Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Posts by Alexis Levinson

79 Posts

August 1, 2014

How Lamar Alexander Staved Off His Primary Challenger

How Lamar Alexander Staved Off His Primary Challenger

Alexander faces a primary on Aug. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservatives have poured millions into primary challenges to senators this cycle, even in races where chances of success were slim.

But Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has proved one of the greatest exceptions, and now he’s poised to defeated state Rep. Joe Carr and several lesser-known challengers in the Aug. 7 GOP primary.

So how did Alexander avoid the fate of many of his colleagues? Full story

July 30, 2014

Lamar Alexander Still Up Big in Internal Primary Poll

Lamar Alexander Still Up Big in Internal Primary Poll

Alexander's internal polling shows him with a strong primary lead. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A fresh poll conducted for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign found he continues to hold a comfortable lead with just more than a week to go in the Tennessee Republican primary.

Alexander took 53 percent in the poll, according to a memo the Alexander campaign provided at CQ Roll Call’s request. State Rep. Joe Carr, Alexander’s most prominent challenger, took 24 percent, followed by physician George Flinn with 5 percent. The four other candidates in the race took 1 percent or less. Full story

July 29, 2014

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover

Roberts faces a primary challenge on Aug. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As conservatives reel from a bruising loss in Mississippi, they are looking to the primary in Kansas to knock off an incumbent and salve their wounds.

But on Aug. 5, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts faces Milton Wolf in a primary, they will likely realize they are not in Mississippi anymore.

Roberts has been in office for several decades — much like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who survived a runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel last month by a narrow margin but galvanized conservatives to make it a close contest. The Kansan has been criticized for spending more time in Washington than in his home state — another accusation McDaniel leveled at Cochran.

But unlike McDaniel, Wolf’s bark might be stronger than his bite.

Full story

July 23, 2014

Chris McDaniel Finished Mississippi Senate Runoff With $386,000

Chris McDaniel Finished Mississippi Senate Runoff With $386,000

McDaniel had nearly $400,000 left after his runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chris McDaniel, who may soon launch an official challenge to the results of the Mississippi Republican Senate runoff, still had $386,000 in his campaign coffers a week after the late June election, according to his July quarterly report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

McDaniel, who hoped to use that money for the November general election, instead lost to Sen. Thad Cochran by more than 7,600 votes. But he’s since refused to concede.

Nearly a month later, his campaign continues to allege that Cochran won with illegitimate votes, and his supporters are going through Mississippi election records to determine if enough potentially illegal votes were cast to allow McDaniel to formally challenge the results. Full story

July 22, 2014

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Kay Hagan will seek re-election in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Freedom Partners, a group affiliated with the Koch Brothers, has purchased at least $2.8 million in airtime in North Carolina to boost the GOP’s bid to pick up the state’s Senate seat, two sources told CQ Roll Call.

The airtime will benefit state Speaker Thom Tillis, who faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a competitive race that could determine which party holds the Senate next year.  Full story

July 18, 2014

Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting ‘Irregularities’

Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting Irregularities

Chris McDaniel is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel said in a Friday radio interview that he expects to find over 10,000 voting “irregularities” in his campaign’s investigation of the June GOP runoff.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was officially declared the winner of that runoff by a margin of more than 7,600 votes. But McDaniel has not conceded the GOP nomination, and his supporters are examining ballots in every county in Mississippi to determine if there was any deliberate voter fraud or if anyone voted in the runoff who was ineligible to do so.

Full story

July 17, 2014

Oregon Republican Raises $955,000 for Senate Bid

 

Oregon Republican Raises $955,000 for Senate Bid

Wehby is challenging Merkley, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oregon Republican Monica Wehby will report raising more than $955,000 in her bid for Senate in the second quarter, according to fundraising figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. She raised most of that haul — $846,000 — since May 1. Full story

July 16, 2014

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel is preparing to challenge the Mississippi runoff results. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorneys for state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Wednesday they have sufficient evidence to challenge the results of Mississippi’s Republican Senate runoff — which McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran last month — and expect to do so in the next 10 days.

“We’ve heard it our entire life in Mississippi,” McDaniel campaign attorney Mitch Tyner said at a press conference in Jackson. “Votes are being bought. Ballot boxes are being stuffed. … Personally, I’m 51 years old, it’s the first time I saw it up close and personal. And it exists. And we are committed to finding it and rooting it out and stopping it.”

Cochran was declared the winner of the June 24 primary runoff by a margin of 7,667 votes. McDaniel has refused to concede, and his campaign is now reviewing the voting records in all 82 counties of Mississippi. Full story

July 15, 2014

Democrats Try to Turn Cory Gardner Into Todd Akin (Video)

Democrats Try to Turn Cory Gardner Into Todd Akin (Video)

Udall is a co-sponsor on the Senate bill in response to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats want to make Rep. Cory Gardner the next Todd Akin — but it’s not so easy.

The Colorado Republican is challenging Sen. Mark Udall and putting a pivotal race in play for his party, which must net six seats to win control of the Senate. In response, Democrats have focused their attacks on Gardner on women’s health issues — a topic that has proved to be a land mine for some Republican hopefuls in past races.

