Senate races

Senate races

Bill Clinton hits Raese: 'Don't let this guy play you'

Campaigning for Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Monday, former President Clinton ripped into Republican businessman John Raese, telling supporters at a Manchin rally that Raese is "trying to stop the voters of West Virginia from thinking."

The former president served as lead attack dog for Manchin Monday, slamming Raese's recent campaign ads and referencing the controversy over a casting call for a GOP-sponsored spot that called for actors with a "hicky" appearance.

Clinton didn't reference Raese by name, but warned West Virginia voters: "Don't let this guy play you."   

"If people in this state weren't hurting and frustrated and angry, [Manchin would be] ahead by 30 points and you know it," the former president said. 

"I don't blame anybody for being mad," Clinton continued. "But I'm old enough to know that when you make a decision when you're mad … there's about an 80 percent chance you'll make a mistake."

Manchin finds himself on the verge of being labeled the underdog in a Senate contest where he was supposed to cruise to victory this fall. Raese's persistent attacks tying Manchin to Obama and the Democratic leadership in Washington have eroded the popular governor's edge in the race. 

The latest Rasmussen poll in the contest gives Raese a six-point edge over Manchin. 

For his part, Manchin continued to push back hard against Raese on Monday. The governor again distanced himself from Obama, telling supporters that when it comes to healthcare, he wants to go to Washington and "repeal part of that bill."

"You're running against Joe Manchin, you're not running against Barack Obama," the governor warned Raese.  

He also tried to keep the controversy sparked by the National Republican Senatorial Committee ad alive, telling supporters the language in the casting call for the spot "went through me like a knife." 

Both the former president and Manchin implored Democrats to get out and vote this fall, with Clinton plugging early voting in the state, which starts Wednesday.


Sen. Brown to headline rally for Linda McMahon

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will headline a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon Saturday. 

The Massachusetts Republican, who burst onto the national political scene after winning a special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) in January, has campaigned for a handful of Republican hopefuls so far in 2010.

Brown is in the early presidential primary state of New Hampshire on Friday to headline a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen. 

Brown's visit for McMahon comes with recent polls showing state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) opening up a double-digit lead over the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO. 

Spending more than $20 million of her own money on the race, McMahon surged over the summer, coming within 3 points of Blumenthal in a September Quinnipiac poll. But a Rasmussen poll from earlier this week gave Blumenthal an 11-point edge, and the latest numbers from CNN/Time put him up 13 points.

McMahon has hit Blumenthal hard over the past week with an ad attacking the Democrat's claims that he served in Vietnam. 

"Would you lie about serving in a war?" the ad's narrator asks. "Dick Blumenthal did. Again and again."

Earlier this year, Blumenthal said he had misstated his military record and made clear that he never saw combat in Vietnam. 


Anti-abortion group backs Miller, targets Sen. Murkowski

The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) announced Friday that it is endorsing Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) and releasing a radio ad targeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

"Joe Miller's unique experience and commitment to rescind taxpayer funding of abortion in the federal healthcare legislation is urgently needed in the coming Congress," Marjorie Dannenfelser, the anti-abortion-rights group's president, said in a statement.

Murkowski is waging a write-in bid this fall against Miller, who defeated her in the primary, and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D).

SBA spent $10,000 on the radio spot, a significant buy in the state. The ad features the voice of an "ear doctor" showing up at Murkowski’s office “for the hearing test.”

"Alaska voters sent me, afraid she didn't hear them during the primary," he says. 


Chicago's major dailies on opposite sides in Senate race

Chicago's two major newspapers picked opposite sides in the race for the Senate seat once held by President Obama. 

The Chicago Tribune's editorial board endorsed Republican Mark Kirk on Friday, while the Chicago Sun-Times backed Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.

The Sun-Times's editorial board noted Giannoulias's "great potential."

“With a triumvirate of Giannoulias, Sen. Dick Durbin — the Democratic Senate whip — and President Obama, every squeak and chirp in Illinois would be loudly heard in Washington,” the Sun-Times board wrote.

The endorsement also noted a sense of "frustration" with Kirk, whom the paper has "endorsed many times before."

