Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

March 24, 2014

Brian Schatz Launches First TV Ad in Hawaii Senate Primary

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz launched his first TV ad Monday in the state’s highly competitive Democratic primary for Senate.

The ad, running statewide on broadcast and cable stations, features Schatz’s family, including his wife Linda’s parents, and highlights the senator’s efforts on Social Security.

Full story

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Scott Brown Expected to Add Campaign Staff Next Week

Brown has formed an exploratory committee to run for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown has been touring New Hampshire relentlessly since announcing earlier this month he is moving toward a challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen — and his operation is now beginning to take shape.

A Republican source close to Brown said he will likely begin announcing full-time staff for his exploratory committee next week, with Andy Leach remaining senior adviser. A team of allies has helped Brown get a campaign off the ground, including Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Brown and Mitt Romney adviser who toured with Brown over the weekend.

Less than two weeks since entering the race, Brown is still ingratiating himself with the state he’s lived in since December. He’s fighting to prove his Granite State bonafides with an electorate largely aware of his representation of the Bay State in the Senate.

“Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state,” Brown told AP reporter Steve Peoples. Full story

March 20, 2014

Mark Begich Debuts TV Ad Starring Late Father in Alaska

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is launching a 60-second biographical TV ad on Thursday, highlighting his long ties to the state as Republicans attempt to tether him to Washington in his re-election race.

The first-term Democrat faces a highly competitive campaign that’s already seen attack ads fired from both sides. The new spot, his second one so far, was designed to cut through the negative ad barrage and emphasize Begich’s work for Alaska interests.

Full story

March 18, 2014

Outside Group’s Poll Shows Tightening Oklahoma Senate Primary

The special-election primary to replace resigning Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is tightening after an advertising blitz benefiting Republican state Speaker T.W. Shannon.

A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, an outside group backing Shannon, found the state speaker cutting into the early GOP primary lead of Rep. James Lankford. Lankford, who is the favorite to fill the remaining two years of Coburn’s term, led with 37 percent, followed by Shannon with 28 percent and former state Sen. Randy Brogdon with 7 percent.

A half dozen candidates are running to replace Coburn, a favorite among conservatives, who is stepping down at the end of the year. The special is following the state’s regular election schedule: If no candidate receives a majority of support in the June 24 primary, the top two finishers will face off in an Aug. 26 runoff and the winner will move on to November. Full story

March 12, 2014

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

Club for Growth PAC Backs GOP Candidate in Alaska

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

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Wednesday that it is supporting Dan Sullivan in the Republican Senate primary in Alaska.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, is one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, a top target of national Republicans.

In recent cycles, the club sometimes backed primary challengers to GOP incumbents and upstarts whom national Republicans do not always view as the best candidate for the race. But that’s not the case here.

Full story

March 7, 2014

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Paul will make time for a fundraiser for a Senate hopeful while at CPAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is headlining a fundraiser Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference for a tea-party-backed Senate candidate in North Carolina.

Greg Brannon, a physician, is one of a handful of Republicans hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is a top GOP target in her bid for a second term. Brannon has collected the endorsements of Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, though state Speaker Thom Tillis is the GOP front-runner.

Paul will follow up his mid-afternoon address at CPAC by appearing with Brannon at a McCormick & Schmick’s near where the conference is being held. Tickets to the event cost up to $500, according to the online invitation. 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

March 4, 2014

Mike Lee Backs Sasse in Nebraska Primary

Mike Lee Backs Sasse in Nebraska Primary

Nebraska candidate Ben Sasse is backed by Sen. Mike Lee (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is backing Ben Sasse for Senate in Nebraska, adding another congressional endorsement for the Midland University president in his competitive GOP primary.

Sasse is building a “diverse, conservative coalition,” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday. Along with Lee, Sasse has the support of House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, as well as outside groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth. Full story

March 3, 2014

Virginia Democrats Gather to Celebrate, Replace Moran

Virginia Democrats Gather to Celebrate, Replace Moran

Lavern Chatman was one of nearly a dozen candidates to compete in a Saturday night straw poll to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hundreds of Northern Virginia Democrats packed into a Volvo dealership outside of Washington, D.C., Saturday night to celebrate the career of longtime Rep. James P. Moran and begin the process of replacing him.

