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

Posts in "Primaries"

July 21, 2014

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Georgia Runoff: Republicans Pick Senate and House Nominees Tuesday

Kingston is running for Senate in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Republicans will pick their nominee for Senate in a runoff Tuesday, ending Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn’s nine-week wait for an opponent in the open-seat contest.

The Senate contest has reverberated around the Peach State, creating three open-seat House races with GOP runoffs that will also be decided Tuesday.

In the statewide race, many Republicans said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., has a small edge over former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue. Both of whom have spent millions on the anticipated low-turnout contest, and polls close at 7 p.m.

In May, Perdue came in first in a seven-candidate Republican primary field that included three members of Congress with 31 percent — below the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. Kingston came in second with 26 percent.

Full story

Super PAC Targets Democrat in Georgia

Super PAC Targets Democrat in Georgia

Nunn is being targeted on TV as the GOP primary concludes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Georgia Republican Senate runoff ending Tuesday, an outside group focused on eradicating wasteful government spending launched a TV ad against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.

The group, Ending Spending Action Fund, spent more than $200,000 to produce and place the ad, according to an independent expenditure report filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission. It also spent more than $28,000 on opposition research.

The 30-second ad, which is running statewide and kicked off over the weekend, was timed to run just as either Rep. Jack Kingston or former corporate CEO David Perdue wins the Republican nomination and the general election officially begins. The seat in this Republican-leaning state is one of Democrats’ only pickup opportunities. Full story

July 20, 2014

Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries

Megachurches Prove Mega Influential in GOP Primaries

Collins, left, is a Georgia Republican and former senior pastor at his church. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The influence of religious conservatives might be waning nationwide, but the movement only stands to grow in Congress.

Already this year, three candidates with close ties to massive churches won decisive Republican primaries. A fourth — Pastor Jody Hice — could win a Tuesday GOP primary runoff in Georgia and come to Congress in November.

Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.

But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.

“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Full story

July 18, 2014

Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting ‘Irregularities’

Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting Irregularities

Chris McDaniel is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel said in a Friday radio interview that he expects to find over 10,000 voting “irregularities” in his campaign’s investigation of the June GOP runoff.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was officially declared the winner of that runoff by a margin of more than 7,600 votes. But McDaniel has not conceded the GOP nomination, and his supporters are examining ballots in every county in Mississippi to determine if there was any deliberate voter fraud or if anyone voted in the runoff who was ineligible to do so.

Full story

July 17, 2014

U.S. Chamber Backs Justin Amash Primary Opponent

U.S. Chamber Backs Justin Amash Primary Opponent

Amash faces a primary opponent in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed GOP Rep. Justin Amash’s primary challenger in Michigan’s 3rd District.

The group’s support could translate into television airtime for Brian Ellis, a former East Grand Rapids School Trustee, before the Aug. 5 primary. The primary has become one of this cycle’s top battles inside the GOP, with the party’s libertarian wing backing Amash and national business interests boosting Ellis.

“The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Brian Ellis’ congressional campaign to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and National Political Director Rob Engstrom said in a Thursday statement.

Full story

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston, seen here campaigning in Glennville, Ga., this spring, is not shying away from his Washington ties ahead of the Georgia runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign is benefiting from the help of countless friends on Capitol Hill, eschewing the relentless efforts of David Perdue to paint him as a big-spending insider.

The primary runoff campaign will end next week, amid a torrent of negative advertising and after a heated debate Sunday. The nine-week overtime race between Kingston and Perdue, a former Reebok and Dollar General CEO, concludes on July 22.

Perdue once again highlighted Kingston’s 22 years in Congress in the campaign-closing TV ad he released this week. But Kingston, a veteran congressional appropriator, is hardly running from his record or his connections.

“Rarely have I seen two candidates more comfortable with their respective positions,” said Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia. “Jack is more than comfortable being the insider, trying to make the case that with his experience he can make an immediate difference. And Perdue is comfortable being the outsider, saying D.C. is broken and it’s time to send someone new.” Full story

July 16, 2014

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel is preparing to challenge the Mississippi runoff results. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorneys for state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Wednesday they have sufficient evidence to challenge the results of Mississippi’s Republican Senate runoff — which McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran last month — and expect to do so in the next 10 days.

“We’ve heard it our entire life in Mississippi,” McDaniel campaign attorney Mitch Tyner said at a press conference in Jackson. “Votes are being bought. Ballot boxes are being stuffed. … Personally, I’m 51 years old, it’s the first time I saw it up close and personal. And it exists. And we are committed to finding it and rooting it out and stopping it.”

