Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

March 26, 2014

Braley’s Opponent? Two Seem Most Likely From Crowded Field

Braleys Opponent? Two Seem Most Likely From Crowded Field

Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Rep. Bruce Braley doesn't know yet which Republican candidate he'll be facing in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Residing outside of the competitive Senate landscape’s top tier most of this election cycle, Iowa Republicans believe they are finally gaining some momentum for the state’s open seat, particularly by avoiding a nominating convention.

The release Tuesday of a video taken of Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s remarks at a Texas fundraiser was just the cherry on top of an already renewed sense of optimism among Republicans that the party will put up a competitive nominee. Several things still need to go the GOP’s way for success in November, but Republican insiders in the state see positive signs.

Along with President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in the Hawkeye State falling to 36 percent in a Des Moines Register poll taken last month, the crowded and unproven Republican primary field is beginning to shake out, and the party’s chances of nominating a candidate in the primary — and dodging a potentially debilitating convention — are improving.

“I think the notion of a convention choosing our Senate nominee gets more remote by the day,” said one veteran Iowa Republican operative without ties to any of the campaigns. Full story

March 25, 2014

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for ‘Farmer’ Slight

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for Farmer Slight

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, apologized for his critical comments of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, that were posted online Tuesday by a Republican research group.

Speaking at a fundraiser, Braley, who is running for the Hawkeye State’s open Senate seat, said the Senate could end up with “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” before identifying that person as Grassley.

“I apologize to Senator Grassley and anyone I may have offended,” Braley said in a statement released a couple of hours after the video posted. “I respect Senator Grassley and enjoy our working relationship even though we disagree on some issues.”

The Des Moines Register reported that the video was taken by a donor at a Jan. 23 fundraiser in Corpus Christi, Texas, before being released Tuesday by America Rising. Braley also told the assembled donors — presumably lawyers — that he is “someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way.”

A Grassley spokesperson responded in a statement pointing to Grassley’s years of service and accomplishments on the committee. Full story

Candidate Touts ‘Castrating Hogs’ Experience in TV Ad

Talk about cutting through the clutter — or at least cutting through something.

State Sen. Joni Ernst, one of five Republicans seeking Iowa’s open Senate seat, boasted her experience “castrating hogs”  will help her “cut pork” in Washington, D.C.

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I come to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” Ernst says in the 30-second spot released Tuesday. “Washington’s full of big spenders, let’s make ‘em squeal.”

Full story

March 20, 2014

New Jersey Republican Machine Unites Against Steve Lonegan (Updated)

Updated 4:37 p.m. | New Jersey Republicans avoided a nightmare scenario Wednesday night in the highly competitive, open-seat race for the 3rd District.

Ocean County Republicans endorsed former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur as their preferred nominee. The endorsement comes five days after the Burlington County GOP also backed MacArthur.

In 2008, the two county parties supported different Republicans for the nod and lost the 3rd District. In hindsight, many Garden State Republicans blame the party’s loss on that feud over the GOP nominee. Full story

March 18, 2014

League of Conservation Voters Endorses in Maine Primary

The League of Conservation Voters’ political action arm announced Tuesday it has endorsed state Sen. Emily Cain, one of two Democrats seeking Maine’s open 2nd District seat.

The group, which spends significant funds on congressional races, endorsed Cain over her Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. Troy Jackson, saying Cain has a better record on environmental issues. The endorsement could come with financial support in both the primary and the general, as Republicans are targeting the seat.

“Emily Cain is a leader who embraces our moral obligation to address climate change,” LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. “She stands up for public health and our environment and will be a strong voice against polluters seeking to stop the scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Full story

Democrat Drops Out of Competitive Pennsylvania House Race

Democrat Drops Out of Competitive Pennsylvania House Race

Trivedi is now the lone Democratic candidate in the field. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman Mike Parrish, a Democrat touted as a top recruit in Pennsylvania’s open 6th District, announced Tuesday he will drop out of the contest to avoid a costly primary, PolitcsPA.com first reported.

“While I was asked by the national and local leaders of our Democratic party and encouraged by YOU to run for Congress, I have come to realize that an expensive and contentious Democratic primary fight would seriously risk our party’s ability to win this seat in November to accomplish our goals,” Parrish said in a statement to supporters. “I am therefore suspending my campaign in order to join with Manan Trivedi to help ensure that a Democrat is elected in November.”

Parrish, who launched his campaign two months ago in the wake of Rep. Jim Gerlach’s, R-Pa., retirement announcement, had earned the endorsement of Rep. Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., and been a beneficiary of a fundraiser headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Full story

Oprah to Headline Fundraiser for Virginia House Candidate

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will headline a D.C.-area fundraiser next month for Lavern Chatman, former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League and one of nearly a dozen Democrats running for Virginia’s open 8th District seat.

According to a Chatman campaign release, the fundraiser will be held April 5 in Arlington, Va. Further details were not provided.

“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,” Chatman said in a statement. “I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign.”

