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April 27, 2015

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February 10, 2014

Aaron Schock Drops $25K for Ex-Bears Player to Attend Fundraiser

Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., spent $25,000 last fall for a former Chicago Bears linebacker to headline his re-election campaign’s kickoff fundraising event, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Brian Urlacher, a former NFL Rookie of the Year, headlined “Schocktoberfest” on Nov. 7, a $50-per-head fundraiser held at a brewery in Peoria, Ill.

“My family understands the important role of public service,” Urlacher said in a statement before the event. “My brother, Casey Urlacher, was elected mayor of Lake County’s Mettawa, Ill., earlier this year. In Peoria, he was fullback-linebacker for the Peoria Pirates. So we’re both looking forward to visiting our friends in central Illinois.”

An event appearance fee was paid to B.U. Enterprises, according to the Schock Victory Committee’s year-end filing. Illinois public records show B.U. Enterprises is a company registered to Urlacher.

Schock’s campaign did not return a request for comment on the appearance fee.

Full story

February 7, 2014

Republican Eyes Hamptons House Seat (Video)

Republican Eyes Hamptons House Seat (Video)Lee Zeldin" src="http://atr.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/zeldin020714-445x294.jpg" alt="" width="445" height="294" />

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin
The member: Six-term Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y.
The district: New York’s 1st District. It covers the eastern half of Long Island, encompassing both working-class regions and the tony Hamptons. Bishop won re-election in 2012 by 5 points, as President Barack Obama carried the district by 1 point.
The candidate’s team: Brabender Cox (media); John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates (polling); Majority Strategies (direct mail); Chapin Fay (campaign manager). Full story

Ami Bera Challenger Gets Tea Party Backing

The Madison Project, a group that seeks to boost tea-party-aligned candidates, will endorse former Capitol Hill aide Igor Birman on Friday morning in the crowded GOP field in California’s 7th District, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Birman, a former chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., faces a competitive top-two primary against former Rep. Doug Ose and autism activist Elizabeth Emken. All three are looking to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, a top GOP target in 2014.

The Madison Project plans to back up its endorsement by opening a get-out-the-vote headquarters in the district to help mobilize voters for Birman in the June 3 primary.

“Igor is uniquely articulate in communicating all the principles of conservative public policy and is the only candidate in this race who will not be beholden to liberal special interests,” Madison Project Political Director Drew Ryun said in a statement. “He won’t need to be pressured or shamed into keeping his campaign promises because he will pursue constitutional governance, even when the party leaders stray from its principles.”

Full story

February 5, 2014

GOPAC Endorses Four House Candidates

GOPAC, an organization that grooms Republican state legislators to run for Congress, will endorse four candidates in competitive House races Wednesday, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The group’s endorsement will come with monetary support, including the maximum allowed federal contributions, GOPAC member-driven donations and independent expenditures on behalf of the candidates, according to GOPAC President David Avella.

The state legislators who earned GOPAC’s endorsement are:

Full story

February 4, 2014

Super PAC TV Ad Touts Dan Sullivan in Alaska

An Alaska-based super PAC formed to support the Senate campaign of Republican Dan Sullivan launched a TV ad Tuesday that paints him in the mold of Ronald Reagan and longtime Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

Sullivan, a former state attorney general and commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is vying for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in 2008. Begich is a top target of national Republicans, who are hoping to net six seats this fall to regain control of the Senate.

The ad, from Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, is backed by a $41,000 buy and will air statewide this month, according to a release shared first with CQ Roll Call. It starts off with the voices of Reagan and Stevens before cutting to a clip from Sullivan’s campaign announcement press conference in October. Full story

Conservative Considering Bid for Wolf Seat in Virginia

Updated 2:12 p.m. | Conservative state Del. Bob Marshall is “seriously considering” entering the open-seat race for Virginia’s 10th District.

Should Marshall run for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf in this competitive Northern Virginia district, he would face fellow state Del. Barbara Comstock in a GOP “firehouse primary.” The seat is a top target for national Democrats.

