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November 27, 2014

Posts in "Republicans"

November 24, 2014

Roger Wicker Looks for Fast Start at NRSC

Roger Wicker Looks for Fast Start at NRSC

Wicker sat down in his office on Nov. 19 for an exclusive interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-one Republican senators up for re-election in 2016 filed into the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the morning of Nov. 19 to meet with party strategists about campaign preparations.

Leading the confab with the incumbents and their chiefs of staff were incoming NRSC Chairman Roger Wicker, the Mississippi senator elected to the position a week earlier, and Ward Baker, the 2014 political director who was promoted to executive director for the new cycle. Unlike the past four NRSC administrations, this one is charged with defending a Senate majority.

Later that day, in his first newspaper interview since being elected chairman, Wicker spoke candidly about the challenges ahead. He declined to detail the meeting but said, “I guarantee you the issue of fundraising arose.” While Republicans are primed to net nine seats in 2014 with a win next month in Louisiana, the party faced two noteworthy hurdles in the midterms: a late organizational start and being significantly outraised by Democrats.

With Baker in place — about two months earlier than when Rob Collins took the helm of the committee in 2013 — Wicker already has avoided the first issue. Now, his goal is to overcome the financial disparity.

“It’s all about putting together a good staff and fundraising,” Wicker told CQ Roll Call. “And getting the right message, and more fundraising. And it all comes back, every other day, to fundraising — then spending it smart.” Full story

November 20, 2014

Josh Holmes, the Mastermind of Team Mitch

Josh Holmes, the Mastermind of Team Mitch

Holmes, right, accompanied McConnell at an election eve campaign stop at an airport in Bowling Green, Ky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Much of the movie “Fargo” takes place in Minnesota, the home state of the aide in charge of the campaign that propelled Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell to the role of Senate majority leader in the next Congress.

It’s fitting that Josh Holmes, the senior adviser whom McConnell commended on stage at his election night gathering in Louisville, would hail from Minnesota, given that another former chief of staff, Billy Piper, once said McConnell was the wood chipper in the movie’s gruesome final scene.

Personality-wise, Holmes does not fit the billing for a Coen Brothers film. The hard-nosed operative behind one of the cycle’s best campaigns is classic “Minnesota nice,” said former Sen. Norm Coleman. Holmes was regional coordinator for the Minnesota Republican’s 2002 Senate campaign and then joined his office on Capitol Hill.

Full story

November 18, 2014

The One-Term Caucus? Top House Targets in 2016

The One Term Caucus? Top House Targets in 2016

Poliquin arrives last week for check-in for new members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

They haven’t even been sworn in yet, but these members start off the cycle as underdogs in their quests for re-election in 2016.

Most of 2016′s initial targets are incoming Republicans, swept into office in a GOP midterm wave. They will represent districts Democrats carried with big margins in presidential election years — seats the newly minted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján will probably want back. Only one vulnerable Democrat made this list.

What’s more, the window for either party to oust these freshman could close quickly. It’s easier to defeat an incumbent in their first re-election, before they solidify a stronghold on the seat.

In alphabetical order, here are the incoming members who start the 2016 cycle as underdogs:

Full story

November 14, 2014

Mark Kirk: ‘No Frickin’ Way Am I Retiring’

Mark Kirk: No Frickin Way Am I Retiring

Kirk says he'll run for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., has a message for anyone who doubts his will or appetite for a second term.

“No frickin’ way am I retiring,” he told CQ Roll Call in an exclusive interview Thursday from his Capitol Hill office, following some speculation in local press over the senator’s future and his shifting political operation. ”With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving.”

In an extended interview, Kirk sought to dispel any notion he’s ready to leave the Senate — or that he lacks the stamina to seek re-election after suffering an ischemic stroke in January 2012. Kirk said he feels great, and any opponents who question his fitness to serve will regret it.

“That would not be taken well by the people of Illinois, who would not like that kind of attack,” Kirk said. “That would be an advantage to me if they did that.”

Full story

November 13, 2014

Senate Republicans Elect NRSC Chairman (Updated)

Senate Republicans Elect NRSC Chairman (Updated)

Wicker is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:05 p.m. | Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker will chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2016 cycle, when the party will likely be defending a 54-seat majority.

Senate Republicans chose Wicker over Nevada Sen. Dean Heller in a closed-door meeting Thursday morning to elect the conference’s leaders in the next Congress.

“This was a race between friends, a contest decided among friends, and we began it and ended it that way,” Wicker said. “So, I congratulate him on a very fine race.”

Full story

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

November 11, 2014

How Elise Stefanik Became the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

How Elise Stefanik Became the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

Stefanik leaves the Capitol Hill Club with aide Anthony Pileggi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik’s path to victory in New York reflected the trajectory of the midterms nationally, as Republicans invaded Democratic territory to make double-digit gains in the House.

But in so many other ways, Stefanik’s dominant win was of her own making.

Stefanik defeated a wealthy Democrat, Aaron Woolf, by more than 20 points in a district the president carried just a couple years ago. At 30 years old, she’s the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and New York Republicans now tout her as the future of their party.

But that’s nowhere close to where Stefanik started the cycle in the upstate wilderness. Full story

November 10, 2014

Georgia Senator to Seek Re-Election

Georgia Senator to Seek Re Election

Isakson, left, is running for re-election. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Johnny Isakson will seek a third term in the Senate and will soon launch his campaign.

