Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Posts in "House 2014"

October 20, 2014

DCCC Raised $5 Million More Than NRCC in September

DCCC Raised $5 Million More Than NRCC in September

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats outraised the GOP by $5 million in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $5 million more than its Republican counterpart in September, as the two committees headed into the final stretch of the cycle.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is defending a significant majority it’s all but guaranteed to retain, raised $11.4 million in September, according to a committee aide. The DCCC reported earlier Monday raising $16.7 million in September. Full story

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

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:

Full story

Clay Aiken Returns to TV (Video)

Clay Aiken Returns to TV (Video)

Aiken released his first TV ad. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2nd District, went up Monday with his first ad of the general election.

With two weeks to go, Aiken talks to camera in the 30-second spot, attacking Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers for keeping her paycheck during the government shut down, among other things.

Full story

NRCC Cuts TV Buy in Maine

NRCC Cuts TV Buy in Maine

Cain is the Democratic nominee in Maine's 2nd District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is cutting the last two weeks of its television reservations in Maine’s 2nd District, according to a committee spokeswoman.

The NRCC originally reserved $1.6 million for the open-seat race to succeed Rep. Michael H. Michaud, a Democrat who is running for governor. The committee spent $965,000 of that reservation, but will now shift the remaining funds to offensive seats elsewhere.

“We have put Democrats on defense in Maine, and we are increasing our buys in several offensive seats,” NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told Roll Call on Monday.

The committee will now add six-figure sums to four other offensive opportunity races: Full story

DCCC Raised $16.7 Million in September

DCCC Raised $16.7 Million in September

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

House Democrats raised $16.7 million in September, according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide.

The committee ended last month with $34 million in the bank. Much of that money is currently being spent on television in House races across the country.  Full story

October 17, 2014

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Ernst, right, is running for Senate as a Republican in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A competitive Senate contest in the Hawkeye State is creating a ripple effect down ballot, causing headaches for national Democrats as Election Day nears.

Recent polls show state Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, with a small lead over Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat. But the Republican’s advantage has percolated to three of Iowa’s four House contests, keeping one competitive district in contention for Republicans, plus putting two Democratic seats in play.

In particular, Ernst’s performance is buoying former Capitol Hill aide David Young, the Republican nominee in the competitive 3rd District, which is currently rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Privately, Iowa Republican operatives said Young is running a lackluster campaign against former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat.

In the end, Ernst might be the one to pull him over the edge.

“I do think it looks to be like a pretty good year for Republicans in Iowa,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative. “It’s kind of a nail biter, but both Young and Ernst should be able to pull this out if we keep the momentum.”

Full story

Are These 10 Vulnerable Members Lucky or Good?

Are These 10 Vulnerable Members Lucky or Good?

Sinema is running for re-election in a competitive district in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All’s fair in love and … House races? Not so much.

Less than three weeks before Election Day, would-be safe incumbents such as Reps. Lee Terry, R-Neb., and Brad Schneider, D-Ill., are scrambling to win in partisan districts — while these 10 members are headed for victory in otherwise competitive districts.

Some are blessed with luck. Others create it for themselves. It’s your call which is which.

Here are the luckiest — er, slickest — incumbents of 2014, in alphabetical order: Full story

NRCC Throws Hail Mary in Nebraska House Race (Video)

NRCC Throws Hail Mary in Nebraska House Race (Video)

Terry, center, faces a tough race in Nebraska this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s the Willie Horton ad of 2014.

The National Republican Congressional Committee went up with an ad Friday tying the Democratic nominee in a competitive Nebraska House race to Nikko Jenkins, a former inmate convicted of murdering four people after his early release from jail.

It’s an ad reminiscent of the Willie Horton spot former President George H.W. Bush ran in 1988, tying his Democratic opponent to a convicted murderer who raped a woman while on a weekend pass from prison.

