Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 27, 2015

March 26, 2015

Vulnerable Senators Switch Votes on Paid Sick Leave (Updated)

Vulnerable Senators Switch Votes on Paid Sick Leave (Updated)

Toomey voted in favor of a fund for paid sick leave. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Two of the most vulnerable Republican senators, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, switched their votes Thursday on an amendment that would allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick time annually.

A “no” vote on the amendment would have likely drawn criticism from Democrats, who have, in the past, attacked Republicans as being unconcerned about pocketbook issues such as paid leave, minimum wage and equal pay.

Full story

Coats’ Top Aide Enters Indiana Senate Contest

Coats Top Aide Enters Indiana Senate Contest

A top aide to Coats, right, is running for his Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 12:35 p.m. | Eric Holcomb, a congressional staffer and former Indiana GOP chairman, announced a bid Thursday to succeed retiring Sen. Dan Coats, becoming the first Republican to enter what could be a crowded primary field.

“This campaign will be about what we’re for, not simply what we’re against,” Holcomb said at a campaign announcement in Indianapolis. “This campaign in short will be about Indiana’s voice.”

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Vote-a-Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Vote a Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Burr is among the senators up for re-election facing a gauntlet of politically charged votes in the vote-a-rama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators aren’t making law as they complete work on the budget resolution, but for those facing the voters in 2016, the affair is riddled with political landmines, often set deliberately by the other party.

Of the 34 senators up for re-election in 2016, 24 are Republicans, several in highly competitive swing states. Just two Democratic incumbents are running in competitive states. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to secure the majority.

Full story

March 24, 2015

Coats Retirement Sparks Hoosier State Free-for-All

Coats Retirement Sparks Hoosier State Free for All

Coats chats with Sen. Lamar Alexander not long after announcing his retirement plans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An open Senate seat in Indiana could lead to a GOP free-for-all in 2016, with nearly every Republican member of the Hoosier State’s congressional delegation showing interest.

Of the seven Republicans in the House delegation, five are at least giving a bid consideration.

GOP Sen. Dan Coats’ Tuesday retirement announcement sparked a behind-the-scenes frenzy, as Reps. Jackie Walorski, Marlin Stutzman, Todd Young, Todd Rokita and Susan W. Brooks all contemplated jumping in the race to succeed him. Eric Holcomb, Coats’ chief of staff in the state, and state Speaker Brian Bosma also are weighing runs, according to Indiana GOP operatives.

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Benishek to Seek Fourth Term, Break Term-Limit Pledge (Updated)

Benishek to Seek Fourth Term, Break Term Limit Pledge (Updated)

Benishek will seek a fourth term after all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:20 p.m. | Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek said Tuesday he has decided to break a self-imposed term limit and run for re-election next year.

The Republican set a three-term limit during his first bid for Congress in 2010, when he won an open-seat race to replace Democrat Bart Stupak.

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Coats Not Seeking Re-Election in Indiana

Republican Sen. Dan Coats will not run for re-election in Indiana next year, opening up his Senate seat to a wide group of hopefuls.

“This was not an easy decision,” Coats said in a statement of his decision not to seek another term. “While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”

Full story

March 23, 2015

Democrats’ Florida Senate Hopes Could Cost House Seat

Democrats Florida Senate Hopes Could Cost House Seat

Murphy’s Senate bid is opening up his competitive House district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Senate recruitment victory for Democrats in Florida could, in turn, jeopardize the party’s quest for the House majority.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, a favorite of national Democrats for the state’s potentially open-seat Senate race, is announcing his statewide campaign Monday. That opens up the Treasure Coast-based House seat Murphy held for the past two cycles — one of just five Democrat-controlled House districts Mitt Romney carried in 2012.

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Patrick Murphy Announces Senate Bid in Florida

Patrick Murphy Announces Senate Bid in Florida

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Patrick Murphy will run for Senate in the Sunshine State in 2016, giving national Democrats the candidate they want in a top pickup opportunity for the party this cycle.

“I’ve spent the last several months considering the best way I can continue to serve the people of Florida, and today, after much thought and discussion with people from across this state, I’m proud to announce that I will be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2016,” Murphy said in a release announcing his bid Monday morning.

Full story

March 22, 2015

Cruz’s Liberty Speech: Why It’s Happening Monday

Cruzs Liberty Speech: Why Its Happening Monday

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The night before Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to deliver a speech launching his 2016 presidential bid, the Texas Republican’s political operation sent a text message to supporters, telling them to pay attention.

Ted Cruz will make an exciting announcement soon,” the message read. “Stay tuned to @tedcruz on Twitter around midnight to be the first to know!”

Ahead of that bit of news, much of the attention about Cruz’s planned Monday morning appearance here at a convocation event on the campus of Liberty University focused on two basic choices by the candidate and his advisers: time and place.

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March 20, 2015

Ted Cruz Plans ‘Important Speech’ in Virginia

Sen. Ted Cruz’s political operation appears to be strongly encouraging attendance by the media at an event in Lynchburg, Va., Monday for what’s being billed as “an important speech.”

Aides to the Texas Republican, who has been contemplating a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, were tight-lipped Friday about the details of the visit to the campus of Liberty University, but the timing of the speech would be right for getting somewhat ahead of the curve on announcing a White House run, at least among senators.

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DCCC, NRCC Raise More Than $5 Million in February

DCCC, NRCC Raise More Than $5 Million in February

Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Both parties’ House campaign committees raised more than $5 million in February, the two organizations announced Friday.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s nearly $5.2 million haul brought its cash-on-hand total to nearly $6.4 million by the end of the month. It also paid down its debt to $6.5 million.

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DSCC Raises More Than NRSC in February

DSCC Raises More Than NRSC in February

Jon Tester, D-Mont., is chairman of the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)" width="445" height="296" /> Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is chairman of the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised slightly more than its Republican counterpart in February, bringing in $4.3 million, according to figures the committee reported Friday.

The DSCC’s haul is more than the $3.8 million the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised that month.

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NRSC Raised $3.8 Million in February

NRSC Raised $3.8 Million in February

Wicker is chairman of the NRSC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $3.8 million in February, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The committee closed out last month with $4.3 million in cash on hand. It also began paying off its debt, which is down to $8 million from the $10 million it owed following the 2014 elections. Full story

March 19, 2015

EMILY’s List Names VP of Independent Expenditures

EMILYs List Names VP of Independent Expenditures

Stephanie Schriock is president of EMILY’s List. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List named Lucinda Guinn vice president of independent expenditures for the 2016 cycle, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

In this role, Guinn will be tasked with running the Women Vote! program, which spends millions of dollars in support of the group’s endorsed gubernatorial, Senate and House candidates. An EMILY’s List aide said Guinn will also oversee potential spending in targeted state-level races that could impact redistricting in 2020.

Full story

Democrats’ Maryland Senate Circus

Democrats Maryland Senate Circus

There is plenty of interest in Mikulski’s seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. — When Barbara A. Mikulski announced her retirement last month, she instructed fellow Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin to brace himself.

“She said it would take about 10 minutes before things would get really interesting in Maryland,” Cardin recounted at a March 12 event on the Chesapeake Bay. “It took about 30 seconds until things got very interesting.” Full story

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