Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

Posts in "Primaries"

February 13, 2014

Tierney Primary Challenger: I’m Being Encouraged to Run (Video)

The candidate: Veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat.
The member: Nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass.
The district: Massachusetts’ 6th District, located in the northeast corner of the state, is a reliably Democratic district. But past ethics inquiries into Tierney’s personal finances make him a uniquely vulnerable Democrat. Tierney faces Moulton and Democrat Marisa DeFranco in a Democratic primary. The primary victor will likely face former state Sen. Richard Tisei in the general.
The candidate’s team: Mark Mellman (polling), Dover Strategy Group (mail), Scott Ferson (general consultant), Joe Trippi (senior adviser), Max Glass (campaign manager), Carrie James Rankin (communications director).

Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton, a Democrat challenging nine-term Rep. John F. Tierney in a Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 6th District, says he is being strongly encouraged to run by members of his own party.

“If I had a penny for everyone who’s whispered in my ear to say, ‘We want you to win the primary. We may not be able to publicly support you, but we’d really like you to win this because Congressman Tierney is a liability in this seat,’ my fundraising numbers would be even better than they are,” Moulton said in an interview with CQ Roll Call this month.

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February 12, 2014

Democrats Endorse Documentary Filmmaker for Owens’ Seat

Democrats Endorse Documentary Filmmaker for Owens Seat

Aaron Woolf (Courtesy 21st District Democratic Committee)

A political quagmire on the Democratic bench in New York’s open 21st District has emboldened Republicans in a district that was already a GOP pick-up opportunity.

On Wednesday, local Democratic officials unanimously endorsed Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker from Elizabethtown, N.Y., in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

Woolf’s endorsement from the 21st District’s 12 county chairmen came after some high-profile Democrats, including former Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., declined bids for the seat.

Sheila Comar, chairwoman of the Washington County party, said in a statement that Woolf was the best candidate to continue Owens’ “work to protect our seniors and the Medicare guarantee, middle class families, and reflect the independent spirit that makes the North Country strong. Woolf is a problem solver who will take a commonsense approach and is committed to working together to find solutions that create more jobs and spur New York’s economy.”

Republicans said the thin bench of candidates to choose from indicates Democrats are not hopeful they can hold on to the upstate New York seat. Full story

McConnell, Cornyn Walk Plank on Debt Limit to Ire of Conservatives

Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday voted to advance legislation that would increase the nation’s borrowing capacity — but not before they spent 40 minutes of the open vote trying to get others to do it for them, likely out of fear of the conservative blowback that came almost immediately.

Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demanded the 60-vote procedural move, which put McConnell and Cornyn in the uncomfortable position of having to find five Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the debt ceiling measure. By doing so, Cruz gave perfect fodder to tea party groups and candidates, like the Senate Conservatives Fund and McConnell opponent Matt Bevin, against in-cycle Republicans who would need to vote for the bill as opposed to just letting Democrats do it themselves with a simple majority.

Within minutes, the two leaders were getting hit on social media by their opponents.

Ralph Hall Braces for ‘Final’ Primary Challenge

Ralph Hall Braces for Final Primary Challenge

Hall has vowed this will be his final re-election campaign. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall, the oldest member of Congress, has promised this will be his final campaign.

He’s said it before — several times, in fact — and gone on to run again anyway. But this time, some Texas operatives think the 17-term Republican incumbent could very well be running his last race, though not by choice. Full story

Northern Va. Dems Opt for Nominating Convention for Wolf Seat

Northern Virginia Democrats are utilizing a nominating tactic more commonly associated with state Republicans to choose the party’s nominee in a nationally targeted district.

Seeking to bolster its chances at winning the open 10th District seat, the local party decided last weekend to choose a nominee by convention rather than a primary. The rare move limits the number of people who will decide the party’s general election candidate and moves up the nomination process by nearly two months.

Party leaders in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee hope the earlier date and limited universe of voters will allow their eventual nominee to avoid a costly primary and instead focus on the November general.

“Our committee had a very thoughtful conversation about this, and we just feel very strongly that we need a nominee as soon as possible, and we need to help our eventual nominee conserve resources,” said Charlie Jackson, chairman of Virginia’s 10th District Democratic Party. “Whoever our nominee is can conserve those resources so we spend them in a general election and not against ourselves.”

Full story

February 11, 2014

Lindsey Graham Launches First Campaign Ads

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is facing a few Republican primary challengers, released his first TV and radio ads of the year on Tuesday.

The ads work to burnish Graham’s conservative credentials with four months left until the June 10 primary. The ads are backed by a six-figure buy and will run statewide for more than a week, according to a release.

The TV ad notes Graham “opposed Obamacare from Day One,” “led the fight on Benghazi,” and is “a conservative leader who gets things done.” Full story

Paul Broun Picks Up Endorsement in Georgia Senate Race

Rep. Paul Broun, one of several Republicans running in Georgia’s open-seat Senate contest, got an endorsement Tuesday from the Madison Project, a group that seeks to boost tea party candidates into office.

“Congressman Paul Broun is a doctor, soldier, citizen legislator, and proven constitutional warrior,” Madison Project Chairman Jim Ryun said in a news release. “He has been inviolable, while even the fiercest conservative fighters have succumbed to the establishment meat grinder in D.C. Broun is the consummate constitutional champion who puts people and principle before politics. That is why his leadership is needed in the United States Senate, which is full of governing-class elites from both parties who seek endless growth of the federal government.”

