Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 20, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

July 30, 2014

Lamar Alexander Still Up Big in Internal Primary Poll

Lamar Alexander Still Up Big in Internal Primary Poll

Alexander's internal polling shows him with a strong primary lead. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A fresh poll conducted for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign found he continues to hold a comfortable lead with just more than a week to go in the Tennessee Republican primary.

Alexander took 53 percent in the poll, according to a memo the Alexander campaign provided at CQ Roll Call’s request. State Rep. Joe Carr, Alexander’s most prominent challenger, took 24 percent, followed by physician George Flinn with 5 percent. The four other candidates in the race took 1 percent or less. Full story

Mark Pryor Up 2 Points in Democratic Poll

Mark Pryor Up 2 Points in Democratic Poll

Pryor is in a dead-heat re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor led his Republican challenger by 2 points in a recent Democratic poll, which is the third survey on the race released in the last two days.

The polling memo, obtained by CQ Roll Call, stated Pryor led by a 48-46 percent margin, with 6 percent undecided — a lead within the 4-point margin of error. The survey included a sample of 600 likely voters and was conducted July 20-24 by Democratic firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, which counts as a client the Arkansas gubernatorial campaign of former Rep. Mike Ross.

The memo comes one day after the Pryor campaign released an internal poll (taken July 7-10) showing him ahead 45-39 percent and an independent poll from Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College (taken July 22-25) found Cotton up 44-42 percent. Full story

July 29, 2014

NRSC Chairman: Senate Map Has Expanded to 12 States

NRSC Chairman: Senate Map Has Expanded to 12 States

In the 2014 elections, Moran leads the NRSC. (CQ Roll Call)

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran said Tuesday the GOP’s pickup opportunities have expanded to around a dozen states — twice as many as needed to take control of the Senate.

“I think we have a good map in the sense that we have good candidates and good states,” Moran told CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski. “The map has expanded over time. In my view, [it] started out with six or seven — now 10 or 12.” Full story

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

Roberts faces a primary challenge on Aug. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As conservatives reel from a bruising loss in Mississippi, they are looking to the primary in Kansas to knock off an incumbent and salve their wounds.

But on Aug. 5, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts faces Milton Wolf in a primary, they will likely realize they are not in Mississippi anymore.

Roberts has been in office for several decades — much like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who survived a runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel last month by a narrow margin but galvanized conservatives to make it a close contest. The Kansan has been criticized for spending more time in Washington than in his home state — another accusation McDaniel leveled at Cochran.

But unlike McDaniel, Wolf’s bark might be stronger than his bite.

Full story

July 28, 2014

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How does a female Democratic candidate in the South distance herself from President Barack Obama? Call on Dad.

Attorney Gwen Graham released a pair of ads Monday morning that did just that. Her father, former Sen. Bob Graham, made her case to voters.

Graham wasn’t the first. Two other candidates, nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, produced ads featuring their well-known politician fathers.

Here is a look at all three ads: Full story

July 27, 2014

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

In 2014 Senate races, Republicans are optimistic they can defeat Braley, above, and pick up a seat in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With 100 days to go until Election Day, Senate Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about winning the majority — but they also have grounds for concern.

After coming up short in 2010 and 2012, the GOP is unquestionably well positioned to finish the job this time. Republicans need to match their November 2010 score of six seats to take the majority, and the party has multiple paths to the finish line.

That’s thanks to a successful recruitment push that didn’t conclude until late February, and a playing field naturally tilted in the GOP’s direction — seven Democrat-held seats are in states President Barack Obama lost in 2012, six of those by double digits.

But, as optimistic as Republican operatives are heading into the final stretch, the GOP has reasons to restrain its confidence. With tens of millions of dollars of advertising already spent by outside groups on both sides, just one Democratic incumbent is, at this point, a solid underdog for re-election.

Reasons for Republicans to Be Optimistic Full story

July 25, 2014

Senator Gets Outside Help for Final Days of Hawaii Primary (Video)

Senator Gets Outside Help for Final Days of Hawaii Primary (Video)

Schatz hopes to win the Aug. 9 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters is spending $380,000 on a TV ad campaign over the next two weeks to boost Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.

Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of Daniel K. Inouye in December 2012, faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the competitive nomination fight. They’re running to serve the remaining two years of Inouye’s term.

LCV’s first ad, which begins running Saturday, focuses on the threat of climate change to Hawaii and states Schatz is “holding corporate polluters who cause it accountable.” It also highlights the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s recent endorsement of him. Full story

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Dan Sullivan is getting some outside help. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan is launching a radio ad Friday taking aim at his two leading Senate race opponents.

The 60-second ad from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, backed by an $80,000 buy and running statewide, mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Sullivan’s top opponent in the Aug. 19 primary, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

The ad lands on the airwaves on the heels of an accompanying TV ad from the group. Both label Sullivan a true Alaskan — one of the leading attacks against the native Ohioan — and state he is the only Republican who can defeat Begich. Full story

July 24, 2014

Quirky Ex-Senator Stomps on Democrats’ S.D. Hopes

Quirky Ex Senator Stomps on Democrats S.D. Hopes

Johnson is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Democrats are playing a tough hand in the Senate race, but they thought they could count on a wild card — former Sen. Larry Pressler — to help the contest break their way.

Pressler seems to have other plans.

