Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Posts in "Primaries"

January 26, 2016

Democrats Land Reid Recruit in Competitive Nevada District

UNITED STATES - JUNE 24: Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Heck, a Republican, is vacating the 3rd District to run for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nevada Republican Rep. Joe Heck’s decision to run for Senate last summer gave Democrats an opening to compete for his 3rd District seat. But up until Tuesday, the national party had taken heat for its struggles to recruit in the district and wasn’t excited about the candidates already in the race.

That changed when Jacky Rosen, the leader of a Henderson synagogue, announced her candidacy for the 3rd District Tuesday.

Full story

Third Candidate Joins Louisiana Senate Race

Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Sen. David Vitter, R-La., reacts to the crowd during his election night watch party in Kenner, La., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Kennedy has announced his campaign for Senate, joining the race for the Louisiana Senate Seat being vacated by Vitter, above, after his loss in the 2015 governor’s race. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Only a few weeks after Sen. David Vitter lost the 2015 Louisiana governor’s race and said he would not seek re-election to the Senate, two other Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation — Reps. Charles Boustany Jr., and John Fleming — said they would begin campaigns to replace him.

On Tuesday, the two were joined by another, State Treasurer John N. Kennedy, who announced his own, long-awaited bid in the race. If nobody gets more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 8, the race could move into a runoff and be the last Senate contest decided this year.   Full story

January 21, 2016

DSCC Endorses Deborah Ross in North Carolina

Burr still doesn't have a Democratic opponent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ross is challenging GOP Sen. Richard Burr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed former state Rep. Deborah Ross Thursday morning in her bid to challenge GOP Sen. Richard M. Burr.

“Deborah was recognized as one of North Carolina’s most effective legislators during her time in the state legislature, and her commitment to fighting for North Carolina families is unwavering. We are proud to support her in this campaign and eager to welcome her to the Senate next fall,” DSCC Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in a statement. Full story

January 20, 2016

What Does It Take to Bring Cruz, Rubio and Paul to D.C.?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chance to vote for a procedural measure on a bill that would enact more stringent restrictions on Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the country drew all all three Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for the presidency to Washington 12 days before the Iowa caucuses. Full story

Edwards Tightens Up Race Against Van Hollen

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Edwards has experienced a boost in Baltimore, beating Van Hollen in an area that is home to a large number of Democratic voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A survey of Maryland voters last week found that despite his campaign’s financial advantage, Rep. Chris Van Hollen has only a slight lead over Rep. Donna Edwards as the two Democrats vie for their party’s nomination to replace outgoing Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski in an April primary.

The poll, conducted by the Maryland firm Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, shows Edwards might be seeing “dividends” from the $1 million television advertising campaign paid for her by EMILY’s List that has targeted Baltimore, home to about half of the state’s Democratic electorate, the pollster wrote.

Full story

January 19, 2016

Kentucky Democrats Running out of Time to Challenge Paul

With a week to file, no Rand Paul challenger has emerged after Democrats in his home state experienced big losses statewide last November.  (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

With a week to file, no Rand Paul challenger has emerged after Democrats in his home state experienced big losses statewide last November. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Democrats experienced a statewide political bloodbath in November – one that washed away the ambition of one rising star, state Auditor Adam Edelen, to challenge Sen. Rand Paul, the Republican leading a long-shot bid for the presidency, for re-election.

Since then, nobody has stepped forward. Following the announcement last week by veteran Andrew Horne that he would not challenge Paul, with only a week to go before the Jan. 26 filing deadline, most Democrats there are eyeing one man as a viable candidate to challenge him: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Gray – the second-term “nonpartisan” mayor of this Democrat-leaning metropolis in eastern-Kentucky  – confirmed to the Lexington Herald-Leader he was considering a run, but has not said more.

“I enjoy my job as mayor, and the only reason I would consider another office is I believe Washington is terribly broken and I could make a practical contribution by helping create jobs and economic opportunity for Kentuckians,” he told the paper.

Gray, the state’s first openly-gay mayor, has wealth from a family business he could spend on his own campaign if he were to run. And as a “non-partisan” mayor, he could have a case to make when trying to argue he could be an independent actor in Washington. In his official office, Gray has hired a number of ex-staffers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who was easily re-elected in 2014.

As Democrats appeared to be holding their own ahead of elections last November in a state that has been trending red, there were quiet calls by some Republicans for Paul to drop his presidential bid over fears that he would be jeopardizing his Senate seat. But with their loss of the Governor’s Mansion to Republican Matt Bevin and the loss of all but two down ballot statewide races last November, that talk is no more.

And despite Paul’s weak performance in the presidential polls, dithering by Bluegrass State Democrats on selecting a candidate – along with no emergence of a formidable primary opponent – has given Paul no reason to hurry home to solidify his support.

With no formidable opponent back home, Paul has been showing up to work in the Senate for 94-percent of the votes while at the same time showing up in states with early presidential nominating contests. 

During last week’s main presidential debate, which Paul was not invited to due to his standing in the race, Paul chimed in from the outside in a series of posts online. He earned a great deal of media attention for pushing back against the Republican National Committee’s rules, but it isn’t clear what else he gained. 

One Democratic operative said if Gray was to run, the presidential campaign could be something he would use against Paul.

“Rand Paul’s doing us all the favors he can by complaining,” the Democrat said. “He’s reminding everybody in Kentucky he’s not been here being our Senator. The guy gets elected Senator and starts immediately running for president!”

Contact Yokley at and follow him on Twitter at @eyokley.


