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November 28, 2015

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May 19, 2014

Kirkpatrick Challenger Apologizes for Linking Democrats With Mass Shooters

Kirkpatrick could face one of several Republicans in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican challenger to Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick apologized Monday for saying over the weekend that most mass shooters are members of the Democratic Party.

In his initial Saturday comment, rancher Gary Kiehne stated that “if you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people,” according to The Arizona Daily Star.  “So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.”

His campaign released a statement apologizing for the comment:

“This past weekend, I made a comment about the political affiliation of perpetrators of gun violence in the heat of a debate. I’ve since learned that the information that I based the comment off of was inaccurate and incorrect. I’ve always believed that when you make a mistake, you should own up to it. Too many politicians today offer nothing but spin and excuses when they say something they shouldn’t have. I’m not going to do that. Simply put, I shouldn’t have made the comment, and I want to offer my apology for making it without any reservations.”

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Challenger Hits Mike Honda in New TV Ad

Attorney Ro Khanna began airing a contrast ad Monday, just a few weeks out from California’s top-two primary.

In the ad, the Democrat taking on longtime Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda hits the incumbent for “stubbornly” refusing all debates and “slinging mud” — likely referencing a negative mailer Honda’s campaign sent earlier this month.

“Isn’t it time to put the old politics aside?” a narrator says in the 30-second spot, before transitioning to highlight Khanna’s endorsements.

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May 16, 2014

Congressman Backs Ex-Hill Staffer for California Seat

Royce endorsed a former Capitol Hill staffer on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce has endorsed former Capitol Hill aide Lesli Gooch, becoming the latest Southern California congressman to back the Republican seeking her former boss’ open House seat.

Gooch, one of several candidates vying for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller in California’s 31st District, worked for Miller as a senior policy adviser in the district, which is a top Democratic pick-up opportunity in November. Royce’s endorsement follows that of Miller and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lesli Gooch and our delegation in the United States Congress to get things done for Californians,” Royce said in a statement Friday. “The Inland Empire needs Lesli Gooch’s strong conservative leadership in Congress to beat back the failed policies of Reid and Pelosi that are hurting our economy and crippling our national security.”

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Campaign Spot-Light: Landrieu Shoots Over the Moon

Welcome to the third edition of Roll Call’s feature that highlights the most interesting political ads of the week.

Here is what cut through the clutter:

Louisiana Senate: A Re-Election That Is Anything but the ‘Big Easy’

Ad buyer: Mary Landrieu for Louisiana
Ad buy: It is a $200,000 ad buy, per The Los Angeles Times.
The race: Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is running in a November jungle primary. Unless she takes 50 percent of the vote, she will head to a December runoff against a to-be-determined Republican rival. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Landrieu is facing another competitive campaign, but her latest ad offers a glimpse of how she’s won multiple terms. In this spot, Landrieu’s father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, makes the case that the stubbornness of his daughter, the Pelican State’s three-term senior senator, protected Louisiana from great villains of recent years: BP, President Barack Obama and the rest of the Senate. Full story

May 15, 2014

Democrats Dropping Like Flies in Race to Replace Moran

Beyer is one of a dwindling number of Democrats running for this open Virginia seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seeing no path to victory, three of the 10 Democratic candidates looking to succeed retiring Rep. James P. Moran in Virginia dropped out in rapid succession in the past week — slightly dwindling a still-crowded field in next month’s primary.

Engineer Satish Korpe dropped out of the 8th District contest last week, followed by state Del. Charniele Herring on Monday and businessman Bruce Shuttleworth on Wednesday.

Their exits come too late for them to be removed from the June 10 primary ballot. Earlier this year, state Dels. Mark Sickles and Alfonso Lopez also dropped out of the race. Their departures came before ballots were finalized.

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Tea Party Candidate Lags in New Jersey Primary Poll

The New Jersey Republican-machine-backed candidate in an open-seat primary led a prominent tea party candidate by 11 points in a Monmouth University Poll released Thursday.

In the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jon Runyan, former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur, who is backed by the county establishments of New Jersey’s 3rd District, had the support of 46 percent of likely primary voters, while 35 percent backed tea party favorite and ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, the party’s nominee in last year’s Senate special election. Twenty percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The outcome of the June 3 primary is highly consequential to the general. Most New Jersey and national Republican operatives are aiming for a MacArthur victory, fearing that a tea party candidate could lose the seat to Democrats. The Democratic candidate, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, is a safe bet to win her party’s nomination, and at this point the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Howard Coble Endorses Successor in North Carolina

Coble has endorsed a candidate to replace him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. as his successor, touting the candidate’s experience and conservative credentials.

In last week’s primary, Berger and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker advanced to a July 15 runoff from a nine-candidate GOP field running to replace the longtime Republican lawmaker in the 6th District.

“It’s clear to me that Phil Berger is the right conservative for the job,” Coble, 83, said in a statement. “He has the experience, knowledge and determination to hit the ground running in Washington.” Full story

Georgia Democrat Awaits Crowded Republican Primary

Barrow shakes hands last month at a law enforcement appreciation cookout in Glennville. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GLENNVILLE, Ga. — At a law enforcement appreciation cookout last month, just within Georgia’s 12th District line, Democratic Rep. John Barrow back-slapped with the best of them as he made his way through a Republican-heavy crowd.

Barrow better be comfortable among GOP faithful, because his district is filled with them. After opting against a Senate bid last year, Barrow, a regular top target of national Republicans, is awaiting the conclusion of a GOP primary filled with candidates sure they should be able to pick off a district that President Barack Obama lost by 12 points in 2012.

