Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 25, 2015

Posts by Emily Cahn

668 Posts

January 23, 2015

Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge

Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge

Ellmers is a Republican from North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who led the charge to pull the House GOP’s 20-week abortion ban bill this week, could have a bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is mulling a bid against Ellmers, according to multiple GOP sources in the Tar Heel State.

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Democrats Could Face Primary Mess in Illinois Senate Race

Democrats Could Face Primary Mess in Illinois Senate Race

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

Democrats are driving toward a primary collision course in Illinois, where the party could endure a multimillion-dollar slugfest in a race essential to capturing Senate control in 2016.

A fourth House Democrat, Rep. Robin Kelly, told CQ Roll Call she is weighing a bid against GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk. She joins the growing list of members considering bids, including Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos, Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster.

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Exclusive: NRSC Announces 3 Vice Chairmen

Exclusive: NRSC Announces 3 Vice Chairmen

Ernst is a senator from Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will name Sens. Dean Heller, Joni Ernst and Tom Cotton as its vice chairmen for the 2016 cycle, according to a news release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

All three will work alongside NRSC Chairman Roger Wicker of Mississippi as Republicans seek to defend their new newly acquired majority.

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January 22, 2015

Billionaire Passes on California Senate Race

Billionaire Passes on California Senate Race

Boxer is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democrat who has spent considerable cash on environmental causes and candidates, will not run for Senate in California, he announced Thursday.

Steyer openly mulled entering the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., but he passed on it, saying he decided he could have the most impact on environmental issues not in the Senate, but back home in California.

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January 20, 2015

Cheri Bustos Keeps Door Open to Senate Run

Cheri Bustos Keeps Door Open to Senate Run

Bustos is a Democrat from Illinois. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos said she is not closing the door on running for Senate in Illinois in 2016, marking the third House Democrat to express some level of interest in one of the cycle’s top race targets.

“I’m focusing on my district, focusing on what we hope to accomplish in the coming term,” Bustos said in a Tuesday morning interview with CQ Roll Call in her Longworth office. “And like anything in politics, you don’t close the door to anything and you keep an open mind, and I think you’ve got to weigh what’s good for your district, what’s good for your state and what’s good on a personal level. So for right now, what I would tell you is that I guess that’s kind of the long and short of it: I don’t close the door on anything, but I’m squarely focused on the 17th Congressional District of Illinois.”

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January 19, 2015

Tammy Duckworth: I’m ‘Taking a Real Serious Look’ at Senate Run

Tammy Duckworth: Im Taking a Real Serious Look at Senate Run

Duckworth is a Democrat from Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a two-term Democrat, told CQ Roll Call Monday that she is seriously considering challenging vulnerable Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., in 2016.

Duckworth, currently finishing maternity leave following the birth of her daughter, said in a phone interview she is beginning the process of exploring a Senate bid as she gears up to return to Capitol Hill.

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January 18, 2015

GOPAC Announces 2015 Advisory Board

GOPAC Announces 2015 Advisory Board

Ernst was a member of GOPAC's Emerging Leaders Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOPAC, an organization that grooms Republican state lawmakers to run for higher office, will announce its 2015 Legislative Leaders Advisory Board Monday, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The board pinpoints promising state legislators for GOPAC’s Emerging Leaders Program, which seeks to foster a bench of talent to eventually run for federal and statewide elected office. Previous members of the Emerging Leaders Program include now-Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Both Republicans won targeted Senate races in 2014.

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January 15, 2015

Kay Hagan Heads to Harvard

Kay Hagan Heads to Harvard

Hagan served one term as a North Carolina Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t expect to hear from former Sen. Kay Hagan about her 2016 plans for the next few months.

The North Carolina Democrat, who lost to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis by less than two points last year, will be serving as a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, according to a Thursday announcement. As part of her duties, she will lead a series of study groups for students during the Spring semester, which ends in May.

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First Democrat Jumps Into Targeted Iowa Race

First Democrat Jumps Into Targeted Iowa Race

Democrats partially blame Braley for the loss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:28 p.m. | Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon announced her candidacy for Iowa’s 1st District on Thursday, she announced Thursday, marking the first Democrat in a race that will top the party’s target list in 2016.

