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September 2, 2014

Posts in "Presidential 2016"

August 29, 2014

Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager Resigns

Mitch McConnells Campaign Manager Resigns

McConnell is the Senate Minority Leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jesse Benton, who had worked as the campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, said Friday he would resign.

The veteran operative with close ties to the Paul family released a lengthy statement making the announcement. The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported Benton’s resignation, which is effective Saturday.

The move comes just two days after a former Iowa state senator admitted to accepting $73,000 in concealed payments from former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In exchange for the money, that individual, Kent Sorenson, switched endorsements from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to Paul, a Texas Republican.

Full story

August 13, 2014

It’s the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Grassley hams it up in the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.

But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State FairSince the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.

On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story

August 11, 2014

Jindal Calls McAllister an ‘Embarrassment’

Jindal Calls McAllister an Embarrassment

Jindal, right, met with Iowa politicians like Grassley. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal thinks Rep. Vance McAllister should step down, calling the Louisiana Republican’s continued tenure an “embarrassment” thanks to a scandal that left him with the nickname the “Kissing Congressman.”

“Look, he originally made the right decision when he decided not to run for reelection,” Jindal told CQ Roll Call during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday. “I said he should have stepped down at the time. I think he’s making a mistake, I think he should, I think he should’ve stuck to his original decision and not go back inside to try to run again. I think it’d be better for him, he said he wanted some time for privacy and to spend that time with his family, I think that’d be a good thing for him to do.”

“I think it’s been an embarrassment to him, the district, and the state,” Jindal added.

Full story

July 3, 2014

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

2016 Hopefuls Steer Clear of Scott Brown Senate Bid

Brown is running for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: July 3, 8:20 a.m. | Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown got Mitt Romney’s endorsement in New Hampshire Wednesday — but it might be a while until his comeback bid gets a lift from any of the Republicans seeking the GOP nod in 2016.

Typically, presidential hopefuls hustle to make inroads into the Granite State, which hosts the first primary on the national nominating calendar.

But the GOP’s 2016 prospects are so far staying away from that Senate race for fear of upsetting prickly Republican activists by endorsing Brown, who was a more moderate Republican in the Senate and supports abortion rights.

Brown is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination on Sept. 9, when he will likely defeat former Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The GOP nominee will face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in November. Full story

June 25, 2014

RNC Narrows 2016 Convention Sites to Cleveland, Dallas (Video)

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Dallas and Cleveland are the finalists to host the party’s 2016 national convention.

“After extensive review the site selection committee has chosen Cleveland and Dallas as finalists for the 2016 convention,” RNC Site Selection Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen said in a statement. “Cleveland and Dallas demonstrated their ability to host a phenomenal convention in 2016, and the RNC is excited about the prospect of hosting our convention in either of these great cities.”

Denver and Kansas City were eliminated with this decision. Las Vegas and Cincinnati took themselves out of contention two months ago.

In a statement responding to its elimination, the Kansas City bid team stated that a formal announcement for the 2016 host city is expected to be made at the RNC’s summer meeting in Chicago in early August.

“The committee extends our sincere thanks and gratitude to Denver and Kansas City for their hard work and dedication to this effort,” Mickelsen added. “Both teams should be proud of their work.”

June 19, 2014

Rick Perry Jabs Ted Cruz’s Impact in Texas

Rick Perry Jabs Ted Cruzs Impact in Texas

Rick Perry is the governor of Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry needled GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, saying he was skeptical a “junior senator” could have made a big difference in state politics.

“Texas is pretty big; it’s pretty diverse; the legislature is a microcosm of the state, so I’m not sure one person has the ability to change all that,” Perry, a Republican, told reporters at a Thursday lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Perry, who openly acknowledges he is mulling a presidential bid in 2016, has often been on the opposite side of Cruz in local politics. In 2012, Cruz defeated Perry’s endorsed candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a runoff for the Senate.  Full story

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 22, 2014

Las Vegas, Cincinnati Out of Contention for 2016 Republican Convention

Las Vegas, Cincinnati Out of Contention for 2016 Republican Convention

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The list of cities contending to host the 2016 Republican National Convention is down to four, with Las Vegas and Cincinnati both withdrawing their bids.

