Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 7, 2015

October 6, 2015

Sanders to Talk Trade, Wall Street at Democratic Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sanders looks to go one-on-one with Clinton next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., said Tuesday he is looking to engage with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on trade and financial issues at the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debate.

Democrats vying for their party’s nomination will face off for the first time in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 13. Though accusations of a fractured party are usually thrown at Republicans, the debate will likely highlight rifts within the Democratic party, and Sanders appears to be looking to utilize those divisions to garner support from the more progressive wings of the party.

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Democratic Poll: Ted Strickland Leads Rob Portman in Ohio Senate Race

Portman trails his likely Democratic opponent in a new poll. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Portman trails his likely Democratic opponent in a new poll. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, trailed his likely Democratic opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, by 3 points in a poll conducted for a Democratic super PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Strickland was favored by 46 percent of those polled, while 43 percent favored Portman, according to the poll conducted for Senate Majority PAC by Harstad Strategic Research.

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David Letterman, Al Franken to Headline Duckworth Fundraiser

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 24: David Letterman attends the Indy 500 on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Letterman is shown at the Indianapolis 500 shortly after his “Late Night.” (Michael Hickey/Getty Images File Photo)

Two retired comedians will take the stage in New York later this month at a fundraiser to benefit Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the leading Democrat running to challenge Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk next fall.

David Letterman, who retired this year after three decades hosting the “The Late Show” on CBS, and Sen. Al Franken, who gained his own fame from his time as a writer and performer on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” will headline the event to benefit the Duckworth Victory Fund. Full story

Kirk to Illinois Democrats: I Already Took Care of That

UNITED STATES - JULY 15: Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., questions Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the CFPB's semi-annual report to Congress on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kirk says the investigation that Democrats highlighted last week has long been known. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk is in a dispute with Illinois Democrats — one of whom is running to replace him — over who has done more to prevent incidents such as the September 2014 fire at an air traffic control facility near Chicago.

Last week, members of the Illinois Democratic delegation announced the results of a Department of Transportation Inspector General audit report that made 42 recommendations to improve security and contingency plans as a result of the Sept. 26, 2014, fire at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora, Ill.

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October 5, 2015

New York Delegation to Appear at Fundraiser for John Faso

Eldridge won't run for a seat that's likely to be open next year if Gibson retires. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Gibson, who won the seat in 2014, will not seek re-election, prompting campaigns by Faso and others. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As he seeks his party’s nod in New York’s open 19th District, Republican John Faso is getting a little help from his friends in Washington.

On Tuesday, three weeks after Faso launched his campaign, he is scheduled to be in the District of Columbia for a major fundraiser that will feature eight Republicans from the Empire State’s congressional delegation as “special guests,” according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

By Eli Yokley Posted at 5:06 p.m.

Senate Democrats Nearly Run Table in Recruitment

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: Gov. Margaret "Maggie" Hassan, D-N.H., speaks with local mounted police as she arrives for a breakfast meeting with the State of New Hampshire Executive Council at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire in Dover, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan’s entrance into the Granite State Senate contest, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has secured nearly every top-tier recruit it sought for 2016 — when Democrats will attempt to net the five seats necessary to regain control of the Senate.

Aside from Hassan in New Hampshire, the DSCC secured strong candidates in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The DSCC also scored wins with Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s decision to run for Senate in Arizona, as well as three Democratic senators from red states forgoing gubernatorial bids in 2016.

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Arizona Sheriff Babeu Enters Race for Kirkpatrick’s Seat

On the day of Babeu's announcement, the Republican field in Arizona's competitive 1st District doubled. (File Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

On the day of Babeu’s announcement, the Republican field in Arizona’s competitive 1st District doubled. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images File Photo)

Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu said Monday he will run for Congress in the state’s open 1st District, just hours before state Speaker David Gowan announced he too would run.

The two join a field that could get crowded in this Republican-heavy district that is now represented by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who is challenging Republican Sen. John McCain next year.  Full story

Maggie Hassan Will Run for Senate in New Hampshire (Video)

Hassan will run for Senate in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hassan will run for Senate in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats got the candidate they wanted in New Hampshire.

Gov. Maggie Hassan announced Monday she is challenging GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte for Senate in the Granite State, rather than seek a third term as governor. It’s a move Democrats say gives the party its best shot at picking up a seat that will prove critical to Senate control.

