Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

Posts in "Ill.-12"

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:

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October 20, 2014

For House GOP, a Wave … Or a Trickle?

For House GOP, a Wave ... Or a Trickle?

Kirkpatrick is one of the most endangered Democrats this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are on track to make gains this cycle, but two weeks before Election Day, it’s still unclear whether the party will procure a wave of double-digit gains in their quest to extend the majority.

Members of Congress and operatives alike note this is a toxic time for Democrats on the ballot that should result in huge losses for the president’s party. But a race-by-race evaluation of the House map shows Republicans are more likely in a position to pick up a net of around six seats this cycle.

“After two successful cycles for House Republicans, the playing field confines the upper limits of pickups that can be had,” said Brock McCleary, a Republican pollster.

Public surveys show President Barack Obama’s unpopularity, as events in the Middle East and Ebola on the home front drag down Democrats coast to coast. House Democrats are defending more seats than Republicans this cycle.

But this midterm is shaping up to be one of the most perplexing in recent memory. Both parties are on offense, and both parties are on defense. In private polling, dozens of races are too close to call. Given the unpredictability, it’s also possible the next 14 days could exacerbate Democratic losses.

Here’s why most political operatives estimate Republican will have a net gain in the mid-single digits:

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October 7, 2014

6 Gubernatorial Races With Potential Congressional Consequences

6 Gubernatorial Races With Potential Congressional Consequences

Barber is running as a Democrat in Arizona, where there is a competitive gubernatorial race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lines separating gubernatorial and congressional candidates on the ballot could blur in several states this cycle, as the top of the ticket proves to be a driving force downballot in a half-dozen states.

Typically, competitive gubernatorial races impact one key factor for victory: turnout. As a result, state parties ramp up their efforts to turn out their base, which could also boost candidates all over the ballot, including congressional races.

Gubernatorial races have less of an impact on Senate contests, where candidates are similarly well known by voters. But they often can make a difference in a close House race.

In alphabetical order, here are six states where the impact of a gubernatorial race could drip down the ballot:  Full story

October 6, 2014

DCCC Cuts Airtime in 8 TV Markets

DCCC Cuts Airtime in 8 TV Markets

Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC Chariman. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started to pull back its advertising buys in several congressional districts around the country, according to an aide.

At this point in the cycle, the cancellations — also known as “triage” — serve as a signal the party does not see a path to victory for these candidates or races. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has already pulled some of its buys in the same districts.

For now, House Democrats are only canceling airtime reservations in open-seat races or offensive opportunities. In some cases, the DCCC is still airing advertisements in some of the affected races for the next couple weeks.

In addition to the cancellations, the DCCC is also moving money to other districts, including other open-seat opportunities, districts held by Democrats and one GOP incumbent target.

House Democrats must net 17 seats to win the majority, but it’s more likely they will lose seats in November. These cuts allow the DCCC to use the party’s resources in other reasons where the party has a higher likelihood of winning.

The cancellations include:

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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:

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September 3, 2014

Bill Enyart Challenger Looks to Leap From Illinois House

Bill Enyart Challenger Looks to Leap From Illinois House

Bost makes a mid-August campaign stop at a Du Quoin, Ill., brewery. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DU QUOIN, Ill. — With more than 19 years under his belt as an Illinois legislator, state Rep. Mike Bost has seen it all on the campaign trail.

At a mid-August campaign stop, the Republican taking on Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart, one of the most vulnerable members of Congress, dished on door-knocking memories as he sipped a beer at the St. Nicholas Brewing Company. It’s a new craft beer joint here in a farming town of some 6,000 people, connected to Chicago and Carbondale via Amtrak’s Saluki train, and in the heart of the swingy 12th District.Bill Enyart Challenger Looks to Leap From Illinois House

Bost leaned over to an aide, smirking. “I’m going to tell her about walking precincts with my wife in Belleville,” he said, before relaying the tale of finding a pool of blood in a driveway and missing a fatal stabbing by just hours.

While he survived that experience, Bost admits his challenge this cycle may be the greatest he’s staked yet. But it’s one national Republicans are increasingly optimistic about.

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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:

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August 20, 2014

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.

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June 23, 2014

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton are exciting Democrats who hope for their help in the midterm elections. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democrats are gearing up to unleash the Clinton Dynasty.

They hope deploying the popular former White House occupants could help drum up money and hype in what could be a tough election year for the party. Democrats see the power couple as an asset, especially because Republicans have no singular unifying figure who can hit the trail.

