Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

April 1, 2013

Colorado: Mark Udall Raises $1.5 Million in First Quarter of Cycle

Colorado: Mark Udall Raises $1.5 Million in First Quarter of Cycle

Udall had a strong first fundraising quarter (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., raised $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2013 and has $2.5 million in the bank to kick off his re-election campaign in 2014.

On paper, the re-election race should worry Senate Democrats: Colorado is a competitive state, and in recent cycles national parties have dumped millions into races there.

But Udall’s supporters list his strong fundraising as one of the reasons the first-term senator does not top this cycle’s list of the most competitive races. More importantly, Udall has yet to field a serious GOP challenger.

Full story

Iowa: House Democrats Talk to Ex-State Senator About Latham Challenge

Iowa: House Democrats Talk to Ex State Senator About Latham Challenge

Democrats are talking up a new candidate to challenge Rep. Tom Latham (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats hope former state Sen. Staci Appel will challenge GOP Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa this cycle, after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee met with her recently in Washington, D.C., to discuss the race, according to a Democratic operative with knowledge of the encounter.

Appel, a former stock broker and one-term state senator from rural Ackworth, Iowa, is the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel.

Democrats view the 3rd District as one of their best pick-up opportunities of 2014. Last year, President Barack Obama carried the Des Moines-based seat. At the same time, Latham defeated then-Rep. Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa, there by nearly 9 points.

If Appel runs — and the source stressed that her candidacy is not a done deal — she will have company in a Democratic primary. Businessman Mike Sherzan announced his campaign for the seat last month, after the DCCC feted him during the presidential inauguration in January. Full story

Shop Talk: American Bridge Signs Mackler, Vale for Super PAC

American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC focused on opposition research, announced Monday that it has brought on two new top staffers:

  • Jessica Mackler will be the new vice president-campaign director. Last fall, Mackler was campaign manager for then-Rep. Shelley Berkley’s Senate race in Nevada. She’s a veteran of EMILY’s List and American Rights at Work as well.
  • Eddie Vale will be the new vice president-C-4 director for American Bridge’s not-for-profit arm and senior adviser to the PAC. He comes to American Bridge from the AFL-CIO Workers’ Voice super PAC. His previous experience includes John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign, Ned Lamont’s Senate race and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s gubernatorial effort.

“As we prepare to build on the success of the last election cycle, Jessica and Eddie will be valuable additions to American Bridge and bring years of experience right in line with our core mission,” said Rodell Mollineau, the president of American Bridge, in a statement. “They will further strengthen a rock-solid senior staff and organization that I couldn’t be prouder of.” Full story

March 27, 2013

Shop Talk: Franken Hires Manager; Draft Hillary PAC Gets Digital Director

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s re-election campaign and the Ready for Hillary super PAC made public Wednesday new hires to their organizations.

Franken’s team announced that Matt Burgess has been hired to manage the Democrat’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Burgess is a longtime Democratic operative, with former stints at EMILY’s List and the Service Employees International Union, among others.

The super PAC devoted to drafting Hillary Rodham Clinton into the 2016 presidential race, Ready for Hillary PAC, announced Wednesday that it has hired Nickie Titus to be its digital director.

Titus spent the 2012 cycle on now-Sen. Tim Kaine’s, D-Va., campaign. She previously worked for the new media firm Blue State Digital and, like Burgess, she came up through the ranks at EMILY’s List.

CQ Roll Call recently took a look at who else is behind the Draft Hillary effort.

Georgia: Gingrey Enters Senate Race

Georgia: Gingrey Enters Senate Race

Gingrey is the second member to enter the Georgia Senate race. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Wednesday morning, Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey entered what’s expected to be a crowded and spirited Republican primary for the Peach State’s open Senate seat.

