Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

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.

Candidates in the program receive “financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support,” and their inclusion in the program helps expose them to  supporters who can “help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns,” according to the the DCCC.

Democrats need a net gain of 30 seats to regain control of the House, and the DCCC believes the 31 districts and candidates included in its “Red to Blue” or its “Emerging Races” program represent some of the party’s best shots at winning control of the lower chamber. Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos and Washington Rep. Denny Heck will co-chair the program.

Among the Democratic candidates who made the cut are:

  • California’s 24th District: Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal is running in an open-seat race in the district currently held by Democrat Lois Capps, who is retiring at the end of this Congress. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the seat Safe Democrat.
  • Colorado’s 6th District: State Sen. Morgan Carroll is taking on Colorado Republican Mike Coffman in the Leans Republican district.
  • Florida’s 10th District: In her second bid for Congress, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is running in the seat currently held by GOP Rep. Daniel Webster, which is now rated Safe Democrat thanks to redistricting.
  • Florida’s 18th District: Businessman Randall Perkins is running for the 18th District, currently held by Democrat Patrick Murphy, who’s running for Senate. The seat is a Tossup.
  • Florida’s 26th District: Former Miami-Dade County Democratic Chair Annette Taddeo is challenging GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s Tossup 26th District.
  • Iowa’s 1st District: Second-time candidate Monica Vernon is challenging freshman Iowa Republican Rod Blum, one of the most vulnerable members of the House, in a Tilts Democrat seat.
  • Illinois’ 10th District: Former Rep. Brad Schneider is challenging GOP Rep. Robert J. Dold for his old seat, a Tossup race.
  • Maine’s 2nd District: 2014 Democratic nominee Emily Cain is running a rematch race against freshman Republican Bruce Poliquin, also a Tossup contest.
  • Michigan’s 1st District: Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson is running in this open seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Dan Benishek. The seat is rated Leans Republican.
  • Michigan’s 7th District: State Rep. Gretchen Driskell is challenging Republican Tim Walberg in a Tilts Republican district.
  • Minnesota’s 2nd District: Health care executive Angie Craig is running for the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. John Kline, currently a Tossup.
  • New Jersey’s 5th District: Former Bill Clinton speechwriter Josh Gottheimer is running against Republican Scott Garrett in this Favored Republican district.
  • Nevada’s 3th District: Synagogue leader Jacky Rosen is running in the open seat, currently held by GOP Rep. Joe Heck, who’s running for the Senate. It’s a Tossup.
  • Texas’ 23 District: Former Rep. Pete Gallego is running for his old seat, challenging first-term Republican Will Hurd in a Tossup.
  • Utah’s 4th District: Doug Owens, the 2014 Democratic candidate, is running a rematch race against first-term Republican Mia Love in a Safe Republican district.
  • Virginia’s 10th District: Businesswoman LuAnn Bennett is taking on first-term Republican Barbara Comstock in this northern Virginia Leans Republican district.

The DCCC identified five House seats as “Red to Blue” districts — seats the party is targeting where there are multiple Democrats who have qualified for “Red to Blue.” These include Florida’s 13th District, Nevada’s 4th District, New York’s 1st District, New York’s 24th District and Pennsylvania’s 8th District.

The DCCC also identified eight candidates in its “Emerging Races” program and two districts in its “Emerging Districts” program, where, according to the DCCC, “campaigns are on track and working hard to put seats in play.” The Democratic candidates include:

  • Arizona’s 1st District: Tom O’Halleran
  • California’s 10th District: Michael Eggman
  • Michigan’s 8th District: Melissa Gilbert
  • Minnesota’s At-Large District: Denise Juneau
  • New Hampshire’s 1st District: Former Representative Carol Shea-Porter
  • New York’s 23 District: John Plumb
  • Pennsylvania’s 7th District: Bill Golderer
  • West Virginia’s 2nd District: Cory Simpson

Iowa’s 3rd District, currently held by first-term Republican Rep. David Young, and New York’s 19th District, currently held by retiring GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, were named “Emerging Districts.”


Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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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.

Full story

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.

Full story

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.

Full story

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:

Full story

Trump, Sanders Win Huge in New Hampshire

CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09:  People cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks onstage after victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary on February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire. Sanders was projected Democratic winner shortly after the polls closed.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Sanders told supporters they had “sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington.” (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Sen. Bernard Sanders lodged a solid complaint against both parties’ establishments with their victories in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary on Tuesday.

Trump won by the widest margin since the 2000 GOP primary, with more than twice the vote of second-place Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had declared New Hampshire make or break for his campaign.

Full story

February 9, 2016

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About the New Hampshire Primary?

Attendees take a selfie before a before Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally in Manchester, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2016. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Attendees take a selfie before a before Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally in Manchester, N.H., on Monday. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call)

You’ve been following the New Hampshire primary for the 2016 presidential election pretty closely. But have you been following closely enough?

Take our quiz to see if you know as much as CQ Roll Call’s experts.

Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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Presidential Contenders Stay Away From Vulnerable Guinta

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., attends the New Hampshire Republican Party #FITN Leadership Summit at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, N.H., January 23, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Guinta, seen above at the New Hampshire Republican Party #FITN Leadership Summit in Nashua on Jan. 23, has multiple primary challengers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One of the most vulnerable members of the House is lurking in the shadows outside of New Hampshire’s presidential spotlight.

Attention on the Republican presidential candidates in the Granite State’s first in the nation primary on Tuesday would normally be a golden opportunity for a down-ballot incumbent like GOP Rep. Frank C. Guinta, who has $12,000 in his campaign account, to hitch a ride, boost his visibility and secure some much-needed donations.

Full story

The Big Question in New Hampshire: Where Does Rubio Finish?

In their last two presidential primaries, Republicans left New Hampshire with a much clearer view of who would become their party’s White House pick thanks to victories from eventual nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Whether the GOP will gain the same clarity Tuesday night might depend entirely on Marco Rubio’s performance — and if one of a trio of gubernatorial rivals can knock him off his new perch as the pick of the party establishment.

Full story

Kasich’s Moment of Truth Comes on Budget Day

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, speaks during a town hall at the VFW in Milford, N.H., January 23, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kasich has made his budget chops a big part of his argument to be president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary is his last stand, and the pivotal election of his career comes, coincidentally, on Budget Day, when proposed federal spending levels are released. The budget is an issue to which Kasich traces his biggest accomplishments, and he has embraced those in his run for the presidency.

“You know what this is? This is sloppy,” Kasich said Monday afternoon at a town hall in Windham, N.H., pointing to a “Our National Debt” clock that kept adding to its $19 trillion-plus total as he spoke. “This lacks discipline. This is a bunch of people who are not doing their jobs,” he said. Then he made his pitch, an unabashed one to his time in Washington when he was the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee. “We can’t seem to control this. When I was in Washington, we did,” he said. Full story

Club for Growth Goes on Air Ahead Of Ohio, North Carolina Primaries

Ellmers was one of the founders of Project GROW. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers is a top target of the Club for Growth. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The conservative Club for Growth’s political action committee will begin running new ads Tuesday aiming to help candidates in the North Carolina and Ohio Republican primaries.

While an ad in North Carolina will try to tear down Rep. Renee Ellmers to boost the Club’s endorsed candidate, the group’s ad in Ohio will try to build up Warren Davidson in the 15-way race for the seat Rep. John A. Boehner held before he resigned in October, a spokesman for the group said.  Full story

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