Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

Posts in "IEs"

November 18, 2014

The Survivor: How Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick Held On

The Survivor: How Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick Held On

Kirkpatrick beat the odds to win re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican operatives called her race “cooked.” One national news organization put her chances at victory of 12 percent. After all, voters in Arizona’s 1st District had already fired Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick once before — in a toxic climate in 2010.

But as House Democrats fell across the country on Nov. 4, Kirkpatrick didn’t just win re-election. She expanded her margin from 2012, proving naysayers wrong thanks to one, simple political maxim: To win, a candidate has to be better than his or her opponent.

And she was.

Her rival, state Speaker Andy Tobin, was a top recruit for national Republicans. The party went all in for him, spending millions against Kirkpatrick on television.

But, “people know me,” she said in a phone interview last week. “They’re common-sense people, and I think they saw through the partisan games.”

Full story

November 10, 2014

How Republicans Caught Their White Whale: John Barrow

How Republicans Caught Their White Whale: John Barrow

Barrow lost re-election last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This is the first in a five-part series examining the campaigns behind the cycle’s most fascinating races.

Republican Rick Allen and his team gathered around a table at the Hilton Garden Inn in Augusta, Ga., Tuesday night, waiting for results to come in. They weren’t optimistic.

Allen faced the ultimate political survivor, Rep. John Barrow, the sole remaining white Democrat in the Deep South.

Just before Election Day, Democrats’ polling showed Barrow consistently ahead. Allen’s campaign didn’t have internals to counter; the last time they polled the race was more than a month ago.

Even more discouraging, Barrow was known for squeaking out wins, even as GOP presidential candidates carried the 12th District by double-digits. Republicans had tried to oust Barrow before, and many operatives were convinced he would escape their grasp again.

But as soon as the early returns trickled in, it was clear: Republicans had finally nabbed their white whale. Barrow not only lost — he was defeated by a stunning 10-point margin.

Full story

October 23, 2014

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Sleeper No More: Both Parties Spending on Capito Seat (Updated)

Mooney is the Republican running in West Virginia's 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:37 p.m. | National Democrats and Republicans will make major television buys in an off-the-radar House race in West Virginia, according to party sources tracking ad buys.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee intends to purchase $600,000 in airtime in West Virginia’s 2nd District, an open-seat race to succeed Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. The National Republican Congressional Committee will also make a $250,000 buy in Charleston through Election Day. Full story

October 10, 2014

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

Roberts, left, greets Moran, the NRSC chairman, at an event in their home state of Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated, 9:04 a.m. | TOPEKA, Kan. — With less than four weeks until Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure arm is shifting resources to increase its investment in six states, including South Dakota and Georgia.

The NRSC has moved $1 million to South Dakota, plus another $1.45 million to Georgia.

In South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a $1 million television ad buy this week, on the heels of tightening poll numbers that showed its candidate, Rick Weiland, gaining ground. In Georgia, a new poll suggests a runoff is likely.

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

September 23, 2014

DCCC Pulls Ad in New Jersey Race

DCCC Pulls Ad in New Jersey Race

MacArthur is a Republican candidate from New Jersey's 3rd District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:36 p.m. | The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is removing a television ad that aired in a southern New Jersey House race — a change caused by incorrect information in the GOP nominee’s personal financial disclosure forms, according to a committee aide.

The ad, which is still online, features a Phoenix fireman accusing the Republican nominee, Tom MacArthur, of dishonest tactics as an insurance executive.

MacArthur is running against Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, the Democratic nominee, in a competitive race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Jon Runyan in the 3rd District.

Here is the ad:

Full story

September 16, 2014

NRCC Makes $1 Million Ad Buy to Defend GOP Incumbent

NRCC Makes $1 Million Ad Buy to Defend GOP Incumbent

Benishek is getting help from the NRCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday reserved $1 million in television airtime to defend Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek, according to a source tracking buys in the district.

The NRCC will go up Friday on Traverse City broadcast and stay up through Election Day in support of the two-term incumbent. The buy, which was not part of the NRCC’s initial slew of ad reservations in June, is a signal the party views Benishek as vulnerable.

In 2012, Benishek squeaked his way to a second term by less than a point, even as Mitt Romney won the northern Michigan-based 1st District — which includes the Upper Peninsula — by an 8-point margin.

Full story

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

Braley is the target of another NRSC ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a TV ad in Iowa Tuesday that criticizes Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for his attendance record on the House floor and a committee he served.

The NRSC Independent Expenditure Committee ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is at least the second one to slam Braley for missing a significant number of committee hearings.

This one hits the congressman for his time on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, as well as for missing more votes than any other Iowa member. A previous spot from GOP-aligned Freedom Partners hit Braley for skipping Veterans’ Affairs hearings. Full story

September 8, 2014

How Major League Baseball Could Determine Control of Congress (Updated)

How Major League Baseball Could Determine Control of Congress (Updated)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, left, speaks with Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper at Nationals Park. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Sept. 9, 1:14 p.m. | For most of the country, this October’s television airwaves are filled with two things: baseball and politics — and the two rarely mix.

