Senate races

Senate races

Rep. Heinrich up with first ad of Senate campaign

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will go on the air with his first television ad of his Senate campaign Tuesday, a positive bio-spot introducing him to voters as a hard-working advocate for jobs.

Heinrich's campaign said the 30-second ad will air in Albuquerque and El Paso, the two largest media markets in New Mexico.

"My mom sometimes worked 7 days a week at the local wheel factory. My dad worked for the power company and ran our small family farm," Heinrich says in the ad.

Photographs from his childhood are displayed as Heinrich explains how he started working at age 12 and learned about the dignity of hard work from watching his parents.

“For me, fighting for people’s jobs is personal," he says. "That’s why I’m proud of getting Albuquerque’s minimum wage raised, extending unemployment benefits and holding job fairs to help people find work.”

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McCaskill opponent unfamiliar with Violence Against Women Act

Democrats in Missouri are knocking former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) for saying she is unfamiliar with the Violence Against Women Act.

A bill reauthorizing the act is being debated in the Senate and could face a vote this week. Republicans and Democrats have both said they want to renew the act, but Republicans have opposed certain provisions put in by Democrats that expand it to include gays and illegal immigrants.

Steelman was asked at a campaign event whether she had "heard about the woman's violence act or something like that is working through the House." (The Senate, not the House, is currently considering the measure).

“I’m not sure what that is because I’m not serving right now,” Steelman says in an exchange that was caught on camera and circulated on the Internet by the Missouri Democratic Party.

Another attendee at the event provided the full name of the legislation and asked whether Steelman was familiar with it.

"No, not really," Steelman said.

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GOP Senate hopeful in Nebraska takes healthcare fight on the air

Nebraska state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) is taking his opposition to President Obama's healthcare reform law on the air.

Bruning, the front-runner for the GOP nomination for retiring Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb.) seat, launched a television ad Tuesday touting his work to challenge the law. A narrator in the ad says he has sued Obama 11 times.

Bruning's campaign said the ad would air statewide starting Tuesday.

"Why am I leading the fight to stop President Obama’s healthcare law? Just look at the unconstitutional power grab of a federal mandate that forces you to buy certain kinds of insurance," Bruning says in the ad.

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DSCC starts joint fundraising committees for Senate women

The Senate Democrats' campaign arm has registered two new fundraising committees to boost female candidates for the upper chamber.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) created two joint fundraising committees titled “Women on the Road to the Senate: 12 and Counting.” Each committee is designated to a specific city — “Washington, D.C.,” and “New York City,” according to Federal Election Commission documents released Tuesday.

“There’s a historic number of democratic women running for U.S. Senate,” DSCC communications director Matt Canter told The Hill. “It has generated a widespread amount of enthusiasm among Democratic donors and activists as well as among voters who are deeply concerned with the recent Republican attacks on women’s health.”

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Brunner gets Chamber nod in Missouri

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed businessman John Brunner, one of three Republicans competing to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

Unlike his two GOP opponents — Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman — Brunner has never held elected office. He has made his family's business, health and cosmetic product manufacturer Vi-Jon — the centerpiece of his campaign. Polls show him running in third place.

"At no other time in our nation’s history has it been more critical that members of Congress provide leadership that protects and advances the interests of the business community," Tom Donohue, the Chamber's president and CEO, said in announcing the endorsement. "We believe that your election to the U.S. Senate will help produce sustained economic growth, help create more jobs and get our country back on track."

Last week, the Chamber waded into another contested GOP primary in neighboring Nebraska, where it backed state Attorney General Jon Bruning over state Treasurer Don Stenberg. The group says that 85 percent of the candidates it supported in 2010 ended up winning.

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Sen. Manchin might not vote for Obama

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is leaving open the possibility he might not vote to give President Obama a second term, making him the only Democratic senator to stake such a claim.

“I’ll look at the options,” Manchin told National Journal, adding that the three years under Obama's administration “have made it pretty rough” for West Virginia.

A centrist Democrat up for reelection in November, Manchin has frequently bucked his party as he works to fend off GOP challenges in a conservative-leaning state.

Manchin lashed out at Obama's budget in March, arguing that it fell short of what the country needed to do to rein in its debt and spending. The same month, he voted with Republicans on Sen. Roy Blunt's (R-Mo.) amendment on contraception coverage.

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Romney to raise cash for Christie ally in NJ

Mitt Romney will travel to New Jersey next week to headline a fundraiser for state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), a close friend and ally of Romney backer Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).

The April 25 reception at a private home will benefit Kyrillos's Senate campaign to unseat Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is running for his second term.

Tickets go for $5,000 per person, and guests have been asked to show up for the 2-hour event in business attire, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Hill.

Romney has been primarily focused on raising money for his presidential campaign, and owes part of his success to Christie, who backed Romney early in the primary process and has reportedly raised well over $1.5 million for the former Massachusetts governor.

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Chamber backs Nebraska's Bruning, widening rift with fiscal conservatives

Nebraska state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) picked up the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, exacerbating a rift between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party-oriented wing of the conservative movement.

“Businesses today are looking for certainty, and that includes leadership in the Senate to fight for economic growth and advance the free enterprise system,” said Rob Engstrom, the group's political director. “Jon Bruning’s record demonstrates his commitment to growing Nebraska’s economy.”

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