Senate races

Senate races

Vulnerable senators stick with their party on Buffett Rule vote

Vulnerable senators seeking reelection stuck with their parties on Monday as the Senate rejected a Democratic plan to require millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate.

Republican Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Dean Heller (Nev.) voted with GOP leadership to block the proposal, earning an instant rebuke from Democrats, who suggested that voters would react by ousting both incumbents in November.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat in conservative-leaning Missouri, voted with Democratic leadership to move forward with the plan. Republicans argued it was yet another example of McCaskill voting to raise taxes.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who faces serious primary challenges at a state Republican convention scheduled for Saturday, did not vote.

Only Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) broke with their party on the vote. Neither are up for reelection in 2012.

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Christie, McCain to campaign for Josh Mandel in Ohio

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will both campaign in Ohio on Monday for state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee for the Senate.

McCain will campaign with Mandel in Columbus on Tuesday morning, according to NewsNet 5. In the afternoon, Mandel and Christie will appear together in the Cleveland area.

The events signal major Republican establishment support for Mandel, a first-term treasurer who will face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in November.

The Hill rates this race as leaning Democratic.

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National Review endorses Lugar's primary opponent

The National Review, a conservative standard-bearer, has endorsed Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) over Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), making it the latest leading conservative to align behind the Tea Party favorite.

"Lugar evinces a political philosophy so subtle that in unfavorable light it scarcely seems to exist at all," the paper's editorial board writes, pointing to his votes in favor of the auto bailout, President Obama's Supreme Court nominees and the DREAM Act, which would allow some undocumented immigrants brought to the United States at a young age a path to citizenship.

The paper also takes a dig at Lugar's ongoing residency issues — he hasn't lived in Indiana for more than three decades and had to fend off a legal challenge as to whether he'd be able to vote in the state at all. "Lugar has become a carpetbagger in his own state," they write.

Polls show a tight race between Lugar and Mourdock, who also has the support of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, the National Rifle Association and socially conservative groups including the Eagle Forum and Indiana Right to Life.

Read the full endorsement here.

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Bob Kerrey raises $900,000 in one month for comeback bid

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) brought in more than $900,000 in first month since entering the race to replace retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), his campaign announced Friday.

Kerrey's haul for the first quarter of 2012 exceeded that of any of the other candidates who have reported their fundraising, including GOP front-runner Jon Bruning, who raised about $530,000. Kerrey announced his campaign in late February, giving him just one month to raise cash before the end of the quarter.

"It’s a clear sign that Nebraskans are tired of ‘politics as usual’ and want to elect a leader who will tell the truth and cross party lines to address the serious problems we face as a nation," Paul Johnson, Kerrey's campaign manager, said.

Kerrey also burned through a good chunk of what he raised so far, ending the first quarter with about $550,000 in the bank.

Kerrey has already gone on the air with campaign ads, keeping up with the Republicans, who have all launched ads for their campaigns.

The Hill rates this race as leaning Republican.

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NJ Senate candidate's real first-quarter haul: About half of what he announced

As congressional candidates across the country released their fundraising totals for the first quarter of 2012 this week, New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R) announced he had raised $1.75 million for his race to unseat Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

It turns out, however, about half of that was cash he already had before the quarter started.

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Mourdock outraises Lugar in last quarter

Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock raised $875,000 in the last three months for his Senate campaign, more than double what he's brought in during any previous fundraising quarter and significantly more than Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) raised.

Lugar raised $820,000, a strong haul, and maintains a big cash advantage over Mourdock with $2.5 million in the bank to Mourdock's $430,000. But Mourdock's fundraising haul is the latest sign he has some momentum in the race.

Still, Mourdock will be outspent by the groups that are supporting him — in a big way. The Club for Growth has already spent more than $600,000 on the race, according to a recent Federal Election Commission filing, and the National Rifle Association is already into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On the other side, the American Action Network, which backs establishment Republicans, is spending more than a half-million dollars defending Lugar.

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Bob Kerrey praises both parties in new ad for Nelson seat

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) praised both Democrats and Republicans in a new ad for his Senate campaign, highlighting the delicate political path he is forging in a conservative-leaning state.

It's the second round of ads for Kerrey since he announced in February he would mount a fight to reclaim his old seat. Kerrey's campaign did not disclose any details about the ad buy.

"The Democrats are right to cut taxes for working people and raise them for high earners, while making healthcare more affordable," Kerrey says in the ad. "The Republicans are right about the need to cut regulatory costs and simplify the tax code to promote economic growth."

Kerrey says the problem with both parties is their refusal to vote for good ideas championed by the other party.

"It's good to be back," Kerrey says. "I sponsored this message because I'm not afraid to do what's right."


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