pa-senate

Republicans Spending Early to Boost Chances to Keep Senate

Kirk has spent some of his campaign's cash on an early bio ad to aid his re-election hopes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Republicans look to defend their newfound Senate majority in 2016, early television and digital spending has more than quadrupled from this same point last cycle, a CQ Roll Call analysis shows.  

More than a year out from Election Day 2016, Republican incumbents and GOP-aligned outside groups have shelled out at least $13.3 million to boost their re-election prospects and attack potential Democratic challengers in Senate contests across the map. That's seven times more than the $1.9 million Republicans spent by this point last cycle — when the GOP was looking to win the Senate majority for the first time since 2006.  

10 Races to Watch in 2016: Pennsylvania Senate

Toomey is up for re-election in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., the former president of the conservative Club for Growth , is seeking re-election in a state that hasn't picked a GOP nominee for president since 1988.  

So will Toomey — who has been endorsed for re-election by this outside group  — moderate his votes or platform to appeal to the political center of the Keystone State ahead of 2016? It's one of the most interesting questions of the 2016 cycle  — and it's just one reason why the Pennsylvania Senate race tops Roll Call's list of the Top 10 Races to Watch in 2016.  

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

Toomey is a Pennsylvania Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It's been more than four years since former Rep. Joe Sestak narrowly lost his bid for Senate — and the Pennsylvania Democrat hasn't stopped running since. After his 2010 loss to Republican Patrick J. Toomey, Sestak continued to traverse the state to raise cash before officially filing for a rematch against the senator in September.  

"We've done 400 events in two years for other candidates," Sestak said in a Wednesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. "I've put a quarter-million miles on my car."  

Joe Sestak Files Senate Exploratory Committee for 2016

Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., wants another shot at the Senate seat he failed to win in 2010.

Sestak announced Tuesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a 2016 Senate bid. It would likely be a rematch with Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, who defeated Sestak by 2 points in a great year for Republicans nationally.

Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

It's no secret Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz has statewide ambitions. She could run for governor in 2014 or for Senate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz made waves Friday morning by picking up a new finance director with statewide experience. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Democratic lawmaker's hire of Aubrey Montgomery fuels speculation she's looking at running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

Schwartz has long been discussed as a potential statewide candidate, although sources say she's eyeing a challenge to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016. She's ascended the House leadership ladder, taking a prominent role as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's recruitment chairwoman last cycle.

Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey Will Return to Senate

Sen. Bob Casey won re-election today. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) will return to the Senate, according to Associated Press projections.

Stabenow seemed vulnerable early in the cycle. But her opponent, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), was never able to recover from a controversial television ad. President Barack Obama also proved to have strong coattails in Michigan, and the race was soon moved out of competitive categories.

NRSC Investing in Pennsylvania Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is investing $500,000 of coordinated funds to assist GOP nominee Tom Smith in his challenge to Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D).

The move indicates national Republicans view an opportunity to widen their path to the majority, even if the incumbent here remains favored.

Daily Ad Track

Here's what cut through the clutter today.

Wisconsin Senate 

Pennsylvania: Bob Casey's Team Disowns Media Consultant's Comments

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was recently criticized by a member of Sen. Bob Casey's team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is distancing himself from his media consultant, Saul Shorr, and comments the adviser made criticizing former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Rendell recently tweaked the Casey campaign, accusing it of taking Republican Senate nominee Tom Smith too lightly. Shorr didn't take kindly to Rendell's criticism, and let him know that publicly. But in a Saturday evening email to campaign contributors, Casey campaign manager Larry Smar attempted to put daylight between the Senator and Shorr.

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo) Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (above) has watched his lead over former coal company owner Tom Smith shrink in recent months. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June.

SHELOCTA, Pa. — Atop hundreds of acres of lush farmland, a bold white sign directs visitors to the “Smith Complex” — the hilltop home of wealthy former coal company owner Tom Smith.

The rise of Smith’s campaign against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is, indeed, complex.