Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 26, 2015

Posts in "Primaries"

March 18, 2014

Democrats Count on Good News Out of Illinois Primaries

One week after a disappointing loss in the closely watched Florida special election, national Democrats expect brighter news from the top race to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in Illinois, where the party hopes to cut into Republicans’ House majority.

In one of Democrats’ top targeted districts in the country, Ann Callis is likely to prevail in the 13th District Democratic primary. That would set up a competitive race against freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in a swing district that stretches across the state.

Davis’ primary challenge from a former Miss America has received far more national press. But it’s Callis, a former Madison County judge and top recruit of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who has had the bumpier ride to the nomination — and Republicans believe she will emerge weakened for the general.

Illinois is the second state to host primaries for the 2014 midterms. But among the various federal races on Tuesday, including the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the 13th features nomination fights with the greatest impact on the general elections in November. Full story

March 17, 2014

Northern Virginia Democrats Cancel 10th District Convention

After clearing the field for the party’s preferred candidate, Northern Virginia Democrats have canceled their 10th District nominating convention.

Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust will face the eventual GOP nominee in November in the race to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. — a top pickup opportunity for the party. Foust was set to face attorney Richard Bolger in an April 26 convention, but Bolger dropped out of the race Friday, allowing Foust to begin preparing for the general immediately.

State Del. Barbara Comstock is the front-runner for the GOP nomination, but she faces primary opposition from a handful of Republicans, including conservative state Del. Bob Marshall and retired Naval Officer Howard Lind. Republicans will select their nominee in an April 26 firehouse primary, a state party-run election with less than a dozen polling locations.

Virginia’s 10th District is rated Leans Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

March 14, 2014

Scott Brown Announces Preparations for Senate Bid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., announced Friday he is preparing to run for Senate in New Hampshire, kicking off a nearly unprecedented bid to represent a second state in the Senate.

Brown’s decision, unveiled in a speech at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H., comes 16 months after he was defeated for re-election in the neighboring Bay State by Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

If he wins the Sept. 9 GOP primary and can defeat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Brown would become just the third person in history — and first since the 1870s — to have represented more than one state in the Senate, according to the Senate Historical Office.

“Starting tomorrow morning, and for the next several weeks, Gail and I will be traveling around the state to introduce ourselves, to ask questions, to speak with everyone of every background — Republicans, independents and Democrats alike — and above all to listen to them and learn of their concerns,” Brown said, according to his prepared remarks. Full story

Ralph Hall Challenger Commits to Term Limits

The Republican primary challenger to longtime Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall says 4th District voters should not expect a Hall-length tenure from him if elected.

Just more than two months out from their primary runoff showdown, attorney John Ratcliffe said in an interview with CQ Roll Call that he not only supports a congressional term limit but would self-impose one if he wins the seat.

Ratcliffe has committed to serving only “four to five” terms in the House, a stark contrast to Hall’s career. The 90-year-old congressman, who has said this will be his last race, is finishing up his 17th term this year.

“I was mayor of a town that did not have term limits, but I term-limited myself,” Ratcliffe said. “I believe that our founders never intended for there to be a permanent political class.”

Full story

Democrats Clear Primary Field in Competitive Virginia House Race

Democrats have cleared the primary field in Virginia’s 10th District, one of the party’s top open-seat targets this cycle.

Attorney Richard Bolger announced Friday he is suspending his campaign, paving the way for Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust — who was already the favorite — to earn the Democratic nomination for this Northern Virginia-based seat.

Bolger launched his bid in September, before longtime Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf announced his retirement and the seat moved toward the top of national Democrats’ wish list.

“When Congressman Wolf retired, the seat became one of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats in the nation,” Bolger said in a statement. “At this point, it has become clear to me that John Foust is our strongest choice with the best chance of helping our party win this seat and change the direction of Congress.”

Full story

March 13, 2014

Mike Simpson Launches First TV Ad of Cycle

Rep. Mike Simpson, an eight-term Idaho Republican facing a tea-party-backed primary challenger, went up Thursday with his first TV ad of the cycle.

Seeking to bolster his conservative record ahead of the May 20 primary, the 30-second ad highlights votes Simpson has taken that tow the conservative line and labels his challenger, attorney Bryan Smith, as a “personal injury lawyer.” The ad is backed by a $27,000 buy on broadcast and cable, according to a Republican source tracking buys in the district.

“There’s no defense for personal injury lawyer Bryan Smith’s attempt to smear Mike Simpson’s conservative record,” the narrator says in ad.

Full story

Third California Democrat Endorses Wendy Greuel

Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff is now the third member of California’s Democratic House delegation to endorse former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel in the race for the state’s open 33rd District seat, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call.

“Wendy Greuel is the right choice to replace the irreplaceable Henry Waxman,” Schiff, who represents the neighboring 28th District, said in a statement Thursday. “I have worked with Wendy for more than a decade and she knows how to make government work for everyone.”

