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February 1, 2015

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June 5, 2014

Thad Cochran Allies Revamp Message for Runoff (Video)

Thad Cochran Allies Revamp Message for Runoff (Video)

Cochran, above, heads to a runoff with McDaniel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign and supporters have held separate strategy sessions in the state capital and on Capitol Hill to decipher a plan B for the longtime GOP senator, who heads to a runoff against his primary rival, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, in three weeks.

Fundraising will be a key component for both Mississippi campaigns, whose war chests were depleted in the contentious fight that concluded with a near tie on Tuesday. Neither candidate reached the 50 percent threshold to avoid a June 24 runoff.

Beyond that, according to a source with knowledge of the campaign’s deliberations, the Cochran campaign intends to improve the retail side of its strategy in about 25 targeted counties, where — with Tuesday’s election results — it now has a starting point for voter contact.

Full story

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

Iowa Republicans Face Unpredictable Convention for Coveted House Seat

Iowa Republicans will use a convention to pick a nominee to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Latham, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In Iowa, a rare and unpredictable convention will pick the Republican nominee in one of the country’s most competitive House districts — and the results could determine whether Republicans hold the seat in 2014.

None of the six Republican candidates received the 35 percent necessary to win the nomination outright in the 3rd District. Instead, the nomination fight continues at a June 21 convention, in which hundreds of party activists select the nominee.

It’s a process that has only happened twice in 50 years. The last time was in 2002, when now-Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, won the nomination.

“Any one of them could win legitimately,” said Doug Gross, a former chief of staff to Gov. Terry E. Branstad and a 3rd District convention delegate. “Anybody who tells you they can handicap that race is smarter than anyone around or is lying — one of the two. No one knows what is actually going to happen.”

Although the convention is unpredictable, some GOP operatives in the Hawkeye State said the process gives them a second chance to avoid state Sen. Brad Zaun as their nominee. Zaun finished first with 25 percent in Tuesday’s primary, among a field of six candidates.

Full story

June 4, 2014

Wendy Greuel Concedes California House Contest

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu is poised to become the next member of Congress from Hollywood’s House seat — California’s 33rd District.

Lieu advanced to the general election Tuesday, and in November he will face a Republican opponent in a strong Democratic district.

In California’s primary, the two highest vote recipients regardless of party advance to the general election. Full story

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

Rogers backed one of his former Republican opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With two Republicans advancing to the general in California’s 25th District open-seat race, the losing Democrat conceded the race on Wednesday and backed one of his two former GOP opponents.

Podiatric surgeon Lee Rogers, the top Democrat in the race, finished third behind two Republicans, former state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight. In a Wednesday morning statement, Rogers recommended Democrats in the district back Knight — a rare endorsement from a member of an opposing party.

Rogers called Knight “an honest man with integrity” before going on to take jabs at Strickland.

“To the contrary, Tony Strickland is a politician in search of a district,” Rogers continued. “Recommending a Republican for Congress may not sit well with some in my party, but I didn’t create the rules and I care too much about our district to let it fall to a dishonest carpetbagger who is interested only in himself, like Tony Strickland.”

Full story

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Ose will face Bera, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:33 a.m., 2:15 p.m. | The race for California’s coveted 31st District remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with just 390 votes separating the second- and third-place finishers.

The results will make or break the race for Democrats, who have invested significant resources in this competitive district and named it one of their top targets of the cycle.

In California, the top two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Full story

Democrat Picks Preferred GOP Opponent in Maine (Video)

The candidate: State Sen. Emily Cain.
The member: Cain is running for the Democratic nomination in Maine’s 2nd District, an open-seat race because Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud is running for governor.
The district: Located in the northern part of the state, this district voted for President Barack Obama with 53 percent in 2012.
The candidate’s team: Jill Normington (polling), Steven Stenberg of The Strategy Group (mail), CD2 (media).