And the incumbent is unlikely to find out his Republican opponent on Tuesday — two from the five-candidate primary field are expected to be forced into a July runoff, with no candidate likely to surpass the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright. This is the only district in the state that has the chance to flip party control.

In a mid-April interview outside a pond house with more than 1,000 potential voters filling the sprawling lawn and munching on barbecue, CQ Roll Call asked Barrow if a Democrat could win a Senate race in Georgia. His answer delved into his own race and explained how he’s held on for five terms in such a challenging district.

“If you reflect the kind of values that our parents did and are prepared to stand up for those kinds of issues, and vote for what’s in the best interests of the state and the district you represent,” Barrow said, “there’s no reason why someone can’t win no matter what brand that they run under.” Full story

May 14, 2014

For Democrats, It’s Déjà Vu in California’s 31st District

Democrats may have reason for concern about a replay from 2012, when the party fumbled a sure pickup opportunity in Southern California thanks to the state’s new top-two primary.

According to a poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call, former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca, who has raised little money and is not backed by the national party, is gaining on the two Democratic front-runners in the 31st District open-seat race. With a 5-point rise since last month, Baca is now tied for third with attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, behind Republican businessman Paul Chabot and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, who is backed by the DCCC.

Chabot led the primary field among likely voters with 23 percent, followed by Aguilar with 15 percent, and Reyes and Baca with 13 percent apiece. Should the three top Democrats splinter the vote nearly evenly in the primary, there is a possibility one of the other Republicans finishes second — again.

“This dynamic leaves the door open for a scenario in which two Republicans clear the primary and Democrats are shut out of the general election, as they were in 2012,” pollsters for California-based Tulchin Research wrote in a memo.

The pollsters found Baca was unlikely to finish in the top two, but “this development has further diluted the Democratic vote…”

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U.S. Chamber Endorses Kerry Bentivolio’s GOP Challenger

Bentivolio is considered one of the cycle's most vulnerable candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed attorney David Trott in his Republican primary challenge to freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan’s 11th District.

Bentivolio is one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle. Many on Capitol Hill refer to him as an “accidental congressman” because he came to Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s 2012 ballot implosion.

“On behalf of the U.S. Chamber, I am proud to support Dave Trott for Congress,” said Rob Engstrom, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and national political director. “Dave has a strong record of creating jobs and promoting the principles of free enterprise and leadership in the private sector.”

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Pennsylvania Primary: Clinton Does TV Ad for Margolies

Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies’ latest ad in her comeback bid in Pennsylvania features former President Bill Clinton touting her accomplishments on camera, a potentially game-changing spot less than one week from the Keystone State’s primary.

“I’m not coming here saying vote for her because 20 years ago she saved the economy,” Clinton says of Margolies in the 30-second ad, referring to her vote in 1993 that saved Clinton’s budget and ultimately cost the Democrat her seat in Congress. “She’ll take initiative, she’ll do things and stand up when she needs to stand up and cooperate when we need cooperation.”

Margolies, who is former first daughter Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, is looking to retake control of the race from her biggest opponent in the primary: state Rep. Brendan Boyle.

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May 13, 2014

Tea Party Candidate Wins Republican Nod for Capito Seat

Mooney won the Republican primary race for West Virginia's 2nd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney won the Republican nomination Tuesday night in the race to replace seven-term Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia’s 2nd District.

Capito is vacating the seat to run for the Senate. Strategists from both parties agree that this seat could be a potential Democratic pickup in the fall. The race is currently rated Leans Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Mooney carried 33 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race at approximately 9:33 p.m. Self-funding pharmacist Ken Reed led former U.S. International Trade Commissioner Charlotte Lane by about 100 votes at the time of the call. Each candidate had about 20 percent of the vote with 57 percent of precincts reporting.

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John Conyers Does Not Qualify for Primary Ballot

Conyers will not appear on the primary ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:14 p.m. | Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. failed to qualify for the Michigan 13th District primary ballot, a local county clerk ruled Tuesday.

“Seeing that I do not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality of laws and statutes, that the County Clerks are bound by, it is my determination that in accordance with the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan, the nominating petitions filed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. are insufficient to allow his name to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot,” Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said, according to Detroit affiliate WDIV. Full story

Super PAC Touts Joe Baca as ‘Reagan Fiscal Conservative’

Baca hopes to again be a member of the California delegation. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC in California backing former Rep. Joe Baca sent three mailers in the district touting Baca’s credentials for his comeback bid for a Southern California open seat.

The mailers, obtained by CQ Roll Call, tout Baca endorsements — including some who are backing multiple candidates in the race — and one even paints the Democrat as a “Reagan Fiscal Conservative.” That mail piece features a letter written and signed by Baca, alongside an image of President Ronald Reagan.

Baca is one of four Democrats running in the June 3, top-two primary, which also includes three Republicans. Democrats are heavily targeting the seat, which is open with the retirement of GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller.

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Clay Aiken Will Officially Become Democratic Nominee in North Carolina

Clay Aiken

Aiken will be the Democratic nominee for North Carolina's 2nd District. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images File Photo)

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken is set to be certified as the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2nd District, after the North Carolina State Board of Elections received the tally of all votes cast in last Tuesday’s primary.

As of May 6, Aiken led former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco by about 370 votes. After all of the votes were reported from the nine counties within the district on Tuesday, Aiken gained an additional 21 votes, leaving him with 40.86 percent to Crisco’s 39.49 percent.

That tally pushed Aiken over the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, and out of the range possible to trigger a recount.

The news comes one day after Crisco, 71, died suddenly in his home in Asheboro after a fall.

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