Democratic Reps. Tony Cardenas and Lucille Roybal-Allard — also LA-based members — previously endorsed Greuel.

The race to replace Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, who announced his retirement in January, is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. But under California’s top-two primary system, the district could host a competitive general-election race.

Full story

March 12, 2014

Democrats Duel for Open House Seat in Iowa

Braley, right, is running for Senate and leaving a wide-open race for Democrats in the 1st District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a state that was expected to play host to multiple competitive contests this year, Democrats are dueling for the nomination — and most likely, the seat — in northeastern Iowa’s open 1st District.

The filing deadline is Friday, and House Republicans have all but written off the district to focus on the state’s other open-seat race, in the 3rd District. After a top-tier Republican recruit unexpectedly dropped out of the race, the next member of Congress from the 1st District will likely be decided by a Democratic primary on June 3.

Full story

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Chocola is the president of the Club for Growth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Wednesday that it is supporting Dan Sullivan in the Republican Senate primary in Alaska.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, is one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a top target of national Republicans.

In recent cycles, the club sometimes backed primary challengers to GOP incumbents and upstarts whom national Republicans do not always view as the best candidate for the race. But that’s not the case here.

Full story

March 11, 2014

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses House Candidates

SCF just endorsed Loudermilk, a candidate for the House in Georgia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Conservatives Fund — an organization that has traditionally supported conservative Senate hopefuls — has backed five House candidates.

On Tuesday, SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote the endorsements, which are part of the organization’s new “House Conservatives Project.”

“These candidates believe deeply in our nation’s founding principles and will be strong voices for freedom in Washington,” Hoskins wrote. “They are strong conservatives who will fight to balance the budget and repeal Obamacare.” Full story

March 10, 2014

Vulnerable Democrats Missing From All-Night Climate Change Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thirty Senate Democrats are scheduled to stage an all-night talkathon to address climate change and its deniers, but notably missing from the extensive roster of speakers are moderate Democrats, especially those who are up for re-election in 2014.

According to a list of participating senators provided by Democrats, the most politically vulnerable among them will not speak: Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Walsh of Montana. Interviews with several moderate Democrats on Monday suggested they were not invited to contribute to the event, while GOP campaigns hit Senate Democrats generally for staging such a stand on the floor.

“I will not be [speaking],” Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said before votes Monday. “I will not be, but I think what they’re doing is helpful.”

Full story

March 7, 2014

Cochran Upbeat About Primary Fight, Not Running Scared

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran was upbeat this week that he will prevail over his tea-party-backed Republican primary challenger when voters go to the polls in June.

“I’m very pleased. I’m enjoying getting around the state and visiting with friends and supporters,” Cochran said in a brief interview. “We’re making good progress, I think, in our campaign. We have more candidates than we’ve had in a Senate race I think since my first race for Congress in 1972 — independents, a Democrat or two and a Republican or two.”

Cochran and his supporters, including a super PAC, are making the case about the importance of the clout of the longtime GOP senator. A recent super PAC ad specifically highlighted Cochran’s work to bring federal funds to rebuild the ravaged Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, dinging challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel for his comments on the aid question.

Full story

Tea Party Senate Candidates Descend on CPAC

Maness is running for Senate in Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Much of the attention surrounding the Conservative Political Action Conference is understandably focused on the plethora of Republicans here who may be running for president at this time next year.

But, mostly offstage and behind the scenes, a handful of tea-party-backed Senate candidates — each running uphill against better-funded Republicans — are here among the thousands of conservative activists. They’re shaking hands, meeting potential supporters and raising some money.

They include Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Milton Wolf of Kansas, each waging primary challenges to Republican senators. Also in attendance are lesser-known hopefuls Rob Maness of Louisiana, Greg Brannon of North Carolina and David Clements of New Mexico, plus Joe Miller of Alaska, who are fighting for their party’s nomination to take on Democratic senators.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina are on the front lines of the battle for Senate control. Republicans need to pick up a net six seats to win the majority.

“It’s a good opportunity in one centralized location to meet as many people as possible, and get your name and face in front of them,” said Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who is battling GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy and Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana’s jungle primary. Full story

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Paul will make time for a fundraiser for a Senate hopeful while at CPAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is headlining a fundraiser Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference for a tea-party-backed Senate candidate in North Carolina.

Greg Brannon, a physician, is one of a handful of Republicans hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is a top GOP target in her bid for a second term. Brannon has collected the endorsements of Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, though state Speaker Thom Tillis is the GOP front-runner.

Paul will follow up his mid-afternoon address at CPAC by appearing with Brannon at a McCormick & Schmick’s near where the conference is being held. Tickets to the event cost up to $500, according to the online invitation. Full story

Bill Shuster Begins Major TV Ad Campaign

Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster is leaving nothing to chance in his campaign for a seventh full term.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman is going up Friday with a monthlong, $400,000 TV ad campaign ahead of the Keystone State’s May 20 Republican primary.

Full story

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