Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 17, 2014

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October 31, 2014

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the polls close Tuesday, it’s likely at least a handful of House and Senate races will be too close to call.

What would happen next for these tight contests? In most cases, once all the votes are collected and counted, it’s a pesky procedure that keeps candidates and canvassers up at night for days or weeks: the recount.

Recount laws vary by state, so we’ve rounded up what triggers one and any notable fine print in states with anticipated close contests.

ALASKA

Sen. Mark Begich (D) vs. Dan Sullivan (R)
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican

Trigger: Only an exact tie triggers a recount in the El Dorado of the North. But if the race does not end in a tie, a losing candidate or 10 qualified voters can still request a recount.

Fine Print: In a statewide election, the recount requestor must deposit $15,000 with the recount application, unless the margin is less than 0.5 percent, at which point the state covers the cost. The deposit is refunded if the recount changes the election results.

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October 30, 2014

Tim Bishop in Political Peril — Again

Tim Bishop in Political Peril — Again

Bishop is a Democrat from New York. (Bill Clark/ CQRollCall)

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop’s re-election has once again surged to the top of the cycle’s list of most competitive House races, and Republicans are more optimistic than ever they can defeat the battle-tested New York Democrat.

This cycle features a rematch between Bishop and his 2008 opponent, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, the GOP nominee. Strategists have said internal polling shows the race in a dead heat, and this week, the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call changed the rating of the race to Tossup.

“There’s no such thing as an easy race in New York 1,” Bishop said last week in an interview. “In 2008, very few people knew [Zeldin] at all. He is more well known than he was in 2008, so to that extent, the race is different.” Full story

October 24, 2014

7 Nail-Biter House Races

7 Nail Biter House Races

Martha McSally, a Republican, is running in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Less than two weeks before Election Day, the parties don’t agree on much — except these House races will be decided by the slimmest of margins.

Candidates in these contests are expected to have a long wait on the evening of Nov. 4. In fact, some of these races will be so close that the winner might not be known for days — even weeks — after Election Day.

Last cycle, nine House races were too close to call on election night. One candidate even attended freshman orientation the following week, before officially losing the race and heading home.

In alphabetical order, here are the House contests this cycle that operatives expect will come down to the wire on Election Day:

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Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

Candidates Get Platform With GOP Weekly Address

(Screenshot)

Every week after President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, the Republicans get a chance to respond. Because they don’t, of course, have a singular figure who would naturally address the nation each week, the speakers vary. So far in 2014, 11 Republican candidates — four House hopefuls and seven vying for Senate seats — have had the honor to take to YouTube and spread their party’s message.

In the fall of an election year, the GOP weekly address is an opportunity for Republicans to showcase some of their hopefuls on the ballot to a broader audience than the candidates can normally reach themselves — because not everyone pays attention to every Senate race, or to New York congressional campaigns.

“The weekly address is a great opportunity to showcase our diverse and talented group of candidates to the country,” said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which coordinates the speeches. He said the party’s “tremendous slate” allows the GOP to contrast its record with the president’s.

There are some common themes mentioned time and time again: dissatisfaction with the president’s job approval, the desire to expand domestic energy production, repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting government regulation.

Saturday’s address, posted at 6 a.m., will feature Will Hurd, the GOP nominee for Texas’ 23rd House district.

Here is a summary of the others.

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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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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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GOP Outside Group Targets Tim Bishop on TV

GOP Outside Group Targets Tim Bishop on TV

Bishop is being targeted on the air by a Republican group. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican-aligned outside group is airing a TV ad slamming New York Rep. Timothy H. Bishop on his support for the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrat is locked in a challenging re-election campaign against Republican Lee Zeldin.

This is American Action Network’s first independent expenditure TV ad of the general election. It’s running on cable and online, and is part of AAN’s $1.2 million IE campaign in New York’s Long Island-based 1st District.

“Tim Bishop thinks Obamacare is a damn good idea?” says a man named John from Setauket, N.Y. “We think it’s a damn bad idea.” Full story

July 8, 2014

NRCC Touts 11 More ‘Young Gun’ Candidates

NRCC Touts 11 More Young Gun Candidates

Among the new Young Guns candidates is former Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee promoted 11 more candidates to ‘Young Gun’ status Tuesday morning, elevating their campaigns to the highest level of the program that provides organizational and fundraising support in top House contests.

