Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

July 29, 2014

Greg Walden to Seek Second Term Running NRCC (Updated)

Greg Walden to Seek Second Term Running NRCC (Updated)

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

Updated 3:54 p.m. | National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden announced Tuesday he will seek a second term running the House GOP’s campaign arm.

“I fully intend to seek re-election as NRCC chairman,” Walden told reporters at an afternoon briefing at the committee’s headquarters. Full story

NRSC Chairman: Senate Map Has Expanded to 12 States

NRSC Chairman: Senate Map Has Expanded to 12 States

In the 2014 elections, Moran leads the NRSC. (CQ Roll Call)

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran said Tuesday the GOP’s pickup opportunities have expanded to around a dozen states — twice as many as needed to take control of the Senate.

“I think we have a good map in the sense that we have good candidates and good states,” Moran told CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski. “The map has expanded over time. In my view, [it] started out with six or seven — now 10 or 12.” Full story

Obama Lawsuit, Impeachment Threats Raise Cash for House Democrats

Obama Lawsuit, Impeachment Threats Raise Cash for House Democrats

Steve Israel of New York is the Chairman of the DCCC. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican threats of suing or impeaching President Barack Obama have unleashed a flood of donations to House Democrats, their campaign chief told reporters Tuesday morning.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said those threats helped him raise $1 million in online contributions in 24 hours on Monday, mostly from small-dollar donors.

“The Republican strategy of lawsuits and approaching impeachment is fundamentally misfiring,” the New York Democrat said at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s amassing resources for us.”
Full story

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

Roberts faces a primary challenge on Aug. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As conservatives reel from a bruising loss in Mississippi, they are looking to the primary in Kansas to knock off an incumbent and salve their wounds.

But on Aug. 5, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts faces Milton Wolf in a primary, they will likely realize they are not in Mississippi anymore.

Roberts has been in office for several decades — much like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who survived a runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel last month by a narrow margin but galvanized conservatives to make it a close contest. The Kansan has been criticized for spending more time in Washington than in his home state — another accusation McDaniel leveled at Cochran.

But unlike McDaniel, Wolf’s bark might be stronger than his bite.

Full story

Ex-Congressman Tacks to Center in GOP Comeback Bid

Ex Congressman Tacks to Center in GOP Comeback Bid

Tiahrt dressed up as Wyatt Earp as a delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A former congressman is attempting a comeback by appealing to an unconventional bloc of GOP primary voters: moderates.

And that’s not even strangest thing about former Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s campaign to oust his successor, GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, on Aug. 5. With the help of one of Pompeo’s former foes, wealthy oilman Wink Hartman, Tiahrt is taking on his one-time backers and the GOP’s ultimate Goliath, the Koch brothers, in their own backyard.

Tiahrt’s eleventh-hour bid comes four years after he lost a bitter Senate primary to now-Sen. Jerry Moran. After that, the former eight-term appropriator endorsed Pompeo — twice.

Then there’s the ex-congressman’s message: Tiahrt is running to the left of Pompeo, striking a populist tone in the conservative district.

“It’s tough to get to 50 [percent] that way in a Republican primary in the 4th District of Kansas,” said David Kensinger, a former chief of staff to Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Full story

Congressman Says Gwen Graham’s Dad ‘Not on the Ballot’

Congressman Says Gwen Grahams Dad Not on the Ballot

Southerland faces a tough re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., said he isn’t buying the hype around his opponent, attorney Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, a former senator and governor.

“The Grahams aren’t from Northwest Florida,” Southerland said in a recent sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call. “They’re a South Florida family.”

“We respect the Graham name,” the two-term Republican continued. “We respect greatly the governor’s service and the senator’s service, but unfortunately, he’s not on the ballot.”

National Democrats have touted Graham as one of their best recruits this cycle, saying she’ll be able to close the deal with voters in Florida’s 2nd District, thanks in part to her father’s legacy. Southerland’s re-election is quickly becoming one of the most competitive House races in the country, and it’s ratedTossup/Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Democrats also boast Graham is better equipped than their 2012 nominee, Al Lawson Jr. Southerland disagreed. Full story

July 28, 2014

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How does a female Democratic candidate in the South distance herself from President Barack Obama? Call on Dad.

Attorney Gwen Graham released a pair of ads Monday morning that did just that. Her father, former Sen. Bob Graham, made her case to voters.

Graham wasn’t the first. Two other candidates, nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, produced ads featuring their well-known politician fathers.

Here is a look at all three ads: Full story

July 27, 2014

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Predicts Wave Election for Republicans

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Predicts Wave Election for Republicans

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

One hundred days from Nov. 4, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said he expects House Republicans will ride a political wave in November.

In an exclusive sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call, the Oregon Republican was bullish about his party’s prospects, predicting they would pick up 11 House seats in November. That number would bring their majority to 245 members — the biggest Republican majority since 1945.

