Republicans are nervously awaiting the Tuesday deadline for Rep. Todd Akin (R) to drop his Missouri Senate bid. But Friday is a big day, too.
The first wave of ballots is set to be mailed to Show-Me State voters living overseas, including those serving in the military. And if any change to the ballot occurs after those ballots are sent out, voters who received them could be disenfranchised — a factor that could motivate a Missouri court to block any request by Akin to remove himself from the ballot, according to one state official. Full story
Former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine debates former Republican Sen. George Allen in their first televised debate for Virginia's Senate seat. The debate was hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC4 Washington at the Capital One Conference Center. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
McLEAN, Va. — Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen met today in their third debate of the long campaign for Virginia’s open Senate seat.
The two former governors touched on themes prevalent on the campaign trail — health care, defense sequester cuts, taxes and the economy — and drew a clear line in the sand for the independent Northern Virginia voters, who will play a determinate role in the outcome of the race.
“Folks, there’s a clear choice in this Senate election, in which approach is going to be best for jobs here in our country,” Allen said in his closing remarks.
The debate, hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC-4, came a day after two public polls showed Kaine for the first time pulling out to a significant lead over his Republican opponent. The two have been tied since Kaine entered the race about 17 months ago, and both Allen and Kaine downplayed the polling results to reporters after the event. Full story
For more than a year, there was consensus among Democrats and, privately, Republicans that Walsh stood very little chance of winning the redrawn, Democratic-leaning district. The controversial conservative barely won a first term, and now he’s facing one of Illinois Democrats’ most-beloved candidates.
The super PAC’s spot “displays a positive side of the Congressman,” according to a press release. Walsh attracted a fair amount of poor press during this term for a six-figure child support lawsuit eventually settled outside court.
“Joe Walsh is a different kind of Congressman,” the spot says. “He turned down his Congressional health care and pension so the taxpayers didn’t have to foot the bill.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today accused his GOP counterparts of trying to hold votes later this evening to shield Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) from debating his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren.
“I’m sorry. We have no more votes today. It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos,” Reid said. “It’s obvious there’s a big stall taking place. One of the Senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in the debate. Well, he can’t used the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today.”
Brown and Warren, whom Reid urged to run for Senate, are set to debate each other for the first time at 7 p.m. today.
Senate Democratic leaders today expressed optimism about their prospects of holding on to control of the chamber in November.
The grandest pronouncement came from Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
“For this entire Congress, Republicans thought if they blocked anything helping the economy and deprived the president of any accomplishments, it would deliver them a huge political victory in November. Then they could deal with all of the nation’s challenges entirely on their own terms,” Schumer said. “The strategy is backfiring on them.”
A day after the Democratic Conference met with Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina, Schumer argued that recently revealed comments by GOP nominee Mitt Romney about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes are having downballot effects that bolster Democratic chances of at least holding the Senate by a thread.
“Their presidential nominee just offended half the country,” Schumer said of Romney. “His flailing campaign is now having a drag effect for Republican Senate candidates across the country, and this has them a little cranky.”
Schumer then pointed to the coordinated speeches this morning by about 30 Republicans on the Senate floor, criticizing Obama and Senate Democrats on a slew of issues including the economy and gasoline prices.
“We have recruited amazing people to run in these Senate races,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Murray name-checked as strong Senate candidates Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. While North Dakota is a Republican majority state, Heitkamp is running to succeed a Democratic Senator, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad.
“I have been so impressed with the people who have stood up to say yes, I do want to serve my country at a difficult time and run in what is an easy thing to do for the United States Senate,” Murray said.
Candidate recruitment has helped the Democrats in some states, along with perceived weakness on the Republican side in some races, but the inverse is sometimes true as well.
For instance, Democrats have a real race on their hands in Connecticut between Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) and Republican Linda McMahon to fill the seat being vacated by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Nonetheless, “This is not where Republicans thought they’d be with 50 days left before election,” Schumer said.
Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will be endorsed by Boston Mayor Tom Menino Friday. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)
UPDATED 4:30 p.m. | Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D) will endorse Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren Friday, the Boston Globe reports.
For months, Menino had been mum on his decision about an endorsement in Warren’s race against popular Sen. Scott Brown (R). But according to local media reports, he will support his party’s nominee.
Menino, Boston’s longtime mayor, controls a juggernaut get-out-the-vote operation in the state’s largest city. Earlier this month, he told reporters that when he backs a candidate, he gives it his all.