On Wednesday, the Senate is expected to have a procedural vote on a measure that would effectively nullify the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, which allowed some employers to not offer birth control coverage in health insurance plans. The vote will likely fail, but it’s given Udall a prime opportunity to serve as one of his party’s top voices on the issue in Washington and home in Colorado.

Full story

July 7, 2014

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

The McDaniel campaign is challenging the results of last month's runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s attorney confirmed Monday the campaign’s plans to challenge the results of last month’s Senate runoff, arguing the only solution is to hold a new election for the GOP nomination.

McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 24 GOP runoff by about 6,700 votes. Since then, McDaniel’s allies have contested the results and his team offered a cash prize for anyone who can provide evidence of voter fraud.

“The correct remedy is a new election,” said Mitch Tyner, lead counsel for the McDaniel campaign. He added campaign volunteers have reviewed runoff results in 82 counties and have found evidence of voter fraud.

Full story

July 3, 2014

Chris McDaniel Offers $15,000 Reward for Voter Fraud Evidence

Chris McDaniel Offers $15,000 Reward for Voter Fraud Evidence

Chris McDaniel is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

State Sen. Chris McDaniel has offered 15 rewards of $1,000 each to any person who can “provide evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud” in the Republican primary for Senate in Mississippi.

On Thursday, his campaign announced the “challenge” in the latest episode in a circus of a Senate race. Full story

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

Brown is running for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: July 3, 8:20 a.m. | Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown got Mitt Romney’s endorsement in New Hampshire Wednesday — but it might be a while until his comeback bid gets a lift from any of the Republicans seeking the GOP nod in 2016.

Typically, presidential hopefuls hustle to make inroads into the Granite State, which hosts the first primary on the national nominating calendar.

But the GOP’s 2016 prospects are so far staying away from that Senate race for fear of upsetting prickly Republican activists by endorsing Brown, who was a more moderate Republican in the Senate and supports abortion rights.

Brown is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination on Sept. 9, when he will likely defeat former Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The GOP nominee will face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in November. Full story

July 2, 2014

Thad Cochran Conference Call Descends Into Chaos

Thad Cochran Conference Call Descends Into Chaos

Thad Cochran, above, won the GOP runoff for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conference call held by Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign quickly devolved into chaos and ended Wednesday after one of the participants repeatedly asked racially charged questions.

The call was held to address a lawsuit challenging the runoff results for the Republican nomination. Cochran defeated his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, by 6,700 votes last week, but McDaniel has refused to concede and his supporters allege Cochran won with the help of illegal votes.

The call was held for the national media who could not be at a news conference in Jackson. But 5 minutes after it started, there were 67 people on the call, and at least 10 more joined later.

Full story

Lamar Alexander Argues With Obama Over Obamacare in New Ad (Video)

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, raised over $900,000 for his re-election bid in the second quarter, his campaign said Wednesday. He also launched a new ad featuring the senator arguing with President Barack Obama.

Alexander now has $3.4 million cash on hand, according to his campaign, with just over a month to go until Tennessee’s Aug. 8 Republican primary.

The new ad shows C-SPAN footage of the White House Healthcare Summit in February of 2010. Alexander was one of several Republicans to attend the bipartisan meeting, and at one point, he engaged with Obama over whether healthcare premiums would rise as a result of Obamacare.

“When you said, ‘premiums go up,’ that’s just not case,” Obama says in the clip, addressing Alexander.

“The Congressional Budget Office report says that premiums will rise,” Alexander responds.

“No, no, no, no, and this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight,” Obama says.

“That’s my point,” says Alexander.

“Lamar was proven right,” a narrator says in the ad.

The ad will begin running statewide on July 6, according to the campaign.

Alexander faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Joe Carr. Carr has drawn significantly more attention in recent weeks since House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was defeated in a primary by unknown and underfunded college professor Dave Brat. He recently went up with his first ad of the campaign, attacking Alexander for voting for the Senate’s immigration overhaul bill.

The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Conservative Lawsuit Challenges Cochran Runoff Win

Conservative Lawsuit Challenges Cochran Runoff Win

Thad Cochran defeated Chris McDaniel, above, in the GOP runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A conservative group has taken up state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s cause, filing a lawsuit against the Mississippi Secretary of State and the Republican Party of Mississippi  to challenge the results of the recent runoff for Senate.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., defeated McDaniel by a 6,700-vote margin in the June 24 runoff and won the GOP nomination.

Now a conservative group, True the Vote, alleged Wednesday they were denied access to election records, specifically in Hinds and Rankin Counties. They also allege that they found evidence of unlawful “double-voting,” in which Mississippians who voted in the Democratic primary later voted in the Republican runoff three weeks later.

But McDaniel and his supporters face long odds to overturn the results of the runoff. Mississippi state election law has no provision for a recount, and observers say McDaniel is unlikely to find enough illegally cast votes to make up the difference between him and Cochran. What’s more, it’s difficult to prove a runoff voter does not plan to vote for a Republican in the general election.

Full story

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