Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014

California Freshman Airs First Ad in Competitive House Race

California Freshman Airs First Ad in Competitive House Race

Brownley is a California Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., went up Friday with her first ad of the cycle, touting her commitment to women’s issues.

“I believe we are strongest when women are in charge of their own decisions,” Brownley says in the 30-second spot, which will air on cable districtwide and was provided first to CQ Roll Call. “That’s why I will always fight for equal pay for equal work, and defend your right to choose.” Full story

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizona’s 7th District (Video)

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizonas 7th District (Video)

Wilcox, D-Ariz., candidate for Congress from Arizona's 7th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a Democrat, hopes her community ties and political experience will boost her to victory in Tuesday’s primary in Arizona’s 7th District.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call in Washington, D.C., Wilcox laid out what she believes will be a winning strategy for the primary.

“We’re targeting, we’re making sure that we’re getting the voters out,” said Wilcox in late July. “I know my community. My community has shared with me many of their concerns, and so the message is one that is resonating. And that’s how we win.” Full story

August 21, 2014

Slip of the Tongue in South Dakota Senate Debate (Video)

Slip of the Tongue in South Dakota Senate Debate (Video)

Republicans are favored to pick up Johnson's open seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Democratic Senate hopeful Rick Weiland apparently is not so hopeful.

Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds is the clear front-runner for the state’s open Senate seat, and Weiland accidentally ceded that fact at a debate Wednesday.

“Senator — or, soon-to-be —” Weiland said before catching himself and laughing. “No, not soon-to-be. That’s a good gaffe. I’ll take that back. Soon-to-want-to-be Sen. Mike Rounds.” Full story

Alaska Post-Primary Outside Spending Surge Continues

Alaska Post Primary Outside Spending Surge Continues

Democrat Begich is targeted in a new post-primary ad from an outside-group. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Republican-aligned outside group launched a $1.25 million ad buy Thursday against Alaska Sen. Mark Begich.

Crossroads GPS, the issue advocacy arm of American Crossroads, is hitting Begich on equal pay for women. It’s a strike back on women’s issues after Democrats leveled attacks against Begich’s Republican challenger Dan Sullivan ahead of his primary victory Tuesday. Full story

Scott Peters Airs First Ad in California House Contest

Scott Peters Airs First Ad in California House Contest

Peters is a California Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., released his first ad of the cycle Thursday, touting work he’s done that he says has helped “hold Congress accountable.”

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is part of a $2.2 million buy on cable, broadcast and online through November.

“Scott Peters kept his promise: blocked congressional pay raises, and helped pass the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Act, if they don’t pass a budget, they don’t get a pay check,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot.

Full story

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Young, left, and Grassley, right, campaign at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ADEL, Iowa – When David Young first became Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s chief of staff seven years ago, the senator sat him down for a talk. Young thought he was in for the riot act or a long list of rules.

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Instead, as he tells it in the parking lot where people are shucking corn for the Adel Sweet Corn Festival, Iowa’s beloved senior senator recounted some advice he received when he first came to Washington.

“He said, ‘[whatever] your constituents want, anything and everything, you do it,’” Young recalls. “‘If they want you to cut their toenails, you cut their toenails.’”

A few weeks later, Young went out and bought enough toenail clippers for the entire staff as a reminder of their mission. Today, Young recounts that tale as a candidate for Iowa’s open 3rd District. Grassley tells the same story in Young’s first general election radio ad.

Young jokes that he probably needs to start carrying around toenail clippers. “Undoubtedly, someone’s going to come up to me and say, ‘Cut ‘em Dave,’” he jokes, saying he might also need “a 5 gallon Purell pump” to finish the job.

Full story

August 20, 2014

Super PAC Greets Sullivan Win With Attack Ad

Super PAC Greets Sullivan Win With Attack Ad

Begich-friendly super PAC has a TV ad against Sullivan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alaska’s newly minted Republican Senate nominee will awake the morning after his primary victory to a negative TV ad from a Democratic super PAC.

Put Alaska First, a group formed to support Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, launched an ad Wednesday against Republican Dan Sullivan targeting his lack of Alaska roots and using a controversial mining project in the state as a wedge issue.

“There’s two things you need to know about Dan Sullivan,” a Dillingham, Alaska, resident says in the ad, which is airing statewide on broadcast and cable. “He’s not from Alaska, and he supports the Pebble Mine.” Full story

Iowa Poll Shows Democrat With Big Edge in Open House Contest

State Rep. Pat Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the open-seat House contest to replace Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, had an 11 point lead over his Republican opponent, according to a poll obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Murphy led businessman Rod Blum 51 percent to 40 percent according to the poll conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Murphy’s campaign. The lead was outside the 4.9 percent margin of error.

Full story

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Schock, left, and Davis, watch Rauner fire up the crowd. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The national political tide isn’t looking good for Democrats, but in Illinois this November, down-ballot candidates have an even bigger problem: the drag of Gov. Pat Quinn.

The Land of Lincoln is a hotbed of political activity this cycle, with Democrats defending three freshmen House incumbents and looking to pick-off one more — Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the ultra-competitive 13th District.

