Senate races

Senate races

Former Suns owner changes horses in Ariz. Senate race

Sports mogul Jerry Colangelo, the former owner of the Phoenix Suns and current chairman of USA Basketball, who has supported Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in the past, has endorsed Flake's opponent in the primary for Arizona's open Senate seat.

{mosads}Colangelo announced his support for businessman Wil Cardon (R) on Thursday, despite having donated to Flake and serving on his finance committee.

"Wil Cardon is the only one in the race who I feel confident in having the skills and ability to see our state through these tough times and do what is best for all Arizonans," Colangelo said in announcing his endorsement.

Polls in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) show Flake with a lead of more than 40 points over Cardon in the GOP primary. On the Democratic side, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona and former state party chairman Don Bivens are battling for their party's nomination.

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Sen. Tester brings in $1.2M for quarter

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) brought in nearly $1.2 million total for the last fundraising quarter, according to Federal Election Commission forms provided by his campaign.

Tester had $3.8 million cash on hand — a strong number for the incumbent in Montana, where money goes a long way.

More than three quarters of the $1.2 million haul came from direct contributions, while a little more than $200,000 was on the form as a "transfer." Tester's campaign said those transfers came from joint fundraisers with other candidates. The $1.2 million continues his streak of consecutive quarters raising a bit more than $1 million.

Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.), Tester's opponent, has not yet released his fourth-quarter fundraising totals. He had $1.8 million cash on hand as of the end of the last quarter, which ended at the end of September.

The two have been neck-and-neck in polls, and outside groups have already been spending heavily in the state.

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Bruning burning through cash in Nebraska Senate race

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) raised more than $400,000 for his Senate bid in the last three months of 2011, he announced Wednesday, and has pulled in $2.8 million over the course of the campaign.

Bruning's fourth-quarter haul is less than the almost $600,000 he raised in the previous quarter, and also shows he is quickly burning through cash as it comes in. Bruning had $1.6 million in the bank at the end of the third quarter of 2011, and increased it to only $1.7 million in the fourth quarter, meaning he spent three of every four dollars he raised during the quarter.

But a Republican source pointed out that Bruning has been running statewide television ads for the past few weeks, which will help him build his name recognition early and could work to his advantage in the long run.

Bruning has been considered the front-runner in the race for Nebraska's open Senate seat, but Tea Party pick Don Stenberg has attracted the backing and financial support of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his Senate Conservatives Fund.

The winner of the GOP primary had been expected to face Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in the general election, but Nelson decided to retire, leaving Democrats without a viable candidate to compete for the seat in the conservative-leaning state.

This post was updated on Jan. 26, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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."

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