Senate races

Senate races

Toomey rakes in $1 million more than Sestak

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) raised $3.1 million in the second quarter and now has $4.65 million cash on hand, according to his campaign.

Toomey outpaced his Democratic Senate rival by more than $1 million.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) did not widely release his second quarter numbers. The campaign instead told reporters that he raised $2 million and has close to $2 million banked.

Sestak has spent the past two months refilling his campaign coffers after a bruising primary battle with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

Fundraising has been a priority. An e-mail from his campaign Tuesday invited supporters to a fundraiser at The Fluor Townhouse near the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

“At this time, we are asking you to please make a maximum contribution as Congressman Toomey has already started advertising and we need the resources to get our message out on our ideological differences,” Sestak wrote in the e-mail.

Toomey recently released five new TV ads, while Sestak has stayed off television since the end of the primary.


Sen. Reid gains on Angle in new poll

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is within three points of Republican challenger Sharron Angle, according to a new Rasmussen poll out Tuesday.

Angle leads Reid 46 percent to 43 percent, with 5 percent undecided and 6 percent of respondents preferring someone else. 

The poll comes on the heels of President Barack Obama's visit to the state last week to campaign and raise money for Reid. Rasmussen notes that it's Reid's best showing in the polls so far this year.

Prior to Tuesday's poll, Reid's support has hovered in the 38-41 percent range since February. Angle led by as many as 11 points following her Republican primary win last month.  

"These new findings lend credence to Republican fears that Angle, a Christian conservative with an extensive public record in Nevada, might be vulnerable to attack for political positions characterized by Reid as outside the mainstream," Rasmussen's polling memo read.

The one constant in the race is that neither candidate garners high favorables from likely voters. A full 48 percent of respondents said they have a "very unfavorable" view of Reid, while 39 percent said the same of Angle.


Alvin Greene to make first campaign appearance Sunday

South Carolina Democrat Alvin Greene, the man who won his party’s Senate primary last month despite not running a campaign, is set to make his first official campaign speech Sunday. 

Greene will address the Manning chapter of the NAACP. 

Since the state Democratic Party declined to overturn the results of his primary win, Greene has given few interviews and hasn’t held any campaign events. He did make news last week, though, when he suggested that making dolls in his image was a good way to create jobs. 

According to South Carolina’s WFAE Radio, Greene won some praise from Manning NAACP President Robert Fleming, who said many voters think the unemployed veteran can defeat Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) this November. 

“He accomplished what many thought that was impossible,” Fleming told WFAE Radio reporter Julie Rose. “He was willing to step out and make the commitment and I admire anyone for making such a sacrifice because he wants to make South Carolina a better place.” 

“The word in the barbershop, the word on the street, the word in the church parking lots is that everyone is pulling for him,” Fleming said.

Greene is expected to have about 20 minutes to speak Sunday afternoon. Fleming said the group is looking for a larger venue to host the event given the interest Greene’s appearance is generating.  


Rep. Capito: Decision on Senate run to come 'quickly'

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said Monday that she expects to "make a decision quickly" as to whether she will jump into a special election for Senate this fall once the West Virginia State Legislature acts Thursday.

The Legislature will meet in special session to decide how the succession process for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) will move forward. Capito said once that is decided, she intends to announce her own intentions quickly.

Here's what she told the Wheeling News-Register:

"It's always a good thing to have options," she said Monday. "I'm going to look at the options and figure out the best place I can serve. But I am on the ballot in the congressional race in November, and I feel I've already made that commitment. I'm going to look at what the Legislature decides this week, and I'm going to make a decision quickly."

"I love serving in the House," Capito said. "I think it's important I maintain that solid voice for the state--I'm the only Republican there from West Virginia. But serving in the Senate is a terrific thing."

Capito is clearly leaving her options open, but among state Republicans she is universally seen as the only one with a real chance to defeat Gov. Joe Manchin (D).

Manchin is set to announce his intentions once the Legislature moves to allow a November special election Thursday. He is widely expected to run in November.


GOP hits Reid and others for raising money in Canada

Republicans spent Monday hitting several Democratic Senate candidates for raising money at a convention of trial lawyers in Canada.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and at least eight other Democratic Senate candidates were at a reception for the Committee for a Better Future on Sunday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The committee is connected to the American Association for Justice and the National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives, which were holding a convention in the city. The haul from the fundraiser was split between Reid and 11 other Democratic Senate candidates, according to a document circulated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

It’s legal for candidates to raise money from outside the country as long as it comes from U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The issue is the optics of collecting large donations north of the border from a group of trial lawyers, a popular Republican bogeyman.

