Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

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November 20, 2013

Conservative Group Launches Ads Against House, Senate Dems

A conservative outside group launched a new round of television ads on Wednesday targeting congressional Democrats for their support of Obamacare.

The new ads from Americans for Prosperity are backed by $4 million and come as the White House continues to struggle with the rollout of the president’s health care law. The ads hit Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, and Reps. Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia of Florida and Ron Barber of Arizona.

Here is the ad targeting Hagan: Full story

November 7, 2013

Club for Growth Makes Endorsement in Nebraska GOP Primary

The Club for Growth is taking sides in the GOP Senate primary in Nebraska, where a competitive nomination battle has unfolded for a safely Republican seat.

On Thursday, the club’s political action arm announced its endorsement of Midland University President Ben Sasse, one of a handful of Republicans running for the state’s open seat. In a statement, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola highlighted Sasse’s outspoken opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law, which stems from Sasse’s experience as an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services.

“Ben Sasse is the rare candidate who can clearly and forcefully prosecute the case against ObamaCare, not only because it’s an unconstitutional assault on our liberty, but also because he’s read every word of it,” Chocola said. Full story

November 5, 2013

Byrne and Business Prevail in Alabama Special

Former state Sen. Bradley Byrne defeated tea-party-backed candidate Dean Young in a special GOP runoff in Alabama’s 1st District on Tuesday, marking the first big win for more moderate Republicans in the fight for control of the GOP since the government shutdown.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Byrne led Young, 53 percent to 47 percent, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business-oriented groups, such as TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’ Ending Spending PAC, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the final days of the contest to ensure a Byrne victory.

The win sends a message to the tea party that business groups are willing to play in GOP primaries to send more pragmatic, business-minded Republicans to Congress.

Full story

Democratic Super PAC Defends Hagan on TV

A Democrat-aligned super PAC is coming to the defense of North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, who was hit last week in a TV ad from a conservative outside group.

Senate Majority PAC launched a TV ad today that attempts to debunk the attack ad from Americans for Prosperity, which slammed the Democrat over her support for the health care law. The new spot, backed by a $400,000 buy, also highlights Hagan’s record, calling her an “independent senator working to help balance budgets and create jobs.”

Full story

November 4, 2013

Alabama Special Election Is Proxy Battle for National GOP

With one day until the special-election runoff in Alabama’s 1st District, conservative groups are making a final push to affect the GOP contest that has become a national bellwether for Republicans.

Business groups are trying to boost former state Sen. Bradley Byrne over Dean Young, a tea-party-backed businessman who’s already made some controversial comments. Over the weekend, Ending Spending Inc., a PAC launched in 2010 by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, spent $102,000 in ads to promote Byrne, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

“Who can you trust with your money? Career politician Dean Young started numerous PACs, then paid most of the money raised to his own company,” says the ad. Full story

October 31, 2013

New Hampshire Braces for Ayotte Race in 2016

Ayotte is serving her first term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If there’s anything to be gleaned from this week’s edition of Roll Call’s “Farm Team” series, it’s that the most exciting Senate race of 2016 could take place in New Hampshire.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is not even halfway through her first term, but Granite State Democrats are already sizing up their 2016 recruiting field — and state tea party activists are making noise about a primary challenge. Full story

October 30, 2013

House Candidate Removed From EMILY’s List Website (Updated)

Updated 3:24 p.m. | EMILY’s List has removed attorney Jessica Ehrlich from its online page of favored candidates — an ominous sign for the Democrat running in the highly competitive special election for Florida’s 13th District.

In May, EMILY’s List put Ehrlich “On the List” — a designation that often serves as a precursor to a candidate receiving a full-blown endorsement from the influential organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Her absence from the website suggests that some Democrats are dropping their support of Ehrlich, who is on her second bid for the district. On Wednesday morning, former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink announced her candidacy. Sink is another favorite of EMILY’s List.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel issued a statement crowing about Sink’s entrance into the race on Wednesday morning, but it fell short of a full endorsement. Full story

October 21, 2013

Democratic Super PAC Ad Hits Congressman for Shutdown Vote

A Democratic super PAC hit the airwaves Monday with an ad attacking Rep. Steve Southerland II, criticizing the vulnerable Florida Republican for voting against last week’s bill that ended the government shutdown.

