Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

September 26, 2012

Daily Ad Track

A “great wall” of ads continues to slam voters in competitive districts, especially on the topic of China.

But the biggest news today in political ads is that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is no longer keeping her powder dry in the Missouri Senate race. She went right for the jugular with a new statewide television ad almost as soon as it was certain Rep. Todd Akin (R) was her general election opponent. On the House front, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled a week of airtime in Florida’s 18th district, where Rep. Allen West (R) is seeking re-election. Officials said they were shifting resources to other races because House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has reserved ad time in West’s district. House Majority PAC is also shifting resources, as the House battleground map continues to come into sharper focus.

Here are the other best TV ads and trends we saw today:

Parents of the Deceased

Two Senate campaigns put up ads offering testimonials from the parents of someone who is deceased. In each, the parent vouched for the character of the candidate.

Ohio Senate

A father of a deceased young man described the work Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) did to increase bus safety. The ad is on Ohio airwaves, which includes some of the most saturated markets in the country.

Virginia Senate

A mother described former Sen. George Allen’s (R) sympathetic reaction to the death of her son, who died was serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq. Ad spending is saturating Virginia airwaves, and this new ad is part of ongoing statewide ad buys.

China, China, China

At least there is one thing the two parties can agree on — that China is an issue to use against the other side. It is a way to attack one’s opponent on the outsourcing and deficit fronts. China was similarly prominent in 2010 general election ads. China has been raised as an issue in the presidential campaign as well.

Full story

Missouri: NRSC Expresses Hope Todd Akin Will Defeat Claire McCaskill

Missouri: NRSC Expresses Hope Todd Akin Will Defeat Claire McCaskill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans continued to circle the wagons behind Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday, but it remained unclear if they would reverse course and put money behind his candidacy.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee was the latest to issue a statement today, following an endorsement by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) this morning and a statement of support late Tuesday from Missouri’s other Senator, Republican Roy Blunt.

“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Senator Claire McCaskill,” NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer said.

Full story

Amid Surge, Obama Camp Guards Against Overconfidence

Amid Surge, Obama Camp Guards Against Overconfidence

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Polls continued to shift strongly in President Barack Obama’s favor today, with the president opening up a 6-point lead in the Gallup tracking poll. He has even bigger leads in some polls in key swing states, including in Ohio, where both he and GOP challenger Mitt Romney campaigned today.

Obama jumped to a lead of 50 percent to 44 percent in the seven-day Gallup tracking poll, up from 48 percent to 45 percent Tuesday and a 47-percent tie just a few days ago. The results came as the Obama campaign tried to guard against overconfidence, and the Romney campaign has argued in recent days that most public polls are flawed.

The Romney campaign in the past week had taken solace in the relative closeness of the Gallup poll. Full story

House Majority PAC Cancels Miami, St. Louis and Boston Buys

House Majority PAC has canceled airtime aimed at House races in the pricey Miami, Boston and St. Louis markets.

In the past 24 hours, the Democratic super PAC pulled a $510,000 week-long buy in Miami for Oct. 9, $439,000 in St. Louis during the same week, and has canceled $637,500 for a two-week buy in the Boston market, according to sources in both parties who tracks ad buys.

The Miami market covers embattled Rep. David Rivera’s (R) district, which the super PAC planned to target. The St. Louis market covers two competitive open-seat races in Illinois: the the 12th and 13th districts. There are three Members in competitive races covered by the Boston media market: Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.), Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and Charles Bass (R-N.H.).

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Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has decided to wade into the Missouri Senate race in support of GOP Rep. Todd Akin.

DeMint is joining former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a fellow social conservative who sought the Republican presidential nomination this year, in endorsing Akin’s controversial candidacy.

