CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Lone Star stakes

Congress’s oldest member could become be its first incumbent to lose his seat this evening.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), who recently turned 91, is facing a hard-fought runoff challenge from former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe (R).

Ratcliffe has given Hall the toughest race of his career, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money and racking up endorsements from a trio of national conservative groups that have given his campaign a late boost. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Hall has stepped up his game since he was caught sleeping in the first round of voting, when Ratcliffe and other candidates held him to 45 percent — an outcome his campaign had confidently predicted wouldn’t happen. But it’s unclear whether Hall has recovered enough to hold onto his seat for what he’s already said will be his last term in Congress.

The primary challenger is four decades younger than Hall and has racked up endorsements from national conservative groups since he forced the runoff. The Club for Growth has helped bundle $130,000 for him and has sent out mail pieces on his behalf. The Senate Conservatives Fund has also been on the radio touting his candidacy, and the Madison Project sent mailers. Now or Never PAC also ran an ad attacking Hall for his decades in office. But the race has mostly focused on Hall’s age, not on ideology.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Stay tuned to The Hill for election results.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AK-SEN (BEGICH)/AR-SEN (PRYOR): Republican Dan Sullivan (R) touts his work to expand energy exploration in Alaska in a new ad.

The Club for Growth also rolled out ads accusing Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) of “parroting” President Obama.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Sen. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and his most likely opponent, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), both released positive ads. Braley’s touts his work as a lawyer, while Ernst’s focuses on her Iowa roots. 

Ernst is also getting a lot of air support — Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) political action committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Senate Conservatives Fund have all launched ads on her behalf.

Ernst’s big-spending opponent, businessman Mark Jacobs (R), has dumped another $1.6 million into his flagging campaign for the final week, while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is featured in a new ad from Citizens United touting former conservative radio host Sam Clovis (R).

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): The Washington Post headed down to Many, La., writing that, “In this anti-President Obama, anti-Obamacare state, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is banking on one thing to get her reelected in November: her clout.”

MN-SEN (FRANKEN): Businessman Mike McFadden (R) hasn’t voted in GOP primary elections for two decades, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

MT-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) slams Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) for “poor marks” as head of the Montana Department of Military Affairs.

NE-SEN (OPEN): The fog has lifted between GOP primary winner Ben Sasse and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). National Review reports that when the likely new senator was in D.C. last week, he “ducked into McConnell’s office for a private meeting that a Sasse adviser describes as ‘very warm.’ That’s a sharp contrast to a meeting the two had in the same office last November, when McConnell chastised Sasse for working with the Senate Conservatives Fund” and for criticizing McConnell’s leadership. 

OR-SEN (MERKLEY): After winning the GOP nomination last week, are national Republicans worrying about the strength of pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby’s campaign? CNN’s John King reported over the weekend that “privately there is some concern, about the potential political impact but even more so about whether Wehby and her team are up to the challenge of what is now a top-tier Senate campaign.” He said the “National Republican Senatorial Committee quietly dispatched a team of communications gurus to Oregon to give Wehby and her team a little advice and training.”

SC-SEN (GRAHAM): Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is pulling 56 percent support in a new poll conducted for the right-leaning Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, enough to avoid a primary runoff. 

VA-SEN (WARNER): Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) focuses on his time outside of the Beltway in his first campaign ad, touting his business career and record as governor before mentioning his Senate work.

"I learned a long time ago whether it's running a business or leading a state you make things happen when you put politics aside and work together," he says in the ad after talking about his early business struggles before founding Nextel Communications, and his investments in education as governor.

WV-SEN (OPEN): The latest West Virginia Poll for the Charleston Daily Mail shows Rep. Shelley Moore Capito(R) with an 11-point lead over Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D), 49 percent to 38 percent. “(Capito) appears to have a very strong base of support in her own party and has a 14-point lead among independents, which is an increasingly important segment of voters in the state,” pollster R.L. Repass wrote. 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE 

CA-31 (OPEN): The League of Conservation Voters is sending direct-mail pieces attacking former Rep. Joe Baca’s (D-Calif.) environmental record, a sign it sees him as a threat to mess up the Democratic primary in the district.

CA-17 (HONDA): Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) has a 19-point lead on challenger Ro Khanna (D) in a new automated poll from SurveyUSA. 

CO-6 (COFFMAN): 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) endorsed Rep. Mike Coffman’s reelection bid and headlined a Denver fundraiser on Tuesday for his challenge from former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D).

NY-21 (OPEN): Romney’s also backing his former campaign staffer, Elise Stefanik, in her bid for Congress. She faces 2010/2012 nominee Matt Doheny in the June 24 primary.

WV-2 (OPEN): GOP nominee Alex Mooney’s campaign released an internal poll from The Tarrance Group showing it ahead of Democrat Nick Casey by 10 points. Among likely voters Mooney leads 39 percent to 29 percent, but the pollster estimates that with its turnout models, that will expand to a 12-point lead. The president’s approval ratings are also dismal in this district Democrats hope to pick up — just 30 percent approve of his performance, while 65 percent disapprove. 

 

2016 WATCH

HILLARY: Republican praise of the Clinton era over the last several years could reverberate in the 2016 presidential race, giving the Democratic front-runner a core talking point, writes The Hill’s Bob Cusack.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a sneak peek to People magazine of her new book.

Financial guru Suze Orman, meanwhile, likes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) more than Clinton. 

CONSERVATIVE VISION? Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an opthamologist, says he envisions himself returning to medicine “at some point.” "I think that we need to have people who are willing to reclaim their place in regular life after politics and not just say, 'You go into politics and that's what you're going to do forever,' " Paul told CNN. "So I envision myself coming back to Kentucky and practicing medicine at some point."

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“My favorite was 'The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All about My Hair.' " — Hillary Clinton on suggested titles for her memoir