Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Outside Groups"

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

March 31, 2014

Will Walter Jones Be the First Incumbent to Fall?

Will Walter Jones Be the First Incumbent to Fall?

A conservative outside group is targeting Jones. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A well-funded conservative outside group is devoting significant money to an attempt to make North Carolina GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones the first incumbent to fall this cycle, but Republicans in the state are skeptical the sudden burst of spending will ultimately be enough to take Jones out.

With the investment by Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC formed by TD Ameritrade Founder Joe Ricketts, Jones faces what will likely end up being the best-financed primary opposition of his 20-year congressional tenure. The group reported last week spending $156,000 on an ad attacking Jones, one of the last remaining Republicans from the class of 1994, for his “liberal” voting record and for “losing his North Carolina values.”

It’s a significant ad buy in the 3rd District, located along the Tar Heel State’s coast. But while Republican strategists say the outside money may give Jones his most competitive challenge to date, they also downplay Jones’ chances for defeat in the May 6 primary.

“People see the money, people see the outside spending, they see who is spending from the outside — you have Joe Ricketts’ PAC, which is a recognizable name — and they see that and think [Jones] is vulnerable,” said one unaffiliated Republican operative. “But I just think Walter’s entrenched in that district. Walter’s father was a congressman from that district before him, and I just don’t see him as being vulnerable.” 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

March 24, 2014

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Brown has formed an exploratory committee to run for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown has been touring New Hampshire relentlessly since announcing earlier this month he is moving toward a challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen — and his operation is now beginning to take shape.

A Republican source close to Brown said he will likely begin announcing full-time staff for his exploratory committee next week, with Andy Leach remaining senior adviser. A team of allies has helped Brown get a campaign off the ground, including Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Brown and Mitt Romney adviser who toured with Brown over the weekend.

Less than two weeks since entering the race, Brown is still ingratiating himself with the state he’s lived in since December. He’s fighting to prove his Granite State bonafides with an electorate largely aware of his representation of the Bay State in the Senate.

“Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state,” Brown told AP reporter Steve Peoples. Full story

March 13, 2014

Mike Simpson Launches First TV Ad of Cycle

Rep. Mike Simpson, an eight-term Idaho Republican facing a tea-party-backed primary challenger, went up Thursday with his first TV ad of the cycle.

Seeking to bolster his conservative record ahead of the May 20 primary, the 30-second ad highlights votes Simpson has taken that tow the conservative line and labels his challenger, attorney Bryan Smith, as a “personal injury lawyer.” The ad is backed by a $27,000 buy on broadcast and cable, according to a Republican source tracking buys in the district.

“There’s no defense for personal injury lawyer Bryan Smith’s attempt to smear Mike Simpson’s conservative record,” the narrator says in ad.

Full story

March 12, 2014

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Chocola is the president of the Club for Growth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Wednesday that it is supporting Dan Sullivan in the Republican Senate primary in Alaska.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, is one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a top target of national Republicans.

In recent cycles, the club sometimes backed primary challengers to GOP incumbents and upstarts whom national Republicans do not always view as the best candidate for the race. But that’s not the case here.

Full story

February 26, 2014

Ken Buck Drops Senate Bid to Run for Cory Gardner’s Seat

With Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner vacating his 4th District seat to run for Senate, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck is dropping his Senate bid to vie for Gardner’s open seat.

The maneuver partially clears the primary field for Gardner, while giving Buck a better shot at coming to Congress. Buck won the GOP Senate nomination in 2010 before losing to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

“Ken has decided to step aside because Cory is in a potentially stronger position to pick up the seat,” Buck consultant Walt Klein told CQ Roll Call.

But, he added, “there’s no deal” between the two men to swap places on the ballot. Full story

February 24, 2014

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnell’s Coal Efforts

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnells Coal Efforts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican primary challenger in Kentucky hammer each other over the airwaves, a nonprofit group has launched another spot highlighting McConnell’s efforts to oppose the Obama administration.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)4, released Monday a 60-second radio touting McConnell’s Saving Coal Jobs Act. The ad is backed by a $75,000 buy.

“Senator Mitch McConnell is fighting to save Kentucky jobs from Barack Obama’s job killing regulations, which have already cost us thousands of jobs and put families and communities at risk,” said Scott Jennings, a senior adviser to the group. Full story

Cruz, Lee Top Club for Growth’s 2013 Conservative Scorecard

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, were the only two senators to receive perfect scores from the Club for Growth for their 2013 voting records, according to the conservative group’s annual scorecards released Monday.

Four House Republicans, including three from Arizona — Matt Salmon, Trent Franks and David Schweikert — also had 100 percent rankings.

Scorecards like those released by Club for Growth and other groups like Heritage Action have played a significant role since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010 in pressuring lawmakers to hold the conservative line on votes the groups deem key. The club’s political action arm also financially supports primary challenges to low-scoring Republican incumbents, including Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who was one of the lowest-scoring Republicans last year. Full story

February 18, 2014

Crossroads Drops New Ad In Florida Special Election

American Crossroads is up with a new TV ad attacking Democratic nominee Alex Sink in the upcoming special election in Florida’s 13th District.

The super PAC’s spot features older voters who criticize Sink’s record in private sector banking and her tenure as the state’s chief financial officer. The ad ends with a play on the Democrat’s name: Sink, says the narrator, is “helping herself, sinking Florida.”

Full story

February 13, 2014

Americans for Prosperity Airs Radio Ad Against Nick Rahall

Americans for Prosperity Airs Radio Ad Against Nick Rahall

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, is up with a radio ad against Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va.

The group is spending about $30,000 to air the spot and like many other ads in recent weeks. It attacks a Democratic candidate on the issue of health care.

In the radio ad, the group goes after Rahall and President Barack Obama for promising Americans could keep their health insurance plans with the new 2010 health care law. The radio ad also includes a clip of Rahall saying that “it may be in their best interest long term to be canceled.” Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses 3 House Candidates

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, announced Thursday a trifecta of endorsements for candidates in open-seat in races in Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

The three endorsed candidates are: Full story

February 12, 2014

Conservative Group Ups Spending to $2.6M Against Landrieu

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group backed by Charles and David Koch, launched yet another stinging TV ad Wednesday against Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

It’s the group’s latest ad targeting the Louisiana Democrat on President Barack Obama’s health care law. The group spent $750,000 on its latest three-week flight and has now spent $2.6 million in the state so far this cycle, according to AFP spokesman Levi Russell.

“Dear Miss Davis, we can no longer offer you the same policy,” one announcer says in a series of supposed notices sent by insurance companies. “Your doctor is no longer in the network, due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...