Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

Posts by Humberto Sanchez

11 Posts

January 29, 2013

Conservatives Expect Cornyn Primary Challenger

Conservatives Expect Cornyn Primary Challenger

Cornyn has said he is expecting a primary challenge in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:17 p.m. | The founder and director of a grass-roots conservative group said he expects Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, to face a primary challenge. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2014.

“I don’t know how good of a primary challenge he is going to get at this point, but he will get a primary challenge,” said Dean Wright, co-founder and director of New Revolution Now, based in Austin, Texas.

“There is vetting going on,” Wright said, but he did not have any other details. He noted that one possible challenger could be Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is viewed as much more likely to run for governor in 2014. Abbott and Cornyn are known to have a cordial relationship, with Cornyn once touting Abbott as a possible Senate candidate.

“He would, if he did run, most likely bring in the tea party and the conservative grass roots behind him,” Wright said, adding that his group would likely support Abbott.

Abbot came to the national stage in 2005 when he defended before the U.S. Supreme Court, and won, the right of the state to display a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds.

Still, the idea that Abbott would challenge Cornyn seems far fetched at this point. “Anyone who knows anything about Texas politics knows that Abbott is gearing up to run for governor,” a Texas GOP source said.

Cornyn has said he isn’t taking his seat for granted and is expecting a primary challenge.

Others agree that a challenge could be in the offing, but were skeptical of the challenger winning.

With Cornyn considered “part of the establishment, maybe he’ll draw a primary opponent, but I don’t anticipate any strong opponent,” said a Texas Republican political operative.

A Texas GOP political consultant said there is definitely a segment of the party that wants Cornyn to be challenged, but the movement may be waning, which could help the minority whip retain his seat.

“When it comes to crazies Texas really is a whole different level,” the consultant said. “I’m not sure their thirst can be quenched. He’s preparing for somebody.”

November 14, 2012

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman, Cruz to Serve as NRSC Vice Chairmen

Portman will be vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:37 p.m.| Senate Republicans named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Wednesday.

The duo will support the NRSC’s newly elected chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who ran unopposed for the gig. Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots.

Senate Republicans also voted this morning to elevate Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to be minority whip and re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as minority leader. This is the fourth leadership election in which McConnell has been unopposed for the post.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida both spoke on McConnell’s behalf in the meeting before the election was held, according to their respective staffs. “Mitch unifies all of us, regardless of philosophy or what part of the country we come from. He’s the smartest political mind around and a great listener,” Rubio said in his speech. “Above all else, what Mitch cares about is whether we succeed as a conference and as a country, and that’s why I’m proud to nominate him for another term as leader.”

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota was re-elected as Republican Conference chairman. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was re-elected as Republican Conference vice chairman and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was re-elected as Republican policy committee chairman. None of the leadership posts was contested. Full story

November 8, 2012

John Thune Seeks Re-Election as Conference Chairman

John Thune Seeks Re Election as Conference Chairman

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After considering other posts within the Senate Republican leadership, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) today said he would run for re-election as Republican Conference chairman.

“America continues to face enormous challenges and the consequences have never been greater,” Thune said in a release. “Our country is at a crossroads and communicating our positive Republican vision to grow the economy, create jobs, and restore our nation’s fiscal health couldn’t be more important. Senate Republicans have solutions and we will work hard to aggressively take our message directly to the American people.”

Full story

November 3, 2012

Nebraska: Condoleezza Rice Endorses Deb Fischer

Nebraska: Condoleezza Rice Endorses Deb Fischer

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, today endorsed state Sen. Deb Fischer in the open-seat Nebraska Senate race against former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).

“Deb Fischer is an effective legislator who will promote economic competitiveness and private sector growth and will change the current standstill in Washington,”  Rice said in a news release from the Republican’s campaign. “Her fresh perspective will allow her to be a leader in Congress and I’m proud to stand with her in this important race.”

Fischer, who is in a tightening race with Kerrey, was happy to receive Rice’s backing.

“I have deep respect and admiration for Dr. Rice, and I’m truly honored to have her support,” Fischer said in the release. “Dr. Rice understands the importance of maintaining American exceptionalism by advancing our nation’s domestic and international interests.”

