Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 20, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

August 22, 2014

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan has been campaigning on the VA issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:38 p.m. | Sen. Kay Hagan doesn’t sound thrilled President Barack Obama is coming to town.

The North Carolina Democrat, one of the most vulnerable senators, issued a terse statement about Obama’s veterans policy ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to her home state.

The White House announced late Friday that Obama will deliver remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. The appearance gave Hagan an opportunity to criticize the president in the wake of a scandal that has captured national attention. Hagan’s office blasted her statement just 31 minutes after the White House released the schedule.

“The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA,” Hagan said.

Full story

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizona’s 7th District (Video)

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizonas 7th District (Video)

Wilcox, D-Ariz., candidate for Congress from Arizona's 7th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a Democrat, hopes her community ties and political experience will boost her to victory in Tuesday’s primary in Arizona’s 7th District.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call in Washington, D.C., Wilcox laid out what she believes will be a winning strategy for the primary.

“We’re targeting, we’re making sure that we’re getting the voters out,” said Wilcox in late July. “I know my community. My community has shared with me many of their concerns, and so the message is one that is resonating. And that’s how we win.” Full story

August 20, 2014

Iowa Poll Shows Democrat With Big Edge in Open House Contest

State Rep. Pat Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the open-seat House contest to replace Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, had an 11 point lead over his Republican opponent, according to a poll obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Murphy led businessman Rod Blum 51 percent to 40 percent according to the poll conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Murphy’s campaign. The lead was outside the 4.9 percent margin of error.

Full story

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Schock, left, and Davis, watch Rauner fire up the crowd. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The national political tide isn’t looking good for Democrats, but in Illinois this November, down-ballot candidates have an even bigger problem: the drag of Gov. Pat Quinn.

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

The Land of Lincoln is a hotbed of political activity this cycle, with Democrats defending three freshmen House incumbents and looking to pick-off one more — Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the ultra-competitive 13th District.

All but one of those races take place outside of Chicago’s Cook County — the last bastion of support for Quinn and one of just three counties he carried in the state when he narrowly won the role in 2010. That geography is bad news for Democrats looking to tamp down losses in the midterms.

There was no clearer example of Quinn’s problems than last week’s Illinois State Fair, where elected officials, political operatives and party insiders from both sides of the aisle descended upon the Springfield fairgrounds for each party’s respective day of rallies.

On Aug. 14, Republicans flocked to the fairgrounds to support Bruce Rauner, the party’s wealthy gubernatorial nominee who rolled up to the rally on his Harley Davidson and then delivered a red-meat speech going after Quinn in front of a fired up crowd of supporters.

It was a stark contrast from Democrats’ gathering the day before, where instead of riling up his base at the fair, Quinn instead hosted a low-key picnic to pose for photos with a more mellow group of supporters, many of whom were bussed in from the Chicago area.

Full story

August 16, 2014

Montana Democrats Nominate John Walsh’s Replacement

Montana Democrats Nominate John Walshs Replacement

Montana Democrats replaced Walsh on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Montana Democratic Party nominated state Rep. Amanda Curtis on Saturday to replace retiring Sen. John Walsh on the ballot in November.

Curtis, a 34-year-old, first-term state legislator and high school math teacher from Butte, enters the contest a heavy underdog against Republican Rep. Steve Daines — as was Walsh. The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Walsh, appointed to the Senate in February but plagued by a plagiarism scandal, announced on Aug. 7 he would not seek a full term. Since the primary had already passed, state Democrats held a convention Saturday morning at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena to select a new nominee. Full story

August 14, 2014

Judge Denies Hanabusa’s Request to Postpone Election

 

Judge Denies Hanabusas Request to Postpone Election

Hanabusa's argued that the election should be postponed due to storm damage. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated: 8:18 p.m. | A state judge denied Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s request to postpone voting in Hawaii’s Democratic Senate primary, where voters in a couple precincts are scheduled to cast ballots Friday.

Hanabusa filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking that special extended voting hours in two precincts on the Big Island be pushed back further. The make-up date was scheduled by the state Office of Elections after a hurricane shut down the precincts’ polling places Aug. 9, when the rest of the state voted.

