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November 1, 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 24, 2014

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 23, 2014

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

Kirkpatrick is a Democrat from Arizona. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call Photo)

TUBA CITY, Ariz. — The Grand Canyon State’s 1st District is so vast and diverse that running for political office involves time travel.

It’s also helpful to pick up a little of a language so difficult to master it formed an unbreakable code that helped the United States win World War II.

But first, the time travel.

Life on Mars, or Running in Arizona’s 1st District

When visiting the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona, the largest tribe of a dozen in the district, Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and her Republican opponent, state Speaker Andy Tobin, have to build in an extra hour.

Why? A befuddled cellphone won’t pick up on it, but the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Saving Time. The rest of the Grand Canyon State, brandishing its contrarian streak, never changes its clocks.

So to ensure Kirkpatrick was in line for the Western Navajo Nation here at 9 a.m. DST on Oct. 18, the usual 90-minute ride from Flagstaff became a two-and-a-half hour journey.

Tobin had to factor in the same math on a visit he made here the day before the parade, as the Western Navajo Nation Fair was getting underway.

On the flip side, when heading somewhere else in the district from the Navajo Nation, even to the Hopi Nation, which is completely surrounded by Navajo land, one gets that hour back. Surrounded by Navajo land, you’re back to the past, or at least, back in the rest of the state’s time zone.

Confused? That’s just the start of the logistics involved in a campaign here.

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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 14, 2014

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

Walsh will not run for re-election to a full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meet the cycle’s biggest candidate disappointments.

They are the congressional hopefuls who just didn’t live up to their hype. Once touted as top recruits, these House and Senate candidates are headed for defeat on Election Day in all likelihood. Some of these candidates tanked so early in the cycle, their races never got off the ground.

The reasons for their declines vary — from poor fundraising and stalking allegations to plagiarism and missteps on the trail. Whatever the reason, don’t expect to see these faces when the 114th Congress is sworn into office next year.

To be sure, there are a few more candidates who could have easily made this list, but they’ve been boosted by districts or states that favor their parties, as well as outside spending keeping them afloat. The prime example is Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin, a poor fundraiser who barely won his August primary but is nonetheless in a strong position to challenge Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st District, which slightly favors the GOP.

In alphabetical order, here are the rest of the 2014 cycle’s most disappointing candidates:

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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

Democratic Super PAC Unleashes New TV Ads

Democratic Super PAC Unleashes New TV Ads

Coffman is among a half-dozen GOP targets of a fresh round of super PAC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the House, released new TV ads Monday in six districts across the country.

All of the spots are part of previously announced airtime reservations and all but one are in districts Democrats are defending.

Arizona’s 1st District

This ad targets state Speaker Andy Tobin using b-roll of video posted on the Tobin campaign Youtube channel. He is challenging Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. It will air on Phoenix broadcast and has $422,888 behind the ad this week. 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:

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September 8, 2014

NRCC Announces Another Crop of ‘Young Guns’

NRCC Announces Another Crop of Young Guns

Walden is a Oregon Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Monday nine more candidates had achieved “Young Gun” status, the top tier of their candidate recruitment and training program.

The new members increases the number of “Young Gun” candidates this cycle to 43. These candidates have met unannounced fundraising and organizational goals. In return, the NRCC gives them fundraising and strategic help.

House Democrats would have to pick up a net of 17 seats to win the majority in the next Congress — a nearly impossible scenario. Instead, House Republicans are poised to pick up a few seats, thanks in part to the president’s unpopularity.

“Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said in a news release. “These candidates will fight to stop the harmful consequences of ObamaCare, grow the economy and get Washington’s spending under control.”

The new Young Gun candidates are:

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September 2, 2014

GOP’s Favorite Wins Arizona House Primary

GOPs Favorite Wins Arizona House Primary

Kirkpatrick is an Arizona Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona state Speaker Andy Tobin will take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick after his closest GOP primary opponent conceded the race Tuesday.

Tobin led rancher Gary Kiehne by less than 500 votes Tuesday, a week after the Aug. 26 primary, according to The Associated Press. The race remained too close to call when Kiehne stepped aside in a show of party unity.

“This was a hard-fought and very close election that we fell just short of winning,” Kiehne said in a statement. “But that doesn’t take away from how proud and grateful I am to my supporters for everything they did to help our campaign.” Full story

August 27, 2014

Arizona Primary Results: 1st District GOP Primary Too Close to Call

Arizona Primary Results: 1st District GOP Primary Too Close to Call

Kirkpatrick, an Arizona Democrat, is one of the GOP's top targets in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP primary remained too close to call Wednesday morning in the race to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, in Arizona’s 1st District.

State House Speaker Andy Tobin had 36 percent of the vote, while rancher Gary Kiehne trailed with 35 percent, according to The Associated Press. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 291 votes separated the two Republicans.

State Rep. Adam Kwasman followed with 29 percent of the vote.

Full story

August 25, 2014

Tuesday Primaries: 4 Things to Watch in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma

Tuesday Primaries: 4 Things to Watch in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma

Gallego is running in the decisive Democratic primary Tuesday for Arizona's 7th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The end of the midterm primary season is nigh, and Tuesday marks the penultimate date of intra-party brawls this cycle.

Most notably, Rep. Ann Kirkptrick, D-Ariz., will at last her learn her general election rival as 1st District’s GOP voters pick a nominee in this competitive race. To the west, suburban Phoenix Republicans will nominate their challenger to freshman Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

Another pair of House contests in Arizona and Oklahoma will almost certainly pick future House members in districts with highly partisan voting populations. EMILY’s List and a GOP effort to help female candidates also have skin in these contests.

Florida polls close at 7 p.m. EST, while Oklahoma’s close at 8 p.m. EST. Arizona latest polls close out the night at 10 p.m. EST. Check out Roll Call’s “At the Races” blog for live results as soon as the first polls close.

Here are the four things to watch on Tuesday evening:

1. Which Republican will Kirkpatrick face this fall? 

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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

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:

Full story

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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