Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Posts by Emily Cahn

545 Posts

July 31, 2014

Scott DesJarlais’ Re-Election Hopes Rise, Despite Abortion Scandal (Video)

Scott DesJarlais Re Election Hopes Rise, Despite Abortion Scandal (Video)

Scott DesJarlais practices ahead of the congressional football game. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Two years is a lifetime in politics. Just ask Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

GOP operatives had all but written off the Tennessee Republican. In October 2012, it was revealed the anti-abortion rights physician had encouraged an ex-wife to have two abortions prior to their marriage and had carried on multiple affairs with patients and co-workers — an infraction for which he was fined $500 by a medical board.

It was too late for DesJarlais to face a serious challenge that cycle, but he soon became one of 2014′s most vulnerable House members. As DesJarlais’ campaign cash flow dried up, he faced a formidable foe: state Sen. Jim Tracy.

Until recently, Tennessee Republicans expected Tracy, a longtime state politician, to cruise past DesJarlais in the Aug. 7 primary. But in the final days of the race, DesJarlais is in a better position than Republicans ever anticipated.

He might even win. Full story

July 30, 2014

GOP Congressman’s Abortion Scandal Broadcast in New TV Ad

GOP Congressmans Abortion Scandal Broadcast in New TV Ad

DesJarlais is a Republican from Tennessee. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, the Tennessee Republican who came under fire in 2012 after unearthed divorce proceedings revealed he encouraged an ex-wife to have two abortions, is contending with the scandal again, days out from the Volunteer State primary.

State Sen. Jim Tracy, the top Republican challenging DesJarlais in the Aug. 7 GOP primary in the 4th District, is airing a scathing ad in the final two weeks of the contest. It’s on the airwaves during the pivotal early voting period, which began July 18 and runs through Aug. 2.

“The press says Congressman DesJarlais no longer has credibility,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot. “Reprimanded, fined for unethical conduct, he deliberately deceived the voters. Conservatives said DesJarlais should resign because of his hypocrisy. Scandal makes DesJarlais ineffective in Washington.”

Full story

July 29, 2014

Obama Lawsuit, Impeachment Threats Raise Cash for House Democrats

Obama Lawsuit, Impeachment Threats Raise Cash for House Democrats

Steve Israel of New York is the Chairman of the DCCC. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican threats of suing or impeaching President Barack Obama have unleashed a flood of donations to House Democrats, their campaign chief told reporters Tuesday morning.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said those threats helped him raise $1 million in online contributions in 24 hours on Monday, mostly from small-dollar donors.

“The Republican strategy of lawsuits and approaching impeachment is fundamentally misfiring,” the New York Democrat said at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s amassing resources for us.”
Full story

Ex-Congressman Tacks to Center in GOP Comeback Bid

Ex Congressman Tacks to Center in GOP Comeback Bid

Tiahrt dressed up as Wyatt Earp as a delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A former congressman is attempting a comeback by appealing to an unconventional bloc of GOP primary voters: moderates.

And that’s not even strangest thing about former Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s campaign to oust his successor, GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, on Aug. 5. With the help of one of Pompeo’s former foes, wealthy oilman Wink Hartman, Tiahrt is taking on his one-time backers and the GOP’s ultimate Goliath, the Koch brothers, in their own backyard.

Tiahrt’s eleventh-hour bid comes four years after he lost a bitter Senate primary to now-Sen. Jerry Moran. After that, the former eight-term appropriator endorsed Pompeo — twice.

Then there’s the ex-congressman’s message: Tiahrt is running to the left of Pompeo, striking a populist tone in the conservative district.

“It’s tough to get to 50 [percent] that way in a Republican primary in the 4th District of Kansas,” said David Kensinger, a former chief of staff to Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Full story

July 27, 2014

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Predicts Wave Election for Republicans

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Predicts Wave Election for Republicans

Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One hundred days from Nov. 4, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said he expects House Republicans will ride a political wave in November.

In an exclusive sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call, the Oregon Republican was bullish about his party’s prospects, predicting they would pick up 11 House seats in November. That number would bring their majority to 245 members — the biggest Republican majority since 1945.

“I know what it felt like in ’06 to be us,” Walden said in the interview, referring to the year Democrats picked up 31 seats and took control of the House for the first time in 12 years. “When you get that gale force wind in your face, you get blown away.”

Full story

July 24, 2014

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

Scott Peters is a freshman Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., holds a slight lead over his GOP challenger, former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, more than three months from Election Day, in a new poll conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Peters leads DeMaio, 48 percent to 43 percent — slightly outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies and surveyed 400 likely voters via live telephone between July 20-22.

This race in California’s 52nd District, located in and around San Diego, is a top Republican target in November. The National Republican Congressional Committee has touted DeMaio as a top recruit in the district that President Barack Obama won with 52 percent last cycle. 