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

January 17, 2016

Matthews, Raskin Take Different Paths in Maryland’s 8th District Primary

Matthews campaigned door-to-door with aides Samantha Seto and Tristin Ralph, in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Matthews campaigned door-to-door with aides Samantha Seto and Tristin Ralph, in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For about four days a week, from now until April 11, a major obstacle will be out of Democrat Kathleen Matthews’ way as she runs for her party’s nomination in Maryland’s 8th District, a primary contest that could well decide the successor to outgoing Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

That is because state Sen. Jamie Raskin – the Democrat who polling and Maryland Democratic operatives say is her chief rival among six others running for this open seat – will be spending more and more time in Annapolis during the 90-day legislative session that ends only two weeks before election day.  Full story

January 15, 2016

New York Republicans Rip Ted Cruz on ‘New York Values’

UNITED STATES - MARCH 10: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., arrives to speak during the International Association of Fire Fighters Presidential Forum at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 10, 2015. The day featured addresses by potential presidential candidates. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

King said he can’t see himself doing much to support Cruz. The day featured addresses by potential presidential candidates. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Peter King said he can’t see himself “working or doing anything for Ted Cruz,” after the Texas senator’s disparaging comments about “New York values” while criticizing Donald Trump in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate.

“Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media,” Cruz said.

Full story

Obama Suggests Trump’s Dominance Is Doomed

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 15 - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at an event at the Living History Farms Visitor Center in Urbandale, Iowa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republican presidential candidate Trump arrives at an event at the Living History Farms Visitor Center in Urbandale, Iowa, on Jan. 15. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama poured cold water on Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican presidential primary, saying Friday he bets voters soon will look to other candidates.

Obama suggested Trump’s big lead nationally could be doomed, saying it is merely the latest example of a long-running trend of bombastic candidates getting a lot of attention early in the process. But when it comes time to actually vote, Americans tend to get “serious” and vote for other candidates, Obama said during a YouTube-hosted online interview.

Full story

January 14, 2016

GOP Lawmakers: Presidential Race Won’t Set Our Agenda

Cruz, left, and Trump, right, are at the top of the GOP polls. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz, left, and Trump, right, are at the top of the GOP polls. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BALTIMORE — As House and Senate Republicans gathered to plot policy here Thursday, they vowed not to let the divisive campaign for the presidential nomination set their agenda in Congress.

Rather than try to fashion measure that suits the crowded field of presidential contenders, GOP leaders said they plan to use the next congressional session to present Americans with their vision for the country. They hope their plan will eventually merge with the priorities of the Republican nominee and boost the party’s returns in November, delivering the White House and maintaining a Senate majority.

Full story

January 13, 2016

Duncan Goes on Air in North Carolina Primary Against Ellmers

Ellmers will not run for Senate. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Ellmers is getting a challenge in the GOP primary. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Jim Duncan has released his first TV ad in his primary campaign to unseat North Carolina 2nd District Rep. Renee Ellmers. Full story

Strickland’s Past Positions on Guns Put Him in a Tough Spot

UNITED STATES - APRIL 21: Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) talks with reporters before the senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, April 21, 2015. Strickland is running for the Senate in Ohio. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Strickland says his views on guns have changed in the wake of school shootings.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama make moves on gun policy, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s past record on the issue has put him under scrutiny.

When he was up for re-election in 2010, the Democrat was given an A-plus rating by the National Rifle Association, which endorsed him over Republican John Kasich, who got a B.

“We don’t give a lot A-pluses,” said Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the NRA. Kasich would go on to defeat Strickland.

Full story

January 12, 2016

Andrea Zopp Makes Her Case to Congressional Black Caucus Members

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Andrea Zopp, Democrat candidate for Illinois Senate, is interviewed in the Roll Call offices on October 22, 2015. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Zopp was invited by Davis to attend the State of the Union. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Despite trailing Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois Senate race, Andrea Zopp met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus ahead of the State of the Union to show she is the best candidate to advance their causes.

Zopp was invited to the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee’s annual State of the Union breakfast reception on Tuesday by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., who also invited Zopp to be his guest at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. Full story

Senate Conservatives Fund Makes First House Endorsements of 2016

Ellmers denied "completely false allegations" against her Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

SCF has backed one of Ellmers’ primary challengers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed its first three House candidates of the cycle on Tuesday.

The SCF has traditionally backed conservative Senate candidates, but in 2013 the organization started playing in House races with its “House Conservatives Project.”

“These candidates are all principled conservative leaders who have strong grassroots support. We need them in the U.S. House to reinforce the efforts of our conservative allies,” SCF President Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. “They will stand up to the big spenders in both parties and work to defend the principles of freedom that make our nation great. We are proud to support Jim Banks, Mary Thomas, and Jim Duncan,” he said.

  • Indiana’s 3rd District: State Sen. Jim Banks is running in a crowded GOP primary for the seat Rep. Marlin Stutzman is vacating to run for the Senate. Banks also has the backing of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express.
  • Florida’s 2nd District: Mary Thomas, currently general counsel at the Department of Elder Affairs in Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham, who faces a daunting re-election due to redistricting.
  • North Carolina’s 2nd District: Jim Duncan, who chairs North Carolina’s Chatham County Republican Party, is running in the Republican primary to unseat three-term Rep. Renee Ellmers. The Club for Growth endorsed Duncan in December.

At the Senate level, SCF has backed Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis, running for the Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio, and Stutzman.

Contact Pathé at and follow her on Twitter at @sfpathe.

Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

January 11, 2016

Republican Jon Keyser Enters Colorado Senate Race

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is chairman of the DSCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Keyser wants to make his campaign against Bennet about national security. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Another, albeit expected, Republican  has announced that he’s joining the crowded GOP field to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado.

State Rep. Jon Keyser, a major in the Air Force Reserves who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced his candidacy Monday, casting 2016 as a national security election in which his military experience would given him an advantage.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...