House races

House races

Early voting for Nevada House special leans Republican

Voting is under way in the election to replace now-Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in the House, and early results indicate a very low turnout and a Republican advantage.

Democratic state Treasurer Kate Marshall is squaring off against Republican former state Sen. Mark Amodei in the Republican-leaning district.

The Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston reports that in Washoe County, which includes Reno and is the biggest swing area in the district, 52 percent of early voters on Monday were registered Republicans, while only 36 percent were registered Democrats. While party registration and actual voting patterns do not directly correspond, especially once Independents are factored in, a strong Republican edge in the key swing area does not bode well for a Marshall upset.

President Obama won the county by 55 percent to 42 percent in 2008 but still narrowly lost the district, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won the district by a just five-point margin en route to his 2010 reelection, which he won by six points.

Sources in both parties say their internal polling suggests Amodei has about a 10-point lead heading into the election. Republicans have held the district for decades.


Union hits GOP House members over FAA shutdown

Twenty-five Republicans are the targets of a new campaign by the Communications Workers of America attacking them for partially shutting down the Federal Aviation Administration in August over disagreements on union rights.

The FAA got shut down because [House Transportation Committee] Chairman John Mica [R-Fla.] and some [other] Republicans would rather play politics with real people’s lives and the FAA Reauthorization bill, CWA states in the mailer it sent as a large piece of the campaign. At the request of their big corporate airline donors, like Delta, Republicans snuck unrelated union provisions into this critical legislation. Then Congress took off on vacation and shut down the FAA.

Besides Mica, many of the Republican House members targeted are freshmen from swing districts.

The full list: Paul Gosar (Ariz.), David Schweikert (Ariz.), Dan Lungren (Calif.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.), Bobby Schilling (Ill.), Tom Latham (Iowa), Andy Harris (Md.), Erik Paulsen (Minn.), Chip Cravaack (Minn.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Charlie Bass (N.H.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Joe Heck (Nev.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Blake Farenthold (Texas), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Sean Duffy (Wis.).


Mike Ross's 2010 opponent to take another shot at House

Republican operative Beth Ann Rankin, who lost to Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) in 2010, will run for the House again, according to the Arkansas Times.

Rankin, a former adviser to then-Gov. Mike Huckabee, lost to Ross, 58 percent to 40 percent, in a good year for Republicans. She will be one of many Republicans in the race to fill the seat being vacated by Ross's retirement. Republicans are pulling for former Army Lieutenant Tom Cotton, who they tried to recruit against Ross last time. Cotton recently announced. Others are eyeing the race as well.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gene Jeffress plans to run.

The seat will be a hard one for Democrats to hold without Ross in the race. The current district gave Sen. John McCain 58 percent of its vote in 2008 and has since become a few percentage points more Republican due to redistricting.

While Arkansas has long elected more conservative Democrats at the local level while voting Republican at the national level, two of its congressional districts flipped to the GOP last year, and former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) lost her reelection bid to current Sen. John Boozman (R.).


Dem candidate, citing Hurricane Irene, pulls out of debate in NY special election

New York State Assemblyman David Weprin (D) has pulled out of a debate against Republican businessman Bob Turner that was scheduled for Monday night.

Weprin told debate organizers that Hurricane Irene had made it hard for staff to get into the city, according to PolitickerNY. His spokesperson said logistical challenges were the reason for the cancellation.

"There have been a number of logistical challenges that have resulted from the hurricane and plenty of more opportunities for debates so it just seemed best to cancel tonight," Weprin Spokesperson Elizabeth Kerr told The HIll.

Turner's campaign was quick to criticize Weprin's cancellation. “A day after it was revealed that David Weprin doesn’t know the size of the federal deficit – his guess was $10 trillion lower than it actually is – the career politician has dropped off the face of the earth," said Turner Spokesperson Bill O'Reilly. "Mr. Weprin abruptly cancelled an appearance at a debate that has been scheduled since July.  It is obvious why."

Weprin and Turner are running for the seat vacated by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). The Queens and Brooklyn district leans Democratic but has trended a bit Republican in the last few years due to a growing Orthodox Jewish population. Weprin is viewed as the front-runner; often, leading candidates try to avoid debating so as to not risk changing the dynamics of the race.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. to include quotes from the campaigns.


Axelrod to headline Tammy Duckworth fundraiser

David Axelrod, President Obama's top strategist, will headline a fundraiser for House candidate Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Axelrod's appearance is the latest sign that Duckworth has the institutional backing of Democrats in her primary race against former Obama adviser Raja Krishnamoorthi. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has already endorsed her.

