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

Posts by Emily Cahn

593 Posts

September 30, 2014

Republican Cavalry Starts Spending on House Races (Finally)

Republican Cavalry Starts Spending on House Races (Finally)

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

For months, Republicans feared outside groups would skip over House races this cycle, saving their cash for the battle over Senate control.

But the conservative cavalry has finally arrived.

Republican groups — which have mostly sat on the sidelines in House contests this cycle until recently — have reserved nearly $12 million on the television airwaves in competitive races through Election Day, according to two sources tracking ad buys in House contests across the country. The reservations, placed over the last two weeks, are a mix of GOP pickup opportunities and defensive ground.

The reservations include:

Full story

September 29, 2014

Collin Peterson Campaign Responds to GOP Poll

Collin Peterson Campaign Responds to GOP Poll

Peterson's race is rated Leans Democratic. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In response to a poll released last week by Republicans showing a tight race, Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson’s campaign on Monday released a poll of its own from early September that had found the incumbent with a wider lead.

The three-week-old survey, shared first with CQ Roll Call, showed the Democratic incumbent up 53 percent to 29 percent over state Sen. Torrey Westrom. Westrom’s poll, conducted Sept. 21-23 by the Tarrance Group, found Peterson with a 5-point lead.

The Peterson poll also showed the incumbent with a 58 percent favorable rating, with just 19 percent viewing him unfavorably. That survey of 405 likely voters was conducted by Global Strategy Group from Sept. 4-7 with a 4.9-point margin of error. Full story

September 28, 2014

Congressional ‘Perks’ Under Siege in Midterm Ads (Video)

Congressional Perks Under Siege in Midterm Ads (Video)

Peterson, seen here on the Hill with his band in 2012, has been scrutinized in campaign ads for accepting congressional 'perks.' (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Flights home from Washington, D.C., a six-figure salary and the House gym: They’re all perks of the congressional gig.

They’re also political collateral in more than a dozen House races this cycle.

In political ad after political ad, challengers are taking aim at incumbents for accepting “perks” in a Congress mired in gridlock. Incumbents feel the heat, emphasizing their own commitment to ending taxpayer-funded congressional benefits.

The irony, of course, is that the winning challengers will have access to the same salary and benefits as soon as they’re sworn into office in January. But operatives from both parties argue the message remains potent in a political environment where Congress is unpopular.

“Look, if you were any other person on the planet and you didn’t do your job and you still got paid and all the perks that came with it — the only other place you can do that is Wall Street, and they’re not so popular themselves,” said Democratic consultant Travis Lowe, who has made ads attacking GOP incumbents and their perks this cycle. “So of course, it hits a chord.”

Full story

September 26, 2014

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in Arkansas

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in Arkansas

Hays is a Democrat from Arkansas. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new campaign poll from Democrat Patrick Henry Hays showed him ahead of his Republican opponent by 3 points in one of his party’s top House targets in Arkansas.

Hays, the former mayor of North Little Rock, had a small lead over banker French Hill, 44 percent to 41 percent, according to the poll conducted by Global Strategy Group and paid for by Hays. That’s within the poll’s 4.8 percent margin of error.

Hays and Hill are vying for Arkansas’ 2nd District, an open-seat race because GOP Rep. Tim Griffin is leaving Congress to run for lieutenant governor. The district voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by a 12-point margin last cycle, and the race is rated a Leans Republican contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

September 25, 2014

Democratic Super PAC Enters Maine Race (Video)

Democratic Super PAC Enters Maine Race (Video)

Cain is a Democrat running in Maine. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC will start airing advertisements Friday targeting an open seat in Maine, suggesting Democrats are concerned the race could become more competitive than initially anticipated.

HMP, a super PAC aiding House Democrats, laid down a $270,000 buy on broadcast television in the Bangor and Portland markets, according to spokesman Matt Thornton.

Thornton said the buy aims to get their candidate “across the finish line safely” — and before other groups start spending there.

Maine’s 2nd District features an open seat race between state Sen. Emily Cain, a Democrat, and former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, a Republican. The race is currently rated a Leans Democratic contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

September 24, 2014

Joe Biden to California for Democratic House Hopeful

Joe Biden to California for Democratic House Hopeful

Biden will make a campaign stop in California next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will make a campaign stop in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 7 to campaign for Amanda Renteria, a former Senate chief of staff and top Democratic recruit this cycle.

Biden’s visit to the Central Valley, which Renteria announced on Facebook, will come less than a month before Election Day, when the Democrat will face off against freshman Republican Rep. David Valadao. Democrats are hoping the vice president’s appearance will gin up excitement for the contest and motivate the base to turn out.

The district voted for President Barack Obama by an 11-point margin in 2012, making it a top pick-up target for Democrats this year.

Full story

September 23, 2014

NRCC Buys Airtime to Help Vulnerable Congressman

NRCC Buys Airtime to Help Vulnerable Congressman

Terry is a Republican from Nebraska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $730,000 in television airtime in the Omaha, Neb., media market to help one of the party’s most vulnerable incumbents, according to two sources tracking media in the 2nd District.

The reservation, which was placed via an independent expenditure Tuesday evening and runs through Election Day, is a sign Republicans think Rep. Lee Terry is in trouble — or will be soon. Earlier on Tuesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aired its first ad hitting Terry in the same market.

Terry’s re-election prospects have dimmed in recent months. Public polling shows the incumbent locked in a dead heat with the Democratic nominee, Brad Ashford, helping to put the congressman on Roll Call’s list of the 10 Most Vulnerable Members. Full story

Democrats Hit Chicago Airwaves for Key House Race

Democrats Hit Chicago Airwaves for Key House Race

Dold, right, is a Republican from Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., released a new ad Tuesday, attacking his GOP opponent on the Chicago airwaves.

Schneider and former Rep. Bob Dold, a Republican, are locked in a rematch in the 10th District, located north of Chicago. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The Democrats’ spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is backed by a six-figure buy on the Windy City’s broadcast stations paid for by the candidate and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Some things anyone can see, like Bob Dold and the Republicans in Washington,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot. “Dold and the Republicans voted to end the Medicare guarantee, voted to allow oil drilling in Lake Michigan, and want to raise the retirement age for Social Security. They even voted to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Full story

Democrats Cut Ad Time in Upstate New York Race

House Majority PAC has canceled a large television reservation in a competitive upstate New York district, the super PAC spokesman confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

The cancellation could be a sign the Democratic super PAC is throwing in the towel on The Empire State’s 21st District. The television buy, scheduled for Oct. 7 through 20 and totaling $300,000, is in a district that is considered a top pickup opportunity for Republicans.

This is a race to replace Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who is retiring. The race is currently rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

September 22, 2014

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

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 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.

Full story

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