SENATE DEMOCRATS DOMINATE IN RECRUITMENT. After Maggie Hassan’s announcement this week, Roll Call chronicled Democrats’ major recruiting successes in states across the map:
With New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan’s entrance into the Granite State Senate contest, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has secured nearly every top-tier recruit it sought for 2016 — when Democrats will attempt to net the five seats necessary to regain control of the Senate.
Aside from Hassan in New Hampshire, the DSCC secured strong candidates in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The DSCC also scored wins with Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s decision to run for Senate in Arizona, as well as three Democratic senators from red states forgoing gubernatorial bids in 2016…
MEANWHILE AT THE NRSC… National Journal wrote on the challenges Republicans face as they try and hold on to their “flimsy” majority.
The GOP’s majority is flimsy, though. Republicans have 24 seats at risk next year, compared to just 10 for the Democrats, and seven are in states that President Obama carried in 2012… But the other six are in real danger—incumbents Ayotte, Mark Kirk (Illinois), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), and Rob Portman (Ohio), plus a seat in Florida held by Marco Rubio, who is running for president rather than Senate reelection.
HASSAN IN: CAST AS STRONGEST CANDIDATE, “BIGGEST RECRUIT” FOR DEMOCRATS. On Monday, Governor Maggie Hassan entered the raceto challenge Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. A new WMUR poll shows that Hassan starts the race in a dead heat with her opponent, and media has already hailed her strength as a candidate, noting how competitive the race becomes after her announcement.Cook Political Report andSabato’s Crystal Ball both immediately moved the race from “Leans Republican” to “Toss-Up.”
The Hill: “The entrance of the popular governor instantly makes New Hampshire a prime opportunity for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat in 2016.”
Associated Press: “Hassan, 57, has long been considered the party’s strongest challenger to Ayotte.”
Christian Science Monitor: “Ayotte’s challenge from Hassan represents one more piece of bad news for the Republicans.”
USA Today: “The announcement gives Democrats a strong candidate in a key swing state as they try to win back the Senate in 2016.”
Roll Call: “Hassan’s decision is yet another victory for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee”
Politico: “Hassan announced Monday – a decision that boosts Democrats’ chances of winning the swing-state Senate seatand taking back control of the chamber… Hassan’s announcement is a boon for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee”
Washington Post: “Hassan’s candidacy represents a major recruiting victory for Democratic leaders hoping to recapture the Senate in 2016.”
The DSCC proudly endorsed Maggie Hassan today:
“Maggie Hassan has been a tireless advocate for New Hampshire families, and she has built a record as a bipartisan problem solver who works across the aisle to get results. Maggie’s reputation as someone who puts New Hampshire first shows that she will stand up to the special interests who have rigged the system against middle class families. We are proud to support Maggie in her campaign, and we look forward to having her commonsense approach in the Senate.” – Chairman Jon Tester
GOP PANIC, NEW HAMPSHIRE EDITION. But if you really wanted to know how competitive this race just got, look no further than Kelly Ayotte’s special interest allies. They’ve been panicked about Ayotte’s slim chances for months now and have already spent $3 million to prop up Ayotte, with a chunk of that coming from Karl Rove just days after Hassan’s announcement. You can expect to see a lot more of that as the special interests – who desperately need Ayotte’s rubberstamp in the Senate – spend big to rewrite her problematic record and save her career.
WHY MCCARTHY’S FALL MATTERS IN THE SENATE. Only a few weeks after right-wing extremists forced House Speaker John Boehner into retirement, Kevin McCarthy pulled out of contention to be the next speaker. Our take that the announcement was nothing but bad news for Mitch McConnell and his shaky majority was echoed by Politico as they wrote that GOP Senators have “no certainty or clarity on their agenda” that includes an extension of the Highway bill, debt ceiling and keeping the government open. Republicans know they have to show they can govern responsibly if they want to keep their majority, and their already impossible task just got a whole lot harder.
GOP CAN’T QUIT PLAYING POLITICS WITH WOMEN’S HEALTH. Senate Republicans are doubling (Tripling? Quadrupling?) down on their efforts to limit women’s access to safe and affordable health care. Just one week after nearly shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, vulnerable GOP senators indicated that they’ll support the House’s extreme plan to defund Planned Parenthood using reconciliation rules. Ron Johnson and Rob Portman immediately threw their support behind the plan while Kelly Ayotterefused to rule out the idea.
DSCC ENDORSES ANN KIRKPATRICK IN ARIZONA. The DSCC endorsed Ann Kirkpatrick this week praising her reputation as a common sense leader and record of fighting for Arizona families makes her the strongest candidate to win the race.
Arizona Republic: Ann Kirkpatrick Endorsed By Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
RAND PANIC. Republican operatives went on the record a few weeks ago expressing concerns about Rand Paul’s treatment of his Kentucky Senate seat as a “second choice.” Now this week, Politico reports that Republicans are pressuring Paul to quit his presidential campaign and focus on his Senate seat.
“This presidential dream needs to come to an end,” said a national Republican strategist, granted anonymity to discuss Paul’s situation candidly. “Senate Republicans can’t afford to have a competitive race in Kentucky.”
… Still, Paul’s presence in the state has been far from constant. He skipped the annual Fancy Farm gathering in early August, traditionally a must-attend for Kentucky politicians. And local Republicans have noticed.
“He needs to pay attention to the Senate race, or we could lose the seat,” said one member of the Kentucky GOP’s executive council. “Why don’t you ask around the state to see how many Lincoln Day dinners or parades he’s been too? It’s not many.”
IN THE STATES:
MISSOURI – KANDER HAS BEST FUNDRAISING QUARTER YET. In the latest indicator of the groundswell of support his campaign is receiving,Jason Kander raised $835,000 in the third fundraising quarter, with $1.6 million on hand.
MORE MISSOURI – NRSC AD RATED “MOSTLY FALSE.” An ad by the NRSC was rated “Mostly False” by PolitiFact.
NEVADA – YET ANOTHER NRSC AD RATED FALSE. Another NRSC ad was given “Three Pinocchios” by the Washington Post.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s Tweet of the Week goes to Manu Raju for explaining just how well Democrats have set themselves up to regain the Senate majority: @mkraju: “Big shift in favor of Dems in race for control of the Senate, with Gov. Hassan in #nhsen and George Brauchler out for the GOP in #cosen”