House races

House races

Tenn. Dem releases tough new TV ad against GOP favorite (updated)

Tennessee Democrat Roy Herron is doing his best to take the shine off of GOP golden boy Stephen Fincher.

Running to succeed retiring Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), Fincher, a farmer and gospel singer, was considered one of the Republicans' top prospects. That's in part because he symbolizes the kind of citizen-politician-outsider voters are responding to this cycle.

The fourth ad from Herron scratches away at Fincher’s personal narrative. "Stephen Fincher: hiding, breaking the law, unworthy of our trust," the announcer says in the spot.

Herron's ad stands in sharp contrast to one that Fincher started airing Tuesday in the Nashville media market. "We need to rise above politics and do what's right for our country," Fincher says in the ad. "I'm just one man, but I'm willing to sacrafice to change things, and then come back home to Frog Jump. ... This is no time for politicians."

--Updated at 11:59 p.m.


Rep. Inglis: Tea Party rhetoric hurts GOP

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who lost his Republican primary earlier this year at the hands of a Tea Party-backed candidate, suggested Tuesday that rhetoric on the right is hurting the credibility of the GOP.

In an interview on CNN's "American Morning," Inglis said the tone against President Obama is too harsh and very often false.

"It's also not true that he's a Muslim," said Inglis. "It's not true that he wants to take over as a dictator. These things — we need to get rid of these things so we can build on credible, solid information."

On Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell's win in Delaware, Inglis said he was "concerned" and hopes "some of the things that are reported don't turn out to be correct."

When it comes to selecting Republican candidates, Inglis warned it's "very important that we be credible and have candidates that don't run in front of the flamethrowers."

Inglis lost a GOP runoff by a wide margin in June to Republican Trey Gowdy, who hit the incumbent relentlessly over his vote for the bank bailout.


Florida Dems send mailer with GOP candidate's Social Security number

The campaign of Republican Allen West is fuming over a negative mailer sent by the Florida Democratic Party revealing West's Social Security number.

West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, poses a much tougher challenge to Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) this fall after losing to him by a 10-point margin in 2008.  

The mailer highlighted an old tax lien against West, but the accompanying documentation included in the mailer failed to black out West's Social Security number and the employer identification number for his wife's business. 

The state Democratic Party has called the error "an inadvertent mistake," but West pinned the blame on his Democratic opponent in a statement. 

"Ron Klein has clearly crossed a line," West said. "I'm not yet sure the potential damage that might come to my wife and me, and it makes me sick to think of what could happen to my daughters. My entire family is at risk of identity theft."

The error has proven to be a big distraction for Klein's campaign even though it had nothing to do with the mailer. The campaign released a new ad Monday using a line of attack that Democrats have repeatedly hit Nevada's Sharron Angle (R) with this cycle. 

The 30-second spot calls West too extreme for Florida, highlighting comments the candidate made labeling the federal government "tyrannical."

"How extreme is Alan West?" asks the ad's narrator. It then cuts to a clip of West telling supporter, "You must be well informed and well-armed, because this government that we have right now is a tyrannical government." 


Bill Clinton: Bachmann 'getting people wound up'

Bill Clinton took aim at Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in a fundraising plea for her Democratic challenger.

"The people of the 6th district deserve a leader who will deliver results instead of divisive partisan rhetoric; who will roll up her sleeves and get to work on the critical issues instead of just getting people wound up about them," Clinton wrote in a pitch for Democrat Tarryl Clark.

He called the state lawmaker a "voice for common sense."

"Tarryl is running a campaign in the Minnesota tradition: with a vast coalition of grassroots supporters, energetic volunteers, and a commitment to common sense values that Minnesotans expect from their leaders," Clinton wrote.

He asked for contributions of $25 to $100. 


Rep. Edwards won't commit to Pelosi

Endangered Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) wouldn't commit to backing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) again after the November elections when asked over the weekend.

"No, I've made no commitments for speaker," Edwards told The Washington Post. "Until we see the outcome of this election, I don't even know who will be running for speaker." 

The 10-term congressman, who represents a heavily Republican district in central Texas, is in a tough reelection fight this fall against Republican Bill Flores. 

Last week, Edwards launched a new campaign ad claiming he resisted pressure from Pelosi and the White House on healthcare reform. 

The 30-second spot took aim at the Democratic leadership, opening with the words, "When President Obama and Nancy Pelosi pressured Chet Edwards, Chet stood up to them and voted 'no' against their trillion-dollar healthcare bill."


Sen. McCain helping raise funds for Rep. Mitchell challenger

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will raise money for House challenger David Schweikert (R) in Washington next week.

Schweikert is making his second bid to unseat Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.). The incumbent defeated Schweikert by nine points in 2008.

Schweikert, one of the National Republican Congressional Committee's top prospects, certainly needs the help. Mitchell had a $600,000 edge on him in cash on hand at the end of August.

The event is being held Sept. 28 at the Capitol Hill Club, according to the Schweikert camp. Tickets are $1,000 per PAC or $500 for an individual.


Rep. Adler spends almost $500K on office mail

Facing a tough reelection race, New Jersey Rep. John Adler (D) has been taking full advantage of his franked-mail privileges.

By the end of June 30, the freshman Democrat had spent $480,000 in public money to mail and call his 3rd district constituents. That places him among the top spenders on constituent communications, according to an analysis of House disbursement reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Between January and March this year, his office spent $191,729 on mass communication — the third highest expenditure in the House.

Republican Jon Runyan, a former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman, argues that Adler is exploiting taxpayers’ money for political purposes. He said Adler's newsletters were "shameless self-promotion and carefully crafted campaign messages to help him win reelection."

In response, Adler's campaign circulated a video of Runyan saying that, if elected, he would stay in contact with constituents using the same means of communication.

Freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) has also been criticized for his use of franked mail.



Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Republican opponent wants to capitalize on speculation the Democrat will run to succeed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.