Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Posts in "Tossup"

March 1, 2013

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Colorado: Bennet Backs Former Primary Foe for House

Bennet endorsed Romanoff, who is running for the 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., on Friday endorsed his one-time primary opponent, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, in his campaign for Colorado’s 6th District.

“Andrew Romanoff has a long record of fighting for Coloradans and a commitment to empowering our next generation with greater opportunity,” Bennet, who is now the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

In 2010, Romanoff displeased many party officials when he challenged Bennet, then an appointed senator.  The primary quickly turned bitter, lasted late into the summer and even pitted former President Bill Clinton against national Democrats. Bennet defeated Romanoff by fewer than 10 points and went on to win a full senate term in November.

What a difference three years makes. Now Democratic Party leaders, including Bennet, are lining up behind Romanoff for what’s expected to be one of the most competitive House races.

Full story

February 27, 2013

North Carolina: Hagan Challenger Kicks Off Campaign

North Carolina: Hagan Challenger Kicks Off Campaign

Hagan has a new challenger in her 2014 re-election bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Greg Brannon, an obstetrician and tea party supporter in North Carolina, kicked off his Senate campaign Wednesday with a two-day tour of the state.

Brannon is the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is running her first re-election campaign since knocking out then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

Hagan is one of the most vulnerable incumbents this cycle, running in a state that President Barack Obama lost in 2012.  CQ Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup. Full story

February 25, 2013

West Virginia: McKinley Opts Not to Run Against Capito

West Virginia: McKinley Opts Not to Run Against Capito

McKinley will not run for Senate in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. David B. McKinley finally declared what most West Virginia Republicans anticipated — that he would not run against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the state’s GOP Senate nomination.

“We were tempted by the devil,” McKinley told the Charleston Daily Mail editorial board Feb. 22. “I finally said no, this is Shelley. I went to Shelley and said, ‘Have I been tempted? Yeah. But I’m going to back you.’”

Only days before, former Democratic Sen. Carte P. Goodwin told West Virginia Metro-News that he, too, would sit out the Senate race.

Capito is the only organized Republican contender at this time. Democrats considering runs include businessman Ralph Baxter, state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, Rep. Nick J. Rahall II and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

CQ Roll Call rates the open-seat race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller as a Tossup.

February 4, 2013

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Alaska: Begich Raised $336K in 4th Quarter

Begich has almost $1 million in cash on hand for the start of the campaign cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $300,000 in the fourth quarter, giving him almost $1 million in cash on hand to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign cycle.

Begich is one of six Senate Democrats seeking re-election in a state the president lost last year, making him one of his party’s most vulnerable members of the cycle. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Several Republicans are taking serious looks at challenging him in 2014. Potential GOP opponents include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who said in December that he formed an exploratory committee for the race, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller.

Full story

January 15, 2013

West Virginia: Caperton Says He Is Not Interested in Senate Seat

Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton indicated Monday that he would not run for Senate next year in an interview with the local radio outlet MetroNews.

“I think I had a great eight years as governor, and I think that’s probably where my political career began and will probably end,” the 72-year-old Democrat said. Caperton served as governor from 1989 to 1997.

The list of candidates interested has been steadily expanding since Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement on Jan. 11. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced her campaign for the seat in late November.

Among the well-known Democrats mulling the race are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis and former state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Callaghan.

January 11, 2013

West Virginia: Rockefeller to Retire in 2014

West Virginia: Rockefeller to Retire in 2014

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:37 a.m. | West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will retire at the end of his term in 2014. The 75-year-old senator made the announcement Friday morning in Charleston.

“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family,” Rockefeller said, according to a statement released by his office.

The five-term senator’s retirement immediately puts his seat in jeopardy. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy for the seat in November.

Among the Democrats mentioned as possible candidates are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis. Full story

December 11, 2012

GOP Outside Group Makes Issue Ad Buy on Fiscal Cliff

The GOP-aligned American Action Network has launched an online advertising campaign urging Beltway policy insiders to support congressional Republicans during the fiscal cliff debate.

The online digital campaign includes Web videos and search, mobile and display ads. The money behind the buy is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The group’s newest Web video features economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who is associated with AAN’s sister organization, American Action Forum.

Holtz-Eakin is a former Congressional Budget Office director and was a top domestic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Updated 11:29 a.m. | Crossroads GPS is making an effort on this front as well, with a $240,000 local radio ad buy targeting five Democratic senators who are in races Roll Call rates as Tossups.

Those radio spots are airing in target=”_blank”>Alaska, targeting Sen. Mark Begich; target=”_blank”>Louisiana, targeting Sen. Mary L. Landrieu; target=”_blank”>North Carolina, targeting Sen. Kay Hagan; target=”_blank”>South Dakota, targeting Sen. Tim Johnson and West Virginia, targeting Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

December 3, 2012

Alaska: Treadwell One Step Closer to Senate Bid

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said at a GOP luncheon in Fairbanks on Friday that he is forming a Senate exploratory committee as he considers whether to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in 2014, The Associated Press reported.

CQ Roll Call previously reported that Treadwell had begun making calls to line up support for a likely Senate bid. He’s one of many Republicans looking to challenge Begich in the solidly Republican state, and the field is only beginning to take shape.

