Senate races

Senate races

Tea Party Express readies another anti-Murkowski blitz

The Tea Party Express, which spent some $600,000 on TV and radio ads slamming Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) during Alaska's GOP Senate primary, is set to launch a new campaign Monday to aid Republican Joe Miller in the general election.

Murkowski is waging a write-in bid this fall against Miller, who defeated her in the primary, and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D). 

The California-based group played a leading role in several GOP Senate primaries this year, spending hundreds of thousands in Nevada, Alaska and Delaware to buck up Tea Party-backed candidates. 

On Monday, the group will unveil a new TV ad targeting Murkowski, which spokesman Levi Russell said he hopes will be on the air in Alaska within the next two weeks. Russell said the spot will send a clear signal to Murkowski, "We voted you out once, and we'll do it again."

The Tea Party Express also has a planned rally and a two-hour radiothon Monday in Anchorage to raise money for their Alaska efforts this fall. 

The group called it just the start of an effort to "counteract Murkowski's write-in campaign, which demonstrates a blatant disrespect for the voters of Alaska."

After the Republican primary, Murkowski labeled the Tea Party Express an "outside extremist group" and she has continued that line of attack in her write-in campaign. 

Murkowski campaign spokesman Steve Wackowski said he fully expects "nasty, lower-48 political tactics" from the Tea Party Express ahead of November.

"If they really cared about Alaska, they would just stay in California and work to unseat Barbara Boxer," Wackowski said.  

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Rep. Young not endorsing in Alaska Senate race

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) isn't backing a candidate in the state's three-way Senate race this fall between Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), Tea Party-backed Joe Miller and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D). 

The longtime congressman said in a post on his Facebook page that he is focused on his own election, but noted his long personal history with the Murkowski family in his decision to stay out of the race. 

"Joe Miller is the Republican nominee and normally I would support the nominee," Young wrote. "But I have a long history of working with Sen. Murkowski and a personal history with the Murkowski family which is very important to me."

Young said no matter who wins in November, "I am committed to working with Alaska's [two] senators as I’ve always done in the past." 

The news was first reported by Alaska Public Radio. In an interview, Young said he has called both Miller and Murkowski to explain why he isn't endorsing ahead of November.  

Murkowski is waging a write-in campaign this fall after losing the Republican primary to Miller. Young supported Murkowski over Miller in the Republican primary and has campaigned for the Senator in the past.  

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Romney backs Raese in West Virginia

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) rolled out a new round of candidate endorsements in West Virginia Monday.  

Through his Free and Strong America PAC, the rumored 2012 presidential hopeful announced his backing of businessman John Raese (R) against Gov. Joe Manchin (D) in the state's surprisingly competitive Senate contest. 

Romney's PAC also contributed $5,000 toward Raese's bid. 

The former governor also endorsed Republican congressional candidates Spike Maynard and David McKinley. Maynard is challenging Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and McKinley faces Democrat Mike Oliverio, who ousted Rep. Alan Mollahan (D) in a primary earlier this year.  

Romney's PAC donated $2,500 a piece to Maynard and McKinley. He also endorsed and donated to Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who isn't facing a strong challenge this fall. 

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Manchin gets NRA backing in W.Va. Senate race

Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has won the backing of the National Rifle Association in his special election bid to fill out the remainder of the late Sen. Robert Byrd's (D) term.

The endorsement comes just as the race between Manchin and Republican businessman John Raese has tightened and drawn the attention of the national GOP. The latest poll in the race from Public Policy had Manchin and Raese in a dead heat.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee made a major investment in the race Friday, launching a $1.2 million ad buy targeting Manchin, who was supposed to cruise to victory this fall.    

In its endorsement of Manchin, the NRA's Political Victory Fund cited Manchin's backing of pro-gun measures in his home state including the so-called "Castle Doctrine," which permits gun owners to use "deadly force" to defend their home and property from intruders. 

"Joe Manchin's support for individual gun ownership rights has earned him an 'A' rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF," the Chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund, Chris Cox said in a statement. "We ask all West Virginia gun owners, hunters and NRA members to vote Joe Manchin for U.S. Senate on November 2nd." 

As the Charleston Gazette points out, the endorsement comes despite Manchin's veto of a bill this past spring that would have created an annual sales tax holiday on gun purchases. 

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Rubio hits rivals for stimulus support during Biden trip

Republican Marco Rubio used Vice President Joe Biden's fundraising trip to Florida on Friday as an excuse to attack his rivals for supporting the administration's stimulus program.  

"Every time the president or vice president set foot in Florida, we are reminded of their unfulfilled promises to tackle unemployment and the resulting debt from their failed stimulus experiment," Rubio said in a statement.

Biden is set to appear with Democrat Kendrick Meek in Hollywood for a midday fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. Meek, Rubio and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist are in a three-way race for the Senate.

"Nineteen months ago, Governor Crist and Congressman Meek both put their faith in Washington politicians to spend money we don't have in the false hopes of creating jobs," Rubio said. "Today, Vice President Biden should experience firsthand the disappointment and frustration that Floridians feel."

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Sen. Boxer's lead growing amid attacks (updated)

California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) has increased her lead over Republican Carly Fiorina in the latest Field Poll released Friday.

Boxer has a six-point lead over her challenger, 47 percent to 41, with 12 percent still undecided, in the new survey. The Democrat led by only three points in the July poll.

This race is shaping up as a referendum on Boxer's tenure. Two-thirds of Fiorina supporters said that their preference is more a vote against Boxer — a protest vote — with only 31 percent saying it was a vote for Fiorina. Moreover, 28 percent of respondents still have no opinion of Fiorina.

And of those who do, Fiorina generates a mixed response, with 34 percent of voters holding a positive impression and 38 percent a negative assessment.

Fiorina’s first TV ad of the general election, which was released this week, did little to expand voters' impression of her. The spot focused exclusively on Boxer and her "arrogance."

The Field Poll was conducted Sept. 14-21 and surveyed a random sample of 857 registered voters, of whom 599 were considered likely to vote in the midterm election. 

Fiorina's camp noted that the poll was being done as Boxer was up statewide with an ad that hits the Republican for her tenure at the head of Hewlett-Packard. In the close of the 30-second spot, the announcer says of Fiorina, "outsourcing jobs, out for herself."

Moreover, said Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul, "after spending millions of dollars on baseless, deceptive and unanswered attack ads against Carly, she failed to gain any support and only temporarily moved 3 percent of the vote to undecided."

This is the TV ad that Boxer released earlier this month.

--Updated at 1:01 p.m.

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