Senate races

Senate races

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.


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.


Poll shows tight race for Senate in Arizona

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) could be within striking distance of Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in the race for Arizona's open Senate seat, according to a poll released Wednesday by Carmona's campaign.

Flake leads Carmona 43-39 in the survey by Democratic firm Anzalone Liszt Research, giving Flake a margin of just 4 points over the Democratic nominee.

Earlier polls had showed Flake, the GOP front-runner for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-Ariz.) seat, with a double-digit lead over Carmona.

Carmona runs strongest in Tucson, Ariz., beating Flake 49-33 in the city where Carmona lives and works. The poll also suggested Carmona handily winning Hispanic voters, with a 36-point advantage over Flake.

But while most voters are already familiar with Flake, 78 percent of Arizona voters are unable to identify Carmona, meaning the first-time candidate has a lot of work to do to introduce himself to voters outside of Tucson — especially in voter-rich Phoenix and its suburbs.


Obama super-PAC, green group join forces for $1 million hit on Romney

A super-PAC supporting President Obama and an environmental group have joined forces to spend $1 million dubbing Mitt Romney "the $200 million man" and painting him as a shill for Big Oil.

Priorities USA and the League of Conservation Voters are sharing the cost to air the ad statewide in Colorado and Nevada over the next few weeks, a source with one of the groups said Wednesday.

“He’s the $200 million man and Big Oil’s fingerprints are all over him,” says the narrator in the ad. 

Footage of an oil rig and gas stations are displayed as the narrator claims that the oil industry had pledged $200 million to help Romney get elected and ensure his protection in exchange for tax breaks and high profits for the industry.

“So when you fill up your tank, remember who’s in the tank for Big Oil: Mitt Romney, the $200 million man," says the ad.

It's the same theme that President Obama's reelection campaign used in early April, just as the primary election was effectively wrapping up, when it aired an ad tying Romney to the oil industry and reminding viewers that the industry is spending heavily to attack Obama.