Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

April 20, 2014

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate Debate

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate Debate

Handel, left, and Perdue, right, debate for the Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate DebateAUGUSTA, Ga. — Seven Republican Senate hopefuls stood before a mammoth American flag Saturday afternoon for the sixth of seven debates hosted by the state GOP.

In front of a couple hundred voters at the Columbia County Exhibition Center, just outside Augusta, the candidates sought to fortify their conservative credentials on immigration, the 2nd Amendment, abortion and what can be done to improve confidence in the economy.

With so many candidates running for the state’s open Senate seat, none are expected to win a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary. They’re fighting to finish in the top two and advance to the July 22 runoff, when all bets are off.

The name of Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, wasn’t mentioned until the final three minutes of the 90-minute debate — symbolic of where the GOP’s focus still is in the race to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel first uttered the Nunn name in her closing remarks, as she portrayed herself as the most electable conservative on the stage.

“I would just love to see Michelle Nunn try to drop the ‘war on women’ on me,” Handel said.

Handel is the only woman in the field of candidates, of which five have at least an outside shot at making the runoff. Former Reebok and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, continually pitches himself as the outsider with the business background, grouping Handel in with the three members of Congress as the “career politicians.”

“Sometimes real change takes an outsider’s perspective,” Perdue said. “Fresh eyes, determination and a bucket-load of common sense. That’s what I will bring to the United States Senate.”

Rep. Jack Kingston, who has been among the top two in recent polls, along with Perdue, said Republicans in the House have “shut down” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and that he intends to take the fight to the Senate against Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. He sought to stand out from his House colleagues, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, but also pushed back against the Perdue’s outsider mantra.

“I’m not going to apologize for being a long-term soldier fighting for the conservative cause,” Kingston said.

Gingrey highlighted his three decades as an OB-GYN to prove he was no professional politician, including delivering 5,200 babies. On government regulations meant to curb climate change, Gingrey quipped that maybe the government should “put a surgical mask on the rear ends of every cow” to stop the release of methane.

Broun said he would “die for your right” to carry a firearm. In emphasizing the blame he puts on both parties for government overreach, Broun mentioned Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, twice, including pushing back against any attempt to pass an immigration overhaul and his vote against Boehner for speaker after the 2010 elections.

Two other candidates, Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson, made their marks on this debate, as well, but they have not raised much money and are unlikely to advance to the runoff.

The Republicans will face off once more next month in Columbus, Ga., before the primary.

April 18, 2014

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural Cookout

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural Cookout

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., greets supporters as he arrives at an annual cookout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural CookoutGLENNVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Jack Kingston, who’s represented Savannah in Congress for the last two decades, was at home Thursday evening in nearby Tattnall County, where elected officials and candidates streamed in to put their face in front of the loads of sheriffs, police and first responders gathered on the grounds of a rural pond house.

The Republican was one of three candidates vying for the party’s Senate nomination to attend the 27th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout, held just outside Kingston’s district. More than 1,000 people from around the state were on hand, sipping light beer and munching on pork barbecue, smoked chicken, Cadillac rice and Brunswick stew. Kingston, the only candidate with a campaign booth, could barely turn around without running into someone he knew, inevitably wearing his campaign sticker.

Southeast Georgia is Kingston country. His campaign has been working for months to broaden his brand beyond this area and into vote-rich Atlanta ahead of the competitive May 20 primary. But on this day, the congressman was sewing up his base.

Full story

April 17, 2014

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open-Seat Race

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open Seat Race

Coble will leave Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican nominee in the crowded race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Howard Coble likely won’t be known until mid-summer.

Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., the son and namesake of one of North Carolina’s most powerful Republican officials, has a firm grip on the front-runner position. But GOP operatives in the Tar Heel State said Berger, whose father Phil Berger Sr. is president pro tem of the state Senate, is unlikely to surpass the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff in the May 6 primary.

“I believe [Berger Jr.] has a name ID advantage just because of who his dad is,” said Matt Bales, a researcher with the non-partisan FreeEnterprise Foundation in North Carolina.

The primary has become a race for second place, and many North Carolina operatives said the rest of the nine-candidate GOP field is largely unknown, unwieldy and hard to assess.

Full story

Michelle Nunn Hits Bipartisan Tone in Georgia Senate Stump Speech

Michelle Nunn Hits Bipartisan Tone in Georgia Senate Stump Speech

Michelle Nunn leaves a campaign event in Shellman, Ga. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michelle Nunn Hits Bipartisan Tone in Georgia Senate Stump SpeechSHELLMAN, Ga. — Michelle Nunn strolled along train tracks stretching past a depleted downtown lined with empty storefronts and toward a crowd of supporters hoping to meet the state’s next senator.

At a private home in the southwestern corner of the state, the first-time candidate greeted a bipartisan duo of state legislators, chatted up some 50 curious admirers and delivered a rhythmic 10-minute stump speech that was heavy on bipartisanship and light on an unpopular president.

“We have a real viable race here,” Nunn said.

How viable depends in part on which Republicans emerge from the May 20 primary and who is nominated in the July 22 runoff. That crowded race remains up in the air, with five Republicans capable of advancing. As a result, the contest to replace retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is stuck in idle until mid-summer, giving Nunn another three months to prepare for the general. Full story

‘Desperate Housewives,’ Spielberg Donate in L.A. Race

Desperate Housewives, Spielberg Donate in L.A. Race

Actress Marcia Cross, seen at a 2008 Capitol Hill press conference about breast cancer, is among the stars donating in California's 33rd District race. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., counts many of Hollywood’s biggest names among his constituents in his 33rd District, located in the wealthy areas of L.A. County including Santa Monica, Malibu and Beverly Hills.

