AT THE RACES
Good morning folks,
Here's your week at the Senate races in a glimpse:
2014 ATMOSPHERE: The Washington Post's "Worst Week in Washington" went to Barack Obama, but the political ramifications of that are being felt by Democrats on the ballot. A new bipartisan NPR poll revealed that, "In the key battleground states that will decide control of the Senate this November, President Obama's approval numbers are lower than they are nationally." In the 12 states identified by the Cook Report as Lean/Toss Ups, just 38% of voters approve of the President. Once South Dakota is included in that equation, the number is even worse.
Poll after poll shows that in key Senate battlegrounds, Independents are overwhelming breaking to Republicans (48-28%). The increasingly long list of scandals, crisis and government incompetence, (from Benghazi to the IRS, ObamaCare to the Debt, Bergdahl to negotiating with the Taliban, the VA to the situation in Iraq) have created a super toxic environment for Democrats.
The reality is that each of these scandals and problems has a political effect. As The Cook Report's Amy Walter writes "...among those who are most politically active, 44 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans believe the other party is a 'threat.' These are the voters that show-up in low turn-out elections and who donate money to congressional candidates. Keeping these voters engaged means keeping their hostility to the other side well-fed. And, right now, from Benghazi to Bergdahl, from incompetence at Veterans Affairs to 'lost' emails from ex-IRS chief Lois Lerner, the White House has been serving up a virtual buffet."
We're getting hungry.
With that here's what's happening in the states:
Alaska: Republican Dan Sullivan is on offense launching a new ad "Steelfab". The ad highlights Sullivan's results-orientated record of creating jobs and standing up for Alaska, while Mark Begich has only looked out for himself. Crossroads GPS released a new ad attacking Begich's allegiance to the failed Obama agenda over Alaskans, voting with the unpopular President 97 percent of the time. Meanwhile President Obama this week worked to retain his rubberstamp, fundraising for an outside group that supports Mark Begich. Red State's Erick Erickson endorsed Mead Treadwell.
Arkansas: The sixth poll in a row shows Tom Cotton leading Mark Pryor by 7 points. After casting his vote twice for ObamaCare, Pryor is suddenly mum on whether he would vote for ObamaCare again. Tom Cotton fired back at the White House that Obama released terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl and is introducing legislation to stop Obama from releasing more terrorists from Gitmo.
Colorado: The Denver Post slammed Democrat Mark Udall for once again voting against the Keystone Pipeline and refusing to make his position clear. For years, both Udall and his wife have put a priority on lobbying the Senate to pass a radical cap-and-trade bill that would destroy jobs and make even more energy even more expensive. While Udall spent his week explaining his anti-energy record, Republican Cory Gardner jumped on Udall on his phony political attacks and also penned an editorial proposing that birth control should be made more accessible and available over the counter giving women more freedom and control over their health care. Mark Udall couldn't respond to Gardner's proposal, which would actually give more freedom to women, but his team basically resorted to something like, "How dare Cory Gardner try to take politics out of contraception by taking a position we agree with!"
Georgia: George H.W. Bush again made clear to Georgians that he is going to support the Republican nominee in Georgia over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Yet, Nunn refuses to stop misleading Georgia voters.
Iowa: Republican Joni Ernst started the week with a new ad touting her Iowa values, which came on the heels of Governor Branstad's and Lt. Governor Reynolds' praise at the Iowa State Convention noting that she is "authentically Iowa." A new Quinnipiac poll shows Ernst has closed the gap and that the race is a tossup. Meanwhile, despite taking thousands from the IRS Union, Bruce Braley refuses to stand up and demand answers for Iowans putting his political career over the well-being of Iowans. Make no mistake, this will be one of the closest races in the country through November, which is why the DSCC reserved close to $2 million in ads.
Kentucky: The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition released an ad highlighting Grimes' failure to defend Kentucky's coal industry at a fundraiser with Harry "coal makes us sick" Reid. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell proposed an amendment to protect folks from higher energy costs and job losses, only to be shut down by Reid who tried to protect vulnerable Democrats from taking an actual position. Alison Lundergan Grimes is going to lose because her very presence in the Senate would only further empower Harry Reid and Barack Obama's War on Coal.
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu had a terrible week, as her lack of influence and clout was on full display. In fact, we released a new video highlighting that the clout Landrieu so often brags about doesn't actually exist. The video illustrates that Landrieu's very presence in the Senate enables Harry Reid and Barack Obama to block the Keystone Pipeline and hurt energy producing states like Louisiana. Generation Opportunity released an ad hitting Landrieu for spending money she doesn't have and leaving future generations with the bill.
