Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 20, 2014

Posts in "House 2014"

August 20, 2014

Iowa Poll Shows Democrat With Big Edge in Open House Contest

State Rep. Pat Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the open-seat House contest to replace Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, had an 11 point lead over his Republican opponent, according to a poll obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Murphy led businessman Rod Blum 51 percent to 40 percent according to the poll conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Murphy’s campaign. The lead was outside the 4.9 percent margin of error.

Full story

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.

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.

Full story

August 19, 2014

Peterson’s Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

Petersons Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

(Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats think Rep. Collin C. Peterson is nearly unbeatable in the 7th District. For the first time in more than a decade, that theory is about to be put to the test.

Peterson is one of just a handful of House Democrats representing a decidedly Republican district, but he has won re-election even in GOP wave years. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the conservative, rural district by 10 points as the Democratic lawmaker won his race by a 25-point margin.

This year, Peterson faces his most formidable challenger in several cycles. Though the Democrat remains the front-runner, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom brings a compelling life story as the first blind member of the legislature, and more political experience than any of Peterson’s recent opponents.

“We’re paying attention,” Peterson told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview. “We’ve never been targeted before, so we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

Minnesota Republicans and Democrats agree on one point, at least: Westrom has a good shot at ending up in Congress.

It’s just not clear when.

Full story

August 18, 2014

DCCC Raises Millions More than NRCC in July

DCCC Raises Millions More than NRCC in July

Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raked in $11.5 million in July, bringing the committee’s total cash on hand to $56.7 million in the final stretch of the cycle, according to numbers released by the committee Monday.

The DCCC’s haul far surpasses the $8 million the National Republican Congressional Committee brought in during the same month. The NRCC’s July fundraising means the committee will report $48 million in the bank.

Full story

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

McSally is running for Congress in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Operatives couldn’t make up a better candidate résumé if they tried: retired Air Force Colonel, first in her class at the U.S. Air War College, the first female fighter pilot in combat who flies the very plane — an A-10 Warthog — that’s economically essential to the 2nd District.

At a time when Republicans wrangle with messaging to female voters, this 48-year-old’s spunk and articulate bite is made for television — and unlike anything the House GOP Conference has seen in a while.

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to VictoryBut can Martha McSally finally win this House seat on her third try, and, more pressing for this Friday evening, can the Republican spell “logomachy”?

“L-O-G-O-M-A-C-H-Y,” McSally enunciates to the judges, who nod in approval at a spelling bee fundraiser just off the Old Pueblo’s newly booming downtown strip. It means an argument about words — something of which there’s plenty in her race.

After nearly a dozen rounds, the competition has dwindled from 15 local celebrities and the judges have to regroup because they’ve run out of pre-selected words to challenge the two finalists. McSally is one of them, and when it’s her turn, she walks into the single spotlight on stage and tries to spell “sayonara.”

She blows it. Full story

August 14, 2014

NRCC Names Four More ‘Young Guns’

House Republicans rolled out another round of Young Guns, the party’s designation for top-tier candidates in open and Democratic-held seats.

None of the four Republicans in this round are running in districts where Republicans have much of a shot, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings.

In order to earn the title of Young Gun, a House Republican candidate must meet internal committee benchmarks, including fundraising. The designation telegraphs to donors and the press which candidates the National Republican Congressional Committee takes seriously.

All the following candidates are in races rated Safe Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

New Democratic Poll Shows Florida Congressman in Peril

New Democratic Poll Shows Florida Congressman in Peril

Steve Southerland is vulnerable in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Democratic poll shows Gwen Graham with a slight lead over Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., but still within the margin of error.

Graham, the likely Democratic nominee, had the support of 45 percent of survey participants, while Southerland trailed with 43 percent. Eleven percent of respondents were undecided.

Ocean Champions, an environmental group that endorses Democratic candidates, commissioned the poll.

The margin of error is 4.4 points, which means the survey reinforces the view of many national operations hold on Florida’s 2nd District race: It’s a dead heat. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, and Southerland is on Roll Call’s most recent list of the 10 Most Vulnerable MembersFull story

August 13, 2014

Wisconsin Primary Now Too Close to Call

Wisconsin Primary Now Too Close to Call

Joe Leibham's late election night surge means the race is now too close to call. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

The Associated Press has rescinded its call in Wisconsin’s 6th District GOP primary after announcing that state Sen. Glenn Grothman won the GOP race last night.