But good thing there’s two of them.

Democratic operatives say each half of the Clinton duo appeals to different segments of the electorate — so assignments to races must be deliberate and strategic.

North of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton territory — replete with voters who have already warmed to electing women to Congress. Former President Bill Clinton, party officials say, plays better in the South and Midwest, where he performed well with traditional Yellow Dog Democrats who relate to the party’s economic message but tend to be more conservative on social issues.

Together, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate say there are few areas where the Clinton duo wouldn’t have a positive impact.

“Both Clintons can go into any competitive district in the country and be enormously helpful to Democratic candidates,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said. “The second Secretary Clinton is ready, we’d love to have her campaigning for House Democrats.”

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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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May 29, 2014

DCCC Reserves $43.5 Million in TV Airtime for Midterms

DCCC Reserves $43.5 Million in TV Airtime for Midterms

Israel is the current chairman of the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $43.5 million in television airtime in dozens of targeted House districts this fall — a signal the party is attempting to play defense and offense in a challenging midterm cycle.

The money is split across 36 districts, including 17 pickup opportunities, according to a DCCC aide. More districts and more money could be added to the reservations as the cycle progresses, the aide said.

The DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank at the end of April and has raised more than its Republican counterpart by large margins this cycle. The committee ended April with an $11 million cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee.

These ad reservations give insight into which members Democrats see as vulnerable, and which seats the DCCC sees as the best possibility to take in November. They also signal to outside groups where the the party might need help on the airwaves this fall.

However, parties can cancel or change these reservations until shortly before the advertisements air in most cases.

Here are the districts where the DCCC has reserved airtime:

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May 22, 2014

Internal Poll: GOP Challenger Up In Targeted Illinois Race

GOP state Rep. Mike Bost had a 6-point lead on freshman Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart in a targeted Illinois House race, according to an internal poll conducted for Bost’s campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Bost garnered 43 percent to Enyart’s 37 percent, according to the poll, conducted by GOP polling firm The Tarrance Group.

The poll also found Enyart was not well established in his Illinois’ 12th District one year and five months into his term. Only 27 percent of voters approved of the job Enyart is doing, with half telling pollsters they were ready for new leadership in Congress.

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May 12, 2014

Meet the NRCC’s New Young Guns

Meet the NRCCs New Young Guns

Dold, seen at the Capitol in 2012, was selected to be of the NRCC's Young Guns this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden on Monday unveiled the first round of House GOP candidates elevated to “Young Gun” status.

The NRCC’s Young Guns program is the highest designation for recruits in either open-seat races or in districts where the GOP is on offense. The program allows the party to communicate to donors and the political world who are the most organized recruits of the cycle.

Candidates earn this status by demonstrating “their ability to build a formidable campaign structure and achieve important goals and benchmarks,” according to a news release.

“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in a position to win on Election Day,” Walden said in a statement. “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama Administration.”

The new Young Guns are:

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March 27, 2014

NRCC Chairman to Fundraise for Illinois House Hopefuls

NRCC Chairman to Fundraise for Illinois House Hopefuls

NRCC Chairman Walden is making a fundraising swing through Illinois (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden is making a campaign swing through Illinois on Friday, headlining fundraisers benefiting four Republican challengers and one of the party’s most vulnerable members.

Walden will host separate fundraising events for all five Republicans in a state the party views as an opportunity to add to its House majority. That includes helping two former members ousted by Democrats in 2012 make it back to Capitol Hill in 2015.

“Chairman Walden is looking forward to highlighting our offensive opportunities in Illinois,” NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “Illinois is a competitive battleground state where Democrats will be forced to spend big money to defend their members.”

The fundraising beneficiaries are:

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November 21, 2013

House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar’

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced on Thursday 36 candidates who have achieved the committee’s “On the Radar” status.

This ranking is the first of three levels of the committee’s fundraising and infrastructure program. Earning this status means the NRCC “will help to provide candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents,” according to an NRCC release.

The final level is “Young Gun” status.

“These 36 candidates all provide a stark contrast to their liberal opponents, whose support of ObamaCare and this Administration’s big-government, job-destroying agenda has taken a toll on the American people,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said in a statement.

Four of those rated are former members who lost re-election bids in 2012: former Reps. Robert Dold and Bobby Schilling of Illinois, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire and Nan Hayworth of New York.

Some of the other challengers are running in the same districts.
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