Currently the primary race is too close to call, with Hanabusa trailing Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes. The remaining precincts will decide the outcome.

Hawaii News Now and other outlets reported the news of the Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura’s ruling Thursday. Full story

August 13, 2014

Hanabusa Files Lawsuit Against Hawaii Office of Elections

Hanabusa Files Lawsuit Against Hawaii Office of Elections

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Democratic Senate primary in Hawaii too close to call and several thousand votes on the line, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, has sued the state’s Office of Elections to postpone Friday’s special election date.

hurricane descended on Hawaii during last weekend’s primary, forcing officials to postpone elections in two precincts on the Big Island. They decided Monday to hold special elections on Friday.

Hanabusa currently trails Sen. Brian Schatz, also a Democrat, by 1,635 votes.

Hanabusa filed the lawsuit with the third circuit court Wednesday, roughly 36 hours before the Friday special election. The two precincts include an estimated 8,000 voters. Full story

August 12, 2014

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Sinema greets voters at Giant Coffee in Phoenix. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHOENIX — Once known for her progressive politics, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has coasted to the center in her first re-election.

The freshman bills herself as bipartisan, and now party operatives — even Republicans, privately — view her as the safest of the state’s three vulnerable Democrats. But that’s also because she’s lucky: A brutal Republican primary is bound to leave her future foe broke and bruised 10 weeks before Election Day.

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the MiddleOn the campaign trail, Sinema stresses her work across the aisle. It’s a political necessity for a member who represents a district President Barack Obama won by just four points.

“I’m working to make it cool to compromise in Congress,” Sinema tells 30 mostly baby boomers at a Thursday lunch with the Phoenix West Rotary Club. “I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, but I’m working on it.”

Sinema started her elected career nearly a decade ago at the state House, 10 miles away from this Sheraton conference room.

Some of her first political experience came working for Ralph Nader’s spoiler 2000 presidential bid. She tried her own third party attempt in a losing race for the state House as an independent affiliated with the Green Party two years later. She finally won the seat as a Democrat in 2004. Full story

August 11, 2014

Liberal Allies Rallying for Schatz in Election Overtime

Liberal Allies Rallying for Schatz in Election Overtime

Liberal groups like MoveOn like Schatz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Liberal allies are rallying around Sen. Brian Schatz after damage from a hurricane extended voting for the deadlocked Democratic primary in Hawaii.

MoveOn.org sent a fundraising email late Sunday night with the subject line, “We’re going into overtime in Hawaii.” The email urged supporters to donate so the group could “finish the job in Hawaii” and ensure Schatz’s victory.

Schatz led his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, by just 1,635 votes as of Sunday evening. As many as 8,000 more votes could be cast in two precincts on the Big Island, where election officials postponed voting because of the storm damage.

Full story

August 10, 2014

Hawaii Primary Results: Hurricane Iselle Delays Force Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa to Wait

Hawaii Primary Results: Hurricane Iselle Delays Force Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa to Wait

Hanabusa challenged Schatz in the primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic primary between Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was too close to call early Sunday morning, and the race may not be decided for days.

Voting in two precincts on the Big Island, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Iselle, was postponed because of storm damage, KITV reported. Those Democrats will vote absentee and essentially decide the contest, though Hanabusa has some ground to make up.

Both campaigns told Civil Beat they will be heading to the Big Island before the crucial final ballots are cast.

With all but those two precincts reporting, Schatz led Hanabusa 49.4 percent to 48.6 percent — separated by just less than 1,800 votes out of some 214,000 cast. After Schatz was appointed to the seat in December 2012 following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the winner will likely prevail in November and serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term, and then undoubtedly run for a full term in 2016.

The race kicked off amid an inescapable feeling of bitterness among Inouye and Hanabusa allies, perturbed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s selection of Schatz to serve in the Senate instead of Inouye’s preferred successor, Hanabusa. It had nearly as rocky a finish, as the islands avoided a one-two punch of hurricanes that threatened to disrupt the election to a greater degree than it did.