“Northeast Iowans deserve a representative in Congress with a track record of solving problems and getting results for families and small businesses across our community. That’s why I’m excited to announce my candidacy,” Vernon said in a release.

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Why California Members May Think Twice About Running for Senate

Why California Members May Think Twice About Running for Senate

Rep. Darrell Issa, left, and Sanchez, right, are from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than a half-dozen House Democrats are considering a bid for California’s first open Senate seat in more than two decades — and unlike in most other states, none would start as a front-runner.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement has given ambitious but stifled Democrats an avenue to higher office, and it’s part of a significant changing of the guard among the party’s leaders in the state. State Attorney General Kamala Harris entered the race Tuesday, with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire Tom Steyer expected to announce their decisions within days.

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January 12, 2015

Kamala Harris to Run for Open California Senate Seat

Kamala Harris to Run for Open California Senate Seat

Harris speaks onstage during Children's Defense Fund - California Hosts 24th Annual Beat The Odds Awards in Culver City on Dec. 4. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images File Photo)

Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as attorney general of California, will run for the Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to The Associated Press.

Harris will make the announcement Tuesday, five days after Boxer announced her retirement, and one day after fellow Democrat Gavin Newsom, the Golden State’s lieutenant governor, passed on the contest. Harris and Newsom run in the same political circles in the state, and many California Democratic operatives speculated there was not room for both in the contest.

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Claire McCaskill Won’t Run for Governor

Claire McCaskill Wont Run for Governor

McCaskill is a Democrat from Missouri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will not run for governor in the Show-Me State in 2016 — an open-seat race to replace term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon.

“It is a firm no,” McCaskill told KCUR radio Monday about her gubernatorial ambitions. Full story

January 4, 2015

Exclusive: NRSC Names Senior Staffers

Exclusive: NRSC Names Senior Staffers

Wicker is the chairman of the NRSC in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will announce its senior staff for the 2016 cycle Monday, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Last year, Senate Republicans netted nine seats to take control of that chamber for the first time since 2006. Several of the top staffers are staying on from last cycle, while others come from the other side of the Capitol.

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January 1, 2015

10 Races to Watch in 2016: Virginia’s 10th District

10 Races to Watch in 2016: Virginias 10th District

Comstock will represent Virginia's 10th District in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A court-mandated redraw of Virginia’s congressional map could have sweeping implications for the delegation — including the new member representing the competitive 10th District, Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock, a Republican.

A judge tossed Virginia’s congressional map in October, ruling the lines drawn in 2012 unconstitutionally packed black voters into the 3rd District held by Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va. State lawmakers must draw and pass a new map by April 2015, meanwhile the delegation’s eight GOP members have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Even slight shifts could alter the 10th District — which includes parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a slim 1-point margin in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by a 3-point margin in 2008.

Comstock handily defeated her Democratic opponent, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, to win the open seat in 2014. It was left vacant when her former boss, GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf, retired. 

But a new congressional map could either make Comstock’s seat safe for the foreseeable future, or make the district more competitive by including more Democrats from Fairfax County.

Currently, the 10th District is one of the most expensive in the country to run a House campaign because it’s located in the prohibitively expensive Washington, D.C., media market. Even under the new lines, it’s extremely unlikely that will change.

Editor’s Note: Over the two weeks, Roll Call will unveil its Top 10 Races to Watch for 2016. The final edition will run Jan. 2 with the full list. In no specific order, additional races to watch in 2016 include California SenateIllinois Senate, Nevada Senate, North Carolina SenatePennsylvania Senate, Florida’s 2nd District, New Hampshire’s 1st District and New York’s 11th District

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December 31, 2014

10 Races to Watch in 2016: California Senate

10 Races to Watch in 2016: California Senate

Boxer, left, is a Democrat from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With her campaign account nearly dry, and staring down at least two years in the minority, Democratic operatives in California say there is a strong possibility Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, 74, will retire in 2016.

Boxer has indicated she will decide whether to seek another term in early 2015. But if she steps aside, pols will encounter the Golden State’s first open Senate seat in more than two decades — a scenario that would have reverberations throughout California’s political ranks.

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