Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

September 22, 2014

Mary Landrieu to Keg-Stand Critics: ‘Get a Life’

Mary Landrieu to Keg Stand Critics: Get a Life

Landrieu, right, answers questions from the local media during her event with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, in Baton Rouge, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — In the shadow of the state Capitol on Monday, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu had a message for any Republican critics of her decision Saturday to help a Louisiana State University football fan perform a keg stand as she campaigned across campus.

“They need to get a sense of humor, and they need to get a life — it’s just the way we roll,” Landrieu said in response to a question at a news conference where she and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., exchanged endorsements.

Landrieu went on to note that the fan was a 28-year-old alumnus with a master’s degree in business. Full story

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in California House Contest

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in California House Contest

Bera is a freshman Democrat from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

A new Democratic poll showed freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., with a slim lead over former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., in the race for his Sacramento-based district.

In a survey conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call, Bera leads Ose, 47 percent to 43 percent. The Democrat’s advantage was just inside the poll’s margin of error of 4.7 points. 

The two pols are facing off in competitive 7th District, which President Barack Obama carried by just 4 points in 2012. The contest is rated Leans Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Landrieu poses for a selfie with LSU football fans as she campaigns at tailgate parties on campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Six weeks from Election Day, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu gathered the troops on the Louisiana State University campus, where tens of thousands of football fans and prospective voters congregated for hours ahead of the Saturday night game.

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!The three-term Democrat faces arguably her most challenging race yet against, among others, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who worked the Tigers fans for votes a couple hours later. Landrieu’s best shot may be to break 50 percent in the November jungle primary, but that avenue to victory has shrunk since her last race in a state increasingly difficult for any Democrat to win.

For that reason, Landrieu attempted to reach every voter she could among the boisterous and boozy crowd before kickoff.

Nearly two dozen volunteers and staff formed a circle around Landrieu at a tailgate in the heart of campus, where her younger brother Martin offered food, water and beer to the campaigners — who all had been trying to keep up with the hyper-speed pace of the senator for more than a half hour already. Landrieu ordered the group to split in two, to remind voters about the Nov. 4 jungle primary, early voting dates and to hand out stickers.

“Not everybody is going to be a supporter,” Landrieu told them, “but just be nice, friendly. You’re very visible.”

Not long after, Landrieu went to new lengths for a vote. Egged on to perform a keg stand, she instead held the spigot for a 20-something supporter — one of many methods the LSU faithful would use to imbibe that Saturday afternoon. Full story

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

Gardner is running for Senate in Colorado. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will air a new ad Monday in Colorado attacking GOP Rep. Cory Gardner on birth control.

The 30-second spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, criticizes Gardner for sponsoring a bill in congress called the “Life at Conception Act,” while saying he believes birth control pills should be available over the counter.

Gardner is challenging Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Republicans need to win six seats to retake control of the Senate, and with a number of Democratic incumbents up for re-election in more Republican-leaning states, Democrats can ill-afford to lose a purple state like Colorado.

“Gardner is sponsoring a bill to make most common forms of birth control illegal,” a male narrator says in the ad. “Gardner’s bill also makes all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.” Full story

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Davis greets Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at Republican Day during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a top Democratic target this cycle, had a 19-point lead over his opponent with six weeks to go until Election Day, according to a poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Davis led Democratic rival Ann Callis, 55 percent to 36 percent, in the survey of the 13th District conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided.

Full story

September 21, 2014

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies on CBS. (Screengrab/YouTube)

Think of it as must-book TV.

Six weeks before Election Day, campaigns are deciding where and when they want to air their political ads all over the country. But not all shows and networks are equal in the eyes of media buyers. They have more choices than ever, and they approach these decisions with deliberation and armed with ratings data.

In interviews, operatives repeatedly said they look for three kinds of programs for political ads: Live events, and shows that attract women and seniors. Both parties fight fiercely for the female demographic, and seniors serve as one of the most reliable voting blocs in a midterm.

In an ever-increasing effort to target voters, media buyers are attracted to cable’s niche audiences. But they also rely on a few broadcast gems for their desirable voters, er, viewers.

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

(Screengrab/YouTube)

Full story

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Landrieu assists on a keg stand at LSU on Saturday Sept. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — There are some wild and crazy people in there.

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg StandThat’s what a campaign staffer warned Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu as she eyed an opening to the Parade Grounds in the center of Louisiana State University, where football fans began setting up intricate tailgate parties campus-wide 24 hours before the Saturday night game.

Landrieu had already been working the campus with a fury for an hour, flanked by an army of volunteers in navy “I’m With Mary” t-shirts and handing out Landrieu for Senate stickers.

“Let’s do it,” responded Landrieu, who is one of the cycle’s most vulnerable senators as she seeks a fourth term. Full story

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

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