Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

October 23, 2014

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Mooney is the Republican running in West Virginia's 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:37 p.m. | National Democrats and Republicans will make major television buys in an off-the-radar House race in West Virginia, according to party sources tracking ad buys.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee intends to purchase $600,000 in airtime in West Virginia’s 2nd District, an open-seat race to succeed Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. The National Republican Congressional Committee will also make a $250,000 buy in Charleston through Election Day. Full story

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

Kirkpatrick is a Democrat from Arizona. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call Photo)

TUBA CITY, Ariz. | Arizona’s 1st District is so vast and diverse that running for political office involves time travel.

It’s also helpful to pick up a little of a language so difficult to master, it formed an unbreakable code that helped the United States win World War II.

But first, the time travel.

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

When visiting the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, the largest tribe of a dozen in the district, Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and her Republican opponent, state Speaker Andy Tobin, have to build in an extra hour.

Why? A befuddled cellphone won’t pick up on it, but the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Saving Time. The rest of the Grand Canyon State, brandishing its contrarian streak, never changes its clocks.

So to ensure Kirkpatrick was in line for the Western Navajo Nation here at 9 a.m. DST on Oct. 18, the usual 90-minute ride from Flagstaff became a two-and-a-half hour journey.

Tobin had to factor in the same math on a visit he made here the day before the parade, as the Western Navajo Nation Fair was getting under way.

On the flip side, when heading somewhere else in the district from the Navajo Nation, even to the Hopi Nation, which is completely surrounded by Navajo land, one gets that hour back. Surrounded by Navajo land, you’re back to the past, or at least, back in the rest of the state’s time zone.

Confused? That’s just the start of the logistics involved in a campaign here.

Full story

5 Sleeper House Races

5 Sleeper House Races

Keating is a Massachusetts Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the midst of wall-to-wall political coverage before Election Day, this handful of House races have managed to mostly fly under the radar.

These are sleeper races, from Arkansas to West Virginia, where the district’s partisan breakdown does not reflect the competitive nature of the race.

As little as two weeks ago, some of these contests were completely overlooked by national political operatives. But new polling suggests these races — like many more competitive contests — are closing, creating eleventh-hour opportunities for the parties.

To be sure, these seats won’t necessarily flip party control on Nov. 4. But thanks to recent events, they should make any election night watch list.

In alphabetical order, here are five sleeper House races of 2014:

Arkansas’ 2nd District Full story

October 21, 2014

House Democrats Boost Incumbents With TV Money

House Democrats Boost Incumbents With TV Money

This is the first time Democrats are spending on Loebsack's race. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats continue to bolster their incumbents, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee expanding its defensive spending.

Most notably, the DCCC is spending more in support of Democratic Reps. Collin C. Peterson in Minnesota and Dave Loebsack in Iowa, races that are only in recent days coming to the forefront of the House map.

Here are the changes, made as both parties re-evaluate their chances with two weeks to go until Election Day:

Full story

October 20, 2014

Clay Aiken Returns to TV (Video)

Clay Aiken Returns to TV (Video)

Aiken released his first TV ad. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2nd District, went up Monday with his first ad of the general election.

With two weeks to go, Aiken talks to camera in the 30-second spot, attacking Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers for keeping her paycheck during the government shut down, among other things.

Full story

October 16, 2014

EMILY’s List Endorses Kansas Candidates

EMILYs List Endorses Kansas Candidates
Yoder is a Kansas Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, announced Thursday a pair of endorsements in two late-breaking House races in Kansas.

The group offered its full endorsement of Margie Wakefield and Kelly Kultala, who are challenging GOP Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder, respectively.

For now, both races are rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But highly competitive races for Senate and governor have roiled the ballot this cycle, causing concern for Kansas Republicans in two House districts. Full story

October 9, 2014

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Young hopes to keep Iowa's 3rd District in the Republican column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Former state Sen. Staci Appel has opened up a significant single-digit lead over her Republican opponent in a competitive open-seat race in Iowa, according to a tracking poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Appel led former Capitol Hill aide David Young, 49 percent to 42 percent, according to the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll. Nine percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll showed Appel increasing her lead from the DCCC’s last poll on Sept. 15, when Appel led Young 47 percent to 44 percent. 

Full story

October 1, 2014

Bill Clinton Appears in Kentucky Senate Race Ad

Former President Bill Clinton stars in a new ad for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The spot marks the former president’s first foray into the 2014 airwaves in a Senate race, the Grimes campaign told WHAS-TV in Louisville, which first reported on the spot. The Kentucky Senate race is rated Leans Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

Pat Roberts Ranks Among Most Vulnerable Senators

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

While the structure of the competitive Senate map has finally solidified, plenty of uncertainties remain as the two parties enter the final month of the midterm elections.

The most glaring question mark and startling development over the past several weeks is in Kansas, where Republican Sen. Pat Roberts now ranks fourth on Roll Call’s monthly list of the most vulnerable senators (read the September edition here). This is a state that last elected a Democratic senator in 1932, but ballot maneuverings and Roberts’ own missteps have placed him in the company of the cycle’s most endangered incumbents.

