Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

130 Posts

August 30, 2015

Larry Kudlow Says He Would Challenge Blumenthal Over Iran Deal

Blumenthal remained undecided on the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blumenthal is undecided on the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative economist and media figure Larry Kudlow says he’s talked to national Republicans about running for Senate in Connecticut.

During an interview on his radio program with Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., over the weekend, Kudlow said he would mount a challenge to incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal if the Democrat supports the international agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

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August 18, 2015

Ahead of Obamacare Repeal Rollout, Walker Stocks Up On Advisers Familiar With Capitol Hill

Walker greets a worker at the Iowa Pork Producers Association site at the Iowa State Fair. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Walker greets a worker at the Iowa Pork Producers Association site at the Iowa State Fair. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

As Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker sets out to unveil his proposal to replace Obamacare, he’s been staffing up from Capitol Hill.

The Wisconsin governor has brought on Andrew Shaw as domestic policy director, the campaign told CQ Roll Call. Shaw has worked since January as the policy director of the conservative Republican Study Committee in the House, where he was involved in efforts by Chairman Bill Flores, R-Texas, and the RSC members to repeal the 2010 health care overhaul law.

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August 14, 2015

Graham Looks at Early States as ‘the Way Forward’

GREENVILLE, S.C. At a Republican primary debate watch party in suburban Charleston last week, there was something missing: any sign of support for home-state Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Graham, the well-known national security hawk, was relegated to an earlier panel for lower-profile presidential candidates that he came to call the “happy hour” debate” by the rules set by Fox News, so perhaps the absence of supporters with buttons and bumper stickers was not surprising.

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August 10, 2015

Ted Cruz Opens His Playbook for the ‘SEC Primary’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Sen. Ted Cruz said the turnout and raucous reception he received Sunday at a pair of campaign rallies in Alabama reminded him of the Iron Bowl.

With Alabama and Auburn yet again predicted to be the cream of the crop in the Southeastern Conference, the Texas Republican’s 2016 presidential campaign might want to plan now for a tailgate at the college football classic.

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August 8, 2015

Rand Paul Makes His Pitch, Brushes Off Indictments

Paul speaks to supporters at the Pints for Liberty event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul speaks to supporters at a “Pints for Liberty” event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Rand Paul’s target audience is unique among the presidential contenders. It skews younger and more libertarian.

That may make the Kentucky Republican the ideal candidate to attend a “Pints for Liberty” event, as he did Friday, but Paul says he also thinks that appeal suits him for a long campaign slog. Full story

August 7, 2015

At Debate Night at the Movies, Cheers for Candidates, and the Moderators

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 6: Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican primary debate at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre theater during the Charleston County GOP debate watch party in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican debate on Thursday at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre Theater in Mount Pleasant, S.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — It was a full house at a South Carolina movie house Thursday night for a special show: the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle.

The venue was perfect for a show with bombastic businessman Donald Trump.
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August 5, 2015

Rand Paul Allies Indicted in Iowa Campaign Fraud Case (Updated)

Two campaign operatives running one of Rand Paul's super PACs were indicted Wednesday along with a third person for charges related to his father Ron Paul's presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two campaign operatives running one of Sen. Rand Paul’s super PACs were indicted Wednesday along with a third person for charges related to his father Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:25 p.m. | A longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul who at one point served as the 2014 campaign manager for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been indicted for alleged campaign finance fraud.

Louisville, Ky.-based political operative Jesse Benton was McConnell’s campaign manager until he abruptly resigned on Aug. 29, 2014, after former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson admitted to taking concealed payments from the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Benton was the campaign chairman.

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July 16, 2015

Campaigning in the Capitol Is Tricky Business (Video)

Sanders addressed reporters Tuesday in the Ohio Clock Corridor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sanders addressed reporters Tuesday in the Ohio Clock Corridor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Let’s say you’re running for president. Your opinion on a major policy issue is sought after by journalists and voters alike. As a senator, you can step in front of one of the Capitol’s many microphones at pretty much any point and command an audience. But now that you’re seeking the presidential nomination, things get a little trickier.

The perceptions, at least. And maybe also with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

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July 13, 2015

Harry Reid Talks Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Reid talks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid talks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used to raise money for him and that he really likes Hillary Rodham Clinton, even if he hasn’t formally endorsed her presidential bid quite yet.

The Nevada Democrat’s comments about Trump, Clinton and predicting a 2016 Democratic takeover of the Senate came on a Las Vegas radio program where the retiring senator has appeared frequently over the years. Full story

July 2, 2015

Republicans Aiming to Register Voters at NASCAR

Many of the fans the RNC plans to approach this weekend would want to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images File Photo)

Many of the fans the RNC plans to approach this weekend would want to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images File Photo)

Reince Priebus won’t be behind the wheel of a stock car, but the the Republican National Committee is going to Daytona International Speedway.

Spectators at this weekend’s NASCAR races in Florida will be encouraged to register to vote. You might say the party’s staff and volunteers will be “at the races” — literally.

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June 29, 2015

Cruz Says McConnell Misled on Funding Incumbents

Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is suggesting current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell misled him about the objectives of the National Republican Senatorial Committee last cycle.

The Texas Republican’s vice chairmanship of the party campaign committee was always a bit mysterious, and in his new book to be released Tuesday, Cruz contends that McConnell, the longtime Kentucky senator who faced perhaps the most vociferous tea party primary challenger of the year, said the NRSC would not be defending its own incumbents.

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June 23, 2015

Kay Hagan Won’t Challenge Richard Burr in 2016

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hagan is telling donors she will not make another run for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan will not be mounting a challenge to her former GOP colleague, Sen. Richard M. Burr.

Hagan, who was defeated by Thom Tillis in 2014, has been making calls to inform donors she will not be running for the seat that comes up in 2016, two sources familiar with the calls told Roll Call.

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June 10, 2015

2016 Prospects Encouraged to Do the ‘Full Grassley’ in Iowa

Walker greets guests before Ernst's motorcycle ride on June 6 near Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Walker greets guests before Ernst’s motorcycle ride on June 6 near Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sen. Joni Ernst’s motorcycle ride and barbecue got most of the attention last weekend as Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa, but the state’s senior senator spent plenty of time with the presidential prospects as well.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley isn’t expected to have any trouble winning a seventh term, but he’s taking nothing for granted. He told Roll Call last week he anticipates making appearances with other candidates and said there would be more fundraisers for his own political efforts.

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June 1, 2015

Appealing to Hawks, Lindsey Graham Jumps Into 2016 Presidential Ring

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham announced he’s running for president and vowed to defeat “radical Islam.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:42 p.m. | Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul claimed a temporary victory in his quest to rein in the National Security Agency, the leader of what the Kentucky Republican blasted as the “eye-roll caucus” threw his own hat into the 2016 presidential ring.

Sen. Lindsey Graham formally launched his presidential bid with a predictably foreign policy-heavy speech in his hometown of Central, S.C., where he grew up in a tiny space at his parents’ bar room and pool hall.

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May 18, 2015

Scott Walker to Meet and Greet Congress Tuesday (Updated)

Walker will meet with lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Walker will meet with lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated May 19, 9:55 a.m. | When you’re a Midwestern governor pondering a presidential campaign as a Washington outsider, there are plenty of people to meet on Capitol Hill.

And that’s just what Gov. Scott Walker plans to do Tuesday. In addition to meeting with a group of top social conservatives, the Wisconsin Republican has a full schedule of closed-door events with senior congressional aides and lawmakers, including a few senators, according to sources familiar with Walker’s plans.

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