- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
- Political Ads Flood the Airwaves
- Bonus Quote of the Day
- Rubio Changes Tune on Immigration
April 21, 2013
Editor’s Note: The field is a new, reoccurring series that examines the political landscape in specific House or Senate races. Want to read about the field for a particular district or state? We take requests: Tweet @rollcall with #thefield or email us at email@example.com.
Rep. Bill Cassidy’s, R-La., decision this month to challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu opened a highly desirable district for ambitious Republicans, including a former congressman.
According to GOP sources, there are several Republicans seriously considering running for the 6th District, which President Barack Obama lost by 34 points last year. The district is based in Baton Rouge, but it stretches arms out in several directions, including into the outskirts of New Orleans.
The field of potential Republican candidates could be long, though several of the following people are based in Baton Rouge. It’s unlikely they would all attempt to run from the same home turf. The list includes: Full story
April 19, 2013
The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised nearly $3.2 million in March, according to a source in the committee.
The committee ended last month with almost $5.3 million in the bank.
This is a jump from February, when the committee raised $2.2 million and had $3.1 million in cash on hand. The NRSC will report $9.5 million in debt.
The NRSC, which is chaired by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, got a late start on hiring this cycle, so the improvement is attributable to getting staff in place.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee did not have its fundraising numbers available Friday. Monthly fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by midnight Saturday.
Correction, 6:15 pm | An earlier post misidentified the amount of debt the NRSC reported based on inaccurate information provided by the source.
April 18, 2013
Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Democratic candidates for the Massachusetts special Senate election still aren’t sure how to proceed with an imminent primary.
Campaigns for the top two Democrats — Reps. Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch — have spoken informally. But they have no agreement on a specific date to resume political activities after suspending them earlier this week.
Markey and Lynch, plus all three Republicans seeking the GOP nomination, were scheduled to attend Thursday’s interfaith service, according to The Boston Globe. President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, spoke at the service.
Now comes the uneasy transition back to politics, with the primary scheduled for April 30. Full story
Updated 1:18 p.m. | The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved airtime in South Carolina’s 1st District special election, two GOP sources tell CQ Roll Call.
The buy comes less than 24 hours after the House GOP’s campaign arm abandoned their nominee, former Gov. Mark Sanford, announcing they would not make any expenditures to help him win the safe GOP district.
Sanford faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch on May 7.
The buy is for at least $143,000, a GOP source noted. It will run April 19-28.
If Reps. Steve King, Jeff Fortenberry and Nick J. Rahall II are serious about running for Senate, their campaign fundraising does not show it.
Several House members eyeing Senate bids posted meager numbers, according to Roll Call’s Senate fundraising chart for the first quarter.
In general, members raise major cash to show their political force if they are seriously weighing jumping into a Senate race. For example, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., had raised $525,000 by the end of the first quarter this year, days before he announced he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.
Here are a few House candidates who haven’t taken their names out of the mix when it comes to potential Senate bids and who reported lackluster hauls:
In 2010, Christine O’Donnell famously defeated then-Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., in the GOP Senate primary — then lost the general election to now-Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat. (See “I’m not a witch… I’m you.”)
Her candidacy serves as a symbol of that cycle, in which three tea-party-backed GOP nominees lost otherwise winnable races to Democrats in Delaware, Nevada and Colorado.
O’Donnell is taking care of her family and will make a decision later about possibly running against Coons again in 2014, Abby Livingston reports in the Farm Team column, Roll Call’s weekly state-by-state look at up-and-coming candidates. Full story
April 17, 2013
Former Gov. Mark Sanford was abandoned this week by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which confirmed via a spokeswoman that it will not spend any money on his behalf in the 1st District special election in South Carolina.
Now deep-pocketed outside grounds say they have no plans to boost Sanford over his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in the May 7 contest. Full story
Most of the Senate retirement announcements have come and gone, as Senate campaign officials tend to push members to step aside early in the cycle. However, House members generally don’t reveal their intentions until about a year before the elections.