All but one of those races take place outside of Chicago’s Cook County — the last bastion of support for Quinn and one of just three counties he carried in the state when he narrowly won the role in 2010. That geography is bad news for Democrats looking to tamp down losses in the midterms.

There was no clearer example of Quinn’s problems than last week’s Illinois State Fair, where elected officials, political operatives and party insiders from both sides of the aisle descended upon the Springfield fairgrounds for each party’s respective day of rallies.

On Aug. 14, Republicans flocked to the fairgrounds to support Bruce Rauner, the party’s wealthy gubernatorial nominee who rolled up to the rally on his Harley Davidson and then delivered a red-meat speech going after Quinn in front of a fired up crowd of supporters.

It was a stark contrast from Democrats’ gathering the day before, where instead of riling up his base at the fair, Quinn instead hosted a low-key picnic to pose for photos with a more mellow group of supporters, many of whom were bussed in from the Chicago area.

Full story

Alaska Primary: Dan Sullivan Will Face Mark Begich

Alaska Primary: Dan Sullivan Will Face Mark Begich

Sullivan won the GOP primary Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alaska Republicans have finally picked a nominee to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle.

Dan Sullivan, a former appointed state attorney general and commissioner of the state Department of Natural Resources, defeated three other Republicans in the primary Tuesday to earn a spot in the general election.

Sullivan ran as the most qualified of the group to defeat Begich. His nomination has been the expected outcome for months, but the general-election race couldn’t start in earnest until Sullivan dispensed with his Republican foes.

Sullivan led with 40 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race early Wednesday morning with 80 percent of precincts reporting. He was followed by 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller with 32 percent, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell with 25 percent and a fourth candidate, John Jaramillo, with 3 percent.

Sullivan, an Ohio-born attorney, is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves and was an assistant secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration. He resigned his natural resources post a year ago to run for office, and now he’s emerging from a late primary to take on an incumbent lauded by operatives in both parties as a skilled politician.

Full story

August 19, 2014

NRSC Launching Coordinated Ad Buy in North Carolina

NRSC Launching Coordinated Ad Buy in North Carolina

Republicans hope Tillis will win the North Carolina Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a coordinated TV ad buy next month with North Carolina Senate hopeful Thom Tillis.

The $1.4 million buy begins Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 22 on broadcast and cable, according to the Tillis campaign. Full story

Peterson’s Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

Petersons Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

(Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats think Rep. Collin C. Peterson is nearly unbeatable in the 7th District. For the first time in more than a decade, that theory is about to be put to the test.

Peterson is one of just a handful of House Democrats representing a decidedly Republican district, but he has won re-election even in GOP wave years. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the conservative, rural district by 10 points as the Democratic lawmaker won his race by a 25-point margin.

This year, Peterson faces his most formidable challenger in several cycles. Though the Democrat remains the front-runner, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom brings a compelling life story as the first blind member of the legislature, and more political experience than any of Peterson’s recent opponents.

“We’re paying attention,” Peterson told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview. “We’ve never been targeted before, so we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

Minnesota Republicans and Democrats agree on one point, at least: Westrom has a good shot at ending up in Congress.

It’s just not clear when.

Full story

Jeff Merkley Touts Efforts to Stop Outsourcing in New Ad

Jeff Merkley Touts Efforts to Stop Outsourcing in New Ad

Jeff Merkley is seeking re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call))

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is going up with a new ad Tuesday focusing on his efforts to prevent companies from outsourcing jobs.

Merkley speaks directly to the camera in the positive spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, describing his father working at a mill when he was growing up.

“As men and women clock in across the state, thousands of hands are building a stronger Oregon. But there are still special interests that want to give tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas,” Merkley says.

Full story

August 18, 2014

John McCain Holds Court in ‘Second Favorite State’

John McCain Holds Court in Second Favorite State

Brown, left, and McCain, right, campaign in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

DERRY, N.H. – Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has returned to New Hampshire to campaign — but this time, it’s for former Sen. Scott P. Brown. 

“It is with great nostalgia I come back again to my second favorite state,” McCain told a Pinkerton Academy auditorium, where he stumped for Brown, a Massachusetts Republican waging an uphill battle to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Granite State Democrat. 

John McCain Holds Court in Second Favorite StateIn predictable fashion, McCain joined Brown for what was billed as a foreign policy town hall meeting, at times taking charge as Monday’s star attraction. The event was part of a broader “New Hampshire Speaks” tour for Brown, but audience questions ran the gamut, even touching on impeachment.

“I’m a realist. That’s not going to happen,” Brown said of impeaching the president, instead pushing his stump speech about Shaheen’s record of voting with President Barack Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. 

“It would require 67 votes in the United States Senate for an impeachment,” McCain said. Full story

DCCC Raises Millions More than NRCC in July

DCCC Raises Millions More than NRCC in July

Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raked in $11.5 million in July, bringing the committee’s total cash on hand to $56.7 million in the final stretch of the cycle, according to numbers released by the committee Monday.

The DCCC’s haul far surpasses the $8 million the National Republican Congressional Committee brought in during the same month. The NRCC’s July fundraising means the committee will report $48 million in the bank.

Full story

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