“When I get [into] a campaign, I never do it half-baked,” he said. “I do it all the way.”
And, in the end, Menino and Warren belong to the same party.
“He’s going to pull out all the stops because it’s good for the Democratic party,” said Massachusetts Democratic consultant Scott Ferson.
Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate race as a Tossup.
Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into the Senate races of GOP candidates in Indiana, Florida and Ohio. (CQ/Roll Call File Photo)
Republican Senate nominees in Indiana, Florida and Ohio could get a needed cash infusion from the conservative Club for Growth before Election Day.
In an interview following this morning’s Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into those three Senate races, where candidates endorsed by the cash-flush group continue to struggle in public polls.
“We’re watching the race,” Chocola said about Ohio and Florida. “We’re raising money for both [Ohio Treasurer Josh] Mandel and [Florida Rep. Connie] Mack through bundling. If we think there is a message and a market where we can help, we will.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is shifting ad dollars to target Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun shifting advertising dollars and is now targeting a California Congresswoman not originally included in its television reservations while canceling buys in two districts — one each in Ohio and North Carolina.
The DCCC is set to launch its first independent expenditure advertisement against Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), but has pulled a week of advertising it had reserved in the districts of Reps. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio). The committee won’t be running any ads in those districts during the week of Oct. 2-8. Full story
Two new polls found former Gov. Angus King (I) leading his Democratic and Republican competitors, but by a smaller margin than he was before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched attack ads to undermine his Senate candidacy.
Both polls were done using robocalls to landlines only, a polling strategy that is not considered as accurate as using live interviewers to call cellphones and landlines. Still, the new data offer a revealing view into a race that is thought to be King’s to lose.
The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found King leading GOP nominee Charlie Summers by 8 points among likely voters. King got 43 percent to Summers’ 35 percent. Democratic nominee Cynthia Dill pulled 14 percent.
The nonpartisan Maine People’s Resource Center found King leading Summers by 16 points among registered voters. King took 44 percent to Summers’ 28 percent and Dill’s 15 percent. Full story
Two polls released Wednesday show Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) has made progress in her race against former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) for the state’s open Senate seat.
A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed Baldwin leading Thompson by a 9-point margin. Fifty percent of likely voters said they favored her, while 41 percent said they backed Thompson. It is a complete reversal from Marquette’s mid-August poll, which showed Thompson with a 9-point lead. Republicans contend that this latest Marquette poll oversamples Democrats. Full story
In today’s Ad Tracker, there are a couple of interesting television spots, including one that features President George W. Bush in a positive light, and one poll. Enjoy.
The Big Buy:
Rep. Jim Gerlach’s (R-Pa.) first spot of the cycle is an attack ad against his Democratic opponent, physician Manan Trivedi. Gerlach’s campaign told PoliticsPA that advertisement will only run on cable.
McMahon Alludes to the Other Chris’ Problems:
Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon has a smart new television ad in which she defends her ability to self-fund her Connecticut Senate bid by saying, “In the Senate, I will owe you, not the special interests who corrupt so many career politicians from Hartford to Washington.”
It is a subtle allusion to the political problems of state House Speaker Chris Donovan (D), not her opponent Rep. Christopher Murphy. Donovan had the inside track to succeeding Murphy in Congress until an alleged quid pro quo scandal involving tobacco interests deep sixed his campaign and he lost the Democratic nomination.
A difference in Chris-es, yes, but it plays into fears that some Democrats had over the summer — that even if Donovan did not get his party’s nomination, his woes could spread to other Democrats on the ballot.
Kaine Features Bush and Obama:
How many Democratic Senate candidates this cycle (or ever) have featured President George W. Bush in an ad in a positive way? Likewise, how many in swing states have featured President Barack Obama? It’s likely that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is the only one to have done both in a single ad.
“I don’t agree with any president all the time, but I know that when our nation succeeds, Virginia succeeds,” Kaine says into the camera. He’s running against George Allen (R), a former governor and Senator, for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).
The Big Number:
Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Enyart (D) led businessman Jason Plummer (R), 49 percent to 41 percent, in a new poll of the open Illinois 12th district from House Majority PAC and Service Employees International Union. Also in the 12th district, the poll showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 41 percent.
The Benenson Strategy Group memo surveyed 400 likely general election voters from Sept. 11-13. The full memo can be viewed here.
It’s worth noting that in early August, Plummer’s campaign released its own internal poll that showed the Republican with a double-digit lead.