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N.C. Is Lukewarm on Burr, But Lukewarm Might be Enough

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Burr says his re-election bid is in better shape than polls or news coverage would indicate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s low-key, no-frills approach to politicking won him two Senate elections in North Carolina. Whether that carries him to a third term is up in the air.

The Republican heads into 2016 with an anemic 29 percent approval rating, according to recent polls. Still, that might be enough to hand the former businessman another six years — especially in a state rated Leans Republican by The Rothenberg-Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call and where Democrats can’t find a big-name opponent.

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Democrats Still Seek Strong Challenger to Burr in North Carolina

At least one Democrat has entered the race against Burr, but there will be more to follow. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one Democrat has entered the race against Burr, but there will be more to follow. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Democratic primary in North Carolina less than six months away, the party still isn’t united behind a candidate to try to knock off GOP Sen. Richard Burr. And some Democrats are concerned that time is running out.

“I don’t see Burr as being vulnerable in the state, six months before my primary, 60 days before my filing deadline,” North Carolina Democratic consultant Brad Crone said.

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October 2, 2015

McCollum Denies Senate Announcement Imminent

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL -  OCTOBER 23:   U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (L) speaks with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum at the Republican National Committee Final 2010 Victory fundraising rally October 23, 2010 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The speakers were supporting Rubio's run for U.S. Senate as well as several House of Representatives seats and statewide offices. Rubio is running against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for the seat.  (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

McCollum, right, speaks with Rubio at a RNC fundraiser in 2010. (Matt Stroshane/Getty Images File Photo)

Updated 5:04 p.m.| Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum denied he would announce his plans to run for Florida’s open Senate seat next week, conflicting with buzz that’s been circulating around the Sunshine State.

“I am not planning an announcement of any sort next week, and I have not come to a conclusion about a U.S. Senate race in Florida” McCollum told CQ Roll Call Friday afternoon.

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Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie Announces Virginia Governor Run

Gillespie is a longtime political operative. Above, he speaks to the crowd during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event event in Boston. (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Gillespie is a longtime political operative. Above, he speaks to the crowd during Mitt Romney’s campaign election night event event in Boston. (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie confirmed to The Washington Post Friday that he intends to run for governor in Virginia.

There was wide speculation earlier this week that Gillespie, who narrowly lost a challenge to Sen. Mark Warner last fall, would mount a bid after his friend, state Sen. Mark Obenshain, passed on the race Monday.

“My focus right now is helping keep our Republican majority in the General Assembly, and next year it will be ensuring that our Republican presidential nominee wins Virginia, but with my friend Mark Obenshain making clear he won’t be running in 2017, I’ll start laying a foundation to run myself after our elections here are over next month,” Gillespie said in a email to the Post.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is also running for the open governor’s office. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be term-limited out of the office in 2017.


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‘Inevitable Governor’ Vitter Not So Inevitable Now

If Vitter is elected Louisiana's next governor, political dominoes there could quickly start to fall.  (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If Vitter is elected Louisiana’s next governor, political dominoes there could quickly start to fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. David Vitter launched his campaign to become Louisiana’s 56th governor last January, he was viewed by some as “the inevitable governor” — as close to a front-runner as one can be in the state’s “jungle primary.”

But as voters prepare to head to the polls on Oct. 24, that shine of inevitability has mostly disappeared. Full story

October 1, 2015

Former Gillibrand Aide Joins Race to Challenge John Katko

UNITED STATES - MARCH 19: Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., walks from his office in the Longworth House Office Building to vote in the House chamber on Thursday, March 19, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Katko is a top target for Democrats in 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Colleen Deacon, a New York-based aide for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., until a month ago, has entered the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in New York’s competitive 24th District.

On Thursday, Deacon filed her paperwork with the Federal Election Commission — joining Syracuse University Professor Eric Kingson who launched his own campaign this summer for the party’s nomination.  Full story

DSCC Promotes Sadie Weiner to Communications Director

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is chairman of the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is chairman of the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will promote Sadie Weiner to communications director next week, putting her in charge of the committee’s communication strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Weiner will assume the role on Oct. 8 after current Communications Director Justin Barasky leaves the DSCC for Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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