Full story

Democratic Candidate Wants Pelosi Out as Leader (Video)

The candidate: Nick Casey, an attorney and former West Virginia Democratic Party chairman
The member: Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is vacating the seat to run for Senate.
The district: West Virginia’s 2nd stretches from Charleston in the west to the Washington, D.C. exurbs. After a close 2000 race when first elected to Congress, Capito repeatedly racked up solid re-election margins over the last 10 years. Still, the Republican field is crowded and disorganized, and the district could be competitive.
The candidate’s team:  Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group (polling), Karl Struble of Struble Eichenbaum Communications (media), Ed Peavy of Mission Control (direct mail), Jeremy Gold (fundraising) and Derek Scarbro (campaign manager).

There is a very real chance that Sen. Joe Manchin III will be the only Democrat left representing West Virginia after this year’s midterm elections, with Sen. Jay Rockefeller retiring and Rep. Nick J. Rahall II facing a tough race. Full story

March 17, 2014

Edwin Edwards Kicks Off House Bid in Louisiana

Disgraced former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, who served eight years in federal prison for racketeering and extortion, formally launched a bid for Congress on Monday.

The 86-year-old Democrat unveiled his intentions last month to seek the open 6th District seat, but he made it official Monday with a colorful news conference, during which he laid out his policy agenda and reasons why he is giving elected office another go.

“I did not vote for Obama — where I was at the time there were no voting machines,” Edwards said, referring to his time in jail, garnering laughter from the room. “But I would not have voted for Obamacare.”

Full story

March 14, 2014

Democrats Clear Primary Field in Competitive Virginia House Race

Democrats have cleared the primary field in Virginia’s 10th District, one of the party’s top open-seat targets this cycle.

Attorney Richard Bolger announced Friday he is suspending his campaign, paving the way for Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust — who was already the favorite — to earn the Democratic nomination for this Northern Virginia-based seat.

Bolger launched his bid in September, before longtime Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf announced his retirement and the seat moved toward the top of national Democrats’ wish list.

“When Congressman Wolf retired, the seat became one of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats in the nation,” Bolger said in a statement. “At this point, it has become clear to me that John Foust is our strongest choice with the best chance of helping our party win this seat and change the direction of Congress.”

Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses Debbie Dingell

EMILY’S List has endorsed Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan to replace her husband in Congress.

Dingell is already the favorite to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John D. Dingell in Michigan’s 12th District. The only prominent candidate to consider a run backed off last week from competing in the Aug. 5 primary for the seat, which John Dingell has held since replacing his father in 1955.

But the backing by EMILY’s List, which helps Democratic women who support abortion rights, offers the potential for significant financial support should Dingell face a surprisingly competitive race.

“Debbie Dingell is a strong Democratic leader with over 30 years of experience as a business executive, and she is deeply committed to helping Michigan women and families have a fair shot,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a news release. “The EMILY’s List community — now more than three million members strong — is proud to endorse this champion for Michigan to represent the 12th Congressional District.”

The general-election race is rated Safe Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

March 13, 2014

Third California Democrat Endorses Wendy Greuel

Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff is now the third member of California’s Democratic House delegation to endorse former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel in the race for the state’s open 33rd District seat, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call.

“Wendy Greuel is the right choice to replace the irreplaceable Henry Waxman,” Schiff, who represents the neighboring 28th District, said in a statement Thursday. “I have worked with Wendy for more than a decade and she knows how to make government work for everyone.”

Democratic Reps. Tony Cardenas and Lucille Roybal-Allard — also LA-based members — previously endorsed Greuel.

The race to replace Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, who announced his retirement in January, is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But under California’s top-two primary system, the district could host a competitive general-election race.

Full story

March 12, 2014

Democrats Duel for Open House Seat in Iowa

Democrats Duel for Open House Seat in Iowa

Braley, right, is running for Senate and leaving a wide-open race for Democrats in the 1st District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a state that was expected to play host to multiple competitive contests this year, Democrats are dueling for the nomination — and most likely, the seat — in northeastern Iowa’s open 1st District.

The filing deadline is Friday, and House Republicans have all but written off the district to focus on the state’s other open-seat race, in the 3rd District. After a top-tier Republican recruit unexpectedly dropped out of the race, the next member of Congress from the 1st District will likely be decided by a Democratic primary on June 3.

Full story

Steve Israel Lobbies Alex Sink to Run in the Fall

 

Steve Israel Lobbies Alex Sink to Run in the Fall

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the aftermath of his party’s special election loss in Florida, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel refused to blame his candidate. Instead, he doubled down on her prospects to win in the fall.

“I believe if Alex Sink decides to run, she will win in November,” Israel said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. “We will do everything — and I mean everything — to support her in that endeavor.”

Sink came up 2 points short Tuesday against Republican Rep.-elect David Jolly. Whether or not Sink runs again is unclear.

“I did call her last night and left a message,” Israel said. “My message was, I think she ran a great race and if this election were in November versus March, I believe she would have won, and I encouraged her to speak with us about continuing this campaign to victory in November.”

“I have not heard back from her,” he added. Full story

March 11, 2014

Republicans Win Florida Special Election With David Jolly

Republicans Win Florida Special Election With David Jolly

(Courtesy David Jolly)

 

Republican David Jolly won Tuesday’s high-stakes race to replace his former boss, the late GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida, in Congress.

The Republican nominee defeated Democrat Alex Sink 49 percent to 47 percent, with all of the precincts reporting when the Associated Press called the race at 7:49 p.m. Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby took 5 percent. Full story

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