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October 2, 2014

Posts in "Senate 2014"

September 15, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes Shoots Skeet in New Ad (Video) (Updated)

Alison Lundergan Grimes Shoots Skeet in New Ad (Video) (Updated)

McConnell, center, is the minority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:57 p.m. | The latest television spot from Alison Lundergan Grimes shows her skeet shooting on a farm as part of the Senate nominee’s attempt to create distance with an unpopular president in the midterms.

The Kentucky Democrat will face Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. In the spot, after firing a few rounds at clay pigeons, Grimes looks at the camera and says “I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA.”

Full story

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat seeking re-election this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As national analysts say the odds are increasingly against them, Democratic senators and senior operatives remain optimistic the party’s most vulnerable incumbents can survive stiff re-election challenges, even in red states where the president’s popularity is sunk.

With his national approval ratings mired in the low 40s seven weeks out from the Nov. 4 elections, Senate Democrats are well aware of the anchor President Barack Obama is proving to be in the midterms. It’s clear party strategists have had to tailor their red-state strategies around that reality on a map already tilted against them, with three principles at the crux of Democrats’ path to defend seats in GOP-leaning and solidly Republican states where the majority will be won or lost.

As Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil outlined in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call, it’s imperative for Democrats in these states to remind voters why they supported the incumbent in the first place, to over-perform generic Democratic numbers and continue to fund persuasion efforts — along with getting out the vote — through Election Day.

“The president’s ratings are a factor in our elections, but they are not the only factor in our elections,” Cecil said, noting the tens of millions of dollars being spent on advertising and the DSCC’s field campaign efforts. Full story

September 12, 2014

National Democrats Respond to Thom Tillis Education Ad

National Democrats Respond to Thom Tillis Education Ad

Tillis is the Republican nominee for Senate in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s latest ad in North Carolina continues to pummel state Speaker Thom Tillis on education.

Tillis faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the most competitive Senate races.
The committee’s new ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is a direct response to one of Tillis’ ads, which was a rebuttal of a DSCC’s ad attacking him on the same issue. The DSCC ad uses video from the Tillis’s ad, Math, where he stood in front of a classroom white board and talked about how often Hagan voted with President Barack Obama. Full story

Michelle Nunn Hits David Perdue on Equal Pay (Video)

Michelle Nunn Hits David Perdue on Equal Pay (Video)

Nunn's Senate campaign launched a new TV ad Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn launched a TV ad Friday asking whether women can trust David Perdue, Nunn’s GOP opponent for the state’s open Senate seat.

The ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is part of a continued effort to highlight Perdue’s corporate past. It states Dollar General was sued by female employees for discrimination while he was serving as CEO and that the company paid a multi-million-dollar settlement.

“If David Perdue didn’t do right by women at his company, why would he do right for Georgia?” the ad’s announcer says. Full story

September 10, 2014

John McCain’s Fall Campaign Schedule Includes Pat Roberts

 

John McCains Fall Campaign Schedule Includes Pat Roberts

McCain stumped for Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie Sept. 3. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona Sen. John McCain is planning a trip to Kansas to assist fellow Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who is locked in a surprisingly competitive re-election battle.

In a brief interview with CQ Roll Call on Wednesday, McCain said he’ll stump for “an old Marine” — Roberts — at one of several stops the former presidential nominee will make across the Senate map over the final eight weeks of the cycle. He’s already been to New Hampshire and Virginia on behalf of Republican challengers, and that’s just the start.

“I’m going to Oregon. I’m going to North Carolina. I’m going to a couple other places,” McCain said. “You know how it is these last couple of months.” Full story

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

Ernst is in one of the cycle's tightest races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new ad in Iowa attacking Republican Joni Ernst for talking about privatizing social security and tying her to the Koch Brothers.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in one of the most competitive races this cycle. The two are vying for the open seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In the ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, a male narrator attacks Ernst as “too extreme.”

“Joni Ernst is talking about privatizing Social Security. Risking it on the stock market,” the narrator says. Full story

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

Marijuana in Terrapin Care Station, a marijuana dispensary, in Boulder, Colo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BOULDER, Colo. — Long a flashpoint in the culture wars, marijuana’s growing legitimacy hasn’t yet turned it into a political weapon, even in the marquee races in the first state to legalize the drug.

In Colorado, the issue has barely gotten a mention as Rep. Cory Gardner takes on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman faces a challenge from Andrew Romanoff in one of the country’s hottest House races.

Pot Still Too Hot to Handle for Colorado Politicians

For now, the lawmakers still seem to find pot too hot to handle as a political weapon. Republicans in the state have shifted how they talk about the matter, but Democrats aren’t trying to capitalize on what could potentially become a new wedge issue in their favor this cycle — and in elections to come.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have legalized medical marijuana. Only Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, but more are expected to vote on whether to change their laws, including Oregon and Alaska in November, as polls have shown surging support for legalization.

Udall, whose race could decide control of the Senate, said marijuana is now simply a business interest in Colorado.

“We are all together in urging the attorney general to let this experiment unfold,” Udall said in Greenwood Village, Colo., after an event with Denver business interests.

But he hasn’t attacked Gardner’s hard-line record on marijuana, something advocates for legalization call a missed opportunity.

“It seems that many elected officials … still haven’t come to terms with the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue that’s supported by a growing majority of the public,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, a legalization advocacy group. Full story

September 9, 2014

New Hampshire Primary Results: Scott Brown Wins Senate Nomination (Video)

New Hampshire Primary Results: Scott Brown Wins Senate Nomination (Video)

Brown will face Shaheen in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown locked up the GOP nomination for Senate Tuesday in New Hampshire, defeating several opponents.

The Republican had 49 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race with 21 percent of precincts reporting.

Brown, who previously represented neighboring Massachusetts in the Senate, will face incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in November. Full story

John McCain Boosts Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate Race

John McCain Boosts Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate Race

McCain is an Arizona Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted a mailer from a group supporting Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, for a “disgusting attack” on Republican Joni Ernst’s military service.

Braley and Ernst are running for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat in one of the cycle’s most competitive contests. The mailer, from NextGen Climate, an environment-focused group backed by Tom Steyer, says, “Joni Ernst is putting her big oil backers ahead of national security.”

“American troops have spent years fighting terrorists overseas,” the mailer reads. “But politicians like Joni Ernst are undercutting that battle here at home.”

In a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call, McCain blasted the mailer, calling it “beyond offensive” to say that about Ernst, who is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and would be the first female combat veteran in the Senate, if elected. Full story

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

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