Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Open Seat"

June 5, 2014

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

Iowa Republicans will use a convention to pick a nominee to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Latham, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In Iowa, a rare and unpredictable convention will pick the Republican nominee in one of the country’s most competitive House districts — and the results could determine whether Republicans hold the seat in 2014.

None of the six Republican candidates received the 35 percent necessary to win the nomination outright in the 3rd District. Instead, the nomination fight continues at a June 21 convention, in which hundreds of party activists select the nominee.

It’s a process that has only happened twice in 50 years. The last time was in 2002, when now-Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, won the nomination.

“Any one of them could win legitimately,” said Doug Gross, a former chief of staff to Gov. Terry E. Branstad and a 3rd District convention delegate. “Anybody who tells you they can handicap that race is smarter than anyone around or is lying — one of the two. No one knows what is actually going to happen.”

Although the convention is unpredictable, some GOP operatives in the Hawkeye State said the process gives them a second chance to avoid state Sen. Brad Zaun as their nominee. Zaun finished first with 25 percent in Tuesday’s primary, among a field of six candidates.

Full story

June 4, 2014

Wendy Greuel Concedes California House Contest

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu is poised to become the next member of Congress from Hollywood’s House seat — California’s 33rd District.

Lieu advanced to the general election Tuesday, and in November he will face a Republican opponent in a strong Democratic district.

In California’s primary, the two highest vote recipients regardless of party advance to the general election. Full story

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

Rogers backed one of his former Republican opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With two Republicans advancing to the general in California’s 25th District open-seat race, the losing Democrat conceded the race on Wednesday and backed one of his two former GOP opponents.

Podiatric surgeon Lee Rogers, the top Democrat in the race, finished third behind two Republicans, former state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight. In a Wednesday morning statement, Rogers recommended Democrats in the district back Knight — a rare endorsement from a member of an opposing party.

Rogers called Knight “an honest man with integrity” before going on to take jabs at Strickland.

“To the contrary, Tony Strickland is a politician in search of a district,” Rogers continued. “Recommending a Republican for Congress may not sit well with some in my party, but I didn’t create the rules and I care too much about our district to let it fall to a dishonest carpetbagger who is interested only in himself, like Tony Strickland.”

Full story

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Ose will face Bera, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:33 a.m., 2:15 p.m. | The race for California’s coveted 31st District remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with just 390 votes separating the second- and third-place finishers.

The results will make or break the race for Democrats, who have invested significant resources in this competitive district and named it one of their top targets of the cycle.

In California, the top two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Full story

Democrat Picks Preferred GOP Opponent in Maine (Video)

The candidate: State Sen. Emily Cain.
The member: Cain is running for the Democratic nomination in Maine’s 2nd District, an open-seat race because Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud is running for governor.
The district: Located in the northern part of the state, this district voted for President Barack Obama with 53 percent in 2012.
The candidate’s team: Jill Normington (polling), Steven Stenberg of The Strategy Group (mail), CD2 (media).

Full story

June 3, 2014

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Runyan is retiring from Congress, leaving a competitive race for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:18 p.m. | Former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Jon Runyan in New Jersey, relieving Republicans of a candidate who could have lost the seat for them this fall.

MacArthur defeated that candidate, ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, carrying 60 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race. Lonegan had 40 percent, with 41 percent precincts reporting.

MacArthur will face Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in November. She ran in largely uncontested Democratic primary. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

May 30, 2014

Republicans Likely to Avert Disaster in New Jersey

Republicans Likely to Avert Disaster in New Jersey

Runyan is retiring from Congress, leaving behind a competitive race for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New Jersey Republicans are on track to get their preferred nominee through the primary in the state’s most competitive House race, thanks to the local political machine and a deep-pocketed candidate.

On Tuesday, Randolph Township Mayor Tom MacArthur, is expected to defeat a spirited challenge from a tea-party-aligned frequent candidate, Steve Lonegan. The stakes for this South Jersey open seat are high: The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, and the district includes the pricey Philadelphia media market.

“Tom MacArthur is going to win this race because he is a strong conservative, a successful businessman and has the support of both county Republican organizations and more than 160 locally elected Republicans across the district,” wrote Burlington County GOP Chairman William Layton in a Thursday email.

If things do not go exactly as Republicans plan on Tuesday’s primary with MacAruther, GOP operatives fear they will blow the seat entirely. Democrats hope Lonegan will pull an upset, making the path to victory much easier for their de facto nominee, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard.

Full story

May 29, 2014

Alabama Candidate Makes Fun of His Cooking in New Ad

Five days before the primary, surgeon Chad Mathis has released a positive spot in an open Alabama House race that features his kids playfully making fun of his cooking.

“Dad’s not a great cook, but he’d be a great congressman,” said Mathis’ daughter, Abby, in the ad — her name written in font similar to the widely-ridiculed Comic Sans. Mathis’ campaign says the ad is a five-figure digital buy and will air online as preroll on YouTube videos.

