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March 13, 2013
A new poll shows Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s commanding lead in the 2014 primary in New Jersey has increased since Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s retirement announcement.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., another Democrat who has expressed interest in the Senate race, picked up 4 percent in the poll. Meanwhile, 7 percent supported Democratic Rep. Rush D. Holt, who has also floated his name as a contender. Thirty-two percent of respondents were undecided.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in February and ended the month with more money in the bank.
The DCCC took in $6.3 million in February to the NRCC’s $5 million haul. The DCCC had $7.6 million in cash on hand as of the end of last month, while the NRCC had only $4.4 million.
The NRCC had slightly less debt though: $10 million to the DCCC’s $10.9 million. The DCCC announced its fundraising totals earlier on Wednesday.
The DCCC also outraised the NRCC in January.
Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, stars in a 30-second television spot released by the Kentucky Republican’s campaign.
In the spot set to air on Thursday, Chao pushes back against attack ads that have targeted her husband and references tweets from the liberal group Progress Kentucky about her Chinese ancestry.
“You’ve seen the ads attacking my husband. As Mitch McConnell’s wife, I’ve learned to expect them,” Chao says, with soft music in the background. “Now far-left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity. Even attacking Mitch’s patriotism, because he’s married to me. That’s how low some people will stoop.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $6.3 million in February, ending last month with $7.6 million in cash on hand.
House Democrats’ campaign organization, charged with netting the 17 seats necessary to win control of the House, reported $10.9 million of debt at the end of February, according to figures provided by a DCCC official.
Fundraising numbers for the National Republican Congressional Committee were not immediately available.
Monthly fundraising reports for the committees are due to the Federal Election Commission on March 20.
In January, the DCCC outraised the NRCC by nearly $2 million.
Democratic Rep. Gerald E. Connolly may have his first Republican challenger of the 2014 cycle.
Ron Meyer, 23, a former spokesman for a couple of GOP-aligned groups, is exploring a bid for Congress in the suburban 11th District outside Washington, D.C. If successful, Meyer would be among the youngest ever elected to Congress — the Herndon resident turns 25 on Sept. 28, 2014, less than two months before the election.
However, should he run, Meyer would have a challenging road ahead to take out Connolly. Once one of the state’s most competitive areas, this district was redrawn last year as safely Democratic. President Barack Obama won it with 62 percent, and Connolly was re-elected to a third term with 61 percent.
March 12, 2013
Scott Romney will not run for the open Michigan Senate seat in 2014, according to a state GOP source who spoke with Romney late on Tuesday.
Romney, the brother of the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, would have kicked off the primary in the strongest position in the field, according to a new automated poll released Tuesday by a GOP firm.
But the corporate attorney has decided to forgo a bid for retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s seat. Democrats have an advantage in the race given the state’s electoral history and, barring a top-tier GOP recruit, the party is in a good position to keep the seat.
The list of potential Democratic candidates includes Debbie Dingell, the wife of longtime Rep. John D. Dingell, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Rep. Mark Schauer, Rep. Gary Peters and Rep. Dan Kildee. Full story
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has bought six figures worth of airtime to back a television ad campaign beginning on Thursday. The buy marks the start of what could be one of the cycle’s most contentious races.
McConnell’s ads, up a year and eight months before his name appears on a general election ballot, will air for a week in the Lexington, Ky., and Louisville, Ky., media markets. The buy is in the “low six figures,” a McConnell aide told CQ Roll Call.
Democrats framed the early ad buy as a sign of weakness.
“Running campaign commercials almost two years before an election is an unprecedented admission of fear for a sitting senator,” Dan Logsdon, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement.
Attorney Scott Romney and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm lead their respective party fields in the 2014 Michigan Senate race, according to a new automated survey from Harper Polling, a GOP firm.
Fifty-nine percent of Democrats surveyed said they would back Granholm in a primary, while 13 percent backed Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., 6 percent supported Rep. Dan Kildee, and 23 percent of respondents said they were undecided.
Meanwhile, Romney — the brother of the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee — leads the potential Republican field with 26 percent of those surveyed. Rep. Mike Rogers came in second with 17 percent support, followed by Rep. Justin Amash with 11 percent. Thirty-seven percent said they were unsure of whom they supported.
The Rothenberg Political Report rates the race as “Safe Democratic,” due in part to the state’s recent history of rejecting Republicans statewide, explained Stu Rothenberg in his most recent Roll Call column.
The new numbers come just a couple days after Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced his retirement, opening the floodgates of potential candidates interested in his seat.
