Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Primaries"

May 23, 2014

Judge Orders Conyers on Primary Ballot (Updated)

Judge Orders Conyers on Primary Ballot (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:47 p.m. | A federal judge has ruled that 25-term Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. shall appear on his party’s Aug. 5 primary ballot.

A U.S. district judge in the Eastern District of Michigan decided Friday to grant an injunction ordering the state to put him on the ballot.

Earlier Friday, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had ruled the longtime lawmaker ineligible, according to The Detroit News.

“As Secretary Johnson implicitly acknowledged in her ruling today, if the signatures excluded pursuant to the Registration Statute may not be excluded from Mr. Conyers’ total — and this Court holds that they may not be — then Mr. Conyers has enough signatures to qualify for placement on the ballot,” Judge Matthew F. Leitman wrote. “He shall be placed on the ballot.” (The full opinion is here.)

Leitman was nominated to the federal bench last year by President Barack Obama. He was confirmed in March 2014.

A local county clerk had previously decided Conyers, 85, was ineligible. The secretary of State decision on Friday was the result of a Conyers campaign appeal.

But the Conyers campaign had also appealed to federal court on the constitutionality of the state’s law requiring campaigns’ petition circulators be registered voters. That’s what tripped up the longtime lawmaker’s bid. Full story

Gwyneth Paltrow, Mr. Spock Pick Sides in Beverly Hills House Race

The old slogan for MGM during the 1940s was that the studio had “more stars than there are in the heavens.”

The same could be said of the fresh fundraising reports from the upcoming primary in California’s 33rd District — which covers Beverly Hills and Malibu. Dozens of Hollywood stars and executives donated during the past six weeks in this race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

There are at least six serious candidates running for the seat, and all filed pre-primary reports by Thursday’s deadline. These are the final comprehensive campaign financial reports ahead of the June 3 primary. The top-two finishers will proceed to the general election.

These reports reflect spending and fundraising from April 1 to May 14. Stars crowded the race’s first quarter reports as well.

Here is a rundown of 33rd District reports and other high profile June 3 House races: Full story

May 22, 2014

Another McDaniel Supporter Arrested in Connection to Photographs of Cochran’s Wife (Video)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel weighed in Thursday on the illegal photographing of Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife, now that multiple McDaniel supporters have been arrested in connection to the incident.

Mark Mayfield, the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, was arrested Thursday along with Richard Sager, The Clarion-Ledger reported. Last week, blogger Clayton Kelly was arrested after allegedly posting online images of Rose Cochran, who suffers from dementia, that were taken at the nursing home where she lives.

The connections to the McDaniel campaign has raised some issues for the challenger since Kelly’s arrest was first reported over the weekend. The Clarion-Ledger has a photograph of McDaniel with a group of volunteers, including Mayfield, and Kelly had written about his support for McDaniel on his blog.

Still, McDaniel continues to deny any connection to the alleged crimes.

Full story

Challenger Spends $2.6 Million to Unseat Fellow Democrat

California congressional contender Ro Khanna has already spent more than $2.6 million in his challenge to Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda, according to a pre-primary report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.

The Democrat’s spending ahead of the June 3 top-two primary left him with just more than $1 million in cash on hand for the general. In California, the two top vote recipients advance to the general regardless of party, and Honda and Khanna are both expected to move on in the 17th District.

Khanna’s spending is more than double the $1.1 million Honda spent for the election cycle to date, according to reports filed with the FEC. Honda slightly outraised Khanna in the April 1 to May 14 pre-primary period, as Honda raised $182,000 and Khanna brought in $141,000.

Full story

Club for Growth Endorses in Two Georgia Runoffs

The Club for Growth endorsed two House candidates facing primary runoffs in Georgia Thursday, two days after the Peach State primaries.

The club endorsed former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk in Georgia’s 11th District and surgeon Bob Johnson in Georgia’s 1st District.

Loudermilk, who has the support of a number of different tea party organizations, faces former Rep. Bob Barr in the July 22 GOP primary runoff to replace Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, who lost a GOP Senate primary in Georgia. Johnson faces state Sen. Buddy Carter in a runoff in the race to replace GOP Rep. Jack Kingston, who advanced to a runoff of his own in the Republican Senate primary.

The club’s financial might could help push Loudermilk and Johnson over the finish line in July in these contests, which have thus far been marked by low fundraising.

Full story

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Rep. Steve Israel pushed back Wednesday on House Republicans’ newly revealed ambitious goals for the midterms, but what amounts to victory for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman remains unclear.

On Tuesday, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, underscored the GOP’s offensive position this cycle by announcing it aims to expand the party’s House majority by 12 seats in November. A day later, Israel fired back, making public a massive DCCC polling project that promised to address the party’s turnout concerns.

The reality facing Democrats in this challenging midterm cycle is that any loss of seats will make it that much taller of a climb for the majority in a potentially favorable 2016 and beyond — while possibly even putting the party back where it started in the wake of the 2010 Republican wave.

“Let’s talk as we get deeper into the cycle,” Israel said Wednesday at a briefing with reporters. “I still believe it’s too early to say what a victory is.”

“Greg Walden can spend all his time looking into a crystal ball,” he added. “I’m spending all my time looking at polling data.” Full story

May 21, 2014

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Harkin's seat is an attractive pickup opportunity for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With less than two weeks until Iowa’s congressional primaries, it’s still unclear whether a Republican Senate candidate can clear the 35 percent vote threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

In an attractive pickup opportunity for national Republicans, there are four major candidates seeking the nomination for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The leading contenders are state Sen. Joni Ernst, who has the tacit support of the governor and earned national attention with an ad about castrating hogs, and Mark Jacobs, a self-funding former energy executive. Radio host Sam Clovis and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker round out the top four.

