Senate races

Senate races

Don Stenberg launches first ad in race for Nelson seat in Nebraska

Nebraska state Treasurer Don Stenberg (R) launched the first television ad of his Senate campaign Wednesday, a 60-second bio-spot introducing him to voters and touting his fiscally conservative credentials.

Stenberg's campaign did not disclose the size of the buy, but said the ad would run statewide on cable.

"As a kid, I mowed lawns and detassled corn. It taught me the value of a dollar," Stenberg says in the ad. "That’s why, as your state treasurer, I’ve cut my budget by 13 percent and I ran the attorney general’s office on the third-smallest budget in the country."

Although not mentioning him by name, Stenberg also manages to squeeze in a dig at his main opponent in the primary, state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R).

"Unlike some other folks, I didn’t suddenly become a conservative just to run for office," he says.

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Fundraising wrap-up: House challengers slow but steady

First-quarter fundraising numbers continued to roll out on Wednesday, and while there were few eye-popping figures, a number of Democratic House candidates showed steady progress towards having the money needed to win open seats or take out GOP incumbents. A few House Republican challengers also posted strong numbers.

SENATE:

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) raised $1.6 million, bringing his total cash on hand to an impressive $9.5 million. He's considered the favorite over Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who has a lot of catching up to do on fundraising.

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) raised nearly $860,000 and has more than $3 million in the bank — a mediocre number for a sitting congressman from a wealthy state with an expensive media market. He's the front-runner in the Democratic primary against former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) in the Democratic-leaning state.

Michigan businessman and conservative activist Clark Durant (R) raised $560,000 for his uphill Senate primary against former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.). He has $1.5 million, plenty to give Hoekstra headaches in the race.

HOUSE:

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) raised $300,000 and has $660,000 in the bank for her attempt to return to Congress. She's running in a redrawn toss-up northeastern Arizona district, and has gotten off to a strong start in this race.

Former Michigan state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) raised $270,000 and has $500,000 in the bank for his rematch against freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) in a conservative-leaning northern Michigan district. Air time is cheap up there and it's not a wealthy district, making the haul a strong one.

Democrat Ami Bera raised $370,000 and has $1.1 million to take on Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.). Bera outraised Lungren and lost narrowly in 2010, and is off to a strong fundraising start this year.

Democrat John Oceguera raised $370,000 and has $470,000 cash on hand for his run against Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) in a toss-up district outside Las Vegas.

Republican Ricky Gill raised more than $300,000 and didn't release his cash on hand in his race against Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) in the slightly Democratic-leaning district, a good number for the challenger.

Former Florida state Rep. Adam Hasner (R) raised $330,000 in his race against former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel (D) in a new Democratic-leaning district. He did not release his cash on hand number, although he'd recently dropped from the Senate to the House race after struggling to raise funds. Frankel has a hefty $1.8 million in the bank.

Democrat Pete Gallego raised $300,000 in his first fundraising quarter and has nearly that much in the bank. He's running against former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) for the chance to take on Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco (R-Texas) in the Democratic-leaning district. Rodriguez only raised about $100,000, while Canseco raised about $390,000 and will have more than $800,000 cash on hand.

Colorado businessman Joe Coors raised a strong $450,000 in his uphill battle against Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) in a Democratic-leaning district outside of Denver.

Washington businessman Denny Heck raised $400,000 and has $930,000 in the bank for his second run for Congress in a new Democratic-leaning district in Olympia.

—This post was updated at 7:19 p.m.

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Mourdock more confident than Lugar heading into debate

Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) sounded a lot more confident than Sen. Richard Lugar's (R-Ind.) staff about how he'll do at Wednesday night's Senate debate between the two.

Neither is known as a great public speaker — and neither has had to do much public debating in the past.

After downplaying the importance of the debate, Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher admitted the senator was not great at giving concise responses.

"It's not Lugar's strongest suit to have a short answer response to a dozen or so questions," he told The Hill earlier this week.

But while Lugar's campaign sought to downplay how strong he'd be, Mourdock sounded a confident note.


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Baldwin tops $2 million in first quarter

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) raised more than $2 million in the past three months, a strong quarter for the Senate hopeful and nearly double the $1.1 million she raised last quarter.

Baldwin now has $2.8 million cash on hand, a strong war chest for this point in the year.

The Wisconsin congresswoman is a liberal darling, and earlier this year she held a major fundraiser with fellow liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren, who is running in Massachusetts. She also has the backing of the pro-abortion rights EMILY's List, a fundraising powerhouse.

One concern: Baldwin has been spending that money quickly — nearly $1 million in the last three months. Her campaign said much of that had gone into direct mail solicitation, a fundraising method that costs much but can bring in even bigger results, which seems to be the case here.

Baldwin will face the winner of the free-for-all Republican primary among former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.), big-spending businessman Eric Hovde (R) and Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R).

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Richard Carmona tops $800,000 in race for Kyl seat

Democrat Richard Carmona raised $800,000 in the first three months of 2012, his campaign announced Tuesday, leaving him with $1.1 million for his race for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's (R) seat in Arizona.

This was the first full fundraising quarter that Carmona was in the race, but in the last two months of 2011, his campaign brought in $570,000. The U.S. surgeon general who served under former President George W. Bush, Carmona is the only remaining Democrat in the race. Another Democrat, Don Bivens, dropped out in March.

{mosads}The two Republicans vying for Kyl's seat have not released their figures for January through March, which are due to the Federal Election Commission by April 15. But the front-runner for the GOP nomination, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), had almost $2.6 million in his war chest at the end of 2011. Businessman Wil Cardon, who is trailing far behind Flake in the polls, has loaned his campaign almost $1.3 million.

The Hill rates this race as leaning Republican.

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Fundraising wrap-up: McCaskill, Dold post big quarters

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), two incumbents facing tough reelection campaigns, posted big fundraising quarters Tuesday. Here's Tuesday's fundraising wrap-up:

• McCaskill raised $2.3 million and had approximately $6 million on hand as of the end of March, a big improvement over the already strong $1.4 million she raised last quarter. She faces a tough race in the Republican-leaning state.

• Dold (R-Ill.) raised $600,000 and has $1.6 million cash on hand, strong numbers for the endangered incumbent. He's running in a Democratic-leaning suburban Chicago district where air time is expensive.

• Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) narrowly outraised Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) in a Republican-leaning district pitting the two against each other. Renacci maintains the cash edge with $1.2 million in the bank to Sutton's $750,000.


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Club for Growth ads attack GOP front-runner in Nebraska

The Club for Growth is going up with ads attacking Nebraska state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R), adding to a recent bombardment on the airwaves as the state's Senate race heats up.

The television and radio ads by the fiscally conservative group accuse Bruning of concealing a habit of big spending. The Club for Growth said the final budget for the ads hasn't been determined, but that the television ad will air statewide on broadcast and cable.

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