Alaska

Possibly the Most Bizarre Political Ad This Season

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Definitely creative, but also… well, a bit creepy, to be honest.

The latest attack ad on McCain by MoveOn.org features a talking moose waxing eloquent on Sarah Palin’s lack of national secuity experience.

October Surprise! Harry Reid’s Dems scramble to hold the Senate — but Republicans are up in key states

Larry Sabato's Senate Crystal Ball

A string of polls released last night shows Republican Senate candidates up over their opponents in key states with fewer than four weeks to go before Election Day.

The Fox News polls show Republican challengers up in Alaska, Arkansas, and Colorado over their Democrat opponents. The polls also show Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell up over his well-funded Democrat opponent and Kansas Republican Pat Roberts leading his Independent challenger.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, predicts Republicans will gain between five and eight seats (see above map). Republicans need to pick up six seats to take the Senate.

According to Sabato, Republicans are pretty much guaranteed to win in Montana, South Dakota, and Iowa. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) announced it would drop $1 million in the South Dakota Senate race. Polls show the Republican candidate in South Dakota with a comfortable lead, and ad buys can be misleading. For instance, the DSCC could announce a million dollar ad buy and reserve the time, and then cancel it after news of the initial announcement spread.

Bad news for Mark Begich: Obamacare premiums are going to rise by an astronomical rate in Alaska

The last couple weeks haven’t been kind for Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). He’s facing backlash over a campaign ad that falsely accused his Republican challenger, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, of setting a man free from prison who is now accused of killing two people. The Alaska Democrat was forced to pull the ad from the air due to complaints from the victims’ family.

Once seen as the most likely vulnerable Senate Democrat to survive a Republican challenger, Begich now trails Sullivan by 6 points, according to a poll released over the weekend, the first that has come out since the dust up over the ad. Further complicating matters for Begich is a new report that Obamacare premiums in Alaska are set to rise by a significant margin:

Alaskans buying health insurance through their state exchange can expect a price spike of more than 30 percent on average, news that could hurt Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who voted for ObamaCare.

Watch Club for Growth call out Democratic senators for ‘parroting’ Barack Obama’s false Obamacare promises

Club for Growth Action is hitting two incumbent Senate Democrats for parroting President Barack Obama’s lines on Obamacare with an initial $300,000 ad buy in Alaska and Arkansas.

The ad features a squawking parrot repeating President Obama’s now-infamous broken promises that Americans could keep their health insurance coverage and doctors under Obamacare. Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) both repeated the line when they were shilling for the law.

Here’s the ad running in Alaska against Begich:

“Mark Pryor and Mark Begich voted for ObamaCare and then they parroted Obama’s false promise that if you liked your plan you could keep it,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement on Tuesday.

Good and bad fundraising news for Republicans

April 15 wasn’t only the deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns, it was also the last day for federal candidates to send in their campaign contribution disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

This deadline comes and goes without much attention paid by the public. But for those of us who work in politics, we tend channel our inner nerd and spend more time than we’d like to admit digging through the day.

Though it’s important to remember that money doesn’t necessarily translate into electoral success, Republicans, who are looking to take control of the Senate this fall, have to be happy that top-tier candidates outraised vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Alaska and Arkansas:

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor raised $1.22 million — slightly lagging behind his Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, who brought in $1.35 million, according to announcements from the campaigns.

Pryor is also burning through cash more quickly than Cotton, spending more than $1 million – almost as much as he raised – in the same time period. Cotton spent about $860,000.

But Pryor still holds the cash-on-hand advantage. He has $4.4 million in the bank, while Cotton has $2.7 million. Recent polls have also shown Pryor with only a slight edge over Cotton.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich was also outraised by his likely GOP challenger, Dan Sullivan, for the second consecutive quarter. Begich brought in $1.05 million and has $2.8 million in the bank, while Sullivan raised 1.3 million and has just under $2 million on hand, their campaigns announced.

Rothenberg: Democrats are losing independent voters

Senate Democrats are hoping that they can turn news reports and commentary from pundits into something that will motivate both their donors and base supporters to rally behind them this fall. That was ultimately the strategy behind the DSCC memo earlier this week that took aim at election guru Nate Silver’s 2014 Senate projections.

