Senate races

Senate races

Sen. Webb unfazed by Allen's entrance into 2012 Senate race

If Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) feels any added urgency to decide on his reelection plans now that former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is officially in the race for his seat, he isn't showing it.

Asked about Allen's bid Tuesday, Webb said, "Today's no different than yesterday for me."

Allen is already slamming Webb for voting with "the Washington liberals like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer," but Webb wouldn't engage him Tuesday.

"I have no comment on what George Allen is doing," Webb said on a conference call with reporters. "That's up to him."

The Democrat said he has not yet made a decision on whether to seek another term in 2012. His office said earlier this week that he will announce a decision before the end of the first quarter of the year. 

Webb also dismissed suggestions that waiting would hurt his reelection chances should he ultimately decide to run again, noting that he started his 2006 campaign just months before Election Day with "zero dollars" and "no campaign staff." 

Still, Virginia Democrats are worried that Webb's posture could hurt the party's chances of holding his Senate seat should he decide to retire rather than seek a second term.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine would be the party's first choice to run if Webb bowed out, but he has indicated he's not interested in a Senate race. 


Former Sen. Coleman not ruling out another run for office

Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) is not ruling out another run for elected office.

The one-term senator, who lost to Democrat Al Franken in 2008, said in an interview published Tuesday that he has not yet decided to run, but also claimed he enjoys being out of the press.

"I love public service. I can't tell you that I've run my last race. The public will decide that," he told the conservative Newsmax magazine. 

Coleman has been seen as a potential candidate for a number of positions since he lost his Senate seat in one of the closest elections in recent memory. But he declined to run for Minnesota governor last year and did not get into the race for chairman of the Republican National Committee. 

Democrat Mark Dayton defeated Tom Emmer (R) to win the governorship after potential 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty (R) held it for two terms. Reince Priebus, of neighboring Wisconsin, won the party chairman position this month.

Coleman now serves as CEO of the American Action Network, a conservative advocacy group. 

But Coleman's opportunity could come in 2012, when first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is up for reelection. Coleman's presence in the race could make it competitive, but Klobuchar also has high approval ratings and would be tough to unseat.

Coleman, however, indicated he is not yet enthusiastic about reentering electoral politics.

"It is kind of nice getting up in the morning every day opening the paper and not worrying about who is trying to kill you today politically," he said.


Foley not interested in 2012 Senate run in Connecticut

Connecticut Republican Tom Foley would rather take a pass on a run for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I) seat in 2012. 

Foley, the party's 2010 nominee for governor, told the Connecticut Mirror in an interview that he wants to have another go at the governor's office in 2014, rather than launch a Senate bid next year. 

"I still think I'm best qualified and best able to help Connecticut in the governor's office," Foley told the paper. "So, I'll be looking seriously at 2014. I hope to have an opportunity to run again." 

Still, Foley didn't close the door entirely on a Senate run, saying, "If people felt I was the right person to run and came to ask, I'd certainly consider it." 

Without Foley in the mix, the party is left with 2010 Senate nominee and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, former Rep. Rob Simmons and former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele as potential candidates next year.

Of McMahon, who lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal in 2010 despite spending some $50 million of her own money on the race, Foley said, "If Linda runs, I think she'll be a good candidate." 

Two Democrats have already jumped in the race — Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.


Rep. Jim Jordan 'leaning against' Senate bid

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) says he's leaning against a Senate bid in 2012, but he still won't rule it out. 

Jordan, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), is still weighing a challenge to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), but as of now, he's "leaning against it." 

In an interview with The Hill, Jordan said, “I’ve got the RSC and that’s going to be my focus. The work with RSC, the work I’m going to be doing for Chairman [Darrell] Issa [R-Calif.] on the Oversight Committee is going to keep me busy." 

Jordan is a subcommittee chairman on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 

There will be no shortage of candidates in next year's Senate primary given that Brown is seen as a top GOP target, but compared to other 2012 Senate contests, the race has been slow to develop on the Republican side.  