Full story

Mississippi Primary Results: Cochran, McDaniel on Track for Runoff (Updated) (Video)

Mississippi Primary Results: Cochran, McDaniel on Track for Runoff (Updated) (Video)

Chris McDaniel may be headed for a runoff in Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:54 a.m., 2:10 p.m. | One of the most contentious Republican Senate primaries of the 2014 cycle was too close to call late Tuesday night, and the Mississippi race could be extended another three weeks.

With 99.6 percent of precincts reporting, state Sen. Chris McDaniel led 49.5 percent to 48.9 percent for six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, according to The Associated Press.

If no one takes more than 50 percent of the vote, both will advance to a June 24 runoff.

In the purest example this year of the split within the GOP, Mississippi Republicans chose between the soft-spoken, influential incumbent and a 41-year-old upstart who aligned himself with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Full story

June 3, 2014

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Braley won the Democratic nod for Senate and will face Ernst. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated June 4, 1:00 a.m. and 5:12 a.m. | Joni Ernst has won the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa, boosting the GOP’s hopes of picking up this a competitive, open seat in 2014.

Ernst, a state senator, scored a decisive victory over her three major opponents, leading with 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race at 10:52 p.m. She easily surpassed the 35 percent threshold she needed to win the nomination outright and avoid a convention. Full story

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Runyan is retiring from Congress, leaving a competitive race for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:18 p.m. | Former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Jon Runyan in New Jersey, relieving Republicans of a candidate who could have lost the seat for them this fall.

MacArthur defeated that candidate, ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, carrying 60 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race. Lonegan had 40 percent, with 41 percent precincts reporting.

MacArthur will face Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in November. She ran in largely uncontested Democratic primary. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Live Coverage: Primary Night in Eight States

Live Coverage: Primary Night in Eight States

Chris McDaniel, the Republican challenging Thad Cochran for Senate, speaks with an employee of Truhitt Service Center in Union, Miss., May 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

The Roll Call Politics Team is closely following the biggest primary night of the season, with races in Alabama, California, Mississippi, Iowa, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., track live results and read detailed analysis on our live blog below:

 

Thad Cochran Runs on Incumbency, Appropriations in GOP Primary

Thad Cochran Runs on Incumbency, Appropriations in GOP Primary

Cochran greets a supporter at Windy City Grille in Hernando. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OXFORD, Miss. — Construction on Phase II of the grand Thad Cochran Research Center here on the Ole Miss campus is expected to be completed later this year, around the time the senator hopes to be re-elected to a seventh term.

Cochran’s help securing crucial federal funding for the pharmacy school’s natural products research facility is one of numerous examples of the Senate appropriator’s widely regarded ability to steer money toward his state, which has the lowest median household income in the country.

The incumbent spent the final week of an increasingly hostile race on a statewide bus tour touting his 36 years of experience in the Senate, despite the fact that his appropriations prowess — and accusations he doesn’t fight hard enough for conservative causes — is what led to the 76-year-old’s most competitive primary challenge ever, from tea-party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

“I feel comfortable knowing that I can get things done for the state to help better address our economic problems, also our national security interests,” Cochran said in an interview in Hernando, when asked about voters who may be looking for someone new. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’m situated to help influence the level of funding for a lot of government programs in the national security area that directly benefit Mississippi,” including both military installations and defense contractors. Full story

Primary Preview: 7 Things to Watch on Tuesday

Primary Preview: 7 Things to Watch on Tuesday

Cochran and his staff make their way to their bus after a tour of City Hall in Olive Branch, Miss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tuesday is the busiest primary night of 2014, with voters heading to the polls in Alabama, California, Mississippi, Iowa, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota.

It’s a big night, with the tea party’s last chance to save face in the Mississippi Republican Senate primary, a close contest in Iowa’s Republican Senate primary, plus highly competitive House races in California, New Jersey, Iowa and Alabama.

(For a full list of the contests this cycle, check out Roll Call’s handy primary calendar, or our June cheat sheet.)