“I know what it felt like in ’06 to be us,” Walden said in the interview, referring to the year Democrats picked up 31 seats and took control of the House for the first time in 12 years. “When you get that gale force wind in your face, you get blown away.”

Full story

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

In 2014 Senate races, Republicans are optimistic they can defeat Braley, above, and pick up a seat in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With 100 days to go until Election Day, Senate Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about winning the majority — but they also have grounds for concern.

After coming up short in 2010 and 2012, the GOP is unquestionably well positioned to finish the job this time. Republicans need to match their November 2010 score of six seats to take the majority, and the party has multiple paths to the finish line.

That’s thanks to a successful recruitment push that didn’t conclude until late February, and a playing field naturally tilted in the GOP’s direction — seven Democrat-held seats are in states President Barack Obama lost in 2012, six of those by double digits.

But, as optimistic as Republican operatives are heading into the final stretch, the GOP has reasons to restrain its confidence. With tens of millions of dollars of advertising already spent by outside groups on both sides, just one Democratic incumbent is, at this point, a solid underdog for re-election.

Reasons for Republicans to Be Optimistic Full story

July 25, 2014

Senator Gets Outside Help for Final Days of Hawaii Primary (Video)

Senator Gets Outside Help for Final Days of Hawaii Primary (Video)

Schatz hopes to win the Aug. 9 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters is spending $380,000 on a TV ad campaign over the next two weeks to boost Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.

Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of Daniel K. Inouye in December 2012, faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the competitive nomination fight. They’re running to serve the remaining two years of Inouye’s term.

LCV’s first ad, which begins running Saturday, focuses on the threat of climate change to Hawaii and states Schatz is “holding corporate polluters who cause it accountable.” It also highlights the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s recent endorsement of him. Full story

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Doheny endorsed his former primary opponent. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Republican Matt Doheny endorsed Elise Stefanik at a press conference Friday, more than a month after losing to her in a House race primary.

Stefanik, who was recently added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program, faces Democrat Aaron Woolf for the 21st District seat being vacated by Democrat Bill Owens. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Report/Roll Call. Full story

Tea Party Circles the Wagons Around Justin Amash

Tea Party Circles the Wagons Around Justin Amash

Amash is a Michigan Republican. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No House Republican enrages the business-friendly wing of the GOP more than Justin Amash. But members and operatives who hoped to end his political career are running out of time and moxie before Michigan’s Aug. 5 primary.

So far, many of Amash’s cash-flush critics have passed on investing substantial resources in his GOP rival, former East Grand Rapids School Trustee Brian Ellis. At the same time, Amash allies such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have tangibly backed the libertarian sophomore’s re-election in the 3rd District.

Full story

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Alaska Republican Super PAC Launches Another Ad

Dan Sullivan is getting some outside help. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan is launching a radio ad Friday taking aim at his two leading Senate race opponents.

The 60-second ad from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, backed by an $80,000 buy and running statewide, mentions Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Sullivan’s top opponent in the Aug. 19 primary, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

The ad lands on the airwaves on the heels of an accompanying TV ad from the group. Both label Sullivan a true Alaskan — one of the leading attacks against the native Ohioan — and state he is the only Republican who can defeat Begich. Full story

July 24, 2014

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

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

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., holds a slight lead over his GOP challenger, former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, more than three months from Election Day, in a new poll conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Peters leads DeMaio, 48 percent to 43 percent — slightly outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies and surveyed 400 likely voters via live telephone between July 20-22.

This race in California’s 52nd District, located in and around San Diego, is a top Republican target in November. The National Republican Congressional Committee has touted DeMaio as a top recruit in the district that President Barack Obama won with 52 percent last cycle. 

Here’s the full survey memo:

Full story

Quirky Ex-Senator Stomps on Democrats’ S.D. Hopes

Quirky Ex Senator Stomps on Democrats S.D. Hopes

Johnson is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Dakota Democrats are playing a tough hand in the Senate race, but they thought they could count on a wild card — former Sen. Larry Pressler — to help the contest break their way.

Pressler seems to have other plans.

Democrats already faced long odds to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s seat. Obama lost South Dakota by 18 points last cycle, and the state marks the GOP’s best pick-up opportunity in its 6-seat quest to win the majority.

The front-runner, popular former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds, faces several foes: Democrat Rick Weiland; state Sen. Gordon Howie, a conservative Republican running as an independent; and Pressler, who served three terms as a Republican but is running as an independent.

Democrats held out hope the race would become competitive if Pressler splintered GOP votes from Rounds. But so far, Pressler is doing the opposite — splitting Democrats and extinguishing the party’s remaining hopes of keeping the seat.

“He seems to be veering to the left,” said Ben Nesselhuf, former South Dakota Democratic Party chairman, in an interview with Roll Call. “I like this Larry Pressler a lot more than I liked the one in the mid 1990s. … His message and Rick Weiland’s message seem to kind of overlap.”

Full story

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