Michigan: While Gary Peters was under fire this week for accepting money from the IRS Union, Republican Terri Lynn Land was on offense. At a small business forum Land pledged to work with small business owners to put Michigan first by eliminating ObamaCare and helping businesses to thrive again. MLive reported: "Members of a small business organization that hosted a candidate forum on Thursday in Lansing saved their biggest applause for U.S. Senate hopeful Terri Lynn Land... ...the former Michigan Secretary of State from Byron Center, appeared more comfortable on and off stage than she did late last month at a similar non-debate on Mackinac Island. She spoke without notecards and took questions from reporters following her address. "I want to work together with all of you to make sure that we put Michigan first," Land told small business owners. "The first thing we need to do is repeal and replace Obamacare. It's not working. Over 225,000 folks in Michigan have lost their plan. Costs have gone up. There's a tax on business. It's not working." Land also released a new ad reinforcing the need to put Michiganders first and not play politics with their future.
Minnesota: Mike McFadden blasted Franken for allowing Medtronic to leave the state for a friendlier tax code in Ireland. Then, despite the fact that 70 percent of Americans support construction of the Keystone Pipeline, Franken voted against it, showing that he is more in line with Barack Obama and Harry Reid than middle-class families and individuals in Minnesota.
Mississippi: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a new ad featuring Mississippi native Brett Favre who highlighted Thad Cochran's strong leadership. Governor Phil Bryant also appeared in an ad highlighting Senator Cochran's military service and the work he continues to do on behalf of Mississippians.
Montana: Steve Daines released a powerful new ad featuring Major Cindy Neely, an inactive major in the Army Reserve, detailing her mistreatment in the Guard under John Walsh's command. During the first general election debate, John Walsh commented that the "jury is still out" on ObamaCare proving that he is far out of touch with Montanans who have seen their rates increase, plans cancelled, and lost doctors that they liked and trusted. Meanwhile Steve Daines is standing up for Montanans and introduced legislation to block the disastrous EPA regulations that will increase costs and result in job losses. Daines was also endorsed by the Montana Chamber of Commerce.
New Hampshire: Republican Scott Brown launched a new ad featuring his sister, LeeAnn Riley. While on the campaign trail this week, Paul Meaney (73) who served on the USS Nautilus, said that "he appreciates Brown's military background. 'It's a loss for Massachusetts,' Meaney said. 'It's a win for New Hampshire. Being an ex-serviceman, he has a very distinguished record in the service, and that means a lot to me.'” Scott Brown released his personal finances and tax returns, New Hampshire voters are waiting on Jeanne Shaheen to do the same.
North Carolina: Kay Hagan and Democrats in Washington found themselves casting hypocritical charges this week over "non-traditional voters" comments. In 2008, the North Carolina NAACP implemented a “strategy to expand the electorate by reaching out to educate non-traditional voters and ex-felons alike...” In 2008, NAACP board member and DNC Delegate Amos Brown said “a big effort in the minority community is needed to offset a return of the Bradley Effect. ‘you have to offset the negative, traditional voters…’" In 2012, Cory Booker said, “…polling does not capture voters who are part of this enthusiastic surge [of] non-traditional voters…” And here's the NY Times Editorial Board: “that blue-collar target group - call them Reagan Democrats, call them ‘traditional voters,’ call them, as the pollsters do, whites who have not completed college - is now at heart of the election." The DSCC has called use of the phrase "racist," despite the fact that two Senators they helped to elect (one being a former DNC Chairman) used it.
South Dakota: Democrat Rick Weiland refuses to support the common-sense job-creating Keystone Pipeline and stands in stark contrast to Republican Mike Rounds who supports the pipeline and is an advocate for domestic energy production.
Oregon: Recently, national Democrats were forced to move Mary Landrieu's spokesman from Louisiana to Oregon. You read that right, Democrats moved a senior staffer from a top three race to one of the bluest states in the country. Since his arrival, the aforementioned staffer has spent the bulk of his time bloviating and boasting on Twitter that Oregon is not a competitive race and that Monica Wehby has no chance to win. If what he says is true, then why did he get pulled from one of the most competitive races in the country and moved to such a sure thing?
Virginia: Mark Warner was caught using images from official Senate proceedings in his tv ad. Mark Warner’s made up ‘journalism’ exception does not exist and is not found in the actual rule, which is why so many others have avoided using similar images - including Senator Warner’s embattled colleague Mary Landrieu who went to the extreme length of reenacting a Senate hearing for a campaign ad earlier this year. The rules very clearly prohibit the use of images of Senate proceedings for political campaign purposes, regardless of where or how they are obtained.
West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito is demanding answers from the VA over prolonged wait times visiting the Clarksburg and Martinsburg VA to see the problems firsthand. The Intelligencer notes in a scathing editorial that Natale Tennant is out of touch, commenting that she is "embracing help from some of the president's staunchest supporters in the war against coal."
Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend,
Brad, Brook & Katie
Paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.NRSC.org
Lots of links on this article at http://e.nrsc.org/t/j-EE2DC2DC13ECDFCD