Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 27, 2015

Posts in "Primaries"

January 23, 2015

Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge

Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge

Ellmers is a Republican from North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who led the charge to pull the House GOP’s 20-week abortion ban bill this week, could have a bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is mulling a bid against Ellmers, according to multiple GOP sources in the Tar Heel State.

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Several Ohio Democrats Considering Senate Primary

Several Ohio Democrats Considering Senate Primary

Portman is a Republican from Ohio. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ohio Democrats are expecting a crowded primary to challenge Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in 2016, and the recent announcement by Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld may have accelerated its formation.

The 30-year-old Sittenfeld announced Thursday that he would get into the race. Democrats describe him as a charismatic and a rising star within the party, but his early announcement speaks to the fact that this local office holder has hurdles to raise his name recognition and ample cash for a federal race. And other Democratic candidates won’t let him do that for too long without any competition. Full story

Democrats Could Face Primary Mess in Illinois Senate Race

Democrats Could Face Primary Mess in Illinois Senate Race

Kirk is a Republican from Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are driving toward a primary collision course in Illinois, where the party could endure a multimillion-dollar slugfest in a race essential to capturing Senate control in 2016.

A fourth House Democrat, Rep. Robin Kelly, told CQ Roll Call she is weighing a bid against GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk. She joins the growing list of members considering bids, including Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos, Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster.

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January 22, 2015

Billionaire Passes on California Senate Race

Billionaire Passes on California Senate Race

Boxer is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democrat who has spent considerable cash on environmental causes and candidates, will not run for Senate in California, he announced Thursday.

Steyer openly mulled entering the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., but he passed on it, saying he decided he could have the most impact on environmental issues not in the Senate, but back home in California.

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January 20, 2015

Cheri Bustos Keeps Door Open to Senate Run

Cheri Bustos Keeps Door Open to Senate Run

Bustos is a Democrat from Illinois. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos said she is not closing the door on running for Senate in Illinois in 2016, marking the third House Democrat to express some level of interest in one of the cycle’s top race targets.

“I’m focusing on my district, focusing on what we hope to accomplish in the coming term,” Bustos said in a Tuesday morning interview with CQ Roll Call in her Longworth office. “And like anything in politics, you don’t close the door to anything and you keep an open mind, and I think you’ve got to weigh what’s good for your district, what’s good for your state and what’s good on a personal level. So for right now, what I would tell you is that I guess that’s kind of the long and short of it: I don’t close the door on anything, but I’m squarely focused on the 17th Congressional District of Illinois.”

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January 19, 2015

Tammy Duckworth: I’m ‘Taking a Real Serious Look’ at Senate Run

Tammy Duckworth: Im Taking a Real Serious Look at Senate Run

Duckworth is a Democrat from Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a two-term Democrat, told CQ Roll Call Monday that she is seriously considering challenging vulnerable Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., in 2016.

Duckworth, currently finishing maternity leave following the birth of her daughter, said in a phone interview she is beginning the process of exploring a Senate bid as she gears up to return to Capitol Hill.

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January 15, 2015

Why California Members May Think Twice About Running for Senate

Why California Members May Think Twice About Running for Senate

Rep. Darrell Issa, left, and Sanchez, right, are from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than a half-dozen House Democrats are considering a bid for California’s first open Senate seat in more than two decades — and unlike in most other states, none would start as a front-runner.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement has given ambitious but stifled Democrats an avenue to higher office, and it’s part of a significant changing of the guard among the party’s leaders in the state. State Attorney General Kamala Harris entered the race Tuesday, with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire Tom Steyer expected to announce their decisions within days.

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January 12, 2015

Kamala Harris to Run for Open California Senate Seat

Kamala Harris to Run for Open California Senate Seat

Harris speaks onstage during Children's Defense Fund - California Hosts 24th Annual Beat The Odds Awards in Culver City on Dec. 4. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images File Photo)

Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as attorney general of California, will run for the Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to The Associated Press.

Harris will make the announcement Tuesday, five days after Boxer announced her retirement, and one day after fellow Democrat Gavin Newsom, the Golden State’s lieutenant governor, passed on the contest. Harris and Newsom run in the same political circles in the state, and many California Democratic operatives speculated there was not room for both in the contest.

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Claire McCaskill Won’t Run for Governor

Claire McCaskill Wont Run for Governor

McCaskill is a Democrat from Missouri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will not run for governor in the Show-Me State in 2016 — an open-seat race to replace term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon.

