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October 22, 2014

Posts in "Race Ratings"

August 26, 2014

Democrat Describes Race as Party’s Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Democrat Describes Race as Partys Best Pickup Opportunity (Video)

Aguilar, Democratic candidate for California's 31st District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar called his bid for California’s 31st District the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a Republican seat in the midterms.

“It is the most Democratic seat held by a Republican in the nation,” Aguilar told CQ Roll Call in a July 16 interview. “And the Republican decided to retire. So this is a great opportunity, Democrats’ best opportunity for a pickup.” Full story

August 24, 2014

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

Gallego speaks to Arizona primary volunteers before they canvass. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHOENIX — It’s a dry 108-degree heat this August afternoon, and Tony Valdovinos only prays it gets hotter. The curly-haired field director for Ruben Gallego, a Democrat running in the open House race here, has his reasons.

“We know when it’s hot, we’re the only ones out there,” says Valdovinos, slighting the opposition’s turnout operation as he drives through a wide boulevard en route to an early evening canvass.

Temps and Tensions Max Out in Arizona Primary

In Arizona’s 7th District, a generational party brawl has consumed urban Latino politics, pitting a longtime local pol, former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, against Gallego, a former two-term state representative three decades her junior.

The decisive Democratic primary for retiring Rep. Ed Pastor’s seat is Tuesday, but the race has been culminating for weeks thanks to Arizona’s burgeoning permanent early voter list. In the Valley of the Sun’s prohibitively expensive media market, the victor will be decided by direct mail and, most importantly, a month-long get-out-the-vote push in the late summer heat.

In the weeks leading up to the primary, Gallego’s team expressed more confidence they will prevail. They’re probably right: A high-tech ground game has served him well, even in some of the southwest’s oldest barrios.

Full story

August 22, 2014

With No Recount in Wisconsin Primary, Grothman Becomes GOP Nominee

After a week and a half of uncertainty, the Republican nominee to represent Wisconsin’s 6th District will be state Sen. Glenn Grothman.

The Associated Press originally declared Grothman the winner of the GOP primary last week but then rescinded its call after additional votes came in and rendered the race too close to call.

After the 11 counties in the district verified their vote counts Wednesday, Grothman maintained his lead by 219 votes, or 0.47 percent, but it was unclear whether the second place finisher, state Sen. Joe Leibham, would call for a recount. Full story

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizona’s 7th District (Video)

Mary Rose Wilcox Vies for Arizonas 7th District (Video)

Wilcox, D-Ariz., candidate for Congress from Arizona's 7th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a Democrat, hopes her community ties and political experience will boost her to victory in Tuesday’s primary in Arizona’s 7th District.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call in Washington, D.C., Wilcox laid out what she believes will be a winning strategy for the primary.

“We’re targeting, we’re making sure that we’re getting the voters out,” said Wilcox in late July. “I know my community. My community has shared with me many of their concerns, and so the message is one that is resonating. And that’s how we win.” Full story

August 19, 2014

Peterson’s Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

Petersons Greatest Challenge Yet, but GOP Still Looks to 2016

(Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats think Rep. Collin C. Peterson is nearly unbeatable in the 7th District. For the first time in more than a decade, that theory is about to be put to the test.

Peterson is one of just a handful of House Democrats representing a decidedly Republican district, but he has won re-election even in GOP wave years. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the conservative, rural district by 10 points as the Democratic lawmaker won his race by a 25-point margin.

This year, Peterson faces his most formidable challenger in several cycles. Though the Democrat remains the front-runner, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom brings a compelling life story as the first blind member of the legislature, and more political experience than any of Peterson’s recent opponents.

“We’re paying attention,” Peterson told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview. “We’ve never been targeted before, so we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

Minnesota Republicans and Democrats agree on one point, at least: Westrom has a good shot at ending up in Congress.

It’s just not clear when.

Full story

August 18, 2014

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to Victory

McSally is running for Congress in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Operatives couldn’t make up a better candidate résumé if they tried: retired Air Force Colonel, first in her class at the U.S. Air War College, the first female fighter pilot in combat who flies the very plane — an A-10 Warthog — that’s economically essential to the 2nd District.

At a time when Republicans wrangle with messaging to female voters, this 48-year-old’s spunk and articulate bite is made for television — and unlike anything the House GOP Conference has seen in a while.

Martha McSally Tries to Fly to VictoryBut can Martha McSally finally win this House seat on her third try, and, more pressing for this Friday evening, can the Republican spell “logomachy”?

