EMILY's List staffs up for 2010

EMILY's List continues its evolution in the post-Ellen Malcolm era.

On Friday, the pro-abortion rights group announced the hiring of Democratic strategist Amy Dacey as its new executive director. The post had gone unfilled since Ellen Moran left to join the White House in 2008.

Dacey spent several years working for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in various political and campaign roles. During the 2002 election cycle, she was the deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). She joins EMILY's List from the Service Employees International Union, where she was director of government relations.

Malcolm recently stepped down as president of the group and handed the reins to Stephanie Schriock.


Obama raising campaign cash for Boxer, DSCC next week

President Barack Obama will raise campaign cash next week for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Democrats' Senate campaign committee.

Obama will help raise funds for Boxer for the second time in a month and a half with a fundraiser in San Francisco. The president will also hold a separate fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

The president last stopped in Los Angeles in late April, when a set of fundraiser brought in $3.5 million in funds for Boxer and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Boxer is facing one of her toughest reelection challenges this year, with a number of Republican candidates -- most notably former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, and former Rep. Tom Campbell -- vying to unseat her.

California's major cities are some of the largest media markets in the country, making campaigns there some of the most expensive statewide races to organize.

Cross-posted from the Briefing Room.


Obama raises $1.3 million for DCCC

President Barack Obama is hosting a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Thursday night that is expected to raise $1.3 million.

Obama is in New York City at the St. Regis Hotel for the event, according to the White House pool report.

He'll be joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who is chairing the event.

About 185 people are expected to attend and that includes Elizabeth Capp, an oncology nurse practitioner from DeLeon Springs, Fla., who won an online contest. 

Costs are $50,000 for couples attending the VIP reception, which includes photos with Obama, and $15,000 per individual.


Franken to raise money with Aykroyd, other SNL alums

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who made pains to distance himself from his Saturday Night Live personae during his 2008 Senate run, will host a fundraiser with several fellow SNL alums in Los Angeles this weekend.

Slated to appear, according to the Star Tribune, are Dan Aykroyd, Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon. 

A cocktail and dinner reception for big donors will be held before another, less expensive reception. The events will benefit both Franken's 2014 reelection campaign and his leadership PAC.

Franken held a fundraiser in Minneapolis recently featuring a current SNL cast member, Seth Meyers.


Schiff forced to return $120k in excess donations

The Connecticut Senate campaign of investment advisor Peter Schiff (R) has refunded nearly $120,000 in contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits.

The campaign raised $563,000 in the first quarter but was forced to return $119,250.

Campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Millikin said the campaign received checks for $4,800 and incorrectly applied all of the money to the primary, rather than the maximums of $2,400 each for the primary and general elections.

"The donors didn't specify which election, but ultimately the campaign accepts responsibility for not catching the errors sooner," Millikin told The Ballot Box. "As soon as we realized the problem, the cash was returned."

The money can still be sent back to the campaign if it is designated for the general election.


Primary costs Fisher plenty in Ohio Senate race

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) has spent more than $3 million on his Senate primary with Jennifer Brunner, even as he is considered a heavy favorite.

A pre-primary financial report shows Fisher spent nearly $1 million in the first two weeks of April alone -- including $900,000 on a cable TV ad buy -- and is now down to less than $1 million cash on hand for the stretch run of the May 4 primary. Should he make it to the general election, he would face former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has $7.6 million in the bank and a clear primary.

Secretary of State Brunner has been meagerly funded from the start of the race and has spent considerably less -- about $800,000. She has not been able to muster any serious media presence, but she has stayed within single digits of Fisher in the polls.

Fisher had $906,000 on hand on April 14, compared to $59,000 for Brunner.

Fisher's campaign has insisted that it is expecting a close race next Tuesday, but if he doesn't easily clear the bar against Brunner, questions will be raised about his general election viability.

His first quarter fundraising number -- $551,000 -- has already been criticized, especially in comparison to the $2.3 million raised by Portman.


Brunner has just $80k for stretch run of Ohio Senate primary

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is going to have to win the Democratic nomination without TV.

Brunner's first-quarter FEC totals are in, and she had less than $80,000 cash on hand as of March 31. Meanwhile, her Democratic Senate primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, had $1.8 million on hand with about a month to go in their May 4 primary.

Brunner, who has been unable to raise serious money at any point in her campaign, pulled together about $144,000 for the quarter.

The totals mean that, if Brunner is to somehow pull an upset in the race, it's going to have be a total grassroots-oriented upset. She will not be able to go up with any sort of sustained media buy, and Fisher will be able to drown out her messaging in the closing weeks if he wants to.

Recent polling has shown Brunner is still within single digits of Fisher, but that was before Fisher went up with his own TV ads in recent days.

The winner gets former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in the general election. Sen. George Voinovitch (R-Ohio) is retiring.