Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

Posts in "Leans Republican"

November 12, 2014

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

How David Perdue Knew He Would Win

Perdue, center, speaks with reporters as he and his fellow newly elected GOP senators walk from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to Minority Whip John Cornyn's office in the Capitol Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The morning after he won Georgia’s open Senate seat, Republican David Perdue was asked on “Fox & Friends” how he avoided a runoff when every available poll had shown a tight race.

It was the question of the day in the Democrats’ best pickup opportunity — where millions of dollars poured in from both sides during the final month of the contest, yet the Republican emerged with an unexpectedly large 8-point victory.

His answer indicated the Perdue campaign may have been the only ones not in the dark.

“Our pollster, Chris Perkins, had it pegged all along,” the former corporate CEO and first-time candidate responded. Full story

October 20, 2014

Michelle Nunn’s Big Challenge: Breaking 50 Percent

Michelle Nunns Big Challenge: Breaking 50 Percent

Nunn is introduced by state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims at an April campaign event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The competitive open-seat Senate race in Georgia has become an unwanted liability for Republicans’ chances of winning a majority, but Democrat Michelle Nunn still has a perilous path to win a majority of the vote on Nov. 4.

National Republicans, who just spent $1.4 million more to support their nominee, say David Perdue is still ahead. But his comments about his “outsourcing” past have undoubtedly breathed new life into the Nunn campaign — and given national Democrats their best offensive opportunity.

Still, with a third-party candidate expected to take a chunk of votes, an unfavorable national climate and a small margin for error in this Republican-leaning state, Nunn has several hurdles standing in the way of her best chance for victory — winning a majority of the vote on Election Day. Perdue would be favored in a Jan. 6 runoff because turning out the vote then would be an even heavier lift for Democrats.

“The numbers are strong,” said state Rep. Stacey Abrams, who recently led a statewide voter registration drive aimed at young minorities. “It’s certainly all about turnout, which is a generic trope, but real. If we can turn out the voters, she can win in November. But we have to be prepared for any eventuality, and I think the campaign is prepared for that.” Full story

October 14, 2014

NRSC Airs First South Dakota Ad (Video)

NRSC Airs First South Dakota Ad (Video)

The race for Johnson's seat is heating up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched its first TV ad today in the newest hot race on the competitive Senate playing field, one day after national Democrats released an ad of their own.

The spot, part of the committee’s recently-announced $1 million ad buy in the state, takes aim at Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler — the two greatest challengers to Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds.

“In the race for U.S. Senate, Rick Weiland and Larry Pressler have a lot in common,” the ad’s announcer says, noting they both support the president’s health care law, “strict new gun laws” and higher energy costs. Full story

October 8, 2014

Democrat Responds to DSCC’s South Dakota Gamble

Democrat Responds to DSCCs South Dakota Gamble

Reid is the Senate majority leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will run $1 million in advertising in the South Dakota Senate race — a welcome, but not surprising development for the campaign of Democrat Rick Weiland.

A Weiland campaign senior adviser and veteran Democratic operative said he expected the move, given Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s interest in remaining in charge. Steve Jarding, a South Dakota native who helped elect future Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in 1986 and worked for four years at the DSCC, told CQ Roll Call moments after Bloomberg Politics broke the story on Wednesday that he had a feeling the national party would eventually invest there.

The DSCC did so, despite the race being seen for months as a likely Republican win and the well-known feud between Daschle and Reid, who had tried to recruit former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

“I think he’s coming in because this race is getting too close,” Jarding said he’s told people for months. “The reason I believe he’ll come in when the race gets close is, being majority leader means way, way, way, way, way more to Harry Reid than does fighting with Tom Daschle. If this is the 51st seat, Reid will be here.” Full story

May 20, 2014

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

GOP Super PAC Ad Ties Grimes to Hollywood, Obama

A super PAC supporting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is launching a TV ad on Wednesday against likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

With the state’s primaries Tuesday set to cement the general-election matchup between McConnell and Grimes, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership is immediately releasing a TV ad tying Grimes to liberals, Hollywood and President Barack Obama.

The new ad is the latest attempt by the group to define Grimes at the outset of the race. It’s already spent well more than $1 million on TV and radio ads before this latest ad, which the group announced is backed by a $575,000 expenditure and airing statewide on broadcast and cable through June 2. Full story

McConnell, Grimes Race Has Already Begun as Primary Concludes

McConnell, Grimes Race Has Already Begun as Primary Concludes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might be the headliner of the “Super Tuesday” primaries, but the Kentucky Republican’s general election has already started.

Tuesday features intriguing Republican and Democratic primaries at the House and Senate levels across six states, including a still-unpredictable Georgia GOP Senate race and an open-seat Democratic House contest in Philadelphia. In Kentucky, McConnell was once considered vulnerable to a conservative challenger, but he’s likely to easily defeat Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, a tea-party-backed, partially self-financing contender.

For McConnell, Tuesday night will serve as a test-run for the general against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and the formal kickoff to the more challenging leg of his already lengthy re-election campaign.

