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

Posts in "Outside Groups"

May 22, 2014

Tom Steyer’s 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he’s earmarked for the midterm elections.

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year’s elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.

The group has now targeted the competitive Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire, and the Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine gubernatorial contests. It will back the Democratic candidate in each case. Full story

May 20, 2014

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Outside groups are spending heavily in North Carolina as Tillis challenges a Democratic incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican-aligned outside group Crossroads GPS has launched an ad in North Carolina attacking Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on the president’s health care law.

The group said it put $3,550,000 behind the ad, which will run on North Carolina TV for four weeks. It’s the latest evidence that the race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis will likely be the most expensive of the cycle.

The ad, which began running Tuesday, attacks Hagan for saying people would be able to keep their insurance and doctor once the Affordable Care Act took effect — which turned out to not always be true.

Full story

May 13, 2014

Nebraska Primary, West Virginia Primary: A Fight Night Preview

Updated, 11 p.m. | Tea party-versus-the establishment is the theme Tuesday night as voters head to the polls in two of the hottest GOP primaries of the year: open-seat contests for party nods in Nebraska Senate and West Virginia’s 2nd District.

Here’s a recap of the night:

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary

Tea Party Candidate Wins Republican Nod for Capito Seat

Nebraska Primary: Lee Terry’s Close Call

Full story

May 12, 2014

Is Sid Dinsdale the Next Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

Is Sid Dinsdale the Next Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

Sasse is the frontrunner heading into Tuesday's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

History could repeat itself in Nebraska on Tuesday as voters choose a Republican Senate nominee among three legitimate contenders.

In 2012, now-Sen. Deb Fischer pulled off an unlikely, come-from-behind victory in a GOP primary she was trailing heading into the final week. Fischer had less money and was less well-known, but she rose to the top after two other candidates spent the campaign aggressively bashing each other.

Two years later, Sid Dinsdale, the president of Pinnacle Bank, has run third in the Senate primary. But as outside groups supporting Midland University president Ben Sasse and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn have relentlessly attacked their leading opposition, Dinsdale saw a spike in his poll numbers.

“Dinsdale spent enough money … that with the negatives that the other two have given each other, he’s been able to rise up and become a very serious factor,” said Chris Peterson, an unaligned Nebraska Republican consultant. Full story

May 9, 2014

Sasse Launches Closing Argument TV Ad

Sasse Launches Closing Argument TV Ad

Sasse is airing his final TV ad before Tuesday's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Sasse’s final TV ad ahead of Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in Nebraska touts his big-name endorsements, his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and his campaign’s decision not to run negative advertising.

The spot lands amid a crush of ads run by outside groups backing Sasse and one of his opponents, former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, in the final week before the May 13 primary.

Sasse’s spot is running statewide on broadcast and cable, part of a 1,500-point buy for the final week of the campaign, according to a campaign spokesman. Full story

May 8, 2014

Outside Groups Target Dinsdale Ahead of Nebraska Primary

Five days before the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, outside groups are beginning to train their sights on self-funding banker Sid Dinsdale, who has run third in the polls.

Dinsdale faces Midland University President Ben Sasse and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn in the May 13 primary in this safe Republican seat; the winner of the GOP primary will likely be the next senator from Nebraska.

A TV ad released Thursday by the Club for Growth, which is backing Sasse, attacks Dinsdale for being too liberal, saying he donated money to Democrats and said the Affordable Care Act had some “good aspects.”

“That’s really liberal,” the narrator says. “That’s the real Sid Dinsdale.” Full story

May 6, 2014

Results From Primaries in North Carolina, Ohio

Have a look through our live coverage of the May 6 primaries:

 

Super PAC Uses Candidate’s Kids to Attack His Campaign

A Super PAC released a new advertisement attacking Republican Ben Sasse for trying to “hide behind” his children, one week before the Senate GOP primary in Nebraska.

The 15-second ad, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, which says it is paid for by the Freedom Pioneers Action Network, takes footage from an ad run by Sasse, in which his two daughters talk about how conservative their father is and how much he dislikes Obamacare.

“Fact: Ben Sasse said Obamacare ‘is an important first step,’ ” says a female narrator, pointing to a quote that has been repeatedly leveled against Sasse, which he says was taken entirely out of context.

Full story

May 5, 2014

Exclusive: EMILY’s List Blankets California House Contest

Exclusive: EMILYs List Blankets California House Contest

Waxman is retiring, leaving an open race for his Hollywood-area House district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List will launch a six-figure campaign this week to promote former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel’s bid for a House seat in California.  

The group, which supports Democratic women who back abortion rights, will begin sending mail on Tuesday and later launch targeted radio ads to boost Greuel over the more than one dozen candidates running in California’s 33rd District.

The Hollywood-area seat is open this cycle because Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., is retiring.

Full story

May 2, 2014

Veterans Blast Shane Osborn on TV in Senate Race

Updated 4:56 p.m. | The 60 Plus Association has debuted a new ad in the Nebraska Senate race that features veterans attacking former state Treasurer Shane Osborn as dishonest and deceitful.

Osborn, who served in the Navy, faces Midland University President Ben Sasse and banker Sid Dinsdale in a competitive Republican primary for Senate.

The group airing the spot, 60 Plus, is backing Sasse in the May 13 primary.