But now that he’s retiring from Congress after 20 terms, many of those famous names are appearing in the fundraising reports of the more than one dozen candidates seeking to replace him.

Full story

April 16, 2014

Ted Cruz Endorses Candidate in Oklahoma Senate Race

 

Ted Cruz Endorses Candidate in Oklahoma Senate Race

Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, endorsed former state Speaker T.W. Shannon in Oklahoma’s Senate special election, marking the latest tea party leader to back his candidacy in the Sooner State.

Shannon will face GOP Rep. James Lankford, as well as a handful of other lesser-known Republicans, in a June 24 special election primary. There is a special election because Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has announced he will vacate his Senate seat at the end of this Congress, two years before his term expires in 2016.

“T.W. Shannon is a strong Constitutional conservative who will fight for individual liberty and help turn our country around,” Cruz said in a Wednesday news release. “T.W. embodies the American dream. I’m proud to offer T.W. my enthusiastic endorsement because not only will he vote the right way, but he’ll stand up and fight with us in the Senate to stop President Obama’s assault on our liberties and defend America’s founding principles.”

Tony Strickland Up With First TV Ad in California House Contest

Former state Sen. Tony Strickland released his first ad in his bid for California’s open 25th District on Wednesday, laying out his priorities, including GOP favorites like repealing the Affordable Care Act, cutting spending and balancing the budget.

Strickland, a Republican, is one of a number of candidates seeking to succeed retiring Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif. He will face GOP state Sen. Steve Knight, podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat, and several other candidates in a June 3 top-two primary. The two candidates with the highest vote totals advance to the general election in November, regardless of party.

Full story

April 15, 2014

Bachmann Endorses Emmer as Successor in Minnesota

Bachmann Endorses Emmer as Successor in Minnesota

Emmer is sporting a new endorsement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., on Tuesday endorsed former state Rep. Tom Emmer as her successor in her soon-to-be former House seat, according to a local report.

“I will give Tom every measure that I possibly can. Whether it’s fundraising, whether it’s personal help, whatever I can do I’m there more than 100 percent to ensure that Tom Emmer is the next member of the United States Congress,” Bachmann said at a news conference Tuesday, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Over the weekend, Emmer received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota in the Gopher State’s 6th District. He defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie to earn the state party’s seal of approval.

Full story

April 14, 2014

GOP Candidate’s Response to Attacks? Silence and Ocean Waves

In the final week before a special primary in Florida, businessman Curt Clawson has a message for his opponents: silence.

Clawson, who is running in the GOP primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., has released a new television spot featuring a silent shot of the ocean’s waves rolling up over the shore. Without a narrator, title cards over the sea state the ad is a 30-second respite from negative “attacks” from his GOP opponents, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

Full story

April 11, 2014

First Karen Handel TV Ad Features Sarah Palin

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, one of about a half-dozen Republicans running in the Peach State’s open Senate contest, will hit the airwaves Monday with a new ad that prominently features former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The 30-second ad, which is narrated with audio from the April event where Palin endorsed Handel, will air statewide on cable and broadcast, according to Handel’s campaign.

“You know her background, you know her record, the conservative who has walked the walk cutting budgets,” Palin says of Handel in the ad.

Full story

Alabama Hopeful Raises $484,000 in Open-Seat Contest

State Rep. Paul DeMarco, one of seven Republicans running for Alabama’s open 6th District, raised $484,000 in the first quarter, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

DeMarco’s haul brings his total in cash on hand to $650,000.

Full story

April 10, 2014

California Republican Tops $400,000 for Open-Seat Race

California Republican Tops $400,000 for Open Seat Race

Republican Tony Strickland is one of eight candidates running in California's 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California Republican Tony Strickland raised more than $400,000 for his House bid in the first quarter, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The former state senator, who is vying for California’s open 25th District seat, had $640,000 in cash on hand as of March 31. Full story

Democratic Front-Runner Goes Up With First Ad in Iowa House Race

State Rep. Pat Murphy, the front-runner in a crowded open-seat race in Iowa’s 1st District, went up Thursday with his first ad of the cycle.

The 30-second bio spot will air on broadcast television in Cedar Rapids, which makes up a large chunk of the district, according to Murphy’s campaign. The seat is open this cycle thanks to Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s Senate bid.

Full story

April 9, 2014

Jack Kingston Raised $1.1 Million in 1st Quarter

Jack Kingston Raised $1.1 Million in 1st Quarter

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is one of a handful of Republicans seeking the state's open Senate seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, one of a handful of Republicans vying for the state’s open Senate seat, raised $1.1 million in the first fundraising quarter of 2014, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Kingston’s quarterly haul stemmed in part from 45 fundraisers and meet-and-greets held from January through March, the campaign said, and 89 percent of the total haul were from within the Peach State. Kingston ended March with $2.1 million in cash on hand.

“The generosity of so many both in volunteer hours and financial support has been overwhelming,” Kingston said in a statement. “Libby and I cannot thank everyone enough for their dedication to our campaign. Together we can retake the Senate and restore the American Dream.” Full story

Democrat Starts Mail Campaign in Targeted California House Contest

Eloise Gomez Reyes, one of four Democrats vying for a highly targeted district in California’s Inland Empire, is kicking off a direct mail campaign this week ahead of the upcoming top-two primary.

The pair of mail pieces, provided first to CQ Roll Call, are tantamount to an opening bio ad in the 31st District, located east of Los Angeles. They describe the attorney’s background as a field worker who went on to college and later law school.

Mailers are the most popular form of voter communication in California House contests, as TV airtime often comes at a premium in the major metropolitan media markets of L.A. and San Francisco.

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...