Democrats do face an enthusiasm gap. Republicans are much more motivated to get out and vote this fall, according to a new CBS News poll, so it makes sense on some level for party leaders and strategists to prod their base.

But Stu Rothenberg, namesake of the The Rothenberg Political Report, warns that Democrats’ appeals these appeals may not be enough, noting that recent polling suggests that independent voters are moving away from President Barack Obama and his party (emphasis added):

Attitudinally, independents once again more closely resemble GOP voters than Democrats.

The CBS News/New York Times survey found that while Democrats continued to approve of the president (76 percent approve), Republicans (only 7 percent approve) and independents (only 37 percent approve) did not, and while 60 percent of Democrats said the economy is “very good” or “fairly good,” only 17 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents agreed. In addition, Democrats were upbeat about the direction of the country, while Republicans and independents were not.

Cook Political Report: Battle for Senate “a jump ball”

Republicans are riding high off the recent win in a Florida special congressional election. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, for example, boldly predicted this week the country is “in for a tsunami-type election in 2014.”

Pundits, including those who typical opine for Democrats, seem to agree Republicans have the momentum in their corner as the country approaches the mid-term election. The narrative that President Barack Obama and Obamacare hover over Democrats, especially vulnerable Senate incumbents up for reelection this year, is hard to ignore.

With this in mind, The Cook Political Report, a widely read and respected publication, has made some changes to their Senate race ratings. The changes are notable and Cook does expect Democrats to lose seats, but they also note that control of the Senate is far from decided (emphasis added):

What is it with Democrats attacking Republicans’ service to the nation?

Put Alaska First's misleading ad

There’s a disgusting pattern emerging of Democrats attacking Republican candidates’ records of service to the nation. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) recently complained that Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), his general election opponent, has a “sense of entitlement” because of his military service.

“There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military,” Pryor, who never served and is the son of a politician, told NBC News. “I think it’s part of this sense of entitlement that he gives off is that almost as like ‘I served my country, therefore elect me to the Senate.’ That’s not how it works in Arkansas.”

But this sort of attack doesn’t end with Pryor, who is one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year. A group supporting Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) in his quest for reelection recently released an ad in which they attack Dan Sullivan for being born in Ohio and owning a home outside of Alaska.

“Dan Sullivan, born and raised in Ohio, and the recent owner of a home in [a] swanky D.C. suburb,” the narrator says in an ad produced by Put Alaska First. “Documents show that while Sullivan pocketed a Maryland tax credit for residents living there, he was voting in Alaska, claiming to be one of us. Now he wants us to make him our senator.”

“Dan Sullivan, if elected, he won’t just go to Washington, he’ll go home to Washington,” the narrator adds.

Three Red State Democrats back controversial DOJ nominee

Debo Adegbile

The United States Senate rejected the controversial nomination of Debo Adegbile, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, largely due to his defense of a convicted cop killer.

Adegbile is a controversial nominee because he filed a brief at the Supreme Court on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who killed a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, when he worked for the NAACP. The brief argued that Abu-Jamal’s conviction was invalid, according to the Washington Post, “because of racial discrimination in jury selection.”

Though the Senate did reject Adegbile’s nomination by a 47 to 52 vote, three vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection this year backed the controversial choice: Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

While it’s true that everyone is entitled to legal representation, even cop killers, this trio’s votes for Adegbile’s nomination may not play well back home.

One reason is because it shows their almost unquestioning support of President Obama. The other is because they cast a vote in conflict with the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP), which opposed Adegbile because of his defense of Abu-Jamal.

New polls show red state Senate Democrats in serious trouble

Senate Democrats running in red states are in serious trouble, according to internal polling released by a Republican super PAC, indicating that control of the chamber is very much in play this fall.

Americans Crossroads, a major Republican super PACs, commissioned polls in seven states, five of which are held by incumbent Senate Democrats. In a memo released on Friday, Steven Law, President and CEO of American Crossroads, detailed the results of the polling:

Virtually all Democrat incumbents in red states and purple states are in trouble – either down or tied in head-to-head contests with their likely GOP opponents, or upside down in approval ratings:


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