to make inroads into the Granite State, which hosts the first primary on the national nominating calendar.

But the GOP’s 2016 prospects are so far staying away from that Senate race for fear of upsetting prickly Republican activists by endorsing Brown, who was a more moderate Republican in the Senate and supports abortion rights.

Brown is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination on Sept. 9, when he will likely defeat former Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The GOP nominee will face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in November. Full story

July 2, 2014

Thad Cochran Conference Call Descends Into Chaos

Thad Cochran Conference Call Descends Into Chaos

Thad Cochran, above, won the GOP runoff for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conference call held by Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign quickly devolved into chaos and ended Wednesday after one of the participants repeatedly asked racially charged questions.

The call was held to address a lawsuit challenging the runoff results for the Republican nomination. Cochran defeated his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, by 6,700 votes last week, but McDaniel has refused to concede and his supporters allege Cochran won with the help of illegal votes.

The call was held for the national media who could not be at a news conference in Jackson. But 5 minutes after it started, there were 67 people on the call, and at least 10 more joined later.

Full story

Lamar Alexander Argues With Obama Over Obamacare in New Ad (Video)

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, raised over $900,000 for his re-election bid in the second quarter, his campaign said Wednesday. He also launched a new ad featuring the senator arguing with President Barack Obama.

Alexander now has $3.4 million cash on hand, according to his campaign, with just over a month to go until Tennessee’s Aug. 8 Republican primary.

The new ad shows C-SPAN footage of the White House Healthcare Summit in February of 2010. Alexander was one of several Republicans to attend the bipartisan meeting, and at one point, he engaged with Obama over whether healthcare premiums would rise as a result of Obamacare.

“When you said, ‘premiums go up,’ that’s just not case,” Obama says in the clip, addressing Alexander.

“The Congressional Budget Office report says that premiums will rise,” Alexander responds.

“No, no, no, no, and this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight,” Obama says.

“That’s my point,” says Alexander.

“Lamar was proven right,” a narrator says in the ad.

The ad will begin running statewide on July 6, according to the campaign.

Alexander faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Joe Carr. Carr has drawn significantly more attention in recent weeks since House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was defeated in a primary by unknown and underfunded college professor Dave Brat. He recently went up with his first ad of the campaign, attacking Alexander for voting for the Senate’s immigration overhaul bill.

The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Conservative Lawsuit Challenges Cochran Runoff Win

Conservative Lawsuit Challenges Cochran Runoff Win

Thad Cochran defeated Chris McDaniel, above, in the GOP runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A conservative group has taken up state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s cause, filing a lawsuit against the Mississippi Secretary of State and the Republican Party of Mississippi  to challenge the results of the recent runoff for Senate.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., defeated McDaniel by a 6,700-vote margin in the June 24 runoff and won the GOP nomination.

Now a conservative group, True the Vote, alleged Wednesday they were denied access to election records, specifically in Hinds and Rankin Counties. They also allege that they found evidence of unlawful “double-voting,” in which Mississippians who voted in the Democratic primary later voted in the Republican runoff three weeks later.

But McDaniel and his supporters face long odds to overturn the results of the runoff. Mississippi state election law has no provision for a recount, and observers say McDaniel is unlikely to find enough illegally cast votes to make up the difference between him and Cochran. What’s more, it’s difficult to prove a runoff voter does not plan to vote for a Republican in the general election.

Full story

July 1, 2014

Ted Cruz Doesn’t Disavow SCF Call to Defund NRSC

Ted Cruz Doesnt Disavow SCF Call to Defund NRSC

Ted Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative outside group whose efforts Sen. Ted Cruz backed has called for defunding the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Cruz, an NRSC vice chairman and Texas Republican, has not rebuked the effort.

This weekend, Senate Conservatives Fund launched a campaign calling on conservatives to pledge not to give any money to the NRSC in the aftermath of last week’s runoff in the Mississippi Senate race. As is typical, the NRSC backed Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, while the SCF and other outside groups backed his failed challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

“The Senate Republican establishment betrayed the grassroots and recruited Democrats in Mississippi to defeat Chris McDaniel,” the SCF petition said. ”Fight back by pledging not to donate to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

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Democrats Work to Mitigate VA Scandal as Political Issue

Democrats Work to Mitigate VA Scandal as Political Issue

Begich has had to tackle the veterans affairs scandal as he seeks a second term in Alaska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Politicians have always touted their support for military veterans back home. The willingness to expend federal dollars to provide the best care possible is popular across the partisan spectrum and is rarely cause for controversy.

But the issue has been turned on its head in recent months, with the fallout from the Veterans Affairs scandal prompting even the Obama administration to admit a “corrosive culture” at the VA affecting facilities across the country.

It’s also invited criticism of vulnerable House and Senate Democrats from Republican candidates and outside groups. For Republican challengers and operatives, the VA scandal offers a striking example of federal government mismanagement with a Democrat at the helm and provides another link between Democratic incumbents and President Barack Obama.

“Veterans’ issues tend to be bipartisan, non-controversial and not a big deal in most campaigns — which is why the VA scandal is a problem for Democrats this year,” Republican pollster Dan Judy said. “Democratic candidates in most of the competitive states already have the millstone of President Obama’s unpopularity around their necks, and the VA scandal is only making that weight heavier.”

Full story

June 30, 2014

3 Ways Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Impact 2014 (Video)

The Supreme Court’s narrow Monday decision allowing some companies to not offer contraceptive coverage for employees could have an impact on the November midterms.

The ruling is a polarizing one for Democrats and Republicans — and both sides have already tried to use it to their political advantage.

Republicans mostly support the court’s decision, calling it a win for religious freedom and a major defeat for the president’s health care overhaul law that required company health care plans to cover birth control. Democrats are using the decision to emphasize what they see as the GOP’s unfriendly policies toward women.

That contrast could play out in three key ways in 2014 elections:

Full story

Environmental Group Backs Republican in 2014

Environmental Group Backs Republican in 2014

Susan Collins is a Republican from Maine. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, an environmental organization, has thrown its support behind a Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is seeking re-election in 2014.

The Collins race is uncompetitive at this point in the cycle. But she is the first Republican to pick up the group’s nod this cycle. Full story

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