The Chamber of Commerce has launched two new ads focusing on what are expected to be some of the closest Senate races of the 2016 cycle: the seats up in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
In Pennsylvania, the business lobby group's political advocacy arm has launched a 30-second ad lauding Republican senator Pat Toomey. The spot celebrates Toomey as a "practical and constructive conservative" who puts "partisanship aside to do what's right for Pennsylvania." Watch the video below:
The ad notes Toomey's support for the Keystone XL pipeline and heavily emphasizes his work reaching "across the aisle."
Toomey, a former congressman and one-time president of the conservative Club for Growth, was first elected to the Senate in 2010 in a hard-fought race against Democrat Joe Sestak. Toomey had won the GOP nomination after challenging sitting Republican senator Arlen Specter, who switched parties just days after Toomey announced his candidacy. Specter went on to lose the Democratic nomination to Sestak.
2010 was a good year nationally for Republicans, but with the presidential race at the top of the ticket, Democrats hope to take back Pennsylvania. Sestak is among the Democrats who are running to take on Toomey, and early polls show Toomey leading him at varying margins. Sestak was also seen over the holiday weekend running into at least two small children.
Next-door in purple-state Ohio, incumbent Republican Rob Portman is also in a difficult race for reelection. Former governor Ted Strickland, the likely Democratic candidate, is the subject of the Chamber's new ad there. The 30-second ad highlights bad economic statistics from Strickland's four years as governor and asks voters to "say no" to Strickland for the Senate. Watch the video below:
Both Portman and Strickland were on the ballot in Ohio in 2010. While Portman successfully won to succeed retiring Republican George Voinovich, Strickland lost his reelection bid as governor to Republican John Kasich. As the Chamber ad notes, Strickland moved to Washington soon after his defeat to run the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Early polls show a divided electorate in Ohio, with the latest Quinnipiac poll giving Strickland the advantage over Portman. But as in Pennsylvania, the Senate race in Ohio may have a lot to do with the state of the presidential race in that state.
Pat Toomey is considered one of the more vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2016, but one new poll finds the Pennsylvania Republican leading possible Democratic challengers. A new survey from Harper Polling, a GOP firm, finds Toomey ahead by double-digits against three Democrats considering a bid against him. In addition, a total of 54 percent of likely voters say they have a favorable or somewhat favorable view of the first-term senator.
New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte announces this morning that she will not support the Manchin-Toomey gun bill, which is supposed to be voted on today in the Senate. Instead, Ayotte says, she is supporting "the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act."
Senator Pat Toomey has finally posted the full text of "The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act," the so called gun Senate compromise bill, agreed upon by Toomey, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer. Here's the text of 7,800 word bill:
On November 7, Republican senator Pat Toomey proposed a compromise on taxes to members of the supercommittee tasked with cutting the deficit. “There was a moment there, a 24-hour period, when several Democrats expressed a great deal of interest in the framework I laid out,” Toomey tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, called Toomey's proposal a "breakthrough."
House speaker John Boehner has chosen Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas to be co-chair of the joint select committee on deficit reduction, or the so-called supercommittee. Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan, were also selected by Boehner to represent the House Republicans on the supercommittee. Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has chosen fellow senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio as the GOP Senate representatives.
The latest indestructible media meme is that Republicans are in disarray over Paul Ryan's proposed Medicare reform. "Republican rift widens on Medicare," write The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Julian Pecquet today.
Four new Republican senators--Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), and Pat Toomey (Penn.)--just concluded a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and senators Richard Burr (N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) were on the trip as well.
Many people are talking about the dramatic tightening of the Pennsylvania Senate race between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak. But upon closer inspection, most of that apparent tightening seems to be a mirage.
During the Pennsylvania Senate debate on Wednesday night, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak each tried to paint the other as too extreme to represent the Keystone state. Both candidates came well-armed with their talking points and were fairly well-matched rhetorically. Toomey was businesslike and bland, while Sestak spoke in hushed "more-in-sadness-than-in-anger" tones, with the occasional flash of indignation.
After some initial skepticism at a PPP poll that showed Democrat Joe Sestak one point ahead of Republican Pat Toomey in the Pennsylvania Senate race (46% to 45%), another poll by Muhlenberg showed Sestak up three, 44% to 41%. That was enough to wake up conservatives.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, declares: "You can put Pennsylvania Senate back in the toss up category. Joe Sestak leads Pat Toomey 46-45 in our newest poll of the race, erasing the 9 point deficit he had in an August PPP survey."