Senate races

Senate races

Sen. Corker draws 8 Dem, 4 GOP challengers

Eight Democrats and four Republicans have filed to run against Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) as he seeks a second term in the Senate.

Notable on the Democratic side is Park Overall, a Broadway and screen actress and a prominent environmental activist, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. On the GOP side, two Tea Party candidates and two others will challenge Corker in the primary.

{mosads}Unseating Corker will be an uphill slog for any candidate — especially when it comes to raising enough cash to be competitive. Corker had almost $7.4 million saved up for his reelection as of the end of 2011.

Corker has also been floated as a possible vice presidential pick, and didn’t rule out the prospect when asked about it on Thursday, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Poll: Gillibrand trouncing GOP opponents

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is in solid shape for reelection, a new poll showed, even with Rep. Bob Turner (R-N.Y.) in the race.

Gillibrand’s approval rating stands at 60 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday — her highest rating ever, according to Quinnipiac.

She also has more than twice as much support as Turner, her nearest competititor. Gillibrand takes 57 percent to Turner’s 27 in a general election. Matched up against Republican Wendy Long, Gillibrand leads by 33 points, and her lead over Nassau Country Comptroller George Maragos (R) is 35 points.

“Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s three opponents, so far, fall short of even the generic GOP vote,” said Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carrol in a polling memo. “But it’s seven long months until Election Day.”

Democrats aren’t sweating Gillibrand’s reelection, and she had more than $8 million stockpiled as of the end of 2011. Turner launched a long-shot bid to unseat Gillibrand in March when it became clear his Queens-area district would likely be dismantled by redistricting.

The poll of 1,597 New York voters was conducted March 28-April 2 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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Fundraising wrap-up: Democrats post strong quarters

A quartet of Democrats who posted strong fundraising quarters released their numbers this afternoon:

• Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) brought in $1.5 million, continuing her strong fundraising. She now has more than $7 million in the bank and is looking strong against former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who has yet to release his numbers.

• Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) greatly improved her fundraising this quarter with more than $500,000 raised. That followed two relatively weak quarters and puts her on steadier footing against former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R), who has had steady fundraising quarters in the newly drawn swing district. She now has $1.3 million in the bank. Maldonado has yet to release his fundraising totals.

• Michigan state Rep. Steve Pestka (D) raised $220,000 including a $90,000 personal loan in the first month of his campaign, a strong early posting that shows he could be a real threat to freshman Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) in a Republican-leaning district. Amash has yet to release his numbers.

• Arizona Democrat Andrei Cherney raised $430,000 in the first seven weeks of his campaign and has nearly $400,000 in the bank, a quick start for the candidate running in a swing district with a crowded Democratic field.

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Kaine gets wonky at Northern Virginia campaign stop

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) showed his wonky side at a campaign stop with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) at a northern Virginia energy company Wednesday, focusing on his newly launched business plan and never mentioning his likely Senate opponent, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).

The two former governors discussed long-term economic plans with the few dozen business leaders in the audience, in a discussion that often veered into policy minutiae and statistics rather than campaign talking points.

"I'm a data freak," Kaine said, somewhat proudly, before launching into one point about the future demographics of the country.

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George Allen hauls $1.4 million, outraised by Kaine again

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) brought in $1.4 million in the last three months and has nearly $2.7 million cash on hand, his campaign announced Tuesday afternoon, a strong number that once again fell short of the haul his opponent, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who brought in $2.2 million and now has $4.4 million in the bank.

Allen's campaign also spent a good chunk of its quarterly fundraising, and banked just over $600,000 this quarter, a high burn rate but not as high as it had been previously.

{mosads}Both candidates have strong fundraising networks from which to work, although Kaine's recent position as head of the Democratic National Committee likely helps him more than Allen's time as senator and governor, as Allen has been out of office for six years.

It's unlikely money will be a problem for either candidate, and the race has the potential to be the most expensive Senate race in the country. Both candidates have super-PACs backing them that plan to raise and spend $3 million, and big-spending outside groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the GOP-aligned American Crossroads and the League of Conservation Voters have already been spending a good amount of money on the race.

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