Senate Election 2014

CO Senate: Udall would vote for Obamacare again

A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 51% of Colorado voters disapprove of Obamacare while just 39% support the law. On top of that finding, 58% said that the rollout of the law was unsuccessful.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the poll also found that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) holds just a 2-point lead over his likely Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO).

Though his approval rating was just barely above water, Udall has been plagued by President Obama’s net-negative approval rating, 43/53, in the state and voter sentiment toward Obamacare.

The Colorado Democrat, however, is doubling down on Obamacare, despite how Colorado voters feel about the law. In an interview with a Denver-based radio station, Udall said that he’d vote for Obamacare again.

“We now have a system that is far from perfect, but my focus is making it work for Coloradans. And that’s the Colorado spirit,” said Udall after hitting all the recent Democratic talking points, including a reference to the Koch brothers. “We can’t go back to a time when if you were a woman the insurance companies could drop your coverage. Too many families went into bankruptcy because of health care costs.”

“So in the end we did the right thing. The law is far from perfect. My focus is making it work for Colorado,” he added.

“So you’d do it again?” the host asked.

“I would do it again, yes, I would,” he said. “I think, look, if I were there I would say here are some things that we should have done differently, here are some things that make more sense.”

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.

Harry Reid has completely lost his mind

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may be losing his mind as he desperately clings to his party’s majority in the chamber. The usual partisan bickering is to be expected, but this isn’t the norm, even for an election year.

First, Reid took aim at Charles and David Koch on the Senate floor last month, part of a targeted strategy to take Americans attention off of the still-stale economy and Obamacare. He called them “evil” and “un-American,” claiming that “Republicans are addicted to Koch.”

Americans have responded with a yawn. A George Washington University Battleground Poll found that 52% of Americans have never heard of the Koch brothers, while just 25% have heard of them. Oh, and the details aren’t likely to bring a smile to Reid’s face.

“One in four respondents, 25%, had a strong or somewhat negative view of the brothers, while 13% had a strong or somewhat favorable view,” USA Today reported. “The GW poll also tested Reid’s favorability: 24% have a strong or somewhat favorable view; 35% have a strong or somewhat unfavorable view, and 25% say they have never heard of the Nevada Democrat.”

IA Senate: Democrat insults Iowa farmers while seeking money from trial lawyers

Bruce Braley

The agriculture industry is a pretty big deal in Iowa. The state is the nation’s largest corn producer, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, yielding 2.2 billion bushels in 2013. The state is also known for its pork, which accounts for 28% of all of the delicious pork products produced in the United States.

Needless to say, farming and agriculture is a part of life in Iowa. Which is why it’s strange that Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), who is running for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, insulted many of his would-be constituents while trying to make an appeal to trial lawyers at an event in Texas.

“To put this in stark contrast, if you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice,” Braley told the group of trial lawyers. Someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible and public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“Or, you might have a farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he said to snickers in the room. “Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Democrats upset with Nate Silver over 2014 Senate projections

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is pushing back against Nate Silver’s projections in key races this fall that could decide control of the chamber. The party’s campaign arm issued a memo yesterday in which it highlighted where the election guru has come up short in the past:

“Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote in a memo Monday. “In some cases, more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits.”

In 2012, Cecil noted, Silver incorrectly predicted Republican candidates would win in Montana and North Dakota, where Democrats ultimately triumphed.

“In fact, in August of 2012, Silver forecasted a 61 percent likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority,” Cecil added. “Three months later, Democrats went on to win 55 seats.”

The DSCC, of course, ignores Silver’s October 2012 projection, in which he wrote, “[t]he FiveThirtyEight forecast model now gives Republicans just about a 16 percent chance of winning control of the Senate.”

Nate Silver: 60% chance Republicans takeover the Senate

Jon Karl and Nate Silver

Election guru Nate Silver says that Republicans are likely to win the net-six seats that they need to take control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, noting that they could pick up as many as 11 seats in the chamber.

In a segment with ABC’s This Week, Silver, who runs the statistics website FiveThirtyEight, told Jon Karl that Republicans will take open seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. He believes that Republicans are likely to take Arkansas, pointing out that polls have shown Republicans “pretty consistently ahead.”

Silver, who accurately predicted outcome in all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election, gives Republicans a 55% shot of taking Louisiana and an even shot of winning in North Carolina. If Republicans win each of those three seats, plus the three aforementioned open seats, they would take control of the Senate.

Silver also gives Republicans a 45% shot of winning in Alaska. He gives lesser odds of the GOP taking Michigan and Colorado, races that are being watch closely by political analysts with buzz building about a “Republican wave.”

“This is the drum roll,” said Karl. “Republicans need six seats. What’s the projection, how many are they going to pick up?”

“I’d say exactly six,” Silver replied, “but it’s probably six, plus or minus five,” acknowledging that Republicans “could” pick up as many as 11 seats in the most extreme “wave election” scenario.

LA Senate: Mary Landrieu a no show at event promoting Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited New Orleans yesterday to promote Obamacare, part of the administration’s final push to boost enrollment before the clock runs out on March 31.

Guess who decided to skip out on the event? Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), even though the Senate was not in session and no committee meetings were on the books, according to the chamber calendar. Bayou Buzz pointed out that Landrieu wasn’t mentioned on the official schedule sent out by HHS, nor was there any mention of her in The Times-Picayune’s coverage of the event.

Her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, appeared alongside Sebelius to promote the unpopular law. He tweeted out this photo of him standing behind the HHS secretary, no Mary Landrieu to be found.

Landrieu avoided appearing with President Barack Obama when he visited New Orleans in November, claiming that she had another event scheduled. She did, however, travel with him in Air Force One.

MT Senate: Newly minted Democrat incumbent trails by 14 points

More than a month after his controversial appointment, Sen. John Walsh (D-MT), has been unable to gain any traction in a race that is looking more and more likely to change hands this fall, making it one of the six seats Republicans need to take control of the Senate.

The latest poll out of Montana, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, finds that Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) holds a 14-point lead, 51/37, over Walsh.

Daines also holds an 18-point lead, 52/34, over another Democratic candidate, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who is seen as a long-shot to knock off Walsh in the party’s June 3 primary.

Rather than picking a placeholder, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) appointed then-Lt. Gov. Walsh to the seat last month after Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was confirmed to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Baucus was already not running for reelection, having announced his retirement early last year. He wasn’t nominated for the diplomatic post until December. Walsh announced his campaign in October.

Walsh is seen as Democrats’ best shot at keeping the seat in their hands, and they’d hoped that the appointment would give him time to establish himself as someone who is independent of his party and raise his profile.

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):

CO Senate: Republicans competitive as Obama, Obamacare hang over Udall

Once thought to be a relatively safe bet for reelection, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) has found himself racing a tough race against Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) as the map of competitive Senate races expands into Colorado, a state that President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012.

A poll released by Public Policy Polling on Tuesday found that Udall holds a 2-point lead, 42/40, over Gardner. Udall’s lead is within the poll’s 4.1% margin of error, meaning that the race is statistically tied.

Gardner, a two-term Congressman, entered the race late last month and is seen as the strongest candidate Republicans have to taken on Obamacare. Ken Buck dropped out of the race a day after Gardner announced. Owen Hill, a state senator with Tea Party backing, announced his exit from the race this week, leaving no serious primary challenge to Gardner.

Though Udall’s approval rating is slightly above water, 41/40, those numbers are concerning for any politician entering an election year. Making the Colorado Democrat’s problems worse are President Obama’s underwater approval rating, 43/53, and tepid support for Obamacare.

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