The Georgia Republican will kick off his campaign on Nov. 17 at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, according to an email to supporters. Full story

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

The Best Congressional Campaigns of 2014

Ernst is the senator-elect from Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a national Republican wave crested on Election Day, there were several campaigns in both parties that stood out as outstanding operations.

The GOP expanded its House majority and obtained control of the Senate. As a result, more Republican campaigns emerged deserving of the spotlight. But there were also several Democratic operations worthy of recognition.

Roll Call has compiled a list of the cream of the crop of 2014. Many faced long odds, crowded primaries, an unpopular president and millions in targeted attack ads. But through all that and more, these campaigns ably managed the curves of the cycle — and all but one were victorious.

In alphabetical order by candidate, here are the best congressional campaigns of the midterms: Full story

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

1 Senate, 5 House Races Still Too Close to Call (Updated)

McSally is a Republican from Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Nov. 11, 7:35 a.m. | A week after Election Day, six races remain too close to call as local officials continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots.

On Nov. 4, Republicans took control of the Senate by picking up seven seats so far, while House Republicans have picked up a net of 12 seats to date.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. It could be another week before outstanding 50,000 outstanding ballots — and an unknown number of absentee ballots from rural Alaskan villages — are counted. Republicans are confident Sullivan will maintain his lead.

Republican retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally’s lead over Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., narrowed to 341 votes this weekend. After additional ballots were counted on Monday, McSally’s lead shrunk further to 179 votes. The margin currently falls within the range for an automatic recount.

Full story

November 7, 2014

Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, on the trail in Jonesboro, Ark., was a top Republican Senate recruit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sweeping Republican victories were thanks to two years of internal speculation and trying to beat the Democrats “at their own game,” a new GOP memo argues.

“This did not happen by accident,” read a joint memo from the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Democrats expected to win; they bragged that they would win. They would have won, had we not beat them at their own game.”

Full story

November 6, 2014

Greg Walden Officially Launches NRCC Re-Election Bid

Greg Walden Officially Launches NRCC Re Election Bid

Walden is a Oregon Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the heels of winning at least 13 seats for House Republicans, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden officially launched his bid Thursday to serve as chairman for a second term.

Walden had announced this summer he wanted a second stint at the helm of House Republicans’ campaign arm. But in a Thursday letter to the House GOP conference, which was obtained by CQ Roll Call, Walden made his bid official. Walden touted the NRCC’s success as the chief reason for his second campaign.

In the weeks prior to the elections, two other House Republicans — Roger Williams of Texas and Aaron Schock of Illinois — considered challenging Walden. But Williams announced Wednesday he would not seek the job given the GOP’s success, and Walden cites his support in this letter. Schock’s plans are still unknown.

Republicans in the House elect their NRCC chairman. On the Democratic side, the Democratic leader selects the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman.

The full text of the letter is below:

Full story

Script Will Be Flipped in 2016 Senate Majority Battle

Script Will Be Flipped in 2016 Senate Majority Battle

Johnson is one of several Republicans running in competitive states in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After securing control of the Senate Tuesday, Republicans are already staring down a daunting map for 2016.

The majority of the Senate battleground in the next election cycle will be fought on Republican turf, with the GOP defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10. There is more trouble for the party beneath those raw numbers; only two Democratic seats are in competitive states, while more than half a dozen Republican incumbents face re-election in states President Barack Obama carried at least once.

Republicans appear to have put themselves in as strong a position as possible, coming out of the midterms with potentially a 54-seat majority. But the next electoral fight for the Senate fundamentally looks nothing like 2014: Democrats are on offense, the playing field is packed with pricey media markets and every race is positioned down-ballot from a presidential contest.

“I think attention will turn to it as soon as the dust settles from this cycle,” Republican pollster Dan Judy said of 2016. “The environment will certainly be tougher for us with a lot of competitive seats to defend in swing states, but I’m hopeful that a Republican majority for two years will allow us to advance a constructive agenda that our incumbents can run on in 2016.”

Full story

November 5, 2014

Wicker, Heller Both in for NRSC Chairman

Wicker, Heller Both in for NRSC Chairman

Wicker in interested in the NRSC chairmanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., is joining Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in the race to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2016 cycle.

Wicker confirmed his interest late last night at a GOP election night watch party in Union Station, as Republicans secured the majority for the first time in eight years.

“I’d like to try,” Wicker told CQ Roll Call. “It’s going to be a tough cycle.” Full story

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

Collins served as executive director of the NRSC during the 2014 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the tail end of an hour-long press briefing at the National Republican Senatorial Committee less than three weeks before the elections, Executive Director Rob Collins threw out a prediction: The GOP would win the majority on election night.

Republicans were favored to pick up at least a handful of seats, but with a couple possible runoffs and some tight races, forecasting clear control of the chamber by the end of Election Day was a ballsy declaration.

In his office a little while later, Collins laughed as he noticed his quote popping up in stories online. He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t think it was possible, but Collins went out on a limb mainly because he didn’t want his customary level-headed analysis of the Senate playing field misinterpreted as pessimism about his party’s chances.

“I think people like that I don’t bullshit them,” Collins said. But, he added, “I felt like, boy, I better end this on a note of confidence, or they’ll say, ‘Collins was a little iffy on that whole thing.’ So yeah, we’ll win on election night — it’s totally possible.” Full story

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