Cochran was declared the winner of the June 24 primary runoff by a margin of 7,667 votes. McDaniel has refused to concede, and his campaign is now reviewing the voting records in all 82 counties of Mississippi. Full story

July 15, 2014

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Bachus, right, is not seeking re-election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative activist Gary Palmer defeated state Rep. Paul DeMarco Tuesday to win the GOP nomination in Alabama’s 6th District.

Palmer defeated DeMarco, 62 percent to 38 percent, with 50 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

GOP operatives say DeMarco’s loss is partly a result of the Club for Growth’s barrage of spending in the final weeks of the runoff. The GOP nominee will almost certainly succeed Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who is retiring from this conservative district.

Full story

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

Coble endorsed Berger to succeed him in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baptist Pastor Mark Walker defeated Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s open 6th District.

Walker garnered 57 percent to Berger’s 43 percent, with 59 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 6th District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Howard Coble is retiring.

Full story

Voters to Pick GOP Nominees in Alabama, North Carolina Runoffs

Voters in Alabama and North Carolina head to the polls Tuesday to choose the Republican nominees in two deeply conservative House districts.

In Alabama’s 6th District, GOP voters have a choice between conservative activist Gary Palmer and state Rep. Paul DeMarco. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., announced his retirement last fall, creating this open-seat race.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Paul Broun Endorses Candidate in Georgia

Paul Broun Endorses Candidate in Georgia

Jody Hice was endorsed by Paul Broun. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who lost a Senate primary in May, endorsed pastor Jody Hice in the July 22 runoff to replace him.

Broun had stayed out of the GOP primary in the 10th District until now, saying he did not want to anoint a successor. But in a Monday radio interview in Georgia, Broun said recent events pushed him to support Hice over businessman Mike Collins in the July 22 runoff.

“Just recently Mike Collins has rejected and repudiated my simple four-way test. … Jody Hice has pledged that he is going to use that same four-way test as he evaluates legislation and Mike Collins just recently said that he rejects that test,” Broun said on Georgia’s Morning News with Zoller & Bryant.

Full story

Louisiana Senate Race Has One Fewer Republican

State Rep. Paul Hollis, a Republican waging a bid in Louisiana’s competitive Senate contest, withdrew his candidacy Monday.

Hollis was running as a more conservative option to GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, as Republicans challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu. His exit provides one less hurdle for Cassidy to advance to a runoff with Landrieu, but Cassidy’s main intraparty adversary remains: Rob Maness, a Sarah Palin-backed retired Air Force colonel.

Candidates have until Aug. 22 to file the necessary paperwork for a bid. Fewer candidates in the race — no matter the party — should give Landrieu slightly better odds of avoiding a runoff.  The top-two finishers in the November jungle primary advance to a December runoff unless a candidate receives a majority of the vote. Full story

July 10, 2014

Club for Growth Gets Second Chance in Alabama Race

Club for Growth Gets Second Chance in Alabama Race

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

A six-week mulligan for the Club for Growth ends on July 15, when voters will pick a GOP nominee in Alabama’s 6th District runoff.

After the club’s preferred candidate did not advance to the runoff, it regrouped by endorsing the second-place primary finisher, conservative activist Gary Palmer. And this time, GOP operatives in the state said the club’s spending could be enough to propel Palmer to victory over his foe, state Rep. Paul DeMarco, in the race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus.

“Palmer has benefited from the Club for Growth,” said Bob Kish, a GOP operative who has worked on Alabama races. “I think it’s enough to put Gary over the top.”

July 9, 2014

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

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

Outgoing Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., has become a fixture in the GOP runoff to determine his successor in the 6th District.

Coble, 83, announced in November he would not seek another term in his Greensboro-based district. Nine Republicans vied to succeed him in a May primary, and the race culminates in a GOP runoff between Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker on July 15.

Initially, the 15-term Republican refused to take sides in the race, but he endorsed Berger after the primary. Since then, he’s become a frequent presence in the contest, appearing at Berger’s campaign events and fundraisers, making robocalls to voters on behalf of his campaign and riding in the July Fourth parade alongside the front-runner.

Coble told CQ Roll Call that he decided to endorse a potential successor after getting numerous inquiries from the press and candidates about whom he supported. Full story

July 7, 2014

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo

The McDaniel campaign is challenging the results of last month's runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s attorney confirmed Monday the campaign’s plans to challenge the results of last month’s Senate runoff, arguing the only solution is to hold a new election for the GOP nomination.

McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 24 GOP runoff by about 6,700 votes. Since then, McDaniel’s allies have contested the results and his team offered a cash prize for anyone who can provide evidence of voter fraud.

“The correct remedy is a new election,” said Mitch Tyner, lead counsel for the McDaniel campaign. He added campaign volunteers have reviewed runoff results in 82 counties and have found evidence of voter fraud.

Full story

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