campaign 2014
November 3, 2014

Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) reveals that Republicans ran 12,000 anti-ObamaCare ads in Senate races during the week of Oct. 13-19.

That's more than they ran on jobs/unemployment, taxes, and social issues combined.

Behind ObamaCare, the other top issues the GOP has focused its ads on include: budget/government spending (nearly 9,000 ads), energy/environment (nearly 7,000 ads), jobs/unemployment (more than 6,000 ads), and immigration (nearly 5,000 ads). Teresa Mull

October 28, 2014

The Daily Show is in Austin to cover the 2014 midterm elections, and on Monday night's show Jon Stewart's guest was Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor. She's down in the polls against the GOP nominee, state Attorney General Greg Abbott. After talking about abortion and voting laws, Stewart got down to brass tacks. "You're having a tough campaign — right now you guys are down a little bit," Stewart said. "How conservative a place is Texas?... You know, we've heard a lot about, 'It's flipping blue,' but it looks like it ain't even flipping, like, a cool azure."

"It's on its way — it's really on its way," Davis said. She said that in their two decades of running the state, Republicans have drawn lots of safe Republican districts and a handful of safe Democratic ones, and that has stifled any political debate.

In Part 2 of the interview, available only online, Stewart returned to the election. Referring to Davis' statement that she's running to start a statewide conversation about public priorities, Stewart asked: "Why isn't it a conversation that's happening in Texas? Or is it a conversation that has happened in Texas, and they truly have decided, 'No, I appreciate what you're saying, but this is the way we want it?'"

This election will test that question, Davis said, "but really, it hasn't been a conversation."

We aren't a part of presidential election-year politics, we haven't had a really hotly contested general-election statewide race in a very, very long time, and it creates a climate where voters are disengaged, and they're not being educated about the issues at hand. [Davis]

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), she noted, was elected with about 800,000 votes in a state of 26 million people. "We're really encouraged by what we see in terms of the opportunity for a statewide Democrat to actually be elected in this state eight days from now," she added. Davis didn't say governor, of course, but later, when pressed, she said, "I'm going to be governor, Jon." Well, we'll see in eight days. --Peter Weber

October 15, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, has drawn criticism from the right for repeatedly refusing to reveal whether she voted for President Obama in 2008 or 2012. Now, however, she's feeling the heat from the left, as progressive groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America demand she retract a controversial immigration ad.

MoveOn.org said that the video's use of the phrase "illegal alien" is "upsetting," with the organization's executive director, Ilya Sheyman, calling for a disavowal of the ad's message: "It's deeply troubling that Grimes would stoop this low in order to try to defeat McConnell, and she needs to take this offensive advertisement off the air immediately."

Here's the ad in question, which is still posted on the Grimes campaign's YouTube channel. --Bonnie Kristian

October 13, 2014

The race for the next governor of Texas has turned into a nasty one.

Last week, Democratic candidate Wendy Davis released an ad attacking her Republican opponent Greg Abbott for not doing enough to help victims, despite the fact that he was awarded millions in a settlement after a tree fell on him and left him paralyzed. The Davis ad features a wheelchair and says, "A tree fell on Greg Abbott. He sued and got millions. Since then, he's spent his career working against other victims."

Now, Abbott's camp has released a response ad, which stitches together sound bites from political commentators who criticize Davis and liken her ad to a desperate 'Hail Mary' attempt:

Davis' campaign has been criticized for the controversial ad by both sides of the political aisle, and Davis was called on to apologize to the disabled community. The latest poll numbers have Abbott leading the race by 11 points. Teresa Mull

October 1, 2014

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is running for Senate in his state, has found himself under scrutiny after he threatened a lawsuit against his neighbor when her chickens wandered into his yard. In their first debate this week, Braley's opponent, Republican Joni Ernst, asked him about the incident:

Congressman, you threatened to sue a neighbor over chickens that came onto your property. You're talking about bipartisanship — how do we expect as Iowans that you will work across the aisle when you can't walk across your yard? [The Daily Signal]

Braley categorically denied the charge that he threatened to sue. In the latest poll from The Des Moines Register, he trails Ernst by 6 percent among likely voters.

The neighbor in question reports that she was unaware that her roaming chickens were problematic until she visited Braley's house to offer his family a dozen eggs. She says the Braleys' reply was, "We aren't going to accept your eggs — and we have filed a formal complaint against you." The Braleys had complained to their homeowners' association, which released an email indicating that Braley did indeed threaten "a litigious situation." The HOA decided the chickens would be allowed to stay if fenced in — but they can't have a rooster friend. Bonnie Kristian

September 30, 2014

Scott Brown, Republican candidate for New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seat and former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, appeared at Franklin Pierce University yesterday for what the Boston Herald reports was "originally slated as a Senate faceoff" — but Brown's Democratic incumbent challenger Jeanne Shaheen was a no-show.

"I am disappointed," Brown said.

In lieu of yesterday's debate, Shaheen launched "another trip around the state, this one called 'A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust' tour aimed at focusing on Brown's votes on abortion rights and other issues."

Shaheen has agreed to three televised debates with Brown, but has refused to participate in any more than that, including another planned debate next month sponsored by the Manchester and Nashua Chambers of Commerce.

The latest polls show Brown trailing Shaheen by four and a half points. Teresa Mull

September 30, 2014

A Democratic Senate candidate from Tennessee, Gordon Ball, is the latest target of BuzzFeed's plagiarism exposés. According to BuzzFeed, Ball's campaign website lifted material directly from a number of fellow Democrats' websites, mainly from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown's. Here is one example of the many BuzzFeed provides:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

By putting the big banks and big corporations ahead of small businesses, Washington makes it harder for our small businesses to succeed, thrive and grow.

And here's Ball:

By putting the big banks and big corporations ahead of small businesses, Washington has made it harder for those small businesses to succeed, thrive and grow.

Ball expressed surprise at the revelation, saying, "I had no idea that this material was cut and pasted on my website from other sources." The plagiarism was blamed on a former campaign intern.

Past BuzzFeed stories have revealed a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who plagiarized biographical information; a GOP Senate candidate who copied her economic plan from multiple other sources; Sen. Rand Paul's use of Wikipedia text in explaining movie plots; and at least eight Republican candidates who plagiarized Paul's issues pages. Bonnie Kristian

September 25, 2014

It's looking like Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) won't have a repeat of the comfortable second-term victory he scored six years ago. Fox News reports Pryor "is in the fight of his political life against a budding Republican superstar, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark)."

Cotton, a decorated Army veteran and Harvard graduate, won his very first election less than two years ago. Now, a PPP poll has Cotton 5 points ahead of Pryor, while a new USA Today poll puts Pryor up by 2.

Pryor's campaign is attacking Cotton for being "against seniors, students, and women" and for voting against the farm bill.

Cotton, meanwhile, said the main reason he voted against the farm bill was because the Senate refused to make a vote on food stamps separate (Cotton's platform focuses heavily on cutting spending), as the House did. He said his decision was also due to the fact that many of the farmers he spoke to were against the legislation.

Cotton is counting on President Obama's low approval ratings to boost his campaign, which uses the slogan, "A vote for Mark Pryor is a vote for Barack Obama." Pryor has voted with the president 93 percent of the time.

Pryor, for his part, has accused Cotton of acting as a pawn for the agendas of the Koch Brothers and Club for Growth, who heavily support him. Teresa Mull

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