In the script for the ad, published first by Roll Call, three retired Nebraska veterans, Col. Kevin L. Neuman, who served in the Army; Capt. Danny Mason, who served in the Navy; and Brig. Gen. Carl Lorenzen, who served in the Air Force, say they cannot vote for Osborn because they feel he has been dishonest in his behavior since his military service. Full story

April 30, 2014

Congressman’s Children Tout His Cheapness

The children of Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., highlight their father’s frugality in the Senate candidate’s newest television spot.

“Our dad is Jack Kingston,” says his daughter Betsy in the ad, sitting on a couch with her three siblings — John, Ann and Jim — facing the camera. “He really is cheap, and it’s not just the car he drives.”

“We thought ‘Hand-Me-Down’ was the name of a department store,” says Jim, then he and John display holes in the elbows of their shirts.

Full story

April 29, 2014

Republicans Predict Top North Carolina Senate Candidate Avoids Runoff

Republicans Predict Top North Carolina Senate Candidate Avoids Runoff

Tillis is running for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For several months, the Republican Senate primary in North Carolina has been a race for second place: state Speaker Thom Tillis, with his superior financial resources, is a shoo-in for first, while Dr. Greg Brannon and Pastor Mark Harris vied for second place to challenge Tillis in a runoff.

But, one week before the primary, many local operatives now expect Tillis will reach the 40 percent threshold on Tuesday to avoid a runoff later this summer with the second-place finisher.

The winner of the primary will face Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the cycle’s marquee competitive contests. For Tillis, the stakes to avoid a runoff are high because it would force him to spend another two months running against a Republican opponent — instead of Hagan.

What’s more, the state’s General Assembly comes back into session on May 14, eight days after the primary. Tillis would have to balance his duties as speaker while still campaigning for the nomination.

But, many local Republicans now see that scenario as increasingly unlikely, arguing that Tillis will most likely win the primary outright.

“About two weeks ago, I would’ve said we would definitely see a primary runoff,” said Chad Adams, the director of Priorities NC, an advocacy group focused on promoting limited government, who is not aligned with any campaign. “But looking at the landscape now and how we’re shaping up, it looks like that gap is closing.” Full story

April 24, 2014

Super PAC Ties GOP Challenger to Koch Brothers

Super PAC Ties GOP Challenger to Koch Brothers

Rahall faces a competitive race for a 20th term (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC that aims to elect House Democrats, has a new ad tying a GOP challenger in West Virginia to conservative businessmen David and Charles Koch.

The ad hits state Sen. Evan Jenkins, who is running against Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.V., in one of this cycle’s most competitive House races.

But Jenkins only makes a cameo in the super PAC’s ad. Images of the brothers — who spend heavily in politics — are featured in the spot for 26 seconds in the 30-second spot.

“The Koch brothers wouldn’t be billionaires, if they didn’t get what they paid for,” a narrator said of Jenkins. “In Washington, Evan Jenkins won’t work for us.”

Full story

April 17, 2014

Republican Super PAC Ad Attacks Club for Growth

Republican Super PAC Ad Attacks Club for Growth

Simpson, left, conducts a hearing in early April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A super PAC that defends Republican incumbents went up on air Thursday with an ad that both touts Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson’s conservative credentials and attacks the outside groups seeking to oust him in an upcoming primary.

The ad, released by Defending Main Street, seeks to discredit the Club for Growth — the main group attacking Simpson in the May 20 primary. It ties Club for Growth President Chris Chocola to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a villain to the Republican Party, and questions the club’s priorities.

“His group spends more money trying to defeat Republicans than defeating Democrats,” the narrator accuses, before going on to highlight Simpson’s votes against the Affordable Care Act and his endorsement from the National Rifle Association.

Full story

April 7, 2014

Tea Party Tested: In One Month, Establishment on Defense

Tea Party Tested: In One Month, Establishment on Defense

Cochran faces a June 3 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A seven-week gauntlet of Republican Senate primaries kicking off next month will decide the fate of the tea party’s success this year.

If a Republican senator loses a primary this year, it will more than likely occur in a span of nominating contests premiering in one month. Incumbents got the boot thanks to tea-party-backed hopefuls in both 2010 and 2012, and those lesser known Republican nominees went on to both triumphs and failures.

In the third election cycle since the rise of the tea party, fundraising and organization remain significant hurdles for anti-establishment candidates. The outside groups helping to fuel many of the primary campaigns concede they are realistic about their slim chances against incumbents and mainstream Republican candidates.

Still, tea party organizers said they remain hopeful about picking off a few House seats and perhaps a couple Senate seats in their continued pursuit of increased congressional influence.

“Some of our guys could lose, many of them could lose. We understand that,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project, which recruits and supports conservative candidates. “We take calculated risks. We want to see a path, but it’s very much an uphill path in many of these races, especially if you’re going up against an incumbent and even some of the open seats where you’re starting out with a lot less money.”

But, Horowitz added, “on a large scale we have already won by forcing most of the incumbents to embrace, at least publicly, many of our policies.”

The races to watch begin May 6 in North Carolina, followed by Nebraska on May 13, Kentucky and Georgia on May 20, Mississippi on June 3 and South Carolina on June 10. South Dakota’s open seat has also invited a June 3 primary with similar dynamics, but it has drawn less outside interest than the others.

Full story

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