In a statement released through Santorum’s Patriot Voices PAC, DeMint and Santorum made a fundraising appeal for the beleaguered Republican Senate candidate. Full story

Utah: Mia Love Takes Lead Over Jim Matheson in GOP Poll

Utah: Mia Love Takes Lead Over Jim Matheson in GOP Poll

Mia Love is much better known in Utah after her GOP convention speech. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

A Public Opinion Strategies poll released last night by Mia Love’s campaign showed the Republican pulling out to a double-digit lead over Rep. Jim Matheson (D) in Utah’s 4th district.

The Saratoga Springs mayor led 51 percent to 36 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Love’s pollster had found Matheson ahead in July with 51 percent, so the new poll indicates a dramatic shift in the race. Previous public polling had also shown Matheson with a signficant lead. Full story

Virginia: DSCC Launches First Ad in Senate Race

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is making its first foray into the Virginia Senate race with an ad accusing Republican George Allen of supporting the privatization of Social Security.

The ad, launched today, is part of the committee’s $8 million reservation of TV time in the state on behalf of Democrat Tim Kaine. Kaine has also received significant support from the Democratic-aligned Majority PAC.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has not yet made any independent expenditures in the state but has reserved about $5.5 million of TV time. Republican-aligned groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have spent significant resources to help Allen.

Allen also released a TV ad today featuring a 60-second testimonial from the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq.

The Tossup race between the two former governors is likely to go down to the wire in one of the top presidential and Senate battleground states.

New York: House Majority PAC Ad Hits Chris Collins on Tenure as County Executive

New York: House Majority PAC Ad Hits Chris Collins on Tenure as County Executive

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a third-party group supporting Democrats in Congressional races, today released an attack ad against Republican Congressional candidate Chris Collins, who is taking on Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) in New York’s 27th district.

The 30-second spot hits Collins, the former Erie County executive, for his tenure. “As county executive, Collins gave jobs to his friends,” a male narrator says. “Collins awarded his own company a lucrative county contract and had products manufactured overseas, creating jobs in Korea and China. Jobs we could really use in Western New York.”

Full story

Arizona: Richard Carmona Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat in Senate Race

Arizona: Richard Carmona Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat in Senate Race

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new internal poll released Tuesday night by the Senate campaign of former Surgeon General Richard Carmona showed the Arizona race to be in a statistical tie. Rep. Jeff Flake is the Republican nominee and has, until recent weeks, been considered a likely bet to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R).

Flake led Carmona by 1 point in the poll. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they backed Flake, while 43 percent backed Carmona. Three percent said they supported a libertarian candidate.

Flake and Carmona have net positive ratings. Thirty-eight percent of respondents had a favorable impression of Flake, while 32 percent had an unfavorable impression of him. As for Carmona, 34 percent viewed him positively, while 15 percent had a negative view of him.

The poll was conducted by Anzalone Lizst Research from Sept. 18-23. The live-interview survey included 600 likely voters. The margin of error was 4 points.

September 25, 2012

Missouri: Roy Blunt Backs Todd Akin as Deadline for Withdrawal Passes

Missouri: Roy Blunt Backs Todd Akin as Deadline for Withdrawal Passes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after the deadline passed for Republican Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Show-Me State’s current GOP Senator announced that he would back Akin’s candidacy.

“From Governor Romney to the county courthouse, I’ll be working for the Republican ticket in Missouri, and that includes Todd Akin,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement issued late Tuesday. Blunt said that despite some policy disagreements, “he and I agree the Senate majority must change.”

Akin faced a concerted push from Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to drop out of the Senate race after winning the nomination because of concerns that he would have no chance to prevail in November, in what could be a critical contest for GOP efforts to retake the Senate. Full story

Florida: DCCC Cancels Week of Airtime in Allen West Race

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled a week of airtime in Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) district starting Oct. 9, according to multiple sources tracking the buy.

Democrats cite a substantial House Majority PAC buy — $1 million over a few weeks including Oct. 9 — as the reason they pulled their reservation in the West Palm Beach market that week.