Full story

August 8, 2014

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way

Barber gives a tour of Tucson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Rep. Ron Barber guides his Ford through the flat, four-lane paved streets, ticking off landmarks on the corners of his desert city surrounded by jagged mountains.

That’s Rincon High School, where he enrolled as a sophomore in 1959. There’s the middle school his grandson attends. As he makes a left turn, Barber points to St. Cyril of Alexandria Church, where he married his wife, Nancy, 47 years ago.

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way“It was the middle of the summer, and what do you know, the air conditioner broke,” he recalled, driving by rows of adobe office parks.

On the opposite corner of the church is another Barber landmark, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office, where he worked as her district director for several years. One memory sticks out: On the night of the Affordable Care Act vote, he put out a press release and left around midnight. A couple of hours later, someone shattered the office door and window. He said they later discovered bullets inside.

It’s not the most notorious time Barber risked gunfire — not even close. At the main gate of the University of Arizona campus, the former state bureaucrat gestures up the road toward the trauma center where he was treated after a gunman killed six and injured a dozen more, including Barber and Giffords, in January 2011. Full story

August 7, 2014

Hurricane Iselle Could Cause Havoc for Hawaii Primary (Video)

Hurricane Iselle Could Cause Havoc for Hawaii Primary (Video)

(Courtesy Jeff Schmaltz/NASA)

The Hawaii primary is in a state of uncertainty, as Hurricane Iselle and a second storm barrel toward the islands and get-out-the-vote pushes are intermixed with information on where to find emergency assistance.

In preparation for their competitive Democratic Senate primary Saturday, Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have been forced to alter their plans and help their constituents prepare for what could be damaging storms. Hurricane Iselle was projected to hit the Big Island late Thursday, in what would be Hawaii’s first hurricane in 22 years.

“On the forecast track, the center of Iselle is expected to pass over the Big Island tonight, and pass just south of the smaller islands Friday,” the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Thursday.

Full story

August 5, 2014

Live Coverage: GOP Primary Results in Kansas, Michigan

 

Live Coverage: GOP Primary Results in Kansas, Michigan

Can Bentivolio survive his first real political test? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Roll Call’s Politics Team provides live coverage and results on one of the biggest nights of the GOP primary season Tuesday with a large slate of tea party-vs.-business contests in Kansas and Michigan and a crowded race to replace retiring Washington Rep. Doc Hastings.

Get live numbers, analysis and reaction from the candidates and their campaigns, starting at 8 p.m. below:

Live Blog Primary Night: Kansas, Michigan and Washington
 

August 4, 2014

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

In the 2014 elections, Southerland is one of the House's most vulnerable members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two House members have already lost their re-election in primaries this cycle — and it’s unlikely they will be the last with ruined plans to return to Congress.

Since the last edition of this ongoing feature, Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, lost re-nomination, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was upset in his Virginia primary and Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., survived his primary by a small margin.

Roll Call’s latest edition of the “Top 10 Most Vulnerable House Members” shows several more incumbents in peril. Some of them face top-notch opponents, others are running in unfavorable districts; a couple members just don’t run good campaigns.

With the end of primary season in sight, two of the 10 members on the list must overcome intraparty adversary to win another term. The remaining eight face general election challenges.

We’ll revise this list during the first week of each month through Election Day. For now, here are the 10 most vulnerable House members in alphabetical order:

Full story

An Ex-Congressman’s Shaky Comeback Bid in Michigan

An Ex Congressmans Shaky Comeback Bid in Michigan

In the Michigan primary, Hansen Clarke will attempt to win his former Detroit-based district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Hansen Clarke’s hopes of returning to Congress in a definitive Tuesday primary might be just that for the Michigan Democrat — hopes.

He’s attempting to leverage his name recognition as a former one-term member, but Clarke’s top two Democratic rivals, state Rep. Rudy Hobbs and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, have major political heft behind their campaigns. Several of Clarke’s former colleagues have lined up behind his opponents, and others expressed doubt about his prospects of coming back to Congress.

“I wanted Hansen to come back, but Hansen didn’t get any labor endorsements,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., who is neutral in the race, in between votes last week. “I think that that’s almost fatal.” Full story

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