Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

February 12, 2016

Some Candidates Mention Flint Crisis in Fundraising Appeals

Mayor Karen Weaver spoke in Washington on Wednesday about the Flint crisis. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 Weaver testified before Congress about the water issues in her city. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Congress heard testimony from Flint’s mayor about the water crisis there, some House and Senate candidates sent out fundraising pitches to their email lists mentioning the Michigan city’s troubles.

In an email to supporters in his competitive Maryland Senate primary race against Rep. Donna Edwards, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, linked to a webpage titled “Stand With Chris,” with a donate button at the top. It asked potential donors to “Join Chris in demanding justice” for Flint.

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Grayson Will Be Glad When Reid is ‘Gone From Washington’

Grayson, D-Fla., is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Marco Rubio. He’s in the spotlight for running a hedge fund while serving in Congress.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)



Rep. Alan Grayson on Friday shrugged off a suggestion by the Senate’s top Democrat that he immediately drop out of the Florida Senate race after a published report detailed his work leading a hedge fund while serving in Congress.

“Thank goodness that he will be gone from Washington, D.C., when I am sworn into the Senate,” Grayson said of Minority Leader Harry Reid, who he accused in a statement of using a “false and misleading hyped story” to try to pressure him out of the campaign to replace Republican Marco Rubio.

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With Safe Districts Gone, Two Florida Lawmakers Taking Their Time on 2016 Decision

Webster has not announced whether he will run for Congress again in another Florida district.

Webster has not announced whether he will run for Congress again in another Florida district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In Florida, where a court imposed a new map in December, two lawmakers who had their safe seats swept out from under them have yet to announce their electoral plans ahead of a June 24 filing deadline.

In contrast, it took only about a month for Virginia Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes to announce this week that he would switch districts after a court in January imposed a new map that skewed his 4th District in favor of Democrats.

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February 11, 2016

Political Wrangling Over ‘People’s Pledge’ in New Hampshire

Ayotte is serving her first term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ayotte challenged Hassan to a People’s Pledge Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the presidential circus having left their backyard, New Hampshire’s Senate candidates lost little time this week digging into each other’s commitment to limiting spending in what’s expected to be one of the most competitive and expensive Senate races in the country.

Just days after Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary with 60 percent of the vote — a presidential race in which he’s made campaign finance a big issue against Hillary Clinton — Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte came out with a surprising campaign finance proposal of her own. Full story

National Republicans Side With Indiana’s Todd Young in Fight Over Ballot Access

Young is running for Senate in Indiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Young is running for Senate in Indiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Indiana Democratic Party’s decision to challenge Rep. Todd Young’s petitions to be on the Senate primary ballot amounted to voter deprivation, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Thursday.

The party has formally challenged Young, the third-term Republican, accusing him of failing to file the requisite number of signatures to appear on the Indiana ballot. If successful, the move could eliminate Young from the primary ballot and elevate Rep. Marlin Sutzman, who Indiana Democrats view as easier for former Democratic Rep. Baron Hill to beat in November. Full story

Lewis on Sanders’ Civil Rights Activism: ‘I Never Saw Him’

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: From left, Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Cedric Richmond, D-La., G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the CBC, John Lewis, D-Ga., Marc Veasey, D-Texas, Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., Donald Payne, Jr., D-N.J., and Terri Sewell, D-Ala., conduct a news conference at the DNC where members of the CBC PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, February 11, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lewis said he never saw Sanders during major civil rights struggles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., hit Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ past activism during the civil rights movement while throwing his support behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Lewis was participating in a press conference on Thursday announcing that the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee was endorsing Clinton. In response to a question from Roll Call about Sanders’ previous work on civil rights, Lewis, a civil rights leader who chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, said he did not work with Sanders.

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DCCC Names First 16 Candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ Program

Cain will have to win a primary before facing off in a rematch against Poliquin. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maine’s Emily Cain is in the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday its first round of 2016 candidates in the “Red to Blue” program, which highlights strong Democratic candidates running in open seats and districts held by Republicans that the DCCC hopes to flip.

“Not only have these individuals proven themselves ready to win by building smart campaigns and through strong fundraising, they have also proven themselves ready to fight on behalf of all the people in their districts, keep them safe and ensure the economy works for everyone,” DCCC Chairman Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement Thursday. Full story

The Politics of Lead Poisoning

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Flint, Mich. Mayor Karen Weaver testifies during the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee hearing on "The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America's Children" on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Flint, Mich. Mayor Karen Weaver testifies Wednesday during the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee hearing on “The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America’s Children.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The mayor of Flint, Mich., appeared on Capitol Hill on a panel Wednesday that received a standing ovation before House Democrats. The governor of Michigan is facing a recall campaign back home. And lawmakers from other states are realizing that the contaminated water crisis in one community could have political costs elsewhere.

That may explain, in part, the lopsided, 416-2 vote in the House to approve a bill Wednesday requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to inform residents within 24 hours when tests show their water is contaminated with lead. In Flint, the EPA identified problems nearly a year ago but spent months arguing with state officials before informing the public. Full story

Could Trump, Cruz Victories Cause GOP Problems Down-Ballot?

