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July 26, 2014

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May 31, 2014

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Perry supports a candidate for Senate in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQRoll Call File Photo)

The campaign trail in Iowa this week might look a little familiar: As Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry stump around the state, former Sen. Rick Santorum’s face is plastered on the local airwaves.

The 2012 presidential primary is long gone, but a couple of the GOP’s future presidential hopefuls are using the Senate primary in the crucial nominating state to their advantage.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has backed the GOP front-runner, state Sen. Joni Ernst. Romney, who is not expected to run in 2016, has also given her his support. Meanwhile, Perry has endorsed former District Attorney Matt Whitaker. Santorum is supporting radio host Sam Clovis. A fourth candidate in the race, former energy executive Mark Jacobs, does not have any endorsements from likely presidential candidates.

The contest marks a rare opportunity for 2016 hopefuls: There hasn’t been an open-seat Senate race in the Hawkeye State in three decades. By backing a Senate candidate, presidential prospects can cement relationships with them and their staff that could be valuable next cycle — no matter if their chosen Republican wins or loses.

“The caucuses are an activist-driven process and activists put a premium on who stands with them,” said Republican radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Clovis.

“After all,” he added, “if you’re going to ask activists to stand with you, they’ll want to know if you stood with them.” 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

March 6, 2014

Potential 2016 Contenders Dominate CPAC Lineup

Potential 2016 Contenders Dominate CPAC Lineup

Rand will return to CPAC to speak on Friday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Five Republicans who could share a presidential primary debate stage next year will all deliver speeches by lunchtime at today’s start of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Potential 2016 White House contenders, elected officials and conservative darlings are lining up over the next few days to address thousands of conservative activists descending on the nation’s capital for the annual retreat.

The three-day program kicks off with a speech by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a freshman who’s built substantial support within the conservative movement since his upset victory in 2012. Other possible presidential candidates following him on the main ballroom stage throughout the morning include (in order of appearance) House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Full story

March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Edges Out Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, edging out fellow Sen. Marco Rubio. He follows in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was a perennial CPAC straw poll winner.

Paul took 25 percent with Rubio garnering 23 percent at the annual event that took place at National Harbor, Md., this year. This comes about a week after Paul’s Senate floor filibuster that created the Twitter hashtag “StandWithRand.” The motto translated at CPAC – some of the biggest souvenir hits were Mad Men logo “Stand With Rand” stickers and t-shirts that featured Paul’s silhouette.

Other top finishers followed in this order:

  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. got 8 percent
  • Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. got 7 percent
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. got 6 percent
  • Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis. got 5 percent

March 15, 2013

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

The Conservative Political Action Conference is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year in a new location: across the D.C. line (but still within the Beltway) at National Harbor, Md. Although it’s a new location, the event remains a central focus this week for the Washington press corps, including team coverage from CQ Roll Call.

The event wraps up Saturday with straw poll results announced around 5 p.m.

Here are some of the highlights of CQ Roll Call’s coverage of the three-day conservative cattle call:

Below are some of the best shots captured Thursday and Friday by our award-winning photographers:

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

 

Scenes from #CPAC2013 (PHOTOS)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CPAC: Romney Urges Republicans to Learn From His Mistakes

CPAC: Romney Urges Republicans to Learn From His Mistakes

Romney addressed CPAC on Friday (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Two weeks after giving his first television interview since losing the presidential election, Mitt Romney returned to the spotlight again Friday to deliver his first major public speech.

Over the course of the 2012 campaign, Romney seemed more able to win over the heads — not hearts — of conservatives, yet he received a boisterous response from a crowd of a few thousand conservative activists in this hotel ballroom.

Romney urged attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference “to learn from our mistakes and my mistakes” to help win back the White House and Senate.

“As someone who just lost the last election, I’m probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one,” Romney said before offering advice anyway.

The former Massachusetts governor urged the Republican Party, which has undergone some soul-searching since its November losses, to look to the party’s 30 sitting governors for lessons on how to win elections and govern successfully. Romney name-checked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to CPAC after receiving heat from conservatives recently.

Full story

August 1, 2012

Michigan: Rick Santorum Endorses Pete Hoekstra in Senate Race

Michigan: Rick Santorum Endorses Pete Hoekstra in Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Wednesday backed former Rep. Pete Hoekstra in his bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).

Santorum’s endorsement comes a few days before Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, which is set for Tuesday. Hoekstra’s main competition in that race is charter schools executive Clark Durant. Republicans expect Hoekstra to win the nomination, but Durant has garnered endorsements from several nationally recognized conservatives, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

“It is clear that the people of Michigan have tremendous choices in the Republican primary that [would all] be superior to Debbie Stabenow, but there is only one candidate with a proven track record of conservative leadership,” Santorum said. “That is Congressman Pete Hoekstra.”

The winner of the GOP primary has a tough battle ahead. Roll Call rates this Senate race as Likely Democratic.

June 28, 2012

Iowa: Rick Santorum Backs John Archer Against Dave Loebsack

Iowa: Rick Santorum Backs John Archer Against Dave Loebsack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) backed John Deere executive John Archer’s (R) bid to unseat Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) on Wednesday.