It’s almost never a good sign when a committee cuts airtime for a candidate. The cancellation comes on the heels of the DCCC’s move to cancel a second weeklong buy for Rep. Larry Kissell’s (D-N.C.) tough re-election bid.

But unlike Kissell’s bid, the Florida race remains competitive — at least compared with other Democratic pickup opportunities (Roll Call rates it as Leans Republican). And the DCCC has given no other indication that it’s ready to give up on the race, either. Full story

Pennsylvania: GOP Poll Shows Tie in 12th District Race

A new GOP poll shows a dead heat between Rep. Mark Critz (D) and attorney Keith Rothfus (R) in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Both candidates scored 38 percent in the survey paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the GOP nominee. Twenty-four percent of respondents reported they were undecided.

Party committees, candidates and outside groups have barraged the airwaves in the district. But in the past few weeks, Democratic groups accounted for more airtime.

Republicans say Rothfus improved his position in the race despite the Democratic ad campaign. In July, Rothfus trailed Critz by 15 points in a similar survey from the NRCC and his campaign. This summer, a trio of Democratic surveys also showed Critz holding a smaller 6 to 10 point lead over Rothfus.

The new numbers underscore the competitiveness of the race. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

The McLaughlin & Associates survey tested 400 likely general election voters in the 12th district from Sept. 19 to 20. The margin of error is 4.9 points.

The survey showed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama in the district, 53 percent to 39 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

View the full polling memo below: Full story

Daily Ad Track

The rate of new political television advertisements has accelerated. And, more and more, campaigns are trading accusations about the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the ads.

Some of what was unveiled today:

Connecticut Senate

On Monday afternoon, Democratic nominee Rep. Christopher Murphy’s campaign went up with an ad that hammered GOP nominee and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon on women’s issues.

The ad shows a stream of women giving testimonials about how McMahon has demeaned women during her tenure at the professional wrestling company. The clips go on to explain how McMahon will side with “extreme” Republicans on medical coverage of mammograms and contraception.

Less than 22 hours later, McMahon was up with a strikingly direct response ad. What it lacks in gimmicks, graphics and humor, it delivers with simplicity. Buy information was not immediately obtainable, but sources say the Murphy and McMahon buys are serious.

“Murphy calls me anti-woman,” McMahon says. “But Chris, take a look, I am a woman. A pro-choice woman. My company offered excellent benefits that included mammograms and access to birth control.”

Full story

Missouri Senate Race Moves to Leans Democratic as Todd Akin Stays Put

Missouri Senate Race Moves to Leans Democratic as Todd Akin Stays Put

Rep. Todd Akin confirmed once and for all today that he will be the GOP Senate nominee in Missouri. (Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

Rep. Todd Akin reaffirmed for the final time today that he will be the irrevocable Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, despite the best efforts of national Republicans to get him to step aside after he made now-infamous comments about “legitimate rape.”

At a press conference in St. Louis, where he didn’t take any questions, Akin pledged to push forward in the face of today’s 5 p.m. CDT deadline to remove himself from the ballot.

National Republicans have refused to support Akin ever since he made the widely publicized comments about rape in August, with both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee saying they will stay out of the race as long as he stays in.

Akin faces Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who began the cycle as one of the most vulnerable Senators up for re-election. With it now clear that Akin will be on the ballot in November, Roll Call is changing its race rating for the Missouri Senate race from Tossup to Leans Democratic. Full story

Wisconsin: SEIU Backs Off 8th District

The Service Employees International Union has canceled a previously scheduled television ad buy in support of businessman Jamie Wall’s (D) challenge of Rep. Reid Ribble (R).

Roll Call has learned from a source monitoring Wisconsin advertising markets that the union will no longer follow through with its approximately $130,000 reservation in the Green Bay media market, which covers the 8th district. But the same source noted that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is still scheduled to go on television in Green Bay on Oct. 9.

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, had previously canceled a $130,000 television ad-buy reservation in mid-September.

Full story

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