The Republican National Committee’s site selection committee held a conference call Thursday to officially select Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Kansas City to receive official site visits from members of the committee. The timing for those visits will be announced later.

“All cities excelled in nearly every aspect of their bids and presentation this year, but these four cities stood out from the field from the start of this process and deserve a deeper look by the full committee,” selection committee chairwoman Enid Mickelsen said in a statement.

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

May 6, 2014

Thom Tillis Wins GOP Nomination Outright in North Carolina Senate Race

Thom Tillis Wins GOP Nomination Outright in North Carolina Senate Race

Tillis is the GOP's nominee in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis scored a major victory on Tuesday night, when he won the GOP primary outright to become his party’s nominee to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

Tillis garnered 46 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race for him around 9:20 p.m. He defeated Greg Brannon, an obstetrician aligned with the tea party who had support from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who finished with 27 percent of the vote, and Mark Harris, a pastor, who had focused his appeal on social conservatism and was backed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had 17 percent of the vote.

The Republican needed at least 40 percent of the vote to avoid a late-summer runoff against one of his opponents.

Hagan is considered one of the cycle’s most vulnerable incumbents and a top target for Republicans in their quest to take back the Senate. Full story

6 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries

6 Things to Watch in Tuesdays Primaries

Tillis and his wife Susan knock on doors in an upscale Huntersville, N.C., neighborhood north of Charlotte, the evening before the primary election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Primary voters head to the polls Tuesday in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, marking the first contests in a long series of contentious Republican battles over the next month.

In North Carolina, state Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon, and Pastor Mark Harris are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a marquee race that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Further down the ballot, an American Idol runner-up hopes he’ll have better luck in a Tar Heel State House race and longtime Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., will try to avoid becoming the first incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Ohio, a spirited challenger — perhaps best known for parodying a Cialis commercial in his bid — will attempt to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner.

In North Carolina, the contests could drag out for months. Primaries for Senate, the 6th and 12th Districts might continue to a runoff on July 15 if no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote.

Here are six things to watch in those races and others on Tuesday: Full story

May 2, 2014

Senator Encourages Hillary Clinton to Run in 2016

Senator Encourages Hillary Clinton to Run in 2016

Kaine is a Democrat from Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia will join the growing chorus of Democrats encouraging former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, according to remarks Kaine is scheduled to give Saturday at a South Carolina event and obtained by CQ-Roll Call. 

Kaine joins Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., other elected officials and party operatives, who support the Ready for Hillary operation — a super PAC building a campaign infrastructure if Clinton decides to run in 2016. The super PAC is not affiliated with Clinton.

Full story

May 1, 2014

2016 Prospects Wage Proxy Battle in North Carolina Senate Race

2016 Prospects Wage Proxy Battle in North Carolina Senate Race

Paul is a potential presidential candidate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of Republican presidential prospects is facing off in North Carolina by throwing their weight behind the top three contenders in the state’s high-stakes GOP primary for Senate.

Most recently, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed the frontrunner, state Speaker Thom Tillis, on Thursday.

“I am confident that the road to a majority runs through Thom Tillis in North Carolina,” Bush wrote in an email to Tillis supporters.

A candidate must get 40 percent of the vote  in Tuesday’s primary to avoid a July runoff in the Tar Heel State. The winner will face Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle.  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 4, 2014

Mike Lee Backs Sasse in Nebraska Primary

Mike Lee Backs Sasse in Nebraska Primary

Nebraska candidate Ben Sasse is backed by Sen. Mike Lee (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is backing Ben Sasse for Senate in Nebraska, adding another congressional endorsement for the Midland University president in his competitive GOP primary.

Sasse is building a “diverse, conservative coalition,” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday. Along with Lee, Sasse has the support of House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, as well as outside groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth. Full story

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