- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
August 29, 2014
Jesse Benton, who had worked as the campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, said Friday he would resign.
The veteran operative with close ties to the Paul family released a lengthy statement making the announcement. The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported Benton’s resignation, which is effective Saturday.
The move comes just two days after a former Iowa state senator admitted to accepting $73,000 in concealed payments from former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In exchange for the money, that individual, Kent Sorenson, switched endorsements from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to Paul, a Texas Republican.
WOODVILLE, Texas — Brian Babin, the small-town dentist poised to take over Steve Stockman’s House seat in November, may be a political unknown in Washington — but don’t try peddling that line to folks here.
Everybody in the vast, mostly rural 36th in southeast Texas, it seems, knows “Doc Babin.”
During an interview with CQ Roll Call recently at a diner in his hometown, the 66-year-old Republican was greeted with hugs and handshakes from almost everyone in the lunch crowd, including a star-struck waitress who said she’s been a fan — “He’s great!” — of the longtime local dentist since she was a little girl.
Babin, dressed casually in jeans and a checked shirt, worked the room like he was the mayor (which, of course, is one of the many posts he’s held in this community of 2,586).
“After all these years, I feel like I know every Republican in five counties — and most Democrats, too, for that matter,” Babin said, grinning.
Those connections, built up over decades — he’s also been a city councilman, a school board member, chamber of commerce director, state historical commission member and a representative on the area water authority — made him a formidable contender when Stockman announced last year he would forgo another term in the House to mount what turned out to be an ill-fated challenge to Sen. John Cornyn.
August 28, 2014
RINDGE, N.H. — The total Hispanic population in the sprawling 2nd District hovers just above 3 percent, making it one of the least diverse House districts in the country. But Granite State Republicans could nominate a young Latina with star potential who’s already earned plaudits from national conservatives.
At last week’s Monadnock Debate on the campus of Franklin Pierce University, former state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, 31, was attacked like the front-runner ahead of New Hampshire’s Sept. 9 primary.
Outside the auditorium, a flock of geese garnered more attention than any raucous sign-wavers for Garcia or anyone else on the stage — but the debate itself wasn’t without fireworks. Garcia’s opponents jumped on her relative inexperience, but they also attacked her on an issue that might surprise out-of-state voters.
Even in New Hampshire, thousands of miles away from the southern border, immigration has become a wedge in GOP primaries.
Gary Lambert, a Nashua attorney with 35-plus years of service in the Marine Corps who picked up the endorsement of a hometown newspaper on Monday, said immigration policy is an issue out on the campaign trail.
“I’m just telling you that out there in the 2nd District that issue is extremely important to the voters,” Lambert said. “It comes up at almost every single meeting. It’s one of the singular issues out there. Folks are very worried about the president and his executive amnesty plan.” Full story
North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is going up with a new ad Tuesday to combat Democratic ads attacking him for cuts to education.
The state House speaker faces Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in one of the most competitive races and likely the most expensive. The ad is the first of a $1.4 million coordinated buy with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Tillis rebuts those claims in the new ad, in which he illustrates on a classroom whiteboard how often Hagan votes with President Barack Obama. Full story
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a new TV ad in Arkansas Thursday that continues a theme of portraying Republican Rep. Tom Cotton as someone voters can’t trust.
The DSCC’s latest spot is part of a total $3.6 million investment to support Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, whose brand has helped make him competitive for re-election in this Republican-leaning state and in a challenging national environment for his party.
The ad targets the freshman congressman on Social Security. It features Brett Smith of Helena, Ark., vocalizing his concern for his retirement.
“I can see my retirement from here, but every time I see Tom Cotton I feel it slipping away,” Smith says in the ad. Full story
Aurora, Colo. — Outside the Cinema Latino as he campaigned against Rep. Mike Coffman, Democratic House hopeful Andrew Romanoff outlines his strategy for winning over Hispanic voters critical to his chances in the Nov. 4 contest.
Romanoff told CQ Roll Call he is optimistic turnout will be high, thanks in part to a state law passed last year to allow same-day registration and voting, as well as a requirement every voters is automatically sent mail-in ballots.
“Those two things — universal mail-in balloting, Election Day registration — will increase turnout and that’s good not just for my campaign…but I think for democracy,” said Romanoff, the former state house speaker.
To win here, Democrats need Latinos to vote. Romanoff, who speaks fluent Spanish, has been trying to win over the community as he battles Coffman in a race The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rate a Tossup.