Speaking in his hometown of Augusta, Ga., Gingrey joined Rep. Paul Broun as the first two major candidates to announce bids for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The news was not a surprise, as Gingrey has been putting together a campaign team for a statewide bid. Full story

March 25, 2013

DCCC Courts Donors at Annual Issues Conference

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted its third annual New York Issues Conference on Saturday, featuring access to top lawmaker panels for its supporters.

The event, a brainchild of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York, is intended to fete committee donors from Capitol Hill to the Empire State. House candidates attended as well, one Democrat in attendance said.

New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy spoke on gun violence, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, both of California, talked about immigration, according to a copy of the agenda obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

Arkansas: Pryor Disses Bloomberg’s Gun Control Media Blitz

Arkansas: Pryor Disses Bloombergs Gun Control Media Blitz

Pryor is considered vulnerable in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first sign that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $12 million gun control ad campaign targeting senators might not go as planned?

One of 2014′s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, is using the media blitz to demonstrate political space between him and Bloomberg.

“I’ve gotten a lot of questions about NYC Mayor gun ad. My response? I don’t take gun advice from the Mayor of NYC. I listen to Arkansans,” Pryor tweeted Monday afternoon.

Bloomberg announced over the weekend that he plans to fund advertisements in 13 states during the Easter recess targeting vulnerable Democratic senators, including Pryor, and Republicans representing competitive states. The goal, according to The New York Times, is to pressure senators he believes could be persuaded to support universal background checks for firearm sales.

Full story

March 20, 2013

Hawaii: Hanabusa to Announce Plans in Next Several Weeks

Hawaii: Hanabusa to Announce Plans in Next Several Weeks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Passed over in December for an appointment to the state’s vacant Senate seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in favor of now-Sen. Brian Schatz, Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is deciding whether to challenge one of them in a primary next year.

According to a source close to the congresswoman, Hanabusa will likely decide on whether to run for governor, senator or for re-election within the next couple of weeks and then announce her plans soon after.

A poll commissioned by Hanabusa and leaked to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month showed Hanabusa leading both Abercrombie and Schatz by double-digit margins in hypothetical Democratic primaries. Should Hanabusa challenge either in a statewide contest, several Democrats would no doubt enter the race to replace her in the safely Democratic 1st District.

The Senate seat now held by Schatz became vacant after the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

March 19, 2013

South Carolina: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Wins Democratic Primary

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, won the Democratic nomination for South Carolina’s open 1st District on Tuesday, easily beating frequent candidate Ben Frasier in a special-election primary.

At 8:38 p.m., with 56 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press reported Colbert Busch had 95 percent to Frasier’s 5 percent.

Colbert has, so far, run a solid campaign, with significant fundraising and slick television ads. In her first spot, she shared her résumé — director of sales and marketing at a shipping company, director of business development at a former naval shipyard in North Charleston — and hammered home the message that she knew how to create jobs.

What went unmentioned was her political affiliation, which will be her biggest hurdle to coming to Congress. The comfortably Republican district voted 62 percent for then-Rep. Tim Scott in November 2012. After his appointment to the Senate, the seat became vacant, setting up this special election.

One Colbert Busch aide told CQ Roll Call that the general election campaign would be, more or less, “a nonpartisan attack on business as usual in Washington.”

Colbert Busch will face the winner of a Republican runoff on April 2.

The general election is May 7. CQ Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

Shop Talk: Top Democratic Mail Firm Mack|Crounse Breaks Up

The Mack|Crounse Group, a top Democratic direct-mail firm that worked on both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, has dissolved.

Last week, the firm’s principals, Kevin Mack and Jim Crounse, announced the formation of their own direct-mail firms in separate emails to clients and colleagues.

“We’ve come to the realization that our client bases are very different, and in today’s world of firewalls, independent expenditures, and super PAC’s [sic], this is the best step for our clients, staff and ourselves,” Crounse wrote in his email, adding that it will “take a little time to unwind” the current firm. In fact, the company’s website is still up.

