House races

House races

Tea Party group mobilizing against Davis in NY special election

The Tea Party group FreedomWorks is mobilizing its grassroots network in New York's 26th congressional district to "defend the Tea Party brand" against third party candidate Jack Davis, who the group is labeling "a fraud."

FreedomWorks, led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R), is the latest national group to get involved in the May 24 special election with polls showing a tight three way contest between Democrat Kathy Hochul, Republican Jane Corwin and Davis.    

In what was expected to be a relatively easy win for the GOP, the latest numbers in the race to fill the seat of ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) give Hochul a four-point edge with 35 percent of the vote to Corwin's 31 percent.

Davis, who is running on the "Tea Party" ballot line, is polling a strong third with 24 percent of the vote. 

"We basically feel that we need to defend the Tea Party brand," said Brendan Steinhauser, the group's director of federal and state campaigns, who called Davis "a fraud." 


W.Va. Rep. Capito gets a primary challenge

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a potential challenger to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) next year, has drawn a Republican primary opponent ahead of 2012. 

Republican Delegate Jonathan Miller, the youngest member of the West Virginia state legislature, announced a bid against the six-term congresswoman Tuesday.

In an interview with the Martinsburg Journal, the 26-year-old Miller said, "God is calling me to run for this office now." 


Third party candidate gets backing in NY special

A former congressional candidate popular with Tea Party activists has endorsed Independent Jack Davis in New York's 26th district special election race.

David Bellavia, an Iraq war veteran who sought the Republican and Conservative Party's nods earlier this year, called Davis "a decorated war hero and a true patriot."

His endorsement could cause trouble for Republican Jane Corwin. The GOP has sought to portray Davis as the second Democrat in the race. Bellavia's backing could help enhance his conservative credentials.

“Veterans in Western New York and voters of all stripes have one clear choice for Congress, and that is Jack Davis, a true independent who will work for the people as he caucuses with the Republicans in the House of Representatives," Bellavia said in a statement released by Davis's campaign.

The Weekly Standard notes that Bellavia slammed Davis for "playing politics with the troops" in a 2006 campaign ad. Davis was running as a Democrat against former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) that year.


Sens. Gillibrand, Schumer making final push in NY special election

New York Sen. Charles Schumer will be in the Buffalo area Sunday to campaign for Kathy Hochul as the special election race enters its final stage, according to the Democrat's campaign.

Schumer will be the first high-profile Democrat to stump in the 26th district for Hochul, who is a surprise contender in the race for former Rep. Chris Lee's (R) open seat.

A poll released this week showed Hochul with a four-point lead over Republican Jane Corwin and an 11-point lead over Independent candidate Jack Davis.

Aware of the symbolic power of a victory in the conservative-leaning district, New York Democrats have rallied to help Hochul in recent weeks.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has issued fundraising pleas on Hochul's behalf -- raising more than $12,000 for her in two days through an email pitch, according to a campaign spokesman.

Gillibrand will travel to the district in the final week before the special election to make a get-out-the-vote push for Hochul. The upstate former congresswoman also issued a fundraising plea through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Tuesday.


Crossroads makes six-figure buy to support Republican in NY special election

The conservative group American Crossroads took out a major, six-figure ad buy to push Republican Jane Corwin across the finish line in the special election in New York's 26th congressional district.

American Crossroads said it had purchased $350,000 worth of media in the Buffalo and Rochester market ahead of next Tuesday, May 24's special election to fill former Rep. Chris Lee's (R-N.Y.) seat.

Corwin is locked in a tight, three-way race between Democrat Kathy Hochul and Jack Davis, a former Democrat-turned-Tea Party member.

Democrats with a close eye on the race say the ad buy is closer to $640,000.

“This race has become artificially competitive because liberal Democrat Jack Davis is now trying to pass himself off as a conservative while the other liberal Democrat, Katie Hochul, is benefiting from his trick,” said American Crossroads communications director Jonathan Collegio. “This ad buy seeks to expose the Democrat trick for what it is.”

