Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

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November 10, 2014

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

McSally is a Republican from Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Nov. 11, 7:35 a.m. | A week after Election Day, six races remain too close to call as local officials continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots.

On Nov. 4, Republicans took control of the Senate by picking up seven seats so far, while House Republicans have picked up a net of 12 seats to date.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. It could be another week before outstanding 50,000 outstanding ballots — and an unknown number of absentee ballots from rural Alaskan villages — are counted. Republicans are confident Sullivan will maintain his lead.

Republican retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally’s lead over Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., narrowed to 341 votes this weekend. After additional ballots were counted on Monday, McSally’s lead shrunk further to 179 votes. The margin currently falls within the range for an automatic recount.

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November 7, 2014

Democrat Wins California House Contest

Democrat Wins California House Contest

Peters, center, won re-election on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., officially defeated Republican Carl DeMaio Friday, after a new bunch of ballots gave the freshman Democrat an insurmountable lead in California’s 52nd District.

Peters leads DeMaio by a nearly 4,500-vote margin. Operatives say not enough uncounted ballots remain for a DeMaio victory, and The Associated Press called the race for Peters.

The hotly contested race was a Tossup the entire contest.

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10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

Aguilar is a Democrat from California. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:39 p.m. | Democrats picked up their third House seat late Thursday, stemming the party’s losses to 13 seats — for now.

After more absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Democrat Pete Aguilar maintained a lead over Republican Paul Chabot, 51 percent to 49 percent, in California’s 31st District. Aguilar declared victory and Chabot conceded; the seat was open because Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller is retiring.

The Associated Press also called a House race in Maryland’s 6th District in favor of the Democrat. Freshman Rep. John Delaney defeated his Republican opponent, 50 percent to 48 percent, in an unexpectedly close contest.

In Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by a 16,000-vote margin.

Gillespie announced at a news conference Friday afternoon that he would not contest the results.

Elsewhere, several other races remain too close to call:

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October 20, 2014

San Diego DA: No Charges in Carl DeMaio Campaign Incidents

San Diego DA: No Charges in Carl DeMaio Campaign Incidents

DeMaio is a top Republican recruit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The San Diego District Attorney’s office said it will not press criminal charges at this time regarding two investigations dogging Republican Carl DeMaio in a competitive House contest in California, according to a statement from the office Monday.

DeMaio is challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in a top pickup opportunity for Republicans, but the spate of news reports about the incidents has threatened to derail his bid.

In May, DeMaio’s campaign headquarters was vandalized in an alleged break-in, with thousands of dollars of computer equipment and other technology damaged. Then earlier this month, DeMaio revealed at a news conference that a former campaign staffer, Todd Bosnich, had accused DeMaio of sexual harassment. DeMaio denied the accusation, calling it a “smear” tactic to hurt his chances in the final month of the race.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a statement that the two cases involving DeMaio and his campaign were investigated by the San Diego Police Department, and there was insufficient evidence at this point to move forward with charges.

Full story

October 10, 2014

Carl DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations Threaten to Derail Bid (Updated)

Carl DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations Threaten to Derail Bid (Updated)

DeMaio is a California Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:40 p.m. | In one of the hottest House races in the country, a top Republican recruit has become mired in a dispute over sexual harassment allegations, presenting the GOP with a high-profile distraction in one of its best pickup opportunities.

Former San Diego Councilmember Carl DeMaio is a Republican running against freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in a San Diego-based district. One of DeMaio’s former staffers, Todd Bosnich, sat down for an interview with CNN in which he described in vivid detail his harassment allegations. DeMaio has denied Bosnich’s allegations.

“I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating,” Bosnich told CNN in an interview that aired Friday. “I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over, he was looking at me.”

CNN’s Chris Frates confronted DeMaio, who reportedly offered to provide evidence to refute the former aide’s allegations. But the reporter said DeMaio only offered to share the documents if CNN did not report on the situation, and “on its own, the material did not appear to refute Bosnich’s claims.” At one point, CNN was contacted by Washington attorney Ben Ginsberg. After requesting more time, he eventually directed the reporter back to the campaign manager.

Bosnich also told CNN that after he confronted DeMaio about the alleged harassment, he was let go from the campaign and offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

National Republicans are standing by their candidate.

“We fully support Carl DeMaio and we don’t make decisions based on unsubstantiated claims,” said Andrea Bozek, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

But the allegations surfaced just as vote by mail ballots were sent to thousands of voters in the district. And if the dust-up gains traction, DeMaio could see the ground shift from underneath him. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

October 2, 2014

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

Rahall is one of this cycle's most vulnerable House Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With a month to go until Election Day, House Republicans are poised to add at least a handful of seats to their majority in the midterms.

Need proof? Look no further than this month’s list of Roll Call’s 10 Most Vulnerable House Members, plus the four incumbents who got honorable mentions: The majority of the names are Democrats facing slogs to re-election in tough districts.

What’s more, nearly all of the Republicans on the list made it due to isolated issues — like campaign problems, personal and legal missteps — instead of the national political environment.

The list does not include competitive open-seat contests, where Democrats could stave off major losses.

Since CQ Roll Call last published this feature in September, two incumbents — a Democrat and a Republican — dropped to the honorable mention category. Both are still as vulnerable as they were in September, but a few of their colleagues now face greater political peril than they do.