Since Moran’s January announcement that he wouldn’t seek a 13th term, at least 11 Democrats have thrown their hats into the ring. Nearly all of them appeared at the Saturday event to rub elbows with potential supporters and stake their claim to the safe Democratic seat.

Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, who hosted the festivities at his dealership in Alexandria, won the night’s straw poll decisively with 25 percent of the vote. Community activist Lavern Chatman and state Del. Patrick Hope took second and third place.

The straw poll was held as part of an annual Mardis Gras celebration to raise money for the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee. Nearly 500 people attended the event, where tickets cost $45 and up, depending on the sponsorship level.

Moran, the guest of honor, donned Mardis Gras beads and greeted attendees with a beer in hand. He predicted that the winner of the June 10 Democratic primary will likely win by the same margin Beyer did on Saturday.

“I think that anybody that gets 25 percent of the vote will win. It’ll be a plurality,” Moran told CQ Roll Call. Full story

February 26, 2014

Manchin Heading to Alaska for Begich Fundraiser

Manchin Heading to Alaska for Begich Fundraiser

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will travel to Anchorage this weekend to campaign for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska., according to multiple sources in both camps familiar with the trip.

Manchin will appear at two fundraisers at the home of former Democratic Gov. Bill Sheffield, each with a different suggested contribution level. Sources would not confirm the specific, suggested dollar amounts. The events are co-hosted by Sheffield and Wally Hickel Jr., son of former Gov. Wally Hickel.

Manchin, who has a penchant for state fairs, also will appear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2014 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (aka “Fur Rondy”), the annual 10-day festival kicking off the famous Iditarod race.

“Senator Manchin will be in Alaska to support Senator Begich because he believes he is the independent-minded Senator who always fights for Alaska and will help move our country forward,” a Manchin campaign spokesman said in an email.

Full story

Poll: Lindsey Graham Close to Avoiding Runoff

South Carolina Republican primary voters don’t think the country is on the right track, but they’re not yet blaming Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The two-term incumbent, who faces a handful of GOP primary challengers, led a Winthrop University poll released Wednesday with 45 percent of the vote. Graham needs more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 10 primary to escape a runoff, but none of Graham’s challengers made it out of single-digit support, while 35 percent remained undecided.

Graham kicked off his TV advertising campaign two weeks ago, highlighting his efforts to fight the Obama administration on health care and Benghazi.

That plays well in a state where just 3 percent of GOP primary voters said they think the country is on the right track and 90 percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. 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

February 20, 2014

Olympic Snowboarder Makes Senate Endorsement

Olympic Snowboarder Makes Senate Endorsement

Stassel, left, has endorsed Treadwell for Senate in Alaska. (Joe Scarnici via Getty Images)

In what’s likely the first congressional endorsement by an Olympian in 2014, snowboarder Ryan Stassel has left the winter games in Russia and returned home to Anchorage, where he will formally endorse Alaska Senate candidate Mead Treadwell.

In a statement released Thursday by the Republican’s campaign, the 21-year-old Stassel said he worked as a fisherman to support his dream of making the 2014 Winter Olympics and sees in Treadwell the same dedication it takes to become an Olympian. He also trumpeted the campaign’s argument that Treadwell, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, is the true Alaskan in the Republican primary. Full story

February 18, 2014

Joe Baca Apologizes for Calling Negrete McLeod a ‘Bimbo’

Joe Baca Apologizes for Calling Negrete McLeod a Bimbo

Baca has apologized for his remarks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., apologized Tuesday for calling retiring Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod a “bimbo” earlier in the day.

Reacting to the fellow California Democrat’s retirement announcement to The Hill newspaper, Baca described her as a “bimbo” and said outside interests were again spending money in a race he is running.

But in a phone call to CQ Roll Call late Tuesday afternoon, Baca, who is running for the open 31st District and struggling to raise money, backtracked.

“I wanted to apologize for the poor choice of words,” he said. “I was upset and disappointed that we have a person that’s not running again. To me [Negrete McLeod's retirement] was a disservice to the area.”

Full story

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