“After careful consideration and some soul-searching, I have decided to set-up [sic] a new direct mail/communications firm,” Mack wrote in another email. “Moving forward, the new firm will continue to offer the same strategic, design and production excellence that we always have.”

“In fact, every member of the ‘Mack Team’ will be joining me, including my top designers and production staff,” he added.

Full story

March 18, 2013

New Poll Shows Support for Gay Marriage at All-Time High

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found record high support — 58 percent — for gay marriage.

In a new survey released Monday, only 36 percent of those polled thought marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be illegal and 6 percent had no opinion.

Gay marriage has been one of the country’s fastest-shifting political issues of the decade. Just three years ago, the same poll found 47 percent of respondents favored legal gay marriage and 50 percent were against it.

The new numbers were released on the heels of two top officials — a Democrat and Republican — announcing that their views have evolved on the matter. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that he now supports the right of gay people to get married. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced via video that she has evolved to support same-sex marriage. Clinton is a possible 2016 presidential frontrunner.

Full story

Shop Talk: Smoot Joins Majority PAC

Julianna Smoot, the deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, has joined Majority PAC’s board of directors.

“We have a small, effective team to which she brings critical expertise and networks as we prepare for this election cycle and make sure we have every resource needed to keep a Democratic senate majority,” super PAC co-chair Susan McCue said in a press release Monday.

The Democratic super political action committee spent millions to boost Senate candidates in 2012, including major buys in Indiana, Ohio and other states. Full story

March 7, 2013

South Carolina: Colbert Busch Launches First TV Ad (VIDEO)

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, launched her first television advertisement Thursday as she seeks the Democratic nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.

In the slickly-made spot, she shares her résumé — director of sales and marketing at a shipping company, director of business development at a former naval shipyard in North Charleston — and emphasizes her experience creating jobs.

“I’ve spent 20 years using our ports to create jobs: selling American products made by American workers,” she says. “I know what it takes to create new jobs.”

Full story

March 5, 2013

Illinois: Kelly Plans to Follow Obama’s Lead on Gun Control

Illinois: Kelly Plans to Follow Obamas Lead on Gun Control

Kelly won the Democratic nomination in Illinois' 2nd District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Democrat Robin Kelly made gun control a central issue in her successful House primary last month, and now she says she will follow the president’s lead on that very issue in Congress.

“I see myself as standing with the president in helping him pass what he wants to pass,” Kelly said about gun control in an interview during her first trip to Washington, D.C., since her victory.

Kelly added that background checks and closing gun show loopholes are realistic policy points that could positively effect the 2nd District. She won the Feb. 26 primary in the south side Chicago district, an area that has been plagued by massive gun violence in recent years.

The 2nd District is a safe Democratic seat, and Kelly is all but certain to come to Congress after the April 9 special election to succeed former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Her Republican rival, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon, according to The Chicago Tribune.

But Kelly’s primary garnered national attention when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC spent $2.5 million to boost her campaign. Her race served as the first test case for the super PAC, which supports candidates who back gun control, after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Kelly noted that she has never spoken with Bloomberg, even after her victory.

“Never talked to him before, never talked to him after [the primary],” she said. “We don’t know each other. He got involved on behalf of the families [affected by gun violence]. That’s how I look at it.”

Full story

March 4, 2013

Montana: State Democrats’ Dinner Features Franken, Messina

Montana: State Democrats’ Dinner Features Franken, Messina

Franken will speak at a Montana Democratic Party dinner Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina will headline the Montana Democratic Party’s Mansfield-Metcalf dinner Saturday.

Messina is a former campaign manager and chief of staff to Montana Sen. Max Baucus, who is running for re-election in 2014 and has already drawn two GOP challengers. Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and actor, is also running next year, though no major Republican opponent has yet to step forward.

Baucus, Sen. Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock will also address attendees at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. Other speakers include Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Nancy Keenan, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a former congressional candidate in Montana.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...