Senate races

Senate races

Former GOP Rep. Shays officially announces Conn. Senate bid

Former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) on Tuesday officially announced his campaign for the seat held by retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Shays represented Connecticut in the House for 22 years before being defeated in 2008 by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.). He is competing in the GOP primary with wrestling mogul Linda McMahon, who won the primary in 2010 for the states other Senate seat, but lost in the general election.


Warren talks middle class woes, Super Bowl in Daily Show appearance

Elizabeth Warren had a chance to show off her comedy chops Tuesday during an appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. But the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts maintained a disciplined focus on the theme that has driven both her campaign and her earlier work for President Obama: advocacy for the nation’s middle class.

Calling it a systemic problem with the contemporary U.S. approach to economic investment, Warren observed that China is investing about 9 percent of its gross domestic product in infrastructure and transportation projects, while the United States is investing about 2.4 percent – and trying to reduce it even further.

“I grew up in an America that still invested in the middle class,” Warren said, noting that kids who grew up without privileged were helped by a society that offered opportunity to all. “What happened is that we changed from that world.”

Warren pointed to a recent study that she said affirmed the notion that Washington works for big pharmaceutical companies and hedge funds, but not the average citizen.

“It comes out that 30 of the largest companies in the United States are now spending more on lobbying than they spend in federal taxes,” Warren said as Stewart’s audience booed corporate lobbyists. “Who really pays for that? And the answer is: America’s middle class. They’re the ones who are now paying for the fact that there’s not enough money left to invest in our kids’ future.”


Kaine tops $1.5 million for Virginia Senate bid, besting Allen

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) pulled in almost $1.7 million in the last three months of 2011 for his Senate bid, besting his Republican rival by more than half a million dollars.

Kaine ended the year with $3.3 million in the bank, bringing his total haul for the campaign to more than $5.2 million, his campaign announced Tuesday. Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), the presumptive GOP nominee, took in $1.1 million during the same period and had about $2 million cash on hand.

Kaine has consistently outperformed Allen in fundraising, but everything is relative; by topping $1 million, Allen is still outshining many other non-incumbent Senate candidates in even more expensive states.

The race for Virginia's open Senate seat is expected to be one of the closest and most expensive in the country.


Scott Brown launches first ad of Senate reelection bid

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) launched his first broadcast ad of his reelection on Monday, unveiling a radio spot in which he portrays himself as an even-mannered, independent voice for Massachusetts.

The 60-second ad, dubbed the "Scott Brown Radio Report," will be the first in a series of similar radio ads the senator intends to air during the race. His campaign did not disclose the size of the buy, but said the ad would air statewide.

"When I vote, I don't worry about the party line, I look at each issue on the merits," Brown says in the ad. "We have a lot of people out of work in Massachusetts; families are still hurting. I'm running for reelection because their concerns are my concerns."


Warren raises $1.2 million in a day for Senate bid

A “money bomb” for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren — timed to coincide with the reelection launch of her rival, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), netted almost $1.2 million for the consumer protection advocate.

Warren raised about $1,194,000 on Thursday in what her campaign called a grassroots money drive that signaled overwhelming enthusiasm for her campaign.

“Today the message is clear: We have the grassroots momentum and enthusiasm to take the ‘People’s Seat’ back from Wall Street and other powerful interests,” Warren said in a statement. “I am grateful for this show of support and will keep working my heart out for the small businesses and middle class families who deserve someone on their side in the Senate.”

Top Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), pitched in by emailing their own supporters and asking them to donate to Warren’s campaign on Thursday.

In his kickoff event, Brown painted Warren as another vote for an agenda of increased spending and debt in Washington, portraying his own role as one of the independent emissary of the people of Massachusetts — a traditionally Democratic state.

“I don’t worry about the party line. I don’t get caught up in petty fights,” Brown said. “I always remember why I am there and who sent me. I am still nobody’s senator but yours.”


Democratic Senate recruit asks Obama to backpedal on Keystone pipeline

A top Democratic recruit for the Senate is drawing a line in the sand on the Keystone XL pipeline, separating herself from President Obama in a state where the president’s favorability is underwater.

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s former attorney general and the presumed Democratic nominee to replace retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), sent a letter to Obama on Friday asking him to reverse course on the pipeline, which Obama announced Wednesday that he will block.

“The Keystone pipeline would mean billions of dollars invested in our economy when we need it most, and tens of thousands of well-paid construction jobs at a time when too many Americans are out of work,” Heitkamp wrote. “It would bring new business opportunities for small businesses that would support this huge construction project, from gravel pits to Main Street diners.”

The move by Heitkamp reflected the most palpable and clear-cut attempt by a major Democratic candidate to publicly create distance from Obama since the debate over healthcare reform.

And it’s good politics in North Dakota, a major oil-producing state where opposition to the pipeline is a hard sell for Democrats. When Gallup polled the state in August, Obama’s approval rating stood at 37 percent, among the 10 states where Obama fared the worst.