The 11 additions brings the NRCC’s total number of Young Gun candidates this cycle to 32.

“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a news release.

The new Young Gun candidates are:

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June 24, 2014

Charlie Rangel Wins Primary (Video)

Charlie Rangel Wins Primary (Video)

In the New York primary, Charlie Rangel faced another tough challenge Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4 p.m. | Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., has averted the end of his political career again, securing a 23rd term in Congress after Tuesday’s highly competitive primary.

Rangel defeated his two-time foe, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, 47 percent to 44 percent, in the heavily Democratic district. The Associated Press declared Rangel the winner on Wednesday afternoon.

The 84-year-old Democrat declared victory earlier that day and underscored this was his final campaign, referring to this primary as his “one last fight.”

“I am grateful for this special privilege to continue serving my beloved community and friends, both my dearest old friends in Upper Manhattan and new ones in the Bronx, whom I have had the greatest honor of representing in Congress,” he said in a statement. “I’ve got a lot of fight in me and will not let them down.”

Espaillat had not conceded by Wednesday afternoon. Instead, he drew comparisons to the 2012 match that went into overtime with the ballot counting in a statement.

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June 23, 2014

6 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries

6 Things to Watch in Tuesdays Primaries

As part of Tuesday's primaries, Cochran, center, faces a tea-party-challenger in a runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi Republicans and New York Democrats face a similar quandary Tuesday: Hold onto an old political hand and his seniority in Congress, or turn the page to a new era?

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., have challenges from their own party that headline this week’s bevy of primaries — the last crop of contests until later this summer. Beyond the fate of these two longtime pols, Tuesday’s results will test a House GOP program for female candidates in primaries, as well as decide a handful of races in Colorado, Florida and New York.

Here is what to watch for in these contests: Full story

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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June 13, 2014

Pre-Primary Reports Filed for Charlie Rangel, Mike Coffman and Many More

Pre Primary Reports Filed for Charlie Rangel, Mike Coffman and Many More

Rangel faces a competitive June 24 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fundraising reports filed Thursday by candidates running in the June 24 primaries revealed eleventh hour insight into the financial viability of embattled incumbents and their challengers.

The reports, covering campaign finances from April 1 to June 4, show whether campaigns have money, how quickly they are spending it and how much cash they had for the final stretch.

After a tumultuous week, in which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary, here is a look at the financial side of the races to watch in less than two weeks: Full story

June 2, 2014

GOP Group Boosts House Candidate in New York Primary

GOP Group Boosts House Candidate in New York Primary

Bishop is a targeted House Democrat in New York. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

American Action Network, a GOP-backed, center-right outside player in campaigns, has debuted a new advertisement in a New York House race, backed by a six-figure buy.

In the Empire State’s 1st District, AAN’s advertisement charges former prosecutor George Demos is a “Pelosi Republican” and is “in the wrong state and the wrong party.”

Demos will face the favorite of most national Republicans, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, on June 24. The two men are vying for nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Timothy H. Bishop this fall.

AAN is spending $225,0000 on a blitz of the district that includes cable and digital advertising and direct mail. Here is the TV spot:

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June 1, 2014

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

McDaniel is challenging Cochran in the June primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a relatively unsurprising series of primaries this month, June brings another collection of intraparty contests. More than half of the states will have selected their nominees by the end of the month.

Republicans will pick nominees in key Senate races in Mississippi, Iowa and South Dakota. Down the ballot, House primaries in several open seats will likely determine the future members of Congress from both parties.

Here is Roll Call’s comprehensive look at watch to watch in June. Bookmark this page, and check out our primary map for results from past primaries.

June 3
With primaries in eight states, this date marks the busiest night of the cycle.

Alabama: In the 6th District, seven Republicans are running in an open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus. This district is located in and around Birmingham. State Rep. Paul DeMarco is the front-runner, followed by Club for Growth-backed surgeon Chad Mathis and businessman Will Brooke. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will continue to a July 15 runoff. Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Safe Republican)

California: In this House race battleground, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Republicans will also pick a gubernatorial nominee who could have an impact down the ballot in November. Polls close at 11 p.m. EST. Here are the primaries to watch in the Golden State:

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