After the polls close, Roll Call’s Politics Team will have a live blog of the results. In the meantime, here are seven things to watch in Tuesday’s primaries:

Full story

June 2, 2014

In Mississippi, Two Unlikely Comeback Bids to Congress

In Mississippi, Two Unlikely Comeback Bids to Congress

Taylor speaks to Greta Dees during a meeting with voters at the Walthall Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Just more than halfway into his 12-minute stump speech, former Rep. Gene Taylor answered the question hanging over his primary challenge to the Republican that defeated him in 2010.

After representing the area for 21 years as a Democrat, why switch parties?

In Mississippi, Two Unlikely Comeback Bids to Congress“I’ll make it very simple,” Taylor told a friendly crowd of a couple dozen after conducting a live interview with the local NBC affiliate. “When I first went to Congress, almost all of the southern Democrats were pro-life, almost all of them were for Second Amendment rights, almost all of them believed in a strong national defense, and almost all of them believed in a balanced budget. Over the years that changed.”

In the wake of the 2010 GOP wave, it didn’t look like either of the state’s losing Democratic congressmen would be coming back any time soon. But with last-minute candidate filings three months ago, both Taylor, who is taking on GOP Rep. Steven M. Palazzo in the 4th District as a Republican, and Travis Childers, who represented the 1st District for three years and is now running for Senate, are giving it a shot.

On Tuesday, both could learn the fates of their unlikely bids, as Taylor battles in a Republican primary and Childers watches the consequential GOP Senate primary.  Full story

June 1, 2014

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

Cheat Sheet: House and Senate Primaries in June

McDaniel is challenging Cochran in the June primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a relatively unsurprising series of primaries this month, June brings another collection of intraparty contests. More than half of the states will have selected their nominees by the end of the month.

Republicans will pick nominees in key Senate races in Mississippi, Iowa and South Dakota. Down the ballot, House primaries in several open seats will likely determine the future members of Congress from both parties.

Here is Roll Call’s comprehensive look at watch to watch in June. Bookmark this page, and check out our primary map for results from past primaries.

June 3
With primaries in eight states, this date marks the busiest night of the cycle.

Alabama: In the 6th District, seven Republicans are running in an open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus. This district is located in and around Birmingham. State Rep. Paul DeMarco is the front-runner, followed by Club for Growth-backed surgeon Chad Mathis and businessman Will Brooke. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will continue to a July 15 runoff. Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Safe Republican)

California: In this House race battleground, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Republicans will also pick a gubernatorial nominee who could have an impact down the ballot in November. Polls close at 11 p.m. EST. Here are the primaries to watch in the Golden State:

Full story

May 31, 2014

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Perry supports a candidate for Senate in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQRoll Call File Photo)

The campaign trail in Iowa this week might look a little familiar: As Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry stump around the state, former Sen. Rick Santorum’s face is plastered on the local airwaves.

The 2012 presidential primary is long gone, but a couple of the GOP’s future presidential hopefuls are using the Senate primary in the crucial nominating state to their advantage.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has backed the GOP front-runner, state Sen. Joni Ernst. Romney, who is not expected to run in 2016, has also given her his support. Meanwhile, Perry has endorsed former District Attorney Matt Whitaker. Santorum is supporting radio host Sam Clovis. A fourth candidate in the race, former energy executive Mark Jacobs, does not have any endorsements from likely presidential candidates.

The contest marks a rare opportunity for 2016 hopefuls: There hasn’t been an open-seat Senate race in the Hawkeye State in three decades. By backing a Senate candidate, presidential prospects can cement relationships with them and their staff that could be valuable next cycle — no matter if their chosen Republican wins or loses.

“The caucuses are an activist-driven process and activists put a premium on who stands with them,” said Republican radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Clovis.

“After all,” he added, “if you’re going to ask activists to stand with you, they’ll want to know if you stood with them.” Full story

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