“I spoke to Bob yesterday, and he is seriously considering it,” said John Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th District GOP. “He did not say he was entering the race at this point.”

Reached for comment, Marshall declined to discuss his intentions, saying only: “I’m talking to people, and that’s all I want to say.”

Marshall is a hard-line social conservative who sponsored the controversial “personhood” bill in the state Legislature in 2012. He lost bids for the Republican Senate nomination in both 2008 and 2012, first at a nominating convention with former Gov. Jim Gilmore and then in a primary against former Gov. George Allen. Full story

February 3, 2014

Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show

Every vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election in 2014 voted with President Barack Obama at least 90 percent of the time in 2013, according to CQ Roll Call’s latest vote studies, released Monday.

Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor broke with the president most often, opposing him in 10 percent of all 2013 votes where the administration stated a preferred outcome. Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., voted for Obama’s position 97, 97, and 96 percent of the time, respectively. Of those four, only Begich serves with a Republican who has bucked the GOP to back Obama with any frequency. (See our Jan. 21 story.)

Support for Obama’s initiatives from incumbent Democrats who are favored but not safe was just as high if not higher than from vulnerable members: Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia supported the president in 99 and 97 percent of votes.

On the flip side, Republican senators who are wary of primary challengers from the right opposed Obama so often that the president’s support from GOP senators in 2013 — 40 percent — was the lowest of his five years in office. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opposed Obama 67 percent of the time. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, opposed the Obama position on 66, 50, 48 and 66 percent of votes respectively.

Full story

Goss Out, Benacquisto Running For Radel Seat (Updated)

Updated 10:58 a.m.| Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto will run for former Rep. Trey Radel’s seat in Congress, according to a Monday news release. On the same morning, her fellow Republican, Chauncey Goss, announced he will not run in the same race.

“I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity,” Benaquisto wrote in an email to supporters.

As for Goss, he ran against Radel in the 19th District’s 2012 primary and publicly said after Radel’s resignation that he was seriously considering another run. The son of former Rep. Porter Goss made his announcement in a Monday news release.

“After careful thought and discussion with my family, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in this upcoming special election,” he said. “As a husband and a father, my responsibility to my family must at this time take priority over the level of commitment required to properly serve as our Representative in Congress.”

Businessman Curt Clawson and former Rep. Paige Kreegel are the most notable contenders for the seat at this point.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the special election dates on Friday. The primary, which will all-but-determine the next occupant of this safe Republican seat, will take place on April 22. The general election is June 24.

January 31, 2014

DCCC Outraised NRCC in December

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $1.4 million more than its GOP counterpart in December.

A National Republican Congressional Committee source said Friday that the committee raised $4.2 million in December. The NRCC ended the year with $21 million in cash on hand.

The DCCC, which released its fundraising numbers Thursday, raised $5.6 million and had $29.3 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Both House campaign committees eliminated their debt earlier this cycle.

Comstock Gets Boost From House Republican Women

Comstock Gets Boost From House Republican Women

House Republican women are hosting a fundraiser next month for Virginia state Del. Barbara Comstock, according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Comstock, who is running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf in Virginia’s 10th District, is a former Wolf staffer and consultant to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign. She is a front-runner for the Republican nomination in this competitive district, located in the northern Virginia suburbs. Romney won here in 2012 by a 1-point margin.

This the latest push by the women of the House GOP Conference, who are making it a priority this cycle to help elect Republican women.

Full story

Club for Growth Action Hires Blacklisted Firm

The Club for Growth’s political action arm announced Friday that it has added Jamestown Associates, a media firm that the GOP’s House and Senate campaign arms have reportedly blacklisted, to its media production team.

“We’ve long admired Jamestown Associates for their creativity, winning record in tough campaigns, and the quality of their product,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a news release. “When we heard recently that they would have more time to work with Club for Growth Action we immediately seized the opportunity.”