Rice’s endorsement of Fischer comes after Kerrey has racked up several notable endorsements, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). Fischer is still favored to win the seat, which is being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

November 1, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Nabs Chuck Hagel Endorsement

Nebraskans should send former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) back to the Senate on Tuesday because he has a history of working across the aisle and would help end partisan gridlock, former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel said today in endorsing his former colleague.

Some polls have shown the race between Kerrey and Republican Deb Fischer tightening in recent days.

Hagel, who stressed that he is still a Republican, noted that Kerrey has also received endorsements from other Republican former Senators, including Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who co-chaired a commission that proposed cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. Kerrey has also won the support from New Hampshire’s Warren Rudman, who helped draft the 1980s budget agreement known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Full story

October 29, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Touts Endorsements From Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles

The bipartisan leaders of President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction commission today endorsed former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) in his uphill bid against GOP candidate Deb Fischer for the open Nebraska Senate seat.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles “are supporting Bob Kerrey because he has told Nebraskans the honest truth about the critical necessity of assuring the 75 year solvency of the Social Security system, and stabilizing Medicare and Medicaid in a way that preserves and strengthens the needed protections for seniors and the most vulnerable in our society,” Simpson said in a statement released by the Kerrey campaign. Full story

October 19, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Tries to Build Momentum Against the Odds

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Tries to Build Momentum Against the Odds

An internal poll from Nebraska Senate candidate Deb Fischer's opponent, former Sen. Bob Kerrey, showed the race tightening. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 8:00 p.m. | An internal poll released by the campaign of former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) showed him within 5 points of Republican nominee Deb Fischer for the open Nebraska Senate seat.

“Nebraskans are flocking toward Senator Kerrey because they like his plans to work across party lines and shake up Washington,” Kerrey spokesman Chris Triebsch said on the campaign’s website. “Likewise, the more Nebraskans learn about Deb Fischer, the less they like.”

The poll was the focus of a fundraising appeal, which featured Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Both men were Naval Officers for three years, served and were wounded in the Vietnam War and became Democratic Senators who made bids for the presidency.

Full story

October 17, 2012

Nebraska: John McCain, Joe Lieberman Pick Their Horses

Nebraska: John McCain, Joe Lieberman Pick Their Horses

Nebraska Senate candidate Deb Fischer was endorsed by Sen. John McCain today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) weighed in on the Nebraska Senate race today, with respective endorsements of GOP hopeful Deb Fischer and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D).

“I’m proud to support Deb Fischer in this important election for U.S. Senate,” McCain said in a release on Fischer’s campaign website. “She has the character and commitment to change Washington.”

“She will work to eliminate wasteful spending, balance the budget, and grow the private sector economy,” McCain’s statement continued. “Facing an ever-growing debt, we need fiscally conservative leadership like Deb’s in the U.S. Senate to get our nation back on the right track.” Full story

September 28, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Targets Deb Fischer on Balanced Budget Amendment

Looking to make up ground, Democratic Nebraska Senate nominee Bob Kerrey attacked Republican candidate Deb Fischer on her support of a balanced budget amendment in their second debate today.

“I do worry about this balanced budget amendment,” said Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and U.S. Senator. “It’s going to have a terrible impact on Nebraska.”

“We are not going to be able to invest in our universities. We are not going to be able to provide the Pell grants that our students need. We are not going to be able to have the kind of research that needs to occur to develop” partnerships with private-sector businesses, he said. Full story

August 28, 2012

Harry Reid to Headline Mormon Gathering in Charlotte

Harry Reid to Headline Mormon Gathering in Charlotte

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will meet in Charlotte, N.C., next week with Mormon Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the GOP plans to crown the first Mormon presidential candidate in Tampa, Fla., Mormon Democrats, looking to boost their numbers, are set to meet in Charlotte, N.C., next week.

The meeting — which will feature Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who is a Mormon — is being hosted by LDS Democrats, an official caucus within the Utah Democratic Party. The caucus was started in 2011 and has attracted more than 2,000 members.

Full story

February 28, 2012

Nebraska: Reid Won’t Give Details on Kerrey Decision

Amid speculation that former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) is reconsidering a run for his old seat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today acknowledged that he has had extensive conversations with Kerrey, but gave no other details.

“There is a lot of speculation out there; number one is whether Bob is going to be running,” Reid said at a press conference. “I have had, over the last several weeks, lots of conversations with Bob Kerrey and none of those am I going to talk about here.”

Other Democrats were also quiet about Kerrey including Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) who is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Full story

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