Senate races

Senate races

Manchin ad labels GOP opponent 'crazy'

Gov. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) closing argument in West Virginia's Senate race is a simple one — his Republican opponent is "crazy."

A new 30-second Manchin campaign spot targets Republican businessman John Raese by stringing together several comments Democrats have used to hit Raese throughout the race.   

In one, the Republican says, "I don't agree with minimum wage." The shot then cuts to Raese at a campaign event where he tells supporters, "I'm in the business of making money." 

In another, Raese says, "We don't need the Department of Education." That's followed by a clip of Raese's pitch for a network of lasers capable of shooting down incoming missiles. 

The ad's narrator concludes: "John Raese's ideas are crazy."

In response, a spokesman for Raese's campaign said it's Manchin's ideas that are crazy.    

"Crazy? No Joe, supporting Obamacare is crazy," Raese spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said. "Wasting trillions in stimulus spending is crazy. $13 trillion in debt is crazy. Cap and trade is crazy. West Virginians who oppose all those things aren't crazy, but politicians who support them sure are." 

Poll numbers in the race continue to seesaw ahead of Election Day. A new Fox News poll out Tuesday gives Raese a two-point edge over Manchin — 48 percent to 46.

On Monday, Democrats were touting numbers from Public Policy, which put Manchin up six percentage points. 

-Updated at 10:29 a.m.


GOP pollster: Ohio's Senate race all but over

Republican strategists are confident Ohio's open Senate seat will remain in the GOP column.

A new survey by Wilson Research Strategies has Republican Rob Portman leading Democrat Lee Fisher 49 to 38 percent. The poll of 500 likely Ohio voters conducted Oct. 20-21 doesn't leave much hope for Fisher. There are only 8 percent undecided — meaning that if all those voters break his way, Portman still has enough support to win.

When it comes to independents, who make up more than a quarter of the electorate, the Republican has an even larger lead. Fisher trails Portman 29 to 54 percent among independents. 

"Barring unforeseen circumstances, Rob Portman should be the next U.S. Senator from Ohio," Wilson Research Strategies concluded in a polling memo released Monday.

Earlier polls had shown Portman leading by as many as 22 points, but the Republican isn't sitting on his lead. His campaign recently released five versions of a TV ad titled "Future Generations" to air in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. It's the 10th TV commercial he's released, compared to one for Fisher during the general election.


Poll: Toomey reclaims narrow lead in Pa. Senate race

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) has reclaimed a narrow lead in Pennsylvania's exceedingly close Senate race, according to a poll released Monday.

The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College daily tracking poll of the race found Toomey leading Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak 47-42 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

The poll surveyed 437 likely voters in Pennsylvania and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Sestak made up ground on Toomey in recent weeks in the closely watched contest, but Monday's poll suggests Toomey could be heading off that momentum. Three polls last week showed the Democrat and the Republican running in a dead heat after Toomey had led the race for weeks.

That caused White House senior adviser David Axelrod to say last week the "momentum has shifted" back to the Democrats side, which the Toomey campaign refuted. 

The White House has made the Pennsylvania Senate race a top priority for maintaining the Democrats' majority in the upper chamber in the face of a potential Republican wave.

President Obama two weeks ago headlined a large rally in Philadelphia to mobilize the Democratic base that polls show is trailing Republicans in voter enthusiasm.


Toomey makes play for centrist voters with Giuliani visit

BLUE BELL, Pa. — With Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) surging in Pennsylvania's Senate race, Republican Pat Toomey was working to make inroads with centrist voters Friday, bringing in former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for a rally in the heart of the Philadelphia suburbs.

Giuliani rallied Toomey backers at a firehouse in Montgomery County, noting their kinship on fiscal issues and warning that the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in Congress are pursuing policies that will ultimately morph the U.S. into "one of those European socialist democracies."

Giuliani labeled Sestak "more extreme" than President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and said casting a vote for Toomey next month will help deliver a much-needed "correction to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda."

The voters in Philadelphia's suburbs, particularly Bucks and Montgomery counties, are key to any statewide race in Pennsylvania, and house plenty of centrist Democrats.