Democrats already faced long odds to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s seat. Obama lost South Dakota by 18 points last cycle, and the state marks the GOP’s best pick-up opportunity in its 6-seat quest to win the majority.

The front-runner, popular former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds, faces several foes: Democrat Rick Weiland; state Sen. Gordon Howie, a conservative Republican running as an independent; and Pressler, who served three terms as a Republican but is running as an independent.

Democrats held out hope the race would become competitive if Pressler splintered GOP votes from Rounds. But so far, Pressler is doing the opposite — splitting Democrats and extinguishing the party’s remaining hopes of keeping the seat.

“He seems to be veering to the left,” said Ben Nesselhuf, former South Dakota Democratic Party chairman, in an interview with Roll Call. “I like this Larry Pressler a lot more than I liked the one in the mid 1990s. … His message and Rick Weiland’s message seem to kind of overlap.”

Full story

July 23, 2014

Number of Potential Senators in the House Dwindles

Number of Potential Senators in the House Dwindles

Capito is among the House members running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jack Kingston’s Tuesday defeat in a Senate primary runoff means no more than nine House members could join the ranks of the Senate in the 114th Congress — and that number could shrink again next month.

With 13 members giving up their seats to run for Senate, Kingston became the third House member from Georgia and the fourth nationwide to unsuccessfully seek a Senate nomination. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who failed in his primary challenge to Sen. John Cornyn, and Georgia Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, who failed to advance in the May primary, were the others.

Of the final nine, only Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, is not yet assured of appearing on the November ballot. She faces appointed Sen. Brian Schatz in an Aug. 9 special-election primary. The winner will be favored in the general election.  Full story

Chris McDaniel Finished Mississippi Senate Runoff With $386,000

Chris McDaniel Finished Mississippi Senate Runoff With $386,000

McDaniel had nearly $400,000 left after his runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chris McDaniel, who may soon launch an official challenge to the results of the Mississippi Republican Senate runoff, still had $386,000 in his campaign coffers a week after the late June election, according to his July quarterly report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

McDaniel, who hoped to use that money for the November general election, instead lost to Sen. Thad Cochran by more than 7,600 votes. But he’s since refused to concede.

Nearly a month later, his campaign continues to allege that Cochran won with illegitimate votes, and his supporters are going through Mississippi election records to determine if enough potentially illegal votes were cast to allow McDaniel to formally challenge the results. Full story

Senate Democrats Count on Bulging War Chests for Final Months

Senate Democrats Count on Bulging War Chests for Final Months

Fundraising plays a factor in who will serve as Senate majority leader in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Senate Democrats lose the majority, it won’t be for lack of cash-flush campaigns. Facing a daunting map, Democrats turned in solid — sometimes eye-popping — second-quarter fundraising totals for the midterms.

Even with incumbents such as Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska already spending significantly on the airwaves, Democrats running for the party’s most endangered seats also continued to sit on significant war chests primed for a post-Labor Day advertising assault.

With President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in the low 40s, an unreliable base turnout in midterms, outside groups unleashing seemingly unlimited resources and Republican challengers staying competitive financially, it will take every penny to ensure Democrats’ losses don’t reach six seats. That threshold would hand the GOP control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

The fundraising reports filed last week by the dozen or so most competitive campaigns offer the last publicly available insight into their financial viability until mid-October, just before the general elections. With a few months to go, this was the first fundraising period that saw numerous candidates eclipse $2 million raised, with several topping $3 million and one even reaching $4 million. Full story

July 22, 2014

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Kay Hagan will seek re-election in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Freedom Partners, a group affiliated with the Koch Brothers, has purchased at least $2.8 million in airtime in North Carolina to boost the GOP’s bid to pick up the state’s Senate seat, two sources told CQ Roll Call.

The airtime will benefit state Speaker Thom Tillis, who faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a competitive race that could determine which party holds the Senate next year.  Full story

Georgia Runoff Results: David Perdue Wins GOP Nod for Senate (Video)

Georgia Runoff Results: David Perdue Wins GOP Nod for Senate (Video)

Perdue won the Georgia Republican Senate nomination Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman David Perdue’s outsider narrative and personal wealth propelled him to the Republican nomination Tuesday in the Georgia Senate race, defeating Rep. Jack Kingston.

Perdue led the 11-term congressman, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race.

After an extra nine weeks were tacked on to the initial May 20 primary, the race is finally progressing to the general election — where Democrat Michelle Nunn has quietly been compiling cash for what will be a pricey contest.

Full story

Democratic Poll: The Issues That Resonate With Single Women Voters

Democratic Poll: The Issues That Resonate With Single Women Voters

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., participated in a recent news conference on legislation following the Hobby Lobby decision. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll of likely voters in 12 Senate battleground states suggests a populist economic message and focus on women’s health issues could help Democrats improve their standing with unmarried women voters in advance of the midterm elections.

The poll was conducted by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg’s Democracy Corps in collaboration with Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, which focuses on increasing participation among unmarried women voters.

It found that Democratic candidates are currently underperforming with unmarried women voters, beating Republicans among the crucial demographic by just 11 points, compared to a 20-point gap in the 2010 midterms. But the poll also gave Democrats suggestions for messages that are most likely to resonate with this voting bloc.

“The movement in the races and in the states is really about the movement of unmarried women … based on hearing an economic agenda that resonates with their lives,” said Page Gardner, the founder of Women’s Voices Women Vote. Full story

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