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

Posts in "On the Trail"

October 27, 2014

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat

Edwards, right, motivates campaign volunteers for Foust, left, in Manassas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MANASSAS, Va. — Democrat John Foust’s campaign boasts it has made 960,000 phone calls, knocked on 120,000 doors and registered 1,500 new voters in the quest for Virginia’s open 10th District.

But on a crisp Saturday afternoon in Manassass, just 10 days before Election Day, Foust asked his volunteers for a few more hours of help — and he brought in Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., for some last-minute motivation.

Donna Edwards Motivates Volunteers for Virginia Democrat“John has done everything right,” Edwards told the crowd of about 40 volunteers packed into a Democratic Party of Virginia’s campaign office, which was covered in signs for Foust and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is also on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“He has raised the money, he has got the message and right now he’s got the momentum because you’re knocking on doors, and so I just want to thank you,” added Edwards, who made the short trip to Foust’s district with her arm in a sling after dislocating her shoulder the day before.

Foust, a tall, mustachioed and soft-spoken supervisor in Fairfax County, needs the last-minute help.

Full story

October 17, 2014

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Iowa Senate Race Becomes Headache for House Democrats

Ernst, right, is running for Senate as a Republican in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A competitive Senate contest in the Hawkeye State is creating a ripple effect down ballot, causing headaches for national Democrats as Election Day nears.

Recent polls show state Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, with a small lead over Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat. But the Republican’s advantage has percolated to three of Iowa’s four House contests, keeping one competitive district in contention for Republicans, plus putting two Democratic seats in play.

In particular, Ernst’s performance is buoying former Capitol Hill aide David Young, the Republican nominee in the competitive 3rd District, which is currently rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Privately, Iowa Republican operatives said Young is running a lackluster campaign against former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat.

In the end, Ernst might be the one to pull him over the edge.

“I do think it looks to be like a pretty good year for Republicans in Iowa,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative. “It’s kind of a nail biter, but both Young and Ernst should be able to pull this out if we keep the momentum.”

Full story

Pat Roberts Finds No Place Like Home

Pat Roberts Finds No Place Like Home

Roberts speaks to a reporter in Topeka. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — Dozens of cows trumpeted in the pens out back as Sen. Pat Roberts made his pitch to attendees at a livestock market.

Pat Roberts Finds No Place Like Home“When we get a Republican majority, I’ll be chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and we are gonna put the livestock producer first,” Roberts told the crowd from a room behind the then-empty cow pen, where the auctioneer had briefly paused his chant to allow the state’s senior senator to address the crowd.

The lone man in a suit jacket in a crowd of denim, plaid, cowboy hats and baseball caps, Roberts kept it short — framing his election in the terms he used throughout his bus tour of the entire Sunflower State.

In the six campaign events Roll Call attended with Roberts last week, this was as close as he came to making the Senate race personal. Most of the time, Roberts’ pitch to voters was that the name on the ballot was all but irrelevant; it was the “R” next to it that mattered. Full story

October 10, 2014

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Roberts, left, debates Orman during a luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The power in the Senate could increasingly flow not to Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell, but to a few independents who could hold the keys to the majority — and they know it.

The two unexpected GOP trouble spots in the Midwest feature independent candidates who are making noise about not joining either side in a divided Senate. In Kansas it’s Greg Orman, who is challenging long-time GOP incumbent Pat Roberts. Republicans are extremely dubious of Orman, pointing to campaign dollars he’s given to top Democrats, although Orman is fond of pointing to contributions to Republicans as well.

“I think what I’ve said and what I’ve been clear about since the beginning, is if one party or the other is in the majority I will seek to caucus with the party that is in the majority. But that if I get elected, and neither party is in the majority, then what I’m going to do is sit down with both sides, propose a pro-problem solving agenda and ask both sides, whether or not they’re willing to support that agenda. And we’re going to be likely to support the agenda, and the party that’s most likely to embrace a pro-problem-solving agenda,” Orman told reporters gathered after Wednesday’s debate. Full story

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz-Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Cruz, left, campaigned for Roberts, right, in Wichita. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., threatened Friday to hold a Ted Cruz-style filibuster on the Senate floor to prevent President Barack Obama from bringing the prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay into the United States.

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo Obama is reportedly considering shutting down Guantanamo Bay by executive order, which could potentially mean transferring the prisoners held there on terrorism charges to prisons in the continental U.S. Roberts, whose state is the home of the Leavenworth penitentiary, said he would not abide that.

“I stopped him once from trying to send a Gitmo terrorist to Leavenworth,” Roberts told supporters on a rainy morning at his campaign headquarters here. “I shall do it again. I shall do it again, and if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate.”

