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April 17, 2014

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November 7, 2012

Democrats Take Victory Lap in D.C.

Democrats Take Victory Lap in D.C.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a packed ballroom of a Capitol Hill hotel, a gleeful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) addressed cheering supporters in celebration of a political reality few thought likely two years ago: He is still the No. 1 leader in the Senate.

Reid took the stage here at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel just minutes after both CNN and NBC News called the presidential race for Barack Obama and seconds after Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.), who pumped her fists in the air and waved.

Murray took the job no one wanted: defending 23 Democratic-held seats. With the assist of gaffe-prone Republican candidates in key races, the Washington Democrat succeeded and it could pay huge dividends for her future within the caucus.

“Whenever there’s been something that’s hard to do, we [look] to Patty. And she delivers,” Reid said to cheers. “I am so satisfied, proud, elated and feel so, so much in debt to Patty Murray, with her many … responsibilities.

“There is no one who has ever done a better job of running the [Democratic] Senatorial Campaign Committee than Patty Murray.”

Murray touted the success of Democratic women especially in maintaining the party’s majority in the Senate. Though the Associated Press had not called the race yet, Murray said that Democratic candidate and Rep. Tammy Baldwin had defeated Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

“Harry Reid, I am proud to tell you, you will be Majority Leader!” Murray yelled to the crowd.

Reid also took a less-than-subtle jab at Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), opening his remarks with a taunt, claiming that this result was what happens when one party says its No. 1 goal is defeating the president.

There are still several races that are too close to call, but several Democratic aides circulated through the press room at the hotel touting exit polls in Nevada that indicated the Hispanic vote was even greater this year than it was in 2010, when Reid eked out a victory over tea-party-backed Sharron Angle. Operatives were keeping information on the tight Montana Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) close to the vest.

November 6, 2012

Tar Heel Blues for North Carolina Democrats

Tar Heel Blues for North Carolina Democrats

Rep. Larry Kissell (above) lost to former Congressional aide Richard Hudson. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Democrats are having a very, very bad night. Running in a redrawn Congressional map favoring the GOP, at least three Democratic Congressmen will not be coming back to Capitol Hill. The only bright spot for Democrats: Rep. Mike McIntyre’s race remained too close for the Associated Press to call as of 10:10 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell (D) lost to former Congressional aide Richard Hudson (R). With 68 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press said Hudson had 58.4 percent to Kissell’s 41.6 percent. Kissell, a lackluster fundraiser and campaigner, always had a steep path back to the House. After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee abandoned him, not fulfilling reservations it had to advertise on TV for him, his fate was all but sealed. Full story

Steve Israel Vows Dems Will Pick Up Seats

Steve Israel Vows Dems Will Pick Up Seats

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the disappointing election results were being tallied, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel vowed to operatives at an election night party that Democrats would pick up seats in the House.

The bar is lower than the goal of retaking control of the chamber that leaders have talked up for the past two years. Even as networks were calling the House for Republicans, the New Yorker’s fellow Democratic leaders, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, both maintained that such a victory was in their grasp.

“Yes, we think we’re going to take back the House,” Hoyer said.

Israel was less sanguine, drawing a line not at the 25 seats Democrats needed but at a projection made by his Republican counterpart more than one year ago.

“The Republicans said that tonight they were going to win 16 seats. Wrong! We’re not letting ‘em win 16 seats. We’re stopping them in their tracks. We’re gonna gain seats tonight in the House of Representatives,” Israel said.

But even if the results will be a disappointment for Democrats, both Pelosi and Hoyer praised  Israel’s tenure atop the House campaign committee, with Hoyer calling his work “extraordinary” and Pelosi’s a “job well done.”

Pelosi also expressed optimism about how the rest of the evening would play out. “These elections as they unfold across the country will unroll an ever-increasing number of new Democrats who will come to the Congress and join the fight.” The results will exceed “everyone’s expectation and perhaps achieve our drive to 25 [seats],” Pelosi said.

With recent speculation about Pelosi’s future as a backdrop, Hoyer offered lengthy and effusive praise for the Minority Leader.

“We could not have been successful without the leadership, the extraordinary energy, the focus and the extraordinary ability to raise funds for the cause. … I want to congratulate Nancy Pelosi, our leader,” he said.