The race is now too close to call, with Grothman garnering 36.2% of the votes and State Sen. Joe Leibham with 35.8% of the votes. Just 214 votes separate the contenders.

After the AP called the race for Grothman a few hours after the polls closed last night, observers noted that the votes were still not counted in Leibham’s base of Sheboygan.  Full story

It’s the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Grassley hams it up in the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.

But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State FairSince the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.

On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

The winner of the Wisconsin primary will succeed Petri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:40 a.m. | State Sen. Glenn Grothman has won the GOP  primary by a slim margin in the only open House district in Wisconsin.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the 6th district primary race for Grothman, who garnered 36.2 percent of the vote in the four-way contest to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Tom Petri.

State Sen. Joe Leibham trails Grothman with 35.8 percent — or by 215 votes.

Full story

August 12, 2014

Minnesota Primary Results: Republicans Pick Michele Bachmann Successor

Minnesota Primary Results: Republicans Pick Michele Bachmann Successor

Michele Bachmann is retiring, and Republicans have nominated a successor for her seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Former state Rep. Tom Emmer decisively defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah Tuesday in the GOP primary for Minnesota’s open 6th District, putting him on a near certain path to Congress this fall to succeed retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Emmer bested Sivarajah, 76.5 percent to 23.5 percent, with 28 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Full story

This Fall’s House Ad Wars Have Officially Started (Video)

This Falls House Ad Wars Have Officially Started (Video)

Grimm is one of the NRCC's first targets with an independent expenditure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The flood gates opened Tuesday when the House campaign committees began the barrage of fall television advertisements.

Exactly a year ago, CQ Roll Call predicted the House’s fall campaign ad wars would begin as early as mid-August, creeping back a few weeks from the traditional start around Labor Day. Now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and several top tier House candidates rolled out their first television spots of the cycle.

To be sure, some House candidates and outside groups have already been airing general election spots. But these new television ads mark the committee’s first major independent expenditures of the season — and the start of the campaign airwaves war that will only intensify through November.

Full story

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Sinema greets voters at Giant Coffee in Phoenix. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHOENIX — Once known for her progressive politics, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has coasted to the center in her first re-election.

The freshman bills herself as bipartisan, and now party operatives — even Republicans, privately — view her as the safest of the state’s three vulnerable Democrats. But that’s also because she’s lucky: A brutal Republican primary is bound to leave her future foe broke and bruised 10 weeks before Election Day.

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the MiddleOn the campaign trail, Sinema stresses her work across the aisle. It’s a political necessity for a member who represents a district President Barack Obama won by just four points.

“I’m working to make it cool to compromise in Congress,” Sinema tells 30 mostly baby boomers at a Thursday lunch with the Phoenix West Rotary Club. “I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, but I’m working on it.”

Sinema started her elected career nearly a decade ago at the state House, 10 miles away from this Sheraton conference room.

Some of her first political experience came working for Ralph Nader’s spoiler 2000 presidential bid. She tried her own third party attempt in a losing race for the state House as an independent affiliated with the Green Party two years later. She finally won the seat as a Democrat in 2004. Full story

August 11, 2014

Wisconsin GOP Primary Is Wide Open

Wisconsin GOP Primary Is Wide Open

There is a Wisconsin primary to succeed Petri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four candidates are vying for the GOP nomination in Wisconsin’s only open House district, with no clear front-runner in the Tuesday primary.

In the race to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Tom Petri, three top Republican candidates have tried to brand themselves as the most conservative contender in the 6th District: state Sen. Joe Leibham, state Sen. Glenn Grothman and state Rep. Duey Stroebel.

“I think it’s going to be a tight race,” said Scott Becher, a Wisconsin GOP consultant with Red Shoes PR.

Public and private polling on the race has been scare. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as a Safe Republican contest, and whoever wins the primary on Tuesday will likely head to Congress next year. Full story

Ex-Congresswoman Ready to Return (Video)

Ex Congresswoman Ready to Return (Video)

Nan Hayworth, a Republican, is running for Congress in New York's 18th District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s easy to see former Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., misses Congress.

Earlier this year, she was spied making the rounds with her old colleagues on the House floor. More recently, in an interview with CQ Roll Call, she sported her Congressional pin.

“It was wonderful to be among colleagues from all across the country, all different political persuasions, representing the whole American spectrum,” she said on July 22. Full story

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