Georgia has traditionally been reliable statewide territory for Republicans. But many GOP operatives argue that if Broun wins the Republican nomination, he could jeopardize the party’s control of the Senate seat.

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February 10, 2014

Tea Party Express Endorses Colorado Senate Candidate

The Tea Party Express has endorsed state Sen. Owen Hill in his bid for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the fall.

“I have no doubt that Hill will join the new wave of conservative leaders in the Upper Chamber that have bucked the establishment of both parties to tackle America’s unsustainable debt, crippling taxes, and intrusive, big-government policies,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement.

The backing of the national tea party organization signals Hill’s potential conservative support in the competitive GOP primary, which will be held June 24. Still, none of the contenders so far appear to be giving Udall or national Democrats much of a scare, despite recent polling that indicates otherwise. Full story

Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Leader to Vie for Waxman Seat (Updated)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | Elan S. Carr, a veteran, Los Angeles County deputy district attorney and the head of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, will announce his bid Monday for the open California 33rd District seat, according to an email obtained by CQ Roll Call.

AEPi is a prominent, international Jewish fraternity, and Carr is currently the supreme master. With his announcement, Carr would likely become the first Republican to announce a bid for the seat of retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman in this solidly Democratic, Los Angeles-based district.

“With the retirement of legendary Congressman Henry A. Waxman, West Los Angeles faces an historic election for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Carr said in an email to the AEPi fraternity. “After consulting with a team of political professionals and reaching out to supporters, Dahlia and I have decided to enter that race.”

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Coburn Endorses in Competitive Nebraska Senate Primary

Coburn Endorses in Competitive Nebraska Senate Primary

Coburn voiced his support for a candidate in Nebraska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has declared his support for Midland University President Ben Sasse’s bid for Senate in Nebraska.

“Ben is just the kind of person we need in Washington,” Coburn told the Lincoln Journal Star in a Sunday story. “He is a totally open and honest guy who is very responsive and responsible. If Ben was running in Oklahoma, I’d vote for him.”

Sasse, a Republican, faces a number of other GOP candidates in the primary, including former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, banker Sid Dinsdale and attorney Bart McLeay, among others. The seat is open because Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is retiring.

Conservative groups are divided between two Republicans: Sasse and Osborn.

Full story

February 7, 2014

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Walsh, far right, visited the Capitol in November along with West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Win or lose in November, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh will be the next senator from Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock appointed his former running mate to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate early after being confirmed Thursday as ambassador to China.

Walsh was already running for the seat, but he’ll now run as the incumbent senator. That change could provide some inherent advantages in his quest to hold one of the party’s most vulnerable seats.

“I wanted to appoint someone who I truly believed would wake up each and every day wanting to put Montana and Montanans first,” Bullock said in a Friday news conference to announce the appointment. Full story

EMILY’s List Endorses in Race to Replace Henry Waxman

EMILY’s List, an organization that seeks to boost women who support abortion rights into elected office, announced their endorsement of former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel in her race in California’s 33rd District.

Greuel is one of two Democrats looking to replace Rep. Henry A. Waxman, who announced last week he will retire after a 40 year career in the House. State Sen. Ted Lieu is also running, with other Democrats mulling whether to enter the contest.

“Wendy Greuel has demonstrated outstanding leadership as a public servant fighting for education, small businesses, and government accountability for California families,” Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, said in a news release.

The EMILY’s List endorsement, which often comes with fundraising and organizational support, could be instrumental in this race, which is likely to see a crowded field of Democratic contenders.

Full story

Republican Eyes Hamptons House Seat (Video)

Republican Eyes Hamptons House Seat (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin
The member: Six-term Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y.
The district: New York’s 1st District. It covers the eastern half of Long Island, encompassing both working-class regions and the tony Hamptons. Bishop won re-election in 2012 by 5 points, as President Barack Obama carried the district by 1 point.
The candidate’s team: Brabender Cox (media); John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates (polling); Majority Strategies (direct mail); Chapin Fay (campaign manager). Full story

Ami Bera Challenger Gets Tea Party Backing

The Madison Project, a group that seeks to boost tea-party-aligned candidates, will endorse former Capitol Hill aide Igor Birman on Friday morning in the crowded GOP field in California’s 7th District, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Birman, a former chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., faces a competitive top-two primary against former Rep. Doug Ose and autism activist Elizabeth Emken. All three are looking to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, a top GOP target in 2014.

The Madison Project plans to back up its endorsement by opening a get-out-the-vote headquarters in the district to help mobilize voters for Birman in the June 3 primary.

“Igor is uniquely articulate in communicating all the principles of conservative public policy and is the only candidate in this race who will not be beholden to liberal special interests,” Madison Project Political Director Drew Ryun said in a statement. “He won’t need to be pressured or shamed into keeping his campaign promises because he will pursue constitutional governance, even when the party leaders stray from its principles.”

Full story

February 5, 2014

Sandra Fluke Decides Against Congressional Bid

Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke will not run for Congress in California’s open 33rd District, instead opting to run for a seat in the state Senate, according to a local report.

Fluke’s decision to run for lower office comes just one day after news broke that she had filed paperwork with the California Democratic Party to seek the seat of retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

“I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families,” Fluke told the Los Angeles Times. “I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community.”

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