For his part, Toomey warned supporters the race is close and urged them to get out and vote on Election Day.

"I think we've got a victory within reach, but it's not in hand," said Toomey, telling supporters to be "confident, not complacent."

"Please, don't let up now," urged the Republican.

He hit Sestak as a Pelosi pawn, charging, "When Nancy Pelosi tells him to vote, he says 'yes ma'am and can we do more?' "

The latest Quinnipiac poll in the race showed Toomey with just a 3-point edge, and a new Rasmussen poll out Friday also showed Toomey's lead narrowing to just 4 percentage points.

Sestak appears to have consolidated some Democratic support over the past two weeks, and the congressman's campaign says the Democratic base in the state is finally stirring to action.

The Democrat's campaign pushed back on Giuliani's visit Friday, claiming Toomey still has "a fringe problem."

"Congressman Toomey can use any optics he wants," Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin said in a statement. "It won’t change the fact that he would be the most far-right Senator from Pennsylvania since the Great Depression."

The tightening of the contest sets the stage for the final debate between the two candidates Friday night in Pittsburgh, which is likely to be a testy exchange.

In a debate Wednesday, Sestak tied Toomey to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Delaware's Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell and has continued to argue that Toomey is out of step with Pennsylvania voters.

On Friday, Toomey labeled the attacks "desperate" and said voters aren't buying it.

"He knows that he is so far out of step with the state of Pennsylvania that he's desperate to change the subject and pretend that he's running against someone else," said Toomey. "It isn't gonna work."

-Updated at 6:56 p.m.


Giuliani questions NPR funding

BLUE BELL, Pa. — Rudy Giuliani defended former NPR analyst Juan Williams Friday, saying Williams was fired for simply "explaining his feelings."

"Juan Williams just expressed something that a lot of people feel," Giuliani told the crowd at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey. "And he gets fired for it?"

Earlier this week in an interview on Fox News, Williams said seeing passengers in "Muslim garb" on a plane makes him nervous.    

"Look Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams told Bill O'Reilly in an interview. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Shortly after the comments, NPR decided to sever its contract with Williams. The resulting firestorm saw several Republican lawmakers calling on Congress to defund NPR.

Giuliani appeared to join that call Friday, calling into question NPR's funding.

"We put taxpayer money into that censorship program," Giuliani said of NPR.

Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during 9/11, reminded the crowd that on the evening of September 11, 2001, he warned New Yorkers not to single out Arab-Americans.

But the former mayor added that it is irresponsible to ignore the threat of Islamic extremists, noting he doesn't understand why anyone would be offended at that notion.

"I don't care who's offended by it," Giuliani said. "And if you are offended by it, there's something wrong with you."


O'Donnell to Stephanopoulos: 'Thank you'

MILLSBORO, Del. — Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell ripped into the press at a campaign event Thursday night, accusing the media of not giving her campaign a fair shake. But she heaped some praise on ABC's George Stephanopoulos, thanking him for being "surprisingly fair" in a Thursday interview.  

Both O'Donnell and her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, were interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, and O'Donnell told the crowd at a 9/12 Patriots rally last night that not only was Stephanopoulos fair, but that he called out Coons for his shifting positions on tax cuts.  

After Coons said in the Thursday interview that he is open to extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts across the board, Stephanopoulos pointed out that position is different from the one listed on his campaign website. 

Coons told The Hill on Thursday that he would be open to an across-the-board extension, but "only if we're able to reach a bipartisan agreement that also extends other tax cuts that are critical to getting our economy going again." 

O'Donnell embarked on a national media blitz after her upset of Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in last month's Republican Senate primary. But she soon pulled back, opting to focus on local media instead and moving to limit access to some of her campaign events in Delaware.

On Thursday, O'Donnell said she's rethinking that strategy with the campaign in the home stretch, given that she thinks the local press in Delaware has turned against her. O'Donnell labeled Delaware's News Journal "my opponent's newsletter."  

"That's why we decided to do 'Good Morning America,' " O'Donnell said, adding that she plans to be on NBC's "Today Show" next week.