Republicans hope the Nikko Jenkins ad in the Omaha-based 2nd District will turn things around for Rep. Lee Terry, one of just two GOP House incumbents in a race rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

October 16, 2014

DCCC Cuts Massachusetts Media Buy (Updated)

Updated 8:37 p.m. | The Democratic House political arm is scrapping plans to spend a substantial sum of money on the Massachusetts 6th District race, but is still investing in the Boston media market on New Hampshire’s two competitive House races, according to a source tracking media buys.

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide characterized the move as a sign of confidence Democrat Seth Moulton will be able to hold the open seat against Republican Richard Tisei.

The DCCC had more than $1 million reserved in the Boston media market combined between the Massachusetts 6th District and New Hamsphire’s 1st District and 2nd District. Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses Kansas Candidates

EMILYs List Endorses Kansas Candidates
Yoder is a Kansas Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, announced Thursday a pair of endorsements in two late-breaking House races in Kansas.

The group offered its full endorsement of Margie Wakefield and Kelly Kultala, who are challenging GOP Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder, respectively.

For now, both races are rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But highly competitive races for Senate and governor have roiled the ballot this cycle, causing concern for Kansas Republicans in two House districts. Full story

How ‘Dr. Dan’ Cured His Campaign Woes

How Dr. Dan Cured His Campaign Woes

Republicans say Benishek is one of the "most improved" candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once a top target for Democrats, Rep. Dan Benishek, a former surgeon turned tea party candidate, has turned a corner in his campaign for a second term, and national Republicans have labeled him one of their “most improved” members of the cycle.

What happened? A combination of staff changes, leveraging his slot on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and a favorable cycle for Republicans gave Benishek a clear advantage in the 1st District.

“It looked as if Michigan’s 1st District was going to be one of maybe the top two or three House races here in Michigan,” said Dennis Darnoi, a Michigan Republican consultant. “It hasn’t really reached the competitive level that, I think, was expected.” Full story

October 15, 2014

Pelosi Raises $1 Million From Members in a Week

Pelosi Raises $1 Million From Members in a Week

Pelosi has said she is worried about being outspent by Republican aligned outside groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi raised $1 million from her colleagues during the last week, according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide.

Pelosi and other top House Democrats are making the case that members need to open their wallets for the midterms, after the DCCC made a series of airtime cuts in districts the party had previously targeted as pick-up opportunities.

Pelosi and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel held a caucus-wide a conference call Wednesday afternoon pressing members to pony up or exceed their assigned dues. The call garnered roughly $585,000 from members.  Full story

Republicans See Opportunity in Another New York Race

Republicans See Opportunity in Another New York Race

Maffei is a Democrat from central New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A little more than a month ago, New York’s 24th district was a relatively quiet contest. Now, just a few weeks before Election Day, Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., is stuck in yet another close campaign.

After weeks of million-dollar airtime wars put the congressman in political peril, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will make a trip to Syracuse to campaign for Maffei next week. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will stop in the central New York district, following Speaker John A. Boehner, who already headlined a fundraiser there.

The district slightly favors Democrats — an advantage that grew after redistricting in 2012. But the district has flipped between parties every cycle, with Maffei losing re-election after a single term in 2010. He won back the seat last cycle, and until recently, it wasn’t clear whether Maffei would be targeted for defeat in the midterms.

But on Sept. 12, the National Republican Congressional Committee swooped into the district to reserve $1.5 million in airtime to help its nominee, John Katko. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee followed suit four days later, spending $859,000.

The investment has proven potent in this district, which is covered by the inexpensive Syracuse media market. Campaigns can make a huge impact in the district without a lot of money — at least compared to other districts. Full story

DCCC Chief Pleads for Outside Money

DCCC Chief Pleads for Outside Money

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

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told reporters Wednesday he is “frustrated” that his party’s outside groups have not supported House Democrats on television in the final stretch of the midterms.

Many big Democratic players — such as environmental and labor groups — focused their financial firepower on the Senate, which is in play this cycle. This has caused increased anxiety among House Democrats, who also face losses in 2014.

House Democrats must pick up a net of 17 seats to win control of the House, but it’s increasingly likely the party will lose seats in that chamber this cycle. For the first time, Israel made a public plea to outside groups for their financial help. 

Full story

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