In their quest for the Senate majority, Democrats are pushing the battleground map as far north as it will go.



Dan Sullivan wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Dan Sullivan’s campaign has not yet released his third-quarter fundraising totals but has said they expect to be outraised and outspent by a staggering, five-to-one margin.


© Al Drago/Pool via AP
Sen. Dan Sullivan’s campaign has not yet released his third-quarter fundraising totals but has said they expect to be outraised and outspent by a staggering, five-to-one margin.

New money from outside groups and small dollar donors are flooding into Alaska, where independent Al Gross, who is backed by state and national Democrats, is aiming to unseat first-term GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan. The race has been on the edges of the Senate map for months, potentially competitive but receiving far less attention than some more expensive and geographically closer contests.

But now a new influx of outside spending and grassroots dollars into Gross’ campaign have given Democrats a major financial edge in the state in the final four weeks. A new super PAC formed Monday is dropping $4 million into the race, the largest outside investment so far and a signal of optimism among party leaders. And Gross announced that his campaign raised $9 million over the past three months, a staggering sum that would have been enough to fund an entire campaign.

“It’s a money bomb,” said Jim Lottsfeldt, a veteran operative in the state.

Alaska offers Democrats another path to cobbling together the three seats they need to flip control of the Senate if Joe Biden wins the presidential race. And along with races in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, the Alaska foray represents a major offensive into traditionally red states that are more competitive because of President Donald Trump’s sinking poll numbers.

The new super PAC, North Star, formed earlier this week, according to its Federal Election Commission filing, and went up on air Thursday with its first ad, which hits Sullivan

“It’s a money bomb,” said Jim Lottsfeldt, a veteran operative in the state.

Alaska offers Democrats another path to cobbling together the three seats they need to flip control of the Senate if Joe Biden wins the presidential race. And along with races in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, the Alaska foray represents a major offensive into traditionally red states that are more competitive because of President Donald Trump’s sinking poll numbers.

The new super PAC, North Star, formed earlier this week, according to its Federal Election Commission filing, and went up on air Thursday with its first ad, which hits Sullivan on health care. The amount made it the largest spender on television in the race, though other outside groups have been there earlier.

“I think people were initially skeptical. It’s why we were kind of alone out there in investing in Alaska early on,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, a Democratic group that backs candidates with science backgrounds and has spent $2 million to boost Gross, an orthopedic surgeon. “But I think people are seeing it as a real race, and that’s why we are seeing other groups start to come in.”

North Star has apparent ties to national Democrats. Its media buyer, Waterfront Strategies, is used by a handful of major Democratic groups, including Senate Majority PAC, which is run by allies of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The super PAC maintains its account with Amalgamated Bank, according to its FEC filing, which is a Washington-based bank used by a wide range of Democratic organizations.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC declined to comment on the group. Emails sent to a Gmail address listed on North Star’s FEC filing did not receive a response. The filing also lists a website that has no contact

Supporters and opponents of Colorado’s statewide ballot measures have pumped $41.7 million just this year toward swaying public opinion on issues that could have far-reaching implications if passed in November.

During a presidential election year in which issues such as abortion access hang in the balance, and at a time when many families are struggling to make ends financially, Colorado’s ballot questions are taking on heightened importance. Measures such as a 22-week ban on abortions and having Colorado support the national popular vote for president are receiving attention — and contributions — from across the state and country. With less than a month to go, advocates are making their final pushes to Election Day — including in the money race.

The committee fighting the proposed ban on abortions after 22 weeks has brought in the most contributions of any issue committee at almost $6.5 million in 2019 and 2020, while proponents of Proposition 115 have raised a fraction of that, according to filings with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office by Tuesday’s deadline. Three committees supporting the measure raised about $369,000.

Opposition to the abortion measure is being led by women’s reproductive rights groups and progressive allies such as ProgressNow Colorado, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, and Cobalt. Supporters of Proposition 115 include Catholic Charities and citizen advocates.

Although Colorado voters have rejected abortion bans three times before at the ballot box, the vote comes at a critical time with the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Donald Trump has nominated conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, leaving advocates worried about the potential of Roe v. Wade getting overturned.

Colorado is one of only seven states that doesn’t have gestational limits on when an abortion can take

The comments from the leading Fed officials were the latest evidence of the central bank’s growing attention to persistent inequality in the economy — a gap that appears to be widening during the coronavirus pandemic. Black and Hispanic workers have been hit harder by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 lockdown than white workers.

The Fed itself has faced criticism for inadvertently exacerbating inequality because its emergency policies are designed to backstop financial markets and allow companies to borrow money. That has boosted the stock market, most of whose value is owned by the wealthiest Americans, even as some major companies have continued to lay off workers. Just 1.2 percent of the value of stocks is held by Black families and 0.5 percent by Hispanic families, according to quarterly Fed data.

The central bank officials Wednesday said that now is the time to face uncomfortable questions about race and the economy.

“First, we have to listen more,” Rosengren said. “This is an attempt to be listening more.”

They said that while the Fed has limited capabilities to intervene in targeted areas of the economy with monetary policy — it can’t provide grants or unemployment benefits like Congress — it does wield regulations, data and influence with other policymakers. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly called on Congress to deliver more emergency aid to the most vulnerable Americans, including in a speech on Tuesday.

Bostic said it was important for the Fed to signal with its actions that it represents all Americans.

“We’ve got to think about how do we lean in to a number of areas that we may not actually have the specific authorities or policies that drive it,

FILE - Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham speaks during a televised debate with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Cunningham has admitted to sending sexual text messages to a California strategist who is not his wife. Cunningham apologized but said he would not drop out of the race in a statement to multiple news outlets late Friday.

FILE – Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham speaks during a televised debate with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Cunningham has admitted to sending sexual text messages to a California strategist who is not his wife. Cunningham apologized but said he would not drop out of the race in a statement to multiple news outlets late Friday.

AP

A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship this summer with a consultant.

Previously undisclosed text messages obtained by The Associated Press and additional interviews show that the relationship extended beyond suggestive texts, as was previously reported, to an intimate encounter as recent as July.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and the contest between Cunningham and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has been among the most watched in the country, with polls showing a tight race and both parties investing heavily in the outcome.

Cunningham’s personal indiscretion offers a fresh test of whether voters will punish candidates for their private, consensual activity, and the answer they deliver could determine which party wields power in the Senate. The chamber has been a bulwark for Republicans under President Donald Trump, with Democrats in control of the House.

An Army Reserve lieutenant colonel with a wholesome appeal, Cunningham was widely viewed as the kind of recruit Democrats needed to make inroads in conservative-leaning Southern states like North Carolina.

Yet the text messages and interviews offer a glimpse that is at odds with the image of a devoted family man. A week ago, a conservative website, NationalFile.com, published text messages between Cunningham and Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations