Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 18, 2014

Posts by David Eldridge

3 Posts

August 29, 2014

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas Roots

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas Roots

Babin and wife Roxanne celebrate. (Courtesy Tyler County Booster)

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.”

Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas RootsDuring 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.

Full story

August 11, 2014

McAllister Moving Past ‘Kissing Congressman’

McAllister Moving Past Kissing Congressman

McAllister gets welcomed back home. (Margaret Frances Eldridge/CQ Roll Call)

TALLULAH, La. — Vance McAllister’s political career flatlined earlier this year, a victim of self-inflicted wounds from an embarrassing infidelity scandal.

But less than three months before the midterm elections, the Louisiana Republican has suddenly, improbably, become the man to beat this November.

McAllister, who was holding a series of businesslike, low-drama town hall meetings in small communities in the east end of his mostly rural district last week, told CQ Roll Call that both he and his constituents have moved on from the ”Kissing Congressman” scandal that erupted in April, after a video surfaced showing him embracing a married staffer.

“It’s really only the Washington media that’s keeping that going,” he said in an interview outside the community meeting room in the small farm town of Winnsboro, population 4,910.

And, at least among the business leaders, city council members, farmers and veterans who attended the question-and-answer sessions in Winnsboro and nearby Tallulah, McAllister seemed to have a point.

The congressman was asked about the border crisis, the Keystone XL pipeline, national security issues and the problems with Department of Veterans Affairs — but not a single question arose about the video.

Full story

June 10, 2014

‘Moneyball’-Style Political Consultant Helped Brat Defeat Cantor

Political consultant John Pudner was a happy man Tuesday night, and why not? His candidate, Dave Brat, just walloped one of the most powerful Republican incumbents in the nation, despite being outspent by millions.

Pudner, who runs Concentric Direct, a political shop in Richmond, Va., emailed reporters after The Associated Press called the race for Brat, the novice politician and economics professor who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

“Congratulations to Dave Brat and the conservative grassroots of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District for putting together a stunning victory over Eric Cantor! What a huge victory for the conservative movement!” he wrote.

“We have often taken on causes on behalf of conservatives set to be vastly out-spent, and we have a track record of overcoming incredible odds. Tonight, we are so excited to have played a role for such a stellar candidate who truly represents the grassroots of his district, and I was thrilled to be a part … “

Pudner, according to his bio on Breitbart.com, is a former sportswriter and statistics analyst who has run more than 200 political campaigns while aslo serving as a consultant on sports. He runs a website that ranks basketball players and advises NBA teams on drafting players.

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