Senate races

Senate races

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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DSCC spends $75,000 in ND as poll shows Heitkamp beating Berg

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has purchased about $75,000 in airtime for the Senate race in North Dakota, where a new poll shows the Democrat ahead by five points.

Former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) leads Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) 49-44 in a survey commissioned by North Dakota Democrats. Surprisingly, just 7 percent were undecided six months out from Election Day.

The poll, by Democratic firm DFM Research, suggested Heitkamp is running significantly ahead of other Democrats, giving her solid standing despite being a Democrat in a state where President Obama is expected to lose. Voters surveyed in the poll chose Mitt Romney over Obama 51-32, and favored the GOP over the Democratic Party by a margin of 18 points.

The poll of 478 registered voters was conducted April 18-26 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The television ad time reserved by the DSCC on Friday signaled the first independent expenditure of the cycle by either the DSCC or the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

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