Senate races

Senate races

Poll: Kaine, Allen in dead heat in Virginia

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) and former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) are statistically tied in their Virginia Senate race in a new poll, the latest sign that the race will be neck and neck throughout the year.

Kaine leads Allen by 46 percent to 45, according to a new poll by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling. The two have been in a dead heat in nearly every public poll of the race.

Allen does better in the state than Mitt Romney, who trails President Obama by 8 percentage points there, according to a portion of the poll released earlier this week.

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Poll: Manchin holds huge lead in West Virginia

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) holds a huge lead in his reelection bid, according to new polling results.

{mosads}Manchin leads his GOP opponent, businessman John Raese, by a whopping 74 to 22 percent. Manchin beat Raese in 2010 by 8 percentage points in the GOP wave year.

The senator's good numbers come despite President Obama's struggles in the state: He trails Mitt Romney by 54 percent to 37. The state has trended hard against Democrats at the national level in recent years, although locally they still hold most elected offices.

The poll of 410 likely voters was conducted April 25-28 by R.L. Repass & Partners. The margin of error is 4.8 percent.

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DSCC hits Rep. Berg on farms, Medicare in ad touting Heitkamp

Senate Democrats are hitting Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) for weakening support for farms and Medicare in a television ad targeting his bid for retiring Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-N.D.) seat.

A source said the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had reserved about $76,000 in airtime — the first independent expenditure of the cycle by either the DSCC or the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The ad starts with a clip of Berg's own television ad, in which he said Washington could learn from the ways of people in North Dakota.

"But it’s Rick Berg who’s doing things the Washington way. Voting to essentially end Medicare. Gut support for farmers, while giving huge tax breaks for millionaires," says the narrator. "That’s not the way we do things in North Dakota."

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DeMint backs Flake in Arizona Senate race

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is throwing the weight of his Senate Conservatives Fund behind Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), securing both financial support and conservative credibility for Flake’s Senate bid.

“When it comes to fighting wasteful Washington spending and parochial politics, nobody has done more to advance the cause of freedom than Jeff Flake. Nobody,” DeMint wrote Monday in an email to supporters.

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Former Democratic mayors back Brown over Warren

Former Democratic mayors of the two largest cities in Massachusetts are backing Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) over Elizabeth Warren.

Ray Flynn, who served as Boston’s mayor for almost a decade before being named an ambassador under President Clinton, will endorse Brown on Monday at South Boston’s Castle Island. A conservative Democrat, Flynn has long been allied with Brown, and endorsed his 2010 Senate bid against state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D).

Hours later, former Worcester, Mass., Mayor Konnie Lukes will announce her support for Brown in the city Lukes ran until 2009.

Both endorsements serve as reminders of Brown’s continued crossover appeal to centrist Democratic voters, despite the star power and grassroots energy behind Warren’s campaign.

- This post was updated at 10:21 a.m.

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Super-PAC cuts off Lugar in Indiana

The American Action Network, a super-PAC that backs establishment Republicans, has pulled out of Indiana's Senate race, the latest bad omen for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

"We've decided we're going to let this race play out," AAN spokesman Dan Conston told The Hill Friday evening.

The group had committed to spending nearly $600,000 on television attacking Lugar's Tea Party opponent, Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), and has been on the air in Indianapolis for two weeks. But they have pulled their online advertising and will end their TV buy on Tuesday, a week ahead of the May 8 primary.

Lugar still has a big warchest to draw from, so the loss of ads against Mourdock won't hurt him that badly in the air war. But this is the latest sign that the race is slipping away from the six-term senator, who has been badly damaged after it was revealed he's lived in Washington, D.C. for decades and is a top target of many conservative groups.

The race seems to be slipping away from Lugar and the American Action Network may want to avoid inflicting any more damage on Mourdock, the likely nominee, ahead of what could be a competitive general election race against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Politico first reported the group's decision.

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