“It is a firm no,” McCaskill told KCUR radio Monday about her gubernatorial ambitions. Full story

December 9, 2014

House Conservative Faces Primary Peril in 2016

House Conservative Faces Primary Peril in 2016

Huelskamp is a Kansas Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the House’s top troublemakers could be in trouble in 2016.

Kansas conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp has angered fellow Republicans with his politics and personality in Congress. If he chooses to seek re-election in 2016, some of his detractors see an opportunity to oust him for good in a primary.

This year, Huelskamp’s primary challenger, Alan LaPolice, held the congressman to a 10-point primary win — with the help of some outside spending on the tyro’s behalf. Huelskamp’s opponents saw that as an indication of discontent with the two-term House Republican — and an opportunity.

In 2016, Kansas Republicans say, the congressman will have a far more credible primary opponent. What’s more, the campaign against Huelskamp, according to one person involved in challenging him this year, will likely be more organized and could start as early as next year. Full story

December 4, 2014

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

Toomey is a Pennsylvania Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been more than four years since former Rep. Joe Sestak narrowly lost his bid for Senate — and the Pennsylvania Democrat hasn’t stopped running since. After his 2010 loss to Republican Patrick J. Toomey, Sestak continued to traverse the state to raise cash before officially filing for a rematch against the senator in September.

“We’ve done 400 events in two years for other candidates,” Sestak said in a Wednesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “I’ve put a quarter-million miles on my car.”

Keystone State Democrats laud Sestak for coming within 2 points of defeating Toomey in an otherwise miserable year for the party. But some privately question whether he’s the party’s best bet for a high-stakes Senate race. Full story

December 2, 2014

Portman Will Seek Re-Election Instead of Running for President

Portman Will Seek Re Election Instead of Running for President

Portman will not run for president. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will not run for president in 2016, and instead plans to seek re-election to his Buckeye State Senate seat.

“With the new Republican majority, I see a real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans,” Portman said in a statement Tuesday morning. “That’s where I believe I can play the most constructive role.”

Portman’s official re-election announcement likely makes the seat harder for Democrats to pick up in 2016. With Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu projected to lose re-election in this weekend’s runoff against Rep. Bill Cassidy, Democrats will need to pick up five seats to reclaim control of the chamber.

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November 3, 2014

30 Members, 1 Senator Running Unopposed

30 Members, 1 Senator Running Unopposed

Sewell is running unopposed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are 31 members of Congress who will be back in January no matter what. That’s 16 Democrats and 15 Republicans — with Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions being the only senator without an opponent Tuesday.

These lawmakers still bring in cash, with Sessions spending nearly $1 million and Democratic Rep. Terri A. Sewell of Alabama raising more than $1.4 million.

Georgia has the most members running unopposed, with six congressional districts in the ultra-safe category. Massachusetts also has six — all Democrats. Florida has five.

Here are the incumbents running unopposed, listed alphabetically by state:

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September 10, 2014

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

Tierney lost his primary Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By the time Massachusetts Rep. John F. Tierney knew he had a real primary race on his hands, it was too late.

The nine-term lawmaker lost Tuesday night to fellow Democrat Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran who latched onto frustration with Tierney’s past ethical troubles and an anti-incumbent sentiment to win by a stunning 8-point margin.

Multiple Democratic operatives in the Bay State and the District say the race shifted quickly in Moulton’s favor in the final week and a half, as voters ended summer vacations, kids returned to school and the electorate as a whole began to finally pay attention to the race.

By that point, Moulton had been on air for weeks with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that Tierney declined to match. Moulton ran spots painting himself as the more electable Democrat in the 6th District, located in the suburbs and towns northeast of Boston. The region’s biggest newspapers, including the Boston Globe, endorsed Moulton, which he touted in his closing ads as a final sell to remaining undecided voters.

“It just moved faster than I think anyone thought it would,” said a Democratic operative privy to internal polling in the contest. “It closed quickly, but that’s what a million dollars in unanswered spending does.”

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How ‘Establishment’ Republicans Got the House Candidates They Wanted

How Establishment Republicans Got the House Candidates They Wanted

Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Earlier this year, House Republicans had 12 potential problems that stood in the way of extending their majority.

A dozen primaries could ruin the House GOP’s prospects by selecting unpalatable nominees in otherwise competitive races.

But when primary season concluded Tuesday, House Republicans had essentially run the table with their party’s picks, nominating the strongest general-election candidate in nearly every hot race in 2014. Republican and Democratic operatives credit the success to a handful of factors, including intervention from outside groups, self-funding candidates and — in some cases — luck.

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