Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

July 27, 2014

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

In 2014 Senate races, Republicans are optimistic they can defeat Braley, above, and pick up a seat in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With 100 days to go until Election Day, Senate Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about winning the majority — but they also have grounds for concern.

After coming up short in 2010 and 2012, the GOP is unquestionably well positioned to finish the job this time. Republicans need to match their November 2010 score of six seats to take the majority, and the party has multiple paths to the finish line.

That’s thanks to a successful recruitment push that didn’t conclude until late February, and a playing field naturally tilted in the GOP’s direction — seven Democrat-held seats are in states President Barack Obama lost in 2012, six of those by double digits.

But, as optimistic as Republican operatives are heading into the final stretch, the GOP has reasons to restrain its confidence. With tens of millions of dollars of advertising already spent by outside groups on both sides, just one Democratic incumbent is, at this point, a solid underdog for re-election.

Reasons for Republicans to Be Optimistic Full story

July 25, 2014

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Republicans Unite in Tossup New York House Race

Doheny endorsed his former primary opponent. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Republican Matt Doheny endorsed Elise Stefanik at a press conference Friday, more than a month after losing to her in a House race primary.

Stefanik, who was recently added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program, faces Democrat Aaron Woolf for the 21st District seat being vacated by Democrat Bill Owens. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Report/Roll Call. Full story

July 22, 2014

Georgia Runoff Results: David Perdue Wins GOP Nod for Senate (Video)

Georgia Runoff Results: David Perdue Wins GOP Nod for Senate (Video)

Perdue won the Georgia Republican Senate nomination Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman David Perdue’s outsider narrative and personal wealth propelled him to the Republican nomination Tuesday in the Georgia Senate race, defeating Rep. Jack Kingston.

Perdue led the 11-term congressman, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting when The Associated Press called the race.

After an extra nine weeks were tacked on to the initial May 20 primary, the race is finally progressing to the general election — where Democrat Michelle Nunn has quietly been compiling cash for what will be a pricey contest.

Full story

Georgia Runoff Results for House Races: Ex-Congressman Bob Barr Loses Comeback Bid

Georgia Runoff Results for House Races: Ex Congressman Bob Barr Loses Comeback Bid

Jody Hice defeated Mike Collins, above, for the GOP nod in a Georgia House race. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:52 p.m. | Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk thwarted former Rep. Bobb Barr’s comeback, capturing a decisive win in Tuesday’s GOP runoff.

Loudermilk defeated Barr 70 percent to 30 percent, with 41 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

There is no Democrat running in the 11th District in the fall, making Loudermilk the de facto next member of Congress from this Marietta-based district. He will succeed Rep. Phil Gingrey, who lost a GOP Senate primary in May.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Kingston is running for Senate in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Republicans will pick their nominee for Senate in a runoff Tuesday, ending Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn’s nine-week wait for an opponent in the open-seat contest.

The Senate contest has reverberated around the Peach State, creating three open-seat House races with GOP runoffs that will also be decided Tuesday.

In the statewide race, many Republicans said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., has a small edge over former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue. Both of whom have spent millions on the anticipated low-turnout contest, and polls close at 7 p.m.

In May, Perdue came in first in a seven-candidate Republican primary field that included three members of Congress with 31 percent — below the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. Kingston came in second with 26 percent.

Full story

July 20, 2014

Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries

Megachurches Prove Mega Influential in GOP Primaries

Collins, left, is a Georgia Republican and former senior pastor at his church. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The influence of religious conservatives might be waning nationwide, but the movement only stands to grow in Congress.

Already this year, three candidates with close ties to massive churches won decisive Republican primaries. A fourth — Pastor Jody Hice — could win a Tuesday GOP primary runoff in Georgia and come to Congress in November.

Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.

But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.

“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Full story

July 17, 2014

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston, seen here campaigning in Glennville, Ga., this spring, is not shying away from his Washington ties ahead of the Georgia runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign is benefiting from the help of countless friends on Capitol Hill, eschewing the relentless efforts of David Perdue to paint him as a big-spending insider.

The primary runoff campaign will end next week, amid a torrent of negative advertising and after a heated debate Sunday. The nine-week overtime race between Kingston and Perdue, a former Reebok and Dollar General CEO, concludes on July 22.

Perdue once again highlighted Kingston’s 22 years in Congress in the campaign-closing TV ad he released this week. But Kingston, a veteran congressional appropriator, is hardly running from his record or his connections.