Speaking to reporters after, Roberts said he was proposing a potential filibuster in the model of Cruz’s 21-plus hours on the Senate floor last year protesting funding Obamacare. Full story

October 9, 2014

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Roberts, center, got some help Thursday from colleagues Cruz, left, and Coburn, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WICHITA, Kan. — Pat Roberts has served Kansas in the Senate for nearly 18 years, but freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had all the political clout at a Roberts campaign event Thursday.

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts The conservative icon and potential presidential candidate’s support could be crucial for Roberts, who faces a challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman in a suddenly competitive race that has implications for the Senate majority.

Here to kick off his statewide bus tour, Roberts took the stage with Cruz, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp — three allies on hand to provide support and additional enthusiasm. Roberts got solid applause, but the crowd erupted when Cruz, who had the final speaking slot, was introduced — yelling and cheering, longer and louder than for any other speaker.

“I’m here in Kansas because I know Pat. The two years I’ve served in the Senate, over and over again on fight after fight for conservative principles, Pat Roberts has shown up and reported for duty,” Cruz told the crowd. “A year ago last week, when I was standing on the Senate floor filibustering on Obamacare, Pat Roberts was one of a handful of senators who came down and stood by my side and said, ‘Obamacare is a disaster, and we’ve got to stop it.’”

Full story

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

Terry is a vulnerable Nebraska Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

OMAHA, Neb. — Mention Rep. Lee Terry’s name in this town, and almost everyone has an opinion about the embattled Republican.

“I know I was not happy with the shutdown and his comments,” said Patrick Ryan, a veteran of the Air National Guard turned Burke High School social studies teacher, before a Friday night football game. “I was kind of taken aback by it, thinking it was kind of arrogant considering the kind of job he’s in.”

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

“There’s a litany of times when he has literally stuck his 10.5 [size shoe] in his mouth,” state Sen. Bob Krist, a Republican backing Terry’s Democratic opponent, told CQ Roll Call in his colleague’s kitchen on Sunday morning. “Which time do you want to apologize for?”

“Don’t get him started,” said a woman seated at the bar at The Drover on Oct. 3, an old school downtown steakhouse, pointing to her husband, who regurgitated an unprompted verbatim account of the exact words dogging Terry’s quest for a ninth term.

More than a year ago, when the federal government shuttered and federal employees — including active military service members and civilian contractors — feared they wouldn’t get their paychecks, Terry was adamant he would keep his own.

“Dang straight,” Terry told the Omaha World Herald for an Oct. 4, 2013, story. “I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college, and I’ll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”

He’s apologized for the remarks, but the 16-year incumbent can’t seem to get out from underneath them. It’s an example of how just a few ill-suited words can ruin a congressional career — and the key reason Terry is struggling for re-election in this GOP-leaning district against state Sen. Brad Ashford.

Full story

October 3, 2014

Grassley Aide Attempts to Parlay His Boss’s Popularity in House Race

Grassley Aide Attempts to Parlay His Bosss Popularity in House Race

Young, left, and Grassley, right, walk through the Iowa State Fair in August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

FARRAGUT, Iowa — Locked in a highly competitive House contest, Republican David Young is looking to capitalize on some of his former boss’s goodwill in the final days of the race.

Grassley Aide Attempts to Parlay His Bosss Popularity in House RaceThis week Young, ex-chief of staff to Iowa GOP Sen. Charles E. Grassley kicked off a four-day tour of Iowa’s 3rd District with the popular senator in tow — hitting each of the district’s 16 counties to greet voters and drum up support for his bid. It’s a pared-down version of what Iowans affectionately dub, “The Full Grassley,” in which the 81-year-old senator traverses every one of the Hawkeye State’s 99 counties annually.

On Thursday, the tour reached Fremont County, a sparsely populated pocket of farm country in the southwestern corner of the state. About a dozen and a half folks showed up to greet the duo at a dusty and aging Masonic Temple in a town Young joked has “more deer than people.”

Full story

September 30, 2014

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 26, 2014

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for Votes

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for Votes

Cassidy speaks with pharmacy students from Xavier University of Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NEW ORLEANS — At a Saturday morning community health fair in a Vietnamese enclave in the predominantly black eastern wing of this city, Cassidy wasn’t exactly in politically friendly territory.

Bill Cassidy Dips Into Landrieu Territory for VotesBut he was quickly met by a familiar face ready to show him around. Greeting Cassidy behind a mobile pregnancy care bus was former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, a fellow Republican who entered the House with Cassidy after the 2008 elections and served for a single term.

Cassidy, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, would work his way through a welcoming campus-wide, college football tailgate in Baton Rouge later that day. But first he was here in a church parking lot in Village de L’Est, a traditionally Vietnamese neighborhood with a growing Hispanic population, to try to pick up a few votes.

