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

Posts in "Outside Groups"

June 27, 2013

Democrats Target Cotton on TV in Arkansas #ARSEN

A Democratic outside group launched a TV ad in Arkansas on Thursday targeting GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, a potential Senate candidate.

The ad, which will air statewide for the next two weeks, portrays the freshman Republican as someone “out for himself, not us.” A source said the total ad buy from the affiliated groups Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority USA is for about $270,000.

Full story

June 25, 2013

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

Markey Wins Senate Special Election #MASEN

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After more than 36 years representing Massachusetts in the House, Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey will be the commonwealth’s next senator.

Backed by millions of dollars in air and ground support from national Democrats, the eighth-longest-tenured House member succeeded in holding the seat of Democrat John Kerry, who resigned to become secretary of State earlier this year.

In Tuesday’s special election, The Associated Press called the race for Markey with 82 percent of precincts reporting. At that point, Markey led Republican Gabriel Gomez, 54 percent to 45 percent. Full story

Inouye’s Legacy in the Hawaii Special Election #HISEN

Inouyes Legacy in the Hawaii Special Election #HISEN

Inouye's legacy lives on with his staff. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is no question that the Inouye name will have a presence in next year’s Hawaii Senate special election; the only question is how much it will affect the race.

Irene Hirano Inouye, the widow of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, endorsed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary back in May. And on Monday, Inouye signed her name to an EMILY’s List email asking for donations for Hanabusa’s bid against appointed Sen. Brian Schatz.

“I have full confidence that Colleen will serve Hawai’i in the way the people deserve — with honorable leadership and continued respect,” Inouye said in the email. “This is not the time for on-the-job-training.”

Meanwhile, Peter Boylan, a former deputy chief of staff to Inouye, said last week that he would be helping Hanabusa’s campaign as a spokesman. And the Honolulu Civil Beat reported Monday that former Inouye Chief of Staff Jennifer Sabas will also help Hanabusa’s campaign. Full story

June 17, 2013

Democrats Tie Republican to Romney in Special Election #MASEN

With a new poll showing Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., pulling away, yet another outside group spot is hitting GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts Senate special election.

The new Senate Majority PAC advertisement, released on Monday, ties Gomez to Mitt Romney, the former Bay State governor and presidential nominee whose business background was tarnished in early 2012 ads. The ad is part of a $1 million media buy from the group, contributing to the overwhelming spending advantage Markey and his Democratic allies enjoy in this race.

Full story

June 12, 2013

Chamber Sitting Out Massachusetts Special #MASEN

While no national GOP-aligned outside groups have spent so far in the race, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has definitively decided it won’t expend any resources on the Massachusetts Senate special election.

“The Chamber has not engaged in the MA senate race and does not have any plans to do so,” Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes said in an email to CQ Roll Call. Full story

June 7, 2013

Democratic Ads Tie Gomez to National GOP #MASEN

In the party’s first major television foray into the competitive June 25 Massachusetts Senate special election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC released ads Friday in an effort to define Gabriel Gomez as an ordinary Republican.

That’s the ultimate goal for the party in this Democratic-leaning state. And the two ads released Friday by the national Democratic groups specifically target seniors — potential high-propensity voters even in odd-timed elections. Neither ad mentions Rep. Edward J. Markey, the Democratic nominee, preferring instead to accuse Gomez of supporting cutting Medicare and raising the retirement age.

According to a Republican source tracking ad buys, the DSCC has purchased $751,000 in TV time through June 25 and Senate Majority PAC $448,000 through June 17. Full story

June 5, 2013

Environmental Group Helps Markey in Massachusetts Special Election #MASEN

Environmental Group Helps Markey in Massachusetts Special Election #MASEN

Markey leads a new poll of the Senate special election in Massachusetts. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters launched a direct-mail program Wednesday to assist Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey in the Massachusetts special election for Senate.

With just three weeks left, the group announced it is spending almost $400,000 to highlight Markey’s leadership on environmental issues and the positions of Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez — which the LCV labels as “extreme.”

The first mail piece lands at homes this week. The glossy paper states that “no one has fought harder than Ed Markey” for clean-energy jobs and reducing the dependence on foreign oil. It also hits Gomez as a “Wall Street insider” and accuses him of being “in the pocket of Big Oil.” Full story

Conservative Group Launches Second Attack Against Pryor #ARSEN

Senate Conservatives Action will launch Wednesday the second in a series of three TV ads in Arkansas against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.

The latest ad, “Deciding Vote,” features a North Little Rock business owner directly criticizing Pryor for his vote to support the health care law. It’s a line of attack Pryor will likely see for the next 17 months and one Republicans believe can move votes in this GOP-trending southern state. Full story

May 31, 2013

First Senate Democrat Airs 2014 Ad (Video) #ARSEN

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., doesn’t have an opponent yet, but he’s being forced to play defense anyway.