The GOP needs six seats to win the majority, and the party can get halfway there by picking up open seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, where retirements hindered Democrats’ ability to hold their ground. Democrats have better odds in the other open seats, with Iowa still hosting one of the most competitive races in the country and Democrats continuing to hold the edge in Michigan.

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., remains a top target for Republicans. But Democrats are pummeling Republican nominee Thom Tillis on the air, and Hagan is the only red-state Democrat whose positioning has clearly improved in recent months.

The competitiveness of the Senate race in Kansas took most people by surprise, including, it seems, Roberts. The senator entered the general election with a limited political apparatus and less motivation to campaign following his contested primary. That all changed last month, when the Democratic nominee withdrew from the race and Republican efforts to reverse the move failed.

That left independent Greg Orman, who is still an unknown quantity. As Orman introduces himself to the electorate, Republicans’ opposition research on him is still just starting to trickle out. Roberts has brought in a new campaign team, a steady stream of GOP heavyweights is filing through the state to help him out, and at least one outside group has started spending for him on the airwaves.

In a state as Republican as Kansas, that could be enough to save the day. But for now, Roberts is firmly among the 10 Most Vulnerable Senators, ranked below in order of vulnerability:  Full story

September 26, 2014

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for Votes

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for Votes

Cassidy speaks with pharmacy students from Xavier University of Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NEW ORLEANS — At a Saturday morning community health fair in a Vietnamese enclave in the predominantly black eastern wing of this city, Cassidy wasn’t exactly in politically friendly territory.

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for VotesBut he was quickly met by a familiar face ready to show him around. Greeting Cassidy behind a mobile pregnancy care bus was former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, a fellow Republican who entered the House with Cassidy after the 2008 elections and served for a single term.

Cassidy, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, would work his way through a welcoming campus-wide, college football tailgate in Baton Rouge later that day. But first he was here in a church parking lot in Village de L’Est, a traditionally Vietnamese neighborhood with a growing Hispanic population, to try to pick up a few votes.

“Wherever I can meet the most voters works for me,” Cassidy said as Cao led him toward the crowd.

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

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Peters is a freshman in California's 52nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Readers will have one more opportunity this week to pick the House and Senate races Roll Call will cover from the ground in the final weeks of the midterms.

Last week, thousands of votes were cast to send reporters @cahnemily and @alexis_levinson on the road in our first #RCReadersChoice survey. Two House races and two Senate races lead their packs, and now readers have until Thursday at 5 p.m. for the runoff contest.

On the Senate side, readers can select between Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is unexpectedly fighting for his re-election, and Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is attempting to fend off a strong challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. In the first round of voting, Kansas was the clear front-runner, and Colorado beat out the North Carolina Senate race by just two votes to make the final round.

The finalist House races are California’s 52nd District, located in San Diego, and Nebraska’s 2nd District, located in Omaha. Both incumbents in these races — Democrat Scott Peters in California and Republican Lee Terry in Nebraska — are on Roll Call’s list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members.

Have an opinion on which race we should cover? Tweet your thoughts @RollCall with #RCReadersChoice. Otherwise, vote below:

Full story

September 22, 2014

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Landrieu poses for a selfie with LSU football fans as she campaigns at tailgate parties on campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Six weeks from Election Day, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu gathered the troops on the Louisiana State University campus, where tens of thousands of football fans and prospective voters congregated for hours ahead of the Saturday night game.

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!The three-term Democrat faces arguably her most challenging race yet against, among others, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who worked the Tigers fans for votes a couple hours later. Landrieu’s best shot may be to break 50 percent in the November jungle primary, but that avenue to victory has shrunk since her last race in a state increasingly difficult for any Democrat to win.

For that reason, Landrieu attempted to reach every voter she could among the boisterous and boozy crowd before kickoff.

Nearly two dozen volunteers and staff formed a circle around Landrieu at a tailgate in the heart of campus, where her younger brother Martin offered food, water and beer to the campaigners — who all had been trying to keep up with the hyper-speed pace of the senator for more than a half hour already. Landrieu ordered the group to split in two, to remind voters about the Nov. 4 jungle primary, early voting dates and to hand out stickers.

“Not everybody is going to be a supporter,” Landrieu told them, “but just be nice, friendly. You’re very visible.”

Not long after, Landrieu went to new lengths for a vote. Egged on to perform a keg stand, she instead held the spigot for a 20-something supporter — one of many methods the LSU faithful would use to imbibe that Saturday afternoon. Full story

September 21, 2014

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies on CBS. (Screengrab/YouTube)

Think of it as must-book TV.

Six weeks before Election Day, campaigns are deciding where and when they want to air their political ads all over the country. But not all shows and networks are equal in the eyes of media buyers. They have more choices than ever, and they approach these decisions with deliberation and armed with ratings data.

In interviews, operatives repeatedly said they look for three kinds of programs for political ads: Live events, and shows that attract women and seniors. Both parties fight fiercely for the female demographic, and seniors serve as one of the most reliable voting blocs in a midterm.

In an ever-increasing effort to target voters, media buyers are attracted to cable’s niche audiences. But they also rely on a few broadcast gems for their desirable voters, er, viewers.

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

(Screengrab/YouTube)

Full story

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