October to Be Campaign Sprint for Leaders

Posted October 2, 2010 at 1:01pm

House and Senate leaders from both parties will be stumping across the country over the next month as they seek to defend, or knock off, vulnerable incumbents.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be spending much of October in Nevada campaigning for a fifth term, other senior Democrats will be hitting the trail to campaign for vulnerable Democrats.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the only Democratic leader not up for re-election this year, will be working to elect Illinois Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who is running in a tight race against GOP Rep. Mark Kirk for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. Durbin will also be spending time with House candidates, including Democrat Dan Seals, who is making his third try at winning a Congressional seat, as well as other Democratic candidates across the country, according to his office.

Durbin may also travel for Reid, who is locked in a tight race against GOP challenger Sharron Angle. Reid has held a narrow lead against the former state assemblywoman in recent weeks and plans to spend much of the next month campaigning and raising money to secure another term.

Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.), another endangered incumbent, will similarly spend the next four weeks reminding voters that her leadership role and seat on the Appropriations Committee make her a valuable asset to the Evergreen State. Murray’s closer-than-expected race against Dino Rossi (R) has received national attention, and this month she will be joined by Vice President Joseph Biden and first lady Michelle Obama at separate campaign events.

With his re-election all but assured, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is expected to spend the month barnstorming his state to help fellow Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed last year to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Gillibrand is running to serve the remainder of Clinton’s term, which runs through 2012, and is heavily favored against former GOP Rep. Joe DioGuardi. Schumer is facing a challenge from GOP political consultant Jay Townsend.

“He takes no vote for granted in his re-election campaign, and will be crisscrossing all 62 counties of New York just like he does every year,” Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon said.

Senate Republicans will be keeping equally hectic travel schedules through Election Day.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who has no opponent and is certain to win a second term, will travel to at least five states this month to aid GOP Senate candidates: Pennsylvania, Colorado, Washington, Indiana and Wisconsin. Thune will also give an assist in his home state, where Republican Kristi Noem is looking to oust three-term Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D). Thune has said he’s considering whether to launch a White House bid in 2012.

Aides noted the rest of the Senate GOP leadership will make campaign appearances and fundraising stops during the recess, although details for some of them are still being worked out. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has made himself available to help any of his colleagues, spokesman Ryan Patmintra said, including fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain (R), who is expected to win a fifth term this fall. Kyl will also go to California for GOP Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, who is running against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).

Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander is hosting two events in Tennessee for the National Republican Senatorial Committee this month, and will travel the Volunteer State for local and statewide candidates. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will also stump for his colleagues in the weeks before Election Day.

House leaders are also planning to keep busy campaigning this month.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is using her political star power to raise money. She plans to attend more than 25 fundraisers in 8 states with 21 incumbents and challengers, a Pelosi aide said.

In addition to doing events in California and New York, Pelosi will also be attending Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinners with President Barack Obama in Florida and Minnesota.

Pelosi’s lieutenants are also keeping busy.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is expected to go to as many as eight states before Nov. 2. The Maryland Democrat’s travel schedule includes trips to Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia, spokeswoman Katie Grant said.

Majority Whip James Clyburn is also hitting the road. In addition to his home state of South Carolina, Clyburn will travel to Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and California to help Democratic House incumbents and challengers.

Meanwhile, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson will stay close to his home state, campaign manager Chris Barnes said.

“Our focus right now is New England, securing Connecticut, the open in Massachusetts and New Hampshire if we can,” Barnes said.

House Republicans are also getting in on the action.

House Minority Leader John Boehner is continuing an aggressive campaign schedule throughout the month. While the Ohio Republican’s campaign activities are still being ironed out, he plans to spend time in his home state, attending fundraisers for GOP candidates and his party. He is also expected to headline events for more than 15 candidates in 12 states.

Boehner, who hopes to be Speaker next year, has been leading fundraising efforts House Republicans. On Wednesday, he told his Conference that he would give $1 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee as long as his colleagues agreed to contribute another $4 million.

In addition to campaigning in his home state of Indiana, Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence will also travel across the country, spending time in California and Iowa. Pence also has a couple of trips planned to Florida.

And National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) is expected to hit North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Texas to campaign for Republican House hopefuls and incumbents.