"But in the past few years, Kirk has become more of a mystery to us, not less, exaggerating his resume, flip-flopping on some issues and refusing to take a stand on others for fear of offending any segment of voters," the board wrote. "We will never understand in particular why Kirk felt the need to falsely puff up his already impressive military record."

The Tribune, meanwhile, noted the trust issue, but wrote: "You can argue that either man's difficulty with candor is more troubling than the other's."

The paper also provided some criticism of Giannoulias in its praise for Kirk. "So if you're looking to elect a party-line Illinoisan to the Senate, you have your man," the board wrote in reference to the Democrat. "On the climactic Senate votes that define this nation's very future for better or worse — be they on spending obligations or defense policy or industry bailouts — Alexi will be on the bus."

In expaining its backing of Kirk, the Tribune referred to its videos of the two interviews it conducted with the candidates.

"Kirk rips through the long list of issues on which he's voted against the conservative line — health insurance for kids, stem cell research, predatory lending, campaign finance reform and so on," the board wrote. "You're struck less by where you agree or disagree than by the totality of what you know about his temperament. Kirk has been his own counsel, not his party's robot."


Christine O'Donnell warns Obama: 'I've seen many Hillary for president ads running'

Republican Christine O'Donnell said Thursday she is confident the GOP can succeed in repealing the healthcare reform law after November's midterm elections. 

In an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta, Delaware's Republican Senate nominee said she wants to "scrap the bill and start over," and that it's pessimistic to suggest that Republicans cannot succeed in repealing the law with President Obama in the White House.  

"That kind of throw in the towel mentality is what got us to this mess that we're in the first place," O'Donnell said. "Repealing Obama Care is absolutely realistic.  I heard a statistic this morning that one out of four Democrats are for full repeal of Obama Care." 

O'Donnell said if the president were to veto a repeal of the healthcare law "the year before his reelection, he's setting himself up to be very vulnerable. And I've seen many Hillary for president ads running." 

It's not clear what ads O'Donnell was referring to and she didn't elaborate. 

O'Donnell trails Democratic nominee Chris Coons by double-digits in recent polls and Coons announced earlier Thursday that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a joint fundraiser for his campaign in Delaware next week.


Toomey within margin of error in Sestak's district

Voters in Rep. Joe Sestak's (D) district prefer Sestak by a three-point margin over Republican Pat Toomey in the Keystone State's Senate race.

Forty-nine percent of voters in the state's 7th congressional district said they plan to support Sestak for Senate, compared to 46 percent who plan to vote for Toomey. Five percent were undecided or planned to vote for another candidate.

Sestak's lead in his own district is well within the margin of error of the Monmouth University poll of the district released Thursday. The poll suggests that Sestak, the two-term congressman who beat Sen. Arlen Specter (D) to snag the party's Senate nomination this cycle, is beginning to fall behind in his race against Toomey — even in his own home base.

Statewide polls suggest an advantage presently for Toomey, the former congressman and former chairman of the Club for Growth, an economically conservative advocacy group.

A poll conducted Sept. 28-Oct. 4 for the Allentown Morning Call and Muhlenberg College found Toomey leading Sestak 45-38 percent, with a 4 percent margin of error.

The Monmouth poll was conducted Oct. 4-6 and has a 3.8 percent margin of error.


Florida Dem 'rejects' environmental group's backing

Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek (D) reacted angrily to the Sierra Club co-endorsing him and Gov. Charlie Crist (I). 

The environmental group said it made the decision following a "detailed endorsement process."

"The Sierra Club's number one priority is ensuring a clean energy economy to create jobs and solve the climate crisis," Frank Jackalone, the Sierra Club’s Florida staff director, said in a statement. "With Crist and Meek we can count on two serious and accomplished candidates for the U.S. Senate who understand the urgency of environmental protection and the policies needed to accomplish that goal."

Meek called the co-endorsement an "insult to Florida's environmental community."

"The Sierra Club has chosen to stand with a governor who stood on stage applauding as Sarah Palin chanted, 'Drill, Baby, Drill,' a governor who signed a law making it easier for big developers to drain the Everglades, a governor who endorsed a bill that would have allowed drilling just three miles away from Florida beaches, and a governor who used polluter talking points to attack climate change legislation," Meek said in a statement. "I respectfully decline the Sierra Club's co-endorsement."