Senate races

Senate races

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.


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.


Internal poll shows Sen. Hatch in great shape ahead of convention

An internal poll for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) shows him in great shape to win the GOP nomination outright at the state's Republican Party Convention late this month, a major coup for the senator.

Hatch led his poll with 62 percent support, followed by former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist at 16 percent and state Rep. Chris Herrod at 5 percent. Hatch needs 60 percent of convention delegates to back him to avoid a primary. Even if he is forced into a primary he's likely in good shape — polls have indicated that he remains popular with Republicans statewide and would have little trouble winning his race.

"What this says is Sen. Hatch is in pretty good shape," his campaign manager, Dave Hansen, told The Hill. "Three weeks is a long way to go to the convention and we're continuing to work hard; we're not taking anything for granted. But we feel very, very good about where we are."


LeMieux pranks Connie Mack with Charlie Sheen endorsement

Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) duped his opponent in Florida’s Senate primary, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), with an April Fools' prank that scored a few political points as well.

LeMieux sent his supporters an email on Sunday announcing big campaign news: “Charlie Sheen endorses Connie Mack.”

LeMieux has repeatedly compared Mack to Sheen, the television and film actor whose personal life has been filled with moments of questionable temperament and run-ins with the law. Mack has called those comparisons outrageous and offensive.

“We both have famous and respected fathers, both went into the family business, and we love living in California and having a good time (especially on the red carpet). We’re also both known for our public displays of rage and frequent 'lapses in judgment,' " reads the fake endorsement letter from Sheen.

The prank email also poked fun at Mack’s former occupation as a special events coordinator for a prominent restaurant chain.

“The U.S. Senate can be such a boring and serious place; it needs people like Connie Mack,” read the email. “And maybe a few Hooter’s girls [sic].”


Delegate turmoil at ND GOP convention

Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) was endorsed by the North Dakota GOP in a turbulent state convention where party elders wrangled over national convention delegates.

Rick Santorum won the caucuses in North Dakota in March, but supporters of Santorum and Ron Paul complained that the slate of 25 delegates to the GOP’s national convention was stacked with Mitt Romney supporters, according to The Associated Press. One former state party chairman called it “a railroad job.”

Among those 25 delegates is Berg, who has not publicly endorsed in the presidential race.

Berg is the GOP front-runner for retiring Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-N.D.) seat and faced no opposition at the convention for the endorsement, but does face a primary challenge from Tea Party figure Duane Sand. Berg is expected to face former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) in November.

- This post was updated at 12:03 a.m.


Brown to cut $35,000 charity check after oil group breaks pledge

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has agreed to cut a $34,545 check to charity after an oil lobby ran ads attacking his challenger, Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

It's the second time Brown has coughed up campaign cash to satisfy the pledge he signed with Warren to bar outside groups from spending in the race. In early March, Brown donated $1,000 to the Autism Consortium after a conservative political action committee broke the pledge.

The groundbreaking agreement struck between Warren and Brown in January stipulates that any candidate who benefits from an outside group's ad must donate half the cost of the ad to the charity of his or her opponent's choice. Although neither campaign can control what outside groups spend, the idea is to create a disincentive for those groups to hurt their preferred candidate.

The American Petroleum Institute, an oil-and-gas lobby group, last week launched radio ads in Massachusetts supporting Brown's position on maintaining tax breaks for large oil companies. Because the ad was an issue ad — it never explicitly encouraged people to vote for Brown — it was an open question as to whether it would fall under the jurisdiction of the pledge.