Republicans are hoping to avoid the fiasco that plagued them in 2009, when Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, who eventually withdrew, split votes with Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in a special election to fill a GOP seat. Democrat bill Owens eventually won in that race, and retains the seat in Congress.

Polls have shown the race is tight, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was in the district on Monday to help stump for Corwin.

House Majority PAC, one of the Democratic groups that operates similarly to Crossroads, called the ad buy a sign of panic.

"John Boehner, Karl Rove, and the Right are clearly in full panic mode in what should have been a slam dunk for them in the special election in upstate New York. House Republicans’ reckless budget that guts Medicare and protects $40 billion in giveaways to Big Oil has put this heavily Republican seat in play," said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the PAC.


Boehner met with Flight 3407 families during upstate swing

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met with family members of the victims of Continental Flight 3407 during his campaign swing through upstate New York on Monday.

The appearance, made at the behest of special-election candidate Jane Corwin (R), was likely meant to repair the rift between the Families of Continental Flight 3407 and the GOP leadership.

The group, which represents the victims of the February 2009 crash of a flight from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., adamantly opposed an amendment championed by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) that passed the House in April. The families of those on the downed commuter flight said it curbed the federal government's ability to impose aviation safety regulations.

After it passed, Corwin sharply criticized House Republicans. She called the measure "an affront to the Families of Flight 3407's hard-fought efforts for aviation safety reforms" and said she wouldn't have joined the 215 Republicans who voted for it.

Corwin's campaign released photos of the meeting with Boehner, but billed it as a private event.

Boehner also spoke at a fundraiser for Corwin that brought in $150,000 for her campaign. "They want something done about jobs, and they want something done about spending," he told the crowd. "We should remind them what America said last November by electing Jane Corwin."

Polls are showing a tight race with two weeks to go before the vote.


Nevada GOP chairman joins House special election race

The GOP field for former Rep. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) House seat continues to swell despite concern from party strategists that multiple Republican candidates on the ballot will give Democrats an advantage.

Mark Amodei, the chairman of the state Republican Party, announced Monday at a press conference in Carson City that he was joining the special election for the 2nd district seat. Amodei entered a Republican field that already includes former Senate candidate Sharron Angle, state Sen. Greg Brower and Navy veteran Kirk Lippold.

The Sept. 13 vote has a free-for-all format, which means that all candidates compete without the nomination of their party. The state GOP is challenging that format in court.

Asked about a conflict between his role as chairman and a candidate in the special election, Amodei said he isn't directly involved in the party's lawsuit and that he plans to resign his position "well in advance" of the June 18 meeting where it will elect a successor. In the meantime, he noted, the party had no formal meetings planned and would only hold two conference calls, which he wouldn't participate in.

"Amodei will be campaigning and not doing any state party business," Amodei told The Ballot Box. "I don’t see a conflict issue."


Poll: Dem up in NY special election

Democrats have taken a surprising lead in the open-seat race for New York's 26th district, a new poll shows.

With the special election to succeed former Rep. Chris Lee a little over two weeks away, Democrat Kathy Hochul leads the field with 35 percent of the vote, according to a new Daily Kos/SEIU poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Republican Jane Corwin took 31 percent of the vote, while Independent candidate Jack Davis had 24 percent support.

The survey of 1,048 registered voters by the Democratic-leaning firm had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. Earlier surveys also showed a close race in what was expected to be an easy win for Republicans. In a recent poll by Siena College, Corwin led with support from 36 percent of likely voters, Hochul was backed by 31 percent and Davis, who is running on the Tea Party line, had the support of 23 percent of respondents.

The poll was released the same day House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) traveled to Depew, N.Y., to raise money for Corwin.

Boehner was just the latest member of the GOP leadership to campaign for her. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) appeared for Corwin in Rochester last Thursday, Republican National Committee Reince Priebus campaigned for Corwin last Wednesday and Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was in the 26th district to fundraise for her at the end of April.

Meanwhile, Washington Democrats have so far kept their distance from Hochul, a strategy that appears to be working.