fla-senate-2016

Obama and Biden Make Senate Primary Endorsements

Murphy scored endorsements from the president and vice president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stepped into two of Democrats' Senate primaries Wednesday morning, throwing their support behind the establishment-backed candidates in Ohio and Florida.  

Ahead of the state's March 15 primary, Obama and Biden backed former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in his race against P.G. Sittenfeld for the Democratic nod to take on GOP Sen. Rob Portman in November. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee backed Strickland in March. "Ohioans have no greater friend than Ted Strickland. Ted is a passionate and proven champion for the middle class, and when Ohio sends him to the United States Senate, he will continue to be a tireless fighter for hardworking families," Obama said in a statement.  

Sanders Gets Another Hill Endorsement: Alan Grayson

Grayson is running for Senate in Florida. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democrat known for bucking the Democratic establishment, announced his endorsement of Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Democratic socialist challenging Hillary Clinton for the party's presidential nomination.  

Like Sanders, Grayson is in an uphill fight against his party's leaders, challenging Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy for the party's nomination for Senate in the Sunshine State.  

Labor Unions Line Up Behind Murphy in Florida Senate Primary

Two more labor unions endorsed Patrick Murphy's Senate campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Patrick Murphy announced the endorsements of two additional labor unions Thursday, adding to a list of traditionally key Democratic constituency groups rallying behind his campaign for Senate.  

“Of course, Alan Grayson has a great record," said Frank Ortis, the mayor of Pembroke Pines and the president of the Florida Machinist State Council, pointing to Murphy's opponent in the Democratic primary. "I feel personally that Patrick Murphy is going to be a great U.S. senator."  Ortis said the Machinist State Council — aligned with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — joined the International Association of Ironworkers in lending Murphy financial and organizational support ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.  

Grayson Will Be Glad When Reid is 'Gone From Washington'

Grayson, D-Fla., is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Marco Rubio. He's in the spotlight for running a hedge fund while serving in Congress.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

   

   

Time Is Running Out for Senate Primaries Fundraising

Duckworth has outraised her primary and general election opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For several of this year's competitive Senate primaries, the fourth quarter of 2015 was the last fundraising quarter before primary day.  

In Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina, voters go to the polls on March 15, a month before the next Federal Election Commission fundraising report deadline. In all three of those states, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has backed the better-known candidate, who, unsurprisingly, raised more money from October through December of 2015. In Illinois, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the DSCC's pick , raised $1.6 million, beating the $314,000 haul of her closest primary opponent, former Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp. State Sen. Napoleon Harris reportedly raised about $1 million. Notably for Duckworth, she again slightly out-raised  vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk and substantially narrowed the gap between their cash-on-hand totals.  

Democrats Target Vulnerable Senate Republicans over Party Loyalty

In tight Senate races, Democrats plan to point to the reliably Republican voting records of incumbents such as Pennsylvania's Toomey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In some of the top competitive Senate races this year, Democrats on Monday planned a new line of attack against opponents they see as vulnerable: They are calling those Republican opponents reliable Republicans.  

Using a metric that has been used before by the GOP against Democrats, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it would hit vulnerable Republicans in eight states over their high "party unity" scores, as ranked by the conservative Americans for Prosperity and the nonpartisan CQ Vote Studies.  “These candidates know their Washington records are a liability – that’s why senators like Pat Toomey and Kelly Ayotte," referring to the senators from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, "spent the last year trying to rewrite their hyper-partisan history," said Lauren Passalacqua, a spokesperson for the group. "We took a look at how they’ve voted and no surprise, it’s consistently with the Washington special interests and always at the expense of the people who they were elected to represent."  

8 Senate Races to Watch as 4th Quarter Fundraising Ends

The fourth quarter will be Hassan's first to file as a Senate candidate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the end of the year comes the end of another fundraising quarter. And while campaigns are not required to file their quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission until Jan. 31, now begins a month of speculation about who will end the year on a high note and who will ring in 2016 needing to step up their cash game. New HampshireIn the battle for the Senate, all eyes will be on New Hampshire, where Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan will be filing her first quarterly report since entering the race to unseat GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte in October. In what’s expected to be one of the most competitive races in the country, Hassan’s haul will be closely scrutinized to see how she compares to Ayotte, who has more than $5 million in cash on hand. North Carolina:  This will also be the first fundraising quarter for former state Rep. Deborah Ross , one of the Democrats vying to take on GOP Sen. Richard Burr. Ross has emerged as Washington Democrats’ preferred candidate after several top recruits, including former Sen. Kay Hagan, passed on the race, but she hasn’t received any formal endorsements from the D.C. establishment. This quarter will go a long way toward clarifying how competitive Ross will be against No. 7 on Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable senators . Maryland Senate:  Until primary day, fundraising reports are one of the few metrics available to assess who’s pulling away in intraparty matchups.

We’ll be watching to see whether the $1 million that EMILY’s List invested in TV and radio spots on her behalf can help Edwards close the gap before the April 26 primary.

Races Where Spending Bill Vote Could Be an Issue

Neither Republicans nor Democrats, whose Senate committee is led by Tester, see a clear political win from the omnibus vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress hadn't even left town when political campaigns in some of the most competitive House and Senate races zeroed in on Friday’s vote on a massive government spending bill. But rather than cleaving along partisan lines, Democrats and Republicans — incumbents and challengers alike — came down on both sides of the issue depending on their states and districts, suggesting national party committees aren't likely to take up the vote in their national messaging. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, voted for the bill – even though some of his most vulnerable colleagues opposed it – while Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester of Montana opposed it, with similar divergences in his own party. In the case of this bill, every candidate is on their own.  

Pennsylvania Senate Sen. Patrick J. Toomey voted against the bill, criticizing it as an instrument of the government’s “out-of-control spending” that would exacerbate the deficit, fund the resettlement of Syrian refugees and implement “damaging” federal regulations. And yet, in a statement released after the vote, he went on to tout that the bill for which he did not vote includes bipartisan proposals that he said will support jobs in the Keystone State. He also praised the bill’s suspension of the medical device tax, support for the military, Alzheimer’s research and health care for 9/11 responders.   That’s a contradiction that former Rep. Joe Sestak, who’s vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Toomey in 2016, seized on in Twitter messages Friday afternoon. https://twitter.com/JoeSestak/status/677930799744868354  

Vulnerable Republicans Choose Words Carefully on Trump Comments

In a statement Tuesday, Portman said he didn't agree with Trump without using his name. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In the weeks since the Paris attacks, Republicans have been outspoken about the potential security risk posed by refugees from countries where ISIS has established strongholds from coming into the United States.  

But when pressed on Donald Trump's call for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," many of this cycle's most vulnerable senators were slow to respond.  

Vulnerable House Democrats Side With GOP on Refugee Bill

Ashford voted against the Republican bill to add an extra layer of bureaucratic certification to security checks for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nearly every member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program for vulnerable members voted Thursday for a Republican bill that would add bureaucratic security checks for Syrians and Iraqis hoping to enter the U.S. as refugees.  

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Democratic strategists say the vote was good politics for those 13 Democratic incumbents, who represent competitive districts of varying degrees. The vote gave them an opportunity to appear tough on national security, an issue they often struggle with.