Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 2, 2015

December 1, 2015

Researchers Slam Cruz for ‘Misrepresenting’ Their Work on Ex-Felons

Ted Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Researchers responded to Cruz’s claim that most violent criminals are Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

The researchers whose study Ted Cruz’s campaign cited to back up his claim that “the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats” said Tuesday night the Texas senator is “misrepresenting” their work.

“We have not explored partisanship by type of crime, violent or otherwise, and so our work, as published, cannot support Senator Cruz’s claim,” University of Pennsylvania professor Marc Meredith and Harvard doctoral student Michael Morse said in a response prepared to appear on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.

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Cruz and Rubio ‘Flavor of the Month’

Cruz, left, and Rubio, right, are both first-term senators, but Rubio enjoys more establishment support.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz, left, and Rubio, right, are both first-term senators, but Rubio enjoys more establishment support. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With 60 days to go until the Iowa caucuses, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and are attempting to capitalize on recent momentum in a GOP field long dominated by this year’s two outsider candidates.

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O’Malley’s Pitch to Be Second Choice

O'Malley met with House Democrats Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

O’Malley met with House Democrats Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has a message for House Democrats: Let me be your second choice.

“I asked all the members if I could not, today, be their first choice, I would like to, today, be their second choice,” O’Malley said after his Tuesday meeting with the House Democratic Caucus. “And I look forward to their support in the future.” Full story

Warren Shows Progressives She’s Sticking With Them


Warren was the only Democratic woman in the Senate not to show solidarity with Clinton. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Sen. Elizabeth Warren is wielding her voice for American progressives by staying quiet.

Warren was the only one absent when every other woman Democratic senator threw her support behind Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton at an event on Capitol Hill Monday evening intended to raise money and highlight Clinton’s support.

In one sense, Warren’s absence showed progressives in the Warren Wing of the party that she would stick with them, even as others, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have recently endorsed Clinton. 

“Elizabeth Warren is her own force. She recognizes she plays a very important role and the candidates very much want her endorsement,” said Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of the progressive group Democracy for America.

“In D.C., you have to leverage your power to get things done. It’s exciting she’s held out as long as she can. By doing that, she’s leveraging her power to get the candidates on board with her issues” he added. “That’s why we’re seeing ‘Warren Wing’ issues dominating.”

video produced by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group aligned with Chamberlain’s DFA, noted statements from Clinton, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley aligning with Warren on issues  eliminating college debt, strengthening Social Security and weakening banks viewed as “too big to fail.”

At the height of the speculation in August about a possible presidential bid by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Warren had what she later described as “a long rambling policy conversation” with him at his residence in Washington.

When asked earlier in the year whether she will endorse in the presidential race, Warren said, “I imagine that’s what I’ll do.” In the meantime, she has not shied from offering critiques and advice to Clinton and the other presidential contenders. This summer, she said that a Democratic president’s progressive credentials should be questioned if their nominees for regulatory posts are too close to those they are supposed to regulate.

“Anyone who wants to be president should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable, who have already demonstrated that they embrace the kind of ambitious economic policies that we need to rebuild opportunity and a strong middle class in this country,” she told a crowd at Netroots Nation in July.

Despite the excitement on the left about Warren’s sway, some others in the party have voiced concerns that she might be pulling the party too far out of the mainstream. William Daley, one of President Barack Obama’s former chiefs of staff who has close ties to the finance industry, is chief among them. Speaking at an event hosted by the centrist think-tank Third Way, Daley warned that pulling Clinton too far to the left in the direction of Sanders, who identifies as a socialist, is “a bad model for a general election.”

 (See Roll Call’s Endorsement Tracker)

Warren is one of only six Democrats in the Senate not to endorse Clinton. Some of her female colleagues in the Senate say they believe she’ll get behind Clinton when she’s ready.

“I think in her course of time, she’s going to come out for Hillary,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told MSNBC on Monday. 

Republicans Hope Blame for Paris Attacks Sticks to Clinton
Clinton Campaign Picks Hill Vet as Congressional Liaison
Analysts: Clinton Commanding in First Democratic Debate

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Cruz Claims ‘Overwhelming Majority’ of Violent Criminals Are Democrats

Speaking to Hugh Hewitt on Monday, Cruz argued most felons are Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reacting to what he said was media bias in the wake of the shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, Cruz argued that most violent criminals are Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that most violent criminals are Democrats.

“Now listen, here’s the simple and undeniable fact. The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. The media doesn’t report that,” the Republican presidential candidate said.

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Iraq Vet Enters Delaware Race with Call to Accept 100,000 Syrian Refugees

Carney won't run for re-election to the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are now four Democrats vying to replace Carney, who isn’t seeking re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Iraq War veteran Sean Barney on Tuesday became the fourth Democrat to enter the race for Delaware’s open at-large congressional seat.

He announced his campaign with a call for the U.S. to accept 200,000 refugees, including 100,000 from Syria, this fiscal year.

“Times like this define the character of who we are as a nation,” Barney said in a statement.

“For the sake of our security, we should embrace these families and children fleeing violence and tyranny, rather than force them to languish in refugee camps that will destabilize our allies and become recruitment grounds for ISIS.”

Since the terrorist attacks on Paris on Nov. 13, more than half of America’s governors have called for halting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states. Also, nearly 50 House Democrats sided with Republicans in voting for a bill that would add an extra layer of security checks to Iraqis and Syrians hoping to enter the U.S. as refugees.

