Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

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

July 7, 2014

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West Virginia

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West Virginia

Miss WV Roadkill waves at fans at the Fourth of July parade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Hopefuls Work Parade Route in West VirginiaRIPLEY, W.Va. — The country’s “largest small town Independence Day parade” had all the expected: beauty queens, sun-drenched crowds and political glad-handling.

The hardest thing to find on this route? A West Virginian who plans to vote the straight party line this fall.

“I vote for the person, not for the party,” Thomas Lee Stemple, a retired maintenance supervisor and registered Democrat, said a few hours before the parade.

Interviews with West Virginia voters over the holiday weekend showed many of them intend to split their ballots between parties this November. The parade’s two most prominent participants and Senate candidates — Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat — used the event to promote their personal brands to voters gathered on the streets of this town north of Charleston.

Capito was the first federal candidate featured in the parade of more than 150 floats.  Full story

June 30, 2014

Rick Santorum Endorses in Georgia Race

Rick Santorum Endorses in Georgia Race

Rick Santorum is a Republican from Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., endorsed businessman Mike Collins in Georgia’s 10th District GOP runoff Monday, calling him a “rock-solid conservative who will be guided by the U.S. Constitution in Congress.”

“Mike has laid out a bold plan of conservative policies that will push back overbearing federal regulations, revitalize the entrepreneurial spirit and provide more opportunities for blue collar Americans,” Santorum added in the release. “We need more conservative businessmen like Mike Collins in Congress.”

Collins faces pastor Jody Hice, a Republican, in a July 22 runoff. Republicans have described Rice as a candidate in the mold of the congressman he is trying to succeed, conservative firebrand Paul Broun. Broun, known for his outspoken comments on evolution, ran an unsuccessful bid for Senate in Georgia, leaving his House district open. Full story

June 26, 2014

Republican Drops Recount in Targeted California Race

Former Capitol Hill aide Lesli Gooch, the Republican who called for a recount in California’s 31st District, has dropped her request and conceded the race Wednesday night.

“My team of polling data experts has reviewed the results of today’s recount and we have decided not to ask the Registrar of Voters to continue with a second day of recounting ballots,” Gooch said in a statement.

The recount started Wednesday — three weeks after the Golden State’s primary. Gooch’s campaign is responsible for the cost of the recount under local election rules.

In California’s primary, the two highest vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Gooch trailed Democrat Pete Aguilar by 209 votes for the second-place spot in the top-two primary. 

Full story

June 24, 2014

Curt Clawson Wins Special Election to Succeed Trey Radel in Florida

Curt Clawson Wins Special Election to Succeed Trey Radel in Florida

Trey Radel resigned in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican businessman Curt Clawson won the special election Tuesday to replace former Rep. Trey Radel in Florida’s 19th District — an outcome long expected in this heavily Republican district on the state’s Gulf Coast.

Clawson defeated Democrat April Freeman, 67 percent to 30 percent, with 1 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. He is expected to be sworn in later this week. Full story

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