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October 16, 2012
Karl Rove’s powerful Crossroads GPS is set to go on the air for one week to attack a half-dozen Democratic Senate candidates and one Democratic-leaning Independent, at a total cost of $5 million.
According to the group, the ads will run against Rep. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, former Gov. Angus King in Maine, Sen. Jon Tester in Montana, Rep. Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, former Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia and Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.
“From tax hikes to reckless spending, these liberal politicians are rubber-stamps for the out-of-touch policies which have resulted in an anemic economy and fewer jobs,” Crossroads GPS Director of State and Regional Media Relations Nate Hodson said in a statement. “Crossroads hopes to prevent the higher taxes and more government these politicians support from continuing to hinder the economic recovery we need.”
Roll Call has learned the $5 million buy breaks down as follows (with links to the spots as posted online): Full story
About a month ago, Roll Call published a story about how operatives adjusted their TV messaging in anticipation of ad inundation. This week, the New York Times and Ad Age have stellar pieces that dig deep into the economic implications of the nationwide ad blitz. Each article explains how it is getting harder and harder for ads to break through the clutter.
Here are the ones that are worth highlighting in that endeavor today:
This spot, courtesy of the Service Employees International Union, is one of the best ads of the cycle. Sure, it makes a point that surfaces in a lot of ads — a politician puts his personal gains over those of his home district or state. But what separates this ad from all of the others is how the images and depressing narration are set to an almost sarcastic sounding version of the University of Wisconsin fight song “On Wisconsin.” SEIU put $600,000 behind the ad.
The National Republican Congressional Committee hit the airwaves this week on behalf of California Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
It’s the committee’s first independent expenditure in this competitive race. The 36th district was not among either national party committee’s original TV reservations, but the race has now emerged as a battleground.
The NRCC ad ties physician Raul Ruiz to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Medicare cuts and job losses. “Raul Ruiz might be a doctor, but Nancy Pelosi is already writing his prescriptions,” the ad’s announcer says. Full story
Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) PAC is adding Missouri to the list of states where it has created an ad against Democratic Senators opposing his effort to curb U.S. aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.
The ad against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) circulated on YouTube today. It could be a small boon for the beleaguered campaign of challenger Rep. Todd Akin (R). Paul has previously put up similar ads with money behind them targeting Senators in West Virginia, Ohio and Florida.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union have launched ad campaigns totaling almost $2 million in two tight statewide races in New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
The New Hampshire campaign features a $1.3 million joint ad by AFSCME and SEIU assailing GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne as a “radical” who “wants to end Medicare as we know it.”
Polls show Lamontagne statistically tied with Democrat Maggie Hassan in the open-seat gubernatorial contest. The joint ad targeting Lamontagne will run in the Boston-Manchester market between now and Election Day. Full story
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is endorsing former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in the race to fill Hawaii’s open Senate seat, even though he appeared in an ad backing Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) during primary season.
Young made the announcement in a letter on Monday, endorsing Lingle because her victory — as unlikely as it seems to be — could help Republicans take control of the Senate. The campaign is not close, with polling showing Lingle trailing Hirono by double digits. But it continues to generate strange side stories far from the mainland.
“As the only noncontiguous states in the union, Alaska and Hawaii are connected through a unique set of issues facing each state. Energy is on the minds of both Alaskans and Hawaiians,” Young wrote. “Harry Reid and his cohorts — continue to stand in the way of responsible development of Alaska’s resources.”
Sen. Bob Casey’s Republican challenger continues to close the gap with the incumbent in two new polls.
A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found the Pennsylvania Democrat leading Tom Smith, a former coal company executive, by only 3 points in a horse-race matchup, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided. That’s down from the 18-point lead Casey held in a Quinnipiac University survey from August.
In a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released Monday, Casey led Smith by 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent, with 18 percent of those likely voters polled undecided. That’s down from Casey’s double-digit lead in a September Muhlenberg College poll. Pennsylvania does not permit early voting, allowing a candidate who surges late to be competitive on Election Day.
October 15, 2012
The Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council endorsed Democrat Elizabeth Esty on Monday in the 5th district.
