Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

September 20, 2014

House Democrats Pummel Republicans in August Fundraising

House Democrats Pummel Republicans in August Fundraising

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

The House Democratic political arm far outpaced Republicans in August, just as both parties prepared to unleash their war chests for the midterms.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more money than its GOP counterpart every month this cycle — but August marked an especially brutal thrashing. Last month, the DCCC raised more cash than the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee by more than two-to-one. Full story

September 19, 2014

Kansas Ballots Will Be Mailed Without Democratic Senate Nominee

Kansas Ballots Will Be Mailed Without Democratic Senate Nominee

Roberts' weekend is not off to a great start. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has instructed county election officials to mail overseas election ballots without listing a Democratic candidate for Senate, his office confirmed Friday to CQ Roll Call.

Kobach’s decision concludes a Kansas Senate race saga that has dragged on for several weeks, starting when Democratic nominee Chad Taylor ended his campaign earlier this month. The result is a massive boost for independent Greg Orman, a strong fundraiser who has polled competitively against Sen. Pat Roberts. Full story

Roberts to Get Some Help on Air From Freedom Partners

Roberts to Get Some Help on Air From Freedom Partners

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freedom Partners Action Fund has reserved air time in the Kansas Senate race, where Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is fighting for his political life.

The Koch brothers-backed group placed a $297,100 buy running in various markets from Sept. 24 through Oct. 7, according to numbers provided to CQ Roll Call by a source tracking ad buys.

From Sept. 24 through Oct. 7, the group reserved $21,200 on Topeka and Wichita broadcast television. From Oct. 1 through Oct. 7, they reserved $4,040 on Joplin cable, $117,025 on Kansas City cable, $1,725 on Line cable, $25,302 on Topeka cable, $2,397 on Tulsa cable, and $62,466 on Wichita cable.

Koch Industries, the business conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch, is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas.

Roberts faces independent candidate Greg Orman, a well-funded candidate who has recently polled very well against Roberts. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court made Roberts’ life harder when they ruled that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, would not appear on the ballot. Full story

NRCC Chairman Aspires to Historic Majority in Midterms

NRCC Chairman Aspires to Historic Majority in Midterms

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

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden called a 245-seat House majority an “aspirational” but “achievable” goal for the midterms — a more reserved prediction for his party than in previous comments.

“I think going into this cycle we are still poised to get to 245. It is an aspirational goal but also an achievable goal,” Walden told reporters Friday morning at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. ”We’ll know in 46 days, but I will tell you that we have every confidence we will pick up seats.”

In May, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden set a goal for House Republicans to gain 11 seats on Election Day, calling the effort the “Drive to 245.” But fewer than seven weeks before the midterms, it’s clear Republicans would likely have to win nearly every competitive open or Democrat-held seat to achieve this.

Currently, the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates nine Democratic-held seats as a Tossup or Tilt Democratic.

Full story

New Terri Lynn Land Ad Knocks Washington

Republican Senate hopeful Terri Lynn Land is going up with a new positive television spot touting her plans to help Michigan.

The former secretary of state will run the ad statewide starting Friday, the campaign said. The campaign declined to provide the total amount of money behind the buy, but described it as “significant.”

Land faces Democratic Rep. Gary Peters in the race for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Carl Levin. Republicans need to win six seats to take control of the Senate in November.

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call by Land’s campaign, touts her Michigan First plan.

Full story

Top Campaign Aides Reveal Picks for #RCReadersChoice

If the campaign committees had their way, Roll Call reporters would be heading to disparate locations during the final stretch of the midterms.

Top Campaign Aides Reveal Picks for #RCReadersChoice

As part of our survey to determine our final campaign stops of the midterms, Roll Call asked top communications aides at each of the four congressional campaign committees for their picks for our next road trip. Not a single one of them chose the same race.

Voting for this round ends Friday at 5 p.m., and two finalists in each category will be announced next week. Until then, here are picks from each communications guru at the House and Senate campaign:

Justin Barasky, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“There are so many great options where Democratic candidates are clearly contrasting their fight for the middle class with the Republicans allegiance to the Koch brothers, but I would vote for North Carolina where Speaker Tillis’ devastating education cuts are ending his chances.

Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

“Kansas is lovely this time of year. It’s about time reporters asked the Obama supporting, Reid donating, felon-friendly Democrat Greg Orman a few questions. The first couple should be centered on Orman’s shady business deals with convicted insider trader Rajat Gupta. ” Full story

September 18, 2014

Two Words Helped Remove Kansas Democrat From Ballot

Two Words Helped Remove Kansas Democrat From Ballot

Roberts' path to victory was just complicated by the state supreme court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Democrat Chad Taylor will not appear on the general-election ballot as a candidate for Senate — and it all came down to just two words Taylor included in his letter to the secretary of state’s office.

The ruling is a boon for independent candidate Greg Orman, who already had a legitimate chance to oust Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. His odds undoubtedly improved by Taylor’s removal from the ballot, since Taylor can no longer take up any anti-Roberts votes. Full story

African-American Voters Targeted in New North Carolina Ad (Video)

African American Voters Targeted in New North Carolina Ad (Video)

Hagan is a Democrat from North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kay Hagan’s campaign and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are launching a coordinated radio buy Thursday targeting African-American voters.

The ad continues the barrage of Democratic attacks on Republican Thom Tillis for cuts made to the education budget by the Legislature, where he is speaker. It also takes a swipe at Republicans for passing a law requiring identification to allow people to vote, something Democrats argue suppresses minority voters.

