Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today announced he has hired Jesse Benton to manage his 2014 campaign.
Benton, who has deep ties to the tea party movement in Kentucky and around the country, led Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) White House bid and managed now-Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) general election campaign in 2010.
If McConnell accrues any political vulnerability on his right flank in Kentucky — and Bluegrass State GOP political operatives believe he doesn’t have much right now — having Benton as his top campaign aide is likely to help significantly reduce the threat of a serious primary challenge. But the move does more than just help in the primary. Full story
The Republican-aligned YG Action Fund, a super PAC formed by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), boosted its TV advertising against Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) on Tuesday by almost $200,000.
The group now has $734,000 backing its TV spot in the Raleigh-Durham media market from Sept. 7 through Oct. 12.
The current spot — and others could be rotated in — is entitled “Two Mikes.”
Attorney Shelley Adler (D) has put up an off-beat television ad poking fun at Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R) past as a professional football player. Adler is looking to unseat Runyan in New Jersey’s 3rd district.
Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) led his Republican challenger, former state Sen. Richard Tisei, by 12 points in a new independent poll. But Tierney, who has suffered politically from revelations about his wife’s family’s gambling ring, is burdened with some significant weaknesses, the survey showed.
Tierney got 46 percent compared with Tisei’s 34 percent in the WBUR poll of likely voters that included leaners conducted by the MassINC Polling Group. Eleven percent were undecided, and 7 percent said they would vote for the Libertarian candidate.
When leaners were not included, Tierney’s lead over Tisei was 7 points.
But red flags abounded for the eight-term Congressman in this poll. Only 35 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of him — a low number for a longtime Member — while 30 percent had an unfavorable view. Twenty-one percent had heard of him but were undecided, and 10 percent had never heard of him. Full story
A Democratic super PAC will blitz six House districts with $2.2 million worth of television advertisements starting today.
House Majority PAC’s buy targets competitive races in California, Iowa, North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin with tailored spots for each race.
The spending spree marks this super PAC’s largest flight of advertisements yet in the 2012 cycle. Most importantly for Democrats, the spots will help the party stay competitive on the air in races where Republicans already reserved a significant amount of ad space.
Plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin made an unexpected trip to the hospital over the weekend to treat “a small tear” in his esophagus, according to the 2nd district GOP nominee’s Facebook page.
“I’m feeling much better now and the Doctors and Nurses are doing a great job,” Mullin wrote on Sunday. “I’ll be in the hospital until about the end of the week as they keep an eye on me but then I’ll be back on the campaign trail.”
Mullin faces former Assistant District Attorney Rob Wallace (D) in an open-seat race generated by Rep. Dan Boren’s (D) retirement.
Mullin is favored to win the seat despite his brief break from the campaign trail.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who is running for an open Senate seat, issued a harsh rebuke of a Republican-aligned outside group that launched three ads against him Tuesday, the anniversary of 9/11.
A Crossroads GPS spokesman said in a release that the $1 million ad campaign highlights the areas in which Kaine is out of step with Virginia, including on issues such as education and the defense industry.
In response, the Kaine campaign released a statement regarding the timing of the latest round of ads, rather than its routine fact-check. Full story
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) has made television advertisement reservations in the 1st district, where he is running for re-election even as he simultaneously campaigns for vice president.
Ryan’s 1st district ad buy is set to run for the next two weeks and dovetails with Wisconsin television ads being run by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Romney/Ryan ticket. Businessman Rob Zerban is challenging Ryan in the 1st district.
Zerban is Ryan’s most organized Democratic challenger in recent memory. But Ryan has a daunting amount of money stockpiled and newfound national notoriety, and redistricting improved the lines for him.
Roll Call currently rates this race as Safe Republican.
Rep. John Tierney (D) will launch his first television ad of the election season Wednesday. It attacks his Republican opponent, former state Sen. Richard Tisei, for being “too extreme.”
“The tea party Republican agenda: outlaw abortion, restrict birth control, billionaire tax cuts, middle-class tax hikes,” a female narrator says over spooky music and desaturated slow-motion images of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.
“And Richard Tisei?” the narrator continues over unflattering slow-motion video of Tisei. “He calls the tea party ‘a godsend’ to Republicans; defends extreme anti-choice Republican views, saying, ‘It is what it is.’ Republicans plan to gut Medicare? Tisei calls it ‘a good starting point.’
“Tea party Republicans and Richard Tisei: What it is is too extreme,” the narrator says.