Senate races

Senate races

Former House colleagues endorse Hoekstra

Three of former Rep. Pete Hoekstra's (R-Mich.) Republican House colleagues endorsed the Senate candidate Friday, the latest in the string of endorsements Hoekstra has out rolled this week to try to consolidate GOP support ahead of a likely primary.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), all Tea Party favorites, announced they will back Hoekstra's campaign a few days before Detroit Christian charter schools co-founder Clark Durant's planned announcement that he will join Hoekstra in the primary.

Hoekstra was endorsed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who beat him in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, earlier this week. Former Gov. John Engler said Wednesday that he was “hopeful Clark decides he will stay with education and let Pete be the candidate,” although he stoppped short of a full endorsement, while fellow Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) endorsed Hoekstra on Thursday.

Hoekstra starts as the front-runner in the race, and many Republicans in the state — and in Washington — hope he can avoid an expensive primary against Durant, whose fundraising network from the charter schools could make him a formidable candidate.

Durant also has the support of charter schools advocate and millionaire Betsy DeVos, former Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), and top Michigan GOP strategist Saul Anuzis.

The nominee will take on two-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who beat Abraham in 2000 to win her seat.

Read More...

Former GOP Sen. Hagel bashes Republicans

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) ripped into his fellow Republicans for their behavior on the debt-ceiling debate.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Hagel called his party "irresponsible" and said he was "disgusted" by their behavior.

"The irresponsible actions of my party, the Republican Party over this were astounding. I’d never seen anything like this in my lifetime," said Hagel. "I was very disappointed, I was very disgusted in how this played out in Washington, this debt ceiling debate. It was an astounding lack of responsible leadership by many in the Republican Party, and I say that as a Republican."

The former senator has long been known for criticizing his own party: He was one of the only Republicans to turn against the Iraq War during President George W. Bush's administration and voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act in 2005.

Hagel blamed the recent stock market nose dive on the debt ceiling debate and said that President Obama could have avoided the issue if he had embraced the bipartisan deficit reduction plan put forth by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.

But he laid most of the blame at the feet of his own party, which he said was unduly influenced by the Tea Party and other ideologically rigid movements.

"I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow. I’ve never seen so much intolerance as I see today in American politics," he said.

Read More...

Club for Growth endorses Neumann in Wisconsin

The deep-pocketed, fiscally conservative Club for Growth endorsed former Rep. Mark Neumann's (R-Wis.) Senate campaign Thursday morning.

"The Club for Growth PAC proudly endorses Mark Neumann for the United States Senate," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. "In Congress, he fought members of his own party on spending, received straight As from the National Taxpayers Union, and was a leader in the fight for limited government and economic freedom. Club members and Wisconsin Republicans looking for a fiscal conservative and pro-growth champion to send to Washington have a perfect candidate in Mark Neumann."

The group has been on the warpath against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), who is likely to announce his own campaign. Thompson was an early supporter of President Obama's push to reform health insurance, although he did not support the final bill. The group has already run ads against Thompson, criticizing him on healthcare and his tax record.

Neumann ran for governor last year, losing to now-Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the primary by a 20-point margin. Some of his former staffers, including his former chief of staff, now work for the Club for Growth. Thompson's campaign has stressed those ties in an attempt to discredit the group and attack their likely opponent.

"It's widely known that Mark Neumann’s former employees work at the Club for Growth," said Thompson spokesman Darrin Schmitz. "Given Neumann's record of distortions regarding Governor Walker, we’re not surprised he's now enlisting his former employees to do his dirty work."

Polling shows that Thompson leads Neumann, but not by an overwhelming margin. Both a poll conducted by the Club for Growth and one conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling give him just single-digit leads against Neumann. Both polls then told respondents that Thompson supported Obama's health insurance reform law, a message Neumann is sure to push, and retested the matchup. In both cases, Neumann then jumped to a strong lead over Thompson.

State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, a conservative Republican who helped Walker push through a law stripping state employees of unionization rights, is also in the race. Fitzgerald could play spoiler — if he gains enough traction he and Neumann could split the conservative, anti-Thompson vote and give the former governor an easier road to victory.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who is retiring. Democrats mention Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind and former Rep. Steve Kagen as possible candidates.


—This post was updated at 10:43 a.m.

Read More...

Rep. Candice Miller the latest to endorse Hoekstra in Michigan Senate primary

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) has rolled out a slew of endorsements for his Senate campaign this week, with the latest coming from Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.).