That’s one reason why on this summer day his campaign has reached out Cinema Latino’s management team for a tour. He lauded the business owners as working to “maximize their connection to the community.” Romanoff has visited a few dozen small- and medium-sized businesses as he tries to win over voters in the 6th District in the central part of the Centennial State. Full story
August 27, 2014
National Democrats are launching yet another TV ad hitting North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis on state cuts to public education.
Education is rarely the leading issue in a Senate race, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its allies are pushing to ensure it stays at the forefront of the conversation. Tillis, the speaker of the state House, is challenging Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in a top GOP pickup opportunity.
Senate Majority PAC and EMILY’s List have run similar ads. The latest one is from the DSCC, the second spot of a total $9.1 million buy in the state through the election.
“Our schools are not some luxury,” North Carolina resident Shawn Jackson says in the ad. “But the tax cuts that Thom Tillis gave out for private jets and yachts? Those are. I don’t understand his priorities.” Full story
The GOP primary remained too close to call Wednesday morning in the race to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, in Arizona’s 1st District.
State House Speaker Andy Tobin had 36 percent of the vote, while rancher Gary Kiehne trailed with 35 percent, according to The Associated Press. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 291 votes separated the two Republicans.
State Rep. Adam Kwasman followed with 29 percent of the vote.
August 26, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis entered the midterms as one of the most vulnerable Republicans on the map.
In 2012, the former staffer for Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., won the 13th District by a mere 1,002 votes to a perennial Democrat panned by party operatives. This cycle, Democrats in Illinois and Washington, D.C., recruited former judge Ann Callis, billing her as a top-tier challenger who could win this Springfield-based swing seat.
But nearly two months from Election Day, Republican operatives in the Land of Lincoln and Washington, D.C., are cautiously optimistic about Davis’ chances, thanks to his adept political skills and favorable tail winds behind the GOP in the midterms. At the same time, Republicans and, privately, Democrats say Callis has not lived up to her candidacy’s hype or made the necessary inroads to win the district.
“Other than knowing her name I don’t know if she even exists, frankly,” said Mark Scranton, a Republican and blasting and painting company owner from Decatur at the Illinois State Fair. “It’s going to be a challenging race, but I think Rodney’s been in office long enough that he’s proven himself, he makes himself available to his constituents, he’s been in my business several times over the last two or three years.”
Davis also appeared confident at Republican Day, Aug. 14, at the fair, where he glad-handed his way through the crowd of GOP insiders at the unofficial kick-off to election season. A red cup in hand, Davis handed out hugs and back slaps, catching up with operatives, insiders and elected officials, many of whom were pals from his years as a political operative in Illinois and on Capitol Hill.
Former state Sen. Steve Russell easily defeated State Corporations Commissioner Patrice Douglas in Tuesday’s GOP runoff, and now he is on a clear course to join Congress this fall representing Oklahoma’s 5th District.
Russell defeated Douglas, 59 percent to 41 percent, with 31 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Full story
Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo won the Republican nomination and will face Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia in the fall in Florida’s 26th District,
Curbelo had 48 percent of the vote when the AP called the primary for him.
The penultimate primary night of the 2014 midterm elections season is upon us Tuesday as the Roll Call Politics Team tracks results in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida.
Starting at 7 p.m., follow along below for live results and analysis from congressional races.
Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar called his bid for California’s 31st District the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a Republican seat in the midterms.
“It is the most Democratic seat held by a Republican in the nation,” Aguilar told CQ Roll Call in a July 16 interview. “And the Republican decided to retire. So this is a great opportunity, Democrats’ best opportunity for a pickup.” Full story
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte stars in the latest ad from Republican Scott P. Brown, her former Senate colleague from Massachusetts who is trying to oust Granite State Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
August 25, 2014
LOUDON, N.H. — Will the 2014 midterms prove the death-knell for the traditional New Hampshire town hall?
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown and his backers have been relentless in pushing the case that the Democratic rival he’s trying to unseat, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, has eschewed the traditional format in a way that dodges tough questions from ordinary Granite State voters about supporting President Barack Obama’s agenda.
But should Shaheen and several other Democrats on the ballot in New Hampshire prevail, even in an unfavorable national climate, it might be grounds to reconsider the town hall format even for national candidates like those aiming to win the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
Shaheen’s argument is that town halls have the propensity to be taken over by outside interest groups. She brushed off the Republican criticism last week, after an official Senate and Department of Agriculture event at a local farm.