“I’ve been at this for some period of time. I have never seen anybody with energy, more focus, more self discipline and more effectiveness in conveying the message of our party and ensuring we have the resources to get that message to the American people. Nancy Pelosi, thank you very, very much,” Hoyer said.

Pelosi congratulated Hoyer on winning re-election to his Congressional seat in Maryland.

President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

President Barack Obama Wins Re Election

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

11:15 p.m. | President Barack Obama has defeated Mitt Romney and won re-election, capping the most expensive and divisive national campaign in memory, according to network news and Associated Press projections.

The president’s victory — built on key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — will give him a second term in a deeply divided nation, and he will be facing a similar lineup in Congress, which has thwarted the bulk of his agenda for the past two years.

Obama’s victory was sealed by the critical state of Ohio — the focus of both candidates for months — where Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Vice President Joseph Biden all made appearances on Election Day.

 

Updated 10:57 p.m. | At Republican and Democratic election night events in Washington, D.C., Democrats seemed to be having the better time.

With President Barack Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Mitt Romney yet to put one away, the Republican National Committee party at the Ronald Reagan Building seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney won Utah.

Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on, holding out hope despite the fact that it’s a cash bar. Full story

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson Easily Wins Re-Election, Defeats Republican Connie Mack IV

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson Easily Wins Re Election, Defeats Republican Connie Mack IV

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) easily won a third term tonight, beating Rep. Connie Mack IV (R), according to the Associated Press.

Nelson, who has managed to sustain a strong bipartisan appeal in Florida despite voting with Democrats most of the time in Washington, D.C., was always favored in his race with Mack.

The Congressman, son of former Florida Sen. Connie Mack III, was a weak candidate who at times seemed more focused on bashing Florida’s top political reporters than painting a contrast with Nelson. And he never raised the kind of money he would have needed to compete in the state’s exorbitantly expensive media markets.

The Senator, meanwhile, just kept plodding along and used his substantial war chest to hammer Mack in TV ads.

It’s not yet clear whether President Barack Obama will win the Sunshine State tonight, as he did in 2008. But, in polling, Nelson has always significantly outperformed Obama in the state. Nelson’s margin was likely among unmarried white women and independent voters, groups in which he comfortably ran ahead of the president.

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:37 a.m. | As Election Day folded into Nov. 7, the only question remaining in the fight for the Senate was the size of the Democratic majority.

Democrats were looking at a net gain of two seats, with just two Democratic-held seats and one Republican seat left to be called. That meant the Democratic majority could be no lower than 53-47, exactly where it was at the beginning of the cycle.

“When we started this campaign, no one, and I mean no one gave us a chance.  But we went out and built the best Senate campaigns in the history of the country,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “We recruited some of the highest quality candidates, including a record number of women. Democrats never let up, and now we will retain our majority in the United States Senate.”

The Associated Press called the Wisconsin Senate race after midnight, with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) topping former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). That left two Democratic-held seats yet to be called: in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) faced Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), and in North Dakota, where former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) faced Rep. Rick Berg (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D).

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) was looking to hold on against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), even as President Barack Obama carried the state.

 

Updated 11:25 p.m. | Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

Tim Kaine’s (D) victory in Virginia and Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) re-election took two more pickup opportunities off the map for Republicans and left the GOP without enough states left to complete its quest for the majority.

With the presidential contest now called for President Barack Obama, Democrats would control the Senate even in the event of a 50-50 tie, as Vice President Joseph Biden would cast the deciding vote. Full story

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

From left: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel address the crowd at a Democratic election night party in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:45 a.m. | House Republicans were wiped out in the Northeast in Tuesday’s elections, especially in New England, where there won’t be a single GOP Member returning to Congress next year.

A Democratic duo, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and attorney Ann McLane Kuster, won House seats in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) fended off tough challenges from GOP opponents. Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty narrowly won an open-seat race in Connecticut’s 5th district, holding the seat for Democrats.

In the Empire State, two Republican freshmen lost re-election: Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election last year, lost her bid for a full term, marking one of her party’s only disappointments in the region.

Full story

Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There were no signs of a political motive for a break-in Monday at one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s California homes, Capt. Tracey Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, told Roll Call.

