Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015

Joe Sestak Kicks Off Rematch With Pat Toomey

Joe Sestak Kicks Off Rematch With Pat Toomey

Sestak is running for Senate again in Pennsylvania. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak formally launched his long-expected challenge to Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey Wednesday, setting up a possible rematch in one of Democrats’ best pick-up opportunities.

During an announcement outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Sestak said he is running to “restore the trust deficit,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. After showing up in a pair of old sneakers, Sestak vowed to walk across the state in a pair of Army boots — to walk symbolically in the shoes of Pennsylvanians.

Full story

Democrats Have Early Favorite House Pickup Opportunity

Democrats Have Early Favorite House Pickup Opportunity

Blum, right, is a top Democratic target in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In one of the party’s best pickup opportunities this cycle, Democrats have zeroed in on second-time candidate Monica Vernon to win Iowa’s 1st District.

Freshman Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican, holds the seat. But the district’s composition is competitive, if not left-leaning: In 2012, President Barack Obama won it with 56 percent. That makes it a ripe target for Democrats, who must net 30 seats on a GOP-friendly map to win the majority. Full story

March 3, 2015

Top Democratic Campaign Staffers Chart 2016 Paths

Top Democratic Campaign Staffers Chart 2016 Paths

Tester is the chairman of the DSCC (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Democrats relegated to the minority in both chambers for the first time since 2006, the two top staffers at the party’s House and Senate campaign arms charted a path back to the majority during an EMILY’s List event Tuesday.

Tom Lopach, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Kelly Ward, who’s holding the same position at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a second straight cycle, have a similar goal — but starkly different odds of achieving it. Full story

Ex-Rep. Brad Schneider Inches Closer to Rematch in Illinois

Ex Rep. Brad Schneider Inches Closer to Rematch in Illinois

Schneider is a former member. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider is inching closer to a rematch with Republican Rep. Robert Dold, according to a Democratic source with knowledge of his plans.

Schneider was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. He attended the Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday morning, where he received a standing ovation from his former colleagues, according to the source, and he was scheduled to meet with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the afternoon. Full story

Democrat Back for Rematch With Freshman Republican

Democrat Back for Rematch With Freshman Republican

Cain announced a rematch for 2016. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Sen. Emily Cain is back for a second round against Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, the Republican who defeated her for an open seat last year.

Democrats worked hard to recruit Cain for a rematch in the northern Maine-based 2nd District, which President Barack Obama carried by 9 points in 2012. House leadership, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, brought Cain to Capitol Hill in December, seeking to convince her to run.

Full story

DCCC Robocalls Target GOP on DHS Funding

DCCC Robocalls Target GOP on DHS Funding

Luján is chairman of the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch robocalls against more than two dozen House Republicans Tuesday over the Department of Homeland Security funding flap, according to a script of the call provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Many of the 29 targeted Republicans represent districts atop the DCCC’s list of pick up opportunities in 2016. Democrats must net 30 seats to win control of the House.

Full story

March 2, 2015

Both Parties Monitoring Impact of Arizona Redistricting Case

Both Parties Monitoring Impact of Arizona Redistricting Case

The Supreme Court’s forthcoming redistricting ruling could affect Kirkpatrick’s district. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court appeared divided Monday on an Arizona redistricting case that could have implications for congressional elections beyond the Southwestern state’s borders.

The court heard oral arguments in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which questions whether independent commissions — rather than state legislatures — have the power to draw the lines of congressional districts.

Full story

Long List of Possible Barbara Mikulski Successors

Long List of Possible Barbara Mikulski Successors

Mikulski announced Monday that she will retire at the end of this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:48 p.m. | There is a long list of candidates who might run to replace Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who announced Monday she would not seek another term.

The Democrat’s exit opens a Senate seat in Maryland for just the second time since 1986, when Mikulski was elected. The floodgates are now open for the lengthy catalog of ambitious politicians in the state, which includes much of the House delegation but extends well beyond that. Full story

Mikulski Will Not Seek Another Term (Updated)

Mikulski Will Not Seek Another Term (Updated)

Mikulski said she would rather raise “hell” than money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:12 p.m. | BALTIMORE — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced Monday she will not seek another term in the Senate.

Speaking at a press conference, the Maryland Democrat said she asked herself: “Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?” Full story

February 27, 2015

CPAC Campaign Boot Camp Trains GOP to Catch Up

CPAC Campaign Boot Camp Trains GOP to Catch Up

Carson was the highlight of the CPAC campaign boot camp after-party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Amethyst Archer probably wasn’t the targeted audience for the campaign boot camp held on the eve of the Conservative Political Action Conference, but the presenters made it clear the right needs all the help it can get in 2016 and beyond.

The Tulsa, Okla., resident is just 12 years old, and was the youngest of the few hundred activists and operatives — ranging from college students to senior citizens — who sat in for at least a portion of CPAC’s first-ever basic training for running effective, modern campaigns. Full story

February 26, 2015

Ex-House Candidate Will Take Top Role in Likely Clinton Campaign

Ex House Candidate Will Take Top Role in Likely Clinton Campaign

Renteria ran for Congress in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Amanda Renteria, the former Capitol Hill aide who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014, is poised to be named the national political director of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s likely presidential campaign, according to two sources with knowledge of the move.

Renteria, reached by phone, declined to comment on the gig Thursday afternoon, but she said, “I’m thinking a lot about what’s next.”

Full story

February 25, 2015

Vulnerable GOP Senators Steer Clear of CPAC

Vulnerable GOP Senators Steer Clear of CPAC

Toomey is a Pennsylvania Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As conservative operatives and activists gather this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a handful of notable GOP senators are absent from the speaking lineup.

Several vulnerable Senate Republicans seeking re-election in 2016 will skip the confab, which serves as a national stage for politicians and conservative media stars. Three of them addressed the conference in past years.

Full story

Congressional Republicans All Over CPAC Lineup

Congressional Republicans All Over CPAC Lineup

Zinke is a freshman in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has only been in Congress for six weeks, but he is already preparing a talk at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Zinke is one of five House GOP freshman slated to speak at the annual conservative confab, according to an agenda distributed by organizers. All told, there are at least 25 current and former members of Congress currently scheduled to speak during the Feb. 25-28 event.

Full story

House Democrats Get Better Odds in California Senate Race

House Democrats Get Better Odds in California Senate Race

Villaraigosa, center, decided against a Senate bid in California. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A few House Democrats have found more favorable odds in California’s Senate race after former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa eschewed a bid for the open seat.

Reps. Xavier Becerra, Loretta Sanchez and Adam B. Schiff — who all represent districts in and around Los Angeles — continue to consider bids for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. Without Villaraigosa, who also hails from the southern part of the country’s most populous state, these House members have more of an opening to run.

Full story

Ted Strickland Announces Senate Run in Ohio

Ted Strickland Announces Senate Run in Ohio

Strickland, left, is running for Senate. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, announced Wednesday morning he will challenge Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in 2016.

“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because I am determined to restore the American Dream for working people in this country,” Strickland said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Democrats need to gain five seats in 2016 to secure a majority, and in a presidential year that path could run through Ohio. Full story

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