Here’s a look at the current field of possible contenders:
- Debbie Dingell, the politically active wife of longtime Rep. John Dingell, is considering a run, CNN reported on Monday. Dingell did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.
- Granholm had no comment on the Senate race, according to her spokeswoman. About a month ago, Granholm left her Current TV program. She ended her gubernatorial tenure with low approval ratings but more recently had delivered one of the most rousing speeches at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
- A handful of news reports also mentioned Kildee, a freshman, as potential candidate.
- On Friday, Peters told Detroit Free Press editorial board that he is “going to seriously consider” running.
- Former Rep. Mark Schauer has not issued a public statement on the race, but sources continue to suggest the former one-term congressman as a potential candidate. Schauer did not return a request for comment. Full story
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., announced Tuesday she has hired Preston Elliott to be her 2014 campaign manager in a race that’s expected to be among Democrats’ toughest this cycle.
An experienced operative, Elliott served as campaign manager for Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election campaign in Montana, one of the most heavily targeted races of the 2012 cycle. He is also a veteran of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2010 re-election effort, and he was the deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“I am so pleased to have Preston on board as my campaign manager,” Hagan said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of success, and with his help and the help of North Carolinians of all walks of life, I expect to cross the finish line with a victory in November 2014.”
Obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon is the first Republican challenger to enter the race.
But Republicans say Brannon won’t be the only — or the strongest — contender. They name state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers, state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry as potential candidates.
Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he has moved to West Virginia but cautioned “no final decisions have been made” on a future run for office.
“Now I am working on a book about door to door campaigning and politics, which will take at least a couple months,” Mooney said in an email, chalking up his delayed response to overseas travel.
On Monday, multiple sources said Mooney had conversations this weekend about running for the open 2nd District seat in West Virginia. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is leaving that seat to run for Senate in 2014.
March 11, 2013
Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney has moved to West Virginia and is considering a run for the open 2nd District, according to a high-ranking state party official.
West Virginia GOP National Committeeman Kris Warner confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Mooney had his eye is on the seat held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is running for Senate in 2014.
“That was something he was considering doing right now,” Warner said, confirming a Friday report in Red Maryland, a conservative blog. “He told me he had purchased property in West Virginia.”
Warner described Friday evening conversations at a party reception in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The state GOP’s executive committee held a meeting over the weekend in the eastern West Virginia town not far from the Maryland border. Full story
With House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan set to release his new budget on Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee warned House Republicans eyeing Senate races that it will use their votes for the plan against them in paid media.
On Monday, DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil and Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told reporters that the Wisconsin Republican’s previous budget plan hurt GOP Senate candidates last year. Cecil said that all of the post-election analysis has overlooked that fact in favor of a focus on the GOP’s candidate quality problem, polling inaccuracies and, according to the DSCC, faulty messaging.
“We’ll be launching an online media campaign to educate voters on Facebook and other social media,” Cecil said. “We’ll be launching an email campaign to engage our volunteers and our donors in this fight. And really this is the first in several steps to hold Republicans accountable on the air, on the ground, in the mail and online.”
The League of Conservation Voters announced on Monday a new, six-figure field campaign to boost Rep. Edward J. Markey’s bid for the Democratic nod in the Massachusetts special election for Senate.
Meanwhile, a source tells CQ Roll Call that Markey will begin a television ad campaign on Tuesday, ramping up his election effort seven weeks before primary voters decide between him and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.
LCV, a well-funded environmental group, said the organization would spend at least $650,000 on the field campaign by the April 30 primary.
The size of Markey’s TV buy was not immediately available.
Markey led Lynch by significant margins in a series of recent polls. Markey has the backing of the LCV, along with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, among others.
March 8, 2013
Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin will seek a fourth term, a source close to the Illinois Democrat confirmed.
The Chicago Tribune reported the news Friday afternoon.
Durbin is the second-ranking Senate Democrat. He is actively involved in immigration reform negotiations and recently took the gavel of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
This essentially keeps the seat in the Safe Democratic column. Had he not run, it might have been competitive, although Republicans have a relatively weak bench in the state.
Scott Romney, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s brother, is looking at running for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat, according to a Michigan GOP source with first-hand knowledge of his interest.
The Republican is a Harvard-educated corporate attorney at the Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, LLP. He was not immediately available for comment.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Gary Peters told The Detroit Free Press editorial board that he is “going to seriously consider” running. Peters, who ended 2012 with nearly $500,000 in cash on hand, is considered the Democrats’ top recruit.
Democrats begin the open-seat race with a decided advantage. But serious structural problems plague the Michigan Democratic Party. This race, along with the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, will test newly-elected Chairman Lon Johnson.