Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

October 31, 2014

Early Voting Update in Four Senate Races

Early Voting Update in Four Senate Races

A polling station in Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Early voting is playing a crucial role in several of the cycle’s most contested races for the Senate, where control hangs in the balance ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Senate Republicans must gain six seats to win the majority — and increasingly likely scenario.

Here’s a look at how both sides are faring in early voting in four of the most competitive Senate races:

Colorado
Sen. Mark Udall, Democrat, vs. Rep. Cory Gardner, Republican.

Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican 

Full story

How Mary Landrieu and Kissing Congressman’s Fates Are Tied

How Mary Landrieu and Kissing Congressmans Fates Are Tied

Landrieu campaigns at an event for Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vulnerable Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, also known as the “Kissing Congressman,” have something in common on Election Day.

Though on opposite sites of the aisle, the two Pelican State incumbents are fighting for their political lives Tuesday. They also have a common goal in attracting moderate voters — and the same adversary in the Louisiana Republican Party.

“Certainly they both need the support of moderates to win,” said Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Doré in a phone interview Wednesday. Full story

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the polls close Tuesday, it’s likely at least a handful of House and Senate races will be too close to call.

What would happen next for these tight contests? In most cases, once all the votes are collected and counted, it’s a pesky procedure that keeps candidates and canvassers up at night for days or weeks: the recount.

Recount laws vary by state, so we’ve rounded up what triggers one and any notable fine print in states with anticipated close contests.

ALASKA

Sen. Mark Begich (D) vs. Dan Sullivan (R)
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican

Trigger: Only an exact tie triggers a recount in the El Dorado of the North. But if the race does not end in a tie, a losing candidate or 10 qualified voters can still request a recount.

Fine Print: In a statewide election, the recount requestor must deposit $15,000 with the recount application, unless the margin is less than 0.5 percent, at which point the state covers the cost. The deposit is refunded if the recount changes the election results.

Full story

Senate Democrats’ Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime

Senate Democrats Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime

Elias speaks with Roll Call at Perkins Coie's D.C. office Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate chamber erupted in applause after the swearing-in of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Majority Leader Harry Reid eventually looked up and directed his appreciation toward the newest senator’s attorneys.

On that day, more than five years ago, standing alongside his two Franken campaign co-counsels was Marc Elias, the Democrats’ go-to attorney. He’d spent the previous eight months in Minneapolis in a seemingly unending recount and trial that ultimately resulted in a 60th Senate seat for the party.

This cycle, as Franken is favored for re-election and Democrats fight to hold their majority, Elias sat down with CQ Roll Call to chat about Senate races, where exactly he’ll be watching election returns on Nov. 4, which states he’s keeping an eye on for potential recounts, and his role in one of the longest recounts in Senate history.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)

“It was a very emotional thing,” Elias said of standing in the chamber on July 7, 2009. “Not just because of the fact that Franken was getting sworn-in, but I remember Leader Reid looking up at us, Sen. [John] Kerry and all these other members that I’d been involved with in representing, and it was really a great moment.”

Full story

October 30, 2014

North Carolina Campaigns Prepare for Potential Recount

North Carolina Campaigns Prepare for Potential Recount

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The competitive North Carolina Senate race will cost more than $100 million by Election Day, and that price tag could climb further as both parties prepare to spend even more if the race becomes too close to call.

The campaigns for both Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis confirmed to CQ Roll Call they are making preparations in case of a recount in one of the country’s most competitive races. Recent polls show a tied race, and this week the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call moved the race to Tossup this week from Tilts Democratic.

“It’d be kind of silly for us not to [prepare],” said Todd Poole, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Full story

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What’s more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.

Joni Ernst, the Republican running for the open seat in Iowa, has had almost every presidential hopeful campaign for her.

Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee in North Carolina, has had visits from even more of them. North Carolina’s legislature voted last year to move the primary to the Tuesday after South Carolina’s contest, placing it in the early group of presidential primary states.

Check out the chart for a full look at who appeared where:
Full story

Tim Bishop in Political Peril — Again

Tim Bishop in Political Peril — Again

Bishop is a Democrat from New York. (Bill Clark/ CQRollCall)

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop’s re-election has once again surged to the top of the cycle’s list of most competitive House races, and Republicans are more optimistic than ever they can defeat the battle-tested New York Democrat.

This cycle features a rematch between Bishop and his 2008 opponent, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, the GOP nominee. Strategists have said internal polling shows the race in a dead heat, and this week, the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call changed the rating of the race to Tossup.

“There’s no such thing as an easy race in New York 1,” Bishop said last week in an interview. “In 2008, very few people knew [Zeldin] at all. He is more well known than he was in 2008, so to that extent, the race is different.” Full story

October 29, 2014

DCCC Books Airtime to Defend 2 More Incumbents (Video)

DCCC Books Airtime to Defend 2 More Incumbents (Video)

Capps, center, is a California Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:30 p.m. | The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending precious eleventh-hour funds on two more incumbents, Reps. Steven Horsford of Nevada and Lois Capps of California, in the final days of the midterms.

