Senate races

Senate races

Air war heats up in Maryland Senate race

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has launched his second television ad of his reelection campaign, while a Republican challenger took to the radio to tout his outsider status ahead of an April 3 primary.

Cardin’s ad is a positive bio-spot focusing on his advocacy for Maryland’s oyster industry, and shows him in full fishing gear on an oyster boat.

“It’s Oysternomics 101. Start with a U.S. senator named Ben,” says the narrator in the ad, explaining how Cardin helped keep oyster workers on the job, creating a positive domino effect for others in the chain of production. “It’s like he’s out here with us. He’s my friend Ben, and I hope he’s your friend too.”

Dan Bongino, the most prominent of almost a dozen GOP candidates vying to take on Cardin, released a radio ad knocking “career bureaucrats” and promoting himself as the outsider who can get the job done.

“Can we all agree that politicians aren’t getting the job done? I’m Dan Bongino: husband, father of two beautiful daughters, small-business owner and a former special agent with the Secret Service,” Bongino says in the ad. “I refuse to accept that the current crop of D.C. bureaucrats is the best we can do.”

Cardin is well-positioned to win reelection, and had $2.6 million on hand to spend on that effort, as of the end of December.

Watch Cardin’s ad:

Listen to Bongino’s ad:


Schweich won't join crowded GOP Senate field in Missouri

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) has opted against running for Senate against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), putting to bed the hopes of some GOP donors who encouraged him to join the crowded primary field.

"I just spoke to Tom Schweich, and he just announced he is not going to go forward in this race," Jon Brunner, one of the other GOP candidates in the primary, told The Hill. "Now it's back down to three candidates."

Prominent members of the state party had been recruiting Schweich, a former chief of staff to two U.N. ambassadors, to enter the race in early March, hinting that the current field was too weak to be able to reliably unseat McCaskill. Schweich filed the paperwork indicating an interest in the seat, and 18 top Missouri Republicans penned a letter to him urging him to formally enter the race.

Schweich's decision is welcome news for the rest of the GOP field, which includes Brunner, Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. But Democrats are unlikely to forget the fact that Republicans were dissatisfied with their slate of candidates — and that Schweich took a pass at challenging McCaskill — as they defend McCaskill against the eventual GOP nominee.


Dem poll: Donnelly leads Mourdock in Indiana

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) would start off with a narrow lead over Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) in the general election if Mourdock beats Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) in the GOP primary, according to general-election numbers obtained by The Hill from a Donnelly poll.

Donnelly leads Mourdock by 34 percent to 28 percent in the poll, while he would trail Lugar by 42 percent to 29 percent.

The campaign released a portion of the poll on Monday that showed Mourdock within striking distance of Lugar, trailing him by just six points.


Flake challenger launches attacks on immigration, term-limit pledge

GOP businessman Wil Cardon unleashed a new round of attacks on Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), dubbing him a “poster boy” for amnesty in a new website and video for his Senate campaign.

Cardon, a former Flake supporter who is now challenging him in the GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), launched the website blasting Flake’s immigration policies and calling him dishonest.

“Such piety, righteousness, claiming he’s not like other politicians,” says the narrator in the video.

The video also makes use of Cardon’s favorite attack line against Flake: that he went back on a self-imposed term-limit pledge and therefore can’t be trusted on other matters.

“I lied. I don’t know what else to say,” Flake says with a laugh in a video clip used on the website.


Dem poll: Lugar in trouble in Indiana primary

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) is in danger of losing his primary against Tea Party-backed Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, according to a new poll conducted for Rep. Joe Donnelly's (D-Ind.) Senate campaign.

Lugar holds a 45-39 percent lead over Mourdock, a weak position to be in, especially after spending more than $2.1 million on positive ads aimed at raising his own favorability ratings.