“L-O-G-O-M-A-C-H-Y,” McSally enunciates to the judges, who nod in approval at a spelling bee fundraiser just off the Old Pueblo’s newly booming downtown strip. It means an argument about words — something of which there’s plenty in her race.

After nearly a dozen rounds, the competition has dwindled from 15 local celebrities and the judges have to regroup because they’ve run out of pre-selected words to challenge the two finalists. McSally is one of them, and when it’s her turn, she walks into the single spotlight on stage and tries to spell “sayonara.”

She blows it. Full story

August 15, 2014

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican Senate Candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst told TIME Friday that she was sexually harassed in the military. Separating herself from many of her fellow Republicans, Ernst also said she would support taking sexual assault cases out of the military chain of command.

Ernst, a 20-year veteran, said in the interview with TIME that there are situations when soldiers may be hesitant to report sexual harassment.

“I had comments, passes, things like that,” Ernst said. “These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don’t stop and they may be afraid to report it.”

After reports of high levels of sexual assault in the military, lawmakers worked to address the issue last spring. A main point of contention was whether such cases should be handled by military officers. Full story

August 13, 2014

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

The winner of the Wisconsin primary will succeed Petri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:40 a.m. | State Sen. Glenn Grothman has won the GOP  primary by a slim margin in the only open House district in Wisconsin.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the 6th district primary race for Grothman, who garnered 36.2 percent of the vote in the four-way contest to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Tom Petri.

State Sen. Joe Leibham trails Grothman with 35.8 percent — or by 215 votes.

Full story

August 12, 2014

In Iowa Senate Race, It’s Personality Versus Policy

In Iowa Senate Race, Its Personality Versus Policy

Ernst embraces a young supporter at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Joni Ernst is a hugger.

At the Iowa State Fair, the GOP’s nominee to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is hugging people she knows, people she’s meeting for the first time, and people who are excited to see her. On Friday, Ernst stops to hug and chat up someone else while Iowa’s three most senior Republican state officials — Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey — wait for her at a podium 10 feet away.

In Iowa Senate Race, Its Personality Versus PolicyErnst’s strong suit as a Senate candidate is that people seem to want to hug her back.

“Joni, we love you, honey! Keep up the good work!” shouts a man as she walks the fair with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.

Six months ago, Ernst was a second-tier candidate with little money in a four-way Republican primary. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley had cleared the field, raised money, and seemed likely to keep the seat in his party’s hands.

Then, Ernst made a splashy ad about castrating hogs and a video emerged of Braley derisively referring to Grassley as just “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Suddenly, Ernst was a contender, and Braley was back on his heels, trying to apologize to the state’s beloved senior senator.

Ernst rode that momentum to a resounding primary victory two months later, and since then, the race has been counted among the most competitive of the cycle. Ernst could well be Iowa’s first female senator if the Hawkeye State voters prefer her farm girl charm over Braley’s record in Congress.

It’s why walking the fair with Braley and Ernst is like experiencing night and day.

Full story

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle

Sinema greets voters at Giant Coffee in Phoenix. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHOENIX — Once known for her progressive politics, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has coasted to the center in her first re-election.

The freshman bills herself as bipartisan, and now party operatives — even Republicans, privately — view her as the safest of the state’s three vulnerable Democrats. But that’s also because she’s lucky: A brutal Republican primary is bound to leave her future foe broke and bruised 10 weeks before Election Day.

Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the MiddleOn the campaign trail, Sinema stresses her work across the aisle. It’s a political necessity for a member who represents a district President Barack Obama won by just four points.

“I’m working to make it cool to compromise in Congress,” Sinema tells 30 mostly baby boomers at a Thursday lunch with the Phoenix West Rotary Club. “I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, but I’m working on it.”

Sinema started her elected career nearly a decade ago at the state House, 10 miles away from this Sheraton conference room.

Some of her first political experience came working for Ralph Nader’s spoiler 2000 presidential bid. She tried her own third party attempt in a losing race for the state House as an independent affiliated with the Green Party two years later. She finally won the seat as a Democrat in 2004. Full story

August 11, 2014

Cantor Spokeswoman Joins Georgia Senate Campaign

Cantor Spokeswoman Joins Georgia Senate Campaign

Whittemore, front, is joining Perdue's campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The press secretary to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is heading to the South to help Republicans retain one of their two most endangered Senate seats.

Megan Whittemore told reporters in an email Monday that beginning later this week, she will be communications director for David Perdue’s campaign in Georgia.