The one minute-long ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features a conversation between two women. Full story

House Democrats Raise $10.2 Million in August for Midterms

House Democrats Raise $10.2 Million in August for Midterms

Israel is the DCCC's Chairman. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats raised more than $10 million in August, according to figures obtained first by CQ Roll Call from a committee aide.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will report $54.5 million in cash on hand as it heads into the final stretch of the midterm campaigns.

Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House, although that prospect is highly unlikely given the national political landscape and the number of competitive districts this cycle. But the DCCC can still leverage its cash advantage to help incumbents or put GOP-held seats in play before November.

Full story

The ‘Cory Booker of California’ Leaps to Safer Ground

The Cory Booker of California Leaps to Safer Ground

Ruiz is a freshman Democrat from California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a story even Hollywood couldn’t concoct.

Once arguably the most vulnerable House Democrat in California, freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz has climbed to safer ground in the final months of the midterms. His position can be chalked up to a series of politically fortunate — albeit grave — events on two separate flights to the Palm Springs-based 36th District.

Ruiz represents competitive territory that President Barack Obama won by only 3 points last cycle. The freshman started the midterms as a top GOP target, and Republicans were confident in their recruit, Assemblyman Brian Nestande.

Then, the completely unexpected happened. Twice.  Full story

Meet the Super PAC Woman

Meet the Super PAC Woman

Lapp is the executive director of House Majority PAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the political ad wars rage on television sets from New England to Southern California, Democrats think they have their answer to the Koch brothers and Karl Rove: a mother of three sons from suburban Virginia.

Meet Alixandria Lapp, the executive director of a super PAC with the sole mission of electing as many House Democrats as possible.

At House Majority PAC, she oversees tens of millions of dollars in television advertising every fall. But Lapp’s place in Democratic politics goes beyond a single political organization.

Behind the scenes, the seasoned operative plays traffic cop among House races, wrangling the spectrum of Democratic groups to ensure they work together to get the best bang for their buck in the super PAC ad wars. Full story

September 17, 2014

House Democrats, DNC Pledge Millions for Midterms

House Democrats, DNC Pledge Millions for Midterms

Israel is the current chairman of the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee picked up $1.7 million in member pledges at its quarterly caucus dinner Tuesday night.

In addition, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel announced that the Democratic National Committee, an organization that struggled financially until this spring, had pledged to transfer $2 million to the DCCC for the midterms.

The DCCC has walloped its counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, in fundraising this cycle. But House Democrats must net 17 seats to win control of the chamber — a nearly impossible task given the political climate and map.

“We’ve been breaking every fundraising record but winning campaigns is expensive,” Israel said at the dinner, according to a source in the room. “We had 400,000 online donations in July and raised $7 million. This is an inspiration.”

Full story

Vote Now: Where Should Roll Call Travel to Cover the Midterms?

Vote Now: Where Should Roll Call Travel to Cover the Midterms?

Roll Call's Alexis Levinson, left, talks with a House candidate in Iowa, David Young, during August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Will it be Omaha or San Diego? Raleigh or Topeka? Lexington or Denver?

Two days of voting have passed in Roll Call’s first reader survey to determine where we should send reporters cover the midterms. The polls for this round close Friday at 5 p.m.

As of Wednesday morning, the Kansas contest held a clear lead among Senate races. But that could change quickly if the state Supreme Court refuses to let the Democrat off the ballot, which could complicate the path for a wealthy independent candidate, Greg Orman, to take on GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in November. A decision is expected this week.

House contests in Nebraska and San Diego keep trading the top spot in that category. That might have something to do with a Facebook campaign from the Democratic nominee in Nebraska’s 2nd District, Brad Ashford, who is challenging GOP Rep. Lee Terry. Roll Call Politics’ House Reporter Emily Cahn has even acquired her own Twitter hashtag for this race choice: #CahntoNebraska.

Two finalists in each category will be announced Monday.

Have an opinion on which race we should cover? Did we miss one of your favorite contests this cycle? Email your feedback or race of choice to Politics Editor Shira T. Center, or tweet your thoughts or race at @RollCall with #RCReadersChoice.

Otherwise, the voting continues below. Full story

Cotton’s Softer Side Displayed in Senate Race (Video)

Cottons Softer Side Displayed in Senate Race (Video)

Cotton is challenging Pryor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton’s campaign kicked off the final sprint to November with advertising designed to soften the image of one of the GOP’s most-touted Senate recruits.

The freshman congressman, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, boasts multiple Harvard degrees, military service and broad support across the GOP spectrum. His political advantages also include a state trending Republican and a midterm cycle featuring a second-term Democratic president with a 31 percent approval rating in Arkansas, according to a recent NBC News/Marist poll.

But Cotton is running against a two-term senator with a respected brand name, which has given Pryor an advantage some of his fellow red-state Democratic colleagues don’t share. Cotton, who was a first-time candidate in 2012 and has represented just a quarter of the state for less than two years, had the added challenge of boosting his relatively low name ID while refining his skills on the stump. Full story

September 16, 2014

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

A new report says congressional candidates aren't raising as much money as a whole this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Residents of states with competitive House and Senate races may not believe it, but congressional candidate spending has decreased in 2014, according to a review by the Federal Election Commission released Tuesday.

Congressional candidates raised more than $1.1 billion combined in the first 18 months of the midterm elections. Of those funds, candidates spent $767 million as of June 30, which marked the end of the second quarter of the year.

Both of those figures are down from 2012, when candidates had raised $1.2 billion at the same point in the cycle. In fact, this cycle’s total is the lowest amount raised in this period since 2008.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 5:49 p.m.
DCCC, DSCC, FEC, NRCC, NRSC

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