House races

House races

Expectations build for new GOP class

Republicans elected to the House on Tuesday must be a "reform class," according to a top GOP prospect.

"This freshman class has a special duty, I believe, to be true to the principles upon which we're running," Virginia Republican Scott Rigell, who's challenging Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), told The Ballot Box. "It has a to be a reform class that pushes back against this culture in Congress that's hurting the American people."

Many observers believe the cohesion of the GOP will be tested after Tuesday's vote, which is expected to sweep centrist and conservative Republicans alike into power.

Rigell said he expected the current GOP House leadership to maintain party unity.

"I believe those Republican incumbents who will be returned to office — Congressman Cantor, Leader Boehner — I do believe that they share, as much as I do, the deep resolve to change the culture," he said. "That said, I think that the freshman class has a special responsibility to, in some ways, be the conscience of the people."

As expectations build for the GOP on Tuesday, there are some signs anything less than a rout of the Democrats will be a blow to the party. Rigell, for instance, was reticent about the prospect of running again if he lost.

"We’ve only approached this campaign one way — I am not running twice, I am all in," he said.


Las Vegas voters getting an earful

LAS VEGAS -- The airwaves in Nevada this Halloween were saturated with scare-inducing TV ads as candidates look to shape the views of the few remaining undecided voters ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.

During the local evening news, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) repeatedly aired a 30-second spot that accused her Republican challenger, Dr. Joe Heck, of denying the claims of Las Vegas police officers insured in the line of duty to save money for insurance providers. 

Heck has served as a health insurance consultant to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which covers parts of Nevada's 3rd district.

Meanwhile, Heck has an ad -- in heavier rotation during that same evening timeslot -- that hits Titus for voting for the stimulus bill, which has failed to lift Nevada out of its economic doldrums.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Republican Sharron Angle also traded accusations over the early evening airwaves. Both candidates have poured millions in TV advertising in recent weeks and voters here are growing weary.

Several Nevada voters told The Ballot Box they were turned off by the deluge of direct mail and campaign TV ads. And in the case of the Senate race, were torn between voting for two candidates they didn't particularly like.


Rep. Rahall campaigns on his ability to bring home earmarks

PRINCETON, W.Va. -- Here's a pitch not too many incumbent lawmakers are making this election season -- send me back to Washington so I can deliver you more earmarks.   

In a year where incumbency is a dirty word in most competitive House races, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va) is embracing it, telling voters he brings home the bacon for West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District and that he intends to continue doing it.

"What's wrong with earmarking funds when it's such a small part of the overall budget?" Rahall asked a room full of West Virginia Democrats Thursday. "I happen to support that process. My opponent doesn't."

Rahall is locked in the fight of his political life against Republican Eliot "Spike" Maynard, who has called Rahall an enabler of runaway federal spending in Washington.

The Republican has hit Rahall's votes in favor of the stimulus and healthcare, both of which the Democrat has defended. Rahall calls the healthcare bill less than perfect, while Maynard wants it repealed.

Rahall, who's in his 17th term in Congress, said voters would be foolish to throw away his seniority, telling supporters Thursday that even if the GOP were to retake control of the House next week, he would retain his top spots on the House Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

"If West Virginia throws away my seniority, I truly believe we'd only be digging a deeper hole for ourselves," Rahall told voters.  


Dem Rep. Nye doesn't want Obama to campaign for him

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) said he didn’t want President Obama to campaign for him in the 2nd district.

“I wanted the president to come down, but I wanted to talk to the president about our aircraft carrier and about Joint Forces Command,” Nye told The Ballot Box. “I have a disagreement with his secretary of Defense on the jobs at Joint Forces Command, and I’ve stood up pretty tough to the secretary of Defense on this issue.”

One of the aircraft carriers based in the 2nd district is slated to move to Mayport, Fla., which would mean a tremendous loss of economic activity for the region. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to close the Norfolk-based Joint Forces Command, which Nye has fought against because a closure could cost his district some 3,000 jobs.

“If the president comes, I would welcome him, but I want to talk about the military as it affects the people, not about the election,” Nye said. “I’m not concerned about whether it creates tension with the administration.”

Obama is in southern Virginia on Friday, but he’s campaigning for freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), not Nye.


In campaign ad, Dem touts proof he's not Pelosi

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) is not Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — and he's got proof. 

In his latest television ad, Marshall holds his driver’s license to prove to viewers that he is not the Speaker, as he claims his challenger, Austin Scott (R), says he is.
“I’m Jim Marshall, and here’s my driver’s license to prove it,” Marshall says. “Austin Scott seems to think I’m Nancy Pelosi.”
Marshall is one of many Democrats running against Pelosi this cycle.
The ad continues with Marshall saying, “But I voted against Nancy Pelosi’s trillion-dollar healthcare bill … that’s one reason why I won’t support her for Speaker.”
The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll shows Marshall trailing Scott by 13 points, 37 percent to 50.



Embattled Rep. Hill's (D-Ind.) fate is likely to be decided by a narrow margin Tuesday, with the third-party candidate key.