Hoekstras timed support comes ahead of an imminent announcement by Detroit Christian charter schools co-founder Clark Durant that he will join Hoekstra in the primary.

Hoekstra was endorsed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who beat him in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, earlier this week. Former Gov. John Engler said Wednesday that he was hopeful Clark decides he will stay with education and let Pete be the candidate, although he stoppped short of a full endorsement, unlike Miller.

I join with Governor Rick Snyder and thousands of grassroots supporters and activists from across the state of Michigan in asking you all to please help me in supporting Pete Hoekstra, who I am proud to endorse, Miller said Wednesday. He will be our next United States senator.

Hoekstra starts as the front-runner in the race, and many Republicans in the state — and in Washington — hope he can avoid an expensive primary against Durant, whose fundraising network from the charter schools could make him a formidable candidate.

The nominee will take on two-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Read More...

DeMint praises Neumann in Wis. senate race

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Wednesday signaled that he's looking to support Mark Neumann as the Republican candidate in the Wisconsin Senate race.

DeMint has not endorsed yet, but he indicated in a post on the website of his powerful political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, that he is considering supporting former Rep. Mark Neumann, who entered the race on Monday.

The senator called Neumann "a full-spectrum conservative who believes deeply in the principles of freedom."

In the post, which also went out as an email to supporters, DeMint slammed Neumann's likely Republican primary opponent, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

"This challenger is well-known statewide and has major fundraising connections, but he also backed ObamaCare and will not stand up for our values when it matters," DeMint said, a clear jab at Thompson who has already taken heat from some conservatives over his position on the healthcare reform bill. Thompson has not yet announced his candidacy, but he is expected to enter the race soon.

“Governor Thompson respects Senator DeMint greatly. However, the senator appears to be misinformed about Thompson’s record of cutting income taxes, reforming welfare and implementing the nation’s first and largest school choice program," a spokesman for Thompson responded to DeMint's criticism. “Governor Thompson looks forward to sharing with the senator his impressive record, as well as his public statements calling for the repeal of Obamacare.”

DeMint, whose endorsement could strongly influence the conservative vote in the race, wrote that conservatives "need to unite behind a single candidate" in the race.

"Otherwise, the conservative vote could be divided among two or three candidates, allowing a more liberal candidate to win a plurality," DeMint wrote.

Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R), who helped lead the effort to repeal unionization rights for Wisconsin employees last winter, also entered the race on Tuesday.

— This post was updated at 12:28 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.

Read More...

Another Republican joins Wisconsin Senate race

Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R) will run for the U.S. Senate, complicating what could be a crowded primary field.

Fitzgerald, who helped lead the effort to repeal unionization rights for state employees last winter, told the Wausau Daily Herald he was in the race.

Former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) entered the race on Monday, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) is expected to announce his candidacy soon.

Thompson and Neumann are expected to be the leading candidates, while Fitzgerald may play the spoiler role. Recent polls show that Republicans like Thompson but that he could be susceptible to a challenge from the right based on attacks on his tax record and early support of President Obamas healthcare reform law, which he has since renounced.

With Fitzgerald likely to run as a conservative, if he gains any traction he and Neumann could split the anti-Thompson vote, making his path to the nomination easier.

Democrats who may be considering the race include Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind and former Rep. Steve Kagen.

Read More...

Former Rep. Neumann enters Wisconsin Senate race

Former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) will run for the Senate, he announced Monday.

"We are going to enter the race for the United States Senate," Neumann said on Milwaukee's WTMJ radio.

He will likely face off against former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R).

Neumann signaled he would run to the right of Thompson, saying he would have voted against the compromise deal that raised the federal debt ceiling, and would focus his campaign on balancing the federal budget.

Thompson has not officially jumped into the race, but he and the fiscally conservative Club for Growth have already sparred, with the group attacking Thompson for his early support of President Obama's health insurance reform law (he later backed off) and Thompson supporters accusing the group of being a mouthpiece for Neumann because some of his former staffers work there.

Neumann called the idea that the Club for Growth was doing his bidding a "conspiracy theory."

"They’re trying to tie us to the Club for Growth ... you just can’t control these independent groups," he said. "The accusation that you have folks on my staff working there … it’s not really surprising that a conservative group like the Club for Growth would hire people who were working with me on balancing the budget."

Two recent polls, one commissioned by the Club for Growth and the other by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, showed Thompson with slim leads over Neumann.

Democrats considering the race include Rep. Tammy Baldwin and former Rep. Steve Kagen. The seat is being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who is retiring at the end of his term.

Read More...

Pages