Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

Posts by Emily Cahn

633 Posts

November 21, 2014

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

Tester was appointed DSCC chairman Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Friday its top staffing decisions for the 2016 cycle.

Many of the key staffers have previously worked for incoming DSCC Chairman Jon Tester of Montana, who is tasked with helping win back a Democratic majority. The party would need to net five seats to ensure a majority if Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu loses the runoff next month in Louisiana.

“This is an experienced team with a long history of winning incredibly tough races,” Tester said in a statement.

November 20, 2014

Kelly Ward Will Stay on as DCCC Executive Director

Kelly Ward Will Stay on as DCCC Executive Director

Ward is the first to remain in the job for more than one cycle. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newly minted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján said Kelly Ward will stay on as executive director of the committee for the second straight cycle.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this week, Luján said he hoped Ward would stay for another stint at the top of the committee tasked with helping Democrats regain a majority of seats in the House. On Thursday, Luján announced Ward had accepted the position, and noted she is the first person to spend two consecutive cycles as a DCCC leader.

“Kelly Ward brings infectious energy, unrivaled determination and key strategic insights to her job, and I am so pleased that she has agreed to stay on at the DCCC,” Luján said in a news release. “After working with Kelly for the past two years, I’ve been so impressed with her ability to both develop the strategy and operationalize the day-to-day work needed to aggressively take the fight to Republicans, and we’re lucky to have her lead our team.”

Full story

November 19, 2014

Democrats Win 2 Contested California House Contests

Democrats Win 2 Contested California House Contests

Bera is a California Democrat. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:53 p.m. | In a boost for California Democrats, Reps. Jim Costa and Ami Bera will return to Congress in January, after The Associated Press called both races Wednesday night.

Costa, a Central Valley-based Democrat, defeated little-known Republican, Johnny Tacherra, by a 1,319-vote margin.

In the Sacramento-based 7th District, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera defeated former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., by 1,432 votes after Sacramento County released another batch of ballots Wednesday.

The calls come more than two weeks after Election Day, as the counties in both districts slowly counted thousands of mail-in and provisional ballots.

Their victories serve as welcome news for House Democrats, who lost 12 seats in the midterms — and perhaps one more. The race for Arizona’s 2nd District will proceed to a recount in December. 

Full story

November 18, 2014

New DCCC Chairman Eyes Current Executive Director

New DCCC Chairman Eyes Current Executive Director

Ward served as the DCCC's executive director in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Incoming Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján said Tuesday he hopes the current Executive Director, Kelly Ward, will stay on for the 2016 cycle.

House Democrats endured sweeping losses in 2014, but Ward earned top praise from Luján, who said she is respected by the caucus.

“I have tremendous respect for Kelly Ward,” Luján told CQ Roll Call in a Tuesday interview. “It’s been an honor working with her throughout the years, getting to know her, she reaches out to members, she respects members, and I think she’s incredible. So someone like Kelly, if not Kelly herself is someone that I hope that we would serve.”

Full story

The One-Term Caucus? Top House Targets in 2016

The One Term Caucus? Top House Targets in 2016

Poliquin arrives last week for check-in for new members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

They haven’t even been sworn in yet, but these members start off the cycle as underdogs in their quests for re-election in 2016.

Most of 2016′s initial targets are incoming Republicans, swept into office in a GOP midterm wave. They will represent districts Democrats carried with big margins in presidential election years — seats the newly minted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján will probably want back. Only one vulnerable Democrat made this list.

What’s more, the window for either party to oust these freshman could close quickly. It’s easier to defeat an incumbent in their first re-election, before they solidify a stronghold on the seat.

In alphabetical order, here are the incoming members who start the 2016 cycle as underdogs:

Full story

November 14, 2014

Mark Kirk: ‘No Frickin’ Way Am I Retiring’

Mark Kirk: No Frickin Way Am I Retiring

Kirk says he'll run for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., has a message for anyone who doubts his will or appetite for a second term.

“No frickin’ way am I retiring,” he told CQ Roll Call in an exclusive interview Thursday from his Capitol Hill office, following some speculation in local press over the senator’s future and his shifting political operation. ”With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving.”

In an extended interview, Kirk sought to dispel any notion he’s ready to leave the Senate — or that he lacks the stamina to seek re-election after suffering an ischemic stroke in January 2012. Kirk said he feels great, and any opponents who question his fitness to serve will regret it.

“That would not be taken well by the people of Illinois, who would not like that kind of attack,” Kirk said. “That would be an advantage to me if they did that.”

Full story

November 13, 2014

Pelosi Meets With 5 Potential DCCC Chairmen

Pelosi Meets With 5 Potential DCCC Chairmen

Pelosi is a California Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has met with five possible contenders to run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016, according to her office, though she has not decided whom she will ultimately select.

On Thursday, Pelosi met with Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Jim Himes of Connecticut and Joaquin Castro of Texas. Also per her office, Pelosi had a meeting Tuesday with Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, and she met Friday with Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland.

A number of those members have been publicly angling for the role, including Frankel and Edwards — who spent the final days of the 2014 cycle on the trail with House candidates.

Full story

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Reveals Top Targets for 2016

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Reveals Top Targets for 2016

Walden is seeking a second term running the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fresh off a historic House majority, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said he is already pivoting to focus on protecting the incoming GOP members elected last week.