This is not the first time senior Democrats have backed Duckworth in a contested primary. In 2006, then-Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel convinced the Iraq War veteran, who lost both of her legs in a helicopter crash, to run for a Republican-leaning suburban Chicago district even though Christine Cegelis, the 2004 Democratic nominee who had nearly beaten then-Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), was already in the race. In 2010, members of the Obama administration tried to get her to run for Obama's old Senate seat, which Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) eventually won.

Axelrod said that he has "deep admiration" for Krishnamoorthi but that Duckworth's unique life story deserves his support. "I think it is going to be an amazing day when Tammy walks out on the floor of the House. And when they debate these issues, some of these fundamental issues, she is going to have a moral authority that very few people have," he said. "Her voice is one that will really resonate on the floor of the Congress."

Whichever Democrat wins this primary will likely win the general election — the new district was drawn by Democrats in the statehouse to lean Democratic.


Dem fundraising on not killing animals

Responding to a House Republicans alligator-hunt fundraiser, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) this week is hoping to attract donations with vows not to kill any animals.

The online fundraiser, Ackermans office said Thursday, offers an animal-friendly alternative to Rep. Jeff Landrys (R-La.) $5,000 alligator hunt, which is scheduled for next month.

$5,000 to kill a reptile? Heck, for a mere 10 percent of that, you can send me $500 and you dont have to kill an alligator, Ackerman wrote in a message to supporters. Dont have 500 bucks, or cant find an alligator in New York? Well just dont shoot a squirrel and send me $50.

Landry, a freshman, is weighing a primary run against fellow Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany (R) now that the lawmakers districts have been merged by this year’s state-approved redistricting plan.

The invitation for Landrys Sept. 9 alligator hunt states that each person that purchases a tag and intends to ‘pull the trigger’ on an alligator must provide their name and social security # to secure a hunting license.

Afterward, Landry will host a dinner at his house.

Ackermans response includes a picture of an alligator vowing its support for the New York liberal.

No animals, Ackerman added, were harmed in the production of this message!


American Crossroads to spend $250K in Nevada special election

The Republican-affiliated outside group American Crossroads will spend $250,000 targeting Democrat Kate Marshall and reminding Nevadans of early voting locations in Nevadas 2nd congressional district, where Marshall is squaring off against Republican Mark Amodei in a special election.

This is the first time the group has spent money on the race, and it’s a new focus for it. American Crossroads usually focuses on television ads criticizing Democrats, rather than get-out-the vote operations. Republican-affiliated outside groups have begun to incorporate more strategies for election-day efforts beyond just television ads.

Crossroadss involvement is the latest indication that Republicans are nervous about losing the seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent more than a half million dollars to help Amodei in the Republican-leaning district. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not spent anything on the race so far.

Special elections are usually low-turnout affairs in which the political lean of the district matters less than how motivated each partys political base is and what the issues of the day are.

The district encompasses all of Nevada outside of Clark County (where Las Vegas is located), with most of its population centered around Reno. It narrowly went for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election, but has traditionally been a Republican stronghold.


New Nevada House ad features Sandoval endorsement

Two days before early voting is set to begin in a special election for a Nevada House seat, Republican Mark Amodei's campaign is running a new ad featuring Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

"Times like these require principled leadership. That’s why I’m encouraging you to send Mark Amodei to congress," Sandoval says in the ad. "We need fiscal conservatives in Congress like no other time in our history. I know Mark, he’ll cut the debt, fight against higher taxes, and I’m confident he will always do the right thing for Nevada. Early voting begins August 27. Please join me in voting for Mark Amodei."

The governor won every county in the state last fall and remains popular: a recent poll by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling had 44 percent of voters approving of the job he was doing, with 38 percent disapproving. Sandoval hails from the district, which covers most of Nevada outside of Las Vegas and its immediate suburbs and leans Republican.

Amodei is in a tough battle with Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall. While a poll conducted for the conservative Americans for Prosperity last week had him up by 13 points, a PPP poll released this week had him nearly tied with Marshall, at 43 percent to 42 percent.

Marshall's campaign response focused on Amodei rather than attacking the popular governor. "Governor Sandoval must be talking about the wrong candidate in this ad," said communications director James Hallinan. "Mark Amodei has a reckless financial background of voting himself a pay raise and sponsoring the largest tax increase in Nevada history that included job-killing taxes on businesses. Kate Marshall is the only fiscally responsible candidate in this race making millions for Nevada on her investments every quarter she has been in office, refusing a pay raise and even auditing her own office."

Republicans have been spending heavily to keep hold of the district, which was vacated when Sandoval appointed then-Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to the Senate. Republicans have held the district for decades, but President Obama came within a hundred votes of winning it in the 2008 presidential race.

The special election takes place on Sept. 13.

Watch the ad here: