Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

Posts by Emily Cahn

582 Posts

September 19, 2014

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

September 18, 2014

The ‘Cory Booker of California’ Leaps to Safer Ground

The Cory Booker of California Leaps to Safer Ground

Ruiz is a freshman Democrat from California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a story even Hollywood couldn’t concoct.

Once arguably the most vulnerable House Democrat in California, freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz has climbed to safer ground in the final months of the midterms. His position can be chalked up to a series of politically fortunate — albeit grave — events on two separate flights to the Palm Springs-based 36th District.

Ruiz represents competitive territory that President Barack Obama won by only 3 points last cycle. The freshman started the midterms as a top GOP target, and Republicans were confident in their recruit, Assemblyman Brian Nestande.

Then, the completely unexpected happened. Twice.  Full story

September 16, 2014

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

Report: Congressional Candidate Fundraising Down in Midterms

A new report says congressional candidates aren't raising as much money as a whole this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Residents of states with competitive House and Senate races may not believe it, but congressional candidate spending has decreased in 2014, according to a review by the Federal Election Commission released Tuesday.

Congressional candidates raised more than $1.1 billion combined in the first 18 months of the midterm elections. Of those funds, candidates spent $767 million as of June 30, which marked the end of the second quarter of the year.

Both of those figures are down from 2012, when candidates had raised $1.2 billion at the same point in the cycle. In fact, this cycle’s total is the lowest amount raised in this period since 2008.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 5:49 p.m.
DCCC, DSCC, FEC, NRCC, NRSC

NRCC Makes $1 Million Ad Buy to Defend GOP Incumbent

NRCC Makes $1 Million Ad Buy to Defend GOP Incumbent

Benishek is getting help from the NRCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday reserved $1 million in television airtime to defend Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek, according to a source tracking buys in the district.

The NRCC will go up Friday on Traverse City broadcast and stay up through Election Day in support of the two-term incumbent. The buy, which was not part of the NRCC’s initial slew of ad reservations in June, is a signal the party views Benishek as vulnerable.

In 2012, Benishek squeaked his way to a second term by less than a point, even as Mitt Romney won the northern Michigan-based 1st District — which includes the Upper Peninsula — by an 8-point margin.

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September 15, 2014

Shop Talk: Republican Group Starts Women’s Outreach Series

Shop Talk: Republican Group Starts Womens Outreach Series

Ellmers is scheduled to participate in a women's outreach town hall this month in Charlotte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Main Street Advocacy, a group that seeks to promote moderate Republican ideas, will launch a nationwide initiative later this month to bring more women into the political process.

“Women2Women” kicks off Sept. 25 in Charlotte. GOP Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana are expected to attend the discussion of issues that women say drive them to the ballot box.

The idea is the brainchild of Sarah Chamberlain, the group’s chief operating officer, who grew frustrated over the past two cycles when Republican candidates’ comments on social issues helped squander GOP pickup opportunities — hindering the party’s past efforts for Senate control. Remarks on rape from former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and former Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock in 2012 — who both lost their Senate races — sullied the GOP’s image among women and likely hurt the party’s chances in other states.

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Democrats Sound the Alarm on Southern California Race

Democrats Sound the Alarm on Southern California Race

Brownley is a freshman Democrat from California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are sending warning signals on a previously sleepy southern California House race — a tangible sign of an increasingly tough midterm for the party.

Freshman Rep. Julia Brownley is one of three House Democrats receiving extra and early help from the national party. A year ago, her district was barely on the party’s radar of competitive races, after President Barack Obama carried it by 10 points last cycle.

“This is a tight race and a difficult seat, and we are committed to hanging onto it,” said Matt Thornton, a spokesman for House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC aiding Brownley’s re-election.

Full story

Democratic Poll Shows Dead Heat in New Jersey Race

Democratic Poll Shows Dead Heat in New Jersey Race

MacArthur is running for the House in southern New Jersey. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll shows a dead heat in a competitive New Jersey House race.

In the survey, obtained first by CQ Roll Call, insurance company owner Tom MacArthur, the Republican nominee, leads the Democrat, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, 46 percent to 43 percent. The results are within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

New Jersey’s 3rd District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Jon Runyan is retiring. The district, which starts in the Philadelphia suburbs and runs east to the Garden State’s coastline, picked President Barack Obama by a 5-point margin in 2012.

But the president’s unpopularity has shifted the national political climate to increasingly favor the GOP in the midterms. Full story

Rand Paul Sets Timeline to Decide Presidential Bid

Rand Paul Sets Timeline to Decide Presidential Bid

Rand Paul has said he's considering running for president in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul will announce whether he’ll run for president by next spring, the Kentucky Republican said Monday.

“Next spring we’ll probably — our decision — when we’ll make our final decision,” Paul told anchor Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning.”

Paul is one of a handful of Republican senators mulling a national bid in 2016. Full story

September 10, 2014

Iowa Poll: Democrat Leads in Top House Contest

Iowa Poll: Democrat Leads in Top House Contest

Young is a Republican running in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll found former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat, with a 6-point lead over GOP nominee David Young in a top-target House contest in Iowa.

Appel leads Young, 40 percent to 34 percent, just outside the poll’s margin of error, with 24 percent of voters undecided, according to the independent survey conducted by Loras College and released on Wednesday. Full story

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

Tierney lost his primary Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By the time Massachusetts Rep. John F. Tierney knew he had a real primary race on his hands, it was too late.

The nine-term lawmaker lost Tuesday night to fellow Democrat Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran who latched onto frustration with Tierney’s past ethical troubles and an anti-incumbent sentiment to win by a stunning 8-point margin.

Multiple Democratic operatives in the Bay State and the District say the race shifted quickly in Moulton’s favor in the final week and a half, as voters ended summer vacations, kids returned to school and the electorate as a whole began to finally pay attention to the race.

By that point, Moulton had been on air for weeks with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that Tierney declined to match. Moulton ran spots painting himself as the more electable Democrat in the 6th District, located in the suburbs and towns northeast of Boston. The region’s biggest newspapers, including the Boston Globe, endorsed Moulton, which he touted in his closing ads as a final sell to remaining undecided voters.

“It just moved faster than I think anyone thought it would,” said a Democratic operative privy to internal polling in the contest. “It closed quickly, but that’s what a million dollars in unanswered spending does.”

Full story

How ‘Establishment’ Republicans Got the House Candidates They Wanted

How Establishment Republicans Got the House Candidates They Wanted

Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Earlier this year, House Republicans had 12 potential problems that stood in the way of extending their majority.

A dozen primaries could ruin the House GOP’s prospects by selecting unpalatable nominees in otherwise competitive races.

But when primary season concluded Tuesday, House Republicans had essentially run the table with their party’s picks, nominating the strongest general-election candidate in nearly every hot race in 2014. Republican and Democratic operatives credit the success to a handful of factors, including intervention from outside groups, self-funding candidates and — in some cases — luck.

Full story

September 9, 2014

John Tierney Loses Primary in Massachusetts (Video)

John Tierney Loses Primary in Massachusetts (Video)

Tierney is a Massachusetts Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:52 p.m. | Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., became the cycle’s first Democratic incumbent to lose a primary Tuesday when he fell to a well-funded challenger in the 6th District.

Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton was leading Tierney, 51 percent to 40 percent, when The Associated Press called the race for the challenger.

Moulton now moves on to face former state Sen. Richard Tisei in November in this district, located northeast of Boston. Full story

4 Things to Watch in the Final Primaries of 2014

4 Things to Watch in the Final Primaries of 2014

Garcia is running the GOP primary in the 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The final primary night of the midterms takes place Tuesday, with consequential contests across New England and Delaware.

In New Hampshire, former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., faces a crowded GOP primary filled with hopes of challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November. Down the ballot in the Granite State, GOP primaries in House races will determine nominees in two key contests.

Across the border in Massachusetts, Rep. John F. Tierney faces the toughest primary of his 18-year congressional career. He could be the fourth incumbent to lose re-election in a primary in 2014 — and perhaps the only Democrat (to see which members lost their primaries this cycle, check out Roll Call’s Casualty List).

There are also primaries in Delaware and Rhode Island, although neither state features competitive congressional races.

Polls close in all four states at 8 p.m. You can follow live result updates on Roll Call’s “At the Races” politics blog.

Here’s what to watch:

Full story

September 8, 2014

Could John Tierney Lose His Primary?

Could John Tierney Lose His Primary?

Tierney is a Massachusetts Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John F. Tierney faces the toughest primary of his 18-year congressional career Tuesday, when he will attempt to stave off a well-funded, top-flight Democratic opponent.

For months, polls have shown Tierney with a hefty advantage over Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton. But in the final days before the Massachusetts primary, automated polls showed the congressman with minuscule, single-digit leads.

It’s clear Tierney also feels the heat on the ground.

“The fact Barney Frank and Joe Kennedy are campaigning for Tierney, and a brutal ad he ran during the Patriots game at halftime against Moulton tells you he is in trouble,” Mary Anne Marsh, a Massachusetts Democratic operative, said of the 6th District lawmaker. ”It is fair to say it is a jump ball that will be decided by ground game Tuesday.”

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NRCC Announces Another Crop of ‘Young Guns’

NRCC Announces Another Crop of Young Guns

Walden is a Oregon Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Monday nine more candidates had achieved “Young Gun” status, the top tier of their candidate recruitment and training program.

The new members increases the number of “Young Gun” candidates this cycle to 43. These candidates have met unannounced fundraising and organizational goals. In return, the NRCC gives them fundraising and strategic help.

House Democrats would have to pick up a net of 17 seats to win the majority in the next Congress — a nearly impossible scenario. Instead, House Republicans are poised to pick up a few seats, thanks in part to the president’s unpopularity.

“Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said in a news release. “These candidates will fight to stop the harmful consequences of ObamaCare, grow the economy and get Washington’s spending under control.”

The new Young Gun candidates are:

Full story

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