For now, a dose of weak fundraising showings from the first three months of the midterm cycle offer clues as to which members could be considering the end of their congressional tenures. Whether they actually plan to retire likely won’t be known for some time, but the lack of motivation in fundraising will continue to feed speculation about some members’ political futures. Full story
Running a congressional campaign can be expensive. But it’s rare for House members to spend almost as much as they raised in the first quarter of a two-year election cycle.
Still, a few incumbents achieved this feat during the first three months of this year, according to a CQ Roll Call review of their fundraising reports.
Here’s a selection of “big spender” House members in the first quarter: Full story
Updated 12:05 p.m. | Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is set to appear in court this week, facing accusations that he trespassed on his ex-wife’s property in early February, according to The Associated Press.
The news comes as he enters the final weeks as the GOP nominee in a special election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Continued drama in one of the messiest divorces in modern politics will add another layer of complication in his attempt at a political comeback.
But Sanford will have an outlet to make his case — television.
Democratic sources who track media buying tell CQ Roll Call that the Sanford campaign and the South Carolina Republican Party have 1,000 points (a major television buy worth $90,000 to $100,000) reserved in the Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., media markets. It is set to begin Wednesday and last through April 22. Full story
President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to trim Social Security benefits has intensified liberal angst over his controversial nonprofit advocacy group, Organizing for Action.
OFA’s announcement last week that it had collected just $4.9 million, the vast majority of it from small donors giving $250 or less, may help assuage critics who have cast the group as an unrestricted money magnet. But Obama’s budget proposal to give Social Security recipients smaller cost-of-living increases “puts OFA on a collision course with many of its own grass-roots volunteers,” CQ Weekly reports this week.
“I think this fight over the budget is going to be a real truth-telling moment about Organizing for Action and what it’s going to be,” said Becky Bond, political director of the liberal activist group Credo, which with several progressive groups delivered 2.3 million signatures rejecting the plan to the White House last week. “The people who volunteered to re-elect President Obama overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security.”
The key question for OFA will be whether it becomes a volunteer-driven, bottom-up organization, or a top-down mouthpiece for White House policy. If Obama continues to push for entitlements changes, many Democrats’ disenchantment with OFA will inevitably grow.
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April 16, 2013
Updated 4:00 p.m. | There were some dynamo fundraising reports filed by Monday’s deadline. And then there were some duds.
The first quarter of an election cycle is traditionally an opportunity for candidates to flex their fundraising muscles, but it also offers a glimpse at which incumbents may be vulnerable or even considering retirement.
Now that the first reports of the 2014 midterm cycle are in, here’s a quick look at some of the House and Senate candidates who performed well in the first three months of fundraising and those who may have to hustle more going forward: Full story
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., reported the strongest first-quarter fundraising numbers of all of the federal candidates eyeing retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat.
First-quarter fundraising reports for members of Congress were due on Monday. Peters raked in more than his potential GOP Senate rivals — Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash — combined. However, Rogers maintains a large cash-on-hand advantage. Full story
A top GOP recruit to challenge Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska is worried the turmoil roiling the state Republican Party is putting him and other potential candidates at a distinct disadvantage.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is actively exploring a bid for Senate, said the state party is way behind its Democratic counterparts when it comes to opposition research and rapid response — two of its key responsibilities with no challenger currently in the race.
“The Republican Party at this point is not yet doing what it should be doing — no matter who the Republican candidate is going to be — to be prepared for a campaign battle,” Treadwell said in a phone interview. Full story
Hilltop Public Solutions will name Craig Hughes, a top Colorado Democratic consultant, as its newest partner Tuesday.
Hughes, who served as Sen. Michael Bennet’s 2010 campaign manager in Colorado, is part of Hilltop’s expansion into the Western states. The firm recently hired operatives from Montana and Oregon. Full story