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October 2, 2014

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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

September 23, 2014

Democrats Hit Chicago Airwaves for Key House Race

Democrats Hit Chicago Airwaves for Key House Race

Dold, right, is a Republican from Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., released a new ad Tuesday, attacking his GOP opponent on the Chicago airwaves.

Schneider and former Rep. Bob Dold, a Republican, are locked in a rematch in the 10th District, located north of Chicago. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The Democrats’ spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is backed by a six-figure buy on the Windy City’s broadcast stations paid for by the candidate and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Some things anyone can see, like Bob Dold and the Republicans in Washington,” a narrator says in the 30-second spot. “Dold and the Republicans voted to end the Medicare guarantee, voted to allow oil drilling in Lake Michigan, and want to raise the retirement age for Social Security. They even voted to defund Planned Parenthood.”

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 20, 2014

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.

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

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

July 7, 2014

Former Illinois Congressman Pulls in $610,000 for Comeback Bid

Former Illinois Congressman Pulls in $610,000 for Comeback Bid

Dold raised more than $600,000 in the second quarter for his comeback bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Robert Dold raised more than $610,000 in the second quarter for his comeback bid in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

According to fundraising figures provided first to CQ Roll Call, the Republican will report $1.6 million in cash on hand as of the end of June for his challenge to Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider.

Dold came to Congress in the 2010 GOP wave — replacing Republican Mark Kirk, who was elected to the Senate — but was swiftly swept from office a cycle later by Schneider. The Democrat won by 1 point, while President Barack Obama carried the district by a  16-point margin.

Full story

July 1, 2014

Republicans Circulate List of Top Female House Candidates

Republicans Circulate List of Top Female House Candidates

Wagner is a Missouri Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The end of primary season is nigh, and Republicans are now optimistic their slate of House candidates will yield a net gain of female members in the conference after November. 

Republicans are now focusing their efforts on a specific slate of top female candidates with a strong chance of coming to Congress. 

On Tuesday morning, a top aide to Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican and leading voice in the conference for women, emailed Capitol Hill colleagues and K Street allies to highlight these female candidates, according to an email obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“As many of you know, my boss, Ann Wagner (MO-2), and Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-6) have worked over the last year to recruit, support and promote Republican women candidates for Congress across the country,” wrote Christian Morgan, Wagner’s chief of staff. ”As we are winding down Primary season, I wanted to send you a list of our top candidates.”

Morgan named the following candidates: Full story

June 23, 2014

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.”

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:

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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:

Full story

May 12, 2014

Meet the NRCC’s New Young Guns

Meet the NRCCs New Young Guns

Dold, seen at the Capitol in 2012, was selected to be of the NRCC's Young Guns this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden on Monday unveiled the first round of House GOP candidates elevated to “Young Gun” status.

The NRCC’s Young Guns program is the highest designation for recruits in either open-seat races or in districts where the GOP is on offense. The program allows the party to communicate to donors and the political world who are the most organized recruits of the cycle.

Candidates earn this status by demonstrating “their ability to build a formidable campaign structure and achieve important goals and benchmarks,” according to a news release.

“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in a position to win on Election Day,” Walden said in a statement. “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama Administration.”

The new Young Guns are:

Full story

April 18, 2014

Where Is Democratic Super PAC Spending Money? These 24 Districts Get Fall TV Reservations

Where Is Democratic Super PAC Spending Money? These 24 Districts Get Fall TV Reservations

Raul Ruiz, seen here during his 2012 campaign in California, is among the freshmen Democrats getting a boost from a super PAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC with the aim of electing House Democrats, announced its first round of television reservations for the fall.

The reservations, totaling about $6.5 million, are for “the final weeks of the election in 24 districts,” a news release stated.

The super PAC during the 2012 cycle made its first round of reservations in early July in partnership with the Service Employees International Union.

“By placing these reservations early, we will make our dollars go further and ensure we have the air time to effectively fight back against the flood of Koch brothers’ dollars,” House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said in a statement.

The super PAC is on offensive in six Republican-held districts and on defense in 18 Democratic districts. Often, releasing ad reservations to the press is a means to telegraph to allies, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, how outside groups intend to spend money.

Below is a breakdown of the buys, categorized by offensive and defensive targets:

Full story

April 8, 2014

Schneider, Dold Both Top $500,000 in First Quarter

Freshman Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and his Republican opponent, former Rep. Robert Dold, each raised more than $500,000 in the first quarter.

Looking to win back the 10th District seat he lost last cycle to Schneider, Dold brought in $520,000 in the first quarter and ended March with nearly $1.3 million in cash on hand, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call. Schneider, who announced his fundraising numbers Tuesday morning, raised more than $550,000 and had more than $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of the quarter.

First quarter fundraising reports, covering January through March, are due April 15 to the Federal Election Commission. Full story

March 27, 2014

NRCC Chairman to Fundraise for Illinois House Hopefuls

NRCC Chairman to Fundraise for Illinois House Hopefuls

NRCC Chairman Walden is making a fundraising swing through Illinois (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden is making a campaign swing through Illinois on Friday, headlining fundraisers benefiting four Republican challengers and one of the party’s most vulnerable members.

Walden will host separate fundraising events for all five Republicans in a state the party views as an opportunity to add to its House majority. That includes helping two former members ousted by Democrats in 2012 make it back to Capitol Hill in 2015.

“Chairman Walden is looking forward to highlighting our offensive opportunities in Illinois,” NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “Illinois is a competitive battleground state where Democrats will be forced to spend big money to defend their members.”

The fundraising beneficiaries are:

Full story

November 21, 2013

House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar’

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced on Thursday 36 candidates who have achieved the committee’s “On the Radar” status.

This ranking is the first of three levels of the committee’s fundraising and infrastructure program. Earning this status means the NRCC “will help to provide candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents,” according to an NRCC release.

The final level is “Young Gun” status.

“These 36 candidates all provide a stark contrast to their liberal opponents, whose support of ObamaCare and this Administration’s big-government, job-destroying agenda has taken a toll on the American people,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said in a statement.

Four of those rated are former members who lost re-election bids in 2012: former Reps. Robert Dold and Bobby Schilling of Illinois, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire and Nan Hayworth of New York.

Some of the other challengers are running in the same districts.
Full story

October 14, 2013

Monday Fundraising Roundup: House Challengers Rake in Dough

House challengers and aspirants continued to released their numbers on Monday, ahead of this week’s deadline to report third quarter fundraising.
The day’s most noteworthy numbers came from former Rep. Robert Dold, a Republican in Illinois, and venture capitalist Sean Eldridge, a Democrat in New York. Both challengers are closing in on the million dollar mark for their respective cash-on-hand totals.
  • #IL10: Dold raised $318,000 and had about $819,000 in cash on hand, per The Chicago Daily Herald. Dold faces Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider in a rematch next fall.
  • #NY19: Eldridge raised $504,000 and had $955,000 in the bank, according to his campaign. Eldridge matched contributions, which means he gave $250,000 of his own funds to his campaign. Eldridge is challenging Republican Rep. Chris Gibson. Full story

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