Jordan has a proven record of winning tough GOP primaries, starting in his first election in 1994, to be a state representative, followed by a bid for state Senate in 2000 and then for his 4th district seat six years later.

Asked when he would make his final decision, the husband and father of four replied that he needs to consult his wife and family.

"I don’t know. I’ve got to talk to Polly and see what she says," Jordan explained.

Despite Jordan's early posture on the Senate race, GOP media strategist Rex Elsass, who has worked Jordan's previous races, warns that it's still far too early to assume anyone is out of the game in 2012.

"I wouldn't count anyone out of the race at this point, no matter what they're saying," said Elsass, who thinks Jordan is still near the top of the list of potential Senate candidates next year.  

— Shane D'Aprile contributed.


Texas Republican to kick off Senate bid Tuesday

Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones (R) will officially kick off her bid for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-Texas) Senate seat Tuesday at an event in Dallas.

It's the first stop on what will be a statewide tour to hit 14 cities over the next four days.  

"I am running for Senate because our federal government is out of control," Jones said in a statement. "We have to rein in out of control spending and debt, ban wasteful pork and earmarks, secure our borders and get government off the backs of businesses so they can grow and create desperately-needed jobs."

Ames Jones first entered the Senate fray in 2009 after Hutchison announced her intention to resign her Senate seat to focus on a bid for governor. Hutchison later reneged on that pledge.  

The Republican primary field in 2012 is expected to be a crowded one and, along with Ames Jones, already includes fellow Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, a favorite of many Tea Party groups in the state. 

Other Republicans already in the race are former Secretary of State Roger Williams, who has already received the backing of former President George H.W. Bush and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) is the likely favorite on the Republican side should he get into the race, as most observers expect he will. At least two members of the state's congressional delegation are contemplating the race, too -- Reps. Joe Barton and Michael McCaul.


Virginia Republican worries Allen can't 'shake off macaca moment'

Virginia Republican Corey Stewart sounds like he's readying an aggressive primary campaign against former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.). 

The chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors told The Ballot Box Monday that he's seriously considering a bid and claimed Allen's announcement has been met with "ambivalence" from some GOP activists. 

"I always knew Allen would face some adversity from Tea Party activists and the like because of his weak record in the Senate," said Stewart. "But what I'm hearing more and more among Republican activists and donors is their ambivalence toward Allen." 

Stewart, who is heading to Richmond, Va. on Tuesday to talk to party activists and court donors ahead of his own likely Senate bid, said he, along with other Republicans in the state, is "concerned that [Allen's] not going to be able to shake off the 'macaca' moment." 

Allen lost to Democrat Jim Webb by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2006 after a nasty campaign highlighted by a gaffe that likely cost him the race. Allen was caught on tape referring to a Webb campaign staffer as "macaca," a moment that placed the race firmly in the national spotlight.

Stewart said the "tepid" response that Allen has been met with from grassroots conservatives over the past month makes him even more inclined to get into the race, adding that he expects to make a decision by the spring. 


Conservative blogger calls ex-Sen. Allen 'out of step' with activists

Some conservative bloggers have come out against George Allen's bid to return to the Senate.

Allen is set Monday to launch his effort to unseat Sen. Jim Webb. He lost to the Democrat by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2006 after a nasty campaign highlighted by a gaffe that likely cost him the race.

Red State's Erick Erickson calls Allen's voting record "out of step with most of the grassroots activists engaged in Republican primaries today."

He writes:

There was also the vote for the debt limit, the flip-flop into support of ethanol, gun control issue, the morning after poll controversy, and, perhaps most troublesome to tea party activists, the money he took from Freddie Mac concurrent to his refusing to push for government sponsored enterprise ("GSE") reform.

In the same post, Erickson reiterated his support for Republican Jamie Radtke to win the GOP Senate nod.

—Shane D'Aprile contributed to this post.