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November 26, 2015

Posts in "Senate"

November 23, 2015

Time to Stop Reporting on Committee Fundraising Numbers


Sen. Jon Tester, left, heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Sen. Roger Wicker, right, is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:40 p.m. | Political reporters have a fever and the only prescription appears to be fundraising numbers.

It’s a time-honored tradition: Every month, the House and Senate campaign committees release fundraising totals in a regular effort to claim momentum and financial supremacy, and political reporters can’t resist the temptation to report them.

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November 11, 2015

EMILY’s List Support Isn’t Early Enough for Senate Hopeful

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 21: Democratic candidate Pam Keith, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Florida, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call, September 21, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith is running against much better-funded candidates for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pam Keith is a pro-choice Democratic woman running in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, but the first-time candidate is having trouble getting EMILY’s List interested in her candidacy in Florida.

EMILY’s List was founded 30 years ago to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” because “it makes the dough rise.”

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November 10, 2015

Is Vitter on the Verge of Losing Everything?

david vitter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to belonging on a list of swing states, yet Republican David Vitter is at risk of losing not only his gubernatorial race this month, but also his Senate seat next year.

The Pelican State’s senior senator has struggled to unify the Republican vote after finishing second in the Oct. 24 jungle primary with just 23 percent. He trails Democrat John Bel Edwards in multiple public polls heading into the Nov. 21 runoff. Full story

November 6, 2015

Ratings Shift in Three Senate Races


McCain will probably never be safe from a primary challenge as long as he stays in the Senate (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A year out from the 2016 elections, the playing field of competitive Senate races is still taking shape, with ratings changes in three contests.

The new Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call ratings are listed below — with more analysis is included in Friday’s edition of the Report.

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November 4, 2015

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., leaves the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Much like Bevin in Kentucky, Vitter has trailed his Democratic opponent in the Louisiana governor’s race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.

Bevin’s victory wasn’t the political shockwave on par with Eric Cantor’s primary loss in 2014, but the Republican’s margin of victory was stunning.

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October 26, 2015

Vitter’s Primary Performance Prompts Rating Change in Louisiana


Vitter’s personal history makes it complicated for Republicans to stick their necks out for him. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana has transitioned to a Republican state, but GOP Sen. David Vitter will test the political gravity of the Pelican State in next month’s gubernatorial runoff.

Vitter was regarded as the front-runner to replace presidential candidate/current Gov. Bobby Jindal for much of the cycle, but the senator’s consistently poor performance in the polls and his showing in Saturday’s all-party primary has some Republicans very concerned that Vitter could let the governorship slip into Democratic hands.

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October 20, 2015

What the Heck Happened to Rand Paul?

UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference which featured speeches by conservative politicians at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, June 18, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul has become just another candidate back in the pack, waiting for his inevitable exit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I never expected Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul would win his party’s nomination for president, but I did expect he would be a factor in the race. So far, he hasn’t been one. (See my February column on his foreign policy challenges here.)

While Paul’s father never was a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul proved to be a strong fundraiser who was able to compete in low-turnout caucus states where his dedicated supporters showed energy and a deep commitment.

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October 5, 2015

Hassan’s Decision Changes Outlook in 2 New Hampshire Races

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: Gov. Margaret "Maggie" Hassan, D-N.H., speaks during the breakfast meeting with the State of New Hampshire Executive Council at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hassan’s entry had been expected for months. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After months of speculation, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan announced her bid Monday to challenge GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, setting up what should be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Hassan’s decision is yet another victory for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which continues to succeed in fights with the other Democratic campaign committees for top recruits. But it won’t be an easy race.

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October 2, 2015

Louisiana Governor’s Race Less Certain for David Vitter

UNITED STATES - JUNE 23: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., participates in a press conference on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 to introduce a six-year highway reauthorization bill titled the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act). (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A couple recent polls show Vitter struggling to consolidate support against a Democrat in a runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For months, GOP Sen. David Vitter has been the front-runner in this year’s race to succeed term-limited governor/Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal.