Begich was first elected in 2008, defeating Republican incumbent Ted Stevens one week after Stevens was found guilty of corruption charges in federal court. That ruling was thrown out five months later. Begich, then the mayor of Anchorage, won by less than 4,000 votes.

Treadwell, who in 2001 was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Arctic Research Commission, was elected lieutenant governor in 2010.

November 29, 2012

South Dakota: Club for Growth ‘Not Focused’ on Rounds

The conservative Club for Growth is taking a hands-off approach to former Gov. Michael Rounds’ Senate bid — at least for now.

“We are not focused on South Dakota’s Senate race at this time, and we do not feel the need to comment on every candidate that announces for office,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the group, in response to an email inquiry from Roll Call. “We will continue to watch every race and go through our normal evaluation process.”

That’s good news for Rounds, a Republican who announced his bid against Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Thursday morning. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Full story

South Dakota: Johnson Promises ‘Winning Campaign’ Against Rounds

South Dakota: Johnson Promises Winning Campaign Against Rounds

Johnson said he will make a formal announcement regarding his re-election later next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said he will make a “formal announcement later next year” about his re-election in a carefully worded statement from his office released Thursday morning.

“As in past campaigns, I will make my formal announcement later next year,” he said. “But I feel great, still have work to do, and I fully intend to put together a winning campaign in the weeks and months ahead.”

Former Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican, announced Thursday that he’s jumping into the Senate race.His candidacy immediately makes the race competitive, and Roll Call rates it as a Tossup.

“I am here today to ask the people of South Dakota for their support and to allow me to work for them as their United States Senator in 2014,” Rounds said in a statement.

Full story

November 28, 2012

Inside the 2014 Senate Races

Inside the 2014 Senate Races
Roll Call’s initial Senate ratings outlook projects a potentially bullish cycle for Republicans, with an opportunity to recapture the majority for the first time in eight years.

But that’s exactly how things looked two years before the 2012 elections, when Democrats surprised many with victories in Missouri and North Dakota on their way to picking up two seats. So the challenge for the GOP and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas is to capitalize on their opportunities.

That and how voters feel about President Barack Obama in 2014 could determine how the parties fare at the ballot box less than two years from now. Democrats won their current majority in 2006, in the second midterm election under President George W. Bush.

Republicans are hoping Obama’s second midterm is similarly kind to them, if not equal to the president’s 2010 midterm shellacking, when the GOP won seven seats (and control of the House) despite beginning the cycle as the underdog.

Full story

November 7, 2012

North Dakota: This Might Take a While

Former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) held a slim lead over her opponent, Rep. Rick Berg (R), in the race for North Dakota’s open Senate seat.

Heitkamp led Berg by about 3,500 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Not so fast. Berg’s team announced early Wednesday morning that he wants to wait until the vote canvass finishes next week.

“This is a very close election, which is why North Dakota has a process in place to properly count each ballot and officially certify the result,” Berg spokesman Chris Van Guilder wrote in a press release. “This canvassing process will certify the election and provide an official result. The Berg for Senate campaign will await the results of the canvassing process before making any other announcements regarding the status of the election.”

A Heitkamp spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Nonetheless, the count might not end after the canvass. According to North Dakota election law, there’s an automatic recount if the apparent victor wins by less than 0.5 percent of his or her vote total.

It gets even more complicated. North Dakota is the only state without voter registration, so it’s ripe for legal complaints in a tight race such as this one.

Iowa: Tom Latham Defeats Leonard Boswell in Member-Vs.-Member Race

Iowa: Tom Latham Defeats Leonard Boswell in Member Vs. Member Race

Rep. Tom Latham won in the 3rd district's Member-vs.-Member race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Latham (R) defeated his colleague, Rep. Leonard Boswell (D), in their 3rd district matchup tonight.

Latham had an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent with 93 percent of precincts reporting in the southwestern Iowa district, according to the Associated Press.

A top ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Latham raised considerably more money than Boswell did. But the Democrat had a geographical advantage in this Tossup race, with more of his old district included in the new one.

Boswell’s defeat marks the first Member to lose to a colleague tonight.

In Ohio, Rep. Jim Renacci (R) leads Rep. Betty Sutton (D) in the 16th district by a slim 4-point margin, but with only 57 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has not called that race yet.

November 4, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

President Barack Obama fires up supporters at a late-night rally in northern Virginia on Saturday. Obama and MItt Romney are barnstorming swing states in the last push to turnout voters on Election Day. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.

Much of the debate in the campaign’s final hours has focused on Pennsylvania, where Romney is campaigning today and where President Bill Clinton will stump for Obama on Monday. Republicans insist their last-minute play for the Keystone State is based on polling showing it’s winnable. But Democrats charge that the move is a sign of desperation from a team whose path to 270 electoral votes is narrowing.

Later today, Romney will stop in Morrisville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia across the river from New Jersey. The Romney team sought to expand the battleground map with a late multi-million dollar investment on Pennsylvania airwaves, vastly outspending Democrats there in the last two weeks.

“It’s a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana,” Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the — the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney.  And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this — the map has expanded.” Full story

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Race Rating Changes: The Final Push

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)

Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.

First, the Senate math:

Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.

Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story

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