But the mid-autumn climax of Major League Baseball could impact the Senate playing field in key states where teams are primed to make the playoffs. Televised sports make for a desirable market for political advertisers because viewers are more likely to watch live and are less likely to fast-forward through commercials.

What’s more, the target audience watching these sports — mostly white and male —  comprise one of the most reliable voting blocs in a midterm. For Republicans, baseball viewing marks an opportunity to motivate their base. Democrats gear their in-game ads toward improving their numbers with this demographic.

From interviews with media buyers and political operatives, it’s clear there are several markets with top baseball teams and competitive congressional races that could collide between the playoffs in early October and Election Day.

Of course, things can change before then: Teams, just like campaigns, can flop. But based on MLB standings as of Tuesday, here are the prime markets to play ball and politics.  Full 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 21, 2014

The Re-Education of Rick Nolan

The Re Education of Rick Nolan

Nolan came back to Congress in 2012 — three decades after his first stint in the 1970s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats have two problems: The 8th District has changed, and Rep. Rick Nolan doesn’t want to.

The Gopher State Democrat returned to Congress in 2012 after a three-decade hiatus. This November, Nolan faces first-time candidate and wealthy businessman Stewart Mills in a historically strong Democratic district that encompasses Minnesota’s Iron Range.

But the district has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and sources from both parties question Nolan’s willingness to adapt to the requirements of a high-stakes, 21st century re-election campaign. Democrats highlight Nolan’s strong retail campaign skills and say they admire his principles — but others say a modern re-election requires more than that.

Full story

July 16, 2014

House Democrats Bank on Fundraising in 2014

House Democrats Bank on Fundraising in 2014

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

House Democrats don’t have much in their favor in the upcoming elections — except their bank accounts.

There’s a sour national political environment, a history of the president’s party losing seats in midterms and an unfavorable congressional map drawn mostly by Republicans. But less than four months before Election Day, it’s clear that House Democrats have a major financial advantage among their candidates and committees that is already translating to television airtime for the fall.

On average, Democrats in competitive House races have more than one-third more in the bank than their Republican opponents, according to a CQ Roll Call tabulation of the most recent fundraising reports due Tuesday to the Federal Election Commission. Across 59 House races considered remotely competitive by CQ Roll Call, Democratic candidates and incumbents had, on average, $955,000 in the bank, while Republicans had an average of $667,000 in the bank.

It’s unlikely Democrats can net the 17 seats necessary to take control of the House this November, so party operatives are trying to mitigate any massive losses this year as part of a long-term, multi-cycle plot to win the majority. Meanwhile, Republicans aim to extend their majority to a modern-history record of 245 seats — and they believe the financial gap could leave a handful of seats on the table this year. Full story

July 7, 2014

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Déjà Vu in Minnesota Senate Race?

Franken is seeking re-election in Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Al Franken knows the story — just not from this side.

In 2008, a first-time candidate dogged by his career history faced a formidable incumbent dragged down by an unpopular second-term president. The result: now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, in a shockingly close race that only ended after a months-long contentious recount and legal battle.

Now Coleman’s hand-picked candidate wants to return the favor in 2014. Franken will face a wealthy investment banker and first-time candidate, Mike McFadden, in November — and this time, he’s the senator battling an unpopular president’s drag on the ballot.

Full story

May 30, 2014

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

Hagan is seeking re-election in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm has reserved $5.5 million in airtime for Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., according to a source with knowledge of the reservation.

Hagan’s re-election bid is one of the most competitive and expensive races in the country. She faces North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The DSCC has reserved airtime in at least four other states with competitive Senate races: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire and Arkansas.  This marks the DSCC’s first airtime reservation in the Tar Heel State.

 In North Carolina, the DSCC reserved airtime starting Sept. 16 and running through Election Day. The amount of money spent will increase each week, from $376,000 the week of Sept. 16, to $1.2 million in the final week before the election.

Full story

May 13, 2014

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Sasse prevailed over two Republican rivals in the Nebraska Senate primary race Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Sasse pulled off a victory in Nebraska Tuesday night, winning the Republican Senate primary to become the nominee and likely the next senator from the Cornhusker State.

Sasse, president of Midland University and a former Bush administration official, bested former state Treasurer Shane Osborn and banker Sid Dinsdale to win the nomination for this open seat. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is retiring.

Sasse had 44 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race just before 10 p.m. Dinsdale was in second at 26 percent, followed by Osborn with 23 percent.

Sasse benefited from massive spending by outside groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. Those groups did a lot of the dirty work, running a barrage of negative ads bashing first Osborn and, later, Dinsdale, while Sasse’s own campaign only ran positive spots about the candidate.

With Sasse’s nomination, the tea party will claim its first big win of the cycle. Tea-party-aligned groups like the Madison Project — along with the club and SCF — backed him, along with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who traveled to Nebraska to rally for Sasse alongside former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

There is no serious Democratic contender. The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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