GOP operatives said the positive spot is a change of tone for Mathis, one of seven Republicans running in the open 6th District primary. They say Mathis has received heat in the district for negative campaign tactics, taking shots at almost all of the other Republicans running in this race to replace retiring Rep. Spencher Bachus. Full story

May 27, 2014

Live Coverage: Tuesday’s Texas Runoffs

Join Roll Call Politics Editor Shira T. Center and Reporter Abby Livingston as they track results live and provide in-depth analysis from Tuesday’s runoff action in the Lone Star State.

Follow their coverage here, starting at 7:30 p.m.:

 

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Braley is running for Senate in Iowa. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 3:31 p.m. | Rep. Bruce Braley is up with a new ad for his Senate bid touting his career as a lawyer — a résumé that’s caused the Democrat some grief in his bid for the competitive, open seat in Iowa.

In his 30-second spot, the congressman casts his oft-maligned profession as one of fighting for people and helping them solve their problems.

“Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people,” Braley says in the ad, which shows footage of him talking to a variety of people in Iowa.

“You have to get to know people to be an effective voice for what they care about,” he says. “I’ve spent my lifetime trying to be the voice for someone who has a problem that they can’t solve by themselves.” Full story

Mitt Romney Endorses Ex-Staffer’s House Bid

Mitt Romney Endorses Ex Staffers House Bid

Mitt Romney endorsed one of his former campaign aides. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney has endorsed former Bush administration aide Elise Stefanik’s bid for an open House seat less than a month before her competitive primary.

Stefanik worked on Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign assisting his running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., with debate preparations. Ryan endorsed Stefanik earlier this year. Full story

May 23, 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow, Mr. Spock Pick Sides in Beverly Hills House Race

The old slogan for MGM during the 1940s was that the studio had “more stars than there are in the heavens.”

The same could be said of the fresh fundraising reports from the upcoming primary in California’s 33rd District — which covers Beverly Hills and Malibu. Dozens of Hollywood stars and executives donated during the past six weeks in this race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

There are at least six serious candidates running for the seat, and all filed pre-primary reports by Thursday’s deadline. These are the final comprehensive campaign financial reports ahead of the June 3 primary. The top-two finishers will proceed to the general election.

These reports reflect spending and fundraising from April 1 to May 14. Stars crowded the race’s first quarter reports as well.

Here is a rundown of 33rd District reports and other high profile June 3 House races: Full story

May 22, 2014

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Rep. Steve Israel pushed back Wednesday on House Republicans’ newly revealed ambitious goals for the midterms, but what amounts to victory for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman remains unclear.

On Tuesday, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, underscored the GOP’s offensive position this cycle by announcing it aims to expand the party’s House majority by 12 seats in November. A day later, Israel fired back, making public a massive DCCC polling project that promised to address the party’s turnout concerns.

The reality facing Democrats in this challenging midterm cycle is that any loss of seats will make it that much taller of a climb for the majority in a potentially favorable 2016 and beyond — while possibly even putting the party back where it started in the wake of the 2010 Republican wave.

“Let’s talk as we get deeper into the cycle,” Israel said Wednesday at a briefing with reporters. “I still believe it’s too early to say what a victory is.”

“Greg Walden can spend all his time looking into a crystal ball,” he added. “I’m spending all my time looking at polling data.” Full story

May 21, 2014

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Harkin's seat is an attractive pickup opportunity for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With less than two weeks until Iowa’s congressional primaries, it’s still unclear whether a Republican Senate candidate can clear the 35 percent vote threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

In an attractive pickup opportunity for national Republicans, there are four major candidates seeking the nomination for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The leading contenders are state Sen. Joni Ernst, who has the tacit support of the governor and earned national attention with an ad about castrating hogs, and Mark Jacobs, a self-funding former energy executive. Radio host Sam Clovis and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker round out the top four.

A recent poll found Ernst with 31 percent support — in the lead and within striking distance of the nomination. But Jacobs, who outspent Ernst by more than 5 to 1 through March, has dominated his opponents on the airwaves, and a potential late surge by Clovis could spread the vote around and force the nomination process to a convention, where anything can happen.

“I think either Ernst or Jacobs will get to 35 percent,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and editor-in-chief of The Iowa Republican politics blog. But, he continued, “Clovis has plenty of room to grow” and can improve his standing if he is more “aggressive in drawing distinctions between himself and the other candidates” and seizing the “social conservative mantle.” Full story

CBC Members Rally Behind New Jersey House Candidate

Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn and 20 other Democratic members are headlining a fundraiser Wednesday for a candidate running in a competitive primary to succeed retiring Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J.

The Capitol Hill cocktail reception will benefit the campaign of New Jersey state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. The Democrats listed on the invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call are mostly Congressional Black Caucus members, including Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J., and CBC Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio.

Two weeks out from the 12th District primary, Coleman is in a dead heat against state Sen. Linda Greenstein, according to a newly-released Monmouth University poll. Two other candidates, state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and physicist Andrew Zwicker, lagged far behind. Full story

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