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October 31, 2014

Posts in "Fla.-2"

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:

Full story

October 9, 2014

Super PAC Goes Big for Vulnerable Florida Republican

Super PAC Goes Big for Vulnerable Florida Republican

Southerland is one of this cycle's most vulnerable House Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A House GOP super PAC is making a major television buy in the final two weeks of the campaign to boost vulnerable Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with House GOP leadership, made a $600,000 media buy in the Tallahassee and Panama City television markets in their effort to fend off attorney Gwen Graham, a top Democratic recruit.

The buy includes television and digital advertising. Full story

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

Democrats Aim to Boost Black Turnout With Radio in Florida

Democrats Aim to Boost Black Turnout With Radio in Florida

Southerland is a vulnerable House Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Democratic outside group will start airing a radio ad targeting Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., in his high-stakes race against Democrat Gwen Graham in the 2nd District.

According to information provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call, Ocean Champions, a conservation group that backs Democratic candidates, will begin a $64,000 buy Tuesday that will run 1,300 radio spots in the final month of the campaign. The group will release another spot later in the month.

The contest is one of the cycle’s most competitive, and the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. On Monday, both campaigns released varied internal polling.

Full story

Dueling Polls Released in Battleground House Race (Updated)

Dueling Polls Released in Battleground House Race (Updated)

Southerland is a Florida Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:07 p.m. | A new internal GOP poll showed Rep. Steve Southerland II had a six-point lead last week over his Democratic rival, attorney Gwen Graham.

Southerland had the support of 45 percent of respondents, while Graham had the backing of 39 percent, according to the congressman’s campaign polling memo, a copy of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The pair are locked in a heated battle for Florida’s 2nd District, based in the Panhandle area.

Full story

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the ‘War on Women’

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the War on Women

Southerland is one of the House GOP's most vulnerable incumbents this November. (Abby Livingston/CQ Roll Call)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — It took Republican Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis 16 hours to travel from western Wyoming to the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 26 to campaign for her embattled colleague, Rep. Steve Southerland II.

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the War on WomenLike other women in her conference, she is spending this pre-election recess fanning out over the country to help House Republicans in competitive races, especially men struggling through what Democrats have deemed the GOP’s “War on Women.”

“I spent the entire day — a long day — traveling, and it means a lot to me to be here for Steve, because I want to serve with him,” Lummis said in a interview here recently week, surrounded by veterans at a small gathering before a Women for Southerland rally.

Southerland faces a fierce re-election fight against Democrat Gwen Graham, an attorney and Florida political scion, in the 2nd District, a region that includes Tallahassee and stretches to the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

Southerland, in particular, has struggled with female voters. Earlier this year, his supporters hosted a male-only fundraiser with an invitation that read, “tell the Misses not to wait up.” Southerland responded to news reports on the event by comparing the event to a lingerie shower.

That’s in part how, on Sept. 27, a handful of female Republican officeholders descended upon Panama City Beach. Besides Lummis, Rep. Martha Roby drove that morning from her home in Montgomery, Ala., with her young daughter to attend the rally. Former Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee was also in attendance.

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:

Full story

October 1, 2014

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

Florida's 2nd Congressional District pits two families against each other. (Abby Livingston/CQ Roll Call)

ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — Former Florida first lady Adele Graham does not entertain the word “if” in polite conversation, at least when discussing the political future of her daughter Gwen. It’s only “when.”

The wife of ex-Florida governor and senator Bob Graham treats doubt that Gwen Graham will oust Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II with a gentle arm pat and tone of voice usually reserved for obscenity or wearing white after Labor Day.

The Graham family has summoned the force of its political operation behind its eldest daughter to ensure its 50-year Florida political win streak does not end in November. But while the Grahams spent three decades dominating statewide politics, the Southerland family also has deep ties in the district.

“When Grahams run, Grahams win,” the candidate tells her supporters at a Saturday afternoon meet-and-greet on this north Florida coast barrier island.

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

But this is a tough district and environment for any Democrat, even a political scion. President Barack Obama’s plummeting approval rating make it that much harder this year for House Democratic candidates to gain traction.

Southerland and Mitt Romney each carried Florida’s 2nd District by 6 points in 2012. And geographically, this seat has more in common with Alabama than Miami.

To combat that reality, a Southern Democrat must create an outsized personal brand that will help voters forget any association with the president.

Full story

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:

Full story

Ex-First Lady of Florida Fires Back at Congressman

Ex First Lady of Florida Fires Back at Congressman

It's hard being the parents of a political candidate. Former Sen. Bob Graham and his wife Adele Graham in 2004. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — Former Florida First Lady Adele Graham is not happy with her daughter’s political rival, Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II.

Graham and her husband, ex-Sen. Bob Graham, have been a pervasive presence on the campaign trail in support of Democratic attorney Gwen Graham’s bid to unseat Southerland in his 2nd District in the Florida panhandle.

Full story

September 3, 2014

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:

Full story

August 14, 2014

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 12, 2014

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

July 29, 2014

Congressman Says Gwen Graham’s Dad ‘Not on the Ballot’

Congressman Says Gwen Grahams Dad Not on the Ballot

Southerland faces a tough re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., said he isn’t buying the hype around his opponent, attorney Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, a former senator and governor.

“The Grahams aren’t from Northwest Florida,” Southerland said in a recent sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call. “They’re a South Florida family.”

“We respect the Graham name,” the two-term Republican continued. “We respect greatly the governor’s service and the senator’s service, but unfortunately, he’s not on the ballot.”

National Democrats have touted Graham as one of their best recruits this cycle, saying she’ll be able to close the deal with voters in Florida’s 2nd District, thanks in part to her father’s legacy. Southerland’s re-election is quickly becoming one of the most competitive House races in the country, and it’s ratedTossup/Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Democrats also boast Graham is better equipped than their 2012 nominee, Al Lawson Jr. Southerland disagreed. Full story

July 28, 2014

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

Campaign Spotlight: Father Pitches Best (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How does a female Democratic candidate in the South distance herself from President Barack Obama? Call on Dad.

Attorney Gwen Graham released a pair of ads Monday morning that did just that. Her father, former Sen. Bob Graham, made her case to voters.

Graham wasn’t the first. Two other candidates, nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, produced ads featuring their well-known politician fathers.

Here is a look at all three ads: Full story

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