“Our goal was to come out of the primary stronger than we went in, and by any objective measure the McConnell campaign has exceeded that goal,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. Full story

May 8, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes Launches First TV Ad

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, launched her first TV ad of the cycle on Thursday.

The 30-second spot, backed by a six-figure buy and running statewide, highlights the Kentucky secretary of State’s efforts to improve voting procedures for the state’s overseas military servicemembers. Full story

May 6, 2014

McConnell Touts Jobs Record in Latest TV Ad

McConnell Touts Jobs Record in Latest TV Ad

McConnell is favored to win the May 20 GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a second television ad in as many weeks ahead of his GOP primary in Kentucky.

The latest statewide TV ad works to stem any damage caused by McConnell’s recent comment to the Beattyville Enterprise that bringing jobs to Kentucky his not his job. Titled “Hero,” the ad lays out specific instances where McConnell “helped save” Kentucky jobs.

Full story

April 21, 2014

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

McConnell has one month left in his primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest TV ad kicks off his closing argument for the final month of the Kentucky Republican primary and sets up his message for the start of the general election.

The positive spot, launched Monday and running for an undetermined amount of time, paints McConnell, a five-term incumbent, as “a genuine Kentucky workhorse.” It highlights his work in the Senate against the president’s health care law and “war on coal,” as well as his efforts against tax increases and on a local fishing issue.

“Mitch McConnell fights for our values, our future and our jobs,” the ad’s narrator says.

Full story

April 8, 2014

Democrats Lose Recruit for Mike Rogers Seat

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, who was in town last week meeting with senior House Democrats, announced Tuesday she will not run for Michigan’s open 8th District seat.

The decision is a blow to national Democrats’ hopes to contend in the district of Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who recently announced his retirement.

Byrum met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., members of the Michigan delegation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, among others, while on Capitol Hill last week. But she ultimately opted against running for the Republican-leaning district. Full story

April 3, 2014

Heitkamp Heads to West Virginia for Tennant Campaign

Heitkamp Heads to West Virginia for Tennant Campaign

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who pulled off one of the most unlikely upsets of the 2012 cycle, is heading to West Virginia for the next two days to help a fellow Democratic underdog.

Heitkamp will headline three fundraisers in Morgantown and Charleston on Friday and Saturday for West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat trying to hold one of the party’s most vulnerable open seats. The freshman senator will also join Tennant in meetings with young Democrats and state energy leaders, according to the campaign.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Heitkamp said she sees similarities between her own race against Rep. Rick Berg and Tennant’s uphill bid against GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, starting with the voters in both states wanting to know and see their representatives.

“It is very personal, it is very retail. That’s really how I won,” Heitkamp said. “I just got out there and met as many people as I could meet. I told them I was for North Dakota, first and foremost, and it’s always the way it’s going to be. I think it’s how I governed or legislated since I’ve been here, and I think that’s a very strong similarity between West Virginia and North Dakota politics.” Full story

March 6, 2014

McConnell Dodges Criticism From Both Sides With Vote on Gillibrand Bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made what appeared to be a politically savvy move Thursday, voting to advance a measure from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to remove the prosecution of serious crime, including sexual assault, from the military chain of command.

McConnell was one of 11 Republicans to vote to break a filibuster of the bill, which had the support of conservative firebrands Rand Paul, also of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz. Though the measure failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to proceed, McConnell’s vote could potentially inoculate him from attacks on both his left and right flank.

McConnell, who has the endorsement of Paul, has been careful this Congress especially to vote with the junior senator on as many measures as possible. The veteran Kentucky lawmaker is facing a challenge from conservative Matt Bevin, who likely would have attacked McConnell for breaking with Paul and Cruz.

Full story

February 25, 2014

McConnell Says Bill Clinton Is His Electoral Rabbit’s Foot

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that former President Bill Clinton can stump in Kentucky whenever he wants, characterizing the Democratic icon as his election good-luck charm.

Clinton campaigned in Louisville earlier Tuesday for McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has put the Republican-leaning state in play for Democrats. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, is a longtime Democratic operative and ally of the powerful Clinton family.

McConnell, who faces opposition from Grimes on his left and tea-party-backed Matt Bevin on his right, seemed unfazed by the political activity at home.

“I welcome him back,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.

“The last time he ran in 1996 he eked out a narrow victory in Kentucky, while I beat the current governor by 160,000 votes, 10 points,” McConnell said. “In 2008, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came to town, including the day before the election, and I won by 100,000 votes. So I welcome President Clinton back to Kentucky. Every time he’s come its been really good for me.”

Full story

February 24, 2014

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnell’s Coal Efforts

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnells Coal Efforts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican primary challenger in Kentucky hammer each other over the airwaves, a nonprofit group has launched another spot highlighting McConnell’s efforts to oppose the Obama administration.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)4, released Monday a 60-second radio touting McConnell’s Saving Coal Jobs Act. The ad is backed by a $75,000 buy.

“Senator Mitch McConnell is fighting to save Kentucky jobs from Barack Obama’s job killing regulations, which have already cost us thousands of jobs and put families and communities at risk,” said Scott Jennings, a senior adviser to the group. Full story

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