Reid’s Republican challenger called him “callous” for making the trip at a time of double-digit unemployment in Nevada.

“Harry Reid says that ‘no one can do more’ for Nevada, so why does he have to leave the country to pad his war chest?” Jerry Stacy, a spokesman for Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R), said in a statement. “It seems callous.”

Reid’s campaign noted that he spent the weekend in Nevada and only traveled to Vancouver that day for the event.

Democratic Senate candidates Lee Fisher (Ohio) and Alexi Giannoulias (Ill.) came under similar attacks.

They weren’t the only candidates spotted at the reception. Democratic Senate candidates Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Roxanne Conlin (Iowa), Jack Conway (Ky.), Chris Coons (Del.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.) and Charlie Melancon (La.) were also there, according to a Democratic source. 

The NRSC blasted statements to reporters in the candidates’ respective states questioning why they would raise money in Canada from “trial lawyers.”


Manchin: Senate appointment should come by Sunday

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) said Monday he expects to name an interim replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) by Sunday.

Manchin said his pick could come as early as Friday, but that it won’t happen before a special session of the state legislature addresses the state’s election code.

The special session is set for this Thursday — lawmakers are expected to re-write the state’s election code to allow for a special election this November to fill Byrd’s seat.  

Manchin plans to announce his own intentions for the seat after the legislature acts. He has said it’s “highly likely” that he would run in a special election this fall.  

More from the Charleston Daily Mail:

Lawmakers could have draft legislation Tuesday. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is working on it today. Manchin said Attorney General Darrell McGraw’s office was also involved.

Manchin also said the special session he calls this week will not deal with the gubernatorial succession, which has its own series of associated legal questions.

“It can’t be convoluted,” Manchin said of the Legislature’s work on Senate succession law. “It can’t be thrown in with other concerns.”


Florida gubernatorial candidate wants ‘Arizona style’ immigration law

The agenda for a special legislative session called last week by Senate candidate and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) may get even more politically charged. 

Crist, who has been under fire from Democrats and Republicans in the state over the session, called the session to debate a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban oil drilling off Florida’s coast. Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio is among those who have called Crist’s move political.      

But now, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott is calling on the state legislature to use the special session to pass an “Arizona style” immigration law.

“Taxpayers are on the hook to pay for the special session,” Scott said in a statement Monday. “Floridians should at least get some return on their investment with the passage of meaningful legislation, and that is why I am urging the legislature to pass an Arizona style immigration law during this special session.”

The special session is slated for July 20-23.

Scott, who is largely self-funding his bid for governor, is locked in primary with state Attorney General Bill McCollum. 


Rubio gets aggressive backing from Sen. LeMieux

The interim senator appointed by Charlie Crist is aggressively backing the Florida governor’s rival in the Senate race.

Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.), who was once Crist’s chief of staff, formally endorsed Republican Marco Rubio on Monday.

LeMieux told the conservative blog The Shark Tank that he was “disappointed” in Crist’s decision to leave the GOP primary. “I’m supporting Marco Rubio, I’m a Republican,” he said. “We need folks who are going to be strong conservative voices and Marco’s going to do that.”

When Crist announced his decision to run as an independent in April, LeMieux said he would “support our Republican nominee.” But he had remained relatively quiet about his support for Rubio until now.

Rubio said LeMieux has been “very helpful.”

“Sen. LeMieux’s been very helpful to us, he’s contributed to us from his PAC and has offered his assistance and we’re grateful for that,” he said on a conference call with reporters.

Rubio also announced on Monday that he raised more than $4.5 million in the second quarter.


Sen. Murkowski agrees to three GOP primary debates

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has agreed to three debates with Republican primary challenger Joe Miller during the month of August. 

The candidates will meet on Aug. 10, 11 and 18. The Republican primary will be held on Aug. 24.

Attorney Joe Miller’s campaign received a boost last month from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has a history of political bad blood with both Sen. Murkowski and her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski.  

Palin defeated Gov. Murkowski in a Republican primary in 2006, and has been publicly critical of Sen. Murkowski. Palin’s political action committee has given $5,000 to Miller’s campaign.   

Miller also won the backing of the Tea Party Express in June.

Miller has hit Murkowski on her search for a compromise in the energy bill, accusing the senator of trying to cut a deal with the White House. 

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is considered a key vote on the energy bill and has been heavily courted by Senate Democrats. But the senator has said she thinks the only way to reach 60 votes is to move forward on a bill without the cap-and-trade provision favored by the White House.