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

Posts in "Open Seat"

March 31, 2014

Bernie Sanders Endorses in Crowded Pennsylvania House Primary

Bernie Sanders Endorses in Crowded Pennsylvania House Primary

Sanders endorsed a House candidate in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., one of the Senate’s most liberal members, has endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach — one of four Democrats running in the primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th District.

Sanders joins a crowd of liberal Democrats in Congress who are backing Leach, including the Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, plus Alan Grayson of Florida.

“At a time when our country has more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider – it is imperative that we send candidates like Daylin Leach to the U.S. Congress,” Sanders said in a news release Monday. Full story

March 28, 2014

Democratic Super PAC Targets Michigan, Arkansas Senate Races

Senate Majority PAC, a outside group committed to electing Democrats to the Senate, released two new ads on Friday targeting races in Arkansas and Michigan. The spots are part of a multi-state campaign to counter massive advertisement spending from Americans for Prosperity, a group supported by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The spots argue that GOP Senate candidates, Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, advance corporate interests over the economic well-being of two different demographic groups.

In Arkansas, the super PAC is targeting senior voters to boost vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s chances of keeping his seat. The Senate Race in Arkansas is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

“Corporate special interests are spending millions to smear Mark Pryor and elect Tom Cotton,” the narrator said. The ad goes on to accuse Cotton of wanting to give “billions in profits to insurance companies while costing seniors $6,000 more a year.”

Full story

Bruce Braley’s Farmer Insult Hits Airwaves in New TV Ad

Energy Executive Mark Jacobs, an emerging candidate in a crowded GOP field for Iowa’s open Senate seat, debuted a new ad Friday attacking the de facto Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, for recent comments he made about Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Charles E. Grassley.

The 30-second spot features Braley’s comments, which were taped at a fundraiser earlier this year in Texas. At that event, Braley said if Republicans win the Senate, “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law,” would take the gavel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The ad will air on cable in eastern Iowa, according to Jacobs’ campaign.

Full story

Mike Rogers of Michigan to Retire (Updated)

Mike Rogers of Michigan to Retire (Updated)

Rogers will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:31 a.m. | Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., announced Friday he will retire at the end of the year.

Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, was first elected in 2000 and is serving his 7th term in the House. He will become a nationally syndicated radio host beginning next year.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of Michigan’s eighth congressional district over the last 14 years. We have accomplished so much together, and I am most proud of our work to turn the House Intelligence Committee into a true legislative and oversight body,” Rogers said in a statement, as the Detroit News reported. Full story

March 27, 2014

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses in Oklahoma Senate Race

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses in Oklahoma Senate Race

Lankford is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, one of a handful of Republicans running in Oklahoma’s open-seat Senate race, received the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund Thursday, a group that spends heavily to boost tea-party-aligned candidates into office.

“T.W. Shannon is a constitutional conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending and debt that are bankrupting our country,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a news release. “We’re supporting T.W. Shannon because he’s a principled conservative, he has strong grassroots support in Oklahoma, and he can win if Americans come together to support his campaign.”

Shannon will face off with GOP Rep. James Lankford and handful of other Oklahoma Republicans in a special-election primary on June 24. The seat is open because GOP Sen. Tom Coburn will resign at the end of the 113th Congress.

Conservative groups had initially sought to recruit Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., to face off against Lankford in the contest. However when Bridenstine declined to run, it was unclear whether groups such as the SCF and Club for Growth would play in the Sooner State Senate contest.

The Republican who wins the primary will likely be the next senator from Oklahoma, as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the state with 67 percent in 2012. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote in the June 24 primary, the top two contenders head to a runoff on Aug. 26.

Oklahoma’s Senate race is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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

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