House Majority PAC, which aims to support House candidates, put $70,000 behind the two-week ad television buy.

Full story

Club for Growth Boosts Senate GOP Primary Challenger on TV

The Club for Growth will hit the Mississippi television airwaves Tuesday to boost a GOP primary challenger to Sen. Thad Cochran.

The conservative group’s ad — which comes from its political action arm — declines to mention Cochran, who has not yet announced whether he is seeking re-election. Instead, it introduces his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, to the state and sells him as “the new strong, conservative leader Mississippi needs in the U.S. Senate.” Full story

October 7, 2013

John Cornyn Airs First Re-Election Campaign Spot

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn may not have a serious primary rival yet in his reliably Republican home state of Texas — but he’s running campaign ads as if he did.

On Monday Cornyn aired his first spot of the cycle, called “Conservative Like Texas.” His campaign made an initial buy of “several hundred thousand dollars,” according to a Cornyn source.

“Our John Cornyn, conservative like you, like Texas,” the narrator declares in the spot.

Full story

September 26, 2013

EMILY’s List Endorses West Virginia Senate Candidate

EMILY’s List, an organization that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, has endorsed West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s bid for Senate.

“I wanted to personally let you know that today we’re endorsing Natalie Tennant for the U.S. Senate race in West Virginia,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock wrote to the group’s supporter email list. Full story

September 25, 2013

Social Conservatism Rebounds in Special-Election Primary | #AL01

An under-the-radar Alabama special election might have paved the way for one of the most outspoken, socially conservative Republicans yet to ascend to the House: businessman Dean Young.

“This race shows that this is the Deep South, and that social conservatives win races down here,” said Alabama Republican consultant Bob Kish. “This isn’t North Carolina or Virginia. This is the Deep, Deep South where people go to church twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, so it’s pretty conservative society.”

On Tuesday night, Young and former state Sen. Bradley Byrne made it into a GOP runoff for the 1st District nomination. Byrne, a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, had the most money and highest name identification of the nine Republicans running in the primary and took 35 percent. But Young stunned Republicans by garnering 23 percent and earning the second spot on the Nov. 5 runoff ballot.  Full story

September 23, 2013

Republican Eyes Primary Challenge to NRCC Chairman | #OR02

Updated 6:23 p.m. | Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, a Republican, announced last week that he is eyeing a primary challenge to longtime Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The Oregonian has been named a top target of the Club for Growth, which placed the eight-term Republican on a list of GOP members it is seeking to primary in 2014.

A Club for Growth spokesman said the group had spoken with Linthicum over the phone, but has yet to have a formal meeting with him.

“We are watching the race,” Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said about whether the group is considering endorsing Linthicum in a primary.

Full story

September 11, 2013

The Cheap Seats: Senate Majority Determined in Inexpensive States

Getting an ad on the air in a competitive Senate race next year may not break the bank, but that won’t change the unruly amount of money that will be spent.

A Senate playing field (view ratings map) constructed almost entirely of small media markets has several implications for the candidates, campaign committees and outside groups in the most targeted states next year. Above all, it likely guarantees an extended campaign season.

“It means the poor, unfortunate people who live in those states will be subjected to much more ugliness,” as Curt Anderson, a Republican media consultant, put it. Full story

September 5, 2013

TV Ad Targets McConnell on Obamacare Defunding | #KYSEN (Video)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund is upping its ante against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by launching a TV attack ad statewide.

The ad is aimed at urging the Kentucky Republican to lead an effort that seeks to tie upcoming spending bills to a push by rank-and-file Republicans to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. Critics of that effort, including some GOP leaders, have said demanding that Obamacare be defunded as part of the spending bill debate would only shut down the government, while mandatory spending on the health care law would continue.

McConnell himself has said that shutting down the government will not accomplish the goal of stopping Obamacare.

The ad is backed by $340,000 and is running on broadcast and cable TV statewide Sept. 6-17, according to the SCF, which announced the ad buy on Thursday. It’s a follow-up to a similarly themed radio ad that the group launched last week. All told, the SCF has dumped nearly $400,000 into the race in the past two weeks. Full story

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