“Wherever I can meet the most voters works for me,” Cassidy said as Cao led him toward the crowd.

Full story

September 24, 2014

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Bush campaigned for Tillis in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday getting the country back on track requires Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s ouster from the top spot “at minimum.”

Jeb Bush Knocks Harry Reid While Campaigning for Thom Tillis

Speaking at a warehouse event for Thom Tillis, the GOP’s nominee for Senate, Bush pinned the country’s hopes for an economic recovery on Republicans taking control of the Senate.

“Most of the big things that need to be fixed are in Washington, D.C., and if we get them right — which will require Harry Reid’s departure from the Senate, or, at minimum, being minority leader — people’s fears about the future will be lifted, their belief in their children’s opportunities will come back naturally,” Bush said.

Tillis is challenging Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races. Republicans need to gain six seats in November to take control of the Senate, and North Carolina, a state that typically favors the GOP, is seen as a prime pick-up opportunity.

Full story

September 23, 2014

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Peters is a freshman in California's 52nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Readers will have one more opportunity this week to pick the House and Senate races Roll Call will cover from the ground in the final weeks of the midterms.

Last week, thousands of votes were cast to send reporters @cahnemily and @alexis_levinson on the road in our first #RCReadersChoice survey. Two House races and two Senate races lead their packs, and now readers have until Thursday at 5 p.m. for the runoff contest.

On the Senate side, readers can select between Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is unexpectedly fighting for his re-election, and Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is attempting to fend off a strong challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. In the first round of voting, Kansas was the clear front-runner, and Colorado beat out the North Carolina Senate race by just two votes to make the final round.

The finalist House races are California’s 52nd District, located in San Diego, and Nebraska’s 2nd District, located in Omaha. Both incumbents in these races — Democrat Scott Peters in California and Republican Lee Terry in Nebraska — are on Roll Call’s list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members.

Have an opinion on which race we should cover? Tweet your thoughts @RollCall with #RCReadersChoice. Otherwise, vote below:

Full story

September 22, 2014

Mary Landrieu to Keg-Stand Critics: ‘Get a Life’

Mary Landrieu to Keg Stand Critics: Get a Life

Landrieu, right, answers questions from the local media during her event with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, in Baton Rouge, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — In the shadow of the state Capitol on Monday, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu had a message for any Republican critics of her decision Saturday to help a Louisiana State University football fan perform a keg stand as she campaigned across campus.

“They need to get a sense of humor, and they need to get a life — it’s just the way we roll,” Landrieu said in response to a question at a news conference where she and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., exchanged endorsements.

Landrieu went on to note that the fan was a 28-year-old alumnus with a master’s degree in business. Full story

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Landrieu poses for a selfie with LSU football fans as she campaigns at tailgate parties on campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Six weeks from Election Day, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu gathered the troops on the Louisiana State University campus, where tens of thousands of football fans and prospective voters congregated for hours ahead of the Saturday night game.

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!The three-term Democrat faces arguably her most challenging race yet against, among others, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who worked the Tigers fans for votes a couple hours later. Landrieu’s best shot may be to break 50 percent in the November jungle primary, but that avenue to victory has shrunk since her last race in a state increasingly difficult for any Democrat to win.

For that reason, Landrieu attempted to reach every voter she could among the boisterous and boozy crowd before kickoff.

Nearly two dozen volunteers and staff formed a circle around Landrieu at a tailgate in the heart of campus, where her younger brother Martin offered food, water and beer to the campaigners — who all had been trying to keep up with the hyper-speed pace of the senator for more than a half hour already. Landrieu ordered the group to split in two, to remind voters about the Nov. 4 jungle primary, early voting dates and to hand out stickers.

“Not everybody is going to be a supporter,” Landrieu told them, “but just be nice, friendly. You’re very visible.”

Not long after, Landrieu went to new lengths for a vote. Egged on to perform a keg stand, she instead held the spigot for a 20-something supporter — one of many methods the LSU faithful would use to imbibe that Saturday afternoon. Full story

September 21, 2014

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Landrieu assists on a keg stand at LSU on Saturday Sept. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — There are some wild and crazy people in there.

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg StandThat’s what a campaign staffer warned Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu as she eyed an opening to the Parade Grounds in the center of Louisiana State University, where football fans began setting up intricate tailgate parties campus-wide 24 hours before the Saturday night game.

Landrieu had already been working the campus with a fury for an hour, flanked by an army of volunteers in navy “I’m With Mary” t-shirts and handing out Landrieu for Senate stickers.

“Let’s do it,” responded Landrieu, who is one of the cycle’s most vulnerable senators as she seeks a fourth term. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...