Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014

National Democrats Slam Thom Tillis Again on Education Cuts

National Democrats Slam Thom Tillis Again on Education Cuts

A DSCC ad again hits Tillis on education. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Democrats are launching yet another TV ad hitting North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis on state cuts to public education.

Education is rarely the leading issue in a Senate race, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its allies are pushing to ensure it stays at the forefront of the conversation. Tillis, the speaker of the state House, is challenging Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in a top GOP pickup opportunity.

Senate Majority PAC and EMILY’s List have run similar ads. The latest one is from the DSCC, the second spot of a total $9.1 million buy in the state through the election.

“Our schools are not some luxury,” North Carolina resident Shawn Jackson says in the ad. “But the tax cuts that Thom Tillis gave out for private jets and yachts? Those are. I don’t understand his priorities.” Full story

Arizona Primary Results: 1st District GOP Primary Too Close to Call

Arizona Primary Results: 1st District GOP Primary Too Close to Call

Kirkpatrick, an Arizona Democrat, is one of the GOP's top targets in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP primary remained too close to call Wednesday morning in the race to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, in Arizona’s 1st District.

State House Speaker Andy Tobin had 36 percent of the vote, while rancher Gary Kiehne trailed with 35 percent, according to The Associated Press. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 291 votes separated the two Republicans.

State Rep. Adam Kwasman followed with 29 percent of the vote.

Full story

August 26, 2014

Once-Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

Once Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

Davis at the Illinois State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis entered the midterms as one of the most vulnerable Republicans on the map.

Not anymore.

In 2012, the former staffer for Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., won the 13th District by a mere 1,002 votes to a perennial Democrat panned by party operatives. This cycle, Democrats in Illinois and Washington, D.C., recruited former judge Ann Callis, billing her as a top-tier challenger who could win this Springfield-based swing seat.

Once Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

But nearly two months from Election Day, Republican operatives in the Land of Lincoln and Washington, D.C., are cautiously optimistic about Davis’ chances, thanks to his adept political skills and favorable tail winds behind the GOP in the midterms. At the same time, Republicans and, privately, Democrats say Callis has not lived up to her candidacy’s hype or made the necessary inroads to win the district.

“Other than knowing her name I don’t know if she even exists, frankly,” said Mark Scranton, a Republican and blasting and painting company owner from Decatur at the Illinois State Fair. “It’s going to be a challenging race, but I think Rodney’s been in office long enough that he’s proven himself, he makes himself available to his constituents, he’s been in my business several times over the last two or three years.”

Davis also appeared confident at Republican Day, Aug. 14, at the fair, where he glad-handed his way through the crowd of GOP insiders at the unofficial kick-off to election season. A red cup in hand, Davis handed out hugs and back slaps, catching up with operatives, insiders and elected officials, many of whom were pals from his years as a political operative in Illinois and on Capitol Hill.
Full story

Oklahoma Runoff Results: 5th Congressional District

Oklahoma Runoff Results: 5th Congressional District

Lankford is running for Senate, leaving an open race for his House seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Sen. Steve Russell easily defeated State Corporations Commissioner Patrice Douglas in Tuesday’s GOP runoff, and now he is on a clear course to join Congress this fall representing Oklahoma’s 5th District. 

Russell defeated Douglas, 59 percent to 41 percent, with 31 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Full story

Florida Primary Results: Republicans Pick Nominee in Targeted House Races

Florida Primary Results: Republicans Pick Nominee in Targeted House Races

Garcia is a Florida Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo won the Republican nomination and will face Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia in the fall in Florida’s 26th District, 

Curbelo had 48 percent of the vote when the AP called the primary for him.

Full story

Penultimate Primary Night: Live Coverage of Congressional Races

The penultimate primary night of the 2014 midterm elections season is upon us Tuesday as the Roll Call Politics Team tracks results in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida.

Starting at 7 p.m., follow along below for live results and analysis from congressional races.

Live Blog Live Coverage: Primaries in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida
 

Democrat Describes Race as Party’s Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Democrat Describes Race as Partys Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Aguilar, Democratic candidate for California's 31st District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar called his bid for California’s 31st District the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a Republican seat in the midterms.

“It is the most Democratic seat held by a Republican in the nation,” Aguilar told CQ Roll Call in a July 16 interview. “And the Republican decided to retire. So this is a great opportunity, Democrats’ best opportunity for a pickup.” Full story

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Scott Brown Features New Hampshire Senator in New Ad

Ayotte speaks at a town hall rally last week for Brown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte stars in the latest ad from Republican Scott P. Brown, her former Senate colleague from Massachusetts who is trying to oust Granite State Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Ayotte, who introduced Brown and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., last week, speaks directly to the camera in the positive spot. Full story

August 25, 2014

In New Hampshire, Town Halls and an Arrested Chicken (Video)

In New Hampshire, Town Halls and an Arrested Chicken (Video)

Shaheen seems to prefer events outside of the town hall format. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LOUDON, N.H. — Will the 2014 midterms prove the death-knell for the traditional New Hampshire town hall?