The perpetrators did not vandalize the residence or leave behind anything that pointed to a motive beyond burglary, Stuart said. There was nothing obviously missing, although the Pelosis have not been at the residence to check if anything is gone. Their belongings had been rifled through to “some” degree, Stuart said.

Police were alerted to the break-in by an alarm system at 2:53 p.m. Monday. Arriving on the scene, they found two glass doors broken, one to the main residence and a second to the pool house.

The house that was broken into was in St. Helena, Calif., in the heart of wine country in the Napa Valley.

Pelosi’s office did not reply to a request for comment. The Napa Valley Register first reported the incident.

November 5, 2012

House Democrats Lower Expectations, Offer ‘Tea Party’ Narrative

House Democrats Lower Expectations, Offer Tea Party Narrative

Rep. Steve Israel (left) was charged with overseeing Democratic efforts to win back House seats this cycle and make Rep. Nancy Pelosi Speaker again. But heading into Election Day, the party is expected to net only a handful of seats. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For two years, Democratic leaders have focused on winning the 25 seats necessary for their party to take back the House. But with analysts predicting disappointing results for the number of seats they will pick up in Tuesday’s elections, aides and party operatives are privately lowering expectations about the net gain.

In internal conversations with Democratic lawmakers, leaders are “definitely lowering the expectations,” a senior Democratic House aide said.

The party is expected to net a single-digit number of seats, far from the 25 they need to reclaim control of the chamber.

Democratic aides speaking on background said the elections results will likely be a bitter disappointment, if not a surprise for some. Most Members and professional operatives realized long ago that winning back the House was not in the cards, and one source described complaints that top officials, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), were being unrealistically rosy in their public statements about the state of the races. Full story

Hawaii: President Barack Obama Makes Closing Argument for Mazie Hirono

Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) appears to be cruising to victory in the open-seat Senate race in Hawaii, but she’s nonetheless getting a final boost from President Barack Obama.

A new radio ad released over the weekend by the Hirono campaign features Obama expressing support for the Congresswoman, highlighting her connection to his family.

“Years ago, Mazie worked with my late grandmother.  So Mazie isn’t just a reliable partner of mine in Washington; she is part of my ohana at home in Hawaii,” Obama said. “Now, I need Mazie’s cooperative style and commitment to middle-class families in the U.S. Senate.”

Full story

Bill Clinton Robocalls for House Democratic Candidates

Former president Bill Clinton has recorded at least 45 robocalls for House Democratic candidates to use in the final days of their campaigns.

Clinton, who has been an asset for Democratic candidates at every level this cycle, has recorded calls for candidates from Florida to California. Here’s an example of one made for Ami Bera, a physician running against Rep. Dan Lungren (R) in California’s newly configured 7th district.

Full story

November 4, 2012

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)

Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.

First, the Senate math:

Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.

Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story

November 3, 2012

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

Nancy Pelosi Raised $12.9 Million in October

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi raised an eye-popping $12.9 million in October for House Democrats, a spokesman said.

The California Democrat held 65 fundraising and campaign events in eight states and Washington, D.C. Over the current election cycle, Pelosi has raised $85.1 million.

Pelosi is a powerhouse fundraiser without peer among Congressional Democrats. She has kept up a frenetic campaigning pace even as Democrats, some openly, have speculated she may leave after the elections, especially as the party is not expected to come close to taking back control of the House.

Those who know Pelosi well say she is unlikely to opt for a quick exit, however, preferring to promote a successor she prefers over her second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Pelosi’s spokesman has called that scenario “ridiculous.”

November 2, 2012

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned at the Farm Bureau Center in Doswell, Va., on Thursday. Current polls have President Barack Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in the state. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Job growth in October strongly beat expectations Friday, even as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in the final report before next week’s elections.

The government reported 171,000 net new jobs last month and revised upward the previous two months by 84,000. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point, as discouraged workers started to return to the labor force.

The report contained ammunition for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney but mostly comes as a relief for a White House with the rate staying below 8 percent for a second straight month and allowing the president to point to strengthening job creation in the final days of the too-close-to call race. Full story

November 1, 2012

Illinois: Bloomberg Super PAC Buys $730K in Airtime for Robert Dold

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC will back Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) with $730,000 worth of television ads, according to three GOP sources tracking media buys.

Independence USA PAC’s most recent spot describes Dold as a Member with “courage, independence, results.”

Full story

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