“Rarely have I seen two candidates more comfortable with their respective positions,” said Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia. “Jack is more than comfortable being the insider, trying to make the case that with his experience he can make an immediate difference. And Perdue is comfortable being the outsider, saying D.C. is broken and it’s time to send someone new.” Full story

July 15, 2014

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Bachus, right, is not seeking re-election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative activist Gary Palmer defeated state Rep. Paul DeMarco Tuesday to win the GOP nomination in Alabama’s 6th District.

Palmer defeated DeMarco, 62 percent to 38 percent, with 50 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

GOP operatives say DeMarco’s loss is partly a result of the Club for Growth’s barrage of spending in the final weeks of the runoff. The GOP nominee will almost certainly succeed Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who is retiring from this conservative district.

Full story

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

Coble endorsed Berger to succeed him in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baptist Pastor Mark Walker defeated Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s open 6th District.

Walker garnered 57 percent to Berger’s 43 percent, with 59 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 6th District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Howard Coble is retiring.

Full story

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Alex Mooney

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Alex Mooney

Alex Mooney was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Republican Alex Mooney on Tuesday in his competitive bid to replace GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia’s 2nd District.

The endorsement could potentially lead to support on the airwaves from the organization, which has already spent more than $14 million on races this cycle, according to numbers compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Senator Alex Mooney has a demonstrated record leading on policies that promote job growth and a flourishing economy,” U.S. Chamber National Political Director Rob Engstrom said in a statement. “In today’s economy, it is critical that we have pro-growth leaders like Alex Mooney in Congress.” Full story

Voters to Pick GOP Nominees in Alabama, North Carolina Runoffs

Voters in Alabama and North Carolina head to the polls Tuesday to choose the Republican nominees in two deeply conservative House districts.

In Alabama’s 6th District, GOP voters have a choice between conservative activist Gary Palmer and state Rep. Paul DeMarco. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., announced his retirement last fall, creating this open-seat race.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Paul Broun Endorses Candidate in Georgia

Paul Broun Endorses Candidate in Georgia

Jody Hice was endorsed by Paul Broun. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who lost a Senate primary in May, endorsed pastor Jody Hice in the July 22 runoff to replace him.

Broun had stayed out of the GOP primary in the 10th District until now, saying he did not want to anoint a successor. But in a Monday radio interview in Georgia, Broun said recent events pushed him to support Hice over businessman Mike Collins in the July 22 runoff.

“Just recently Mike Collins has rejected and repudiated my simple four-way test. … Jody Hice has pledged that he is going to use that same four-way test as he evaluates legislation and Mike Collins just recently said that he rejects that test,” Broun said on Georgia’s Morning News with Zoller & Bryant.

Full story

July 12, 2014

Terri Lynn Land Targeted in Super PAC Ad in Michigan

Terri Lynn Land Targeted in Super PAC Ad in Michigan

Gary Peters is getting some outside help. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority PAC launched a TV ad Saturday aimed at the Republican vying for Michigan’s open Senate seat.

The Democrat-aligned super PAC’s spot, backed by a nearly $650,000 buy and running for two weeks, features three state residents criticizing former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land on issues including tax breaks for the wealthy and women’s health, while labeling Land a “career politician.” Full story

July 10, 2014

Club for Growth Gets Second Chance in Alabama Race

Club for Growth Gets Second Chance in Alabama Race

Chris Chocola is president of the Club for Growth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A six-week mulligan for the Club for Growth ends on July 15, when voters will pick a GOP nominee in Alabama’s 6th District runoff.

After the club’s preferred candidate did not advance to the runoff, it regrouped by endorsing the second-place primary finisher, conservative activist Gary Palmer. And this time, GOP operatives in the state said the club’s spending could be enough to propel Palmer to victory over his foe, state Rep. Paul DeMarco, in the race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus.

“Palmer has benefited from the Club for Growth,” said Bob Kish, a GOP operative who has worked on Alabama races. “I think it’s enough to put Gary over the top.”

July 9, 2014

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

Coble has endorsed a candidate to replace him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., has become a fixture in the GOP runoff to determine his successor in the 6th District.

Coble, 83, announced in November he would not seek another term in his Greensboro-based district. Nine Republicans vied to succeed him in a May primary, and the race culminates in a GOP runoff between Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker on July 15.

Initially, the 15-term Republican refused to take sides in the race, but he endorsed Berger after the primary. Since then, he’s become a frequent presence in the contest, appearing at Berger’s campaign events and fundraisers, making robocalls to voters on behalf of his campaign and riding in the July Fourth parade alongside the front-runner.

Coble told CQ Roll Call that he decided to endorse a potential successor after getting numerous inquiries from the press and candidates about whom he supported. Full story

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