But even though Louisiana has completed its transformation to a Republican state, Vitter’s election is not a foregone conclusion.

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September 21, 2015

Young, Ambitious and Wealthy Isn’t Enough in Arkansas

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge speaks at a Little Rock, Ark., civic club Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Beebe’s wins as a Democrat in Arkansas won’t provide Eldridge with a roadmap to victory in the Senate race. (Danny Johnston/AP File Photo)

Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announced on Sept. 9 he will seek the Arkansas Democratic Senate nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman in 2016.

Writing in the Arkansas Times before Eldridge entered the race, veteran political journalist Max Brantley observed the Democrat would be “a sparkling candidate in a long tradition of young, ambitious, smart lawyers — [Dale] Bumpers, [David] Pryor, [Jim Guy] Tucker, [Bill] Clinton, [Vic] Snyder.”

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September 15, 2015

Indiana Reps Still Wrestling With Residency

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 19: Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., arrives for the photo-op with actor Ben Affleck, who was on Capitol HIll to discuss the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Opponents made Lugar’s residence an issue in his unsuccessful run for re-election in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For some members of Congress with young families, getting elected is the easy part; deciding whether to move your family to Washington is more difficult.

Members of the Indiana delegation have been wrestling with the decision for decades, in a state where residency consistently pops up as a campaign issue.

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August 26, 2015

Campaign Committees Open Holes While Filling Others


Democrats believe Heitkamp could be a competitive candidate for governor but would loosen the party’s hold on her Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats want to hold the White House, take back the majorities in the Senate and the House, and gain ground in governorships. But what happens when those are conflicting goals?

In Florida, strategists at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are excited Rep. Patrick Murphy is running for the state’s open seat. But Murphy is leaving behind a competitive House district that will be difficult for strategists at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to hold next fall.

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July 29, 2015

More Democratic Losses Could Be on the Horizon

Bevin, shown during his unsucessful Senate race in 2014, is far more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

Bevin, shown during his unsuccessful Senate race in 2014, is more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

For Democrats anxious to turn the page from a terrible 2014 cycle, the news might get worse before it gets better.

Last fall, Democrats lost control of the Senate and fell further into the minority in the House, but pinned much of the blame on low turnout in the midterm elections. Party strategists were more than ready to look ahead to 2016, when the presidential race should boost turnout among Democratic constituencies. But at least one race this fall could dampen some of the Democratic enthusiasm heading into next year.

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July 9, 2015

Key Races in 2016: Politicial Landscape Taking Shape

A few key races across the country next year will determine the balance of power in the Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Election Day is more than a year away, but the field of most competitive Senate and House races is already starting to take shape. While the political environment could change over the next 17 months, the landscape is largely set as a handful of races in each region will likely decide the majorities in the next Congress.

The fight for the Senate is likely to be decided in the Midwest, where Democrats have takeover opportunities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and a longer-shot opportunity in Indiana. If Democrats can win three out of those four states, they will be well on their way to gaining enough seats to take control of the Senate.

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July 6, 2015

Heck Decision Prompts Rating Changes in 2 Nevada Races

Rep. Joe Heck

Republican chances to win Nevada’s Senate seat improve slightly with Heck in the race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Joe Heck’s decision to run for the Senate is no surprise, but now that he is officially in the race, we are changing our rating in two Nevada races.

The race for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s open seat was already competitive, but Republican chances improve slightly with Heck’s decision. He is a battle-tested incumbent who won’t be easy for Democrats to pigeonhole as being too conservative for the state. Heck will likely face former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who has been elected statewide twice in races that weren’t particularly difficult. But she should benefit from presidential year turnout next year and Democrats believe the opportunity to elect the first Latina senator will inspire Hispanic voters to go to the polls in larger numbers.

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