Senate races

Senate races

Scott Brown launches first ad of Senate reelection bid

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) launched his first broadcast ad of his reelection on Monday, unveiling a radio spot in which he portrays himself as an even-mannered, independent voice for Massachusetts.

The 60-second ad, dubbed the "Scott Brown Radio Report," will be the first in a series of similar radio ads the senator intends to air during the race. His campaign did not disclose the size of the buy, but said the ad would air statewide.

"When I vote, I don't worry about the party line, I look at each issue on the merits," Brown says in the ad. "We have a lot of people out of work in Massachusetts; families are still hurting. I'm running for reelection because their concerns are my concerns."

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Warren raises $1.2 million in a day for Senate bid

A “money bomb” for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren — timed to coincide with the reelection launch of her rival, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), netted almost $1.2 million for the consumer protection advocate.

Warren raised about $1,194,000 on Thursday in what her campaign called a grassroots money drive that signaled overwhelming enthusiasm for her campaign.

“Today the message is clear: We have the grassroots momentum and enthusiasm to take the ‘People’s Seat’ back from Wall Street and other powerful interests,” Warren said in a statement. “I am grateful for this show of support and will keep working my heart out for the small businesses and middle class families who deserve someone on their side in the Senate.”

Top Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), pitched in by emailing their own supporters and asking them to donate to Warren’s campaign on Thursday.

In his kickoff event, Brown painted Warren as another vote for an agenda of increased spending and debt in Washington, portraying his own role as one of the independent emissary of the people of Massachusetts — a traditionally Democratic state.

“I don’t worry about the party line. I don’t get caught up in petty fights,” Brown said. “I always remember why I am there and who sent me. I am still nobody’s senator but yours.”

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Democratic Senate recruit asks Obama to backpedal on Keystone pipeline

A top Democratic recruit for the Senate is drawing a line in the sand on the Keystone XL pipeline, separating herself from President Obama in a state where the president’s favorability is underwater.

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s former attorney general and the presumed Democratic nominee to replace retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), sent a letter to Obama on Friday asking him to reverse course on the pipeline, which Obama announced Wednesday that he will block.

“The Keystone pipeline would mean billions of dollars invested in our economy when we need it most, and tens of thousands of well-paid construction jobs at a time when too many Americans are out of work,” Heitkamp wrote. “It would bring new business opportunities for small businesses that would support this huge construction project, from gravel pits to Main Street diners.”

The move by Heitkamp reflected the most palpable and clear-cut attempt by a major Democratic candidate to publicly create distance from Obama since the debate over healthcare reform.

And it’s good politics in North Dakota, a major oil-producing state where opposition to the pipeline is a hard sell for Democrats. When Gallup polled the state in August, Obama’s approval rating stood at 37 percent, among the 10 states where Obama fared the worst.

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GOP Gov. Corbett backs former Dem in Pa. Senate race

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is backing entrepreneur Steve Welch in the Republican primary to take on Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.).

Corbett has been calling Republican leaders in southeast Pennsylvania to ask them to support Welch, the PoliticsPA blog reported.

Welch, a business developer, has had a difficult challenge to secure the trust of many in the state’s GOP establishment due to his brief foray into being a Democrat in 2008, when he temporarily switched parties to vote for then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the primary.

He faces Tim Burns, Tom Smith and a handful of other candidates in the crowded GOP primary.

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NJ state Senate leader to challenge Democratic Sen. Menendez

New Jersey state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), a top ally of Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), will mount a challenge against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Kyrillos formed an exploratory committee during the summer of 2011 and started raising money for a possible bid. He will now convert that to an official campaign account, he announced on Thursday.

"Our country is in trouble and Washington is failing us. Americans have seen their neighbors lose their jobs, their home values fall, their savings shrink, and their economic horizon darkened by a record $15 trillion national debt," Kyrillos said in a statement. "Washington has responded with nothing but partisan squabbling and reckless spending, and now Bob Menendez is seeking reelection to deliver more of the same."

Kyrillos told The Hill in December that he felt “a strong calling” to run for Senate.

State Sen. Mike Doherty (R), another Christie ally and a friend of Kyrillos, had also been floated as a likely candidate, but a Republican source said he no longer expects Doherty will run.

Menendez has a 46-35 lead over a generic Republican in a Quinnipiac University poll of New Jersey voters released Thursday

—This post was updated at 10:46 a.m.

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