Senate races

Senate races

No meeting for O'Donnell and NRSC

There was no meeting Friday between Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) and National Republican Senate Campaign Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas). 

The two were supposed to meet when O'Donnell came to Washington.

O'Donnell campaign officials said the schedules couldn't be synced but they are hoping to meet soon.

The meeting was set up to reiterate the NRSC's support for O'Donnell's campaign after her surprise win in Tuesday's primary against party-backed candidate Mike Castle (R-Del.). There were questions about how much the party would back her after the NRSC released a tepid statement following her victory. But the group quickly donated $42,000 — the maximum allowed — to her campaign, and Cornyn released a statement saying she had their backing.

O'Donnell is speaking Friday afternoon at the Value Voters Summit in Washington.


Alaska Dem: Joe Miller 'hand-selected' by Sarah Palin

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was a major focus of the first general-election debate in Alaska's Senate race Thursday, with Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) going after Tea Party-backed Joe Miller (R) as Palin's anointed candidate.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, McAdams said Miller was "groomed" by Palin for the slot and labeled him a danger to Alaska's economy given his stance against earmarks.

Miller disputed the notion that he was a Palin pawn, noting, "I'm my own guy."

The two met for their first debate even as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was still deciding whether to launch an independent write-in bid this fall. It's an announcement she is expected to make Friday.

But if she does decide to run, McAdams said he wouldn't mind a Murkowski victory, assuming he doesn't take the seat himself.

More from the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday's debate:

McAdams said the state deserves its fair share and that saying no to earmarks is a threat to Alaska.

Miller said he would never say no to federal funding for Alaska, a still-young state that has been heavily reliant on federal aid for building up its infrastructure and other needs. While he said he had a great deal of respect for the late former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who brought home billions in money and projects during his decades in the Senate, Miller also declared the era of earmarks "dead" and said a new approach is needed now, with the federal government deep in debt and belt-tightening necessary. He said Alaskans must be prepared for that new day.

Miller said the responsibility for a senator rests not with securing earmarks — something members of the delegation, including U.S. Rep. Don Young, have unabashedly done for years — but with ensuring the state gets its fair share at the appropriations table. He also sees the need for easing federal regulations that he believes have limited Alaska's ability to develop its energy and resource base.


Opposition grows to Sen. Murkowski write-in bid

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) wants Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to accept her primary defeat.

Since losing to the Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, Murkowski has hinted she may launch a write-in bid. She’s set to announce her decision on Friday.

"If Sen. Murkowski is truly committed to doing ‘what is right’ for her state, then we hope that she will step forward and fully endorse Joe Miller’s candidacy," NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement released Thursday night. "No matter what Sen. Murkowski decides for her own political interests in the future, Republicans are united behind Joe Miller’s nomination, and we are confident that he will be elected Alaska’s next U.S. senator in November."

Other than the NRSC, several Republican senators told The Hill's J. Taylor Rushing this week that they’re backing Miller, an attorney who shocked the political establishment with his Aug. 24 victory over Murkowski, 51 percent to 49.

Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News Thursday that she was still weighing her options.

"Believe you me, the easier path would be to pack it all up and go do something different," she said. "If I had not heard this call from Alaskans, I would not be deliberating as I am."


Biden to Delaware for Coons

Vice President Joe Biden will head to Delaware sometime next week to campaign for the Democrat hoping to fill his former Senate seat. 

According to CNN, Biden will stump on behalf of New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, who faces Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell in November. 

It comes as no surprise that Biden will campaign for Coons, and Republican strategists say they expect to see him in the state more than once ahead of November. But the fact that Biden is being deployed so quickly suggests Democrats are anxious to cut off any momentum that may be building for O'Donnell, who has gotten significant national attention since her primary victory Tuesday.

In an interview on MSNBC Wednesday, Biden called O'Donnell's win in the primary "hard to explain" and said it showed the message from the GOP is "No moderates need apply." 

The first poll of the general election, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, still shows Coons up by double digits. 

But O'Donnell has shown some fundraising prowess since she upset Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in Tuesday's primary. O'Donnell has raised more than $1 million online since then.  


Sen. Bennet defends stimulus; GOP targets his vote

As Republicans released a TV ad hitting Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)  for supporting the stimulus bill, he defended his vote during a roundtable with reporters Thursday.

"I think passing the recovery package was an essential thing to do in order to save us from, you know, the Great Depression," he said. "And I think economists on both sides of the aisle say it was roughly responsible for three points of GDP."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released its second ad of the campaign Thursday, which targets Bennet's vote on the stimulus package.

"He voted for the stimulus bill, promising us jobs," a female announcer says in the ad. "But unemployment’s up."

"It's amazing if you look at the advertising that's being run against me," Bennet said at an event hosted by the Third Way, a Democratic-leaning Washington think tank. 

"I think the recovery package saved us from falling into not just the worst recession since the Great Depression, but another Great Depression," he said. "But that's not saying a lot from the vantage point of our kids. That seems to me to be not a sufficient standard for success or progress, and that's the point I was trying to make."

Bennet's facing Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) in November. Buck clinched the Senate nomination with the support of the Tea Party and other grassroots conservative groups. Democrats have sought to label Buck and other so-called Tea Party candidates as too "extreme."

Bennet made the same argument.  

"I think [Buck is] very extreme on a number of issues from Colorado's point of view,” he said. "He's argued for the privatization of Social Security. He's argued for an end to the Department of Education, an end to federal student loans. He's pro-life, and with no exceptions for rape or incest. He supports Paul Ryan’s [budget] blueprint. Those are positions that are extreme and out of step with the people of my state."

Despite holding views that Bennet argues are "extreme" for Colorado, the senator said he doesn't expect to have an easy race against Buck. "The polls are going to stay close to the end for all kinds of reasons," he told The Ballot Box.

Asked if he would call on President Obama for help in the general election, Bennet was noncommittal. 

"I'm grateful for his support," said Bennet, who got fundraising help from the president during his primary. "We're looking at this day by day by day. I mean, all these questions."


O'Donnell to speak at 'values' summit on Friday

Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell will be in Washington Friday to speak at a major gathering of conservative activists.

O’Donnell was added to the afternoon program at the Values Voter Summit after her surprise victory over Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware GOP Senate primary on Tuesday.

Her appearance comes as a new poll shows her trailing Democrat Chris Coons by 11 points. Coons took 53 percent of the vote to 42 percent for O'Donnell in a Rasmussen Reports poll out Thursday. Only 4 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The Sept. 15 survey of 500 likely Delaware voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.