In New Hampshire, Town Halls and an Arrested Chicken (Video)Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown and his backers have been relentless in pushing the case that the Democratic rival he’s trying to unseat, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, has eschewed the traditional format in a way that dodges tough questions from ordinary Granite State voters about supporting President Barack Obama’s agenda.

But should Shaheen and several other Democrats on the ballot in New Hampshire prevail, even in an unfavorable national climate, it might be grounds to reconsider the town hall format even for national candidates like those aiming to win the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Shaheen’s argument is that town halls have the propensity to be taken over by outside interest groups. She brushed off the Republican criticism last week, after an official Senate and Department of Agriculture event at a local farm.

Full story

Tuesday Primaries: 4 Things to Watch in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma

Tuesday Primaries: 4 Things to Watch in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma

Gallego is running in the decisive Democratic primary Tuesday for Arizona's 7th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The end of the midterm primary season is nigh, and Tuesday marks the penultimate date of intra-party brawls this cycle.

Most notably, Rep. Ann Kirkptrick, D-Ariz., will at last her learn her general election rival as 1st District’s GOP voters pick a nominee in this competitive race. To the west, suburban Phoenix Republicans will nominate their challenger to freshman Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

Another pair of House contests in Arizona and Oklahoma will almost certainly pick future House members in districts with highly partisan voting populations. EMILY’s List and a GOP effort to help female candidates also have skin in these contests.

Florida polls close at 7 p.m. EST, while Oklahoma’s close at 8 p.m. EST. Arizona latest polls close out the night at 10 p.m. EST. Check out Roll Call’s “At the Races” blog for live results as soon as the first polls close.

Here are the four things to watch on Tuesday evening:

1. Which Republican will Kirkpatrick face this fall? 

Full story

DesJarlais Wins by 38 Votes, Jim Tracy Concedes (Video)

DesJarlais Wins by 38 Votes, Jim Tracy Concedes (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais has officially won his primary, barely squeaking past state Sen. Jim Tracy, who conceded Monday after more than two tense weeks following Tennessee’s Republican primary in the 4th District.

“A contest would not be the right thing for the Republican party and the conservative cause in Tennessee,” Tracy said in a statement detailing why he decided not to contest the results.

“I have called Rep. DesJarlais to inform him of my decision to concede and congratulated him,” Tracy continued.

Tracy trailed DesJarlais by 38 votes after all of the votes from the Aug. 7 primary were certified.

Full story

August 24, 2014

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

Gallego speaks to Arizona primary volunteers before they canvass. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHOENIX — It’s a dry 108-degree heat this August afternoon, and Tony Valdovinos only prays it gets hotter. The curly-haired field director for Ruben Gallego, a Democrat running in the open House race here, has his reasons.

“We know when it’s hot, we’re the only ones out there,” says Valdovinos, slighting the opposition’s turnout operation as he drives through a wide boulevard en route to an early evening canvass.

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

In Arizona’s 7th District, a generational party brawl has consumed urban Latino politics, pitting a longtime local pol, former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, against Gallego, a former two-term state representative three decades her junior.

The decisive Democratic primary for retiring Rep. Ed Pastor’s seat is Tuesday, but the race has been culminating for weeks thanks to Arizona’s burgeoning permanent early voter list. In the Valley of the Sun’s prohibitively expensive media market, the victor will be decided by direct mail and, most importantly, a month-long get-out-the-vote push in the late summer heat.

In the weeks leading up to the primary, Gallego’s team expressed more confidence they will prevail. They’re probably right: A high-tech ground game has served him well, even in some of the southwest’s oldest barrios.

Full story

August 22, 2014

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan has been campaigning on the VA issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:38 p.m. | Sen. Kay Hagan doesn’t sound thrilled President Barack Obama is coming to town.

The North Carolina Democrat, one of the most vulnerable senators, issued a terse statement about Obama’s veterans policy ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to her home state.

The White House announced late Friday that Obama will deliver remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. The appearance gave Hagan an opportunity to criticize the president in the wake of a scandal that has captured national attention. Hagan’s office blasted her statement just 31 minutes after the White House released the schedule.

“The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA,” Hagan said.

Full story

Judge OKs New Florida Congressional Map for 2016

A state judge upheld the Florida legislature’s newly revised congressional map Friday, ruling the redrawn House districts should apply to the 2016 elections.

“The 2014 elections will have to be held under the map as enacted in 2012,” Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis wrote in his ruling, siding with Florida lawmakers who argued that applying new district lines to this election cycle would create chaos.

The ruling allows the Aug. 26 primaries to continue as scheduled. Even so, the new map makes minor changes to the state’s House districts and will likely have a minimal effect in 2016 on the congressional delegation, where House Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 17 to 10.

Full story

With No Recount in Wisconsin Primary, Grothman Becomes GOP Nominee

After a week and a half of uncertainty, the Republican nominee to represent Wisconsin’s 6th District will be state Sen. Glenn Grothman.

The Associated Press originally declared Grothman the winner of the GOP primary last week but then rescinded its call after additional votes came in and rendered the race too close to call.

After the 11 counties in the district verified their vote counts Wednesday, Grothman maintained his lead by 219 votes, or 0.47 percent, but it was unclear whether the second place finisher, state Sen. Joe Leibham, would call for a recount. Full story

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