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call, Walden said his main priority will be defending the seats — at least 244 — his party captured on Election Day.

Many of the newly elected members represent districts that traditionally favor Democrats — and could again, especially in a presidential year. Walden said fortifying those new incumbents be his main focus.

“It’s a wonderful burden to have,” Walden said Wednesday afternoon at the NRCC.

Full story

November 12, 2014

Club for Growth Endorses 6 Senators for 2016

Club for Growth Endorses 6 Senators for 2016

Lee, left, and Scott have been endorsed for 2016 by the Club for Growth. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth endorsed six Republican senators up for re-election in 2016 — including three top Democratic targets.

The club, a fiscally conservative group sometimes at odds with GOP leaders, announced Wednesday it is backing Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

“The pro-growth class of 2010 has done excellent work in the United States Senate,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. ”Our members want to make sure they stay there for another six years.”

November 10, 2014

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

Ernst is the senator-elect from Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a national Republican wave crested on Election Day, there were several campaigns in both parties that stood out as outstanding operations.

The GOP expanded its House majority and obtained control of the Senate. As a result, more Republican campaigns emerged deserving of the spotlight. But there were also several Democratic operations worthy of recognition.

Roll Call has compiled a list of the cream of the crop of 2014. Many faced long odds, crowded primaries, an unpopular president and millions in targeted attack ads. But through all that and more, these campaigns ably managed the curves of the cycle — and all but one were victorious.

In alphabetical order by candidate, here are the best congressional campaigns of the midterms: Full story

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

McSally is a Republican from Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Nov. 11, 7:35 a.m. | A week after Election Day, six races remain too close to call as local officials continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots.

On Nov. 4, Republicans took control of the Senate by picking up seven seats so far, while House Republicans have picked up a net of 12 seats to date.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. It could be another week before outstanding 50,000 outstanding ballots — and an unknown number of absentee ballots from rural Alaskan villages — are counted. Republicans are confident Sullivan will maintain his lead.

Republican retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally’s lead over Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., narrowed to 341 votes this weekend. After additional ballots were counted on Monday, McSally’s lead shrunk further to 179 votes. The margin currently falls within the range for an automatic recount.

Full story

How Republicans Caught Their White Whale: John Barrow

How Republicans Caught Their White Whale: John Barrow

Barrow lost re-election last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This is the first in a five-part series examining the campaigns behind the cycle’s most fascinating races.

Republican Rick Allen and his team gathered around a table at the Hilton Garden Inn in Augusta, Ga., Tuesday night, waiting for results to come in. They weren’t optimistic.

Allen faced the ultimate political survivor, Rep. John Barrow, the sole remaining white Democrat in the Deep South.

Just before Election Day, Democrats’ polling showed Barrow consistently ahead. Allen’s campaign didn’t have internals to counter; the last time they polled the race was more than a month ago.

Even more discouraging, Barrow was known for squeaking out wins, even as GOP presidential candidates carried the 12th District by double-digits. Republicans had tried to oust Barrow before, and many operatives were convinced he would escape their grasp again.

But as soon as the early returns trickled in, it was clear: Republicans had finally nabbed their white whale. Barrow not only lost — he was defeated by a stunning 10-point margin.

Full story

November 7, 2014

Democrat Wins California House Contest

Democrat Wins California House Contest

Peters, center, won re-election on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., officially defeated Republican Carl DeMaio Friday, after a new bunch of ballots gave the freshman Democrat an insurmountable lead in California’s 52nd District.

Peters leads DeMaio by a nearly 4,500-vote margin. Operatives say not enough uncounted ballots remain for a DeMaio victory, and The Associated Press called the race for Peters.

The hotly contested race was a Tossup the entire contest.

Full story

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

Aguilar is a Democrat from California. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:39 p.m. | Democrats picked up their third House seat late Thursday, stemming the party’s losses to 13 seats — for now.

After more absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Democrat Pete Aguilar maintained a lead over Republican Paul Chabot, 51 percent to 49 percent, in California’s 31st District. Aguilar declared victory and Chabot conceded; the seat was open because Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller is retiring.

The Associated Press also called a House race in Maryland’s 6th District in favor of the Democrat. Freshman Rep. John Delaney defeated his Republican opponent, 50 percent to 48 percent, in an unexpectedly close contest.

In Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by a 16,000-vote margin.

Gillespie announced at a news conference Friday afternoon that he would not contest the results.

Elsewhere, several other races remain too close to call:

Full story

November 6, 2014

Greg Walden Officially Launches NRCC Re-Election Bid

Greg Walden Officially Launches NRCC Re Election Bid

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

On the heels of winning at least 13 seats for House Republicans, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden officially launched his bid Thursday to serve as chairman for a second term.

Walden had announced this summer he wanted a second stint at the helm of House Republicans’ campaign arm. But in a Thursday letter to the House GOP conference, which was obtained by CQ Roll Call, Walden made his bid official. Walden touted the NRCC’s success as the chief reason for his second campaign.

In the weeks prior to the elections, two other House Republicans — Roger Williams of Texas and Aaron Schock of Illinois — considered challenging Walden. But Williams announced Wednesday he would not seek the job given the GOP’s success, and Walden cites his support in this letter. Schock’s plans are still unknown.

Republicans in the House elect their NRCC chairman. On the Democratic side, the Democratic leader selects the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman.

The full text of the letter is below:

Full story

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