Here’s the full survey memo:

Full story

July 22, 2014

Georgia Runoff Results for House Races: Ex-Congressman Bob Barr Loses Comeback Bid

Georgia Runoff Results for House Races: Ex Congressman Bob Barr Loses Comeback Bid

Jody Hice defeated Mike Collins, above, for the GOP nod in a Georgia House race. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:52 p.m. | Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk thwarted former Rep. Bobb Barr’s comeback, capturing a decisive win in Tuesday’s GOP runoff.

Loudermilk defeated Barr 70 percent to 30 percent, with 41 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

There is no Democrat running in the 11th District in the fall, making Loudermilk the de facto next member of Congress from this Marietta-based district. He will succeed Rep. Phil Gingrey, who lost a GOP Senate primary in May.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

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

Georgia Republicans will pick their nominee for Senate in a runoff Tuesday, ending Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn’s nine-week wait for an opponent in the open-seat contest.

The Senate contest has reverberated around the Peach State, creating three open-seat House races with GOP runoffs that will also be decided Tuesday.

In the statewide race, many Republicans said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., has a small edge over former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue. Both of whom have spent millions on the anticipated low-turnout contest, and polls close at 7 p.m.

In May, Perdue came in first in a seven-candidate Republican primary field that included three members of Congress with 31 percent — below the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. Kingston came in second with 26 percent.

Full story

Florida Congressman Makes $1.4 Million Ad Buy for Re-Election

Florida Congressman Makes $1.4 Million Ad Buy for Re Election

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

Rep. Patrick Murphy’s campaign made its first ad buy Monday in Florida’s 18th District, reserving $1.4 million in cable and broadcast in the West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast media market, according to figures shared first with CQ Roll Call.

The Democrat’s buy runs through the summer and into the fall in this district, located in the northeast corner of Palm Beach County, according to his campaign.

The freshman is a fundraising powerhouse, bringing in $759,000 in the second quarter and reporting more than $2.6 million in cash on hand as of June 30.

Full story

July 20, 2014

Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries

Megachurches Prove Mega Influential in GOP Primaries

Collins, left, is a Georgia Republican and former senior pastor at his church. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The influence of religious conservatives might be waning nationwide, but the movement only stands to grow in Congress.

Already this year, three candidates with close ties to massive churches won decisive Republican primaries. A fourth — Pastor Jody Hice — could win a Tuesday GOP primary runoff in Georgia and come to Congress in November.

Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.

But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.

“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Full story

July 15, 2014

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Bachus, right, is not seeking re-election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative activist Gary Palmer defeated state Rep. Paul DeMarco Tuesday to win the GOP nomination in Alabama’s 6th District.

Palmer defeated DeMarco, 62 percent to 38 percent, with 50 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

GOP operatives say DeMarco’s loss is partly a result of the Club for Growth’s barrage of spending in the final weeks of the runoff. The GOP nominee will almost certainly succeed Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who is retiring from this conservative district.

Full story

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

Coble endorsed Berger to succeed him in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baptist Pastor Mark Walker defeated Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s open 6th District.

Walker garnered 57 percent to Berger’s 43 percent, with 59 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 6th District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Howard Coble is retiring.

Full story

John Boehner Raises More Than $6.2 Million

John Boehner Raises More Than $6.2 Million

Boehner is an Ohio Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio will report bringing in more than $6.2 million in the second quarter across three committees, according to fundraising figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

In that haul, Boehner raised $871,000 for his re-election, $5 million for his nationally focused joint fundraising committee, and $300,000 for his leadership PAC.

Full story

DCCC Tops NRCC in Second Quarter Fundraising

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee topped its Republican counterpart by $1.3 million in June fundraising and $5.6 million in the second quarter overall, according to figures released Tuesday.

The DCCC’s $10.9 million haul in June was bolstered by digital fundraising efforts tied to the Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case and Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama. The committee ended June with $50.9 million in cash on hand, with four months left to go until the elections.

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $9.6 million in June, according to The Associated Press, and ended June with $42.5 million on hand.

Faced with the cash disparity, the NRCC is making a strong push for members of the House Republican Caucus to pony up their dues to the committee.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden named Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and John Shimkus of Illinois as the NRCCs “Battleground Program” chairmen. These members will serve as Walden’s top lieutenants to collect dues from their members.

Democrats hope to cut into the GOP’s 17-seat margin in the House.

Michael Grimm Fundraising Comes to Near Halt in June

Michael Grimm Fundraising Comes to Near Halt in June

Grimm's fundraising has slowed since his indictment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., raised just $23,000 from June 5 to June 30, as he continues to struggle for donations to his troubled re-election campaign in his Staten Island district.

Grimm finished the month with $1 million still in cash on hand but was $439,000 in debt, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The incumbent faces tough odds for re-election after being indicted in late April on multiple fraud charges. That led to an immediate plunge in campaign contributions, as he raised $47,000 from April 1 to June 4.

And he faces a top Democratic recruit in former New York City Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia Jr. Full story

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