“We endorse Elizabeth Esty for Congress because our members are confident she will stand up and fight the radical right wing tea party agenda,” said Paul Filson, director of the SEIU’s state branch. “We know she will champion rights for workers and their families. She will fight to protect the promise of Social Security and Medicare. She will push for common sense investments in education, services and vital infrastructure improvements for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional district.”
While at first glance it would seem unremarkable that a union endorsed a Democrat, the unions strongly backed state Speaker Christopher Donovan in the Democratic primary.
According to an August Hartford Courant article, Esty “hasn’t always agreed with labor’s agenda,” and a decision to sit out this race would “undercut the Democratic Party.”
Esty is in a tough general election battle with state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a moderate Republican.
Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.
Two internal Democratic polls released today offered the party good news in both defensive and offensive territory in California.
In the Palm Springs-based 36th district, the campaign of physician Raul Ruiz (D) released a poll that found him ahead of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), 46 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The poll also offered this encouraging sign: President Barack Obama led Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 5 points. Full story
Updated 7:12 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) continued in his chosen role of Democratic attack dog today, this time entering the fray in a House campaign in Nevada and criticizing GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian’s finances.
Following a failed real estate deal, Tarkanian and his family are facing a $17 million judgement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Tarkanian has said his family is the victim of fraud in the California project. Reid, however, has other ideas. He called the real estate deal a “ridiculous loan.”
“His judgment was so bad that he gambled and lost his family’s entire nest egg because he failed to do his homework,” Reid said on a conference call today.
If freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is losing his grasp on Michigan’s 1st district, his campaign coffers don’t show it.
His campaign announced its best fundraising quarter ever today, raising a total of $510,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to close the period with more than $570,000 in cash on hand.
His opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), reported raising just $400,000. But heading into the final weeks of the campaign, he is sitting on $600,000.
Recent polls suggest McDowell has gained ground on Benishek, a tea-party-backed physician who rode the 2010 Republican wave to Congress and is one of his party’s most vulnerable lawmakers. The Detroit Free Press endorsed McDowell on Sunday.
Campaigns, committees and outside groups are flooding the airwaves with negative television ads. A common hit to those who have held public office is a vote to increase one’s own salary.
American Action Network, a Republican super PAC, announced this morning that it was targeting four House races — California’s 10th, Minnesota’s 8th, New Hampshire’s 1st and New York’s 27th. The new ads released will have $5 million behind them, and more money and ads are expected to come in the closing weeks.
But it was a rare positive ad that best cut through the clutter today:
North Dakota Senate
This new statewide broadcast ad, which features former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) swinging away at a batting cage, created angst among female members of the Washington press corps who participate in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
The game annually pits female reporters against female Members. The Member roster is postured to lose its best hitter in Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who was recently named Roll Call’s most endangered incumbent. If Heitkamp is able to pull out her Tossup race against Rep. Rick Berg (R), it is a safe bet to assume that two of her first congratulatory calls will be coming from Member team captains Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) looking to recruit her for their team.
Wasserman Schultz, who does double duty as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, jokingly tweeted on the ad, “I cannot confirm nor deny that batting average is a question on our candidate recruitment forms!”
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) raised $7.45 million in the third quarter, while Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic opponent, pulled in an eye-popping $12.1 million from July 1 through Sept. 30.
Brown’s campaign said he ended the quarter with $10.2 million in cash on hand. Warren’s campaign did not say how much cash she had in the bank at the end of last month.
Quarterly fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission today.
Recent polls have shown the Bay State Senate contest to be close. Roll Call rates the fiercely fought race as a Tossup.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in September. The DCCC raised $15.3 million to the NRCC’s $12.4 million. The DCCC ended September with $26.4 million in cash on hand, while the NRCC had $29.5 million in the bank.
Both committees, tasked with winning or keeping control of the House, have spent heavily over the last month as TV ad spending has ratcheted into top gear. Republicans are poised to maintain control of the House, but the margin remains unclear with just over 20 days to go before Election Day.
October 14, 2012
The independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee launched 16 new ads Friday backed by a combined total of more than $6 million.
Republicans are poised to comfortably keep control of the House, but how much the chamber’s margin shifts will largely depend on the way competitive races swing over the next 23 days.
The NRCC is on television — playing both offense and defense — in the following districts: Full story