Hit from both sides on the air this week, Pryor launched the first television ad of his re-election campaign on Friday. The ad, coming about 17 months before the general election, is backed by a “significant statewide buy,” according to a Democratic spokesman.

Full story

May 29, 2013

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Mark Pryor Going on the Air #ARSEN

Pryor is running advertisements for his re-election bid. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., will launch a television ad campaign on Friday — 17 months before this cycle’s most vulnerable incumbent faces voters in the general election.

“It’s an ad in response to the attacks we’re getting on both sides,” Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. “These outside groups are trying to affect the election. So we’ve produced an ad.”

Pryor has been hit on the air by the conservative groups Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund for his ties to President Barack Obama. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, just launched a $350,000 ad buy hitting Pryor for his vote against expanded background checks.

(See also in Roll Call: Pryor Can’t Escape 2010 Comparison) Full story

May 20, 2013

Why the IRS Mess Bares Big Campaign Finance Problems

To many on Capitol Hill, the burgeoning scandal dogging the IRS looks like a simple case of partisan political targeting by an overbearing federal agency.

But the IRS controversy has laid bare a far more serious and far-reaching problem: the agency’s utter failure to keep pace with drastically changing campaign finance laws. For decades, the IRS has taken heat for its muddy rules governing politically active tax-exempt groups, a recent CQ Weekly story notes. Among other problems, the recent inspector general’s report found:

  • IRS employees did not understand and bickered over the agency’s own rules, repeatedly changing course over how to screen groups seeking tax-exempt status.
  • The IRS went so far as to reject the IG’s recommendation that the tax agency clear up guidelines for how to handle such groups. The IRS instead recommended  more staff training, an alternative the IG in turn rejected.
  • Though lawmakers and watchdogs urged the IRS to curb deep-pocketed nonprofits spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2012 campaign, the IRS ignored the top-spending players and instead went after shoestring groups.

As the story notes:

The fallout has exposed an agency that lacks the tools, the will or even the rules to regulate increasingly wealthy and influential tax-exempt groups unfettered by the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling to deregulate political spending. Full story

May 16, 2013

EMILY’s List Backs Six House Candidates

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, rolled out six candidates who made their “On the List” designation.

Most of the EMILY’s List candidates are in line with the plans of other Democratic groups, but at least one has the potential to upset other national Democratic groups.

“On the List” is a tier below the group’s full endorsements, which are typically doled out later in the cycle.

Those “On the List” are:

California’s 31st: Attorney Eloise Reyes
Incumbent: Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller
This race is one of  the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s biggest regrets from 2012. This EMILY’s List support could complicate Democratic plans. They lost this winnable seat in 2012 because no Democrat made it through California’s jungle primary system. This year, the DCCC has made it plain that it prefers Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar. Former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca is also running for the seat after losing re-election in another district. Until making EMILY’s List, Reyes was hardly mentioned in campaign coverage, but the backing gives her credibility. No organized Republican has emerged as a threat to block out Democrats again, but a primary with three organized candidates has to make Democrats nervous.

Full story

May 15, 2013

DeMint-Linked Group Eyes Louisiana Senate Candidate

Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness announced his candidacy this week for Senate in Louisiana, and now the PAC formerly associated with Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint is considering supporting him.

The Senate Conservatives Fund emailed supporters on Wednesday highlighting Maness and making clear that it won’t be supporting Rep. Bill Cassidy, the leading Republican in the race to take on Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

“We still need to vet Col. Maness to see if he’s someone SCF can support, but we’re excited about his potential,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote. “It’s encouraging to see people run for office who aren’t career politicians and who aren’t part to the political establishment.” Full story

May 8, 2013

Super PACs Fuel GOP Civil War

Republicans who have long pushed for campaign finance deregulation are now paying for one of its consequences: the rise of influential conservative super PACs vying for the soul of a fractured GOP.

That Republicans crushed by the 2012 election results are feuding over what went wrong and what comes next is nothing new. Less noticed has been the big money bankrolling GOP factions and the influential new super PACs and outside groups that hold the party’s future in their hands.

More than a dozen such groups have sprung up since Election Day, CQ Weekly reports this week — some promoting centrists, minorities or liberalized immigration rules, others championing conservatives at odds with “establishment” party leaders. As the story notes: Full story

April 30, 2013

Rand Paul, FreedomWorks Endorse Mark Sanford #SC01

Rand Paul, FreedomWorks Endorse Mark Sanford #SC01

Paul, above, endorsed Sanford. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:35 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed embattled former Gov. Mark Sanford’s bid for the 1st District special election.

“Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities,” Paul said in a press release from the Sanford campaign.

“What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt,” he added. “I am pleased to endorse Mark and stand with him in this race,” he added.

Full story

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