Roll Call will publish this list one more time, in the week before Election Day. For now, here is the updated list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members in alphabetical order:

Full story

September 30, 2014

Republican Cavalry Starts Spending on House Races (Finally)

Republican Cavalry Starts Spending on House Races (Finally)

Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For months, Republicans feared outside groups would skip over House races this cycle, saving their cash for the battle over Senate control.

But the conservative cavalry has finally arrived.

Republican groups — which have mostly sat on the sidelines in House contests this cycle until recently — have reserved nearly $12 million on the television airwaves in competitive races through Election Day, according to two sources tracking ad buys in House contests across the country. The reservations, placed over the last two weeks, are a mix of GOP pickup opportunities and defensive ground.

The reservations include:

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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:

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September 3, 2014

Chamber Backs Democrat in Top GOP Pickup Contest

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters has earned the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, making the Californian one of the few House Democrats to earn the conservative-leaning group’s endorsement this cycle and marking a huge development in what’s expected to be one of the most competitive and costly House contests of the midterms.

Peters is facing Republican Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member who bills himself as a more moderate Republican, and who has earned praise from the GOP for being one of the party’s best House recruits of 2014.

“We believe that your re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives will help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs, and get our country back on track,” Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a letter to Peters, according to a Wednesday report from UT San Diego. “We will encourage the business community to vigorously support your candidacy.”

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The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

Coffman is one of the most vulnerable members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome to the general election: Labor Day has passed, nearly every primary has finished, and Roll Call has revised its monthly list of the 10 most vulnerable House members.

Since this feature last published in August, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., lost his primary by a wide margin, while Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., barely survived his, defeating his primary foe by 38 votes.

That opened up two spots in the Top 10 — and there are a plethora of choices this cycle to fill their spots, plus more honorable mentions below.

House Democrats must net 17 seats to win the majority. But most of the names below are Democrats, symbolic of a cycle increasingly favorable to Republicans.

For now, here are the 10 most vulnerable House members in alphabetical order:

Full story

August 21, 2014

Scott Peters Airs First Ad in California House Contest

Scott Peters Airs First Ad in California House Contest

Peters is a California Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., released his first ad of the cycle Thursday, touting work he’s done that he says has helped “hold Congress accountable.”

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is part of a $2.2 million buy on cable, broadcast and online through November.

“Scott Peters kept his promise: blocked congressional pay raises, and helped pass the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Act, if they don’t pass a budget, they don’t get a pay check,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot.

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July 24, 2014

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

Democratic Poll: Freshman Holds Minor Lead Over Carl DeMaio

Scott Peters is a freshman Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., holds a slight lead over his GOP challenger, former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, more than three months from Election Day, in a new poll conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Peters leads DeMaio, 48 percent to 43 percent — slightly outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies and surveyed 400 likely voters via live telephone between July 20-22.

This race in California’s 52nd District, located in and around San Diego, is a top Republican target in November. The National Republican Congressional Committee has touted DeMaio as a top recruit in the district that President Barack Obama won with 52 percent last cycle. 

Here’s the full survey memo:

Full story

July 10, 2014

Carl DeMaio Reserves $1.2 Million in Fall TV Time

Carl DeMaio Reserves $1.2 Million in Fall TV Time

DeMaio placed fall TV reservations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California Republican challenger Carl DeMaio reserved $1.2 million in TV airtime for the fall, according to media buy information obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The move sets down a marker for when the race for this Democrat-held seat, a top target of national Republicans, will begin to heat up. The buy begins Sept. 15 and runs through Election Day on both cable and broadcast in the 52nd District, located in and around San Diego.

DeMaio is a top Republican recruit facing vulnerable freshman Rep. Scott Peters, who defeated a GOP incumbent by a slim margin in 2012. The district is one of the most expensive in the country to air TV ads, and Peters’ race last cycle was among the priciest.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 12:36 p.m.
Ads, Calif.-52, House 2014

July 7, 2014

DeMaio Tops $600,000 in Second Quarter Fundraising

DeMaio Tops $600,000 in Second Quarter Fundraising

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio raised $613,000 in the second quarter for one of the GOP’s most targeted House races, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

DeMaio, the Republican nominee in California’s competitive 52nd District, ended June with $1.4 million.

A top Republican recruit, DeMaio is challenging freshman Rep. Scott Peters, one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress. Full story

June 17, 2014

NRCC Reserves $30 Million for TV Ads in 2014

NRCC Reserves $30 Million for TV Ads in 2014

The NRCC Chairman is Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $30 million in television airtime this fall, signaling it is preparing to go on offense in 17 districts and defend nine more.

The NRCC has put its marker down in many of the same House districts as its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It’s a good indicator of which races both parties think will be most competitive in November.

But there are a few competitive districts not included in the NRCC’s initial reservations, such as Iowa’s 3rd District — an open seat currently held by a Republican that is one of this cycle’s few Tossup races.

Also, the NRCC’s television reservations total $13.5 million less than what the DCCC has already reserved for this fall. The committees will likely shift and add more airtime as individual races develop during the rest of the cycle.  

But the DCCC has raised more money than the NRCC this cycle. As of the end of April, the DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank, while the NRCC had $32.3 million.

Here are the districts where the NRCC has already reserved airtime for this fall:

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