This marks the former presidential candidate’s second Congressional endorsement in the Hawkeye State, where he focused much of his failed presidential campaign. Full story

May 8, 2012

Rick Santorum Endorses Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum Endorses Mitt Romney

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It happened while many on the East Coast slept — and you had look hard to find the key passage — but late Monday evening Rick Santorum formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

In an email to supporters that hit around 11 p.m., the former Pennsylvania Senator backed his one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination, saying the race against President Barack Obama was too important for him to stand on the sidelines. Santorum’s backing, clear and unmistakable, was delivered about a month after he dropped out of the primary and essentially delivered the nomination to Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. Full story

May 3, 2012

Nebraska: Rick Santorum Backs Jon Bruning for Senate

Nebraska: Rick Santorum Backs Jon Bruning for Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) threw his support behind state Attorney General Jon Bruning’s (R) primary bid for the open Nebraska Senate seat today.

The endorsement marks the former presidential candidate’s first foray into Congressional politics since dropping out of the national race in April, and it puts him at odds with some conservatives and tea party champions in Washington, D.C. — including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) — who have backed state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Full story

April 10, 2012

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey Endorses Mitt Romney

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey Endorses Mitt Romney

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign today, becoming the 98th Member of Congress and the 20th Senator to do so.

“With his extensive private sector experience, his knowledge of economic issues, and his gubernatorial track record, Governor Romney is exactly the kind of leader our country needs to solve our fiscal crisis and restore American prosperity,” he said in a statement.

Toomey also praised former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the race this afternoon.

“I also congratulate Senator Santorum on a hard fought primary race,” he said. “He put up a valiant fight and deserves to be commended for his spirited effort.”

Toomey had a complicated history with Santorum. In 2004, Santorum endorsed then-Sen. Arlen Specter in a GOP primary race against Toomey.

In a Feb. 23 tweet, Toomey said that was “ancient history” and praised Romney’s “pro-growth tax reform plan,” but he had said he would not endorse in the presidential campaign.

April 2, 2012

Romney’s Chief Whip Roy Blunt Has a Good Week

Romneys Chief Whip Roy Blunt Has a Good Week

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By all accounts, the end of March and the beginning of April have been kind to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the leader of Mitt Romney’s effort to secure Member endorsements.

In recent days, the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential frontrunner has been endorsed by a group of much sought after tea party stalwarts, including GOP Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Marco Rubio (Fla.). Also endorsing on the cusp of Tuesday’s key Badger State presidential primary was House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

But in an interview with Roll Call last week, during which Blunt discussed his plans to use his leadership position as Senate GOP Conference vice chairman to improve coordination between House and Senate Republicans, the Missourian reflected on an endorsement whip operation that functioned much differently than when he did the same thing in 2000 for George W. Bush, the Texas governor who would go on to be elected president. Full story

March 29, 2012

Rubio on Romney: ‘I’m Excited About My Support for Him’

Rubio on Romney: Im Excited About My Support for Him

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio explained in greater detail today why he waded into the Republican presidential primary to endorse former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“I think Mitt Romney has won this primary,” the Florida Republican told reporters. “I think the primary’s over now, by the admission of his opponents.”

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), who Rubio was referring to, might take issue with that assertion given that Romney has yet to win the 1,144 delegates he needs to secure the nomination. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) might also quibble. Rubio, who knows what it’s like to challenge the Republican establishment’s preferred candidate in a primary, acknowledged that some conservatives might be upset with his decision to declare the race over and back Romney. But he didn’t back down, and in fact, he used the words of Gingrich and Santorum against them in explaining his decision and its timing. Full story

March 28, 2012

Rubio: Convention Fight ‘Recipe for Disaster’

Rubio: Convention Fight ‘Recipe for Disaster’

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said all of the things you’d expect in a TV interview explaining his decision to back Mitt Romney for president.

The Florida Republican said Romney offers “such a stark contrast” to President Barack Obama’s record, adding that “I have zero doubt in my mind that Mitt Romney will govern as a conservative.”

But it’s what else Rubio said during the interview on Fox’s “Hannity” that caught my attention. Rubio appeared to set about very purposely to shoot down the notion — currently being promoted by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) — that a contested or brokered nominating convention would be good for the Republican Party’s chances of defeating Obama on Nov. 6.

Full story

March 26, 2012

Supreme Scenes: The Health Care Arguments (PHOTOS)

Supreme Scenes: The Health Care Arguments (PHOTOS)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court kicked off the widely anticipated arguments over President Barack Obama’s health care law today. You can read Steven Dennis‘ roundup from the opening day arguments here.

Today’s proceedings were more procedural than anything, with both sides in agreement that the case should be heard now and not in three years’ time.

Justices on both the liberal and conservative wings of the court pressed attorneys for ways around an 1867 law that prohibits people from filing a lawsuit against tax provisions until after they have already paid the tax in question. Both sides of the lawsuit agree that an exemption should be granted, but for different reasons, although the court appointed an attorney to defend the notion — held by a lower court — that the case won’t be ripe until 2015.

Tuesday’s arguments over the constitutionality of the individual mandate are expected to be much more heated. Indeed, on this first day there was more drama outside the court than inside the chamber. Full story

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