Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2014

Posts in "Ill.-13"

October 17, 2014

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

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:

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

DCCC Cuts Airtime in 8 TV Markets

DCCC Cuts Airtime in 8 TV Markets

Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC Chariman. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started to pull back its advertising buys in several congressional districts around the country, according to an aide.

At this point in the cycle, the cancellations — also known as “triage” — serve as a signal the party does not see a path to victory for these candidates or races. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has already pulled some of its buys in the same districts.

For now, House Democrats are only canceling airtime reservations in open-seat races or offensive opportunities. In some cases, the DCCC is still airing advertisements in some of the affected races for the next couple weeks.

In addition to the cancellations, the DCCC is also moving money to other districts, including other open-seat opportunities, districts held by Democrats and one GOP incumbent target.

House Democrats must net 17 seats to win the majority, but it’s more likely they will lose seats in November. These cuts allow the DCCC to use the party’s resources in other reasons where the party has a higher likelihood of winning.

The cancellations include:

Full story

October 1, 2014

Democratic Super PAC Cuts More Ad Time in House Races (Updated)

Democratic Super PAC Cuts More Ad Time in House Races (Updated)

Sinema is a freshman Democrat form Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Thursday, 2:03 p.m. | House Majority PAC, a super PAC that aids House Democrats, has recently canceled around $1 million in ad reservations in races throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

The shifts indicate Democrats are more optimistic about winning some House races — and have given up hope on others.

These changes were spotted by sources who track media buys and confirmed by a House Majority PAC spokesman, who declined to specify the super PAC’s reasons for moving funds to or from particular House races:

Full story

September 22, 2014

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Davis greets Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at Republican Day during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a top Democratic target this cycle, had a 19-point lead over his opponent with six weeks to go until Election Day, according to a poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Davis led Democratic rival Ann Callis, 55 percent to 36 percent, in the survey of the 13th District conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided.

Full story

August 26, 2014

Once-Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

Once Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

Davis at the Illinois State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis entered the midterms as one of the most vulnerable Republicans on the map.

Not anymore.

In 2012, the former staffer for Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., won the 13th District by a mere 1,002 votes to a perennial Democrat panned by party operatives. This cycle, Democrats in Illinois and Washington, D.C., recruited former judge Ann Callis, billing her as a top-tier challenger who could win this Springfield-based swing seat.

Once Vulnerable Freshman on Safer Ground in Illinois

But nearly two months from Election Day, Republican operatives in the Land of Lincoln and Washington, D.C., are cautiously optimistic about Davis’ chances, thanks to his adept political skills and favorable tail winds behind the GOP in the midterms. At the same time, Republicans and, privately, Democrats say Callis has not lived up to her candidacy’s hype or made the necessary inroads to win the district.

“Other than knowing her name I don’t know if she even exists, frankly,” said Mark Scranton, a Republican and blasting and painting company owner from Decatur at the Illinois State Fair. “It’s going to be a challenging race, but I think Rodney’s been in office long enough that he’s proven himself, he makes himself available to his constituents, he’s been in my business several times over the last two or three years.”

Davis also appeared confident at Republican Day, Aug. 14, at the fair, where he glad-handed his way through the crowd of GOP insiders at the unofficial kick-off to election season. A red cup in hand, Davis handed out hugs and back slaps, catching up with operatives, insiders and elected officials, many of whom were pals from his years as a political operative in Illinois and on Capitol Hill.
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

Freshman Republican Raises $550,000 in Second Quarter

Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis raised more than $550,000 in the second quarter, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The freshman Republican’s three-month haul brought his cash on hand total to $1.3 million as of June 30.

Davis is a top Democratic target in the highly competitive 13th District. He won here in 2012 by just 1,000 votes, while Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama each received 49 percent. 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:

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:

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 3, 2014

Rodney Davis Topped $600,000 in First Quarter

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., raised more than $600,000 in the first quarter, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Davis, who emerged unscathed from the 13th District Republican primary last month, will also report more than $940,000 in cash on hand.

Davis faces Democrat Ann Callis, a former judge, in this central-Illinois-based district, which includes the state capital of Springfield. National Democrats tout Callis as a top recruit in one of the party’s top targets this cycle.

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

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