Barney joined the Marines after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and received the Purple Heart after being wounded in Fallujah, Iraq. He worked as policy director for Gov. Jack Markell after returning from Iraq and now is president of a Delaware venture capital firm.

In 2014, he ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer. VoteVets backed his candidacy and is expected to support his congressional campaign.

Barney joins Lisa Blunt Rochester, the state’s first African-American secretary of labor, state Sen. Bryan Townsend, and state Rep. Bryon Short, a small business owner and former aide to Sen. Thomas R. Carper, in the Democratic race to replace Rep. John Carney. In September, Carney announced he would run for governor rather than seek re-election.

The district has twice gone for President Barack Obama by double digits, so whoever wins the Democratic primary has a good shot at holding the seat.


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Kirk Hits Duckworth Over Syrian Refugees

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Incumbent Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk Tuesday is releasing an ad challenging Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth’s commitment to welcoming Syrian refugees into the country without additional government screening.

According to the Kirk campaign, the nascent spot, titled “Trust,” is expected to air statewide for the next three weeks. Full story

Evangelicals Make Environmental Issues About ‘Caring for God’s Creation’

The Evangelical Environmental Network encourage Kirk to vote against a measure to kill Obama's clean power plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Evangelical Environmental Network encourage Kirk to vote against a measure to kill Obama’s clean power plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Evangelical Environmental Network is just what it sounds like: a ministry of evangelicals, mostly Republicans, who believe climate change is dangerous and worth fighting.

“I’m a Republican, and our organization is designed to reach out to evangelicals who are, by and large, conservative politically as well,” Rev. Mitchell Hescox, president of EEN told CQ Roll Call last week.

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November 30, 2015

Gubernatorial Races to Watch in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23:  North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Republican and  Democratic governors met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday during the last day of the National Governors Association winter meeting.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democrats in North Carolina are hoping McCrory has overplayed his hand. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Despite Democrats’ surprising victory last week in Louisiana — where state Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican Sen. David Vitter in the runoff –  they hold only 18 gubernatorial seats, compared to the 31 held by Republican governors.

Next year, Democrats will defend eight seats, including ones in targeted U.S. Senate battle grounds such as Missouri and New Hampshire, while Republicans will defend four.  Full story

November 25, 2015

Florida Republican Puts House Campaign on Hold Because ‘Health Issue’

UNITED STATES  APRIL 25: Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Fla., speaks during the House Republicans' news conference on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Republican Rep. Sandy Adams announced Wednesday she is suspending her campaign for Congress in Florida’s 6th District “due to health-related developments.”

“I recently discovered a significant health issue that demands my focus and attention,” she said in in a statement. “Over the next several weeks, I will be focusing on my health and will reassess my campaign to determine if I can give it a 100% commitment. I owe that to my family, and to the residents of the 6th District.” Full story

By Eli Yokley Posted at 2:56 p.m.

Santorum, Gohmert Stop by ‘Roske on Politics’

Brent Roske points the mic this weekend at former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, as well as radio host Montel Williams and The New York Times’ Mark Leibovich, on the Emmy-nominated “Roske on Politics” airing on Sunday, Nov. 29. Full story

Poll: Wide Divide Over Allowing Muslim Refugees Into the U.S.

A Syrian family cheers after  arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey with other refugees and migrants on November 19, 2015. European leaders tried to focus on joint action with Africa to tackle the migration crisis, as Slovenia became the latest EU member to act on its own by barricading its border. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

A Syrian family arrives on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

A new poll shows six in 10 Americans don’t want the U.S. to allow Muslim refugees from Syria into the country but are more inviting to Christian refugees.

An Economist Group/YouGov poll released Tuesday shows a wide ideological split on the question of whether Syrian Muslim refugees should be allowed into the country, with 83 percent of those who identify as conservative opposed and 70 percent of liberals saying they favor allowing them entry.

Full story

November 24, 2015

Kentucky Governor Restores Thousands of Ex-Felons’ Right to Vote

 (File Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, prepares to leave office, he is attempting to leave his mark on an issue that has made his state an outlier.

On Tuesday, he issued an executive order that put in place an automatic process to restore voting rights to nonviolent, ex-felons once they have completed their sentence — a move that might allow 170,000 more Kentuckians the right to register to vote.  Full story

By Eli Yokley Posted at 4:22 p.m.

Should Vitter’s Loss Worry Scandal-Plagued Lawmakers?

Vitter suffered his first political loss this past weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vitter suffered his first political loss this past weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

David Vitter thought he was a survivor.

He won re-election by 20 points in 2010, 3 1/2 years after his prostitution scandal came to light. It was hard to imagine the scandal coming back to bite him. But six years later, it ended his political career.

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November 23, 2015

Leading Democrat Drops Campaign For Patrick Murphy’s House Seat

Murphy is a Florida Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McKinlay was the leading Democrat to replace Murphy, above, in Florida’s 18th District race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Melissa McKinlay, the Democrat who was viewed as the party’s front-runner in the highly contested race to replace Rep. Patrick Murphy, said Monday she will end her six-month-old campaign.

In an email to supporters, McKinlay said the entrance of millionaire businessman Randy Perkins into the race would make the cost for her to win “immense” and further distract from her day job as a Palm Beach County commissioner.  Full story

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