Chocola’s statement alludes to the fact that both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee reportedly will not use Jamestown Associates’ services and are encouraging others in the party not to as well.

The committees’ decisions were based in part on Jamestown’s work on behalf of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is backing primary challengers to Republican senators.

The club also supports primary challengers to Republican incumbents. It’s even set up a website called, “Primary My Congressman!”

January 30, 2014

Republican Considers Switch to Okla. Senate Special

Republican Considers Switch to Okla. Senate Special

Coburn is resigning at the end of 2014 (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Randy Brogdon, a conservative former state senator currently challenging Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, is considering running in the Senate special election instead.

“He has got a lot of people inside of Oklahoma, probably eight or nine out of 10, that are urging him to run for Senate, and he is listening very intently to those urges,” Brogdon senior adviser Louis Waller said when reached by CQ Roll Call.

Brogdon’s potential entrance comes just after Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a favorite among conservative outside groups, decided against a bid. Groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project had pushed for Bridenstine to run as a conservative alternative to Rep. James Lankford, who announced his bid for the seat earlier this month.

Brogdon, who lost to Fallin in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, has the kind of tea party profile that could garner support from those groups. If he runs, Brogdon would be the third major Republican in the race, along with state Speaker T.W. Shannon. Candidates have until April 11 to file for the race, which follows the state’s regular election year schedule.

The Madison Project, which recruits conservative candidates, declined to comment on whether they have met with Brogdon.

Full story

Conservative Groups Could Give Up on Okla. Senate Special

Conservative outside groups are increasingly likely to stay on the sidelines in the Oklahoma Senate special election now that Rep. Jim Bridenstine has decided not to run, multiple GOP sources said.

Groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project had encouraged Bridenstine to run in the GOP primary as a conservative alternative to Rep. James Lankford, who was the first candidate to announce a bid. The entrance Wednesday by state Speaker T.W. Shannon, an African American named a rising star by the Republican National Committee, was met with equally little excitement among the groups.

Unless another candidate is recruited, these groups may choose to sit out the race to replace resigning GOP Sen. Tom Coburn —  a hero among the conservative grass roots for his battles against government waste.

“For the outside groups to back T.W., it means they really, really hate Lankford enough that they would back an RNC-touted candidate instead of sitting the race out,” said one Republican insider in Oklahoma.

Full story

January 29, 2014

Bridenstine Won’t Seek Coburn’s Senate Seat

Bridenstine Wont Seek Coburns Senate Seat

Bridenstine, left, will not be running against Lankford. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., announced Wednesday that he will not run for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, in 2014.

Outside groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project put pressure on Bridenstine to enter the contest as a conservative alternative to GOP Rep. James Lankford, who already announced his candidacy.

“Since Dr. Tom Coburn’s retirement announcement, I have been honored and overwhelmed by encouragement to succeed him as Oklahoma’s senator,” Bridenstine said in a statement. “After giving this matter serious consideration and prayer, my family and I have decided I will not to run in the special election to complete Dr. Coburn’s term.”

Full story

January 28, 2014

Cornyn Responds to Stockman’s Absence: ‘Hmm … ‘

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Cornyn will seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would like voters to “reach their own conclusions” about his Republican primary challenger’s recent whereabouts.

On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who launched his Senate campaign last month on the filing deadline, resurfaced on Capitol Hill after he “mysteriously disappeared from public view nearly two weeks ago,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

Multiple Texas-based outlets reported that Stockman said he was on a Congressionally-sanctioned trip to Israel, Egypt, Russia and the United Kingdom. But the lawmaker, who is serving his second one-term stint in the House, was gone longer than other colleagues who made the trip. He ended up missing 17 House votes.

“I have seven opponents in the primary, and I know while some people find him the most fascinating one, I don’t really want to treat any of them differently from each other,” Cornyn told CQ Roll Call. “And so I don’t really have a comment particularly. I’ll let people reach their own conclusions.” Full story

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