Running as Outsiders

Democrats are in the seat of power, but a handful of their top Senate candidates are running decidedly anti-Washington campaigns.

Paul Hodes, the second-term congressman running for Senate in New Hampshire, is casting his Republican opponent as an insider, Hotline OnCall reports: "She is a walking billboard for [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell," Hodes said of former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte in an interview with OnCall.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), meanwhile, blasts Washington in a new TV ad: "I've been in Washington for only a year, but it didn't take that long to see the whole place is broken. It's time to give them a wakeup call," Bennet says in a new TV ad. Bennet calls for freezing congressional pay, for taking away lawmakers' health insurance until they pass reform, and for banning member of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists. That talk will sound downright radical to the Beltway crowd, which is completely accustomed to the standard practice of legislators becoming lobbyists as soon as the "cooling off" period (mandated by lobbying restrictions) has ended. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Bennet is the brother of Atlantic Editor James Bennet.)

And in Missouri, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is attacking Washington as she hits her opponent, former House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. The top headline on Carhahan's website now reads "There They Go Again: Washington Won't Even Stop Wasteful Earmark Spending for a Couple Years?" In a statement, Carnahan criticizes Washington for the Senate's vote last night against Sen. Jim DeMint's proposed moratorium on earmarks, something Carnahan has embraced.

Carnahan eschewed an appearance with President Obama when he came to St. Charles, Missouri earlier this month--which could be interpreted as anti-Washington, though it's worth noting that she skipped Obama's rally so she could attend a fundraiser for herself in DC. UPDATE: Carnahan did attend fundraisers in DC, but she was in DC on official business as secretary of state, meeting with members of the Senate Banking Committee and leaders of the North American Securities Administrators Association. In a statement, Carnahan said she met with the senators and securities administrators to press for Wall Street reforms.

That makes three of the Democrats' top handful of Senate races in which their candidates are running with anti-Washington sentiments, and against the town their own party now runs.