The committee aide confirmed the DCCC will spend $360,000 in the Las Vegas television market to help Horsford fend off a late blitz from Crossroads GPS, a GOP outside group. He represents Nevada’s 4th District. The committee will also spend $99,000 on radio the Santa Barbara-based California 24th District on behalf of Capps.

Here is the Nevada ad:

The DCCC also expanded their buys in markets where the party has already made significant investments this fall: Full story

Democrats Losing Youth Vote: Millennials Turning to the GOP

Democrats have lost ground with millennials compared to past election cycles — a development that suggests the country’s youngest voters are open to both parties, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

The nationwide poll of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 to 29, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 9, found significant political divisions across racial lines, no significant gender gap in the age group, and a slight Republican advantage among definite voters going into the 2014 midterm election.

“A lesson here, for us, is that young people, millennials, are no longer the political outliers that they once were,” said John Della Volpe, the Harvard Institute of Politics polling director, on a conference call with reporters. “In contrast to where we were four years ago, the youth vote is very much up for grabs politically.” Full story

Ted Cruz Endorses ‘Duck Dynasty’ Kin Over Vance McAllister

Ted Cruz Endorses Duck Dynasty Kin Over Vance McAllister

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed fellow Republican Zach Dasher, who is challenging embattled Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

In a 55-second video posted Wednesday on YouTube, Cruz voices his support for Dasher, urging Louisianans to vote for the Republican next week. Dasher, a businessman, is related to the Robertson family, who star in A&E’s popular reality show, “Duck Dynasty.”

“Zach Dasher is a conservative with a backbone to stand up to career politicians in both parties to help lead the fight to repeal Obamacare, to stop amnesty, defend our conservative values and turn our country around,” Cruz says.

A number of Republicans jumped into the 5th District race after McAllister, who is married, was caught on camera kissing a married staffer earlier this year and announced he would not seek re-election. Two months later, McAllister, who had won a special election in November, decided to run for a full term despite the scandal. Full story

October 28, 2014

Coup Brews Against NRCC Chairman

Coup Brews Against NRCC Chairman

Rep. Rodney Davis, left, greets Schock, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While most Republicans are focused on Tuesday’s midterms, some members are already eyeing another race: The battle to be the next chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The current NRCC chairman, Greg Walden of Oregon, wants to run for another term at the helm of the committee  — and House GOP insiders say he’s still their pick. But Reps. Roger Williams of Texas and Aaron Schock of Illinois have shown interest in challenging Walden for the chairmanship for the 2016 cycle.

Neither have officially announced, but both men are making waves on Capitol Hill ahead of a post-election, conference-wide vote for chairman. An announcement from Williams might be imminent.

“If we choose to do this, I don’t think anybody will be surprised,” Williams told CQ Roll Call Tuesday. Full story

New Poll Shows Lee Terry Still Trailing

New Poll Shows Lee Terry Still Trailing

Terry is a Nebraska Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Less than two weeks to go before Election Day, a new poll shows Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., trails his Democratic opponent by a 5-point margin.

In the survey conducted by a Democratic firm for the United Transportation Union, Terry trailed Democratic state Sen. Brad Ashford, 46 percent to 41 percent. A libertarian candidate, Steven Laird, drew 6 percent, while 7 percent remained undecided.

Even worse for Terry? The poll found the eight-term Republican is less popular than President Barack Obama in the Omaha-based 2nd District. According to the poll, 39 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Obama, while 34 percent had a favorable view of Terry. Full story

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

New DSCC Ad Renews Education Attacks on Thom Tillis

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with a new ad Tuesday attacking Republican Thom Tillis on education.

Polls show a tied race between Tillis and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. Republicans need to gain six seats to take control of the Senate, and the party has targeted the Tar Heel State as one of them.

The DSCC’s ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, echoes arguments Hagan and Democrats have made throughout the campaign. It attacks Tillis for his tenure as speaker of the state House, during which time he was responsible for the budget for public education in the state.

Full story

6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School (Video)

6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School (Video)

Foust is running for Congress in Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rowdy auditoriums, petty exchanges, testy comebacks. Sounds like high school, right?

Try House candidate debates in 2014.

CQ Roll Call collected six of the most awkward and juvenile moments of the cycle from the hundreds of debates that took place across the country.

Like most debates, none of these moments will have much of an impact on the final outcome of the race. But as a season of these awkward meet-ups conclude, these exchanges are worth watching — at least for their entertainment value.

Here are the six debate moments that reminded us of high school:

Full story

A Darkhorse Emerges for DCCC Chairman in 2016

A Darkhorse Emerges for DCCC Chairman in 2016

Frankel's name has surfaced as a potential DCCC chair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats have two things on their minds heading into next month: How many seats the party will lose on Nov. 4, and who will be the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee?

Since the spring, speculation swirled around three members: Reps. Donna Edwards of Maryland, Jim Himes of Connecticut and Jared Polis of Colorado.

But according to several operatives and members, a couple of other names surfaced in recent weeks — including Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida. The freshman didn’t rule out the gig when CQ Roll Call contacted her office for comment.  Full story

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