Press Releases



NRSC - Rothenberg: For Democrats, Senate Still a Possible Nightmare

NOTE: Unless things change, Republicans will likely hold all 18 of their seats up this cycle. No GOP incumbent is in any trouble… Of the open seats, Kelly Ayotte (R) looks like a solid bet over Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D) in New Hampshire, and Rob Portman (R) has opened up a lead over underfunded Lee Fisher (D) in Ohio. In Florida, Independent Charlie Crist appears to be slipping, and that should all but guarantee the election of former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R).

For Democrats, Senate Still a Possible Nightmare

By Stuart Rothenberg

Roll Call Contributing Writer

Sept. 29, 2010 – 11:01 p.m.

Delaware’s Republican primary may well have lulled Democrats into a sense of complacency about their ability to hold the Senate after November’s elections. They would be wise to wake up if they want to avoid a nasty surprise on election night.

Tea party activists did indeed do Democrats a huge favor in selecting Christine O’Donnell (R) to oppose New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) in the fall.

Yes, Coons is an unabashed liberal, and he almost certainly would have fallen to Rep. Michael N. Castle (R) in an election cycle when voters are dissatisfied with Democratic governance and focused on issues such as spending and big government. But most voters don’t care about ideology, and O’Donnell’s worldview and agenda simply do not fit Delaware.

Smart Republicans know they will win if the 2010 elections are about Democrats, not about the Republican candidate’s background or ideology. Tea party activists apparently don’t get that, even though it isn’t a complicated idea.

O’Donnell’s primary victory notwithstanding, Republicans are still headed for major Senate gains, and a 10-seat gain isn’t impossible.

With a month to go until Nov. 2, Republicans have a clear advantage in five seats held by Democrats, with another five seats still in play.

Unless things change, Republicans will likely hold all 18 of their seats up this cycle. No GOP incumbent is in any trouble — even Sens. Richard M. Burr (N.C.) and David Vitter (La.), who seemed at some risk early on, look headed for comfortable victories — and Republican open seats appear to be at limited risk.

Of the open seats, Kelly Ayotte (R) looks like a solid bet over Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D) in New Hampshire, and Rob Portman (R) has opened up a lead over underfunded Lee Fisher (D) in Ohio.

In Florida, Independent Charlie Crist appears to be slipping, and that should all but guarantee the election of former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R).

That leaves Kentucky and Missouri, where weak Republicans are likely to take advantage of a good political environment to hang on to GOP seats.

While Democrats like to talk about Kentucky as “within the margin of error,” most surveys show Rand Paul (R) ahead, probably by somewhere from 3 to 6 points — meaning that the contest could be anywhere from even to Paul up by 8 or 9 points.

While the campaign of Jack Conway (D) claims momentum and portrays the contest as even, there is little reason to see Kentucky as a pure tossup. Paul clearly has a narrow but important edge, with few undecided voters in some surveys.

The same goes for Republican Rep. Roy Blunt in his Missouri Senate contest against Robin Carnahan (D). Blunt isn’t an ideal candidate in this or any cycle, but Carnahan’s Democratic label and liberal bent are more damaging to her. Blunt is ahead in the race by at least a few points, and barring a major goof by the Republican nominee, he should win.

GOP nominees have a solid advantage in three states: North Dakota, Arkansas and Indiana. They have an advantage in the polls — and a momentum advantage — in two other states: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Polling in Illinois has been close for weeks, but with Republican Bill Brady running ahead in the gubernatorial race and Republican Congressional candidates overperforming in a number of parts of the state, Republican Rep. Mark Steven Kirk seems more likely than not to win the Senate race.

If all of those races fall into place as expected, they add up to a gain of six seats for Republicans, with six other contests still in play.

Two of the six, Colorado and Nevada, look like tossups. But in a year like this, the party with a strong wind at its back normally has a better-than-even chance of winning the jump balls. In Colorado, in particular, Ken Buck (R) appears to have a slight advantage over Sen. Michael Bennet (D). The Nevada race is so tight, and both Sen. Harry Reid (D) and Sharron Angle (R) are so unpopular, that any outcome is possible.

If Democrats lose both tossups, Republicans would have a net gain of eight seats, and they would need two of the remaining four contests — West Virginia, Washington, California and Connecticut — to net 10 seats

West Virginia voters like Gov. Joe Manchin III (D), but they don’t like President Barack Obama , which is a headache for Manchin in a state that went solidly for Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in 2008. While Manchin can win the Senate seat if the election is about the governor, Democrats could easily lose the seat if the election is about Obama and Congressional Democrats.

Washington and California are difficult for Republicans for different reasons, while Connecticut is quickly emerging as perhaps a more viable target than the two West Coast states.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) isn’t popular, but California is difficult for any Republican nominee. Boxer’s recent television ads seem to be taking their toll on challenger Carly Fiorina, who is slipping in polls.

Sen. Patty Murray (D) is more popular than Boxer, but Washington’s size and politics offer more opportunities for GOP Senate hopeful Dino Rossi.

In Connecticut, Linda McMahon (R) has run a strong race, but the state’s uninspiring Democratic Senate nominee, Richard Blumenthal, for all his problems, enters the final month of the campaign with a small advantage over McMahon. As in California, the partisan bent in Connecticut is a problem for McMahon.

Republicans would need a strong wave to carry through Election Day to make a 10-seat net gain. While that’s not yet likely, Senate Democrats can’t take their East Coast/West Coast firewall for granted.