UNITED STATES - February 9: Attendees cheer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he gives his victory speech after winning the New Hampshire 2016 primary in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 9, 2016. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Attendees cheer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Tuesday as he gives his victory speech after winning the New Hampshire 2016 primary in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have demonstrated anew to conservatives how to take on — and defeat — the GOP establishment. If they’re not careful, Republicans might soon feel the consequences of their victories beyond the presidential race.

The unprecedented early success of the Texas senator and billionaire businessman in Iowa and New Hampshire might spark a transformation in a year’s-worth of Republican House and Senate primaries, threatening to transform a sleepy slate of contests into ones that recall the pitched intra-party wars waged during the height of the tea party movement. The hope among conservative insurgents — and concern among the GOP powers-that-be — is Trump and Cruz serve as beacons to like-minded voters, donors and candidates, who can harness the energy and enthusiasm of the White House race into their down-ballot battles against incumbent GOP lawmakers.

In a potential nightmare scenario for the establishment, because many House and Senate primaries occur simultaneously with the presidential primary, a surging Cruz or Trump candidacy could directly boost their would-be allies and conservative hangers-on.

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February 10, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus PAC to Endorse Clinton

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: Incoming chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., right, waits with Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., center, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., left, and the rest of the CBC membership to enter the CVC Auditorium for the ceremonial swearing-in of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 114th Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The CBC, chaired by Butterfield, right, will officially endorse Clinton on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC has voted to endorse Hillary Clinton for president and will make an official endorsement Thursday, CBC Chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said Wednesday.

Addressing reporters in the Speaker’s Lobby, Butterfield said at least a dozen CBC members with be campaigning on the ground in South Carolina ahead of the state’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27.

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As Intraparty Divisions Fade, New Hampshire Gears Up for Next Competitive Race

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., arrives for a tour of Mikrolar Inc., a robotics company in Hampton, N.H., on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With presidential campaigns emptying out, New Hampshire is getting ready for a competitive Senate race.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Presidential campaign signs are piling up at New Hampshire’s transfer stations (more colloquially known as dumps), their temporary place of rest until called up for their next mission — a deployment to Massachusetts’ or Maine’s nominating contests, perhaps, or a repeat Granite State tour in November.

After the first-in-the-nation primary, public works crews pluck yard signs from the state’s highway medians and deliver them to transfer stations, where campaigns can retrieve them. With candidates now long gone for sunnier states, their entourages and the national media flock to the next stop on the primary trail, leaving Manchester quiet, save for the local chatter about how well Donald Trump performed Tuesday night and what a bad couple of days Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had.

However, New Hampshire voters are famously politically engaged, and this isn’t the end for them. Once packed up and sent on its way, the presidential infrastructure will give way to one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. Polls have showed Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan nearly tied in a race that’s expected to be a nail-biter until the end.

But first, the respective parties have to get back on the same page after a surprisingly divisive Democratic primary and a Republican primary that saw a record number of contenders. Full story

New Hampshire Results Winnow Presidential Field

 (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Christie goes home to reassess campaign. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call)

And then there were seven. The results of another presidential nominating contest Tuesday night in New Hampshire brought with them another round of suspended campaigns.

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her plans Wednesday afternoon. That announcement came before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told his campaign staff he would do the same. Full story

Quiz: Who Wore This Campaign Fashion Better?

Enter, the barn jacket. Just one of the fashion statements that presidential candidates flock to. (Photos: Getty Images)

Enter, the barn jacket. Just one of the fashion statements that presidential candidates flock to. (Photos: Getty Images)

You can admit it. You’ve thought about presidential candidate’s clothing choices.

Take our polls to rate some of these campaign trail classics — candidate to candidate. You’re welcome, America.

(Photos: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty and Justin Sullivan/Getty)

(Photos: Scott Olson/Getty and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Photos: Sandy Huffaker/Getty, Brendan Hoffman/Getty and Darren McCollester/Getty)

(Photos: Sean Rayford/Getty and Alex Wong/Getty)

(Photos: Alex Wong/Getty and Brendan Hoffman/Getty)

(Photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty, Scott Olson/Getty and Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Photos: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty and Justin Sullivan/Getty)

(Photos: Win McNamee/Getty and Scott Olson/Getty)

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Redistricting Case Could Delay North Carolina’s Primary

UNITED STATES - JUNE 24: Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., speaks during a press conference outside the Capitol with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and members from the House Kentucky Delegation on the "Ratepayer Protection Act" on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers faces a March 15 primary, but there’s now speculation that will be pushed back because of redistricting litigation in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By moving up all its primaries from May to March 15, North Carolina thought it would be playing a more pivotal role in this year’s presidential election. But a recent federal court ruling invalidating two of the state’s congressional districts threatens to delay this year’s earlier-than-normal primary and upend elections in which early voting is already under way.

A three-judge panel ruled on Feb. 5 that the GOP-legislature relied too heavily on race in 2011 to draw the 1st and 12th Districts. The court gave the state until Feb. 19 to draw new districts, and on Tuesday, the same court denied a request from the state to stay its decision.

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What We Learned From New Hampshire


Trump passed a big test in New Hampshire but he’ll face a bigger one in South Carolina. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Sen. Bernard Sanders scored big wins in New Hampshire but the campaign for each party’s nomination turns south and west, where the real race begins, according to political analysts and strategists Roll Call asked to analyze the Tuesday’s results.

Here are their takes on what happened on Tuesday and what will happen next in South Carolina and Nevada:

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