Whittemore’s exit comes as Cantor is set to resign from Congress, effective Aug. 18. The Virginia Republican’s descent from leadership and early exit followed his stunning June 10 primary defeat — and Whittemore was one of several top Cantor staffers identified as likely attractive candidates for new jobs.

Full story

Wisconsin GOP Primary Is Wide Open

Wisconsin GOP Primary Is Wide Open

There is a Wisconsin primary to succeed Petri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four candidates are vying for the GOP nomination in Wisconsin’s only open House district, with no clear front-runner in the Tuesday primary.

In the race to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Tom Petri, three top Republican candidates have tried to brand themselves as the most conservative contender in the 6th District: state Sen. Joe Leibham, state Sen. Glenn Grothman and state Rep. Duey Stroebel.

“I think it’s going to be a tight race,” said Scott Becher, a Wisconsin GOP consultant with Red Shoes PR.

Public and private polling on the race has been scare. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as a Safe Republican contest, and whoever wins the primary on Tuesday will likely head to Congress next year. Full story

McAllister Moving Past ‘Kissing Congressman’

McAllister Moving Past Kissing Congressman

McAllister gets welcomed back home. (Margaret Frances Eldridge/CQ Roll Call)

TALLULAH, La. — Vance McAllister’s political career flatlined earlier this year, a victim of self-inflicted wounds from an embarrassing infidelity scandal.

But less than three months before the midterm elections, the Louisiana Republican has suddenly, improbably, become the man to beat this November.

McAllister, who was holding a series of businesslike, low-drama town hall meetings in small communities in the east end of his mostly rural district last week, told CQ Roll Call that both he and his constituents have moved on from the ”Kissing Congressman” scandal that erupted in April, after a video surfaced showing him embracing a married staffer.

“It’s really only the Washington media that’s keeping that going,” he said in an interview outside the community meeting room in the small farm town of Winnsboro, population 4,910.

And, at least among the business leaders, city council members, farmers and veterans who attended the question-and-answer sessions in Winnsboro and nearby Tallulah, McAllister seemed to have a point.

The congressman was asked about the border crisis, the Keystone XL pipeline, national security issues and the problems with Department of Veterans Affairs — but not a single question arose about the video.

Full story

August 10, 2014

Hawaii Primary Results: Hurricane Iselle Delays Force Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa to Wait

Hawaii Primary Results: Hurricane Iselle Delays Force Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa to Wait

Hanabusa challenged Schatz in the primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic primary between Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was too close to call early Sunday morning, and the race may not be decided for days.

Voting in two precincts on the Big Island, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Iselle, was postponed because of storm damage, KITV reported. Those Democrats will vote absentee and essentially decide the contest, though Hanabusa has some ground to make up.

Both campaigns told Civil Beat they will be heading to the Big Island before the crucial final ballots are cast.

With all but those two precincts reporting, Schatz led Hanabusa 49.4 percent to 48.6 percent — separated by just less than 1,800 votes out of some 214,000 cast. After Schatz was appointed to the seat in December 2012 following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the winner will likely prevail in November and serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term, and then undoubtedly run for a full term in 2016.

The race kicked off amid an inescapable feeling of bitterness among Inouye and Hanabusa allies, perturbed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s selection of Schatz to serve in the Senate instead of Inouye’s preferred successor, Hanabusa. It had nearly as rocky a finish, as the islands avoided a one-two punch of hurricanes that threatened to disrupt the election to a greater degree than it did.

Full story

August 8, 2014

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way

Barber gives a tour of Tucson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Rep. Ron Barber guides his Ford through the flat, four-lane paved streets, ticking off landmarks on the corners of his desert city surrounded by jagged mountains.

That’s Rincon High School, where he enrolled as a sophomore in 1959. There’s the middle school his grandson attends. As he makes a left turn, Barber points to St. Cyril of Alexandria Church, where he married his wife, Nancy, 47 years ago.

Shooting in the Rear View, Ron Barber Drives His Own Way“It was the middle of the summer, and what do you know, the air conditioner broke,” he recalled, driving by rows of adobe office parks.

On the opposite corner of the church is another Barber landmark, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office, where he worked as her district director for several years. One memory sticks out: On the night of the Affordable Care Act vote, he put out a press release and left around midnight. A couple of hours later, someone shattered the office door and window. He said they later discovered bullets inside.

It’s not the most notorious time Barber risked gunfire — not even close. At the main gate of the University of Arizona campus, the former state bureaucrat gestures up the road toward the trauma center where he was treated after a gunman killed six and injured a dozen more, including Barber and Giffords, in January 2011. Full story

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