NHDP - Why Hasn't Palin Showed? 

Concord, NH- As Republican presidential hopefuls continue to flock to the Granite State, why hasn't Sarah Palin made a visit yet? Since wading into New Hampshire this summer to endorse GOP senate candidate Kelly Ayotte, Palin has been noticeably silent, even struggling to remember Ayotte's name when prompted on national TV.
On the other hand, Ayotte has embraced the failed VP candidate, saying she is "proud to have her support" and that the ex-Alaskan governor has an open invitation to come to New Hampshire whenever she likes. [FOX News, 9/24/10; AP, 9/29/10].
Which begs the question - why would Palin turn down an open invitation to the first in the nation primary state?  
"Is Team Ayotte telling their Mama Grizzly to keep quiet, given her abysmal approval ratings in New Hampshire? Or is Sarah Palin just not enthused with her chosen Granite Grizzly?" said Emily Browne, Press Secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "There's a deluge of 2012 Republican ambition sweeping across New Hampshire, but the ultimate Tea Party darling is noticeably leaving Ms. Ayotte and the NH GOP high and dry."


NRSC - NEW POLL: Ayotte 50%, Hodes 35%

Poll Shows Ayotte With Sizable Lead Over Hodes

Ayotte Increases Lead Since Primary Win


September 30, 2010

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Less than five weeks from Election Day, a new poll shows Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes may have a tough hill to climb in his Senate bid.

The WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire shows Republican Kelly Ayotte leading Hodes 50 percent to 35 percent. While Ayotte has consistently led Hodes in the poll, she has stretched her lead since the primary.

"In the U.S. Senate race, it seems that Ayotte's primary really helped her quite a bit," said UNH Pollster Andy Smith.

The poll of 515 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted by telephone from Sept. 23 to Sept. 29. It has a margin of sampling error of 4.3 percent.

In July, a Granite State Poll showed Ayotte with an 8-point lead.

"Ayotte's doing a better job of holding her own partisans than Hodes is," Smith said. "Ayotte's getting 87 percent of Republicans, while Hodes is only getting 70 percent of Democrats. So, Hodes has to do a better job of building enthusiasm and keeping his own people close, because Ayotte is cutting into that."

In terms of favorability, Ayotte also holds a sizable edge, with 41 percent holding a favorable opinion of her and 29 percent unfavorable. The polls shows 29 percent see Hodes in a favorable light, while 39 percent have an unfavorable view of him.

The rest are neutral or don't know enough about the candidates to decide.

Smith said that despite the numbers, there is still a large pool of voters who haven't made up their minds.

"Still only 37 percent of voters say they have made up their minds who they are going to vote for, and 15 percent say they are leaning toward somebody," Smith said. "But still, 48 percent say they haven't decided who they are going to vote for. It's still pretty early in the campaign, although it is almost October."

Hodes and Ayotte will meet at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 for a debate airing on WMUR-Channel 9 and


NRSC - Help Joe Miller 

This election cycle has been unlike any other we've seen in our lifetimes. Tired of the Democrats' broken promises, failed policies and high spending, millions of Americans are getting involved in the political process advocating for candidates who will get our country back on track. One of those candidates is Joe Miller in Alaska.

Joe is a graduate of West Point and a bronze star winner. A graduate of Yale Law School he became an Alaskan by choice 16 years ago because of his love of the outdoors. His legal career quickly took off and he served as one of the nation's youngest judges until 2004 when he opened his own firm.

In August, the Republican primary voters of Alaska chose Joe to be their nominee for the United States Senate. He will be a strong voice in Washington for the people of Alaska and the country who want to put an end to Democrats' reckless spending, higher taxes and bloated federal government. Joe will help restore accountability and fiscal responsibility in the Senate.

The NRSC and all of the Republican Senate Conference are committed to doing everything that we can in order to ensure victory for Joe Miller, but we need your help to make sure the he has the resources necessary to get over the finish line. Will you get behind Joe today by making an urgent donation to his campaign of $25, $50, $100 or $250 today?

We have no doubt that Joe Miller will be elected as the next U.S. Senator from Alaska and we ask you to get behind him as many have already done in Alaska and around the country.


Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader
Senator John Cornyn, NRSC Chairman


ALG Praises McConnell for Blocking Recess Appointments

Obama has 115 executive and judicial nominees pending that he will not be able to appoint during recess.

September 30th, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement praising Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking Barack Obama from making any recess appointments during the upcoming campaign season:

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell deserves the thanks of all Americans for blocking Barack Obama from making any recess appointments while Congress campaigns for election in October.  That's up to 115 appointments that will still require Senate approval, and Obama will not be able to sneak into power while nobody's watching.

"In many cases, as with judicial nominees Goodwin Liu and Robert Chatigny, these pending appointments are controversial, radical ideologues that will for a generation change the makeup of the federal government.  This gives the American people an opportunity to put the brakes on Obama's agenda to remake the nation in his image through judicial and regulatory decree.  No more Donald Berwick's and Craig Becker's; the American people have had enough of these radicals.

"If Senate Democrats want these nominees to be appointed, they will now have to vote and stake their names and reputations to getting them across the finish line.  But the American people can rest easy knowing that Obama will not be able to sneak them in during the dead of night, thanks to Senate Minority Leader McConnell's courageous leadership."