A recent poll found Ernst with 31 percent support — in the lead and within striking distance of the nomination. But Jacobs, who outspent Ernst by more than 5 to 1 through March, has dominated his opponents on the airwaves, and a potential late surge by Clovis could spread the vote around and force the nomination process to a convention, where anything can happen.

“I think either Ernst or Jacobs will get to 35 percent,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and editor-in-chief of The Iowa Republican politics blog. But, he continued, “Clovis has plenty of room to grow” and can improve his standing if he is more “aggressive in drawing distinctions between himself and the other candidates” and seizing the “social conservative mantle.” Full story

CBC Members Rally Behind New Jersey House Candidate

Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn and 20 other Democratic members are headlining a fundraiser Wednesday for a candidate running in a competitive primary to succeed retiring Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J.

The Capitol Hill cocktail reception will benefit the campaign of New Jersey state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. The Democrats listed on the invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call are mostly Congressional Black Caucus members, including Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J., and CBC Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio.

Two weeks out from the 12th District primary, Coleman is in a dead heat against state Sen. Linda Greenstein, according to a newly-released Monmouth University poll. Two other candidates, state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and physicist Andrew Zwicker, lagged far behind. Full story

Simpson Overwhelms Tea Party Rival in Idaho Primary

Simpson Overwhelms Tea Party Rival in Idaho Primary

Simpson was re-nominated Tuesday and is now favored to win a ninth term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A fierce tea-party-backed primary challenge in Idaho came up short Tuesday, as Republican Rep. Mike Simpson won his party’s nomination and is headed for a ninth term.

With a little help from his friends, Simpson, an appropriator and one of the most targeted GOP incumbents of the cycle, brushed back an effort to oust him by the Club for Growth, which supported attorney Bryan Smith.

Simpson led 63 percent to 37 percent when the Associated Press called the race with 36 percent of precincts reporting. Full story

Monica Wehby Wins GOP Senate Primary in Oregon

Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby clinched the Republican Senate nomination in Oregon on Tuesday, beating out state Rep. Jason Conger.

Wehby will now face Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley — who handily won his primary — in an uphill race for Republicans. She led Conger 55 percent to 32 percent when the Associated Press called the race with 52 percent of precincts reporting.

Merkley is running his first Senate re-election race after unseating Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in 2008.

The blue-state seat has not been a top target for national Republicans, who must pick up a net six seats to regain the Senate majority. But Wehby’s resume as a physician and strong first TV ad have Republicans optimistic they can expand the playing field into Oregon. Full story

May 20, 2014

Perdue, Kingston Head to Runoff in Georgia GOP Senate Primary

Perdue, Kingston Head to Runoff in Georgia GOP Senate Primary

Kingston, middle, and Perdue, far right, advanced to the runoff on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston advanced Tuesday to the runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia.

Perdue and Kingston were the top vote-getters, beating out former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun.

Perdue led with 30 percent when The Associated Press called the race with 87 percent of precincts reporting. As expected, he was unable to secure the 50 percent of the vote necessary to win the nomination outright. Kingston finished second with 26 percent, edging out Handel, who had 22 percent. Full story

Georgia Primary Results: Rick Allen Wins Primary to Face Barrow (Updated)

Georgia Primary Results: Rick Allen Wins Primary to Face Barrow (Updated)

Rick Allen won the primary and will face Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:19 a.m. | Construction company owner Rick Allen avoided a GOP primary runoff in Georgia’s 12th District and now moves on to face Democratic Rep. John Barrow in November.

Allen defeated his next closest primary opponent, businessman Eugene Yu, 54 percent to 16 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The five-candidate GOP primary in this district was expected to head to a runoff — triggered when no candidate garners at least 50 percent. That scenario would have benefited Barrow, a top target of national Republicans, as Republicans would have faced nine more weeks of not focusing time and money on defeating the incumbent.

Full story

Arkansas Primary Results: French Hill, Bruce Westerman Win GOP Primaries

Arkansas Primary Results: French Hill, Bruce Westerman Win GOP Primaries

Pryor didn't have to wait to learn his GOP challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two Republican primaries in Arkansas on Tuesday finalized the makeup of potentially competitive House races this fall.

National Democrats, who have lost several seats in Arkansas over the last couple of cycles, are targeting Arkansas’ 2nd and 4th districts. With their own nominees already in hand, Democrats now know which Republicans will be vying to keep the open seats in GOP hands.

Both races will run under the umbrella of competitive statewide races for governor and Senate. The latter will feature Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who both avoided primary challenges.

Full story

Pennsylvania Primary Results: Margolies Fails in Comeback Bid (Updated)

Updated 12:01 a.m. | State Rep. Brendan Boyle easily defeated three other Democrats Tuesday night, including former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, to win an open-seat primary in Pennsylvania’s 13th District.

Boyle defeated Margolies, his next closest primary opponent, 41 percent to 27 percent, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. The Democratic primary is tantamount to the general election in this district, which President Barack Obama carried with 66 percent in 2012. Full story

McConnell Wins Primary, Will Face Grimes (Updated)

McConnell Wins Primary, Will Face Grimes (Updated)

McConnell won his primary handily on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:21 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated his tea party-backed primary rival Tuesday, putting the Republican lawmaker one step closer to winning a sixth term in Kentucky.

McConnell led with 62 percent to 33 percent for Louisville businessman Matt Bevin when The Associated Press called the race with just 7 percent of precincts reporting.

The primary served as the formal kickoff to what’s expected to be a highly competitive general-election race with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of State, who also won her primary by a wide margin. In one of Democrats’ two pickup opportunities in 2014, recent polls have found the race neck-and-neck. Full story

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